Category: Writing

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Hellhounds Unpublished, Chapter 4

A fun piece of writing that my friend Lola and I wrote many years ago for my Night of the Hell Hounds story I started in 1999. This cliffhanger never made it into the published short story. Ashley started to stand, uncertain of where to look first, when one of Jerry’s beefy hands clutched her

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Another Story Revelation

Here is an unedited chapter of my novel, Night of the Hellhounds. Enjoy. Vree was glad the blueberry patch was behind the house and not far from the back door. Even though the day was sunny and birds sang merrily and flew across the kind of sky summers are famous for, she had read that

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Vree’s Journal Entry 1

My name is Verawenda Erickson. My nickname Vree comes from my initials VRE. My name is a combination of Vera and Wenda. My mom named me after her paternal grandmother Vera Lybrook and Vera’s sister Wenda Walsh. My middle name Renee is my maternal grandmother’s middle name. I live with my mom and older brother

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Free Kismet Story, Chapter 4

Kismet is a short story that went through many rewrites before I presented it as part of The Ridgewood Chronicles series several years ago. This version is basically the story at Amazon, told in 4 chapters before I decided to rewrite it, add more chapters, and change the ending. Enjoy. KISMET Copyright © Steven L

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Free Kismet Story, Chapter 3

Kismet is a short story that went through many rewrites before I presented it as part of The Ridgewood Chronicles series several years ago. This version is basically the story at Amazon, told in 4 chapters before I decided to rewrite it, add more chapters, and change the ending. Enjoy. KISMET Copyright © Steven L

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Free Kismet Story, Chapter 2

Kismet is a short story that went through many rewrites before I presented it as part of The Ridgewood Chronicles series several years ago. This version is basically the story at Amazon, told in 4 chapters before I decided to rewrite it, add more chapters, and change the ending. Enjoy. KISMET Copyright © Steven L

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Free Kismet Story, Chapter 1

Kismet is a short story that went through many rewrites before I presented it as part of The Ridgewood Chronicles series several years ago. This version is basically the story at Amazon, told in 4 chapters before I decided to rewrite it, add more chapters, and change the ending. Enjoy. KISMET Copyright © Steven L

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Ridgewood Revisited, Part 4

The Quest Around us in air, water, land and fire, there are realms that for the most part go unseen by many. These strange and fascinating worlds exist beyond the fabric of our periphery, dwelling within the wilds of every race and culture, and revealed by the greatest unknown, to them with minds utterly open.

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Ridgewood Revisited, Part 3

Revealing the Dragon The beautiful and single Lisa Franklin revealed to him that she was merely a Sunday painter. Still, he gushed uncontrollably about art and favorite artists. Somehow, he managed to impress her enough to exchange deliberations about society’s perception of artists in the twenty-first century. Spinning merry fancy inside his overactive mind, he

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Ridgewood Revisited, Part 2

Revealing the Dragon They had met in August at Ridgewood High School while he was preparing the art room for another year of teaching. She was the new English teacher and had been touring the maze-like building with an entourage from the welcoming committee when she walked into his room and sent him back to

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Ridgewood Revisited, Part 1

It has been a month since my last post, so I am breaking my silence to let you know that I’m returning to Ridgewood to look around and try to catch glimpses of things missed during my last visit, which I reported here in 2011 and 2012. There may be some retelling of past events,

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Another Free Short Story

Here is a short story I discovered on an old floppy disk dating back to 1990. A Buzzing of the Bees © 1990 by Steven L Campbell (Approximately 1,220 words) Some women have voices like angels. And Angela was the perfect name for the angel following him. Brian listened to the gentle cadence of her

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Original Ending of Night of the Hellhounds

I recently found this on a backup floppy disk, lol. My friend Lola and I wrote this in 2001 for a story I started way back in 1974. Our ending went through many manifestations before we scrapped the project. Ashley stood, uncertain of where to look first, when one of Jerry’s beefy hands clutched her

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The Move

The beginning of an unfinished story by my friend Lola and me, rated PG for crude language. Lola and I co-authored stories online for several years. Part 1 of 2: Carl Carl Goodman coasted his 12-speed bicycle across the blacktop sidewalk through Hillwood Park until he came to the city’s oldest oak tree. He stopped

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The Provider

A short story penned by my friend Lola and me. We co-authored stories on the Internet. A creepy arson tale for Halloween! “He’s out there,” my mother said at the front window. “DID YOU HEAR ME?” She rushed from the front window and snatched her cell phone from the dining room table. Her hand trembled

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Fiona’s Nightmare

3 chapters from a story WIP that my friend Lola and I worked on jointly several years ago. We never finished it, but I have rescued my parts for a story featuring Vree Erickson. Enjoy, but I caution you that this contains strong language. Happy Halloween! ~ 1 ~ The rush of icy air filled

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The Nurse and the Magic Ointment

An odd tale penned by my friend Lola and me. Based on a story Lola read when she was a child, this is her version with my two cents thrown in. Once upon a time an unemployed nurse lived in a small village inside New York City, and though she had no family except a

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Waiting

A quirky short story penned by my friend Lola and me, November 1999. Lola and I co-authored a handful of stories on the Internet while we were members of an online writing group. Freshly shaved Robert Allen rose up swinging barbells at those fiercely mad occupants of the Union Gym down at Union Square next to

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Vanishing, Chapter 3

Author’s Note: Vanishing is an alternate version of Kismet, a story now available at Amazon. I tried to get the attention of book publishers with this and the two earlier chapters. I never had any takers, but I never gave up on the story. Heat had blanketed David when a bolt of lightning struck the

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Vanishing, Chapter 2

Author’s Note: Vanishing is an alternate version of Kismet, a story now available at Amazon. I tried to get the attention of book publishers with this and the previous chapter (along with a third chapter, which I will post in the next few days). I never had any takers, but I never gave up on

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Vanishing, Chapter 1

Author’s Note: Vanishing is an alternate version of Kismet, a story now available at Amazon. I tried to get the attention of book publishers with this chapter (along with two more chapters, which I will post in the next few days). I never had any takers, but I never gave up on the story. “Don’t

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Trespassers, part 2

© 2006 by Steven L Campbell. Fred Shafer eyed an emerald-colored family-type van enter the near-empty K-mart parking lot in Ridgewood. As it parked a few spaces next to his Impala, he leered past the old car’s passenger seat and out an open window. A thirty-something woman bundled in white imitation fur slid from the

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Trespassers, part 1

You may read various versions of this story, but this is closest to the original content. Enjoy. © 2006 by Steven L Campbell. A Friday evening blood-red sun sank eye-to-eye with Myers Ridge and blistered the west side of the craggy peak to look like a plug of magma. But Myers Ridge and its Eagle

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A Deleted WIP Excerpt

I do not usually share deleted parts of published works, but I had a lot of fun today reading this again. Deleted from Night of the Hellhounds, © Steven L. Campbell. Lenny Stevens had seen Vree Erickson follow/chase after the green fog to a section of woods behind Mr. Evans’s barn. [WHY?] He entered the woods

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Hellhounds

My e-book Night of the Hellhounds (currently at Amazon) features dogs that are spirits, which friends referred to as hellhounds when they read my early manuscripts. But are they hellhounds? A hellhound is a supernatural and ominous dog found in folklore around the world. My first encounter with the creature was during high school, in

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With Blemishes, With Love

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, my thoughts are on my mother who is no longer with me, but whose spirit lives on in me. She was the one who introduced me to reading, writing and making art. And when I started writing stories in high school, she encouraged me to continue, even on those days

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Bottom of the Seventh

© 2000 by Steven L. Campbell. (Approximately 1,900 words.) Young Michael Stone surrendered the gaze of his deep blue eyes to one of wildness mixed with flight. The air around him had become thin and dry, as though an unseen storm had sucked the very oxygen from the pale blue sky over Ridgewood High School’s

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A Sinister Blast from the Past

© 2001 by Steven L Campbell. (Approximately 1,700 words.) Inside this cold and sterile environment, I am a prisoner of time, a prisoner of fate, a prisoner to the cruel circumstances that have left me unable to communicate to the people around me. They pass me and I go unnoticed by them. Without a name,

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The Thing In the Mirror

© 1999 by Steven L Campbell. (Approximately 1,500 words.) Inside a single yellow eye of a two-story brick house, fifteen-year-old Randy White sits at his bedroom desk and stares into a rectangular wall-type mirror propped in front of him. He draws a few lines to his portrait, trying to capture a convincing likeness of himself

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The Ridgewood Story, 26

The first childhood characters to crawl from my mind were Morty Twitchel (whose only appearance was brief and at the beginning of my Ridgewood tales) and Ademia Savakis. Now grown up, Mort meets Ademia, an unidentified woman in the story who now possesses magical power, from which he discovers there’s a devilish price to pay

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The Ridgewood Story, 25

Ridgewood, 1999: After my navy discharge I married and settled down to raise a family. Factories were leaving the country and jobs offering good wages were hard to find. I enrolled at college in 1986 and majored in art for four years. Along the way I wrote a few short stories for English classes; none

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The Ridgewood Story, 24

Starting Over, 1973-1975: The days of Creative Writing classes were over. Worse, I had lost my two best friends—the real-life models of my Lenny character. One had dropped out of school during our tenth grade year after a long illness; the other had turned to drugs, axing our friendship and banding together with a handful

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The Ridgewood Story, 23

The Pink Fairy. Five. Inside the hole, the air changed to a miserable chill that slid around me like a thousand icy knives moments before they stabbed into my body. Dim green light from crystals along the walls revealed a boxy chamber no bigger than my bedroom. Dave’s fall had been short, but far enough

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The Ridgewood Story, 22

The Pink Fairy. Four. Lisa caught up to where Dave stood and she saw that the house was gone. “How?” She looked at the empty lot that was now a large hole where the cellar had been. “I don’t know,” Dave said. He sounded stunned. “I—I really don’t know.” Lisa bit her bottom lip. After

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The Ridgewood Story, 21

The Pink Fairy. Three. “Maybe it’s your brother,” Dave said. The person who entered the hall was not Matthew Kendall, but he was another teenage boy. He was short and stocky, and with black hair cut close to his head. He had on a gray-blue T-shirt, black jeans and black and white tennis shoes. He

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Tell Us, Show Us, When and Where

Telling is narrative summary—no specific setting, characters, or dialogue—written by you, the author, because you know the story and its scenes and characters, so you end up telling us your story by communicating facts. • The bad guys shot out the tires on the good guys’ SUV. • Clarion was a mean warrior. • Anna

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The Ridgewood Story, 20

The Pink Fairy. Two. Inside the woods, the air cooled even more. Lisa pulled the damp towel around her. The path they were on was well trodden and it went past dense undergrowth and bushes and wound around curves made by hillocks and tangles of vines and thorny horse brier growths that sometimes seemed to

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The Ridgewood Story, 19

The Pink Fairy. One. Matthew Kendall fell to his oars to control the rocking boat. His sister had jumped overboard and was swimming to shore. Once the rocking stopped, he rowed to shore. Lisa was talking to a boy who appeared no older than them, though Lisa was fifteen months younger than Matthew’s sixteen years.

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The Ridgewood Story, 18

Margaret “Peggy” Louise (Garrett) Evans: Peggy Evans was 50 when Dave and Amy were born in 1957. She had deep blue eyes, red hair becoming gray, and was 5’ 4” when I met her. She had a lean physique and a pale complexion, and she was often smartly dressed in colorful dresses. Peggy was born

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The Ridgewood Story, 17

Changes, 1972–1973: The leap into the light took me home, back to my desk and typewriter inside my bedroom. I returned to the sinkhole right away, but the light was gone. I quit going on lengthy visits to Ridgewood after the police began investigating. To my knowledge, no one told the investigators how Vree had

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The Ridgewood Story, 16

Changing the Future. Four. Suppose lightning struck a place seventy years ago. And let’s say lightning struck the same place today. Would that create a time tunnel? “Believe in things much greater and far more mysterious than we can explain,” Nancy Pennwater Stephenson told me after she came from the house with Dave and Lenny

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The Ridgewood Story, 15

Changing the Future. Three. The next day, Dave’s two-person tent was up behind his dad’s place on Myers Ridge. He and Lenny were inside the house. Vree and I sat inside his tent where I shivered from the unseasonal fifty-degree weather despite a rich July sunshine that hurt my eyes as it glared off Mr.

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The Ridgewood Story, 14

Changing the Future. Two. I hoped the crowd didn’t notice I looked more nervous than usual when I took the stage and played the rhythm guitar intro to ARC’s first number, a cue to the band to take the stage. Vree was last from the storage room behind the stage as she followed Dave and

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The Ridgewood Story, 13

Myers Ridge, 1972, Fourth Visit: ARC was scheduled to play a Fourth of July gig at The Roundhouse, the old roller rink now owned by Vree’s parents. On paper, I played better harmonica and rhythm guitar than in real life, so I wrote myself as a visiting member of the band. Vree liked to sit

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The Ridgewood Story, 12

A Quick Look at High School: My Ridgewood visits lessened when ninth grade English class made demands on me beyond writing stories. When I found a few minutes at home, I wrote some very short stories about Lenny and Dave … and Vree. She became my imaginary confidant on paper, as well as my girlfriend.

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The Ridgewood Story, 11

Myers Ridge, 1971, Third Visit: Vree Erickson, the pretty girl who lived atop Myers Ridge, became my favorite fictional person to write about during the 1971-1972 school year. It was also when my stories took a turn for the unexplained. After our first meeting at Parker’s place, I saw her again one early November Saturday

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A Brief Pause in an Apple Orchard

In small acreage on a hilly clearing, Sunny morning shines golden on chalky-pink blossoms; I pause and prolong my hike to watch sunbeams lick away dewdrops Soaking in shaded greenery of an apple orchard. Craggy, crabby branches nod jaggedly at a breeze dashing across the way; Wasps complain from gray papery hives swaying above me;

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The Ridgewood Story, 10

Michelle: Michelle Evans was 25 when Dave and Amy were born. She was born and raised in nearby New Cambridge and moved to Ridgewood when she married Parker Evans. She dyed her auburn hair blonde (worn short), had blue eyes, was 5’ 6”, and had a fit and trim athletic physique, left from her days

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The Ridgewood Story, 9

Life at Alice Lake: Since Dave and Amy’s folks were separated, their mother chose to keep their childhood house at Alice Lake. The lake community was as large as the town north of it and once held the stature of being its own municipality, complete with a town hall and post office. Alice Lake became

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Oppressors and Villains

I just finished reading a how-to-write-like-me book recommended by a friend who, like me, wishes to become a published writer. The wonder-tips I gleaned from the essay made me consider that I may need to increase the meanness of my antagonists to a 90 score or higher on the Downright Meanness Scale. We all know

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The Life of Fictional Characters

I see in today’s print market for fiction that story characters react more to frustration than any other emotion. Frustration is not getting what we want. And frustration is the carriage that drives all of us along the road of life. How we handle it determines what kind of person we are. Writers who deal

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The Ridgewood Story, 8

Myers Ridge, 1971, Second Visit: Myers Ridge was well-known for its caves, abandoned mines, precipitous hillside, and sightings of Norman Myers’s ghost. But long before that, the ridge received its official name in 1801 when Jonah Myers purchased the property from the state. Jonah Myers and his family were sheep and goat farmers during a

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The Ridgewood Story, 7

Parker: Parker Evans was 28 when twins Dave and Amy were born. He was born in Ridgewood and raised solely by his mother Peggy Evans after his father died. His hair and eyes were brown. He was 5’ 11” and thin. He free-lanced as an illustrator for periodicals, and his proudest accomplishment was doing the

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The Ridgewood Story, 6

Amy: After I graduated eighth grade, I spent the summer discovering the ups and downs of playing baseball. I shared this passion in a story where I meet Dave’s twin sister, Amy. Amy had blue eyes; brown hair worn long past her shoulders and sometimes in a ponytail; never grew taller than 5’ 5”; and

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The Ridgewood Story, 5

Dave: David Nicholas Evans and his best friend Lenny were in the same grade at Ridgewood High, home of the Fighting Eagles. Dave began as my doppelganger before I gave him his own personality. He had blue eyes, medium brown hair, which turned dark and curly by 1973, and had a passion for drawing and

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The Ridgewood Story, 4

Myers Ridge, 1970, First Visit: I developed Lenny’s character further and discovered after several visits that he didn’t care for “Len” as a nickname, although his dad called him it all the time. I also learned that several pretty Ridgewood girls found his full, dark brown hair and light brown eyes “dreamy looking” even though

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The Ridgewood Story, 3

The Official Ridgewood Map and Town History: Over the winter I drew several maps of my fictional place and gave it a history. After several tries of cutting and pasting from local road maps, I settled on an arrangement in 2005 that would become my official Ridgewood landscape/topography map. At my typewriter in 1970, I

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The Ridgewood Story, 2

The day I created Leonard Campbell Stevens, I played no sports. Fishing and listening to baseball games on my transistor radio were the only things close to being sports active for me. I fished to relax and have fun; so did Lenny, which is how we “met” in the first story I wrote. Lenny’s first,

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My Writing Obsession

I love to write stories—the fulfilling process of creating life from the imagination. Currently, though, writing stories is an obsession. I live it, breathe it, consume it—am absolutely possessed by the “thing’s” very essence. Ideas for plots and characters bubble in my mind. Yes, I’m the guy with the blank stare that fell out of conversation five minutes

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Writing Backstory

According to many that teach the craft of writing fiction, the backstory consists of events, sometimes traumatic, that have happened to your character(s) before the opening of the story. In novel construction, back story often holds the key to character motivation. It isn’t necessary that the reader know it, but it’s essential that the author

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Round and Flat Characters

Round Characters: A writer’s major characters and major supporting characters are called round characters, as they are well-rounded people in the context of the story. They are complex, emotional, and have many layers of different feelings. And each has strengths, weaknesses, and qualities that distinguish them from the rest of the characters. The lead character

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