Prometheus and Chiron



Tommy—a former Marine, a part-time construction worker, dependent on opiates for the treatment of chronic pain—is waiting for the train home one evening, when he sees a strange, shivering, ill-appearing woman seated on a bench across the track from him. Her presence fills him with dread and revulsion, for no reason he can understand. Even after a month passes, she remains, seated in the same place, always visibly suffering. No one else at the station ever seems to see her at all. But Tommy sees her, and even dreams about her.

And she sees him.


Author’s note for “Paradox City”

Paradox City Cover2

“Paradox City” is the next story I wrote—or completed, anyway—after I finished the first draft of “Mark Red.”  I say “completed,” because I actually began writing “The Chasm and the Collision” months before I started “Mark Red,” in apparent contradiction to what I wrote in my previous author’s note.  But I had only written what were then the first and second chapters of “CatC,” which were eventually consolidated into one chapter, and had then put them aside.  I also didn’t have them with me while I was a guest of the Florida State Department of Corrections.  My mother, thankfully, had a printout of the chapters, and my intention was to complete that book once I had finished “Mark Red,” when I had worked enough of the rust from my writing gears.  However, the chapters hadn’t arrived yet by the time I finished “Mark Red.”  While I waited, I wanted to be productive and to maintain my daily early-morning writing habits, so I decided to write a short story. Continue reading

Mark Red

Mark Red Cover

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Mark Reed is an ordinary teenage boy. When he sees a woman being attacked, he rushes to help her, only to be stabbed by her assailant. But the woman he sought to aid was a vampire, and as he lies, bleeding to death in an alley, he sees her deal easily with her attacker. Then, unwilling to let him die because of the heroism of his actions, she saves his life…the only way she can.

The next day, Mark awakens to find that he has been changed in ways he could not have believed, potentially forever. Now he must hide his new nature from his family and friends, learning about his powers and the dangers they entail, and looking for a cure for his new condition. All the while he must guard against his nearly irresistible blood-lust, for if he should kill a human by draining their blood, he will become a full vampire.

And a full vampire can never be cured, even by death.

Welcome to Paradox City


Three men. Three dark journeys.

One man enters a room that should not exist and discovers a mysterious book containing secrets of dreadful power.

Another man discovers in himself an ability that will reveal mysteries of life…and death.

A third man enters a popular nightclub, where seemingly impossible events are commonplace, and where his life is changed…forever.

Welcome to realms of darkness, fear, and wonder. Welcome to Paradox City.

A blog post that knits up the raveled sleeve of care

Well, it’s Thursday morning again and time for a new blog post.

This time it really is Thursday morning.  Last week, I somehow got it into my head that it was Thursday when it was, in fact, Wednesday, and I wrote and published my weekly blog post accordingly.  This was even though, at work that day, I did all the usual things that I do on Wednesdays, but don’t do on Thursdays.  It was a truly strange example of the compartmentalization of a misapprehension, and it troubled me quite a lot.  When I woke up on Thursday morning, realizing that it actually was Thursday, and that the day before I had put out my blog post on the “wrong” day, I found it strange and depressing.

I don’t really know why it bothered me so much.  It’s not as though there are set rules for doing these things, and I don’t know that I have a large enough number of regular readers for them to be confused about the fact that my blog had come out a day early—or if there were people looking for the new blog post on Thursday who missed it because it had already come out the day before.

You can comment if this happened to you.  I’d be interested to learn about it.

On that same day I also put out a blog post on “Iterations of Zero.”  Maybe that was what pushed me unconsciously to write blog posts that day, because it was on a subject (turn signals, and the frequent failure of drivers to use them) that persistently irritates me.  If you want to get an idea of the intensity of my concern for that issue, you can read the blog post here, but the very fact that the title contains a (censored) bit of profanity, and the opening line of the post has that same expletive fully spelled out, should give you some idea of how much it angers me.

One unrelated but annoying thing happened with respect to that blog post, and this is the second time that this exact error has occurred:  In the first posting of the blog entry, I dropped the “r” from the word “your,” in the title, making it come across as though I were trying to sound strangely (and poorly) idiomatic.  This was not my intention, and I corrected the error immediately, and updated the post.  The problem should have thus been solved, but unfortunately, it seems that the sharing buttons for blogs, when they are shared on Facebook and similar venues, only invoke the version that was first shared.  So, even though the title has been corrected on the posting itself, which you’ll see if you read it, nevertheless, on Facebook (and, I think, on Twitter), it keeps showing up as “Use you f*cking turn signals,” and—to my eye, at least—makes me look like a f*cking idiot.

This is not such an unusual experience for me, thankfully, so although I don’t like it, I can deal with it.  Nevertheless, I want to disabuse everyone out there of the notion that it was some stupid, failed attempt at using “cool” language.  It was not.  It was an entirely different kind of stupid, one with which I am far more comfortable.

I would dearly like to promote that post and get it spread around, because I think its message is important, but I find the notion of advertising a post that looks like it has a typo in the title intolerably galling.  I really do need to be more careful about these things.

Before moving on to other matters, I will say that one reason I was distressed at finding that I’d gotten my days wrong is that Wednesday morning is supposed to be a morning for writing new fiction, and Thursday is the only day that I give myself an out from it.  I’m a creature of habit about some things, occasionally bordering on obsessive-compulsive.  It’s bad enough when my schedule changes because of external events.  For it to happen because of some weird misfiring of my own synapses is a bit like discovering that one has deliberately poisoned one’s own tea.  I did make it up for myself, though, by writing like a madman the following day; I got more than five pages written in the space of time that would normally have produced three.  Maybe the mental tension was beneficial for the production of a horror novel.

On other matters, I am inching ever closer to the release of “I for one welcome our new computer overlords,” but it’s going slowly, because I’m trying not to take any time and energy away from new writing.  This is part of a pattern I had intended to use going forward:  Never stop writing new things, even while editing/rewriting my previous works to prepare for publication, but instead do the editing and rewriting, as well as other bits of preparation, at other times, later in the day.  This may not be a workable plan, unless I can carve out set times for doing so, as I do for my writing.  I’m sure that there is many a wasted moment in my days that could be so repurposed, but the mental energy for it may or may not be readily accessible.  If I were writing “full time” I suppose it would be much easier, but I do have to give an annoying amount of my will to making a living.  I’m good at shifting mental gears while in transit, but I have my limits, and it’s hard to believe that I’m going to get a lot of editing done during lunch break.

We at Chronic Publications have come up with what looks like a good cover design for “Ifowonco,” and I like it a lot…though it is slightly jokey, as is the title itself, and the story isn’t jokey at all.  Maybe the title and cover will serve as armor against what are some rather dark moments in the tale.  I’m not going to change the title, though, and I’m certainly not going to change the story.  I really like it, even after rereading it over and over again as part of the editing process.

We’ve also produced a sort of concept draft of a cover for “Hole for a Heart,” which has gotten good reviews from the few who have seen it.  I had been planning to release my short stories on Kindle in the order in which they had been written, which would mean “Prometheus and Chiron” should follow “Ifowonco,” but that plan may change, since we have a design concept for the cover of “Hole for a Heart,” and don’t really have one for “Prometheus and Chrion.”

We are slightly struggling with the “blurb” for “Ifowonco,” because it’s a story with a few red herrings and surprises, but describing the story enough to make it interesting for potential readers might accidentally produce some spoilers.  This is far from an insurmountable problem, but it’s important.  If any of you reading this, who have read the story here on the blog, have any suggestions, I’d be delighted to read them, and would certainly give you full credit if even an altered version of your suggestion is used.  This is the house of ideas, and ideas deserve to be credited.  (In that vein:  I got the term “house of ideas” from a comic book, where it was spoken by the illustrated version of none other than the great Stan Lee, though I’m not sure if he ever said it in real life.)

Okay, well this posting has gone on longer than I expected it to do, but I guess that means that I had plenty of things to say.  I was considering posting a version of the covers described above, for your perusal and possible feedback, but my forgetfulness decided the matter:  I neglected to forward the graphics files to myself so that I could include them.  I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait.

In the meantime, I hope you’re all well and thriving, despite the stress that often attends the major holiday season (I know that it’s stressful and often deeply depressing for me, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this).  Do be good to yourselves, even while you’re going mad trying to figure out which gifts and how many to get for those you love.  The solstice approaches, when the days become longer again at last, great nature’s other, annual, second course.  I hope none of you are ever truly in a situation where things can only get better (because that would mean that things are maximally bad), but it is true that, on December 21st, daylight can only get longer.  (Barring some dreadful and catastrophic change in the tilt of the Earth’s axis.  Which might be an interesting idea for a story.)


A very brief update; the story is almost done.

Guten tag, Buenos días, Konnichiwa, and Nǐ hǎo.

I’m going to keep things short today, because I’m racing against the clock to finish my new short story, so I can have it edited and ready in time for Halloween—and hopefully at least a little bit before.  I’ve been roaring along on it, writing a good two thousand words a day (and yesterday I wrote 3000, possibly because my subconscious mind knew I’d need to get some extra work in to make up for this blog post, but more likely just because I’m getting near the end, and it’s getting exciting).

I expect to finish the story within the next few days.  Then begins the task of editing, which I’m going to have to do at breakneck speed to be able to put it up in time.  The good thing about doing this on the blog, though—as opposed to releasing it as part of a book—is that, even if it’s not quite as perfect as I would have wanted it to be when I do post it, I can always fix it more later.

Which reminds me of “Prometheus and Chiron.”  I haven’t yet finished the editing of the audio of that story—really, I haven’t even begun the process.  I’ve been too focused on this new one; the lamentable intrusion of having to make a living is another obstacle, as well.  But I will get there, and I may be able to finish it in time to release it too before Halloween.  That would be nice, and would also be appropriate, given the nature of the story.

And that, I think, is enough of an update for today.  I apologize if its brevity is disappointing to you.  If its brevity is pleasurable, then “You’re welcome.”  In any case, be well, enjoy reading, have fun in the lead-up to Halloween, and…


Short stories, audio, and video, oh my!

The Headless Horseman

Konnichiwa, minna.

I’ve been making excellent progress on my new short story, tentatively titled “Hole for a Heart.”  It’s now about twenty-four pages long in draft form, and—I think—is well over halfway finished.  This is good, because I want to have it ready for you all to read in time for Halloween, since it is a horror story with a good, Halloweeney feel.  Fortunately, as I’ve said before, I tend to write quickly, if I just commit myself to the task.  I don’t know if that ends up meaning that I write well; it’s impossible for me to be objective about my own writing, so I can only say whether I like the story or not.  Thankfully, I almost always do. Continue reading