Riding out the COVID pandemic so far has been a lot like regular life; there’s less store browsing, and travel/road trips have dropped to zero, but by and large I’ve been splitting my time for the past eight years between writing and home improvement projects, and that’s mostly done from home, so…

If you know me elsewhere, you know how the home improvement is going. But it’s been a while since there was a writing update, and there are other things brewing in the Write-o-sphere:


The bulk of the last few months has been spent prepping the first three books of the C.T. Robillard mystery series to get them in shape for seeking a rep and then a publisher. The first, MURDER HOUSE, is locked down in its current form and ready to go. Two days ago, I finished the next-to-final round of edits/rewrites on the second, SEVEN FISHES. This week, I dive into the second draft of the third book, HONEY LOVE, which I expect will be a 50% total overhaul as better ways of traveling the story have occurred to me (or have been revealed to me by Robillard and his associate, Kristie Barrett.) In addition, draft outlines for the three books that follow exist (ORGAN GRINDER, GUN DOPE, and GLASS I , which complete an arc dealing with the murder of Robillard’s wife.) The idea was to walk forward with a package of polished work and a roadmap for the latter half of the journey. The COVID pandemic has completely flipped the table on timeline, though, as publishing takes the same hits as everyone else, with layoffs and such. I’m plugging along because the plan is still viable, but ‘when’ is as pushed out of shape as every other. In the end, the whole effort may wind up going through my own imprint. There’s too much fog in the crystal ball to say at this point, but Robillard continues his spadework unabated.


I set aside short stories for the most part while hammering out Robillard material, with the exception of the ‘Friday prompt’ shenanigan a couple weeks ago on Facebok that resulted in “The Mockingbird Who Knew Too Much” (currently in the Story Stash) and a short bit of whimsy born of a friend’s post about his annual ritual pilgrimage to a middling restaurant of his past (“All You Can Eat”, which might go into the stash in the future for grins), jotting bits and ideas as they came to me for future use. Right now, that slowly stewing pot is 31 pieces deep, from fully-formed stories in need of a rewrite/finalizing (including four Iron Vanguard adventures) to three-line starts that need to be written. So I have things to fill in when I get tired of Robillard pulling me in three directions.


One other thing I have on the boards - lord knows if it’ll happen or not - are a blog post or two about my Aunt Elaine and her military service leading up to her deployment at the Army Hospital in Tokyo at the start of the Korean War. I’ve got a loose outline of a longer memoir partially mapped out - basically one woman’s life and how it was de- and re-formed through that particular crucible, but she was in the first waves of personnel sent by Truman in response to the conflict, and as we approach the 70th anniversary of the start of the war in June, it feels like a good time to put some story down on the page, scan some old images or negatives (a roll of film shot the day she shipped out of California for Japan is still extant), and tell the pertinent parts of her story, which will help me organize things and get some hand-holds for a more fulsome account of her life (perhaps in time for the 75th anniversary in 2025.) 


Seeing as I’m paying for the woefully underused Midnight-to-Three Publishing domain - which has only ever really had a SHADY ACRES splash page or two - I’m going to do a two-site overhaul and move the selling functionality and links from this site over to that one; and I may noodle with other Midnight-to-Three projects that aren’t specific to me (maybe the time for THE NEPOTIST JOURNAL OF FICTION is coming.) I may also drop a section onto the Mt3 site to periodically list books from my personal library selloff. It’s far easier to have those mechanisms in one place, and if I’m going to go to the trouble of listing things, I have zero problem moving away from eBay, given their fee structures and commerce games. (Alas, I’m PayPal bound, but PayPal isn’t socking me for a percentage of the sale, so there’s that.) That’ll be on an ‘as I get there’ basis over the next few months. Or I may scrap it all conceptually. We live in fickle times.

And finally: be good to one another, maintain your distance, and be safe, and I’ll see you soon.

03/28/2020 - CLOISTERED

Jeez - take six months off, and the whole world goes sideways.

There’s a longer post coming on what’s new and strange - and that’s everything - but as part of the current stay-at-home order, for distraction, I put out a call for story prompts last week that resulted in a new tale presented here for my amusement (and yours, if you so desire). Head over to the Story Stash to solve the mystery of “The Mockingbird Who Knew Too Much”.

The big stack o’ fun…

Get Social:


   “I don’t want it following me all the time. Watching me. Hounding me. I can’t be alone, or have secrets, or anything.”

    Any other grandmother might have talked him off the ledge with the science Conklin loathed or some whimsical bit of claptrap to tide him over to the next childhood obsession. Being who she was, Grandmother Kobold instead reached into her knitting bag and removed a pair of silver shears. “Cut it off, then.” In hard, accented words like bullets.

    “You can do that?”
    “You can.”

from “Reflection On A Cutting”