Another Sample: Is it Not Midnight? (Part 5)


I’ll have a proper post tomorrow. Work is a bit busy right now. But there’s no reason you shouldn’t get another taste of my nearly completed, totally unedited short story “Is it Not Midnight?”

If you haven’t been reading along so far. You can catch up here:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Enjoy, Legions of Fans.

The corpse was fresh, less than ten hours old. The morning chill was delaying decomposition and holding back the inevitable stench of death. Detective Elmore Winslow quietly  thanked the Lord for small favors.

A voice echoed in the alley. “Well, Newbie? Whaddaya make of this shit?”

Winslow turned to face his partner and frowned. “It doesn’t make sense, Jim.”

Detective James Frankel snorted. “Care to elaborate?”

Winslow squared his shoulders as he replied.

“Well, the deceased appears to have been homeless. He doesn’t have any wallet or I.D. on his person (which you would expect if this was a robbery). But, if robbery was the motive, you would expect the killer or killers to have relieved him of the near full pint of vodka, the twenty-five dollars in cash, and the bottle of cranberry juice we found in the pockets of his coat.” Winslow continued, “Also, his throat is cut, but there is very little blood anywhere in the alley. Which means he was most likely killed elsewhere, then moved here.”

“That’s one hell of an ‘also’, kid,” said the elder detective with a smile. “Let’s get breakfast while Forensics mops up. I hear the new Cuban place on Court Street makes some sort of Caribbean scramble. Then we’ll see if we can’t figure out who this month’s unluckiest hobo used to be.” With a nod to the uniformed officer at the end of the alley, Frankel exited the narrow space and walked with purpose toward a hot meal.
Winslow’s eyebrows met in the center of his dark features as he stared at the pale, lifeless form in the alley. Someone had gone to a lot of trouble to kill the man. But why?

Please, be kind. Or don’t.


James Harrington on PC in the Arts

Key passage below:

Unfortunately, the trend recently is to give story-tellers and movie makers a pass on creating weak stories and bad movies, as long as they’re pushing the right agenda… which in this case happens to be diversity. I think that is patently ridiculous and absolutely condescending. No one deserves a pat on the back for pretty much saying, ‘Yeah, here’s this script I pulled out of my butt last night. Yeah it’s crap, but look at all the minority characters and look at all the women I put in it.’[…]

via Collaboration/GB: A Response — The Creative Works of James Harrington

Change of Plans

I was writing the lead up to the climax in my short story “Is it Not Midnight?” and I ran into a small problem. I had originally intended to get my heroes out of a bind in a particular way but ended up writing them into a cell awaiting their untimely doom. That meant I had to rethink key aspects of the rescue and escape. Ultimately, everything ends up in the same place but now the logistics are different.

Now I’ve got people coming in from different directions now and weapons are in different places than they were. It’s as if the hero and his faithful manservant of indeterminate ethnicity were going to come smashing in through the window, but must instead enter through the ventilation system. It requires a few changes.

For simple continuity’s sake, I’m gonna have to go over this and earlier sections with a fine toothed comb to make sure none of the earlier information I’ve laid out is at odds with the new plan. To do otherwise would be unfair to my legions of fans. But it is a little frustrating.

Do any of the more experienced writers out there have any thoughts about how to avoid this situation? Or advice on how to solve it when it comes up again?




Advice for Hooking the Reader Early and Often


A bad beginning makes a bad ending.
-Æolus. Frag. 32, Euripides

While I’m by no means an expert on the whole fiction game. I’ve been reading a lot of advice from those who are much more experienced than I. Legions of Fans, this little review of the opening sentence and paragraph of a novel will provide you with excellent insight into the technical aspects and craftsmanship that go into writing a strong opening for your novel and/or short story.

As promised, I’m reviewing the opening of the winner of a different award this time around. The genre is more or less the same, but beyond that, there’s very little the two works have in common. As I did last week, I’m not giving the name of the work or the author, because I want […]

via Reviewing Some Award Winners – Part the Second — madgeniusclub

Drink it in, internets.

“And in the Darkness Bind Them” — Discover

Excellent piece I read a few weeks ago on the complicated story behind the LoTR becoming an international sensation.


At We Are the Mutants, editor-in-chief K.E. Roberts traces the history of the first Lord of the Rings paperbacks — and J.R.R. Tolkien’s resistance to them — and the establishment of fantasy as a popular genre.

via “And in the Darkness Bind Them” — Discover

My Phone No Longer Exists

Well. Not exactly. I still have it. It isn’t smashed under my boot heel. It isn’t at the bottom of my  aquarium. That’s because I don’t have an aquarium. Too much upkeep, I say. But, from 4:45am when I wakes up till 5:45am when I starts my exercises, my phone doesn’t exist. 

Why? Because I, like like many of you folks, SPEND WAY TO MUCH F-ING TIME ON MY SMARTPHONE! 

Yes friends, I could prove my point by citing some online survey about how “blargity blarg percent of the American public spends over 13 hours a day on their phones which correlates to a higher rate of cancer and murder suicide pacts.” I could do that. But that would requine that I SPEND MORE F-ING TIME THAT I DON’T HAVE ON MY F-ING PHONE.

I could have written 7 novels and read through a good part of the Western Canon in the time I’ve spent on my f-phone. 

So from now on, when I am in my designated writing time. My phone doesn’t exist. 

Please forgive any typos. I wrote this on my phone. 

Another Sample: Is it Not Midnight? (Part 4)


Yesterday was the first (and last) time I’ll be asking Cousin Rupert to write a guest post. Some of you thought that was pretty funny. The rest of you know Cousin Rupert is a very sick man. While he’s getting the help he needs, I’m here to share another sneak peak at my unedited first draft of my first short story in a series on Zoltan (!) Hungarian Demon Hunter.

If you haven’t been reading along so far. You can catch up here:

Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

Enjoy, Legions of Fans.

“As the Father wills it!” said the congregation, their voices joined as one.

“So shall it be done,” said the starry mask.

The starry mask went on talking but Richard could not hear her. His darted his eyes madly. Sweat was pouring out of his bare skin, but his throat was dry. His mouth felt gummy. His tongue was thick and stupid. Then the creature or whatever it was resumed its animalistic scuttling and scratching. This was too much for Richard. He began struggling against his bonds with ferocious energy. Richard’s efforts were futile. The woman in the starry mask was unperturbed by the display and continued as if he wasn’t there.

When the sermon was over, Richard gave up his feeble efforts with a defeated sob. The congregation drew closer and the chanting began again. Dozens of white, ghastly masks made a ring around Richard. What he saw next snapped his mind in two.

At the foot of the stone table, the creature with the scrabbling claws rose. Its hooded robe was blood red. Its ancient face was covered in green scales and bony ridges. The thing’s head was like a man’s in size but had an elongated snout reminiscent of a komodo dragon Richard had seen on a school trip once. Unlike the subdued lizard at the zoo, the creature’s eyes were yellow and fiercely intelligent. The hunched, impossible form drew itself up to its full height and raised its claws above its head. The fingers were longer and more powerful than a human. Each one ended in a long black talon.  I bet they’re hell on the furniture, thought Richard. The claws met above the creature’s head to make a perfect triangle and dropped down to its sides.

It was too much for poor Richard, but he wasn’t long for the world of the living. While the creature occupied his attention, the woman in the starry mask drew a curved knife from her robes. It was a technique she and the creature had worked out over the centuries. With her other hand, she gently drew Richard’s head back to expose his neck. His eyes refocused on the starry mask. A sweet aroma reached his nostrils.

“It’s you,” Richard said

“It’s me,” the starry mask agreed. In a fluid motion, the knife slid across Richard’s throat and released the hot pulsing blood from his body.

The woman behind the starry mask watched intently as the crimson spilled out onto the marble table. As the blood reached the black veins in the rock it was rapidly absorbed. She placed her hand on the polished stone and felt its unnatural heat. The table was reverberating with power. Her knees weakened a little as the heat crept up her arm and spread from her head to her toes. Behind the mask, her face was flushed with new life and power. She felt frown lines disappear. Safe again, she thought.

What happens next? Buy my unfinished story and publish it in your stupid magazine to find out.