Sunday, July 27, 2014

How to Write a Humor Story (Part 1)

Today we examine the steps necessary for creating a humor story.  Over the course of this post, we will in fact create a humor story.  Notice we said “humor” story and not “humorous” story.  If you want to write a humorous story, simply write a regular story and throw in some funny parts.  

In a regular story, character, setting, plot, etc... are all paramount while humor, if present, is secondary.  A humor story, on the other hand, is different in that plot, character, etc... are all considerations secondary to the hilarious premise.

For instance, Dinosaur Ghost, by Christamar Varicella is an example of a humor story.  Dinosaur ghosts return from extinction and start eating republicans because of their stance on gay marriage.  It’s a very silly premise.  Character, plot, theme, structure, etc... are only important in that they serve the comedy of the story.

Whereas, The Blue Whale, by Christamar Varicella, is about a young man on the verge of a crack-up who seeks solace with a hallucinated blue whale in his bathtub.  While the story has certain comedic elements, in this case the comedy serves the overall story while character, setting, theme, etc... are of equal or greater value than the comedy itself.

For the sake of this article, we have decided to go with a premise derived from a conversation we had with our eight-year-old daughter.  A guy goes back to “olden times” and hilarity ensues.  You’ll notice this is pretty basic and rather vague as far as premises go, but we will develop it as we go along.  The reason we chose this premise is because we were slightly amused by her reference to “olden times.”  And while the story has been told before (isn’t this the premise for Hot Tub Time Machine) there is plenty of room for comic exploration. 

Sometimes the decision to write a humor story comes down to a gut reaction.  Humor can usually be found somewhere near the guts.

As any story writer can tell you, having a character is extremely important.  So, let’s brainstorm at least one character (or protagonist) to populate our premise.

Possible characters:

A psychic.  It might be fun to watch a psychic go back in time and still get predictions wrong due to a basic lack of historical understanding. 

A detective.  Might turn into a detective story.

A Know-it-All.  Similar to a psychic.  Audience might enjoy seeing him/her get things wrong.  For the sake of time, and since we’ve already stated that everything takes a backseat to the comedy, let’s just go with this one. We can always make him/her a psychic later.

So now we have this as our premise: A know-it-all goes back to “Olden Times” and gets a lot of things wrong that the reader might know.  Hilarity ensues.

It still sounds a bit hackneyed.  We’ve all seen something like this before.  Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court comes to mind, and people who think they’re smart getting their comeuppance is such a well-worn comedy trope we won’t bother listing examples.  

That’s okay, though.  This is a humor story, perhaps the least known and least popular of all the fiction genres and it’s highly unlikely anyone will read it anyway.  (Oops.  We probably should have saved that bit of information until the end in hopes that you will continue reading.  Oh well. The cat’s out of the bag.)

So how does this character, let’s just call him Bob, travel back to “Olden Times?”  Again, we brainstorm:

1) He just wakes up there. (Boring.)
2) He gets struck by lightening while sitting on the toilet.  (Toilets are always funny.  Will have to explain how lightening was able to circumnavigate the ceiling.  Maybe there is no ceiling.  Maybe the toilet was outside on top of a hill. In any event, a lot of exposition is required.)
3) He hits his head.  (Falling off the toilet?  A little too close to Connecticut Yankee I think.)
4) He drowns. (In the toilet?  Let’s get off the toilet.)
5) He falls into a black hole (Instead of a toilet bowl.  How does that happen?  Is the world destroyed?  Again, too much exposition.)
6) He falls into a regular hole.  (Eureka!)

Guy Falls into a Hole.  It’s got a nice ring.  It nicely follows the standard joke: A Guy Walks into a Bar.  In essence, this tells the story of what happens after the guy leaves the bar.  It turns out, he’s too drunk to drive and he has just enough sense to know it, and since his apartment is only a mile and a half away from the bar, he decides to hoof it. One problem, or complication as they say (there always have to be complications in a story and this will be the first big one, a.k.a. the initial problem), the guy falls into a hole.  It also makes a great title.

When he manages to climb out, he’s in another time, an “olden time” as it were and hilarity ensues. 

A note about form and structure.  There should probably be some sort of form and/or structure.  For this premise, an episodic structure makes sense.  Whenever Bob climbs out of the hole, he enters a new era.  It could be during the Iron Age, or it could be the 1980s.  Every time he goes into the hole, he comes out in a new time period.

As a know-it-all, Bob will instantly size up the situation (wrongly, it will turn out) and hilarity will ensue.  Perhaps he will go in and out of the hole two or three times during the story, making this a longer work, a book even, where each chapter or installment features Bob in a new era, or maybe we will just stick to one moment in time and milk it the best we can. The decision will largely depend on how long we can sustain our interest in Bob and his experiences.  For the sake of simplicity and brevity, we suggest focusing on a single time period.

More brainstorming, this time for the setting (time and place):
1) Prehistoric times.  Maybe in a jungle or something. 

Okay, let’s go with that.

As we know, Bob is a know-it-all who’s going to get his comeuppance, but he is somewhat likable (he elected not to drink and drive after all) and thus he is someone the reader will want to root for as well as laugh at. 

Hmm.  We should probably give the reader a little something extra to help them buy into the story’s conceit, some way for them to suspend their disbelief so they will follow Bob on his journey.

Perhaps, as most of  us do these days, Bob only pays nominal attention to his surroundings due to a fixation with his “smart” phone.  Naturally, Bob will have an iPhone or a Droid or something, but in prehistoric times, it will be impossible to get service.  Therefore, he will constantly be looking at his phone, checking for “bars.” Thus distracted, he will fail to absorb and process all the details and clues provided by his new environment.

You will have noted previously that Bob was a one-dimensional character.  Now we have another, second dimension to add, which, for the sake of a character in a humor story is plenty.  We also have the added bonus of a little social commentary on the modern individual’s dependence on technology.

No doubt, you’ve heard of the Rule of Three in comedy.  Well, we’re going to do one better, and change it to the Rule of Four.  Bob should encounter four funny obstacles in each era before he is driven back into his hole. Each obstacle should become increasingly difficult while gradually filling in the overall picture of the world Bob is inhabiting.

Brainstorming obstacles:
1) Bob notices changes in his environment. He suffers through tropical heat, humidity, and thick prehistoric vegetation.  Rather than recognizing the new world he has entered, however, Bob attributes these minor obstacles to dehydration suffered from last night’s bender and global climate change.  To clear a path, he uses his phone to search for landscapers.  Damn! No service.
2) Bob is attacked by giant prehistoric mosquitoes.  Bob will overcome this obstacle thanks to the handy pocket-sized bottle of bug repellent he carries due to his ever present concerns over Encephalitis and the West Nile Virus (Turns out Bob is a bit of a hypochondriac.  Look, Ma, more character development. Three dimensions, a new record!)
3) Bob comes into contact with a saber tooth tiger.  Naturally, this will draw his attention away from his iPhone.  He will assume he has stumbled upon a mountain lion that has ventured away from its natural habitat in search of food.  Again, he will attribute this to climate change. 

Notice how the obstacles are becoming increasingly difficult to overcome. 

So, how can Bob expect to escape from a saber tooth tiger?  He can’t outrun it and he used up all his bug repellent on the mosquitoes.  He can’t knock it out with his cell phone.  (We might need him to have that later.)  He will likely be too frightened to move.   Yes, he’s frozen in his tracks and the beast is about to devour him when it steps into a trap set by one of Bob’s primitive ancestors.  (Ding Ding Ding!)

4) Bob encounters prehistoric man.  Territorial in nature, lacking basic language/communication skills, and seeking to drive away a competitor from his food supply, prehistoric man will attack Bob with a stone ax.  Bob, seeing the thick beard and unusual clothing, will assume he is being attacked by a deranged hipster. 

That’s four!

The ending writes itself.  Bob turns around and runs away, only to fall back into the same hole from whence he came. There he will stay until we are ready for him to emerge in another era.

Now that we have a basic outline, we need to hammer out a first draft, and then revise carefully, seeking opportunities to expand and elevate (or lower) the humor, then make several more passes through the manuscript with an eye toward repairing errors of  grammar and spelling and increasing fluidity, and then submit the final product to us for review and criticism.  Did we forget to mention that this post requires homework?  Silly us.  We’re so forgetful sometimes.

Assignment: Take the hilarious premise, character(s), plot (with increasing obstacles), setting, theme, and ending provided by us and construct a story in which hilarity ensues.  You may then submit the final product to us at  The winner may or may not receive a few chuckles.  Or we may not read it.  By that time, most likely, we will have moved on to something else.

Guy Falls into a Hole


Christamar Varicella and ?


Monday, July 21, 2014

An Open Letter to Stephen King

Dear Steve (Steph?),

I just finished your book, On Writing.  Pretty scary stuff.  No wonder you are known as the guy who writes horror.

But if you’re the guy who writes horror, how come two of my favorite movies are The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile?  I guess I just like prison movies.  You should think about writing a book set in a prison.  I might read it.

So, I heard you tweet the names of books you like, thus boosting sales for those authors.  I thought maybe you could tweet and like my book Dinosaur Ghost.



Currently the book is only available for free as a pdf, so you’re going to have to tweet really hard if I’m going to make any money on this project.

But I know you can do it.  Anybody who can write three books a year can easily write 12 Dinosaur Ghost-related tweets an hour, seven hours a day, for 363 days a year.  (Go ahead and take this weekend off.)  We’ll split the profits 50-50!

Also, you should probably think of some good blurbs to tweet.  I call them Twurbs.  I’ve taken the liberty of dropping a few choice nuggets for you to choose from.

Dinosaur Ghost gave goosebumps to my Goose, Bumps.  (My goose knows how to read.) - Stephen King

Dinosaur Ghost is the best dinosaur-related pornography I’ve ever read.  (Actually, Jonathan Franzen has dibs on this one.)

Dinosaur Ghost is like a dose of shock mixed with a heaping helping of awe, with a side of mashed potatoes.  Hold the butter.  -Stephen King

Dinosaur Ghost is the one book I wish I’d written, or at least read. -Stephen King.

Just let me know which twurb you want me to start twurbing and using in my promotional material within the next 24 hours (Go!) or else I’ll assume you want me to pick one for you and sign your name to it. 

I’ll close with perhaps the scariest thing I’ve ever read:  “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft


Your Friend,

Christamar Varicella

Wanna know which literary heavyweights are lining up to praise Dinosaur Ghost?  An Open Letter to Thomas Pynchon,  An Open Letter to Cormac McCarthyAn Open Letter to Jonathan Franzen

Sunday, July 20, 2014

An Open Letter to MSNBC


I’m going to be honest with you, I haven’t watched any of your programming since 2008 because, well, WE WON!!!! Woo Hoo! OBAMA! OBAMA! OBAMA!

After that, I disengaged in politics because it seemed to me that a complete and total liberal victory in all of the partisan battles was a foregone conclusion. 

Universal Healthcare through a single payer system: DONE.

Guantanamo Bay: CLOSED.

Violence and War: ENDED.


Don’t tell me if I’m wrong about any of that.  I hate spoilers.

So anyhoo, how’s Keith Olbermann doing?  Is he still sticking it to those corporate fat cats?

Listen, as a fellow liberal I wanted to cut you in on something that CNN and FOX NEWS have already jumped all over--I’m talking about Dinosaur Ghosts.


I know.  You should be all over this story. 

But listen.  We have to proceed carefully with this one lest the right wing reaction machine react by trying to pin the latest spate of attacks on you.  You’ll need to stick to the facts.

Here are the facts:

1) Dinosaur Ghosts crashed an NRA meeting, resulting in a number of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

2) Dinosaur Ghosts incinerated a popular television pundit through the power of flatulence.

3) Dinosaur Ghosts desecrated a creationist museum.

4) Dinosaur Ghosts consumed the right wing of the Supreme Court.

5) Other stuff.

Now, once you start ticking off these factualities during regular programming, things are likely to get pretty hot.  But your network can cool it down with your level-headed coolness of head.
But you better get going.  As we speak, FOX NEWS is preparing to use this information to scare the elephant doo out of its loyal viewers.  Your loyal viewer(s) need(s) you to counteract the madness with some good old fashioned madness of your own.

Now, go get to work!

Oh, and tell that boy who looks like Rachel Maddow I said hi.  Also, tell Rachel Maddow I said hi.

Yours in Christ(amar Varicella),

Christamar Varicella

Why not learn more about the issue of Dinosaur Ghosts by reading An Open Letter to Thomas Pynchon,  An Open Letter to Cormac McCarthy, and/or An Open Letter to Jonathan Franzen or by reading the book Dinosaur Ghost

An Open Letter to FOX NEWS

You’re looking foxy today.  Not like some other “news” sources I could name.  I put quotation marks around “news” because, let’s face it, reporting on “Dinosaur Ghosts” is not really “news.”  But it is according to CNN!  Those guys/gals are totally about to scoop you on the existence of Dinosaur Ghosts!

And if you think that’s frightening (It is!), it gets worse.  (Oh no!)

The Dinosaur Ghosts are totally freakin’ liberal!  According to my sources, they are TARGETING REPUBLICANS worse than the IRS!  They are TARGETING REPUBLICANS not for the content of their character but for the immorality of their policy positions.  And I for one aren’t gonna take it anymore! 
You guys need to get on this story like pronto (or sooner!)

Don’t sit idly by while the liberal media is TARGETING REPUBLICANS.  Honest god-fearin’ Americans need you to report the facts now!  Because if you think the IRS is scary (Boy howdy!) just wait until you see what the dinosaur ghosts are doing.  We need to scare people into understanding the truth about these liberal dinosaur ghosts who are TARGETING REPUBLICANS. 

Now let’s get scarin’!

Your friend,

And fellow conservative!

Christamar Varicella

To learn more about how the liberal media is TARGETING REPUBLICANS click the following links: An Open Letter to Thomas Pynchon,  An Open Letter to Cormac McCarthyAn Open Letter to Jonathan Franzen, An Open Letter to CNN, and/or An Open Letter to MSNBC

An Open Letter to CNN

Dear CNN,
I understand the pressure you’re under.  The imminent deadlines.  The constant need to fill every minute of every day with... something. All that time to fill--basically infinity--and so little of the news is actually interesting.

I tell you, Brother/Sister, I’ve been through it.  I just wrote a novella (short novel)  in 15 days, and it was brutal.  Every day I woke up and said to myself, “Time to feed the beast.” (That’s what I call my grandmother.)  Then I would sit down and type up a chapter.

All that hard work, and yet, my viewers were never satisfied! (By viewers I mean the people who like to watch me write.)

“When are you going to finish the book?” They would say.

And I would reply, “Alright, Grandma.  I’m doing it.  I’m doing it.  But I’m still not getting a job when I’m done!”

The moral of that story is that I feel your pain.  And I’m here to help.

Instead of reporting the actual news (things that really happen), why not increase your market share by reporting on things that MIGHT happen?  It’s really a small step from where you are now, but it’s one giant leap for mankind.  (Pretty good line, huh? I just made that up.) 

With that in mind, I happen to be the world’s leading authority on a little known phenomena known as Dinosaur Ghosts.

What are Dinosaur Ghosts, you ask?

I’m glad you asked.  Imagine a world in which dinosaurs walk the Earth.  Now imagine that they go extinct.  Now imagine that they come back and start eating republicans because of their stance on gay marriage?  Can you imagine that? 

Good.  Now, go report it.  Then sit back and wait for the ratings Bonanza

I understand if you have some reservations, but don’t worry.  I can totally back up the existence of Dinosaur Ghosts with hard evidence.

Now, things could get pretty heated once you break the story and scoop your competitors, so from now on, I want you to refer to me by my code name, Deep Throat.  (I made that up too.  It’s based on a movie I watched with my dentist.  It’s also based on how long some of the throats are of dinosaur ghosts.  Have you ever seen a diplodocus?  Pretty deep throat, huh?) 

I look forward to hearing from you soon,
Your Pal,

Christamar Varicella (Diplodocus Throat)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

An Open Letter to Jonathan Franzen

Dear Jon,

I heard some guy on Twitter made you an emperor.  Good for you.  I’m surprised the New York Times didn’t confer that honor upon you a long time ago. 

I’ve read both of your books and I agree with Oprah--they’re solid.  Maybe if I put you in my book club you could come do my show like you did hers.  Good idea, huh?  I call my show, “Come into my Basement with Chip and the Strange Guy.” I’m thinking about maybe recording it or broadcasting it somehow.

Hey, wasn’t Chip the name of one of your characters in The Corrections?  If I’m not mistaken, he was the one who liked to wear leather and his dad was basically Archie Bunker with dementia. 

Oh! And remember how you totally invented Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo only four years after the guys from South Park?  That cameo really made the book for me.  No wonder you’re considered a creative genius.

I liked Freedom too, although I don’t remember much about it.  Only that it was based in Minnesota and it taught me that cats eat birds.  When did that happen?

So anyway, if you ever get tired of finding new ways to write about your messed-up family, you and I should work on a project together.  I just finished a novella (short novel) that’s getting rave reviews on my message board.  (I hang it over my bed.)  It’s called Dinosaur Ghost

Here’s the tagline: “Dinosaur Ghosts are real and they’re eating republicans.”  Pretty cool, huh?

How about a blurb?

You’re probably busy with all the bird watching and whatnot, so I’ve taken the liberty of typing up a few choice nuggets for you to choose from.

I never knew reading could be such a fulfilling emotional experience until I read Dinosaur Ghost. - Jonathan Franzen

Dinosaur Ghost will knock your socks off!  Then it will eat your republican grandmother! -Jonathan Franzen.

Dinosaur Ghost is way better than any of the other Dinosaur Porn I’ve read. -Jonathan Franzen

In the immortal words of Jimmy “JJ” Walker, Dinosaur Ghost is DINO-MITE  - Jonathan Franzen

I tell you what.  If I haven’t heard from you in 24 hours (Starting now.  Go!) I’ll assume you want me to pick one for you and then sign your name to it.  Deal? (Go!)

Oh, and if you’re serious about that writing partnership, I’ve already got a project in mind that would be perfect for you.  It’s a romance novel called The Oiliest Secret.  It’s guaranteed to be DYNO-MITE!

You can take my other books, but you can’t take my Freedom!  (Feel free to use that in future editions.)

Your Pal,

Christamar Varicella

An Open Letter to Cormac McCarthy

The original version of this letter appeared here.

Dear Cormac,

I know you’re a busy man, what with your endless self-promotion and all, so let’s just get down to business.  I need you to do a job for me.  Some too-bit redneck ran off with my briefcase full of money, and the psychopath I hired to find him has turned out to be unstable.  I need you to find the redneck and the psychopath and kill them for me.  I believe the standard fee in a case like this is five thousand dollars

Now, I’m a little short on funds right now on account of that briefcase had most of my money in it, and I won’t get paid again until a week from Thursday, BUT, I’d be willing to give you twenty five dollars up front and the remaining four thousand nine hundred and seventy five upon receipt of the briefcase (It’s black and it has a couple of clasps and a handle.  There should be money inside.), and the two bullet-riddled corpses.  It’s a tough job, but I know you can handle it.

I know you can handle it because I read Blood Meridian.  That book could only have been written by a stone-cold sicko. 

I don’t mean to criticize your work or anything, but yuck!  I assume you put a lot of yourself into your characters and, well, I don’t know how to end this sentence without offending you.  The last thing I want is to cause your crazy ass to come after me!  Ha Ha. 

Besides your characters, another problem I had with your book was the setting.  Too dusty. 

Also the plot was no good.

What if, instead of a gang of Indian killers and outlaws roaming the old west slaughtering babies and whatnot, you wrote about a band of sorority sisters working at a candy store!  Now that’s a story I could get into!  Also, how about throwing a love story into the mix?  What if Judge Holden fell in love with a sexy Mexican maid or something?  Jennifer Lopez could play her in the movie version, opposite Ben Affleck.  Wouldn’t you like to see those two get back together?  I know I would.  By the way, feel free to use any of these ideas the next time your publisher issues a reprint.  Just remember to give me credit and a share of the royalties.

Also, let me know if you want to take the hired-killer job.  Scratch that.  If you want the job, don’t tell me.  I don’t want to be connected to the actual crime.  How about this?  If I don’t hear back from you before a week from Thursday, I’ll start checking my mailbox for bullet-riddled corpses. 

Oh, I almost forgot to give you the name of the redneck.  Her name is Shirley.  Technically she didn’t steal my briefcase full of money.  It was actually my prized album collection. I know what you’re thinking, and don’t worry about the money.  Those albums are extremely valuable.  I’m talking about the Jim Neighbor’s Christmas Album, the original Alvin and the Chipmunks Sing the Blues, and a compilation featuring Men at Work and that band that sang “Oh Mickey, you’re so fine.  You’re so fine, you blow my mind.  Hey Mickey!”  I took very good care of them.  Only a few are scratched, and one of my Pat Benatar albums got warped after I left it in the trunk of my car for a couple of years.  The rest are pristine.  I could totally pawn the bunch and easily make the four thousand nine hundred and seventy five bucks I’m gonna owe you.  You’d be a fool not to take this job!

There is no psychopath by the way.  Well, except for you.  So, just take care of Shirley for me and you can owe me that extra bullet-riddled corpse.  See?  This job is getting easier all the time. 

Watch out for Shirley, though.  No man can resist her charms.  But she’s evil, I tell you.  She made fun of my genitalia!  Here's what she looks like: she’s brunette, a little over four feet tall, and she weighs four hundred and fifty pounds.  She also has a giant mole on her lip in the shape of Nebraska.  You can’t miss her.  

If you decide to pass on this job, be sure to let me know by next Thursday, so I can go to my safety killer.  You might know him.  His name is Anton Sugar, or something like that.  I’m worried he’s not up to the task though.  He has a funny-looking haircut that makes it extremely difficult to take him seriously. 

OK.  That’s it for now. 
Your Pal,

Christamar Varicella  

P.S. What kind of name is Cormac?  Was your dad a magician or something?  If not, I’m pretty sure you made that name up.  It’s OK though, my name sounds made up too.  Christamar means “Christ, a sea!” and Varicella is Latin, which I don’t even think is a real language. 

P.P.S. Since I drafted this letter, Shirley and I got back together, so ixna on the illka. K?  God, I hope you speak Pig Latin.  Anyway, I’m willing to let you keep the $25 (industry standard) if you’d be willing to blurb my new book Dinosaur GhostThey’re real and they’re eating republicans.”  Thanks! CV

An Open Letter to Thomas Pynchon

A version of this letter originally appeared a while back.

Dear Thom,

I just finished reading (the first three pages of) Gravity’s Rainbow, and I have to say, I think you were grossly misinformed about the outcome of World War II.  I believe the allies, not the Germans, won.  I am now turning on the History Channel to confirm this fact.  I’m watching... I’m watching... Yes, the allies definitely won.  Also, Nostradamus predicted they would win several hundred years ago.  Also, Hitler may have descended from an ancient race of space aliens and Barack Obama is descended from Satan.  Now that's good history!

Wait a second.  Hold the phone.  I just looked up GR on Wikipedia, and it turns out you do know who won WWII.   Sorry about that.  I guess I didn’t know what the hell was going on in that book.  I did understand Slow Learner however.  And while I agree with your assessment of your early stories in the introduction of that book--that they weren’t very good--you can’t know how much it meant to me to know that an author of your caliber, whose books I don’t understand or care to read, could have written stories just as crappy as mine.  Well, let’s just say it gave me hope.  Maybe I’ll be the next Thomas Pynchon when I grow up.  (I’m only 43, so there is still plenty of time.)

Say, that gives me an idea.  I know how secretive you are--people used to think you and JD Salinger were the same person because you were so reclusive, even though Salinger wrote books on a seventh grade reading level, and you have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what you’re writing about--so, what if I spread a rumor that you are the author of some of my stories.  Can you think of any reason why you wouldn’t want to be considered the author of a book about Dinosaur Ghosts? Of course you can’t.

With that in mind, let me just say, I LOVED your book Dinosaur Ghost.  It was so nice to see an actual plot in one of your books, and by that I mean a plot I could understand.  Not that it wasn’t complicated: Boy meets girl.  Boy gets eaten by ghost of a dinosaur.  Dinosaur Ghost seeks revenge against conservatives for using remains to fuel SUVs.  Dinosaur Ghost seeks comfort and companionship with other male dinosaur ghost.   Second dinosaur ghost gets drunk and makes out with diplodocus at a dinner party.  First dinosaur ghost takes revenge on second dinosaur ghost by having sex with girl.  Girl falls in love with dinosaur ghost.  Dinosaur Ghost reconciles with other dinosaur ghost.  Girl falls for next best thing--monkey man monster that wandered into the story in chapter eleven.  Now that's complication I can get into!

You know, I’m pretty sure this is the kind of story prize committees are looking for.  This may finally get you that Pulitzer you’ve been waiting for. 


Your pal,

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dinosaur Ghost is Now Available for Free as a PDF

That's right.  You now have free access to the critically acclaimed novella Dinosaur Ghost.

"Dinosaur Ghosts are real and they're eating republicans!"

Just follow the link below and save your copy!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dinosaur Ghost Epilogue

Dinosaur Ghost is now free as a pdf.  

Steve loped down the hall of an upscale apartment in Provincetown, his tail sweeping the floor as he went.  He straightened picture frames with his front hooves and head, while, unbeknownst to him, his back end inadvertently knocked over lamps, tables, and poked holes in the walls with his six-foot long serrated spikes.  
Steve wanted everything to be perfect for his and Rex's anniversary dinner.  Their relationship had been off kilter ever since “the incident,” and this would be an opportunity to launch a fresh start.  
Then again, Steve wondered if he would ever be able to trust Rex again.  The image of Rex and that woman had been seared into his brain: the way he had tossed her around like a rag doll only reminded Steve of their own personal shortcomings in the bedroom.  
It was also a side of Rex that he had never seen before.  The fact that he could defy his own natural instincts merely to inflict pain on Steve was truly frightening.  A part of Steve had gone extinct that night, and he knew that he would never be the same again.
He was placing fresh flowers in a vase in the bedroom when he heard the front door open and close, followed by a mumbled greeting from Rex.  In that moment, he wanted to drop the vase, rush into the den, and throw his hooves around his lover, but then he heard the sound of the television, and he knew that Rex would be sprawled out on the couch--probably crushing it--and for the next thirty minutes he would vegetate in front of the evening news.  His first words would almost certainly be, “What’s for dinner?”  
(Rex took it for granted that Steve would have prepared something, and yes, Steve had trapped a rather succulent goat that morning, and then let it run loose in the back of the apartment, just the way Rex liked.  Rex would fool himself into thinking he was a mighty hunter, but would he even bother to compliment Steve on his hard work?  Doubtful.  No, he would scarf down the entire goat in a single bite and then ask if they had any horse or donkey.) 
Steve’s mood deflated.  Rather than rushing into Rex’s tiny forearms, he went to the bathroom to freshen up.
Ten minutes later, he cautiously ventured to the front of the apartment.  As he neared the living room, he heard the sound of hushed voices.  Who was Rex talking to?  He quickened his step, causing the apartment to shake violently as he thundered into the living room.
Rex was facing the window.  He turned when he heard Steve approach, a guilty smile affixed to his face. 
“Steve, Baby!”  He said, trying to guard the window with his massive bulk.
Steve tilted his head and caught a glimpse of a pterodactyl on the fire escape.
“Who’s that?” Steve asked.  “Rex, who are you talking to?”
The pterodactyl squawked, “Call me,” and then flew away.
Rex’s smile cracked and faded.  “It’s no one, Babe. Just the building inspector.”
“Why does he want you to call him?”
It was then that Rex’s green eyes narrowed into that look of pure reptilian hatred that frightened Steve so.  “I can’t win with you, Steve.  No matter what I do, you’re never going to trust me.”
“I just want to know why that stupid bird on the fire escape asked you to call him.  I think I’m entitled to an answer.”
“Don’t worry, Steve,” Rex said, his roar dripping with sarcasm.  “I wasn’t going to make out with him like a diplodocus at a dinner party if that’s what you were thinking."
Steve recoiled.  “When are you going to stop throwing that in  my face.  I was drunk.  I never would have given Terrance a second glance in the sober light of day.”
“I’ve seen the way you look at him.”
Steve rolled his eyes and affected mock laughter.  “Oh my God.”
“Yes, oh your God.  Oh your God.” Rex paced the living room like he was stalking a kill.
Steve’s eyes began to water.  “I don’t know what I did to make you hate me so much.”
“Oh, don’t start this again,” Rex said in a dismissive tone.  “You’re so damned manipulative when you do this.”
Steve sobbed.  “I’m sorry if my pain antagonizes you.”
“You know what, Steve?  You stay here and play the victim.  I’ve got better things to do.”  He stormed toward the door, tearing clumps out of the carpet with his claws.
“Go on then.  Run off to your slutty pterodactyl.  See if I care.”
“Bah,” said the tyrannosaur.  He took a swipe at the air with his tiny forearm, and then he was gone.
As the door slammed shut, Steve collapsed in a heap on the floor and shook with grief.  He had planned the evening so carefully.  How had it come to this?
Slowly, he became aware of a voice in the room. It was a human’s voice.  A male human’s voice.  He looked up at the television and saw that it was tuned to a 24-hour news channel.  A pundit was railing against gay marriage.
“Marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman.  It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” said the talking head.
“Or Rex and Steve,” thought the dinosaur ghost.
“My bible defines marriage as being between one man and at least one woman.  We can’t go changing that now.  We can’t go redefining words willy nilly.  It will confuse the children.  And when you get married, the preacher is supposed to say, ‘I now pronounce you man and wife,’ not 'man and man.'  What does that even mean?  They’re already men!  It doesn’t change anything.  See?  It renders the whole ceremony meaningless.”
Steve felt a flash of anger.  He reached out and stomped the remote control, smashing it into a thousand tiny pieces.  The talking head continued to drone on and on with ever more fallacious arguments.   Finally, Steve could take it no more.  His roar shook the complex.