And When You're There…


February 2016


There is a time to start new, and it’s a time you must wait for patiently, until the moment comes and slaps you in the face. We lived on the very edge of a small town, the kind where everyone says they are going to leave and make something big of themselves but never does. Instead they stick to their drinks and smokes and excuse of a religion.

I always knew I was going to leave, but just waited for when my younger sister left for college on a full scholarship. College wasn’t for me. I had a hard enough time in grade school. They always tried to force me into the special education classes, until I’d turn in that first paper. Then they’d transfer me into AP, and try to enroll me in speech therapy. It didn’t help. As long as I could remember, I had never spoken a word past the age of four.

As a man of twenty one, it was hard to find a job with an inability to interview.  But I had to leave home.

My parents were drunks, under the impression I was retarded and would never amount to anything. So I took care of Corinne, who never asked a word of me, until she made her own escape. My bag was packed. A few pairs of clothes, sandwiches, a canteen of whiskey, other odds and ends, a knife, and my grandfather’s pistol. It wouldn’t be needed if I took the road, but that wasn’t my intent. Behind our falling apart single wide was a three thousand acre deciduous forest, dividing the counties.

Maybe it was stupid, but the wild called to me. I had to take my chances. I left around twilight—ominous and cliché, I know—but it was the time I would least likely be noticed, even if broken sticks and fallen leaves crunched under my boots.

I walked through the night, lucky enough the moon sat high and nearly full, making my flashlight useless, and only stopped to rest when a bit of cloud cover darkened the sky in the early hours of the morning. At the base of an old maple I took a sip of the whiskey, and fell asleep, eyes hardly closing in the dark of the night.


An excerpt through Andrea’s eyes

The sky outside the window was clouding over, threatening a drenching rain and even with the lamp on, her room seemed especially dim. On the nightstand rested her mother’s Bible. Why she didn’t just chuck it in the dumpster with the rest of the Bibles she uncovered she couldn’t quite explain. It emitted the faintest hint of white musk, her mother’s favorite perfume. Andrea reached out a hand and ran her fingers over the aged leather. What should have been a memento of a happier time, a healthier time, only brought back visions from the darkest time she could remember.

The gold embossment, “Holy Bible,” was striking against the dark, but the sight of the apparatus just twisted her gut. Images floated to her brain. At the recollection, her blood chilled. Pulling the switchblade from her pocket, she rested it up on the book, climbing into the blankets and cocooning herself in a tangle of covers. Eying the “sacred” text, his words washed over her, just as fresh as the day they were first spoken.

“And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched.”

His eyes would bore into her, as she looked down, pretending to pick at her chipping nail polish. Some nights Maureen would be there, quietly behind him, murmuring over her own Bible. Andrea, Olivia then, would see her out of her peripheral, and wonder if the woman knew the hellfire that her husband shot with his eyes.

It was those times that she wished she would have skipped, even if it meant being grounded from the group of stoners she considered friends and sentenced to another Bible study at the dinner table.

She should have known better than to walk into that office. The stern line of his mouth should have been the first clue that something was amiss. Right then she should have turned around and walked out of the stifling hot room, while she still had her dignity. Even after that, when he stalked around the room like a caged beast, admonishing her, she could have stood, she could have ran to the door before he turned the lock. Her mother had been outside, oblivious as her daughter was torn apart.

A tremor was building in her limbs and a sob broke free. She couldn’t look at that damned, useless collection of paper. Every time she blinked, she saw the same book that sat on that desk, filled with promises of a God that didn’t answer.

Reaching over, she knocked it, and the knife sitting atop it from the stand. The resounding clatter across the wooden floor racked her body harder. She buried her face in the pillow, desperately willing the images to stop. The letters that filled the mailbox. The crosses that decorated the front lawn. His black eyes. Lying awake in a strange bed, the white walls of the facility closing around her. The blood staining the carpet, his shirt, her knees.


An excerpt through Xander’s eyes

“Don’t cry. Don’t cry. That’s what he wants. Stay awake. If you lose consciousness, that only allows them to do whatever they want. Don’t let your body become theirs. Xander tried to tell himself this was a dream. He could pull himself out of it. But all he saw was the face above him, looking down with a disgusting expression of satisfaction and it made his gut turn.

‘You’re going to learn a lesson today, fuck-up.’

Someone was pulling him, dragging him, with meaty hands covered by slick leather gloves. As he was lifted and tossed into the back of a vehicle, his ribs ground against each other at the movement, and he groaned, unable to speak. There was something in his mouth so that he couldn’t scream or yell for help, and blood running into his eyes so he couldn’t see.

He couldn’t move for the pain, and allowed unconsciousness to take him through the ride. When the vehicle stopped, so did his heart. He was going to be killed. He couldn’t fight, and the darkness was pulling at the edge of his mind again. The back hatch opened, and the leather gloved hands grabbed him by the ankles, pulling him out onto grass. The landing jarred Xander’s head and he could hold on no more. Once again, he had failed. Blood and tears mixed in the dew of the grass, and he was going to submit as the iron cross was raised again. 

The blackness swelled up around him, and he knew no more.”

How and where?


I’ve mentioned these things in passing posts, but how and where to write might say a lot about somebody. Hell, if you’re a writer, you might imagine a life story based on the windbreaker and ADIDAS a person is wearing.

I’ll start with where. Where do I write? In my car.  Not always, but thats usually where the inspiration strikes, and the time. I started Mercy when I had three hours between college courses thirty miles from home. I’m relatively antisocial at the worst times, and I probably could have been studying, but instead I sat in my car and wrote. Sometimes I’ll scribble some lines down just sitting around the house, but the preferred method would be to have my “quiet time” for it.

So how.  This is where my “quiet time” doesn’t actually exist. Whether I’m in my car or sitting on a couch, the ultimate how is music. Someone–you know who you are– showed me the magic that is Spotify and I was a lost cause.  So I keep a spotify playlist now for just about every story I have in my “to be written” mental file. Its addictive. Anyway. Here’s Mercy if you want to check it out:

Mercy’s Playlist of Inspiration

Mercy was a dream. I kept dreaming this one scene (that has since been edited out) but I couldn’t match it up to the character in my head. Until I was driving one day–a good two hour drive with way too much time to think and too much music– when one of these songs came on. I knew. This song was her. I could see her walk, I could see her hair, her smirk. And it began.

I’d like to say that every time I had those three hours to write, I wrote diligently and plotted out my storyline, and wrote outlines, and even have a pretty little synopsis stashed somewhere. Nope. Truth is, much of that time was spent scrolling through Facebook, laughing and sharing memes, until a song came on. Then the song would hit and the idea would come back at me. Scribble a few more pages, hoping I’ll be able to decipher the chicken scratch later (those G-2 pens are excellent for on-the-fly writing.) Then its back to hating my idea and my writing style, and impossibly trying to figure out how my character is going to work their way out of this one… Then the same person who showed me this musical playground would send me a song I absolutely needed to listen to. There it was! My answer! My answer was in the sound and the lyrics.

So the train of thought is running away on me. But yet again there is a point to this. There is not correct place or method to your madness–or writing. There is only music (joking,) and a story that needs to told. Tell it where the mind lends it to you.

And for you folks that don’t have Spotify, or you live in some other country that doesn’t have such things… Youtube also has this amazing playlist feature.

Mercy’s Playlist of Inspiration



Sinking rage





Clenching, hands shaking

Shaking and ready, willing

Willing to fight, take back

Take back, your own


Own, possess and save

Save, them all 

All will fall, and leave you alone

Alone, protect


Protect, but the red

Red, staining the edge of your vision

Vision, going dark with pain

Pain, sinking.

Author Envy: It’s a real thing…

Every author has the struggle. Crumpled up pages thrown in the trash–or in my case usually the floor of my car, my preferred writing spot– or slamming their head on the backspace button before desperately trying to retrieve whatever genius thing they deleted in a fit of rage and unjust self-perceived inferiority.

I have it. A bad case, and I haven’t yet found the cure. Its in the lab now.

Those darn fantasy writers.  Creating a world and painting it so I feel like I’m on the journey fighting goblins and beasties in the middle of a forest that crawls. I read those, and I think “nope, can’t do it.” How am I ever going to sell a single copy if I can’t even tell you the sound a river makes?

One author friend of mine has this skill for a setting. She can paint the picture and make you feel like you’re in the room with the character, seeing the world through those eyes. Another author makes everything so full of action that you don’t need to see everything through the character’s eyes.  You know whats happening and can see how every character is reacting and it draws you into your own reaction.

But then an idea hits. And I start. If they can make a world, why can’t I? <—-This here is your answer.

I might not have the vocabulary or the patience for endless hours over a thesaurus, and I may not have the metaphors readily needed to paint the trees, but I can tell you what happened. I’ll tell you exactly what happened and just how it feels, and put it just so to where I hope you feel it in your own bones.

Here I am rambling again, but there is a point to this post. I’ve talked to a few people new to writing. And I’ve had a few trusty friends who remind me of this more often than I care to admit.

Just write it. You have the idea. Get it out. You probably will never be a JRR Tolkien, but who asked you to be? Hash out the details as you go, there will always be editing to do. But you’ll never get to editing if you never write it in the first place. There will be critics and fans, but you’ll never have either unless you get going.

Start writing



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