Archive for April, 2013

Tell a Story Day

April 19, 2013 1 comment

Here is my entry in the shared story telling event run by the Genre Underground. This is Part 12. To read the story so far, go to and follow the links. Thank you to the previous eleven for your hilarious creativity. On with the show!

“They’ve trained their security droids to use fine print,” the android added with a dubious glance back at the lawyer.

The lawyer squinted at his android. “Your sarcasm algorithm could use some adjustment too. We have hardly been outmaneuvered.” He turned back to the security droid, which was now needing to extend additional mechanical tentacles out of its sides to restrain the ever more furious troll. “My good sir, have you asked yourself how this troll got here? We are in pursuit of a lethal fugitive who, it seems, was detained by…” he looked down the corridor littered with metal debris and found the smashed remains of a smaller security droid, “that comrade of yours. We know the fugitive had this troll hidden on his person, so it is only logical that the fugitive freed this troll to afford his escape.”

The lawyer’s android scanned the wreckage around them too, but with a different objective. He stepped up alongside the lawyer and held aloft the elf’s dagger for all to see.

“There you have it!” the lawyer added triumphantly. “Proof of the true culprit. If you will not remand this troll into our custody…” he thumbed through the contract for the right clause “…you must at least grant me the privileges of an extrajurisdictional officer in active criminal pursuit under Section 136, Subsection A, Paragraph XX.”

While the security droid considered the demand, the android examined the dagger, unsheathed it, and found the copper engraving of Princess Zyx.

The elf stopped flat on his tiny feet. Lumbering towards him, and completely blocking the 15 foot wide, 30 foot high corridor, was something that at once daunted and confused him. Gravidly rotund at the bottom and narrowing at its crown, the machine was supported by what must have been a hundred squat feet that shuffled along, tilting the entire massive body first to one side, then the other, as it progressed forward. It seemed oblivious to the elf, but it was definitely in his way. Moreover, its function was so obscure and its motion was so unexpected, he was arrested in his perplexity. “What the Claus?” slipped from his lips.

He looked closer and saw that as it tipped to one side, dozens of hoses and arms extended from the eggplant shaped vehicle to connect with the machines that made up the walls. Then those appendages disconnected as it tilted back toward the opposite wall to repeat its refilling task there. The elf screwed up his face so badly he caught his mouth entirely to one side of his face. “I’m a little teapot?”

He shook himself free of his reverie and glanced over his shoulder. No pursuers yet. No time to lose. He patted his jerkin and sighed. Damn droid took everything metal. He reached in and pulled out a thin leather box and the tattered, oddly grease-stained scroll. He put the box back. “Keep those puppies for the General,” he muttered to himself. He unfolded the spell and remembered the cautionary words of the kindly but putrid smelling old wizard who gave it to him in payment for dispatching a band of brigands. “You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant.”

Kat Richardson takes over the story next at

Categories: Writing

Follow your bliss

April 13, 2013 Leave a comment

Just watched William Friedkin’s “Killer Joe.” Super intense, violent, disturbing, award winning play lovingly translated into even more up-in-your-face movie. Incredible perfomances by all the cast. Riviting. Dark on par with Blue Velvet.

But the real reason I am writing about this film is the making-of short where the actors and William Friedkin talk about the damn-the-torpedos, do what you really want to do attitude that allowed them to explore this twisted little story with such depth. I found it positively liberating.

Not that I am recommending we all go out and write about oversexed murderers. But I often find myself worrying that I am going to go down some dark path with a story that will lose my audience, that there is a line beyond which is going too far, even if it is exactly right for the story. To hear a master director like Friedkin say each story deserves whatever it takes, that his job is not just to “interest” you but to “surprise” you, I found a breath of fresh air.

I recommend the film and the short to any writer who ever worries about going over the line.

My doubts are of course based on not really knowing who my audience is or will be. I am after all just starting a writing career. I have always felt I owe it to my characters to let them go wherever they need in order to deal with what I have thrown at them. Reviewers have commented that I have crossed the line a few times. But I’m not going to let that worry me anymore. I write thrillers and horror. If it doesn’t disturb you at least a little, then I’m probably not doing my job.

Categories: Writing

Isis Rising Update

April 10, 2013 Leave a comment

Cure for self doubt: get up and do better. I really do love what I have accomplished in Daughter Cell. I’ve got half a dozen reviewers/editors and two independent reviewers all telling me the book works. But there is always that moment when you let a big project go that you can’t help but feel like there could have been, should have been more you could have done. I believe it was Michaelangelo who said, “Great art is never finished, just abandoned.” Now, I’m not kidding myself, my stuff is not great art. But when you pour years of creative energy into something, you want it to shine. At some point you need to stop polishing the fenders, get in, and drive.

So I went into a weeklong funk after handing in Daughter Cell. Until today. A big project at work did not come to me when it should, so I spent some time revisiting the plot wrinkles that still needed to be ironed out in Isis Rising. Let’s hear it for subconscious percolation. Pieces I had been agonizing over for weeks fell into place, and I now have the entire story, end to end, down on paper.

I outline extensively. I change things once I start writing prose, but I take the time to work out all the plot points and sequence before I start in on page one. The outline acts not only as a roadmap so I don’t get lost, but also as a reminder and mid-doldrums morale booster of how great the whole thing will look once it is done. I am happy to report that Isis Rising returns to the ensemble cast, multiple story line, globe trotting adventure modus that made The Chosen so much fun.

Daughter Cell is more narrowly focused on personal torments. It is a very linear mystery. It has to be, since the mystery that gets unraveled is quite complicated. There are plenty of red herrings and missteps along the way, but it wouldn’t be fair to the reader to mess with the path of the story when the facts of the mystery are so complex.

So it is from this departure in tone that I launch back into tying the first two books together in the third. Not to give anything away, Desiree from Book Two meets up with Joseph from Book One, old enemies resurface, open story threads get tied up, and hints dropped throughout the first two books get picked up and played out. This book will probably be the longest of the three, just because of the ground that gets covered.

So now I have a shiny 5000 word outline that I can clutch to my breast and sigh knowing it is possible to tell this story well, to say everything I always wanted to say over the last 25 years of thinking about these characters. And if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, I know one of my brothers-in-arms like Alan Baxter or Jason Stewart could take this outline and write the book I had in mind. I will not go out like Stieg Larsson, thank you. Knowing the story works is usually all the boost I need to start cranking out text. I expect this one will take me maybe a year.

In the meantime, I am awaiting my editor’s mark up of Daughter Cell and the artist’s cover. I will share the cover as soon as it is finalized. I am also updating with more promotional material about Daughter Cell, which will hit the bookshelves September first. News as it develops.

Categories: Writing

New Five-Star Review of The Chosen

The talented novelist JC Andrijeski has posted her five-star review of The Chosen on Amazon and GoodReads. Check out her review, and her books!

Categories: Writing
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