I’m frequently asked why I write such dark stories. Frankly, the question flummoxes me. The implication is that I want to depress readers or manipulate their emotions, and that’s not true. Although I would like to do more than entertain. For me, there is nothing inherently negative about the dark. To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”
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My hope is that readers will see stars..

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Since I don’t have anything pressing today, below is a brief first draft excerpt from my current WIP, CRYING FOR MERCY
TAGLINE: We can’t escape who we are.


[Love posting these very early versions and looking back months later to see how the passage evolved.]

Grace runs from the kitchen upstairs to her room. She wants to slam the door but knows better than to break the rules.

Her quilt covers the floor of her tiny closet. Hidden behind a row of hanging garments that smell of detergent and bleach, she curls in the corner and makes herself small, silently sliding the accordion door closed with her foot. Even the scent of clean can’t cover her taint. In the dark, her hand feels for the small flashlight she stole from the glove box of her father’s car. She holds the light in her mouth as she pushes up the long sleeve of her sweater and pinches a roll of flesh.

With the paring knife, she cuts. Shallow at first, then deep and sure. She watches the blood start as tiny dots, ellipses on a blank page. They well and trickle down her arm like tears. Calm now, she leans back against the closet wall while the poison flows from her.

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529480_10151943784178170_754936916_nDisclaimer: A couple of weeks ago, my short story “Just A Lie” was released as part of the anthology, MY BLOODY VALENTINE. The story was intended as a prequel to my first two manuscripts, BLOOD UNDER WILL and A TWIST OF HATE. So, if you’ve read the story and had a sense there was no emotional dénouement, you’re absolutely right. The wrap-up comes in the two books. It’s also a bit misleading as the story bordered on hardboiled procedural, which I don’t typically write. All in all, the anthology was a great experience. It was fun to be included in a collection embracing such a wide range of authors, stories, and genres. Most fun was the opportunity to get to know Barb, my protagonist’s partner. She’s hospitalized and dying when my first novel gets underway. Did I mention I write dark?

AMAZON: http://tinyurl.com/oehlh78
BARNES AND NOBLE: http://tinyurl.com/ma3fyz7

Hope to see you all on Wednesday for IWSG!

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