Monday, December 17, 2012

Book Deal. Yeah, That's Right.

Over a year ago the woman who was editing my Dark InSpectre series asked me to write a hard boiled detective novel for her indy publishing company. I was, of course, immensely flattered. And then I went and did it, mostly over the course of a single summer during which I worked my ass off, taking advantage of my older boy being away at camp and my wife being incredibly understanding and supportive. But then, just before I finished, my presumptive publisher's company closed. Shut down, out of biz, kaput.

She assured me that she would be back, some time, but for the foreseeable future, I was on my own. Good luck ta ya! So then I had this thing, this manuscript, that I had labored over with the expectation of being published. So now what? Well, I did what anybody with a finished manuscript in their hot little hands would do. I started subbing it around. And I mean around. To agents, publishing houses, everywhere and anywhere I thought appropriate. I got more rejections than I could shake a stick at, and we're talking a mondo big stick! The worst were the non-replies. Yeah, some people just never get back to you at all.

But that's okay, I can take a hint. I just kept plugging away, fighting off the bouts of frustration and depression, kept myself busy writing the Dark InSpectre and other stuff. Until I finally found a few indy pulp publishers that seemed right up my alley. One of them had even published a couple of my stories. So I just asked if they were taking submissions. The one I'm most familiar with said, "well, probably not, but send me a query." I still haven't heard back from him.

And this other one said "we're about to close our submissions, but since we haven't quite yet, sure, go ahead and send it to us and we'll put it through our review process." You know what? That's the place that replied to me yesterday saying that my novel, and I quote: "is a title we would like to tentatively accept and assign to an editor to make ready for publication."

Boom! Manuscript accepted! The publisher said it will come out sometime in 2013. My novel. Fucking A Right! The publishing house is a place called Pro Se Press They do a lot of really cool pulp adventure stuff, and it seems like a perfect fit. Cannot tell you the relief and joy I feel. I'm totally looking forward to working with the editor, helping choose cover art, etc. The publisher said that once an editor is on boad, he'll send me the contract, which you can bet I'll sign since this is a reputable place.

And believe me, there were times when I considered going with a not-reputable place, cuz there are several out there that will publish pretty much anything. But something in me just wouldn't give up. So props to whatever the hell that was. Self respect? Desire? Conviction? Plain old stubbornness? E, all of the above?

So I'm gonna have a novel published. No more conversations with my parents in which they mention every single person alive or dead that they know who wrote a book, read a book, or heard of books. "Maybe you can talk to him....?" Cuz, you know, clearly that guy knows something you don't.

Yeah, no more of that! Shortly after I got the message from the publisher, my wife, wheels ever turning in her attorney's brain, asked me the inevitable question. "So do you have the sequel planned?"

God dammit. I'll take a day or two to bask. Then I know that uncomfortable itch in the back of my brain will start nagging me once more. Here we go again...:)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dark InSpectre Episode 63!

Episode 63 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero does a ride-along in a junkie’s brain and learns that evil is afoot in his home town.

Here’s an excerpt:

Then the warm rush was going up Ricky’s arm as his head lolled and his eyes rolled. I felt myself getting caught up in the euphoria, the blissful cotton candy high. Scared of triggering a relapse, I walled myself off from it, fighting to keep separate as I focused instead on the impressions I was getting from Tines and his cronies.

They were all watching, expecting something. Tines was a little sad. He almost pitied Ricky. Reynolds was more curious, and Flacco didn’t give a crap.

I kept far away from the familiar serene joy while Ricky soared, a part of me desperate to go along for the ride. But then everything started going dark, Ricky’s brain coming down to earth as the tendrils of permanent sleep grabbed him and pulled him under. It was time to get out before I got caught, too.

Check the episode here.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Double Wicked

One of my rare pleasures is receiving a hard copy of an anthology containing one of my stories. Holding it in my hands, reading through it, placing it in its special place on my shelf, these are the things I treasure. That is why I was growing concerned when, after like two and a half months, I still had not receieved my contributor's copy of the recent Something Wicked anthology. Granted, it had been sent from South Africa by mail, so I was prepared to wait, but the editor gave me a time frame, and it still hadn't arrived. So he created a special print on demand account and paid for another copy for those authors that never received the first one (there were four or five of us). The second copy I received in a few days, to my absolute delight. It looks great and is now one of my most valued literary posessions.

Then the first "lost" copy just arrived this evening. It was unexpected, and I shall immediately send a note to Joe Vaz, the editor of Something Wicked Magazine, that I got it, and sorry for all the trouble. But I'm also rubbing my hands together with glee, cuz now I've got two of them! hee hee!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving DIS!

Happy Thanksgiving ! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. Personally, mine was pretty good. A whole lot of relatives came together in Brooklyn where I live and we all had a great dinner at a local restaurant. This was absolutely fab, since it enabled many of us to not eat turkey as a main dish (I am not a big fan of turkey).

Anyway, I am back and ready for action, starting with the next episode of The Dark InSpectre! in which our hero gets clean, the hard way.

Here’s an excerpt:
The hallucinations weren’t much fun either, things crawling all over me, faces leering at me, Phil, Mary, Claire. And Sam, which drove me into a fit of suicidal depression, but Hank in his wisdom had removed all sharp objects from the basement. There were others crowding in my head, Marcus Ames, Clark Haskell, some hood named Slats who I wasn’t sure I even knew. And a voice, someone I recognized but couldn’t quite place. It made no sense and just added to my general confusion.

In my more lucid moments I caught the news on the vid screen. Turns out I’d been declared missing after disappearing from New Arden General and both of my investigations had been suspended. I ground my teeth in frustration.

Check the episode here!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Episode 61!

Episode 61 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero finds a safe place to dry out.
Here’s an excerpt:
Just a few more steps. I roused myself, concentrating on placing one foot in front of the other until I reached the back door, looking over my shoulder with every heartbeat.

I knocked, the door opened. Hank stood before me but he was just a dim blur as everything started fading. I collapsed and he caught me in his arms, his voice coming from a long dark tunnel before I blacked out. “The bastards got to ya, didn’t they?”

Check the episode here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Not Cool

I submitted a story to an anthology about 4 years ago. It wasn't picked, but it was good enough that the editor said it would be held for consideration pending the second volume of the anthology. So that was cool, the second volume was going to happen, and I had a shot at it. Then I didn't hear from her. For a Looooooooong time. I asked if the second volume was still happening, she sent out an email saying she was a busy author/editor, maybe it would, maybe it wouldn't, we were all free to sub our stories elsewhere. But if we didn't, we had a good shot at making it into the second volume. Okay, no problem. I'm a patient guy, a good shot sounded pretty good to me. So I waited some more, and some more. Followed her blog, saw the second volume mentioned every once in a while. Then nothing for a long time.

Yesterday, I saw the second volume was actually published. I never got a rejection, a polite kiss off, nothing. That is not cool. At least have the decency to communicate with the people who submit their stories to you, especially after such a long wait. Seeing that anthology was like a slap in the face after hearing nothing literally for years. I can take rejection, I get them all the time. The editor should have had the courtesy to send me one. Am I a little steamed my story didn't make the cut? You bet, but that's natural, normal. I've already submitted it elsewhere. But the way this went down cuts a little deeper. Maybe a lack of regard? Something. It's just not cool.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Episode 60!

After a grueling week on the road for work, I'm back, and so's the Dark InSpectre!

Episode 60 is now online, in which our hero wakes up on the decidedly wrong side of the bed and needs to make a quick exit.

Here's an excerpt:

I didn’t know how I ended up in the hospital, somebody had saved my worthless hide. But I couldn’t sit around and wait for the next attempt on my life. Because it would come, I was sure of it. I felt my heart rate increase as I looked around, noticing a few orderlies and a nurse or two making rounds. Any one of them could be a plant ready to finish me off. My breathing came fast and shallow and I felt myself beginning to panic. I recognized my reaction as paranoia brought on by cotton candy withdrawal but I didn’t care because the instinct was right on. I had to get out of here.

Check out the episode here. Enjoy!

Monday, October 15, 2012

New DIS Epi!

Episode 59 of The Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero takes the trippiest of trips.

Here’s an excerpt:
Zzzzzt. Electricity coursed through me in a cascade of blinding ecstasy as our thoughts became one, the transition sending me to a high undreamt of as I lost myself utterly and became someone entirely different.

And then I was Lieutenant Clark Haskell.

I looked down at Jack Garrett, lying there like a thousand other spaced out junkies. I knelt down and felt his carotid, noted the slow pulse getting weaker. I stood, my mouth curling into a snarl as I kicked him in the side and spit on him. “Stupid spook, you had to keep pushing didn’t you? Not so tough now, are you?” I kicked him again for the hell of it, but the lack of any response took the fun out of it.

Check the episode here

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pirates Ahoy!

Volume 2 of the Pirates and Swashbucklers anthology, with my story, Treasure of the Moon Goddess, is now available. Here's the cover:


I'm so psyched, I love the cover, and also am excited to continue the adventure I started in the first Pirates and Swashbuckler's anthology, available here. The new story involves the two main characters, Will Reeves and Hanaam, from the first story and follows them on a new adventure. Will this be a continuing thing? I dunno, maybe...

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I haven't gotten my contributor's hard copy of the Something Wicked anthology with my story, but the kindle version is apparently up on Amazon. Here's the link. Check out the cover below!
Something Wicked Anthology, Vol. One

In other news, over at Abandoned Towers they finally posted my last prompts column. No idea what took them so long, and there's been no communication from them, so I'm not really planning on doing any more at this point. But here's the link if you want to mosey on over and read it:

In addition, I received final proofs of the Pirates and Swashbucklers II anthology and sent them back with corrections. According to the publisher, the book should be out in the next week or two, which is awesome. I don't have a jpg of the cover, but will spread it around as soon as I do. Can't wait!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Episode 58!

I'm very excited to be coming into what I consider the stretch run for the Dark InSpectre. All of the plot lines will be converging in a blaze of action. Here's the next episode:

Episode 58 is now online, in which our hero rescues his sister, but finds a dangerous surprise where he least expects it.
Here’s an excerpt:
That’s when I felt pursuit behind us, three guys about a half mile back. Phil held up a hand for us to stop, taking a moment to decide. “I’ll take care of them, you keep moving and I’ll catch up.”

I was about to protest but he cut me off. “Jack you have to get Claire out of here, I can move faster than you and keep them off your tail.” He looked at me and his eyes were as dark as his thoughts. He was going hunting. “I got this.”
I just nodded. “Alright, but don’t be long Philly Billy.”

He gave me a grim smile as he donned his psych-shielded headband and unslung his las-rifle before melting into the darkness.

Check the episode here.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Holding Pattern

Seems like I'm waiting on a bunch of things lately. Still trying to attract an agent for the crime novel I wrote. But some other things as well. I'm expecting my contributor's copy of the first Something Wicked anthology, which, seeing as it's coming from South Africa, could arrive today or in three weeks for all I know. There's also the Pulp Empire anthology with my story, Treasure of the Moon Goddess. It was supposed to come out on national Talk Like a Pirate Day, Sept. 19, but that didn't happen and I haven't seen any updates. So no idea there, either.

In submission news, I got a rejection today that I wanted to share. It was for a story I submitted to a new/returning venue called Perihelion. It was the second nicest rejection I've ever gotten, and it's the kind of  thing that keeps me going:

Thanks for submitting "Music and Magnetism" to us. It is a fine story, but with all of the metaphysical elements, I don't think it fits what we are trying to do with "Perihelion," so I am going to have to pass on it.

That's really the only criticism I have. Which is why I am taking the time to write an individual note instead of our form rejection. It's a good story; I'd be surprised if you couldn't find a market for it; it's simply not a good fit for "Perihelion."

Feel free to try again with something else.

Just to have an editor say "it's a good story." That's priceless for a writer and keeps the flame burning. Needless to say, I will keep trying.

Speaking of short stories, I've had a story title in my head for years, just waiting for the rest of the story to take shape. It finally has and I'm very excited to start writing it. I'm almost ready, and I must say it's one of the coolest titles I've every heard, let alone come up with. The story itself involves a historical figure, but no spoilers! These are the things that keep me happy and writing. :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

New Dark InSpectre Episode

I may have taken off for the Jewish Holidays, but the Dark InSpectre’s still hard at work. Episode 57 is now online, in which our hero manages to rescue his sister, but at a heart-braking cost.

Here’s an excerpt:

Then there was gun and las-fire, a lot of it, coming from her location. “Sam, what’s going on?” I demanded. 

I was so used to her mind, even from a distance I could feel her fierce, desperate joy as she replied.

“I’ve got them occupied, Jack, get Claire out of there.” There was a painful gasp followed by a detonation as she set off another explosive.

Somehow, I kept my feet moving. “Sam, please don’t…” But what was I going to say? She knew exactly what she was doing.

“Just promise me one thing, Jack.” She was panting and her mental signature was erratic. “Make the bastards pay.”

Check the episode here. Enjoy!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Episode 56!

It may be Labor Day, but there's no time off for the Dark InSpectre. Episode 56 is now online, in which our hero receives some help from a few ghostly bystanders, or so he thinks.

Here’s an excerpt:
The voices were getting louder, and not in a very friendly way. Beside me, Claire stiffened, shaking her head back and forth, moaning with her eyes closed as she hugged herself. “No, please stop… don’t want too…”

I pressed my lips to her forehead. “It’s okay, no one’s going to hurt you anymore. I won’t let them, Claire, I promise.”

The sound of my voice calmed her, helped her fend off whatever memory the approaching scumbags had set off. My jaw clenched as I waited, an iron knot of anger pulsing in my gut. I was a cop, we weren’t supposed to go out of our way for revenge, but killing these a-holes sure would make me feel better.

Check the episode here.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pirates and Wickedness

I got a very strange email about a week and a half ago from the editor of Something Wicked Magazine, Joe Vaz. He wanted my initials on a release for my story to appear in their first anthology, because technically, the time limit on my original contract had run out. This was very interesting to me cuz while I knew they were doing an anthology, for some reason I didn't think my story was in it. But it is! Here's the cover, advance copies are already on sale, woohoo!

Is that cool or what? If you squint real hard, you can see my name among the authors. And in other news, I have learned that the second Pirates and Swashbucklers anthology will be coming out in September on...wait for it...Talk Like a Pirate Day, Sept. 19. Shoulda' known, right? It'll have my story, Treasure of the Moon Goddess, which I really like and hope everyone else does, too. So yay, things are happening!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Episode 55 Online!

Man, has it been two weeks already?

I guess so cuz Episode 55 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero tries to escape with his sister but gets caught in a rather slimy situation.

Here’s an excerpt:

There was a faint pitter-patter sound up ahead, almost like rain. We both recognized it and strode forward. I had my las-pistol pressed against the back of the guy’s head before he could zip up his pants. His hands reached for the sky and his trousers hit the ground.

I leaned in close, my gun pressing his forehead against the wall. “Where’s the girl?”

“I ain’t gonna…ungh!”

He doubled over from the shot Phil gave him to the kidneys. I grabbed him before he could trip over his pants, shoved him back against the wall.

I clicked off the safety on my las-pistol, let the whine build in the guy’s ear so he knew the gun was charging. “Last chance.”

Check the episode here.

Monday, August 6, 2012

New DIS Episode!

I'm very happy to say that I've gotten to the point in my Dark InSpectre series where the action is pretty well all blocked out until the very end. That means the main sequences are pretty firmly established in my head, and there's little actual "figuring out" left to do. So in other words, I can just let 'er rip!

Episode 54 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero teams up to save his sister, but things don’t go exactly as planned.
Here’s an excerpt:
Of course they knew. The Nameless new everything, and Sam was a card carrying member.

She stepped back and I took stock of Phil. He vibed just as angry as me. Good.

I pointed at him. You were supposed to protect her.

He looked ready to throw down as he jabbed a finger right back at me. This is because of your narco investigation, not any of my associations. He crossed his arms and dialed it back a bit. But… given our relationship and Claire’s value both to you and to me… he paused, clamping down on the worry pouring out of him… I have been allowed to help retrieve her. He motioned toward a chair, conciliatory. Jack, it’s a three-man job. We can do this. Please let us help.
I sat.

Check the episode here.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

London Calling...?

Tired of querying and querying and getting no responses on my crime/thriller novel, I tried something a little different. In a completely random internet search, I ran across this, a competition sponsored by a literary agency seeking to start a line of crime/thriller/suspense books. They wanted the first 8,000 words, a synopsis and a couple of other little things that I had at my fingertips. Wow, I thought, when's the deadline? End of July. Okay, that's soon, but I can certainly do it. What's at stake? The winner, or winners, get an offer of representation. Runners up get detailed editorial feedback. Awesome, frankly, I'd be happy with feedback. I looked up the agency, and they seem to be reputable, but based in... London. Do I care? I paused for a couple of minutes thinking about it. No, I don't, especially after learning they have a US subsidiary agent to handle stuff in the states. Besides, I'd just be happy with some meaningful feedback. So I put the submission together and sent the whole thing off. Cheery-o, mate!

In other news, I finished my Treasure of the Moon Goddess story for the Pirates and Swashbucklers II anthology, published by Pulp Empire. I'm very happy with it, though it did run a bit long. The editor asked for about 10,000 words, and it came in at 13,000. I mean, once it gets that long, does a little more really matter? I don't think so either! :) So I sent it in, which took a big load off my mind since he wanted it by end of July. Haven't heard back, though, so fingers crossed and hope he likes it!

Anyway, now that that's done, I can hopefully steam ahead again on the Dark InSpectre. We're really coming down the home stretch of episodes as I can very much envision the end now. Hang on for the ride!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Episode 53

Episode 53 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero learns of a shocking threat to a family member.

Here’s an excerpt:

The words replayed in my head again. We have your sister. Fear and panic began to give way to something else, something that swept aside every other impulse as I half rose out of my chair, teeth clenched, fists gripping the side of my desk so hard I thought I might break a piece off. It was a cold anger that burned in my veins.

All I could see were dark shapes twisting and turning on the screen. Could they see me? See in my eyes what I wanted to do to them? The pain and destruction my vengeance would wreak? It would be a holy thing, Old Testament kind of wrath. I would lay waste to their cities and leave nothing but twisted wreckage in my path. And their broken bodies would serve as a warning to all who would seek to harm my family.

Check the episode here.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Treasure of the Moon Goddess

That, my friends, is the title of my story for the second Pirates and Swashbucklers anthology. I finished the story and went over it last night, so now the wife gets a read. I'm very relieved and happy to be sending this thing off to the editor/publisher right on schedule by the end of July, which is when he wanted all the stories in. Of course, it came in a bit longer than expected, but well...

The story also changed a bit around the edges, but I'm quite happy with it. Another good adventure on the high seas with Will and Hanaam! In other news, it seems like the abandoned towers web site is toast. They still haven't posted the prompts column I submitted in June, and there isn't any new content in general since April. I think I'm done with writing the columns anyway, too much time and effort, too little in the way of ROI. I've also done it for about two years, so time to move on.

Which means back to writing the Dark InSpectre. I took a couple weeks off to finish up the Moon Goddess story. Now I can get back into it. We're definitely coming down the home stretch!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Miss Me?

Hi all, I know I've been away for a few weeks. Truth is, I was at the beach for our annual summer family vacay, so my Internet access was spotty at best. But I"m back now, tanned (relatively) and ready for action. I'm happy to report that I've gotten to the climactic sequence of my story for the next Pirates and Swashbucklers anthology. After that's done I'm very much looking forward to going back over it and revising the thing. I've also been querying all over the place for my crime/thriller novel. No takers yet...

And, of course, the next DIS episode is up. Full of telepathic goodness and bad people being bad. Check it:

Episode 52 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero finds that kids can say the darndest things.
Here’s an excerpt:

A second later I realized what just happened. My hands started shaking so bad I couldn’t hold onto the wheel and I pulled over to the side of the road. Memories I’d never dealt with flooded through me as my heart pounded and a cold sweat soaked through my shirt. I bent over and pressed my head to the wheel, squeezed my eyes shut. Memories of a girl’s face framed in golden hair, peaceful, eyes closed with the certainty of never opening again. Desperate hours in a wine cellar, certain I’d never get out. Murderous tel psychopaths and a killer who’d once been my friend.

Check the episode here.


Monday, June 18, 2012

New Episode!

Episode 51 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which Jack and Mary finally let nature take its course.

Here’s an excerpt:

The anger in her thoughts roiled out of her brain, and I marveled at how protective she was of me. I reached out and touched her arm, which caused her to jump. “Hey, Mare, you don’t have to worry about…”

She shrugged me off, which surprised me, but I could tell she wasn’t finished so I just waited. She took a deep, shaky breath. “Jack, what I wanted to say is that if you didn’t want to… I mean, if it were better for you to… not be here anymore, what with the press and all, I…we… would understand…” Her voice trailed off as her throat muscles worked and she stared into her glass. She seemed so small all of a sudden.

I reached out and touched her shoulder and this time she did turn toward me, the overhead light glinting off the tears in her eyes. “Do you want me to go, Mare?”

Check the episode here.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Story Time!

After a long drought when I hadn't sold anything, I finally placed a story! My short story Carousel will appear in the Jan. 2013 issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly. I'm extremely psyched because I really like the story (duh), and it's something pretty different from the other stuff I've written. It was inspired when I went with my wife and kids to the old fashioned carousel in Park Slope, Brooklyn (that's where I live). I thought to myself, hmmm, wouldn't it be cool if there were like, living beings inside those wood carvings? Throw in a young girl and her grandmother's magic necklace, and voila! It's also an actual short story, and by that I mean around 4,000 words, which is shorter than most of the stuff that comes out of my head, thank god.

In other news, I'm well into my story for the second Pirates and Swashbucklers anthology. I got a lot done on a business trip to Paris a couple weeks ago. God I love long business flights. I get so much writing done, especially when the on-board movies suck! It's a little less than half done, so hopefully I'll be able to keep chugging along and finish it well before the July 31 deadline. I don't really know, but maybe it'll come out in Winter 2012?

And of course the Dark InSpectre keeps rolling along. I'm now into the sequence of events that will lead right to the conclusion. The end is actually in sight. And then what? Oh, right, got a novel to shop around...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Episode 50!

Episode 50 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero finds himself in the uncomfortably hot glare of the media spotlight.

Here’s an excerpt:

Ben moved to shield me as the mass tightened around me, the pack closing in on its prey. There were some tels among them, darting in with their senses to get a taste of my psychic reaction, eager to report on any traces of fear or guilt. I snapped my shields shut as Ben dragged me through the crowd, pushing reporters out of the way.

“The lieutenant has no comment. He was here to answer routine questions in an investigation, nothing more.” Ben kept repeating it like a mantra as we forced our way through the gauntlet, senses pawing at me while a hundred small vid screens reflected my stunned features.

Check the episode here.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Prompts Blog

Not sure what took so long, but my guest column is finally up over at Abandoned Towers Magazine. Take a gander over that way and soak up the golden rays of my knowledge! Nah, but it is kinda fun. Here's he link.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Next episode is up!

Episode 49 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero finds himself at the center of rather unseemly investigation.

Here’s an excerpt:
I wasn’t aware of Beale’s lips moving, but I heard the voice, that smirking, leering voice. “Well, how do you think it looks? I mean the lieutenant, best friends with James Mallon, formerly involved with Ms. Mallon? Then the husband is dead, possibly killed by the lieutenant, and the next thing you know, they’re shacking up together in her house? Do I need to draw you a map?”

The words arranged themselves in my head until their message pulsed loud and clear. They’re coming after Mary.

Check the episode here.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Episode 48!

Episode 48 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero faces an accuser with an ax to grind.

Here’s an excerpt:

Beale sat down, preening with a silver badge all shiny on the lapel of his dark suit. His face was calm, but his eyes gloated and his surface thoughts overflowed with malevolence. All aimed at me. He sat down and I didn’t miss the way Jenni edged her chair slightly away from him. Then Beale looked at me and gave me the barest hint of a smile, his brain broadcasting loud and clear: he was the one in control now.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sex and Swashbucklers

Couple of interesting developments lately. Before I started the latest story arc for the Dark InSpectre, I knew that a plot development I had in mind would come into direct conflict with my editor's writer's guidelines. She doesn't allow cursing or sex. I've pretty much abided by the cursing thing, though I find it fairly ridiculous that in this noir universe my main character, a hardboiled, cynical detective, doesn't curse. But he was definitely going to engage in the old hokey pokey. It was going to be a natural, important part of the plot, and if you've been following along, you can see I've been steadily leading up to it. I warned her about this when I started and didn't get much of a response. Well, I just wrote the sex scene--nothing hardcore, mind you--but there's no doubt what's going on. I sent it to my editor, and she.... did not touch it. In fact, she didn't even mention it. So whatever, the sex is in! Look for it in an upcoming episode!

In other news, I was graciously asked to contribute to the second Pirates and Swashbucklers anthology. All of the contributors to the first one were solicited. I came up with a story idea, sent it in, and the editor gave me the green light. So now I have to write it. I've never been asked to contribute to anything before, so that's cool, and I've only rarely had to write something on a deadline like this (end of July), so that should be... interesting. Better get started, I'm already filling my head with characters that go Aaaaarrrr!

Guest Bloggin'

My monthly column is up over at Abandoned Towers Magazine. Check out the words that are comin' outta my mouth!

Writing prompts for all!:

Monday, April 23, 2012

New Episode: Doctors and Lawyers

Episode 47 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero connects the dots between some of the major players.

Here’s an excerpt:

Check clubs and associations. Whaddayaknow, Lenny belonged to a fraternity. He was a year older, but guess who his frat buddy was? Marcus Ames. My eyes narrowed. Ames and Holloway were chummy, I already knew that much. Did Walter know Holloway, too? What did it all add up to?

I got the chance to ask when Walter’s face appeared on my vid screen. He looked tired, but had his usual half amused expression. We talked more about Natalie Brown’s article and the leak, shifting the conversation to Harcher’s investigation. Bottom line, I needed to clear a big case, Heske or this Narco investigation. Everything else would go away.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hacked and Jacked

Something disturbing happened a couple days ago. Somebody was able to log in to my Dark InSpectre wordpress site and set themselves up as an administrator. They then started posting multiple posts in a foreign language. Because I have it set up as a networked blog, these posts started appearing on my Facebook page and twitter account as if I had posted them. I cannot tell you how mortified I was when I started seeing them just appear under my name. I quickly went into the user area of my site and deleted the guy's profile and all the posts. I also saw somebody else I had no idea about set up as an admin, so I deleted them, too. Working with my editor, we instituted new security and changed passwords.

A friend of mine who's much more of a tech person than me later informed me that the posts were in Polish and had to do with cheap mortgages, with a link that probably downloaded malware. I cannot believe that this is what some people spend all their time doing. I mean, shouldn't this person who has obvious computer skills be out making money at a real job? Maybe this is their real job (depressing thought). Regardless, I found this whole episode pretty awful and anxiety-provoking and am glad to have restored my site and everything else back to normal. My tech friend Dan assures me that this was a routine occurrence, on the order of those spam emails from the deposed King of Nigeria promising millions of dollars (I thought I was the only one who got those!). I guess he's right, but those I can just delete, this seemed more insidious. Oh well, I guess that's life in the blogosphere.

Seriously, though, if I ever find that guy, I will give him a major frowning!

Monday, April 9, 2012

New Episode Up!

Episode 46 of the Dark InSpectre is now online, in which our hero learns about a way cool drug that's all the rage with psycho-telepathic killers.

Here's an excerpt:

I chose my words carefully. “Would it be effective in suppressing tel activity related to contacting the psychic imprints of deceased individuals?”

His wrist twitched. Fairchild looked at me with a penetrating stare and I suddenly felt like one of his study subjects. “Do you mean like what you do?”

I tried not to squirm in my seat. “Partially. This would involve more… direct contact than I’m capable of. Even to the point of absorbing the psychic imprint, and then storing it or expressing certain attributes of the DV. It might even be an addictive behavior.”

He stared at me, completely motionless, his eyes alight with scientific interest. The wrist still twitched.

“I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of such a case.”

I kept my face expressionless. “It’s pretty rare.”

His eyes didn’t leave mine. “And of course if this had anything to do with an ongoing investigation, you wouldn’t be at liberty to say.”


Friday, April 6, 2012

The Sargasso Lull

I've got a bunch of stuff floating out there in the ether of various submission piles. At present, I have three short stories and a novel that I'm waiting to hear back on. I sent them all out in February, so it's been about two months. I got an automatic response with the novel query, so I know they received the query letter and first few chapters. But the short stories, none of them generated any automatic responses, which makes me nervous. Probably for no reason, but nervous nonetheless. Plus it's now at that two months and counting period where I naturally get itchy about not hearing back and wondering if I will hear back and what if I don't hear back and why aren't I hearing back?

Keeping writing helps, and the Dark InSpectre series is going well, but there have been some further hiccups there, too. My editor informed me that she lost her regular job, which totally sucks and I feel awful for her. I've been in that situation and know how soul-crushing it can be being out of work and having to look around for employment. What that means for the series is that she finally admitted something I've kind of known for a long time: she can't pay me.

Way back when the series started, she told me I should send her invoices each month to get paid $10 per episode. This lasted for maybe 7 or 8 episodes. I've written over 60, so there's obviously been a bit of a lag. To me, this isn't that big of a deal, I never wrote these for the money. There's a story in my head and I've got to get it out. So I'm actually relieved I can officially stop sending invoices and not feel weird about it anymore. I just hope she finds work and can make ends meet. I'm also glad she's still willing to edit my series despite her financial troubles.

Until next time!

Monday, March 26, 2012

This Episode Brought to You By the Windy City

I'm in Chicago right now, working my ass off at a cardiology convention, but I always have time for The Dark InSpectre, so Episode 45 is now online, in which our hero finds the hostility directed toward him becoming even more, well, hostile.

Here's an excerpt:

I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, having spent the night on the couch in my office after opting for solace in a bottle. Fortunately, I always kept a spare set of clothes at work. Cuz let’s face it, this wasn’t the first time.

As a result, I looked fairly presentable when I got the vid call from Franken. If you didn’t count my pallid, unshaven face and the circles under my eyes.

Franken, meanwhile, looked dead sober. “Jack…” he began.

I cut him off. “Sir, I’ve already read it.”

Friday, March 16, 2012

Monthly Column

Hey all, my monthly column has been posted over at Abandoned Towers Magazine. For those of you who don't know, I write a monthly column for them giving examples of how to turn science news items into cool story ideas. These are items I run across every day in my job as a news editor, and each month I round a few up to serve as inspiration to all those writers out there looking for that next big idea, or even that next small idea. Whatever gets you going.

You can check it out here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Episode 44 is up!

We're back online and rollin' along with Episode 44 of The Dark InSpectre. In this one, Jack finds a disturbing, recurring theme as he checks out his latest crime scene.

Here's an excerpt:

I could barely contain my anger. The same tell-tale psychic blob hovered there, just like Manny’s, Laszlo’s, and the ones at the other crime scenes. How was this happening? I paced around the room, fuming, wanting to bang my head against the wall, unable to come up with any scenario that fit. Was Multiple Man personally paying visits to my crime scenes? Were there two feeders?

Enjoy the episode!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Jack's Back

After months of toiling and strain, and doing web things that I don't really understand, I have at last posted two, count 'em, two new episodes of The Dark InSpectre. The site is now totally different, it's on a wordpress platform instead of blogger, and it's pretty bare, so excuse its modesty. I'm still planning on adding a few do-dads here and there, but it's finished enough to start posting again, so yay!

I will henceforth resume my previous posting schedule of every other Monday. I hope you'll tune back in, I promise I've got some wicked things in store for Jack!

So without further ado:

Here's Episode 42, in which our hero returns to his old stomping grounds, only to find things are very different, and not in a good way.

And here's Episode 43, in which our hero continues his various covert investigations.

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Dark InSpectre Returns...Monday

Monday, February 27 there will be two new episodes of The Dark InSpectre. These will be the first new episodes in like 4 months, since the previous site's untimely demise. I'm posting two new episodes instead of the usual one to reward all those readers who've been jonesing for their bi-weekly fix of New Arden's foremost paranormal cop Jack Garrett (I know you're out there!).

Anyway, it's a big deal for me to get the story back online and rolling again. Hopefully the audience can slowly but surely get back to where it was before. It's a new site and a new CMS. Right now it's rather bare and not quite where I want it to get (primarily because I have no idea what I'm doing), but it's far enough along to start posting again. And lord knows we've got a lot of story left, cuz Jack's getting in some deep shit before he's done. So keep yer' eyes peeled for Monday!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Guest Column

Hey, y'all.  My monthly column is up over at Abandoned Towers Magazine. As usual, I'm writing about writing. It looks a little different cuz all the blog stuff for AT is moving over to the main site, but it's still the same old me. Check it here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Subbing, Subbing, Subbing

I sent off my crime novel to a literary agency. It's one of the smaller, boutique agencies, not one of the big boys. Does that give me a better shot? Who knows. Seems like a good place, though, we'll see. They wanted a query letter, synopsis and first three chapters. If they like it, they'll ask for the whole thing. Could be a week, could be three months.

I've also been posting the short story I finished over at the Baen's Universe slush board. I've been getting good feedback, and some not so good feedback. That's the thing with the BU board, you've got to A) have a thick skin and B) be able to separate the constructive feedback from the "non-constructive" feedback. In other words, the stuff that you look at and say, "yeah, I'm going to pass on that," or "sorry, I just disagree." This doesn't happen a lot, but it does happen. By and large my story has gotten better. I'm going to wait another week and see what other comments I get, then decide whether to post a revised version one last time, or start subbing it around. Either way I'm happy with how it's going.

Then there's the Dark InSpectre. Frustration does not begin to describe my current emotional state. My in absentia editor informed me that once again, she cannot find the new episodes I re-sent her for editing. Also, she had some kind of computer meltdown and has to re-do or completely re-create the banner graphic to post on the site. And she's sick again. I re-re-sent her the episodes to edit. Making a new graphic would be cool, provided she actually does it, but ultimately I don't care. It's the episodes that are important, if she can just edit some of these, I'll start posting again. We'll see if this actually happens. I'm deliberately not thinking about how long it's been since the series went away. Oops! There I go thinking about it again...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Two Steps Forward, One Step...

Stuff is happening on multiple fronts, unfortunately, not all of it's good. First of all, The Dark InSpectre is getting closer and closer to coming back on line. I've finally made contact with my in absentia editor who says she never received the next several episodes. So I re-forwarded them to her and also made progress with the new web site, which I'll continue to fool around with. Bottom line, if she can start getting episodes back to me, I'll start posting again, Finally!

On the novel side, not so good. Because my editor (same person as Dark InSpectre) is so swamped with book projects, she said there's virtually no hope of her getting to my revised manuscript this year (yes, I said this year). She actually suggested I start sending it around to agents, that she would love to put it out through her publishing house, but wants to be fair to me. And she'll absolutely hold on to it and publish it if I can't find a home for it myself (although that wouldn't be for quite a while).

No question it's really nice of her and very supportive. But it still sucks. I wrote this thing at her behest, and she knows my voice and helped develop it in many ways, and now I have to go sell it to people who never heard of me , which includes everyone. An extra problem is that while I'm familiar with the agents in the SciFi world, I don't know who specializes in crime/thriller literature. So that's more research for me to do.

It's just a huge letdown after thinking this would definitely be out there in the near future. It was something I thought I could count on, especially after busting my ass to get it done. Oh well, guess I have to flog it like everybody else and deal with all the agent rejections for a while. Coming up with a title for the thing wouldn't hurt my chances either.

At least my wife liked the short story I just wrote. Let me tell you, she can be quite the critic. So next step is I'll post it over at the Baen slush board and let the wolves have at it.

Like I said, all of a sudden there's a lot going on, just not all of it's going my way. But hey, just part of being a writer, I guess. Amiright? Amiright...?

Monday, January 30, 2012

New Stuff

I haven't been terribly preoccupied with the Dark InSpectre site that's been in stasis cuz I've been working on a new short story. In between horrific migraine headaches this weekend, I finished it. I'm pretty psyched about it, it's been in my head for several years and I finally had time to write it. What's cool about it is that it's actually under 5,000 words, a rarity for me. So it's all printed out and ready for my wife to read, but after that, then what? My SOP used to be to post stuff over at the Baen's slush pile. My stories have always benefited from the feedback there, and I'm inclined to use it again. I checked it out yesterday and even though the Baen's Universe magazine has closed, the slush pile is still going strong. Funny, even after several years of getting stories published here and there and a semi-successful web series, I still got nervous at the prospect of posting a new story for critique. I guess that never goes away.

Anyway, the story is called Carousel, and it's about, you guessed it, a carousel. Hopefully it'll see the light of day later this year. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bloggin' Stuff

Once again I have posted my rapturous ramblings over at Abandoned Towers Magazine. Feel free to be enlightened by the virtuosity of my words. Just visit here!

In other news, I have successfully loaded all the old episodes of the Dark InSpectre on the new site, so yay! However, I'm having real trouble loading the audio episodes. For one, there's a 7 mb size limit on loading media, and some of the audio files are larger than that. And when I experimented with a smaller file, it seemed to load, but it won't show in the podpress player that's been installed.

I definitely need my editor to help with this, but she is in absentia again, which is becoming frustrating. Especially since she has yet to download the wordpress theme and banner graphic so the site actually looks like The Dark InSpectre and not just some generic wordpress site. Oh, and she has the next 4 episodes and the revised manuscript I sent her.

I guess I'll keep writing that short story I'm halfway through. : \

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Loading, Loading, Loading

The bare-bones Dark InSpectre site is back up. The the new theme and banner graphic have not been downloaded yet (still waiting for my editor to do that), but it's functional and I've started fooling around with it, installing some widgets, etc. I've also started uploading all the original episodes. I'm about halfway done. Hopefully my editor can find some time to add her own touches to the site and I can send out that long-awaited email welcoming everybody back. I think I'll post a double new episode for everybody along with a thanks for being so patient. There are still lots of little details to work out with the site, how to moderate comments, how to upload the audio episodes. But it's all finally happening. So yay!

In other news, I just happened to run across my story from that Pirates and Swashbucklers anthology on the publisher's website being offered for free as an enticement to buy the anthology. So if you want to read it for free, check it out here. And if you like it, buy the whole book, all the stories are really good, I swear!

And speaking of that anthology, the editor just emailed me to verify my PayPal account. It seems like I'm actually going to get paid for it, woohoo! Of course, it's all PayPal money, which I regard as monopoly money, but still pretty cool, right?

AND I'm about halfway through a new short story I've had in my head for a long time. So double yay! I definitely seem to have emerged from the morose stasis field I was caught in when it came to my various writing endeavors. Thank god, it was getting depressing for a while there. But things seem to be picking up at last!

Monday, January 9, 2012

She's Back!

Hooray! A day before I was planning on e-mailing my editor to see WTF'sU, she e-mails me! Turns out she's had the flu and so been totally out of commission. But she's back now and ready to roll. So she's going to finish fixing up the new version of the Dark InSpectre site, and I just sent her the next four episodes to edit. So yay! I'll still have to re-load all 58 of the old episodes, so boo! But at least things are moving ahead. I also wrote the next monthly blog column for the Abandoned Towers site, so that's out of the way, too. Looks like things are back on track, which is good. I can't tell you the various grim scenarios that were going through my mind on what had happened. The most likely one was the tried and true kidnapped by mutants scenario. Thank god they are all just figments of my tortured paranoia. Hopefully we'll all be seeing Jack Garrett back on the web in a couple weeks. :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Back from the Break

For the holiday break, I took the fam down to Rockville, Md. to stay with my folks. We just got back yesterday after five full days of family fun. It was a good trip, and I actually was able to revise a short story that had been nagging at me so that it's now ready to be re-subbed. It was a pretty substantial overhaul, so I'm pretty happy I was able to get it all done while on break. Still no word from my editor on anything. A facebook friend of mine actually asked me what's happening with the Dark InSpectre, so people are, in fact, conscious of it's absence. I'm going to have to send my editor a concerned email soon asking her what the hell's up. Oh, happy new year's!