Stories for the Masses

The mutterings of a half-mad Canuck who writes stuff

Human 76 – Follow the Leader

This is number 2 in my series of reviews of the stories in Human 76.  What I aim to do is write a review of each story as I read it, one every 2 or 3 days. Of course this, the second story in the anthology, is the one that I wrote, so a review doesn’t make much sense. For this one I think I’ll just talk about the process of writing it and maybe share a snippet or two.

(Also, it has been more than 2 or 3 days since the last segment because… reasons.)

This anthology project came along at a critical time for me. I won’t get into specifics, but I was feeling overwhelmed by a few parts of my life. I was really struggling, and the process of completing the most recent Anthology Club project had made it crystal clear to me that my vision for that part of my life was seriously flawed.

Also, I wasn’t writing.

I had any number of ideas and numerous projects in various stages of development – 5 novels, 6 or 7 short stories, and a collection of four linked novellas, in fact – but I couldn’t seem to get anything written on them. Nothing really excited me, and I couldn’t get into putting words on pages. But when this idea started popping up in one of my writers’ groups, given how cool the concept was and who all was involved, I knew I had to get something written for this book.

And I did.


I got my story in two days after the third and final absolutely last deadline which, by the way, had already been extended a couple or three times by that point. Michael Wombat should have declined my story and told me to  buy a calendar, but thankfully he didn’t. Perhaps he sensed how important it was for me to get in on this book. Maybe he’s just a really swell and relaxed kinda guy. Probably both of those things.

(As an aside, in addition to being a group of great writers who write fantastic and entertaining stories, the other authors in this anthology are also some of the kindest, most compassionate and caring people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. True story.)

At any rate, given my own personal struggles in following my writerly ambitions, and in writing this story, it’s no real surprise to me that my story for this anthology deals so much with themes of redemption, and tying off the past so as to move on with the future. I just hope I can be half the badass I’ve portrayed Ghabrie as being.

I said I’d include snippets, but there isn’t really one part of the story that stands out more than the others for me. This story seems to hang together more, is more tightly wrought than my other stories. Or maybe I’m still too close to the creation of it to pick out favorite bits.

There are a few lines that I quite like, that I pulled out as suggestions for T-shirts or posters or somesuch down the road, so I will include them here:

At the moment she felt like a pampered house cat who had just been caught marking a tiger’s territory.

It was time to face the demons of her past.

“I’m afraid you won’t have any time for experiments. You’ll be too busy being dead.”

“You can’t run from me. You aren’t nearly good enough to run from me. ”

“I don’t read the future. I make the future.”

“What is wrong with you people?”

You can never be completely free of your past, but you can certainly decide how much it affects your future.

My story for this book is tense, and a bit dark, but ultimately it’s about hope and redemption. It’s also about one seriously kick-ass young lady who is determined to make her own future.


The book is available at in paperback and e-book formats. The e-book is no longer free, but all proceeds from either format go to Water is Life, so you should buy it.

It is also available at Barnes and Noble as paperback and for the Nook, and at  Amazon (paperback only, e-book coming soon). I really think you should go get a copy.


  1. I AM a really swell and relaxed kinda guy, obviously, but I also know what a good writer you are, and was keenly aware how much richer the collection would be for your presence. If you hadn’t made the third-and-a-halfth deadline I’d have been after you with a pointed stick.

    • MS Manz

      July 6, 2016 at 8:36 am

      As long as it wasn’t the comfy chair. Or the Spani…

      Nnnnnnnnnnnnobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

      *sigh* oh my misspent youth.

  2. …and you gave us Stein, who became an important part of Ghabrie’s life!
    Thanks for writing for us!

    • MS Manz

      July 6, 2016 at 8:35 am

      I didn’t realize anyone else had picked her up, actually. As an interesting tidbit, although I didn’t mention it in the story, Dr. Stein’s first name was Frances.

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