I’m creating delightfully twisted fiction based on prompts from you!

Posted by Nicky Drayden on Aug 3, 2020 in Writer's Life

Hey! I’ve finally gotten my Patreon up and running, and I’m returning to my roots by creating prompt-driven fiction based on the whims of my Patrons! Laugh with me! Cry with me! Come join me on this amazingly weird adventure!

Let’s face it. Now sucks, and as a speculative fiction writer, the thing I’m best at is asking “so what comes next?” In the coming months, things will be hard, but I plan to get back to one of my true loves: writing wild and twisted short stories based on prompts–prompts YOU provide me. Every month I’ll draw a set of random prompts from all the suggestions I receive from Patrons and craft a story to post the following month. This will be a great way to interact with fans of my work and I want this to be a special place where we build fiction together.

All stories for the rest of the year will be available publicly.

So come check me out on Patreon! I’ve got three stories up so far. Click the images below to read for free!

Horse Woman with Purple ManeManchovy, fish on top, man on bottomWoman covered in porcupine quills









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Inventions By Nicky Drayden (age 13)

Posted by Nicky Drayden on Sep 18, 2019 in Writer's Life

Here’s a blast from the past, a story I wrote way back in the day–a blend of dark humor, sci-fi, spirituality and a dash of weirdness. On-brand Nicky Drayden from the very beginning! I think this story is meant to be taking place right about now and features global warming, TMNT sequels, and meatless fast food burgers.

By Nicky Drayden (age 13)

“Not now Alexia, maybe later. I promise we’ll go out to eat.”

Alexia mumbled and left the room. Darrel Cartwell, the famous inventor, continued to tamper with his new idea. After burning the house down twice, Mr. Cartwell took special precautions. One was Alexia could not come into his lab. Alexia didn’t like this rule; her father rarely stepped out of his lab.

Alexia solemnly marched to her room and sat down to an empty desk, guarded by a picture of her mother Lexy who died when Alexia was only four. She remembered little about her mom; she was so young then. A lonely tear pioneered Alexia’s face. What she did remember she held onto so she could keep her mother’s magic alive. She’d give anything to see her mom again.

Lexy had died in an airplane crash far away. Alexia didn’t remember exactly where, she did recall that her mommy was seven months pregnant with Bobby, her would-have-been brother. Many people survived the crash. Unfortunately her mom wasn’t one of them. Alexia also remembered Lexy was bringing her a birthday present from that far away place. Dad had said, “You shouldn’t be flying in your condition.” But she hadn’t listened.

Alexia ran her hands over her mom’s lips. She had been beautiful. Alexia combed her own long, brown, silky hair. It was just like her mom’s.

“Alexia, are you ready?” her dad yelled up the stairs, breaking her train of thought.

“I’ll be down, Daddy.” Alexia was nine now. She fastened her blouse and was downstairs with one sandal on her foot and the other in her hand. “Can we go to the movie tonight? I really want to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – IX!”

“Didn’t you see that last year?”

“No, that was the eighth one.”

“Well, I’m going to be working in the lab tonight, Hon. Why don’tcha go with some friends? Here’s ten dollars.” Alexia just peered into his eyes and ran out to the car. She wouldn’t have gone if she wasn’t so hungry. Her dad was such a bad cook that he could burn eggs. Darrel sputtered, “You…you know I have to work, Al.” She hated it when he called her “Al”.

Darrel trotted out to the car. “Listen Alexia, I’ll go to the turtle movie with you next week. I’ll be finished by then. If it helps any, this invention is for you.”

Alexia pushed the little black button. She had gotten her driver’s license at age six; she got it so late because of all of the trauma after her mom died. She had stayed in bed most of the time. Mr. Cartwell had hired a nanny so he wouldn’t have to take time off from inventing. Darrel rarely drove; driving devices were shaped like Nintendo controllers from a few years back, so naturally kids were better drivers. Also, in the twenty-first century there were fewer automobile accidents.

“You are low on fuel capsules,” squawked the Auto Reminder, AR for short.

“Thanks, AR,” said Alexia.

“You are welcome. Enjoy your…your…your…” Mr. Cartwell whacked the AR. “…your trip,” finished AR.

“Dad, can we get a new car?” ARs are out now. No offense, AR.”

“None ta…ta…ta…” Whack! “…taken.”

“What? At these prices? I’m not paying five hundred dollars just for the ‘in’ car.”

“But look at this clunker! It’s passed down from your dad,” Alexia emphasized. “It must be at least fifty years old!”

“It’s twenty-five years old,” corrected Mr. Cartwell, “and it’s still running smoothly. Nowadays you get lucky if a car lasts two months or five hundred miles, whichever comes first.”

“I know, Dad. I was just pulling your chain.” They both burst out with laughter. It had been a good long time since Alexia had laughed and even longer since her dad had even smiled.

Alexia pulled up to the drive-through at McDonald’s. “Shhhhhhcccccshhhhaaaacle,” cried the static. “Shaaach…May…scach…take your scaclecackle…order ?” Alexia and her dad discussed their choices and then replied into the old staticy contraption. “We’ll have two tofu burgers.” (Cows were now extinct.)

“Three,” said Alexia, thinking about a midnight snack.

“Three tofu burgers, one shake, and one Creamy Cola, large.”

More static. “Your total is sixty-three cents, please drive up.”

The “drive up” was more like a drive up and get fried halfway there. The sun beat its deadly rays upon the top of the ’97 Mustang, warming it tremendously. The wait seemed to last an eternity. An oldies station played hits from the 80s, 90s, and triple 0s.

“You actually listened to that stuff?”

“Stuff? You call it STUFF! Little girl, when I was your age, this stuff was the coolest thing!”

“You must not have been very cool, Dad, listening to Manilla Vanilla and Eraser. But I must say vanilla ice cream is my favorite,” Alexia teased.

“That’s Milli Vanilli and Erasure. Now that’s decent music.”

Again laughter filled the car and flooded over MC Hammer’s ’93 sequel to “Can’t Touch This.”

The young McDonald’s worker came out and greeted them with a fake smile. In fact, everything around here was fake. Fake food, fake wood, fake paper, even the artificial things were fake.

“Since when is rubber one of the four basic food groups?” Darrel asked sarcastically as Alexia pulled out into the clogged street. Alexia was surprised her body temperature hadn’t gone up ten degrees during the blistering wait.

Their house wasn’t much cooler either. The air conditioner had broken down for the third time this week. Darrel clicked on the radio. “It’s now 111 degrees in our sweet city of Portland. The low will be 105 with steaming hot breezes. I’m your DJ, Kemp Nelson, and here’s the most talked about group in America, Mel and the Lancholies, singing their Top Ten Hit, ‘I Found My Way to the Tunnel of Love and Our Boat Sank to the Bottom and My Girlfriend Drowned for the Fifth Time’.” Darrel tried to understand all he could of his daughter’s favorite song, but he couldn’t get it.

The next few days for Alexia went as slow as molasses in a jar. The invention devoured the time her dad spent with her, too. But finally her troubles were over. Her dad walked out with a small silver box, and he gently handed it to Alexia. Her eyes sparkled as she slowly opened it. Inside she found a glittering gold watch trimmed with gleaming real cubic zirconias. “Dad, it’s…it’s beautiful! But I already have a watch. Oh, and why isn’t this one working?”

“I have to run down to the Stop ‘n Wait store to pick up some batteries.” He started to skip like a child out the door and then turned to Alexia and said, “Oh, I almost forgot to mention, this watch doesn’t tell time; it’s a direct link to…never mind. I’ll explain it to you when I get back.”

Alexia could hardly keep her head on. She danced around the room until she started severely sweating. She got tired pretty fast, so she sat down to rest on the couch and wait for her dad to return. Alexia started to worry. “He probably went to another Stop ‘n Wait a little further away,” she thought. The time passed more slowly than a turtle walking through drying cement.

She turned on the radio soon enough to hear Mel and the Lancholies’ old hit, “I Got Bit by a Spider and Am Swelled Up Two Minutes before the Senior Prom.”

The beeping news bulletin song came on, followed by Barbara Bean-Swallow, “Newsflash…” the beeping could still be heard in the background. “Inventor, Darrel Cartwell has been identified as being involved in a major traffic accident…” Alexia grasped for air, and before she could hear anything else, she fainted.

She awoke two hours later, the carpet seeping with her tears. She didn’t know what to do so she snoozed until the next morning. Red-eyed and cranky, Alexia staggered to her dresser drawer, took out her old watch, opened the back, popped out the battery, and replanted it into her dad’s last invention.

At first nothing happened, but after she pushed at the bottom dial, the TV in her room flickered on. The picture was fuzzy, but she could make out two figures, one male and the other female; both had wings. As she adjusted the antennae, the images seemed to come in more clearly. Suddenly it struck her…a direct link with…Heaven?
Her emotions all came at once. She was sad, yet happy, and she was also afraid.

“Mom?” she questioned with a quivering in her voice, “Dad?” She saw the figure she took to be her mother move her mouth. “Mom, I can’t hear you.” The male figure pointed upward. Alexia turned up the volume.

“Alexia, Honey, is it really you?”

“Mom, Mom, I’ve missed you so much.

“Alexia,” her dad took a breath and although excited, he talked very slowly as if giving important instructions to a three year old. “Alexia, you have a choice. Mommy has two more wings to earn before she can be reincarnated, and as for myself, I have at least fifty. That means you may see Mommy again, but she may be something else, like a dog or a fish or something…”

Alexia couldn’t take it anymore. She ran to the TV and pressed her hand to its screen, expecting to find a solid surface. Instead, the screen vanished. She recalled her hand, more scared than she’d ever been in her life.

“Alexia, don’t step in!” her dad quickly commanded.

“What…what’s going on?”

“Alexia, you can step in, but if you do, you stay in, like your arm did.”

She slowly peeked at her arm; it was cut off, but there wasn’t a trace of blood anywhere. Darrel pushed her arm back through the screen and Alexia stuck it on. She never had felt it gone in the first place.

“Alexia, you have a choice. Think about it tonight.”

She awoke the next morning to find her stomach growling like a lion that hadn’t been fed in the past month. She went downstairs into the kitchen and grabbed a banana.
Alexia walked into the living room and “click” she remembered having the most weird dream. When the TV came on, she nearly choked. It wasn’t a dream!

Alexia thought a moment, and once more she stepped through the TV. Trapped there forever, she glanced back into the house she had left behind, amazed to see her limp body lying in front of the television set. “Is this my spirit?” she asked herself.

A small child came along, running in circles around her mom. “Alexia, this is your brother, Bobby.”

“Hi Bobby!” Alexia said. This was happening all too quickly for her.

“Are you sure this is what you want?” asked Lexy.

“Yes, I have nothing left there.”

A few weeks later the police investigated the report of a reeking odor coming from the Cartwell’s house. They found Alexia’s body, but never found out what had happened. It remained an unexplained case.

Recently widowed policeman, J. T. Snurk, sneaked the watch off Alexia’s arm and gave it to his daughter. He and his daughter Tasha had an equally enlightening experience. But that’s another story.


Escaping Exodus Pre-Order Swag

Posted by Nicky Drayden on Aug 8, 2019 in Writer's Life

“An Afrofuturist love story, set inside a giant space-creature, about two women of different castes…top-notch worldbuilding and sharp characterization.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Don’t be alarmed – that dizzy pleasurable sensation you’re experiencing is just your brain slowly exploding from all the wild magnificent worldbuilding in Nicky Drayden’s Escaping Exodus. I loved these characters and this story, and so will you.” – Sam J. Miller, Nebula-Award-winning author of The Art of Starving and Blackfish City

Swag includes: One postcard, a signed bookplate, a set of trading cards, and your choice of a cover art magnet or sticker! Open internationally. While supplies last!


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