Horror Anthology Cover Reveal


Cover Design by Derek Murphy ‘@CreativeIndie’


Wait for it…wait for it…OK, I can’t wait any longer! “Voices from the Dark” is due to be released mid-November. Yes, a bit of a change since my last post, but I hadn’t gotten confirmation from the publisher until this morning. The other ten authors and I spent several months putting this anthology together, so I got a little excited now that we are in the home stretch.

One of my pieces started here on this blog as a satirical weight-loss ad. The other follows a lonely librarian through the shadows of the library at night. “The Martian Strain” follows the first astronauts to land on desolate Mars.

Pre-orders will hopefully be available soon!

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Where we are in the 2015 Journey

Last Friday was our third Shakespeare Reader’s Theatre event of this spring (thanks to the Naperville Public Library for providing us with rooms for two of the events). What is Shakespeare Reader’s Theatre? It’s an opportunity for writers/participants to stretch themselves out of their comfort zones, experience the words of the Bard first hand, and read/act out a Shakespeare play. Last Friday we did Romeo and Juliet, which featured some exciting fight scenes, romantic exchanges and humor amidst the drama. Here we have Brian as Romeo dueling with Barry’s Tybalt while Katherine relaxes in the background since Juliet is not in this particular scene ;-).

We are almost into May; the Journey’s activities primarily are concentrated in January through June and then in September. This has been a fairly active year for the Journey, with the following Paths in addition to three Shakespeare Reader’s Theatre events that Catherine and I organized:

  • Katherine’s Editing Path to help the novelists edit their novels
  • Ed’s Japanesey™ and Asian Paths, which have involved meals at great restaurants as well as exposure to cultural elements in the Chicago area (such as Japanese bakeries and markets). Ed has regaled attendees with entertaining stories and interesting facts on each outing.
  • Sarah’s monthly MiniWriMo challenges, offering little glow in the dark dinosaurs as prizes for writing 10K words in one week
  • The Horror Anthology of short stories, flash fiction and poems, which is currently in progress
  • Steven and Catherine’s Writing Excuses Path, which follows the terrific free Master Class by the Writing Excuses podcasters
  • Dan’s Path for freelance writers (this is new and just beginning)
  • my music Jam Path (also new and just beginning)

We’ve had two workshops at each of our monthly meetings, covering editing (Katherine Lato), critiquing, the Writing Excuses Path with exercises (Catherine Brennan and Steve White), some Story Walls, and Marketing for authors (Willow Sanders), POV/Perspective (Stephanie White).

Missing thus far from previous years are Paths such as the Accountability Path, the Spirit Path, and the Archery Path (though that may yet occur this summer).

The Fix

Back in May of 2014, I entered a flash fiction contest at Sound and Scribe, then a site dedicated to flash fiction contests based on soundscapes. Jez Layman won the inaugural contest in March that year. In May, the soundscape was “Leave the door wide open” by NO (note: the soundscape was provided as a streaming mp3 so authors wouldn’t be influenced by the imagery in a music video.

My flash fiction short story won the prize (an Amazon gift card I promptly used to buy a Zoom G1u guitar effects box (for my new Risa ukelele)), but Sound and Scribe sadly folded later that year.

Recently, I panicked a bit when I found I couldn’t locate my flash fiction story; fortunately, it exists in my google drive. So I’ve decided to post it here since it is no longer available under Sound and Scribe.

Time travel isn’t easy. You can only go back once. At least, that’s all I’ve ever been able to accomplish. Maybe others out there are more talented than I. Or maybe they’ve suffered a greater emotional loss–that’s what triggers it.

The first time I went back happened when my mother died. I had been just too damn busy to visit her, wrapped up in my classes and my life on campus.

She was already gone when the police called me to let me know she had collapsed at home.

I dropped everything then; but it was too late. Missed my midterms, arranged the funeral, and tried to comfort my dad and my three sisters. It wasn’t until after I was back on campus that the pain of loss hit. All the words I had left unsaid. All the sadness at not being able to say goodbye. It felt like a massive icicle slammed into my chest.

At the moment of greatest pain came a weird state of hyper clarity. I could almost see the myriad timelines, the sequence of “ifs”, the paths not taken. Several stretched behind me to where my mother lived. I went…

The bare branches no longer stood in stark relief against the sunset; my breath no longer fogged in the cold air. Instead, students made their way across campus on a clear, sunny autumn morning, ignoring my unnatural transgression against time.

I didn’t stop to ask the stupid questions but raced home to my car and drove like a madman up I-57 to my home. It was just after noon when I arrived. I didn’t ring the doorbell, but used my key to open the door.

My mom had just come down the stairs. I ran to her, hugged and told her I loved her.

She was surprised but happy, which made it all the worse when I felt her stiffen and then slump in my arms.

The emergency medics couldn’t save her.

Afterwards, I tried to go back again, maybe further back, but the path was denied me.

I know this all sounds crazy, Maddy. But feel my hand holding yours. It feels right, doesn’t it? Some day you will confide in me that you can tell how right someone is for you by the way they hold your hand. Our hands feel like love together, like a promise for all our tomorrows.

How would I know this if we hadn’t been together?

I hope you can look into my eyes and see the truth of what I’m telling you, even though from your viewpoint we’ve only just met. I know I am just a stranger to you today. But I tell you: you will be very special to me. We’ll be special to each other. A year from now I’ll propose…

Why, you accept…

Wait. Wait. Let me finish–I’ve come all the way back from then to today to fix the mistake that we’ll both regret.

Please don’t go.

Damn it.