Timothy "TGC" Villa

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Springfield, Illinois, United States
Version3Point0! I am a writer who aspires to be published. Much of this blog is going to detail the journey I take to get there, but will also feature random thoughts on everything from politics to television and music to books.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Tarnished Crown (A Short Story Complete And For Free)

Here, for free, is the complete short horror story The Tarnished Crown.  It will be available here for an undetermined period of time.  I hope you enjoy it.  Please feel free to comment if you so desire. 



The Tarnished Crown
By Timothy S. Villa




Do not envy he who wears
the tarnished crown atop his head
for surely it is only a matter of time
before he will be dead.
Do not covet the tarnished crown
and keep it from your sight.
To want it for your very own
you'll be dead before this night.
Do not trust the little imp
who does offer you the crown.
To possess it for a second
in hell forever shall you drown.


Jessie took the ax and swung it deep into the midsection of little Billy who was but seven on the day he died.  Billy did not scream or cry as his insides quickly became his outsides.  Jessie quickly dropped to her knees next to the fallen boy, her eyes locked on the prize.

“No,” Billy whispered as she pried his hands free.

“Mine,” she whispered back to him.

“No,” he said back as the life drained from him and pooled on the ground around her knees.

“You should have just given it to me,” she said with a smile.

 Billy laid on his back, the ax still embedded in his stomach, and watched as his babysitter pulled the tarnished crown from his head and then laid it atop her own.  He closed his eyes as then tears began to fall.  He heard the snickering and giggling and managed to move his head slightly to the left.  His eyes traveled into the kitchen and to the table that just a few hours before had been the battleground on which he and Jessie had each vied for the damnable headdress that had cost him his life.  His eyes traveled farther into the room, searching for the source of the noise that while sounding joyful and happy was, in truth, neither.  Finally, seated in the far corner of the room against the Lazy Susan he saw it.  There the disgusting thing sat with its head lolled to the right side, its eyes bulging, and its tongue licking the air all while it pointed at Billy and laughed. 

It was the last thing he saw.


**********


“Four hundred dollars and some change,” Terri said into her phone.

She expected the backlash and outrage she was receiving from her husband on the other end of the line.  She also expected that after the bluster and yelling he'd settle down and ask the real question:  how much was “and some change” exactly?  She almost laughed as the words came mid-sentence.  Almost.

“Sixty five dollars and forty cents,” she said with a huge smile on her face.

Terri turned the wheel and pulled her obscenely expensive SUV into the driveway of the home that just five years earlier they could not afford.  She reached up and pushed the button and waited as the garage door slowly responded to the command and opened up.  She was barely hearing his words and not at all comprehending them.  Terri had long quit caring what the man who shared her last name, her bed, and the parental rights of her child thought about anything.  If he could do as he pleased so could she.  If he wanted to screw around behind her back she could spend as much of his ill-gotten gains as she wanted on whatever her heart desired.  Today her heart desired a black dress that was overpriced, a dress that she would never wear, unless it was to his funeral.  Sure, she would be extremely overdressed and it might look a little tacky to do so, but oh well.  She smiled again as she pulled into the garage and pushed the button again, causing the garage to slowly begin its descent.  In her rear view mirror just before the door completely closed she thought she saw a figure run across the driveway.  She dismissed it as her husband continued his tirade in her ear. 

“Okay, I need to go,” she said as she opened the door and stepped out of the vehicle.  “No, I need to go.  I'm home.  I need to pay the girl and spend some time with my son.”

Terri shut the SUV door and walked to the back where she opened the reach hatch.  Before her laid the bag with the dress, her purse, the groceries she had gotten just a little bit before, and next to that was the present she had decided to get Billy on a whim.  The brand spanking new gaming system that he'd been begging to have since it came out in late December of the previous year.  The two of them had decided to wait and get it for him for Christmas of this year, however things had changed.  If Billy's namesake “needed” to become a common criminal and a philanderer, then she “needed” a new dress  and so too did her son “need” the gaming system.  She suddenly decided she needed a new purse and a pair of heels to go with her “funeral dress”.  Another shopping excursion was on the horizon.  Oh how much fun that would be.  In fact, if she were to get shoes and a purse to go with her dress she now decided her son needed a few more games to go with his console.  At that moment she decided that she'd pay Jessie, maybe even offer to drive her the six blocks home, and then she and Billy would go out for an early dinner and to buy him the games he wanted. 

“William, shut up.  I've heard enough for the rest of my life about my spending.  I'm hanging up.  Oh wait, I got Billy the game too.  THE game, I said.  I can't wait to see his face when I give it to him.  Fuck you and see you next week when you get back,” she said with a giggle. 

Terri hit the end button, dropped the phone into her purse as she placed it on her shoulder, and then grabbed the groceries.  Within a few seconds the groceries and her purse were on the counter in the kitchen.  She put the perishables away and then walked back into the garage and grabbed the dress and game.  Once back inside the house she laid the bag with the game on the kitchen table. 

“Jessie!  Billy!  I'm home,” she yelled as she walked through the dining room and into the foyer.  She instinctively checked the front door, finding it ajar just a crack.  She shut it and locked it before she peeked around the corner into the living room.  She saw neither of them and headed up the stairs.  “Hey guys, I'm back!  Billy get your shoes on and grab a jacket, we're going back out!”

At the top of the stairs she turned left and went into the master bedroom where she laid her dress on the bed.  Her eyes lingered and for a split second she once again saw William and his bloated, fat, flat, ass thrusting up and down.  She heard his hoarse panting drowning out the sounds of the slut who laid under him, drenched in his sweat and gasping for air-not from her own pleasure but from the enormous weight that laid atop her.  She blinked the sight away.  She would not spend another moment this day thinking about the video she had found on his computer two weeks ago.  Not one more.  She and her lawyer had copies, and when the fat, cheating, thieving, sonofabitch was in court with her that would be all it would take to get her everything she wanted.  And everything she wanted was simply anything he wanted.

“Come on kids, we need to get moving,” she yelled.  “Jessie, I can drop you off at home if you want.”

She walked out of the bedroom, and then stopped and went back.  She grabbed the dress from the bed and hung it up inside her closet.  She'd been sleeping in the guestroom since she'd found the video, but this closet was still bigger than any others.  Plus, after the divorce when she was sole owner of the house the bedroom would once again be hers and only hers.  No need to move all of her belongings only to have to move them back.  She'd be more than willing to part with the bed he'd ruined their marriage on though.

Terri walked back into the upstairs hall, past the stairs, and into Billy's room.  It was empty.  She next looked into the guest bedroom, William's office, and into the bathroom.  All were empty.  She headed downstairs deciding they must be in the backyard.  She hoped Jessie had given him his jacket.  For early October it was unseasonably cold out today, and Billy was prone to getting colds quickly when exposed to the elements.  She turned to walk through the living room and back into the kitchen and immediately her eyes were drawn to the brown stain on the carpet.

“What in the hell?”

She felt anger begin to boil up.  She walked over and stared down at the stain, and quickly the anger dissipated and became elation.  A stained and ruined carpet?  Why, she'd just have to hire someone to re-carpet the entire downstairs then.  That was another thing she could accomplish when she got the shoes and purse on Monday while Billy was in school. 

“Thanks kids,” she said as she sidestepped the mess and headed into the kitchen. 

She looked out the window above the sink into the vast backyard and saw Jessie sitting on the swing with her back to the house.  Terri looked to her right and left as far as she could, but didn't see her son.  She walked back into the garage and opened the door that led to the yard.  She stepped outside and scanned the area quickly.  No sign of Billy.  Of course, he could be in his “fort” and she'd never see him until she was bent over and half inside it herself.  He so loved to not respond when called until you were almost inside, at which point he'd yell at you for coming into his area uninvited.

“Jessie?  Is Billy in the fort?”

The girl sat swinging just a little, but did not respond.  Terri walked towards the swing, feeling the cold wind bite into her despite her own light jacket.

“Jessie?  Where's Billy?”

Jessie turned her head a little to the left and nodded.  “In there playing,” she said.

“Thanks,” Terri said, a little irritated as she changed course and headed to the fort.

William had spent hundreds of dollars and dozens of hours building this elaborate play area for Billy in the seven months before Billy was born until he was old enough to crawl.  It was elaborate, and expansive. 

“Back before he left us emotionally,” she heard herself say aloud. 

Terri looked over her shoulder to see if Jessie had heard her speaking to herself, but the teenager was still sitting on the swing.  Terri now saw there was something in the girl's lap, but couldn't make out what it was.  She also appeared to be wearing an old piece of metal on her head.  Terri walked the rest of the way to the fort and knelt down on one knee before the door.  She knocked.

“Knock knock, Billy.  I'm gonna open the door.  We need to go out for a bit.  I'm thinking dinner wherever you want.  I hope you're not too dirty or else it will be shower time first.”

She waited a few seconds and then turned the handle.

“I bet you're wondering what's on Jessie's head, ain't ya Terri?”

The high-pitched sing-song voice came from her right.  She whipped her head in that direction instantly, but saw nobody and nothing.  She looked back at Jessie, who was now standing facing her.  Terri wasn't sure, but she thought the girl had one of the mallets from their croquet set.  It was slung over her shoulder.

“Jessie, did you say something?”

“Nope, not me.”

Terri turned her head back to the door, figuring she had probably heard her son talking to himself as he played inside.  She went to turn the handle and stopped.  She slowly turned her head back to the girl.  For the first time she truly noticed the item atop her head, sitting so pretty and looking so fragile.  Jessie's golden curls fell from under it and landed on her shoulders.  In the afternoon sunlight Terri thought the item looked as beautiful as anything she had ever seen, far too beautiful for the little girl who wore it.  It was a crown, placed gently on Jessie's head, albeit slightly askew.  It was tarnished, but clearly it was a golden crown.  Her evening plans forgotten momentarily, Terri stood up and took a step towards the babysitter.  That was no way at all to treat something so beautiful.  It needed to be properly cleaned up and worn by someone who would respect it.  Someone who was old enough, smart enough, and good-looking enough to understand what it meant.  Certainly not by this girl who didn't even have it placed firmly on her head like a majestic item such as this deserved.

“What's that?”

“Nothing.”

Terri smiled as she slowly walked towards Jessie.

“She's lying to ya, Terri,” the sing-song voice spoke again.  “She's lying because she knows she shouldn't have it.  She doesn't want you to take it from her, does she?”

“Come on Jessie, tell me what it is.”

Jessie shook her head slowly from side to side, her eyes never leaving Terri's face.  Terri, however, couldn't stop looking at the crown.  As Jessie shook her head it wobbled just a little.  Terri watched, scared deep inside that it would come loose from its precarious perch and fall to the ground, something that was unthinkable.  She stopped ten steps in front of the girl.  Her hands went to her pockets and she gripped the car and house keys she had slipped into her left pocket when she got out of the car.  She placed the larger car key in between her first and middle finger and made a fist as she pulled her hand from her pocket.

“Jessie Madison, I am an adult and I am telling you that you have to tell me what that is right now,” she said in her sternest of adult voices.

“I'm seventeen,” Jessie said.  “I'm an adult too.”

“Make the little whore tell you, Terri.  Oh wait,” The voice asked in a whisper.  “Is that her, Terri?  Is she the slut?” 

Terri looked hard at Jessie.  She looked at the blonde hair and her mind went back to the video.  The female underneath her husband in her own bed had blonde hair.  Terri remembered it vividly from the sex video William had made.  The girl stood before her in shorts that were too short, a skintight, practically see through, white, t-shirt that said “Pink” on the front, and flip flops.  She had make-up slathered all over her little immature face.  She was dressed like a little seventeen year old temptress.  Everything about her was practically screaming “look at me, I'm young and you can have me because I'm also cheap”.  Terri looked at Jessie's legs, and again her mind returned to the video.  The legs that jutted out from under fat William looked an awful lot like the skinny little legs before her. 

“She might just be, might she not?”  It asked again.

“Tell me what's on your head, Jessie, or so help me God.”

“Or what?  What will you do, Terri?”

The way Jessie said her name was full of disdain.  The way she looked and sneered at her, filled with contempt and lack of respect.  Her husband was such a cliché.  He had slept with the babysitter, hadn't he?  He had made a video of himself doing the seventeen year old tramp babysitter that had been watching their only child for the last two years.  Jesus.  This seventeen year old little girl that was barely out of braces and a training bra was fucking her husband and had ruined her marriage.  And now, to add insult to injury, the girl wouldn't answer Terri's questions.  This little girl was treating Terri as if she was the one doing something wrong.

“I'll take it off your head however I have to.”

“Sure you will, bitch.”

“It really was you, wasn't it?  You're the one.  I'm not being paranoid or stupid, you really are the one, aren't you?  I'm going to kill you and then I'm going to take that away from you, you undeserving little slut.” 

There was no emotion in Terri's voice.  Inside she was seething with hatred, but the words came out calm, slow, and perfectly sure of what she said.

Jessie laughed and the mallet on her shoulder dropped and thudded head first to the grass.  Terri's eyes followed the head and focused in.  It wasn't a mallet it was an ax and, more than likely, the one that William kept in the garage.  But William kept other things in the garage.  He also kept something in the bedroom closet under his old clothes he couldn't fit into anymore.  Terri smiled and backed away from Jessie and towards the garage, never taking her eyes off of the girl.  Somewhere between where she had been and the garage door, the keys absentmindedly fell from her hand and were lost in the backyard.  She walked into the garage and then ran through it and into the house.  She ran through the kitchen, past the long forgotten stain on the living room carpet, up the stairs, and into the master bedroom closet where she started rifling through Williams skinnier clothes.  She had the gun in her hand as she heard the door from the garage to the kitchen slam shut.  She was opening the box with the ammunition as the small little figure leaped from the bed into the closet and then up onto the shelving above her head.  She was loading the gun as she heard the ax head thudding on the steps.

“She'll be here soon, Terri,” the high pitched voice said from above her.  “She's gonna take the ax and chop you up into little itty-bitty tough titty said the kitty pieces, ain't she?  She's going to move into your house and raise your son, I bet.  She'll be the one to fuck your husband and take your place then, ain't she?  The little slut's already left her nasty stains on your bed, now she's going to take your life.  Oh Terri, I bet behind your back she's been telling Billy that she's his new mommy now.  Hasn't she?  Hasn't she?”

Terri turned her head up and looked into the face of the thing perched on the highest shelf of her closet.  The thing that was little more than the size of one William's shoes, with its disgusting little face, sat up there smiling and nodding as if to say it was right and they both knew it.  The gray little monstrosity that was suddenly the only one in the world that was on her side closed his red eyes, pointed one of his misshapen hands with only two fingers towards the door, and continued to nod to her. 

She spat out the words, hatred filling every consonant and vowel that spewed from her mouth.

“Like hell she will.  I'm gonna kill her and then I'm taking what's on her head.  And then,” but she turned her head back to the door of the closet as she heard the footfalls on the hardwood floor of the bedroom.

“Get her, Terri, get her and get the crown,” it whispered from above.  “It should be yours anyway, shouldn't it?  You're the queen of your castle, not this little home wrecking bitch.  Get it Terri.  Get her.”

Terri felt a wave of calm sweep over her.  On the floor she saw the shadow come into view.  She saw it before she saw the girl.  She smiled and raised the gun.  She had never shot one before, but she knew how it worked.  Didn't everyone?  When Jessie was in view Terri squeezed the trigger.

Click.

She squeezed again. 

Click.

Again.

Click.

Damn it.

Again. Again. Again.

Click.  Click.  Click.

She was asking herself what had happened and what she had forgotten as Jessie smashed her in the face with the ax head, breaking her nose.  Blood spilled everywhere and white hot light exploded in her head as she fell to her knees.  The gun slipped from her hand as she grasped her face. 

“You don't deserve it,” Jessie said from above her.

Terri looked up and saw the girl holding the gun.  Somehow it was now in her hand, aimed at her face.  Terri saw the ax still gripped in her left hand, the head resting on the ground.  Worst of all, Terri saw it now perched on Jessie's head seating within the crown.  The beautiful crown.

“She's still thinking about it.  Your crown.  Are you going to let her take it?  Or are ya going to do whatever it takes to keep it?”  It was now talking to the girl.  It had forsaken Terri. 

Jessie stared right into Terri's eyes, unblinking and unwavering.

“I'm going to kill you just like I did Billy,” she said.

Despite the pain, despite the longing and wanting for the crown, Terri heard her son's name.  She felt the tears come then, but she was unable to do anything but stare at the beautiful, tarnished, crown.

Its high pitched laugh filled the closet.  “Don't forget the safety, Jessie.  Don't be a dummy dumb dunce like she was.” 

Jessie didn't forget.

Terri was vaguely aware of the wet, soft, thumping noise as she then laid on the floor and watched the ax raise up, come down hard, raise up wet blood dripping, and come down hard over and over.  Her eyes were on the tarnished crown.  It never fell from Jessie's head. 

Its laughter was the last thing Terri heard.

Jupiter Mars, The Tarnished Crown, and Future Plans

Yesterday I updated this blog for the first time in roughly five months.  Yesterday I also posted, for free, the first three "chapters" in the first Jupiter Mars story.  JM has been in existence as an idea for two years and one month, and what I posted yesterday has been written, although HEAVILY revised more times than I care to try and count, for twenty two months roughly.  If you were to go back to February or March of 2012, you would see the exact post where I started the writing of the "book".

(I am using quotation marks here because plans have changed and I am going to do something I never thought I'd do in the coming months.)

Over the summer, while off of work dealing with my bladder cancer, I wrote six short stories, two of which were submitted to horror anthologies for publication.  One made it a few rounds into the process and that was all before it was rejected.  The other, The Tarnished Crown, I am still, believe it or not, waiting to hear back from six plus months later.  In December I started a horror novel that sits at 40k words roughly on the first draft and might be one of the most gruesome things I've ever written, although the horror short I'm With The Band I wrote this summer/fall is a close second.

I turned 42 on December 12th of last year.  I should be farther along with this,  I made myself promise after promise and goal after goal.  I never met any of them.  While I was so very pleased with the process of the horror novel WIP, I've hit a wall and writing has fallen off.  I started doing some work on JM again on Friday, and I have a plan as mentioned above, but I should be farther, I know this.  I should have something out there to sell or at least be ready to go with something for sale.  I look at my shorts and wonder if I should release all of them, whether bundled or individually, but doing so requires the money to get a cover at the very least made for e-book release.  I don't have that right now.  If I do something myself, and as every indie author knows this is a very doable possibility, I worry at the shitness of what I will create,  If I want to be as professional as I truly want to be, then I also need to get someone to do the professional editing and professional formatting that I need.  All of which, again, costs money that is not free and clear to me at the moment.

Another thing I worry about it do I release the horror works under a pseudonym or do I release JM under it?  Once upon a time I would have kept everything under my name, the name on this blog, but now I worry about releasing JM which is more YA under the same name as my horror work, which is so very adult.  Just a side note here.

So yesterday, really on a whim, I decided to post the first three "chapters".  I was curious what might happen. The numbers on this blog are not now nor have they ever been what I would call high.  People seem to find me from all over the world and they read the rambling stuff I post.  I don't know how someone in Singapore finds me, but they do.  I'm happy with that.  I understand where a lot more of my traffic comes from (FB, Twitter, and a few other social media forums I do or once did participate in) and I understand that segment of my audience.  Whether I update or not, I seem to get around 30-50 views a week.  Not all unique.  Some from the same people over and over again.  Since I posted the "chapters" of JM I have roughly 120 views, over half of them specifically on the new content from yesterday and half of them unique views.  Which means since it was posted at least 30 people might have taken the time to read the excerpt from JM.  Possibly thirty people who, maybe maybe maybe times infinity, might be intrigued enough to purchase JM in the coming months.  I like that maybe might possibility quite a lot.

Here's the plan:


  1. Today I am going to post, again on here and again for free, a complete short story from the six I wrote this summer.  It will go up for free for an undetermined period of time.  
  2. In the next 3-4 months I am going to release that horror collection onto Kindle for sure.  I am still undecided if I wish to go KDP Select or go ahead and release the thing all over the place.  That means in the next 2-3 months I need to find someone to do a cover for me that will go with it.  On this I am looking at going cheaper, although I can not imagine doing it myself.  I will keep the editing and formatting in house (meaning I won't be paying for a professional editor and/or formatter.)
  3. In the next 4-5 months I will be releasing the first part of JM.  I'm looking at serializing it, as it is so big and unwieldy I can't seem to break it down enough to get it into a size that would make me happy for a single novel release.  This I want the whole enchilada on, but a lot of that is going to be how much, if any, I can make on the horror collection as I plan to put all of that potential income into getting future releases ready and properly covered, edited, and formatted.
  4.  The plan then is to release another part of JM every 1-3 months until the first "novel" is finished, and then collect them all into one way to big first volume.  
  5. Three and four are subject to change if I am able to crack the problem I have of the damn thing being so big.
  6. In the next 6-8 months I want to release the horror novel I have over half done, again with professionally done everything.  


I do not expect to make a living doing this.  I never have.  I do not expect that I will be able to walk into work in the next year and quit, allowing me to write full-time (although how nice would that be?).  I just want to be out there.  I simply want to give others, whoever and wherever they may be, a chance to have a few hours of enjoyment from something I created.  I'm not writing any great American novels, I gave that idea up a long time ago.  I am simply writing speculative fiction with an eye towards entertaining.  That I can accomplish.

Sometime today The Tarnished Crown will go up here on this blog live, for free, until I take it down.  It is an adult horror story, and as such it is filled with adult themes, language, and visuals.  You have been warned.

Friday, August 16, 2013

If You Could Read My Mind: a Short Horror AnthologyIf You Could Read My Mind: a Short Horror Anthology by S.A. Hunt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wanted to go through the "nine" short stories inside and look at them all individually, thus supporting my *** review, which is actually closer to 3.5*s.

-Talent Show is the tale of an Artificial Intelligence.  I don't want to say much, mainly because the more i say I think the more that is taken away from the story.  It is a nice little story that works best, I think, going in blind.  The one fault I found with it was the decision to write it in first person.  Doing such requires the narrator (and our protagonist) to explain thew world she lives in in such a way that does not ring true.  She explains things that seem unnecessary and yet are almost integral to understanding the story.  Just a personal opinion, but it felt that it would have benefited the story were it told in third person.  Rating:  ****.5

-Police Transcript is the second story, and I must admit I was so unable to engage with this story that I quit reading it.  Three attempts to go back to it gave me the same result and feelings.  I didn't like the format (although it was inventive) and I think that was the majority of my problem.  Rating:  *

-That Terrible Thing was a really well written, creepy, tense little story that ultimately left me unfulfilled.  Either i missed something, or the basis for the title was never revealed.  I will readily admit it simply might have gone over my head, but I don't think that was the case.  In any event, S.A. Hunt was able to convey the tension and dread within the words in such a way that I actually got goosebumps a time or two.  I started out thinking we had a haunting type of story, and it was that, just not like I anticipated.  I want to rate this one *****, but alas I can't.  Rating:  ****

-Muppets was fun, alarming, and over the top all at the same time.  Another story where I won't divulge anything at all about, other than it is a descent into madness that actually made me laugh out loud twice while also being terribly frightening.  Well done.  Rating:  *****

-Traphouse is another of the tales where it was superb (and actually if I am correct connects with the second to last story in the collection) but the end left a lot to be desired.  I didn't feel we ever really got a proper resolution for one, nor that I ever understood why anyone in the story with the exception of the husband did anything they did.  Unsatisfying at best.  Rating:  **

-Chimneysweep was superb.  Much like Muppets, it was fun, silly, and over the top, but just horrifying enough to make it's inclusion in this tale make perfect sense.  No spoilers at all, but it wound up being my favorite story in the book I think.  Rating:  *****

-Pocket Change is the antithesis of Chimneysweep for me.  I finished this one, and the idea is even a good one, but there was nothing about the execution or the characters I liked.  Rating:  *

-The Hidden is the final, and by far the longest as it takes up about 30% of the book alone, story in the book.  It is also the one that is the most scary and unsettling.  It is the tale of a man who works in a psychiatric hospital and the "are they or are they not supernatural" events that transpire, all of them linked to a young female patient locked in a room by herself.  While the story didn't need a few elements it contained, and at least one character shows up, acts like a caricature, and then disappears all the while adding nothing of note or substance, it was all in all well told and very intriguing.  There is a minor fail at the end with the structure of the novel and the tense chosen, but it doesn't destroy the integrity of the story at all.  I just find myself thinking things through maybe a tad too much.  Loved this one overall.  Rating:  ****.5

-Dry Leaves is actually an excerpt from S.A. Hunt's full length novel "The Whirlwind In The Thorn Tree".  I have purchased that book but have yet to read it, and as such I did not want to read what is called "Chapter Twenty-Seven" here.  I passed it, but because of the reasons I said nothing to do with content.  As such, I am only counting the eight previous shorts in my final review.

4*s, or as I said above closer to 3.5, is not an indictment of the book at all.  I think it is better than average when it comes to other horror anthologies or short story collections I have read.  I heartily recommend the book and look forward to reading the full length novel from S.A. Hunt.  I also wouldn't mind a follow-up to The Hidden at some point.  Well done.


View all my reviews

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Short Story Saturday Times Two

Apparently that's the way it's going.

Last weekend I sat down on Friday afternoon after I had (admittedly) a weak poem starting to run through my head and began a short story titles The Tarnished Crown, a 3600 word short story. Yesterday I sat down and started a story titled The Last Will And Testament Of Carter Johnson, a 3800 word short story.  I came up with this story as I laid in falling asleep on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights.  Thursday I mind wrote the opening two paragraphs before I dozed off.  Friday morning after a few hours of waking, drinking my coffee, and getting my day started I wrote out those first couple of paragraphs, working on it off and on as the day went and the ending of the tale finally came to me.  It was finished last night around 7pm.  This afternoon I finished the rewrite and, barring any massive changes that come to me, it's complete.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Short Story WILL Be Available For Purchase, Sooner Than Later

Yesterday I began a short story based on the first few lines of a poem or song that was going through my head:

Do not envy he who wears
the tarnished crown atop his head
for surely it is only a matter of time
before he will be dead.
Do not covet the tarnished crown
and keep it from your sight.
To want it for your very own
you'll be dead before this night.



There's more to it now, but at the time I (roughly) had these few lines running through my head.  I sat down at the computer and started writing.  A few hours later I had to leave to run to the store to get some things for dinner, but I felt confident that I had something that was workable and something that I kind of liked.

This morning I sat back down and started working on it again, and by nine it was done.  The final count, after a third revision, is 3,681 words.  I'm pleased with it.  I've sent it out to a few of my new beta readers (since older beta readers are gone from my life or simply never read what they said they would to begin with) and in the next week it's going to be submitted to an anthology book.  Odds are pretty high it won't be accepted, but I've decided that's okay.  If/when it's not included* then I am going to release this one myself.  For sure it's going to wind up as an e-book short on Kindle, and possibly other formats as well.  I've sent out feelers for potential artists to work on the cover for a percentage of all revenue made from the story in the single format with the use of that cover for the duration of time that cover is used as well.  Once I've gone that route, assuming I go that route and it's not bought for the anthology, then I'll have to figure out how to adjust the blog here so that I can feature permanent links to the sites that will be selling either the single e-book short or the anthology itself.  

Long story short, something will be available with my name on it for sale sooner than later, and oddly enough it is a short story that two days ago didn't even exist at all.  

Feeling good.



*  I'm staying positive, more or less, as I said "if/when it's not included" and not just "when it's not included".  Go me.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cancer Sucks...But It's A Hell Of A Motivator

Quite the title, huh?

I had/have Cancer.

If anyone wondered where I'd disappeared to (and I'm sure I have one or two people left who might drop by and check this place out every so often still (and apparently I have had 176 page views in the last 47 days so I guess I do)) go back and read the second paragraph of this post.  Better yet, I'll just repeat myself.

I had/have Cancer.  Bladder Cancer to be exact.  Aggressive T1 Bladder Cancer to be more exact.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Review Of "This Book Is Full Of Spiders" by David Wong

The sequel to John Dies At The End, This Book Is Full Of Spiders, starts out much as the entire first book was. That being, it is kind of crazy, kind of dirty, kind of silly, and full of dick and fart jokes. In fact, the first roughly 100 pages is this way. And I loved it. Then something happened and changed that we didn't see happen in the first book. I don't want to give anything away, as this is not mentioned in the blurbs for the book and really the only way you'd know of it was if you read other people's reviews, but suffice it to say that the book becomes not at all like the first one. For wont of a better way to describe it spoiler free, This Book Is Full Of Spiders becomes a bit more mature. This holds true until roughly the last 80 pages when it reverts to the zany, crazy, dirty, dick and fart jokes oddness of the first book and the first 100ish pages of this book. 

Confused? Don't be. The book makes perfect sense, it's just that the flow of the book is a major issue for me. It is not confusing but it really feels like two very different books merged and melded and forced to co-exist in one. As such, it feels a little out of sync with itself at points. But that's a minor quibble really, and one that did not massively affect my enjoyment.

And that's it, I guess. I really enjoyed the book. It was very good, it was just kind of not what I was expecting at all. That's not bad, in fact in some ways that is great. Not all great here though. I went into this wanting something very distinct, and what I got was not quite what I wanted. That was jarring, and as such I think it affected my OVERALL enjoyment of the book. 

If you read the first book then there are no spoilers here. John, Amy, Molly, and of course (not) Dave are all back for another round of adventures. Along the way we meet Anna, Carlos, Detective Falconer, Dr. Tenet, and a host of other characters, some as memorable as the bunch in JDATE and some who are forgettable five minutes after you meet them. You'll have that with any book (or movie) though. The ones that matter, the ones that you come/came to care about are well fleshed out, and in some cases more fleshed out that they ever were (or could have been) in JDATE. 

The plot to TBIFOS is far simpler in many ways to the convoluted, rolling, mess of a plot in JDATE. This one has a more standard plot versus the free range all over the place many smaller stories building into a major plot of JDATE, and that's maybe a good thing. 

If you've never read the first book, don't fret, this book is very accessible and easy to follow, and any and all pertinent data you need from book one is revealed, but for the most part the book is very stand alone. 

All in all, I enjoyed This Book Is Full Of Spiders far less than I enjoyed John Dies At The End, but I heartily recommend them both to people who are not super uptight and can enjoy madcap zaniness, dick and fart jokes (always dick and fart jokes), and surreal Lovecraftian types of horror mixed with insane levels of silliness.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Progress Again

95,377

That's where Jupiter Mars currently stands.  It also, I think, currently stands at just about finished.  Well, the first draft at least.  I think I know where I plan to stop it (and that's the more correct way of saying it.  It's not so much an ending as an ending to this book, I guess.  If that makes sense to anyone other than myself?)

I'm excited and scared and nervous and happy all wrapped into one.  This will be a tremendous place to be, once it is wrapped up, but it's also a damn scary place to be.  After this comes a mild rewrite, nothing too major just cleaning up some issues I know exist, and then I will find and hire an editor and go from there.  I've never been this far into the process before, and so much of me is screaming inside to stop and scrap it because it can't be any good and it must suck.  I am fighting that with all I have though.  Jupiter Mars will be completed, it will move forward to the next steps, and it will see the light of published day.  I've come to far to stop.

I give it a year TOPS before I can sit here at this keyboard and use this blog to announce a release date.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Progress

I obsess over shit.  It's what I do a lot of the time.  I can't help it, it's just part of who I am and how I'm wired I guess.

87,931

That is the total number of words thus far on Jupiter Mars (which does once again have a working title other than just the name of the character).  The characters in this novel are speaking to me again and that is good.  Realizing that if I want this first novel to be what it was originally intended to be it will be massively too massive and not sure what to do about is not so good.  I'd have to say that if I go with my original ending I had planned then I am looking at a book that is going to be 150,000 words more or less.  That's too long.  As such, obsessing I was/am over how to get this thing at a more reasonable 100,000-110,000 words.  I think I have it almost worked out (I THINK) but who the hell knows.

I obsess over shit way too much.

It's 2:45am (in the many a long months since I properly updated this thing regularly I have found myself back on a night shift) and it is time to go to bed methinks.  I might read a little more on This Book Is Full Of Spiders by David Wong (the sequel to John Dies At The End), but more than Likely I will go crawl into bed and obsess some more.  It's what I do and I think it's just a part of who I am and how I'm wired.

Night.

Monday, April 29, 2013

More Or Less A Review Of The Dark Tower IV: Wizard And Glass

Ever since I watched The Stand miniseries, my favorite adaptation of any of King's works, I've had the voice and look of Jamey Sheridan in my head whenever I read or think of Randall Flagg. I think that will always be the case until the day that I die. That's not necessary for this, I just felt like sharing.