So when I went to Transylvania this summer to teach horror writing in the shadow of Bram Stoker’s castle, I knew I’d write a few essays about my experiences. This article touches on setting, and how it seeps into my work—how it played a big role in my second novel Disintegration (Alibi) and how it might work its way into future stories and novels after some times spend in Romania. ENJOY!
Had such a great time at the Chuck Palahniuk reading last night in Naperville. Got to hang out with Chuck and Irvine Welsh, two of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, so very generous and supportive. The lit up balls really show you what a crazy night it was, Chuck giving away so many cool prizes to his fans. Admission got me the signed book and comic, but I was lucky enough to finally catch the severed arm. I edited Burnt Tongues with Chuck (and Dennis Widmyer) which was nominated for a Bram Stoker award, and Irvine Welsh was kind enough to blurb my novel, Disintegration, calling it, “A stunning and vital piece of work.” I’m working on Irvine and I sharing a stage in the near future, since he’s in Chicago now. So much fun. Grateful to both of these guys. Also got to hang out with Jason M. Fylan who has an excellent story in Burnt Tongues, and Kirk Clawes, who helps run ChuckPalahniuk.net and LitReactor.com.
This is a Table of Contents for all of my current, LIVE fiction that is available online for FREE. Below are each of the stories, a brief synopsis, and a link to the site that hosts them. They are in reverse chronological order.
What do all of these stories have in common? I tend to write about the darker aspects of life, and am fascinated by what happens when things fall apart, how we handle life when it throws us a curve ball, the dysfunction in everyday life, how we rebel against the rules of society, and what goes on in the middle of the night.
Last Updated: March 30, 2016
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
SYNOPSIS: It’s not easy being a goddess these days. But there’s hope for Dia still.
SYNOPSIS: In a slave state, how do you protect your son? What if he doesn’t need protecting?
“Little Red Wagon”
THE WRITING DISORDER
SYNOPSIS: What would you do to keep the human race alive? And what does being human really mean?
LITTLE RED WAGON
“Moving Heavy Objects”
SYNOPSIS: A son tries to forgive his father for being so distant.
MOVING HEAVY OBJECTS
“Asking for Forgiveness”
SYNOPSIS: When the land yields nothing but abomination, how does family change, how do we survive?
ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS
SYNOPSIS: What happens when evil finds a young boy, an ancient creature, the signs all ignored?
“Sugar and Spice”
SYNOPSIS: A father comes to terms with the fact that his innocent daughter is growing up, and isn’t quite so innocent any more.
SUGAR AND SPICE
“Tinkering With the Moon”
SYNOPSIS: When a little boy misses his father, he’d do anything to reunite with him.
TINKERING WITH THE MOON
“Bury Me Deep”
THE BIG ADIOS
SYNOPSIS: Out in the wild west, there lurk shadows and dark deeds, all done under the blazing sun for God and all to witness.
BURY ME DEEP
SYNOPSIS: The things we do for love are often very destructive.
“Flowers for Jessica”
SYNOPSIS: How far would you go to bring your loved one back from the dead?
FLOWERS FOR JESSICA
“The Fix-It Man”
BLACK HEART MAGAZINE
SYNOPSIS: When a man falls apart, disconnects from his wife and son, what gesture can he make as he disintegrates?
THE FIX-IT MAN
SYNOPSIS: You fix it if you can, whatever’s broken. Because once somebody else picks the pieces up, once somebody else fixes it—it’s no longer yours.
SYNOPSIS: When a violent car accident takes his family, one man starts having visions.
VISION QUEST (ISSUU direct)
SYNOPSIS: Charlotte needs to escape sometimes.
[Sixth place winner of the Zouch Lit Bits Fiction contest]
“Jimmy Five Ways”
SYNOPSIS: A wife, a son, a mistress, a partner and a man named Jimmy—five ways.
JIMMY FIVE WAYS
[One of the five winners of the Punchnel’s Hard-Boiled Down Noir Fiction contest]
SYNOPSIS: What makes us human and what makes us inhuman?
THE HANDYMAN (ISSUU direct)
SYNOPSIS: A companion piece to “Say Yes to Pleasure” which was in the Warmed and Bound anthology, this story shows the opposite side of the coin, the POV of the victim, and how she dealt with the tragedy that descended upon her.
“Twenty Reasons to Stay and One to Leave”
SYNOPSIS: When something tragic happens, do you stay or do you leave? Sometimes you stay for a long time, only to realize that leaving would be less cruel.
TWENTY REASONS TO LEAVE AND ONE TO STAY
[Nominated for a Pushcart Prize.]
EXCERPT: “It started with the paper, tearing it apart into little pieces, pressing it into tiny balls and popping the crumpled words into her mouth.”
LOVE LETTERS (ISUU direct)
SYNOPSIS: Sometimes you walk away from it all. Or maybe you’re walking towards something. Either way, be complete in your transformation.
“After She Has Gone”
SYNOPSIS: When she takes it all, and you’re left with nothing but despair, what do you do? Suicide is an option—and as you wander the woods in search of a tomb, the darkness speaks to you the truth.
AFTER SHE HAS GONE
SYNOPSIS: In real life, there are paths to take, sometimes you have a choice, some times you do not. In this adult “choose-your-own” ending adventure it’s up to you whether or not to be parnoid or to trust, to be innocent, or just a fool.
COLORED CHALK #10 – Ten Commandments
SYNOPSIS: When you think of honoring thy mother and father I’m sure this isn’t what comes to mind.
COLORED CHALK #8 – Broken Clocks
SYNOPSIS: Visiting a strip club a man has a hard time dealing with guilt and the moment. In the end, we see why.
SYNOPSIS: Sometimes that’s all it takes, three mistakes to fall from grace, to lose it all, and maybe realize too late, that you had a pretty good life.
“Maker of Flight”
WINNER of the 2009 “Enter the World of Filaria” contest
SYNOPSIS: In this contest, we were given the challenge of adding to the vivid and futuristic world that Brent Hayward created. In 1000 words, you were to find a way to insert a short piece of fiction that could stand alone, and also add to the world of Filaria. In Brent’s words:“That was a really nice piece you wrote, and in my head now it’s somehow forever tangled up in Filaria.”
MAKER OF FLIGHT
“Twenty Dollar Bill”
COLORED CHALK #7 – MacGuffins for Hire
SYNOPSIS: I’ve been fascinated by the idea of following something to see where it goes, how it effects those it comes in contact with, such as a kiss, money, a disease, an act of random kindness. A bit of an homage to the movie TWENTY BUCKS, we see where a twenty dollar bill goes when it changes hands.
TWENTY DOLLAR BILL
COLORED CHALK #5 – Sins of the Father
SYNOPSIS: They are often visited on the son.
COLORED CHALK #4 – Big Brother in My Pocket
SYNOPSIS: It’s only paranoia if it isn’t true.
COLORED CHALK #3 – After the Fire
SYNOPSIS: Fire, in the right hands it can do wonders. But in the wrong hands, of an irresponsible and lazy man, sometimes the worst possible thing can happen.
COLORED CHALK #2 – Cockroaches Ate the Ending
SYNOPSIS: You don’t always have to wrap a story up in a bow and end it. Sometimes you can lead the audience right up to the edge and walk away. Committed can mean several things – it can mean you are focused on doing something, your chipc are all in, or it can also mean you have been put away due to mental illness. Why not both?
COLORED CHALK #1 – Two Guys Enter a Bar, One Leaves
SYNOPSIS: The theme of the debut issue of CC kind of says it all.
SYNOPSIS: My first published short story. I don’t often try my hand at bizarro, but this was a fun story to write. So, you have a small penis and want something bigger and better to satisfy your girlfriend with. An elephant dick sounds like the solution? But why stop there?