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Deja Vu All Over Again

I was out with a sinus headache yesterday. I stayed home from work and fought that back until mid-morning, and then recovered (read: was lazy) until mid-afternoon, when my loving spouse said, “What are you doing wasting all this awesome writing time?”

And I had no answer. So I shut down Mass Effect 3 (no mean feat for me, by the bye), and opened up Microsoft Word.

Continue reading “Deja Vu All Over Again”


No Idea? No Problem!

Lots of times, when I sit down to write, I discover I have no ideas in my head. I’m dry. In fact, I just ran into this after completing my last novel in July. I sat, staring at the blinking cursor, but nothing would come.

And it wasn’t exactly that I had no ideas. I have stuff I can write, for sure. There are outlines and ideas all over my hard drive waiting for me to write them. But that didn’t help.

So, what will?

Continue reading “No Idea? No Problem!”


My lungs burn as I round the corner, the damnable soles of my expensive shoes skidding on the concrete, driving me to my knees. The raking breaths burning in my lungs matches the burn on my palms when I stop my fall with my hands, a hot white bolt shooting up my arms.

I shoot a backward glance, down the dark stairs, suck in my breath and hold it against my pounding heart. Silence and night.

My vision smears the lights in their neat, white globes as I fight back to my feet. No time. No time!

I shoot back to my feet and pound forward, coattails flapping in my slipstream. The station isn’t bright enough, but it’s not dark either. I’ve been in Podunk towns where a single bare bulb swung from an exposed wire wearing a flattened stainless steel funnel hat. The fluorescent bars here offered some illumination at least.

It just doesn’t feel bright enough.

I glance back again, confronted now by the turnstiles and pay booths. They’re unmanned. I check the rest of the area.

No guard. My heart sinks.

I spring over the turnstiles and yank my straining body up the concrete stairs by the cold iron handrail beside me. It stings my scraped hands as I launch myself faster up the flight to a landing, a break in the climb before another set of steps taunts me.

I freeze for a split second.

Did I hear something? Something coming, from behind me?

My adrenalin jumps another notch and scorches my veins. My heart flutters and I dart up the second flight, trying to keep up the pace, but slowing. The platform is at the top, but the loading area is far from where passengers vomit out of the stairwell. Dimly, something far in the recesses of my mind realizes this isn’t ADA compliant as I push with my arms while racing with my leaden legs up the stairs.

Then I do hear it. Clear, definitive, something banging and grinding behind me.


My feet skid on the corner of the stair riser and bark my shins. I scream out, no longer caring what hears me, and I push through the pain. I feel the warm trickle of blood down my shin, and know I’ll leave a trail behind me.

I can’t care.

The sound grows to a din now, and then there’s a scream, a wailing howl like metal dragging over metal, and I can smell the thing now. I can’t look back, I have to press on, move, move, dammit, move!

It’s on me, I can see it as I round the corner of the platform, my damn shoes betraying me again, and I hit one knee on the ground while my feet still scrabble for purchase. I launch myself up, but my equilibrium’s gone and I fall into the brick wall just under the schedule.

Too late! Too, too late!

The shriek sounds again, and the klaxon bangs a tattoo of hopelessness against my ears. In huff it’s moving, foul air rushing into my face and blowing back my hair. It gains speed in an instant, and I fall, helpless, to the cold floor of the platform as it rushes to me, and then past me.

I watch the train’s lights vanish into the night, down the dark tracks, and groan when I see the schedule above me.

Next one’s not due for an hour.

I misread the prompt, too. It said, “plane,” not “train.” *Sigh* Oh well.


Dane Tyler:

Now, THIS is how you do a horror short.

Originally posted on Roger Kilbourne:

Sometimes the night seems to know things.

Richard heard it in sound of the crashing surf, muffled but still audible from out of sight just over the dunes. He saw it in the way the tall grass trembled in the breeze. The way the ghost crabs crept out of their holes in the sand at the edge of the campfire’s light, ready to dart back in at the first sign of danger.

He finished off his Heineken with a long guzzle, fished another out of the cooler beside him and cracked it open. The urn’s brass weight rested solemnly in his lap.

On their last trip together, when Cheryl made him promise to spread her ashes here, he’d grown angry and said she shouldn’t talk like that. Like the cancer had already won. He regretted that bitter exchange now, of course, and the night knew this. But it knew something…

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The Value of Reviews

I received a 3-star review on my novel Scales of Justice on August 15, 2012. And you know what? It was really eye-opening and valuable to me.

I wanted to pop in and say thank you to the reviewer, but I’ve heard that’s a no-no from the author’s standpoint. I don’t know if I agree. I thought the reviewer’s insights directly hit upon some of the weaknesses of the book and brought up some great ways to improve it. I’m more than half interested in actually implementing those changes. They’d be great.

So, to the person who gave that review, thank you. Thank you for telling me how I could do better and what you did and didn’t like about the story. I’m sorry it wasn’t as much fun for you as you wanted it to be, but I can tell you the gift you gave me, of an honest review, is one I will honor and respect in my next book. I’ll be a better writer for it.

Thank you again, and God bless.

-J. Dane Tyler

You can see the review here. It’s the only 3-star review I’ve gotten to date.