Once a Year, Whether I Need to or Not

Shamefully I see that it has been almost a year since my last post. Way to generate interest and gain fans. That would be my muse. She is part of the reason I haven’t been blogging as I have been writing and editing. OK, maybe that’s not a great excuse, but as the country song says, “that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.”

My WIP list always has at least four or five items on it. Short story collection currently in edit (yes, by a real, live editor to whom I pay money). It will bear the name of this blog, Nightmares and Body Parts. A murder mystery written for NaNoWriMo that is being critiqued by the Coffee House Writer’s Group (yeah, I was invited to help run the organization, another entry on the to-do list, but a really good one.) BTW, if you live in the L.A. Metro area and want to join us, we can be found at http://www.coffeehousewritersgroup.com. A spy novel/comic book with artist Dave King, his stuff can be found at http://www.defiantartistry.com. New story which I started yesterday, details of which will only be posted on my Facebook author’s page: http://www.facebook.com/EdwardOwenAuthor. If you like the page, you will be entered to win a free copy of ‘The GAME’ (no, not an ebook, a real paper and cardstock version with my signature inside).

So, although I have not been blogging, I have been busy. I still have a day job that keeps me away from home almost twelve hours a day, but lunch breaks are always good for writing. It is my goal to get these posts up at least once a week. Be patient with me. ADD makes it very difficult to …. SQUIRREL! What was I talking about? Until next week, read something scary and count it as your cardio workout for the day.


Write What You Know, Even in Horror

“Losing is not an option and winning holds a horror all its own.”

Budding authors, looking for pointers, are likely to find the sage advice “Write what you know” sprinkled liberally throughout books, blogs and other sources of such information. As wise as this sounds, its really common sense. You can’t write about anything of which you have NO knowledge. Take for example, the Civil War. Yes, we all studied it in school, but if I were to write a piece of historical fiction set during the Civil War, I would need to do some research if I planned to make it historically accurate. Someone who was a huge Civil War buff might be able to go on their knowledge alone. So let’s edit our saying to “Write what you know, or what you are able to learn”.

So how does that apply to someone like me? I write horror, paranormal and sci-fi. I can assure you I have never had any of the experiences about which I write. Some of them aren’t even possible (other planets for example) and I’ve certainly never been a serial killer. So how can I write about such subjects? In addition to having a rather twisted imagination, most of my stories are inspired by some kernel of truth. “The GAME” is a novella in which I wrote about a life or death game of Texas Hold Em poker. After writing, poker is one of my favorite pastimes. All of the characters in that story are inspired by poker pros I have watched on TV. The game itself is simply the mechanics of knowing the different hands and how they are played. The rest is (twisted) imagination. I couldn’t have written that story if I had never played the game and hadn’t spent hours watching games played on TV. I wrote what I knew.

Master horror writer Stephen King’s first novel is “Carrie”. It’s about a high school girl who is severely bullied by her classmates (in case you’ve really never read the book or seen the movie). Much to their dismay (and demise) Carrie has telekinetic powers and she takes out the lot of them at the prom. I don’t know if Mr. King was bullied in school. I’m guessing the chances are fifty-fifty, but it’s a safe bet he was never subjected to the horrible treatment he inflicted on Carrie. Even if he wasn’t bullied, I’m sure he witnessed it happening to someone else. The rest is just writer’s imagination taking a situation and making it larger than life.

Let’s say your hobby is gardening. Pretty innocuous pastime. But what if your plants started talking to you, demanding more food and attention? Set it to music and you get “The Little Shop of Horrors”. You can take the simplest things and turn them into story ideas. Just ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Then write it down. What would make your skin crawl in a given situation? I even used something as simple as riding a commuter train and turned it into a horror short story. “The Quiet Car” in my upcoming collection “Nightmares and Body Parts Vol. 1” (shameless self promotion) was inspired by my commute back and forth to Los Angeles. Simple idea + the worst that can happen. Write what you know and make up the rest. When it starts creeping you out, you’re on the right track.


Please Don’t Feed the Bears

I live with bears, three of them to be exact. When they were little, they were cute as bears will be. That’s why we brought them into the house. In our defense, the dogs were already living in the yard. Bears are messy. Bears are noisy and when they get big, bears eat A LOT! (me to bank manager, “Yes, I need a second mortgage to buy food. Have you met my bears?)

I got my first clue that they were bears when they became old enough to open cereal. Open is a loose term. Try to open a can of tuna with an axe… now you have the picture. Messy bears=lots of stale cereal. Then they learned to cook for themselves. Really messy bears. I still do not know how the spaghetti sauce ended up on the ceiling. Of the living room. And the bathroom. No, Mr. Paint Store Manager, there will be NO flat paint in my house. Do you know where I can buy stainless steel wallpaper?

When bears get to a certain age, they become friends with other bears. Bear friends eat a lot, too. And they travel in packs. Sometimes you will get lucky and your bear will meet a girl bear and he will eat at her house. For a while. Unless you get adoption papers from her parents, it will not last forever. Oh, just so you know, girl bears can eat a lot, too. (They eat their young, right?)

Bears like to sleep late, wake up grumbling and head for the kitchen. Along the way they are prone to emitting various noises and foul odors. We finally have them trained to wear pants when they take this journey. This has made lunch much more pleasant. Bears wipe gross things on the wall and lick towels and do all sorts of other disgusting things… I hope you’re not eating as you read this. They are not completely untrainable, but it takes a lot of work and by the time they get good, they move out. (So I’ve been told, I’ve not actually witnessed this event yet, but hope springs eternal.) Bears will work for money, but surprisingly not for food. In their world, there is a grocery fairy who shows up every two weeks and fills up the pantry, fridge and freezer. Now I make them carry in the groceries (along with bear friends and girl bears).  Now they think the grocery fairy drives a minivan. Sigh.

I know the day will come when my bears move to caves of their own. (I already have the cake ordered) and the house will be quiet, we will shop once a month for food and there will be no odd stains on the walls and ceilings of my home. The only scratching of body parts and odd noises will come from me (sorry mama bear) and I will have an office. Yes, I will have to take out the trash every week, but I can live with that.  And I will wait. For my bears to have little bears of their own.  And when that day comes, I will smile. 🙂 <—- like this.


ROW80 Update 8-21-11

This week has been  brutal for getting the words down, up until yesterday morning. I learned of a website called Write or Die (www.writeordie.com) and cranked out 3685 words in 2.7 hours. A new record for me. At this pace, my first draft will be done in less than a month. I use a spread sheet (it’s my analytical side, can’t help it) to keep track of my progress and my wph has jumped by 100. That’s an average over the entire project, now at 48K words. I am feeling less guilty about devoting some of my limited time to promotion and social networking. Things are looking good for having three novels ready for eBooks by November. Stay tuned…..



I haven’t posted here in over a year. I used this blog to write a short story for a writing challenge, and when it was complete, I never came back. Now I have found a new use for this blog and I really liked the title, so I’ll start posting again. I’m also heavily promoting several upcoming novels, so one more reason to start blogging again.

ROW8O is a writing challenge that has each writer set their own goal and then post their results for the support of other writers (I read “kick in the pants” as that is what I need most often, all done with love, of course). I’m game. This challenge ends Sept. 22, the day after my 20th wedding anniversary and my brother’s birthday. Guess forgetting the date will not be an issue.

I like the goal of writing every day, but I need a little bit more fire under my feet, so my goal will be to finish the first draft of my current WIP, Chronicles of Alcamene Book One: Gunn Sight. I’m currently at about 41K words with a top end goal of 85K or whenever the story is done,which may be sooner. This is YA sci-fi, not horror, so this blog title is a little out of line with the genre, but I’m too lazy to start another blog. Besides, horror is really my first love and there are a few intense moments so far in the book, so I’m giving myself a break. I just posted a horror short on my website, A Lycanthrope’s Tale so I’m keeping true to the genre.  Oh, I also have a blog on the site by one of my MCs, Rachel Benesais, so that takes some time (I can’t seem to get her to write her own stuff) and I still have a day job. Speaking of which, break is over, so have a good Monday.\

Smiles, Ed


The Game #52 The Final Hand

Edward pushed a small stack of chips into the center of the table.

“Two thousand.”  Including the small blind, this brought Edward’s total to twenty-five hundred.  Not enough to scare Darius off, but enough to prevent him from thinking that Edward was hiding a strong hand.

Darius called the bet, carefully sliding the chips into the pot.  Kenny burned the top card and laid the flop on the table.  Queen of clubs, jack of hearts and the ace of spades.  Three aces!  It took all of Edward’s self-control to maintain his composure.  Darius could easily have a straight; his bet would be in keeping with playing a king-ten.  Edward pulled himself together although anyone watching him would never have seen a change in his demeanor. 

“Five thousand”, Edward bet. 

Darius studied him for a few moments, trying to get a read on him. 

Good luck with that, thought Edward.  If anyone had ever figured out a way to read Edward Teraneau, he would not be the top rated poker player in the world.  When an opponent did manage to pick up on a tell, it was because Edward had left it dangling for them to find.  Many a poker player had surrendered their chip stack to Edward because they thought they “knew” what he was playing.  Edward shuffled his chips a little faster than normal.  He wasn’t doing anything over the top, like trying to rush Darius, but showing a little case of nerves might give Darius the wrong idea.

“I call”, Darius said. 

Edward studied him.  Was there a tic?  Did he push his chips in too fast, or too slow?  So far, nothing Darius had done had given Edward any kind of information on what was in his opponent’s hand.

Kenny burned the top card yet again and placed the turn card on the table.  The king of diamonds, four cards to an ace high straight, possibly the worst card that could have hit for Edward.  All Darius needed now was any ten.  Edward let just a bit of his nerves show to keep up his charade that he was losing control of the hand.  The odds were still in Edward’s favor, it was slightly better than twelve to one that Darius had the ten.  If a ten hit on the river, they would tie.  If the board paired, unless Darius came up with quads, Edward would have aces full and with no straight flush possible, he would have Darius beat. 

Edward let his mind go empty.  There was a  place he went to when he needed to fully feel his instincts.  He remembered the first time it had happened.  He had been in a ten thousand dollar tournament and was heads up against a local legend, Billy Sands.  Billy had been beating up on Edward all night, calling his bluffs and leading him into one trap after another.  Edward had gotten lucky on a suck out and found himself face to face with the man.  Billy had gone all in with three hearts on the board.  Edward had the straight, but not the flush.  He looked at Billy and suddenly, for some reason, his mind had gone blank.  The next thing he knew, he was calling Billy and taking almost eighty percent of his chip stack on busted flush bluff.

In the stillness of his mind, Edward felt it again.  Now was the time, no looking back.

“All in.”  Edward had Darius more than covered, and a loss here would not really put Mary in grave danger, yet.  Yes, everything about this move felt right.

“I call,” Darius said immediately.  Edward felt the rise of panic.  A snap call was not what he expected.  Had he missed the mark?  Did Darius have the straight?  Edward would have to pull himself out of a deep hole if that was the case.

“Showdown, gentlemen”, Kenny said.

Darius flipped over his cards; the ace of hearts and the king of spades.  Two pair!  Edward happily showed his aces.  Darius was drawing nearly dead; another king would give him kings full, but Edward would have aces full.  All Darius could hope for was a ten to give him a tie with Edward.

This is almost over! thought Edward.  He and Mary could get the hell out of this place and turn Darius over to the authorities.

Once again, time slowed for Edward as Kenny burned the top card of the deck and peeled the river, the last card, from the deck.  It felt like hours as the card was slowly turned over and placed face up on the felt.  A number card, covered with diamonds.  For  moment, Edward thought he saw a ten, but finally the nine of diamonds registered itself in his mind.  It was over.

“Game to Mr. Teraneau”, Kenny said, sliding the chips in front of Edward.  The water drained from Mary’s cell and the glass panel began to slowly rise up into the ceiling.

“Well played, Mr. Teraneau”, Darius said, extending his hand.  Edward regarded it as if it were a live rattlesnake.

“I will see you with a needle in your arm”, Edward said as he brushed past Darius’ extended hand and headed for Mary.

“Eddie!” Mary squealed with joy and threw her arms around Edward’s neck.

“Come on, Mary.  Let’s go home.”  Turning to Darius, he said, “I assume we won’t have any problems leaving?”

“Oh, no, you are free to go.  My men will show you the way out.  Until next time, Mr. Teraneau.”

Edward ignored the comment and headed for the open panel.  It will be a cold day in hell before I sit at a table with that monster,  he thought to himself.  As he and Mary walked down the hallway, Edward noticed that the light that had been filling the room was beginning to fade.  He held tightly to Mary’s hand and placed his other against the wall.  He could barely see and now it was becoming difficult to walk.  He felt like he was spinning; he felt Mary’s hand slip from his grasp.

“Noooooo!” Edward screamed as everything went dark

“Mr. Teraneau, can you hear me?”

Someone was talking to him.  Edward could hear them, but it was still dark.  With a monumental effort, Edward forced his eyes partially open.  There was a blinding white light and he had to shut his eyes against the pain.  Finally, he was able to open them again and began to focus.  There was a face above him.  He recognized it, but his mind could not put a name to it.

“Welcome back, Mr. Teraneau.  You gave us quite a scare.  You and your sister were quite lucky.”

Mary?  Was Mary here?

“Mary….?”  Edward croaked out the word.

“Oh, she’s fine.  As a matter of fact, you are both doing remarkably well.”  The voice was coming from the face in front of him.  The face with the crystal blue eyes.  The name tag on the white lab coat…… Dr. Thomas Darius.

“Darius!  It was you, you killed them…. !” Edward tried to pull himself up out of the bed, but his body would not respond.

“He’s still confused.”  The man, Darius, was talking to someone else now.  “Mr. Teraneau, you and Mary were on the bus that went off the bridge into the river.  Do you remember any of that?  You were the only two that made it out alive.  I’m sorry to tell you, but many of the people who died were friends of yours.”

Bus?  Edward didn’t remember any bus.

“What bus?  I don’t know what you are talking about.”

“The Poker Pros tour bus?  You don’t remember going with the other players and all those fans?  It will come back to you, just rest now.”

The man with Darius on his name tag turned and began talking to the other person again.

“His mind has probably blocked out the event.  Let’s give him some time to rest.  I’ll give him something to help him sleep, just check on him in an hour or so.”

The man turned back to Edward.

“Now then, Mr. Teraneau, you need to get some rest.  You’ve been through quite an ordeal.”

“You…. you killed them…. the game, with the cells…. Kenny was dealing….”

“I’m sorry, Kenny died in the crash also.”

The man leaned over and placed his face very close to Edward’s.

“And now, Mr. Teraneau, I have something of a surprise for you.  You were almost correct, but it is I who will see you with a needle in your arm.”

Edward felt the syringe penetrate his skin and the room began to spin and go dark.  How long had he been laying here?

There were voices in the background and Edward wished they would shut up.  His head was pounding.  He sat up and found himself sitting on a couch.  As his eyes adjusted to the dim light, he saw several people in the room.  Their faces were familiar… and there was a table…. a poker table, in the center of the room.  A door opened and a man with the bluest eyes Edward had ever seen walked in.

“Welcome, ladies and gentlemen.  My name is Darius and I am your host.  My apologies for the cold temperature, but our heat seems to be out at the moment.  If you will please join me at the table?”


The Game #51

The cards were shuffled and dealt again.  The blinds were now at five-hundred and a thousand, Edward was back on the big blind and the button.  The cards hit the felt and Edward left them face down.  Darius was first to act.  He pushed a stack into the pot without comment and let Kenny announce the bet.

“Six thousand”.

Edward looked at his hole cards; queen of diamonds and the three of clubs.  In heads up play, aces and faces were always good.  Edward called the bet, stacking the chips firmly in the center of the table.

Kenny burned the top card and flopped the next three onto the felt.  The nine of clubs, four of hearts and the six of clubs.  Not much of a flop for Edward, but probably not much for Darius either.  Edward would have to ride it out and see where it went.  Darius checked his hand and Edward checked behind him.

The turn card was the three of spades, giving Edward a pair.  A pair of threes with a queen kicker; Edward would have folded except that Darius had checked the last hand so it was costing him nothing to stay in at this point.  Darius bet a thousand, the minimum.  Value bet, or the start of a trap?  Edward called without raising and waited for the river card.  Darius had shown himself to be capable of a hight level of deception and Edward had no desire to go down that road again.

The river card was the three of hearts.  Edward had three of a kind, but the pair on the board opened up a large number of possibilities for Darius.  If he had started the hand with a set, the pair gave him a full house.  He could have made a straight as well if he had played a five-seven, though that seemed unlikely.  Edward waited for Darius to act.

“Five thousand”, Darius announced the bet and set the chips down in the center of the table with more force than usual, Edward noticed.  A bluff or semi-bluff?  Darius had started with a strong bet before the flop, but had checked afterwards.  Now he was betting strong on the river.  Had the pair on the board improved his hand?  Edward ran all of the hands back through his mind.  When the idea hit him, it almost knocked him off the stool; Darius had a weak hand or was bluffing altogether.  Edward could not have explained how he knew this, but his gut told him he was right.  He could go over the top and force Darius out, but better to call timidly and continue his charade.

“I call” said Edward, flipping over his cards to show the three of a kind.  Darius showed a nine-four, two of a kind.

“Three threes is the winner”, Kenny announced and pushed the chips to Edward.  As he stacked the chips, he was starting to see a pattern.  Darius had made his hand on the flop, yet he had checked it.  That was exactly the way he had played the last hand.  He was trying to disguise his hands and draw Edward in, then back off and see if Edward came back strong.

I’ve got your number now, Darius.  Edward almost let a smile turn up the corners of his mouth, but years of discipline prevented him from doing so.

“Well played, Mr. Teraneau”, said Darius.  “The river seems to be bringing you good luck.”

Edward looked briefly at Darius and replied with a taciturn “Yep”.  He made sure to knock over one of his chip stacks as he added the pot.  He wanted Darius to think he was struggling and that this win was totally unexpected.

The cards were collected, shuffled and dealt.  Edward looked at his cards.  The first one was the ace of diamonds; excellent.  The second was the ace of clubs.  Edward’s heart starting pounding in his chest.  He had seen aces cracked in many hands, but rarely in heads up.  This was it, his chance to get the hell out of this nightmare.  He had to play this just right and make sure Darius came along for the ride.