Subject 23 – Free Prequel to Love, Lies & Clones

Sound the trumpets!

I finished a short prequel to Love, Lies & Clones that I thought was a lost cause.

It’s called Subject 23. Here it is:

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Blood &Subject 23

Alice Taylor poured her heart into the advancement of science. It wasn’t until she connected with a surrogate mother, Subject 23, did she begin questioning what path science was taking her down.

This is a glimpse into June’s father’s cloning experiments. Meet June’s mother, Alice, and watch her struggle with the ethics behind the project.

You can download a copy HERE.

I had started writing it back in January with hopes of using it to entice readers to pick up the full novel, but abandoned the project because it contained spoilers, and I couldn’t figure out how to get the spoilers out of the story.

What a shame to have a story mostly finished and not be able to let people read it…that was until I had an idea last week while writing the post for my 1000 “true” fans blog series.

I finished this 5000+ word story up and am marketing it as a prequel best enjoyed AFTER reading the full novel. I mean, that’s better than letting it sit on the virtual shelf, unread, right?

If you’re interested, it’s a standalone story. You can read it if you’ve read Love, Lies & Clones, don’t intend to read the novel, or don’t really care about spoilers.

I kept a similar cover to Love, Lies & Clones, just to keep it easy. Hopefully, that doesn’t make things confusing.

Subject 23 (1)

Have a great day, everyone! Thanks for sharing my journey.



Nature’s Irony (Flash Fiction)

For a change of pace, here is a flash fiction piece I wrote, but felt was too dark to do anything with.  It was collection electronic “dust”,  so I thought it fits with Earth Day.  A *WARNING* though – there is blood and deer hunting in the story.


I wiggled my fingers, they had been numb for hours already. I wiggled my toes. Six hours of sitting in one spot, shivering, and waiting for a non-existent deer. Six hours wasted except for the intricate pattern of diamonds, slashes, and dots I carved in the branch near me to pass the time.

That’s enough.  I unloaded my gun and began to climb down the tree when my foot slipped into a loop made by a vine.  Once I struggled free another vine wrapped around my other ankle.

What was happening?  I withdrew my hunting knife and cut myself free, then quickly descended the tree.

Now that I finished hunting, I noticed the fresh deer tracks besides mine in the snow. How did I miss this deer?  With my rifle slung over my shoulder, I pushed a few branches out of my way to follow the tracks further into the woods.  The tracks turned down a runway and when I looked ahead, I saw him.

He was largest deer I had ever seen outside a hunting magazine. He had at least eighteen points on his massive antlers. I cautiously pulled my rifle from my shoulder, put the deer in the crosshairs, and pulled the trigger.


Damn, I had unloaded the rifle. I slowly pulled the cartridges from my pocket and dropped one into the chamber. I only took my eyes off the deer for a second, but when I looked up, he vanished.

I pushed my way forward a little more, following the runway. At least I was warmer now that I was walking.

Around and through the woods I crisscrossed until dusk settled. I turned back, knowing it was too late to hunt anyway. I followed my footprints in the snow and soon they ran into a thick area of the forest. I pushed through the thorny brush that I didn’t remember. I kept following my footprints and soon the forest was so thick that my trails wasn’t visible.

I pulled out my phone to see the GPS, but I didn’t have reception. I unhooked the small compass pinned to my orange vest, and found north. My car should be that way. I wound myself through the woods in that general direction.

The branches and vines seemed to grab me. I pushed forward, breaking through them. They became so thick I couldn’t move. They held me tight. I felt pain in my arm. The thorns were pressing into me – cutting me. I struggled my hand loose to find my knife, but it was gone. The pain overwhelmed me and the world went black.

I woke in bloody snow. The trees and the vines had receded and now were nothing out of the ordinary. My arm throbbed and I looked down to see a familiar pattern of bloody diamonds, slashes, and dots.

The End

Disclaimer:  I don’t personally hunt, but have no issues with it done correctly (My husband and father enjoy hunting.). Many times, hunters are the best conservationists.



Writing a Novel Versus a Short Story

So, I started writing again in October when I got the itch to finish a novel I started 10 years ago.  Instead, I started writing short stories, hoping this would help me figure out HOW to write. Back then, I told myself I couldn’t write and gave up on it completely.

This time around, I realize you can learn to write, to some extent, so I’ve been focusing on short stories. I took 4 online writing classes which taught me a TON! They are here:

Well, my first “short story” ended up at 11,000 words and I chose to expand it into a novel again. (Long story here: I’ll Never Write Another Novel! (I thought)) Funny that the Novel I intended to finish back in October is in a drawer again.  It’s a vampire novel and I really don’t know if the world needs another one of those.  To my defense, I started writing it pre-Twilight.  I may still finish this during July’s Camp NaNoWriMo and put it on Wattpad.  Why do some characters insist you tell their stories?

Anyway, now that I’ve written 30+ Short stories since October and another novel (that’s 2 ½ I’ve completed) I was reflecting on the difference between them. Here is what I’ve discovered.

  1. I thought that in short stories EVERY word mattered, but novels were more forgiving. That’s not true. Every word matters, no matter what you are writing.
  2. You need to narrow the idea down a TON for a short story, otherwise the plot gets out of hand and you end up with a novel crammed into a 10,000 word story. (I have 6 of these saved on my computer that I don’t know what to do with yet.) Novels have the full 3 act structure. Short stories still need a beginning, middle, and an end, but they need to be less complex.
  3. Break the novel down into scenes and treat each scene like a short story. Focus on making each scene a perfect story. This is probably the most successful thing I do that made me reach the end of my current project. It simplifies the whole process and keeps me going.
  4. Novels have more of everything: more characters, more plots/subplots, and more words. This complexity makes it harder to track what you’ve said already and what you’ve haven’t and you need some method of organization.
  5. Just when I would get sick of a short story, it was done. A novel takes much longer. You get more attached to the characters, the story, and the problem, but yet, it is hard to finish because at some point you just want to be done and you know you have a lot to do yet.
  6. Finding someone to read and give you feedback is much harder for a novel. (Though, finding a good beta reader or any readers in general.)

What do you feel are the biggest differences between writing the different length projects?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!


(Photo from


The Enchanted Apothecary – Published!

Aurora Wolf Literary Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy decided to publish my story on their website sooner than expected.  Here it is for you to read:  The Enchanted Apothecary.  The graphics were neat to see, not how I envisioned the story, but definitely giving the story a different flair.  I really like the interpretation.  A big thank-you to Michael Pennington and for putting it on their website.

The Enchanted Apothecary-close-up


Young Wizards – Flash Fiction


Alfonso looked up the tree, squinting to focus on a nest near the top. He flexed his arthritic fingers. One phoenix feather was all he needed to finish the youth potion. Some of the younger wizards probably could levitate there or perhaps wish the feather down. Not Alfonso. At least not anymore – his magic was as stiff as his body.

The old wizard’s world spun before he even began to climb. He cursed while testing the rigidity of the earth, wondering if the moss and needle-covered ground would provide a soft landing. He filled his lungs with the pine-scented air and gripped the first branch. One branch, then another, he urged himself up. One feather to make all the self-centered young wizards envious.

Sweat stung Alfonso’s eye as he glanced down to see how far he had gone. Another wave of dizziness slammed into him. His knuckles whitened as he clung to the tree. Halfway there. Leaves crunched below him but he wouldn’t look. He hoped the noise wasn’t from a climbing bear.

The tree narrowed as he pushed himself up – the nest was in reach. He shook out each of his arms and legs to ease the fatigue. He then stretched one arm into the nest, felt around, but only pulled out sticks. A branch snapped as he climbed further. Despite his dancing stomach, he pulled himself up enough to peer inside. His hopes fell to the earth. Phoenixes didn’t lose feathers often.

Empty-handed, he lowered himself down, branch-by-branch, feeling blindly for secure foot placement.

An ear-piercing screech came from behind. A phoenix. He hurried down, branches scraping his skin as the bird dived at him. Alfonso hung on tightly as the phoenix talons pierced his back, pulling him from the tree.

Then the talons released and he fell. The earth, that was so far away, came rushing closer.  Alfonso squeezed his eyes closed as he fought the dizziness. Wind whizzed past his ears and caused him to gasp for breath. This was how it would end. He pulled the chords of magic that still were connected to him but the once elastic strings were now unforgiving. Struggling for another gasp of air, he allowed his mind to empty. No regrets.

He felt his body sink gently into something soft and then lift towards the sky, jolting his eyes open. A cloud of air supported him a small distance from the earth. The distance slowly disappeared, leaving Alfonso on the ground.

The clapping of a young man focused Alfonso. “Bravo! Great show!”

“You saved me? How did you make the air cloud?”

“I’d love to teach you,” the young wizard said holding out a feather for Alfonso.

The End

Written by:  Joy Schultz

Photo from:  (Thank-you)


Exciting Week!

Someone actually paid money for a short story that I wrote.

This past Sunday I decided to overcome my fear of rejection and actually submit a story somewhere to just see what happens. Surprisingly, I received an e-mail the next day saying it was “a beautiful little jewel of a story”, wanted to pay me for it, and publish it on their website. Today, I received the graphic they designed to go with the story appearing March 1st and they already put a teaser for it on their website: – The title of my story is “The Enchanted Apothecary.”


Graphic created by:  Michael Pennington (Thank-you)