Thursday, December 18, 2014

A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE?

Christmas is a time for joy and reflection, a time to give thanks for all those you love for being in your life. But for many, it's a bittersweet holiday season because of the loss of someone they love.

"Christmas Bells" is one man's story of pain and heartbreak. His wife and children have been gone for many years, yet he has stoically "soldiered on" with his duties as lighthouse keeper. But now, he makes a discovery that brings home the full desolation of his existence. He has lost his family forever, and he's ready to die.

But footprints in the snow alert him to the fact that intruders have trespassed the grounds this Christmas morning. One final act of duty to perform before he puts an end to his own misery. He must confront the trespassers directly, for he has nothing else left to live for.

"Christmas Bells" is one of the short stories in the anthology "No Place For Mercy," available at Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/No-Place-Mercy-Eclectic-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00MT4CEZY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408880205&sr=1-1&keywords=no+place+for+mercy

Monday, October 27, 2014

FEAR OF DARKNESS ON HALLOWEEN

The week of Halloween is a fitting time to highlight the surreal short horror story "Fear of Darkness."

A bizarre and disturbing tale, this short story will make you squirm. Not for the faint of heart, with an ending that should leave you thinking long after you close the pages.

Who is the mysterious prisoner chained inside a floating prison cell? And what crime has he committed to deserve such a horrible punishment?

More important, who is the jailer who has passed sentence on him?

And just what is that thing that is even now coming to claim him?

"Fear of Darkness" is one of the short stories in the anthology "No Place For Mercy," available at Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/No-Place-Mercy-Eclectic-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00MT4CEZY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408880205&sr=1-1&keywords=no+place+for+mercy

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sci-Fi Action-Thriller Screenplay chosen a Quarter-Finalist

The feature-length screenplay Walking Apocalypse, a sci-fi action-thriller set in and around Jackson and Detroit, was chosen a Quarter-Finalist in the 2014 Scriptapalooza international screenwriting contest.

I wrote and directed a trailer for this film, which was shot in September 2013 in Jackson, Napoleon and Parma, Michigan. The story was reported in the October 3, 2013 edition of the Jackson Citizen Patriot.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WRITE IT NOW VERSION 4

I just began using Write It Now version 4 to write my novel for National Novel Writing Month.

http://www.ravensheadservices.com/

I am creating the cast of characters first. Write It Now has an excellent tool for creating characters of great depth. This feature makes it fun to craft your characters, trait-by-trait, and fault-by-fault.

Write It Now version 4 includes prompts that help guide you as you fill in the personality of each character in your novel. Then when you are writing, the character profile is just a mouse-click away for reference. This is a very handy feature that eliminates the need for a stack of index cards or "sticky" notes attached to some object near your computer.

I want to create all of the characters first, then I will begin to outline the novel in preparation for the official launch of National Novel Writing Month 2014.

This is my first use of this novel-writing software, so I'm not fully comfortable with it yet. I will let you know about my experience utilizing this Write It Now upon completion.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH

November is National Novel Writing Month, the time for everyone who has ever thought of writing a novel to join the thousands who take up the flung gauntlet of a writing challenge. There is no charge and there are regional writing groups to help encourage you and foster a team spirit. This isn't really a competition, it's more of a community of like-minded people who want to finally tackle that novel they always wanted to write but never found the time for.

You can join the fun by pointing your browser to: http://nanowrimo.org/

My first book, "No Place For Mercy," was an anthology of short stories. However, I will be writing a full-length novel for National Novel Writing Month.

Right now, the plan is to adapt the feature film screenplay "Fury" to a novel. "Fury" was a Finalist for the 2014 Creative Worlds Awards international screenplay competition, so I am still actively pitching this as a film project. However, having a novel of this story can only help increase its exposure.

http://www.amazon.com/No-Place-Mercy-Eclectic-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00MT4CEZY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408880205&sr=1-1&keywords=no+place+for+mercy

Monday, October 6, 2014

THEY KILLED HIS MATE – NOW HE'S COMING FOR THEM!

For the Alpha Male leader of a pack of gray wolves being pursued by a small group of hunters, there can be no rest. He must lead his embattled charges to safety, out of the range of the rifles of those pursuing them.

The Alpha Male Wolf lost his mate to these hunters, shot down beside him as they rested after a long night of fruitless searching for food in the barren, frozen north.

Thoughts of his mate torture him like a long, cold blade through his heart.

They say animals don't have feelings like human beings, but most wolves mate for life. And the loss of his partner has cast a pall over this wolf's existence. He has led their pursuers on a long chase, desperately trying to shake them and safeguard the rest of his pack. There has been no sign of the hunters for half a day.

Now he has turned back.

The leader of the pack retraces his path until he comes upon the beleaguered band of humans who killed his mate – and finds them asleep. They have succumbed to the frigid cold, lying still in their camp.

Could this be a trap?

Or will the hunters now become the hunted?

Either way, high noon has arrived for these wolves and their human antagonists, and there shall be no place for mercy from either side.

”No Place For Mercy” is one of the short stories in the anthology of the same name, available at Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/No-Place-Mercy-Eclectic-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00MT4CEZY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408880205&sr=1-1&keywords=no+place+for+mercy

Thursday, October 2, 2014

"Fury" screenplay chosen a Finalist in 2014 Creative Worlds Awards Screenwriting Competition

“Fury,” my supernatural-thriller set in Detroit, was chosen a Finalist in the 2014 Creative Worlds Awards Screenwriting Contest. “Fury” has also been chosen a Quarter-Finalist in the 2014 Search For New Blood Screenwriting Contest.

The logline for this screenplay: Murder leads a young black Detroit cop to the vengeful spirit of his deceased mother, who intends to destroy everyone who caused her pain – including him.

Monday, September 22, 2014

WWII: Retreating From The Russian Front, German Troops Get The Shock Of Their Lives...

For Nazi Germany, the war is lost.

For the men retreating from both the Eastern Front and their belief in Adolf Hitler's promise of victory, all they have left to fight for is their lives. There is no time to dwell on what went wrong, or to belabor the mistake they made following the bellicose braying of the fanatical F├╝hrer of Germany. Every waking moment is possessed of one thing: their tenuous grasp on life.

Now the bloodied and battered survivors of several regiments have coalesced into a rag-tag group of soldiers led by the remnants of the 3rd Mountain Division. They must rely on their teenage sniper, a young man more at home making toys in his father's workshop than fighting in a global conflict that will decide the fate of nations and redraw the map of the world for generations to come.

As they wait for the first light of dawn for their planned breakout, they are pursued by Russian troops to the small, shell-blasted village that was not worth the lives it took to secure it. Supplies and morale are fading, but the will to live is still strong. These men have only each other to rely on as their situation becomes more hopeless, but some dare to dream of what they might do after the war.

But that dream is threatened when their officers and soldiers start being methodically picked off by some unseen foe. As their numbers dwindle, they come to an inescapable conclusion. Their avenue of escape back to the Fatherland has been cut off. They have been surrounded.

Surrounded by an entire company of Russian snipers.

All of them women.

”The Other Side of the Night” is one of the short stories in the anthology "No Place For Mercy," available at Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/No-Place-Mercy-Eclectic-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00MT4CEZY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408880205&sr=1-1&keywords=no+place+for+mercy

Monday, September 8, 2014

THE TRAGEDY OF CHILDREN IN WAR

According to Humanium.org, an estimated 10 million children have been killed as a result of war during the last 10 years.

A million children per year!

War is tragic enough to the civilians who are caught in its crossfire, but to the children, it is catastrophic. Children are often not old enough to even understand what is going on around them, which raises the level of fear and insecurity. And their inability to defend themselves makes their situation even more heartbreaking.

In “Toy Soldiers,” one of the stories in “No Place For Mercy,” a schoolteacher-turned-soldier is faced with a tragic dilemma. His company has wiped out an enemy village, and he is leading his soldiers on to their next objective when he discovers that this village has some survivors: two small children.

But this is no ordinary war, if such a thing exists. This is 1999 at the height of the Kosovo War between Serbs and Albanians. The objective is ethnic-cleansing, so there is no real rationalization for taking prisoners. This former schoolteacher knows what his orders are, and they don't include options for taking anyone back alive.

His commanding officer is close behind him, and the moment of decision is upon him. Will he challenge his orders, try to spare these two small children, or follow his orders and murder them? His decision may surprise you.

”Toy Soldiers” is one of the short stories in the anthology "No Place For Mercy," available at Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/No-Place-Mercy-Eclectic-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00MT4CEZY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408880205&sr=1-1&keywords=no+place+for+mercy

Monday, September 1, 2014

ONE JUSTICE FOR NAZI WAR CRIMINALS

What is justice when dealing with extremely heinous crimes?

Justice seems like a simple enough concept. You devise a legal code, with punishments set on an escalating scale depending upon the transgression. In theory, such a system seems to make sense. As a civilized country, you repudiate or at least extremely limit capital punishment to extreme crimes and circumstances.

But what do you do when you are in the midst of a war, especially a 20th Century war within which crimes against humanity are being committed on a vast scale?

Original photograph attribution: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flickr_-_The_U.S._Army_-_Battle_of_the_Bulge.jpg

As a civilized people, do you refuse to allow emotion into your punishment, as reason and justice dictate? Or must extreme examples be made for extreme capital crimes?

That is the dilemma facing one U.S. Army Captain Frank Decker at the University of Strasbourg in France during the winter of 1944. He is in charge of a forward company that has pushed the Nazi's out of the area of the university. Although their most sought-after war criminal, Nazi Professor August Hirt, has eluded them, Decker has been informed that four of his assistants remain.

Decker wasn't trained for such decisions. He never expected such barbarous and inhuman behavior, even from Hitler's rampaging hordes. Decker is a soldier, not a judge, but he is appalled by the monstrous crimes he has been exposed to in the march across France, pushing the once seemingly invincible Third Reich's armies further towards their inevitable annihilation.

Decker is determined that his men process the meaning of these atrocities, and reflects on what he will tell his children when they grow up about the choices he made during the war. If he responds emotionally to this tragedy, with revenge masquerading as justice, will that make him as bad as the criminals he seeks?

A thorough search of the grounds turns up nothing, but the captain knows that his most trusted sergeant, the temperamental Zachary Isaacs, arrived a day before him when the four assistants were still there. Decker's lieutenant has told him that no one left the university in that time, so the four war criminals disappearance cannot be reconciled.

Where are they, and what does Sergeant Isaacs know about them?

ONE JUSTICE is one of the short stories in the anthology "No Place For Mercy," available at Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/No-Place-Mercy-Eclectic-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00MT4CEZY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408880205&sr=1-1&keywords=no+place+for+mercy

Monday, August 25, 2014

AN OLD WOUND – A STORY OF THE POLICE & RACIAL CONFLICT

An Old Wound, the first story in the “No Place For Mercy” anthology, touches on a timely subject: police racial violence. But this is not your usual kind of police racial violence story. This is the story of a man who made a mistake a long time ago, and despite doing what he could to make up for it, he remains haunted by the knowledge that he can never really "make it right."

Profiling and intolerance continue to plague our modern world, where human beings too often look for what is different in others before considering what we all have in common. Racial discrimination is purely a product of ignorance and intolerance, and has no place in the modern world, yet it remains the menacing dragon that cannot be slain.

In “An Old Wound,” an African-American police officer who lived through the Detroit Race Riots as a teenager is haunted by a mistake from those times. A mistake he made when he reacted violently in concert with the exploding world around him.

This Detroit cop, just a week from retirement, is feeling the heavy weight of his actions from those bad old days. He's trying to avoid trouble his last week on the job and dreams of a peaceful retirement, reading in solitude and spending more time with his grandson. In seeking the shadows, his past is about to be brought straight out into the illuminating glare of his personal spotlight where he will face his moment of truth.

AN OLD WOUND is one of the short stories in the anthology "No Place For Mercy," available at Amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/No-Place-Mercy-Eclectic-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00MT4CEZY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408880205&sr=1-1&keywords=no+place+for+mercy

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

THE HUNT FOR JACK-THE-RIPPER'S KNIFE

Jack-the-Ripper's knife has a life of its own...

Who was the man behind the knife?

There have been many theories put forth regarding this fiend's true identity, with many plausible thesis furnished, but none have been overwhelmingly convincing. There is no real "smoking gun," but there are several compelling clues that point towards various suspects.

Original image attribution: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wanted_poster.jpg

The story is well-known, so I sought an alternate approach to my own little "Jack-the-Ripper" short story, focusing on the murder weapon used by the world's first well-known serial killer.

In "Bloody Olde Knife," a short story in my anthology "No Place For Mercy," Jack's identity is hinted as being that of an American who traveled to England and was present in the Whitechapel area in 1888. This story intimates that "Jack" committed more than the five murders currently accepted as "canon" regarding the infamous serial killer.

Others have suggested that Jack-the-Ripper may actually have been an American, or that he traveled to America shortly after the last Ripper murder to ply his bloody trade in the New World. American Doctor Francis Tumblety, a quack and charlatan, was considered a prime Ripper suspect by British Police Inspector John G. Littlechild. The inspector was not assigned to the case, but he was acquainted with the authorities who were.

In fiction, too, the Ripper has been portrayed as an American. In the "Knife in the Darkness" episode of "Cimarron Strip," starring Stuart Whitman, a young Tom Skerrit plays a visitor to Cimarron who turns out to be Jack-the-Ripper.

In "Bloody Olde Knife," it's suggested that Jack's knife possesses a supernatural control over its owner, compelling the individual holding that knife to murderous intensity. The actual murder weapon in the 1888 serial killings was never recovered, of course, so I have focused my story on its discovery and the release of its power that will usher in a new wave of Ripper Murders beginning in Jackson, Michigan, and ending who knows where?

The first Ripper Murder of the 21st Century will begin a new killing spree from this vicious predator, unless we can stop him. The search is on for the murder weapon -- a knife -- the knife that took the lives of several prostitutes in Whitechapel in 1888.

Jack-the-Ripper's "bloody olde knife" is somewhere in Jackson, Michigan, last seen outside the historic train depot.

The search is on to find this hellish implement before it compels its user to strike again.

Do you dare accompany me on a hunt that may end in murder?

Monday, August 18, 2014

"No Place For Mercy" short story anthology Kindle book published on Amazon.com

Welcome to my author blog. I will be sharing news, information and insights, along with some compelling stories, on these pages in the days to come.

My debut book, a short story anthology, was published today as a Kindle book on Amazon.com

12 tales for those with a taste for the eclectic. Ranging from the mysterious power of Jack-the-Ripper's knife, to the ironic justice fate has in store for an African-American Detroit police officer who has lived his life trying to make up for one tragic mistake during the Detroit Race Riots.

Purchase this anthology at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/No-Place-Mercy-Eclectic-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00MT4CEZY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1408361686&sr=1-1&keywords=no+place+for+mercy

The 12 stories include:

1. Bloody Olde Knife: Jack-the-Ripper is dead, but his knife has a life of its own...

2. An Old Wound: An aging Detroit cop trying to escape his past faces a delayed justice...

3. Christmas Bells: A lonely lighthouse keeper ready to commit suicide discovers intruders on Christmas Day...

4. Fear of Darkness: Chained to a wall, a nameless prisoner is helpless to avoid a shapeless terror floating towards him...

5. Freedom Has A Price: Humans born in an alien prison camp learn that freedom has a price...

6. Never Let Them See You Cry: What do you say to two small children whose father has just been murdered? Especially when their father is the President of the United States...

7. No Place For Mercy: The leader of a pack of wolves being hunted leads his pursuers to the point of no return, then turns back to face them...

8. One Justice: It's World War II France, and four Nazi war criminals at a university are missing, and one American sergeant knows why...

9. Soldier-Boy: World War II on the Eastern Front, where the last surviving Russian soldier has the approaching Germans in his sight, but his hands are frozen to his weapon and he can't pull the trigger...

10. The Other Side of the Night: World War II on the Eastern Front again, this time the retreating German troops look to their teenage sniper to rescue them. The war is lost for Germany, but these soldiers have one chance to escape, if they can just make it back home...

11. The Rider: A dying old man recalls his part in killing the Czar of Russia and his family...

12. Toy Soldiers: There are survivors defending the Bosnian village a former schoolteacher-turned-soldier has been ordered to destroy – two small children.