Wednesday, April 27, 2011


The challenge this time was to take the book closest to you, turn to page 70 and use the 7th sentence as your starter sentence. The genre was open, but hard-boiled, noir, crime action would be preferred. The length was to be under 700 words.

My starter sentence came from Dick Francis’ book, Field of Thirteen. Page 70 was part of a story entitled “Bright White Star”.


The director sighed. Already had a buyer for his usual fare, and now this happens. One hundred thou offered to make a snuff? An actual, honest-to-fucking snuff film? The order’s from some big-name actor, so the money’s real enough. The actor’s rep let Clyde look at it in his briefcase. Let him feel it up for a sec too. Even brought the gun he wanted to be used. A nice shiny new 9mm Glock--loaded. ‘Like your other films, please’ he said quietly, ‘except this time, when the girl puts the gun into her mouth and pulls the trigger…’

Clyde felt like he was going to be sick. So far, he’d had no problem unloading his work. He has the girl make herself feel real good, then she sucks on his old Colt 38 with the broken firing pin for awhile, pulls the trigger, looks right into the camera and laughs. But this time?

He’d picked this cutie up at a bus stop on the edge of town and brought her out here to the cabin. Told him she was 18, but he didn’t believe a day over 15. Promised her a few bucks, make her a movie star, you know the routine, and she’d come willingly enough. But, still. A snuff film?

He took her into the master bedroom, where he had his lights and camera already set up. Clyde told her to lie on the bed and get comfortable and try to relax. He handed her a bottle of some cheap whiskey he had stashed there for just such occasions. As soon as she unscrewed the top, she started gulping it down. Clyde hoped to hell she wouldn’t puke it up later on film. A scene like that would certainly decrease it’s value. He told her he had some stuff to take care of in the other room, but he’d be back in about 15 minutes and then they would make the movie. She just nodded and kept gulping. Clyde went into the back bedroom he’d converted to a kind of office and sat down at the desk. He really needed to think this through.

He put the Colt and the Glock on the desk and lit a smoke. This should have been an easy decision, but he couldn’t just wave off a hundred thousand dollars. At the rate he was going, that’s more money than he would see in 25 lifetimes. But, we’re talking death for real here…

Clyde always figured there were two sides to everything. Were there this time?

Nobody makes snuff films. Not for real, anyway.

Apparently, there’s at least one guy out there who believes I would.

This kid can’t just disappear.

Told me she had no family--totally on her own.

I’ve never even punched anybody out, much less killed anyone.

I wouldn’t actually be pulling the trigger.

How could I live with myself if I let this girl die?

A hundred thou buys a lot of therapy.

Doesn’t matter how you look at this. When all is said and done, it comes down to cold-blood, premeditated murder.

Yes. It does.

Four o’clock. Clyde thought the kid must be pretty well looped by now, considering she’s probably been gulping steady for the past 15 minutes.


He picked up the gun from the desk and went into the bedroom. The girl had already removed her clothes and was on the bed, sitting up against the headboard. Her eyes were barely open and lifeless in the room’s dim lighting. The bottle of whiskey sat almost empty on the nightstand against the wall.

He placed the gun on the bed next to her and asked if she knew what she was expected to do with it. She closed her eyes, nodded slowly, picked up the gun and began caressing it.

He positioned himself behind the camera and said, “Five, four, three, two…”

Sunday, April 24, 2011


During my travels through various writing sites, I noticed several of them mentioned rules that should be followed whenever writing a crime fiction/noir novel. While there were minor differences in phraseology, the supposed ‘rules’ were pretty consistent. Let’s explore each of these.

1. Whoever your killer is, make sure you let your readers meet him or her early on. You don’t want them to pop up out of nowhere late in the story.

I’m not certain I even understand this. Generally speaking, with crime fiction, there is an element of mystery involved. Are they saying you should reveal the identity of your killer as ’the’ killer or just allow the reader to get to know the character early on, but not let on what he or she has done or is planning to do? Since I’m not clear on what this actually means, I’m also not clear on how this is to be accomplished.

2. At least one murder should occur within the first three chapters.

Here I totally agree. When I’m reading a crime novel, if the bodies aren’t piling up by the end of Chapter 3, I’m done with it. At the risk of sounding psychotic here, if your novel includes one or more murders, I do feel the first one, at a minimum, should occur fairly early on. Locales, characters, basic storyline, all critical elements, but it comes down to the crime after all. Right?

3. Don’t include offensive crimes.

Regarding this rule, mention was made of the subjects of rape, child molestation and cruelty of animals being strictly taboo. While I cannot agree that any subject should be regarded as forbidden, I will agree that there are some that require handling in a tactful and sensitive manner. If any of these types of occurrences are relevant to the storyline, they should be included. However, make sure they are relevant. Don’t add these, or any other form of cruelty simply for shock value. That’s the lazy way out and requires no writing talent of any kind.

4. The crime has to be believable.

What? I’m not sure where this came from. It’s a sad state of affairs, but in the world today, unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of limits to what people will do to each other. Perhaps it refers to not including anything supernatural or a comic book type of crime, whatever that may be. I could use some clarification here.

5. Research when necessary.

Now on this one, I agree 200%. Whether it concerns a particular location you are using or your weapon of choice, make sure you incorporate accurate information. If the city in your novel is fictional, go wild with your street names, businesses and what have you. But if your city is an existing one, you’d better make sure your directions from such and such restaurant to so and so hotel in the downtown area are perfect. You never know. One of your readers might have been born right down the street from there. Even if none of your readers have ever been near your city of choice, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, somehow it shows. I can’t explain it, but as a reader, I don’t have to be an expert in any particular field to know when the writer’s been too lazy to look at a map. The same goes for weapons and especially areas of science. With documentaries on every night of the week discussing DNA and ballistics, inaccuracies will be spotted in a heartbeat. Nothing will turn a reader off a writer quicker than that. Make up your characters, make up your plot, but the things you take from the real world, make sure you keep them real.

6. Don’t reveal the identity of your killer too soon.

I’m not sure, but doesn’t this sort of contradict Item #1? Regardless, I’m not sure this should be a hard and fast rule. I mean, remember my favorite detective, Columbo? You knew within the first five minutes of the show who the killer was, but how their guilt was discovered was the point of the show. The motivation was sometimes revealed at the onset or fully explained at the end, but the killer’s identity was never in question. I don’t see any reason why this wouldn’t be workable in a novel, but it would require careful planning and appropriate presentation.

7. The killer must be capable of the crime.

I don’t believe this refers specifically to the criminal being physically up to whatever activity you have planned. I believe this may refer to him or her being psychologically and/or emotionally capable of committing a particular crime. While we can choose to make any of our characters break the law, before we choose the crime they are to commit, we need to examine who we’ve created. What kind of person is this? What are their likes and dislikes? What are their fears? For instance, if you’ve included something about a character’s childhood where they were traumatically scarred by being locked in a dark closet, don’t have them waiting for their victim in a pitch-black alley. I know that’s an oversimplification, but I hope you see what I’m getting at. We shouldn’t have our character who’s terrified of fire commit an arson, or if we have one who knows they’re a bleeder get involved in a knife fight and risk being injured in the struggle. Makes no sense. Make sure the crime fits the criminal and vice versa.

8. Start the action early on and keep it going strong.

Here, I agree to a point. While I will admit there is nothing more tedious than reading 10 or 15 pages of thoughts, there is also something very annoying about reading page after page of chases and fights, without really understanding the individuals involved in these confrontations and the motivations for them. I don’t need to know the details of every second of every day of a character’s life, but I do need backstory on how they came to end up where they are at the point the story takes place. I need to know who they have relationships with, what those relationships are like, how other characters fit into their lives and so on. Without well-defined characters, the plot is useless. Just be careful not to go overboard. A chase or fight here and there keeps me turning the pages.

9. Don’t make your good guy the villain.

All I have to say to this is why not? Isn’t that half the fun, having someone who is trusted and seemingly on the side of right and justice turn out to be evil incarnate? I believe that kind of twist adds a lot of flavor to a story. This individual appears supportive and sympathetic to the survivors or victim’s families, totally cooperative with law enforcement, but behind the mask? Only the victims see what’s really there and that’s right before they die. How exciting a storyline that would make.

10. Introduce your crime solver early on.

Lastly, again, why? Referring to TV shows again, take Murder, She Wrote. You knew crime writer, Jessica Fletcher, was going to solve the crime. With Columbo, you knew he was going to catch the guilty party. This works out fine if your central character is a particular detective or PI, and the story is geared around this specific individual. Then again, there are occasions where a character who has no connection whatsoever with the police or any such area either witnesses a crime or ends up being falsely accused of one and solves it to clear their name. A scenario like that can work very well and I think would pull the reader in nicely as well, since it would involve a ‘regular’ person on the trail of a killer. Imagine the danger they’d be in and the tremendous risks they’d be taking because they wouldn’t have any real resources available to them. The reader could imagine themselves in that situation and think, now, what would I do, or how would I handle that? It certainly would hold their interest.

Okay. We’ve gone through all the so-called ‘rules’ for writing crime fiction. I’ve told you how I feel about them. What about you? Are you naughty or nice? Do you follow these rules or break them every chance you get? Do you feel there should even be rules like these or any others? I believe the word ‘rules’ shouldn’t even come into play here. ‘Helpful guidelines’ maybe, but never ‘rules’. When our minds create, there shouldn’t be any restrictions or limitations on what we imagine. Now, THAT would be a real crime!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

NOTE: My good friend, and fellow creator of the deliciously dark world of noir, B.R. Stateham, was gracious enough to ask me to guest write on his blog (the above has been posted on his blog today too). He's got some fascinating and at times, frightening, characters over there you really should get to know. Head over to B.R.'s blog here. You'll be very glad you did.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Question: How do you create a character who is as ice-cold as a cadaver when it comes to killing someone--yet one who actually posseses a conscience?

Or put it another way, in a sea of hit-men/assassin killer types found floating around face down in the dark waters called hardboiled, how do you create a character who is different. Different--unique--sympathetic.

A challenge. And that's putting it mildly. But one I wanted to try out one day on a kind of a spur-of-the-moment writing exercise. And . . . I'll be go to hell . . .what popped up on the screen was a guy named Smitty. Fully developed. Mean as back alley Wolverine with an aching tooth--with the black eyes of a pit viper who took in everything and anything in one glance. Reticent in speech--yet rather eloquent in his reticence.

One mean sonofabitch. That's Smitty. Yet . . .

Read the stories closely and you discover Smitty only takes out those justly deserving to be taken out. He's like the grim Angel of Death coming to collect his due among the miscreants and sadistic. And he does it spectacularly. Guns, poisons, explosives--even the front end of an F-150 Ford truck. It doesn't matter. When Smitty sets his eyes on you as his next prey--buddy, you're as good as dead.

Ah. But now, how to make him sympathetic? Make him someone from the dark side who you wind up willingly . . . or unwillingly . . . rooting for? Therein lies the McGuffin, as Alfred Hitchock used to say concerning his films. There's the catch that hooks the reader. And the answer is; I haven't a fraken' clue. It just happened.

One day Smitty was born in the back of my subconscious. He came out like some god of Greek mythology; sprung from the sea fully formed and magnificent to behold. But a god clearly hailing form the shadowy lands of Hades.

Take him for what he is, kid. The guy really does get under your skin and makes you want to read more about him.

BIO: B.R. Stateham is a fourteen year old boy trapped in a sixty-one year old body. His enthusiasm and boyish delight in anything mysterious and/or unknown continues.

Writing novels, especially detectives, is just the avenue of escape which keeps the author’s mind sharp and inquisitive. He’s published a ton of short stories in online magazines like Crooked, Darkest Before the Dawn, Abandoned Towers, Pulp Metal Magazine, Suspense Magazine, A Twist of Noir, Angie’s Diary, Power Burn Flash, and Eastern Standard Crime. He writes both detective/mysteries, as well as science-fiction and fantasy.

In 2008 the first book in the series featuring homicide detectives Turner Hahn and Frank Morales came out, called Murderous Passions. A Taste of Old Revenge is the second book in the series. At the moment we’re in a searching pattern to find a publisher.

In 2009 he created a character named Smitty. In 2010 a collection of Smitty stories, and a two-novella set came out featuring this dark eyed killer.

Married to a long suffering wife for a quarter century, B.R. Stateham is the proud father of three and doting grandfather of five.

* * * * * * * * * *

Thanks so much, B.R. for sharing with us some of Smitty's secrets.

If you would like to learn more about Smitty and B.R.'s other creations, head on over to his blog. You will find terrific stuff over there, including information about writing crime/noir, some of his stories, links to his books, and much more.

Just so you don't miss out on anything, why don't you go ahead and sign on to follow his blog. A few clicks and you will always be in-the-know.

Make sure you don't keep Smitty and the rest of the gang waiting...

Thursday, April 21, 2011


The theme this week was closing arguments, with a genre of courtroom drama. We had a themed word list as follows: Money, foolish, kneecap, trace and widow, and a word limit of 1,000, and could write from the perspective of the prosecution or the defense.

This was a real challenge for me since I’ve never approached a story from the courtroom side. I’m not sure where this came from, but the idea for this one interested me. Hopefully, you, the reader, will find it enjoyable.


“Members of the Council, I present to you the case of Julian Cardemond, who stands accused of treason.”

“Treason? Who have I betrayed? Why am I being painfully restrained? Why is this being done to me?” Julian stood and struggled against the ropes binding his hands and ankles.

Imperial Prosecutor, Phillipe Bertrand, placed a hand firmly on the young man’s shoulder, his long, sharp nails piercing the skin on Julian’s upper back.

“Sit and be silent,” he said angrily. “You will have a brief opportunity to address this Council in your own defense. You are being restrained to insure your--shall we say, cooperation. If you remain motionless, your pain will lessen. The rope has been soaked in vervain oil and as you have discovered, contact burns the skin. Disrupt these proceedings with your foolish outbursts again, and you will be injected with the extract. Am I clear?”

Julian slowly sat and nodded. What was suddenly crystal clear to him was that he was in a fight for his life.

“Members of the Council, my apologies for the interruption,” Phillippe continued.

Julian hadn’t believed it would be possible, but when Phillippe glared at him, he thought he actually felt a chill run through him.

“The Prosecution affirms that two nights ago, specifically on Friday, the 17th of September, the Defendant did willfully, and without trace of remorse, murder the Widow Fontaine, one of our Protected.

For this Council’s edification, Mrs. Fontaine had been first encountered during her incapacitation due to a shattered kneecap resulting from a fall. During a visit by several of our elders, she expressed great interest in providing assistance to our community by way of donating money for the purchase of clothing and other items necessary for our survival in this area. In exchange for her life, she agreed to maintain our anonymity and thereafter became our ward.

Her desecrated form was crudely displayed in her atrium. The kill was unnecessarily brutal and enacted without first obtaining permission from our elders. Thusly, the Prosecution pleads for a judgment of guilty and a sentence of death, to be carried out immediately.”

“Death?” Julian jumped to his feet, the pain in his hands and feet unbearable. “I didn’t know to ask,” he gasped. “I awoke early and was so hungry. I didn’t know there were protected ones. I didn’t know about the rules. Please give me another chance. I can learn. In the future, I will do right.”

The Council’s Chair addressed him.

“Young Cardemond, stupidity is not a defense. It is your responsibility to seek required knowledge. It is not our responsibility to simply provide it. As a fledgling vampire, you are required to wait until the elders in your pack have fed to their satisfaction. Only then are you allowed to feed on that which may remain. You may not initiate a kill until such time that privilege is granted to you. This Council finds you guilty and sentences you to death. Enforcers, take the defendant to the northernmost field and bury him face downward.”

“No, please,” Julian begged. “I shall be unable to rise. I shall slowly starve and eventually die. Banish me if you must. Mark me such that no other pack shall accept me. Curse me to wander the rest of my days alone and vulnerable. Let my miserable existence be a lesson to others.”

“A lesson you shall be indeed,” the Chair responded. “A permanent one. Chief Enforcer, take this abomination away. Perform your duty.”

The three newest members of the pack watched as Julian was led away. It appeared to them as if tears glistened on his face, but how was that possible? This night, their third without being permitted to feed, would pass unchallenged. They were quick learners.

Friday, April 8, 2011

STOP ME - by Richard Jay Parker - A Review

“howdy doody,

on vacation

slim, attractive dreadlocked babe with a fun sticky-out bellybutton, likes rabbit fur

forward this email to ten friends

each of those friends must forward it to ten friends

maybe one of those friends of friends of friends will be one of my friends

if this email ends up in my inbox within a week I wont slit the bitches throat

can you afford not to send this on to ten friends?


Ever get an email like the one above? Nonsense, right? Okay, so you delete it and forget about it. Except this time, eight days later, a package arrives at the Wyoming Police Department that contains a rabbit skin scarf and the boiled jawbone of a prostitute with dreadlocks and an inverted navel. Not so funny now, is it.

Emails like the one above aren’t just being sent to a selected few. They appear in home inboxes as well as in business networks and cross international borders. Leo Sharpe finds one in his inbox and gets spooked, so he reports it to the authorities. Of no concern, he is told, just delete it. Problem is, his mentioned capped teeth, and a week later, a package containing the jawbone of a woman is received by the police and, you guessed it, it had capped teeth.

Leo is troubled by these events, but tries to move past them by planning to surprise his wife with a trip for a Christmas present. They meet at their favorite bar and she excuses herself to the ladies’ room. She does not return. It’s as if she disappeared into thin air. Leo searches the building, goes across the way to his wife’s place of employment, but she is nowhere to be found. He receives another email like the one above, only this one mentions a particular scar his wife, Laura, has. Days pass, weeks, months, and no remains of Laura are delivered to the police or are ever found. Did the email end up back in the killer’s inbox? Is Laura still alive?

Stop Me is a novel that grabs you right from word one and hangs on tight to the very last word. As Leo tries to find out what happened to his wife, he finds that no one is what they appear to be. Police suspect him naturally, since he is the missing woman’s husband. The strain takes its toll on Leo and he loses his job, and finds that even friends begin to drift away. His family situation is beyond dysfunctional, and Leo finds himself drawn into a twisted cat and mouse game with a cyberspace psychopath.

This is a novel you will begin and seriously be unable to put down until the end, and even then, it will haunt you. What puts genuine fear into you as you read Stop Me is the fact that every event that occurs is possible in the real world. You will be accompanying Leo on his journey down a dark and frightening road seeking the truth, and what he finds will be far beyond anything he could have imagined.

I highly recommend Stop Me. It is a thriller in the true sense of the word. Also, I look forward to reading more by Richard Jay Parker.

Richard’s website can be found here:

A great interview with Richard can be found here:

Thursday, April 7, 2011


This week’s prompt was to write a story about someone who gets caught with their pants down, literally or figuratively. Genre was open. We’re supposed to come up with a good fool for this April Fool’s edition of F3. Enjoy.


I wanted that house ever since the day I watched the Dansons move in--all that expensive artwork and furs. Thinking about the diamonds the missus probably wore with those coats made me salivate. The place was designed to be jacked--set back from the highway at the end of that long driveway on the outskirts of town. No doubt loaded to the brim with items pawnable. I was certain however, that it was also equipped with a state-of-the-art alarm system. That’s where Petey comes in.

I believe a bit of background is needed here. Petey is my wife Connie’s brother. Connie likes the finer things in life, which is why I pull the occasional heist. Why I would really like to hit that particular house is because I could get enough from there to be able to get Connie her much-needed surgery. She’s got this dermatological ‘thing’. That’s what the doc called it anyway. What it is though is a bushy mustache. I’m not talking a few stray whiskers either. Creams and ointments don’t do squat except make it stronger like some alien lifeforce, but one of the docs said a quick in-office surgery would rid her of it forever. Problem is, that quick snip costs a hefty chunk of change, but it’ll be worth it for Connie’s sake. I hate to sound like a pig, but it’ll be worth it for me too. She gets it from her mother, and when she comes to visit and plants one on you, for days after, it’s like you’ve been sucking on a hairbrush. Connie’s not quite that bad yet, but I’d like to nip that while she’s young, if you get my drift. Anyway, Petey.

I’m not trying to sound mean, but Petey doesn’t have the brains a footstool was born with. He’s real agreeable and has a memory to beat the band, but no sense whatsoever. Connie had told me when we met that she took responsibility for caring for him. It seems that some uncle of theirs had dropped Petey one time and he was never right again after that. My guess was that it must have been a helluva drop, but Connie’s crazy about him and keeps reminding me that he’s family. He’s harmless and earns his own keep, so it never really bothered me. Thing is, with this new score I’m planning, Petey’s A-plus memory is going to come in real handy. This was going to be my smoothest caper yet, and considering what could be had, possibly my last. You never know.

Petey’s job is as a part-time housecleaner. Three days a week, he goes with Harold Pilner in Harold’s van and helps him out on jobs. Harold pays Petey in cash so he doesn’t have to fill out any papers for the government, but it doesn’t do anybody any harm. Petey does an honest day’s work and ends up with a few bucks in his pocket. It makes him feel real good helping out, so I know he’ll feel terrific about doing me a favor.

I know this sounds nutty, but I look at this like a fate thing. The Dansons put the word out they‘d be gone a few days to an out-of-town wedding. They hired Harold to come in for a couple of days and get the place all tidied up before they left, which means Petey would be able to get in there. All I’m going to have him do is find the control panel of their alarm system and tell me the brand and model number. When he goes back the second day, it will be with instructions from me on how to disable it. I’m going to make it sound exciting, like a spy mission, and he won‘t ask any questions. I’ll tell him how important it is to keep it a secret between us and let him know just how much he’s going to be helping that family by snipping those wires. Petey looks up to me and he’ll buy anything I dish out. Does that make me a jerk? Probably. But no harm, no foul. The Dansons won’t suspect Harold, everything they own is insured, and I’ll be able to stop kissing a Brillo.

Petey came through with flying colors. Yesterday was their first day cleaning there and Petey told me there was a big box on the wall in their kitchen with pretty colored buttons all over it. He told me what was written across the top and bingo, that was exactly the information I needed. I went to the library in town and did some research on the computers there and sure enough, I found a booklet online that contained the installation instructions for that system. I drew some diagrams that would enable Petey to completely disarm it without leaving any trace that it had been messed with. I went over the diagrams with Petey and you could see in his eyes that he’d remember every minute detail. The guy didn’t know how to put the kettle on for coffee, but he could name every screw, wire and connector of a Firebird’s engine. Life’s funny, huh…

When Petey got home tonight, I asked him how things went on his job and I winked at him. He winked right back and said everything would be okay. He had heard me talking to Connie about going back there early tomorrow morning after the Dansons had left on their trip and Petey asked me if he could come along. He said he had been there twice and knew where all their pretty stuff was. I was going to take the pickup and I knew I’d have time since there wouldn’t be anyone around and there weren’t any neighbors close enough to see anything, but I figured it would go a lot quicker with both of us taking the stuff out. I told him that would be great if he came along because we were planning a surprise for the folks who lived there. But again, it was to be our secret. He was happy to be part of that. Sometimes I really am a jerk, but you do what you gotta do, you know?

It’s still a bit dark out, but that’s alright. I pulled the pickup to the side of the house and Petey and I went around back to go in through the patio door. I shattered the glass by the lock and held my breath, but no siren. I gave Petey my biggest smile and told him I was proud of him for taking care of our little ‘problem’. He grinned from ear to ear and said there was nothing to worry about. Maybe including family in my little enterprises wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

I gave Petey a sack and sent him upstairs to empty the jewelry boxes. I stayed downstairs and looked for the glitter. I couldn’t believe how much bling these people had. Gold this and silver that, and diamond edges on everything else. I started stuffing everything I could grab into my sack when Petey came running down the stairs with his sack overflowing with gem-covered boxes.

“Petey,” I said, “you’re supposed to take the stuff out of the boxes and put the necklaces and such in the sack, not just grab the boxes. But I suppose that’s okay too. Are there any more upstairs? Do you need another sack?”

“Oh no,” Petey grinned. “I got them all. I just came down here to tell you I saw some police cars coming down the driveway with their pretty red and white lights on. Maybe they can help us take the things out to your truck.”

I ran across to the front of the house and saw several squad cars, some pulling off to cover both sides of the house. I looked into the yard and several cops were already coming up to the patio doors. We were surrounded. I dropped the candelabra I had been holding and sat on one of the sofas in the living room. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes.

“Petey,” I said quietly. “I told you to disable the alarm and you said you did. How did the police know we were here?”

“I didn‘t say that,” he replied. “I told you everything would be okay. I didn’t do what you told me with the wires in that box because I didn’t have to.”

I had trouble breathing and wondered if I was having some type of an episode.

“See,” Petey continued, “when the lady in the house saw me looking at the box in the kitchen, she told me she was really proud of it. It only had that one box, the colors blended with her kitchen, and the best part of it was that the alarm was silent.”

I could feel myself losing consciousness.

“That’s why I didn’t have to do anything to those wires like you told me to. Nothing to that alarm but a pretty looking box that didn’t make no noise at all. I tried real hard to figure out why anybody would want just a box and then I knew. It was so you could put it up on the wall anywhere and it wasn’t ordinary like a picture and the buttons had much more color than any pictures I ever saw. I told the lady thank you and finished my cleaning. Oh look, the police are coming in the house now.”

The first cop in removed my hands from around Petey’s neck. I told him that I had two tens in my pocket, a twenty in my left shoe and it could all be his if he’d let me have his gun for just one minute. After he sucker punched and cuffed me, we went outside to his car. Petey, being slow, would get his hands slapped. Me? I’d get put away. Plenty of time to think though. Family. Can’t depend on them, can’t kill them, and in 7-½ to 15, won’t be able to kiss them. Life’s funny, huh…

Friday, April 1, 2011


Many, many thanks to AJ Hayes for his review and recognition of my work. Also, many, many thanks to Chris Rhatigan for presenting it on his review site. Thanks a ton, guys, you have made my year. I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoy the weekly flash challenges I participate in, specifically on Flash Fiction Friday. They are always challenging, always fun, and so much enjoyment is gained each week when everyone's stories are posted and I can sit back and read all the submissions. There's a ton and a half of talent there, and it's an honor for me to be featured among them.

Following is the review I'd like to share, and it makes me feel so proud. Thanks again to AJ and to Chris. One problem though. I'm hungry for lunch now, but I'm having a hard time getting my big head through the doorway...


The darkest of noir and most graphic of horror hold a special fascination for me. This includes both the writing and the reading of such material. Generally viewed as a traditionally male genre, crime fiction and forensics have interested me to quite the compulsive level for some time now. It was very interesting to me to look back to attempt to determine what circumstances or events may have triggered this obsession.

I wrote a non-fiction piece for Pure Slush where I review events from my past to try to find the explanation for my love of the macabre. I should point out that who I was trying to find the explanation for basically was myself. I hope you find it as thought-provoking as I did once it was done. Behavior and opinions are surely potentially influenced by occurrences around us, but how much of what we see and experience has a direct effect, and how strongly does it affect, what we choose to read and if so inclined, what we choose to write.