My author page is for you, as a reader, and maybe a writer. I'll promote my own writing, and my podcasts, where I read from my stories as well as some classics. They are via ny SubStack or sites like Spotify. I'll also pass on some background on the life of a writer, amd tips I've picked up.  

I've published two novels, and drafted several more that are in various stages of editing. I've also written almost 200 Flash Fiction short stories. Check out my Short Story List -comments are welcome. 

Below is information on my two novels, Kirk's Landing and Return to Kirk's Landing.

Continue reading "Welcome" »

Lucky Penny

The challenge was to write in the present tense as much as possible, 1000 words max. This can make the action seem more immediate and intimate. I was stuck for an actual story idea, so I I used the writer-igniter from diymfa.com to give me idea. I got Character - taxi driver, Situation - gets a cryptic letter, Prop - finds a lucky penny, and Setting - see the image below. This took a while to write, as I think I'm a little rusty, but I like how it turned out. 1067 words. 

Lucky Penny

Bess-Cozby-5-275x275 It’s a dark and stormy night. Dan much prefers to be snuggled up in bed to be driving his cab in this crap, but this is the only way to compete with all the ride-shares out there. They can afford to avoid the bad weather and slow nights. His old clunker has worn wiper blades and a shitty defroster, but the tires are good and it’s his clunker. Dan makes a good living doing this - but he can’t afford days off. He’s had a number of different jobs, bodyguard, chef, trucker, but this is getting to be his least favourite. He spots a flickering sign through the drizzle - Nell’s. It looks like a cute little diner - he could do with a coffee and a break.

The diner is clean, warm and cosy, with the radio tuned to a quiet jazz station. He’s just sliding into a booth when the waitress appears. Touch of grey, about his age, with a big smile.

“Coffee, sir? It’s a damp night. And I can recommend the pecan pie.”

He smiles back. “Sounds great, yes, please.”

The pie is very good. He scrolls through emails as he sips his coffee. Nothing exciting. And nothing on the job boards. Is nobody hiring anywhere? He sighs.

“Pie didn’t perk you up, sir?”

He glanced up at the waitress. “No, I mean yes, the pie was excellent, great coffee, a nice relaxing place. I drive a cab, usually it’s fun, and I enjoy helping people on their way. But sometimes, in weather like this, it sucks and I wand to stay in.”

She raised an eyebrow. “But in weather like this, maybe people need your help even more. That’s why I try to stay open, to be some place warm and dry, a place to regroup the mind. More coffee?

“No thanks, I’m still working on this one.”

He stares out at the storm, which seems to be getting even worse. His phone pings with a message from dispatch.

“Customer at Pine and Main.”

Nice to have a customer, too bad he doesn’t use dispatch anymore, not for months. Must be a glitch in the system.

What the heck. He reaches for his wallet to pay up and heads out for one last loop of the downtown.

He slows as he reaches his pickup point, wipes the fog from his windshield, and peers through the rain. Nobody there. Great.

There’s a flash of lightning, almost blinding, and suddenly there is his customer, or at least somebody, lying by the curb in a puddle.

He jumps out and darts over.

“Hey, lady, are you ok?”

She seems conscious, but groggy, and very wet. A young woman, nicely dressed, she grabs at her side as he lifted her up.

“Ow, jeez!”

“Sorry,” he says. “Lets get you into my cab and warm you up.”

Her skin feels like ice. He carefully eases her into the back and cover her with a blanket. He gives the dash a thump and cranks up the heater - thankfully it’s working again.

“What the hell happened, lady? Did you get hit?”

“I was crossing in the rain and somebody clipped me - I guess,” she says. “Not sure when it happened, but it feels like I’ve just been lying there forever.”

“Good thing I came along,” he says. “I should get you to a hospital.” He pulls away and heads for Main.

“No, I’ll be OK,” she says. “I’m glad someone finally stopped. You’re a nice guy.”

She reached forward and tapped him on the shoulder. “Hold on a sec, I have something for you.”

He stops just before the light and turns, about to protest that it’s a free ride, when he sees she’s just holding out a penny. A large one, like those old English ones in the movies.

“It was my grandmother’s,” she says, “and is supposed to bring good luck. A lucky penny” She grins. “Yes, I know. I did get hit by a car, but then you did stop, right? I want you to have it.

He takes the penny from her hand, still cold as ice.

“Thanks,” he says. “I hope —. “

An air horn blares and a Shell fuel truck, a double unit, blasts past his bumper, just inches away. It doesn’t even slow, right through a red light.

“Damn, that was lucky. “ He turns. The back seat is empty. Both doors are still closed. He checks the street - nobody is there.

He drives slowly, carefully, back to the diner. The waitress is just closing up, stacking chairs, turning off lights. She glances over as he stands at the door, then opens it.

“Are you okay?” she says. “You look pale.”

“I’m not sure,” he says. “It was - weird.” He looks closer at her. “Wait, have you been crying? Are you ok?”

“Not really,” she says. “Did you, did you want to come in? I make a yummy Irish coffee. Well, minus the cream.”

“Will your boss mind?” he says.

“I’m the boss,” she says. “So no problem. It’s my place - named it after my sister. I’d rustle up a snack for you, but my cook quit today. But a medicinal coffee is fine, a toast to my sister.”

“What happened to her?” he says.

“She died a year ago today.”

He reaches out and touches her arm. “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s been a hard year,” she says. “She was killed in a hit and run, on a night a lot like tonight. They figured she didn’t die right away. She just had internal injuries, but she lay there for hours. Traffic cameras showed a few cars did drive by, but nobody stopped, so she died there, in a cold puddle, all alone.”

“There was some insurance money, so I used it and my savings to buy this place - we used to hang out here as kids when it was the Royal Cafe.”

She pours the two coffees. “Like I said, it’s been hard, but for some reason, I feel better tonight. Perhaps it’s time to move on. “

“So you’re Nell?” he says.

She smiled. “No, I’m Debbie. Nell was my sister.”

“Short for Penelope?” he says.

“Yes, but she hated that. Nell, or Penny.”

He fingers the coin in his pocket. “So, not to be insensitive, but you’re looking for a new cook?”


RP: SubStack Podcasts -Alice in Wonderland -#2 The Pool of Tears

From Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Caroll

Reposted from my SubStack 

1book6 I'm trying a new series, Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Caroll, just to see if you like it. I'll read a chapter at a time.

In the last chapter, Alice had fallen down the rabbit hole, and found a locked door leading into a lovely garden. One challenge now is being the right size to take the key from a table - she's found a cake that seems to make her grow.

If you subscribe to my newsletter, you'll get notified of my updates as soon as they are ready. If you enjoy this reading, or have other classics you'd like to hear, leave me a comment.

#2 The Pool of Tears

RP: SubStack Podcasts -Alice in Wonderland -#1 Down the Rabbit Hole

From Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Caroll

Reposted from my SubStack 

1book1a  I'm trying a new series, Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Caroll, just to see if you like it. I'll read a chapter at a time.

If you subscribe to my newsletter, you'll get notified of my updates as soon as they are ready. If you enjoy this reading, or have other classics you'd like to hear, leave me a comment.

In this first chapter, we meet a very sleepy Alice, who will shortly start off on an extraordinary adventure.

#1 Down the Rabbit Hole




Rapture and Romance

(Moved from main blog)

The challenge for this was one from the blog Terrible Minds, a few years ago. Use this link to get a set of nine random 'interesting' pics from Flickr. Pick three. Write a story, 1000 words max. 

I can't post my images (copyrights) but can describe them: happy people sprawled on a hill below a scarecrow-like sculpture; a detailed colourful telescope view of the Horsehead nebula; a VW camper van in a parking lot. 

Here's my story -  983 words. 

Rapture and Romance

We were a mismatched group. We'd all hung out together at Frosh Week, as we were all from the same small red-neck town. I was on a football scholarship, Tia, a tiny little hippy girl with beads and coloured hair and swirly dresses, was doing a Physics and Astronomy double, and John and Joanne, both from Bible-thumping families, were in religious studies. They were a nice couple, not that pushy about religion, at least to us. We'd decided to share a cheap house near campus, and we each had our own space. Only a three bedroom, but Jo-Jo, as we called them, said they were ok to share a room. They seemed to have resolved the conflict between a growing physical attraction for each other and the strict rules of their upbringing.

Continue reading "Rapture and Romance" »

Do Not Look At The Moon

After a looong break, here's another Flash Fiction story. It's a tad dystopian, but I've been in a mood.  

The challenge was as follows - 

It's 3 AM. An official phone alert wakes you up. It says "DO NOT LOOK AT THE MOON". You have hundreds of notifications. Hundreds of random numbers are sending, "It's a beautiful night tonight. Look outside."  No more than 1000 words - mine is 745.

Do Not Look At The Moon

It had come as an official WorldGov alert, popping up on my phone. 3 a.m. my time, but supposedly it was worldwide. I'd checked my messages, and there were hundreds of them, from friends and strangers, dismissive of the alert.

"It's a beautiful night tonight. Look outside."

No arguing with that. The last few full moons had all been beautiful, even since the Clear Air project. Pollution in the atmosphere had been just getting worse and worse, for decades. Corporations had been thriving, of course, but not people, with respiratory ailments on the rise. There seemed to be no simple solution either, until WorldGov came up with Operation Clean Air. Technology to the rescue, with a new chemical compound that would precipitate all those harmful chemicals and particles from the air. It would be launched quickly, as a new public-private worldwide initiative, an added payload in a massive expansion in the Starlink satellite program.

Continue reading "Do Not Look At The Moon" »

The Trio

Well, it's been a while, but here's another Flash Fiction Friday offering. This one took a bit longer than the normal week - several, in fact. I'm trying to relax a bit and write without constant self-editing and the accompanying procrastination. Could be better, I'm sure, constructive criticism is welcome. 

The challenge was to write a story, examining a character, and the way they manage their stress. Plus, use a random character generator to give them three character traits. 1000 words max. I got naïve, caring and coarse, and decided to do as three characters. 

Like I said, took longer than planned and is a bit over at about 1080 words.

Continue reading "The Trio" »

Some thoughts on editing (edited)

I know the cost of an editor seems expensive to many writers, but like any profession, quality work will require expertise and time. If you are on a tight budget, there are many suitable tools out there to proof read and even copy edit (Grammarly, ProWritingAid, etc). I would use one of those to clean a novel up initially.
After this, money could be focused on hiring an editor that can look for plot holes, pacing, and character development issues, and also provide suggestions on improving your work. If that's still not in the budget, I would suggest find some Beta readers with those skills.
Once you deal with their feedback, you could start sending to agents and/or publishers. Or self publish, if that's your route.

Continue reading "Some thoughts on editing (edited)" »

Some readings

I've been doing various readings via my Twitch stream, as a test. My son lent me a wireless webcam, which I've put in my 9th-floor window, to show off a lovely view of the park, the river, and the city. I decided to add some audio to the video, so I did some readings from various authors - Stephen Leacock, Mark Twain, P. G. Wodehouse, Lewis Carroll, A. A Milne. No editing, but I am pretty good at reading aloud it seems. I stream simultaneously to Twitch, Youtube and Facebook, but I think a podcast would be better. Too hard to manage via Facebook. I had looked into podcasting last year, and got stalled - time to kick-start my project, I think. You can find my stories so far archived on Youtube here.  

The Peripheral -by William Gibson

The Peripheral (The Peripheral #1)The Peripheral by William Gibson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

2015 - I have enjoyed other books by Gibson, but found this one just too hard to get into. Maybe some character lists and careful re-reading would have helped, but I guess I just wasn't in the mood. Too many books to read/edit/write, and not enough time. I bailed at about the 30 page mark - sorry William.
Update - I usually like Gibson, so I really did want to like this book, so put a hold on it from my library. It popped up mid-move, but I tried to tackle it when I could.
Nope. Too confusing for me - storylines in the first 10 pages for Easy Ice, Netherton, patchers, Lorenzo, Daedra - a future world consumed with gaming and paparazzi - I got to page 51 this time.

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Mythos - by Stephen Fry

MythosMythos by Stephen Fry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, I got to page 181 of 350. Not completely the author's fault, as this popped up on my library hold list mid-move. But I did work at it here and there.
It's the Greek myths retold by Stephen Fry - as advertised - and covers many many of the various deities. Too many for me, dozens and dozens it seems. Too much time at the start spent explaining the detailed genealogy and not enough of the fact-based fiction he is so good at, with Fry's wry sense of humour. I'd advise starting this 1/3 of the way through - you won't know exactly who is who, and which god married his mother that was also his daughter, but carry on.
I may re-read this later - I'll add it to the things I do when I have some spare time. or when I get old.

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