Scary Stories

There’s no realistic way I’m going to be able to get those horror stories done in time for Halloween. Two of the longer ones are first drafts at this point and not really something I’d feel comfortable asking you to purchase. Leaving them out of the collection simply isn’t an option. They’ve probably got another month or so of polishing before they get there.

On an awesome note, our very own ShawShaw wrote a story I’m going to include that is awesome.

There’s just no real way I could do all the stories in the amount of time I have left. I’ve had some unexpected and unavoidable chores to do during my days off and my recently purchased lap top broke and I haven’t had a chance to take it in for repair. Which sucks as it was an enormous boon to my creativity.

Such is life.

I might get them all done in time for November, but I’m thinking Rock Bottom (which has some stuff left to tweak but is largely done) will be done’ish by then. Maybe we’ll have a double November.

Also, how would you all feel about a paypal store? If at least three people want it to avoid the hassle of dealing with Amazon I’ll do it.

Here are some excerpts.

THE SAFE PLACE AND THE DOOR OF THE DARK

Seth considered the bright yellow cover of the book with a grimace, as though contemplating a piece of unsettling and explicit pornography. Like something you’d find in a Las Vegas gutter, crumpled and moist and laid open like a wound in the world. Seth frowned and rubbed a hand back through his long black hair. Finally, he checked all of his car mirrors for any sign of approach and opened the book to the first page expecting an accompanying clap of thunder.

None came.

The day was bright and clear. Visibility was limited only by the curvature of the earth. For three hundred yards in any direction there was nowhere to hide. Nowhere significant to hide for double that distance. But a thousand eyes watched him from out of nowhere. A hundred hands poised to grab his shoulder from the shadows. The car was crammed full with ghosts.

“Establishing a Safe Space,” Seth read with a cough.

Again, he checked the mirrors. Again, he scanned the roads. Again, he thought there was no place on earth private enough for such thoughts or such feelings. Not even inside of his own head.

“Many survivors have difficulty feeling safe. In fact, many survivors report having never felt safe in their entire lives. Before you work through the following chapters in this book, it is important that you take the time to establish a place separate from your normal living environment where you can feel safe from harm,” Seth read.

Seth looked out to the parking lot again. He’d come to this spot a lot as a kid. Even then, the factory that had once been served by the parking lot had been long since demolished. All that was left of it was a slight depression in the ground. Out here, it felt like you could see the whole world at a glance.

Best of all, there were almost no shadows.

“What objects make you feel safe? Do you have any best loved books? Any posters or icons or movie heroes or heroines that inspire a feeling of confidence? There is no right answer for what makes a safe space. There is only your answer. Please know that no answer is wrong or too embarrassing.

“However, if you are a suicide risk, it is strongly discouraged you keep firearms in your safe place. While working through the following chapters you may experience extreme distress. You may even have suicidal thoughts. For that reason, please fill out the following list of people you have for support while you go through this process,” he read.

Taking a pen from out of the visor he wrote down names. Lima, from the Group who he could not ever conceive of calling. Jason, his counselor, who he already saw once a week. Uncle Dutch even though he lived two towns away. Matrisse had told him to call her if he ever felt down, but he’d kind of gotten the sense she’d rather not hear from him if that happened. Still, he wrote her name down even though he put her last. He didn’t have so many friends these days that he could be picky just because one happened to hate him.

“If you have trouble identifying people you trust, then consider people with whom you have a close but neutral relationship. If you cannot think of anyone who you trust to wish you well, who do you trust not to wish you ill?” Seth read and snorted.

That description applied to every name he’d written down.

There were more pages. He flipped through them and sighed. Terrible questions awaited. Questions like “Have you ever felt happy?” that a normal person would never be asked to answer. Questions a normal person wouldn’t have to think on for five or six minutes before answering. Questions like “Have you ever committed arson?” like he was a criminal by association.

The questions felt like having his fingernails ripped out, really. Self torture. Seth figured they’d fill out most of the answers at Group tonight so he skipped ahead.

At last he came to a page that said “What do you want to accomplish?”

He thought about that for a long time.

A crow appeared from out of the last lingering rubble of the factory and twitched its wings and cawed before flying off. Long grasses swayed in the wind. The sun gleamed on his hood ornament.

“To find out what I want to accomplish,” he said and wrote.

And to not be afraid of the dark. Or confined spaces. Or ghosts. Or sex. But the parking lot wasn’t safe enough to write those answers down.

Nowhere was that safe.

THE PANCAKE FAMILY

How’s my complexion? That pale, huh? Hell, I bet I look like a ghost. I think I’m still in shock. There’s not a scratch on me and I feel like I’ve bled two gallons.

I’m sorry to ramble. It’s just that I’m… what’s the word for it?

Detached?

Strange feeling, detachment. Seen it enough times on other people. After all I’ve been through, I figured if I was ever going to experience it myself then I would have experienced it by now. I feel like I’m floating outside of my body.

Did you see the crime scene?

INTERVIEWER: No.

Do yourself a favor. Don’t. Don’t even look at the pictures. You’ll thank me later.

I can’t get my knees to stop rattling. Is that why you’re holding onto your coffee like that? I’m shaking the table, aren’t I? Hold on a second, let me back up my chair. There, that’s better.

INTERVIEWER: Thanks, Hob. Can you confirm for the record that you’re waiving your right to an attorney?

No, I’m still not interested in an attorney. I mean, yes, I’m waiving my rights. Sorry.

INTERVIEWER: Are you sure?

Yes.

INTERVIEWER: Let the record show that Detective Hobson Milgate, retired, has waived his right to an attorney.

The facts speak for themselves. I won’t need a lawyer after the DA sees the crime scene photos. There’s no way they’re showing that to a jury. There’s nothing harder than mercy, sometimes. I did the right thing. Or at least I did what I had to do. It just happened to be hard and ugly.

INTERVIEWER: Are you hungry?

No. No, I’d think I’d just puke again if you gave me anything. I can’t keep anything down.

INTERVIEWER: Are you ready to begin?

No, but I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

INTERVIEWER: What led you to the crime scene on the night in question?

Would you believe I was planning a fishing trip before all of this started?

Nevermind.

It was a reporter. Name of Stacy Bamer. She contacted me a week ago by email and claimed she had new information on the Driscoll murders. I was the lead investigator and I’m sure you know the case had gone unsolved for twenty years. I thought it was a gag at first. If you’ve been in this job long enough, I’d imagine you know how that can be. Most of the time it’s not even on purpose. Everyone thinks they know something that will crack a case wide open. The Driscoll murders were a big case. Over the years, I must’ve gotten a couple hundred fake leads.

I handed the case over to Detective Warren Caroll when I retired, but I didn’t want him to be bothered with any fake bullshit. I know he’s busy with everything else that’s going on. Since she contacted me, I figured I’d check it out for him as a courtesy. I wasn’t expecting it to go anywhere.

I met her for lunch at Puryear’s Cafe. She was a good-looking blonde gal, so she didn’t fit the typical profile of a hoaxer. Not that I put too much faith in profiles, after forty years. She also might have been one of those creepy gals that gets off on death. God knows I’ve dealt with enough of those.

She seemed normal enough, but I still thought she might be pulling my leg, or maybe she had been fooled too, but she had a file with her. It contained what appeared to be a confession by the Driscoll… well, he wasn’t a murderer was he?

I really do wish he had been, you know.

It would have been so much better for everyone.

INTERVIEWER: Can you please fill us in on the relevant details of the Driscoll case?

Let’s see, it would have been twenty years ago now. As I’ve said twenty years ago there was a disappearance. Thinking of all those years… I mean, twenty goddamn years. That’s a long time…

INTERVIEWER: Take your time, Hob.

Thanks.

[Throat Clearing]

The Driscolls were a family of six out in the suburbs. Upper middle class. Father was an attorney, mother ran her own business selling pottery out of the house. She even had her own kiln. Four children, all high school age and below. All good kids. Honor roll. No criminal record to speak of. The oldest son was caught smoking dope at his high school once, but nothing much besides that. Just the typical stuff you find when you look at people too closely.

They disappeared October 13th, 1994. No trace was found of the bodies. That’s why it made the press go crazy. You still see it show up on some of those unsolved mystery shows. A whole family disappeared and no one saw a thing. No one knew where they went.

A neighbor lodged a sound complaint, which is how we found the scene. Goddamn carbon monoxide alarm wouldn’t stop chirping. Upon entry, there were obvious signs of a struggle in the youngest daughter’s bedroom. The bed had been flipped over and the sheets were torn. We found elevated concentrations of carbon monoxide in the fabric of all the bedspreads except the youngest daughter’s. We knew to look because of the alarm. The neighbor indicated the sound had been going on for a few days, and he’d been unable to get anyone to answer the door during that time. We estimated the time of disappearance at two days prior.

We found several aluminum canisters and some hoses in a dumpster a few blocks away. We assumed at the time the Driscolls been gassed and disposed of at a different location. Excepting, of course, the daughter who woke up at the end and put up a struggle.

The investigation gave no leads. Of course, we figured the father might have done it. We checked it out but he didn’t fit the profile. Same with the mother. Surviving family checked out clean.

The father had a few clients who might have had motive, but the means weren’t there. He was a divorce lawyer, but not for anybody who could have taken out an entire family without leaving evidence. There was a chemistry teacher who lived three blocks away and we investigated him for a while because of the canisters but he alibied out. Same with a dentist who lived nearby.

The wife had a flirtation with some kid over in England but nothing adulterous and he wasn’t even in the country at the time of the murder.

The canisters had been stolen from a laboratory ten miles away and there was no security footage. After three months the investigation went cold. They’d been knocked out and abducted. Like I said, no one ever found the bodies.

Until, well, you know the rest of that. I’d rather only talk about that once.

INTERVIEWER: What can you tell us about how the confession wound up with Miss Bamer?

She’d been following the case for some years, both personally and as a reporter. Like I said, it captured the imagination of a lot of people. Even seemingly normal folks thought it could have been aliens, ghosts or demons. Miss Bamer published a retrospective on the murders given the twenty year anniversary. It caused a renewed interest, which happened from time to time. As usual, I declined to comment citing lack of new evidence. I remembered her asking for my quote though, which is why I accepted the lunch meeting.

After publication of the article, Miss Bamer claimed that she had been sent a file which she wished to have me authenticate. The most pertinent part of the file was a confession. I assured Miss Bamer that such false documents are not uncommon, especially on older cases like this, and that I’d personally heard two dozen confessions of the Driscoll murders. She was insistent. Once I felt she wasn’t trying to pull off a hoax or getting off on the idea of talking about a murder, I agreed to the meeting.

We met for lunch, as I said, and she stated it had been mailed to her in the same envelope she showed to me.

INTERVIEWER: Can you describe its contents?

Newspaper clippings outlining the progress of my investigation from twenty years ago. They seemed appropriately yellowed with age, so I’d guess they were from the trophy book of the perpetrator. There were also six photos alleging to be of the individual members of the Driscoll family, as well as several other photos of the facility where they had been… taken.

Jesus, my hands won’t stop shaking, see? I’m trying as hard as I can and I just can’t make it happen. I’ll have to ask the paramedic for a sedative when I’m done with the statement. I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep, otherwise. No, I’m fine for now. I don’t want anything to interfere with my recollection for your recording.

Just carrying it around in my head is like… sorry, I’ll stay focused.

The photos WERE of the Driscoll family, of course. At the time I didn’t know that. The photos had aged poorly and they could have been of anyone. It was very hard to distinguish features. However, given the elaborate nature of the file I figured it did warrant a further look.

As to the confession letter, well, it was brief. It gave an address. That’s the first thing I noticed. I couldn’t locate the address online, which meant it had to be old. The confession letter said, ‘Stop printing lies. I never killed anyone. It just took a while to get them ready for breakfast.’ There was no signature included.

I just remembered something.

We got sent a breakfast menu a month after the disappearance! Someone had drawn a red circle around a picture of pancakes. The letter said ‘They’re not dead, they’re getting ready for breakfast!’ We put it in the junk lead file.

Oh God.

Messed Up

First off, a weird thing. Or a cool thing. I’m not sure.

My friend Bryn loves her dog. It’s almost a religion with her. Every part of her life is planned around how it will impact her relationship with her dog. I’m just grateful that there aren’t any kind of violent associations with that love, because Bryn could make ISIS seem reasonable if something came between her and that dog.

Anyway, Bryn posted a picture of her dog, Nixie, on imgur and it went to number one on reddit and as of now has had 2.8 million views. A few hours ago she made a facebook page, and it already has more likes than my facebook author page.

This means Bryn is now a more successful creator than I ever was for any single piece of culture I have ever produced. Which makes me feel… *sigh.* A picture of a dog? Really?!? Do you know how hard I’ve worked for years and years to perfect my voice and craft?!?

I’m actually very excited for her.

Speaking of pieces of culture I have produced, thanks again for everyone who has purchased any of my stuff on Amazon. Your readership is appreciated as always. Next month I’m planning to put up my first short novel, Rock Bottom. Toward the end of this month, I hope, I will have between three and four short stories all gathered together for sale on Amazon. I’m calling the collection “Fear Fang and Family.”

One of the stories is based on a nightmare I had recently, which is the worst nightmare I’ve ever had. I wasn’t intending to include it, but I woke up sobbing and gasping and I thought “Oh, that would be perfect for what I’m doing right now.” It’s one of those stories where as I’m writing I keep thinking “this is screwed up, people will judge me for having made this.” It’s called The Pancake Family. Everything in the collection makes me feel like people will have problems with me. The other stories are Family of Fang in Claw, The Door of the Dark and hopefully The Glass Tongue.

All the stories are about families and how they hurt as well as support us.

 

 

Zoe Quinn Once Did Something Nice for No Reason

I used to call myself BC Woods and I used to write on a couple of different websites under that name. I also used to be somewhat entertaining and popular.

This will become relevant, shortly.

I wrote stories about my bizarre, white-trash disaster of a family in a way that was probably a bit too open and a bit too sensationalized. In my defense, I was twenty-one and started with a bigger voice than I really deserved. You can probably find something I wrote pretty easily and you wouldn’t have to try very hard to find something wrong with it. Rightly or wrongly, a lot of people could relate, so I got a lot of email from a lot of people.

One of those people was a blue-haired young lady, who I now understand to be Zoe Quinn. I didn’t realize that until a few days ago. I kept reading about some person on twitter who was, apparently, Basically Hitler. I don’t know anyone who is Basically Hitler so I didn’t care. No matter how much I didn’t care, though, everywhere I looked I saw something like “Basically Hitler is even more Essentially Hitler than Previously Assumed” or “Basically Hitler is Not Even Kind of Hitler” and blah blah blah.

I rolled my eyes and ignored those things and moved on. I’ve seen enough shit in my life that I like twitter for jokes and articles about things that I would never have thought about. I feel no shame for this. I don’ t go out of my way to get bummed out. Except twitter is now less about interesting bits of humanity and more of a funnel for self-righteous bullshit that has been welded over my eye.  So the other day I found out that Basically Hitler… was a person I knew.

Not a person I knew well, to be honest. But a person I knew as a person. Imagine my surprise. I hadn’t even recognized the photos of her face until put into the right context.

You know how you walk into the same grocery store or laundromat or gas station enough times and you get to know the people there in a passing sort of way? I’d say I knew Zoe Quinn about one level above that. We talked about writing, mostly.

She was nice, personable, funny and driven. She never tried to do anything sneaky or underhanded or be anything other than be upfront. She never asked me for anything and I did have some minor amount of popularity at the time that I could have helped her with. She was a touch eccentric, yes, but I’m crazy so who am I to judge?

We had completely appropriate regular person conversations.

I’m pretty boring these days, so I don’t know how compelling this line of argument is going to be. I’m hoping this might persuade some people to my way of thinking which I don’t think is the same thing everyone else has been trying to force people to think. I’m writing this right now and thinking “Man, this blows.” And also “This part about how much this blows, also blows.” Also “Does this even matter? Do I have the right to say this? I don’t know that anyone gives a shit.”

I’m as tired of the self-righteous bullshit as anyone and I don’t want to be piling on. I try to be earnest. I go to a lot of therapy and I read a lot of books and am quietly trying to put myself  back together after I fell apart a few years ago. I’m a fuck-up, is what I’m saying, so maybe I’m way off base here.

So, my point:

I’m not saying Zoe Quinn is the greatest person who has ever lived. I think telling people that can be as bad as telling them they’re terrible. People fuck up. That’s part of being a person. If you haven’t fucked-up, live a little longer. If you still haven’t fucked-up, it’s because you’re not trying to do anything that’s worth doing. But fuck-ups are still fuck-ups. I’m not trying to be morally ambiguous. It’s just that fuck-ups aren’t all you are. You do good things in between fucking up, no matter who you are. And you’re just as much the good things as the bad things.

But, imagine if someone put all of your fuck-ups in a neat little line and took out all the good stuff and said “that’s all of you that matters. You’re just all of these fuck-ups, you fuck-up.” Now imagine literally hundreds if not thousands of people engaged in this activity.

Did you fuck up?

Yeah, probably. It’s all right there in a little line.

Except, how can you even begin to reflect on what you may or may  not have fucked up on and grow as a person when you’ve got that kind of shouting going on? Especially when the shouting is probably even more of a huge cultural fuck-up than whatever you fucked-up? There was probably an appropriate response in there at some point that would have helped you grow and become a stronger person but the appropriate response got blown up by the nuclear punishment of everyone weirdly hating their mother and never having faced that.

And dudes, who may be reading this, thinking I don’t understand the motivation: I get it. I soooo get it.

I get super annoyed with internet feminism all the time. I’m a rape survivor. You can’t imagine how often I have to roll my eyes and bite my tongue when someone tells me I’m contributing to rape and somehow responsible for rape (which is them basically calling me the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, which is awesome).

I get it.

I’m just not much for mobs. Any mob. If I ever find myself running wildly in the same direction as a bunch of other people… I don’t even know what I’d do.

Has anyone ever convinced you of anything by screaming in your face? I’ve told people they’ve convinced me by screaming in my face because it was the only way to stop them from screaming in my face. But I wasn’t ever really convinced and I don’t know how good that is for society. I’m also not much for reducing people down into the best and/or worst things they’ve ever done and acting like it’s not attached to a living breathing person.

(Also, so far as I have seen, the people in whom public trust was actually vested and who allegedly didn’t live up to it don’t seem to be getting their fair share of the shit.)

The only person who could ever convince me of anything was my grandmother and she did it by knowing how much I deserved to be loved and loving me more, and by knowing what kind of person I was and thinking I could be better. “I know you’re better than that,” she’d say, and then I’d have to apologize to my cousin Timmy for punching him in the side of the head. What was I supposed to say? “No grandma, I am that big of a piece of shit.”

I think almost everyone is a better person when you give them the chance to be.

I’m pretty sure that when people get into mobs that nothing good ever happens.  I don’t like mobs ganging up on people, even if I disagree with those people. I came to the defense of a conservative author a while back because I felt I saw the same kind of thing happening (I did it anonymously, because who I am was not important then, while it is important here).

So, I guess in summation:

People fuck up sometimes, but they also do the right thing sometimes. And you’re every bit as much the good things you do as your mistakes.

I have a niece whose mother was a drug addict and sold her parental rights for less than $500. I wrote about her on my website. Zoe Quinn sent me this email:

Hi, not so sure you remember me, but I’m that purple haired girl that’s been reading your stuff since DDHM.

If it’s not too creepy I was wondering a few things…

1 – Is your family celebrating xmas?

2 – If so, could I have your address?

3 – Would it be totally out of line for me to send something for Natasha anonymously? I don’t want rachel to give her shit for it or anything, but I was kind of in the same place when I was her age… Minus having an uncle that gave a crap about me.

I can’t do a whole lot or anything, since I was homeless for a few months and am now getting myself back on my feet, but I want to do something. As long as it’s not creepy, out of line, or counterproductive.

Anyhow, if it’s faster to talk on AIM or whatever, my screen name is [Obviously Not Sharing].

Hang in there.

I haven’t talked to Zoe Quinn in years. I didn’t run this by her. She didn’t ask me to write it.

Ask yourself:  Do you really want to keep screaming at someone who didn’t have much to spare and still wanted to buy a Christmas present for a little girl whose mom sold her for drug money and didn’t ask for anything in return?

 

Excelsior

I hate waiting.

Almost as much as I hate not being able to do anything to correct a problem. But sometimes all you can do is sit down and twiddle your thumbs and check your watch every five or ten minutes and wait to see what happens next.

And sigh. And rub your forehead…

And maybe try to get on with your life. I think that’s something I’m rotten at. You’re supposed to live your life while you’re waiting for that event far off in the background to transpire where you CAN take action and make things right. You’re supposed to LIVE between those moments.

I’ve been something of a hermit the past few weeks. I’ve been afraid to leave the house for fear that something will transpire while I am away and I’ll miss my shot to make things right. But well, where does that ever get you?

You have to go out and strangle the life out of the day and breathe in its departing essence.

I’ve made myself go out for walks. I went to a grocery store in the middle of the night and there was a man outside playing his guitar next to the used bookstore. It made me feel like I was in a movie about my life. I decided to go in and browse the shelves. Found a used book by an author I never read before for cheap. The man with the guitar was still playing when I left. It was dark and I couldn’t see him. I’m taking it on faith that he was there.

I also had the delight of finding a book in the mail the next day sent to me by my great and dear friend Diary of Why. There is nothing like a shot of pure consideration right in the arm to help you out of a funk. It’s nice to know people are thinking about you and caring about you when you’re off in your own little world and something all of us could probably afford to do more often. I actually teared up a little.

I changed the site theme again. The old one wasn’t working. I’ll probably change it yet again.

Thanks to those who purchased the newest story. I thought it was okay, but probably not my greatest work. Making Deals with Devils seems to be getting mostly positive reviews on Amazon (with one positive’ish review) so please do check that out. All the old stuff is also linked over to the right.

I wrote a bit for the horror stories I’m planning to have done for the end of October (I’ve scheduled some time off work to make that happen) and commissioned the cover art this time. I think you’ll like these a lot better. I’m finding my voice again. It’s not the same voice but it’s mine.

I chucked a bunch of stuff the other day because it just wasn’t working. Honesty is the key. Don’t try to be Stephen King or Neil Gaiman or whoever else you’ve read who writes short horror novelettes. Be yourself. And if your weird fascinating hatred of certain people in your life shines through, maybe it’s fascinating for a reason and it should be out there. I think people liked my family stories because they were written honestly. So I’m going to keep pulling at that thread and see where it leads me.

What else?

Oh, in the interest of sportsmanship (or the equivalent word), here is the story that beat me out for that contest. It’s easy to see why they won. Clean, straightforward and just enough familiar and strange. I look forward to reading more by KD Julicher.

Lastly, I think I’ve found my Sherlock Holmes. I regret to say that he is a giant Gingerbread Man Cookie that becomes president of the United States and that his name is Mitchell John Ruskin. I realized there wasn’t anyway around this when I spent an entire session in therapy talking about him and his administration and how it solves every problem in America through bipartisan leadership, common sense, scientific genius, and inspiring the American people. Whenever I think about it, I just start having a million ideas.

My favorite part was when I told my therapist that there was a giant talking Gingerbread Woman Cookie, and she asked “Oh, do they get married?” and I said “No, she’s a lesbian.” Then she got very quiet for a second and asked “What do you think that means?”

The answer? Will be coming in December probably when I start the series.

There will also be a Buffalo Supreme Court Justice and a Skyscraper that reforms the banking industry and Wall Street. I”m calling the universe “Magical Americans.”

Halloween Stories

I’m exhausted as you might expect and working lots of overtime. I’m going to be publishing something in October still but it will have to be toward the end of the month. I’m going to shoot for three horror stories all bundled together and I’m pretty excited for these in a way I was not excited for the last story.

Nothing makes me want to write a good story like writing one I wasn’t as happy with.

I do creepy, weird, and funny best.

These are all scary as shit.

Nikola Tesla’s Unicorn Pigeon

Tesla_Cover

 

People with Human Bodies, presumably, I don’t know, maybe an alien reads this and is hiding from humanity: (because professionalism)

I wrote a new story. Who cares? I don’t know. It’s getting late and I’m pretty tired. I don’t care. That’s true. I am pretty loopy and epically exhausted.

I wrote this story. About Nikola Tesla and pigeons and unicorns and maybe his life maybe having a happy ending that’s a trick. Some people liked it. I really liked one passage. Didn’t sing to me. Then again, when I do a lot of editing that kind of kills things for me.

Here’s a link. I love you. Be strong. A thousand points of light. If I owe you a free story an didn’t get it to you, let me know. If you just want it, let me know. I try not to be presumptuous. If you seriously want it say something. Seriously.

I’m making a very serious face right now.

Don’t be bashful. I understand if you can’t be bothered with the whole kindle thing. Just please consider reviewing somewhere, although I won’t ask you to and again whether or not you love it or hate it or trash it I still won’t care.

Here’s a link.

Nikola Tesla’s Unicorn Pigeon

 

 

“What is love?” the scientist asked the Cosmic Unicorn Pigeon machine-god.

Tesla had scaled the largest mountain of New Mars to find this creature. Three questions could be answered here, as though to a djinn in the old stories. Very few machine-gods bothered with these sorts of affairs. Tesla had traveled over a year to find this one.

The machine-god appeared before Tesla as a giant pigeon with glowing eyes, brighter than any he had ever seen in his laboratory and with a unicorn’s titular horn. The machine-god opened its mouth and breathed data-fire into the Martian sky.

“THE CHEMICAL EQUIVALENT OF LOTS OF CHOCOLATE! THE INCALCULABLE PURPOSE OF ALL BEING! THE FLAME IMPERISHABLE!”

Tesla dropped to his knees and cowered.

“How may I find it?”

“WEBSITES AT REASONABLE MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTIONS AND A LITTLE WILLINGNESS TO EXPERIENCE REJECTION! OLD PEOPLE WHO CAN’T MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS, USUALLY FEMALE RELATIVES! MOSTLY BY KEEPING AN OPEN MIND!”

The pigeon-unicorn-machine-god reared back its wings and flapped them until Tesla clung to the ground to avoid being blown off the mountain.

“I’ve come a very long way and I was looking for something more specific!” begged Tesla.

The pigeon ceased its flapping and pecked at a breadcrumb larger than Tesla’s entire body. It swallowed it whole and breathed a beam of fire so focused and pure that it nearly blinded Tesla to look upon it as it broke through the atmosphere of the planet.

“VERY WELL. ADA MARIE ABERNATHY. DIED MAY 7TH, 1863. PRACTICAL, OLD FASHIONED AND A LEVEL HEAD. WON’T PUT UP WITH YOUR NONSENSE AND MELODRAMATICS. A GOOD BRAIN, AS WELL. I’D START THERE. YOU’RE THE SORT OF MAN WHO CAN’T BE LEFT ALONE WITH HIS THOUGHTS TOO LONG.”

Tesla lay on the ground, panting.

“Thank you,” he said.

“YOU WERE KIND TO PIGEONS. GOOD CRUMBS, NO EXPENSES SPARED. OTHERWISE, I WOULDN’T HAVE BOTHERED,” the machine-god cooed.

My Sherlock Holmes

Sorry this is late.

Been very busy with lots of driving back and forth to places. Getting children where they need to be and so forth. Had to wake up early to get this done.

I’ve got the next short story edited. Title is “Nikola Tesla’s Unicorn Pigeon.” I’ve decided I don’t really like it very much, aside from the giant cosmic AI pigeon part. Enough of the people I sent it to liked it, however, that I’m still publishing. It will be up and available on the 15th. I rate stories on the following 13-point scale:

OMGWTFBBQ

Excellent

Really Good

Good

Well Done

Decent

Competent

Workmanlike

Readable

Difficult

Unreadable

Fuck You for Asking Me To Read This

Fuck You for Writing This

In the interest of making this useful to you, I’ll associate it with things I’ve actually written. I wrote a story I’m sure you don’t remember called “Who’s the Boss?” on my old site about the first time I realized I was smarter than my parents. It is the worst and most uninteresting thing I’ve ever written and I hated myself for writing it days after. That’s probably at the bottom of the scale.  I’d put “Run, Run Judy” or “Lights Out” as I retitled it at the top of the scale along with “All the Lovely Wicked Words” which doesn’t hold up as well as the first but seemed to resonate with people. I’d put “Out of Work Legends” at “Really Good.” “The Crucifix Factory” would probably be somewhere toward the bottom half again. Cormac I would rate as “Good” along  with “Making Deals with Devils.” I’d put “Nikola Tesla’s Unicorn Pigeon” right at Decent.

All of these stories are available in my eBooks (hint hint).

Sometimes when I write, I find what I call a “Crease” in my head. I didn’t always call it the Crease. It’s what I started calling it when I realized I wasn’t able to find it anymore when I got thin and crazy. I wrote “Making Deals with Devils” inside the Crease. It was the first time I’d found the Crease in a long time. I knew it wouldn’t be a story for everyone. For some reason, I thought it was really funny to conceal the gender of the narrator until the very last moment. I have a touch of what I call “Kaufman’s Disorder” where I am sometimes guilty of caring more about my entertainment than the reader’s. In fact, I agree with a lot of what this review has to say about it. It was a story I had to write, though.

I’ve been getting better at finding the Crease again. Not as good as I once was, but better. I know I can get back better than before if I keep pushing.

Which brings me to the second bit of what I wanted to talk about. Due to recent events, I really need to start writing things that people will buy, which maybe means I should redirect the weirdness. My plan is to release “Nikola Tesla’s Unicorn Pigeon” this month, finish up possibly a few horror stories for October (I’m thinking if I try real hard I can finish four which are half written on my Google Drive), and then release my first novel (which is a shorter novel) “Rock Bottom” in November.

I’m still chugging along on the Fantasy Novel. I realized I wanted to tweak the outline a bit more to give me less wiggle room. I’d strangle myself on wiggle room.

I think I can probably finish a first draft of that in six’ish months. As for monthly stories, I need to find my Sherlock Holmes. Something I can write in short bursts that stand on their own that nevertheless connect as a cohesive whole. I’ve got a few ideas that “pop” out for me, but they don’t have the feeling that they’re quite done cooking or “of a piece.” I’m thinking I might start writing Tide World shorts exclusively. I’d rather not write about my life again, although people always seemed to connect to that. I guess maybe I’m tired of having an interesting train-wreck life, because it makes me feel like I exist in some kind of state of perpetual victimhood.  Maybe I can find a better and more mainstream approach though.

Not sure. I’ll have to go on a lot of long walks and excavate the Crease and see if I have a Sherlock Holmes, Conan or a Cthulu inside of me somewhere.

Hope all is well.

What I Am Up Two

kitty

I’m watching a really really bad movie called “The Room” while I am writing this.

If this sucks, I blame that movie.

It is that terrible.

Here is a cat.

MAKING DEALS WITH DEVILS

First off, I wanted to thank everyone who bought my last short story and/or left a review. I super appreciate that and for a while there it was in the top  one-hundred Native American stories on Amazon.*

(The Booger is based on a Lumbee myth and Rusty is part Lumbee but I didn’t want to beat anyone over the head with it, since I usually don’t describe what characters look like anyway. I decided it was okay for him to live in West Virginia because one of my dad’s best friends is full Cherokee and lives in Seattle. People move. That’s something people do. No one is ever completely what you expect in real life, so I hate it when that happens in stories.)

If you wanted to read it but don’t have an Amazon account, email me or leave a comment and I’ll send it to you for free. You can also read things on your computer if you have an Amazon account but no Kindle.

I will send you free stories and continue to send you free stories even if you leave one star reviews. You just have to ask. All I ask from people is that they’re honest in the reviews. Don’t try to email me and ask for feedback on what you want to leave. What I want you to leave is your feelings and I don’t have a say in those.

But thank you.

I appreciate it even if you considered and didn’t buy it.

*Apparently it’s not that difficult, which is kinda sad

I LIT MY YARD ON FIRE

fire

My backyard has been stressing me out because I’m being consumed by vegetation. Hauling it to the dump would have required a huge trailer I don’t have. So, I got a permit and lit it all on fire. With flint and steel.

I guess I have more paranoia about the apocalypse than matches.

It took four hours to do just the backyard and by the end I was super dehydrated.

I WENT TO A FARM

A couple of weeks ago I divorced my mom (which is to say I mediated her divorce, but it’s funner to say that I divorced her) and now she’s trying to move in with me forever and I can’t figure out how to stop it because of course my little brother and sister become involved and I actually want them to live with me. So my eye has been twitching and I’ve been getting super stressed out over that as well and been a general grumpy Gus.

I needed to do something to relieve the pressure.

So I went to a farm yesterday and I almost ended up crying because it was so wholesome. The only thing I ever get any sense of inadequacy about is seeing people who have strong family bonds and this farm had been in the same family for four generations.

I got there and an older lady came out and greeted me and shook my hand. Everyone on the farm shook my hand, as a matter of fact. I got taken on a tour, shown all the local crafts and all I could think was “this must have been like the Kent farm when Superman was growing up.”

I bought goat cheese made by a farmer and it’s delicious. I bought milk right from a cow. I bought jam made, literally, by an old monk.

It took them a while to check me out, and the older lady kept apologizing and getting a bit flustered because she was having trouble with the computers. I got so reminded of my grandma I almost got teary again.

Here’s a poem I wrote about crying, by the way:

I was raised to keep emotion curbed

and never show my feelings

but oh how, when a noun just verbed

Can I not cry to soak the ceilings?

But I am not that crazy, so I just said “Wait, let me help YOU” and I handed her things and let her do it at her own pace and she ended up giving me a hug and five percent off. I didn’t even mind the hug she was so sweet, and I am a person crazy enough that I couldn’t even briefly put my arm around Joe Abercrombie to get a picture taken.

I sometimes feel our country is a bit down in the dumps and everything you see is bad, but this was purely good and clean and nice. I’m sure other countries have farmers not unlike these but they did give me a distinct pride because they were my farmers and they were wonderful.

I’m definitely going back there. I shook the hand of a farmer who made the stuff I was eating. What’s better than that?

SPEAKING OF JOE ABERCROMBIE

First off, although I’m much diminished in terms of traffic and let’s face it, kind of boring, and this probably won’t move any paper Joe does have a new book out and it’s awesome. You can purchase it here.

Half a King is “aimed” at the YA market and you can tell it’s paced faster than his previous works with a tighter focus and scenes not being given the same breathing room… but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t feel natural. For someone who thought “Red Country” was merely really good (at the time I didn’t really want any messages about not being able to run away from yourself), I’m glad to read something new from Joe that I can call “Embarrassingly Superior.”

Some people say that Joe Abercrombie is one of the best writers of Fantasy. These people are mistaken. He is even better.

As the single father of three cats who lives alone in rural Idaho across from an abandoned slaughterhouse, down the road from a buffalo Ranch, and a three minute drive away from a strip club with less than six hundred square feet of floorspace who has more authority to judge Fantasy literature than I?

SPEAKING OF MY CRAZY ASS

In the interest of now making this about me, I decided I’m going to classify anything I write into two categories.

These categories are “commercial” and “I had to write this so I don’t have another psychotic break and start seeing things that aren’t there.” The former category I will forward to agents, submit, etc while the latter category I will self publish to Amazon which is honestly where it belongs, anyhow. I don’t really know of anyone chomping at the bit to get a twelve step allegory, video-game driven, doomsday bunker setting, junkie hero story.

A fly keeps dive bombing at my face and I can’t seem to kill him.

That’s a crazy sentence to insert here, but I’m leaving it.

The longer more serious works I write have tended to turn to shit about  a quarter of the way through. Then I poke at them every once and again and eventually abandon them on my google drive. I’ve decided to try being an outline writer since I’ve never really done that before. I wrote a 10k word outline for a new novel set in the Tide World. I’m still revising the outline because I want to write something at a scale I’ve never attempted before.

I figured since a guy I consider one of the greatest living Fantasy writers literally looked me in the eye and said that the feeling that your book is shit when you’re in the middle never ever goes away and that he has to rely on a plan to get through, I should probably maybe consider that I might not be above that.

My Id Writes Hack Message Fiction

I’ve been unable to sleep for the last two nights because of the following dream.

My brother gets some stomach cramps and collapses at work. He goes to the hospital where they find out that he’s had a uterus and ovaries all along and is a hermaphrodite (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but he also finds out that what is causing his pain is that he’s pregnant by himself with the baby Jesus. Which, I think we’d all agree, whatever our gender, is totally fucked up.

His wife leaves him. He’s hounded by the media. He can’t go to his job anymore and becomes a recluse.

I go to his house to find him crying on the steps, with five o’clock shadow and a five month bump. He tells me he’s going to go to an abortion clinic and I tell him he can’t, he’s pregnant with Jesus.

He gets a really twisted up sob face and cries that he feels like a freak and he’s never wanted to be a freak. And I put my hand on his belly and say “This is a good thing, however it came to be” and he pushes my hands away and tells me to fuck off. Nobody should have to feel like a freak just because they’re the doorway for something good to enter the world, and how would I feel if my penis was going to be exploded to give birth to Jesus?

I talked about this in therapy today. We decided it was a metaphor for creativity. My therapist did a great job of acting like this was all totally normal. I don’t pay that woman enough.

As an aside:

Remember when I talked about professionalism?

little things become big things