Monday, December 20, 2010

Next Episode!

Happy Hollidays everybody!

Episode 19 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our faithful hero goes toe to toe, or rather, brain to brain, with someone who’s just begging for a good ol’ fashioned beat down.

Here’s an excerpt:
His grin was gone now, replaced by tension and nerves. I felt a few butterflies myself as we stared at each other, waiting for the other one to make the first move. Maybe this kid had enough juice to take me down. Maybe it just wouldn’t be my night. It was time to find out.

Slowly, deliberately, I smiled and winked at him.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Creative Writing for the Cold Weather

I'm blogging over at Abandoned Towers Magazine today on more creative writing ideas for to keep your brain in gear during the cold weather. Check it out!

And stay tuned, new Dark InSpectre episode on Monday!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Novel News

Wanted to give a progress report on the crime novel I'm working on. From my plot outline and where I am in my head, I figure I'm exactly halfway done. I'm actually pretty proud of myself to have gotten to this point. It's been extremely challenging writing both the novel and The Dark InSpectre at the same time, and keeping chugging along has been difficult in the midst of my normally busy job/life/other commitments/etc.

But it's going, and I'm happy with it. I've written 5 chapters, planning on 10 and about 60,000 words. Not huge by any stretch, but an appropriate length for the story. Now, having said that, it'll probably grow longer, which is what my projects normally do. But the point is that it's getting done, bit by bit. And every time I get to work on it, I really enjoy doing it. :)

Book Deal

Here's a promo for fellow Damnation Books/Eternal Press author Kelly Harmon:

Eternal Press is offering a 25% coupon on her award winning book, Blood Soup, if purchased from the publisher with a coupon code. She's sweetening the deal by giving away an electronic copy of her story, "The Dragon's Clause" to anyone who purchases Blood Soup. Information is here:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Episode 18

Episode 18 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero does a little undercover work to find a tel hotspot, only to find himself in yet another sticky situation.

Here’s an excerpt:

I frowned. I could badge my way in, but then the whole place beyond that door would clear out in about five minutes. I felt my mood start to sour but tried to stay nice. With an effort, I put a smile on my face. Maybe I had to say the magic word? “Can I please go in? I’m here to see the Scapes.”

Still no expression. “Sorry, pal.”

Now I really felt ridiculous.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Antho Out

The anthology with my story, The Devil You Know, is now out. It's called Christmas Fear, and it's full of spooky holiday stories. And it's only $9.99!
Here's the Amazon link:

And the cover:

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Dark InSpectre Episode!

Episode 17 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero gets a blast from the past with a call from an old friend.

Here's an excerpt:

Hank lived in an area known as Little Telville where Claire and I'd grown up. We were among the few who got out. "Oh, you know, not much changes around here." He heaved a sigh. "The water's still filled with mind-control substances aimed at subverting us tels. I'm pretty sure the Tarver Hardware store over on Alton and 3rd is really a hideout for a militant doomsday cult, and the eth heads are really freaking out lately."

It was my turn to raise an eyebrow. "What was that last one, Hank?"


We've got some serious action coming up, so stay tuned!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bloggin' time again

I'm back from Chicago, completely exhausted, barely alive. Fortunately, I wrote my guest blog spot for Abandoned Towers like two weeks ago, and just had to post it, no real work required. Here's the link if you want to check it out. I did my usual job of identifying interesting tidbits from my job and spinning them into cool story ideas from a creative writing perspective. Take a look-see:

My other writing has taken a hit due to the craziness of work, but now that my Chicago meeting's over, hopefully things will calm down and I'll be able to get back in the swing of things.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Episode 16 is up!

Episode 16 of The Dark InSpectre is up, in which Jack makes it clear in no uncertain terms that this is his investigation.

Here's an excerpt:
"I find out word’s leaked out, you’re off the team, and…” I paused for effect then continued after they started looking nervous. “I let my boss know you fouled up my case.”

They both blanched. They knew who my boss was, knew what he could do to a tel’s career. It was nice, using Wonderful Walter’s rep to freak someone else out for a change.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Killer Within News

Couple of cool things about my short story The Killer Within, published as an e-book by Damnation Books last year. I happened to do a google search just to see what's happening with it, and found out the following: It's now offered on Scribd. I'm not entirely sure what Scribd is, but it sounds pretty cool. Also, The Killer Within is the featured book on the web site World of Books, so that's another cool thing. Glad the story is still seeing some life, it gave rise to the character and setting of the novel I'm currently writing. So yay!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Another Story Acceptance

I'm rollin' baby! Got another story accepted. This one is for a different anthology called Best Left Buried: A Cursed Anthology. It's also being published by Static Movement. The story was something I'd written like six years ago and set aside and forgotten. But I saw the theme of the anthology and dusted it off, cut out about 1,700 words and re-vamped it slightly and subbed it in. And voila! The story was originally titled Zombies are Stupid, but I re-titled it: The Emerald Heart. And yes, it's chock full of zombie goodness. The anthology is not very full right now, so it probably won't publish till next year, which is fine, I'm in no rush. I'll also try and help out by posting the submission call in a few places. And in the meantime, here's the cover, it's way cool!

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Episode: The Dark InSpectre

Episode 15 of The Dark InSpectre has hit the internets, in which our hero gets to lead the big case, albeit under unsettling circumstances.

Here’s an excerpt:
Captains Haggerty and Roberts both nodded dully. In moments, the room was pristine, not a trace of Walter’s suffocating aura, like it had never happened. I stared at him. He looked back at me, his face unreadable.

I hope this shows I’m on your side, Jack. Now take this investigation wherever it leads. I expect results.

Yes sir, thank you sir.

Our private communication ended. Wonderful Walter being on my side was a little scary, I decided.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Story Acceptance!

I am totally psyched to report that I had a story accepted a couple days ago! Woohoo! The story is called The Devil You Know, and it's a sequel to Devil May Care, my first and only pro sale to Baen's Universe back in 2006. I wrote The Devil You Know a while ago and it's been kicking around for some time, searching for the right market, without much success. It's a very dark, comedic, spooky tale, like the first one. Thing is, I think it's actually a better story than the first one.

At any rate, I saw this submission call for an anthology titled: Christmas Fear, Spooky Stories for the Holidays, and I sent it off immediately. I got an acceptance e-mail within the hour! I know, crazy, right? The publisher is Static Movement, which has been putting out a lot of anthologies lately, and I think it will be available through Pill Hill Press, too. Not exactly sure when it will be published, but seeing as it's a holiday anthology, I'm assuming either this holiday season or next. Anyway, the cover has already been designed, and it's way cool. Here's a jpg. More soon!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Guest Bloggin'

Hey y'all, I'm guest bloggin' over at Abandoned Towers today, more cool story ideas gleaned from the news items I pore through every day in my job as a news editor.

Check it:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Episode 14

The Dark InSpectre, Episode 14 is now online, in which our hero has to do a song and dance in front of his superiors to get the big case.

Here's an excerpt:

“Gentlemen,” he said politely. “I believe we’re ignoring a few very important factors.” And then I sat back and observed as Walter’s psychic tendrils slowly uncoiled, extending around the room. I watched as he went to work, demonstrating how he earned himself the nickname “The Confessor.”

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm back

I spent the past month building up to the busiest week of the year last week for work in Washington DC. And now it's over. I got back home yesterday and took today off, dropped my youngest off at school (pouring rain, of course), got back home in a daze, slept for another hour and a half. Got up around noon, posted the next episode of The Dark InSpectre (see previous post). Did some voice work for a series being produced by my fabulous editor Crystalwizard.

Now that I'm back and things are relatively calm again at work (until I go to Chicago in 6 weeks), I should be able to get back to some serious writing again. I started another episode of the Dark InSpectre at the airport on my way back from DC, and I need to get moving post haste. And of course there's the crime novel, which is the thing I've been neglecting the most. In somewhat cool news, I picked up another follower of my Dark InSpecter series, which brings the number to an overwhelming 5. In addition, my page views for the series broke the 2,000 mark today. I know, these are modest, even miniscule numbers, but it's how I try and encourage myself. So yay me!

The Dark InSpectre, Episode 13

After a hard week in Washington DC, I slept in and posted episode 13 of The Dark InSpectre, in which our hero realizes even the most fearless of inspecters is rendered gutless when it comes to one thing: women.

Here's an excerpt:
My hand jerked on the wheel and I almost swerved off the road. I took my foot off the gas and got the car under control, along with my breathing, which had suddenly stopped. The conjecture had been completely logical, but the implications were staggering.

“Slow down Jack,” I muttered as I pulled into the driveway at Mary’s place. “Don’t get ahead of yourself.”

Yeah, I reminded myself, especially when a five foot three Irish chick might be waiting to kick my ass.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Guest Bloggin'

I'm guest bloggin' over at Abandoned Towers about creative writing today, taking a few of the news items I see in my job as a news editor and turning them into cool SciFi stories. Dig it:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Episode 12 is Loose!

Episode 12 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero discovers that some things can scare even the dead.

Here's an excerpt:

Question after question bobbed to the surface of my seething brain: What could scare a dead person? Who else was inside this guy? How did they get there? Why did Heske surface now?

The big one: was Heske going to kill again?

No answers magically came to me. I was swimming in uncharted waters, with only instinct to cling to, but with that came clarity: Killers killed. Heske wasn’t finished, not with that rage.

Lap it up, the fun's just getting started:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

new sub out into the universe

Remember that story I got rejected where I asked the editor what she didn't like about the ending? Well she was nice enough to tell me what didn't work for her. How about that? Just goes to show you that some editors are actually nice people and willing to help writers trying to improve their craft.

Anyway, what she said did, in fact, make sense to me. So I've spent the last couple days working on it and polished the story up to a nice new-car sheen and now sent it out to another market. So hope once again springs eternal. Or at least until the next time it gets completely crushed, thereby ending all vestiges of hope. That's the spirit!!

Now I must get back to the next episode of the Dark InSpectre since this has put me behind schedule. Back to the grindstone...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Episode 11 Takes Off

Episode 11 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, and things start getting way funky as our hero meets a grim ghost from the past who whacks an old friend from the present.

Here's an excerpt:
Bonardi’s expression went from pain and confusion to stark terror. “No…you’re…I mean, he’s…dead. That was years ago. I saw the body. There’s no way.” He shook his head back and forth, eyes wild.

Multiple Man lapped up his fear, savoring it. “Apparently, some deaths are more permanent than others.”

Get some:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rejection Redux

Got a short story rejected from the historical fiction web magazine Lacuna. Really thought I had a shot. Another one to add to the pile. Sigh...

Here's the actual note:
"I'm sorry for taking so long to get back to you. I thought 'Forge of the Soul' was a creative idea, and your writing style is very readable and well-paced, but I'm afraid the ending didn't quite work for me. I wish you the best of luck placing it elsewhere."

So it's not all bad, and I appreciate the nice words. I even said so in a reply to her, also asked what didn't work for her about the ending. Don't know if I'll get a reply to that. I'll have to re-read and think about it before re-subbing. Another one bites the dust...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

On the Bus

I took the bus on Friday to Rinebeck, NY to pick up my older boy from summer camp, about a two and a half hour ride, so I took my trusty laptop and tried to do some writing. I can't say I really remember ever writing on a bus before, but I figured, hey, can't be that big a deal, right?

It was...interesting. VERY bumpy heading upstate. And the bus was piping in this ridiculously loud movie the whole time, which was extremely annoying. But I did get some good writing done, so it was worth it in the end. And then my computer ran out of juice way before I was expecting it to, which was troubling.

So, not an experience I'd want to repeat, all things considered. But then again, you have to take your writing time where you can get it, right? This was another Dark InSpectre episode, so if I finish it off in the next day or so, I can get back to the crime novel over the next week. Yay!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Guest Bloggin

I'm guest blogging over at Abandoned Towers today on creative writing. It's a new Wordpress blog and it posted just great, which was a huge relief seeing as I'm not the most tech savvy person in the world. Come on over and visit!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Big Ten

Episode 10 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which Jack wades knee-deep into a fresh crime scene the likes of which he's never seen before, and catches a glimpse of a brand new player, Multiple Man.

Here's an excerpt:
I was grateful for the air conditioning, feeling the sweat start to cool on the back of my neck. Then the smell of laser burn and charred flesh assaulted my nose. I looked around. There were three bodies—the officer and a female civilian lay next to each other about ten feet from the store clerk who was sprawled over the counter by the cash register. There was a pale, translucent presence accompanying each one, but I ignored them for the time being. Standard procedure was read the scene first, talk to the dead later.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back in the Saddle

After more massive work on re-claiming lost computer files, finally got back into writing some more on the new crime novel today. It had been a while, so I re-read the first three chapters to get the feel again, then picked up where I left off with the start of chapter 4. Felt good, got back in the flow.

Tomorrow, though, have to switch gears back to the Dark InSpectre with a new episode, where things are really picking up at a wicked pace, so stay tuned! And then after I post, I'll write another new episode about four episode's ahead since that's about how far out I like to keep in terms of the story in my head. And then maybe I can get back to the crime novel, and then I have another guest blog post over at Abandoned Towers this Friday!

So even though it seems like I'm not doing very much, in reality I guess I am. Then why won't my little voice stop nagging at me to get back to work...?

Monday, August 9, 2010

The return of GN/BN

Yes, it's time once again for Good News/Bad News.

Good News: My editor/publisher really liked the first three chapters and plot overview I handed in of the crime novel I started, so she green lighted me and I'm off and running with it!

Bad News: I just got another soul crushing rejection of a short story I submitted back in May to a market that usually gives good feedback, but this time gave none.

Good News: Audio episode 3 of Unfinished Business just ran on the Beam Me up podcast, which is always cool exposure for me.

Bad news: my home computer went kablooey and I spent all weekend fixing it, so got absolutely no writing done whatsoever, and it's still not completely fixed

Good News: My reasonably sucessful (by my low standards) series the Dark InSpectre is going well and I'm just entering a completely wild set of episodes that will send events spinning off in a very cool direction.

Bad news: my health has been absolutely crap and I've felt completely awful; getting hit with migraines several times a week, also nasty drug side effects. Not fun at all.

So what's the tally? Bad news 3, Good news 3. It's all tied up. I could go either way. C'mon, gimme some good news...!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Idle musings

I was poking around some of the other series produced by my editor/publisher in addition to The Dark InSpectre and saw something interesting. Her publishing company, Cyberwizard Productions, is taking one of them, Knight Terrors: The (mis)Adventures of Smoke the Dragon, and turning it into a book. The series is close to wrapping up and she's taking all the episodes and putting them together into a print piece. She posted the cover online. It's pretty sweet.

Just got me thinking. Wonder if that'll happen with my series. That would be cool. Just by my rough estimation, I'd say it's not quite at the halfway mark yet of the current storyline. By the time it would reach the last episode, the whole series would probably be about book length. Of course, I have no idea if anyone would buy it, aside from my friends and family of course (love ya mom!), but it would still be pretty cool. Okay, daydreaming over. Back to work. Though I wonder what the cover would look like. And who would play Jack in the movie...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Episode 9 Hits the Web

I've just posted Episode 9 of In Plain Sight, The Dark InSpectre series. We're now starting to pick up steam with the beginning of a new homicide investigation to add to our hero's various dilemmas.

Here's an excerpt:
At that moment a call came in over the comm in my ear. “All units, multiple homicides, officer down, Wheeler’s Convenience Store, corner of Trafford and Old Towne Road. Please respond.”
Trafford and Old Towne was just a few minutes away.

I thought about it. A potentially pissed off Mary or a fresh multiple homicide. The chicken in me won hands down. I swerved across three lanes of traffic, ignoring the beeps and shouted obscenities as I raced through the early evening.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

So now I'm writing a novel...

I finished reviewing and revising the first three chapters and the plot overview and sent it in. Within a half an hour, that's right, thirty minutes, my editor got back to me and gave the green light to go ahead with the whole manuscript. She really liked it. I found the plot overview very interesting to write. It really forced me to figure out in my head step by step where this story is logically going to go. Of course things can and will probably change, but it was a valuable exercise that I should probably do more often.

I liked my wife's reaction best. She looked at my editor's very positive response and turned to me and said, "so now you're writing a novel." Priceless. (she meant that in a good way). So the storyline of the novel is a straight crime fiction drama, no scifi whatsoever, very hardhitting.

So now what? Right now I take a breath. I've been writing at a very hard pace lately both on the first three chapters and the Dark InSpectre series. Doing both at the same time has been tough. I'm going to ease up just a wee bit on the novel over the next week or two, and then dive back in. But right now it's all good. Let's hope I can keep it up. And stay tuned for Episode 9 of Dark InSpectre tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

El Chapter Tercero

I finished Chapter 3 last night of the crime novel I've been working on. I consider this a pretty significant milestone that I was able to do this in a relatively short amount of time while keeping up my obligation with the Dark InSpectre and my normally hectic life and not so good health status. So f&#k yeah for me!

Now comes the read-review-revise part, which I will start tonight and continue over the next couple of days. Then the wife will read it (she wants me to email it to her as a pdf so she can read it on her brand spanking new kindle, not sure how that's going to work). While she's reading it I'll write a plot overview, then I'll send the whole kit'n kaboodle off to my editor, and see if it sucks. (I kind'a like it, so far. So fingers crossed).

In other news, a reprint I'd forgotten about got rejected from an anthology I'd submitted it to. That didn't phase me too much. I'm still waiting to hear from two markets that are WAY due. Lacuna and Abyss & Apex. Lacuna I think I have a realistic shot at, A&A I'm assuming I'll get rejected, but get good comments to revise and submit elsewhere.

That's all for now...!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Book Watch

Several factors have come together to allow me to make some real progress on the crime novel I'm supposed to be working on. My older boy is at sleep away camp, my Dark InSpectre series is running smoothly at the moment without consuming too much of my time, most of the audio episodes for it have been recorded, and my wife, may she be eternally blessed, has been keeping my younger boy out of my hair so I can have writing time. I've forged ahead quite a bit and am in the early part of chapter 3.

My goal is to have 3 chapters and a plot summary for my editor in the next few weeks, and now is the time I blocked out to get this all done. And it's actually happening, with only one potential obstacle: my health. I've really felt awful lately, going on and off medications for the migraines I get, not to mention the headaches themselves. I've really been getting hammered. I'm going to set a neurologist appt next week and hopefully start to get my poor noggin straightened out, cuz I just can't continue like this. But in the meantime, it's full steam ahead. woohoo!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Episode 8 Unbound

Episode 8 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero gets some inside info on what makes his new boss tick.

Here's an excerpt:
I plugged in the memory chip; the small screen lit up with a heading that read:

IAD Background Check #734
Subject: NAPD Academy Applicant
Status: Telepath
Name: Boyd, Walter T.

Internal Affairs ran extensive background checks on tels before accepting them into the Academy, looking into their past, family, friends, digging for dirt. It was a regulation passed by the City Council to try and weed out the “undesirables,” which translated to any tel who had so much as a parking ticket. As a result, these background checks were pretty invasive, which suited my purposes just fine.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Guest Bloggin'

I'm blogging over at Abandoned Towers today, doing my usual number on taking science tidbits I've collected over the past few weeks and turning them into riveting Scifi stories! Drop on by...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Podcast #2

A little earlier than expected, Paul Cole over at Beam Me up has broadcast Episode 2 of Unfinished Business on his radio show and podcast program. The episode is about 5:45 into the broadcast. I'm telling ya, the music my editor laid in for the soundtrack on this episode is so funky, it really makes it cool. And FYI, that handsome guy on the front of the page? No, that's not me.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Impending Doom, or Perhaps Bliss...?

I happened by the twitter feed of the historical fiction journal Lacuna, which I submitted something to a while ago. They posted their first three acceptances for their October issue yesterday. I have the feeling I will be receiving either a rejection or an acceptance VERY shortly...!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Episode 7, from the beach

From the Jersey Shore I give you Episode 7 of In Plain Sight, The Dark InSpectre series, in which our hero finds things are a little leaky in the office.

Here's an excerpt:

I looked at each of them, dead serious. “`A source inside the NAPD?’ I’m going to give you one chance. Just one. Then I’m never going to ask again. Does anyone have anything to say to me?”

All their eyes went wide, denial written on their features.

Teo Cruz spoke first. “Boss, no way.” He had a fervent look in his eyes. “There’s no rat in this house.”

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Progress and Podcasting

I'm leaving for the Jersey shore with the family tomorrow to spend the next 5 days at my folks' beach house. My goal the past couple of days was to write another Dark InSpectre episode, finish recording audio episodes of Unfinished Business, and finish chapter one of the new crime novel. I am happy to say I accomplished each of those goals. And this was despite discovering that I lost most of the changes to an upcoming DIS episode that I had completely re-written a month or so ago. OMG was I pissed! So I had to re-write that, too. And this was despite still not feeling that great health-wise. Yeah, I rocked.

AND, the first audio episode of Unfinished Business aired on Beam Me Up a couple days ago. With the music and editing, it sounds totally awesome. My wife's first comment to me after hearing it: "That sounds nothing like you!" :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Back from the Sniffly Dead

Whoa was I sick. I didn't realize it was possible for me to have a sinus infection, fever and a migraine all at the same time. I hit the trifecta!

I'm not all the way back yet, but feeling better. And stuff has been happenin! My editor, the inestimable Crystalwizard, has started her own audio production studio, and she asked me if I'd provide voice reading services for it, since my deep, cultured tones have been so impressive for the audio episodes of my Dark InSpectre series. So naturally I said you betcha!

And speaking of my audio episodes, the first Unfinished Business audio epi is set to be podcast courtesy of Paul Cole's Beam Me Up web show this weekend. That should be way cool. Episodes will run once a month.

Also got advance copies of Abandoned Towers with my story Cold Comfort. The issue looks awesome.

Only bad note, my story The Devil You Know was rejected a few days ago :(. Oh well, have to figure out somewhere else to submit it. In the meantime, got to work on the next Dark InSpectre episode so I can get back to the new crime novel. I want the first chapter done by the time I leave for the Jersey Shore next week. Then I can concentrate on that pesky secondary storyline that's been giving me trouble...!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Episode 6 of The Dark InSpectre

Episode 6 of In Plain Sight, The Dark InSpectre series, is now online, in which our hero finds things simmering just as hotly on the home front.

Here's an excerpt:
She was livid. I felt her flinch when I said Jimmy’s name. Knew the blow was coming an instant before she did, but I didn’t stop her.

“HOW DARE YOU!” Mary smacked my face hard enough to sting. I felt like hugging her. Instead, I sat there, passively watched as she got up and stalked back into the house, slamming the door behind her. Faintly I heard a crash; that would be the crystal whiskey decanter.

Also now starting to add audio episodes. They're way cool! I'll keep adding till I'm caught up with the current episodes:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Guest Bloggin'

Hey y'all, I'm guest bloggin' over at Abandoned Towers today. Check it here.

Also, the very first audio episode of The Dark InSpectre, narrated by yours truly, is up. It's totally wild. I am now the king of all media! (with the minor exception of television and film).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

And My Voice Shall Ring Out to the Heavens

I got my Walmart brand pop filter yesterday (it's an audio-recording thing, I didn't know what it was either until my editor explained it to me), and I did my first good audio recording of the first episode of The Dark InSpector. My editor, crystalwizard, said it was good to go. Now she's going to lay in a soundtrack and send it back to me for my approval. I anticipate this being a surreal experience: A, listening to my own voice talking, and B, having it dramatized with an actual soundtrack.

Then I'll do every existing episode and the new ones as they come out. I know, pretty wild, huh? And here's the real kicker, seems like they'll be featured on the Beam Me Up podcast web site, which would be major exposure. I've got some days off from work coming up during which I plan on getting some real work done on the novel. And you can bet I'll do a big chunk of audio episodes, too (rubbing my hands in anticipation).

Monday, June 14, 2010

Blog Hoppin' and Retun from the Grave

Two interesting items today. First of all, there's an interview with yours truly over at the web site of Kelly A. Harmon, who I featured here a short while ago.

And secondly, I just learned that Flashingswords Magazine is back from the dead, as an annual publication at this point. Submissions open July 15. I find this particularly interesting cuz I was about to submit something to them when they announced they were going out of biz. So you can bet I'll be re-subbing in a few weeks.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Listen to the Sound of My Voice

I got an email from my editor for The Dark InSpectre asking if I can audio-record an episode for her. Seems that a very popular pod-cast web site for science fiction serials is interested in my series. It would be huge exposure so of course I agreed. I recorded the first episode from Unfinished Business and sent it to her. If she likes how I sound, I'll record the rest of the episodes. If not, then she'll get someone else to do the voice work. Either way is fine with me. It would be funny, though, if I end up doing the recordings, just imagining people out there listening to my voice coming out of their computer :). Apparently, though, effects would be added in to make the episodes even more dramatic. I'm very curious as to how these are going to turn out. I'm imagining back to when I was a kid listening to episodes of King Solomon's Mines on the radio during dinner. Okay, it might not be just like that, but it would still be cool!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Dark InSpectre, Episode 5

Episode 5 of In Plain Sight, The Dark InSpectre Series, is now online, in which our hero faces more questions than he can reasonably deal with.

Here's an excerpt:
I let out a sigh. My mind kept working as I took turn after turn. Laszlo’s murder—might as well call it what it was—Boyd… something was going on. I didn’t know what yet, but my finely honed sense of paranoia said it was aimed straight at me.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Comin' Home

Vacation is over and the wife and I are flying home from Paris tomorrow morning. It's been an absolutely fabulous week. I actually was able to do some writing on the new book and hope to do more at the airport and during the 7-hour flight. The wife promises to let me write. How about that!

I got an advance pdf of the July Abandoned Towers Magazine with my story Cold Comfort. It's way cool. I also have a link to order copies at a discount. I'll order several for my various fans and family members once I'm back stateside.

After that, I have to really haul ass to have a plot summary and three chapters for the new book by August, all while keeping up with the Dark InSpectre. Speaking of which, I'll be posting another new episode on Monday. Holy cow that came up fast!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Free at last

I've been in Paris for five days, working like crazy, and finally the conference I've been covering has ended. My wife arrived this morning and vacation has begun. Thank god.

It's been an interesting week. I've gotten a couple of rejections on stories I've submitted, one that was particularly crushing because I thought it was a shoe in. Just shows to go ya. Needless to say, I've resubmitted them.

I got some excellent writing done on the plane over here, wrote episode 9 of the Dark InSpectre, got edits back for episode 5, and wrote some more on the new novel I've been assigned. Also had a brainstorm for the story line, just need to figure out how to make it work.

And I got a proof of my story that's coming out in Abandoned Towers in July, so I've got to make sure to go over that. So a lot of stuff's going on. Did I mention I'm in Paris? More later...

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Dark InSpectre, Episode 4

From Paris with love, Episode 4 of In Plain Sight, The Dark InSpectre series, is now up, in which our hero learns there's a new pecking order, and he's on the bottom looking up.

Here's an excerpt:
I kept my expression blank. Sinuous tendrils of thought brushed against my outer consciousness and for an instant, I lost focus and drifted. I gave myself a mental shake and firmed up my shields. My head cleared. No way was I trusting this guy.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Off to Paris

My flight is tomorrow at about 5:30 pm. I'm looking forward to a lot of good writing time at the airport and on the 8-hour flight, or at least as long as my computer's batteries hold out. I already did some good writing this morning at my older boy's karate class, which was good since work has been so crazy lately that my mind has not been on my writing that much.

Of course, after I actually get to Paris, I'm going to be insanely busy for the next week until my wife arrives and vacation starts. But I've got this little 24-hour oasis starting tomorrow in which to write, so I will hopefully make the most of it. I plan on finishing off the next episode of The Dark InSpectre and then getting into the new crime novel.

Oh, and I'll still post the next episode of The Dark InSpectre, though it'll be on Paris time. :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Guest Bloggin'

Hey y'all, I'm guest bloggin' over at Abandoned Towers today, describing real-world events that could be excellent nuggets for fiction stories. check it:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Special Guest, Kelly A. Harmon!

Hello everyone! Today, I’m very pleased to have as my guest blogger award-winning author Kelly A. Harmon here to answer a few questions. Kelly is a former newspaper reporter who still writes non-fiction. In her fiction writing, Kelly’s short story, Lies, was short-listed for the 2008 Aeon Award and her novella, Blood Soup, won the July 2008 Fantasy Gazetteers Novella Contest. Eternal Press released Blood Soup in print and Ebook format in late 2009.

Jason: Kelly, when and how did you start writing fiction?

Kelly: I’ve always written fiction! I can’t remember a time that I didn’t want to be a writer.

I scribbled constantly in a three-ring binder full of loose-leaf all through grade school. At home, I would use my Mom’s Royal manual typewriter, eking-out one or two typed pages a day before my fingers would smart from those sticky keys. I harangued my parents continually for an electric typewriter, which I finally received for my 12th birthday. That’s when I really started churning out the words. (That’s also when I taught myself to type—I still can’t use my right pinky to shift.)

Jason: What were some of your earliest influences?

Kelly: Several authors were influential in forming my literary tastes: Robert Heinlein, Carole Nelson Douglas, Katherine Kurtz, Terry Brooks. I was reading Heinlein in grade school, thanks to a librarian who steered me in that direction, and I LOVED Edward Eager’s Half Magic and Patricia Coffin’s The Gruesome Green Witch. I still re-read those.

I remember a friend handing me the hardback version of Brooks’ Sword of Shannara over the high-backed seat of the school bus. The dust jacket was missing, the black, cloth binding showed a lot of wear. Obviously, it was well-loved. I loved it, too. I can’t decide if it’s Brooks’ Shannara series, or Douglas’ Six of Swords (which I had to read with a dictionary by my side) that was most influential in steering me toward a life of fantasy.

Jason: I am also a full-time journalist. How do you find the one form (journalism) affects the other (fiction) and/or vice-a-versa?

Kelly: I was worried when took a full-time job as a reporter that writing non-fiction would suck the life out of my fiction. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I’m not certain if it was the excitement of the job or the fact that I was already in some kind of “writing zone” by reporting all day, but I found that when I worked as a reporter my fiction output skyrocketed.

In the first three months of writing for the paper, I knocked out the first draft of a novel – about 120,000 words. It was impossible to keep up that output, but I still managed to write a significant amount while employed there. When I stopped reporting, I noticed my fiction output take a nosedive.

I think reporting also educates you about people: You get to meet folks from all walks of life–often in situations they never thought to find themselves in. Talking to people when they’re most vulnerable is a learning experience. Knowing how relationships work, how people react under pressure, and being able to write about it lends credibility to fictional accounts. I don’t think writing fiction affects writing non-fiction as much.

Jason: Your latest release, Blood Soup, can be found at Eternal Press. Tell us a little about it and where the inspiration came from.

Kelly: Blood Soup is a story of murder, betrayal and comeuppance.

The story opens with a pregnant Queen Piacenza. Her husband, King Theodicar naturally hopes for a male heir. But the Queen is from Omera, where the first-born rules, no matter what the sex of the child. This causes no end of friction between them.

The Queen’s nursemaid, Salvagia, casts runes about the birth. Over and over, they yield the same message: “A girl child must rule or the kingdom will fall to ruin.” The women are convinced the baby will be a girl. When the queen finally gives birth, the nurse and the king are equally surprised, and Theodicar is faced with a terrible choice. His decision will determine the fate of his kingdom. Will he choose wisely, or will he doom Borgund to ruin?

I'm an avid genealogist. When I was writing Blood Soup, I was researching the Polish side of my family and putting together a family-recipe book. One of the recipes was for a special-occasion soup called "Czarnina" (char-NEE-nah). In English, it’s referred to as Blood Soup.

Despite the sound of its name, Blood Soup isn't such a sinister thing. There is some blood involved, but it only constitutes a small fraction of what is used to create the broth. The other ingredients are fairly routine and include cloves, peppercorn and fresh apples and pears, which create a sweet-and-sour soup.

As I worked through the plotting process, I acknowledged that blood is a requirement for life. Any great loss of it, and we perish. So, I considered ways by which blood could be used for healing or as a medicinal ingredient. Taking it a step further, I wondered at the efficacy of using blood to save the life of another person: Could blood from a well person pull a dying person back from the brink? Could it strengthen a weak constitution? I looked at whether or not a person could subsist on a diet of mostly blood...human or animal. And, what happens to someone who develops such a taste, so much so that it’s like an addition?

That line of questioning solidified Prince Amalric’s character: He was a weakling as a child and was fed blood to fortify him. He came to crave it as a youngster, often demanding it. He reveals his strong temper—like an addict—when someone has eaten the last bowl of soup which he considers his.

Although King Theodicar set in motion the events which lead to Amalric’s eventual rule, Blood Soup is actually about Amalric, whose blood lust was thrust upon him by a determined father and who must come to realize that he’s not the rightful heir to Borgund.

Jason: What else do you have coming out that you’d like to talk about?

Kelly: My story “Selk-Skin Deep” is available this month in the Bad Ass Fairies 3 anthology: In all Their Glory. It’s an alternate history about the Vietnam War. The hero, Cade Owen is a selke (a Scottish faerie who is a seal, but can shed his skin and become human) who is also a Navy SEAL. He’s assigned to an aircraft carrier in the Gulf of Tonkin and has to...well, you’ll have to read it to find out.

I’ll be at Balticon over Memorial Day weekend for the launch party. I’m also teaching a seminar during the convention on How to Submit Short Work for Publication.

I have a non-fiction chapter coming out later this year in the book “The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal: Undead, Cursed and Inhuman.” It’s a piece about joining or forming a critique group, and how to give a good critique.

Jason: You recently re-published your short story The Dragon’s Clause as a single on Kindle after it appeared in the anthology Black Dragon, White Dragon. How did you go about doing that? Is this something you would recommend for other short story authors?

Kelly: Amazon is smart. They make it very easy for anyone to publish to Kindle: just format your story how you want it to appear and upload to their servers. I spent a few hours trying to make it perfect, but could have done a decent job in far less time.

When I was satisfied with the way it looked, I published it. The hardest part (for me) was waiting 48 hours for the file to wind its way through their servers and into the Amazon search engine.

I did have the cover artwork professionally done by an artist named Crystalwizard. Good artwork is important. It functions the same as the cover of a book in a traditional book shop: A good cover will catch someone’s interest and, perhaps, lead to a sale.

Do I recommend other authors do it? I think it depends on the situation. For me, it was a no-brainer: I’d written a one-off story (dragons not being my usual cup of tea) that I was having no luck selling on the re-print market. I could have held it for a while until the rights of some of my other shorts reverted and packaged them all as an anthology...but those stories are so different...I’m not sure that would have worked.

I’ve got several short stories under submission to various markets right now. If they don’t sell, I won’t put them on Kindle. I like the “legitimacy” of the story having had an editor’s approval first. Just like some buyers won’t purchase a self-published book, I think there will be some Kindle owners who won’t purchase a self-published e-book. But, the line is blurring. I may change my mind later.

Dragon’s Clause is also available at iFiction as HTML. I wanted to offer non-Kindle owners the opportunity to buy it, too. Since a large factor in selling books is “discoverability,” I’m looking for other venues to sell it, too. I think that makes smart business sense.

Jason: What about writing do you find the most challenging, and how do you deal with these issues?

Kelly: Since I work full time and have more than a two-hour commute daily, finding time to write is my biggest problem. I’ve learned to use those little bits of loose time that crop up during the day. For instance, while waiting in line at the post office yesterday, I was able to write a few pages of prose in a small notebook I carry. I scribble away while pumping gas. The moments I love the best are when I’m waiting for someone else to arrive...because I like to arrive early for meetings, and most people I know are usually late. Lots of “found” time there!

I do get a chunk of time late in the evening to write. It’s hard to ignore my inner nag: Put in a load of laundry, dust the bureau, check your email. I turn on music and try to focus on the project at hand. Most of the time, I’m successful.

That’ll wind things up for now. Thanks Kelly for giving us some very interesting insight into your writing and creative process. Feel free to stop by any time. Good luck to you on all your future writing endeavors!

Feel free to check out all things Kelly at the following web locations:

--Twitter: @kellyaharmon
--Facebook Fan Page:
--Amazon Author Page:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Progress, such as it is...

Monday I finally sat down and wrote the opening scene for the novel I've agreed to write. The working title is Metro City, but that's just because I haven't thought of a real title yet. The scene felt good, threads started unraveling and wending their way through my head. I have a lot of elements, but not a clear, defined point A to B to C all the way through plot yet. But it'll come. The only problem is time. I'm going to Paris for two weeks at the end of next week. The first week will be completely exhausting work and the second week will be vacation. I honestly have no idea how much I'll be able to write while I'm there. At least I'll be able to write on the flights back and forth.

Interesting side note, I've found that going down to the gym in the basement of my apt. building represents really good thinking time for the various stories I'm working on. It requires total concentration and clearing my mind of all distractions (so I don't drop a weight on my head), and almost without conscious thought I find new plot elements and scenes playing themselves out in my mind.

Tomorrow is morning karate for my older boy. That means two hours of uninterrupted writing time for me. Yay! So what do I concentrate on? The new novel? Or the Dark InSpectre? Hmmm....

Monday, May 10, 2010

In Plain Sight, Episode 3

Episode 3 of In Plain Sight, the new story arc for The Dark InSpectre, is now online, in which our hero makes a special new friend.

Here's an excerpt:

I risked a quick scan, trying to get some sense of him. What I got made my skin crawl. It was like breathing in something greasy and foul. Oily tendrils of thought slid up against my shields and I started feeling lightheaded and dull. I shook my head, locked down my senses and waited for the sensations to pass.

What was this guy?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

For the second time in a week, a market I've submitted a story to has folded. My reaction? Unbe-f@#*ing-lievable! This one really pisses me off. The magazine, Something Wicked, had my story for a year, a whole goddamn year! The editor says the mag's going on hiatus for the rest of 2010 so he can figure out how to really make it work. He didn't even have the courtesy of e-mailing authors whose submissions he'd been sitting on. I learned about it over at That is just classless. And the notice doesn't even have any language saying something to the effect that all stories are hereby released. Just that submissions and the magazine are closing until futher notice, buh bye.

Yeah, well same to you. Come back, don't come back. I'm moving on. What a total waste. At least I have my story coming out in the July Abandoned Towers Magazine to look forward to. And maybe I'll get an acceptance to the Doomology: Dawning of the Apocolypse anthology I've submitted to. Oh well, what can you do...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Split Personality Writing and Sub Aggravation

At my older son's karate class yesterday morning I all but finished episode 8 of the new story arc for The Dark InSpectre. I was really getting into it and was fleshing a lot out in my head and salivating over all the wicked, nasty stuff I have in store for Jack Garrett and the Spook Squad. And then I stopped my brain and I said, hey brain, hold on there! You need to be thinking about the plot for the mystery/hard boiled crime novel that your incredibly generous editor asked you to write for her small press house. After it sulked for a bit, my brain acquiesced and started branching out along those lines. I have a decent framework and a very good first scene and main character, so things are still preliminary, but going well.

It does, though, illustrate what I foresee as being my primary dilemma, and that is writing and thinking about two distinct, separate but tonally similar stories at the same time. I think things will get a bit better when I get the nascent novel (I can't believe I just said the "n" word) more fleshed out and actually start writing it, but I predict this is something I'll just have to deal with.

In other news, a market I submitted a story to ( finally admitted that it got overwhelmed by submissions and couldn't handle all of them. It therefore cut its wordcount limit in half, thereby rendering most submissions ineligible, and said anybody who wants to re-submit may do so. Now, I have no problem with a publication re-trenching if it's having problems. What I do find aggravating is if it takes five months to figure this out, tying my story up for that long in the process. So now I have to find another market for my story. Oh well, one more thing to do...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Day My Mind Exploded

Yesterday was fairly normal. I sent back a revised version of the next episode of the Dark InSpectre to my editor, and she sent it back with a few last little changes here and there, and that was that. Then she sent another email with the subject line: Special Request.

I should note here that in addition to Abandoned Towers Magazine, my editor, the aptly named Crystalwizard, also runs a book publishing company with several imprints ranging from scifi to fantasy and several other genres. Her special request was this: Would I like to write a hard, non-paranormal crime detective story for her mystery imprint, around 60,000 words?

I got this email at about 5:00 pm, on my way out the door from work. At home, once I re-attached my lower jaw to the rest of my face, I got more details. Turns out she has a mystery imprint but no real hard hitting crime novels, and she thinks my voice would be perfect for it. I was very concerned about doing this new project and writing The Dark InSpectre at the same time. She suggested lengthening the time between episodes, which I'm not crazy about, but if it helps me write an honest to god book that will actually be published, then I'll make the sacrifice and hope my readers will understand.

She gave me a rough time table of coming up with a plot overview and the first 3 chapters by August, and a first draft a year from now. Long story short--I'm in.

This all happened in the last 24 hours. I'm still reeling.

Monday, April 26, 2010

In Plain Sight, Episode 2

Episode 2 of the new story arc for The Dark InSpectre is up, and it's good!

Here's an excerpt:

I moved down a hallway past ornately framed mirrors into the master bedroom and shone the light on the bed, but didn’t need to. The phosphorescent yellow body outline stood out in the dark. I wondered if somebody was picking one out special for me, too.

I sat on the bed and took a deep breath. The first tel on site had probably done this several times, but I didn’t care. If Laszlo offed himself here, I was going to see it for myself.

Don't deny yourself:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Back in the Saddle

I've taken the last few weeks off from writing The Dark InSpectre cuz I've been involved in some other projects, putting some guest blog and interview posts together and going through an old epic fantasy novel of mine for submission. Fortunately, I'm about 5 to 6 episodes ahead so I can put it aside every once in a while to do other things. But I finally finished those and got back to the new story arc with paranormal cop extraordinaire Jack Garrett this morning. It felt good, I needed to re-immerse myself again. I didn't even write a whole lot, but it got the wheels moving. I'm on episode 8 and rubbing my hands together anticipating where the story will go. Episode 2 will post on Monday.

And did I mention that a story of mine, Cold Comfort, will be coming out in the print version of Abandoned Towers Magazine in the next month or two? Yay me!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Blog Alert!

Hey Y'all! I'm Blogging over at Abandoned Towers Magazine today about cool real life genre story ideas you can write about. Check it here!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Blogging and Antho update

Couple of interesting things going on. First episode in the new story arc of The Dark InSpectre dropped on Monday, seemed to get good traffic.

Also, met an author through my Damnation Books listserv who's interested in swapping blog interview spots. Her name is Kelly A. Harmon, and like me she's a journalist who got into fiction writing. She seems about at the same stage as me, too, a couple of short stories here and there, looking for some good marketing. I look forward to interviewing her and showcasing her stuff on this blog in early May when we get some dates set.

A very interesting discussion has broken out on the bulletin board for that disaster-themed anthology I submitted to, the one that suddenly committed to a three and possibly four-book series. Well, some other authors had the same concerns I did in terms of potentially getting accepted and then not having your story actually hit print till book two or three, which could take years. Someone else raised the point that maybe the editor should go through all the submissions and make sure they have enough quality pieces to support three books before comitting to that, which I think is an excellent point. Someone else noticed that this particular publisher, The Library of Science Fiction and Fantasy, is starting and posting calls for new anthologies faster than they have them coming out, and that maybe they're moving a bit too fast.

All these seem like legitimate concerns to me. In response, the editor for the anthology I'm interested in announced that he now has a co-editor to split the work and so things will move quickly, which I take as a positive sign. In addition, the deadline for submissions is still the end of April, so I guess we'll just see what happens...

Monday, April 12, 2010

In Plain Sight, Episode 1

The first episode of the new storyline in The Dark InSpectre series is now up. It kicks off with a bang. Here's an excerpt:

I flashed on the aftermath of Jimmy’s death. Most of the Department had been out looking for me. When my fellow cops finally arrived, Franken and a couple of uniforms were the first ones there. I was half dead, crazed, and drugged out of my mind. Mary was huddled in her bedroom with the kids, and I just stood in front of the door like a guard dog. Nobody was getting in.

The uniforms find Jimmy’s body, and Franken informs me we’ve got seven, eight minutes before the rest of the force arrives. He knows I’m protecting Mary’s role in whatever went down, tells me he’ll do his best to keep her out of it. The price: I come clean, right now. I looked at him, swaying on my feet; I couldn’t even get a surface read. I rolled the dice, told him everything.

Click and enjoy the ride:

Monday, April 5, 2010

Antho Update

An interesting thing happened with an anthology I recently submitted to, the one with the disaster theme. Apparently, they got such a flood of submissions, the editor and publisher decided to make it a three book series, with the possibility of a fourth. Each edition would contain 9 to 12 stories. First of all, assuming that quantity in this case equals quality (and there is no guarantee that it does), that's great that the publisher would make a committment like that, and it definitely increases the number of stories that will get accepted, which increases my chances.

The only down side is time. Things will take longer. Three times the number of stories will have to be accepted, three tables of contents will have to be put together, publication dates will have to be set for the second and third books, each of which will likely come out staggered 8 to 12 months after the previous one. So my story could get accepted and then not come out for another two years potentially. No way would I complain except my recent history says that small presses tend to go out of business during that time frame. But let's look on the bright side! The deadline for submissions is the end of this month, so I figure acceptances will hopefully start going out end of May. Then the sky's the limit!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dusting off the reprint

I finally did something I've been half considering for a while. I wrote a short story that got picked up in the anthology Strange Stories of Sand and Sea called Ouroboros Sleeps. It came out in 2008. It was a cool little story, I really liked it. I've always wondered about sending it out again to a market that accepts reprints. So along comes this submission call for an anthology titled Dead Bate 2, all about creatures of the sea. Perfect. I queried, gave them a summary of my story, and they said sure, send it on in.

The deadline is in July I seem to recall, so I'll find out then if it's been accepted. Either way, it's no skin off my nose, the thing was already written. All I had to do was hit "send." I did, however, fix a minor point in the story that really nagged me. The main character's name always bothered me, so I finally changed it. That alone was worth the effort. And if it gets accepted, I get a free antho full of short stories to read. A win-win. Yay!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jack's Back

I posted the intro to the next series for The Dark InSpectre, In Plain Sight. The first episode will run in 2 weeks. I am rubbing my hands with anticipation and glee.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rave Reviews

I was notified that a review of my short story/e-book The Killer Within was posted over at the Pen & Muse, and it was good!

Here it is:

"I very much enjoyed the repartee between Frank and his partner. I found myself a couple of times having a throw-back to Lennie Briscoe on Law & Order. Loved the premise. I'll try not to give it away, but the "paranormal" part of the book is very subtle. It's not at all a vampire/werewolf/magic type of paranormal, which is what I'm used to. But I thought the whole concept of how Kahn wove the paranormal element into an otherwise very normal plot was excellent.

"Some of the writing was a bit clumsy at times and the passive voice ran a little rampant, but honestly, this was a great read, especially for a short book. I have a feeling, based on the end of the story (which I won't give away so you can read it for yourself), that there are yet to be further stories about Frank and his task force. Very interesting story. If you're a fan of "The Wire" or "Law & Order", you'll probably enjoy this book."

Click here to read it on the site.

And then I just happened to cruise by the Amazon page where The Killer Within is located, and I saw a review I didn't even know about. This one has a great blurb:

"Crime families are using ordinary citizens to kill off opposing crime families. They drug them by slipping something in their drink or from a pin prick, leaving the person open to suggestions. They are told who to kill and then to kill themselves. The newspapers are calling these crimes 'Sleeper Murders'. A task force has been formed to catch the crime lords.

"There are twists and turns in this short story that will keep you eagerly turning pages. This is an excellent, thrilling, suspenseful story that will leave the reader wanting more."

Here's a link to this one, too.

So yay for me!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Anthology update

I was very happy to see that the anthology I've submitted my most recent short story to has set a deadline of April 30. So that means responses will go out as stories are being read in May. Now, just thinking about it, I hope I don't get an early-May response, cuz the way these things work, rejections are usually the first responses to go out. But either way, I'm just happy a time frame has been set, unlike a few of my other submissions, which seem stuck in the void until Ragnarrok.

In other news, I believe I have a very good new first episode of the next story arc for The Dark InSpectre. Can't wait to unleash it upon the world!

Friday, March 19, 2010

End and Beginning, Mothwings go Spinning...


First of all, if any of you get that reference in the title, I'll be pretty damned impressed. Anyway, as you know, I posted the last episode of the first story arc of The Dark InSpectre earlier this week, bringing to a close a story I started writing about 5 years ago as close as I can figure. I've been thinking about that over the last few days, reflecting on what a journey that story has taken since I first dreamed the opening scene. It started out as a long short story, about 14,000 words. What does that make it, a novellete?

I submitted it to a couple of venues, got some feedback, was told the ending was completely out of character. And it was. So I revised it and then submitted it to the Baen slush board when their web magazine was first starting. It really split the editorial team there. Some liked it, some didn't. The managing editor at the time said that after reading it she felt like she needed to wash out her brain. Personally, if I can provoke that kind of reaction, I take that as a compliment. But it wasn't going to get kicked upstairs to the main editors. From some other feedback I'd been getting, I got the vibe that maybe it was too long. So I slashed it by about five thousand words.

And it did get kicked upstairs. I waited about a year and a half--and it got rejected. I was upset to say the least. For two reasons. One was the time frame, waiting that long is ridiculous for a professional caliber magazine. I don't care how busy you are writing novels. Get help. Also, I completely disagreed with the main flaw the editor had a problem with. He didn't buy the explanation for the existence of telepaths. What can I say? My explanation's pretty simple and has been used in many different forms and stories: genetic mutation triggered by radiation bombs that gets passed down. It's simple, it makes sense.

But the point was it got rejected. I also learned a valuable lesson. I shouldn't have shortened the story, I think that made it worse. So I patched it back up and looked for other markets. But not many magazines publish something of that length. So I waited and waited, and eventually put it on the back shelf. Then on a popular message board for scifi writers, I saw a posting by an editor who said she would serialize a longer piece if it was good enough. Bingo.

I got in touch with her and our collaboration was born. And let me tell you, the work didn't end there. Crystalwizard, as she is known, had me rework whole sections of the story. And you know what? It made the story better. And I learned and grew as a writer throughout the process. So in the end it worked out. That chapter is now closed. It was quite a journey. For a while, I despaired that this story that I absolutely had to tell would never see the light of day. I'm glad it has, but all stories end. Now it's on to the next story arc in the Dark InSpectre universe, and I'm totally psyched about it. Stay tuned, the ride has just begun.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Dark InSpectre, episode 17

I'm posting this from Atlanta, and it's friggin' freezing down here, Mr. Bigglesworth!

Anyway, episode 17 of The Dark InSpectre is now up. It's the last episode of the current story arc, and it's the end of the line...for someone.

Here's an excerpt:
“Now, what about you, Jackie boy?” He pointed the las gun straight at my head. “Last time.
Who else knows?”
I was tired and beaten. I couldn’t even look at him. It was over, just let go.
I’m sorry Dee, I tried my best.
A sigh. “Nobody, Jimmy. Nobody else knows.”
A pause. “Goodbye Jackie, you were a good friend.”
I close my eyes and wait for the end.

I hope you enjoy reading half as much as I've enjoyed writing it:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Up, up and away...

I'm flying to Atlanta tomorrow for a business trip. The work will be exhausting, but that means 4 hours in a plane down and back, which means a lot of uninterrupted writing time. Woohoo!

It also means that I'll be on the road when I post the last episode in the current arc of The Dark InSpectre. So I will have to find an uninterrupted hour on Monday to do that. That may prove interesting....

Tune in then! :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Stamped and sent


After talking it over with my better half, I decided to send my story that just got rejected to a themed anthology that's currently taking submissions. It's called Doomology: The Dawning of Disasters. As you will no doubt have surmised, the theme is disasters, apocolyptic, manmade, naturally occurring, anything. It just so happens that my story, Music and Magnetism, is extremely appropriate for this. And I would wager, if I were a wagering man mind you, that nobody will have thunk up a disaster quite like the one I've imagined. Now having said that, I'm sure there will be five more submissions exactly like mine. Anyway, that's the latest.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The final episode, and choices

First of all, the final episode of the Dark InSpectre is now revised, approved by my editor, and locked. It's ready to go a week from Monday, and it'll kick your ass.

In other news, after 3 months, I got one of my stories rejected. It's a hard sci-fi piece, and it's very early in the submission process. I've submitted only to a few top of the heap places, so the rejection is not unexpected, and normally I would just submit again to the next market on the list.

However, there happens to be a themed anthology that my story would seem very well suited for. So I am faced with a choice. Do I just keep submitting as I normally would? Or do I fix up my story and ship it off to the anthology? I have absolutely no guarantee of it getting accepted to the anthology. But I think it will. And my fear is that it would get accepted, thereby preventing it from getting in a pro or semi-pro market.

This may seem crazy and incredibly conceited, but I believe in the piece and it's the way I think. If I didn't think this way, I wouldn't have the nerve to send any of my stories out at all. So there you have it. What to do, what to do...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The End is Near

When I put the next to last episode of the current arc of the Dark InSpectre up, I sent the very last episode to my editor for review. I was psyched, thought I had a kick-ass ending. Then I got it back, total revision necessary. I was bummed, but you know what? She's right on. I'm about two-thirds done with the revision, and it's way better so far.

So I'm feelin better about things. Funny how that works.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Penultimate Episode of The Dark Inspectre

Episode 16 of my paranormal crime series, The Dark InSpectre, is now online. It's the next to last one in the current story arc.

Here's an excerpt:

A quick tilt sent the liquid sliding down Dee’s throat before she could even think about it. Unprepared, she coughed and sputtered for a second. I relived the dream, every moment. I wanted to cry out, say something. My pulse hammered in my head. Dee gave herself a little shake, made a sound of protest and tried to turn back up the steps.

My god, fight it, Dee.

Don't miss the exciting end!:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Killer Review

Just got a new review for my short story, The Killer Within, from the review site, The Pagan and the Pen. Four out of five tarot cards. Here's the skinny:

"This short read was action packed from page one to the ending. I'm a mystery/suspense buff anyway, so this one had me from the title. The story is exciting, believable and well written, all though I found a few minor editing issues, but nothing that distracted from the story at all. My biggest complaint with this story is the length. I wanted more! There is much more to Frank Arnold and in this story, we only get little glimpses of who the man really is and what his life is about. I hope Mr. Kahn is at his computer writing the next installment of Frank's life because inquiring minds want to know! This would make a fine novel and I look forward to reading whatever the author has in store next."

You can also check out the review here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


This morning when I got to work, I got an email with the latest edits for the next episode of the Dark InSpectre, the penultimate episode in the current story arc. There were a lot of edits. I groaned inwardly and was NOT enthused about attacking them. It didn't help that I'm recovering from a horrific migraine and really don't want to use the parts of my brain involved in critical thinking and creativity, you know, those things involved in "work."

But late in the day I did turn my attention to the piece. And you know what? The juices started flowing. The edits and suggestions were all spot on, as they usually are, and they spurred me to make the episode significantly better. So what does that tell you? It tells me that even if I'm not feeling that great, TFB: Get to f---ing work!

On another note, as I've mentioned before, Something Wicked magazine says on it's web site that submissions will re-open in March, which is in just 11 days. And I haven't even heard word one about the piece I submitted back in April 2009! WTF!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Episode 15 now up

Episode 15 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero has to do some late night breaking and entering. Just two episodes left!

Here's an excerpt:

He strode cautiously in my direction, senses sweeping. I was deep enough that he couldn’t get a fix, and hidden in shadow so he couldn’t see me. I could’ve shot him with my las pistol, but he was just an innocent security guard, I didn’t want to kill anyone. He came closer. I stayed in trance, waiting until the last possible second, reflecting that it was a good thing my conditioning didn’t prevent me from messing with other tels. Society didn’t care what we did to each other, just normals.

Just a few more feet. There.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rapid fire edits

We had an actual full blown blizzard yesterday. Everybody was home, school was canceled, the office was closed. In Brooklyn we had like a foot-plus dumped on us in a day. It was something!

Anyway, after some heavy back and forth with my editor, Episode 15 of The Dark InSpectre is ready to post on Monday, and as predicted, the expanded scene did result in an additional episode. So instead of ending with Episode 16, the current story arc will now end with Episode 17.

After seeing evidence that Something Wicked Magazine has started going through submissions, I've been waiting with baited breath regarding the story I sent in 10 months ago. Their web site states that they will open up to submissions again in March. That's in a little over two weeks. Am I crazy to think their plan is to get through the back log by then? Is anything happening over there? ANYTHING!?

Sigh...Unfortunately, this is what we are reduced to when a pub goes silent for a while. We have to over analyze every tiny bit of information we glean from the most obscure sources, as we are reduced to little more than blind fortune tellers casting our bones on the earth for a sign, any sign. At least that's the way I feel. Oh well, I'll do some writing to take my mind off of it.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Interview with yours truly

The lovely Rie McGaha was nice enough to post an interview with me on her blog. Check it out here.

Also did some good revising of the next episode of The Dark InSpectre, which will post a week from Monday. Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The 2 R's

I did some good writing on the next story arc for The Dark InSpectre last weekend, am now getting the story to start twisting and turning like I want it to. I'm looking forward to doing some more writing at my older boy's karate class this weekend.

I also got edits back on episode 15 of the current story arc. My editor pointed out a sizeable problem with it, so I will have to revise. This will probably end up with three more episodes to go, instead of two. Oh well, more story for the faithful readers!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Episode 14 now up

Episode 14 of The Dark InSpectre is now online. Only 2 episodes left in the current story arc!

Here's an excerpt:
Passing my hand over the sensor to raise the lights, I quickly scanning the interior. The sultry tympani beat played softly. I moved through the living room, paused outside the darkened doorway to Gina’s bedroom. A scent hit me and I recognized the acrid smell of laser burn. Then I saw the still form lying on the bed.

I rushed forward, almost tripping. My foot hit something and it and went skittering across the floor. I bent to pick it up. Stupid. It was a las-pistol, I was a patsy. I angrily tossed it aside and went to the bed, tears forming in my eyes.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Keepin' on keepin' on

Been doing some more writing the past couple of days. Hadn't in a while and started getting that uncomfortable anxiety I get when I haven't written in a bit. So I shaped up an intro to the next story arc for The Dark InSpectre, and wrote out what will become episodes 4 and 5. It was originally episode 4, but went long enough to split in two.

I also corresponded with the guy who sent out a promo for the first series to his whole horror email list (you can see his banner ad at the bottom right of this page). He'll do it again for the next story arc, which has me psyched. That'll be a good promotion. More later!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Something Wicked stirs!

Much to my surprise, I got an email that a message had been posted to the web forum for Something Wicked magazine, which has been dormant for, well, a long time. The message was in response to a couple of people who asked if the magazine had received their submissions from back in April and August '09.

The reply indicated that not only had they been received (with one exception), but they were being actively reviewed -- and one had even been short-listed.

My story was sent in April '09, so I think it might be reasonable to hope that it will be reviewed in the coming weeks, and I might even get a response! This is huge, I've been waiting for a long time on this one. So now my frame of mind goes from depressed waiting to nervous, anxiety ridden waiting. Yay!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another milestone, of sorts

A day or so ago my paranormal crime series, The Dark InSpectre, passed the 1,000 pageview mark. Now let me make something perfectly clear. I have no idea what that really means. For all I know that means that a single person clicked on the home page 1,000 times. Okay, two people since I can't be personally responsible for all the clicks (honestly, it's not all me, I swear).

Nevertheless, it seems kind of cool to me. And it's a big, round number. So I'm going to be happy about it. Yay me!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Guest Spot

Hey y'all,

I've got a guest blogging spot over at Long and Short Reviews. Check it out here, I think you'll find it interesting.

Episode 13 now up

Episode 13 of The Dark InSpectre is now online. Only 3 episodes left in the current story arc!

Here's an excerpt:

This was dangerous. Either I was about to exonerate myself or Laszlo was about to deliberately incriminate me. I waited while an impartial tel came in to verify the reading and serve as a backup. A recording device was also brought in to keep a record of the conversation.

I indicated I was ready to begin and as I lowered my outer shields, I felt the slight tickle of the two telepaths extending a tendril of thought into my consciousness.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A little low this week

Been feeling a little glum about my writing this week. I think it's mainly because I have a bunch of stories that have been out in the void for quite a while without hearing anything. It's the old waiting game. I know as soon as I get working on the next episode of the new story arc for The Dark InSpectre I'll feel better.

I also have a guest blog spot going up on Monday at this web site:

And of course, Monday I'll be posting the next episode of The Dark InSpectre.

So snap out of it self!

Friday, January 8, 2010

More Good News vs. Bad News

Good News: Something Wicked Magazine posted a New Year's message on their web site apologizing for the awful lack of submission responses during 2009, promising positive changes in the new year

Bad News: I still haven't gotten a response to the story I sent them in mid April '09.

Good News: The total pageview count for The Dark InSpectre, my supernatural crime series, is poised to break the 1,000 mark.

Bad News: I have no idea what that means.

Good News: I got some good writing done for the next story arc of the Dark InSpectre, and got more of the plot figured out in my head.

Bad News: It seems from her blog that the editor who stated her intention to get working on the Wolfsongs II anthology (for which I've had a story on hold well over a year), is once again putting the project on the back burner.

Bad News: My older boy has pre-middle school application testing tomorrow morning from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm way the hell out on Coney Island, which I will be accompanying him to.

Good News: I should be able write for a few solid hours, IF I'm able to wake up.

The score: Good news 4, Bad news 4. We're all tied up, I could go either way.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Episode 12 is now up

Episode 12 of The Dark InSpectre is now online. Only 4 left in the current story arc. Don't miss the exciting last few episodes!

Here's an excerpt:
There was only one way to deal with the questions that buzzed in my head, as well as my still-throbbing hand. I pulled the bottle of bourbon out of my drawer and drank. At some point I put my head down on my desk and let sleep wash away my troubles.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Guest Blog Post

Just did a guest blog posting over at Abandoned Towers Magazine. Check it out: