Update: October 6, 2019, 3:49 p.m. CDT, Foray Back into Short Stories and Horror

Selfie with Lotus in background near Arkansas Post, September 4, 2019

Yesterday, I did no serious writing, taking only some notes during the course of the day.  Most of the day was spent still putting up a few things after my recent move to Arkansas and doing a lot of laundry. I did come up with some ideas regarding some short stories I put on the back burner a year or so ago after deciding to focus my efforts on my upcoming sci-fi novel Shadows and Stars.

Over the last few days, I have been checking the stats for my negligible sales of my various short story collections. I thought it would be a good idea to produce a second edition of The Scent and other Stories  after adding my short story recently published by FictionontheWeb.co.uk, “Be-Bye”. I thought of finishing another neglected story and adding it to A Tale of Hell and Other Works of Horror also.  Then I went back over my drafts and decided that I need to need to finish up several stories, over the next several months, and put some on them into their own collections.

I have had plans to write some more stories featuring Quinn Gallagher, who appears in two of my shorts in The Scent and Other Stories and put them in their own collection with the working title of Tales of Quinn. As with the two stories where he is featured (“The Scent” and “The Slightest of Indiscretions’), these stories will be about the ups and downs of Quinn’s love life. Of course, “The Scent” and “The Slightest of Indiscretions” will be included in the collection. The one I will probably work on a bit in the next few days will be “Désirée”. I have ideas flowing for it now.  I have not decided whether he will be seen in the background of one entitled “Fleur-de-Lis”, set in the Philippines in the late 1980’s. “Fleur-de-lis” is not far from completion.

Another group of stories that I have in mind are ones featuring Malcolm Flynn. Malcolm has not yet appeared as a character in any of my short stories, though he might be mentioned offhandedly in one or two at most. He is an important character in my horror novel The Man Who Escaped from Hell, which I intend complete just after I finish Shadows and Stars. I already have 80,000+ words for The Man Who Escaped from Hell, and was working on it until a few months ago, when the ideas for Shadows and Stars started pouring in and I was struggling to come up with any for The Man Who… So, I decided to focus on Shadows and Stars and come back to The Man Who… 

Malcolm is a single, early-middle-age writer living in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is known in the clubs and social scene in Corpus in the early 2000’s, when some of the later action in the The Man Who… takes place. He becomes a close personal friend of the The Man Who…‘s main character, Jake Brody. I use conversations between him and Jake to bring out the inner turmoil of Jake and to give the reader a different perspective on Jake. I have always intended to have Malcolm feature in his own short stories, but not to gather them in a collection, although that’s not entirely ruled out.  As with Quinn, a lot of the Malcolm stories will focus on the ups and downs of Malcolm’s Byzantine love-life,  but it also feature some stories from the Corpus Christi club scene in the early 2000’s. I have always had it in the back of my mind to make Malcolm an important character in his own right, and I may do that yet, though I have no novels planned where he is the main character.  Malcolm is an easy-going, savvy, Casanova-type. who usually wears a black suit sans tie, with a solid-color shirt, usually black or deep red. Often he wears a silk handkerchief in his coat pocket and he smokes small Nicaraguan cigars.

Currently, I have planned three stories to feature Malcolm: “American Dream”, “Nancy”, and “Carole.” I hope to finish “American Dream” before too long.

I have a few more science-fiction and horror stories in mind. One I hope to finish soon has the working title of “Charades”. It involves what happens to a captured alien general after his space fleet loses a battle with Earth forces over Denver.

Father Urbain Grandier, 1627

Two others are “Father Lactance”, a historical fiction which involves the witchcraft trial of Father Urbain Grandier in Loudun, France in 1634. Another, also based in history, is “Beneath Castle Bathory” (working title).  This involves the historical Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who is accused of the torture and murder of dozens of young servant girls, if not hundreds, around 1600-1612. Several movies and books have been written on both Father Grandier and Countess Bathory.  I intend to give my take on each story. “Father Lactance” is not far from completion. I have yet to complete a first draft of “Beneath Castle Bathory”. Eventually, I will probably add them, as well as “Charades” to my collection A Tale of Hell and Other Works of Horror.

The only thing preventing me from finishing “Father Lactance” is that I want to read Aldous Huxley’s The Devils of Loudun before completing it, so that I can further nail down the historical details and background.

Elizabeth, Countess Bathory

Anyway, most of the writing I did yesterday was jotting down some notes about my plans for upcoming short stories, which I did in my notebook for Shadows and Stars. I had intended to come up with and jot down some ideas for Shadows and Stars, but ended up writing down ideas for my short stories. Most of these I did while at dinner at El Canaveral Mexican Grill in Stuttgart, Arkansas.

El Canaveral has good food. It may be (I don’t really know for certain) part of the same chain as Ameca in DeWitt, Arkansas.  Some of the menu items are the same. I had the pollo sabroso with rice and beans and a side of nopales (prickly-pear cactus) followed by a dish of Mexican apple pie. I do miss New Mexican and Texas cuisine. Nopales are commonly served scrambled with eggs for breakfast in south Texas.  They can be found in other dishes as well.

I have always loved short stories, especially scary or mysterious ones, like the ones written by Poe or Conan-Doyle. This is one reason I decide to publish a weekly horror story or poem from the nineteenth or early twentieth century on this website each Saturday night at 8:00 pm. (Central time) in what I call “The Saturday Night Special”. Watch for it. Coming up on the 12th is Poe’s “Ligeia”.

Anyway, that’s my update for today.

Hasta luego.

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