Guest Post: Tony Healey – The Making of The Stars My Redemption Part 2


Guest Post by Tony Healey

The Sci-Fi Adventure Novel ‘The Stars My Redemption’ is released June 1st in the Kindle Store.

I pulled something at the bottom of my back and took a few days off work. I took painkillers and tried sitting in an armchair but it was too painful. The only relief I could get was to sit up at the dining table as straight as possible. So, in pain and a little doped up, I started writing on my laptop. I’d had an idea for something involving an amoral character killing everyone on a spaceship. And a week or so prior to me pulling my back I saw that there was a local short story competition. There were no set guidelines on what they would accept, only a word limit.

Seeing as I had nothing better to do, I started to write. I finished ‘Frank’ in a day or two, then let it rest. I edited it (I’m not very good at editing myself) and submitted it, thinking nothing more of it. A month or two went by, and then I heard from them. ‘Frank’ had made the long-list of 40 from about 150 submissions.

I thought ‘Maybe I’m not as bad a writer as I thought.’

I published ‘Frank’ onto the Kindle, and after getting a few positive reviews I had the bug. I thought of ways I could expand ‘Frank’ into something longer, and I was still mulling that over when Bernard Schaffer started up the Kindle All-Stars and said that he was putting together an anthology of short stories based on the kind of anthologies put together by Harlan Ellison. I thought ‘I can do something for that’ and so sat down to write ‘Redd.’

After that, I truly had the bug. I started to plot a story that could make use of both ‘Frank’ (now renamed ‘Beast’) and ‘Redd’ as flashback scenes. At the same time I was reading ‘The Stars My Destination’ by Alfred Bester. I thought ‘What if Abe isn’t so bad afterall? What if he’s tired of everything he’s been up to, and is open to change?’ Using Alfred Bester’s title as a starting point, I decided I’d call the novel ‘The Stars My Redemption.’

That was how it started. At the same time I was very interested in the idea of serial fiction; releasing a story in parts, one a time, like they did in the old days of Sci-Fi. The tradition dates back even further, of course, to the works of Dickens and other such writers. So I decided to write the novel in 3 parts, and release them one a month.

I had mixed results. For one thing, I didn’t hire an editor. I edited it myself. Big mistake. Whilst readers enjoyed it, they picked up on the fact that it hadn’t been properly edited. Also, as I came to realise when I published part 2, serializing work like that is one of those things with an ever decreasing return. The further on it goes, the less people remember to come back for the next part. Also, they will only buy it when it is free. The only way to truly serialize something, I feel now, is to release it for free on a website. Whether that means text on the screen, as in a blog post, or something the reader can download is up to the writer. But that is the only way to do it really.

However that is not to say that serializing work on the Kindle can’t work. I’m writing an ongoing series of short ebooks, in episodic format called The Honeycroft Series. These are released as and when I write them, but the difference is that each episode is self-contained, with its own arc. It’s different to cutting a novel into 3 and serializing it. With Honeycroft they’re all individual episodes that make a bigger whole. I like to think of it as being like a TV season.

So before part 3 was due to be finished up and published, I dropped the idea. I took both parts 1 and 2 off and decided to finish The Stars My Redemption up and just put it on there as a regular novel.

It didn’t happen. I started working on other stuff. I wrote several short stories. As is always the case with me, I went from one project to another without completing anything. And all the while TSMR sat on my computer, sort of finished, sort of not.

I had the ending half-written, but it wasn’t working for me. And the thought of tackling it didn’t exactly fill me with excitement. You see, there’s another problem with serializing something that isn’t finished, and that is that you have to finish it.

Also, when you have a lot of time in between finishing up and releasing each consecutive part, you lose interest. That’s what happened to me. It’s been a long learning curve for me, the writing of TSMR. I now see that the only way to write a novel is to sit down and actually write it. Start from the beginning, and write all the way to the very end. Hit full stop on that last sentence, go back to the beginning and start your next draft.

That’s the work ethic I am adopting now, as I write my second novel. It’s a bit different to TSMR in that it is not Sci-Fi and is set in World War Two, but I am applying what I learned from the writing of TSMR to get it out in a timely manner.

So anyway, there I was with my unfinished book. And then Laurie comes along. She works with me in editing my short story ‘Burial’ and then on ‘Dark Orb’. She says ‘What else are you working on?’ to which I email her a list of unfinished projects. Some I’ve started, some are just ideas. Some are merely the dream of an idea.

After seeing that, Laurie emailed back with ‘Firstly, you need to get organised. Start something. Finish it. And another thing, what’s happening with The Stars My Redemption?’

I said that it was ‘resting’. But even as I typed that I knew I was lying to myself. It wasn’t resting. I was putting off working on it. I was being the worst kind of writer, a lazy one.

Laurie told me in no uncertain terms that I should be working on it, that there were people out there waiting to read it. So I set to work. I rewrote the ending, then did a few more rewrites. Then we started editing.

I think that what’s coming out of the editorial process is a good novel. I think it works. Come June 1st I am confident that what readers will get when they purchase The Stars My Redemption will be a professional, well-written and well-edited book that they will enjoy. I have now come to realise that writing the book is only half the work. The other half comes in editing it to a polished, high standard.

We’re getting there with The Stars My Redemption. I learned a lot writing it. A hell of a lot. And you know what, having been knee deep in this book for weeks now, I am really enjoying it. I know I’ve got a good book on my hands. I’m confident about it.

I know that if readers have as much fun with the book as I have had working on it, then I’m doing all right.

PART 1 appeared 05/25 at Apiary Society

PART 3 will be appearing 05/27 at

Memorial Day Weekend Free Books Promotion

In the mood for a little reading this Memorial Day weekend? I’ve got you covered. May 26th and 27th only, four of my books will be up for grabs in the Amazon Kindle marketplace for FREE!

Included in the promotion are:

The Night Shift: This short story prequel to my paranormal mystery novella The Jumper follows the back story of community center custodian Craig Dixon. Craig’s terrifying encounter with the ghost of the community center is not a story that he likes to share with others. In The Night Shift, we found out why.

The Darby Forest: Two Tales of the Arachnolox: This creature double feature is a two-pack of cryptozoology goodness! The short stories “Bait and Switch” and “Prolific Mythic” come bundled together, giving the reader two different looks into the existence of the mythical Arachnolox. Does it really exist? Will the characters find it? Will they live to tell about it?

Strangers: This collection is packed with eight dark and twisted tales from the deep, morbid recesses of my mind. Inspired by actual people that I met during my travels over the years, Strangers explores the sometimes uglier side of humanity. How much do we really know about the people we travel with? Perhaps it’s better not to know.

Noble: Bloodlines: The second book in the Noble trilogy picks up two years after the events from the first book. Detective Miller Brinkman thought he could outrun the painful memories of his past… he was wrong. Leading a team of special agents tasked with stopping a sinister group of Jack the Ripper cultists, Miller reunites with an old nemesis along the way… and the new threat she brings along with her.

AMAZON US: Get ‘em here!

AMAZON UK: Get ‘em here!

Thank you for your support! I hope you’ll enjoy my books.

~ David K. Hulegaard

Guest Post: Angela White – Scenes of the Apocalypse #18: Side Effects

Scenes of the Apocalypse #18 – Side Effects

The Apocalypse could bring about horrors that we can’t accept now. It might make current problems worse or bring new ones, but the threat of side effects will be there either way. Who’s to say one of them wouldn’t be a new virus that makes people insane and sends them out looking for blood?

Did you know that there is currently a disease that has many of the symptoms as a Zombie? Called Nodding Disease, it’s scary to think the walking dead plague may have already arrived. Does that mean we are now living in the start of the Apocalypse? It would certainly explain why the CDC has an online page telling people what to do in the event of a Zombie-outbreak.

Zombies are only things of myth, legend, and the imagination, right? They exist in stories…but what if there was already a chemical that transformed people into raving lunatics with only violence in their minds? There is. Now imagine that chemical released on a Warhead, in a major city, during the Apocalypse. Within a year, the new rage disease would spread across the planet, consuming everything.

But what if it also mutated?

In my series, a nuclear war releases chemicals from foreign and US bombs and these toxins mutate current diseases into more lethal forms. One of those, I call Rage Walkers disease. It is the newest virus to challenge mankind’s stronghold on the earth.

“Seven very gifted survivors are destined to rebuild their country after a nuclear apocalypse…If they can stay alive long enough to find each other. Impossible to put down.” – The Review Blog

“What causes their eyes to do that? Do you have a theory?”

Luke sat his mug down so she wouldn’t see the way his hand shook. “None I care to share.”

“I have ideas of my own, you know.”

Luke grinned. “Are they naughty? We’ve got a few hours to kill.”

Kendle didn’t return the joke, too worried to be distracted so easily.

“I think it’s something from the War.”

That had Luke’s mind taking notes. He hadn’t thought of that. “Like a side effect?”

She was thumbing through one of the old magazines he’d dug out for her. “Chemical Warfare.”

“Our nukes didn’t have that shit.”

“But if there was a world war, not just our weapons were fired, right?”

LJ saw her point and found himself almost able to see where she was going. “If it were a gas, it could affect optic nerves, too…”

“Yes. I think parts of this island are contaminated with something that has side effects that include dementia, rages, and changes in appearance, like a mutation almost. Did you see the twitching the Mayor was doing when we first met him by the creek? Some type of chemical nerve agent is what I think.”

Full of realistic and fantasy situations, the Life After War series is a combination of more than 7 genres, so there’s a good chance of everyone liking it and learning a few things about survival at the same time. You can get a free copy at the link below, of the first book in the series. It’s free for all of this year to celebrate the possible end of the world on 12/21/2012.

Adrian’s Eagles: Three months after the War of 2012, Safe Haven refugee camp has made it to South Dakota and now holds six of the seven special survivors meant to lead the rebuilding of their country -but it can’t be done until they find a safe place to settle… and who can think of peace when there’s a huge camp of foreign invaders less than a day behind their group and they only want one thing? Safe Haven and everyone inside the light.

Watch the trailer for this series

Free-The Survivors-The bestselling novel that started it all.

See on iTunes

More Scenes of the Apocalypse

Btw, a huge thanks to David for hosting me on my Scenes of the Apocalypse release tour. Have you read Resistance Front yet? It’s only $0.99 and all the profits are being donated to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children! I just downloaded a copy to my Kindle. Gonna have a great summer of reading by the time I gather up all these new books!

Short Story: Oil Change

INTRODUCTION: Here in Oregon City, we have a fifteen year old phenom named Brendan Swogger. He’s a high school student with a passion for writing dark and twisted stories that rivals my own. He recently wrote a short story based upon on idea that came to him during a visit to the dentist. I don’t know what type of dentist Brendan goes to, but the end result wound up being something straight out of the movie Saw.

I had an idea. In order to help stimulate a budding young mind, I presented Brendan with a writing exercise. If he could concoct such a deliciously devilish story based on something as routine as a trip to the dentist, I wondered how he would do with something even more mundane, such as waiting on an oil change. I submitted my challenge to Brendan, and he had responded with a completed story within a couple of hours. You can read Brendan’s story Acid Eyes here.

It wouldn’t have been fair of me to make Brendan do this challenge alone, so I decided that I would take part in the same exercise. Below is my offering. Happy reading!

Oil Change

Brendan Huntley leaned in through the rolled down car window and kissed his wife on the lips.

“You’re sure you don’t need me to stay and wait with you?” she asked.

“No, honey. I’ll be fine.” He smiled and stroked her cheek with the tip of his finger. “I’ll be home in just a little bit.”

“Okay, if you’re sure.” She took her foot off the brake, letting the car roll forward a few inches before bringing it to a stop again. “Oh, and you have your keys just in case you beat me back home?”

“Yes, dear.” Brendan patted his pants pocket. “Go on. I’m fine.”

Brendan’s wife blew him a kiss and drove away. Brendan stood and waved, watching until her car became a tiny speck in the distance. He turned to face the mechanic’s garage, surprised to find all the bay doors closed. He checked his watch.

12:54 p.m.

They said to be here at one o’clock, he thought. Maybe they’re not quite back from lunch.

Brendan approached the main entrance and placed his hands on the glass to block out the sunlight as he peeked in. The door was unlocked and pushed open. He stepped inside the building and found the lobby unoccupied. There was no one behind the counter either.

Brendan heard voices. A TV in the corner of the waiting area was playing clips from NBC sitcoms at low volume.

“Hello?” Brendan called out.

A man entered from the garage through a swinging door, wiping his hands clean with an oil-covered rag.

“Can I help you?” The man slipped the dirty rag into the back pocket of his navy blue coveralls, then grabbed a toothpick tucked behind his ear and put it in his mouth.

“Hi, I’m Brendan Huntley.” Brendan reached out to shake the man’s hand, but he just stared at it, chewing on the toothpick between his front teeth. Brendan retracted his hand. “I’m here to pick up my car. It’s the red two thousand seven Kia Rio. You guys told me it would be ready at one o’clock.”

The man mashed a few buttons on the keyboard without looking down at the screen. “Doesn’t look like its ready yet. Why don’t you take a seat and wait a few minutes while I go check on your vehicle.”

“Uh…” Brendan glanced down at his watch. “Well, do you have an estimate on how much longer it’s going to be?”

“Sir, if you can just wait for a few minutes, I’m sure it won’t be much longer.” The man scratched the back of his slick, black hair. “I’ll go check on it now.” The man exited back through the swinging door. The words EMPLOYEES ONLY were stenciled in bright yellow paint.

Brendan walked into the lobby and took a seat on a plush, leather chair with a chrome frame. He looked around at several displays of car parts, but could only recognize the windshield wiper blades. He leaned forward and sifted through a pile of magazines on the table in front of him. The covers of periodicals such as Mopar Monthly and Gearhead were adorned with slender women in short shorts making love to the camera while holding metallic cylinders up to their mouths.

Maybe it’s a car guy thing, he thought. Or I’m too old to find this type of thing appealing.

The crashing sound of steel spilling onto cement came from the direction of the garage, causing Brendan to drop the stack of magazines in his hands. The noise was quickly followed by a bloodcurdling male scream.

Brendan sprang to his feet and ran toward the front counter. He was met by the same toothpick chewing mechanic from before. The man entered the room with complete calmness, leaning against the door with his hands behind his back.

“My Lord! Is everything all right out there?”

“Yes, sir. Everything is fine.” The man slid his toothpick from one corner of his mouth to the other. “Just a little accident.”

“A little accident?” Brendan rubbed his forehead. “You about gave me a heart attack! I heard a scream and I…”

A spatter of blood across the chest of the mechanic’s coveralls caught Brendan’s attention and stopped him mid-sentence. He didn’t remember seeing it on the man before.

“Are you bleeding?” Brendan pointed at the man’s chest. “Do you need me to call an ambulance?”

The man looked down at his coveralls, then wiped off the blood with his bare hand.

“That won’t be necessary, sir. Like I said, we just had a little accident. Happens all the time.” The mechanic grinned.” It’s a… hazard of the job, you could say.”

“Oh… okay. So, about my car?”

“Right. The o-seven red Kia Rio. Let me just go grab the keys for you. Please, have a seat and I’ll be right with you.” The mechanic once again left Brendan alone in the lobby.

Brendan took a deep breath to regulate his pulse, then sat back down as instructed. A few minutes of silence passed before the slow whine of a hydraulic lift filled the lobby.

“No! No! No!” a voice begged from the other side of the employee only door, followed by a deafening crunch.

Brendan stood up and walked over to the counter slowly. The mechanic re-entered the room, accompanied by the sound of his shoe soles sticking to the tile surface with each step. His face, hands and the upper portion of his coveralls coated with droplets of crimson.

“Oh my God!” Brendan’s mouth dropped open as his face went pale. “Is that…?”

“No, sir. A carburetor exploded on us out there. Spewed fuel all over the place.” The mechanic pulled the rag out from his back pocket and wiped his face. “We’ll be mopping up that mess for days.”

“I’m sorry. I feel so foolish now.” Brendan put his hand over his heart as color began returning to his cheeks. “I’m not much of a car guy, so I have no idea what all goes into what you guys do. Sounds pretty intense, though.”

“It sure is, but once you have the love for the job, it gets easier over time.” The mechanic reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. “Your vehicle is parked outside and ready to go, sir.”

“Great! Thank you very much.” Brendan reached for his wallet. “So, what do I owe you?”

“No charge today, sir. On the house.”

“What?” Brendan furrowed his brow. “That can’t be right.”

“I promise, sir. It’s right. It’s a… a repeat customer special.”

“Wow. I, uh, I don’t know what to say.” Brendan put his wallet back into his pocket, then collected his keys from the mechanic’s moist, grime-covered fingers.

“No need to say anything, sir. Have a great day.”

Brendan headed for the door. He stopped and turned back as he reached the exit. “Say, I don’t believe that I caught your name. I’d like to tell your manager how happy I am with the star treatment that you’ve given me today.”

“Me, sir?” The mechanic pushed open the swinging door halfway and stood in the threshold. “I don’t work here.”


I didn’t become an author because I wanted to make tons of money, which is good, because I haven’t. 🙂 I became an author to escape the doldrums of a corporate retail job as the company slowly drifted toward bankruptcy. There were literally days toward the end of our existence where my only requirement was to fill a seat so that the office didn’t look empty. Needless to say, I played a lot of solitaire. Then when I got home at night, I wrote a little bit more of the manuscript that would eventually become Noble.

It’s hard to believe that was all two years ago. I’ve written and published four books since then. It wasn’t hard, not really, because I quickly discovered that I had a passion for it inside of me all along.

I loved creating! Inventing characters, setting up obstacles for them to deal with, and of course, trying to think of the compelling twists and turns that the characters would experience along the way. I felt as though I had finally found my calling after years of banging my head against the wall in the real world.

Then a funny thing happened: My books started to sell. Not in droves, mind you, but as an unknown independent author without an ounce of reputation, even a trickle of sales is flattering beyond comparison. I joked with my fiancée, telling her that someday I was going to take her out to dinner with the royalties check I received from my book sales.

And that’s exactly what I did.

I received my first royalties check in early 2011: $17.63. I took my beautiful girl to a little place in Vancouver, Washington called Sheridan’s Frozen Custard and treated us both to one of their peanut butter and chocolate milkshakes—our favorite. We had scarfed down countless Sheridan’s milkshakes before, but in my mind, not one of them had ever tasted as sweet.

Creating a Villain – The Art of Noble: Bloodlines

WARNING: Contains minor spoilers about the NOBLE series.

“What do you want your cover to look like?”

I drew a blank. I felt like an idiot. The Noble series is my creation, my brainchild, and yet I couldn’t generate a single image inside my head as to what the cover should look like.

And that is how James McDonald and I began working together on the cover for Noble: Bloodlines.

I’ve always been fond of isolating a harrowing moment from my books to serve as its cover, but I found the selection process to be particularly difficult with Bloodlines. There are so many pivotal moments. So many twists and turns to capture without spoiling its secrets. So many essential characters to the plot—any one of which deserving of the spotlight.

However, in the end I came to the conclusion that there had been one key character I had neglected to consider: Alyssa Noble.

When we’d finally met Alyssa Noble near the end of Noble, we’d already heard a great deal about her. We knew that she was violent. We knew that she was a remorseless killer. We knew that she walked as a human, but wasn’t one. We knew that she was… naked.

However, there was still so much about her that we didn’t know. It had been my intention all along to bring her to the forefront of the story for the second book, so it made sense that she should also become a prominent fixture of the key art. The only question I needed to answer was, “What does she look like?”

Alyssa Noble, First Draft, by James McDonald

James McDonald is an amazing and gifted artist, but he does lack the ability to plug into my mind’s eye and download the mental images that I create. As a writer, you might think that describing Alyssa’s physical features to an artist would’ve been easy for me, but it wasn’t. I’d given her form in the book, but that didn’t guarantee that James would read my words and see the same picture. Thus began the Alyssa Noble collaboration process.

Alyssa may be heartless and bloodthirsty, but in my mind, she also needed to have sex appeal. I mean, I’ve made her the physical embodiment of death and destruction, so it would only be right to bless her with assets that balance out her flaws, right? Ahem…

The first concept James came up with was a basic sketch to see if he was on the right track. She looked a bit like Aeon Flux to me, but for a rough sketch? Not bad. The next phase was to create a 3D model of Alyssa and determine how she would be worked into the cover shot.

In Bloodlines, we get to see more of the sinister inner-workings of Alyssa’s psyche. Miller is scared to death of her, and I felt as though the reader needed to be clear on that fact. I really wanted the reader to grasp just how dangerous she is. Although Miller had survived his encounter with her at the end of Noble, it wasn’t out of an act of kindness. She wasn’t looking to turn over a new leaf.
Early cover design concept, by James McDonald

So, I selected a scene from the book in which Alyssa and Miller have an encounter. Alyssa’s physical appearance has evolved since he last saw her, which only adds to his fear. Since Alyssa walks around without clothing, I told James that a delicate approach was needed. I remember specifically saying to him, “Some alien side-boob is okay, but let’s not get banned from book stores,” which I must admit is a sentence that I never thought I would utter.

I then gave James a challenge: I wanted a lean, mean, fighting machine, but not at the sacrifice of Alyssa’s femininity.

When James submitted concept #2, he was right on the money. Alyssa was ripped, yet still feminine, just as I’d asked for. She had sex appeal, yet Miller was down on his knees with an intense look of fright upon his face. The fogging effect was intended to help mask some of the nudity, but was also a part of the scene that James had been able to glean from my description.

Test image, by James McDonald
With a look and feel for the cover decided upon, all that was left was to add in the text. Since the title treatment for the Noble series had already been created, it was an easy implementation. To make sure I was happy with it, James threw together a test image to show me what the text would look like on a dark background. In the center of the sample image was an alternate version of Alyssa Noble, knelt down in the shadows. Even though it wasn’t quite right for a cover, I still thought it was a great piece of art. Maybe I’ll find a use for it somewhere else down the road.

As James was working hard to finish the cover image, I started having second thoughts about the concept. I loved his design, but I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that I was missing something. I felt like there was too much negative space, and I worried that it didn’t capture enough of the story’s mystery. If you’ve ever read any of my books, then you already know that creating intrigue is my primary goal. With Bloodlines, I’ve upped the ante, and it was crucial that the cover reflected that.

I ultimately decided that the cover needed something else: The first glimpse of a mysterious new character in the series. Once again, James knocked it out of the park. After I saw his updated submission, I knew there was nothing left to do to it. It was ready to go. Perfect.

And just who is the massive winged-creature lurking in the background of the final cover image? Well, you’ll just have to read it and find out for yourself. 🙂
Final cover image, by James McDonald

Guest Post: An Excerpt from BURIAL by Tony Healey

Tony Healey's "Burial" is available now on Kindle
Upon my acceptance into the Kindle All-Stars last year, it didn’t take long before I met the other authors and got the opportunity to read their work. Before I knew it, I was up to my eyeballs in unpublished works-in-progress written by my fellow KAS crew—some of which I still haven’t gotten around to.

I became a fan of several of the other writers in the group, one of which is my guest poster today, Tony Healey.

Even though Tony is best known for the characters that he has created as part of his The Stars My Redemption series, it only scratches the surface of his talent. With each new story that Tony releases, I am in awe (and maybe even a bit jealous) of his creativity, and his ability to shift between genres with minimal effort.

Tony is imaginative, and his pool of story ideas is vast. If you like the subject matter of your reading material slightly left of center, then you need to be reading Tony’s work.

I could go on and on, but I’m going to let Tony himself talk a bit about the creation of his recent release, Burial. Following that, be sure to read the included excerpt and see for yourself why Tony is a modern day master of the strange and unusual.

Tony Healey: On Writing Burial

I thought of the twist in the story first before sitting down to work out the rest. So in a way I worked backwards. I do that sometimes when it comes to writing. I don’t always start at the beginning. That’s the fun of it sometimes, I think.

I remember reading an interview with a writer where he described writing the very last chapter of his novels first before going back to the beginning and working his way toward that end point. I find that to be an interesting approach. It doesn’t always work to do it that way, but with Burial it did.

Burial is a short story of roughly 35 pages, written in pulp horror/thriller tradition, with an ending that will split readers right down the middle. They’ll either love it or hate it. It was edited by Laurie Laliberte, of the Kindle All-Stars, and it was our first time working together as author & editor.

To say that we took every approach possible with Burial would be an understatement, but it was worth all the hard work, though I’m sure I had Laurie pulling her hair out at times.

When you first work with an editor, you have to sort of hit the ground running when developing a relationship with each other. But, you know, we got there in the end, and now we’re back working on another short story of mine, Dark Orb, which should be out soon. Maybe David will let me hijack his site again when it’s ready!

Editor’s Note: Dark Orb released this week. Tony has a standing invite to take over my site any time he’d like.

An Excerpt from Burial

By: Tony Healey

His name was Fred Aniello. Six months ago his wife walked out on him. At least that’s what he told anyone who asked. No, I don’t know where she is. Another man? Maybe. No I didn’t suspect anything. I thought we were happily married. No she doesn’t have any friends out of town that I’m aware of… and so on and so on. That’s how it always seemed to go. Over the months he’d become very fluent in the continuation of the same story, embellishing it when needed with the occasional show of water-works.

A little while into the lie, he imparted the bad news on his neighbour ‘the old man Rickett’ who laid a heavy arm around Fred’s shoulders. “There there, don’t worry about it son.”

But he wasn’t worried. Not in the slightest. It was all done, dusted… buried.

Or so he’d thought…

BURIAL is a short horror story of 7,000 words available on the Kindle Store for only 99c.

Noble: Bloodlines Press Release


Oregon author readies ‘darker, grittier’ third book, Noble: Bloodlines, for release on April 17, 2012

Oregon City, Oregon – April 11, 2012 – Oregon City author David K. Hulegaard will release his third book, NOBLE: BLOODLINES, on April 17, 2012, available exclusively on Amazon.

NOBLE: BLOODLINES is the next book in Hulegaard’s smash hit Sci-Fi series about Miller Brinkman, a 1940s private detective who, while searching for a missing girl, makes contact with the last survivor of an ancient race that predates mankind.

“BLOODLINES will take the series to a whole new level,” says Hulegaard. “Miller wants to leave the memories of his last case behind, but it doesn’t take long before his past catches up to him and forces him out of hiding.” Adds Hulegaard, “Fans of the series should expect a darker and grittier journey into the NOBLE universe.”

NOBLE: BLOODLINES will be available on Kindle for $2.99. A free five chapter sample is available for download at

About the Author

David K. Hulegaard resides in Oregon with his fiancée and their Welsh Terrier, Tobi. He is the author of critically praised books NOBLE and THE JUMPER. David is currently preparing his next book, a short story collection entitled STRANGERS, for release this spring.


Guest Post: Joshua Unruh – Tiny Acorns

Author Joshua Unruh
David asked me one of those hard writer questions that you hear and think will be easy to answer. But then, once you actually sit down to write the answer, you realize it might as well be “where do your ideas come from?” as far as complicatedness. He had the nerve, the unmitigated gall, to ask me how I knew when my story ideas were ready to become actual stories.

I think it might be a bit gauche to just copy and paste I HAVE NO CLUE over and over when I promised an actual blog post. So here goes.

Just like every other writer, I have a comp notebook. Now, they might not have an actual comp notebook, but that’s just because they’re buck-toothed hillbillies who don’t know what’s good. Regardless, it’s the repository of all rough ideas. Snippets of dialogue, rough plot hooks, basic character concepts, doodles, unfinished poetry, or whatever takes your fancy. The notebook holds the kinda junk that wakes you up at 2am so you can scribble down what you’re sure is genius, only to find even you barely know what the heck you were thinking when you jotted it down.

For me, those are the story seeds. Sometimes it really is gibberish from the middle of the night, but sometimes it’s whole plots in bullet points. However it starts, it doesn’t usually take up a whole page. Like I said, sometimes it’s one line. But I leave that idea, however thin and flimsy it may be, on its own there.

Now and then, I flip through the notebook and reread the ideas and see if any of the other stuff floating around my head that’s too amorphous to even be in the notebook yet sticks to the page. If it does, I scribble it down wherever it’ll fit and then connect it to the rest of the stuff on the page with underlines, different colored ink, or enough squiggly lines to confuse even Jeffy from Family Circus.

When I have a page or two of that mess, it’s probably time to go to the Pre-Writing Package bequeathed unto me by Aaron Pogue of the titular blog and the writing advice repository Unstressed Syllables. The ideas have gathered enough momentum that I need to let them keep rolling and see if they become an actual story. The PWP helps me connect the dots, flesh out characters, make sure there’s an actual Story Question I’m answering, that kind of thing. If I can make that leap, then it’s ready to graduate to a story.

As you can imagine, this is a far from perfect process. That said, I’ve only had it explode in my face one time. I wanted to knock out the first draft of a sci-fi neo-Noir story called Copper Lincoln, Robot Detective in The Big Sleep Mode. I had three or four pages of notes, so I knew it was time for the PWP. I filled that out in painful graphic detail. Courtney Cantrell, my Acquisitions Editor, and Aaron Pogue, my publisher, looked at it. They both declared it detailed, well thought out, and ready to be written. I had a long car trip and I attacked it with gusto.

I wrote the first act and it was…not very good. I mean, all the pieces were there, obviously, it had been through the process. But it was too short, too obvious, there was no subtlety. I had great sheet music but it had left me with no funk. So I did the only thing I could do. I rewrote it.

I didn’t scrap it, though! I didn’t start over from scratch because there was gold in what I’d written. I went back to the PWP, I figured out that all I had to do was tweak some character relationships and, in one case, change the relationship wholesale. It left me with something much more interesting, much longer, and, best of all, much more Noir.

So the process failed me. But I guess it hadn’t failed me all that hard. Not really. Oh, I didn’t finish the first draft on schedule (or at all, yet). And it was difficult to move bits around, write new connective tissue, and then stitch the existing good stuff I’d written into a new whole. And I’m positive you can still see the stitches and scars. But the new monster runs rings around the villagers where the old one lumbered. Instead of frustrated, I’m energized to finish it. In fact, I should really get back to work on that thing…

Here’s the thing about my process: It’s totally mine. I don’t actually expect it to work for anybody else EVER. There’s a ridiculous amount of Zen mixed into my notebook pages so that, in some way I can’t entirely explain, the entire story is represented in the first pen stroke in the notebook. Sorta like how every cell in my body holds the DNA that makes me, me. That sounds like hippy crap, and I know it, but there also isn’t anything I can do about it.

Anybody else’s process look like this? If not, tell me what yours looks like.

Visit Joshua’s official website:

Check out The Consortium, a non-profit organization that supports the arts by encouraging the development of local talent and generating high-quality works of art that directly benefit the community.

About the author

Joshua Unruh is a stay-at-home dad and professional author who refuses to think of either as being unemployed. He lives in Oklahoma City with his wife, his son, his father-in-law, two dogs, and absolutely no peace. Still, he manages to write a little bit. He strives to make everything he writes clever, interesting, or funny. Like Meatloaf said, two out of three ain’t bad.

Though he has been a professional liar in the fields of advertising, sales, and private investigations, it is only recently that Joshua has turned his love of fiction into a writing career. Joshua is a lover of genre fiction, especially superhero comics and hardboiled detectives, and this comes through in his genre-bending style. Weird Westerns, nihilistic Norse-style fantasies, YA espionage stories, and hardboiled Noir tales with shades of fantasy or science fiction are just a few examples of the twisting and warped hallways of his imagination.

Guest Post: Natasha Whearity – Why Do I Write? (Pt. 2)

Author Natasha Whearity
My latest project is a book called Idiot. The title is not supposed to be offensive to its readers or anything, if that’s what you first thought when you saw it. I did have a slight dilemma when I came up with the title, because I was thinking about walking into a bookshop and seeing my book on the shelves with the word “IDIOT” scrawled across it, and I realised it may put people off buying it. But, I called it Idiot nonetheless because the word is very significant in the book.

Idiot started as something for my eyes only. But, as the narration progressed, I realised that I was really enjoying writing the story. Then, when I sat back to read what I had written, I found myself enjoying reading it, too. Even having read the book about seven times, I still enjoy it. It’s the kind of story that never grows old. It doesn’t have an expiration date.

As a writer, I often find potential scenarios interesting. Say a fight broke out, or a guy didn’t return my affections, I would sit and write the alternative “what-if” scenario. What if that fight hadn’t happened? What if that boy had felt the same way? This was the same for Idiot. I’ve always wanted a friendship like the main two characters have in the book, and so I wrote about a friendship I wish I could have had.

Idiot follows the lives of Dennis Wellington and Susannah Watson who meet at a train station when they are thirteen-years-old. Their lives become inextricably ensnared as the book follows their lives at random points in time.

Idiot is not a love story. It is about friendship. Whenever I give anyone the synopsis, they always laugh at me.

“It’s about a boy and a girl, and they’re best friends,” I’ll say.

“And let me guess,” they’ll say in response, “they spend the entire novel hating one another until they realize they’re supposed to be together and live happily ever after.”

Well, no. My story is about a boy and a girl who are best friends, but showcases the more realistic side to friendship. I’m not saying that films like When Harry Met Sally, or books like One Day are not very good because they’re not realistic. Not at all. What I am saying is that sometimes things don’t turn out the way you planned. Sometimes you think you know someone, but they’re not who you thought they would be. Sometimes you spend your whole life thinking something will happen, but it doesn’t. That’s life. My book isn’t based on a true story, but I wanted it to seem like it could be.

Dennis is from a poor background. His parents don’t earn very much. He lives in an ex-council house on the dodgy side of town. He can’t afford to buy new trainers, even though his have huge holes in the toes. He’s small, but good-looking for his age.

Susannah is from a rich background. Her parents are divorced, but they both still earn a lot. She buys new clothes every week, and can afford to go on holidays to exotic places. Her boots cost her a hundred pounds. She’s tall and slim and has tacky blonde hair.

They are from two different worlds, but have many things in common. They both like reading, writing, Star Wars, and arguing. They both hate Chinese food and books with disappointing endings. They think of each other as best friends, though they would never admit it.

As in real life, there are sad parts, and moments that will make your heart crack. I found myself screaming at my computer screen when reading through the first draft, wanting something so badly not to happen, but then there were the good parts to balance it all out. The happy moments. The amusing conversations that anyone can relate to.

It may seem ironic to call a book about the importance and closeness of friendship Idiot, but sometimes the people we love the most can be the biggest idiots. I think the sign of a true friendship is being able to call someone an idiot and having them say it back. We’re all idiots sometimes, and this is the story of two of them.

Unfortunately though, I am now facing a challenge that stands in the way of my book being completed: I do not have an editor. I do not have someone to tear the stories I have created to pieces. I have many proof readers. I have teachers who are willing to sit and read my manuscripts for hours, picking out the occasionally sloppy punctuation. I have many brilliant author friends, such as David, who are willing to give me the advice and support I need, but I don’t have an editor.

You’re probably thinking it’s not that important, and I was the same. “I don’t need an editor,” I told myself. “I’ll edit my own work.” I wish it was that simple.

Editors are very awesome people. They help you tidy up that masterpiece. They tell you the bits you should cut, and the bits you should keep. They’re not afraid to tell you when your writing has lapsed, or where you need to improve.

Editors are important, and it’s only now when I’m a bit stuck in a rut that I’ve realised how much I really need one. However, as I am a student just managing to afford to go to university, paying an editor is out of the question right now. However, without an editor I’m going to have all of those weeds of text that I don’t need, or I might miss that vital splash of water that will allow my apple tree to soar. It’s a bit of a catch-22 situation, really.

I don’t mean to bum you out. I’m just trying to explain where I’m coming from. Editing is essential for my writing, and writing is essential for my happiness.

So, where do I go from here? I guess I’ll have to wait and see. I’m trying to contact as many agents as I can to try and get myself out there. Usually the things we want most are often the hardest to get. However, I’m not the sort to give up easily. I’m going to fight for my place on those bookshelves, or those spaces on the Amazon website. I’m going to fight like there’s no tomorrow. So, watch this space. You haven’t heard the last from me!

Over and out,

Natasha Whearity

Follow Natasha on Twitter: @NatashaWhearity

About the Author

Natasha Whearity is a published independent author and teenage phenomenon living in the United Kingdom where she attends college. Her debut short story, The Endgame, is featured in the anthology, Kindle All-Stars: Resistance Front. When not indulging her love of Harry Potter, or reruns of the television show Friends, Natasha can be found out on the Go-Kart race track, or spending time with her close friends and family.

Part two of Natasha’s guest post will be featured later this week, in which she discusses her latest project, a novel entitled
Idiot, which explores the complicated lives of two best friends, and the trials and tribulations they must face.