Friday, April 27, 2012

Amethyst is free today, Saturday and Sunday...

Amethyst is a digital short story that I originally wrote just to see if I could pull off a blind character... with the idea that a blind man wouldn't be scared of the dark. My mind worked in all kinds of interesting angles, including an incident that occurred straight out of the history books. I've tweaked it, of course, fictionalizing events, changing names, and making up entirely new and chilling motivations. This is one of my faves; I'm most proud of this one, as far as digital shorts go.


"Rosewood, Florida was a peaceful little town just off the Gulf coast until January 1st, 1923. Then Frannie Taylor claimed she'd been attacked, and for six days it became a black and white war zone. Five were murdered in the purge. Sam Cooper was tortured and then shot. For what? Whatever dark motivation that was behind the massacre remains forty years later, and a simple blind man, Mario Laforest, is right in the middle of it. He's a criminal inmate at the Rosewood Sanitarium. But is he really so insane just because he refuses to speak the word 'Amethyst?'"

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Yes Dear is free today and tomorrow...

Yes Dear is just about eight pages of pure dialogue. I challenged myself to try to write a short story with nothing outside of quotation marks. There are two characters, there's a beginning, middle, and end, and some twists you probably won't see coming. Check out this digital short thriller for free today and tomorrow. This is a second edition, with one minor correction and a new cover.


"A man and woman arrive finally at the country house after journeying all day from London. She tells him to get the kettle on and stoke the fire; it’s cold and the snow is deep. She’s accustomed to bossing him. She’s used to his response to everything: “Yes, Dear.” But what destiny has pent up comes swiftly, without warning…and the works of a life produce consequence."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Marsburg is free today and tomorrow...

Book One in the Airel Saga Diary series, The Marsburg Diary, is free today and tomorrow. Tell your peeps.


Harvey Marsburg, son of the late William Marsburg, is reading through his deceased father's long-lost diary. At first, Harv is annoyed at the peculiarities of his father, irritated that he has to uncover old wounds by reading this old book. But he finds to his amazement that his father might not actually have been mad. In fact it appears that William may have been nearly 150 years old when he died in 1977. Now his body lies decomposing in a Yorkshire mausoleum, but his legacy lives on. Harvey reads cryptic notes from the executor: "May your father rest in peace. He deserves it." Something watches him from the darknesses of his house as he reads the diary with growing interest. Plus, there are two other books in that old trunk that the foundation sent. One of them, he could swear it, is calling to him...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Life is a thing that complicates itself, I’ve noticed. It’s a constant battle we fight to gain and regain simplicity. You make a decision to take on something you think is inconsequential, then you turn around a while later to discover that one new thing has bred twenty new subsequent obligations that you never imagined or foresaw. 

One learns to be careful what one commits to.

Me and my family, we’re having to do this right now. We’re having to make decisions about some major stuff in our lives, and I think we’re heading in the right direction. We’re coming up on a major transition in our lives as I finally start to garner enough income from royalties and other earnings on my writing to be able to support us.

My oldest, for instance, is in the third grade now. We were able, through a lot of sacrifice and effort, to send him to a private school for years. But it’s proving to be too much strain, and believe it or not, it’s not mostly financial, though there is a monetary component to our decision to pull him out of school starting this fall. Mostly it’s the schedule that is influencing us, plus an honest desire to test drive home schooling.

But this is a great example of how decisions beget decisions. For instance, we used to have two vehicles; a car and an old truck. We sold the old truck in order to frugalize and simplify our lives a bit. And it’s true that our lives have changed since then, but it took a while to adapt to it. It makes the school run more of a major event, and I'm finding our lives sort of revolve around it a bit too much for my taste. It’s interesting for me to see how that decision has impacted my family. Overall it’s been positive, because I have had to take my bike on certain errands, or even walk. Having one car has forced us to simplify quite a lot. Once we got used to it we liked it. That’s not to say we won’t at some point have another vehicle. But for now, overall, it’s ideal to have just one, even with the school run issue.

Time will tell if our decision to home school my oldest will unnecessarily complicate our lives. I know there are pitfalls, but we’re going into it with our eyes open and we’re prepared. For now I’m hoping to turn more ordinary moments into educational possibilities. I’m wanting to head out to the desert for an evening with the telescope and stargaze; study astronomy. I’m wanting to transform camping trips into explorations in basic botany, geology, zoology. I’m wanting to recall scriptures as we gaze at mountains, go to the park and read poetry, apply multiplication tables to shopping trips, and so on. But I’m a naturally inquisitive person who enjoys sharing little insights with people, so perhaps I’m pre-wired to be more successful at home schooling my kids. I know this is not the case for everyone. And of course it’s also important to be in agreement with your spouse on stuff like this. That’s the most important consideration, actually.

Pulling back from the school-run schedule, the Monday through Friday slog of the rat race, I think will prove beneficial to me and my family. Now that I am bringing in enough money from my writing to support us, we don’t need to be tied to schedules and seasons as much. I see us taking more spontaneous trips. Vacations in September. Or February. Odd stuff like that. Mid-week camping trips. Family bike rides at 10 AM on a Tuesday just because we want to and we can. That kind of thing. I want to build a fort in the back yard for my boys and watch them play as I sit sipping lemonade on the back patio. I want to smoke a cigar over lunch. Ride my bike more. Read a book under the shade of a tree. Maybe even write one. I want to build a little dorm-style loft in my boys’ bedroom so they can have more space. If we put their mattresses up on the loft, the whole floor will be clear for them to play Legos, cars, watch the occasional movie on a rainy day, have more fun. And it will be easier to vacuum. See how that works? Genius.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Yesterday I heard a man talk about how our society has disconnected with its life source. It's true. In ages past it was normative for people of all sorts to be unafraid of silence. Indeed, they would seek it out. I'm not saying life was a bed of roses, that they didn't work as hard as we do and then some. It could be effectively argued that we in this present moment enjoy more leisure time than at any point in human history. I'm just saying we use it differently than perhaps we ought.

Whatever "downtime " we may have is utterly filled up with some kind of noise, whether it's various media or entertainment sources or just plain useless busy-ness that produces no beneficial effect. Before the age of the smartphone, cable, internet, tablet, Hulu plus, Netflix, 3D HDTV, IMAX and so on, when people had done with their considerable labors at the end of the week, if they had any energy left, they might pick up a book. For some really raucous fun.

Or, and this is the point of this little article, they just might sit and be quiet and reflect. I think in America especially we have cast this art aside to our own great peril and potential demise. When was the last time you took a walk by yourself, just to mull things over? When was the last time you sat in an utterly quiet house and contemplated your life? Can you recall when you last decided enough was enough and turned off the silly boob tube and sat in a chair (or paced the floor) and reflected on your state of affairs? Maybe even talked to God about it all? And, craziest of all thoughts here, waited for Him to speak?

I'm just saying. I've never seen such a busy lot as we modern Americans. We're always going here or there, rushing as we go because we're late, and cursing everybody who dares to challenge our overpacked schedules. I'm just saying. Simplify. Quieten down a bit. Breathe. Step away from the media input for a while. Don't be afraid of the silence. It can be golden.