Assembling a collection

It’s been five years since I started putting together the ideas for my first book. That book became a series of five. I haven’t completely ruled out the idea of continuing the series, but for now I want to concentrate on other projects, including my long delayed historical fiction set partly during World War One. [Does that sound familiar? This time I mean it!]

Besides novel writing, over the years, I’ve written a number of short stories. I’m at the point where I think I have enough for a collection. Although, there are no hard and fast rules anymore –you can publish works of any length through Amazon– 40,000 words seems to be the magic number for a collection of short stories. With that in mind, I plan on revisiting my older stories with an eye for revision and expansion. As I work them out, I will likely post them here, so for those of you who’ve been following for a while, some of them might sound familiar.

If the short stories come together, I might do the same thing with my poetry. Since the poems, by nature, are much shorter and the volume would be slim, I thought about pairing them with my own illustrations, photos or other artwork. The idea for these projects arose from the ‘housecleaning’ I’m doing for the move: organizing things to keep and things to discard. The same can be applied to my writing: some of it is ready to go with just a little cleaning up, some of it needs major repairs, and some of it can be trashed. [Not really trashed… I keep everything, even if it’s just to spark a new idea. But you know what I mean]. With polishing, I hope these pieces will shine with new life.

In the coming weeks, my offline world is about to get a little crazy, so I hope you will enjoy these older stories and posts. Interspersed of course, with my adventures in Ireland as I look for a new home.

Diverse Verse – Poetry For a Cause

Sometime last year (memory not what it used to be…) poet Richard Archer asked for submissions to what would become a third volume of verse from poets across the globe to benefit Cancer Research, UK. I offered my favorite poem: Just Burn and was delighted to be accepted for the publication. Please consider buying this marvelous collection and supporting a most worthy cause! Purchase the book here.

My contribution: Just Burn

Why do I write in the light,
When the dark is so intoxicating?
Just to keep up appearances?
Do I continue to smile though I’m dying?
How do I find my voice?
Amidst a cacophony of screaming?
I don’t want your self help diatribe.
I don’t want your power of positive thinking.

I can’t hear myself think,
Let alone pen a work of distinction.
I need a strong, stiff drink,
But that’s only self medication.
And what’s it all mean anyway?
When nothing’s going to give satisfaction?
Just a book full of ink spots,
That sits on a shelf gathering desolation.

How do I come to grips,
With my own profound unhappiness?
I’m nothing but thunderstorms and anger.
Keep your sunshine and sweetness.
I have no more words of encouragement.
It’s cruelty, competition, unfairness.
The theme for the day is belligerence.
It’s outworking displays it’s aggressiveness.

So save your kindly comments,
And your gestures of reverent concern.
For into the fires of failure,
I let the manuscripts burn.
Lick the curling hundreds of pages,
Kindle the books, at each turn,
Throw gas on the conflagration,
And I’m gone nevermore to return…


To a man of nobility, of wealth and fame
The beauty from a far off kingdom, came

With charm and grace, her lord enchanted
The seeds of love’s compulsion planted

He sought to win her favor day and night
She refused his advances, try as he might

Bestowed upon her diamonds, rubies, pearls
But nothing moved the heart of the obstinate girl

But her resistance only stoked his fires
Finally unable to restrain his desires

He devised and schemed to spirit her away
Prepared a hidden tower for her to stay

But his passion was fierce and he lost control
In his fevered frenzy, her life he stole

Despair and grief, keening ragged breath
He determined to possess her e’en in death

So her blood he drained, replaced with wax
Laid on furs, draped in silk, sealed ‘neath glass

And thus he conferred upon her immortality
That he might preserve her for all eternity


This poem was inspired by this illustration by Harry Clarke for ‘Morella’ by Edgar Allen Poe in Tales of Mystery and Imagination. And partially by the short story Miss Henrietta Stralson by the infamous Marquis de Sade.