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Dec 22, 2023

Sammy receives an unusual birthday gift, a smart device with a face, a set life span, and an unrelenting imperative to help.

Genre: Science Fiction


The figurine suddenly collapsed, then sprung up, wheeled her arms around, stretched them out, then up, then bopped up and down by bending at the knees.

She gazed up at Sammy. “Hello there!” she said. “Are you the one who needs help?”

Sammy said nothing. The figurine’s movements were smooth and graceful and quiet. She made no jerking motions, emitted no mechanical sounds of motors or gears. She blinked, and she breathed. She moved as if she were a living creature.


What’s the Writing Prompt that inspired the story?
Ills, Pills, and Bills, Explore the subject of illness. Discover how one of your characters handles it. Or, select a moment from a personal experience of being sick or being a caregiver. Notice your perspective: is the incident humorous? poignant? clinical? dark? What means did you choose for writing: description? dialogue? narration of the event?

Source: Room to Write: Daily Invitations to a Writer’s Life. Bonni Goldberg. Copyright © 1996. TarcherPerigee.


Faster Fictioneer
I held my first free writing workshop over Zoom to teach my method of writing short stories (an abbreviated version) on 11/8/2023. The workshop is based on my course, called “Faster Fictioneer: A Doable Method to Write a Short Story from Start to Finish in Five Weeks.”

You can watch a replay of the workshop here: FASTER FICTIONEER

(You can also buy the course there.)


Follow my Fictioneering Mischief
The Storyfeather Gazette is a monthly round-up of my recent podcast episodes, short stories, trailers, news, recommendations, and more sent by email. Follow the link to look through old issues and to Sign Up: STORYFEATHER GAZETTE


Storyfeather-themed merchandise
T-shirts, mugs, stickers, notebooks, baby onesies, and more featuring artwork from stories and art challenges


Story: “Roxie's Wake-up Call” Copyright © 2019 by Nila L. Patel
Narration, Episode Art, Editing, and Production:  Nila L. Patel

Trip-Hop Lounge Abstract Background” by Digital Emotions (Intro/Outro)

Music by ANDREA BARONI (Cyberleaf)*
“Fugue for One Synthetic Heart (No Percussion)”
“Forest Bathing”
“Night Time (No Percussion)”
“Evolving Cities”
“Ground Control”
“You Were Always in the Right Place (No Percussion)”

Music by ANDREW SITKOV (MuzStation Game Music)*
“Casual Theme #1”
“Casual Theme #3”
“Medieval Theme #5”
“Medieval Theme #2”


*These tracks were part of a music and sound effects bundles I purchased from Humble Bundle and sourced from GameDev Market.

Music by Andrea Baroni and Andrew Sitkov licensed from GameDev Market
Vocal effects created with Audacity


Find more music by Digital_Emotions at
Find more music by Andrea Baroni and Andrew Sitkov at
Find more stories by Nila at


Episode Art Description: Digital drawing. Central image with a left and right border to make the format square. A humanoid figure standing with crossed arms, looking upward, and facing forward in front of a corkboard. The figure has right foot propped on the heel at the side, wears a satchel across the body, hanging from the right shoulder, and wears pants, a turtleneck, and a small-brimmed hat. Pinned to the corkboard to the figure’s left is a sticky note labeled “Return Cathy’s Call (see email for #),” and to the right is a cluster of push pins.