Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Think I've Made a Decision

I think I've decided that maintaining two separate blogs makes no sense.  I originally split the Annex off from the Washroom so I could use the Washroom to focus on real-world events at Southwestern College and my own personal rants-and-raves.

The Annex was to be for writing.  But very quickly it became apparent that I wanted my Washroom readers to see what I had up on the Annex, and I began cross-posting every bit of fiction I had posted.

Then - to keep things simple (he says sarcastically) - I created the SWC Board Must Go to seriously focus on the Southwestern College situation.  Because of this fall's election, that blog got 99.5% of my attention, and both the Washroom and Annex suffered.  With the election over, and the side of Justice, Truth, and All Things Good and Decent (our side) victorious, the SWCBMG blog is pretty much stagnant - and will likely remain so.

So now I'm back with my personal blog, and my other personal writing blog.  The Washroom is the home of all this, so I'm going to start folding the Annex back into the original.

There are a few of you who follow the Annex in addition to the Washroom, and a few who do so instead of the Washroom.  I'm going to suggest you might want to change over.  I'm going to start gutting this soon.  I may use it to archive a few things, but likely there won't be much, if any, new pieces going up over here.  It's time to simplify things, and I think this is the best way to do it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


This short story is down.  A completed, edited version will be published (in print) early next year in the anthology, "A Year in Ink, Volume 4" by San Diego Writers, Ink.

The short story will return a few months later.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Conduit" - Prologue/Chapter 1

Howdy, readers. I'm going to be honest about this bit of fiction: it's fairly long. It is both the prologue and the first chapter of a completely different thing I've been working on. Which means I had the idea about two years ago, started it, stopped, started again, stopped again, rebooted it, rethought it, regurgitated, reduced it, enlarged it, and got enraged with it. Then I just started over and am much happier with it.

Should you choose to read on, you'll notice that the prologue is an entirely different flavor that the first chapter. That is correct. Don't think you stumbled into two different works.

As always, I thank you for reading, and I'd like any feedback you have to give.


The hermit stepped out of his shack and into the sun. He covered his eyes with a leathery hand, squinted up into the sky. The sun seemed to be closer to day than usual – and moving quicker. The day would shorten if it was. Walking onto the hardpan dirt, he hurried around to the side of his shack where a split-rail fence surrounded his little garden. Rooted more in sand and loose dirt than in real soil, it was difficult to maintain, but not impossible. The straw-man propped in the corner helped keep the crows away, and they were as destructive on the few green plants as the sun was. He pulled a wide-brimmed hat off the straw-man and slipped it onto his own head. His eyes not yet adjusted to the sun and unable to see, he turned and stumbled over a rough patch of ground. He dropped to one knee. He rubbed the knee for a minute before standing and gathering his robes around him.

Glancing back up at the sun again, he blinked his eyes and struck out down the slight hill, away from the shack and toward the pen where he kept his goats. Tending the goats was at least a thrice-a-day venture: milking and feeding the morning, feeding in the evening, and watering them early in the afternoon. But it was a necessary thing. It took him only a few minutes to shuffle down the bare hill to the pen and check the trough. It wasn’t empty, but would be within the hour. He sighed as he always did, and reached for the nearby pump handle. Faded by sun and time, the once-blue handle was now barely gray. He used both hands to loosen it. When most of the shrill squeaking stopped, he pumped using only one hand. He rested his other arm atop the short fence and leaned against it. As he waited for the trickle of water to appear, he looked north toward the horizon.

Monday, August 2, 2010

"Melbourn's Storm" [published]

This WIP is down. In September 2012, Lore magazine will publish a much better version of "Melbourn's Storm." As such, any version of the story is unavailable except through them.

Monday, July 26, 2010

"The Wyrd Magnet/Meet Martin Black" Chapter 3 - Regret (Urban Fantasy)

This is the next bit in our still-as-yet-unnamed saga. If you want more information than that, you'll need to check out the first two chapters. I am still interested in anyone else's idea for a better title. All suggestions are welcome!

Let me know what you think; I genuinely do enjoy hearing from you readers!

Chapter Three – Regret

I left the cab, pulled up my collar to keep the rain off my neck. If serendipity provided, Mari might already be here. The city’s semi-famous shopping district, with its bookstores and cafes, coffee shops and boutiques, was one of her favorite haunts. She read every word she could get her hands on and loved to sit and watch the passersby on the sidewalks. Her passion for watching and reading was matched only by her love of coffee; it was as if she lived on it. Fact is she might actually be living on it. I could never be sure. In so many ways we were exactly alike, except for that one thing.

I passed the fountain in the center of the square, pockmarked with precipitation. I thought about dropping a coin while making a wish, but I didn’t know what to wish for. Besides, those things rarely came true.

Hidden speakers played jazz near Banagon’s side door, something from the Blue Note catalog, perhaps. I slipped inside; Dean was behind the counter. He apologized, explaining that Charlie had been called away. I asked where he was.

“Off to see a manuscript, he said! I’m sorry!”

He didn’t seem to be lying and I didn’t press him.

“I’m going over to Brew Mountain. Can I get you anything?” I asked. It also paid to be polite to bookstore employees. You never knew what they knew.

“Why thank you! But no, sir, I picked up a chai latte earlier!”

“Okay. When Charlie comes back, tell him Martin Black stopped by.”

“Happy to, Mr. Black! Is there a message?”

“That should do it.”

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Urban Fantasy - "The Wyrd Magnet/Meet Martin Black" - Chapters 1 and 2

About a year or so ago, I posted a much earlier version of this. I wasn't happy with it, and even a couple of (very tolerant) friends of mine critiqued the bejeezus out of it. I decided to overhaul much of it, and try it out again.

This is not part of the Heroes... universe; it stands in an urban fantasy world of its own. I'm interested in your thoughts on the first two chapters - both of which are posted here.

Furthermore, this will fall somewhere between novella and short novel length. I've bounced a few names around, but haven't decided on one. So far, I've gone with "The Wyrd Magnet" and "Meet Martin Black." Like one? Have a better one? I'm interested in your thoughts, your criticism, and quite possibly your title idea.

Feel free to post your comments below. If you want, I'm also happy to take your thoughts via Twitter, Facebook, or email.

Beware... there are some adult ideas below, and a smattering of naughty words. It's also got a bit of a post-'80s vibe, and that may be even more frightening...


Chapter 1 – Sub-Culture

Rain spattered the windshield as my cab driver pulled up into the garish light of Club Houngan, the city’s momentary it-spot. A Wednesday-night crowd snaked around the corner; the vanguard shuffled impatiently under the canopy protecting the velvet rope. Friday or Saturday lines would reach another block or two. The cab eased alongside a row of limousines, and the driver slammed the shifter into park.

“Thirty-one forty,” he said, turning down the pounding tech-metal music. “Make it thirty-one. I don’t need your forty cents.”

“Keep it.” A pair of twenties – a decent tip, not enough to be extravagant, but enough to ensure the next time I needed him, I’d get him.

He thanked me and thumbed the button to unlock the doors. I glanced through rain-dappled glass at the red and white light reflected on the pavement. Atop the three-story building shone the gaudy neon image of a smiling voodoo priest. Charmless, it looked as threatening as a fast food sign. I pushed open the door, jogged past the limos and their lurking drivers and went straight to the canopy. The damp patrons not yet close enough to the front, those sheltered under umbrellas, coats, or fashion magazines, glared as I pushed forward. Two bouncers, eyes like gun turrets atop the walls of their bodies, turned to watch me approach. I squeezed between the velvet rope and a scrum of young females.

I’d buffed and shined myself the best I could; I’d shaved, shampooed, styled, and suited up in my finest. Even with that, I was a decade beyond the club’s freshness date.

“Back of the line, chief,” the nearest wall rumbled.

“I’m Martin Black.”

He didn’t quite blink; he also didn’t bother to check his clipboard.

“Yes, sir, I’ve been told to send you in.”

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sometimes a Story Needs No Point

--This has been cross-posted to the Writer's Washroom.

I collect stories. Not short stories; those I don't collect. Not books either, though I have about 30 moving boxes packed full of books that came with me to California – and that was after I sold about two-thirds of the ones I owned.

Not books, not the written word. I collect stories – the spoken and remembered tales that happened to me or someone else.

Many of those stories, it must be said, don't have a point. I've noticed a certain tendency among both readers and writers to desire a writer – or a storyteller – to get to the point now! This has always smacked of someone needing their hand held to understand what the writer is trying to say.

Sometimes the writer is just telling a story. Like this one. Until last night, when I told my girl about this, there were maybe three or four people on the planet that knew it. I can't say why this came to mind last night, but it did. Enough time has passed, I guess, that I feel like sharing this story.

This is a true story.

I drove a Yellow Cab in Jackson, Mississippi for a time. One afternoon I took a call from the dispatcher asking me to pick up a fare in western Jackson. I was closest; I took the call. When I arrived, there was a man who said he needed to get to the farthest southeastern part of our metro area as soon as possible.

“My wife is sick,” he said. “I need to get her to a doctor.” He asked what it would cost, and I gave him a ballpark figure. He then said what cab drivers hear once or twice a day:

“I don't have any money on me.” He said when we got there, he could run inside and get his money to pay me. Cab drivers don't do this. I usually didn't do it. I'd been ripped off many times after someone had tugged my heartstrings a bit too hard.