Tag Archives: writing

SideBar 4: And the award goes to…

Okay, so the award for the world’s most infrequent, erratic, and unreliable writer goes to……………….Ty McDuffie.

Over the last several months,  I’ve gotten a lot of phone calls, e-mails, tweets, etc. about  where have I been, what have I been working on, wasting my gift etc….and after many sessions of banging my head against the wall, I had to come to grips with this one simple fact:  If I don’t start taking my gift of writing  seriously, and working at it…….I’m going to lose it.

Also, I learned that it’s okay NOT to be modest all the time.  I think I’m pretty good at this writing thing. (The PROOFREADING thing…not so much.)   It’s OK to think and say so.  I’m sure that Michael Jordan never said, “I think that I’m kind of okay at this basketball thing.”    I shouldn’t either.  However,  I think, that was always just an easy escape hatch for me.  In the words of the wise man Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes, “It’s easy to meet people’s expectations of you if you keep them low.”  If I keep expectations low, I never have to do the work to get better, because whatever I produce is always good enough.   Plus, I’ll never have to worry about getting my feelings hurt if someone doesn’t like it, because after all, I didn’t put any real effort into it anyway.   But, if I don’t set expectations high, even in my own mind, then what do I have to aspire to?  How can I possibly get better?

Now, what I ain’t gon’ do is promise that i won’t still be infrequent, erratic, and unreliable, but I WILL promise that i won’t be as bad as I have been.

Anyway, enjoy the sidebar below, and please let me know what you think.  It’s an intro to Marcus, another character from a book that I’m working on.  It’s kind of dark, but hey, the Muse wants what the Muse wants, right?


Rock Hill, S.C.…

The aching joints attaching the flashing red neon arrow to its perch above the doorway of the nightclub squeak and whistle their disagreement as the arrow swings slowly back and forth in the cold, rainy night’s air;  their charge  boldly pointing to its target like some kind of modern day  “X” on a newfangled treasure map.  Across the street,  in one of the rooms of the abandoned hotel, “drapes” made of discarded plastic shower curtains are drawn back;  push pins holding them in place; allowing the red pulsing light of the sign to meander in and out at will.

Sometimes, the cold air bullies it’s way through the gaps around the edges of the window, giving birth to cold, little urine scented dust tornadoes that skitter off into the corners of the mostly empty room, carrying little scraps of paper and dust with them.   The sound of the rain pelting the window echoes through the space like a million miniature drums signalling the march of some far away conquering army.  

The marriage of the smells of rotting pizza and chicken, stale beer, cigar smoke, old sweat and even older urine hang thick in the air… heavy… moist…cold.  There is a mattress in the middle of the floor.  It’s  covered by makeshift blankets that were cobbled together from pieces of plastic and newspapers and held together with pieces of electrical tape.   

   An old, gray haired man in a blood stained tee shirt and blue jeans sits in a straight backed wooden chair in one corner of the room; just outside of the red light’s path.  The handle  of a knife hangs loosely from a gaping hole in his chest.  His head droops and his mouth hangs open;  allowing a warm, thick string of  drool  to snake its way over his lips and make its way to his lap; to mix with the slowly growing puddle of  cooling blood that has oozes from around the knife’s blade.   His chest heaves and releases roughly from the effort of breathing and he makes a deep sucking, gurgling sound with each breath.   His feet have begun to turn a rotting shade of purple as  tightly tied straps of old, faded denim bind him to tightly the chair, cutting off the circulation; allowing no new blood to visit, and no old blood to leave.     

A man’s voice creeps through the air  from one of the dark corners of the room that the red neon light never reaches:

“Hey, man……you believe in monsters?” it asks.  “Hey…do ya?”

The voice pauses for a few moments, as if waiting for the answer that it knew would never come, then continues it’s dialog/monolog/rhetorical questions from inside  the shadows.

“Man…I don’t mean like no swamp thing, Freddy Kruger, some man runnin’ ‘round in no hockey mask type of monster, neither. So don’ go getting things all twisted…Them fellas was all fake.” the voice said. “Naw…I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout them summa bitches.”

“I mean, hell, my daddy used to watch th’ ole school monster stuff on the t.v. all th’ time.    Yep, th’ old man loved that stuff.  Wolfman, creature from th’ lagoon, Dracula…Hell, he loved all of dem ole black n white movies..  But the wolfman…Nah THAT was his boy, ya hear me? He had a thing fo’ that one.”  

“You could pretty near guarantee that whenever any monster movies came on on Creature Feature Sundays, we was gonna be watching it.  Yep, he’d plop me right down in front of th’ t.v. and there we’d set.  I’m talking hours, man.  He used ta make me watch it with him on the all th’ time.  YEah, I ‘member Creature Feature  Sundays.   You ever watch that stuff, man?”.  

There was another pause, longer and deeper this time.  Accented with a fresh puff of smoke.    

He continued. “Hell, you know what?” he said. “ I never much thought much about this but,….while I was just talkin’ to you ‘bout it….it just popped in my head….was all  the famous wolfmen named Michael?.”   He scratched at his head at the thought.

He continued to talk.  “ I can’t ‘member no famous wolfmen named James, or David or nothin’. You had Michael Landon…” he counted on his fingers for emphasis, “ …Then you had Michael Fox….Well…I guess that don’ really matter no way ‘cause like I said, I ain’t talkin’ bout them Hollywood monsters.  I mean th’ REAL ones.  You believe in ‘em?”  

After a few more moments of silence, a sigh escapes from the darkened corner of a room, chased  shortly thereafter by its owner; a short, bloated, Black man in a dirty pair of blue mechanic’s overalls and a tee shirt.   The top half of his overalls were undone and  its arms had been tied in a knot in front of his waist.  Across the chest of the shirt is a picture of three cds followed by a plus sign and two peanuts with the caption “CDs NUTS!” written underneath it.   

He stops just inches from his captive and bends down to him; their noses almost touching; his hot, moist breath seeping down onto the man’s face.

“I guess you don’t feel much like talkin’ bout it right now, huh?  I ‘spose not, not with that big ole hole in your chest.”  He tapped the wooden handle of the knife.  “ Hell, I wouldn’t want to talk movies neither, I s’pose.    So, I’mma just give you th’ answer, ‘kay man?  He moves to his mouth close to the man’s ear and whispers, “They’re real man…I seen one.  Yessirrr, I seen it all up close and personal like.  I’ll tell ya what’s the truth… they ain’t no fun, neither….”  He lifts up his tee shirt to show several small circular burn marks randomly dotting his chest and flashes  a near toothless grin at the man in the chair. “Naw man, they ain’t no fun at all.  By all that God loves, they ain’t.”  

He stands up straight, dragging one of his fingers through the string of drool coming from the man’s mouth and plays with it between two fingers, like a mechanic looking at a finger full of used oil for metal shavings before drawing a small bloody cross on the man’s forehead.   He pulls a silver flask out of his pocket, unscrews the cap, and takes a quick swig.  He screws the cap back on and flips the flask over his shoulder with a thud.

“Yep.  You know…” he says, “that’s why….I ‘spose  I have to kill you, Daddy.” and draws a small bloody cross on the man’s forehead. 



Posted by on December 30, 2016 in fiction, horror, Uncategorized, writing


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Sidebar 2 (NOT Daddy’s Doing Hair stuff)

Ok…So after sharing the introduction for one of my characters from one of the OTHER books that I’m working on, I  got a lot of requests for a little more of it…so I decided to share another intro.   (I think I’m SLOWLY gaining confidence in my writing and am becoming more open to sharing.  So THANK YOU to all of you that offered some encouragement….It is GREATLY appreciated.)

Anyway, as I mentioned last time I shared from this particular book, it’s kind of (ok….very) dark.   So be forewarned…it ain’t my usual happy go lucky writing style….

The first chapter introduces several of the characters that play major roles in the book.  (I have to be honest with ya…even though it’s kind of dark, the concept is really cool)

That said….here’s…….


First there is dreaming….

…sun filled dreams; wrapped in smiles granted by a high school sweetheart mixed with an awkward first kiss from some crush of a million years ago.  This is where Trey found himself;  sleeping a sleep so restful that he was subconsciously secure in the fact that when he’d wake  up, no one would believe just how good his sleep was.

Then there is pain…

The pain is a white hot, fist clenching, teeth grinding  sort of pain that snatches Trey out of his fluffy, pillow clouded dream with a start and flings him headlong into his  new nightmarish, flashing neon washed reality.  In this new found reality, there’s a man leaning over him from his bedside, slowly forcing a ten inch serrated utility knife through the bones of his chest.  Trey can hear the sickening sound of the bones giving way with a muffled crunch as the knife bullies its way through; guided by the hands and weight of its sick, demented driver.

    Sweat drips off the man’s forehead and falls to Trey’s face in thick, hot splashes.  A few of them meander their way into his eyes; burning as they mix with his own tears as they force their way out.  His assailant becomes fuzzy…

    Trey lashes out; letting his hands flay wildly at his attacker; groping for any semblance of a defense against him.  His attempts fall short as his hands can do little more  than claw at his attackers clothes.  His attacker is bigger than him….stronger than him and the blood squirting from Trey’s chest is taking what little strength that he had with it; oozing away, ounce by sticky, red ounce.

    In the midst of this, Trey suddenly realizes that these are his dying moments. His nostrils begin to burn with the inevitability of his own death mingled with the smell of his own hot urine as it begins to escape him.

    Trey tries to force sound through his throat; to scream for help… to spit a curse of eternal damnation to the worst pits of Hell for this maniac, but speech is no longer his friend, and the words won’t visit his lips.  The intruder’s knife tickles Trey’s spine from the inside and his heart is seemingly forced to pump blood everywhere except to his muscles; his throat included.

    His mind’s screams for help become translated into the sounds of chokes and gargling as his own blood betrays him;  flooding his throat with warm, sticky death..   His will to fight begins to fade as the fog in his mind simultaneously begins to spread.  Not even the fresh screams from his daughter’s room down the hall can stop it.

Finally there is darkness……………….


Posted by on February 5, 2014 in death, fiction, Uncategorized, writiing


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Ok…This is TOTALLY not what I want to showcase on this blog, but someone asked me for an example of another style of my writing.  So, I decided to post a bit of a blurb from one of the other books that I’m writing.  This excerpt is from one called Entries.  It’s an introduction to one of the main characters. It’s decidedly darker than what I usually share with anybody, but it does show another side to how I write.

I’m REALLY interested to know what you think, so please leave a comment…good, bad or indifferent.  So, without any more delay…….I introduce :


42 – The number of days since the 9 year old girl disappeared on her walk from school.

41  –  The number of days since the rapist had gotten what he wanted from her.

38 – The number of days since he bashed her head in with a hammer so she wouldn’t tell….

37 –   The number of days since he put her in a hole underneath a bridge and threw shovels of cold dirt in her face.

12 – The number of days since they found her there.

 3 – The number of hours since they had placed the girl back in the ground, and the woman had gotten the strength to move on.


    Lisa Grinesford stared up from the bottom of the stairs as if she was waiting for some sign that it was okay to change her mind to come bounding down towards her.  Nothing came.  In her mind, she had been preparing for this since the fifth night that Michelle didn’t come home; trying to mentally perform  a delicate balance of having the parent’s hope that their  child would come home with the  hopelessness of preparing if she didn’t.  In the end, it was all for nothing.  Her strength waned and eventually, inevitably,  she  tumbled headlong into the hopelessness of what had become her reality; a reality that was delivered to her as a late night present; adorned with flashing red lights,  wrapped in a blue uniform,  and that mechanically recited,  “I’m sorry, but…” on cue just to tie it all together.  She didn’t even have to pull a string.

    Michelle would never come down those stairs again, she thought…still staring up at what seemed to her to be an endless staircase.  With that thought, the bloody, oozy wound in her soul that had begun to scab over was ripped back open; exposing the nerves underneath to the cold, biting harshness of what she  had to do…

“…clean the room.  Just clean the freaking room and get on with my life.”

She placed one foot on the bottom step…then the other foot on the next one and slowly, methodically forced her muscles to work….making her way up the stairs.

    Lisa felt her head start to spin, and grabbed at the banister to steady herself; closing her eyes against the world that was suddenly spinning out of control around her.  It had seemed to her like only yesterday that she was teaching a wobbly Michelle how to use the handrail to help her come down the stairs…now she herself was using it to help her make it up them.

   Slowly,  she made her way up the stairs;  turned the knob to Michelle’s room and stepped inside.   She left the door open behind her; a semblance of an  escape route in case the spinning decided to return.  As she shuffled her way  across the room, she noticed the dark space under the bed and thought, “Huh….I guess the REAL monsters weren’t under the bed….”  She cringed at the callous truth of it.

    Lisa sat on the edge of what used to be her daughter’s bed in what used to be her daughter’s room and looked out the window that her daughter used to look out of and stared  blankly into the cold, wintry day outside.  She had barely found the strength to come into the room until now, much less actually make changes, so the room around her had sat largely undisturbed since Michelle disappeared.  Everything was just as she had left it, for the most part, untouched.

    Lisa  wasn’t sure if it was simply a trick of her weary mind, but it seemed as if she moved just right on the bed, she could catch whiffs of the overly sweet smelling scented lotions that Michelle would slather all over herself after her baths.  Lisa allowed her head to hang slightly and closed her eyes; drinking the smells in; trying hard not to scare them away.   Her dark curly hair draped her face in an unruly shroud of dark frills allowing only the tips of her ears to peek out.

     She didn’t  sit there alone…there were demons there with her.

     The demons sat there on the bed next to her.  They had come to her in the days right after they found Michelle’s body; gently dripping their jaded opinions into her ears like warm, thick honey.   Over time, their voices had become more desperate and louder; gaining strength with each passing day.   Now, they screamed at her almost constantly; their honey laced words replaced with a venomous concoction of gall and vinegar; of hate and regret; constantly buzzing in her ear like a cacophony of blow flies around a rotting corpse.

     Their buzzing filled her head.

      So,  there sat Lisa; the pale faced, dark headed, frail, specter of a woman that she had become over the last month, surrounded by stuffed pink bunnies, giant teddy bears, Barbies and unicorns.  There was nothing that could have looked more out of place in that room than she did.  Well, except…maybe the gun that she had rested on the bed next to her.

“Pick it up.” the choir in her mind  sang.

She picked the gun up…and placed it in her mouth.


Posted by on January 30, 2014 in fiction, Uncategorized, writiing


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