Update: Lycanthrope

werewolf

I just now reached 40, 246 words on Lycanthrope. According to my scan of publishers on Duotrope, 40,000 words is the minimal word count that almost all publishers will consider a novel.

My best estimate currently is that I will need another 20,000 words to complete Lycanthrope. I have been working on this since the end of December. I stopped work on Shadows and Stars to pursue Lycanthrope because the ideas for it were coming fast and furious. They still are. I work on this almost every night.

I have recently come up with a couple of really good plot twists that should make this interesting. These will bring a supernatural element into the story.

Once I have the first draft finished, which should not be long now, I will do some editing, but I expect to do minimal revision. Of course, that could change. I am coming up with new ideas and I like subtle plot twists. I also like to leave some subtle clues hinting at a denouement, but these could be a red herring too.

This work is being increasingly intriguing for me.

For me, I see the events unfolding in my head and I just write down a description of what I am visualizing. Sometimes the characters take control and I just watch and record.

Hasta luego. I need to sleep.


Update: Shadows and Stars, Lycanthrope

I haven’t written more on Shadows and Stars recently. I am deciding on a major revision or two and on the final length.

I have resurrected the first novel I worked on way back in the 90’s: Lycanthrope. This is my take on the legends of werewolves but set in present-day rural Arkansas. I am using stream-of-consciousness to make the story more immediate and powerful. I hope to end it with 50,000+ words. The writing is going surprisingly fast. I have been working on it for about 2-3 days and already have 4,000+ words, which, being stream-of-consciousness, I intend to edit or revise very little. The writing is straightforward now, but I hope to develop some plot and character twists to make it more interesting. It should be very interesting for those who enjoy character development and first-person point of view. I am striving to bring out the narrator’s twisted psychology.

I still have a couple of short stories I am working on and a play, “Incommunicado”, which is turning into a complex love story involving a man and a woman who are struggling with their inner demons.

I got a lot done on it recently when I traveled to Midland, TX, to visit the wife. I kept a voice recorder handy as I drove and took down a lot of notes and ideas, incorporating them into the script when I had time after arrival. I haven’t worked on it since returning to Arkansas though. I am going to experiment in developing it by writing up a long dialogue between the two main characters using stream-of consciousness/ automatic writing or whatever the popular term is now. This will hopefully lead me to new ideas and insights. Originally, this was to be a one-act play involving two characters. Now it will probably be three acts involving three characters. It will be set in the present in a remote ghost town in the Gila mountains of southwest New Mexico.

More to come as time permits.

September 20, 2020: Progress on Shadows and Stars, Tangents, and Internet Marketing

Shadows and Stars cover 2

Coming hopefully soon.

Contrary to what are probably well established principles of writing, I will start this article off with a side note, which I foresee as setting the tone for this morning. It’s 11:46 and while I wait for the oven to heat up so that I can bake my croissants (small ones from Pillsbury with black tea–my favorite breakfast of late), I am watching Better Than Food.

If you are not familiar with it, Better Than Food is a book review channel on YouTube that is hosted by Clifford Lee Sergeant. He reviews books from all periods of history. I enjoy his reviews a lot because he is passionate about them and can discuss the book’s structure, plot, characters, everything a writer would need to know to select the best books to read. Today, Clifford is reviewing The Sound and the Fury, which he says is one of his favorite books.

I started reading The Sound and the Fury a few years back, but, even though I was enjoying it, became distracted and wandered off onto others. Based on the little I read, which was probably ten pages at most, it is beautifully written. I have wanted to go back to it since, but haven’t sat down long enough to focus on it as it deserves. I have a print copy and have been into audiobooks for some time, which I can listen to in my car. Right now, I have Gogol’s Dead Souls, in my car, which I am not far from finishing, but the second book is not as entertaining as the first, so it is difficult to focus on it.

So much for the side note/tangent.

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

Back to the tangent. I took a break from writing this to have breakfast.

The last time I made croissants, I added about half a teaspoon of ricotta cheese to a couple of them before I rolled them up. I did it today with most of the croissants. The cheese becomes hot but does not melt (350 degrees at nine minutes). I eat the croissants with butter and just a little grape jelly. Combined with black tea this is a nice way to start a Sunday morning.

Why am I mentioning all this? Answer: marketing.

I am finally coming to realize that the Internet is a vast library where one searches not for books but for words. If I write a book that is stocked by a library, people come in and search for a topic the book covers. But with the Internet, they may search for a word (or phrase) and be led to a lot of books, which may not be what they were looking for, but which they might find interesting anyway.

Ergo, an avid reader of science fiction, let’s say, may be searching for a new filling for her croissants. Then she comes across this page and finds out about an upcoming sci-fi novel called Shadows and Stars. She decides to follow me and keep up with the updates on Shadows and Stars. She also finds out that I have written other stories, including sci-fi ones, and buys one or two to check out my writing style. If all goes well, I have a new fan that will pre-order Shadows and Stars when it comes out.

What are your thoughts on this strategy?

But, finally, on to the brief note about Shadows and Stars that I originally set out to write.

By the way, this is how I get onto tangents and why I haven’t finished reading The Sound and the Fury yet.

I am at 148,517 words for Shadows and Stars at this moment. I finished filling out a chapter yesterday that has been bugging me for a while. There are some other plot holes I hope to fill in today.

I want to finish this up asap without making it read as if I finished this up asap.  So, from here on, I am going to focus on removing as much as I can to bring the final draft down to about 100,000-125,000 words if possible. If I can’t bring it down that far, Shadows and Stars will be concise and tightly written with an intricate plot and good character development if nothing else. Filling out the plot holes will probably add at least 1,000-2,000 words, so I will have a lot of cutting to do. Let’s see if I can pull this off.

Don’t forget to like, comment, and follow.

 

Photoshopped painting of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci wearing a medical face mask to prevent spreading COVID-19/Coronavirus

Prevent the spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19.

 

Update of September 15, 2020: Follow up on “A Semblance of Normalcy”

Just a quick note. I finished “A Semblance of Normalcy” tonight and submitted it to Nightmare Magazine. I should hear back from them in anywhere from a few days to two weeks.

After I submitted it, of course I thought of a way I could improve it. I should have added more descriptors to make the senses come alive when reading it, things that would reflect what the characters are experiencing. what they are hearing, touching, seeing, smelling, and tasting (if i can work that in somehow) while being concise. If it’s rejected, I may add those to it before submitting it to the next publisher. One principle I try to live by with my writing is that when one story is rejected I send it out to another publisher the day I receive the rejection.

I am going to try a new tactic and find a photo that captures the spirit of “A Semblance of Normalcy”, format it for Twitter, and post it below. Then, when this article appears on Twitter, it will have a simple banner to help promote it.  Let me know what you think.

 

A Semblance of Normalcy

Read the short story by Phil Slattery

Update of September 12, 2020: My Short Story “A Semblance of Normalcy”

Eating at an Italian Restaurant in Midland, TX

Eating at Ray’s Italian Bistro in Midland, TX, 2019. Photo by Francene Kilgore-Slattery

I managed to come up with an idea as to how to fill a gap in the story and wrote a synopsis in the spot where it should go, but I have to flesh it out today. Hopefully, the finished story will be about 2,500-3,000 words long. This is horror.

The original title, as I conceived of the story a few years back when I started the first draft, was “Apocalypse”. When I took it up again recently, I changed the title to “The Final State of the Union”. “A Semblance of Normalcy” is the latest title an I will probably stick with that one, because of the irony between it and the plot of the story on completion.

The story is about a US president who delivers what will be his final State of the Union address after a nuclear war and a pandemic have devastated the world. The catch is that everyone in the audience and in the White House are dead, just decaying cadavers, which he talks to as if they were alive. He continues to deliver the State of the Union (which was held in the White House during the war vs. before a joint session of Congress), because he wants to present a “semblance of normalcy” to the world. However, not all is at it seems and there is a wicked twist at the end.

I will let you know when and where I will have it published.

Don’t forget to like, comment, and follow.

Hasta luego.

President McMillan

President McMillan in “A Semblance of Normalcy” (based on a photo of JFK)

 

A Quick Updates for September 11, 2020: Publicity, Marketing, and My Novel

At Buzzard Beach, Arkansas

At Buzzard Beach, Arkansas

First of all, my heartfelt condolences go out to all the families who lost loved ones on 9/11. That tragedy and its consequences, both direct and indirect, changed the US and our society forever. We will be feeling the repercussions of that day for decades, if not generations, to come. It awoke us to the dangers of an rapidly morphing and unpredictable world in the 21st century. Although at a great price, it taught us to be always vigilant and not to take our peace for granted. There are those, both in and out of the country, that would topple us in an instant if given the chance. In these challenging, divisive times, it is critical for us to remember when facing adversities of all types the seasoned adage “United we stand; divided we fall.” Stay woke! Stay alert! Remember that our strength through unity is unconquerable if we can overcome our differences and work together for the good of the nation. Truth will prevail.

Now, for my update:

I continue to work on Shadows and Stars as much as opportunity affords. I am now at 147,000+ words and still completing the first draft. I have recently made some critical headway in coming up with two good ideas to fill out a couple of plot holes. I have a few more to go, though they should not be as challenging.

Shadows and Stars cover 2

Coming hopefully soon.

I am also working on how to best publicize my works and am studying marketing strategies to use once Shadows and Stars is on its way to publication. I will be publishing this via traditional methods not via Amazon or another self-publishing platform. I will no doubt need an agent first, which will take time to find. Once he has a publisher lined up, it may be awhile before Shadows and Stars goes to print.

As part of putting my name before the public to facilitate marketing prior to the publication of Shadows and Stars, I am trying to resurrect some old concepts/drafts I have for short stories. This is taking a little time away from Shadows and Stars, but not a lot. The ideas for these stories are coming to me rapidly.  A few bits of micro fiction will be coming out between Halloween and the new Year. I will keep you informed on those.

I have renewed my membership to the Horror Writers Association and I intend to take maximum advantage of their marketing and publicity opportunities. I am currently an affiliate member, but I hope to meet the requirements soon to be an “Active Writer”, which is the top membership rank. There are several way to do this, but the one I am shooting for is to have three stories totalling at least 7,500 words published at professional rates, which is 6 cents.word and up. I intend to write three stories of at least 2,500 words each and find a publisher for them. One story, called “A Semblance of Normalcy” is at 2,006 words now, but I can easily add another 500 and keep the writing concise. I have started two others and each is about 1,000-2,000 word range currently. These are drafts I have had in my files for a few years, but I am now making a sincere effort to finish them up.

Whatever stories are published I will include in either a new edition of A Tale of Hell and Other Works of Horror  or come out with a second volume of horror with a different title.

There are a lot of other developments and plans, but I will discuss those at a later date. I have other goals to accomplish now.

Don’t forget that Click and Alien Embrace are free on Kindle today.

If you don’t have Kindle, don’t fret. I have almost all my works in paperback. Check for those when you visit Amazon. If it isn’t in paperback currently, it will be soon.

Amazon distributes via print on demand to many bookstores and libraries. If you don’t want to deal with Amazon, ask for my works at your local book outlet or library.

Hasta luego.

Don’t forget to like, comment, and follow.

Photoshopped painting of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci wearing a medical face mask to prevent spreading COVID-19/Coronavirus

Prevent the spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19.

Update of September 8, 2020, 12:01 a.m.

Working late at night in an IHOP in Midland, Texas, May 2019 (photo by Francene Kilgore-Slattery)

I have managed to get some critical progress done on Shadows and Stars today.  I have a few major plot holes in my first draft. My goal over the weekend was to fill them and add a significant amount of words (though still keeping the work concise) to the text.

I forget what I did Friday evening. If I recall correctly, I work on finding book reviewers in library journals. Libraries buy a lot books. I became familiar with the process of submitting a book to a library journal for review and what the major journals are.

On Saturday, I mailed off a copy of Nocturne… for review. I ran some errands. I was stymied in coming up with ideas for Shadows and Stars. I got a few words written, but couldn’t get the creative juices flowing all that well. I fell asleep on the sofa.

On Sunday, I woke up on the sofa about 6:00 a.m. I went to bed, but had an idea, though not relation to Shadows and Stars. I had been thinking about Nocturne and that I still have a few poems laying here here and probably some at home in Kentucky. On the spur of the moment, I decided to create another volume of poetry. I decided to call it Remnants (of a Life). I would put in it some of my early unpublished poems that I could find here, and maybe some prose shorts, and maybe some stuff from my things in storage in Kentucky. Eventually, I decided not to use the prose. I went through a few dozen spiral-bound notebooks dating from way back, some dating back to the 90’s, and pulled out a few unpublished poems. I started typing those into a draft. I decided to put together a collection of 365 poems of varying lengths, though I would have to write most of them. I chose 365 so that the book would be relatively thick and because 365 is the number of days in a year, the basic cycle of human existence. That consumed the morning. I did find about half a dozen poems that I decided to include in another edition of Nocturne. I will also gather whatever poems I can find in Kentucky that are suitable and include them in that edition also. All that took up the morning. The poems will be primarily observations on life. Some will be on past relationships.

Photo of woman in red turtleneck with face mask

Prevent the spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19. Follow federal, state, and local guidelines. Use common sense when the guidelines are insufficient.

Other than that, I stayed home, but still had problems with the creative juices with regards to Shadows and Stars. I got a few words written though. I spent a lot of time staring into space. I went over a lot of my past notes on Shadows and Stars trying to see if I had had a suitable idea in the past that I could use.

Today, I spent at home. I went over my notes again. I came up with ideas to fill two of the major holes. I did not type up text, per se. I typed up some rough ideas of the plot for those two sections, refined those, and typed them up. That made me feel real good. Now, I can write those two sections and have my details covered. I am now checking for other plot holes and I took care of a few small ones today. I think I can make some decent progress this month. I have been trying to overcome these plot holes for a couple months anyhow.

The end is in sight. Thank God.

I would write more, but it’s late, and I have to go to work in the morning.

Don’t forget to comment, like, and follow.

Hasta luego.

Update of September 5: “The Interrogation of General Tsak” and the Search for Reviewers Continues

I have spent a long time writing a short story entitled “The Interrogation of General Tsak” and I finished it today. I can take a quick breather before I get back to Shadows and Stars.

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

This is the story of a self-centered Air Force colonel who is interrogating a captured,princiled alien general after a failed invasion of Earth at the end of a decade-long war. It is 5,813 words in length.

As I wrote this off and on over the last several months, I kept discovering more and more nuances that I had to answer in order to avoid any plot holes. I really hate to leave any plot holes in a serious story. It makes me appear careless and unprofessional. I have finally worked them all out and the story is now intricately woven together like a weaver finch’s nest. I hope it holds together as well.

I had intended to spend the day working on Shadows and Stars, but over the last few days, I have had an inexplicable drive to finish this story and to cover all the minute details. I have spent the day doing that and running a few errands. I feel this is a story that will fall apart if something is overlooked.

I have submitted the story to The Dark magazine. I should hear from them soon.

One of the errands I ran today was to mail a copy of Nocturne to American Book Review. Hopefully, I will get a good review from them. Wish me well.

I spent a lot of yesterday researching getting my books carried by libraries. In order to be carried by a major library, a book needs good reviews in a respected journal. Unfortunately, I have been trying to find reviewers on Amazon and Goodreads and on various websites. I have also learned that libraries also prefer to purchase books from Ingram Spark or another wholesaler rather than directly from a website such as Amazon.

This is another reason I need to pursue publishing the print versions of my works with Ingram-Spark. I have started the process with A Tale of Hell and Other Works of Horror. So far, I like the process more than I like the Amazon process. I have more control over how my final work will appear among other things. I will probably publish Nocturne with them next.

So now I am trying to find ways to be reviewed in a journal respected by major libraries. I am finding out that there several of these. Of course, each has a different submittal process. I will take it a step at a time as usual.

Photoshopped painting of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci wearing a medical face mask to prevent spreading COVID-19/Coronavirus

Prevent the spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19.

Major libraries also like to carry books that are in the Library of Congress. Unfortunately, for a self-published book to be carried in the Library of Congress, it must be submitted unpublished. I will have to give this a shot with my next self-published book, which may be another collection of my horror shorts. It might be another poetry book if I can find more of my poems from the 80’s-90’s.

Let me know your thoughts and suggestions.

Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe.

Hasta luego.

 

 

Update of August 26: Instagram philslattery1957 vs. pslattery1515

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

Just for everyone’s information, if you have been following my Instagram account at pslattery1515 and have noticed that there have been no updates for a while, that is because I have changed my Instagram account to philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

The reason for this is because I no longer have the cell phone or the yahoo email accounts that I used to create the pslattery1515 Instagram account. Now Instagram recognizes that I am on a new computer and it wants to send me a security code to confirm my identity, but the only contact info it has are the old cell phone number and the old email address. So I cannot open that account. Therefore, I have created the new account Instagram.com/philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

Update of August 26: Instagram philslattery1957 vs. pslattery1515

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

Just for everyone’s information, if you have been following my Instagram account at pslattery1515 and have noticed that there have been no updates for a while, that is because I have changed my Instagram account to philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

The reason for this is because I no longer have the cell phone or the yahoo email accounts that I used to create the pslattery1515 Instagram account. Now Instagram recognizes that I am on a new computer and it wants to send me a security code to confirm my identity, but the only contact info it has are the old cell phone number and the old email address. So I cannot open that account. Therefore, I have created the new account Instagram.com/philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

Update of August 26: Instagram philslattery1957 vs. pslattery1515

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

Just for everyone’s information, if you have been following my Instagram account at pslattery1515 and have noticed that there have been no updates for a while, that is because I have changed my Instagram account to philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

The reason for this is because I no longer have the cell phone or the yahoo email accounts that I used to create the pslattery1515 Instagram account. Now Instagram recognizes that I am on a new computer and it wants to send me a security code to confirm my identity, but the only contact info it has are the old cell phone number and the old email address. So I cannot open that account. Therefore, I have created the new account Instagram.com/philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

Update of August 26: Instagram philslattery1957 vs. pslattery1515

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

Just for everyone’s information, if you have been following my Instagram account at pslattery1515 and have noticed that there have been no updates for a while, that is because I have changed my Instagram account to philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

The reason for this is because I no longer have the cell phone or the yahoo email accounts that I used to create the pslattery1515 Instagram account. Now Instagram recognizes that I am on a new computer and it wants to send me a security code to confirm my identity, but the only contact info it has are the old cell phone number and the old email address. So I cannot open that account. Therefore, I have created the new account Instagram.com/philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

Update of August 26: Instagram philslattery1957 vs. pslattery1515

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

Just for everyone’s information, if you have been following my Instagram account at pslattery1515 and have noticed that there have been no updates for a while, that is because I have changed my Instagram account to philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

The reason for this is because I no longer have the cell phone or the yahoo email accounts that I used to create the pslattery1515 Instagram account. Now Instagram recognizes that I am on a new computer and it wants to send me a security code to confirm my identity, but the only contact info it has are the old cell phone number and the old email address. So I cannot open that account. Therefore, I have created the new account Instagram.com/philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

Update of August 26: Instagram philslattery1957 vs. pslattery1515

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

Just for everyone’s information, if you have been following my Instagram account at pslattery1515 and have noticed that there have been no updates for a while, that is because I have changed my Instagram account to philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

The reason for this is because I no longer have the cell phone or the yahoo email accounts that I used to create the pslattery1515 Instagram account. Now Instagram recognizes that I am on a new computer and it wants to send me a security code to confirm my identity, but the only contact info it has are the old cell phone number and the old email address. So I cannot open that account. Therefore, I have created the new account Instagram.com/philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

Update of August 26: Instagram philslattery1957 vs. pslattery1515

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

Just for everyone’s information, if you have been following my Instagram account at pslattery1515 and have noticed that there have been no updates for a while, that is because I have changed my Instagram account to philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

The reason for this is because I no longer have the cell phone or the yahoo email accounts that I used to create the pslattery1515 Instagram account. Now Instagram recognizes that I am on a new computer and it wants to send me a security code to confirm my identity, but the only contact info it has are the old cell phone number and the old email address. So I cannot open that account. Therefore, I have created the new account Instagram.com/philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

Update of August 22: A New Edition of A Tale of Hell…to be Out in December

Phil Slattery, 2015

I recently published a new print edition of A Tale of Hell and Other Works of Horror to make the cover more appealing and to reduce the price.

A few days ago, I had four works of micro/flash fiction accepted by Ezine 51. The next day, I took one of the rejected pieces, a drabble (i.e. a horror story of exactly 100 words) entitled “Special” and submitted it to another magazine.

Since then I have been trying to finish a sci-fi/horror short story of just under 5,000 words, entitled “Laughing from B’con” to submit it somewhere.  This story centers around the hostile interrogation of the leader of a defeated alien fleet that attempted to invade Earth at the end of a decade-long war. Even though it is short, this story has a intricate backstory and is thus challenging to bring to a satisfying denouement without any plot holes.

As I tried to fall asleep a little while ago (insomnia), I remembered another horror story that I have been working on for a few years that is called “The Confession of Father Lactance”. It will be a little under 5,000 words. In it, a man in Hell encounters a priest named Father Lactance who wants to confess his sins to someone. In the year 1634, Father Lactance had participated in the judgement and execution of another priest named

Urbain_Grandier

Father Urbain Grandier, 1627

Urbain Grandier for witchcraft and consorting with the devil. This story is based on an actual trial and execution that occurred in Loudun, France, in 1634. Aldous Huxley wrote a non-fiction novel about it entitled The Devils of Loudun, which was eventually turned into a play in 1960, a movie entitled The Devils (starring Vanessa Redgrave and Oliver Reed in 1971, and into an opera by Krzysztof Penderecki. When I left off working on the story about a year ago, I was very close to completing, but I wanted to read Huxley’s work (I had been using other sources for my research) to ensure I was making the story as historically accurate as possible while keeping it in the realm of fiction. If I can complete this soon and have it published by December, I will include it in the third edition of A Tale of Hell and Other Works of Horror. 

If I can include this story, the drabble, and the other microfiction into A Tale of Hell… I will probably raise the price of the book by a buck or two.  I might leave it where it is too. While at the Barnes and Noble in Little Rock last weekend, I did a quick survey of novels of about 300 pages, which is the current length of A Tale of Hell… and found they generally range in price from about $15 to $28. Paying $16 or $17 for a print edition of this work should still be a bargain.

I will consider maybe adding a few black and white illustrations like the one above to add to the reading experience.

Thoughts? Comments?

Don’t forget to like this article and to subscribe to my website.

Hasta luego.

Update of August 18, 2020: Second Edition of The Scent and Other Stories Coming Soon!

New cover for The Scent

The cover for the second edition of The Scent and Other Stories.

I have decided to put out a second edition of The Scent and Other Stories.

My primary reason for doing this is because I don’t like the cover any more. It is too dark and bland. When I initially created it, having been a (film) photographer at one point, I thought a black and white photo of a woman looking at the reader would be intriguing.

However, when I searched Books-a-Million to see if they carried my works (and they do), they came up with only four, of which The Scent… was one. It looked very dark and bland and ancient on their website. It was nothing to entice a viewer. Therefore, I have developed a new cover, which you can see here. It’s much more eye-catching, which is important when it’s laid out side by side with a dozen others on a computer screen.

I started thinking about a second edition some time back. I wanted to include another story entitled “Bye-Bye”, which was previously published by Fictionontheweb.co.uk. After I added the story to the current manuscript, I discovered that I had 90 pages. In the Amazon printing world, they can print the title on the spine of the book so long as the book is 100+ pages. I really want the title to be on the spine to make it more marketable in bookstores. So I have another 10+ pages to add.

I searched my electronic files and found a story entitled “American Dream” which I started a few years ago, but never got more than 40%-50% done. I calculated the number of 6×9 pages the story would be  currently to eight. So I decided to finish it and include it in the second edition. I am still working on it.  Once finished, it will probably be more like fifteen to twenty pages in length. Maybe one day, if I write more stories along this line (and I hope to), I will put out a third edition and include those.

San Antonio Riverwalk

The San Antonio Riverwalk

The story so far is that a rather wealthy and bored, young wife named Laura is waking up in her bedroom in Corpus Christi while her husband is out of town on business. She is trying to decide what to do for the day. She thinks about the nightlife she enjoys and the lovers she has had (her husband is frequently out of town) as a result.  She wants to call up her current guy on the side, Malcolm Flynn, but he is up in San Antonio for the weekend with his girlfriend. In a little while, a friend named Jill calls and asks Laura to go to San Antonio with her. She agrees thinking that San Antonio is a big town and she probably won’t run into Malcolm there. Of course, Laura and Jill spot Malcolm and his girlfriend in a cafe on the Riverwalk.

That’s as far as I have gotten. I am still toying with ideas for what happens next and how the story ends.

One side note on the story is that it includes Malcolm Flynn. Malcolm is a character in the novel I am planning to finish after Shadows and Stars: The Man Who Escaped from Hell. I also have plans to include Malcolm in some short stories. He is one of my varied alter egos that crop up in my work from time to time. Malcolm won’t be the protagonist in The Man Who Escaped from Hell (that’s Jake Brody), but he will be a close friend of his.

Let me know what you think of my plans and if you have any questions.

Don’t forget to subscribe.

Hasta Luego.

 

Update on Everything: June 29, 2020

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

I have a few minutes to kill, so I thought I would jot down a few random notes about what I have been doing lately.

  1. I haven’t been working on Shadows and Stars as much as I ought. The wife and stepson are with me for awhile. Consequently, I am running more errands, going more places, and doing more chores than usual. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not complaining. I do manage to catch a few moments here and there to write, but not as much as I would like.
  2. When I do write, I am making some progress. The toughest part of writing now is connecting all the myriad details so that there are zero to few plot holes.
  3. I am finding out that the reason a lot of great writers write short works “in broad strokes” (as Nikolai Gogol says in Dead Souls) is so they do not have to connect them and wind up in the situation I now find myself. Unfortunately, I have a detailed way of viewing things. However, some people say this makes my works more enjoyable, easier to visualize, and more interesting.
  4. I have been reading Kerouac’s Desolation Angels, when I get the chance. I believe this is a beautiful, underappreciated, spiritual work. It seems to be Kerouac metaphorically visualizing himself as a spiritual sage (though I don’t know that Kerouac would agree) that comes down off a mountaintop and  into the hubbub and chaos of the world, which is radically different from the quiet mountaintop where he just spent two months. I am maybe a quarter of the way through, so I don’t know if Kerouac will do any proselytizing, but I doubt it. I have read On the Road, and Kerouac doesn’t seem the type to proselytize, even subtly. It may be more of a comment on the world as a whole. I am just at the point where he has come down from the mountain and is Seattle at a Burlesque show. So, I have a long way yet to go, just as Kerouac does in the novel.
  5. In the car, I am listening to an audiobook version of Gogol’s Dead Souls. This is a wonderful, beautiful, humorous work. Read it as soon as you can. It speaks to basic facets found in the human soul and will probably touch everyone deeply in some manner.

That’s all for now. Ciao!

Update December 12, 2019, 11:11 p.m. House and the Golden Bowl

Working late at night in an IHOP in Midland, Texas, May 2019 (photo by Francene Kilgore-Slattery)

For a week or more, I have been making some progress on Shadows and Stars bit by bit, a sentence or word at a time. In the background, because my place is so solitary and quiet, I have been running re-runs of House in the background (I have the series on DVD). I am on disc four of season six currently on the episode entitled “Private Lives”. In one scene early on, Taub and the others go to House’s office to give him an update on the patient and, of course, to seek his counsel. House is sitting in a chair reading when they enter. If you look closely, you will see the book is The Golden Bowl by Henry James. I looked up The Golden Bowl on Wikipedia, which has a nice article. I am puzzled as to why House is reading that. Maybe Hugh Laurie is reminding the audience with a subtle poke that he is English. I checked his bio on Wikipedia and he doesn’t seem to have any personal connection with the book, like being in a movie or play about it.  Though he wrote a popular book (The Gun Seller), he doesn’t seem to have any other affinity or association with literature. Maybe it’s just a favorite book or maybe its story line (about marriage and adultery) relate to the story somehow. Oh, well, it just has my curiosity. Its appearance seems sort of out of place. It may have some subtle meaning or is perhaps an Easter Egg of some sort. I will have to pay attention as I play this episode.

On another note, I think I have hit upon an idea as to how to fill the last major gap in the story line for Shadows and Stars. Of course, I won’t reveal it here. It’s just a rough idea at this point. However, it should be very interesting.

Hasta Luego.

Update: X-Ray Has Been Added to Diabolical

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

Just now, I finished adding Amazon’s new service, X-Ray, to my short story collection Diabolical: Three Tales of Jack Thurston and Revenge. X-Ray inserts links into a Amazon Kindle text which lead either to a Wikipedia article or to comments by the author on a character or term in the text. It’s easy to use. I like it, because in a work like Diabolical, there are many obscure terms which may need clarification to some readers. I feel this will help the reader enjoy the work more, because he/she will not need to run to a dictionary, encyclopedia, or to a search engine to find out the background on a character or term, especially if they are historical. For example, in these tales I use the names of several demons which are cited in historical works. Probably very few people would recognize the names of these demons (such as Azazel or Belial) and would need to do at least a little research to find out their significance.

This also helps with marketing my other works in which some of these characters may be mentioned. In my own comments on a character or term, I can mention in what other works that character appear and how to find and purchase those works.

Yesterday, I added X-Ray to my short story collection The Scent and Other Stories. Go to amazon.com/author/philslattery to learn more about each book and to purchase one or both.