My story, "The Light," is in the November 2013 issue of
People always talk about
the light at the end of the tunnel. Fuck the light at the end of the
"Promise Kept" is one of 53 pieces of horror flash
fiction in the anthology
expecting a key. An old-fashioned, ornate skeleton key with a faded
pink tassel attached to it; a bland, utilitarian silver house key; a
tacky flower-patterned copy with a green rubber bumper around the
base; a key to a safe deposit box, with Do Not Duplicate stamped on
it; a key to a lock box, a filing cabinet, a padlock, a shed, a bus
station locker; even a card key for a motel room in a tiny town in
My second person story, "Gonnagetya," is in the
You, Me & a Bit of We. Though it was released in
August 2013, it does not currently appear to be available on Amazon.
Hopefully I will have an update on that soon!
You’re walking out of your hotel
room, your mind on dinner and drinks in the restaurant downstairs,
feeling well satisfied with yourself in general. Then two kids come
bursting out of the room across the hall: a girl who looks about nine,
fast on the heels of a boy who might be four or five. As he runs, he’s
screaming, “Nooo,” and she shouts, “Gonnagetya, gonnagetya,
gonnagetya, little pus head!”
My essay, "Calisthenics for Trees," is available
About Place Journal.
I remember reading somewhere, maybe a dozen years
ago, that wind is like calisthenics for trees: the motion
strengthens them and makes them grow better. For this reason, it’s
important not to stake young trees too tightly or for too long, or
they’ll become brittle over time.
This struck me as absurd as I stood in my dining room window one
night, looking almost straight up at the dozens of huge trees
towering over the house, watching them whip around like blades of
grass in a strong breeze.
My PI story, "It Tore the Laugh from My Throat,"
was reprinted in a revised edition in Wildside Press'
I was supposed to be on
vacation. I was supposed to be relaxing, putting my feet up, reading.
I was supposed to be eating locally-caught seafood, like drum,
soft-shell crab, and oysters dug fresh. I was supposed to be sitting
on the porch of my little rental cabin on Chincoteague, enjoying the
break I’d earned after nearly four solid months of long hours,
seven-day weeks, and living out of my car while working on a huge
class-action lawsuit. The phone was not supposed to ring, and if it
did I was not supposed to answer. But it did, and I did, and this is
I co-wrote the story, "The Persistence of Dreams,"
with Robert Waters. It
was published in the
Grantville Gazette, an online journal associated
with Eric Flint's
Grantville, May 1636
Daniel Block stretched his aching back,
then tilted his canvas to capture more of the fading light of the
evening. The reddish hue changed the colors on his palette, giving
Fraulein Barnes's pale arms and shoulders an orange tint that he found
most intriguing. Painting outdoors had much to offer, though he
worried the colors of his final work would be off. But then, the
painting would seem odd to down-timers anyway. Even many of these
up-time folk seemed tied to tradition when it came to art. Perhaps,
he thought, my coming to Grantville will help change—
"Transcript of Statement" is a somewhat
experimental piece of writing: it's the statement a woman makes to
police after she's attacked. You can find it online at
The van was white, but with old
paint showing through on the side. Like from a rental company, maybe –
Budget or Ryder, something like that. I dunno. It was worn and faded.
Dents and a few rust spots. I’m a PI, so I notice things. I try to.
Couldn’t see the plates from that angle, of course. Not that it
During the second half of 2012, I worked a vast number of hours on
a project with artist Chuck
Scalin, designer Meena
Khalili, and a group of mostly local authors on the
Evidence Boxes project. I wrote one of the stories,
"Consumed," and a news article, titled,
"Mystery boxes perplex authorities," as well as editing all of the
stories. The result is a limited-edition
book art project that I am very proud to have contributed to!
Bill was a hero: a hero, dammit.
True-blue, bold and brave, all-American. With his swank uniform on,
tearing around town in his shiny Duesenberg, a sweet and sassy girl by
his side, we all bought into the show. We were convinced Bill was the
king of spies to Reilly’s ace, and everyone wanted Bill coming
around—dancing, laughing, telling his tales with a wink and a finger
to his lips. He was glorious, and everything was jake—at least for a
My second vampire story is called "Blood Born." It
was published in the
Most people who experiment with
calling demons don’t survive that tricky learning period. If you call
up a demon but don’t do it quite right, the demon can’t come all the
way through. Demons apparently find this quite annoying, so they eat
you and return to where they came from—usually leaving no sign they
were ever there. And when the raising is successful? Carnage.
My story, "Everyone Knows," about a security guard
who doesn't get along well with his bosses, was published in
Richmond Macabre II: More Nightmares.
Jack’s first wife, Louise, left
him because he was a loser. He worked as a security officer for just
$9.75 an hour, in spite of his degree in criminal justice and his
rugged good looks. He looked like he ought to be some kind of
government agent, she thought, and make at least 80K a year. But he’d
shown no interest in seeking any other job. Instead, he’d been demoted
from security supervisor no less than three times over the five years
they’d been married, each time for refusing to follow orders.
A story I'm especially fond of, "The End of Grace,"
was published in the anthology,
The Old, Weird South. It's about the true cause of
the Louisa (Virginia) Earthquake.
On August 23, 2011, at 1:51 pm
(EDT), there was an earthquake centered in Louisa County, Virginia,
with a magnitude of 5.8. Unlike most earthquakes on the West Coast,
where tremors are seldom felt even a state away, this quake was felt
for hundreds of miles—as far north as Montreal. According to the
United States Geological Survey, this is "due to the ease of wave
propagation through the North American craton."
My PI story, "Right Where She Wants
Him," is a dark tale of an evening on the job as a private
investigator. Did I mention it's dark? (You've been warned.) This
story is in the really marvelous journal
Needle: A Magazine of Noir.
By the time we’d been in the car
together for twenty minutes, Carl had used the word “motherfucker”
nine times. He’d talked about sex unendingly: who the subject was
screwing, how utterly fuckable his wife was, who some celebrity bimbo
was doing this month. He’d called me baby. Twice. Soon, I was going to
My first vampire story is in
This rather bloody story, "Hunting Joey Banks,"
features a PI searching for a client who's been abducted by bad guys.
I was hunched in the corner of a
small, rickety tree house overlooking a backyard in Church Hill near
midnight, struggling madly not to move. I had the mother of all leg
cramps, and it took everything I had not to holler with pain and try
to massage it out. Since becoming a vampire two years ago, I’d become
stronger in almost every way—but when I go too long without a red
meal, the pains kick in with a vengeance. If I’d been home, I’d have
been rocking back and forth, cursing loudly, but any movement would
alert the four men talking in the hedges below that I was there, and
my investigation would be over before it really even started. Worse,
my client would almost certainly end up dead, and while that might not
exactly be a tragedy, it would definitely be awkward.
"Cleaning Fish" appears in
Crimes: They Had it Comin'. I like to describe it as a story
about the healing power of murder.
Jake had expected to find
himself digging ditches or washing cars or some such work when he got
out on parole, but this wasn’t half bad. He whisked a brush down the
Thoroughbred gelding’s hindquarters, both of them enjoying the shade
from the barn’s broad overhang and the cool breezes coming from the
lake. After he finished, there was a pair of dapple-gray Percheron
mares and a palomino gelding who needed grooming. Then, after lunch,
Jake would clean tack and do some minor repairs in the equipment shed.
Whatever Otho and Anna Waggoner, the farm’s owners, asked him to do.
Chesapeake Crimes III contains my story "It Tore the
Laugh from My Throat," and the front cover features a photo I took on
Chincoteage in Virginia.
My short story
"Still, Life" won second prize in the 2007 Style Weekly fiction contest.
The woman is lying on the
bench, asleep, when I arrive at the North Richmond train station
around noon. For some reason, I feel compelled to sit and watch her
for a minute or so, until I catch the rhythm of the rise and fall of
her side. In spite of the air conditioning, the air is warm and heavy,
and I doze for what must be almost two hours. I awake to see the same
woman, lying on the same bench—only now, she's not breathing.
My writing has also appeared in Neo, The Washington Free Press, and Gaia, and I've written
scintillating certification exam prep materials for New Riders
Below are links to other writing available on the web now:
Occasional blog posts on
Unleaded--Fuel for Writers.
I have several entries in the
though I have recently noticed some issues introduced in editing.
Breakin' the Law - a column about writing about PIs
The Glamorous World of Surveillance - Ditto
My Blog - has only a few entries, but may be interesting.