The Edge of the Map – No. 9

Epiphany . . .

The time has come, I feel at last, to present the truth in all its ugly glory.  The truth is that for the past eight months I have been blogging like a writer in his prime, making plans for future projects, sharing them here, and sometimes discussing them with innocent readers who honestly believed they were seeing something being created.  In point of fact, with the exception of a single short story for an old friend’s anthology,  it has been well over a year since I have written a single word of original material, and I still don’t feel any indication that it’s about to come back.  All I have really “accomplished” over the last several months has been to transcribe the last of my years-old material to the website.  The final chapter of my crime drama, Broken English, went up on Tuesday, and with the exception of Possession of Blood, everything I have written that is worth reading is now available here.  Possession is the horror novella being considered by a publisher, and so must be kept under wraps; more on that in a moment.

Monday morning I had the aforementioned epiphany:  I have allowed writing to consume huge portions of my free time to no particular purpose, and I frankly don’t enjoy it much anymore.  What really brought it home for me was the fact that I was scheduling writing days on the calendar; remember my last post, where I said every three days?  So I was penciling in days to write when it occurred to me:  What else do I schedule on this calendar?  Odious chores that must be accomplished, trimming the hedge, scrubbing the kitchen floor, things of that nature that interfere with the enjoyment of my retirement . . .  Things like writing.

I kid you not, there is very little enjoyment left in it.  I get up dreading it every morning, prove to myself once again that I can’t do it, and wind up transcribing my old stuff and dreaming up blog posts to “hold my place” while I reconnect with my mojo.  While I was stressing over this, my wonderful daughter gave voice to my feelings in her own inimitable style.  She asked, “If you knew you would die tonight and this was your last day on earth, would you spend it writing?”  Apparently, sixty years is how long it took to get it out of my system.  On a possibly related note, NPR yesterday carried an article titled When ICU Delirium Leads to Symptoms of Dementia After Discharge.  In 2014, I was in intensive care for 35 days, including three weeks in a coma, and I had a terrible case of ICU Delirium.  One of the symptoms cited in the article is a lack of focus, and I have certainly suffered from that; maybe that’s an underlying reason.

In any case, this realization marks a sea change in my on-line presence.  I have completed transcribing everything I intend to share to the tabs above.  Finding and developing subjects for the Sunday blog posts is a drain on whatever creativity I have left, and as was pointed out to me in a comment, they are all things we all know anyway.  Accordingly, the Sunday blog will be discontinued immediately; I’ve never had that big, successful book, and really all you can learn from me is how to fail.  The Thursday post, this one, will continue every week, combining Sunday’s links to the work of my friends with Thursday’s book recommendations.  You may see me commenting on your blogs from time to time, and as I say, this one will continue until interest wanes.

Now, I’ve talked about hanging up my pen a number of times in the past, but I’m not going to make that announcement again.  Writing remains an itch for me that needs to be periodically scratched.  What I expect will change is the method of scratching it.  I have spoken of a prospective deal for a series of horror novellas.  I have had no word on that yet, but would love to undertake it, and if it comes through that will become my sole project, at least until I prove to everyone concerned that I can’t do it.  If I can’t, then perhaps an occasional submission to an anthology will fill that niche.  Developments in that area will be passed along as I hear of them, but in any case, this will be the primary gateway to my books and stories.  Read them if you like.  You can use the contact form here to get in touch, my Facebook page, Jack’s Hideout, or my email if I’ve shared it with you.  I wish all my writing friends the greatest of success, and will continue to support you in any way I can.  Now with all that out in the open, let’s get this pony dancing!


Patinewah and the Border Guard by J.L. Solomon.  Many strange things happen in the deserts along the Mexican border.  Without the building of a wall the drug cartels are free to move in and out of the United States with their poison.  That was until the Bear Clan appeared.  The clan, lead by Patinewah, a Cherokee Princess who died and was turned Vampire along with many others in her tribe during the “Trail of Tears’ in 1829.  Together with her brothers, Yarnell, Little Quail, a couple of unsuspecting border patrol agents named Hank and Hime’, and a 400 pound shapeshifter known as Lalo, they battle against the Yote, thousands of werewolf hybrid soldiers that are the enforcers for the drug cartels of South America and Mexico since the Spanish Invasion during the 16th century.  Their success and survival depends on one thing.  $2.99 on Kindle.


NanoMorphosis by Marla L. Anderson.  Reluctant celebrity Daniel Walker remains haunted by his past.  Making first contact with a merciless alien race left him orphaned and mentally scarred.  But with his planet in its death throes, he can finally use his tragedy and renown to fulfill his parents’ dream of finding a new Earth . . . at a very steep price.  Cadmon Dhyre still bears the disfiguring marks of a deadly plague.  An orphan himself, the nanotechnologist spends every waking hour developing the cure that could reinvent him.  Cadmon knows that wiping clean his horrifying appearance could win him the same prestige as Daniel, but only if he can obtain the resources he so desperately needs.  Only one man will get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure funding, and the loser’s desperation will lead him to become Earth’s biggest threat.  NanoMorphosis is a suspenseful work of science fiction.  If you like intricate world-building, near-future technology, and multi-layered characters, then you’ll love Marla L. Anderson’s compelling novel.  $2.99 on Kindle.


The Arx by Jay Allan Storey.  Ex-Homicide Detective Frank Langer is a broken man – but he’s all that stands in the way of a deadly conspiracy.  Since a mental breakdown put him on medical leave from the squad he was once hand-picked to lead, Langer spends his days drinking and chain-smoking, and his nights waking up screaming from a horrific recurring nightmare.  Until one day, by chance, he stumbles on a plot to kidnap children.  When he shows up at the squad with his story, his former colleagues pat him on the back and tell him to go home.  Undaunted, he’s driven by a single purpose – to expose the perpetrators and prove he’s not crazy.  Aided by Rebecca, the aunt of one of the missing children, he races to fit together the pieces of an intricate puzzle: a mute quadriplegic confined to a psychiatric hospital, a reclusive scientist hiding out on a remote island, a dead reporter’s ravings about a bloodthirsty cult in one of the wealthiest enclaves of Vancouver.  Stumbling through back alleys one heart-pounding step ahead of a mysterious force he doesn’t understand, Frank finally unravels a labyrinthine conspiracy more deadly than he ever imagined.  But can he stay alive long enough to find someone to buy his story?  Pick up this chilling mystery/thriller, because it’s got a plot twist that will knock your socks off.  $4.99 on Kindle.


A Printer’s Choice by W.L. Patenaude.  In January 2088, life in outer space is rocked with news of its first homicide.  The dead man—a young Dominican Priest—had secretly made his way “upside” and lived as a common laborer. H is intentions are a mystery and the killer’s identity and motive are questions that the best investigators of the new world cannot answer.  With public order threatened, the reputation of the ruling engineers at stake, and criminal elements seizing the opportunity to gain control, authorities seek help from Earth—itself recovering from decades of war and environmental crises.  With assistance from the Vatican, they recruit Father John Francis McClellan, a parish priest from Boston and a retired US Marine Corps expert in “high-defs”—the artificially intelligent three-dimensional printers that built the new world.  A Printer’s Choice tells a story of faith, the future, and the power of free will.  It explores questions about sentience, choice, and the necessity of choosing well.  Set in locations on Earth and in the orbits, the story takes place in a future extrapolated from today’s geopolitical and ecological turmoil.  In this epic debut novel, author W. L. Patenaude illuminates not just the struggles of our world, but also the promises and implications of building a better one, one choice at a time.  $7.99 on Kindle.


Fire Fury Freedom by Amanda Rose.  A dying planet on the verge of collapse.  Tormented pasts that haunt the present.  An ancient hidden magick.  The C.D.F.P. mega-corporation rules all, with unchecked power, and dark secrets.  The planet is dying, and they are the last hope to save it.  Mack, an ex-soldier of the C.D.F.P. military division, and his mercenaries, stand alone against the C.D.F.P. (AKA the Company), in the fight for humanity’s survival.  Left unchallenged, the company has ruled over the East Green Continent with an iron fist for decades.  The pollution they’ve caused has devastated the planet, destroying the ozone, and killing off plant and animal life.  Outside of domed cities the air is thin, and the sun scorches all; it’s a veritable wasteland.  In the past two decades the planet has reached entirely new levels of decay.  Extreme weather patterns, and massive quakes, ravage the land.  Time is running out.  Mack and his mercenary troupe set out on a quest to stop the C.D.F.P. once and for all, and the planet will test them to their limits.  But are they ready for the horrors they’ll uncover?  Can they alone stand up against the all-powerful C.D.F.P.?  $2.99 on Kindle.


Tony Price: Confidential by Richard Schwindt.  From one of the most innovative indie writers publishing today comes Tony Price: Confidential.  Included in this collection are:
Scarborough: Confidential – It’s November 1986 in Scarborough, Ontario, at the Silver Birch Housing Project.  Someone – or something – is eating social worker Tony Price’s clients.  Burnt out and vodka soaked, Tony has to acknowledge his innate ability to fight evil.  When sexy colleague Brenda Martin is kidnapped, Tony is forced to act.
Sioux Lookout: Confidential – Brenda suggests Tony take a vacation in Sioux Lookout in September, 1994 – just as an ancient evil arises in the boreal forest north of town.  Tony takes on the monster with help from a local hunter, a Shaman, and a comely cryptozoologist from Leipzig.  Check in on Tony Price for more horror, hilarity and serious drinking.
Kingston: Confidential – When Tony’s career ends abruptly at the hands of an armed dope fiend Brenda suggests they move to historic Kingston where their twins attend Queens University.  During the sweltering summer of 2016 Tony is at loose ends, but a killer appears in town; a sociopathic enigma who effortlessly evades capture.  Tony will have to take this on but this time he’s not alone – his daughter Ashley has inherited his ability to fight evil.  But is she ready?  Three books in one; $1.99 on Kindle.


Undead Worlds Anthology by Ryan Colley, Justin Robinson, Valerie Lioudis, Jessica Gomez, Joshua C. Chadd, R.L. Blalock, R.J. Spears, Grivante, L.C. Champlin, Arthur Mongelli, Dia Cole, Alathia Paris Morgan, Richard Restucci, Javan Bonds, and E.E. Isherwood.  The fall of civilization! Zombies! Apocalypse!  The Reanimated Writers are back with their flagship anthology, Undead Worlds!  This time, we have 15 brand new stories from today’s best in zombie fiction for you to dig your teeth into!  Check out these gruesome and action-packed stories inside Undead Worlds 2!  Grab your copy today!  99¢ on Kindle.


Carnival of Nightmares Anthology.  You lie awake at night fearing them.  Wondering when they will come for you.  Some nights they leave you in peace.  Other nights they dig their claws into your mind, taking you to places of sheer terror and unfathomable horror.  Whether it’s walking through the haunted house while its secrets threaten to keep you prisoner, or staring at the room of mirrors while the deformed faces of circus freaks smile at you with malicious intent—sooner or later you will realize that what you fear most is the evil which waits beneath the surface of your dreams.  So, tonight when you lay your head down to sleep, remember to say your prayers . . .  Because you might be mere seconds away from entering The Carnival of Nightmares. 99¢ on Kindle.  Blimprider’s note: I have the first volume of this set, Carnival of Fear.  If this lives up to half of what that book was, it’s going to be a ride and then some!  You can read my review of one of the stories here.

And that’s 30 for this week.  Remember, no more Sunday rambling.  Be here next Thursday to see where I (hopefully) will have decided to take this by then.  Until then, read well and write better!

8 thoughts on “The Edge of the Map – No. 9

  1. Although I’m sorry to hear about you hanging up your writer’s hat, I’m glad to hear you’re open to taking it down once in and while and dusting it off when the mood strikes–or if a certain publisher asks you to write for them. As always, I wish you happiness in whatever you do and choose the path that works best for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, David, welcome back. There are things in your life that change. I’m not a wargamer anymore, I’m not an off-roader, I don’t build plastic models; I have a couple of those on my shelf, and every time I take one out, I think, “God, I’d rather eat a live octopus than work on this!” I fear that’s where writing may be for me at this point, but I’m going to keep fighting it to the bitter end… Hell, I’m too old to start a new hobby now! Good to hear from you, as always, and all the best in all you do.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We have a saying in Spanish: “El que mucho se despide, pocas ganas tiene de irse.” It is used when a guest at a party, for example, doesn’t seem to be actually leaving after saying goodbye. Because it means, “He who says goodbye a lot has little desire to leave.”

    Don’t make it a chore, though. If it isn’t a pleasure at least part of the time (and I hear you about not writing for a while), just don’t do it. I am having a hard time getting back to my writing because I keep getting interrupted by Life, but it’s getting better (except yesterday’s ‘interruption’ has been a significant reaction to the flu shot, complete with fever and chills, etc.).

    I do want to finish, at least my ‘magnum opus,’ the Pride’s Children mainstream trilogy, so I’m not in the same boat as you, but your time on Earth must be spent the way you want.

    PS Please let me know if you read mainstream, and would like a copy of the first PC volume in electronic format, as you’re offering your books for all those interested. You can check out the Look Inside on Amazon, and read a couple of reviews. Oddly enough, you’re in one of my main target demographics, and some of the reviewers have been quite complimentary.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Success at last. Now I’m a Spanish cliche! I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart for that; I don’t think anyone has ever said or done anything that has made it more clear to me that I’m years late for the door. And good advice, I won’t be making it a chore any longer. Wishing you the best of luck with yours, though. I hope it all comes together for you. Have a great weekend!


      1. Not psychoanalysis, just a comment. What I meant, you got backward: I think you may value writing more than you admit, but it has to take a turn for something internally: you don’t really want to leave writing, but are finding it too staid where you are.

        Just thoughts after reading your posts.

        I hope I get back to mine this weekend, too. But when the husband, who usually doesn’t come swimming, said he was interested, I dropped everything and went. Hope I’m not too tired to write tomorrow – swimming takes a fair bit of energy, even when you just exercise gently in the warm water, as I do. It’s the physics of the thing: your body, at 98°, is trying to heat a whole swimming pool from 80 something, and the water sucks energy out of you.

        Don’t make it a chore – you don’t have to write.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, I’m good at that. Aside from the possible medical reasons I cited in the article, I think I started writing in order to prove myself to the parents and teachers who all agreed that I’d never amount to anything. They were all long-dead before I ever published, but if they’re watching from the afterlife, they know I have four books on Amazon, and more stories and novels that I’m giving away for free just because I can. But the proving is done, and there isn’t that “prod” goading me to excel anymore. I need another one, and that’s why I’m leaving the door open to the possible contract. That would be a new prod at the next level, and I would dearly love to work on that. I am prepping plots and stories while I wait so I’ll be ready, but if it doesn’t come through, I’m going to have to reassess my whole situation. How’s that for psychoanalysis?

        I guess my situation at the moment is that I don’t want to not be a writer, but I also don’t want to write; that’s shaping up to be a tough balancing act!


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