• "... being confident of this that he who began a good work in you will carry it on till completion ..." (Philippians 1:6)
  • ~


  • New Release
  • Sunday, March 18, 2018

    An Easter Horror Story

    Blood On My Hands

    There’s blood in the courtyard, creeping into every crevice. A living force swirls it in all directions, gradually covering every stone till it slithers among the white lilies. An eerie hush envelops the garden withering within the shadows cast by three rugged crosses. 

    Walking through the courtyard, I tremble as my eyes follow a path of bloody footprints. Above me a mourning dove sings, then flutters its wings but remains perched; her cooing song haunts the dusk-like hours.

    From noon till three the sun had stopped shining. The darkness had taken our breath away.

    “I think we killed an innocent man today,” I whisper. “But my orders were to—”

    “There’s so much blood, so much blood.” In the growing shadows a woman crawls on hands and knees, disturbing the pool of blood.

    I hang my head. Shame can choke a guilty man.

    She sobs, her tears dripping into the pool. Each tear, sparkling in twilight, splatters spots of red on her dress. It doesn’t matter, she’s already stained.

    “You knew this man?”

    She looks at me with sad eyes. “Yes, He was my Son. But not really.”

    I raise my eyebrows. “Why did He let me … let them do that to Him?”

    Slowly she stands to her feet and examines the cuts on my hand. I flinch. There’s a thorn embedded in the flesh near my thumb. I look away as she masterfully removes it. She smiles as she returns to her impossible task.

    There’s not enough rags, I think, or enough buckets. “Leave it,” I tell her. “I’ll take care of it.”

    In the cool of the evening, having failed to clean the courtyard, I take a long walk to the place of the Skull. No amount of water could have washed His blood off my hands. It stuck, it burnt, it outlined my fingernails. I don’t like how His death is affecting me. “Let it go,” I mumble. “He was just another man.”

    As I struggle up the hill a daunting breeze fights with my newly-assigned cloak: A gift for my first kill. It’s a guilt offering. Maybe I’ll leave it at the foot of His cross. I wonder if anyone will remember Him?

    As I near the Skull I watch someone taking His lifeless body off the blood-soaked cypress. The wind rustles the one part of his loincloth that isn’t sticking to his flesh by oozing blood. I take a deep breath, keeping my distance. My heart beats through the walls of its chambers as I remember His words: “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”

    My ears are ringing. It’s deafening. I can still hear the echo of the hammer hitting the nails. I pierced his hands and drilled through his feet. "No!" I sigh.

    “Were you … are you the Son of God?”


    It was a still small voice but it knocks me off my feet, down the hill and into the wild brambles. The thorns pierce my flesh. I moan.

    The way home feels unfamiliar. My shadow seems disconnected or there’s a second person walking beside me—invisible? Did I hammer the nails into the Son of God? Is there a greater sin?

    Each tree I pass reminds me of Him: Every cypress, cedar, and pine shudder; spindly arms shooting out ready to devour me, laboriously uprooting themselves. I run, stumbling through creeping shadows, as a red moon rises. A raven caws, bringing an end to a day of infamy. It is finished.

    The world will never be the same. What will I do with His blood on my hands?


    Religious Easter Comments

    And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus he gave up the ghost. 

    Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man. (Luke 23:44-47)

    Please click below for more
    of my flash fiction chronicles 
    available on Kindle.

    Short Tales of Secret Worlds
    Mrs. Shackles

    Thursday, March 2, 2017

    Celebrating March and the Coming of Spring with a Free e-Book from Alten Ink

    We are celebrating the coming of spring. We've had a sort of hard winter here in the desert. Lots of flash floods and harsh winds. The rain created a lake behind our house and now we are breeding frogs. It's a very strange sound to hear the ribbits and croaks at night. We usually hear the howls of coyotes.

    In any case, like I said, we are celebrating March with a lot of freebies and discount codes. First on our freebie list is my book, Short Tales of Secret WorldsIt will remain free until March 4th when the clock strikes midnight. 

    This book is a fun quick read. It's a collection of very, very, short, short, micro stories AKA flash fiction. Stories are 600 words each and include the following, but not limited to (I've always wanted to say that), fantasy, horror, sci-fi, time traveling, and steampunk. 

    You can read one of the stories on my personal blog at the following link: Where Dragons Live

    Friday, February 24, 2017

    Beginning Writers and Why You Should Go to Writers Conferences

    This post is meant to encourage those who can't quite feel comfortable calling themselves writers yet. The ones who would like to write a book, or even a collection of short stories or poetry, but haven't yet penned one word of it. They've just been thinking about it.

    Where to start then? Find a good writer's critique group and attend a writers conference. And don't be afraid to begin that first chapter. 

    Why should you go to a writers' conference? I'll let my good friend Debbie Wong explain it to you with her own experience.


    I was single, a computer programmer and never published. Why was I attending a Christian writers' conference? Well, I wanted to write. I felt a nudge from God to write. This conference seemed like a good place to start.

    The room buzzed with old friends saying hello and new friends making acquaintances. I didn't know a soul. I found a seat and poured over the schedule for the day. There were teaching tracks for fiction, nonfiction, devotionals, and screenplays. Since my book idea fit in the nonfiction category I decided that was the track for me. 

    So many terms were foreign to me. People lined up to schedule a time to meet with an editor. I didn't know who to meet with or why I would even meet with an editor at this point. I truly felt lost, but I found my way through the morning sessions, then lunch arrived.

    The people around my table began introductions based on a written table prompt. Most were published authors. I shared my book idea and that this was my first conference. The other writers, far superior in ability than I, encouraged me, welcomed me and offered helpful suggestions. I didn't feel insignificant. I felt included. I felt that I belonged. I felt like a writer.

    I met a woman at that first conference named Bev. She happened to be one of the co-leaders of the event. She had writing credentials to fill a two page resume. One thing she didn't have, computer skills. Submitting writing through email and contacting editors through websites had just begun at that time. I had a book idea and no formal training as a writer but I did have computer skills. Bev and I agreed to meet after the conference to mentor one another. She critiqued my writing and I showed her how to use email and Microsoft Word. We became fast friends as well. At the next year's conference, I taught a class on using the computer for writing.

    I now had many published authors as friends. It would be almost ten years before I had the pleasure of joining their ranks. However, I confidently walked into every writers' conference and identified myself as a writer. Publication is wonderful, don't get me wrong, but writers' conferences aren't just for the published. They are for people who share the same passion - the love of writing. We have stories to tell and ideas to share. Sometimes they go no further than the conference. Other times, they are discovered at a conference.

    Never shy away from attending a writer's conference. You may gain a new friend. You will be inspired. Your ideas will be shaped and formed and reformed. You will gain skills you didn't have. You will be surrounded by like-minded people who will applaud your efforts. Whether you are new to writing or been at it for years, find the next conference in your area (or take a road trip) and join in. You won't be disappointed. You will be inspired.


    Debbie Wong is a speaker, singer and author. Her desire is to encourage women to dream again and discover their full potential in Christ. You can find out more about her at www.debbiewong.net or follow her blog at debbiesuewong.wordpress.com.

    Monday, January 9, 2017

    The Watcher King

    The Watcher King is now available on Kindle. This is "episode" 1 (think TV series, or webisode perhaps), or aka Book 1 of The Pa'raGhon Chronicles.

    One of my beta readers said that young Malatthias was a brooding kind of character. That's good, because that's how I wrote him. After all, his father just died on the battle field, his father's pteripus (winged horse) is hunted by Gryphons, his mother is missing, and now he's expected to raise his younger brother. One more thing, he's now the king.

    A few other obstacles, like a blood-sucking seductress, and flesh-eating Nephilim mar his journey to kinghood, but other than that, piece of cake.


    Friday, October 14, 2016

    Editing: The Problem with Writing ...

    It happens
    Before sending a manuscript to a publisher make sure you self-edit. Honestly, it probably takes two or three rewrites before a manuscript is polished enough to finally go through ... another edit.

    Take the Stephen King 10% rule: 2nd draft=1st draft minus 10%.

    Then after that, let the people in your writers' group take a look at it. Remember, thick skin is necessary for every writer.

    “Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it – whole-heartedly — and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.” ~ Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (1914)

    Then after your writers' group have had their say, look for help from a professional editor. Most editors have great deals. Some will do the first chapter for free, or anywhere from $3 - $6 a page for the first 150 pages. Look around, do the research, and you'll find good editors who will help you polish your book. 

    1. Be part of a writers group
    2. Attend writers conferences ... at least twice a year.
    3. Take writing classes
         ** Here's a list of FREE writing classes offered by top universities.
    4. READ! (good books, not only in your genre; find the great authors, study their work and do what   they do.

    DON'T FORGET to ...
    Show, don't tell.
    Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~ Anton Chekhov

    to Tell: Dan was confused. 
    to Show: Dan crunched his eyebrows and scratched his head.

    Click here for perfect examples of "show, don't tell."

    THE ISSUE with ...
    1. Dialogue: Tags versus Beats (Awesome must-read post by Rebecca LuElla Miller)
    Dialogue tag (use sparingly or eliminate): "How many jelly beans do you think are in this jar?" she asked.

    Descriptive beat (use well, more acceptable than tags): Darla adjusted her purple-rimmed reading glasses and picked up the jar on Mrs. Teacher's desk. "How many jelly beans do you think are in here?"

    2. Overusing certain words (deadwood words/deadwood constructions): these we can eliminate 99% of the time.


    there is
    there are
    to be

    Great article on overused words 
    More overused words and phrases

    Links to website with editing tools that help find the overused words in your manuscript. 


    What are modifiers? by Grammar Girl

    1. If you say, "He started to walk in the same direction ..." wouldn't it be better to say, "He walked in the same direction"?

    Sunday, September 25, 2016

    Self-Publishing? Why an Editor Can Be Your Best Friend.

    My pastor posted an interesting short sermon a while back:  "Mistakes Aren't Permanent. Unless ..." He used this tattoo to bring his point across.

    Apparently, tattoo artists need editors too. 

    Writers need editors, there's just no way around it. If you haven't heard all the reasons why, you're probably new to the business of writing. Trust me on this, it would benefit you to find out exactly why you need an editor. 

    Most Alten Ink authors are first-time authors. Some didn't think they needed editing because their friends and family loved the book. I had to decline working with them. Others grew thick skins over the course of our editor-writer relationship. They kind of like me now. 

    Listen to Ginger Galloway's podcast where she answers the question, "Why Hire an Editor?" If you're a first-time author and plan to self publish, this might be a little brutal but the truth must be told. Here's Ginger from AG Christian Press

    Friday, June 10, 2016

    Free Coloring Page

    I love it when I get to work with my kids. Now my son knows how hard it is to put a book together, but he's not giving up. Our goal is to publish a speculative fiction coloring book, you know ... faeries, robots, sword-wielding heroes, super heroes, time travelers, and of course zombies. For now, however, he's just practicing. Let him know how he's doing.

    Download if you want.