Busy as a…

Well, I’m not much for bumblebees, so let’s say as busy as these guys…


I have just been honored to be the subject of an interview for a web site we all know, trust, and turn to often. I won’t mention their name, as I think the announcement should be theirs to make, but I’ll certainly celebrate after the fact.

On another front, I’m currently reworking two of my longer pieces, tightening them up in preparation for publication, whether that’ll be traditional or by me, myself, and I.

I still have a bunch of tales out there, wandering the night, and I’m waiting to hear back on their fate. That’s the hard part, the waiting…and waiting…and waiting. That waiting is why I already have the dedication prepared in the event I do self publish this anthology:


That they will be published is not the question. By whom, though…¬†that is the question!

It’s odd, not scouring for new markets every morning as I enjoy my coffee. It’s as though the need to do that has simply turned itself off once I decided to seriously consider self publication. I don’t want to send anything else out there right now, as that would start a new cycle of waiting for a response.

I do need to be careful and not just dive in, though…there are a ton of considerations, many of which I probably haven’t even considered yet. You don’t know what you don’t know.

Research and read, read and research…that’s the ticket.

Oh, and patience. That too.

Proofs are in…

The print proofs I had made are in, and they look good. The cover is great, but I’d prefer to make some changes to the interior formatting. Still and all, not bad…

Book 1Book 3

A good start, and a good learning experience, to be sure. I’ll move forward with the project, keeping the cover, and tweaking the interior formatting to get it exactly where I want it.

Also this week, I decided to send the newest story, The Dot, and let Dennis Serra have a look at it, and see if he’d like to use it in The Evil Podcast. I already have so many out at various publishers that I wanted to take this one in a different direction. He’ll read it over the weekend, and let me know.

That’s it for now…time to get ready to go out for dinner at a good Mexican restaurant.

Fajitas, anyone?

The Dot…

The year is 1961. President Kennedy, the youngest president ever, is in the White House, promising great new advances for the country, but that’s not important to most six year old kids, not at all.

No, six year old Bobby is much more fascinated by the shrinking white dot on their old B&W TV screen when it’s turned off.

tv off

Is that dot moving? Do those pictures go someplace, or do they stay in the back of the set, waiting for the next time it turns on?

Bobby is very curious about that dot….well, until the night of his dream, that is.

The dream where that strange man with the creepy smile spoke to him from inside the TV, the picture now bright, crystal clear, and in vivid color. The creepy man that asked him if he wanted to step in and join him, actually¬†reached for him right through the glass, just as his mother’s alarm clock went off.

Oh, if that alarm hadn’t rung just then…

When we wake from a bad dream, it’s supposed to be over, finished, done with.

We should not be watching the news one night, a reporter on scene at a terrible fire describing the tragedy, and notice one man in the background standing out in vivid, colorful detail against everything else in the usual fuzzy black and white.

That man smiling a predatory smile, the one that says Oh yes, Bobby, I’m still here. I’m here waiting for you to join me…

The vivid, scary man in full color that no one else seems to see.

And this time, it’s not a dream at all.

Sleep well…

Prep underway

The more I think about it, the more enticing the idea of self publishing is becoming. The worst part of the traditional publishing route is the waiting for responses from a variety of publishers to whom you’ve submitted, keeping track of what went where, and when you might expect a response…on and on.

Well, I already have a full time job, thank you. I don’t need another.

The simple reality…I’m not going to make a boatload of money whether my shorts get accepted at a few of the places they’ve been submitted to, nor will I if I publish myself, so why the hell not give it a try?

Fair is fair…I’ll wait to hear back from the submissions I have making the rounds now, or at least most of them, before I pull the plug. I will properly withdraw them by contacting the publishers, as professionalism will be maintained, and then once they’re all back from their vacations on other screens, we’ll learn how to self publish.

Excited? You bet I am. Love to learn new stuff! Did some serious design work today, in preparation, too.

Ebook Cover:


Print Cover:

Web Cover

Working on the interior format as we speak… stay tuned!


The boring stuff, the necessary stuff we never think about. That stuff.

Spent time this morning organizing all of my work, completed and not, gathered it all in one folder, then backed that folder up to a USB drive, and also to Dropbox.

Then, with everything safe, I did the requisite updates, flashed the laptop BIOS, and so on.


Then it was time for a reward. Sat back and watched Season One, Discs 2 and 3 of the Twilight Zone, and really enjoyed going back to those great tales for a few hours.


I’ve been taking a different approach to working on a book, and have a few things put down as a start, things that simply won’t let go, won’t get out of my head.

Gotta think there’s a good reason for that. Let’s go with it and see where it takes us…

Relax and rethink…

I’ve just spent six hours editing a manuscript, working a cover design, and then updating my website. Pretty busy for a relaxing Saturday!

That’s OK, it’s all part of the plan.

I’m changing tactics now, hopefully maturing as a writer at the same time. Now, it’ll all be about the story, and I’ll follow it where it wants to go.


Word count, theme, genre, none of that matters. The story matters, and it’ll tell me all I need to know, including when it’s said what it needs to say. I’ve tried conforming an existing story to fit a submission requirement more than once, and it almost always ended badly (with one notable exception involving an ending change). Most times, if I try and add to a story to meet a word count, it’s just crap, and takes away from the tale. If it had been meant to be there, it would have been from the start.

Also, I’m not gonna “sit by the telephone”¬†like the stereotypical wallflower in fiction, waiting in vain for a response, ANY response to all those submissions floating around out there. Those editors have lives, have their own priorities, and they’ll decide when they decide. Makes a lot more sense to simply forget about them, and move on to the next story that wants to be told.

That doesn’t preclude having a backup plan, though. I’ve selected 13 stories, mainly the newest ones, certainly strong ones, and have collated them into an anthology collection in Scrivener and Word. Designed a cover for it too, which you might just see peeking up from below.

If the editors to whom I’ve submitted these tales elect to take a pass on them, then I’ll self publish them myself. Let’s be honest, I’m not gonna make a fortune on these either way, but the stories are good, they’re solid, and they deserve to be read and (hopefully) appreciated by readers.

We’ll see how it plays out….till then, as always…

Sleep Well…

What If Cover


Trust your gut…

I do. Always have, as a matter of fact. And that’s why I stopped trying to force a book out of a good story, because my gut said I was going to ruin it by forcing in content it simply didn’t need. “Writer, Blocked” told the story it needed to tell already.

I believe I’ll know when that idea, that story lands, the one that will require a full book to tell the tale, and that’s the book I want to write.

The right one, the one that needs to be written. The one that leads me through, rather than me trying to force what isn’t there. And I have the luxury of time to patiently wait for it to arrive when it does. Hell, I didn’t even start writing at all until I hit my 60’s, when the arthritis took away my ability to play stringed instruments.

So, I’ll be here, cranking out the stories that occur to me, just like I did today. I had an idea the other day, took down the notes that would serve as the road map to follow, and wrote “Lucky Buck” today. Even made a mention of an antagonist from another tale, and set it in poor old Carson’s Mill.

Mill Sign

I believe it’s good, and will make it better when I revisit it to edit and clean it up. And then, I’ll let it make the rounds.


I’ve been contemplating taking some good stories and self publishing my own anthology instead of constantly waiting and hoping for positive responses to my submissions, but the dilemma is that I am not a marketer/sales minded individual at all. Never have been, and at this age, never will be. I am a doer, not a seller.

So, sure – I can assemble the manuscript, I can even design and layout my own cover for it, but then what? That is my dilemma, and unfortunately, my gut has not weighed in with an opinion yet.

I’ll be right here when it does, ready to go.

Site Slider 3

What If?

What if? That’s where it all comes from, after all. We look at something and wonder to ourselves, “What if that ground chuck at the butcher’s really comes from a dead guy named Charles?” and the story goes on from there. It’s that simple, and that complex. That’s just how it works.

So, in the same spirit, I find myself wondering what if the short story “Writer, Blocked” is really the book I’m trying to make of it, or is it better off remaining a good (at least in my opinion) short story?

I have to confess, I’ve been working at trying to open it up to different avenues not because the story screams for me to do so, but because a writer should write books, right?

Maybe not the best reason, not the best story…I’m second guessing the project, and think I’m going to dig in, edit and rewrite the story, and see if it takes me further, *or* does it sit quite well on its own merits. If it does, then it goes into the story collection and joins the others, and the book will happen when it happens.

Time will tell…




Slowing very goly…

I know I should do more of an outline, to detail the characters and the events more thoroughly, but it is so hard to break the habit of writing by the seat of one’s pants!

I need to discipline myself better. I think I’m going to do some outlining longhand as a means to force myself to slow it down, to think it through and lay out the pieces I have so far, and see what new pieces those might suggest.

Maybe another fleeting idea will drop on in, and I can grab that and do a short story the way I’ve always done, providing the best of both worlds? We’ll see.

I did make progress this morning…but I pantsed it…

Writer Blocked cover