Newest Short Story Sale-And Went on in Sunlight

untitledI was pleased to hear last week that my short story, “And Went on in Sunlight,” was accepted to the upcoming anthology Pernicious Invaders by Great Old Ones Publishing.

I wrote this story in my month of limbo, after selling my home and before driving cross country with my daughter to start new life in California. I was painfully aware of her new independence as she grew up before my eyes. Tensions were high that in-between month when we stayed at a friend’s apartment. It was hot, our future (though promising) was new and a little scary. I barely saw her that month which drove home the fact that she was becoming an adult and not nearly as dependent on me as she’d been the rest of her life.

One particular night she called to tell me she’d gotten badly sunburned at the beach. She doesn’t really sweat, so more than other people needs to be careful in the heat. I began to lecture her on the importance of staying out of the sun, of the necessity of high SPF sunscreen. She interjected and said, “Mom, I KNOW MY OWN BODY. I’m fine.” And she was of course.

But in my creative odd mind, I carried it further. What if she didn’t know her own body? What if her biology wasn’t at all what she thought, that the sun was so much more dangerous than she could possibly imagine? And so I wrote the story. I’ll post again when the anthology is up for sale.

The title is taken from a T.S. Elliot poem The Wasteland. Read it here. Great poem.

Personal drama makes the best writing prompts.



A Trip to Egypt

Cthulhu-Rises1I’m pleased to announce that my newest story, A Trip to Egypt, has been accepted to  CANOPIC JARS: TALES OF MUMMIES AND MUMMIFICATION, from Great Old Ones Publishing.

I was invited to this anthology by Philip Perron of Dark Discussions Podcast fame.  I was excited by the challenge of the story and set out to write it. But writing a themed story can be difficult.  I know little about Egyptian lore apart from old movies.

I started a GREAT story about a woman who is widowed and lives in a pretty cottage overlooking a winery in Ojai, CA. She is approached by police who say they have found her husband’s body, and those of others in a cave. Was it a ritual? Was he involved in a cult? But then I realized I don’t know if there are caves out there. And what cult would mummify people? DUMPED THAT STORYLINE.

Then I set that same woman up in the fruit stand business. She had a brother who tried to steal her money and she killed and buried him in the fruit orchards. And somehow…and there were mason jars…and well none of it came together. Like why kill him? And how? And would his spirit really permeate into her renowned strawberry jam? Nope. DUMPED THAT STORYLINE.

Then there was the story about a girl in a police station being questioned by police and she keeps having dreams about burnt popcorn and an old woman with no teeth chasing her through an alley. But that’s as far as I could get. DUMPED THAT STORYLINE.

Meanwhile the clock was ticking, the deadline approaching, and I had NOTHING.

It was fate that I’d watched a documentary about bath salts recently. Bath salts is a new drug that’s hard to enforce or make illegal because of the contents and the fact that all over the package is the disclaimer, “Not for human consumption.” Great documentary, disturbing, informative and a wonderful idea for a story. But what did THAT have to do with Egypt?

Alas, if you use your imagination, it can have everything to do with Egypt. I emailed Philip immediately and pitched  my idea. He liked it. I got busy and in no time at all I wrote, A Trip to Egypt, a creepy disturbing tale that Philip called, ” Jacobs ladder and Carnival of Souls mashed together with Midnight Cowboy, Taxi Driver, and Requiem for a Dream.”

I believe that was about the best compliment I’ve ever gotten on a story.

Stay tuned for details of the book’s release. So far there is a great lineup of authors and it gets better each time  new author is announced.