Friday, December 16, 2011

Back in the Saddle

After a short break, I have returned with my column over at Abandoned Towers. Go take a gander and be inspired by the gloriousness of my words!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

There hasn't been a whole lot of writing activity lately. This hasn't been entirely my doing, though, so that's something. I turned in my revised novel to my editor/publisher about two weeks ago and have heard nothing. I'm hoping it's going well, but who knows? Actually after addressing her macro revisions, I'm kind of expecting a major line edit to come back. But again, who knows? I have heard nothing since I sent it in.

Speaking of silence, it's now been almost two months since the Dark InSpectre went dark. There had been some progress. There's still that blank skeleton site up, but that went up about a week and a half ago. I sent an email to my editor/publisher last week checking on the progress and have heard nothing. It's kind of giving me an uneasy feeling getting nothing but silence on two fronts. Makes me think something's going on. Paranoid? Me? Well....

I know that what I should really be doing is addressing some short stories that have been on the back burner for a while. But to be honest my health hasn't been the best and work has been quite crazy. So it's just been kind of a lull. Which isn't terrible. I just wish I'd hear something...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Back From the Abyss

Slowly but surely, The Dark InSpectre is crawling back from Internet Oblivion. Like a rash you just can't get rid of. A thrilling, compelling, irresistable rash of chocolate-covered joy. After doing several webby things involving domain names and DNS servers (I asked several people for help), I have registered and enabled my editor/publisher to host it. She is using the wordpress theme we picked out and is building the actual site. But it exists! Yes, if you go there, you will see an empty, under construction page. But this is progress cuz as little as one week ago, even this bare bones framework was not a reality. So yay! I suppose at some point, all the previous episodes will have to be re-loaded. I am not looking forward to that.

On the novel front, I have done the heavy lifting in terms of the revision my editor wanted, and I even have a nifty idea for what to do witht the first chapter she wanted me to excise. Hint: I will make it available on my web site as a promotional teaser! So now all that remains is going through the whole manuscript again and smoothing out the language. I'm more than half way done and steamrolling ahead. Soon, very soon, this book will be ready for the next round. Muaahaaahaaa!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Well, That Was Fast

One thing I'll say about my publisher/editor. When I send her something important, the feedback is pretty fast. I sent her the finished manuscript of my crime novel around late morning yesterday, and she gave me feedback in the late afternoon. I really don't know how she reads these things so fast.

The feedback itself? Ah yes. First of all, I asked her pointedly if she thought it was any good. Her answer: yes. So now there is one other person outside of my wife who thinks my novel is worth the electronic paper it's written on. Yay!

And of course she wants some revisions. The first is relatively minor, just go through the manuscript and fix some areas that exhibit a particular style of writing I tend to fall into, namely short, choppy paragraphs. Mind you, I actually like that style in some instances, particular for action/intense sequences. But she wants me to cut down on them, which is fine.

The next thing is not so simple. She wants me to cut out the entire first chapter and start with chapter 2. I respect the thinking behind this. A piece of well-worn, age-old advice for writers is to "start in the middle" and it often takes writers a chapter or two to really get into their story and build up steam, so to speak. It's often a good idea to just rip away all the beginning introductory stuff and start with the "meat" of the story.

However, I actually have a lot of good "meat" in my first chapter, as well as several developments that are integral to the plot. Her advice is to weave in whatever details are necessary into the next chapter or two, but eliminate that first one. I would almost rather she told me a character didn't work for her, or something in the plot needed to be fixed. To me that would be easier to tackle than trying to wend through line by line inserting dialogue and clever little asides meant to convey all the information from the first chapter that's necessary for the story. Cuz there's a lot of it.

Of less importance is the fact that I really liked what I wrote, and I will have to mourn the scenes that end up on the cutting room floor, including the opening, which I thought was absolutely perfect. But I guess that's what I'll do. I'll take this as a challenge, and try to make it work. Good thing I took off next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I now know what I'll be doing.

And I suppose it could be much, much worse, right? She could've said it outright sucked. So maybe I should just get to work, cuz when all is said and done, this manuscript is one major step closer to getting published. And that's a good thing.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Good News/Bad News Returns

Yup, you guessed it kids, it's time once again for Good News vs. Bad News. Let's dive in and play!

Bad news: My online series, The Dark InSpectre, is still offline, completely absent from the Internet like it never existed.

Good news: I have recently registered the new url for when we start it up on the Wordpress blog, and the Wordpress theme is already chosen.

Bad news: It took a week and a half to get this done. I thought my editor was going to register the name, but she didn't, so I just did it myself. Also, for some unknown reason, she's not able to create the blog in the way she wants to, so she's waiting for some technical assistance. End result: we're still spinning our wheels.

Good news: I'm finished with my last round of revisions and I have sent in my crime novel to my editor (literally like 10 minutes ago).

Bad news: Now begins the tense, nerve-wracking period of waiting for feedback during which I convince myself that the past year and a half was a waste of time and my novel in fact sucks dirty bilge water (as opposed to the clean kind).

Good news: Maybe it doesn't suck?

Bad news: Just got a short story rejected.

Good news: Got some actual feedback which will help me revise the short story and make it better.

End tally: Good news 4, Bad news 4. We're all tied up. I have to say, though, sending in the novel outweighs everything else. But is that good news or bad news? Only time will tell...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Glimmer In the Distance

I have spent the past several days going through so many Wordpress themes my eyeballs have moved out of my head and sent me a postcard from where they'll be relaxing poolside for the foreseeable future. But success! My editor has at last approved of one of the themes I sent her. What makes this one different from all the rest? I have no idea. I don't really know what I'm doing. I've sent her dozens, they all seem okay to me. I'm just glad she likes one. Now hopefully she will use it to create a new Dark InSpectre blog, and we'll get rolling again. But I'm kind of resigned to the fact that I won't be able to post the next episode on Monday, which is when the next one is scheduled to go out.

It's just as well, that's right in the middle of the busiest week of the year at work. I'll be at a meeting in San Francisco all week, so there will be practically no chance to get any of my own writing done. However, on the plane each way, I am hoping to make a big dent in the last re-read of my novel. And then I'll send that sucker in. So hopefully I'll start to feel a little more positive about things. Just need to stay patient. I'm a writer, so I'm used to that. Sigh...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Internet Oblivion

It was the simplest of tasks. I just breezed by my web blog where I post my episodes for the series I write, The Dark InSpectre, when to my surprise, the message that greets me is this:

Blog has been removed

Sorry, the blog at has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs.

After reviving myself from cardiac arrest (no easy task), I emailed my editor, Crystalwizard, who informed me that, as it happens, my blog was accidentally deleted. So for those of you who have been attempting to catch up on the latest adventures of Jack Garrett, New Arden's foremost paranormal detective, I regret to inform you that for the near future, that will be impossible. It's gone, gobbled up, sent to Internet Oblivion.

In the meantime, with my editor's help, we're switching to another blog format and The Dark InSpectre will hopefully resume shortly, picking up exactly where I left off. I have the next 4 episodes written and fully intend on continuing this story as long as I have functional use of my digits. In the meantime, I will try and revive myself from the state of paralyzed mortification I find myself in. This was a complete accident. Nevertheless, I find myself extremely worried about what's going to happen.

I had (sad that I am using the past tense) built up a nice little readership for my series. The people I reach via email I'm not worried about. I'll just email them all with the new url whenever it's up. It's the people who found me on their own and bookmarked The Dark InSpectre, and followed it via networked blogs and such. I have no idea how to reach them, whoever they are, or were.

And once the new blog goes up, all the old episodes will have to be reloaded. That's almost 60 episodes altogether. If this task falls to me, it will takes weeks to months. Not to mention the occasional typos and phrasings I corrected after the episodes went online. Those are all lost. And I guess all the page counts and unique visitors goes back to zero. Side note: all those links I have on this blog and my web site for The Dark InSpectre? Don't bother, they don't work.

So I guess I'm kind of in a state of mourning. That's several years of work vanished. Hopefully it will be back soon, and all those who tuned in before will do so again. I really hope so, cuz I've got lots more planned...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Epi 41

Episode 41 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero takes a not-so-friendly stroll through his old stomping grounds.

Here’s an excerpt:
Then I strode forward, pushing through the doors and facing the desk sergeant’s station that fronted the wide sea of cubicles and small offices. The sergeant, a grizzled vet named Donegan, looked up. I saw recognition in his eyes, he’d been in Narco back in my day. But his expression was not welcoming.

“Can I help you, lieutenant?” His face was blank but Donegan’s eyes shifted to each person in my little entourage. His surface thoughts showed suspicion as he tried to gauge our intent. There was also a deep dislike of tels. Or maybe it was just me.

Good thing I didn’t care. “I’m just here visiting friends. No, don’t bother,” I added when he moved to press the vid comm button. “Call it a surprise visit.” I pushed through the low swinging doors into the rest of the unit, motioning everyone to follow. Donegan’s eyes narrowed to slits as I passed.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Separation Anxiety

It's about two weeks until the big annual meeting for my work in San Farncisco. I'll be gone for a week, and work gets completely ludicrous leading up to that point. What that means is my writing time gets very fractured. Grab a few minutes here, a few there. But I try and keep chugging along.

For the novel it's been a very strange month or two. On my wife's first read through, I was keeping up with her edits at a frantic pace, chomping at the bit to revise as I steam rolled through the manuscript. Then I realized I was getting a little too nuts about it and had to put it down for a week or so. The fresh perspective really helps, let me tell you.

I just finished my wife's last edits today, and I'll give it one last read through before I hand it in, but I'm not going to get all tear-my-hair out loco about it like last time. I had originally wanted to send it in before the San Fran trip, but if that doesn't happen, no biggee. I have this vision of me reading it on the plane (I find plane trips are great for getting some work done). So we'll see. But either way, this thing is going to be done in the very near future.

It's weird how I view it presently. I worked on it steadily for over a year, had every tiny twist of the plot firmly in my head. I worked on it in my sleep (not kidding). Now, it's kinda distant, and emotionally I'm fairly separate from it. Maybe that's because in my mind it's finished and I'm moving on. Maybe it's a defense mechanism for when my editor tells me it sucks. Maybe I'm just burnt out after simultaneously writing two big projects at the same time for over a year. Either way, it's a strange feeling. This will be my first published novel (cross my fingers). You'd think I'd be more psyched about it. I'm sure that'll change as I give it one more perusal and the story starts flowing in my mind again.

But regardless, this baby is getting released from the comfy confines of my computer soon. We'll see if it survives in the wild.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Guest Bloggin

Hi guys,

Work has been crazy building up to my organization's meeting in a couple of weeks, so I haven't been posting as often as I'd like. But I have found time to post my latest column over at Abandoned Towers, so feel free to check it out. Here's an excerpt and link:

"As I write this, I have just returned from New York Comic Con at the Javitz Center in Manhattan. I take my son there every year, and it’s an absolute blast for both of us. He loves to cruise the exhibit floor and check out all the cool stuff and we both love checking out all the wild costumes. What also never fails to impress me are the seemingly limitless new movies, comic books, characters, and story lines that are rolled out at every Con. The creativity on display is simply awe-inspiring. But what inspires all these ideas? Where do they come from? "

Click for the rest.

I can tell you that Comic Con was a blast, when I find time I'll post some cool pictures. In novel news, I need for my wife to finish the last 70 pages or so and then give it one more read through. Then I'll send it off to my editor. Still haven't though of a decen title! :(

Tune in Monday for another Dark InSpectre episode. Have a good weekend!

Monday, October 10, 2011

An Even 40

Episode 40 of The Dark InSpectre is online, in which our hero finds out how to keep a crime scene under wraps, Thought Police-style.

Here’s an excerpt:
I crossed my arms, grimacing. “Whaddaya think the game is?”

He gave me a calculating look, started ticking off points. “Harcher hates tels, spooks most of all. Especially you. He wants you and your unit gone. Gina and Jimmy aren’t around to protect you anymore. It makes sense to discredit you leading up to the investigation hearings. Turn up the pressure from the public, make the Department ease you and your people out quietly.”

Yeah, my paranoia had come up with a similar theory.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Novel Progress

To the countless hordes who have been flooding my email and phone lines with questions regarding where I'm at with the crime novel I've been writing, I thought I'd provide an update. I have just finished what I believe are my final revisions before handing the whole thing in to my editor. My wife is going to give it one more read-through over the next week or so and then that will probably be it.

I know what you're thinking: "Your wife? She's just going to tell you how great it is!" Clearly, none of you have met my wife. She has read a lot of crime/detective fiction and she is one tough editor, especially when it comes to my stuff. (she's also an attorney, so there's a natural inclination to pick things apart there).

On the first go-round, she pointed out the need for several major revisions. My state of mind got so bad that I got depressed and had to put the manuscript away for about a week. Not that her critiques weren't entirely valid. I just started getting down about the whole thing. But I bounced back and addressed everything and printed out a fresh copy yesterday. So hopefully (fingers crossed), the wife will be satisfied (as if!), and she'll only point out minor stuff. Then it will be off to my editor and time for a whole other round of revisions, I'm sure.

Then I'll get the answer every writer awaits with baited breath upon submitting a manuscript for the first time: Does it Suck?

Stay tuned...

PS. Still don't have a good title for it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Episode: It's Up, and It's Good!

Episode 39 of The Dark InSpectre is online, in which our hero has to ask his boss for help at the murder scene if he has any hope of keeping his investigation quiet.

Here’s an excerpt:
Walter shook his head then got up and walked over to the wall of blood, directly across from the smiley face, and stood staring at it. His voice sounded almost haunted. “He’s like a… psychic vampire?”

“Not quite. He feeds on leftover psychic energy, and from what I understand, there aren’t many cases that make it to his age without going crazy.”

His voice was soft. “Sounds like you know about this.”

I shrugged. “I did a bit of research is all.” No way I was getting any more into that.

Walter’s back was to me as he stared at the bloody signature, his surface thoughts giving off horror, sadness. Was that a flash of remorse? Then he turned back to me. “This can’t get out. The normal population will be terrified of us even more, Jack.”


Monday, September 19, 2011

New Story Out. Arrrrr!

Celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day, Pulp Empire Publishing has released the anthology Pirates and Swashbucklers, with a story by yours truly. Check it out, it's chock full o' bucanneering, cutlass-waving, plank-walking goodness!

Incidentally, when informed about Talk Like a Pirate Day, my 11-year-old responded, "Do we get off from school for that?"
I told him to go swab the decks and get me some fresh grog. Yo ho!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Guest Blog Time

It's time for my monthly guest blog over at Abandoned Towers. I do get a kick out of writing these, but I have to tell you, I probably stress over these pieces more than anything else I write. Not sure why that is. Maybe cuz I view these more like "work" than my other writing endeavors. Either way, feel free to stop by and check it out here!

Monday, the Pirates and Swashbucklers anthology with my short story Voyage of the Hangman drops. I'm totally psyched!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Episode 38

That's right, kids. Episode 38 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero watches a ghost turned into a snack, and has to decide who he can trust.

Here’s an excerpt:
This couldn’t get out, not even a whisper of a rumor. Still-raw memories of my investigation into Dee’s murder and the Quads pulsed like open wounds in my brain. I’d seen firsthand the dangers of poking my nose into things people would rather I left alone, especially when it came to Department conspiracies. This had to be kept totally quiet. Which meant I needed help.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Forge of the Soul

My new short story, Forge of the Soul, is online at Something Wicked Magazine.

I cannot express how satisfied I am that this story has survived to see the light of day. It's path was neither short nor easy. When I finished the first draft of it, I posted it up on the Baen's Universe slushboard. I have to say that the Baen Board has been an invaluable resource for me. I cannot tell you how much my writing has improved from the feedback I've received from the slush editors and other authors on the board.

However, sometimes the criticism can be a bit harsh, especially for stories that do not "fit" the usual Baen Board style. Baen stories are characterized by a positive, life-affirming ending. Forge of the Soul is not that kind of story. The central premise is that some key people involved in the Salem Witch trials reappear forty years later in another town, but they haven't aged. One other Salem refugee who has aged normally recognizes them, and so the story kicks off... Needless to say, it's pretty dark.

I knew this wasn't the typical Baen Board story, but I posted it anyway, confident I would get at least some helpful feedback. The response from one of the slush editorial board members was as follows: I hated this story.

End of feedback, period. I'm not kidding, can you imagine anything more unhelpful or completely non-constructive than that? I'm an editor, I would never do anything like that ever. EVER!

But whatever, I kept going, working on my story, and then submitted it to Something Wicked, confident this was the right venue. A while went by, a long while. Then the magazine abruptly closed. I was major pissed at the way it went down, too. They didn't even bother telling the authors our stories had been released.

So I sucked it up and kept submitting, getting more helpful feedback and improving the story bit by bit. Next thing I knew, a year went by, and lo and behold, I got an email from Something Wicked. They changed to a completely online format and wanted to accept my story. Hurrah! So I sent in my most recent, updated version, and a few months later, up it goes!

Quite the long and winding road, and I'm sure not all that unique, either. But ultimately satisfying. ;)

Friday, September 2, 2011

More Arrrr!

Cool interview with yours truly over at Pens and Swords in advance of the upcoming Swords and Swashbucklers anthology, which contains my story Voyage of the Hangman. I'm way psyched about it!

Fell free to check it out here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Story's a comin!

My dark historical fantasy short, Forge of the Soul, will be published in the September issue of Something Wicked Magazine. It appears on the web site Sept. 6. The cover is below. As usual, the SW covers are awesome. I love their artists. I'll have more thoughts on the story after it appears.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Next Episode is Up!

Episode 37 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero learns some startling information about a long-forgotten case from a conversation between a psychopath and an aging drug lord.

Here's an excerpt:
Multiple Man waited. I held my breath, every bit as anxious. I was only half following what MM was saying, but it seemed like someone had stolen the Whitney Load from the DeMarco’s a long time ago and made some kind of arrangement with them, and now the DeMarco’s were going to get it back. It was incredible hearing him talk about the drug stash that I and a hundred other cops had been chasing for years, finally writing the whole thing off as some urban legend. But who could possibly have the balls or the muscle to take the drugs from the DeMarco’s and force them into some kind of business arrangement?


Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Check out the cover and TOC to the Pirates & Swashbucklers anthology coming out Sept. 19. It has my story, Voyage of the Hangman, in it. And it is no coincidence that Sept. 19 is Talk Like a Pirate Day, which I find hysterical.

Relvan’s Rescue 1... Kameron M. Franklin
Seachild 23... Cynthia Ward
The Mark of the Brotherhood 33... Pam Bitner
Bravo 67... Ken Lizzi
Voyage of the Hangman 80... Jason Kahn
Fang of the Serpent 101... Charles Kyffhausen
Gods of the Sea 114... D.A. Lascelles
Stephen the Swift 131... Alva J. Roberts
The Garden of Pain 138... Teel James Glenn
The Silent Mistress 162... Garrett J. Calcaterra
With Cannon and Cutlass to the Gulf of Darien 167... Vincent Morgan
Ronald 191... Jeremy Bush
The Treasure of the Lost Race 198... Viktor Kowalski
D’Vil Island 240... Travis Hiltz
Blooding of the Black Shark 253... Dixon Hill
Mister Experience 303... Ross Baxter
Pirate Trouble 309... David Perlmutter

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Episode!

Episode 36 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero observes while a friendly neighborhood psychopath prepares to satisfy an old grudge.

Here’s an excerpt:
MM raised an eyebrow. “Did you think I’d let you gun me down after the trouble I took getting in here?” Manny’s arm moved slowly, coming out from under the table and stiffly depositing the las-pistol on the desk, the rest of his body locked in rigid protest. But Manny was a normal, and MM was a tel, so Manny could only watch helplessly while his limb obeyed.

Multiple Man reached over and gently took the gun, tossing it in a corner of the room. “Such a crude instrument,” he said, while Manny sagged in his chair, released from MM’s mental grip.

“What do you want?” Manny asked in a hoarse voice.

MM took out a wicked curved boning knife and idly scratched his chin. “What do I want? I’ve got a score to settle, you know what I’m talking about.”


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Almost Story Time!

It's so odd how several things always hit at once. I've been sitting around waiting to hear about when a couple of my stories were going to run. It seemed to be taking a while. Then within days I hear about both of them.

First I get edits back from Something Wicked Magazine, and word that my story Forge of the Soul will run in the September issue, which is totally cool. The edits were very minor, with a question or two that I answered no problem. It's funny seeing different editors' thought processes. They always come up with different things that never even would have occurred to me. I will also be getting some questions for an author interview that will run with the piece. I am so psyched. Something Wicked is a way cool market and will be some awesome exposure .

Next, I got word from the editor at Pulp Empire that he should be launching his Pirates & Swashbucklers anthology, which contains my story Voyage of the Hangman, September 19. How cool is that? And a little bizarre, too, right? I mean I am not prolific by any means when it comes to short stories, and two hitting in the same month? Anyway, I should be getting a proof of my story in another 3 weeks or so to look over.

In the meantime I will rub my hands together in gleeful anticipation. Wheee!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Your DIS Fix!

Episode 35 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero’s confab with the covert operative who’s dating his sis is cut short by a house call to another crime scene.

Here’s an excerpt:
“Jack, I swear this is the truth. If you like, I’ll let you read me, and not just a surface read.”

I sat back, looking at him. He vibed sincere. I didn’t need to read him, the offer was enough. I pursed my lips. “Does Claire know about you and…” I made a vague hand gesture, “… you know.”

Phil shook his head. “Absolutely not, that knowledge would be far too dangerous for her. As far as she knows, I’m simply a paralegal with an unnatural affinity for bowling.”

I snorted. “And that’s all a cover.”

“Not entirely, I really do like bowling.”


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Novel Summer

As hoped for, the summer has provided me with a really good opportunity to cruise ahead with the novel writing. This is primarily because my older boy is in sleepaway camp. It's amazing the difference between two and one children. The time gained is like on a logarithmic scale. Also, my wife understands that I'm counting on finishing this bad boy in the next month or so, and she has been incredibly gracious in keeping my younger son occupied on the weekends so I can write.

And I've been doing it! I am at the end of chapter 11. One more chapter to go. Not even sure if I'll need an extra bit for an epilogue. We're talking the end is really full on 3-D big screen iMax in sight. Then I'll give the whole thing a read through, let the wife read it, and send it in to my editor. I can't tell you how relieved/excited/drained I will be when this is done. I knew it would be a challenging/mind crushing task to write this at the same time as I am writing my Dark InSpectre series. It's basically been writing two novels at the same time. But how often do you have an editor/publisher ASK you to write a novel for them? What was I gonna say: naw, I'll pass?

So I committed to doing it. It's taken about a year, and I've just got a little more to go. Of course, it could still suck...

Monday, July 18, 2011

New Episode!

Episode 39 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero gets a history lesson from a friend who is far more than he seems.

Here’s an excerpt:
What he was describing was a myth, a superstition that was half legend, half nightmare. “You’re talking about…” The Nameless, named after the lost children. Every tel knew the tale, a group outside the law, unseen, unheard, always watching. Whenever someone disappeared, or some tragedy befell a normal perceived to have wronged a tel, people would whisper, “The Nameless.”
Yes, came the unspoken answer, sending a nervous trill up my spine. He smiled again, breaking the tension. “Tell me, how do you think such a group would see its mission?”

My response was automatic. “Vengeance.”


Friday, July 15, 2011

Space Bubbles and Ancient Hotties

My monthly blog post is up over at Abandoned Towers Magazine on how to take every day news items and turn them in to cool scifi-fantasy stories. Check it out here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

There I am!

I did a blog interview like a year ago and it kind of went poof! Disappeared, never saw it go live. Or maybe I just missed it. I didn't really know. Until today, when I got a google alert that led me here. And low and behold, there's my interview. Thank you Google Alert! And thank you Ambrose, for the interview. :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy July 4th, with a new Episode!

Episode 33 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero goes on a perfectly normal double date. Or so he thinks!

Here's an excerpt:
That’s when he grabbed my full attention. One second he was the same normal guy I’d just met. Then he lowered his shields a fraction. Enough for me to see beneath the practiced facade to the dangerous, coiled potential that lay watching, honed to a razor sharp edge. There was no imminent threat there, but whoever “Phil” really was, he could be deadly in a heartbeat.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

New DIS Episode!

Episode 32 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero exchanges sweet nothings with a certain lady he’s had his eye on.

Here’s an excerpt:
She looked at me and for a second she seemed so brittle the slightest word would shatter her, then the familiar, sardonic look came into her eyes. “Aren’t you supposed to stay out of normals’ heads, Jack? Do I need to report you or something?”

I smiled but didn’t remove my hand. “Maybe if you stopped shouting, I’d be able to block you out a little.”

She made a pouting face and swatted me on the arm. “Is that what you want, to block me out?”

I looked at her and it was like we were the only two people in the park, our whole world contracted to the foot of space between us. “No, Mare, I don’t want that.”


Friday, June 17, 2011

New Story Out!

The new Static Movement anthology, Best Left Buried, with a short story by yours truly, hit today.

The anthology is all about curses. No, not the things you scream at sporting events or in traffic, but cursed objects and things like that. My story is called The Emerald Heart. I'm psyched to see it in print. It's a story I put on the shelf like seven or eight years ago and frankly forgot about. But when I saw the call for submissions for this anthology, I was like, hey, I actually have something. So I dusted it off, chopped about 3,500 words out of it, and sent it in. And voila!

Here's an excerpt:

The older woman lay on the floor while the little girl – she looked like she was around five – lay in the bed. Both had been butchered, the woman had her throat torn out and her nightgown rent to shreds, revealing several horrific tears in her body. The girl, meanwhile, had one of her arms severed and half her face ripped off. They both lay in pools of blood. Reeja bent over, putting his hand against his mouth, fighting the urge to wretch at seeing such carnage up close. It looked like some beast had gotten loose in the mansion, Reeja thought, trying to find some explanation for the savagery.

All reason, however, quickly fled when the dead woman moved. Reeja felt prickling dread steal up his spine as she slowly sat upright, raising her torso in a completely unnatural movement. The girl, too, began to stir, lifting herself up on her one arm, looking at Reeja with one eye half in its socket.

“The heart,” the girl whispered in a rasp of what had once been her voice.

“Seek the heart,” the woman echoed, the movement of her vocal chords sickeningly evident in what remained of her throat.

Reeja stood there, his feet rooted to the floor as growing terror transfixed his body, rendering him motionless.

That's right, folks, this story's chock full of zombie goodness!

Check the cover and buy yo'self a copy:

Time Jumping Snails and Zombie Jocks

I'm doing my usual thang over at Abandoned Towers Magazine, bloggin' bout writing n'stuff. Check it out:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Episode 31!

Episode 31 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero finds a day at the park is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Here’s an excerpt:
It was amazing how much little boys ate. Occasionally I got interrupted by one of them when they had to go to the bathroom. Yeah, I got that duty, too. Mary tried to hide her mirth every time I set off holding Ian’s or Collin’s hand on the way to the public toilets.

I appreciated Mary’s plan, keeping me busy with a steady stream of annoying tasks so I wouldn’t go off and do something stupid. But it did give me time to think, and my brain inevitably replayed my little pow-wow with Jimmy in the wine cellar.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Best Left Buried, TOC

This is the the TOC for the Best Left Buried anthology, which should be coming out in a couple of weeks. Hint: mine is number 3!

Introduction by Gregory Miller
Finder Kept by Brandon Rucker
Stay With Me by Dorothy Davies
The Emerald Heart by Jason Kahn
The Collection by Darren Gallagher
Hokey Pokey by Ken Goldman
Dig Your Own Grave by Doug MacKenzie
Mrs. Yeknom by Bruce Harris
The Gift by Bruce Memblatt
Irrecoverable by Paul Edwards
Just One of Those Days by Rick McQuiston
Accelleratii Revengulus by Paul DeCirce
Suffering for Her Art by Darren W. Pearce and Neal Levin
Mother Misery by Dorothy Davies
American Idol by Jamie Schmidt
Shoes by A. J. French
The House Within by K. R. Hager
Street View by Aoife MacCormac
The Longest Stay by Andy Echevarria
Dust and Bones by Emma Ennis
The Pleasing of the Ring by J. Douglas Stephenson
The House on the Hill by Thomas M. Malafarina
Soaked to the Bone, Chilled to the Soul by Suzanne Robb
Lillian Sweeney’s Music by Gregory Miller
Be Careful What You Wish For by Herika R. Raymer

Monday, May 23, 2011

Episode 30!

Episode 30 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero continues his little chat with his DBFF.

Here's an excerpt:

Another shock went through me, but this time it came from Jimmy, and it was fear. I looked at him. If it was possible for a ghost to get any paler, that was how Jimmy looked. I thought for a second, wondering what triggered it. Then I realized.

“Do you know Walter Boyd, Jimmy?”

Friday, May 20, 2011

Posting from Paris

Hey y'all, I'm doing my guest blog over at Abandoned Towers Magazine today. It's early evening here in Paris but a little after noon back home in NYC. Check out my post if you want some cool story ideas:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Double Shot

I've gotten two acceptances recently, and I am totally psyched. My story "Forge of the Soul" was accepted by Something Wicked Magazine. They've been dormant for a year, but now they're relaunching their site and publication next week as an online magazine that sells e-books via Amazon. Originally, I submitted the piece to them a year ago, and then they ceased publishing and it looked like they might have gone under. I was extremely pissed at the time, they didn't even contact any of the authors to let them know. In the back of my mind, I said to myself, "you know, self, I bet you're going to futz around with this story for a year, not get it sold anywhere, then SW will come back, and they'll accept it. And you'll have to swallow how pissed you were." And I'll be damned but that's exactly what happened.

My second story acceptance comes from the Pulp Enpire anthology, Pirates and Swashbucklers. This one was more tricky. I originally subbed this one, titled "Voyage of the Hangman," to Flashing Swords Magazine, then they went under. Then they said they were coming back and everybody should re-sub, so I did. Eight months later, nobody had heard anything from them, so we all assumed they were dead. Therefore, I subbed to the Pulp Empire anthology. A month or so later, a message appears on a bulletin board from the editor of Flashing Swords: we're still here, we'll be replying to everyone soon. So I inadvertently subbed to both markets at the same time. However, it's been a few months, and still no one has heard from Flashing Swords. Then I got accepted from Pulp Empire. I went through some mental angst for a few days, then decided to forget Flashing Swords and go with the publication that actually exists and wants my story.

Both stories should be out within the next month. These are two that I've been working on and submitting for a long time. It's extremely gratifying that they're finally seeing print. :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

New DIS Episode!

Episode 29 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero chats with a person he’d rather not see, in a place he’d rather forget.

Here’s an excerpt:
Totally unhinged, I screamed at him, an irrational animal roar of rage and accusation, and then threw the empty bourbon bottle at him, watching it pass through his dim form to crash apart in a hundred shards against one of the shelves. My anger drained away in the explosion of glass and I stood still, breathing ragged breaths as I regained control of my emotions.

Jimmy gave me an elaborate bow as if welcoming me to his fine establishment then just stood there unfazed, the same smirk on his face.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Episode 28!

Episode 28 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero learns some baffling new evidence, and then reluctantly decides to visit an old friend.

Here’s an excerpt:
“We found it, boss, Peeks’ las pistol, and about a ton of sludge. Lucky for us there’s a DV hangs out down there, told me where to look. Anyway, I had the lab boys run a full spec on the piece, results just came back. Two DNA signatures found on that gun. One, Peeks. The other…” He paused for dramatic effect, enjoying the moment. I really hated him just then.


Friday, April 15, 2011

The Short List

Something new has happened over the past couple of weeks with a couple of my story submissions. On two occasions recently, I've gotten responses that my stories have been short listed. I'm taking this as really good news. I mean, the short list is better than no list, right? This does keep me waiting even longer, but hopefully the news will be good when I eventually get a final answer.

The first one is a re-print, so I'd be tickled if it does get an acceptance. I mean, sending off a re-print is absolutely no effort at all. I do it basically to get a free book to read. The second one is interesting. I got an email out of the blue from the editor of Something Wicked magazine. Remember that pub? The one I subbed to which then went out of business without communicating with any of the authors? Well after a year of dormancy, the guy emailed me (he even contacted me through my web site) to tell me Something Wicked is coming back, hopefully as soon as June, and my story has been short listed - can I send him an electronic version?

You betcha! Let the waiting continue.

Oh, and I'm blogging about creative writing over at Abandoned Towers Magazine today. Check it out!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Episode 27!

I know I haven't posted in a while, but I actually was out of town for work, so please forgive me!

Anyway, Episode 27 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero plays the stay-at-home detective, without much success.

Here’s an excerpt: It was all I could do to keep from putting my fist through the vid screen as I considered the growing string of bizarre crime scenes. I didn’t know how Laszlo fit in, but these last two seemed aimed directly at my unit. And the press leaks were coordinated. Somebody was orchestrating this. But why? The answer blared like a siren in my head: Discredit Special Investigations, discredit me.


Monday, March 28, 2011

New Dark InSpectre Episode!

Episode 26 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero finds himself taking a sick day after hearing some disturbing news.

Here’s an excerpt:

I stopped him, my hyper-paranoia kicking in. For all I knew somebody could be listening in, even though a Department vid connection was supposed to be the most secure, encrypted communication there was. “Hold it, just tell me this. Would you say it was consistent with what Suzie described from her crime scene?”

His expression was grim. “Yeah, boss, highly consistent.”


Friday, March 25, 2011

Back from the Dead

I submitted a short story to Flashing Swords Magazine about 8 months ago, and then nobody heard from it again. Everyone assumed it was dead after repeated message board postings from numerous people went unanswered. Then, out of nowhere, the editor posted a message today saying that no, in fact, the zine is not dead. She was just taking care of various visa and family matters that were unavoidable, yadda, yadda, yadda. Anyway, she's back and she'll be replying to everyone who submitted "shortly." So that's good! As it happens, thinking FSM was dead, I actually subbed the piece to an anthology over at Pulp Empire, so maybe I'll get accepted somewhere, fingers crossed!

And in other news, I just learned that a reprint I submitted to a different anthology was "short listed" and I'll hear a final decision around the end of April.

So even though none of these represent an actual acceptance, I still consider these to be reasonably good news. So yay!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Guest Spot!

I'm blogging about springtime writing ideas over at Abandoned Towers Magazine, today.

Here's an excerpt:
Spring is in the air! It seems like the winter was particularly long and brutal here on the East Coast, and now that the weather has finally turned, it is only natural to want to frolic a little in the great outdoors. But don’t let all the lawn lazing put a crimp in your writing, springtime should instead inspire a fresh wave of stories for the creative mind.

Check it:

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Episode Time

Episode 25 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero earns a little rest and recuperation, well sort of.

Here's an excerpt:
The sunlight streaming in through the balcony window told me I was not in my usual west-facing guestroom while the sumptuous sheets and king-size mattress told me I was, in fact, dozing in Mary’s master bed. Furthermore, the small, warm form snuggling against my body beneath the sheets informed me that I was not alone.

It was probably that last one that shot me bolt upright in bed in a state of unreasoning panic.


Saturday, March 5, 2011


So, it seems more and more apparent that yet another market I submitted a story to has faded into oblivion. I've lost count of how many times this has happend in the past few years. This time, it's Flashing Swords, one of the last few venues for sword and sorcery fantasy. The editors had declared that it was turning to an annual market, as opposed to quarterly, and opened to subs. That was about 8 months ago, and there has been radio silence since. Nobody has heard back about their submissions. And the editors have not responded to repeated queries. Translation: dead.

So I recently submitted the story to an anthology that's accepting over at Pulp Empire. We'll see what happens. What really pisses me off is the silent treatment. Look, if you're publication is having trouble, fine, it's a horrible economy to be running any kind of magazine. But just tell the writers who are out there twisting in the wind. We shouldn't have to figure out on our own that you've gone belly up.

In other news, the author/writing that has been holding onto stories for her Wolfsongs II anthology has made another reference on her blog to the fact that she is actually going through the submissions. So her earlier post was not, in fact, a one time thing, which gives me hope that the story I sent in about 3 years ago may actually see print. Yes, these are the things that keep me going.

However, this brings up a tricky question. A couple months ago, I was thinking about my Wolfsong story and decided to have another look at it since I hadn't read the thing in several years. I cleaned up a lot of grammar and sentence flow, and I think it reads much smoother now. So what do I do with it? Do I send it back to the editor and just say, excuse me, thought you might like this one a tad better? Do I wait to see if it's accepted and then offer it up? What's the ettiquette here?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Episode 24!

Episode 24 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero gets rescued by a hot chick with a gun.

Here’s an excerpt:
Tattoo girl raised the knife, ready to end my misery. I just stared and drooled. Claire, Mary, the Job. Everything I ever loved or regretted. It all went by in a flash. Would I fade? About to find out. The blade begins its downward arc.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Free Story Time

I have made my short story, Devil May Care, published in Jim Baen's Universe, available as a fully illustrated pdf file free off of my website, Normally you would have to pay a fee to access it off of the JBU web site, but since the site went belly up (moment of silence, please), I thought, what the hell?

I've been meaning to do this for a couple of months, but I first had to figure out how to enable this via the web site software I use. And I finally took the time to do it. So enjoy! It's a cool, darkly humorous story if I say so myself.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Guest Blog Spot

I'm blogging about story ideas over at Abandoned Towers Magazine today. Y'all stop by now!

Here's the intro:

With Valentine’s Day just passed, hopefully you have shown enough forethought to have given your loved one some heartfelt token of your esteem such that you are not now dwelling in the proverbial (and let us hope it is no more than that) doghouse. But if you happen to find yourself in that most sorrowful of canine abodes, don’t sit and mope. Use your solitary time and put those feelings of love, bitterness and utter remorse to good use. No, I don’t mean pig out on Doritos. Write about it! Some of the best stories come from emotional anguish, or disastrous circumstances. And just to get you started, here are a few ideas culled from actual news items involving just such weighty themes:

Click on over!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Antho update

As some of you may know, there's a short story I subbed about 3 years ago that's still floating around in the ether. Well, the author/editor who has it actually posted on her blog last week that she is going through the submissions. Yes, very exciting, this is the first I've heard her mention it in like a year. So this gives me hope! I had just about given this one up for dead.

Just a few days later, the author/editor announced she is starting her own publishing company. I have no idea how this affects my little 'ol story that she's been sitting on. Hopefully it doesn't. We'll see...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Episode 23!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Feel the love from the Dark InSpectre.

Episode 23 is online, in which our hero continues his friendly dance with his new buddy, only to find that things don’t look so good when the music stops.

Here’s an excerpt:
The kid who killed his big brother, turning himself into a crazed tel death machine, looked at me with puppy dog eyes. “Oh, Marco.” That was when my link failed. The energy required to keep projecting the image just ran out.

Torch was back. “Spook trick,” he hissed.


Monday, January 31, 2011

New Episode!

Episode 22 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our faithful hero makes a new friend who’s literally too hot to handle.

Here’s an excerpt:
The pain stops. For long seconds I remain motionless. The thump of my heart, the rasp of my breath. These things remind me I am alive. A low moan escapes my lips as I roll onto hands and knees, feel the warm, grimy pavement beneath me. My head feels like a crisped marshmallow, about to ooze off the stick and go splat on the ground.


Things are getting pretty intense for Jack. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blog Spot

Hey Y'all, I'm blogging over at Abandoned Towers Magazine today on some new writing ideas for the new year. Check it out:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Latest Episode!

It's MLK Day, but The Dark InSpectre never takes a day off. Episode 21 is now online, in which our hero gets some intel on his latest suspect, and then gets a little warm and fuzzy with his ex.

Here's an excerpt:
Mentally, we wrapped our auras around each other, caressing each other across our link the way only tels could, far more satisfying than any physical foreplay. We continued for a few minutes, but then something happened. In my mind’s eye, it was somebody else’s face I was kissing, somebody else’s soft body I was touching.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Son of a...!

Okay, time for a little venting. I have about 4 stories currently circulating in the wide world of short fiction I'm waiting to hear back on. Two of them, I've just learned that the markets that've been supposedly considering them have shut down, at virtually the same time! Both stories have been on hold for about 5 months. That's 5 months of silence, and then I learn from that both magazines: Spectra and Sinister Tales, have closed. I didn't even find out from the magazines themselves! Unbelievable, that pisses me off so much! And one of the stories had been on hold for a year at Something Wicked magazine last year before I found out that one shut down!

It's enough to give me a super massive migraine. Oh wait, I already have one. So now I have to find new venues and submit them all over again, and the clock will start from zero.

On a brighter note, the writer/editor who has been holding a story of mine for three years posted on her blog that the anthology it's meant for is an immediate project for her. So we'll see if she gets moving. Fingers crossed!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Next Episode!

It’s a brand new year, but the same old Jack. Episode 20 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero needs a little help from an old flame.

Here’s an excerpt:
There were others watching them, too, ones only visible to me. They stood shoulder to shoulder around the ring, young, old, men, women, all those who had died in the ring. They haunted this place and yet they, too, were haunted. Because they couldn’t let go. They yearned to get back in, to give it one more shot, but all they could do was watch.