Examine “Look Not With The Eyes But With the Mind” by Jeff Baker. Look Closely at Friday Flash Fics for May 19, 2023.

Photo by Jeff Baker.

Look Not With the Eyes But With the Mind

by Jeff Baker

Hank sat in the examination room and fidgeted. Three-hundred-and-eighty-seven years and he’d never needed an eye exam. But he couldn’t well tell the Ophthalmologist that and he needed the exam to keep the job and his Earth identity.

For the umpteenth time he wished he’d learned how to make gold. This would never happen back on Vothnian. He could only guess how much a pair of glasses would cost. He closed his eyes and scanned the eyeglasses store next door.

“Let’s see,” he thought reading the sign on the display table. “Two for eighty dollars. Okay but I bet they charge up the butt somewhere…”

“Mister Jones?” the man’s voice said.

Hank opened his eyes, breaking off the scan. “Yeah,” he said.

“I’m Doctor Dyebold,” the man said. “And you’re here for a company eye exam, right?”

“Riiiight,” Hank said, wishing the company would pay for it. Oh well, he was the one doing the Discreet Monitoring on Earth, and he was the one who had fallen madly in love with a human being. And Kenny was so wonderful…

Hank found himself smiling.

“Okay, first take a look at that chart over there and read the smallest line you can.” Dr. Dyebold said.

Hank bit his tongue at the thought of reeling off the entire eye chart in a few seconds like that character on the DVD set Kenny had gotten him for Christmas; the old show about the stranded Martian.

Instead he faked it. Read the bottom line slowly but perfectly.

“Okay, let’s try it with one eye covered,” said the doctor.

And that was when it hit him. Perfection would be suspicious. He was supposed to be an Earthman approaching middle age, not a slowly aging being from a world where their senses and abilities were beyond the level of human.

So he deliberately flubbed reading the next line.

“Okay,” the doctor said, swinging the big gadget with all the lenses toward Hank’s face. He knew it was called a phoropter, but how many other humans would? He kept his mouth shut.

“Now just look through here and look over at…” the doctor said.

Hank smiled to himself. It would probably be a couple of hundred bucks over their budget but he couldn’t wait to see Kenny’s reaction when he came home in the new glasses.


Posted in Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Friday Flash Fictions, LGBT, Science Fiction, Short-Stories | Leave a comment

Stormy Weather! Alison Lister’s “No Limit on Love” reviewed.

“No Limit on Love,” reviewed by Jeff Baker

“No Limit on Love,” Alison Lister’s first YA novel is a breezy, fun, sweet read.

The Queer YA romance is about Dan, who is just deciding to be “they/them” and not go by “Danielle” any more. They meet Levi, hot and non-Binary, when the two of them are the only ones at their High School to show up to clean up debris at the school after a massive storm that knocked power out all over the city (including some of the communications that would have gotten some of the other kids there.)

What follows is a romantic story full of the sweet and awkward moments of young love, none of which feel contrived. Their first kiss in a darkened library is not to be missed!

“No Limit On Love” is what is called a “hi/lo,” meaning it is a “hi interest, low reading complexity book” meant mainly for young readers who do not have a high reading level for one reason or another. None of the book came off as simplified or simplistic in either its prose or its tone.

And it takes place in our modern era, with references to COVID, climate change and the war in Ukraine.

Finely-drawn characters and realistic settings and situations make this a fun read. Highest recommendation.

—–jeff baker

Here’s how to order this book and others in the series from the publisher, Lorimer: https://lorimer.ca/childrens/real-love/

Posted in Alison Lister, Books, LGBT, Promo, Reviews, Romance, Young Adult | Leave a comment

Flash Fiction Draw Challenge May 2023—The Results!! Mike Mayak (Jeff Baker) May 15, 2023.

Flash Fiction Draw Challenge May 2023; The Results! May 15, 2023.

Hi, again! Mike here, also known as “Jeff Baker.”

The draws for the May 2023 FFDC were:

A Lovecraftian Horror Story

Set on an Assembly Line

Involving a Broken Walkman

E. H. Timms wrote “Grind Their Bones” https://thinkingthinking123.blogspot.com/2023/05/flash-fic-challenge-grind-their-bones.html

And I (as “Jeff Baker”) wrote “The Lurker In the Details.” https://authorjeffbaker.com/2023/05/11/listen-for-the-lurker-in-the-details-and-beware-flash-fiction-draw-challenge-story-for-may-2023-by-mike-mayak-aka-jeff-baker/

(And I wondered if any younger readers had to look up what a Walkman was!)

Thanks for writing! I always enjoy reading!

Remember, it’s never too late to write a story of your own, post it in the comments and join in the fun!

We’ll be back with more draws and stories on June 5th, 2023! ——mike

Posted in E. H. Timms, Fiction, H. P. Lovecraft,, Horror, Lovecraft, Monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge, Short-Stories | Leave a comment

Amazingly, Some Progress. Progress Report from Jeff Baker. May 14, 2023.

I’m seriously amazed I’ve made any progress writing during the last few months.

I was taking it really slow, I guess, after my Mom passed away this past December. I had to get a bunch of things done, including getting some furniture moved and some paperwork done. So I spent a lot of the spare time home with Darryl, snuggling on the couch up at all hours watching old TV shows into the early morning and the only writing I got done was the usual weekly/monthly flash fiction stories and columns. I figured I’d get back into doing the longer stuff gradually. Then in mid-March Darryl’s health took a nosedive and he was hospitalized. Despite excellent care he passed away from something sudden we hadn’t seen coming.

I will be all right. Yes, I am grieving, but to my surprise I am writing again too. And not just the weekly flash stories. I wrote 1800 words on a full-length story one night. 900 words on another one a night or so later. And I have 2000+ words on yet another story that is about a page (that’s around 250 words) away from being completed.

I like keeping odd hours and I’m doing a lot of this writing after midnight, listening to ESPN on the radio (Darryl’s preferred station) sitting on our big bed with notebooks scattered around me and my laptop in various places. (Lap sometimes, propped up on folded blankets sometimes, just sitting there sometimes) Darryl and I used to sit up till almost dawn watching old sitcoms on TV on the living room couch, so being up this late, feels cozy. And it’s becoming a working routine, which is doing me a lot of good. I’ve heard a lot in my lifetime about how getting back to work after a loss can help you work through it and I think that is what I’m doing. I’d read about it and heard about it from friends who have experienced it and now I am living it.

And I’m back to keeping my notes about what I’ve written in an old “Project Notebook” I bought at a going-out-of-business sale F & E had when I worked for them. I already filled one notebook (I started keeping this in about 2006) and I have been lax in keeping it the last three years when my folks were in hospice care. Keeping those notes feels good too.

These reports are supposed to be about the work but I will thank my friends who call and text/facebook/what-have-you contact me to check on me. It does me a lot of good having those friends out there.

So I should have a full-length story done by the middle of the week and some progress on the others as the month goes on. As a matter of fact, yesterday morning (the 13th) I took a line out of the story I’m working on and this morning (the 14th) I put it back! Holy Oscar Wilde, Batman!

And I will start doing these progress reports regularly again. I promise, now that I have regular hours (being late evening to early morning! Gotta love it!) And if I didn’t say it before; Thanks Dad! Thanks Mom! Thanks Darryl! I love you!

That’s about it for now!

NOTE: Here’s a link to my recent QSF column where I basically go over the same stuff including how writing can be helpful! https://www.queerscifi.com/jeff-baker-boogieman-in-lavender-extra-innings/

Posted in Darryl Thompson, Progress Reports, Writing | Leave a comment

“Life Is But A Dream.” Rainbow Snippets for May 13, 2023 from Jeff Baker.

Every week we post six lines of a story of ours, a work-in-progress or from someone else’s work we recommend that has LGBT characters on Rainbow Snippets here https://www.facebook.com/groups/963484217054974

Looking back at my story “Life Is But a Dream,” from June 2016 https://authorjeffbaker.com/2016/06/27/life-is-but-a-dream-monday-flash-fiction-62716/ I see the influence of H. G. Wells’ s disaster story “The Star.” In my story, the Moon has spun off its orbit causing chaos on Earth. Lars and our narrator are surveying a boat left in a tree when the water


“You know, I hear the Maguire house up on Karlen’s Hill is staying pretty dry,” I said, staring up at the boat.

“Really?” Lars asked.

“Big bedroom,” I said. “Spare bedroom too, if you want.”

Okay, here’s the Happy-For-Now ending

Lars stared out at the receding water for a moment. Then he smiled and grabbed my hand. Life was too short not to take chances.

We started walking towards Karlen’s Hill. I glimpsed the Moon out of the corner of my eye. It seemed to be smiling at us.

Next week, something that pivots on a sneeze.—-jsb

Posted in H. G. Wells, Rainbow Snippets | 7 Comments

Here’s “A Fine Set of Gams” for Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker, May 12, 2023.

A Fine Set of Gams

by Mike Mayak

Billy Turner was sitting where he figured he’d sat a million times before, on the edge of Matt’s bed in his bedroom, legs dangling over the side in the blue shorts with their High School logo on them.

“Hey, schweetheart,” Matt Cobb said doing his terrible Humphrey Bogart imitation. “You got a fine set of gams, you know that?”

Billy laughed. “I think gams are women’s legs,” he said.

“Yeah, well yours are pale enough to be women’s legs!” Matt laughed, plopping down beside him.

“Har-har,” Billy said sarcastically. “They’ve been covered up for winter. And I’m in college now. My legs spend their time studying.”

“And they’re smart,” Matt said. “They’re saving money living at your folks’ house.”

“Yeah,” Billy laughed, just a little ruefully. “We used to sit here after school and wrestle and watch reruns of I Dream of Jeannie.”

“Yeah,” Matt said. “Long time.” He stood up looking serious. He glanced at the closed door. “Look, Billy, we’ve been best friends since Grade school, right?”

“Yeah,” Billy said.

“I gotta tell you. I mean, it’s not because of your legs but…I’m Gay.”

Billy stared at him for a second. “Yeah, I know.”

Matt’s jaw dropped. “You know? How could you know? I’m not that obvious, am I?”

Billy grinned. “You told me.”

“Told you?” Matt said. “When the hell did I tell you? I’d remember if I told you! I sweated about telling you for years.”

Billy stood up and walked over to his friend.

“Remember when we used to go camping? When we were kids?”

“Yeah,” Matt said.” It seemed like a lifetime ago.

“Remember late one summer? We were out at the campground by the lake and we ducked into that little tent because it started pouring?”

“At least we stayed dry.” Matt said.

“Uh huh,” Billy said. “And we had candy bars for dinner, we listened to that little radio and then we started talking until we curled up in our sleeping bags and we kept on talking.”

“And then you started snoring,” Matt said slowly.

“And you kept on talking,” Billy said. “And you told me, or rather you said it to me. I heard it over my snoring.”

“I remember now…” Matt breathed. “And you weren’t really asleep…”

“I was to start with but when I woke up I faked the snoring to see if I could fool you.” Billy shrugged. “I guess I did.”

“Oh my gosh…” Matt said. “And I never knew! I’d almost forgotten I’d said anything. And you never said anything!”

“You’re my best friend,” Billy said. “I didn’t want you to know I’d fooled you like that. Besides, it didn’t matter to me. What, we were in Junior High and it was about 1976? I had to look up what Gay meant in the library.”

The two of them laughed, both of them with relief.

“Just be careful,” Billy said. “There’s a lot of weird people out there.”

“So far all I’ve done is kiss a couple of guys.” Matt said.

“Same here, except with girls,” Billy said.

“Not a lot of people know…about me.” Matt said.

“Yeah, well my love life may as well be a deep secret for all the good it does!” Billy said.

“Wow!” Matt breathed after they sat back on the bed. “How long’s it been since we were both first up here?”

“I dunno,” Billy said. ‘How long’s it been since we first did this…”

He jumped up, quickly had Matt in a half-nelson which he broke out of, laughing. They both grabbed each other, rolled around on the bed and fell off onto the floor still laughing, still wrestling.

“Shoulda tried out for the team at school,” Matt said.

“You or me?” Billy asked laughing.

The door opened and Billy’s Mom stepped into the room.

“Honestly! You two boys still wrestling on the floor like nine-year-olds!” Billy’s Mom said. “Billy, you’re in College now! And Matt, what would they say at the technical school if they saw you on the floor like that? Well, if you’re acting that juvenile you won’t say no when I tell you I have cookies and ice cream downstairs. Store bought, of course. It’s faster to make.”

“Yes, Ma’am!” Matt said.

“Thanks, Mom!” Billy said, as they both rushed down the stairs.

Some things never changed.


AUTHORS NOTE: Yeah, the “coming out” story is more than a cliché but what inspired this story was the idea of somebody (Matt) forgetting he’d done something important years before. That and the prompt pic (and those are my legs by the way!)

Posted in Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Friday Flash Fictions, LGBT, Short-Stories | Leave a comment

Listen For “The Lurker In the Details,” and Beware! Flash Fiction Draw Challenge Story for May 2023 by Mike Mayak (aka Jeff Baker!)

(Above—Mike in his H.P. Lovecraft, E.A. Poe shirt. Photo by Mike Mayak.)

The draws for the May 2023 Flash Fiction Draw Challenge were:

A Lovecraftian Horror Story

Set on an Assembly Line

Involving a broken Walkman.

Here’s what I came up with…happy listening… ——-mike

The Lurker In the Details

by Mike Mayak

“Hey, Dave.” Mac said. “Dave!”

“Wha?” Dave said looking up.

“Whadya want for lunch?” Mac asked.

“Uh, not sure.” Dave said.

Dave and Mac worked on the assembly line, putting the new digital electronic music players in boxes, surrounded by Styrofoam making it look bigger than it was so they could charge more for a device the size of a credit card.

“Take those things off your head,” Mac said. “That’s why you can’t hear.”

Mac reached over to pull the old fashioned headset off Dave’s head. Dave pulled back.

“Don’t touch that!” Dave snapped. “T’iabbas Beware, you’ll break it! It’s an antique.”

“It’s junk,” Mac said. “An old Walkman held together by duct tape and those damn tie things off of a bag for a loaf of bread. I’m amazed the Shift Supervisor even lets you have that thing on the Line.”

“He thinks it’s funny.” Dave said. “At least, now he does, Neouppass be praised.”

“What? Are you on something?” Mac asked.

“Not me man, I just get high on life!” Dave said.

“Oh,” Mac said. After a few more moments he observed that Dave had gotten back into his rhythm of putting the device in the foam and sticking it in the box. His head was bobbing to the music he was listening to. Mac remembered his Dad always saying the Devil was in the details. He deftly grabbed the headphones off Dave’s ears and the player off his belt.

“HEY!” Dave shouted, making a lunge. But Mac had spun around facing the other way and put the earphones to one ear.

He’d expected music but instead there was a droning intonation of the names he’d heard Dave say: Neouppas, the Darksome. T’iabbas the Ravager. Dolgna the Low. It made him feel funny. He dropped the Walkman and stepped on it.

Dave swore using several other names Mac had never heard. There was a glazed look in his eyes, and his pupils looked reversed; the black part was outside and the white part was just a little dot.

Someone grabbed Dave from behind and held him tight.

“Sorry buddy.” Dave said. “We have to sent our broadcasts out for those who venerate the Great Name. I got the Boss and the Supervisor to listen to my point of view but that device was too slow, taking it from one to the other.

The intercom crackled and began playing the droning tone of alien names. Mac felt weak and numb all over.

After a while they didn’t go to lunch or on breaks anymore. They just stood there on the line, packing the devices that would be shipped out to the populace, bringing them into the fold of their Master.


Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, H. P. Lovecraft,, Horror, Mike Mayak, Monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge, Short-Stories | Leave a comment

Heavy Metal At “The Gate” in Wichita, KS (Jeff Baker, May 11, 2023)

Heavy Metal at The Gate: a Record Shop in Wichita

by Jeff Baker

I stumbled across a literal hole-in-the-wall record shop just east of downtown Wichita that I had never heard of and which deserves more attention.

“The Gate,” described as “A Heavy Metal Record Store” is at 115 S. Pattie 101. Just off Douglas. It is what it says it is; a small, old-fashioned record store selling Heavy Metal L.P.’s, C.D.’s and even cassette tapes! Plus a wall full of old magazines, many about music and movies but I found a 1947 copy of the digest magazine “Avon Fantasy Reader,” including reprint stories by Bradbury, Collier and Lovecraft.

As befits a used store there is a feel of a shop from another time among the vintage items for sale. They even sell video tapes!

The shop has been open for over two years and deserves your patronage.

Rock on!

Here’s a link to their website: http://www.thegaterecordstore.com/

Posted in Kansas, Promo, Wichita | Leave a comment

Flash Fiction Draw Challenge, May 2023—The Draws! Mike Mayak, May 7, 2023.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

First, here’s the prompts for the May 2023 Flash Fiction Draw Challenge. Then my usual long-winded explanation:

A Lovecraftian Horror Story

Involving a Broken Walkman

Set at an Assembly Line

Now, on to the details.

Hi! I’m Mike Mayak, I also write as Jeff Baker and I’m the current moderator for the monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge, which was started by ‘Nathan Burgoine a few years ago and carried on by Cait Gordon and Jeffrey Ricker. It’s a monthly writing challenge mainly for stress-free fun that anyone can play.

Here’s how it works: the first Monday of every month I draw three cards; a heart, a diamond and a club. These correspond to a list naming a genre, a setting and an object that must appear in the story. Participants write up a flash fiction story, 1,000 words or less, post it to their website and link it here in the comments. I’ll post the results (and hopefully have one of my own written!) the week of May 15th, 2023.

As I’m no good making videos I did the drawing offstage and the results were the Six of Hearts (Lovecraftian Horror), the Ten of Diamonds (An Assembly Line) and the Nine of Clubs (A Broken Walkman.)

So we will write a Lovecraftian Horror Story (that is, horror fiction derived from the kind of stuff H. P. Lovecraft wrote) set at an Assembly Line involving a Broken Walkman (if you remember those!)

So, get to writing and I’ll post the results next week!

Thanks for playing, and I’ll see you next week!

And have fun!


Posted in Mike Mayak, Monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge | 2 Comments

“Though The Brightest Fell.” Rainbow Snippets from Jeff Baker for May 6, 2023.

May 6, 2023

Every week we post six lines of a story of ours, a work-in-progress or from someone else’s work we recommend that has LGBT characters on Rainbow Snippets here https://www.facebook.com/groups/963484217054974

In these snippets from my story “Though The Brightest Fell,” https://authorjeffbaker.com/2018/02/25/appointment-with-an-angel-on-monday-flash-fics-for-february-26-2018-by-jeff-baker/ Eddie, an elderly a man being taken to Paradise by an angel, asks the angel for a brief detour through time and space…

Eddie wasn’t surprised an angel would know about Gino. They’d been fifteen that summer; Gino had been young, dark and gorgeous. They’d hung out at the lake. On the final day, Eddie had tried kissing Gino and Gino had shoved him away and used an anti-Gay slur. Thank God he’d never told anybody. But before that, the summer had been wonderful.

The angel grants him that last request. To re-live one moment when he was fifteen…Here’s the snippet.

“C’mon! Let’s jump!” Gino said, standing over the lake.

“Uh, no, it’s too high,” Eddie said, suddenly remembering that this had happened before and they hadn’t jumped. He grabbed Gino’s hand and jumped off the edge, the two of them whooping as they fell into the warm, beautiful water, surrounded by bubbles. As they broke the surface, laughing and splashing towards shore, Eddie took a last glance at young, gorgeous Gino and stepped onto the bank as he felt himself drawn upwards towards eternity.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The title is from Act 4, Scene 3 of Shakespeare’s Macbeth: “Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell.”

Posted in LGBT, Rainbow Snippets | 6 Comments