Thursday, June 30, 2022

Writing Newsletter Second Quarter 2022


In the last three months, I’ve published three short stories: “Forced Conversation,” “Sadly True,” and “Not All News is Terrible.”  I also reposted the story “Change for the Better?

I’ve been bogged down with a lot of garden work these last few months, so I haven’t had the time – or energy – to do much writing.  And for numerous other reasons, my enthusiasm for writing has also been low.  But, the day before this is posted, I got a rejection for one of my stories from one of the big magazines.  Normally, that would just suck, but the editor did add in the rejection email that they liked my style and hoped I’d submit again.  It’s too early to tell, but my enthusiasm may be higher over the next few months.  We’ll just have to see.


Image from Pixabay.

Fourth of July Sale!

I think for every Fourth of July since I published Political Pies – my collection of short stories of a political nature – I’ve had a free sale for it.  On one hand, it’s hard to make money if you give your books away for free, but on the other hand the point of Political Pies was to get people to start thinking about politics in the hope we could start working on some of the problems we face to make a better world.  I’ll sacrifice a few sales for that.  At first, I only offered Political Pies by itself, but in the last few years I’ve started having bigger sales with four or five of my books for free.  This year, I think I’m having my biggest Fourth of July Sale with eight of my Kindle books available for free.  That’s 188 short stories all for the price of eight clicks. 

But before you go and snag some free books to read, I have a favor to ask.  If you are an American citizen who will be over eighteen by Election Day, November 8th of this year, all I ask is that in the next few days you either double check your voter registration or register to vote, your state’s website should have all the necessary details.  Democracy only works if the people participate and the first step of participation is to be registered to vote.  So if you do that, I’m happy to let you have several of my books for free.  And if you aren’t an American citizen, then I’ll ask you to get involved in your nation’s politics in whatever way you can.

The following ebooks will be free to download on Kindle between Friday July 1st, and Tuesday July 5th.



This work contains some profanity and sexual situations. It is intended for mature audiences only.

A plague that kills men has devastated the world’s population. Only a few thousand boys and men were able to be quarantined. But Mike Shay is the only man known to have a natural immunity to the plague. Therefore, he is practically the only man in a world of women. He spends his days reading, playing video games, and making the occasional sperm donation. Then Dr. Veronica Barrett shows up, disrupting what passes for his life. She says she’s there to investigate his “mental wellbeing,” but is there more to her visit?

Instead of the normal, adolescent, heterosexual male fantasy of being the only guy on a planet of women, “Relics” tries to give a more realistic view of Mike’s life.


For reasons of safety and avoiding paradoxes, Time Travel Incorporated assigns a Guardian to all its travelers. So when there is an accident during political historian Roj Hasol’s trip back to 1968, it’s his Guardian Susan who sets out on the arduous task of cleaning up the mess.

Political Pies

Everybody complains about politics, but does anyone do anything about it? My attempt to do something about it is to collect forty of my short stories with a political element into my Political Pies anthology. The stories are either politically neutral or equally condemning of the national parties. Instead of trying to sway you to one ideology or another, my goal is to just get people thinking about politics in the hopes a rose might grow out of all the political manure.

A Man of Few Words

A Man of Few Words is a collection of fifty of my flash fiction stories. What would really happen if a “T-Rex on steroids” attacked a city? Why do science fiction writers make the best lovers? How does a company get to Second Base with VIPs? I explore these questions and more using less than 1,000 words and in various genres from humor to horror and general fiction to science fiction.

The majority of the stories were previously published (most on my website) but all were revised for this collection. In addition, each piece is accompanied by some background information on the origin of the story or a funny tale about the writing of it to give a fuller experience.

Useless Cogs

Useless Cogs is a collection of forty, of my science fiction stories. They range from only a few dozen words to a few thousand and are filled with time travelers, AIs, clones, aliens, even sexbots, although not often as you would imagine. As example, there’s a time traveler that’s always a step behind, an AI that’s late on rent, and a sexbot with bad software. Some of the stories are humorous, some horrifying, and some … depend on your point of view.

The Only Certainty

On The Day, for reasons unknown, people began changing. They went to sleep as their old selves and woke in their beds in different bodies: bodies that had belonged to other people. And each time they fall asleep, they wake in a new body. Set months later, “The Only Certainty” follows Derrick Gorton on an average day in this new world as he deals with food shortages, the semi-collapse of society, and how to finish his latest novel.

Seventh Story Stockpile

Over the years, I’ve posted several short stories on websites that later – for one reason or another – died. While the corpses of some of these sites are still around where you can read the stories, many have vanished from the internet. And since there are few sites that will publish such previously published works, the only way you could read them was if I self-published them in a collection.

In addition to such “lost” stories, I’ve included some new stories that – for one reason or another – I felt I’d have a hard time finding someone to publish them. So Seventh Story Stockpile basically contains stories I didn’t know what else to do with.

The All-You-Can-Read Buffet

The All-You-Can-Read Buffet is a collection of forty stories covering various genres and themes ranging from six to over 4,200 words in length. Some of these stories I wrote a decade ago, while others were written especially for this collection. All together, they are a buffet of my writing. As such, I encourage you to read as much as you want. Go back for seconds, thirds, fourths even. I won’t even mind if you skip over the stuff you don’t like, but, to quote your mother, “How do you know you don’t like it? Have you tried it?”

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Free story idea – “Evil” gem

I have a lot of ideas for stories.  Like, if I wrote a novel’s worth of them every month, I’d still most likely die before getting through them all.  I will admit that some of the ideas probably suck, but I think there are some that a good writer could make something of them.  I’ll just never get a chance to.  So, I give them to the world.  If you can make something of these, go right ahead.  And if these are the ideas I’m giving away, maybe check out the ones I keep.

This is a pretty unique Free story idea.  From the time I got this idea until the publication of this blog was … four days.  The reason this happened was because the free idea I was working on – A new mythology – was taking longer than I expected, and I was seriously thinking of delaying it but then I had this idea and figured I could put out this quick, short one and have more time to finish the mythology one. 

This idea began as a dream.  In this dream, some guy in a lab coat went into this radar station on the edge of an airport.  He went into a secret hallway where a guard watched as he unlocked a box to get a key to open a door.  In this room there was this glowing gem.  The guy went around and turned on all these monitors, and then a blindfolded subject was brought in in a wheelchair.  The subject – even though they were blindfolded – were to describe what they saw when they watched a movie.  Because of the gem, the ending of the movie would be changed to an “evil” ending.  Like, you put in the DVD of Toy Story and now it ends in a blood bath as the toys kill all the humans.  That’s when I, more or less, woke up.  This is a more coherent version of the dream since the actual dream was more … dreamy-weamy.  I liked the idea, and over the next twenty or so minutes as I fully woke up, I worked with the idea and came up with the following.

I think this idea would work best as a short, computer animated movie.  It starts with the super clean, futuristic city.  Everyone is happy and healthy, but everything does seem a tad … sterile.  The main character goes into a lab where the gem is.  In my dream, it was just your standard glowing, bright blue, but I figure why not make it where there are dozens of colors all swirling around and brightening and dimming in a random manner.  Something to really show off the visual effects.  What the gem is, is somehow they managed to collect all the hatred, greed, and all the “negative” emotions from all over the planet and crystallize it in this gem.  But now they can’t get rid of it.  They wanted to put it in a rocket and send it out into deep space, but the gem won’t move.  If they built a rocket under it and launched it, the rocket would be destroyed as it rammed into this unmovable object. 

Subjects brought close to the gem will have some reaction, which the main character is studying.  I guess the point of the story would be them wondering if they should destroy the gem.  Yes, locking all the “negative” emotions up sounds like a good idea, but surely there would be some unforeseen consequences that they need to work through.  What those are I leave to whoever writes the script.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Don’t take it personally

Years ago, I dated a woman who was a painter, but she wanted to try her hand at writing.  I tried to help her out, even pointing out a small magazine that had published a couple of my stories which I thought would be a good place for her to submit her first story.  I can’t remember what this magazine paid, maybe $5, and they published six issues a year, and before she even submitted something she was budgeting in $30 a year from them.  I tried to caution her that her stories would need to be accepted first, but I think her response was along the lines of “Why wouldn’t they accept this?  This is the best story I ever wrote.”

On one hand, I hoped her story would be accepted because it would have been good for her.  On the other hand, I think if a writer’s first submission gets accepted that could lead to unrealistic expectations.  Her story wasn’t accepted, and while I tried to explain that that was normal and lots of my stories had been rejected, she took it personally.  She ranted and raved and was offended that her story wasn’t accepted.  She was probably even angry at me because my stories had been accepted there.

At the time, there was a writing group I went to that had monthly speakers on writing, either authors or editors or whatever.  A day or two after she got her rejection, I took her to one of these meetings where an author talked about their experiences.  Things were going fine, until they opened up for questions, and my girlfriend got up.  I believe the gist of her question was what to do when a magazine is wrong for rejecting your story.  I don’t know if the author managed to calm things down, or my girlfriend was just tired, but she eventually sat down.  I don’t remember what all was said, because I was too busy worrying I’d have to throw myself on a grenade. 

Some people just write for fun, and that’s all they do with it.  But others want to make some money out of it.  And what too few people – like my ex – realize, is that nothing is guaranteed in business.  History is full of stories and novels that were rejected dozens of times before finally being published and making millions and winning awards.  All because those authors didn’t take those rejections personally and kept on doing the business of submitting stories.  My girlfriend and I broke up a few months after all of this, and I haven’t talked to her in years, but I’d be surprised if she ever submitted another story anywhere else.  And that’s kind of sad.