Tag Archives: Tammy Salyer

“Mildred” – new tale of psychologcial suspense available FREE on 7/8/14

My new novelette of psychological suspense “Mildred” will be available in Kindle format for FREE at Amazon on 7/8/14:
SYNOPSIS: A diary, noises from the attic, a resident cat, and piles and piles and piles of boxes cast shadows over Josephine as she digs through her new home and discovers the disturbing circumstances surrounding her purchase of the place.


Promotional Video Trailer:


Mildred Coverart (final)

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Posted by on July 7, 2014 in Mildred, News


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Are ghosts real? Do houses have personalities?

Have you ever seen a ghost? Really seen one? Me, I’m not so sure. Once when I was very very young I saw a dark furry shape with a face floating above my bed. I can remember it looking down on me. I stood on my bed and tried to touch it, but couldn’t reach. Then I ran to my parent’s bedroom. They told me not to worry about it and go back to bed. Eventually I did and whatever I had seen was gone (though I remember it was still there the first time I ventured back). Who knows? It wasn’t traumatic or anything, but I still remember the experience.

Preliminary Sketch

Preliminary Sketch

There was another time, also sort of innocuous. I was living in a house with some friends, but working a midnight shift at this job I had so I had to sleep during the day. At least once, I remember sort of being half-asleep and hearing these footsteps walking around above me. Previous to living in this house, I had stayed in my parent’s basement for a few years so I was used to hearing noises above me. However, when I eventually woke more fully, I realized that the house I was currently staying in had no upstairs — only an attic. It was a curious thing and one or two other people who lived there with me said they had also heard footsteps from rooms where nobody was.

When my friend bought the house it was filled with tons and tons of junk. Bags of clothes, lots of furniture and boxes and boxes of products. There were numerous collections of things in amounts that nobody could reasonably keep. I had never seen so much stuff piled into one place. Whenever you move into some old house, you can’t help but wonder about the lives of the people who lived there before you. It must be some innate human characteristic that makes us want to learn about the past. Perhaps it relates to our oral traditions and story telling and gives us a certain perspective on life. Anyway, all this seemed like good fodder to plant some seeds in my brain with, and see if I couldn’t develop a fictional story out of it.

I made one early attempt at this in a sort of flash fiction version which I submitted to a writing class. Then it sat on my computer and gathered electronic dust. However the notion stuck with me, as good ideas tend to do. Some writers keep an “idea” journal and write down story ideas they come up with in flashes of inspiration to save for a rainy day. I do that sometimes. However, I believe Stephen King (and others) said that good ideas, the really good ones, will stay with you. Your mind won’t let you forget those. In any case, the elements of setting from my real life experience did keep bouncing around in my head. So when I got back into writing I decided I would take those ideas out and really work through them to come up with a more full story.

I thought about living in a house owned by a hoarder. What stories did such a house have? Who had lived there before and what was their life like? How does a house get so full of junk? What happens when the owner is gone, but the stuff remains? Then if you start to add in questions about the spirit world, things get even more interesting. Do houses have personalities?  Do owner’s shape a house’s spirit? Are our lives tied in with our homes or are they just dead material vessels where we dwell for a certain period of time? What is the difference between a “house” and a “home”. That one is really interesting. The word “home” is a very special word and sacred word. It implies not only a physical place, but a state of being. The archetype of the home is really an early concept where life is imbued into something that is seemingly not alive.

All interesting and classic tropes. So i set to it and put together another novelette to tie all these things together and give my particular take on them. Like my other fictional works outside fantasy and science fiction, this story gets more into the psychological suspense genres. I find it interesting to get inside people’s minds and uncover their motives and beliefs and a crises of conscious is usually pretty good way to do that. Even when the point of view for a story is only from a single person you can still read motives and beliefs from other characters through their actions and what they say (even when they are lying). So my next release is going to be about this. It’s a completely fictional tale, but a fun one.

Soundtrack In My Head: When I wrote this story I listened exclusively to Pink Floyd. The specific songs were: One of These Days, A Pillow of Winds, Fearless, and Echoes all off the Meddle album. I also listened to Shine On You Crazy Diamond Pts 1 & 2 (Wish You Were Here) and Comfortably Numb (The Wall). Just the right mood for wiggling my fingers in between some loose boards I found separating the many plains of existence.

Talent: I’ve tapped into the old gang again. The compatriots in my writing group helped to vet this work (“The Southland Scribes) as they usually do. I also manged to get my ongoing cover artist Daniel Gracey (I’ve included a rough draft of the preliminary sketchwork for the cover above) to do some cover art, and Tammy Salyer for the editing. Lastly, Craig Knitt signed on once more to put together a promotional book trailer with John Doyle scoring a soundtrack. A professional group through and through. I’m very lucky to work with them.

Well, that’s all for now.

Stay tuned for more updates and the release of “Mildred” a tale of psychological suspense.



Posted by on May 24, 2014 in Articles, Mildred, News


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Where do stories come from? (proper care and storage of ideas)

When I released my first science fiction story “The Energy Scavengers” I already knew there would be another. The world those characters came from begged to be explored. Much like the human-built rover Calvin was meant to do, I yearned to explore the vast, bleak canyon system of the Junk Valle. And like the strange Arkheion, I had many questions. I also knew, I was going to sit on that thought awhile, for I had other ideas to venture through and most of them had nothing to do with the planet 33 Pegasi ZZ.

Also, I was initially hesitant to put more time into the “robot world” because I was really not sure how people would receive it. There were no humans at all in that story. A decision I was adamant about, but one I wasn’t sure I could pull off successfully. Don’t get me wrong I was very proud of the work and thought it one of my best accomplishments thus far. The reviews on Amazon were encouraging and as of this writing the story holds 4 out of 5 stars. Even recently the work continues to pop back up in Amazon’s Top 100 Free Science Fiction Short Stories now and again. I’ve tried to keep it free to garner interest and the strategy seems to be working. It’s been over a year since the release, and after a thousand (free) downloads I sort of stopped keeping track.

Over all that time, there was one thought in my mind that remained perpetually stuck in that machine-world. A singular notion. A concept really. And a name. I wondered about all those robots abandoned by their creators. I worried for them. What happened when they roamed out a little too far from known power sources, when they wandered beyond the canyons? I also wondered if the nefarious collective known as “The Body” was the only game in town.

Then an idea popped into my head (probably while showering since that’s where the good ones seem to originate for some reason). When you have an idea, a solid idea — you know it. It strikes you in nearly the same way a favorite song might on that first occasion you hear it and find some deeper personal meaning behind the words and chords. I’ve heard and read other artists (actual successful ones) talk about this. When inspiration hits you like a lightning bolt and things just come together all at once. Musicians will talk about how they wrote and recorded a song in one session completely off the cuff and then how that song actually went on to be one of their greatest successes. Black Sabbath has said that one of their biggest hits, the song “Paranoid” was written this way.

Prelim Sketch

Prelim Sketch

So I had this singular idea, I imagined this benevolent sentient machine floating high in the thermals watching over the robot world. Its mesh-like wings made entirely of simple energy collecting material. The machine would fly around and occasionally drop down on waylaid robots and impart its blessing of free energy; without stealing or fighting or bargaining. A direct contrast to the savage scavenger economics playing out in the canyon system among the rogue robots. This was also certainly at odds with The Body’s philosophies. I got a name out of the idea too: “The One Who Turned Them On.” I knew pretty quickly this would be the title, and I worried that people might get the wrong idea, but decided they would know exactly what they were in for when they saw the cover.

That was it. Just the idea of a mysterious and benevolent giving robot and its name. That was all I had, but I knew it would be enough. When you get those rare moments of inspiration you can just feel the ends of threads dangling loosely inside your brain–waiting for you to tug on them and find out where they go. The idea just sort of builds on itself and you feel like you’re following along and uncovering a story rather than shaping it. This reminds me of the great sculptor, Michelangelo, who talked about “revealing” the characters hidden within the stones he carved. You can see evidence of this in some of his unfinished figures: The Prisoners.

However, what do you do when you have (or think you have) a great idea, but you’re not ready to explore it? Well, I kept it at bay. I tried to not let myself think about it too much, because I didn’t want to lose the heart behind it before I actually got around to writing it. At the time, I was involved in other ideas and stories so I didn’t want to constantly be dividing and subdividing my attention until my progress slowed to a stand still. So, I wrote down the idea and a few notes to go with it and saved it for later. If another idea crept up at an inopportune time I’d just go add the notion to my “idea file” and save it for later. It felt a little risky at the time, because I have some “idea files” that are years and years old that have never amounted to anything (as of yet).

However, it paid off. I saved the idea and wrote a bunch of short stories and some longer works. Then when the time was right, I returned to 33 Pegasi ZZ. I put on my headphones and punched up some Radiohead on itunes and found the old playlist that I used to write for the first The Energy Scavengers story: The Pyramid Song, A Punch Up At A Wedding (No No No No No No No No No), We Suck Young Blood (Your Time Is Up), The Gloaming (Soflty Open Our Mouths In The Cold) and a few other favorites off “Hail to the Thief” and “Amnesiac.” I had listened to that playlist on repeat (over and over again) the last time I wrote in that world and had basically tried to avoid it until I wrote there again. The strategy worked, for I’ve completed another story in that vein. A continuation in The Energy Scavengers series.

To assist me, I enlisted the help of my writing group “The Southland Scribes,” to vet the work. Then I rehired my ongoing cover artist Daniel Gracey and the editor from my last story Tammy Salyer. All of whom are very professional to work with and great at giving prompt attention to your needs (can’t recommend them enough). For a sneak preview of things to come, I’ve included a rough draft of the preliminary sketchwork for the cover. In working with all these great people and doing all the writing, editing, rewriting, and all the other non-writing stuff that comes with releasing your own material, I’m having a new appreciation for the help I get.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll be providing more updates as I ready for the promotion and release stage.

Stay tuned for more updates on “The One Who Turned them On (The Energy Scavengers II).

The robots keep rolling, keep treading, keep digging, keep scavenging…..


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New Story Coming Out Very Soon…

After a long absence of furious writing on various works-in-progress, I am finally readying to publish another short story. Unlike my previously released novelettes this will be a work of “suspenseful” fiction. The tale involves a private investigator, who finds himself in an unusual moral dilemma. Target Release: June 1, 2013

"Overtime in the Woods" (preliminary sketchwork and layout)

“Overtime in the Woods”
(early sketch)

Once again, Daniel Gracey of G2 Comics is the man to breathe visual and stunning life into the story and characters I’ve created. I’ve included a VERY preliminary sketch to give a taste of things to come. Wait until you see the vibrant and vivacious cover in all its colors.

Other things to look forward too are a spectacular book trailer by Craig Knit (Out of Whack Productions) with music composed and performed by John Doyle of the metal band: I Decline. Always expect great things from these guys.

Also, I’ve decided to take my writing even more serious by engaging Tammy Salyer (Inspired Ink) for copyediting and proofreading. She was awesome to work with, very responsive and professional.


Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Overtime in the Woods


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