Story Time: Ugly Puppies

Today’s Story Time is a piece of original flash fiction, “Ugly Puppies.” The title is a direct hommage to Howard Waldrop’s iconic story, “The Ugly Chickens,” but they otherwise have nothing in common (no comments from the Peanut Gallery, thanks). This piece was  done as an assignment from the local writer’s group, where we do a piece of flash every week on an assigned theme word.

Needless to say, that week’s theme word was “secret.”


Standard Reminder: “Ugly Puppies” will remain online until next Wednesday, December 27th, when it will be replaced. By what, I don’t know.

Story Time: Drowning My Sorrows

To make up for being so late with Story Time today, I’m uploading a piece of original flash fiction, “Drowning My Sorrows.”*

Also a brief announcement: Two books, Ghost Trouble: The Casefiles of Eli Mothersbaugh and The Collected Tymon the Black are now available through Google Play. I’ll be adding more as time allows.

As always, “Drowning My Sorrows” will only be available until next Wednesday, December 13th, and then the story changes.


*Edited to add: Actually, this is the story’s second appearance. I did an earlier version as a blog post some time ago and completely forgot about it. To make up for it, I’ll be adding one more Story Time this week, probably Friday**. I’ll keep both up until next Wednesday, when we’ll start over and try not to repeat that mistake.

**And done. The second Story Time Story is also up now on the same page as the first. This one is “The Queen of Diamonds.”

New Story Time: “Another Kind of Glamour”

As I’m writing this with Feline Assistance®, typing can be kind of tricky, so bear with me. It’s Wednesday, so as promised–or threatened–there’s a new Story Time: “Another Kind of Glamour.” This one originally appeared in the online magazine  Aeon #6, which is not the current online magazine of the same name (Publishing is often confusing, and sometimes you just have to go with it and move on).

Ahem. Where was I? Or right, Story Time. As I said about the previous entry, “Crack’d From Side to Side,” stories in one aspect are a sort of conversation with all the stories that came before it. “Another Kind of Glamour” is in direct and obvious conversation with Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” While it remains one of my favorites of Shakespeare’s plays, there was something about the dynamic of the relationship between Oberon and Titania that I always found a little, shall we say, out of balance. Or maybe there was really more at stake there than we realized.  The process of thinking about such things tends to lead to new stories, as it did here.

Lawrence Kasdan once said “Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.” Absolutely true. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun, and “Another Kind of Glamour” was a fun story to write. I hope it’s as much fun to read.

Speaking of free stories, I’m reliably informed that Beneath Ceaseless Skies #235 will go live tomorrow  (Thursday, September 28) and includes “On the Road to the Hell of Hungry Ghosts,” the next adventure of Pan Bao, Jing, and the Snake-devil Mei Li. There’s an early review up at Rocket Stack Rank.


New Story Time — “Salt of the Earth”

It occurs to me that I’ve been a little sluggish and haphazard in updating the Story Time page on this site, so I’m resolving to do better. Right now I’m thinking of keeping a weekly schedule, and we’ll see how that works out. To launch the *New* and *Improved* Story Time feature, I’ll lead off with an original, never-before published anywhere before now story, “Salt of the Earth.” I likely won’t be able to do that every week, but from time to time it seems like a good idea. Otherwise I have more than enough stories scattered about in obscure sources to be able to put up things few people have had the chance to read otherwise.

So here it is, Story Time. A gift from me to you, and I hope you enjoy it.


Edited to Add: Note and Disclaimer: The Story Time link will always point to the current story, whatever it happens to be. As soon as a new one goes up, the previous one goes away. There is no archive, I’m afraid, so get them while they’re here.

Making it Up

MorningRainbowThe new Story Time page is “The Last Romantic” (MYTHIC #1, 2006) a first-person account of the dragon and the sleeping princess from the dragon’s point of view. Which, now that I think about it, is something I did once before, with “A Thing or Two About Love” (Wizard Fantastic, 1997). This one is just a tad different. You’ll see what I mean if you read both.

I do remember where this story came from. It was back when we were living in north Alabama and some of my co-workers were arrowhead hunters (not, I hasten to add, pot-hunters. No one was robbing graves or digging pristine sites). It’s just that, every spring during plowing, it was pretty common for arrowheads to turn up in the fields, and the farmers usually didn’t mind people looking so long as they asked first. I tagged along on one such trip. Didn’t find a lot, but saw the places where the native tribes had naturally settled, started thinking about what it must have been like, being pushed out from the places your families had lived for generations. What sort of hope one might look for, and so the story.

It’s just the way my mind works. Or at least how it worked back then.