It probably doesn’t look good for any writer to head to the monthly blog space to announce that he has several projects he’s nearly finished with, but polished, developed stories do not flow from disorganized minds any more than healthy, satisfying meals emerge from kitchens that look like disaster zones. My old, gray-haired father, the wacky inventor, occasionally creates the most clever constructs, but they emerge from a basement that looks like a landfill.
Notable events that happened in May largely happened out of my hands. Khaki put the cheerful catastrophe story “Weasels of the Apocalypse” on “The Voice of Dog,” hitting all the right notes. The story landed in two parts, and involved a suspicious melon and an exciting potato.
The undisciplined mind goes where it’s comfortable. If the writing hits a wall, why distress myself by trying to tear down the wall when I could just go write something else and be comfortable again? May’s result: four stories begun, none finished. Of course, it could just mean the story isn’t working, but it’s too early in development to tell. Generally, I haven’t put in the hard work yet; that’s the true test.
And for some reason there are books all over the house with bookmarks on or near page 107 that I never get around to finishing.
I’m going to try to dedicate June to just jotting the occasional impulse onto a whiteboard and trying to harvest the seeds planted in May. But first, I have to finish this idea I had for “Roadhouse Boys.” And then I should look at that short story I was writing the other day. But there’s that video I need to post to my YouTube channel. And should I start using that Patreon for something…?
Just dusting off some of my social media.
About a month ago, I posted a story to my moribund and long-neglected Tumblr account called “Weasels of the Apocalypse,” about a handful of urban explorers taking a young thief into their confidence. I cited the story on Twitter and showed it off to some friends on Telegram – no editors, no pressure to publish, no waiting by the mailbox for a two-line rejection letter, just writing and posting a story to make a few friends happy.
It looks like I’ll be making a few more people happy with the story, since my dear friend Khaki Doggy has asked if he can use it for The Voice of Dog podcast. Being insecure, my response was, “Uhhhhhh…sure!” Then I grabbed it back from him, ran back to my lair, edited it six or seven times, and ran back out, hoping he hadn’t noticed my absence, which he had.
Editing a story isn’t just about making sure you don’t have any misspaellings. It’s about putting aside the mindset of the writer to get into the headspace of the reader. You know how sometimes something can sound funny in your head but the joke falls flat in the air? Like that, but with every sentence of a 6,000 word story. In a weird way, it’s actually a kind of marketing. You’re making sure you can peddle the ideas you’re presenting – competently and intuitively.
So I took “Weasels of the Apocalypse” out for a walk and it slipped the lead and scampered off into the neighbor’s yard. Man, I love this profession. Plant a cucumber seed, get a whole garden.
The first part of the story is landing on “The Voice of Dog” on May 2. Many props to Khaki Doggy for his flawless reading.
The humans have taken his friends and family. He’d do anything to get them back.
It’s said that when the first humans evolved, the Ambimorphs were already there, to teach us to hunt and fish and light fires to chase away the cold. For millennia, through rivalry and cooperation, they’ve shared this world with us, keeping their own councils and building their own societies, while always offering friendship to ours.
For years, Ambimorph leader Akela has worked to strengthen a community that would build bridges with the inscrutable Humans. As the keeper of a prophecy foretelling the decline and fall of the human race, it’s his privilege to devote himself to forestalling or preventing the inevitable.
Then a deal with the devil goes wrong, costing Akela three years of his life. In his absence, his family is taken, his community sundered. Desperate to correct his mistake, he’s offered a fatal bargain: to reclaim his family and community at the expense of his heritage, and lose all that his ancestors have worked centuries to save.
But if he loses the prophecy, humanity falls as well…
My flash-fiction story “Visitation” is available in “Everybody Panic: The 2018 Fark Fiction Anthology,” edited by D. Paul Angel, Daniel J. Arnott, and many more.
Elvish Warrior (c) Stepan Kapl/Shutterstock.com Silhouette of a Werewolf (c) Paladjai/Shutterstock.com
In the frozen lands of the far north, a half-starved werewolf pack hunts for shelter and food. When their mightiest hunter, Tarrant, stumbles upon a Red Cave not far from a cozy Elven town, it’s like a wish come true. But the beasts of burden in the village’s stables are the only prey animals for miles, driving the werewolves to ever-more audacious acts of thievery to feed their hungry children.
Lensmann Zelamor investigates a series of brutal murders that have the Elves on edge, shattering their faith and pushing their magic to the brink. Now he must search for a connection between the disappearance of the Enchanted Reindeer and the gruesome slaughter of his people, and he believes Tarrant is the key.
Unless Zelamor and Tarrant believe in each other, the werewolves will be wiped out – and the magic will disappear, plunging a hundred nations into darkness.
Fortunately, in the Elven Village, “believe” is serious business…