Saturday, August 17, 2013

Writing landmark, The Cortez Case story complete.

Hello again,

I'm proud to report that I've finally managed to complete draft one of my first novel length project, The Cortez Case!

The editing process has begun, and will take much time to perfect I'm sure.  I am excited to have seen the story through, and hope this may one day be in print or E-book for all to enjoy.  I cannot share an achievement like this and leave you, the faithful readers, hanging... so, without further ado, here's a previously unreleased clip of The Cortez Case.

Spade shaped leaves hindered Susan’s vision of the garden shed.  To the left, up the slope of backyard lay the Cortez mansion.  The right rolled downhill into the night, the dock and private yacht obstructions against the moonlight on the sea.  She dug her way onto the property under a boundary of solid stone wall.

She had to return.  All her federal belongings were tucked away in the safety of the garden shed.
The Cortez father and daughter would never venture into a shed dedicated to their staff; and Gerard the gardener would not be so curious as to check the deepest reaches of the loft.  Everything she needed to defend herself lay just twenty feet into the backyard, and inside.

She listened for the yapping of the poodle’s response to her preplanned deterrence.  Susan arranged pizza delivery.  She crept to the outer wall of the shed and around the corner facing the ocean.  She shimmied to the shed door.

The door was ajar.  A dim light shined from within.

She knew the hinges to have a terrible creak.  She stepped back from the building and sidestepped to peek through the crack between the doors.

Her knapsack contents were sprawled across a folding table beside a lantern.  The wet suit, passport, spare cell phone… all right there, in the open.

A closely-shaven man examined her pistol, peered around in caution, and shoved it into the backside of his belt.


Susan knew she could take him… if she could get to him.  As soon as she touched the doors, her presence would be known.  Would Gerard shoot her?  Had Gerard ever shot anything?  Was his allegiance to Cortez that strong?  Did he even know what was going on?  Surely Sierra had been found by now.  Would the information of the traitor-maid be privy to Gerard’s ears?
Perhaps she could waltz in as if she hadn’t made herself a public enemy.  Gerard would think no different.  The maid, showing up near eleven PM in the garden shed, in Sierra’s clothes.  Damn that Sierra.  Of all Susan’s belongings in Gerard’s possession, she most coveted the spare cell phone, since the little diva Latina managed to drop the miniscule phone from her garter belt into a fish tank before Susan bound and gagged her.  Bitch.

She released a measured exhale to remain silent.  Gerard paused to listen before continuing examinations.

No.  She could not risk it.  She did not trust him.  She did not know anything about him.  She wasn’t the only one on high alert.  No doubt Gerard might panic if discovered by a Cortez agent right now.  His nerves might just get the best of him, and he’d shoot at whatever entered.

The spare phone beeped quickly.

An incoming call.  Oh no, Ed!

Gerard eyed the cell for several seconds.  He finally answered.


Now was her chance.

“Non, je parle francais.  Parlez-vous francais si’vous-plait?”

Susan threw the door open.  An agonizing creak ran through the shed.  Before she could step inside, Gerard swung around, gun drawn remarkably fast.

“Salut Monique.”

She threw herself sideways and ran.  The gardener fumbled into the backyard.

Gerard shouted, “Monique, arĂȘte!”

She yelled over her shoulder, “ACTIVATE PHONE SELF-DESTRUCT SEQUENCE!”

“Eh?”  Gerard paused as if to interpret her words, and gasped.  “SELF ZEESTRUCT?”  He tossed the phone onto the grass and dove.

Gerard covered his head.

One second.

Two seconds.

Five seconds.


He finally opened his eyes.  The phone sat innocent on the soft grass, still illuminated with a call in progress.  Susan had disappeared into the brush.

He retrieved the phone, stared awkwardly, and brought it to his ear.

“Allo? “

The phone went dark.

Dark Light 3 available in Paperback!

Hello again,

Just thought I'd follow up the last published achievement with some additional information.  Dark Light 3 is available in Paperback!  Here's the link.

Dark Light 3 Book

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Introducing the "Dark Light 3" Anthology by Crushing Heart and Black Butterfly Publishing, containing my short story "Inner Storm."

It's been awhile I admit, and apologize.  I swear I've been writing!  My current projects are a bit longer these days and as such, don't seem to be coming out the gates nearly fast enough.

The good people at Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing took this story under their wing.  It's an older tale of mine and I resurrected it from my noob writing days, gave it a fresh coat of paint and sent it on its way.

Siblings Danielle and Evan Harlow have volunteered to help with mandatory evacuations in their South Carolina community in lieu of a rapidly approaching category five hurricane. Danielle finds a house at the end of a cul-de-sac on the final road of their patrol, and its inhabitants have no intention of leaving.

That's the whistle wetter version.  For more, check out the book, Dark Light 3!

Dark Light 3

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Hi everyone!

It's been an eventful few months. I've spent three wonderful weeks poking around Asia. I had to put down one of the best dogs I've ever owned. One of my old vices, Magic the Gathering (don't laugh and pigeon hole me a nerd) has rekindled my interest to the point of playing competitive events. I got news of a couple acceptances, and a couple rejections. I'm a part of a writer's group now, a great bunch of folks from many different corners of New England are offering me feedback on my drafts, as I am for them. And, I'm revisiting the crime novel, "The Cortez Case" in the midst of it all. I haven't spent much time at the old Scratchpad lately so I thought I'd provide a short tale.

This was written as an introductory offering to my friends in the writer group. It's more of a character introduction than anything. It's called "Delivery," and I hope you like it.


A satchel bounced against her hip as the woodland path rose into the hills. She travelled light, without steed, squire, or any other liabilities. A coin purse weighted with survival money rested below her left armpit, the strap denied her sleek mane the playful invitation of the breeze. She ventured upwards along the narrow trail until an unkempt man arrived abruptly along the path, heading in the opposite direction.

Mead-fused beard bristles did not waiver as he brushed himself off and spoke. “Good day lass.”

“Hail.” She tilted her head in a sideways bow. Traditional bows inhibited line of sight.

You’re a fetching young thing,” he smiled a toothless grin, spare one discolored protrusion from the lower gum. “What’s a vixen like yerself doing in these parts all by yer lonesome?”

“I’m a courier, on a delivery.”

“And to whom exactly?”

She stared him down before answering. “Who cares to know?”

“My dear lass, where are your manners. I asked you first.”

Her tone seethed of distrust. “Fine. I am en route to Strock Michaud, Duke of Covenham.”

The dirty man cackled. “Well lass you’ve come across a bit of luck. Travel no further, for I am Strock Michaud!”

She folded her arms. “You’re the Duke?”

“In the flesh.”

“What are you doing out here?”

“Out for a jaunt. Heading to village for supplies, naturally.”

“The Duke has squires for such menial tasks.”

He spread his arms, drawing attention to the woodland. “Is it wrong to enjoy the tranquility of a walk through the forest? Clears the head, cleans the lungs. You’re a traveler, don’t you agree?”

“I suppose.”

“Tell me then, sweet girl. What do you bring me this day besides yer pretty face?”

Dark hair grazed her cheeks while she searched a number of items in her satchel until landing upon a rectangular burlap package bound in a cross of frayed rope. Without breaking eye contact, she passed the package to the Duke. The sound of a twig snap mismatched the timing of her step. She rescinded her boot. No twig lay beneath.

Duke Strock threw the rope and burlap to the ground. In his hand rested a book, blue cover, purple trim. His beard remained still despite the contortion to a frown. He objected, “A book is all?”

She nodded. “Knowledge is power, Duke.”

“Of course,” he scoffed. “Which is why I must share some knowledge with you.”

Two brutes, miners by the sights of their muscle tones and coal-smudged tunics emerged from behind large trees and stood near the Duke. A large forearm reached around her neck. She gasped.

“You see lass, I am not Duke Strock Michaud. And I don’t regard a mere book a fair prize for this little game, so why don’t you give me the rest of your deliveries. I’ll take your coin pouch too.” The man revealed his lone tooth in a threatening sneer.

The steadfast forearm denied her squirming protest. “I… I must also share some knowledge with you,” she squealed.

“Oh yes? What’s that?”

Her voice turned cold, devoid of fear. “I am not a courier.”

Her hands returned from her belt, wielding twin silver daggers. She jabbed the constricting forearm and spun the blades on the encroaching brutes.

Each blade found a jugular at once.

The brutes toppled forward, wheezing and hacking. Blood gushed from piercings on their necks. She pivoted, dagger first. A rip of cloth and flesh created a diagonal scar across the torso of the flanking miner.

The large man growled and lunged.

She lodged a dagger in his upper leg. Her open palm ascended into nose cartilage.

The large man staggered, dead before his collapse. His limp body slid the decline of the path.

She turned to the faux Duke, equipped with a dagger of his own.

Both stepped to strike.

The knives clanged against the other. She deflected another blow, and elbowed a riposte. His knife dropped to the ground beside the book. She met his awestruck face with her boot, dislodging his sole tooth. Her small fist hit his bloody jaw… once… twice.

The ‘Duke’ fell upon his back.

She reclaimed his dagger, and staked his wrists into the solid ground.

He wailed and writhed, spat a mixture of blood, saliva, and tooth shards before screaming, “No! You can’t leave me here!”

“Fear not,” she said. “Between your fear and blood, the wolves will find you in no time.” She recollected and bound the book, her perfect offering to dissatisfy and provoke a suspected illiterate.

“You filthy wench,” he snapped.

Settling hair behind her ears, she offered a disturbingly tranquil smile. “The name is Meadow. And I’d probably think about being a bit quieter if I were you. Silence will buy you time. Don’t want to alert the wolves after all.”

Meadow ascended the path beyond the failed ambush and whimpering imposter; her unbridled hair accepting the invitation of the mild breeze.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations published!

Hello everyone!

Apologies for my recess, I know it's been a bit since I've offered a short story morsel for you all to chew on. Insert excuse here.

For those that have missed my tales, I have some great news. The anthology "Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations" has officially been published! And I'm proud to announce my short story "The Funeral Procession" is included! You can find the book for sale at Barnes and Nobles or Amazon. Here's the link.

Dark Tales

Currently I'm working an editing facelift of my ongoing tale, The Cortez Case. Stay tuned for redone segments and new content!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Third (write anything challenge, August 5)

Hi all, this is my two cents for a writing prompt site. Hope you enjoy.

Julie walked into a room full of people. Everything went uncomfortably silent and all eyes narrowed in on her. She crossed the room, taking a seat at the hair and make-up station in the far corner. Sure, don’t talk about this week’s casualty in front of her, she thought. Georgia gave Victoria a smirk and a wink, implying the Julie-bashing would continue at a later time. Hair stylists and make-up artists scurried around the stations. She could hear the crowd through the walls; she could envision the leggy blond hostess in the wings, preparing to commence the show. The dreaded elimination show. Three girls remained. Georgia: a quirky dancer and crowd favorite since the start of the season. The tough childhood neighborhood, the abandonment from her father, the face of overwhelmed graciousness... how could the audience NOT vote for her? Then there was Victoria. Not Vickie. She was not a Vickie. She started dancing at three, no, in diapers… or was it while she was in the womb? Ballet, jazz, tap, ballroom, she’s been trained in them all. What is she now? Contemporary, naturally. She danced a hip-hop routine this week that Julie hoped would finally show a sign of weakness. Of course not. She aced it. The judges loved her. The crowd loved her. Julie was certain the voters at home loved her too. She never performed hip-hop before. Her skills were superhuman.

Victoria asked Georgia in a mutter which of two dance outfits would be a better choice for the finale show. Georgia gave her a ‘not in front of Julie’ face. At least Georgia was still humble. Julie felt her skills were par to Georgia but Julie had not once received the same level of praise from the judges. The head judge declared Georgia his favorite. Julie was never a favorite. She had outlasted seven other girls since the show began, hundreds in the pre-show cuts and tens of thousands in the initial auditions. She should be happy to have come as far as she had. Millions of Americans have helped her get this far. The week before the finals. And here she sat in the company of the two that would best her tonight. Victoria, incredible. Georgia, unstoppable. Julie, vulnerable.

Applause raised then diminished as the blond spoke her first greeting to the audience. In moments, the three girls would be called to the stage. Julie felt like she were preparing for her own execution.

Georgia hugged Julie, “you look beautiful.”

“Thanks,” Julie feigned a smile.

Victoria offered a consoling rub of Julie’s shoulder, “I hope we can still be friends after tonight.”

“Of course, Victoria. Always!” I hope you fall off a bridge, Victoria.

A rap on the door preceded a disembodied male voice. “Ladies, you’re up.”

“Good luck,” Georgia said.

“Break a leg,” Victoria added.

Julie walked in silence. A theater of thousands, several cameras, and the blond host came into view. She squinted as beaming lights of the stage met her eyes. Lights that would highlight every tear that would soon roll down her cheeks.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Second Chance 4 (three word Wednesday - affinity, fidget, mention)

The final installment of the "Second Chance" story. Hope you enjoy and thanks for reading.

Four young teenagers stood in blackness, their faces illuminated by a lone candle fixed in a bronze candlestick atop a centrally located altar.

“Where are we?” The blond girl asked. The thin brunette grinned evilly. The regular boy shrugged. The last boy stared at the three with icy eyes, emotionless. His aura seethed of ominous power.

The plain boy looked from Ellison to the powerful boy, “Well?”

“Interesting predicament, three have died. Three different outcomes,” the boy Death spoke in such a monotone that Russell doubted he truly found the topic interesting.

The brunette folded her arms. Russell again shrugged at Ellison.

Death positioned himself opposite the others. “To hell with you,” he waved his arm.

The brunette descended through the floor slowly, as if succumbing to quicksand. She did not protest or fight, Russell and Ellison watched her departure in amazement.

Ellison finally spoke, “that’s it for Campbell? Why did she just accept her fate?”

Death spoke, “I am returning her from whence she came. Some people are placed on earth to do great things. Others rise only to carry out evil.”

“That explains Hitler and Bin Laden,” Russell thought aloud.

“And Charlie Sheen,” Ellison added.

The emotionless Death continued, “Campbell was sent from hell to carry out a task, and her task was thwarted.”

“Thwarted,” the blonde Ellison squealed, “but, but I’ve been shot!”

Russell lowered his head. All about you, Ellison.

“Campbell was stopped before she got to her intended target,” Death turned his head, “you did well, Russell.”

“My death means nothing?”

Death’s failure to mention, or even acknowledge Ellison irritated her further. He glanced from the candle, back to Russell, “Dr. Peyton Rousseau was the intended target.”

“Doctor… Peyton?” Death spoke of the Hannah Montana clone? She becomes a doctor?

Ellison argued, “Rousseau isn’t her last name, that’s…”

Death interrupted, “Doctors Javier and Peyton Rousseau move to Ghana after medical school. They play a big part in abolishing AIDS in Western Africa.”

“Wow, that’s great,” Russell smiled.

“She marries Javier!?” Ellison scoffed.

“So does that mean I have succeeded what was asked?” Russell looked to the stoic boy with a hopeful expression. He thought he saw Death curling his lip, the faintest indication of a smirk.

“Yes, Russell, you stopped the shooting.”

Ellison’s jaw dropped, “Stop the… helllooo. I’m dead! Doesn’t anyone care I’m dead?”

Death waved his arm again. A glowing circle appeared, levitating over Russell’s head. A feeling of bliss pulsed through Russell’s body.

“The halo will grant you the power to see the light. Go towards the light.”

“What about me?”

Russell stared at his new halo until a bright light appeared over his shoulder.

Ellison fidgeted, wearing a worried expression. “So, one went to hell. One went to heaven. Where’s that leave me,” she cried.

“You’re what we call an Almost.”

“An Almost?”

Russell observed her reaction as the conversation played out similar to the one he shared with Death just days ago. Ellison slumped, facing the candle with an empty stare.

Russell leaned towards her and whispered. She straightened her posture. “Is there anything I can do?”

“I’ll pretend I did not see that,” Death said, “Russell, you are dismissed.”

Russell left Ellison in Death’s hands. The affinity to the soothing glow intensified, overtaking his entire being. He entered the kingdom of Heaven, and the dim room disappeared forever behind him.


Ellison snapped her head back and snorted. She must have dozed off. She examined her surroundings. A stranger sat in the seat to her right. To her left, an aisle separated herself from more strangers. The “room” was a giant sphere with many rows of occupied seats. She wiped her chin, checking for drool.

“What the…”

Her hands were aged, larger, well manicured. A black business suit covered her curvier, heavier, older body.

“I’m, like, old!”

Laughter came from all directions, then ceased with an intercom announcement, “Ladies and gentlemen we have reached our cruising altitude of thirty five thousand feet. Please remain seated while our staff provides a complimentary beverage.”

“We’re on a plane? Wow, never been on one before,” she said, facing the old gentleman alongside her. “Where are we going?”

If an expression could have called her crazy without saying a word, the gentleman wore it.

A long legged stewardess in a short skirt travelled the aisle, stopping at Ellison’s chair. “May I get you a drink,” she asked with an icy stare and monotone voice.