Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Favorite Reads of 2016

I got this idea from Patti. Here’s ten of my favorite reads from 2016, in no particular order other than the one I read them in.

David Gemmell, Sword in the Storm. It had been a while since I’d read any Gemmell and I’m glad I’ve still got quite a few of his books on my TBR shelves. This is the first book in his 4-book Rigante series of Heroic Fantasy tales.

James Oliver Curwood, The Bear.  I love good animal stories. This isn’t just about the bear of the title but is also about a man who discovers more in nature than just the need to master it.

Robert Heinlein, The Puppet Masters. I should have read this a long time ago. Very pulpy, from an older era, but I loved the heck out of it.

Bruce Boston and Alessandro Manzetti, Sacrificial Nights. A collaborative poetry collection. Rich in ideas, with Incredible imagery.

Tim Marquitz, Prey. I don’t read as much horror fiction as I used to but this one hooked me. Graphic stuff with many memorable scenes.

Bobbie Brown, Dirty Rocker Boys. I make no secret of my enjoyment of 80s Hair Metal. This book is by Bobbie Brown, a video vixen of the time who married Jani Lane of Warrant.  This was quite funny in a lot of places.

Holling Clancy Holling, Minn of the Mississippi. My favorite childhood book was Pagoo, by this author. Only as an adult did I discover that Holling had written other books. I ordered this. I’m certainly much older than the target audience for this but I loved it.

Garnett Elliott, CarnosaurWeekend. Just about everything you need in a pulp story. Fun stuff.

David Cranmer, Torn and Frayed (Drifter Detective #7). The latest installment in the Drifter Detective series. Cranmer does noir right.

Alex Haley, Roots. Another one I probably should have read years ago but didn’t. I found it nearly a masterpiece. I got very involved with these characters.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Some Thoughts on Writing

1. Writing is never wasted. Sometimes I just write individual scenes involving characters or settings, without really trying to make them a story. Often, some of these scenes later tie themselves together in various stories, although they usually need to be revised to fit. I have a computer file called “Parts,” where I keep such unconnected scenes.

2. Related to the above, I started pretty early to keep a kind of "Encyclopedia" for each invented world I came up with. This would have brief descriptions of characters, races, plants, animals, cities, etc. It’s fun to do and also helps me hold the disparate threads of stories or settings together in my head where my unconscious can  work on them. Some of these kinds of elements end up in my dreams because of that.

3. Remember that "you can write ugly" when you begin. The 'story' doesn't have to be anything publishable when it first comes out onto the page. Writing allows you time to fix all that stuff later. I find that the act of writing itself often generates a flow of creativity and things come out better than I would have thought when I was just 'thinking' of the story.

4. Related to #3, writing is really "rewriting." I've learned to enjoy it. I never have anything come out right when I first put it down, but I have confidence that I'll be able to fix it down the line.

5. A story idea belongs to you. Just because you’ve written it one way doesn’t mean you can’t rewrite it in another way. I’ve taken stories that I wrote early in my career and revised them based on experience, sometimes turning the core into a completely new story, and sometimes just an expansion of an original tale. Many writers do this. Poul Anderson and Louis L’Amour spring to mind. I have multiple versions of some stories, either with different endings, or just ones that were better developed as I grew in experience.

6. Reading a story is like flying over a landscape in a plane. Writing that story is trudging the ground, going up and down the hills, fighting through the underbrush, wading the streams. It's a lot more difficult but one experience can't replace the other.  When I first started out, I sometimes took really strong scenes by other writers, such as Howard, or Bradbury, and typed them out for myself to get a feel for sentence length, paragraph length, etc. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Gods of Talera

Well, I intended to get a post up about Gods of Talera sooner but then final exams came in and everything else went out the window. So I’m finally getting around to it.

As most of you know, the fourth and fifth books in the Talera series are finally out, just in time for the holiday season. I posted a bit about Wraith of Talera last blog. Gods and Wraith make a duology, a grouping of two books that complete a single story. 

Gods also marks a kind of ending for the series. The story line of Ruenn Maclang, which began in Book 1, Swords of Talera, reaches a logical conclusion. I don’t, at current, have any plans for further books about this particular group of characters, although I am interested in exploring some other aspects of the planet of Talera, perhaps through some novellas.

Gods also provides a final reveal on some of the questions that have been troubling Ruenn Maclang throughout the series. Namely, who actually created the planet, what happened to them, and what do they have to do with the Asadhie, the group of sorcerers that Ruenn has been in conflict with throughout the series. I had fun writing that part.

The Talera series started as a labor of love, and has ended that way. The Barsoom books of Edgar Rice Burroughs were a huge part of my formative years and for as long as I can remember I wanted to tell Sword and Planet stories in the ERB tradition.  I’m proud of this series. I hope many readers will feel the same way. 

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Wraith of Talera: Shai!

A few years ago, Shauna Roberts, a fine writer herself, told me that she had enjoyed the Talera trilogy but was hoping sometime to see a true warrior woman show up in the series. For those of you who have read it, you know that Rannon is a powerful warrior herself but we’ve almost never seen her in action, and her role as Queen of Nyshphal does make it a little hard for her to go leaping about freely with a sword.

Shauna’s comment hung around in the back of my mind and eventually coalesced into a warrior named Shai in Wraith of Talera Here’s how she was introduced: “A shape leaped through the new sphere gate. A man. No, a woman. She wore an armor of bones, carried a rapier in either hand.”

Shai becomes an ally of Ruenn Maclang and stands with him in the final climactic battle of Wraith. I think it’s one of the best battle scenes I’ve written in the series. I won’t tell you whether Shai survives. You’ll have to read to see.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Happy Happy News: New Books Out

Well, after many delays due to the death of Robert Reginald, my original editor at Wildside/Borgo Press, the next two books in the Talera series have finally been released and are loose in the world. These are books #4 Wraith of Talera, and #5 Gods of Talera. They form a connected duology, separate from the original trilogy (Swords, Wings, Witch), although, of course, characters and settings and history are carried over. I’m pretty pleased with how they came out and it’s wonderful to see them in print at last. I’m pretty fond of the covers too, which continued the theme of the earlier books but put some nice twists on that. The covers are below. (Thanks to Steve Coupe for his work on this.)

The original Talera Trilogy involved the earthman Ruenn Maclang being transported to Talera, establishing himself there, and dealing with the witch/goddess known as Vohanna. Witch of Talera finished that basic storyline but left some loose ends. In Wraith of Talera, those loose ends come back to haunt Ruenn—pretty much literally—and that book and Gods of Talera deal with these events. “Gods” brings the primary story line of Ruenn to a natural close and it will be the last Talera book, at least for a while. I do have a couple of novellas planned to examine other aspects of the planet—not directly related to Ruenn’s story. I don’t know when I might get around to writing those.

Gods of Talera is dedicated to Robert Reginald, my editor at Borgo Press, and later with Wildside Press. Rob was the editor on most of my published books, up till now. He was excellent—hands off enough to let me take the stories where I wanted them to go, but hands on enough to shepherd them through the minutia. It was a great relationship and I still miss him. In addition to the dedication there is another acknowledgement of Rob spread throughout the pages of “Gods.” It has to do with place names and down the line I’ll reveal it.

For now, I’m just happy to see these books out. There will be both print and ebook editions, though only print editions are out at the moment. I don’t know about audiobook editions yet. I'm sure these will also go up on Barnes & Noble, but it looks like they're only available on Amazon right now.  

I hope you’ll take a look see. As always, I appreciate your support.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

You Think You had it Tough!

You think you had it tough. I grew up in the middle of the woods. When I told my dad I wanted a set of Lincoln logs, he handed me an ax and said, “Go cut ‘em yourself.”

I once told my dad I wanted some Play-dough. He told me, “That’s what mud is for.”

You think you’ve seen cold winters. Most of the time when I was a kid, if I wanted a drink of water I’d have to climb up on the local glacier with a tin cup and a magnifying glass and melt my own.

When folks tell me I act like I was raised in a barn, I say, “I wish I’d had it that good.” I grew up in a dugout in the side of a creek bank. I had twelve brothers and sisters originally but 7 of ‘em washed away in floods. The rest of us had learned how to swim by watching the beavers.

We learned to use every part of our food. For example, you didn’t throw away the hulls once you got the hickory nuts out. They were good mattress padding. (If only we’d have had a mattress to put them in.) Whenever we had fish, we used the spine for a comb and made shoes out of the scaled skin. My sister had a fish eye necklace that was the envy of every kid in school.

I may have grown up poor but at least I had a lot of pets as a kid. Dogs, cats, raccoons, possums, squirrels, rabbits, snakes, grasshoppers etc. Of course, they never lasted long. Acorn and bark stew only goes so far—when you can get it.

I remember we tried raising chickens once but in those days the chickens had teeth and razor blade feathers so it didn’t work out well for us. I’ve still got the scars from trying to gather eggs from those bad hens. We finally just let ‘em run wild. I’ve always believed our chickens were the source of all the Boggy Creek Monster legends.

One of my mom’s best dishes was chicken pot pie. Of course, we never had any chickens to put in it. Just the pot. But if you cooked it long enough and you were hungry enough, it was delicious—if a bit chewy.

I’d have killed to have four and twenty blackbirds baked into a pie. We always had to do with five or less. and mostly that was just the beaks and feet. Course, the feet were darn good eatin’. There’d be a pretty good scrap among the brothers every time one of us got hold of a bird foot.

Almost every kid makes mud pies but we took those things seriously. It was the only dessert we ever got. I liked to spread the froth from the creek on top of mine as meringue. I was always the master chef of the clan.

Thank goodness for the thick Arkansas fogs when I was a kid. Cut a slice and spread it between two dead leaves and you had a heckuva sandwich.

I remember one bad winter. It started in 64 and ran through 67. Everything froze so hard you couldn’t burn nothing for warmth. Fire was too cold to start anyway. Thank goodness for family. Especially my brother Bo. He had a bad case of the farts that year and that was the only thing kept us warm.

When I was growing up, the only thing worse than the freezing winters were the broiling summers. Back in 62, it stayed above the boiling temperature for water for three straight weeks. And that was in May. Some folks said it was the hottest summer on record, but 59 was worse. I considered the summer of 62 to be a cool front.

The nearest big city to where I grew up was called Charleston, Arkansas. It had a population of well over a thousand people, if you can imagine that many human beings in one place. I remember once we walked into town and I spent my whole time gawking at the incredibly tall one-story houses and the streets made of stone. They even had these fancy contraptions called au-toe-moe-beels. My brother Pabe got run over three times before he realized they was capable of movement. Fortunately, the wild conditions we’d lived in had toughened up his hide a mite. He ended up a bit lopsided but not much the worse for wear.

After visiting the big city, Dad decided we should get TV. We couldn’t get it to work until we plugged it into an electric eel. I never got to watch it, though. I had to stand on the roof  of the dugout with forks taped to me so we’d have an antenna.

Somebody seemed surprised that we could afford forks. We couldn’t. Our forks were hand made from old discarded beer cans. I still have a set for use on special occasions.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Blogging Slowdown

Not sure what is wrong with me of late. Life in general has been pretty good so I don't have that as an excuse. School was very busy the last few weeks but I was off most of this week for Thanksgiving. Yet, I still didn't blog until today and scarcely even visited other blogs, something I used to do religiously. It's also not that I haven't had ideas. I've had lots of ideas for blog posts but it just has seemed more effort than it's worth to put them in actual words.

I've actually not been doing much writing either. I've half a dozen projects part way done and I've jotted down dozens of other ideas, but I just haven't gotten the bit in my teeth on any of them.

Slow downs are inevitable. Maybe it's just that. Blogging seems to be slowly dying away anyway so maybe that is part of it as well. It's always so easy to post a quick line or two on facebook, but you lose something at that short length.

Hopefully I'll get back to blogging soon and with some more substantial posts. I should have some good news to share soon so I'll definitely want to blog about that.

Until then, hang in everyone.

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Dream Night to Remember

 Dreams 11-11-2016:

Weird how some nights I remember my dreams very well and other nights not so much. Last night was a good one. I had three dreams that I remember.

First dream. I had rescued a black bear that had lost its mother.  He was very sweet and affectionate. He was cuddly and loved to rub noses. At one point, we were out in the field walking and saw another bear, a big adult male, attacking our cattle. Terrified, I grabbed up the little bear and hid behind a fallen tree. The cows were able to defend themselves, though. A group of them struck back against the bear and two held him down while one sat on him. I took off for the house, carrying the little bear, and reported the incident to my mom and dad. End. (In the dream, the cows sitting on the bear didn’t seem odd to me. I imagine this dream was inspired by the book, The Bear, which involved an orphan bear and which I read a couple of weeks ago.)

Second dream. Don’t remember many details about this one. There was a young girl who was possessed. At one point I saw her sitting in a pond with her head down in the water. As I watched, she  lifted her head out of the water and her long hair was matted over her face. She hissed from beneath her hair, which creeped me out. (I’m sure this was inspired by a piece of the sitcom Blackish that I watched last night, where the grandmother believed that one of her young granddaughters was possessed and evil.)

Third dream. I was a security guard at a big company. My partner was Colin Farrell. We were in a car cruising the grounds when we saw a door open into the building. It was a door of metal bars set between two brown stone columns. I called attention to it and we went in. There were a bunch of empty rooms. I pushed open the door to the bathroom and saw a shadowy figure move quickly behind it. He was missing his eyes but there seemed other things wrong with him.

I backed away and called to my partner. He came in and I asked for his gun. I didn’t have one.  While I was doing this, the figure darted out of the bathroom and around the corner into another hallway that I couldn’t see. I started to approach that corridor and a couple of people turned the corner and looked concerned or confused. I knew they’d seen the thing. One particular man I remember was  dressed in a suit and tie and carrying a briefcase. Some other folks came from another direction and were also milling around.

Suddenly, the figure burst out of the hallway he’d gone into and came charging toward us. He was on fire. I yelled something about it being a zombie and shot it. I didn’t shoot it in the head but it went down. People were staring.  I stepped back outside for a moment and saw Colin Farrell pacing back and forth, looking upset. I figured it was because he’d never seen anyone shot before.

I went back in. There was a young kid sitting not far from the dead man. Suddenly he looked up at me and his face changed. His eyes got huge and turned completely full of black. He looked a bit like a Predator from the movie of that name. When I saw the kid change I knew the zombie effect was starting to spread. Then I woke up.

(The kid looked almost exactly like a photo I saw a day or two ago on facebook. It showed a big guy who’d been arrested who had dreadlocks and resembled the Predator in some ways. That was the caption beneath it too.  The zombie on fire was probably from the video game Doom, where you see these kinds of things. I was playing it a bit last week.)

Saturday, October 29, 2016


I’ll be doing a signing this coming Saturday, November 5th, at 2nd and Charles Bookstore in Covington, Louisiana. The address is: 401 Highway 190, Covington, Louisiana, 70433. The phone number is 985 867-8010.

The signing will be from Noon to 3:00. I won’t be the only author there. From what I understand, there’ll be a number of local authors signing. I believe they are going to put up announcements but I’m not sure exactly where. They also have a facebook page.

What I’ll have available:

Copies of the first Talera Trilogy: Swords of Talera, Wings Over Talera, Witch of Talera.
Cold in the Light: My horror/thriller
Adventures of an Arkansawyer: Humorous Memoir
Bitter Steel: An anthology of sword and sorcery stories.
In the Language of Scorpions: An anthology of graphic horror
Midnight in Rosary: An anthology of vampire and werewolf fiction.
Wanting the Mouth of a Lover: A chapbook of vampire haiku

I’ll have a few copies of
Write With Fire: my book on writing.
Mage, Maze, Demon: Sword & Sorcery novella from Beat to a Pulp
Harmland: a collection of short noir/horror stories,

And a few surprises.

If you’re local, this sounds like a great day to visit 2nd and Charles!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Puppet Masters Strike

The Puppet Masters, by Robert A. Heinlein, 1951, New American Library

I've read quite a lot of Heinlein's early work but this is one I've missed. Until now. I really enjoyed it. But then I like all of Heinlein's early work, especially those considered to be his juveniles. This one isn't quite a juvenile but it still has the same flavor of adventure and excitement. 

Most of you know that this is an alien invasion story, of course. A ship lands containing what come to be called "slugs," which attach themselves to the backs of people , through the spinal cord, and then take control over them. At first no one knows who is controlled and who isn't. But the human race soon comes up with countermeasures, such as having everyone strip to the waist. The war is on but there are many more twists and turns before the end, which I won't give away.

One thing a little different about this tale is that it takes place at an undefined future time after some great earthly war and after humans have begun to settle on both Mars and Venus. They have blasters and flying cars as well as space ships.

In 1994, there was a movie made from this book starring Donald Sutherland, but as I remember it was set in the modern day, without the futuristic elements. They don't necessarily have to be there to make the story a good one.

The slugs essentially appear to be single cells that function almost like a composite brain and I'm pretty sure this was a big influence on the Star Trek original series episode called "Operation Annihilate!" That first season episode featured single 'brain cell' looking parasites that rode the backs of people that they had taken over.  The similarity is too close to imagine that it was accidental. The episode aired in 1967. 

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Can I Quote You on That?

Here is a passage from an international bestseller. I changed two words. The name in the book is not “Smith,” but I didn’t want to give the title away by citing the name, which would be easy to google. Other than that, this is exactly as it’s written in the book.

By the way, this is the second time I’ve tried to read this book. This is about where I quit last time, but since everyone tells me I need to read it, I’m going to push on a little further. I’m reeling already, though, so we’ll see how far I make it. I’ll reveal more about this book later.

“Smith straightened sharply when he spied the tiny silver cross on the other side of the chaplain’s collar. He was thoroughly astonished, for he had never really talked with a chaplain before.
‘You’re a chaplain,’ he exclaimed ecstatically. ‘I didn’t know you were a chaplain.’
‘Why, yes,’ the chaplain answered. ‘Didn’t you know I was a chaplain?’
‘Why, no. I didn’t know you were a chaplain.’ Smith stared at him with a big, fascinated grin. ‘I’ve never really seen a chaplain before.’
The chaplain flushed again and gazed down at his hands.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Richard Hescox

A  nice little treat for me at CONtraflow Con was getting to meet Richard Hescox, who was the artist guest of honor. Although he has done much wonderful work since, I’ll always associate him with the covers for the Dray Prescot series of Sword and Planet novels published by DAW between about 1972 and 1988. This would include A Sword for Kregen, #20 in the series, my first exposure to the books, and still my favorite. Hescox didn’t do all the covers. There were 37 books published originally in that series in English, which was written by the British author Ken Bulmer. They were definitely an influence on my own Talera series.

I chatted with Mr. Hescox several times and he was charming and friendly, and very knowledgeable about art. I sat in on a panel where he showed images of some amazing fantasy art from around the world that has very seldom been seen. Many of these would make great covers. Check out his webpage to see what he is up to these days.

Here are some more of his covers for the Prescot series: 

Monday, September 26, 2016


Been a while since I've posted here, but I guess I've finally got some news worth sharing. I'll be a guest this coming weekend at the CONtraflow Con in the Greater New Orleans area. It'll actually be at the Airport Hilton, which is in Kenner, a suburb of New Orleans. I'll be doing panels on pulp fiction, forgotten writers, dark fantasy, and dreams and creativity, among others. Check out the link for more information. If you're around, come see  us. We always have fun!


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Nick Carter: Web of Spies

Nick Carter: Web of Spies: Award Books, 1966. I picked up this early incarnation of the long-running Nick Carter series years ago but only now got around to reading it. This is volume 11 in a series that broke 260 volumes. The standard cover is below but my cover is different. It's purple for one thing. 

The header gives this away as essentially a James Bond knock-off. It’s “A Killmaster Spy Chiller.” The character is definitely a James Bond type, a lady-magnet with incredible skills but dapper good looks—when he wants to show them. In this particularly tale, Carter is supposed to save an English woman scientist who has knowledge crucial to all sides in the Cold War. The woman is a lesbian and the Russians have sent in a beautiful female spy to seduce her and bring her over to their side. There’s a lot of action and a considerable amount of sex, which is quite tame by modern standards but was probably pretty risqué for the times. The sex definitely puts this into the “Men’s Adventure” category.

This series didn’t list the authors but simply used “Nick Carter” as the house name. A little research revealed that this particular volume was written by ManningLee Stokes. Stokes was an accomplished pulp writer who wrote for many series, including the Jeffrey Lord series, of which I’m a fan. I’ve got half a dozen of his books in that series and have generally enjoyed them. Stokes wrote a number of other Nick Carter books as well.

Although competently written, this story didn’t do a lot for me and I don’t see myself grabbing another dozen of these for future rainy days. It’s just not my genre of reading choice. If you like this sort of book, though, then I’m sure you’d like this particular one quite well.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Skelos: The Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy.

Skelos: The Journal of WeirdFiction and Dark Fantasy. Volume 1, Issue 1. Magazine: Summer 2016: 158 pages, Skelos Press.


How nice to once more hold in my hands a thick, meaty magazine in print form. The new Skelos Journal makes a solid debut on the scene, and I’m happy to know that more issues are to come. If the editors can keep up the quality of issue #1, we fans of pulp and fantasy fiction will have something to be proud of.

There are three managing editors for the new magazine, Mark Finn, Chris Gruber, and Jeffrey Shanks. All are known for their interest in and commitment to the work of Robert E. Howard, but Skelos is not a Howard journal, of which there are several out there.  Howard is represented in the first issue, but Skelos is a “weird fiction” magazine, and all that entails. This means it can’t be pigeonholed into one genre.

For one thing, the new magazine contains fiction of various lengths alongside scholarly—but not dry academic—articles. It contains poetry and even an illustrated comic-style story. The fiction and poetry is an interesting mix of heroic fantasy, pulp horror, and even science fiction. There are plenty of illustrations but the emphasis is on words and I, for one, am glad to see it.  Most magazines I pick up these days can be quickly scanned in an afternoon. I spent several days perusing Skelos and each trip into its pages brought new surprises and ideas.

Since there is a lot of meat on these bones, I’m not going to go over every piece in the mag. Scott Cupp and Keith Taylor are probably the biggest writer names here, but there are stories by Scott Hannan, David Hardy, Matt Sullivan, Ethan Nahté, Jason Ray Carney, and myself. David Hardy’s “The Yellow Death” was my favorite, although only by a slim margin over the other excellent offerings.

The nonfiction was uniformly good, with material from Jeffrey Shanks, Karen Joan Kohoutek, and Nicole Emmelhainz. Emmelhainz’s “A Sword-Edged Beauty as Keen as Blades:” was really a fascinating read and my favorite. This is an exploration of the gender dynamics in sword and sorcery, using C. L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry as an illustration.  While sword and sorcery is usually described as a very masculine and even anti-feminine genre,  Emmelhainz finds this to be far too simple of a description. I’m still studying on her ideas to see if I agree with them all, but it was fine and provocative reading.

For poets, we have Ashley Dioses, K. A. Opperman, Jason Hardy, Frank Coffman, Pat Calhoun, and Kenneth Bykerk. I was glad to see poetry in the mix here. Certainly this is something Howard included in his work and so it falls into the tradition.  I liked all of these pieces.

There are also reviews, and plenty of other gems hidden in these pages, including the excellent illustrated tale, “Grettir and the Draugr,” by Samuel Dillon and Jeffrey Shanks.  I highly recommend it all.

Monday, August 15, 2016

How About that Weather?

I was reading a piece of writing advice the other day about five clichés that ruin openings. I agreed with four of them, but either I don’t understand the fifth cliché the author was describing, or it’s simple wrong advice. The gist was, “don’t begin with the weather because no one gives a crap about the weather.”

First, I’m not sure that weather can actually be a cliché in the way “it was all a dream” is. I mean, weather is only a cliché in the sense that it’s always there. It’s reality rather than cliché. Second, maybe it’s because I grew up on a farm but I do indeed give a crap about the weather. In fact, almost everyone does and that would explain why it’s one of the major topics of conversation. Third, unless your story takes place fully inside a place with complete environmental controls and no windows, such as a spaceship, weather will be a part of a realistic story. Fifth, quite a few of my favorite opening sequences in literature incorporate weather. Give a listen:

“In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels. Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the leaves of the trees. The trunks of the trees too were dusty and the leaves fell early that year and we saw the troops marching along the road and the dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves.” Hemingway—A Farewell to Arms.

“October Country . . . that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and mid-nights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain. . . .” Ray Bradbury—The October Country.

Or: “Heat beat down on my shoulders, my face cloth. My armor dragged at the riding sores underneath. Little sparkles danced behind my eyelids, and the strain in my joints were cramping to knots in my muscles. It had been a long ride. A grating call made my shoulders twitch. The carrion crows, who glided after us day after day, were waiting.” Heather Gladney—Teot’s War.

I stopped with these three in order to keep this post to a manageable length. There are many other examples I could give. Now, if the opening were ‘only’ a lengthy description of the weather, I would want the writer to move on. But, what I need from a story is to be immediately, or at least very quickly, “grounded.” I want to know “who” and “where.” If the story is taking place outside, a huge part of “where” is likely to involve weather.

As a reader, the surest way for a writer to lose me is to open with talking heads in a vacuum. Now there is truly something I don’t give a crap about. I’d rather it were all a dream.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Forgotten Books Friday: The Barbarian Swordsmen

The Barbarian Swordsmen, Edited by Sean Richards, 1981, Star Books, 172 pages.

This is another collection of sword and sorcery tales that I somehow missed over the years. It was a British only publication so that’s probably the reason. Not a lot of such books made it to Arkansas when I was living there. It’s a fine collection, though, and well worth picking up.

The editor of the work is Sean Richards, and there’s an introduction by him that talks about the stories. Some of this would have been new to me in 1981. Not anymore. I wasn’t able to find anything more about Mr. Richards.

The stories including are:
The War of Fire, by J. H. Rosny. This is an exciting excerpt from The Quest for Fire, which was also made into a fine movie. J. H. Rosny was actually a pseudonym, often used by two brothers, Joseph Henri Boex, and Justin Boex. However, from what I understand, Quest for Fire was written solely by the elder brother, Joseph. I’ve read the whole book and the movie does a good job of distilling it, but the book is enjoyable.  We have a primitive cave man named Naoh, probably what we’d call a Cro-magnon, whose tribe loses its fire. Since they can’t make fire, only maintain it, they have to seek out fire from some other tribe, and Naoh and his companions have many adventures in doing so, including a battle with Neanderthals. It is that piece which is featured in this book.

The Sword of Welleran, by Lord Dunsany.  Lord Dunsany, an Irishman, is well known to fans of sword and sorcery. His fantasy work certainly skated the edge of that genre and he helped develop some of the tropes that later became important. He is said to have influenced Tolkien. His work is rather slowly pace and turgid for modern readers but I find it enjoyable. “The Sword of Welleran” is one of his most approachable tales. 

The Tower of the Elephant, by Robert E. Howard.  I consider this the strangest of the Conan stories. It certainly breaks ranks with most of the other tales of the Cimmerian in that there is a strong SF element at its core. I was much taken with it when I first read it, years ago.

Brachan the Kelt, by Robert E. Howard. Howard wrote a number of stories involving reincarnation, and several of these featured the character James Allison, who is a modern man capable of remembering his past lives. He then relates these tales from his memories. This is a short piece and definitely not fully developed, but it shows the power of Howard’s prose. Allison remembers being a wandering warrior from a time before history was recorded, when the first white-skinned tribes were entering Europe. As Brachan, he must defeat a beast that makes one think of the yeti.

Jirel Meets Magic, by C. L. Moore. Catherine Moore was just a superb writer and her stories of Jirel of Joiry are outstanding tales of sword and sorcery. They are beautifully written and emotionally charged. Jirel is one of the very first fire-tressed female warriors of fantasy fiction. This is not my favorite of the Jirel stories but it’s close. Moore was influenced by Howard, although it seems to me that most of the influence was in subject matter rather than story effects.

Spawn of Dagon, by Henry Kuttner. Kuttner married C. L. Moore and after that they mostly wrote as a team. I think that Moore was the better writer but Kuttner was more prolific and very professional. Kuttner alone wrote a series of tales about Elak, a prince of Atlantis, and this is one of the best of those tales. Elak was certainly influenced by Howard’s Conan, but is his own character.

The Thief of Forthe, by Clifford Ball. Ball was another writer who was strongly influenced by Howard. That influence can be clearly seen in this story, but I thought it was well written and enjoyable. Apparently, Ball created an earlier character who was essentially a pastiche Conan, but “Rald,” the “Thief of Forthe” shows some originality. I haven't read much of Ball's work but am gong to seek out more.

The Two Best Thieves in Lankhmar, by Fritz Leiber. Leiber is another writer who was influenced by Howard as to subject matter, but who in no way appears to be a clone of Howard. His characters and settings are unique and there is a lot more humor in Leiber’s tales than in the Conan stories of Howard. Leiber’s characters are Fafhrd, a giant of a man, a barbarian warrior, and the Gray Mouser, a dark and slender thief. They are unlikely friends but friends they are. All of these stories are enjoyable.

Appendix is: The Man Who Influenced Robert E. Howard. This is an excerpt from a letter written from Robert Howard to H. P. Lovecraft in which Howard indicates his admiration for the poetry of Alfred Noyes. 

Monday, August 08, 2016

How Social Media has Shrunk My Reading List

I’m hoping this post won’t lose me any readers but it’s about something that has been bothering me lately. It’s about how social media causes some writers to forfeit potential places on my reading list.  In the past two days, for example, I’ve discovered two writers, new to me, whose books and stories will almost certainly never have a chance to make it onto my TBR pile. These two are only the latest in what is becoming a fairly long “unlikely to read” list by now. I’m sorry to see it happen. One of my great joys has always been to find new writers whose work I can fall in love with.

The first of the two I’m talking about here posted the details of an interaction he had with a female literary agent at a conference. He didn’t get the contract he was clearly hoping for, and proceeded to trash the agent, by name, and insult her physical appearance in the process. This is in spite of the fact that his own description of the interaction indicated that the woman was just not interested in his project. It happens, you know. Not everyone will be wowed by an idea that you love. And there simply is no place in this kind of interaction for personal attacks, on physical appearance, no less. It makes me wonder, too, what kind of female characters this author creates. Will his women characters be people I can empathize with  or nothing but window dressing and plot contrivances?

The second of the two was a female author who described all “Bernie or Bust” people as folks who got awarded trophies for just participating when they were kids, meaning, I took it, that such folks don’t know what it’s like to have it tough. The author, of course, indicated how her life had been different. She went on to suggest that it was white males who were the main issue in the Bernie or Bust crowd. I’m not a Bernie or Buster and this individual’s opinion on the political process itself isn’t my issue. My question is whether or not a writer who throws out such sweeping generalizations understands enough of the nuances of human interaction to be able to create realistic characters in fiction. Without such characters, I’m not likely to find myself emotionally involved in a story.

Some of the previous folks who have made my “unlikely to read” list include a woman who stated publically that all men are supporters of rape culture, a man who offered an ad hominem attack on my political views and then proceeded to tell me what his IQ was and how many books he’d written as evidence of his correctness, and a fellow who made mean-spirited fun of gay people.

Don’t get me wrong, I read plenty of work by people who have said things I disagree with. My “do read” list is much, much longer than my “unlikely to read” one. What bothers me is the “one size fits all” approach to interacting with and categorizing people. All liberals are this way. All Republicans are another way. Gay people are this. White males are that. Women are….

If I’ve been reading a writer’s books for a long time and he or she says something that  crosses the line, I’ll generally give that author the benefit of the doubt. I know from their work that they are nuanced. But imagine that I’ve just recently friended a writer on facebook. I think that I might want to try something by them. And then I see a post like the ones I’ve described above. Will I pull the trigger on purchasing one of their books when it goes on sale? Or will I click past that sale to another new writer? For me, it’ll be the latter.

I know that writers are people too. I’m both myself, a writer and people. We have opinions. We get angry. But anyone who has made a study of how people act knows that no one can be absolutely categorized by a single characteristic such as gender, skin color, ethnicity, etc. Humans are walking, talking contradictions. Seems to me that an author, in particular, should be aware of this.  And those authors are the most likely to make my “definitely read” list. Since I love reading, that's where I hope every new writer I meet ends up. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

From Yellow Flag Press.

Over the past few years, Yellow Flag Press has been quietly going about their business. That business is poetry. I recently picked up a packet of material from them and intend to do my reviews below. Suffice to say, there is excellent work afoot.

The first collection I read from Yellow Flag was: Katy E. Ellis’s Gravity, 2015. This is a very brief collection consisting of five poems, but it punches above its weight. Each poem deals with the topic of the title. Some lovely lines here: “between the beggar’s cool water and the rich man’s blistered tongue.” There’s a fine sense of heart in these poems. They make you feel.

The pieces arrived in a package with the thinnest work on top, thickest on bottom. For a lark, I read them that way. Next up came In Memoriam, 2015, by Kevin Dwyer. This is also a short work, actually a single long poem. It’s very powerful. Each page was a jewel, with the single exception of page 6, which seemed a bit repetitive. I’m sure there was a reason for the repetition but I didn’t quite understand it. The poem as a whole, though, is highly charged emotionally and left me with a deep sense of the many ways one person can be affected by loss.

Next up came Sleeping with Animals by Ashley Mace Havird, 2013. Particularly beautiful language here. For the emotions they portray, the first two poems, “Sleeping with Animals” and “Daughter 14, With Scissors,” were almost more than I could handle. After that the pieces seemed to take a step back from that level of soul baring and I really fell in love with many of these pieces. “Hurricane: The Brac,” “The Garden of the Fugitives.” These were my favorites. However, there’s not a single piece here without some memorable line: “cicadas sing themselves out of body, slit their own backs, escape with wings of glass.”

 The next collection is Elliptic, by Jack B. Bedell, 2016. This collection perfectly combines pieces that are full of humanity, and pieces full of nature. The very first poem, “First Kiss,” enchanted me. A young girl discovers frogs, becomes entranced. The human captivated by nature’s magic. Later we have the title piece, “Elliptic,” which is about erosion, and yet about more. Nature and humanity are in this thing together. “if we were to lay our dead / here to guard this shore / against new storms / we could not / pile bones quickly enough / to outpace this loss.”

Then I came to Learning to Love Louisiana by Elizabeth Burk, 2012. A very fine collection that resonated very strongly with me. The author is a “city girl,” I believe, who is now married to a Louisiana native and who spends a lot of time here. Here we have appreciations of the local environments but not a blind appreciation. As a whole, the work made me think of my own relationship. My wife is originally from New York City, but moved down here when we married. She too has learned to love the fecund nature of this place. My favorite was “Hush Over Atchafalaya.” “Silvery cypress stumps poke through stagnant waters / like fixed bayonets, ghosts of a forgotten war.” Many of the landscapes and people I know well are reflected beautifully here.

Finally we have Chorus Frog by William Kelley Woolfitt, 2014. My first read through of this collection identified it as nature poems. But it isn’t, strictly speaking—although there is much lovely imagery of nature within it. It was hard to establish a favorite here. Perhaps “Psalm with Sheet-web Spiders as Temple Singers,” or “Flat-Spired Three-Toothed Snail.” “I found more speech pouring from fragments / of sunlight on the ground, from the lichens, / rotting limbs in the leaf litter, and stones / shattered and upheaved…” I even had to learn a new word for this collection, “orogeny.” That’s always cool.

Overall, I thought this grouping was outstanding and it really put Yellow Flag Press on my radar. Of course, now, I think they should be on everyone’s radar.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Warlocks and Warriors, Two Different Ones

Warlocks and Warriors, Edited by Douglas Hill. Mayflower Books, 1971, 159 pages.

I own and have read just about every anthology of heroic fantasy published in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. But I didn’t have this one up until July of 2016, and I wouldn’t have gotten it then if not for a webpage list put out by the writer G. W. Thomas called “A Reader’s Guide to Sword & SorceryAnthologies.”  Thanks to him for the heads up. 

I guess I missed this book until now for two primary reasons. One, it was published only in England as near as I can tell. Second, there is another book entitled Warlocks and Warriors, which was published in 1970 by Berkley in the US. That probably helped me overlook this one. In addition, the cover is remarkably ugly compared to the cover of the other collection, which I've pasted below.

The 1970s Warlocks and Warriors was edited by L. Sprague De Camp, who did quite a few anthologies around this time while he was also busy editing and rewriting Robert E. Howard’s Conan tales. It’s certainly a good collection, and quite varied, with stories by Ray Capella, Lin Carter, Robert E. Howard, Henry Kuttner, Fritz Leiber, C. L. Moore, Lord Dunsany, Clark Ashton Smith, H. G. Wells, and Roger Zelazny. I’ve already reviewed this book on Goodreads, however so I won’t say more about it here. 

The 1971 Warlocks and Warriors was edited by Douglas Hill, whose name I was not familiar with until after I posted this on Goodreads, whereupon a short biography of Hill appeared on my page. That was rather cool, and revealed to me that he also wrote stuff under the name Martin Hillman, who is included in this anthology. After a short and to the point introduction by Hill, the following stories appeared:
“The Sleeping Sorceress” by Michael Moorcock.
“The Curse of the Monolith” by Lin Carter and L. Sprague De Camp.
The Ogyr of the Snows” by Martin Hillman.
“The Wages Lost by Winning,” by John Brunner.
“The Wreck of the Kissing Bitch” by Keith Roberts.
“The Unholy Grail,” by Fritz Leiber.

I’d read “The Sleeping Sorceress” before. This is an early Elric story by Moorcock and is quite good. I’d also read “The Curse of the Monolith,” which is a Conan pastiche by Carter and De Camp. Not quite Howard’s Conan but it was an OK tale. I also had previously read “The Unholy Grail” by Leiber. This tale recounts the earliest adventure of the Gray Mouser, of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser fame. Not my favorite of the series, probably because I like the Fafhrd character better than the Mouser character.

What were new to me were the tales by Hillman, Brunner, and Roberts, and all three were quite good. Brunner, I know, of course. I’ve read a lot of his SF. This is a story of the “Traveller in Black,” definitely fantasy though not sword and sorcery. The “Traveller” is a kind of mixed angel/devil character, who has the power to grant people’s desires. I’d not previously read these tales. It was beautifully written but meandered a bit initially until it got to the main plot.

Martin Hillman’s “The Ogyr of the Snows” is definitely sword and sorcery, and a well written piece. The hero is Conanesque but it’s to be noted in this tale that he wins the day mostly by wit. According to the introduction, this tale was extracted from a “novel in progress” by Hillman, and I would certainly be interested in reading it. I've found since this post went up originally that Hillman was actually the editor, Douglas Hill, and he has written quite a few books. I'm trying to track down now which of these might feature the character of "Ogyr." 

The greatest treasure in this collection to my way of thinking, though, is “The Wreck of the Kissing Bitch” by Keith Roberts. This is a tale set in the world created by Michael Moorcock for his Ice Schooner book.  The world was already beautifully conceived and Roberts does a fine job of playing in the same universe. This was my favorite tale in the collection, concluding with a tense and exciting chase scene of sailed ships across the great ice seas. It sure made me want to go write some heroic fantasy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Corona Obscura, By Michael R. Collings

Corona Obscura: SonnetsDark and Elemental: By Michael R. Collings, 2016, 78 pages.

I’ve been reading a lot of poetry lately. After reviewing the wonderful work Sacrificial Nights by Bruce Boston and Alessandro Manzetti, I received a kindle version of another ambitious poetry collection—Corona Obscura, by Michael R. Collings. This is a series of linked sonnets, all of which fall into the category of horror and dark fantasy.

Sonnets are among the most popular and most widely recognizable traditional forms in poetry. I guess the most traditional form is fourteen lines with each line having ten syllables. Collings, who knows far, far more about such things than I do, has an appendix (two actually) at the end of his work that explains a sonnet in much more detail, and also explains how, where, and why he varied from the standard. There is also “A Note on the Form” at the beginning that explains the linked sonnet concept and refers to them as “Crowns of sonnets.” This information was all well and good, and was interesting, but I was personally much more concerned with the poetry itself, with the language, the rhythm, the emotion. It’s fine to have ambitions for a piece of work, but does the work live up to those? Well, let’s see.

After an introduction by the poet Linda D. Addison, and the opening “note,” we come to the first piece, “Obsession.” This really starts the collection off strongly. A good ‘story’ gives the reader an immediate sense of place and sets a mood and character. “Obsession” does this for Corona Obscura.  Listen: “Each time I stalk the valley’s graveled road, / Pause near the creek that slits the browning yard / In twisted ribbons, only to explode / White rage beyond the bridge I feel a shard / Of potent loss, as if my life has flowed /

I’m there, walking that road, seeing the creek and the bridge. Poetry is often not so grounding and I was glad to see it, especially for such a complex endeavor as this collection. The last line of “Obsession” is: “Each time I leave, I know I will return.” This is a place we all know, and it reflects the nature of the pieces within the collection, where each ending line becomes the opening line of the next poem. That dovetailing is quite extraordinary. I’ve seen it done before but it doesn’t usually work as well as here.

In a linked collection such as Corona Obscura, story is important, and there is a strong one running throughout, although it is not a simple straightforward tale and there are plenty of places where we slip into what I’d categorize as alternate or dream realities. We always have concrete touchstones, however—houses, tombs, soil, rain, ash. For me, however, the primary reason I read poetry is to see the naked power of language unleashed. Collings does not fail to deliver.

“My flawed blood throbs…”

“In the fragile mind where vampires bloom.”

“Western radiance knits wan clouds to shroud”

“Sheer hunger sated by a crimson mead.”

“Fade with night as sunbright knives invade.”

“Bone-white wolf-moon waits, weary and wary.”

“sable swans glide on lakes as flat as lead.”

These are powerful phrases. They sing. They intrigue. There is one phrase in the collection that I think categorizes it all—“Transfixed by darkness…” This fascination, delight, and fear of darkness in all its forms is why this collection exists. Here we have the transmutation of darkness into art. I highly recommend it. Here's the link on Amazon if you care to take a look.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Raccoon Family Cruise

The baby raccoons first appeared with their mother one morning about a month ago.  They were just over cup-full sized and very shy. They seldom ventured into the yard but would hang out around or in a big tree at the corner, peaking out at the activity with brightly curious eyes. Mom would then come on in the yard, as has been her habit for a while, looking for some of the bird seed that I spread for our winged visitors every day.

Since the cooners’ visit tended to come around 9:00 or so every morning, I’d gotten in the habit of throwing out a few table scraps or some bits of bread for Mom. She’d come right up to the back door to eat, would, in fact, come running when she heard the door open. Lana had even enticed her in to taking bread from her hand.

Over time, the young ones started coming into the yard every morning with Mom but would run for a tree if I opened the back door. They mostly got over that but would run if I stepped out on the back porch with bird seed. Soon, one, and then two of the small ones, would come up to the back door with Mom looking for the bread I threw out. As of today, July 14, 2016, they all came up. One first, then a second, then the third and fourth. And when I stepped out to feed, only two of the little ones ran. The other two stayed right there with Mom while I moved around in the yard and put out seed. 

After I came back inside from feeding, I saw the cutest thing. The two bravest little ones, those who had stayed with Mom in the yard, ran for the tree in the corner where their two siblings had fled. They climbed up and, it seemed to me, ushered their shyer brothers/sisters down and back into the yard to take part in the largess. Right now they are all five (4 kits, 1 Mom) gathered in one spot, hovering up seed as fast as their paws can move.

I know lots of folks don’t like raccoons and they can indeed pose some dangers, but being able to look out at them, and interact with them, makes me feel a little bit a part of nature. And maybe, it seems, I’m giving a little back to the natural world that has given me so much pleasure and always been there for me during the sadder times.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Sacrificial Nights, Bruce Boston, Alessandro Manzetti

Sacrificial Nights: By Bruce Boston and Alessandro Manzetti: Kipple Officina Libraria, 2016, 127 pages.

I always know I’m reading good work when I find myself both challenged and inspired. This is how I felt immediately upon opening Sacrificial Nights, a novella in poetry form, and an outstanding piece of work. The challenge came both intellectually and emotionally. Sacrificial Nights deals with tough subject matter, a city full of the wounded, the wondrous and the strange. It introduces us to several fascinating characters, a man in a coma who dreams of moths, a woman who believes only the rain can save her, a serial killer who senses that he will soon be caught, and a driven detective who is hunting that killer. There are others. Their paths cross and recross. Wounds, and worse, are left behind. Sometimes there is black and white, sometimes only the multi-colored sheen of oil on rain slicked streets. The challenge is to see if you can love these people, understand them. Or will you bury your own raw bones so deeply that the stories  merely pass over your head and leave you untouched. I could not remain untouched.

The inspiration in the work came from the beautiful and intricate word play within the pieces. I’ve often felt this way before while reading Bruce Boston’s work, but I found that Boston’s lines and Alessandro Manzetti’s lines melded almost seamlessly and were as sharp as a shiv. Here are some phrases:

“The python twists her thick / diamond-backed hide / down the dingy third floor / of a decrepit brownstone.

“The moths multiply, / continue to fly in a circle / around the head of the thief, / as if he were the only lighthouse / in thousands of miles of darkness.”

“She doesn’t like to be out this late, but nothing matters as long as it keeps raining. Her nightmare will be caged in the deep furrows of her minds as long as it keeps raining. The rain is her shield. Just the sound of it can wash her mind clean. He will not come for her as long as it keeps raining.”

“She is the ghost of the city’s / corruption made manifest, / a perverse little demon / with sharp young teeth.”

There is much more, and the use of language for effect makes me want to sit at my keyboard and hammer until something nearly as cool forms. I’m not sure it will ever happen but I’m inspired to keep trying.

Both Bruce Boston and Alessandro Manzetti are past Bram Stoker Award winners, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this work up for 2016’s award. There are also some wonderful illustrations by Ben Baldwin, whose work I was not familiar with but who I will keeping an eye out for in the future. Overall, the book works as both art and as psychological study. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Never to Suffer

I’ve been listening to the band Never To Suffer quite a bit of late. This is a heavy metal band putting out very good music but without the wide recognition they deserve. For example, I quite likely would never have heard of them if it weren’t for being friends on facebook with their bassist, Deanna Visalle. (I’ve known her longer than just facebook actually.)

Their latest album is “This Darkness Flows.” It’s only five bucks so is very reasonably priced. Downright low priced, I’d say. There are 8 tracks on the CD—“Black Sheep,” “Spare a Dime,” “3,” “Love Story,” “Cthulhu’s Witness,” “Within,” “Renegade,” and “Don’t Let Go.” All are heavy; all put you to head banging, and I liked ‘em all. My favorite piece was track 5, “Cthulhu’s Witness.” The fact that they know about Cthulhu shows a bit where their inspirations come from. I thought the musical influences were pretty broad, though. It makes for a good listening experience.

 Never to Suffer has a webpage but it looks like it’s still mostly under construction so I’ll refer you to their facebook page, which has more information, including how to order their CD. You go through Paypal, to

I recommend ‘em, and you know I know metal. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

More Stories at Dead Man's Tome

Is the phrase, "When it rains, it pours," only good for when negative things happen? Maybe not. Yesterday I had a flash fiction piece published at Flash Fiction Press. Today I have two more pieces published by an online magazine called Dead Man's Tome. I might have preferred having them published a little further apart but they don't ask my opinion on that kind of thing.

The link above is to the magazine itself. The direct links for the stories are
 "I See Your Night, and Raise You Hell."
 "The Boxer."

If you get a chance, I'd love for you to check them out. This is especially the case since how much money I make on the pieces will depend on how many comments I get on the site. So if it's not too much of a hassle, I'd appreciate it.

These stories are a flash fiction horror piece called "I See Your Night, and Raise You Hell." This is also one of my dream stories. In fact, the whole thing came to me in a dream almost exactly as it happens in the written version, with one exception, which I'll have tell folks about once they've read it. Otherwise it gives too much away.

The second story is a bit longer, called "The Boxer." I wrote this originally at a time when I was feeling very low. It expresses a certain painful outlook on life that I don't generally have, but which can overwhelm me when "it rains and pours" in the negative way.

The story "Red Book" is still up too, in case you'd like to have a look and haven't done so yet. It's off the main page of Flash Fiction Press. Here's the direct link.

As always, thanks for the support.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Red Book: New Story Up

Flash Fiction Press has published one of my tales today. It's called "Red Book," and is both short and free to read. I hope you'll check it out. And if you like it, leave a comment. 

This story will eventually appear in a collection I'm working on of Dream Stories, stories that I've written based either partially or wholly off of dreams I had. This one didn't come as a complete dream to me. I had to add some "before" and "after" information. I actually keep a 'story notes' file that has information in it about the pieces I write. Below is my entry for "Red Book."

Red Book: I was looking through my dream journal on March 23, 2016 and saw a dream I’d had about writing a book in the blood of my victims. Starting fiddling with a rough draft and the title just popped into my head. Finished the draft the first day and polished it a bit the next day but didn’t make too many changes.

As always, thanks for reading!