Vote for Elle Chambers in the eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards

July 2, 2014 4 comments

If you like your short fiction on the darker side, like I do, check out Elle Chamber’s “Child’s Play” over at eFestival of Words, where it’s a finalist in the best short story category. Of all her stories I’ve read so far, this one’s my personal favorite. If you read it, and you like it, take a moment to vote for her story over at eFestival of Words.


The horror story “Child’s Play” by Elle Chambers is a finalist in the eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards contest in the Best Short Story category. Read the story here for free. And if you like it, be sure to vote for “Child’s Play” here.


View original post

Categories: Reading

What we really think about rejection?

June 30, 2014 3 comments

Somewhere, deep inside, isn’t this how we all feel when one of those rejections come along?










On editing: red pen and printed copy

June 28, 2014 8 comments

Yep, that’s right. Once again, despite my lukewarm feelings about the first time I tried it, I’ve grabbed my trusty red pen and am ready to apply it (liberally) to a newly finished short story. It’s a tale about a young family’s car trip that takes them through an isolated stretch of highway running through the desert between their home in southern California and a family reunion in Phoenix, Arizona. Current working title: Road Trip

Red pen and hard copy of Road Trip - ready to edit

Red pen and hard copy of Road Trip – ready to edit

I hope to include it in my eventual collection of short dark fiction, Night Terrors. Time and editing will tell if the story is good enough to make it in. I’ll let everyone know how it goes.

Wish me luck.


ps – if you look closely, you’ll notice there’s already a coffee stain on the first page. Good start 🙂

The Writing Process Blog Hop

June 23, 2014 14 comments

Recently, I was asked to participate in a speculative fiction writing process blog hop. Having never done one before, it seemed like a great opportunity to not only learn about some talented writers but to take a few moments to reflect on myself, my writing, and what I’ve been up to.

To start things off, be sure to check out last Monday’s post from Travis Hill on his blog, Angry Games. Also, I’d like to thank Elle Chambers (you can check out her blog here) for asking me to join in the fun.

As part of this blog hop, I’m supposed to answer a set of questions about my writing. I hope that by the time you finish reading my responses, you’ll have a little better understanding of me as a person and a writer, as well as gain some insight into how I write.

What am I working on?
I have two books in progress. One, entitled “Whispers” – a NaNoWriMo novel about a young couple, their son, and a secret that’s spanned the generations – is complete but is in the middle of the revision process. The second, entitled “The Last Descent” – an apocalyptic story, one of those “end of the world” books – is about 2/3 finished. I wrote it back in 1989/1990 while I was waiting to hear back from publishers about my first book, The Light. (I talked about this way back here). It’s got a lot of potential and I’m excited about trying to finish it. My biggest obstacle so far has been trying to get my mind wrapped around the story as currently written so I can figure out exactly where I was trying to go at the time I originally started it. It’ll be a challenge, but if I can get it done I think it can be a great book.

I’m also putting together a short story collection entitled “Night Terrors”. Along with a number of stories already completed, I have two new stories undergoing revision and one story, written quite a few years ago, that I’m rewriting.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’d like to say that my writing is unique, but I’m not sure that it really is. While I think both what I write and how I write have been heavily influenced by Stephen King, I in no way consider myself anywhere near his level of writing. I do, however, aspire to write some great stories with wonderful characters, all with the hope of taking the reader on a trip through the darker side of life.

Why do I write what I do?
Perhaps because in my world, when life is serene and wonderful, and it seems like things just can’t get any better, all I can think about is … uh, what’s wrong? Something bad is waiting to spring itself on me. I guess, in a way, when I’m writing or thinking about writing, it sort of starts out like this short short film:

Bambi Meets Godzilla*

In a humorous way, this short film demonstrates where I go in my writing. Almost everything I write takes a dark turn, no matter how lighthearted or innocent the setup might be, because somewhere, off in the corner, in the shardows, just out of sight, something awful … something horrible … is waiting to reveal itself.

(*) If interested, here’s Bambi Meets Godzilla (redux … inspired by the original)

How does my writing process work?

I am, at least so far in my writing, a complete and total pantser (or, if you prefer, a discovery writer, which sounds way better … read about it here).

What happens? I get an idea. I think about it, along with all the other ideas flowing around through my brain. I write all of them down in a wonderful Mac product called MacJournal, then mull over the ideas once again. Eventually, one works its way up to the top until I pretty much can’t stop thinking about it. At that point, whether it’s a short story, a piece of flash fiction, or a novel, I fire up Scrivener (best piece of writing software ever!) and type away. I know many people frown upon hearing the word “pantser”, but for me it’s just the way things happen. So far I haven’t been disappointed with anything I’ve written, so as the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.


Next up on the blog hop is Nicolas Wilson. Be sure to visit his blog next Monday to learn more about what he’s up to.

Nicolas Wilson is a published journalist, graphic novelist, and novelist. He lives in the rainy wastes of Portland, Oregon with his wife, four cats and a dog.

Nic’s work spans a variety of genres, from political thriller to science fiction and urban fantasy. He has several novels currently available, and many more due for release in the next year. Nic’s stories are characterized by his eye for the absurd, the off-color, and the bombastic.
For information on Nic’s books, and behind-the-scenes looks at his writing, visit



On reading: The Last Question by Isaac Asimov

May 21, 2014 5 comments

A while back, I was talking with my son, Jonathan, who lives in Wisconsin. He happened to mention one of Isaac Asimov’s short stories and said I absolutely had to read it (I’ll confess now that, despite being a sci-fi fan, I’d never read any of his work before … yes, that’s lame, I admit it). Given his glowing recommendation, I decided I should read the story. So I did. My thoughts? Well, I’m going to keep them to myself until after I hear from a few people. I don’t want my opinion of the story to influence what others might have to say.

To those who have read the story, what did you think about it? For those who’ve never read it before and are now curious enough to read it, let me encourage you to read the piece all in one sitting. It’s not that hard to do since it’s a short story, and it does, as my son suggested, make the story all that much more powerful.

To encourage you to read the story, here are a few introductory words penned by the author himself:

This is by far my favorite story of all those I have written.

After all, I undertook to tell several trillion years of human history in the space of a short story and I leave it to you as to how well I succeeded. I also undertook another task, but I won’t tell you what that was lest l spoil the story for you.

It is a curious fact that innumerable readers have asked me if I wrote this story. They seem never to remember the title of the story or (for sure) the author, except for the vague thought it might be me. But, of course, they never forget the story itself especially the ending. The idea seems to drown out everything — and I’m satisfied that it should.

The Last Question by Isaac Asimov


Melancholy Monday: Ghost in this House (Alison Krauss)

May 19, 2014 11 comments

Alison Krauss loves sad songs. The sadder, the better, according to her when she spoke to the audience during a concert my wife and I were lucky enough to attend a few years back. She went on to say that if she was given a song and she liked it, the first thing she’d do is arrange it to make it as sad and depressing as she possibly could. Given her lengthy career and continued popularity, she’s good at it. And, based on what everyone knows about me, it makes her a good fit to be right there at the top of my melancholy playlist. One of her most depressing and sorrowful tunes is this wonderfully melancholic song, Ghost in this House.

A short sample from the chorus reveals the source of the pain in this song: a passionate love affair burned out, leaving but one lonely soul to ruminate on the emptiness of their life. These beautifully sad lyrics are complemented perfectly by an arrangement that heightens the torment of the broken hearted person left behind.


I’m just a whisper of smoke
I’m all that’s left of two hearts on fire
That once burned out of control
You took my body and soul
I’m just a ghost in this house

On writing: caring for your writer

April 22, 2014 15 comments

Almost a year ago, in this post, I passed along a discussion on how family and friends can support the writers in their lives. Recently, I came upon a new post entitled, “The Care and Feeding of Writers”. I think it complements the old list nicely. You can find it here. Though the entire post is a worthwhile read, if you want to read just the ten steps, skip down about half way through.

For us fledgling writers, I found this quote apropos:

Lastly, for beginning writers and their support staffs, I want you to know that publishing will not solve your life. Whether it’s a book or a story in a magazine, you are still going to have all your issues and problems — and you probably won’t be rich.