Road Trip — Epilogue

The end of the end, isn’t that what he said?  And he was right, of course.  The end of the end begins after the beginning, which is birth.  Every moment following that is the end of everything, on an individual level, on a global level—it’s all a matter of scale.

And this was the end of the end in its most universal sense.  Billions of years of evolution turned to corpses and rotting flesh.  In eleven days, the population of the world—humans and animals—had been all but eliminated.  A few stragglers survived, owing more to luck than preparation.  But who could have prepared for this, the world becoming a global feed lot?  The creatures, those perfect killing machines, weren’t the true invaders.  They were like predatory sheep, fattened for an otherworld market.

In a few days, full of humanity, the beasts would be harvested and slaughtered to feed the hungry masses aboard an interstellar convoy headed for a destination a million years distant.  Along the way countless planets would be colonized and harvested to feed the vision of an alien Moses.  Nothing else mattered to them but the vision, not the populations destroyed, not the evolution interrupted, nothing—but the end of the end.

And here, on this tiny insignificant planet, lost among all the other planets and stars that make up all the galaxies and solar systems and universes that are, life will undoubtedly continue—although greatly altered.  No doubt a few humans will survive.  If they are lucky, they may even procreate.  Chances of this are mathematically unlikely, because the world is a big place with many dangers.

And while some of the traditional terrestrial predators may be enjoying extinction, a new predator—the harvest was sure to leave a few behind—roams the earth with impunity.  It is highly likely that, just as man evolves, so will they.

This is not to say that this story is without hope.  The post-apocalyptic Bronx or Los Angeles or Miami may turn out to be the new Eden.  From it may arise a new race with new myths and legends and heroes.  And no doubt they will eventually ascribe the events of today with some greater purpose, such as the prescribed purification of humanity, attributed to the very will of God himself.  Well, God did say that he would never drown the world again.  He didn’t say a thing about predators from outer space.

***
Happy Halloween.  Sure, you can say that the story is derivative, as the theme has been written about by many more talented than I.  But it was short.  And written quickly.  And it was for a blog, for heaven’s sake.   But I hope you enjoyed it.

Now go out there and score some candy!

©Copyright 2017 by Kevin Fraleigh

What’s on my bookshelf

Back in the days before the internet, when there were only three channels on TV (four if you got PBS), information was derived primarily from books. They were made of paper, could be heavy, and were often awkward and inconvenient to carry. Despite this, a physical, printed book carried a certain authority.

The physical printing process was long, the editing meticulous, and production was expensive.  A thick volume or multiple volumes caused a sense of awe.

I remember well a high school field trip to New York City that included a visit to the largest book store I’d ever seen, one that made our local Walden Books seem pathetic by comparison.  It seemed to have miles of aisles crammed with titles that promised to reveal the wisdom of the ages.  And that’s what I was after, the wisdom of the ancients, forbidden and dark, and very appealing to a student in the occult-crazy early seventies.

In that book store I found Montague Summers’ The Malleus Maleficarum and  The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor Lavey.  These books, among others, opened my mind to the validity of alternate philosophies and religions.  They didn’t turn me into a Satanist, but they helped me to see that there were other paths to consider.

The different paths away from the mainstream, and what I found along them, were the genesis for what I write.  Whether it be about an alternate dimension, a psychopath, or love in a dystopian future, it all began with expanding my world view through books.

For writers, books beget books, and the key to begetting your best work is diversity in the books that influence your storytelling.  Writers get their inspiration from a variety of sources, chief among these being other writers.  Having access to a rich and diverse library–either yours or the one down the street– is, in my experience, absolutely essential.

For instance some of the books on my bookself include:

And I haven’t even mentioned Stephen King, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, or any of the other fiction writers that have played a role in my writing.  I could go on and on, but I will leave that for another post.

You can see more of my influences on the What’s On My Bookshelf page.  How many of them have you read?  What interests do we have in common?  How has your reading influenced your writing–or desire to write?

The list is far from complete and less than authoritative, but it will be, hopefully, growing in the next few months as I have time to add to it.  You might also note that although each of the books listed on the page has a link to Amazon.com, that isn’t a recommendation to buy that particular edition or format.  I just linked to the edition that I have.
© Copyright 2017 by Kevin Fraleigh.

New Location, Same Commitment to Writing

So, if you’ve found you’re way here, and if you followed my old blog on WordPress (anytomorrow.wordpress.com), you’ll notice that I’m not there anymore.  My site is now being hosted by Bluehost and I now control my own website.  What does that mean for the blog?  Not so much that you’d notice.  The ads may change.  The appearance may change.  But the content will remain what the content has been–insightful and, hopefully, helpful or even inspirational–especially if you are on a quest to channel your inner writer.

So take your time, sit back, scroll through the posts, and enjoy.  And, as always, I look forward to your comments.
© Copyright 2017 by Kevin Fraleigh.

Any Tomorrow Complete Lives!

My first series, compiled in a single e-volume, Any Tomorrow Complete, is selling again!  That makes me feel good.  It might not make me a millionaire (and from what I’ve seen of millionaires I’m not sure I’d even want to go there), but I’m stoked that a few valiant souls have decided to commit to the adventure.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, I’m sure you’ll understand that writing a first novel is something akin to riding a wildcat on crack.  To see your characters come alive in a form that you can share with others is both exhilarating and exhausting, and never to be taken lightly.  The genesis of every word, every situation, every birth, and every death is the author’s own experience.  And despite what the author may say or how far fetched it may seem in the context of the story line, everything written is revelatory.

So to those intrepid souls who have purchased Any Tomorrow Complete, thank you.  And to those looking for a good story for their summer reading, look no further than Any Tomorrow Complete.
© Copyright 2017 by Kevin Fraleigh.

The Future of Storytelling

Fellow writers – Have you any plans for transmedia storytelling? That’s sort of the seamless integration of multiple types of media –think graphics, music, animation– with the written word to provide the reader with an immersive story experience.  In fact, M.I.T. –yes, that M.I.T.– has a free class on it. This may be the future of e-books.

I have a great interest in this and would love to hear what you have to say about it!
© Copyright 2015 by Kevin Fraleigh.

Finally! Any Tomorrow Complete

I’ve been considering this move since the Any Tomorrow Trilogy was first published.  For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you may remember that the decision about how to best publish my 300K-plus word novel caused quite a dilemma for me.  One book or three?  Which would provide the best reading experience?  Oh, yeah, and there was some thought about which strategy might actually result in a sale or two.  I finally decided to go with three volumes, but I was never really comfortable with the decision.

So now I have the best of both worlds. The trilogy is still available through most leading eBook sellers as three eBooks, while Any Tomorrow Complete is, at least for now, available only from Amazon.  Hopefully I’ll have it out on Smashwords within the next few weeks so you’ll be able to find it at a variety of eBook sellers and in multiple formats.

Any Tomorrow Complete includes some revised content and a bonus story called 1933, which I hope will provide you with a better value and a more consistent reading experience.

Take a look, have a read, and let me know what you think of the new format, contents, and cover!

web-size
© Copyright 2014 by Kevin Fraleigh.

Starting Out Right

Whether it be a novel or a short story, the opening paragraph is often the deal breaker. If the first paragraph, and especially the first sentence, doesn’t grab the reader’s imagination, no matter how wonderful the rest of the story is, chances are that the reader won’t be there to find out.

What I have for you today are five opening paragraphs from short stories and novels I’ve written. I wonder, do each of them fill the bill for a good opening paragraph? Do they grab your attention, spark your imagination and leave you wanting more? Or to they fall flat and make you want to move on to something else?  Leave a comment and let me know.

  1. From Cartersville:

The Cartersville Pioneer Days Festival was a reflection of a happier, simpler time in the history of the small town.  Main Street was blocked off and Memorial Park was filled with small booths and displays celebrating the town’s Florida Cracker heritage.  Despite the large crowds, Sheriff Matt Green was relaxed, trouble during the festival was rare.  The afternoon was clear and hot, the town band played soft melodies on the park gazebo.  It was a day for laughter and ice cream, sunshine and warm breezes. Matt stood in the center of it all, his crisply creased tan uniform valiantly holding its own against the humidity.  It was a perfect day made all the better by the sight of his wife, June, and son, Tommy, walking towards him from the playground.  Tommy was wearing his new Cartersville Pioneer Days Festival―Celebrate Your Cracker Heritage With Us―ball cap and tee shirt.

2.  From 1933:

The boy barely made it, he had to go so bad.  He dropped his overalls to the floor of the outhouse, quickly planted himself, and let it go.  Having survived the initial release, he grabbed for the copy of Weird Tales magazine his father had left there.  By lantern light, he paged through the twice read stories and was suddenly possessed by the thought that in his rush for relief he had forgotten the ritual of checking for spiders. Black widows are native to central Florida and fond of the moist darkness of the outhouse.  It was not until he finished though that he felt it.  He was about to stand, to wipe, and head back for the house when he felt a strange, terrifying tickling around the cheeks of his ass.  He tensed and propelled himself upwards, all the while expecting that inevitable, painful pinch.  The pinch never came.  He simultaneously swatted at his backside with one hand and thrust his other hand outward towards the latch that held the door shut, but could not find it.  His momentum unchecked, he fell forward, stumbling on the overalls around his ankles.

3. From: Any Tomorrow: The Calling:

From the oppressive heat of the South Carolina summer stepped a man, old, unnaturally old by his own reckoning, but not bent with age. His hair was a disarray of unruly tangles and his clothes looked like he had slept in them more than one night. He had. It had been a long trip from Princeton and he was more tired than he had ever been. His tiredness, however, was only partially to blame for his exhaustion. The true source of his exhaustion was the burden he carried with him, a dark secret even he did not fully comprehend.

4. From B-24:

It was in the summer before I first experienced stinky finger with Pretty Patty Precious, the prematurely large breasted daughter of the farmer who lived next door. It was the same summer we traded twisting our G.I. Joes and Barbies into ineffective pseudo-coitus for awkward, frantic, heavy petting. It was the summer everything changed. It was the summer I discovered the shimmering.

5. From The Last Pope of Antioch:

The red convertible flew down the dusty, empty road like flame seeking something to ignite.  The driver concentrated on his task.  Seeing far beyond his horizon, far past his destination, he stared out through the waves of heat reflected from the road surface, sunglasses wrapped around his face seeming to form themselves to the contour of it.  His face was angular, giving the impression of sharpness.  Although it had been days since he had shaved, his pockmarked skin, possibly an artifact of the ravages of youth, showed no sign of stubble.  The truth of it was that he had never developed a beard, so common in other men, and he counted himself lucky to be spared the razor, that dragging of sharp steel across unprotected flesh.

© Copyright 2014 by Kevin Fraleigh.

Is Anybody Out There?

The worst thing a writer can say is, “Hey, what’s on TV tonight?”

The second worst thing a writer can say is, “I’ll just be on the internet for a minute…”

And there it goes, the best intentions for starting a new story, editing one of those fifty trunk novels, or marketing the ones already on Amazon.  Before you know it, it’s four a.m., you have to leave for work at seven, and your wife doesn’t even know you snuck out of bed to go “work”.

Well, that’s how it is sometimes, but if you’re honest with yourself at all, it catches up with you after a while. You begin to feel guilty about it because, face it, you’re not getting any younger and you know that both what you’ve written and what you’ve got swirling around in your mind is worth writing, publishing, and offering to the world.

With this in mind I’ve started doing something new. I’ve started carrying a notepad and every chance I get, I write in it.  I know it’s old school and not a particularly efficient way to write, but it’s better than nothing. And I’ve actually begun what may be a new potential novel this way. I’m trying it out anyway. As long as I can score enough computer time to polish it up and expand it, it should work.

The new story is something different for me. It’s not straight horror, but more noirish, a story built a hard-boiled cynical detective at a physical and psychological tipping point on the edge of failure, a beautiful woman with terrible secrets, and a host of crooked cops, psychopathic crooks, and a dark presence of evil that orchestrates the misery of a dark bleak sleazy world that is the city.

Yeah, I can do that.

So for any of you that thought I’d just given up on the blogging, please accept my mea culpa. For those of you who haven’t done so yet, go to Amazon and check out my novels.  Better yet, buy a couple.  And for those of you who are writers, whether you use a laptop, a PC or a notepad, keep on writing.
© Copyright 2013 by Kevin Fraleigh.

Do you prefer Amazon or Smashwords?

I’ve offered free promotions for my books before and have always used Smashwords.com because it’s so easy to do.  The results, however, have been less than stellar and I’m wondering if Smashwords.com is one of the problems.

Do you have a preference about which site you download from?

It would also be helpful if you left a comment to let me know why you prefer one site over the other.

Thanks for the feedback!
© Copyright 2013 by Kevin Fraleigh.

“Any Tomorrow: The Calling” from Smashwords.com for FREE until January 15th

[Too late! This offer has expired, however the Any Tomorrow trilogy is available now in a single volume, Any Tomorrow Complete.]

If you enjoy dark fantasy, here is the chance to download “Any Tomorrow: The Calling” from Smashwords.com for FREE until January 15th.

All you have to do is go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/56869 and enter the coupon code TM36T (not case-sensitive) when you check out. It’s all yours, FREE.

Updated 1/6/13: For anyone who may have tried to down load my dark fantasy novel, Any Tomorrow: The Calling, for free from https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/56869 and was unable to, try using code PH66F at checkout.  That should work through January 15th.

This is just my way of helping you welcome in the New Year!
© Copyright 2012 by Kevin Fraleigh.