The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art.

– Junot Diaz

Character Sketch For LANDED

Sketch for the main character in a series focused on a group of women enlisted in Britain’s Women’s Land Army during WWII.

England / 1941

The silk stockings skimming her thighs were a strange distraction. Together with the evening dress, upswept hair, and sophisticated makeup, she’d never felt so elegant – or vulnerable – in her life.

For several moments after she stepped onto the moonlit terrace, she thought she was alone. She closed her eyes and gathered her courage, let the heady scent of overblown roses fill her nostrils and lungs, let the music spilling out of the ballroom woo her hesitant heart.
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In Defense of Flash Fiction

I’m routinely asked why I continue to write flash fiction.

I routinely respond by saying that flash fiction allows me to explore and ‘try on’ new ideas, characters, and genres while I work on more lengthy projects behind the scenes.

This summer, I discovered a fantastic visual analogy courtesy of Mother Nature and Aunt Agriculture. Continue reading

Midsummer In The Shades

Beneath midnight skies as dark and riotous as her lover’s eyes, the cloistered garden welcomes her with twisted limbs and tattered leaves. A fingernail moon rakes her elegant spine as she follows the path to a black slate dais ringed by fruit-heavy trees.

She pauses beside a specimen laden with plump ripe fruit, inhales its heady summer ambrosia, and plucks a succulent crimson globe. With practiced hands, she splits the leathery skin, scoops out several lustrous pips, and flings the ravaged husk skyward.

A voice like thunder rumbles from the dais. “Hiding from your mother?”
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Mad Max: Fury Road & Unexpected Protagonists

-Written with a minimum of spoilers.-

I’m an unrepentant old school die hard Mad Max fan.

I had a long and glorious history with the old Max and no history with Tom Hardy, so I wasn’t in any hurry to meet the new Max.

Turns out I needn’t have worried. Hardy’s Max is pitch perfect.  He came in and owned the character, the movie and thereby, the franchise. Truth is, Fury Road is easily my favorite Mad Max movie.

Which is ironic considering that while Max is the title character, he’s not the main character.

Hold on. Before you throw that commemorative die-cast war rig in protest, let me explain.
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Character Sketch for [Tat Tales] ‘Stained’

Skeletons. Who doesn’t have them? Got more than my share. One of them, though, one of them has a stranglehold on me. And wouldn’t you know it, the bastard is a friend of mine. Saved my skin a time or three. And I’m not talking figuratively. So am I going to let him hang himself and be able to live with myself? Not a chance.

I’m standing outside the Palanquin, a real dive of a bar, getting ready to save Hymie’s skinny ass, when a tall cool drink of Columbia gets out of a town car across the street. Pretty Boy Floyd. Number one knuckle buster this side of the Pacific.

Damn. Too much to hope it’s a coincidence. Even bigger stretch to hope that he hasn’t seen me. After all, I’m six feet of hip-length scarlet hair and full body tattoos that cover more skin than the brief dress I’m poured into. Most I can hope for is to put him off until after I get business handled.
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Character Sketch for SEMPER FI

Never thought I’d be sorry to say goodbye to the Shiloh Valley Veteran’s Hospital. Spent most every day of my eighteen month residence daydreaming about the moment I’d bust out. Always imagined myself hauling ass out the front door and hollering ‘freebird’ until I didn’t have any voice left.

Didn’t quite turn out like that. Reason being the guys thought we should say our ‘goodbyes’ over turkey on rye. When I say ‘the guys’ I mean the Puerto Rican and nobody crosses the Puerto Rican.

So this morning, after I get my walking papers, I head to the cafeteria, hoping for a few moments alone to nut up and get myself in check. But Jimmy McNulty is already in the courtyard holding down a table in the shade. The shade is to protect the Puerto Rican’s healing skin. She arrives shortly after I do and in her wake, comes the final member of our crew, Leonard Kane, his eye bandages covered by sunglasses. Continue reading


Breeze Through The Middle Of Your Novel

My first attempts at novel length stories were exhilarating and demoralizing.

Exhilarating because I could so clearly envision the beginning and end of the story.

Demoralizing because I could never quite manage to bridge the gap between the two.

Why is it that middles so often become baffling, exhausting, and tedious to get through?

I’ve been actively seeking the answer to that question and here’s what I’ve come up with so far. Continue reading