Sunday, June 7, 2015


Sadly, due to some issues I've been having—and thanks to some cajoling—I am moving this blog from blogger.

You can find my new work here.

I look forward to seeing each and every one of you there!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Blog Battle: Hordes

So Rachael's been after me for another story for her BlogBattles.  I've bowed to peer pressure and give you this.

Right now, it's untitled and for a reason.  This is the opening page of a novel that I am just starting.  I hope that it turns into something, but for now, this is just a teaser.  And since I don't title my work until much later into the writing process . . . I think you see where this is going.

Either way, I hope that you enjoy.


People bumped and pushed and shoved Taneid Valar as they moved en mass across the bridge into the relative safety of the city of Hrith.  City was a generous term.  It really wasn’t one.  There were no walls, no towers, nothing to protect its inhabitants of from the hordes behind them.  Nothing besides the river which looped around it, protecting three sides while the fourth led out to the plains of Loerien by a barely maintained road.  Any trained eye could see it wasn’t much.  And to have any hope of surviving longer than a day, they’d have to blow the five bridges that lead into the city.  Assuming that enough powder could be found.
Valar looked over his shoulder.  People, refugees all, stretched back as far as he could see toward the darkening horizon.  Behind them, the light from fires reflected off of low lying clouds.  Most of those fires marked funeral pyres for dozens of people.  Burned alive in huts and houses.  Crops too, adding their glow to the chaos, making picking off stragglers even easier.  Damn it, they were farmers, not soldiers.  At least most of them were.  Worse, not everyone would make it.  That would be the hardest lesson yet.  Sacrifice the few in order to save the many.  But that was its own razor’s edge.  A death of a thousand cuts.
He looked at the girl he clutched tight under his right arm.  That wasn’t right.  Senar wasn’t a girl anymore.  She was a young woman in the full bloom of life.  But whenever Valar looked at her, all he could see was the little child who’d come to him with a scraped knee or a bouquet of weed blossoms.  Forever, that’s who he saw, not the young woman who’d lost her mother and brother to the . . . .
Well, Valar didn’t know who’d done this.  That was another hard truth.  If he’d seen something that gave the puppet masters away, he might have been able to reason it out.  As it stood, this seemed like random violence for violence’s sake.  He knew of no one interested in just that.  The Immortal Lords would have removed them long ago. 
Senar stumbled and Valar caught her weight without even thinking.  Should anyone go down on this bridge, their lives would be in fate’s hands.  No one would stop to help another soul, not when their own lives were in danger.  All around, people’s faces looked like frightened sheep, sent off to the slaughter house and scared of what fate held for them within the next few hours.  And that was exactly what Valar feared they were.
The houses on the outskirts of Hrith weren’t exactly hovels, but they weren’t much better.  Most of them were made of clay and plaster with thatched roofs.  Distant firelight glowed off none to clean white walls.  Already crowded streets were further cluttered with abandoned wagons, broken water barrels, and other detritus from everyday life.  Most of the residents seemed to be gone, already fled from the armies almost upon them.   Valar could only see a few people remaining as he wove he way through the hard packed streets—all of them huddled deep within their chosen coffins. 
That might have been a harsh way to look at it, Valar knew, but unless they wised up and fled like everyone else, that’s what they would become.  A few times, he heard the cry of a baby or the whimper of child not yet old enough to clothe himself, and he almost stopped and searched it out.  He resisted, though it tore his heart apart each time.  There was little he could do for them, lest he wanted to be responsible for an army of children.  He had his own problems, but he silently cursed the parents who would lead their children into death.  More than once, Senar looked up at him at the sounds, as if her thoughts mirrored his.  At those times, he added an extra curse for the men who forced him to seem heartless to his own daughter.   
Despite the press of people attempting to find safety across the bridge, the flow of people through the streets was a fitful one, with everyone stopping and going at seemingly random intervals.  As they progressed through the city, Valar started to see why.  With the progressively better built homes, soldiers garbed in the blue uniforms of local militia started appearing, blocking off streets and directing traffic.  More than once, he saw a family try to dodge down a side street to make better time only to be pushed back by an officer here, a patrol there.  Valar wondered if they were trying to help everyone or just protect the houses of those wealthy enough to deserve special treatment.  He suspected the later, as occasionally he’d see a wagon stuffed to the gills escorted by soldiers down the street as the merchant or lordling and his family rode beside, a look of frightened superiority written on their faces.
A sudden boom sounded, echoing through the streets so that it was impossible to tell which direction it had come from.   People screamed and attempted to run in any direction but that in which they’d been heading.  Cries of “Cannon” and “They’re attacking” roared from every throat.  A few people even dropped to their knees, clutching their heads in their hands and crying that they didn’t want to die.  No one wanted to die.  That was a stupid comment if Valar’d ever heard one.
He’d dropped to a crouch at the noise, still clutching onto Senar.  As he returned to his full height, she looked up at him, eyes searching.  “Is that—Are they here already?”
Valar shook his head.  “No.  It’s not possible unless we’ve been stuck in these streets longer than I suspect.  Even then, I doubt that they won’t make it before sometime after daybreak tomorrow.”
“Then what?”

Valar closed his eyes and pinched his nose.  “The bridges,” he sighed.  “They’re blowing the bridges.”

Sunday, May 31, 2015


It's funny how we learn words to spell and remember them.  I have a list as long as my arm about how to spell this word or the other.  Some are really simple, others more difficult.  Then there are those stories which come unbidden along with certain words (look at doughnuts).

Just for kicks, today I thought to share a few.    


  • Together—This one's simple.  To Get Her.  But every damn time.  That gets annoying after a bit.
  • Doughnuts—I was in scouting when I was younger. We were planning a camp out and everyone wanted doughnuts for a meal.  When the boy writing the list asked how to spell it, one kid said "dog nuts" and he wrote it down as such.  Ever since then, I've thought "doughnuts", spelled "dog nuts" and had to correct it.
  • Mortgage—For years, I couldn't spell this word, then it hit.  Mort Gage.  Now that's all I hear.
  • Medieval—There was an old Playstation game called Medi-Evil. That stuck so, I just replace the correct vowels
  • Principal—I misspell this often in order to get it correct.  Misspelled in my head (Prince E Pal) but correct on the page.  Go figure.
  • Receive—I before E, Except after C or sounding like A as in Neighbor and Weigh.  So what the hell receive?  Re Ce Eve
  • Duct Tape—Sorry, growing up where I did, this is and shall forever be Duck Tape. 

What words stick out in your head and why?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

BlogBattle: Lola—A Story

This week's BlogBattle threw me for a curve ball.  Lola.

Didn't see that coming.

Therefore today I sat down and started writing about a girl and a guy, figuring that had something to do with a lola.  They meet, fell in love, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  It really wasn't some of my best work.  Frankly put, I was getting bored writing it, and we all know if the author's bored, pity the reader.

Then I got thinking, what's a lola?  Google is a great thing, and I soon had my answer.  I'm not one for slang and I found the answer was in an urban dictionary website.  Never would have figured it on my own.

So I sit back down with my story and start editing.  Fix a part here, add some melodramatic stuff there.  All in all, it was coming together nicely.  But I was still bored.  I didn't want to bore all of you either, so I had to do something.

That's when it came to me.  Somebody already wrote a fantastic tale about a lola.  I'll just share that.  Won't win any prizes, but if I cite the original work, there's no copyright infringement either.  No jail time is a win.

So I give to you, without further ado, Lola by The Kinks:


I met her in a club down in old Soho
Where you drink champagne
It tastes just like Coca Cola, C-O-L-A cola

She walked up to me and she asked me to dance
I asked her her name and in a dark brown voice
She said Lola, L-O-L-A, Lola, L-L-Lola

Well, I'm not the world's most physical guy
But when she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine
Oh my Lola, L-L-Lola

Well, I'm not dumb but I can't understand
Why she walked like a woman but talked like a man
Oh my Lola, L-L-Lola, L-L-Lola

Well, we drank champagne and danced all night
Under electric candlelight
She picked me up and sat me on her knee
And said, "Dear boy, won't you come home with me?"

Well, I'm not the world's most passionate guy
But when I looked in her eyes well I almost fell for my Lola
L-L-Lola, L-L-Lola

Lola L-L-Lola, L-L-Lola (Repeat)

I pushed her away, I walked to the door
I fell to the floor, I got down on my knees
Then I looked at her and she at me

That's the way that I want it to stay
I always want it to be that way for my Lola, 

Girls will be boys and boys will be girls
It's a mixed up muddled up, shook up world
Except for Lola, L-L-Lola

Well, I left home just a week before
And I'd never ever kissed a woman before
But Lola smiled and took me by the hand
And said, "Dear boy, I'm gonna make you a man"

Well, I'm not the world's most masculine man
But I know what I am and I'm glad I'm a man
And so is Lola, L-L-Lola, L-L-Lola

Lola, L-L-Lola, L-L-Lola
Lola, L-L-Lola, L-L-Lola
Lyrics from MetroLyrics

Did you like that?  I always loved the song.  Perhaps that's why it fits best for this week's BlogBattle.  There's a fondness for me behind the lyrics.  I can't wait to see what everyone else came up with.  Lola isn't an easy—

Wait . . . .


Loop?  Who came up with that stupid idea? Loop . . . .


Hi, Rachael.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dashiell Hammett's Advice

Even though this week has been a busy one, and I've had a ton on my mind, I don't have a whole lot to say.  I'm still processing a lot of it.  There was a lot of good and a lot of bad.  Thoughts which make we want to give up writing (perminantly) roll though my head even as I write this.  Maybe the darkness will win out, maybe not.  I have no way to read the future.

Instead, I want to give you this.  I've written in a lot of genres since I started putting pen to paper, but my first novel is solidly detective/noir.  What I found one day was a list of rules written by one of detective fiction's great authors, Dashiell Hammett.  I wanted to share that list with you.

If you write mysteries, it should have several nuggets for you to look at and consider.  But if you don't, take a look anyway.  It has tidbits which can help all of us, Most of it is still valid.  Give it a lookie-loo and tell me what you think.

Full credit goes to the website and its writers.

Monday, May 4, 2015

An Open Letter To All The Women In My Dreams

An Open Letter To All The Women In My Dreams

To all the women who inhabit my dreams:

     Thank you, but I'm married.  

     Your attentions have made many an entertaining—and I use that term loosely—night, but please, the time's come to stop.  Waking up to emotions that I haven't felt outside of high school isn't my idea of fun.  I wasn't a fan of them then and that opinion hasn't changed.  Besides, isn't a bonus of being married having only one woman driving me nuts, rather than the scores of you?

      Now I will admit that I know some of you.  Or at least I did once upon a time.  Old flames whose fires were quenched long ago, you have my permission to leave.  What we had was never real and never anything more than some fantasy in the back of my head.  We never went out, we never dated, and we were never anything more than friends.  Please leave.

     Those of you who are real, but we've never met—you celebrities and models—you may leave as well.  Sure, you can tantalize with your ads and popularity, but both of us know that isn't you.  And if you insist it is, then I'll insist on calling you a liar.  The real people you mimic, they may actually be as described, but you're just a shade.  You hold no more substance than smoke from a campfire.  The exit is behind you.

     And you, those of you who are utterly false with no substance in any reality, you are the worst of the lot.  Pretending to be all those things which are blatantly false.  Pretending to be my idea of a perfect woman.  That's nothing more than a blunt insult to the sex that you pretend to be.  No woman—no person—is perfect.  It's a sad and cruel joke upon my mind.  I don't wish you to merely leave.  You I want banished.

    Because—all of you, take note—I will take my wife with all her glorious imperfections over each and every one of you.  Sure, she has things that make her less than perfect and irritate the hell out of me, but when those things cease to exist, my soul feels empty.  I long for them.  So yes, I'll take her horrendous morning breath, her constant concern over her imaginary weight problems, and all those other tidbits that make me want to howl over the make-believe Hell you create.

     Now, there are a handful of you which can stay.  Only a handful mind.  Those of you who are of my dreams, but not in them.  Those women who help fuel my creative fires and inspire me.  The Stephanie Hawthornes, the Jennifer Winters, the Helen Blacks.  Welcome and have a seat.  Can I get you a glass of water?  A drink?  Anything?  You respect my wishes and are nothing more than you already are.   Thank you.

     The rest of you, you may leave now.

     The Man Who You'll Never Listen To.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Uncle Nick?

So, last weekend I saw my younger sister for the first time since October of last year.  Things have changed a little since then—the biggest being that she is doing a rather poor job of hiding a beach ball under her shirt. 

Yes.  My sister is pregnant with her first child.

This is important for my family.  My nephew-to-be is the first grandbaby for my parents.  Granted, it feels a little odd having my sister—who has followed behind me in every important step of our lives—suddenly leap ahead.  That’s just a point of view, but not an inaccurate assessment.  And I am happy for her, for her husband, and the entire family.  Hell, I’m excited as all get-out to have a baby to play with. 

But this momentous event has brought other things to the forefront of my mind.  First off, let me give you some background.  My wife and I both want kids.  As to when . . . well, that’s up in the air.  We’re not feeling any giant urge right now, and neither of us is exactly unhappy about being twenty-nine/thirty years old with no responsibilities, save for a very needy puppy.  The biological urge is there, but it’s just not a strong one.  Perhaps that will change with time, perhaps not; either way, there’s no rush.

Perhaps that’s why I am so caught up in my first nephew.  I’m unsure exactly why.  Yet, there’s one thing I do know for sure.  Just as I’m positive I’m excited about the little tyke, I have one thought running circles through my head:

I’m not mature enough to be an uncle.

Please notice I said mature enough, not old enough.  I’m well aware of biology and when I hit that puberty mark.  So I’m old enough to have kids, but mature enough?  That’s a whole different story.  We joked around about it last weekend.  There was a shirt I spotted on Facebook that summed everything up in a nice little package.  It read:
“I’m the crazy uncle your parents warned you about.”
Now, everyone in my family knows exactly how crazy I am—or not.  Fun loving?  Yes.  Prankster?  Yes.  Occasional buffoon?  More than I want to admit.  But crazy, I am not.  Still, it provided a laugh and a smile, and we all moved on.  It was true enough. 

There are some aspects of my psyche that are rebelling at the idea of growing up, of putting another person’s needs ahead of my own.  But then the rational part of my brain cracks its whip and points to my wife and screams, “You already have!”  And it’s true.  So what is the difference?  Maybe it’s that K is an adult and can fend for herself.  Maybe I am just too fond of being immature unless I’m forced to change.  I don’t know.  But it scares me at times.

I work with the public on a regular basis.  In fact, if it wasn’t for John Q. Public, there would be little need for my position.  But one of the questions I’m asked repeatedly during our many conversations is, “Do you and your wife have any children?”  Obviously, I say no.  And the most common response  I get has two parts:
1: How old are you?
2: Good.  Wait as long as you can.  I wish I had. 

Seriously, that phrasing itself almost never changes.  All these people from different walks of life say nearly exactly the same thing with nearly exactly the same wording.  It’s uncanny. 

But maybe my wife and I aren’t mature enough to handle kids.  I don’t know.  But it’s something that we accept as a possibility.  There may be some subconscious reason floating to the surface.  All I know is this joyride will be coming to an end soon enough.  It’s time to grow up.  Just a little bit, but not too much.

But then again, my sister doesn’t seem to be the least bit worried about having me around her son, so this all could be in my head.

A Side Note on a Few Things

So, I feel I am going to have a lot less free time in my life.  Maybe I just mishandle the time I have, but I’m trying to form better habits for the foreseeable future.  How does this affect you?  Primarily in two ways:

Starting next week, I plan on changing a couple things regarding this blog.  Before now, I’ve always tried to post something new every other week.  I’m trashing that schedule, and I am going to try to post a least a little something every week.  It may not be spectacular, but the goal is just to have something there for you to read.  I just hope it’s entertaining.  Also, I’m thinking about tossing in some reviews and opinions about things I’ve seen or read.  Feel free to disagree with me.  I’d love to have some conversations from different points of view.  Love seeing that stuff.

Secondly, this also will allow me to generate a better quality of work than what I am currently putting out.  Practice makes perfect and all that jazz.  More time focusing on my craft.  I know my novel will benefit from it.  Or any current writing project, really.  All I have to do now is just stop playing so many video games.  Put down the TV remote and pick up a book.  But you should see a growth here as well.  I need to push myself more, and it’s time to start. 

Well, that’s all for now.  See you next week.