Periodic Pretentious Book Reviews: ‘Scythe’ by Neal Shusterman

As some of you may know, I am a reviewer of sorts when I feel the urge. And though I am not one who wants to spend all my time reviewing things, it is an itch I like to scratch on occasion. So, since I read a lot, I figured I might occasionally review a book for your enjoyment, and perhaps along the way swing someone to read a book they might not have otherwise. Continue reading

Flash Fiction: Crime Scene (Part 1 of 3)

I haven’t felt squeamish in years. So, you must understand my confusion when I came upon the newest scene of death and dismemberment and something lurched in my stomach. A few thoughts went through my head as I clutched with one hand on my gut. I assumed the sponge steak I had made had been bad or something of that ilk. That I had failed to drink enough sim-water.

Only after another second I realized the truth: I was grossed out, disgusted. My partner did not look at me as she passed by my frozen figure into the living room, and so I did not have to explain my situation as she kneeled next to what used to be a person. Continue reading

Starting Off Dead

The easiest way to get me to buy a book is for the first few sentences to blow me away, or for the premise to be amazing, or for your name to be J.K. Rowling or Neal Shusterman.

So, to this end, when I’m not already a fan of the author and the premise isn’t an immediate hook, I have a little test I will do, which while not at all fair, is fun and a learning opportunity. And the test is this: if I read the first sentence, or the first page, and my eyes don’t bounce off once, then it goes on the to-buy list.

Again, super unfair. But it is an interesting exercise. And, by doing this sort of test a lot, I’ve noticed a few reoccurring methods of structuring the beginning sentence from book to book. Continue reading

Microfiction: Weapon-Grade Buttons

A family of four did not survive for even four seconds. The first rev of the machine gun spewed death so fast they were not even aware that their flesh had jolted to pieces.

Innocent? Is anyone innocent?

Ken pressed the button on his console. He flicked a switch; he spun a few dials. He pressed another button. Continue reading

WHO AM I?! Well, Let Me Tell You.

Hey, so, you are reading this? I mean, cool. Hi. But, like, I mean, how’s it going? I have a page that’s about me—but that’s not a blog post. So—yeah, here’s this too. I’m writing it a little more like how I speak when I am in person.

As you can see, it’s a little meandering. Yet clipped. Sometimes. I talk fast, but occasionally I must stop to think through the next like two things I will say. I’m good at anticipating broad reactions to things in people. If I get to know you. But, terrible at the small stuff. I’ve lost all concept of what is and is not too dark a joke for people. I can freak people out sometimes.

But, like, I’m a writer, you know, so I’m allowed to be a bit weird. But, again, “Hi!” Let me tell you about me. In a more personal way. Continue reading

Flash Fiction: The Fingers

Don’t take your fingers for granted. I present a strange tale called:

The Fingers


This whole thing began, as many hauntings do, when I came across a dead body. I should clarify that, though, by saying that while this was by no means a normal occurrence, I was still not as concerned as some might have been in my situation. I’d seen some magical corpses in my time. Continue reading

Hey, You, It’ll Be Okay

“Love yourself.”

I hate platitudes, don’t you? I feel like they bar the ability for someone to communicate actual helpful words. They are rote and glib and sound good as a soundbite, but often already occurred to the asker of help, so are thus useless.

There seems to be an almost universal box of platitudes for every occasion. Continue reading

Microfiction: Desk Setup

The computer connected to the phone. A link cable, pushed into the side, made sure that the data went into the laptop, and posted to all the social mediums on the planet. The images of one life added to the collective of the rest. Giving some understanding of who owned the picture—perhaps the only understanding available. Continue reading

Writing Can Be Boring (And That’s Okay)

There’s a thing known by those of us who have written a novel. And, it’s a controversial thing. Not something widely shouted, or thrown into the cosmos for all to hear. But, it is true: no matter how hard to believe. And, you may get mad at me for saying this, but, here’s the gist: writing, making art, creating stuff, is often a little boring.

It’s taxing. It’s hard. Art takes a long time—and with no guarantee that the result will be any good. Continue reading

How To Disturb In 5 Easy Steps

My head is swirling today—I’m going through the overload that comes with consuming too much good media. And it is making me have trouble coming up with a topic to talk about and write about.

Now, to be clear, I am not “blocked.”

I have too many ideas right now. I want to talk about the future, and the world, and art, and getting ideas for writing. I want to write ten books and then go on several podcasts.

But, as these sorts of things go with actual life, I have things that need doing. So, I decided to fall back on something simple, something I understand on an intuitive level when it comes to making art.

And that is creating disturbing things. Continue reading

Flash Fiction: Beyond The Path

More than one child finds a world in the hedge. First Benjamin did, and now, another kid gets their turn to decide.

I call this sequel of sorts:

Beyond The Path


“I really would not do that,” he said, and the girl spun on her expensive shoes. She gave the boy with the odd clothes and the curving nose a hard glare.

“Why, are there monsters?” the girl asked. She held up her pocket knife, and grinned. “Because I’m ready for those.” Continue reading

Microfiction: The New Heroes

Not everyone is cut out for the hero lifestyle in this fantasy microfiction called:

The New Heroes

Grand Master Tamer J. Ward stood off a few tens of feet from the battle and surveyed the situation. Examining the two new recruits.

It was as he expected: they were terrible. Continue reading