Scary October – Day 9

Hello, Everybody!

Today, I have a link from Jim Ryan. You may remember his interview and if you don’t, you can go back and read it here. On his post, he discusses his fears, especially those related to the arachnid family. Personally, I’m not all that crazy about them myself! Read what he has to say here.

While I really loathe those 8-legged creatures, I did a little digging and found a site that discussed movies with an arachnid theme for those who actually like to be scared out of your wits by spiders. You can check out the list at Den of Geeks.

Okay, let’s get onto a different subject as these creepy crawlers are beginning to make me itch! I thought I’d give you a taste of one of my Neighbourhood Chronicles. Years ago when my kids were little and would play with the neighbour kids, we moms would sit on the front steps, watch the kids and tell stories. This is part of one that I created, changing the names and adding a bit of fiction to make it fun. Here’s the beginning:

THE CALLER

The shrill cry of the phone split the night like a singer’s perfect pitch shatters glass.  Bonnie awoke with a start, her heart in her throat.  She lay in the dark, listening to the next two rings, trying to convince herself that it was only Harold calling about a new flight schedule, or her mother trying to get hold of her about a family emergency.  With a trembling  hand she lifted the receiver.

“I know you’re alone . . . ” said a deep, raspy voice, “so I’m coming to kill you!”

Bonnie slammed the phone down and sat up in bed, her stomach in knots, tears of fear forming in her eyes.  She folded her arms across her knees and placed her head on them, trying to calm her nerves and think what to do.  Her mind went blank.  All she could hear was the man’s sinister threat ringing in her ears.

Why was he tormenting her this way?  Was it just a prank, or was this really a maniac bent on revenge for some unknown crime she may have committed against him?  How was it, that this creep knew she was alone?  Was it merely a lucky guess or was he watching the house?  What about the children?

That final thought spurred her to action.  She packed a few things in an overnight bag and went to rouse her youngsters.

*

He saw her leave the house. 

Good! 

He really had her on the run.  He loved having so much power over other people’s lives – and deaths.

*

A car door slammed.

“About time,” Sheila thought, expecting her daughter’s return from a date.

She shut off the TV and stood in the bay window, hands on her hips, trying to present a stern parental image.  She was surprised not to see a car parked on the street in front of the house, no sign of her daughter.  Across the road, however, Bonnie was carrying a sleeping bundle into the car.  Glancing at the clock, Sheila realized it was well past midnight.  She hurried out under the spring stars, oblivious to the fact that she wore only her pyjamas and slippers.

“What’s wrong, Bonnie?” she asked.

“It’s that . . .” her voice caught on the words.  “You know, the Caller.”

“Again?”  Sheila’s usually smiling round face was pinched into a frown of concern. “Where are you going?

“I called my mother.  I’m taking the kids over there where they’ll be safe, in case that creep decides to make good on his threats.”

“You don’t have to travel half-way across town.  Keith’s bed is empty downstairs.  I’m sure it’s big enough to hold all of you.”

“I can’t impose on you like that!”

“I insist.  You’d have to get the kids ready for the babysitter twice as early in the morning, if you were all the way over at your mom’s.  Stay here.”

Bonnie let out an immense sigh of relief.  At this point she was too tired to argue with her friend and eternally grateful for the offer.

“That would solve a lot of problems.  I hate to bother Mom this late.”

“Then it’s settled.  Let me carry my ‘boyfriend’ in.”

Bonnie smiled at the reference.  Her extremely shy son and their neighbour had developed a special friendship.  Sheila was one of the few people he had really warmed up to.  He was at Sheila’s more often than he was at home, probably because she spoiled him rotten!

The two women tucked the children into the big double bed in the basement, recently vacated by Sheila’s son.  Keith had dumped his current girlfriend and moved into an inexpensive apartment close to home.  It was a place where he’d have a little privacy for his tom-catting around until he found true love.

Sheila waggled her fingers at Bonnie, inviting her upstairs to chat.

“I don’t want to keep you up,” Bonnie said, “and bore you with all of this.”

“It’s certainly anything but boring!” Sheila told her.  “Besides, I have to wait for Lisa to get home, anyway.”

Bonnie plunked into the easy chair by the dining room.  She was not sure if she could even talk about the incident.  It still made her shudder.  Sheila handed her a glass of cola.  As she brought it to her lips she could smell the rum.

“It’ll steady your nerves a bit,” Sheila told her, with a twinkling eye.

Bonnie flashed her with a thanks-filled glance, then shook her head wearily.

“I don’t know what to do, Sheila.  This is the second time that guy has called when Harold was out of town.  The first time I just thought it was teenagers joking around.  This time, I’m not sure.  It’s got me spooked.”

“Sleep here tonight.  If he calls again tomorrow, notify the police and they’ll put a trace on the phone.  That’s what we did when that crazy girl was after Keith.  Or go and get one of those phones with call display.”

“Good idea.  I’ll do that right after work tomorrow.  Speaking of work, I’d better get some sleep.  Morning comes far too early.”  Bonnie rose and gave her neighbour a hug.  “Thanks for everything, Sheila.”

“It’s nothing,” she insisted.  “Just get a good night’s sleep without having to worry about that lunatic.”

*

Next day, Bonnie finished up the paperwork after the last patient left the dental office.  She hurried to the babysitter’s to pick up the kids, then they headed to the Phone Centre at the nearby mall.  She got information on the call display phones, how to trace an incoming call and what she should do if the annoying caller called again.

“The only problem,” the clerk explained, “since your line does not contain the caller display service yet, it will take at least a day to connect you with the system.”

“Thank-you for your help,” Bonnie said as she paid for the new phone.

She stopped at the drive-through window of the kids’ favourite fast-food restaurant before heading home.  While the kids munched on their hamburgers and fries, Bonnie carefully read the phone instructions.  She plugged in the electrical cord and the cord that went into the phone jack, then set the phone on her bedside table.  She knew if the caller harassed her again, it would probably be at night, so it would be best to have this particular model of phone close at hand.  As she reviewed the manual, she wondered why the bastard had picked her.

“Perhaps it was a disgruntled patient, who didn’t like the way I cleaned his teeth, or something,” she thought with a smirk.

She began to regain a greater feeling of security – until the phone rang.

“It’s not him,” Bonnie whispered aloud in an attempt to convince herself.  “He calls at night, after I go to bed.”

Nevertheless, that did not prevent her from glancing at the blank screen of the phone’s display.  There was still no way of knowing who was calling, although she could still dial *57 to have the phone company trace the call.  Then she could call the police.

“God!  I hate this!”  She picked up the phone.

It was her mother.  “Are you alright, dear?

“Yes, Mom.  I’m fine.”

“Why don’t you and the kids come for supper tonight?  You really shouldn’t be alone.  Your dad can come pick you up.  When he drops you off again, he can check the house for you and make sure you’re secure.”

“Thanks, but I don’t think that’s necessary.”

“Well, if you won’t come here, why don’t I send your father over and he can spend the night.  That way if that horrible man calls, your dad can answer.  That should scare him off.”

“Maybe that would be the answer,” Bonnie considered.  “The only problem is, I don’t have a spare bed.”

“He can sleep on the couch in the basement.  It’s not too uncomfortable.”

“Only if he feels up to it.  I generally don’t like giving in to my fears, but I must admit, I’m really upset by all of this.”

“Your father says he’ll be there right after dinner.”

“Thanks, Mom.”

*

The caller knew she was not alone. 

He did not call her while her father was there.  He waited patiently until Harold went out of town again, which was about a month later…

*

“I’m going to miss you,” Bonnie told Harold at the airport.

Her green eyes were wide like a frightened child’s.

“If that bastard calls you again,” her husband said, kissing the pointy end of her nose, “promise me you’ll call the police.  I won’t have you victimized like this.  I have to know you’ll be safe when I’m not there.”

“But the call display is working now.  If he calls, I’ll give his number to the police.”

“What if it’s a cellular number or unlisted?”

“I’ll still call the police.”

“That’s my girl.”

He bent over and kissed her forehead.  Pushing his wire-framed glasses up the bridge of his nose, he gave her a one-handed hug, picked up his suitcases and waved good-bye.  Bonnie watched his back and gave an involuntary shudder.

*

As she passed, he turned into the phone booth, the receiver to his ear.  The loud buzz of the dial tone was annoying, but he had to seem disinterested in the blonde passing by the booth.  He lowered his lids, but kept his eyes on her until she left the terminal.  Hanging up the receiver, he sauntered down the corridor, thinking of the fun he was going to have tonight.

*

“I shouldn’t think about it,” Bonnie thought as she got ready for bed.

Despite the thought, she couldn’t help but glance at the new white phone.  Ever since Harold left, she had developed an overwhelming sense of dread.  She hated feeling so out of control, jumping every time the phone rang.

“At least I don’t have to worry about the children.”

Her sister had offered to keep Alicia and Jonathan with her until Harold returned.  Bonnie blessed her sibling for being so understanding.  Now she would not have to worry about them, even though she was scared to death for her own safety.  The reason she was staying alone in the house suddenly escaped her, then she remembered.  She was hoping to catch the creep this time and report him to the police.

Something scraped the front of the house.  Her heart skipped a beat.  The fading whine of the wind reassured her.

“It’s just the cedars rubbing the eaves,” she thought, although she wasn’t entirely convinced.

She went to the living room to confirm her suspicion, peering through the curtain.  Something darted past the window.  Bonnie drew back in alarm.  A grey and white apparition pranced on the window ledge outside.

“Sparky!” she exclaimed.  “Why aren’t you chasing mice instead of frightening me half to death!”

The fluffy feline rubbed his face against the glass before leaping to the grass.  He sauntered lazily across the lawn towards Sheila’s house, the tip of his tail twitching with each step.

Bonnie’s pulse finally resumed its normal beat.  Shaking her head at her foolishness, she headed back to the bedroom.  A flash of light gave the room a ghostly glow before darkness returned.  A loud crash made Bonnie’s skin prickle with fear.  The sound rumbled to a whisper, followed by another flash of light.

“Great!” she thought.  “Just what I need tonight.  A thunderstorm!”

*

Rain washed over his windshield, the wipers making a futile attempt at clearing his line of vision.  He didn’t mind it, though.  This was the perfect night to impose his perfected form of terror on one who had been attracting his attention for some time.  It wasn’t the woman so much as her husband that he wanted to torment. 

Ever since he had been passed up for the promotion and Harold had taken his place on the corporate ladder, the caller had been preparing to take his revenge.  He was not a novice at this type of intimidation.  Many times he had stroked his ego by making others feel weak and helpless –  and it would probably not be his last…

*

The trill of the new phone chilled Bonnie to the bone.  The screen of the call display said, ‘Unknown name, Unknown number.’

“Shit!” Bonnie swore under her breath.

The trill of the phone continued.  Bonnie wondered if it would ever stop.  Was it him?  Taking a deep breath, she decided to take a chance.  If it was him, she would call the police.  Then it would be over once and for all.  With a shaky hand, she lifted the receiver to her ear.

That horrifying, deep raspy voice greeted her with, “Hello, Bonnie.”

She nearly dropped the phone.  How did he know her name?

“I know you’re still there.  I can hear your breathing.  You sound frightened.  Is it because you think I am coming to kill you?”

Bonnie could not answer, frozen with fear.  A crack of thunder split the night.  She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to control her incessant shivering.

“Quite a night, isn’t it?” the gravelly voice chuckled.  “Not the best night to be out, but I like the rain.”

Bonnie quickly hung up and pressed *57.  The call display still read, ‘Unknown name, unknown number’.

The phone trilled again.  “I’m very close, now.”

Bonnie nearly cracked the phone from the force she exerted slamming its receiver back on its cradle  Before the caller had a chance to redial, she called 911.

“You have reached the Emergency Dispatch Centre.  All our lines are busy at the moment, please stay on the line.  One of our operators will be with you shortly.”

Bonnie pulled the receiver away from her ear and stared at it in disbelief.

“You put me on hold?” she screamed at the phone.  “I could have my throat slit by the time you take my call!”

A few seconds later, she heard,  “This is the Emergency Dispatch Centre.  Thank-you for waiting.  How may I help you?”

“Someone just called and threatened me.  I think he wants to kill me!”

“Please give us your name and address.”

Bonnie complied, urging the operator to hurry.

“Is this the first time he’s called?” the woman asked.

“No.  The same caller has called twice before.  Each time, my husband was out of town.  The first time I thought it was just a prank.  The second time it happened, I panicked and went to a neighbour’s.  Now, I’m really scared.”

“Does your phone have caller display?”

“Yes, but the guy’s number is unknown.”

“We will send a cruiser there immediately.  Just stay calm and don’t answer the door until they arrive.”

Idiot!  Bonnie thought with disgust.  What did she think I was going to do?  Invite the guy in for tea and crumpets?

There was a click on the phone and the line went dead.  Then the LCD numbers on her clock radio went off, as did the caller display on the phone.

“It’s just the storm, it’s just the storm,” she repeated to herself, rocking nervously on the bed, her clasped hands pressed tightly against her lips.

She left the bedroom to wait for the police.  Huddled behind the coffee table, she stared outside, the street light’s coppery glow reflecting off the sheets of rain.  Thunder rumbled in the distance, the storm moving away.  Gusts of wind still whipped the cedars, causing them to rustle and scratch the siding, sounding like hundreds of little fingernails trying to claw their way inside.

She didn’t hear sirens, but she saw the blue and red beacons on the cruiser oscillate as it screeched to a halt in her driveway.  A burly policeman in an orange rain cape thumped a fist on her front door.  Bonnie rushed to the door, wrapping her satin robe around her.

“Mrs. Lester?  This is Constable Mathis of the Winnipeg Police Department!”  He held his badge up to the peep hole so she could read it. “Is everything alright, Ma’am?”

“The lights went out and the phone’s dead.  It happened while I was still talking to the dispatcher.”

“Probably just the storm, Ma’am, but we’ll take a look out back.”

“Thank-you,” she sighed.

The arrival of the police comforted Bonnie immensely.

*

The caller peered above the door panel of his car, his face breaking into a huge Cheshire-cat grin as the police scanned the Lester’s property.  The only things they would find were cut wires and over-sized footprints.  He would dump the enormous boots he had worn in the nearest trash can…

 

 

Hope you enjoyed this snippet. See you all tomorrow! 🙂

Sunday Interview # 12

Hello, Everyone! Today I’d like to introduce a fellow blogger and writer who loves everything ‘pirate’. He often posts about everyday pirates and is writing a serial-style futuristic story, Red Jenny and the Pirates of Buffalo. Please welcome J. D. Ryan.

Oh, please, call me Jim!  I hear “JD,” I think of either what my brother calls my son, or think of what they used to use ‘JD’ for, short for ‘juvenile delinquent.’  And no, my son does not act that bad…

Okay, hi, Jim! Would you like to start by telling us a little bit about yourself?

Well, I’m a writer based in New York, waiting for his long evening to end so that he can become an ‘overnight sensation.’  It shouldn’t be more than a few years from now for that to happen…  I’ve pursued the craft for a while between bouts where other things have popped up, like being a husband, a father, having a trade, all the stuff that keeps frustrated writers from ending up like a sad pastiche from La Boheme

What got you interested in Pirates? 

I think you could say I’ve always had an interest in those who didn’t “color within the lines;” even as a kid, the rebels and malcontents tended to get my interest in just about any story.  This applied to pirates, but also to revolutionaries, civil justice crusaders, punk rockers, all the folks outside of the whole “rigid law and order” alignment; hell, as a kid I identified a lot more with Han Solo than Captain Kirk…

Beyond just about every kid’s attachment to Treasure Island and Captain Hook in Peter Pan, I can’t claim that every instance when growing up that someone unfurled the jolly roger got my attention, but there were plenty of opportunities to go on the account when they came up.  I remember being one of the few people who really took notice in Watchmen that when superheroes actually showed up that comic books in that universe would turn instead to pirate stories; I thought it was one of the coolest things about the work.  And to my surprise, no one else I knew thought the whole Tales of the Black Freighter subplot was worth paying attention to; it’s finding yourself all alone out there that can keep you from finding your strengths for a while.

Were pirates the inspiration for your writing, or did you like to write before you were interested in pirates?

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I’d been writing for years before I found my muse, at the pilot wheel of a brigantine, doing work in other areas.  I had some success out there with some gaming articles and some fiction in print, and it’s an area I’ve never fully left.  For some time, I was doing a lot of stuff in horror and SF, particular alternate history (AltHis) with some degree of success. 

A few years ago, I discovered an interesting book, The Science Fiction Stories of Jack London.  Apparently, early in his career, before Jack London was Jack London, he wanted to be H. G. Wells.  None of the stories collected in the work were all that bad, but it was watching him trying to find his voice that made me look at what I had been doing, and ultimately something clicked. 

It encouraged me to take a good look at what I had been writing at that moment, which was feeling a little stilted, and when I just let go, Abigail Sanders showed up, probably after killing some time in the same room Harry Potter was hanging out in before he introduced himself to Jo Rowling.  I used to think this whole “character springing up and introducing themselves to the author” thing was just bad PR copy, and yet there she was; our eyes met and a half an hour later there were thirty pages of first draft narrative at my feet…

I noticed on your Author Page that you have published work on many on-line sites. Why did you decide to use this format to publish your stories?

I spent a lot of years sending my stuff to anyone who’d be willing to look at it.  When I started out, there were no online opportunities; the concept of an Internet writing outlet was years away from being a reality when I was collecting my first rejection slips from the likes of Analog and Playboy.  One of my online pieces, Tick-a Tick-a, actually got reprinted physically in an English magazine, The Dream Zone.  If an opportunity came to share a work in that way, any opportunity, I would certainly be willing to go that route.  Paper, electrons, smoke signals, synesthesian odors; hey, I will do it all…

Have you ever considered traditional publishing routes? Why or why not?

You know, I’m of two minds on that.  On the one hand, part of me would love to do the traditional thing, get a book done with a publishing house.  It’d be part of an old picture I used to have as to what it meant to be a writer, which included drinks at the Russian Tea Room with my agent and a few minutes during Carson’s third half hour on his couch to discuss the book.  And yeah, I had this image in my mind for a long time…

But part of my going digital is this fear/belief that Publisher’s Row isn’t going to wait around for me to give them a book they want.  I gave it a pretty good try for years, with a lot of encouragement from reading groups and confidants who’d keep me from giving up, then we would all gripe about something that did get published like Fifty Shades of Twilight or some such and wonder, what the hell?  And with the technology and the market forces actually allowing writers to seize the means of production (and yes, I did go there), the whole question of the underlying relationship between writer and publisher can’t help but be challenged.

And truth to tell, when it comes to inspiration on how to decide this, pirates don’t help as much as you might think.  Yes, every pirate out there all found their fortunes by going their own ways as the flew against all flags, but give a sea dog a chance to have a letter of marque to make it all legal and he or she would often take the opportunity.  Henry Morgan, the pirate who terrorized the Spanish, brutally sacked Panama and got a line of rum named after him?  He ended up Deputy Governor of Jamaica, so there you go…

I read your story Rooftop Sessions! From that, I have a feeling you’re a fan of ‘The Beatles’. What is it about their music that you enjoy?

Where to begin?  When you’re young, you get drawn to the hooks in each piece that just draw you in and get the endorphins running, and when you’re older and start studying musical theory and deconstructing songs you realize what complete geniuses they were when they wrote their own pieces. 

I can’t really recall a moment when the Beatles weren’t around me in some fashion.  I just about grew up on the Beatles, playing my poor parents’ first pressing of Magical Mystery Tour to death; we could have found oil in the gouges I left in that disk.  One of things that drew my wife Susan and I together was our interest in the group; she’s gone on to become a recognized authority on the band, its members and their influence, which means for the sake of shalom bayit  that I just cannot change my mind about them this late in life…

There’s another aspect concerning the Beatles and my fiction:  They were and still are great focal points for historical and AltHis pieces.  Because they were some of the best documented people of the 1960s and later, writing about the history of the time and how that history had changed in a piece, using them as foci, relays a lot of information to the reader very quickly.  And they were so interconnected with their times, with everyone wanting to be with them and they with others, that you can write about a large swath of the 1960s in one story.  So for me, doing pieces like One Ring to Rue Them All, Magneto and Titanium Man, and Act Naturally, they were a way to approach a decade loaded with rebels and questioned authorities and delve into themes of challenge and change.

I’ve noticed in your writing a rather wry sense of humor that I find very amusing. When you’re writing, is humor something that just slips in or do you put it in deliberately to create comic relief in your stories?

I’d have to say it is deliberate, essential even.  On the one hand, there’s so much misery and bad news we all get bombarded with every few seconds, and Lord help you if you depress easily and get caught in a big 24 hour news cycle, as none of those are ever happy affairs…

There’s another reason for bringing in humor wherever possible.  In most of my material, I have characters that are in the process of being under threat of assault, threatened with being stabbed, shot at, blown up, raped, tortured, you name it.  And for most of them, given half a chance they’d flip from being victims to perpetrators if they could.  None of these are folks you’d really want to be caught with on the subway between stations for 20 minutes, so something has to be done to keep it light…

Getting back to pirates, would you please describe the premise for Red Jenny, to those who are unfamiliar with the story?

Well, Red Jenny and the Pirates of Buffalo is a tale that takes place a few years after climate change became undeniable as it rendered major changes in the world we knew.  Hardest hit was the United States, bankrupted from failing to save the East Coast cities from being claimed by the sea and unable to get a good crop from a perpetually dry Corn Belt.  Things are so bad that a war they launched with Canada to claim the Great Lakes solely for themselves ended in defeat with a hostile neighbor to the north, with one of the results of the war being the closure of the border.  And on this border over the lakes, smuggling between two former trading partners has flourished, which prompts a rise in piracy, as practiced by our heroine, Red Jenny DiNapoli.  And we follow Jenny through a rough patch in what’s a rough trade to begin with, as trying to celebrate a successful raid as the book opens just spins wildly out of control for her.  Her luck’s like the weather in Buffalo, if you think this is bad, wait an hour…

You’ve painted a rather dim view of the future and with good reason, I think, with everything you’ve posted about the economy and real life pirates these days. What was the inspiration for Red Jenny, the thing that triggered in your writer’s mind, ‘THIS is what I will write about’? 

The main inspiration actually came to me years ago, with the release of the Schwartz-Randall Report to the Department of Defense.  This was written back in October of 2003, but the administration at the time did their best to keep this paper’s profile lower than an SSBN on station.  The thrust of the report was to raise the possibility of radical climate change as a national security issue, and included as one of its suggestions that the Pentagon “(i)dentify no-regrets strategies,” which is a wonderfully euphemistic suggestion that we get ready to do some nasty things to neighbors we can’t really share with anymore.  

Now, I spent a lot of my life in Northern and Western New York.  Both my folks were from Buffalo, I have a lot of family in and around Erie and Franklin County, and I spent a few years living close enough to the border to be able to cross it casually.  I still come back upstate every chance I get.  Most people, when they get word that their government is seriously thinking about invading their neighbor to claim a resource formerly shared in friendship, feel a little uneasy.  I was shocked, like a lot of people who live on a friendly border would be to find that we actually considered how to be anything but a good neighbor. 

Now by the time word of the paper started getting out there, which was inevitable considering what a better Republican president said about “fool(ing) all the people all the time,” there was growing evidence that climate change might not be as slow a process as imagined, and that we might need to consider “no-regrets strategies” sooner rather than later.  At the time, I was working heavily on writing Raging Gail, but I started to keep notes so that I could get things ready to launch once I wrapped the first book.

Why have you chosen to post Jenny in a short serial form instead of larger blocks, or waiting until the whole story was written before posting it?

Well, most of the writing was done before I started posting.  I have the overall story and most of the key plot points written out.  When I do work on the novel now, it’s a matter of polish and flow to get the individual pieces to “crisp up” and to make the flows from scene to scene work better. 

Putting the work online in this format is actually a business decision that I came to when I started work on the first novel.  I noted the work of other online writers and comic creators who were getting their material out there without the constraints and hassles other distribution channels offered.   Because of the nature of the Internet, the fact that users when they get online expect their content to be in manageable bits refreshed regularly dictated the form, while proving that Marshall McLuhan was right yet again

One could argue that the tradition of a novel coming out in short segments harkens back to an earlier time.  Charles Dickens presented his novels in serial form before ultimately being collected in single volumes.  Rather large volumes, too, as he used to get paid by the word on first pub, which explains some of the extended scenes you find in Great Expectations that seem to go on forever…

That’s true! Do you have any other ‘irons in the fire’, so to speak, that you’d like to tell us about as far as your writing goes?

I’m a little superstitious about pitching upcoming works.  I’ve had stuff previewed by me before it was ready to share, then watched it disappear as something comes up and the moment passes.  There’s footage out there of me at an old Beatlefest previewing a work I was halfway through, a piece with John Lennon growing up in a post-Operation Sea Lion Liverpool; I still have problems living that one down…

What I can mention with some comfort is that I’ve finished work on some short pieces that I’m going to try and offer to paying markets, to try and update my collection of rejection letters going back a few decades.  I have some larger works that are very preliminary right now that keep me distracted in a good way that might some day lead somewhere; some older set pieces from things that didn’t get completed found their way into Red Jenny, so there’s no waste of material on this end.

I do have a few notes for how to follow up both Raging Gail and Red Jenny with direct tie-ins.  Whether I move ahead depends on the reaction when I post notice in the future on the soon-to-be-launched KickBriber (TM pending), where my ardor for the work depends on what goodies I’ll be offered for going that way.  Let me say right up front that yes, booze is always a good enticement, but that I am open to any vice that you may wish to seduce me with…

Well, on that note, I encourage you (my readers) to check out Jim’s website, Raging Gailhere and if you want to read what has been posted of Red Jenny and the Pirates of Buffalo, you may do so by clicking here.

Jim, are there any other links you’d like to share with us, places where we can find your writing, websites you enjoy, Facebook, Twitter?

I am fairly regular over at io9.com, where you can watch me make an even bigger fool of myself on a grand scale.  I’m also on Facebook, and maybe a few government watch lists as well...

Is there anything else you’d like to add before we close, today?

Oh Lord, I have always been bad at closing thoughts; there’s a good chance that when my number’s up, the epitaph I come up with is going to be pretty lame.  Which gives me yet one more reason to be careful and not snuff it yet…

Well, let’s hope you don’t ‘snuff it’ any time soon! Thanks, Jim, for taking the time to join us today!

My pleasure; and thank you for hosting me!