Author: Steve Campbell

Ghost Lights (A Halloween Story)

A spine-tingling tale for Halloween. Happy Halloween, everybody. This story © 2002 by Steven Campbell. I write this alone somewhere within the outer bowels of Myers Ridge. I hope I will survive to get this to the proper hands for publication. And as implausible and of unsound mind as it will seem, what I am

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Embarking On Vree’s New Journey

I am preparing to write stories about Vree Erickson and her friend Lenny Stevens again. Lenny is a character I created 48 years ago. Vree soon followed. The above statement makes it seem like I have written for a long time. I have not. I spent most of that time painting and creating art. Even

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Nightmare, part 3 of 3

The last part of this 3-part story is a WIP that my friend Lola and I worked on jointly several years ago. We never finished it. I decided to post it to coincide with the month that will lead us to Halloween. Reader Advisory: The story may contain strong language. ~ 3 ~ I couldn’t

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Nightmare, part 2 of 3

The second part of this 3-part story is a WIP that my friend Lola and I worked on jointly several years ago. We never finished it. I decided to post it to coincide with the month that will lead us to Halloween. Reader Advisory: The story may contain strong language. ~ 2 ~ I knew

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Nightmare, part 1 of 3

October is one of my favorite months of the year. Spooky stories percolate in my mind and sometimes make their way to paper, or to the Internet and my blog. The following 3-part story is a WIP that my friend Lola and I worked on jointly several years ago. We never finished it. I decided

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Waxing Nostalgic, Rush

If we could go back in time and if I could invite you into my home in 1974, I’d want you to listen to my brother Russ’s favorite music for a moment. It was heavy, hard, crashing, wild, and untamed at times. Raw. Energetic. Heavy metal. Thundering. Outside, it was summer. I had just graduated

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Waxing Nostalgic, McCartney Music

My last post was about music I grew up listening to. I featured 10 albums that I call “The soundtrack of my life.” Actually, those albums are mostly the soundtrack of my early teen life. Each one has a reason for being on the list that I kept at 10 albums due to time restraints,

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Waxing Nostalgic With Music

Music is a big deal where I work at and I hear a lot of it on their radio that I don’t like. No matter how well I try to appreciate music after the 1980s, “I like that old-time rock ‘n’ roll” best. Of course, my definition of old-time rock ‘n’ roll differs from some

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Recap and What’s Ahead

2018 is a year of do-overs for my Ridgewood characters and their stories. Forget everything about them. Forget all of it. This is the year that began with a blank slate—a book of blank paper where anything is possible. Like many writers, there are times when I dread starting the blank paper because, well, if

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Merging Similar Characters

Changes, Part 6 During a break from writing, I continue discussing the changes I have made to my Ridgewood characters. Sometimes it is necessary for authors to reduce the number of characters entering and exiting their story’s scenes. This is a good time to look for characters with similar personalities. If two characters have similar

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Julie

Changes, Part 5 Today is my birthday. I find it fitting to feature a character I created on my birthday many years ago when I was a teenager. Julianna “Julie” Michelle Douglas, 13 In the beginning, I named her Lucinda after an older sister I almost had. She was big sister to Kenny (named Lenny

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Vree

Changes, Part 4 Verawenda “Vree” Renee Erickson, 13 Upon her creation in the 1970s, Verawenda Erickson was the same age as my other teen characters. She was an only child, nicknamed Vree, and lived with her parents down the road from Dave and Amy. Years later, when I decided to write about Vree again, I

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Amy

Changes, Part 3 Another change (and more to come) to strengthen my characters. Amy Elizabeth Conrad, 15 As a teenage male in the 1970s, the hardest part of writing was understanding my female characters. I had plenty of girl cousins to study, but I grew up in a household of six males and one female,

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Kenny

Changes, Part 2 Another change (and more to come), which I feel is necessary to strengthen my characters, is my old buddy, Lenny Stevens with a new name and personality. Kenneth “Kenny” Jeffrey Douglas, 15 He, as Lenny Stevens, is the second person I created. He buddied with Dave Evans (now, Dave Conrad) in high

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Taken By Surprise, by Polly Smrcka

(From Hatch Hollow Tomboy. Used by permission.) Life on the stony, rolling acres of the family farm was never dull. There were always new and interesting, sometimes frightening, experiences to add to the daily humdrum of endless work. Never were two days alike. One particular day from early childhood never dims in my memory with

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Into the New

Changes, Part 1 January has been a month of stepping back and observing the past, seeing what I can take with me into the new year and what to leave behind. As an artist and writer, it is also a time when I look at the parts of my art and writing I can change

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Another Year

Yes. Another year. As usual, I entered my WordPress blog after a long hiatus and spent the whole day redesigning my blog instead of writing. The artist is the true inner child in me—I love playing with design. Anyway, I played all day with many themes, inspecting their positive and negative elements until I found

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Sending Out a Finished Manuscript, by Beverley Bittner

From the Help Desk of Beverley Bittner. PJ has been working a long time on a mystery novel. She is finishing it and wants to know if she should send the whole thing to a publisher. First, congratulations on actually finishing your story, PJ. That’s the first big step of writing. Marketing is the second

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Power That Counts, by Pauline Vaow

In our rural area, it is not unusual for the electric power to go out during a thunder and lightning storm. Sometimes the lights will be out for hours and when they come back on, they may still be dim for a while. Our Lord Jesus tells us to let our lights shine brightly out

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Mittens Writes a Letter, by Lorraine Dahl

KENNY! WHERE are you? All of a sudden your ex-girlfriend shows up and me and all my belongings are HISTORY from our house. I’m scared Where are you? I miss you! She took me to her daughter’s house in Columbus. I hate it in Columbus! They have a mean cat that chewed off a piece

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Area History, Chapter 10, by Beverley Bittner

The Corry Building That Wouldn’t Stay Put. By Beverley Bittner. It was built by William Brightman in Wayne Township before the Civil War. Brightman’s father was a Methodist preacher and the 32 by 45 foot building was to be a Methodist church. It was located about one mile northwest of Corry beyond Macadam Hill at

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Area History, Chapter 9, by Beverley Bittner

Vene Potter’s Trip to Dixie. By Beverley Bttner. Vene Potter left Bloomfield Township with two horses, a dog, and a loaded wagon weighing 2,735 pounds. He was bound for a farm in Virginia and a new start in life. His letters home indicate the hardships of the journey and the indomitable pioneer spirit that makes

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Area History, Chapter 8, by Beverley Bittner

Spartansburg: An Historic Village. By Beverley Bittner, From Steppin’ Out, August 1971. About thirty miles west of Warren and ten miles south of Corry, in Crawford County, lies the historic village of Spartansburg. About 1837 Andrew Aiken and his brother Aron built a dam across the creek for power, then built a grist mill on

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Area History, Chapter 7, by Beverley Bittner

Corry’s First Mayor. By Beverley Bittner, From the autumn, 1979 issue of Reminiscence. Many men and women walked across the pages of our history in the early days, leaving footprints for historians to ponder over for all time. Familiar names include: Michael Hare, Call and Rihue. Nothing is known of Call and Rihue, while Hare

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Area History, Chapter 6, by Beverley Bittner

Union and the War of 1812. By Beverley Bittner, From Brown-Thompson Newspapers, January 1974. It was a time of western expansion. Many who settled in our area soon pushed further westward. By 1811, more than half of the original settlers had left the county, believing that all who did not leave must starve. While their

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Area History, Chapter 5, by Beverley Bittner

Union Township: How the Pioneers Lived. By Beverley Bittner, From the spring, 1978 issue of Reminisence. By the 1790s the great western migration that followed the Revolutionary War had begun in earnest. The Indians had been pacified. The deep forests, game, clear rushing streams and rivers and the opportunity to live free, away from the

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Area History, Chapter 4, by Beverley Bittner

Lowville. By Beverley Bittner, From the Erie Times-News, August 28, 1988. Lowville is a small settlement just north of Wattsburg at the intersection of Routes 8 and 89. “It used to be quite an active stagecoach stop,” a former resident said. ‘‘My mother told how they used to drive cattle up Route 8 – it

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Area History, Chapter 3, by Beverley Bittner

William Crawford. By Beverley Bittner. Michael Hare claimed to have witnessed the horrible death of famed frontier soldier Col. William Crawford. The colonel was a personal friend of George Washington. From Fort Pitt, he led many raids against hostile Indians. In 1782, the fifty-year-old colonel led a major expedition into Ohio to put down an

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Area History, Chapter 2, by Beverley Bittner

Michael Hare. By Beverley Bittner, From Steppin’ Out, 1973. The full title is “Olden Times, or a History of the Settlement of Union Township and Vicinity.” The writer is David Wilson. His parents, Hugh and Hannah Wilson, settled in the Union area in 1797. David’s book was published in 1881 by the Times Steam Printing

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Area History, Chapter 1, by Beverley Bittner

Waterford: No Castles or Brick Houses in 1795. By Beverley Bittner, From the autumn, 1980 issue of Reminiscence. By the mid-1700’s, the French had built several forts along Lake Erie. They did not seize the land from the Indians, but only traded there and by gifts and promises made friends of the Indians. The forts

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Area History, Introduction, by Beverley Bittner

From Beverley Bittner: Readers: From 1977 to 1979, I co-edited and wrote for the Reminiscence magazine, a popular 12-page publication of local history. I also wrote on history for Steppin’ Out magazine and newspapers. I found a box of clippings from these writings recently in an unused closet. What fun I had reading those old

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Inheritance, by Carolyn Cox

We sit on Mother Earth, Her watchful eye and furrowed brow creased in worry As she watches over us with feet of prosperity. Pollution and decay all around us; We who snatch the grain from her warm, soft soil, Always taking, never giving While birds of the field scatter seed to replenish her storehouse. We

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Getting Started, by Beverley Bittner

From the Help Desk of Beverley Bittner. Most of us have read a poem, a story or an article that caused us to exclaim, “I could write like that, maybe even better, if only I knew how to get started. Kathy has a book of fiction in the works. She has a plot, she knows

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Corry Writer’s Block Blog

A quick shout-out to those of you who belonged to the Writer’s Block writing group in Corry, PA. I joined the group in 2002, three years after Corry author and newspaper columnist Beverley Bittner founded it. I decided to post some the group’s old news columns and stories for historical reasons. Our group didn’t have

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New Ridgewood, 2

Wherever Vree was, she could not see much, just gray darkness similar to the warm and safe kind beneath her blankets when she and Zoey used them for tents in her bedroom. But she was not beneath her blankets. The grayness was infinite here, wherever here was, and she floated and rolled and swam in

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New Ridgewood, 1

Ridgewood continues to change. The same goes for her characters. After all, real-life 2017 is a bizarre, stranger time than 1970 when I began creating the place and her residents. And no matter how fictional they are, they need an essence of reality to make them current and believable. I have told Vree Erickson’s story

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Vree’s Journal Entry 6

It took me a while to dig up this information. Here it is: Balen Renfrew, My Wizard Uncle Balen James Renfrew is my maternal grandmother’s 45-year-old son. He has thick, dark-brown hair, beard stubble (he calls it 5 o’clock shadow—he always looks like he needs to shave before the end of the day), dark blue

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A Past Kept In Shoeboxes

I used to keep my snapshot photographs stored in albums. When I married and had children, my wife and I did the same for many years. Then, somewhere along the passage of time, we stopped storing our photos in albums and tossed them into empty shoeboxes instead. Now we have 30+ years of unlabeled shoeboxes

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Moving Along Nicely

Four days into February and the year’s writing project is moving along nicely. Grafting two major stories into a novel takes the finesse akin to a surgeon’s delicate hand: a wrong move can put the story into cardiac arrest, so I’m operating carefully. I want the final project to be a work of art. That’s

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Continuing My New Year Plan

As I promised in my last blog post, I am keeping you—my followers and fans of my Ridgewood stories—posted with my progress of reestablishing order and content of my books at Amazon.com’s KDP and to publish a physical paperback this year. Sometime in February I will take my books off market at Amazon.com. Later (probably

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New Year Goal: A Plan For Action

I’m an artist, but I don’t do much art anymore except create covers for my books. I’m a writer, but I don’t write as often as I want to. So I’m mostly a reader when I’m not working my “9 to 5” job, studying the craft of writing in the books I read, and dreaming

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Vree’s Journal Entry 5

Lightning struck Grandma Lybrook when she was 4 years old while she fished with her father at the backside of Alice Lake; the strike left her with low-grade psychic ability, which she kept hidden and secret from us until I saw it psychically. Her psychic ability allows her to see ghosts and other creatures invisible

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Vree’s Journal Entry 4

Leonard “Lenny” Stevens is my best friend Zoey’s big brother. He’s a handsome boy, with dreamy dark brown (chocolate) eyes and thick, burnt sienna hair. He stands around 5’ 7” tall and weighs 125-130 pounds. He is older—15, born July 5, a day that he and his family know also as “Margga’s Curse” because of

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Margga’s Curse, revised: Chapter 10

“Vree?” Grandma released my hand. “Are you okay?” She waved her other hand in front of my eyes as the remnants of the vision faded. “I seemed to have lost your attention for a moment.” Her face bore a concerned look. “Tired,” I said, blinking and taking in the room that was my new bedroom.

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Margga’s Curse, revised: Chapter 9

The woman’s scream in my head diminished. The sickness in my stomach did not. “I need to lie down,” I said, bolting from the porch swing and charging into the house. The soles of my tennis shoes pounded against the steps as I hurried up the two flights of stairs to my bedroom. I would

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Margga’s Curse, revised: Chapter 8

The air tasted sweet and was warm as I sat on the front porch swing and rocked. Past a small rise in the road, a dark blue house across the road sat on a large hill almost two hundred yards up the road. It was a pretty house, more modern looking than the one I

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Margga’s Curse, revised: Chapter 7

I stayed close to Lenny, who guided me across the backyard. Along the way, I stopped at a line of three large, bleached canvas camp tents in front of a square fire pit made of cement blocks. “Some of the bedrooms aren’t done yet, so your grandfather thought everyone would enjoy sleeping outside,” Lenny explained

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Margga’s Curse, revised: Chapter 6

I opened my eyes to Mom’s concerned face looking down at me. A warm hand and soft fingers pushed hair from my forehead. I lay on the living room sofa and I felt like I floated. I put a foot to the floor to keep myself anchored. My shoulder, back and leg muscles ached, but

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Margga’s Curse, revised: Chapter 5

“So, Grandma and Grandpa are staying with us, huh?” I said, looking back at the red Dodge pickup truck in the driveway. “Things are gonna be different.” I lowered my voice. “A lot.” I unbuckled my seatbelt, slid from my seat and out my door, and stood like a newborn foal on concrete next to

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Margga’s Curse, revised: Chapter 4

CT scans, MRIs, PET scans, x-rays, all in five days … “I’m gonna glow in the dark,” I said to Mom while I looked out at the rain and soggy countryside zooming past us. It was 4:30 p.m. and New Cambridge was behind us. Ridgewood and home was less than an hour away. Mom asked

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Margga’s Curse, revised: Chapter 3

Storms have a way of looking worse through windows. It was a sudden thought as a torrent of rain outside the hospital drummed like a carwash rinse down the long and narrow plate glass windows at my left. Outside, the streets were probably empty, everyone indoors, cursing the rain, but celebrating the Fourth of July

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Margga’s Curse, revised: Chapter 2

Wherever I was, I could not see much, just gray darkness similar to the warm and safe kind beneath my blankets when Zoey and I used them for tents in my bedroom. But I was not beneath my blankets. The grayness was infinite here, wherever here was, and I floated and rolled and swam in

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Get On With Telling More Stories

Hi. Lenny Stevens here. You may remember me from my last post, Help A Guy Out. I think Steve Campbell is making a mistake rewriting the Margga’s Curse story so that Vree Erickson’s parts are in first person point of view—aka 1p POV. He’s trying to be trendy because many young adult books today are

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Kismet eBook Is Free Till Halloween

A reminder that my 99-cent sci-fi adventure novella Kismet: A Ridgewood Tale is still free at Smashwords, which ends Halloween (10/31/2016). To get yours, go to my Smashwords page and enter coupon code AR96Q (not case-sensitive) when ordering. You can download the book in the following formats for your tablet, e-reader and /or computer: epub,

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Margga’s Curse, revised: Chapter 1

Intro I know, most of you would rather see my artwork and photography than read my writing. But for the handful of followers who enjoy my writing segments, here’s the continuation of my attempt to rewrite Night of the Hellhounds, or accurately, Margga’s Curse. After I published Night of the Hellhounds with its new title

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Redoing “Night of the Hellhounds” (Part 4)

Chapter 4: Turning the Short Story into a Novel Sometime in 1998 I planned writing a novel based on a friend’s idea of a teenager moving to a new town where there are magic and weird happenings afoot. The concept was an overused one but that didn’t stop me from mapping the story and building

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Developing Characters and Story, Part 4

My Psychic Abilities, by Vree Erickson A girl with psychic abilities is sometimes called a witch or sorceress. I am neither. I do not practice witchcraft or sorcery, though I do have a book that contains magic spells … when the book reveals them to me. Lightning struck me and unlocked psychic abilities in me.

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Developing Characters and Story, Part 3

My Friends and Neighbors on Myers Ridge (So Far), by Vree Erickson Leonard “Lenny” Stevens Lenny is my age—15, born July 5, a day that was known as Margga’s Curse because of a witch’s spirit that tried to kill his family on that day every year. Lenny works helping my maternal grandfather Jack Lybrook fix

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Developing Characters and Story, Part 2

The Magic in Me, by Vree Erickson My Family Tree Joseph and Hendrika Groot (my maternal great-great-great-great-great-grandparents); begat 2 children. Their daughter Mina Groot (my great-great-great-great-grandmother), married Baltisar Andersson; they begat 7 children. Their daughter Ruth Andersson (my great-great-great-grandmother), married Jonathan Kaufmann; they begat 2 sons. Their youngest son Joseph Kaufmann (my great-great-grandfather), married Helen

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Developing Characters and Story, Part 1

Sketches and Anecdotes About Me, by Vree Erickson My Origins and Family My name is Verawenda Renée Erickson. I have straight, shoulder length blonde hair that I usually part in the middle. Mom won’t let me get a pixie cut like hers, though I’d really like short hair so it’d be easier to dry when

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Redoing “Night of the Hellhounds” (Part 3)

Chapter 3: Vree’s Comeback Not long after I published Night of the Hellhounds, 2.0 and the alternate ending version Night of the Hellhounds, 2.1, I found the original draft in a box of high school papers and notebooks. I knew I wanted to bring Vree Erickson back, so I took to the keyboard and composed

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Redoing “Night of the Hellhounds” (Part 2)

Chapter 2: Rewrites, Rewrites, Rewrites Sometime while I was in high school, I decided to rewrite “Ghost Dogs.” Night of the Hellhounds, 2.0 It’s basically the same story: some teenagers are on Myers Ridge and they meet malevolent ghost dogs that put someone’s life in danger. During the first rewrite, I took myself out as

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Redoing “Night of the Hellhounds” (Part 1)

Chapter 1: The Beginning Those of you who have read my blog since its start in 2011 know I wrote a short story called “The Ghost Dogs” when I was 13 years old and an eighth-grader at my small town high school in northwest Pennsylvania. Until then, I was an avid reader who occasionally wrote

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Free Books

I just found out that July is a great month to get ebooks for free or at discounted prices at Smashwords. I have two books there that are permanently free, and one that is 99 cents (USD). The free ones are Old Bones: A Collection of Short Stories and Margga’s Curse: A Vree Erickson Novel.

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Water Shots

I have always been attracted to water and the life and world within it; perhaps it’s because I’m an Aquarian. Water can be hypnotic with its reflections and refractions of light and color, and it draws me to capture its many expressions. Here then is a sampling of local reflections and the sites that lay atop

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Free Kismet eBook Promotion Reminder

Now until Halloween of this year you can save 99 cents and get my ebook Kismet: A Ridgewood Tale free at my Smashwords page by entering coupon code AR96Q (not case-sensitive) when ordering. You can download the book in the following formats for your tablet, e-reader and/or computer: epub, mobi, pdf, lrf, pdb, txt, and

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Old Bones: Different Perspectives

A short story from my book Old Bones. * THE COFFEEHOUSE WINDOW Larry sat beside reminded him of sitting in his car at the carwash. Except, this wasn’t Get Wet Express. This was another rainy day in Ridgewood, at Mabel’s, on Monday, around eight-thirty in the morning, and he sat across his sister Elaine, her

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Old Bones: Behavior Unkind

Here is a strange story about a man who disrespects others, including his mother … perfect for Mothers Day. * SOMETHING STRANGE HAD happened to Myers Ridge after an earthquake shook the little town of Ridgewood three months ago. Vehicles began stalling on the ridge. Not all vehicles stalled, and sometimes a day went by

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Old Bones: Are We There Yet?

With all its blemishes, I wrote the strange and creepy “Are We There Yet?” in 1999 and published it at my old no-longer-in-service website. Since then, I have recycled parts of it for my Vree Erickson novel, Margga’s Curse. * ON A PARTICULAR August day, not far from Ridgewood, Pennsylvania, a black Grand Cherokee wound

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Free Book Promotion

Hello readers and fans of my fiction. I am offering my 99-cent sci-fi adventure novella Kismet: A Ridgewood Tale free starting tomorrow (5/1/2016) and ending Halloween (10/31/2016) at my Smashwords page. Go to my page here and enter coupon code AR96Q (not case-sensitive) when ordering. You can download the book in the following formats for

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I’m At Smashwords

After publishing my ebooks at Amazon for three years, I finally stuck my toes in the waters of Smashwords today, checked for sharks and other things that bite, and took the plunge. See my profile page at Smashwords. Click here. After I filled out my profile page, I uploaded an ebook formatted to Smashwords’s specifications.

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Backstory of Margga’s Curse

My last blog post dealt with changing the title of my e-novel Night of the Hellhounds to Margga’s Curse. As I said, the novel began forty-some years ago as a short story called “Ghost Dogs.” I was in high school and enjoyed writing fiction from the perspective of two teenage male protagonists, Lenny Stevens and

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Night of the Hellhounds Gets New Title

Attention readers and followers of my Ridgewood books. After months of consideration, I decided to retitle Night of the Hellhounds, the first novel in the Vree Erickson series. The story began as “Ghost Dogs,” a short story I wrote in the 1970s that dealt heavily with a pack of vicious ghost dogs chasing the main

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New Cover and Free Books

I redesigned the cover of Kismet at Amazon and added a bonus story to the book. Readers who own the earlier version of Kismet and want the bonus story can get it free here. The book is a PDF and is free to download and convert to other reading formats. I have added more books

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99-cent eNovel

Beginning 8:00 AM (PST) tomorrow, you can buy my e-novel Night of the Hellhounds for 99 cents at Amazon. I am still trying to get them to price it as a Perma-Free book. Meanwhile, I hope my book will see some attention from readers who enjoy fantasy stories. For readers without the Kindle e-reader, you

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Sorting Through the Confusion of My Books at Amazon

When I wrote Night of the Hellhounds: A Novel last year and placed it at Amazon for the Kindle e-reader, the folks at Amazon confused it with Night of the Hellhounds: A Ridgewood Short Story that I published two years ago, and they placed the two books together, despite the distinction of separate ASINs for

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New Cover for Hellhounds Novel

I took a break from writing today to redo the cover of my Night of the Hellhounds fantasy novel, which features Vree Erickson, my youngest protagonist who has preoccupied my writing time off and on since 2012. I felt especially artistic when I awoke this morning, and having the day to spend as I please,

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Thanks For All the Fish

As an avid reader of sci-fi/fantasy I am not particularly fond of book sequels and series that go beyond trilogies. I like discovering characters and growing with them, which is why I favor the first books of every series I have read; beyond that, the character growth slows and sometimes stops after the second book.

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Help a Guy Out

Hi. My name is Lenny Stevens. I’m fifteen years old—although I was sixteen and seventeen a long time ago. But things changed in my life and I became fifteen again. Any fiction writers reading this will understand. Okay, yes, I probably should have mentioned upfront that I’m a fictional character. But that doesn’t make me

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Green Crystal, chapter 19

In this last chapter, it’s now June 29, 2013 and Lenny Stevens is on his parent’s front porch, trying to become a better artist by painting Sara Taylor’s portrait; she reminds him of Vree Erickson, though she is seven years younger. Lenny pines to have Vree back; the hope that she could return by magic

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Green Crystal, chapter 18

When Vree Erickson magically passes through her mirror to her friend Dave Evans’s bedroom, she knows the entity is still alive inside her and wants Dave dead. There, she stands up to Angelina, the entity from the crystal powerful enough to destroy her and everyone she holds dear in life. Cracks In Time We choreograph

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Green Crystal, chapter 17

2012 is winding down and the murdering entity of the green crystal that Vree Erickson found in a sinkhole in her backyard still possesses her. Determined to rid herself of the entity, she returns the crystal to the sinkhole. But when she magically passes through her mirror to her friend Dave Evans’s bedroom, she knows

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Green Crystal, chapter 16

Kismet “The past is but the beginning of a beginning.” —H.G. Wells Chapter 5: December 25, 2006 The patter of bare feet on wood floor brought Addison from her slumber. Seconds later, a child’s voice whispered in an ear, “Merry Christmas, Mommy.” She reached out from the blankets and pulled the girl in bed with

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Green Crystal, chapter 15

Kismet “The past is but the beginning of a beginning.” —H.G. Wells Chapter 4: April 15, 1988 He was on his back. For a moment, Daniel thought he was floating. Then his head cleared and he saw that he was beneath some pines, on a dry mattress of grass and pine needles, sprawled on his

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Green Crystal, chapter 14

Kismet “The past is but the beginning of a beginning.” —H.G. Wells Chapter 3: April 26, 2003 “Ugh. I think I swallowed a spider.” Daniel pulled a small, brown leaf from his mouth and pushed the hanging branches away from his face. Drops of water sprinkled down on him and he shivered. “Wait up a

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Green Crystal, chapter 13

Kismet “The past is but the beginning of a beginning.” —H.G. Wells Chapter 2: December 25, 2000 Part 2 of 2 Addison’s bedroom was now a sewing room with a reading sofa in front of the far window. Daniel helped Addison there and laid her down. Then he unfolded an afghan draped over the back.

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Green Crystal, chapter 12

Kismet “The past is but the beginning of a beginning.” —H.G. Wells Chapter 2: December 25, 2000 Part 1 of 2 Addison stood at the far end of her mother’s Victorian-styled dining room and rubbed her eyes. They watered from the ever-present scent of potpourri. She glanced around at the blushing wall coverings with floral

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Green Crystal, chapter 11

Kismet “The past is but the beginning of a beginning.” —H.G. Wells Chapter 1: December 24, 2000 Part 2 of 2 “I think you should do it,” Daniel said when he climbed in bed and sat next to her. “But I’m a director of nursing, not a bookstore owner. Besides, her store makes very little

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Green Crystal, chapter 10

Kismet “The past is but the beginning of a beginning.” —H.G. Wells Chapter 1: December 24, 2000 Part 1 of 2 Addison Taylor played again the message her husband had left on their answering machine. He would not be home until after midnight. Although the college at nearby New Cambridge was on Christmas hiatus between

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Green Crystal, chapter 9

What can I say about “Kismet” that hasn’t been said? You can read all about the story’s different incarnations in earlier blog posts. Here, the story takes place in the past as far back as 1981 and as recent as 2006. A diary from the past warns Addison Taylor about her future. However, it is

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Green Crystal, chapter 8

So far in The Green Crystal Stories, teenagers Vree Erickson and Lenny Stevens have battled hellhounds, Vree found a magic crystal that took possession of her body and killed two men, and yesterday she and Lenny parted after the magic in her put a boy and girl inside a computer game. In this chapter of

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Green Crystal, chapter 7

In this chapter of Book 3 in The Green Crystal Stories, Lenny Stevens is the POV character. He likes Vree and she likes him. She emerges enough from her possession to speak to him, but she is still a distant character. I said yesterday that “III” is a possession story and poses to Vree the

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Green Crystal, chapter 6

In this opening chapter of “III” (the third short story in my 2014 book, The Green Crystal Stories), a month has passed since Vree Erickson rescued her mother from a kidnapper rapist. Here, I changed the POV (point of view) character to a self-centered mechanic. This places Vree’s thoughts, feelings and immediacy offstage temporarily. Now

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Green Crystal, chapter 5

In this chapter of Book 2, “Trespassing”, the green crystal uses its mysterious magical powers to aid teenager Vree Erickson to save her mother from a kidnapper rapist and strengthen its control of her. This is a possession story, though the reader doesn’t know that … not yet. The crystal does a good thing by

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Green Crystal, chapter 4

When teenager Vree Erickson falls in a sinkhole caused by an earthquake on Myers Ridge, she finds a green crystal and unleashes its mysterious magical powers. She uses its power to escape the hole, whereupon the crystal possesses her and shows her a crime in process: a stranger in town is kidnapping her mother. Vree

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Green Crystal, chapter 3

I’m continuing to add the stories that appeared in my 2014 book, The Green Crystal Stories, in chapter-by-chapter installments. Today’s chapter is the final one from the 2013 short story, “Night of the Hellhounds.” This was the first book of five in The Green Crystal Stories and had nothing to do with the title, which

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Green Crystal, chapter 2

As I said in my last blog post, while I rewrite the stories that appeared in my 2014 book, The Green Crystal Stories, I am offering the original stories here in chapter-by-chapter installments. Today’s chapter is from the 2013 short story, “Night of the Hellhounds.” This is different from the novel with the same name

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Green Crystal, chapter 1

I am rewriting the stories that appeared in my 2014 book, The Green Crystal Stories, and published at Amazon for a short while before I shelved it. Why did I shelve it after I spent months designing the cover and editing the writing to what I considered a polish? Because it wasn’t done. By the

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My Latest Gripes About Google and Google+

No matter what your job is, your tools should work for you, not against you. As a writer, I research my stories, which means I spend a lot of time searching the Internet. For that, I need a reliable search engine. Until recently, that engine was Google until it became unreliable to get me the

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Green Crystal Stories Update

A quick news item for my readers: Today was a free day—a day off and away from my 9-to-5 job—so I spent most of it redesigning the cover of my e-book, Green Crystal Stories. I’m making changes to some of the stories that appeared in the last volume, and I’m adding new ones, including some

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My New Heroine Sketch

Yesterday I wrote about creating characters, putting them on the story stage, and watching them act. In that post, I included a watercolor sketch of my current main character, Vree Erickson. Today, I drew a different sketch of her with a pair of HB and 2B pencils. While I drew, I studied her facial features

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Dealing With Characters

During a bout with the flu in January, I began constructing the story outline for Verawenda Erickson’s next story. I saw her with both new characters and old ones—the latter familiar to me. The new ones were sketches, barely walking and talking those two months ago. Some didn’t have names. I put them together and

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Save-Some-Cash, 4

WELCOME TO $AVE-$OME-CA$H (A WORK OF FICTION IN PROGRESS). Written 2003, published at Facebook, November 29, 2010 as Welcome to Waldo’s World, rewritten 2011. CHAPTER 4 I called Jessi Southwood the next morning. It took some serious recall to get her number right, but when I did, we set up a practice session for Monday

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Save-Some-Cash, 3

WELCOME TO $AVE-$OME-CA$H (A WORK OF FICTION IN PROGRESS). Written 2003, published at Facebook, November 24, 2010 as Welcome to Waldo’s World, rewritten 2011. CHAPTER 3 During my employment at $ave-$ome-Ca$h, I learned that old vendee vamps are the ones to be wary of because they tend to complain the longest and loudest and refuse

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Save-Some-Cash, 2

WELCOME TO $AVE-$OME-CA$H (A WORK OF FICTION IN PROGRESS). Written 2003, published at Facebook, November 21, 2010 as Welcome to Waldo’s World, rewritten 2011. CHAPTER 2 There’s an odd phenomenon in retail called Black Friday. Just the name sends shivers down the otherwise unshakable veterans of commerce while putting large, blinking dollar signs across their

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Save-Some-Cash, 1

WELCOME TO $AVE-$OME-CA$H (A WORK OF FICTION IN PROGRESS). Written 2003, published at Facebook, November 20, 2010 as Welcome to Waldo’s World, rewritten 2011. CHAPTER 1 Every school kid studying Business History at New Cambridge High knows the story of Otto Van Douchebaum, of how in the 1940s, he started the first Van Douchebaum Emporium

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Painting with Knives

Another old art piece of mine. This article was first published in an art newsletter dated 1998. The photos of my artwork that I’ve shared for this post range from the same year to 2001. While oil painting this month, I’ve been having fun painting with knives. Frosting the cake is what I call it

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Using Canvas Stretcher Bars To Stretch Watercolor Paper

You may, like I do, have stretcher bars normally used for stretching canvas waiting to back your next canvas. But have you ever considered using those bars to stretch paper instead? Here’s an easy technique for stretching watercolor paper with those bars—a technique that has many advantages over other ways. One, it avoids the awkward

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Free Book Friday

My eBook Night of the Hellhounds: A Ridgewood Novel is free at Amazon for the Kindle e-reader this Friday. You can download a copy directly by clicking on this link. Here is the official cover I created for the book, so look for this cover when getting it. The novel replaces a short story I

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