New Dark Fiction – The Whisper Jar by Carole Lanham


If you’re looking for a quick, dark, well-writ-read, look no further. My sister in darkness, Carole Lanham (USA Today Bestselling author of The Reading Lessons) is re-releasing her awesome collection of short stories – The Whisper Jar.

The revised version of The Whisper Jar includes creepy pictures and a new cover which out-creepifies the old cover, and that is no small task.

Review of The Whisper Jar

The following is an excerpt from my original review:

The Whisper Jar blends dark and sometimes paranormal situations into the really-real everyday world with clever writing, an Edgar Allen Poe sensibility, and a splash of Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things. Carole Lanham writes in her own carefree but intuitive voice. Audiences will slip into these short stories as easily as they would a warm bath, only to be surprised at how quickly the waters deepen. Those looking for a variety of dark character studies, whimsical situations and disturbing relationship dynamics will enjoy The Whisper Jar.

Check out the full review here: Dark Fiction Review: The Whisper Jar by Carole Lanham

The Whisper Jar on

The Whisper Jar is available on in ebook format for only .99 so go check it out!

The Whisper Jar by Carole Lanham

Writing the Unwritable – The Art of Subtext by Charles Baxter

The Art of Subtext Book ReviewCharles Baxter recently gave a rousing speech to writers at The Loft Literary Center, where he discussed his book, The Art of Subtext.

The Art of Subtext (subtitled ‘Beyond Plot’) discusses that aspect of writing that… actually isn’t within the writing.

The Art of Subtext discusses and illustrates the hidden subtextual overtones and undertones in fictional works haunted by the unspoken, the suppressed, and the secreted. –

Subtext is the Loch Ness Monster of writing tools. [Read more…]

2014 Writing Process Blog Tour

Fellow Minnesota Author Michael Merriam asked if I’d participate in a virtual blog tour about writing process. Actually, he told me if I didn’t do it, “terrible misfortune was certain to come my way! Very soon!”  

Fortunately, I know Michael is a liar. The man makes up stuff all the time. Good stuff. Check out Michael Merriam on Goodreads  if you don’t believe me.

But it sounds like fun to participate. (And why take a chance, right? I mean “terrible misfortune”? Yikes!) So here is some info about my current work and writing process: [Read more…]

Is That All? 2013 in review

2013_The_Year_In_Review_1040x4002013 was an altogether odd year. Keep in mind that we weren’t even supposed to HAVE a 2013. The world was supposed to end on 21 Dec 2012, and… well, it didn’t.  Kinda like that old roommate of yours from college who dropped by to stay “for a couple days” and now he’s been living with you for several months…. Yeah, it’s kinda like that. No one really knew what to do with this bonus year, and I can safely say that few people made the most of it.

So what exactly did we do with our bonus year? [Read more…]

2013 Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers’ Showcase

2013_MNSpec_Writers_ShowcaseDo You Like Fiction?

Then you’ll want to mark this event on your calendar:

On Sunday, November 17th, members of the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers’ Group (aka: MNSpec) will be reading stories at Acadia Cafe in Minneapolis.

Come and enjoy Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Steampunk, Paranormal Romance, and much more. All Fiction. All Speculative.

The fun starts at 12PM, and each writer will have approximately ten minutes to read from their current material.

Fiction Fans, this is your opportunity to experience a large number of local writers in a short period of time. Find a new local author to add to your “must read” list!

Here’s just some of the talented folks who will be entertaining us with tales of the un-real:

  • Joel Arnold
  • Kelly Barnhill
  • Rob Callahan
  • Eli Effinger-Weintraub
  • Terry Faust
  • Catherine Lundoff
  • Michael Merriam
  • Margaret Taylor
  • …and more!

All hosted by yours darkly.

How, you may ask, did I ever get such talented folks to volunteer to read their works?  Let’s just say I know people who know people who run S&M clubs, and leave it at that.

Why, you may ask, did I ever agree to host an event like this? Let’s just say I paid a lot for my cool steampunk hat and goggles, and if there’s an event where I can wear them… then I’m wearing them.

Hope to see you there! And if you want to help share this event with others, feel free to download the jpg graphic above, or here is a link to the pdf version of the event flyer:

2013_MNSpec_Showcase Flyer

Dark Fiction Review – Ghoulish Song by William Alexander


Ghoulish Song is a companion book to Goblin Secrets, the national book award winning story by Minnesota author, William Alexander. (Read my review of Goblin Secrets.)

This is not a “Part 2” to Goblin Secrets, as some reviewers are saying. (Since William Alexander told me this himself, I’m inclined to believe him.) Ghoulish Song is a “companion” to Goblin Secrets. Both books are set in the same world at the same time. The city of Zombay, its magic, witches, Goblin-acting-troops, squidskin coats, and clockwork guards are revealed through both novels. The two books can be read in either order, and you can read either story without reading the other, but reading them both offers synergy and depth to the stories.

William Alexander’s writing is “Neil Gaiman Good” which is about the highest praise I can give to writing. The words on the page are simply a pleasure to read. Pacing never lags, and the story is fantasy with a refreshing splash of steampunk. I praised William before for balancing his fantasy with realism, and once again, he delivers. [Read more…]

Neil Gaiman Live!

Neil Gaiman 2013 Book Signing In MinnesotaNeil Gaiman has been a writing inspiration to me for years. But he isn’t just a good writer. He’s smart. He’s humble. He’s well-spoken.  He is grateful and respectful to his audience.

And he wears black.

He’s become more than just a writing inspiration for me. He’s someone to look up to in many different ways.  I gave Neil Gaiman the Ubercool Seal Of Approval back in 2007, so you can imagine my excitement when…

I met Neil Gaiman for the first time today. [Read more…]

Dark Fiction Review – Northwoods Deep by Joel Arnold


Review Disclaimer

A few disclaimers about this review before I get started:

  • I know Joel Arnold personally. He is a fellow member of the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writer’s Group.
  • I purchased Northwoods Deep from Joel directly.
  • I do not owe Joel money from an old gambling debt involving Jagermeister, a Trampoline and a Super-Soaker. No matter what he says.
  • I was not compensated for this review. (But I do get some love if you follow my links to Amazon, which helps offset my webhosting fees and various addictions which may involve Jagermeister, Trampolines, and Super-Soakers…)

File Under Horror

With that out of the way, I can tell you it’s been a while since I’ve read real Horror like this. It was refreshing to read something that was not chilling, dark, or edgy, but actually horrifying.

If Twilight read Northwoods Deep, it would die of fright. [Read more…]

One Year Lived – Get a Free Signed Copy From Author Adam Shepard!

If anyone ever asked me how I got started writing, I’d tell them, “Well, I had this idea for a story, and I decided to write it.” That first part is easy. The second part, not so much. Lots of people have great ideas, but they don’t decide to…you know, like Nike says – Just Do It.

Adam Shepard…

…has great ideas. For example: [Read more…]

Review of the 2013 Bloomington Writers Festival and Book Fair

Conrad Zero and Author Friends at 2013 Bloomington Writers Festival

From Left To Right: Terry Faust, Michael Merriam, Jason D Wittman, Conrad Zero

Last Saturday I attended the 2013 Bloomington Writers Festival and Book Fair  along with fellow Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers Group members: Terry Faust, Michael Merriam, Jason D Wittman and Joel Arnold.

We attended the writers festival last year, and we learned that this is not a large event, nor an awesome event for sales of spec fic. “Low maintenance, Low payoff,” is how I reported it to the other MNSpec group organizers. We decided to get a table anyway, and use this event as a practice for developing our marketing/promotional clout for larger events coming this summer.

Some numbers: [Read more…]