As children, the world is terrifying? Shadows in a dark corner, noises in the kitchen or the tall dark stranger that approaches you and your mother in the parking lot of a shopping mall.

As a child I had teraphobia, the fear of monsters. A condition prominent during childhood. The condition normally resolves itself in time. Imagine a world where this is an everyday occurrence. Not the fear of monster that are not there. The fear of the ones that are real and everyone knows they exist. There is no hiding.

Vampires, zombies and more

Notice of intent: A promise to myself and my reader. I intend to rebuild my blog. Reshape my stories into an interconnected world.

Due: Build a character list

Opening Scene 2 – Dramatic

A woman approached a disheveled, drunken man sitting beside the front door of a city bank. She kicked him. When he didn’t respond she kicked him again.

“Hey, I’m sitting here.”

He looked up and recognized her, “Oh, it’s you. I think your starting to like me Ms. Moore. You didn’t have me arrested this time.”

“Erik Bridell, are you going to drink then stand here everyday? What do you want me to do for you? I didn’t have your family killed.”

Erik Bridell stood, with some unease, bracing his hand upon the glass doors of the bank.

“Yeah but you financed the Devil’s Gate prison, housed monsters and allowed my family to die. I’m sure you are aware of what that looks like since you lost your husband.”

“And I’m not a drunk 24/7 who blames a bank for every problem he has.”

“Not every problem,” Erik Bridell snapped, “ just one.”

“Your going to drink yourself into the Devil’s Gate.”

“Wouldn’t that be ironic.”

Erik moved from the door as a large horse-like centaur entered the bank.

“This doesn’t help,” Erik gestured then growled as several other walked into the bank.

“Allowing these creatures into the bank now? You know they are all criminals.”

“I’m aware of the opinion but the hybrids are not going anywhere. They need banking service too.” …

“I feel you will not have to concern yourself with me much longer.”

“What does that mean?”

“One of those 24/7 alcoholic premonitions, I guess.”

An explosion knocked Erik forward and Ms. Moore disappeared from his view. Dust blanketed the air causing him to cough. Erik’s body went into hangover mode. He fought a rush of nausea as the alcohol retreated. He searched the dusty air for a place to reorient when the bank doors opened and several centaur rushed from the building.

A large centaur stopped mid-stride.

“Fuck off..” spat the creature.

“Walk away donkey f— “ Erik began to say before the world went dark.

Opening Scene 1

“Loosen these ties that bind!” Erik shouts as he struggles with his bound hands. “If not tie them like a hangman’s noose and send me to heaven.”

“Kill me now and save me the struggle of this horrific dystopian life. I do not want to be transported in this archaic way to my death. I wish to go no further to prove the world of corruption we live in.”

A large guard, clad in a black uniform, approached Erik and shoved him. This caused the other prisoners, tied to Erik, to fall leaving a mass of flailing legs laid upon the ground.

A train, spewing white smoke, blew its horn and approached the concrete floor of the train station. Other uniformed guards mixed within the flailing mass and attempted to help the prisoners.

A smaller guard with a red arm band stood next to the larger guard and shoved him but her smaller stature failed to move the larger guard.

“You idiot. Why? What is wrong with you.”

The large guard growled. “He was running just mouth again, Sargent. I don’t allow such insolence in my prisoners.”

“You run your mouth all the time Private Perry… ie why you still have a dick rank in front. Been in the BlackAdder guard four years right? Clean this up and get the prisoners loaded for the Devil’s Gate.”

The Sargent then turned and left.

Day 1 – Healing the relationship – COz

So I’ve been discussing the relationship with my novel COz and there has been some more progress during the reconciliation. Thoughts of reworking and organizing bring back excitement and thoughts of grandiose.

One issue was character introduction. I initially introduced my protagonist and a small group of supporting characters. I tried to make it about the protagonist but the other characters carried the story. This was a mistake caused by lack of planning. The story jumps from place to place with no clear path.

The solution to lack of planning? Plan.

So later in the novel I introduce multiple interesting creature/characters. Why can’t I introduce them at the beginning? Spend the entire novel building these threads.

The Sirens, the Minotaur, Ambrosia- the spider woman

Erik, Sean, Andrew and the Baker brothers.

Jean Luke and Gabriel

That is eleven characters

So here is the tough part. I have eleven characters, each with some good and bad. None fleshed out completely except for my protagonist Erik. So what do I do?

Make a decision… so let’s do that. So my to-do will be to add the characters and build a new intro. I need to research that too. Researching everything this time.

Reconciliation- C.O.z

So, as with most relationships, I’ve had consistent thoughts about reconciliation with my ex-novel City of Zombies. Don’t tell him though, this is between you and me.

The issue is I am working off a flawed idea. A path for the new novel that I never fleshed out. City of Zombies was maybe 50% completed and contained huge gaps that I could not fill. large sections of the novel that exceeded 5000 words. (One I turned into a short story for WPAD collection on Facebook)

This work I’ve done on the novel makes it very hard to drop the work all together. There is a lot of content I really like but it needs small edits and support characters.

The new novel has a solid idea but it’s lacking the ability to move forward. It has no momentum. Is it due to lack of imagination or lack of something else? Likely. This isn’t unusual when writing anything. It’s part of the challenge. It’s why I like it …but it’s disheartening. It’s another swing and miss with the novel writing.

I’ve been trying this for 10+ years. Honestly, the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I used to look at other authors like me and quietly scoff till it happened to me. Ten years = nothing (mostly)

I started painting in 2016 and it paid for itself in 1 year. It’s far from profitable. My wife would prefer I drop it too but it has made me money and I like it.

The way forward?

Plow ahead like I’ve been doing up to this point. Keep refining, rearing and reimagining. C.O.z will not be going away. It will not be the same either. The structure is semi solid. I need an iron clad structure.

The Jackal

“Here is the frightening truth, my friend,” the strange creature said with a slight smile, “there is life after death. This world… the here and now. Is your truth.”

The creature smiled as he thought for a second. He shucked some of the dust from his large dark feathers and stepped forward. “Listen to me, tall, dark and mute. You can sit there in your life-long stupor and mourn the life you had in that other world. The world that, coincidentally, crapped you into this one, or you can get off your ass and do something awesome with us. Narcissus has something special planned for the soul eater. That being you.”

The stranger looked up and stared at the creature. He looked him over. His hair-covered face and head. His bright, colorful clothing and finally the wings. The stranger stood and stared into the dark eyes of this meta-human. He raised his hands and clapped them multiple times in rhythm. The stranger’s face stared forward, unimpressed. The other passengers in the car, most of them now fully formed humans, stared silently waiting for the creatures reaction.

“Ah, I get it.” He said. “You are one of those funny men. The rebel assholes that don’t follow the rules. I get you, trust me. I get you completely cause… you know I have experience.” The creature then thrust his right hand up and twisted his wrist. He turned and continued to look over the railroad car that had now become full of flesh and blood humans.

“The engineer is not going to be happy with all this going on. Remanifesting dead humans is so illegal in these woods. Eww… he is going to be pissed and there is going to be blood everywhere.”

Above the car, upon the roof was the sound of hooves marching toward them. The creature began to speak but his voice stumbled. He cleared his throat and tried again. “Speaking of the engineer… that sounds like him.”

Another few steps and the other winged men began to stir. “Mr. Jackal, sir. We need to go now.” Whimpered another winged humanoid.

“You guys are such…” The Jackal began but stopped when a snake-like monster peered from the large hole in the passenger train. He motioned for the cabin to be quiet. Then instructed his men to grab the stranger and restrain him.

They grasp the stranger and dragged him backward toward the rear door. The Jackal reached over and grasp a long wire that was strung along the top corner of the car and pulled. The car breaks instantly halted the forward momentum. Anyone standing, fell forward and that included whatever was on the roof. The snake-like creature disappeared from the hole in the ceiling. The Jackal leapt through the hole and onto the roof followed by five additional feathered friends. The stranger was wrapped in plastic from the shoulders down and carried upward by a sixth creature.

Once upon the roof the engineer lie on top of the car in front of them. He had four hooves and six snake-like heads all connected at the base of the horse. He struggled to stand with his snake-like heads trying to lift the 400lb creature. The Jackal and his gang spread their wings and lifted from the train.

City of the Dead – The Spirit of the Dead – All aboard!!

Rain fell upon the stranger’s head. Thunder grumbled in the distance. The new world he stood in was dark, dank and full of sadness. The stranger looked around to see a decomposing shack behind him. It’s rain soaked planked walls weighed down by years of neglect. Words, painted in white, spell out mysterious destinations.





Beside the names was a small rain-soaked sheet. White splashes if paint drip down the right-side. Painted on the sheet is a dark train. Followed with the words:


Train of Light

Taken by the Darkness -1863”

A sharp gust of wind shoved past him and struck the rain-soaked sheet. Something grasp the sheet and ripped it from the wall. The sheet fell to the wooden floor. The stranger watched as a human form stood in the rain for a moment then disappeared. The wooden planks below his feet shook. The stranger turned. A plume of white smoke stalked through the dark trees. The Spirit of the Dead pushed through the dark of night toward the stranger.

A large articulated locomotive, painted black, stretched eighty-five foot from cowcatcher to cab. The engineer stood behind black iron windows and is shackled to an iron loop in the floor. The fireman faded into the darkness, then reappeared. He shoveled a substance into the firebox then flickered out of existence. The engineer stood with his long left arm upon the whistle and waiting till the station appears.

The black train runs on the essence of life.  The molecular essence of every living being on the train, collected within a steel-walled tender. Upon the tender is a set of ledges, one on top and the second two feet above the train wheels.  The ledge on the top was merely decorative but the one on the bottom was two foot wide, barely enough room to walk across.  Aluminum hand holds are placed at body length along both sides of the car.  In the center of the car, painted on both sides, is ‘Spirit of the Dead’.

The engineer pulled and the whistle released a scream from above the train.  The scream pierced the darkness and started the stranger. He watched as the large train approached the wooden deck. He saw beside him another figure, feminine but ghostlike. Another, then several more. They appeared with a suddenness. From ghostlike to human, bone and muscle. They all appeared fully clothed but dressed in period clothing. Almost like a Western on the television back when he was a child. He stared down upon his dress to find himself wearing a pair of faded jeans and a t-shirt stained in large dark patches.

The whistle blew a second time.

The Spirit of the Dead approached the wooden deck of the train station.  The engineer pulled the brake. Forced air pushed the thick rain soaked air out of the way as the brakes squealed. The stranger watched as the engine passed the station.  Followed by passenger cars.

The engineer pulled hard upon the brakes forcing the cars to jostle and jam into each other. When the train came to a stop the engineer disappeared from the engine and reappeared upon the side of the engine and then reappeared upon the wooden station deck.  He disappeared again and reappeared near the front corner of the engine.  He seemed to be inspecting the train.  From Benin’s the tender car a large man appeared.  He meticulously walked along the side of the car holding the handles as he went.  A chain danging from both ankles.  He then disappeared within the cab.  Several large wooden doors opened within the passenger cars behind the engine.  

Several men stepped from the cars and jumped to the wooden deck. They then turned and folded down a set of steel stairs built within the bottom of the cars.  The men, dressed in black, stood and waited as ghost-like figures stepped from the cars. The figures mingled with some of the ghost on the station then the station began to clear.

“All aboard!”

Fear and writing

Let’s talk about what I like to write about, that would be my individual fears. Whatever would potentially scare me keeps me interested.

My favorite shorts are the ones that I was able describe the best. With Charlie, I found I was able to portray the fathers distress over losing his daughter. Followed by the fear that she returned as a serpent with uncertain intentions.

I am certainly afraid of my daughters turning into monsters and forgetting who I am. Imagine meeting and then fighting for your life.

In Big Mouth Billy Stokes I explore a favorite subject of mine. After death retribution. This is, for me, a fear of karma. I try my best to be my best.

My last thought, at least for now, is the fear that you will fail your children. I explored this in The Harkin. A huge alien invasion has struck the earth. Humans have accepted defeat and moved on. What would you do if one just walked down your rural street? It could happen at any time. I have a huge complex when it comes to my daughters. The fear is constant. What if you were in battle mode all the time?

So many things going on. Such anger, so completely obvious and in your face. It’s too much. I miss the days when we were limited to the 6:00 news and maybe a rumor that the neighbors lost their dog and we had to help find him. I grew up afraid of a few logical things. Strangers, drunk drivers and dogs. Now we all talk and spread fear through social media. We spread all our anxiety and nutty ideas. Others agree and spread it. Soon it’s posted in 24 hour news cycle and posted 50 times a day as true.

I need to escape into my world of storytelling but what story do I tell? Relevant to the world around me or making something up. I am building a world of taur creatures in my art world at www.brokenstick.com. Can connect these worlds?

There is an artist connected to a great show called Tales from the Loop. Where Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag brings his artwork to life. It’s amazing to see his work on the screen. Simon attaches a story to his work. I would love to do the same but all the work I have up to now lives in semi-separate worlds.

It’s certainly on my mind and as I move through this new (minus City of Zombie) world it will effect it.

A divorce of sorts

I think I’m leaving City of Zombies. We are separating. Over 10 years work but it’s just not working out. It’s me City of Zombies, not you.
It should of been an amicable divorce… well…
It will not sign the papers!
We have agreed that huge things need to change. Better storytelling, improved character development. The scenery is atrocious and how did the characters even get where they were?
We have not agreed to separate completely. A full separation where we leave the characters in limbo for the rest of my life.
Can you believe the answer? No, I can’t just abandon the work. I have to WORK it out. City of Zombies even suggested consoling but I’m not ready.
So with the silliness over… lol
I am contemplating re-writing the bits and pieces I do like. Complete character appearance make-over and I am moving the whole world to Shadowlands. Shadowlands is a world I started to build but it got lost because of City of Zombies.
Shadowlands is a mythology based world. It’s an afterlife of our world. You enter using the Spirit of Darkness. A large black steam locomotive. The lifeline of the world are these Spirit trains… oh snap..
There is a Spirit of Light that has been locked up and deactivated. What if… what if they can free that train. Get it working again… nice
So conclusion, City of Zombies is done. Can I make this new idea work?