Monday, October 13, 2014

In Creeps The Night

Recently I had one of my short stories published in an anthology of creepy stories called, "In Creeps The Night." I'm very excited to be apart of this project. Not only do I get to share the pages with some amazing writers, but the profits from the sale of this book (both eBook and paperback) benefit Mother's Without Borders, a non-profit organization that helps orphaned children across the globe.

You can find my story, "The Shadow Man" on page 138. 

If you would like to enter for a chance to win a trade paperback copy signed by me, enter your email address below. Five (5) lucky readers will randomly be chosen. Contest ends 11PM CST October 22nd. If you win, I will ship your personalized copy within the U.S. for free. Other's outside of the U.S. will need to cover the shipping costs.

For more information on the book and the other authors, below is a posting from Blue Harvest Creative, the designers and marketing group behind the project.

PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU SIGNED UP ON 10/13 YOUR ENTRY DID NOT GET SUBMITTED DUE TO A SOFTWARE ERROR. PLEASE RE-SUBMIT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS BELOW. THANK YOU!

Michael A. Walker
Defying Procrastination




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Her Last Words


You see it in the movies often. Someone is holding a loved one in their arms, or holding their hand as they speak their last words. They take that last shallow breath and close their eyes; forever. Saving Private Ryan, Forrest Gump, and Steel Magnolias are a few movies that come to mind that employee this kind of heart wrenching plot twist to invoke emotion from the audience. As effective and moving as these movie tactics are, they pale to capture the pure, raw emotion of experiencing it firsthand.

Monday, October 6, 2014

What Mother Would Say?

My parents and I - circa 1969


"Has it really been twenty-five years? I've watched you grow from the heavens. Oh, how I've enjoyed it. You make my heart smile. I cry for you too. I know you want to be with me, but not now, son. Not now."



Michael A. Walker
Defying Procrastination


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Charlie

Deadend, Tribeca, New York - Photo by Sean Ng


The sun retreated without promise of a tomorrow as darkness crept through the alleyways of the abandoned streets, devouring the remaining light without mercy. A putrid stench of death hung in the air like a suffocating fog, clinging to everything that it came in contact with.
Charlie couldn't smell it anymore. He hadn't in quite some time.
Buildings rose near endlessly into the sky around him like giant skeletons striped bare of their flesh. Once the pillar of modern civilization, now the streets of New York were nothing more than trackless miles of rusted steel frames and concrete mausoleums for the dead and hunting grounds for the eaters.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My Son



My Son

The pitter-patter of your feet echoes.
Your laughter travels with the wind.
My son, my son;
I can still hear you.

Wherever I go, you are there.
Your smile lights up the world.
My son, my son;
I can still see you.

Food on your cheeks, dirt on your neck;
Your sweet kisses heal my soul.
My son, my son;
I can still taste you.

A hard day of play, a clean bath to wash it away;
Your aroma reminds me of home.
My son, my son;
I can still smell you.

The warm embrace of your daily hugs linger;
Your soft little hand in mine.
My son, my son;
I can still feel you.


In loving memory of Chance Konkler



Michael A. Walker
Defying Procrastination

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Redemption



Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville – Parking Lot

I never thought this day would come. For 16 years I've waited to see justice served to the man who murdered my husband. For 16 years I've carried this burden. It nearly killed me, but that wasn't the worst of it. Death would have been a welcomed release from the torment I suffered. I thought about it often. I even tried a few times, but was too much of a coward to do it right.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother


Mother

You are the reason I’m here, the reason I exist.
Your eyes spill wonder; wide open and full of life.
Your heart beats thunder.

You led me through adversity, through the mist.
Your loving hands both guided and held me dear.
Your foes cast asunder.

You are the definition of true love, the only.
Your presence lifts spirits and deflates hatred.
Your love extends further.

You are ever-present; I can never be lonely.
Your soul transcends space and time; benevolence.
You are my Mother.














Rest in Peace
Myrtle Lee Walker
Nov. 7th, 1934 - June 6th 1989


Michael A. Walker
Defying Procrastination

Is there a special Mother you're celebrating and missing today?



Thursday, May 1, 2014

Michael

The Pier by Scott Leeson
Michael sat at the end of the pier contemplating his life; where he had been and where he was going. The mid-afternoon sun reflecting off the ripples in the water reminded him how life was like those tiny undulations, filled with highs and lows racing towards the inevitable end. At their peak, the sun reflected off them so beautifully, bringing to light everything that was right in the world - but in the valleys, the valleys were dark and foreboding. The shadows were where bad things happened. Michael didn’t care much for the valleys, but realized they were as much a part of life as when the waves would eventually crash against the shore; unavoidable.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Adeline

Avond (Evening): The Red Tree, by Piet Mondrian
Looks can be deceiving. My 1974 Mustang II wasn't much to look at. It was a graduation gift from my father many moons ago. The forest green paint had long since faded, with dings and dents that were beset with memories far more endearing to me than any new paint job could ever replace. Save for one. The passenger side door had perfect lines and a smooth texture stained in primer grey.

The rag top was tattered and frayed, but once shone with a brilliant white sheen that held the elements at bay and the sounds of youthful exploration and delight to a shallow rumble. I remember feeling the rush of cool air blowing around the windshield when I would take it out on the road with the top down and the sun at my back, seeing the road of promises being devoured with each conquered mile. Now it was difficult to see through all the cracks in the glass.

I remember squealing the tires every chance I could; tearing up the roads and going places without a care in the world or a destination in mind. There was nothing quite like the feeling of an idle small-block’s purr at a red-light, or feeling its meaty growl once challenged and the wild horses were unleashed. It gave me freedom and confidence, but now it sat idle, its tires well worn and flat, and its engine seized with sludge and gilt.

I remember a lot of things about my old Mustang, but mostly I remember Adeline.

It was our first date. At least that’s how I liked to remember it. I had spent the better part of the afternoon washing and waxing the Mustang, my Saturday summer ritual, and decided to take her for a spin. I was mighty proud of the old Stang and wanted to show her off to the world as much as I could. As I was cruising down the road I came across an old park, and that’s when I saw her.

She was sitting alone under a tree reading a book. My heart skipped a beat followed by a blaring horn from the car behind me. In my excitement I had unknowingly stopped in the middle of the road. I pulled to the side and parked, deciding what to do next. She hadn't seen me yet, so I could have easily driven away without her knowing, but something froze me in place. It was a mixture of fear and desire.

I had always admired her from afar, but couldn't bring myself to approach her. She was quiet and shy, and wasn't particularly beautiful. She wasn't involved in any school activities or sports, or part of the cool crowd in school. In fact, she wasn't a part of any crowd; a loner, an outcast. She was everything I wasn't, yet she was my everything.

Courage took a hold of my senses and dared me into action. I approached her with a smile and a skip in my step, but below boiled a cauldron of insecurity and terror. These feelings were foreign to me; nevertheless, they made me feel alive. The moment she looked at me through those big framed glasses my heart was defenseless.

We sat beneath that old oak tree for hours, laughing and talking until the sun found its resting place. I took her for an evening ride, cruising through town, showing her all my favorite getaways. Every Saturday after that we would meet under that big oak tree to talk and then head off to explore the open roads and our hearts. That tradition continued all through the summer until I asked her to be my bride.

It’s been twenty years since the last time I took Adeline for a ride in my Mustang.

Like many evenings since that day, I’ll turn the light off in the garage and head to bed, alone.  


Michael A. Walker
Defying Procrastination 




Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Soul of the Universe: Music

"Soul of the Universe"
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything" ― Plato

Try to imagine your favorite movie without a film score. It’s difficult to do. Maybe you weren’t even aware that your favorite movie had a musical score (Cast Away doesn’t count). That’s because music has a way of influencing our emotions and heightening our movie going experience so effortlessly that we don’t have to be consciously aware of its doing.

Much like a movie, music is the theatrical score of our lives, each song marking a detailed moment in our lifetime. Specific songs have the magical ability to immediately transport us back to a time and place in just the first few notes we hear. Memories drift in and out of our consciousness effortlessly in rhythm with the melody and poignantly punctuated by every drum beat.

Music can put us in a mood or take us out of one. It can lift our spirits or tear them down. It can cause us to stand and salute to the flag on command, or just stand on principle. It has the uncanny ability to conjure up emotions in an instant, whether we want it to or not. Music has a way of tapping into those tiny taste crystals floating around in our subconscious mind, busting them open in a miasmic spray of feelings that flavor our souls.

We set our alarm clocks them, our ring tones, and our text alerts. We use them as motivation in the gym or when we need to run that extra mile. We use them for creative inspiration and to communicate with. Even in our modern age there are still tribes of people who have no written language, but they have music. Prehistory, the time before man had written languages, was defined by oral tradition through song and dance. Music brings us together; the whole world, transcending the ages.

It’s no wonder that the music industry is a multi-multi-billion dollar industry. Music drives technology and propels us forward. Remember the time before iPods, MP3 players, and instant streaming? People collected vinyl’s and would quit their jobs to attend far off concerts in remote fields for days at a time. Remember furniture sized boomboxes, 8-tracks, Sony Walkman’s, and spending hours making the perfect mix tape?

There’s something else that has that can do all these same things too – a good book.

Imagine if there was a supernatural blending of the two? Wouldn’t that just be divine?  Wouldn’t that be… dare I say… magical? I know it’s crazy talk, but what was once thought to be only a myth, a fairytale designed to put little ones to sleep by, is now a reality.

I give you… SOUL OF THE UNIVERSE! (<--- must provide your own super awesome dramatic reveal music)

Soul of the Universe is a collection of short stories that were inspired by music. Each story is accompanied by a specific song that was the source of the inspiration behind its making: Led Zeppelin, Pearl Jam, Rex Wells, Thea Gilmore, Blackmoore’s Night, and David Cook count themselves among them. There’s a story sure to sate the craving for every literature taste; Sci-fi, Fantasy, Western, Steampunk, and emotional drama fill the pages.

I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to write collaboratively with an distinguished group of very talented authors (Michael S. Manz, Marissa Ames, and Michael Wombat) for this anthology project. I’m both proud and honored to be considered a co-author of this book.

Soul of the Universe is now available on Amazon and Smashwords virtual bookshelves. I encourage you to buy a copy for yourself and gift a copy to a friend. You won’t be disappointed, and neither will they.

Please follow these links to learn more about my fellow Soul of the Universe authors and the publisher, The Anthology Club.  

Michael S. Manz: http://msmanz.com/2014/sotu/



SotU72logoIf you would like to check out Soul of the Universe and support The Anthology Club, you may find it at these links:
ACLogo_Small_Green
And if you would like to write for The Anthology Club, you may find them online and on Facebook.


Michael A. Walker
Defying Procrastination 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pull the Trigger

"A Gun" by -bl1nd-stock

Marcy held the gun to her head.

It would be so easy.

Frightful memories danced in her head, each one belligerent in their attempt for time on the stage; each one more vivid than the one before.

The slaps across her face, the fists in her gut, the kicking and the slashing – they were nothing compared to the words. The words crushed her soul, causing much more damage than any physical instrument could ever do.

Marcy placed her finger on the trigger.

It would be so easy.

She was numb to the pain. Numb to the world. But the memories taunted her; left her bleeding inside. The weight of twenty years of misery pulled her down into depths beyond reason; beyond hope. A burden even Atlas would succumb to. The gun was a feather in her hand.

Marcy released the safety.

It would be so easy.

Marcy’s phone made a familiar sound. It was her daughter. Her ring tone was “Staying Alive.” Marcy forced herself to answer, but it was too late. She received a voice-mail instead.

“Momma, I know its 4 in the morning there, but I just couldn't wait. You’re going to be a grandmother.”

Marcy looked in the mirror and beyond the doorway. She saw the reflection of her enemy. She walked into the bedroom. He was passed out and naked, his knuckles bruised; his chest and arms ornamented with bloody resistance.

Marcy pointed the gun to Stanley’s head.

It would be so easy indeed.


Michael A. Walker
Defying Procrastination 


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Blind

"Blind Man" by Malani

Joseph had the whole world against him it seemed. Last week his fiancée of three years had given her ring back to him without cause. A few days later he learned of his favorite aunt’s passing, but didn't have the time to travel to her funeral. This past weekend he had to give up his champion dog to an animal shelter. The neighbors in his condominium didn't appreciate the pitter-patter of his dog’s feet running across on the hardwood floors. This morning his BMW broke down and he was late to work, late enough that they let him go. It wasn't the first time he was late, but the first time he had a legitimate excuse.

Lost in his despair, his feet carried him into a park, the clapping of his Italian leather shoes against the cobbled stones echoing between the well manicured hedges. His custom black suit stood out amongst the green trees, the blooming wild flowers, and the tranquil ripples of a nearby pond. Joseph was numb with emotional burden and blind to it all.

He found an empty bench and collapsed. Through the miasmic deluge of misery plaguing his fragile state of mind, Joseph heard the mesmerizing and beautiful calling of a bird. When he lifted his head and allowed his ears to follow the sound, he didn't find a bird at all. It was a man, an old man, whistling cheerfully as he applied paint to canvas.

 Joseph watched the old man. He seemed to be a professional in the way he carefully chose his colors, and how he slowly and deliberately moved his brush across the painting. Yet, his clothes told a different story. They were tattered, well worn, and stained. Not stained with paint, not entirely, but from what seemed like weeks, perhaps months, of neglect. A collection bucket sat near his feet.
   
Intrigued, Joseph forgot his troubles and approached the old man from behind. The painting was awash with brilliant colors but lacked any detail.

“It’s beautiful.” Joseph hadn't intended for those words to come out, but they did anyway.

The old man didn't divert his attention, nor stop whistling. In mid-stroke he finally replied, “Beauty is where you find it, son.”

“How long did it take you to paint that?”

“What’s today’s date?” the old man asked as he attentively dabbed a fine threaded brush onto the canvas.

“March 24th.”

“What year?”

Joseph was puzzled. “2006 of course.”

The old man picked up a different brush and began mixing the color on his pallet. When the color was just right, he lifted the brush and said, “Nearly two years now.”

“Two years?” Joseph could hardly believe his ears. “Why so long?”

The old man stopped whistling and turned to face Joseph for the first time. His pupils were absent of color.

“Oh, you’re blind.”

“No, but almost.”

“What’s going to happen when you do? You won’t be able to paint anymore.”


“When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”


Michael A. Walker
Defying Procrastination 

Kristin

Back in October, on my 44th birthday, an article I wrote for the Hutto Newspaper was published about my friend Kristin who had been diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer and I wanted to share it with you all here. I'm happy to report that Kristin is beating her cancer.
In her own words...

"Well...friends and family..it is with great joy that I share that my PET Scan showed no glow anywhere. No new spots of concern and the ones I had are no longer showing up. What this means is the Chemo worked and has stopped the Cancer. My course of action will remain the same (surgeries and radiation and such) but we have NO new worries. Even though I have been so nauseous today...it is a good day."

In light of that great news, as promised, I'll be diverting 100% of the sales of "Her Special Day Shoes" to the National Breast Cancer Foundation in Kristin's name.

KRISTIN
By: Michael A. Walker
Cancer. No other word incites greater fear, evokes more terrifying nightmares, or is more responsible for the reckless and impartial deliverance of pain, misery and death. Cancer doesn't care what color or ethnicity you are. It doesn't care how smart you are, or how far you have climbed the social ranks. It cares not for what titles you hold, who your daddy is or how much money you have. It cares little about your age, your religion or how many miles you run each day. It doesn't care anything about you or your family.
Cancer simply destroys lives.
Like many of you reading this, I have lost loved ones, too many, in fact, to this dreadful disease. I lost my sister to ovarian cancer, my father to leukemia, and my first cousin to a cancer that attacked her entire body. Cancer is a pervasive and effective killer. It constantly invades our everyday lives by its ever-present occupation, so much so, that eventually it becomes white noise. It’s an infectious maelstrom of malcontent that leaches and saps your will, your defenses, to the point where you feel helpless and become complacent. That is until it becomes personal.
In August of this year it became personal to me, again.
One of my dearest and closest friends, a member of my extended family, someone who I’ve known for more than 20 years, was diagnosed with Stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma HER2neu-plus breast cancer, an aggressive form of cancer that has invaded her lymph nodes and now threatens her life. There are four stages, or categories, that breast cancer falls into. Stage 3 means that the cancer is no longer localized to the breast and has spread to connecting lymph nodes, the chest wall, or to the chest skin. Stage 3 breast cancer usually requires a combination of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and surgery to defeat. Like the other 636 women who are diagnosed with breast cancer each day, Kristin and her family were devastated.
Kristin is a multitalented woman, wife, and full time mom. She has a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, where she learned to perform and sing on stage, and where she honed her seamstress skills. With these skills Kristin has spent countless hours volunteering for her local church, at school functions, and in her community by performing in plays, designing and constructing costumes, and singing in choir and yuletide caroling events. There are few people in this world I love and adore more than Kristin. Her smile lights up the sun, and her infectious laugh radiates joy wherever she goes.
Unfortunately, because of her battle with breast cancer, Kristin can no longer afford to do any of those things that bring so much joy to her life. Now her days are filled with doctor appointments, injections, and prayers. Chemotherapy treatments are designed to attack cells in your body, like cancer cells, that dived rapidly. One side effect to this is that it also attacks other rapid growing cells in your body, like hair, bone marrow, and blood cells. When this happens, white cell counts can drop to dangerous levels, which significantly decreases your body’s ability to defend itself from the constant barrage of germs and diseases that we are exposed to each day. The threat this imposes on Kristin’s body is measured by the near endless supply of hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes that she keeps nearby. Visitors and her own loving family must don facemasks when they are near her.
Just last week, a day after a round of chemotherapy, Kristin was hospitalized for four days. Her white blood cell count plummeted to .4, with normal levels for the average person starting at 4.0. I saw pictures of her children snuggled up to her in her hospital bed wearing surgical masks, with eyes that held genuine love and concern for their mother. It was enough to make a grown man cry. This man did.
Kristin married my brother, Wesley, a brotherhood born out of irreplaceable memories, love and by choice. I’ve been a part of Wesley’s family, and he mine, since the seventh grade. In high school, he used to turn off my electric typewriter during typing tests, plug my ears with Vaseline in wrestling practice, and embarrass me at school dances by dedicating songs in my name to girls I had a crush on. In my textbooks he would write silly messages and draw pictures of hearts, professing his love for his girlfriends. Sometimes he would just destroy them completely by tearing off the covers, tossing them across the room, or scaring them in such a way that it prevented me from returning them at the end of the year.
He also saved my life.
When I was 19 I lost my mother to a ruptured brain aneurysm that left her in a coma and then lifeless. Weeks later, I lost my grandfather to medical complications that arose from his elderly age, and months after that my wife and children in a heart-crippling divorce. I was a walking dead man, a zombie that lacked the will or desire for life. Wesley saved me from despair. He forced me out of the house and out of my misery. He showed me how to live again, and reintroduced happiness and the want to see my children’s children before I leave this earth.
Together Wesley and Kristin have two children of their own. Logan (13) is a prodigy pianist and all around talented and gifted young man. He plays the piano with the ferocity and confidence of a young lion destined for greatness. Skye (7) embodies everything you would expect from a little girl that carries that name. When the mood strikes her, she can be kind and gentle, with a propensity to beguile the unwary into a sense of calm right before she unleashes her unbridled fury, but mostly she is beautiful.
Recently, I launched my very first self-published eBook, entitled “Her Special Day Shoes.” In it, Rachael, the protagonist, is a young woman who has suffered a great deal in her life. Unlike Kristin, she has her health but little else. Like Kristin, in spite of her terrible lot in life, she forges on, smiling and rising above every obstacle thrown her way, refusing to yield in the face of insurmountable odds. Rachael and Kristin have a lot in common. No better pairing of super heroes could possibly exist.
I was fortunate to have a friend like Wesley during my darkest hour, and now, with your help, I have the opportunity - the honor - of repaying him and his family. As a tribute to Kristin, I re-launched "Her Special Day Shoes" and dedicated it to her. All proceeds from the sale of “Her Special Day Shoes” will go to assist Kristin with her personal battle with breast cancer and to a National Breast Cancer Foundation account in her name - forever.
Cancer is wicked and vile, but not invincible. Cancer can be defeated with willpower, determination, and by the best doctors and chemotherapy money can buy.
For $2.86 you can help make the difference in Kristin’s life, and the lives of the hundreds of thousands of women like her afflicted with this terrible disease each year. That’s less than a grande latté at your favorite coffee house, a 3-pack of disposable razors and less than a gallon of gasoline. As an added bonus, you’ll have a heartwarming and uplifting story to read and share with your family.

I’ve lost too many loved ones to cancer. I don’t want to lose another. You can help by purchasing the book, sharing the video I made for Kristin, or by making a donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation in her name and asking everyone you know to do the same. Aside from that, your warm thoughts and prayers are always welcomed and immensely appreciated. Thank you.
Link to the original article: The Hutto News

SOME IMPORTANT LINKS
Amazon Link to “Her Special Day Shoes”http://www.amazon.com/Her-Special-Day-Shoes-ebook/dp/B00EZEXN74/
Kristin’s National Breast Cancer Foundation page: http://www.stayclassy.org/herspecialdayshoes/
Kristin’s Story and her Caring Bridge page: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kristinkrizowilliamso
Tribute video to Kristin from me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7ciLlW5md4

Do you know of anyone who has been affected by breast cancer? Share your story.

Michael A. Walker
Defying Procrastination