It’s got a maaaaaaaaaaaaap…

When you enter the guestroom in our house, you will see three things:

  1. A bed
  2. Shelves of books
  3. Maps

The bed is so you can, in theory, sleep. You can also read there. I’ve known one guest who watched some movies there. Basically, it’s a comfy area to be comfortable on.

The shelves of books are for comfort, too. There’s nothing quite so relaxing for me as being surrounded by all my friends. I’ve seen enough memes to know that I’m not alone in that. To gaze upon worlds bound in ink and paper is an amazing thing.

But the maps…?

Continue reading “It’s got a maaaaaaaaaaaaap…”

The Dark Walk Forward

There’s something wrong in the town of Ste. Odile.

The doctors have unique ways of helping their patients.

The wonderful old lady has a dog that seems to know too much.

The veiled women fear to go out in daylight.

John S. McFarland has strung together twenty short stories in The Dark Walk Forward, many of them in this twisted, dark town right after the great War. Sometimes things seem to be wrong, but maybe it’s just your imagination.

The stories creep with dread. No jump scares will startle you. Instead, horror will crawl closer on six legs until it wraps boneless but muscular fingers around your heart and squeezes.

Admittedly, not every story was a home run for me, personally. “The Thing Under the Seat” didn’t connect with me, for instance.

That said, there were a number of short stories that scratch under my skin yet.

“One Happy Family” starts with a doctor doing a good deed: Driving out to the woods to help a poor family deliver another child. But as the doctor enters the house, McFarland showed little by little that something was not right. By the time the payoff hit, I predicted what could happen, but it didn’t matter because the artistry of the storytelling still kept my attention fast.

“Oblivion” got to me, too, and I didn’t predict that ending. I should have. McFarland set it up so well, but I didn’t see it coming. There, a schoolteacher in the 1880’s attempts to protect her students from the worst blizzard of her time. Her desperation was amazing.

“The Dark Walk Forward” filled me with grief. A soldier comes home from the war to meet a son he never really knew. The son isn’t normal, though. How does PTSD and autism mix?

The book feels real in a way that’s hard to nail down. As you read, you don’t get the feeling you’re reading a story. It feels more like something that really happened. A note at the back of the book informs on some of the background information, but throughout there’s a reality that’s hard to ignore.

If you like short stories that fill you with dread, check this one out. It’s worth your time.

Every once in a while, I like putting up a review of a book I’ve read. Regular blogging will continue soon!


Ever try lifting a glass to get the last chunk of shake to slide into your gob, and it just won’t dislodge from the bottom of the cup? And so you shake the cup, hoping for a delicious bite of ice cream and chocolate goodness. Nothing happens. You shake the cup again.

And then an avalanche of all that is delicious in the world smashes you in the face and yes it is in your mouth and up your nose and streaming from your eyes and it’s so good but now you can’t breathe and then your family is laughing at you and

OK, maybe that was a little more than you needed to know about my childhood.

But I bet you can identify with that whole big chunk o’ goodness smashing into your face. Maybe it wasn’t a shake for you. Maybe it was a smoothie. Maybe it was curry. I don’t know how curry works. We don’t have it often here.

Anyway, my publishing has sort of taken on that aspect in the last couple weeks.

Continue reading “GLUT!”

A Celebration of Storytelling

Dance with a story.

Crash-land on a desolate planet with a madman.

Beware people at country fairs asking for your story.

Investigate the murder of a story.

This is the gathering. This is the celebration of stories.

Today is the first day you can preorder the ebook of A Celebration of Storytelling, an anthology of stories about celebrations. The book will also be available in physical form. If you want to read my writing, this is a great way to do it — I have four stories in it!

Click the link for more info!

(All four of these stories were previously available in other anthologies that had limited print runs and are now out of print.)