Short story ‘Thin Skinned’ now available on Kindle

Thin Skinned Cover copy

My short story ‘Thin Skinned’ is now available for Kindle! You can get it free through Kindle Unlimited, or for only 99 cents. Click HERE.

The deliciously profane Chuck Wendig posted on his blog for writers terribleminds a challenge to experiment with e-publishing, just to learn the ins and outs of this new and rapidly evolving option. After hemming and hawing, I finally decided to give it a try. It’s easier than you’d think! Now let the bucks start rolling in. (sarcasm alert.)

‘Thin Skinned’ is a dark, disturbing and gruesome short story (only about 2,250 words) in which an Irish immigrant exacts terrible revenge on the English lord who ruined her life and family. It’s set in the mid-1800s, in the Chihuahua desert near Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Those who know me might wonder where a story like this came from. Ah, but perhaps they don’t know me as well as they thought! I tapped into a very dark place for this one.

I’ve always been intrigued by “revenge” stories, going back to the Curse of the House of Atreus, the bloody Jacobean plays, and Shakespeare’s “Timon of Athens.” Unlike later works, including “The Count of Monte Cristo” and other more “civilized” revenge stories, these early works show little in the way of remorse. They are brutal, savage tales of reckoning and madness, unburdened by Christian morality and guilt.

I was also inspired by “Chato’s Land,” a wickedly ingenious Apache revenge movie from 1972 that starred Charles Bronson and Jack Palance. That and another revisionist western, “Ulzana’s Raid” (starring Burt Lancaster), taught me that cruel revenge had nothing to do with chivalry or fair play, and everything to do with barren, desolate places, both geographically and in the depths of a wounded soul.

If a person were stripped of family, homeland, religion and human dignity, what might they be capable of doing to the person they held responsible, given the opportunity? And a carpetbag of kitchen cutlery!

Purchase ‘Thin Skinned’ and find out.

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New 10-minute comedy ‘Well Bred’ submitted to One Night Stand Theater

I hate it, but it’s true. I write better and faster when there’s a deadline looming. So when I got an e-mail from One Night Stand Theater artistic director James O’Leary about a Dec. 30 deadline for their next event, I did two things: I re-wrote/edited a previous and unpublished short play Imperfections, then penned a brand new sketch comedy Well Bred. And, I got them both in before deadline!

While neither script is an obvious fit for the Feb. 8 show’s theme: “Weird Love, Dark Kisses: Plays and Stories of Strange and Mysterious Romance,” and there’s no guarantee that either will be selected for this or any other of One Night Stand Theater’s productions, the prompt alone was enough to get my creative juices flowing. I later heard they are planning a “pet show” later in 2015, so Well Bred has doubled it’s odds of coming to life.

test_tube_baby_副本Imperfections is a provocative comedy that takes place in the near future. Chip and Cissy make an appointment to genetically engineer their first child at Build a Baby Corp. After selecting traits such as hair and eye color, the couple learns they must choose an “imperfection,” a flaw in their test tube baby which will create a challenge to overcome and so facilitate character development.savannah-625x450__big (1)

In Well Bred, a Golden Retriever and a Pomeranian go into a back yard to mate and produce “Golderanians”. Their courtship will become the stuff of legend, at least among pooches. Puppy love, with a randy twist! This one was a lot of fun to write, and is definitely PG or PG-13.

I am very grateful One Night Stand Theater exists, and have seen many of their productions, though they are now located in Aurora, which is a bit of a drive from Lakewood. The company showcases an evening of “reader’s theater” or “script in hand staging” of short works built around a theme. They first came to my attention years ago when they produced “The Bipolar Express,” a dysfunctional Christmas comedy. A couple of years ago they presented my comedy sketch Zombie Family Picnic, and it was hilarious.

Whether or not either of these scripts make it onto their slate, I encourage you to support One Night Stand Theater, and the new works, often by local writers, they inspire.

If you would like a reading copy of Imperfections or Well Bred, send me an e-mail. There’s a contact form on this blog somewhere.

Best wishes for a creative New Year!