How to sell a Blue Guitar (or not)

Blue Guitar author web

This is an interesting time in my writing/publishing career. I’m making old stuff new again while reviewing my goals and passions to see what still really trips my trigger and where I should focus.

Through the last month, since I unleashed How to Play a Blue Guitar on an unsuspecting world, I’ve struggled to explain what this book actually is.

It’s a standalone book. I deliberately put no self-marketing material inside, not a list of other books I’ve written or edited, not a link to find my blog or join a mailing list, only a reference to which currently gets you an “Under Construction” image. (You tried anyway, didn’t ya?) Continue reading “How to sell a Blue Guitar (or not)”

A dream of light in darkness

a dream of light in darkness

The shortest days of the year are here. Clouds mask what sunshine might come. Darkness or grayness hovers over the land daily. Who stole the sunlight? A malaise has fallen over us, our little band of travelers.

“Oh, bother,” said the one over there, obviously fishing for someone to ask what’s wrong. When no one took the bait, she muttered, “Fine. Don’t bother.”

An undertow of resentment may have rippled through the group, but no one else spoke. Continue reading “A dream of light in darkness”

Seemingly seeming seemly


“It just seems.”


“It just seems. That’s all.”

“Seems like …?”

“Seems like what?”

“You said it just seems.”

“Yes, it does.”

“Seems like what?”

“What are you on about?”

“You said it just seems, and usually when people say that, they finish the sentence.”

“I did.”

“That was the whole sentence?”

“Yes, yes, it was.”

“What did you mean?”

“Does everything have to mean something? Can’t it just seem?”

“Seem like what?”

“Oh, bother! You’re such a nitty-pick.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means what you want it to mean. Leave me alone.”

“Well, this just seems –”

“And there you are!”


A short short story about a man who rested his eyes and woke up as a pod person

rest my eyes

“Just – resting – my eyes … I’ll do it after I – rest – my – eyes –”

He slept, and when he awoke, he was a pod person. His soul had withered and died in the night.

And he lived unhappily ever after.


“What kind of a story is THAT?!”

“Well – it might be a real one. You know the old proverbs about folding your hands for a little sleep …”

“What proverbs are those?”

“Oh, look them up.”

The trope of the horribly wrong

horribly wrong

A nerdy science student is bitten by a radioactive spider. A scientist rescues a kid from a nuclear bomb test site but is irradiated by the explosion. A family tests a spaceship and flies through a gamma-ray cloud.

Scientists try something and it goes horribly wrong. It’s the quintessential superhero origin story. And supervillains, too, come to think. Continue reading “The trope of the horribly wrong”

Hobgoblins on Parade

dinosaur eye web

(With the usual thanks to H.L. Mencken)

He brushed aside the brush and peered into the clearing, not sure he could trust his eyes. Oh, nothing was wrong with his eyes, it’s just that they presented him with a sight that would be unbelievable except for the fact that, undeniably, the sight was there and his eyes were delivering an accurate picture of the clearing.

Plainly, he could see – well, the plain fact was that hobgoblins were swarming.

He couldn’t tell how many there were – after a certain quantity the actual number became irrelevant. It was enough to constitute a swarm, and perhaps five hobgoblins would be enough to subdue the average person. When five is enough, then it didn’t matter whether the clearing contained a platoon, a brigade or a regiment: It was simply more than enough to overcome his solitary soul. He was toast if he entered the clearing. He was toast if they saw him in the underbrush. He was, quite simply, toast. Continue reading “Hobgoblins on Parade”

Interview with a ‘journalist’ who turns out to be a tinker

sleeping dogs lie

“So you sit down every morning and write in your journal.”


“What do you write?”

“I’m not even sure. Most days I just open the book and write anything – a story, a conversation like this one, or thinking about what to publish next or some such.”

“OK, then what? What do you do with what you write?”


“Yeah. What do you do with this stuff?”

“Well — usually I just leave it.”

“You don’t go back and read it?”

“Well, I do …”

“And —”

“Some of it’s pretty interesting. Might be a piece of a novel I’m tinkering with, might be a song lyric or a short story I could flesh out.”

“So – do you do that? Flesh it out? Put it in the novel?”

“Not always. Every now and then. OK, almost never.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know.”

“Yes, you do. Why not?”

“Scared, I think.”

“Scared of what?”

“It won’t be good enough. It’ll be a great idea but I can’t execute, or no one will care.”

“Do you care?”

“Well, sure —”

“Then who cares who cares?”