Sunday, December 21, 2014

New Book...Out Now!

My new book of short stories is available now!  There are 13 great stories in this collection ranging from straight horror to bizarro, to some pretty disturbing tales. 

Check out the paperback here!


Check out the ebook here!

There is plenty more to come... I am writing more than ever lately.  I hope you enjoy.


J. Peter W.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Birthday Massacre

Beyond by The Birthday Massacre

My favorite band, The Birthday Massacre just released a new album last week and ever since then I have been listening to it non-stop.  I love all of their albums and this one is no different.  They are the band I turn to while writing, always giving me inspiration and motivation.  I dream while listening to The Birthday Massacre.

Check out their latest album  Superstition.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I remember one dream I had as I child very vividly. I rarely remember dreams, as a child or even now as an adult, but this dream still lingers in my mind as fresh as the night it happened. Spider legs. I can see spider legs towering over me. I'm not sure if I'm the size of a tiny speck or if the spider is huge. I guess that's really irrelevant. All I can see are the legs. My eyes never look to the body and it is unfocused in my peripheral. I remember a large, dark splotch as the body, nothing more. But those legs. They are spiny with hairs peeling off like thorny daggers. A wet, mucus like substance coats them from the tips to the prosoma. I stand, looking up, eyes darting between the eight massive things surrounding me.

I've read that dreams of large, oversized objects means that you feel overwhelmed or stressed. I don't recall having any feeling like that at the time. So I am assuming that's bullshit. What I did feel was happiness. I felt like I was part of something. Like there is more out there then what revolves around me and my daily life. I felt like I was the smallest part in all of it and that made me joyful.

When I woke up I was upset. I tried to will myself back to sleep and back into that dream. I think I did fall back to sleep, but I never found my way back to that dream. It was gone. Lost forever. But the memory stuck with me. It's been over twenty years since that dream but I can still see the spider legs as clearly now as I did in the then. And I still remember that feeling I had while staring up at the huge, spiny legs. I want to find it again. I want to revisit that place and see what else is there. What other feelings arrive when I stay longer. When I stay forever.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Misunderstanding My Rhythm

When I first started writing I mostly wrote poems and songs.  Back then everything I did focused on the rhythm of sentences and sounds of the words.  I could care less about whether the sentences made any sense.  That didn't interest me.  All I wanted was sentences that were beautiful to my ears.  That incoherent, rambling of random words made little sense to anyone but me.  Over the years I continued to use that style, even when it came to writing short stories and novellas, mixing in storytelling a little at a time.  As you can imagine, very few people enjoyed reading anything I wrote.  Some did.  Some people got it.  But not many. 

It took a while for me to find a balance between building rhythmic sentence structure and storytelling.  If there was too much straight story I became bored.  If it was too much random words, my readers would become bored.  Over the years I began to evolve the balance.  If you read my first two novels you can see the progression changing.  Eventually though, I realized that I was never going to have a steady readership if I didn't lose the random worded sentences. 

It took me a while to get to that point.  But I finally did make the realization.  I pushed myself and focused on storytelling and growing as a writer.  Now, I can write full novels without falling back on my random sentences.  Sometimes I miss that style.  If I read my old stuff I still smile and laugh.  I love it.  But I can see now that my new stuff is so much better.    

Here is a quick example of my old style.  I love this paragraph.

 There once was a place that missiles became lovely ideas of change and sticks for arms was gravitational arthritis. When the extremities of nighttime really meant to shovel out someone’s head. Blood only tastes good in your mouth. My decisive orphans cut their veins with tiny versions of knives and kiss boys by the wishing well. Reducible pox intoxicated scapegoats mansion twins for necessary near-beer phobias, then twist my wrist she hated hypnotics. Filtered wife epiphany vanquished graver bellyaches to natterjack partnerships by stepladders or cellars. The julian floorwalkers mustard rhinestone sod worms infecting woozy aviation equivalents to congregate gunboat. I endorse stabbed gullets. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Moving across the country...

A week ago I drove across the country. 

My wife got a job offer for a position on the other side of the country and we decided to go for it.  We packed up everything we could fit into a 5 x 8 trailer and got rid of everything else.  We either trashed, donated, or gave to family and friends all of our furniture.  It was a terrifying and exciting feeling. 

It is over 2200 miles from Richmond, VA to Phoenix, AZ.  That's a little more than 36 hours if you were to drive straight through without stopping to eat or sleep.  We broke it up into three and a half days.  Mind you we took both our cars; mine a Mustang filled to the ceiling and pulling a trailer, and hers an overstocked Beetle busting at the seams.  We some how survived this journey despite bringing along our two small but very vocal dogs and our toddler that can't stand to sit still for more than 5 minutes, on top of my amazing, superstar wife being pregnant.  And yes, we did move to the desert in the summer.  What kind of person does that?

Anyway, we made it and now that we are here.  I love it.  AZ is a beautiful state.  I don't even mind the 110 degree very dry weather we've been having.  It feels like 80's to me compared to the 95 degree humid summers in VA. 

With all the packing and moving and unpacking, I have gotten a bit behind on my writing.  I am still in the process of the final draft of the first book of my YA dark fantasy trilogy and currently 2/3 of the way through the first draft of the second book.  I am also working on a collection of short stories that I plan on releasing in a few months.  I will blog more on that later.  I am also working on a novella that I hope to release by the end of the year.  So yes, very busy.  And I am happy to be through with all the moving an packing and finally being able to sit down and write... late at night... while the toddler monster slumbers... please... let her sleep tonight... please...

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Terribleminds Flash Fiction: Stock Photo Challenge

“Tell me about it again, Grandpa.”

“I’ve told you a hundred times, Billy.”

“I know but I love that story.”

“Alright. Grab the lines and met me by the truck. I’ll tell you on the way.”

“Yes!” Billy spun on his heels and ran in the house. Seconds later he busted out the front, screen door holding two fishing poles and black and neon-yellow tackle box.

Grandpa shuffled around to the front of the house, digging through his cut-off jean shorts for the truck keys. He grabbed the poles from his grandson and placed them in the bed of the truck. Billy stepped up on the tire and stretched his arm over, setting the tackle box down next to them.

“Off we go.” Grandpa opened the door to the truck and climbed in, while Billy ran around to the passenger side.

Before his grandpa could even turn on the ignition Billy was asking about the story. “Tell me about the big one, Grandpa.”

“Hold your horses.” He started the old truck up, and then rolled down his window. Even during the hottest days of summer he refused to turn on the A/C. “Roll that window down, get some of that sweet summer air in here.”

Billy cranked the window while his grandpa backed the truck out the driveway.


“Okay, okay. The first time I lay eyes on that fish, I knew I had to catch it. It was like nothin’ I ever seen before.”

Pablo moved to West Palms when he was just a child. He had been given up for adoption from his parents just after he was born. His fosters told him that his biological parents weren’t equip to handle his handicap, which was just a nice way of telling him that they didn’t want him. It was a rare mutation. So rare he was the only case ever reported. Just below his right elbow, Pablo’s arm became a trout.

His foster parents were well off and had the option to have it surgically removed but noticed Pablo, even at a young age, was attached to it as if it was his pet. They decided to leave it. He grew up receiving many taunts by both children and adults. He had even hid it under a sock while attending middle school. But his parents were quick to comfort him and eventual he grew confident in his mutation. After college Pablo went into business for himself. He was a successful owner of packaging company, shipping and packing products all over the world. He was known for his handshake deals; the man that made promises with his trout hand.

“Hey Pablo, what’s up?” Devon asked, he had been Pablo’s roommate in college and they had stayed close ever since.

Pablo stretched out in the lawn chair. “Not much, sunbathing… waterbathing.” He nodded to his trout hand as it fluttered around in the small Koi pond.

“Brought us some lunch,” Devon said. He plopped down on the chair next him and unraveled a brown paper bag. “Bloodworms.” He pulled out a small, styrofoam cup filled with dark soil and writhing with worms. “And,” he opened a second bag. “Some turkey avocado subs.”

“Excellent.” Pablo pulled his hand from the pond and reached into the cup. The trout dug through the soil, gulping down bloodworm after bloodworm.

They ate their sandwiches in the mid-morning sun, enjoying their weekend and talking about old times. It wasn’t until they heard tires squealing out front of Pablo’s home that they stopped. Both men standing up from their lawn chairs and trying to peer over the bushes that separated the front yard from the back.

“What was that? An accident?” Devon asked. He saw the concerned look on his friend’s face.

“No, I- I think it’s…” Pablo’s words trailed off internally.

Devon heard two doors slam and the murmur of muted voices. He watched as panic flooded over Pablo.

“They found me,” was all he said before running.

An older man and a young boy broke through the bushes carrying fishing lines baited with dangling worms. The boy also had a tackle box full of assorted hooks and lure while the older man had a wire net on an aluminum pole. They chased after Pablo like hungry savages.

“I see him, Grandpa. He’s real. He’s really real,” Billy said as he ran, hopping over the Koi pond.

“I told you boy. And this time he ain’t getting away.”

Devon stood shocked. He couldn’t comprehend what was happening. Pablo had never mentioned anything like this ever happening to him before. It was hard to believe.

Grandpa cut him off, blocking the path to the backdoor. He slung his line back and tossed the wormed-hook at Pablo’s chest. It bounced down to the grass lying flat. Tucking the net under his arm, he began reeling the line in. Pablo’s trout hand immediately spotted the dancing worm and reacted, darting forward, pulling Pablo to his knees.

“No! Not again!” he shouted to his hand.

Billy ran up behind, blocking Pablo in. He set the tackle box and his line on the ground. “Grandpa, toss me the net.”

Grandpa waited until the trout hand lunged onto the worm, before tossing the net to his grandson. Then he pulled the line taunt, snagging the fish hand on the hook. Pablo winced in pain, watching in agony as the hook broke through the side of his trout hand's mouth.

Billy grasped the net from the air and slammed it down over Pablo’s head like he had been training his whole life for this moment. “We got him, Grandpa! We got him!”

Devon moved toward his friend, hesitant to involve himself. “What the hell is going on here?”

“Stay out of this, son,” Grandpa said. “This is our catch, fair and square.” He continued to reel the line in, until he was face to face with Pablo.

“I'm calling the cops,” Devon said, running back to the lawn chairs to get his cell phone.

Grandpa and Billy ignored him, focusing on their catch.

“Thought you could get away from me, didn't you,” Grandpa snarled.

“Let me go.”

“You've been running long enough, time to come home. Got a perfect spot for you right above my mantle.”

“Cops are on the way!” Devon shouted from across the yard.

Pablo noticed Grandpa and Billy glance over at his friend, letting down their guard. He knew it was his only chance. Jumping to his feet, Pablo knocked the net off his head with his free arm and then ripped the hook out of his trout. It tore a small hole, leaving blood running down his fish forearm.

“Grab him! Grab him!” Grandpa shouted.

But Pablo was already running, pushing passed Billy and sprinting to the front yard.

Both Grandpa and Billy gave chase but Pablo was too fast, darting across yards and out of sight.

“Damnit.” Grandpa cursed as he pulled up, out-of-breath.

Billy stopped beside him. “He got away again.”

“Don't worry, we'll track him down. He can't run forever. I'll chase that fish until the day I die.”

The End.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Some updates on the writing...

Getting back notes for The Bone Carousel from the initial readers this week.  Some really great stuff ranging from small things that I overlooked and typos, to a couple of plot questions that never crossed my mind.  I love getting early feedback, knowing I can still change things.  I will be starting draft three next week.  It feels so close to being ready for the world.  I cannot wait to share it with everyone.

I have also completed the initial draft of my query letter.  It took me a while to get going on this. I recognize that this is a weak spot for me, but I am working through it.  I am mostly happy with the initial draft, besides a few sentences that feel a bit on the weak side.  I am letting it simmer for a few days before I give it a second look. 

In the meantime I have started working on the second novel in the trilogy. The Blood Masquerade is the working title.  I have only been at it a couple of days but I have a solid 5k already and I am very excited about it.  I can feel this novel is going to be a quick write.  It feels like it wants to write itself, which is good sign.  I am projecting to be done with the first draft in 3-4 months. 

So, yeah, lots of things going on...

And I have no idea why I chose that image... I just like it... whatever.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Draft Two Complete...

I am very happy to announce the second draft of my next WIP The Bone Carousel has been completed.  It has been sent to a few beta readers and I am anxiously awaiting to hear back from them so I can make the necessary changes.  This novel has been a long time coming, over two years since I first started.  Right now I can feel how close I am to being done.  It is an amazing feeling.

While I am waiting to hear back from the readers, I am researching agents and working on my query letter.  This is an area I know I need a lot of work in.  How can I take a 74k novel and describe it in a couple of hundred words.  It's a bit daunting, but I know I will figure it out.

I will keep you updated on the progress as it happens.  Thanks to everyone who reads my work.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Terribleminds Flash Fiction: Must Contain... Challenge

“I think we’re lost.”

           “Why would you think that?” the man said to me.

His words were partially muffled by the mouse mask on his face. It reminded me of a something from a child’s costume. It was made from thin plastic with fading gray and pink paint, strapped to his head with an elastic string. The man was twice my size, easily twelve feet tall. He was wearing all-white scrubs, like a doctor. I had no idea who he was.

“We’ve been walking through this fog for hours. It feels like we are going in circles,” I spoke.

“It’s been closer to days, I believe.”

“Days? Now, I know we are lost.” I stopped walking, spinning around and looking for anything besides the thick, night fog. I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen something other than the grass below my feet and the relentless fog.

“Perhaps if we hold hands you would feel more comfortable to continue,” the giant man said through his mouse mask.

He turned his hand to me, opening one black-clawed finger at a time until I looked up at his inviting palm. I place my hand in his, feeling compelled to trust him. His oversized hand swallowed mine as the malevolent-looking claws wrapped around. He squeezed just slightly and then began to lead me the way we had first been walking.

“I don’t remember seeing sunlight,” I said to him. “It feels like it’s always night here.”

“There is no sun,” he said.


We walked for what felt like another few hours until the man suddenly stopped. I looked up at him, waiting for an explanation. He said nothing but released my hand pointing forward through the fog.

“Do you want me to keep going?”

The large man nodded. His cartoon mask shifted slightly askew.

I looked forward into the fog and began walking. I could feel it covering me, swarming around. When I glanced back over my shoulder the giant man was gone, replaced by fog. I felt lonelier than ever.

My legs never seemed to tire. My eyes never got sleepy. I never felt hungry or thirsty.

Am I dead?

The thought tumbled through my head but I was never able to grab a firm hold of it. Too many other things were bouncing around in there with it. Images. Memories. They all seemed so far away. Another life maybe. I pictured a young girl smiling at me. She looked beautiful.

Did I have a daughter?

My feet knocked into something. I nearly tripped over it, regaining my balance just in time. It took me a minute to register what was lying below me.

A body.

I jumped back startled by the sight. The body didn’t move, not even a twitch.

Once I composed myself, I squatted down and placed my hand on the arm, hoping to wake whoever it was. The skin was so cold. I pulled my hand back immediately.


I looked for a head, searching for eyes to help confirm that they were deceased, but it was facing away. Carefully I grabbed onto the head and turned it to face me.


I fell backwards, flailing from the sight. There was no face.

Carved out from forehead to chin, the skin where the face should have been was taken. Cut out. Removed. A bloody mess covering the hints of a skull was all that remained. I felt sick. I turned to vomit but only dry heaved. There was nothing to puke up.

Quickly I stood to my feet and ran passed the dead, faceless body. I ran blindly into the fog, terrified that I would trip over something else just as awful. Within seconds I saw another faceless body. This one a woman, the skin of her face had been removed just like the other. I continued to run.

I wished the giant man would return. I was so confused and had so many questions.

Where am I? What’s going on?

Up ahead I saw a dark spot in the fog. It grew larger and larger the closer I got to it. When I finally reached it I saw another giant man, only this one was wearing black scrubs instead of white ones. The large man turned to me and I saw he wore a cat mask. It was orange and white. A cartoon tabby. Below the giant was a boy lying on his back. The masked man was cutting the boy’s face off just like the others. In his hand a small blade was dripping fresh blood.

I backed away as the giant man stood up and turned to me, the knife aiming in my direction.

“Your face is a much better fit,” he said as he removed his cat mask. Beneath it was nothing but black. A bottomless pit of nothingness.

The giant reached for me but I ducked his hand. My heart was screaming in terror. I knew if he got me I would surely die. I tried to run but something latched onto my shoulders holding me in place. I struggled until I saw the face of the mouse mask standing over me.

“Run home,” the mouse-masked giant said. Then he released me, stepping in front of the empty-faced man.

I didn’t hesitate. With my legs pumping fast, I sliced through the fog running with everything I had.

Run home. Where is home?

It didn’t matter at that moment. I just needed to get away. I felt the fog thickening. Felt it penetrating my lungs like poisonous smoke. It was like trying to run with a hand squeezing out all the oxygen from your body. But I couldn’t stop. The giant told me to run home. I had to make it.

Right when I was about to give up I saw a light breaking through the fog. The coloring was wrong for sunlight. It was more like a flashlight than the sun, but it was just as large. It was overpowering, dismantling the thick, poison fog. I slowed to a walk, unsure if I should proceed towards it.

“He’s waking up!”

I heard a voice. It sounded familiar but I couldn’t place it right away.

“Daddy!” This time I knew the voice. It was undeniable. The images and memories that had been bouncing around in my head came pouring out. I did have a daughter. I remembered. Maybe not everything at once, but I remembered her. I remembered my wife giving birth and holding that beautiful life we had created in my hands for the first time.

The light got brighter and brighter until it broke into objects. Walls, furniture, people. I was in a room. It looked like a hospital. I realized that I wasn’t walking anymore. I was lying down.

My family was around me. My wife and daughter were there both crying and smiling at once. In my baby girl’s arms were her favorite stuffed animals, a tabby cat and a gray mouse.

Two doctors stood over me.

“Try to relax,” one said placing a hand on my shoulder. He had on white scrubs and a mask covering his nose and mouth. He pulled it down around his neck and then told me again to relax.

“You were in an accident. Fell into a coma for a week,” the other doctor said. He had on similar scrubs but his were black.

I wanted to tell them I was okay but I couldn’t speak.

My face felt numb.

I lifted up my arm and touched my face, feeling bandages all over it. I tried to pull them off. I wanted to touch my face.

They stole my face!

I started to flip out, enraged by the idea of being faceless.

The doctors held my arms down.


“Relax. We will explain everything.”

I saw my wife and daughter staring at me. They weren’t smiling anymore, just crying. It was enough to make me stop struggling.

           “You were in an accident. We had to do some surgery,” the doctor in black told me. “You had extensive damage on your face.”

           “Everything went well. You will have some scarring but I believe a full, healthy recovery,” the doctor in white spoke.

           I nodded my head that I understood and then they let me go, giving me something to help calm my nerves. Later that evening, once my daughter was asleep, my wife filled me in on the car accident. There had been another car involved. A husband, wife, and their young boy had all lost their lives. I had been the only survivor.

           I wanted to tell her about my dreams in the coma. I wanted to tell her that I think I saw that other family; saw them dead and faceless. I wanted to tell her about the giants with their masks. Tell her how everything felt so real but unnatural at the same time. In the end, I didn’t tell her or anyone. I kept it deep inside where all strange dreams live.

           The End.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Terribleminds Flash Fiction: Random Song Title Challenge

If someone would have asked me then why I did it, I would have replied that I was drawn to her. I was compelled to go to her, like a moth to a light. I wanted to be with her more than anything. And when I realized that it wasn’t going to happen I knew I was left with only one option. If I couldn’t have her, no one would.

I remember hearing the moving truck pulling up, the sound of the air breaks drawing my attention. She followed behind them in her little Volvo. I watched from behind my drawn blinds, barely lifting one enough to see through. Her golden blond hair was tossing around in the morning wind. She wore the smallest jean shorts I had ever seen and a snug pink tank top. Her skin looked soft and silky with legs that went on forever. I was aroused just watching her.

That first night I couldn’t keep my mind off of her. I sincerely tried to ignore the urges, but they just kept getting stronger and stronger. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. It got to the point where I had no other choice. I had to go see her.

I knew it was too late to knock. What young girl living alone in a new neighborhood would answer the door at three in the morning? But I couldn’t wait. I just needed to see her. Needed just one quick look at that beautiful, silky skin and then I would be able to go to sleep.

That first time I just slipped on my black, hooded sweatshirt and tried to stay as inconspicuous as I could. That night the shadows were my friends. The neighborhood was quiet. Sleeping. Most of the porch lights were off, but she had left hers on.

Inviting me. Compelling me. Moth to a flame.

I stayed to the side of her yard, near the bushes. All the lights in the house were off but I didn’t want to take any chances. The first window I came to was impossible to see inside of, so I quickly moved to the next. The shades on this one were closed but there were cracks, large cracks on the sides that allowed me to see inside.

It was her bedroom.

I could see her lying in bed through the dim light. The sheets were only partially covering. An exposed leg, all the way up to her upper thigh, caught my attention quickly. I was getting excited again. I moved my eyes up to her chest. She wore a thin t-shirt that allowed me to see the outline of her nipples. I was nearly shaking with excitement. I couldn’t take my eyes away.

It must have been a good hour before she rolled away and pulled the sheets up over her. I couldn’t see anything but a lump in a sheet. My first reaction was frustration. I wasn’t done. I wanted to see more. But I realized it was getting close to sunrise. I needed to get home before I got caught.

The next day I still had the memories fresh in my mind. I had pleasured myself to them numerous times that morning. But by midday I felt my urges returning. I needed to see her again.

I waited all day for her. My mind never straying far from her long legs and blond hair. When she finally came home she wasn’t alone. There was someone with her. A young guy. I remember hoping it was her brother or just a friend. But that night I watched her betray me. She fucked him while I stood there just outside the window.

I felt the anger growing in me. How dare she sleep with another man?

I stormed home, slamming everything in sight. I wanted to break the world. She shattered me, why shouldn’t I do the same to everything around me? I broke all the lights in the house, then the television and the computer. The house was trashed but it didn’t help. There was one thing that still needed breaking.

It was suddenly clear to me what I needed to do.

I sat in the dark watching her house light. It was the only light on the street that was left on. It drew me in.

Her front door burst in with two hard kicks near the knob. I barely remember going into the kitchen, but somehow I had a knife in my hand. It was large, a carving knife. I didn’t care that I wasn’t wearing gloves. I didn’t care that I wasn’t wearing a mask. This was personal. I wanted her to see how I felt. I wanted her to feel how I felt.

I rushed the bedroom, swinging at the young guy as he jumped to his feet. The knife sliced easily across his chest. Blood flung against the wall, a dripping splatter that raced to the floor. He fell back a few steps before grasping at the wound. Screams filled my hears. It was hard to tell if they were from him or her. I didn’t hesitate for long, coming back at him with a forceful stab directly in the face.

His body fell limp as I plucked the blade from his skull.

She stood on the bed screaming. Her naked body was even more beautiful than I had first imagined. I watched her for a few seconds, taking it all in. I would savor these memories of her forever.

When she tried to run passed me I reached out, grabbing a handful of that flowing blond hair. I pulled her back to me. She smelled like flowers and sweat. And sex. I felt my anger raging. That bitch. The knife moved mechanically, I barely registered any of it. In and out. In and out. Blood was flying in all directions. We were both covered instantly.

They told me later I stabbed her twenty-eight times. It felt like more.

When I dropped her lifeless body to the floor, the blood continued to spread everywhere. Between the two of them the carpet was saturated red. I sat down softly on the edge of her bed, the dripping knife still locked in my hands. I still couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. Even through all of the stab wounds, open lacerations, and blood I saw her beauty.

A neighbor must have heard the screams and commotion because it wasn’t long before the police arrived. I did what they said. Dropped the knife. Got on the floor. I didn’t care what happened to me. I had killed the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

I don’t regret what I did. Like I said before, if I couldn’t have her then no one would.

The End.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Draft One Complete!

      Today I finished the first draft of The Bone Carousel.  I have been working on and off for two years on this novel.  I took nearly a year off from all writing in the middle of this book because of personal things but the last few months I really got back into it and knocked it out faster than I anticipated.

      The end result is a very messy 80k draft, however the ground work has now been laid.  I am so excited to start the editing process.   I plan on rewriting nearly all of the opening act.  So much has changed from what was outlined when I first started.  Mostly the beginning of the story, but also a few of the characters need brushing up.  I hope to be done with the second draft within the next month or so and then if it survives a read-through by me, I will be moving on to beta readers.

      Because this is the first book in a trilogy the ending was a bit tricky.  I have never written a series, only stand-alones, so this took a lot of work to get right.  But when I finished the last line today I knew I had something great.  This is by far my best work to date.  Now that I am one step closer, I cannot wait to share it with everyone.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Storytelling or Writing?

Lately I have been writing and reading more than ever.  As I continue to grow as an author and hone my craft I have really begun to notice the difference in a great storyteller and a great writer.  I have also noticed that a lot of people don’t realize this difference. 

I have read many reviews and spoken with many of my friends who have said things like, “the book had some cool characters but the writing sucked” or “the movie had great special effects but the writing was terrible.”  Then once I check it out I think, the writing was pretty good but the storytelling was the biggest issue.

This happens when the technical part of the writing is done well (spelling, punctuation, grammar, well-written prose) but the plot goes nowhere or only in circles.  Most books or movies like this are usually boring and move at a slow pace.  When reading these I would find myself begging the author for a curve ball or some kind of twist. 

On the other hand, if something has terrible writing but great storytelling it usually will have a fast moving plot and great characters but you notice the writing.  Things that should be caught in editing stick out (spelling, punctuation, grammar) or like the book I am currently reading, in which the author writes everything like a fourteen year old girl, but not one of the main characters is supposed to be under eighteen.  The story is intriguing and the pages are turning fast but I can’t help but notice the writing isn’t up to par.

As someone who writes mainly novels I strive have a balance of both in my work.  I hope to have a story that excites the reader and makes them want to finish the book in one sitting.  I want to make them think about the story and the characters after they’ve finished or in between readings.  I don’t want them to think, “This would be good but the writing is terrible.” 

Does it really make a difference?

I think most people prefer a great story over great writing.  A teller/movie/novel can usually be tolerated if the story is good enough to keep your attention, despite the dialogue/narrative being poor.  However, it is much more enjoyable to listen/read a story that has both great storytelling and has great writing.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Terribleminds Flash Fiction: A Drink With A Story Challenge

Sam stepped out of the cab. The rain was still holding off for the moment. He looked around for Kev but there was no sign of him.

Where the hell is he?

They were supposed to meet for a couple of cocktails, before Kev took off for his new out-of-state job. He hadn’t gone out in a couple of years. Felt like he might be too old for the club scene but Kev insisted.

He checked his phone for the time.

Good ol’ Kev. Always late.

Sam looked around for the club. There wasn’t much in this part of town. Mostly this was the abandoned area of the city. The remains. The ruins. The majority of the buildings were boarded up and tagged with graffiti. There was a smell of must and piss that hung in the air.

He said 12th and Grove didn’t he?

Sam dialed Kev’s number but it went straight to voicemail.

Great Kev, just great.

He started to walk a few blocks, looking from empty store front to empty store front. The area really had gone to shit. There was still nothing even close to resembling a bar or club around. He was about to give up and call the cab back when he saw a young couple stumbling down an alley. They were laughing at something.

He watched them with curious eyes, standing just inside the shadows of the streetlights. The couple knocked on an unmarked door, still laughing uncontrollably. The door opened, pouring out a rainbow of lights and the faint sound of music.

Sam smiled.

This has got to be the place. Not exactly 12th and Grove, but whatever.

He walked to the unmarked door and checked his phone once more, still nothing from Kev. He contemplated calling again but decided he would just wait inside.

The door looked thick and solid. He balled up his fist and knocked hard three times then stood back trying not to look as old as he felt.

When the door swung open a thick, bald dude stood over him. He was wearing all black, except the over-sized gold chain around his neck. Lights sprayed from all around him, strobe and rainbow. The music was loud and thumping. It was a dance club alright.

“I.D.” the dude said and held out an open hand.

        Sam scrambled to get his wallet out. He passed his driver’s license to the bouncer and smiled sheepishly.

        The guy smirked when he saw the date of birth, then handed the license back.

“Have fun,” he replied and moved out of the doorway so Sam could get by.

Inside was crowded and hot. The air was stale and smoky. Everyone was young, too young and half naked. He was immediately second-thinking his decision to enter but then spotted the bar. There was an open stool at the end, he made it his hideout.

Right away he dialed up Kev, but once again there was no answer.

“What’ll it be?”

Sam looked up at the bartender. She looked half his age, with a pierced septum, dolphin bites, and three studs coming out of both cheeks. Her hair was in sloppy dreads and appeared to be neon green in the club lighting.

“Is there another club nearby, I think I’m lost,” he said to her.

“Not that I’m aware of,” she replied. “You gonna take up one of my bar stools just to fiddle with that phone or you gonna order a drink?”

“Oh, uh, a Bud’s fine.”

She started laughing. The studs in her cheeks were shaking.

“You really are lost aren’t you,” she said. “We don’t serve shit like that here.”

“Any beer is fine,” Sam spoke, still looking at his phone.

“How about something a little stronger? We don’t do beer in this club.”

Sam looked up at her and then along the bar at everyone else’s drinks. They were all glasses filled with an array of different colors. Bright reds, glowing blues, and exotic yellows spread across the bar top like a festival of alcohol.


“How about I fix you up something special?” the bartender said with a sly look in her eyes.

It made Sam uncomfortable the way she said it. He watched her make the drink carefully, paranoid she might try to serve him dishwater and charge twenty bucks for it.

The bartender pulled out a tall glass, scooped in a handful of ice and then reached for the Absinthe. She poured in about two ounces before spinning the bottle in her hand and setting back down. Next, she squeezed in a splash of lemon juice and then a spoonful of what looked like sugar. Finally she pulled out a bottle of white liquid. It had a murky, cloudiness to it. She topped off the glass with it. Then stirred it with a black straw and slid it in front of him.

       “What’s this?” he asked.

       “They call it The Phantom Fairy,” she explained. “You’ll like it.”

       “What was the white stuff?”

       “That’s what she said,” the bartender jabbed.

       “What?” He wasn’t sure if he had actually heard her say that or if the loud thumping music was making him hear things wrong.

       “Imported, northern Europe or something,” she spoke. “They call it ghost blood.”

       Sam looked at the glass. He stirred it with the straw a few times, watching the murky cloud spread throughout the drink.

       “Just try it,” the bartender insisted. “It’s on the house.” She smiled that sly, mischievous way again and then walked to the other end of the bar.

       The music died down for a second and then blasted right back into a trance beat that sent a throb straight into Sam’s head. He looked back into the crowd, all young, sweaty goths with half-naked bodies grinding together. This wasn’t his place. He needed to leave.

       He glanced back at the drink once more.

       The Phantom Fairy.

       “What the hell,” he said softly as he picked up the glass and threw it back, chugging the whole thing.

       Right away he felt it. A burn going down. A fogginess going up. It was beyond strong. It was like nothing he had ever drunk before.

       What the fuck was in that? Ghost blood?

       He was ready to leave, but his head began to swim a little. He felt like he was standing on a boat, swaying from side to side. His eyes were blurry, teary. Across the room, young bodies were bouncing in slow motion to a beat that was slowly being muted out to just a quiet thumper. In the far corner something caught his eye.

A bright spot among the dark. A girl.

She wore all white. A sparkling, white dress, long-sleeved and down to the floor. Her hair was also white, but it looked healthy and shiny. Thick curls fell down into her pale face.

She stared at him, smiling, alluring. He smiled back and then she was gone. Disappeared into the sea of patrons. He strained his neck, up and down, left and right, trying to locate her.

There. She had moved about ten feet to her left, still starting, still smiling. Sam jumped to his feet and headed in that direction. As he fell into the crowd he lost sight of her amongst the arms reaching for the ceiling. It was so congested that he could barely move. He had to twist and weave through any crack of bodies he could find. Once he got through and closer to where he had last seen her she was already gone.

Where’d you go?

Then again he spotted her. She was in a back hall, standing just far enough in the darkness that he could see her. He made eye-contact and she greeted him with a wave, mouthing the words “come on.” It was all the motivation he needed. Quickly Sam pushed his way through the people over to her. The girl backed her way down the hall, staring at him with those eyes that bore into his soul. He wanted her. He wanted her now.

The girl stopped with her back against a door and two seconds later Sam was on her. Arms wrapped around bodies, lips locked together like life depended upon it. His hips knocked into hers causing the door to open and them to fall inside. He landed on her but managed to keep most of his weight on his knees and an extended arm. The floor was hard, and cold, probably soaked in piss, but he didn’t care. His mind was in one place and one place only.

Once the door closed behind them the room was in complete darkness. He couldn’t see her anymore, but that didn’t stop him from touching. His arms were all over her, tugging and pulling. Soon their kissing and grouping had turned into a full on sexual encounter. It was like he couldn’t think of anything else but having her. Any drifting thoughts were caught and turned back toward this sparkling, white girl. He didn’t last long and soon after he felt his eyes getting heavy. He couldn’t keep them open, couldn’t seem to do much besides lay there beside her, exhausted.

The next thing he knew he was opening his eyes. It was morning. He could see faint sunlight peeking in through a few slits of boarded-up windows. His head was throbbing, the echoing sounds of terrible music bounced in his head. As he tried to sit up he nearly puked.

Why are my pants down?

His jeans and underwear were bunched up around his ankles. He had slept half-naked.

Suddenly the image of the girl came back to him. He looked around the room for any sign of her but there was nothing. No note or card or phone number.

Hey, my first one night stand.

Sam pulled his jeans up and got to his feet. The room had a tilt to it and the slightest bit of a spin. He walked over to the door he remembered led to a hall way. When he opened it he expected to see the leftover mess of the crowded dance club, instead he saw an empty room. Completely empty. All the windows were boarded-up, all the shelves empty and covered in dust. Half the bar stools were knocked to the ground and broken. The bar top was clothed in a thick dust covering. There was no sign that there had been anyone there last night. It looked as if it had been years since anyone had been in there.

Sam found the door and had to pry it open. Someone had nailed it shut in hopes to keep people out. The sunlight outside was blinding. He turned back to the empty, dark club.

Did I imagine the whole thing?

His head was still spinning and his stomach was on the edge of sickness.

There’s no way. No way.

Right before he turned to leave something caught his eye. A bright spot amongst the darkness.

The sparkling, white girl stood on the opposite side of the room, laughing and fading away into nothing.

              The End.