When the Epiphany Machine works right, “Cockleburs”- present

I admit it, I’ve been writing fanfiction.   Bad me, but there’s a point to it, honestly.   Still going with the hope that I can convince a game company to let me write for them, and this seems like the best way to get my stuff out there.



People ask me the same question all of the time, “Where do you come up with these ideas, anyway?”   And my answer is always to just stare at them, and say, “They come out of nowhere.”

I see it as kind of like I have an “Epiphany Machine” in my head, a cantankerous,  temperamental fax machine that occasionally spits out ideas of an unknown source.   It worked perfectly last night, so I thought I’d share.

I’ve had the germ of a vague idea running around for a week or so, where it came from, I don’t know.   It sidled into my head and has been hiding in a corner for a bit, just a ‘huh, well…maybe…’ level of a thought about a sentient parasite.

Last night, the Epiphany Machine got  a hold of it, and started to throw out ideas.   These come as a mishmash of “Oh!  How about this!  And this!   And this!”   The first  was…to tell it from the parasite’s point of view.   Ooooooo kay.   Then to make the parasite extremely vulnerable, nearly sessile, and on the verge of death.   Oh….really, what?   I knew I was in trouble when it threw out the first line.   If I have the first line and the last, I can start writing a short story.   Sure enough, after a scramble, it threw out the last.  And then a title.  Which I didn’t like so I threw it back.   It threw out another.  I rejected that one as well.  It tried a third time, and that one I agreed with.     (How many science fiction short stories would work under a title like “Cockleburs”?)  So I had a first line.  A last line.  A basic idea.  And a title.   Then it started to throw out whole paragraphs, letting me know that my nameless little parasite isn’t truly a parasite, more of a symbiote.   And he’s a he.   (Important, yes.)  And that he’s an alien.   Wait…what?

Trust me.  I think this is going to work…


The first page is the worst- The Way of the Blessed.

I finished Clearing of the Way knowing exactly where the planned sequel, Way of the Blessed, was going to start at.   I have the scene locked firmly in my head, but as usual, getting it to start rolling has been difficult.   I normally get into the writing groove by rereading at least part of what I’m going so that when I reach the end, I step right into what I was working on earlier.   But with a brand new work, there is no ‘rereading at least part’, and I’m faced with a bright, blank screen.

Because Nathalie and Gideon are sulking in a corner for some unknown reason, hiding behind that killer whiteness of a completely empty page, I’ve been digging in those short stories that, for whatever reason, I let lapse or just stopped paying attention to.   I completed one “In Mysterious Ways” that has been sitting on a back burner for way, way too long, and started sending it out.   There’s another short story, “Dog Eat Dog World”  that I wrote a couple of years ago that came very close to finding a good home only to be rejected at the last moment.   I looked at it with fresh eyes and I know it would benefit from a rewrite.  Then there’s the story I placed as an Honorable Mention in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest.   I’m positive it would probably also be much better with some work now.   And I have one lonely and bizarre ghost story about halfway done.   It’s time to get cracking!

It’s too hot to write.  Too hot to move.  Too hot to breathe… a terrible heatwave has settled over my area with a vengeance.   My house dates from about 1916, well before central air was ever a consideration, and the room I normally write in was not well designed for a window unit.   Today is the tenth day in a row we will top out over 100 degrees, but finally relief seems to be in sight… Sunday is supposed to herald a return to our usual middle to high 80’s for this time of year.


On the writing front:  Clearing of the Way is available on Amazon Kindle.   I completed one of my long term projects (a short story that bogged down awhile ago) and started to send it off in hopes of finding it a home.


One of my hopes, dreams… no, we’ll call it a goal, because hopes and dreams sound so ephemeral, is obviously to write video game tie in novels.   I’ve spent a good bit of time lately reading those I have access to, to get a better feel for the genre, and with a new video game that seems to be fantastic launching soon, I’ve turned my attention to beginning fanfiction for it to try and garner some clout in its writing community right off of the bat.   And it seems it might have worked, I recently returned a proposal to serve as a staff writer for a launching website devoted to this new game.   Wish me luck!