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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Have an Editor!

Here's the link to my editor's site. You'll see my book, "Ten Little Terrors," listed here, as well:

Great folks to work with!

If all goes well, it should be listed for sale through Amazon as a Kindle edition by no later than September, 2012.

Kickstarter eBook Project Now Online! Woohoo!

Here's the link:

Give it a look. It wouldn't bother me a bit if you were to decide to be a backer.

Hint, hint.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Update on eBook

I’ve finally submitted my creative project (proposed Kindle ebook: Ten Little Terrors, a short story anthology) to, a creative project funding site. Now, all they have to do is approve it and it will be listed.
I’ve already had the cover designed, along with a promotional poster. I’ll be offering the poster, a pdf of the book, a tee-shirt and a mug as incentives for funding (poster image below).
As I said in an earlier post, I have a professional editor lined up, who will format the book for me as well.
 Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Tell Tale Heart by E.A. Poe

This is a tale that I read at the tender age of ten. It made enough of an impression on me that I read many more of Poe's works.

TRUE! nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why WILL you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses, not destroyed, not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How then am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily, how calmly, I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain, but, once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! Yes, it was this! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture -- a pale blue eye with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me my blood ran cold, and so by degrees, very gradually, I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye for ever.

Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded -- with what caution -- with what foresight, with what dissimulation, I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. And every night about midnight I turned the latch of his door and opened it oh, so gently! And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern all closed, closed so that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly, very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man's sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this? And then when my head was well in the room I undid the lantern cautiously--oh, so cautiously--cautiously (for the hinges creaked), I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. And this I did for seven long nights, every night just at midnight, but I found the eye always closed, and so it was impossible to do the work, for it was not the old man who vexed me but his Evil Eye. And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he had passed the night. So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.

Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. A watch's minute hand moves more quickly than did mine. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers, of my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. To think that there I was opening the door little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea, and perhaps he heard me, for he moved on the bed suddenly as if startled. Now you may think that I drew back -- but no. His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness (for the shutters were close fastened through fear of robbers), and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily.

I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening , and the old man sprang up in the bed, crying out, "Who's there?"

I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down. He was still sitting up in the bed, listening; just as I have done night after night hearkening to the death watches in the wall.

Presently, I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief -- oh, no! It was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him although I chuckled at heart. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise when he had turned in the bed. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. He had been saying to himself, "It is nothing but the wind in the chimney, it is only a mouse crossing the floor," or, "It is merely a cricket which has made a single chirp." Yes he has been trying to comfort himself with these suppositions ; but he had found all in vain. ALL IN VAIN, because Death in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him and enveloped the victim. And it was the mournful influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel, although he neither saw nor heard, to feel the presence of my head within the room.

When I had waited a long time very patiently without hearing him lie down, I resolved to open a little--a very, very little crevice in the lantern. So I opened it--you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily--until at length a single dim ray like the thread of the spider shot out from the crevice and fell upon the vulture eye.

It was open, wide, wide open, and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness--all a dull blue with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones, but I could see nothing else of the old man's face or person, for I had directed the ray as if by instinct precisely upon the damned spot.

And now have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the senses? now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well too. It was the beating of the old man's heart. It increased my fury as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.

But even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely breathed. I held the lantern motionless. I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray upon the eye. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder, every instant. The old man's terror must have been extreme! It grew louder, I say, louder every moment!--do you mark me well? I have told you that I am nervous: so I am. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I thought the heart must burst. And now a new anxiety seized me--the sound would be heard by a neighbour! The old man's hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He shrieked once -- once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. But for many minutes the heart beat on with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall. At length it ceased. The old man was dead. I removed the bed and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, stone dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes. There was no pulsation. He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more.

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence.

I took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly so cunningly, that no human eye--not even his--could have detected anything wrong. There was nothing to wash out -- no stain of any kind--no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that.

When I had made an end of these labours, it was four o'clock--still dark as midnight. As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking at the street door. I went down to open it with a light heart,--for what had I now to fear? There entered three men, who introduced themselves, with perfect suavity, as officers of the police. A shriek had been heard by a neighbour during the night; suspicion of foul play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police office, and they (the officers) had been deputed to search the premises.

I smiled,--for what had I to fear? I bade the gentlemen welcome. The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country. I took my visitors all over the house. I bade them search--search well. I led them, at length, to his chamber. I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim.

The officers were satisfied. My MANNER had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears; but still they sat, and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct : I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definitiveness -- until, at length, I found that the noise was NOT within my ears.

No doubt I now grew VERY pale; but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased -- and what could I do? It was A LOW, DULL, QUICK SOUND -- MUCH SUCH A SOUND AS A WATCH MAKES WHEN ENVELOPED IN COTTON. I gasped for breath, and yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly, more vehemently but the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. Why WOULD they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men, but the noise steadily increased. O God! what COULD I do? I foamed--I raved--I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased. It grew louder--louder-- louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God!-- no, no? They heard!-- they suspected!--they KNEW!--they were making a mockery of my horror!--this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die!--and now--again--hark! louder! louder! louder! LOUDER!--

"Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed!--tear up the planks! --here, here!--it is the beating of his hideous heart!"

-The End-

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Friday, May 25, 2012

In the Rope Dines a Hypothesis

Another writing challenge from, from the sadistic mind of Chuck Wendig.
Good thing all his followers are masochists.
Okay, this time 'round we were challenged to write a story using a random sentence generator, using said sentence as the first or last sentence in our story (1,000 words or less).
I chose to do both the first and last sentence using the random sentence generator. Below is the unholy offspring.
Damn you, Chuck!

An atomic poison rattles underneath the sea thrust. The stern thrusters whine as Captain Florence watches helplessly from the bridge of the cruise ship Aladdin III. In all his twenty years as Captain, he could never have imagined a crisis such as this. The sea roils like a lobster pot some two hundred knots ahead. Captain Florence is completely unaware that an Iranian underwater nuclear bomb test has just occurred mere moments ago. He doesn’t have any idea what has taken place, yet his instincts tell him that it will be catastrophic to his boat. All hands have been made aware of the situation; at least the little that he and his crew know at the moment.
     All he can do is watch. Watch the sea foam boil, blasts of steam regurgitating up from the ocean floor. Even with their thrusters on full, he’s quite aware that due to the ships momentum, they will soon be in the thick of it. The Captain tries again in vain to reach the US mainland via the ship-to-shore system. All electronic devices are either completely down or completely unreliable. He resorts to his pocket compass to give himself at least some reassurance that this might somehow be survivable.
     A report comes over the intercom system, now the only way for the crew to relay information.
“Captain. Jeff Conroy. We’ve got a problem. Er, another problem. Definitely a code red,” reports the Able Seaman.
“This better be good, Conroy, you weren’t authorized to use the system.”
“Uh, yeah. People are dropping like flies. Mostly those on the outside deck.”
“Which deck!”
“Uh, all of them?”
“Conroy, get me the Safety Officer.”
There is no answer.
The Captain reacts quickly, he shuts down the air conditioning system. He feels the absence of the moving air. The high afternoon sun begins heating the interior of the bridge almost instantaneously. Florence second guesses himself for sending his ship’s crew to their cabins for safety. Rather than protecting them, he feels he’s doomed them to their deaths. But who is he fooling, he thinks. If something in the air is killing all those on deck, it will soon seep into the entire ship. This is it. The end. Captain Florence turns on the first level intercom. He hears the moans and screams. He turns off the first and then turns on the second. He can make out the pleas of a dying child, coughs and guttural choking. Another level, then another. He turns all the intercoms on; a flood of human despair racking his psyche. It makes him physically ill. Captain Florence grieves aloud for his wife and two sons, whom he’ll never see again. He reaches for a white nylon rope, left behind by the Quarter Master or perhaps the Motorman.
“Forgive me.”
In the rope dines a hypothesis.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

In the Dark

I wrote this poem about a year ago.

    He was disturbed by the face in the dark
    It would look around the edge of the door to his room
   Then fade in the candle light carried by the nurse
   It was "Good Night, Tim," she said
    She held his soul in her hands
   a small shadow needing protection

   His eyes spoke, "I will see my dream and your dreams."
   His shadow went out the doorway with her
   Once again the face, when the candle left

   The train accident played out on the ceiling
   howling metal, biting flame
  screams like hell’s laughter

  he heard whispered conversations in the corridor
  heard his time was near, one step deeper
  the fog shroud face smirked

   He dreamed of the old country house,
   the stone floor room,
    the knock on the padded door dull and throbbing

    The silence too, however, reached him

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bone China

Another flash fiction challenge from

Check out Chuck Wendig's awesome, amazing, funny and troubling website!

Please comment, thanks.

Charles was sure he’d brought everything, but he went over his gear to make sure. The last thing he wanted was to come across as unprofessional, although he felt like a phony, deep inside. This was the last interview of many, the most important one, and he was more than just nervous. He was practically terrified. Charles wiped his sweating palms on his Dockers before hoisting the black shoulder bag from the back of his Saab, hoping that Steven Berkhard hadn’t been watching from his living room window. He had thought of all his interviewees by first and last name; it gave him distance, or at least kept them at arm’s length.
     Charles had graduated from film school over two years ago. It was hard for him to believe that time had slid past him like a lengthening shadow, each day taking him further away from his dream of being a documentary filmmaker. Two years of attempting to find investors, a government grant, a personal loan… two years working in an office supply store. He had finally been given this chance and he wasn’t going to blow it, even if it killed him. The money came from an anonymous “Angel investor” and although he was given the subject for his documentary, he’d been given complete control over the project. The only stipulation was that it be kept under-raps until his investor could view the finished product. Charles took two months leave of absence from his job and took up the challenge.
     His investor wanted a documentary on violent criminals that had served their time and had been released back into society; a kind of retrospective on where they started from and where they were now. It seemed like a good enough idea, and just edgy enough for the indie competitions. This was his chance to prove himself.
     Charles found himself in front of the massive door of the hundred-year-old bungalow, standing in deep shadow this bright summer’s day on the covered fieldstone porch, his finger pushing in the ancient door buzzer, half expecting it not to work. It didn’t. Yet the door opened. Cool air and the scent of cat excrement struck his senses.
“Come on in, young fella’.”
Charles stepped in, his eyes slowly adjusting to the gloom. All the shades were drawn tight. A small table lamp glowed anemically in the corner next to an overstuffed colonial style couch. Charles assumed the couch and all the other furniture was circa 1970’s, as if the owner had just decided all at once to stop replacing it.
“I’m Steven Berkhard. Mr. Sumner, wasn’t it?”
“Yes. Yes. Charles Sumner. Steven Berkhard…” said Charles, awkwardly. Berkhard stood before him, an imposing figure, although at least seventy years old. Charles knew from his research that Steven Berkhard had been a brute of a man in his younger years, working mainly on oil rigs off the Gulf Coast. Even though much of his muscle was now flab and his stomach lapped over his belt Charles was still intimidated by his form. Charles thought a walk from his front door to his car was exercise and had always been what his father called “tender.”
“It’s a pleasure…”
Berkhard cut him off, “Yeah, yeah. Come on, sit. I don’t have all day. And I’ll take the two hundred bucks, right now.”
“Sure. Here. That was the deal,” said Charles, surprised by Berkhard’s gruff demeanor. He fumbled with his wallet and produced the cash, laying it on the dusty coffee table. A black cat startled him as it stalked out from under, hissing.
“Scat, Newt!” shouted Berkhard, tossing an old National Geographic at the feline, “Cat usually likes company. Don’t like you.”
     Charles was confused for a moment. The cat didn’t like him, or Berkhard didn’t? Silence hung between the two men like strong cigar smoke. Berkhard sat on the edge of the couch, forearms on thighs in a hunch, waiting. Charles sat in a too small wicker chair, the wicker creaking with the slightest move, less than three feet from Berkhard’s flush face. I’ll be mortified if I break through the bottom, he thought, trying to restrain his movement. The black bag sat in his lap, forgotten.
“So, you gonna’ videotape this, or what?” said Berkhard.
Charles’ face reddened as he got out his camera. He checked the settings. Looking at the image, he was disappointed in the lighting, but decided it would have to do. He was feeling uneasy, and the sooner this was over, the better.
“That the camera? That little thing?” said Berkhard loudly. He said everything loudly.
“Yes, that’s it. All very professional, I’ll assure you.”
“Better be. Shoot away.”
He began filming.
Just before he could ask his first scripted question, Berkhard began to talk.
“Yeah. So I was twenty-eight when I was convicted. Most of my immediate family was dead by the time I got out. This was my parent’s house. Willed it to me.
“They got me for killing some guy in a bar fight; don’t even remember his name. Wasn’t me that killed him, but then that’s probably what every other ex-con has told you, right? We’re all innocent. I really was. Anyway, served my time. Won’t bore you with the details…”
“That’s why I’m here, Steven, for the details.”
“I need a drink,” said Berkhard abruptly, rising from the couch, heading to what Charles thought must be the kitchen, behind him. He sat where he was. He didn’t want to have to change shots, and he doubted he could get up from the creaking wicker chair too easily.
“I’ve got a hobby now,” said Berkhard, “rummaging around in the kitchen, “I collect bone china.”
Charles felt a biting pain in his neck, he gasped for air; the tiny DV recorder hit the hardwood floor and skittered under the couch. He was being strangled.
Berkhard twisted the brown extension cord tighter as Charles’ legs shot out in front of him, turning over the coffee table. The black cat struck out at him with a screech and a hiss.
“Don’t really need my interview, but I’ll delight in watching the rest. Best investment I ever made, Charles. And the top of his skull will make a mighty fine popcorn bowl, won’t it, Newt Kitty? Another addition to my collection of bone china…”
Charles’ mind winked out into blackness. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ah, Are You Digging My Grave?


Thomas Hardy



'Ah, are you digging on my grave
My loved one? planting rue?'
'No: yesterday he went to wed
One of the brightest wealth has bred.
"It cannot hurt her now", he said,
"That I should not be true."

'Then who is digging on my grave?
My nearest dearest kin?'
'Ah, no; they sit and think, "What use!
What good will planting flowers produce?
No tendance of her mound can loose
Her spirit from Death's gin."

'But some one digs upon my grave?
My enemy? prodding sly?'
'Nay: when she heard you had passed the Gate
That shuts on all flesh soon or late,
She thought you no more worth her hate,
And cares not where you lie.'

'Then, who is digging on my grave?
Say since I have not guessed !'
'O it is I, my mistress dear,
Your little dog, who still lives near,
And much I hope my movements here
Have not disturbed your rest?'

'Ah, yes! You dig upon my grave . . .
Why flashed it not on me
That one true heart was left behind!
What feeling do we ever find
To equal among human kind
A dog's fidelity !'

'Mistress, I dug upon your grave
To bury a bone, in case
I should be hungry near this spot
When passing on my daily trot.
I am sorry, but I quite forgot
It was your resting-place.'


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Saturday, May 5, 2012


     A poem that I wrote in February, 2012. A rainy day and solemn thoughts of love lost inspired me.

     Abolishing the waves of shrill voices,

    exciting the rooftops,

    changing the colors of the city to silver.

    Streetlights shattering rain,

    as blackbirds complain away;

    the leaves have become tired with it.

    Hearing the storm through me

    I remember the girl next door

    as I close my eyes:

    Her pale cheeks rose-bright with rain,

    and I shudder.

    Silver rain disappears into the forest.

    They beat us with silver nails, knocked us down.

    “There are ghosts who sing furies," she said.

    Voices in choir send thunder through me.

    Each cries a secret.

    I run to reach her, and drown.


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