I’ve added a little random quote widget up above there (because putting it to the side screws up my widget bar for some reason), with little nuggets from my published and soon-to-be published stories. Pretty nifty, eh? There’s only about eleven in there right now, but with a little Energon and a lot of luck that number will rise. Speaking of which, my pulp story is out again, preparing the way for another rejection! I await its return with baited breath.

I’ve had a major breakthrough on my space western. Several, even. I’m pounding out a working outline/summary, which it seems is what I have to do any time I write a story that’s longer than 1,500 words. I’m rather liking it. Which is good, because it’s due to the writing group for critique in a little over a week, I think. If I can actually get the story written in that time, it’ll be pretty fast, for me anyway.

So here’s the beginning, the opening hook, if you will. The details will likely change as the rest of the story shapes up, but I think it’s a pretty fun beginning. (I’m not sure about the villain’s name, for example; it sounds appropriately evil, but I feel like I’m accidentally stealing it from somewhere that I just can’t remember.)

I’ve had the “gift in German” trivia rolling around in my head for years waiting for a story. Literally like a decade. Seemed like a good time to use it.

I’m actually starting to get excited for this story. That will make my inevitable failure all the more sweet…


Angus McClure tilted his face toward the midday suns. Sweat rolled across his browned, leathery hide and soaked into the creases at the corners of his eyes. He scratched beneath his hat. Then he shot the man at his feet without bothering to look down.

Chaykin didn’t flinch at the gun’s report, or at the fine spray of blood that spattered his boots. He gave his bonds what he expected would be a last experimental tug and glared up at Angus as the man reloaded and stepped up. The echoes of the blast still rang over the desert. The horses stirred, but this apparently wasn’t anything new to them, either.

“Well if it isn’t Chuck Chaykin,” McClure drawled. His two cohorts, a fellow with white hair and a Hurulean with lavender skin, chuckled.

“You already said that,” Chaykin reminded him.

McClure smiled. “You know, the people down at that town down there, they viewed you as something of a miracle. A gift from on high.” He gestured in mock piety to the sky. “You were supposed to save the day.”

“Plenty of daylight left, Angus.”

McClure’s smile faded. He lifted Chaykin’s chin with his rifle, poked him in the chest with the barrel. “You know the meaning of ‘gift’ in Old German, Chuck? It meant poison.” He squeezed the trigger.