Atheist ‘missionaries’ arrive to ‘help’ DuPage Township residents (Fiction)

Members of the Freedom From Religion claim they are in DuPage Township not to de-convert residents, but to provide “humanitarian aid.”

Head ‘missionary’ Ron X. McPatrick explained, “Once again, religious strife is tearing DuPage Township apart. We couldn’t standby and watch innocent victims suffer while religious wage a war of attrition against the democratically elected board. As members of the FFRF, and fans of Freethought Blogs, we’re on a mission!”

Several residents claim the “missionaries” visited them.

Janet, who refused to provide her last name, said they surprised her with groceries.

“They must have heard I have a hard time going to the township food bank. That place isn’t accessible. So imagine my surprise when they arrived at my front door with boxes of food, medicine, and other necessities. Those fine people spent hours packing these care boxes in Wisconsin and delivered to me. They could have supported our local businesses by shopping here, but I’m not complaining. They didn’t ask me for anything. Well, they ask me to stop going to church, but I’ll forgive them.”

Steve, another township resident, claims the “missionaries” worked on his yard. “With this weird weather, I wasn’t sure what to do with the yard. Then these young people offered to work on my yard for free. It was great, though one of them insisted I read PZ Myers’s blog. Let’s just say I learned a lot about terrible religious and atheist leaders. Oh, and I love spiders now.”

David, a “missionary” from the United Kingdom, described getting attacked while delivering aid boxes:

“This woman drove up to me and yelled that I was giving a family too much food. I asked if she was serious. She said yes and ranted about the evils of building a food pantry in Bolingbrook. I tried to walk away, but she followed me, and said I should accept Jesus Christ because there is a God. I told her there is no God, but there is a Richard Dawkins, and that she was insignificant in his eyes. That must have smarted because she replied, ‘Jesus loves you.’ I told her, ‘I know what that means. Same to you.’”

When asked what they meant by “war” in DuPage Township, they all claimed the answer was obvious, but didn’t provide specific examples.

A representative for the FFRF denied sending anyone to DuPage Township, denied responsibility for the missionaries’ actions.

A statement from Americans against DuPage Township read, “Sure, one of our supporters called (Township Trustee Reem Townsend) a ‘suicide bomber,’. But if DuPage Township didn’t exist, there wouldn’t have been an annual meeting and he wouldn’t have insulted her! Checkmate townshipper.”

When asked to comment about the “missionaries,” Supervisor Gary Marschke replied, “They’re welcome to help our residents, but don’t call our township a war zone.”

Also in the Babbler:

Time traveler praises The Marvels movie
Russian weather machine targets Bolingbrook again
Bolingbrook mayor survives diamond storm on during interstellar goodwill tour
God to smite Bolingbrook on 4/18/23

Note: This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer. 

Want to support my creative work? Check out my Urban Fantasy series, the Bolingbrook Babbler StoriesYou can also buy me a coffee.

The title of my work in progress (Non-Fiction)

I’m working on my next novel, which is the sequel to The Rift: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story. While I discarded an earlier draft, I feel like I’m back on track with this draft. I’ve also settled on the title.

The next Bolingbrook Babbler book is… Revenge of the Phantom Press: A Bolingbrook Babbler Story.

Tom is back as the main character, and it’s set over a year after the events in The Rift.

On the eve of Bolingbrook’s 50 anniversary, the Phantom Press, the Babbler’s long lost rival publication, reappears. The Babbler is one of the first targets for the twisted spirit’s quest for revenge.

Risking his career and possibly his life, Tom sets out to investigate their return. With the help of a woman from his past, and Anti-Psychic Kitty, Tom attempts to unravel the Phantom Press’ mysterious return.

Tom soon realizes that the ghosts of the Phantom Press could be part of something far more powerful and dangerous. Something that could upend the global balance of power. Can Tom uncover the truth before Bolingbrook’s 50th anniversary becomes its last?

No release date yet. Possibly 2024. Maybe this year, provided I’m able to get it fully vetted and edited. I’ll keep everyone updated. 🙂

Kobo Plus comes to the UK and the US! (Non-fiction)

Kobo, a Canada-based eBook and audiobook retailer, just opened their subscription service, Kobo Plus, to the US and UK market. Like Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited service, a user pays for a monthly subscription and gets unlimited access to eBooks and audiobooks. From their blog post:

The Kobo Plus catalogue is ever-growing, with more titles being added to the collection each month. The service has three budget-friendly subscription plan offers:

  • Kobo Plus Read: Unlimited eBooks for $7.99 USD or €9,99 GBP per month
  • Kobo Plus Listen: Unlimited audiobooks for $7.99 USD or €9,99 GBP per month
  • Kobo Plus Read and Listen: Unlimited eBooks and audiobooks for $9.99 USD or €12,99 GBP per month

The Kobo Plus subscription is an ideal way to approach a bucket list of literary classics, an entire author’s catalogue, or to dive into a new field of interest. With unlimited reading for one low monthly fee, the subscription lets readers sample a few pages from a genre or author they have never read, and move on to another book guilt-free if it’s not to their taste. It’s an ideal option for avid booklovers who can tear through several books a month, and for those who prefer to read a few chapters before committing. There’s never been a better time to discover new authors and series on a Kobo eReader or with the free Kobo reading app.

This is a great development for independent publishers too. Before, UK and US indie publishers had to choose between only distributing their eBooks only through Amazon, or opt out of KU to sell each eBook individually through Amazon and other retailers (Known “Wide Distribution”). Since Kobo Plus doesn’t have an exclusivity requirement, indie authors can now enjoy the benefits of distribution through a subscription service and wide distribution. The payment for authors on Kobo Plus is about the same as KU’s payment.

My books are already on Kobo Plus. So you can bing my books, move on another author, and not have to feed the Amazon machine. Any competition for Amazon is good news for all readers.

Disclaimer: These are not affiliate links, nor am I being paid by Rakuten Kobo beyond normal book sales. 

 

I have an online store! (Non-fiction)

I’m trying out I’ve added an online store and memberships to my Buy Me A Coffee page. You can buy eBook editions of my books, plus you have choice of monthly subscription options. They range from a simple monthly donation to store discounts up to getting a signed paperback copy of any new releases. I also have a lifetime membership option as well. Plus you can still send me a one time donation too. Any purchase or donation will help me complete the next Bolingbrook Babbler novel.

I’m also open to suggestion for rewards and membership levels. Check it out, and feel free to leave a comment.

There can be only one! First Party for Bolingbrook takes the Village Board! A Babbler Special Report (Fiction)

The First Party for Bolingbrook is projected to win all three open trustee seats. If this is correct, the First Party will, for the first time since 2017, have total control of the Village Board. We sent a team of reporters out to cover this historic election night. They came back with these stories.

Victorious First Party Trustees address the Illuminati

Minutes after declaring themselves the winners, the First Party’s trustee candidates addressed delivered their victory speeches at the Illuminati victory party.

Trustee Michael Carpanzano, who is projected to receive the most votes, flashed the Illuminati hand gesture for crushing victory. He then addressed the enthusiastic crowd of supporters. 

“Bolingbrook’s dark age started with Sheldon’s defeat. So it’s appropriate that it ends with his defeat.” He thanked some members of the Bolingbrook Politics Facebook group. “Thanks to your relentless criticism of the Bolingbrook Independent Voices party, all three of us could stay on our positive message. Speaking of which, let’s be honest here. They positively had no chance of defeating us. It was only a matter of how decisive our victory would be.”

Trustee Jean Kelly stepped onto the stage holding a Katana. Two male mannequins were placed near here. “There can be only one.” She swung the sword, decapitating the mannequins. Bolts of electricity shot out of the mannequins, followed by fireworks lighting up the stage. Kelly pretended to be exhausted for a moment, then she stepped up to the microphone. “The First Party has won the prize!”

Trustee-elect Jose Quintero asked the audience to calm down, then thanked them for their support. He also thanked members of the Bolingbrook United Party for their endorsements. 

“Two years ago, Bolingbrook was divided and bitter. Tonight, Bolingbrook has united behind the First Party!”

When he promised to “listen” to the Bolingbrook Independent Voices voters, Carpanzano escorted him off stage.

Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta told the audience that she savored their total victory. “The voters chose to be dependent on the First Party! I mean, they chose to depend on the First Party!”

After the speeches, a masked member of the Illuminati Order of the Stairway performed the Rite of Sweet Fire. The masked man completed the rite by pouring rum and Coke over each victorious trustee.

Flying Drones protest First Party’s victory

According to several eyewitnesses, thousands of flying drones with lights converged to create a picture of outgoing Trustee Sheldon Watts. 

Peter Z. Larson claims his drones took part. “I was just minding my own business when my drones spontaneously turned themselves on and flew away. I told them to come back, but I realized they were making a picture of Sheldon in the sky. I stopped yelling at them. I guess they liked him because he was the only pro-drone candidate in the race.”

Some of Bolingbrook Independent Voices’ videos were filmed using aerial drones. BIV members denied hijacking drones to make the light picture.

One member added, “The First Party may have the village board, but we have every AI in Bolingbrook on our side. That’s true power!”

Outgoing Trustee Sheldon Watts resigns from the Illuminati 

by Reporter X

Bolingbrook Independent Voices founder and Trustee Sheldon Watts told supporters gathered inside Clow UFO Base that he would resign from the Illuminati.

“God has a plan for me. That plan doesn’t involve the Village Board. So, there’s no reason for me to remain a member of the Illuminati.”

According sources within the Illuminati, Watts will be permitted to leave once he completes the Rite of Fire and Pressure. The sources say Watts decided to be flown to Venus, and stand on the surface for ten-seconds. While he will wear a space suit, experts expect the interior of the suit to reach oven level temperatures before returning to the ship.

“Nothing says fire and pressure quite like the surface of Venus. He’s sure putting his S.T.E.M. education to good use.”

To prove his intention to leave the Illuminati, Watts ate of a bucket of fried slugs drenched in hot sauce in front of his supporters. He then left the stage. 

A few minutes later, he returned to the stage. He urged his supporters not to give into anger or despair. 

“So don’t say nasty things about the First Party, or burn down Village Center. Keep your heads up, and your hearts pure. Because the end of our journey is near. Because I’ve been to the top of the hill and I’ve seen the promise of Bolingbrook. I may not be with you because I’ll be spending time with my family, but you can go on without me. I’ll join you once I’ve finished my dissertation.”

Candidate Dr. Matthew Glowiak urges supporters not to despair

by Reporter X

Candidate Dr. Matthew Glowiak told supporters at Clow UFO Base that he felt their sadness, but not to give into despair.

“Sheldon has lost elections before. Did he give up? No. The first time, he attended every board meeting until the mayor appointed him to fill a vacancy on the board. The second time, he ran for mayor knowing that he would still keep his trustee seat if he lost. Losing an election isn’t the end. It just means you’ll have time to focus on other things until you’re elected or appointed to a new position.”

Glowiak offered his counseling services to supporters, then talked about the campaign’s positive accomplishments. 

“During our campaign, the maintenance crew fixed every airlock at Clow. The Mayor dropped the prices for methane based habitats. Every Clow employee got a surprise raise. All these good things happened, even though we came in last place.”

He concluded his speech by talking about his plans. “I have free time to promote my self-help book and my children’s books!”

Note: This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I work for or of my employer. 

Want to support my creative work? Check out my Urban Fantasy series, the Bolingbrook Babbler Stories.  You can also buy me a coffee.

Help a FTB member out.

(Updated with the correct reason for the fundraiser.)

Fellow blogger Great American Satan is having a fundraiser to make cover lost wages during recovery. From the comments:

strictly speaking, the money isn’t for the procedure, it’s replacing lost wages from recovery time. don’t wanna sit upright 8 hrs a day, commute, and charge around on breaks with a stitched up gut.

I really like the stretch goal:

To make my bills less ouch, I’d like to fundraise.  Here is the incentive:  Donate at all, and you can choose a word I will rhyme in a rap.  If five people choose orange, I’ll try to come up with five shitty sorta-rhymes for orange.

This will be strictly words on digital paper, maybe starting below and then compiled in a blog post, unless we reach goals. At $500, I will do an audio performance of the rap.  At $600, I will do a video.  These productions, if they happen, will be lo-fi as all hell, because I just don’t have the time for big effort.

Please consider helping out, if only to hear what rhymes with orange…

Trans Day of Visibility (Non-Fiction)

Trans Flag

While my life is crazy right now, I want to acknowledge that today is Transgender Day of Visibility. I have the pleasure of working with and knowing the trans bloggers on this network. I’ve also known trans people over the years, and I suspect I’ve known others who never came out to me. While I’ve made mistakes, I’ve also been learning about gender identity and striving to do better. I’m sure I still have more to learn as well.

Which is why I find this wave of trans panic alarming. Trans people have always been around. It’s no more a fad than being left-handed is. Some people just do not fit into neat little boxes. No amount of violence, discrimination, and book banning will change that. I accept that and others should, too.

On that note, I’m going to step aside and learn what I can today.

Quick Life and book updates (Non-fiction)

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been quiet for the past two weeks. It’s because I got laid off from my job. So I’ve been hitting the job boards and adjusting to my new situation. It’s been rough for my wife and I, but we’re hanging in there. We’re okay for now. There are some job leads I’m following, and one of them might work out. I’ll post updates.

There are a couple ways to help, if you want to. If you like Urban Fantasy books, consider buying my Urban Fantasy series the Bolingbrook Babbler Stories, or asking your local library to add it to collection. It would help. I’ve also set up a BuyMeACoffee account where anyone can leave a donation. I’ve set up some membership levels for monthly subscriptions. Some rewards include early access to my new releases, and signed paperback copies of a new release. If you want other rewards or have other ideas, I’m open to them.

On a brighter note, I’m working on the next Bolingbrook Babbler novel. I’m aiming for a release in 2024, but if things work out, I might get it out this year. This one focuses on Tom Larsen, the main character in The Rift. It will be a very haunting book. I’ll leave it at that for now. You can subscribe to my free newsletter if you want to be one of the first to know the title.

Lastly, my current book, A Fire in the Shadows, is part of two review copy bundles put together by Booksirens. All the ebooks are free to download, but if you do, please consider leaving a review. Most are advance copies of books soon to be published, while a few are recent releases. You don’t even have to download my book, but I hope you will consider helping one of these authors with a review. The bundles are:

I hope to get back to regular updates starting next week. Including job search updates.

Meeting between the Interstellar Commonwealth representatives and the Angry Astronaut described as ‘productive’ (Fiction)

By Reporter X

Addressing the interstellar media, YouTube personality, the Angry Astronaut, and the Interstellar Commonwealth, both described their meeting as productive.

“I’m glad we had this talk,” said AA. “I’m now open to the possibility that aliens don’t want to destroy humanity.”

Representative Zoklo replied, “If we wanted to destroy humanity, why would help build your Internet?”

“I don’t know. Maybe to distract us from your planet destroying missiles?”

“As you can see, we still have a way to go.”

Bolingbrook Mayor Mary Alexander-Basta arranged the meeting after watching AA’s video accusing the Commonwealth of building “Alien ‘Death Stars.’” 

“I know some people are desperate for clicks and subscribers, but this video went too far. His reckless speculation threatened decades of negotiations to bring humanity into the Commonwealth. The Illuminati wanted to make Mr. Angry disappear. I persuaded them to let Mr. Angry meet our visitors and learn the truth.”

Representative Liko insisted that the facility orbiting HD139139 manufactures luxury planets, not planet killers. “There are solar systems that don’t have planets in the habitable zone. Instead of building a base on a hostile world, some civilizations buy planets and orbit them in the habitable zone. Sure, it’s more expensive than terraforming or shifting a planet’s orbit, but it’s a status symbol. Like how your ultra-rich humans build oversized and overpowered boats instead of buying for rowboats.”

AA replied, “Yeah, maybe they just want to help us make love instead of war. That would be great. But what if it’s a trap? What if they’re distracting us with their toys while a moon-sized object hurls towards us at 99% the speed of light? We wouldn’t see it until it was too late! Then they could take over our solar system! I have more to say about this, but first! I see that my YouTube Interstellar channel only has 99 billion subscribers. If reach 100 billion subscribers, I won’t get mind-wiped. So if you want me to have more conversations with these allegedly friendly aliens, hit the like button and SUBSCRIBE!”

“Your solar system isn’t that special,” said Liko. “And the Martian Colonies have claimed Earth as their property. They can protect your planet from any sub-light speed threat. Not that we want to destroy Earth. We want to be your friends.”

“Maybe. Maybe not. But until I get a definitive answer, I urge every human to STAY ANGRY ABOUT SPACE!”

“Fortunately,” said Alexander-Basta, “we have some time to work this out.”

AA did not respond to an email requesting a reply.

When reached by Zoom, Alexander-Basta laughed and invited this reporter to watch a meeting. Covert social media operative Charlene Spencer entered her office.

“Charlene,” said Alexander-Basta, “Do you know anything about this letter?”

“Maybe.”

“Okay. Are you aware that copies of that letter were about to be mailed to every resident in Bolingbrook from Russia?”

“You have friends in the KGB?”

“Of course not. Vladimir Putin is trying to get on my good side because I’m a woman of global excellence. But that’s not important. Let me read a part of this letter to you. ‘I woke up with a headache. But I didn’t feel real pain until I realized (Trustee Michael Carpanzano) was running for reelection. The same trustee who took selfies at a Black Lives Matter protest and said it ‘warmed my heart.’’ That’s unfair. That was a peaceful gathering about uniting our community. You’re quoting him out of context and you know he has a compulsion to take selfies every time he sees a gathering.”

“I neither confirm nor deny writing that letter, and context is for kings. Trustee Carpanzano is not a king.”

“Okay. But that’s not the worst part. This letter is signed by, and I quote, ‘The only Bolingbrook Mayor that matters.’ Really, Charlene?”

“You were the one who gave (Former Mayor Roger Claar) the title Mayor Emeritus, not me.”

“You wanted people to think Roger wrote this letter? Young lady, this is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you.”

Also in the Babbler:

Sources insist 900 FT Roger statue will be clothed!
Mayor instructs aliens to respect gender identity of abductees
Bolingbrook’s Society of Alien-Human hybrids endorses Bolingbrook Independent Voices Party
God to smite Bolingbrook on 4/1/23

Note: This is a work of fiction. All opinions expressed are my own. They do not reflect the views of any organization I am involved with. 

Want to support my creative work? Check out my Urban Fantasy series, the Bolingbrook Babbler Stories. You can also buy me a coffee.