Europe: What a place for story ideas

Posted: July 25, 2011 by Edmo in Dan

Wow!  What a long ass weekend in Paris.  I stomped the hell all over the place and guess who I find with my fellow polisci bros?  The Brussels Journalism group screaming out “Yea! We’re from Missouri and we’re studying in Brussels!”  They were quite drunk and quite obnoxious.  It was hilarious.  Then we met them again the the Louve.  Small world apparently.


At any rate.  I love the Parisian women.  Real beauties.  Got some character designs from them as I was struggling for the longest time trying to capture a French woman as a character.


But the real idea came on the long, miserable bus ride back.  No AC and a limited amount of water.  Then bam!  Half way through I get another story idea.  Great stuff.  So, when I get back from my long trip next week, I have about 5-7 story ideas to work on.  Two of which are finishing ones I’ve already started.  Can’t wait to write it.  Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels.  Hell, just my experiences in Amsterdam alone will give me a butt load of stories for a lifetime.


Till next time, gents.


The End of Time

Posted: July 25, 2011 by joemu362 in Joe

You know what’s a blast? Moving. And taking final exams, of course. Can’t rule that out. Good golly Miss Molly do I enjoy that.

[looks for bath towel to wipe off sarcasm]

We’re in the home stretch of the summer semester and in the eleventh hour of my living in my current apartment. What with everything being boxed up and stashed away, I can only hope to remember which box I packed my pants in.

Luckily I’ve still been finding time to work on my projects – mostly flash fiction stuff I hope to submit to Shotgun Honey or to Chuck Wendig’s newest contest – but what I’m most disappointed in is my lack of damn near anything for my Camp NaNoWriMo project. This makes two in a row where I’ve set out with a quest in mind and failed. It’s sort of embarrassing, really. I remember hammering out a novel every year through NaNoWriMo, so I have to ask myself, “What changed?” Is it the time commitment? Am I running out of steam? Does it have to do with my eating more vegetables than bacon? What’s the dealio, yo?

…Okay, I’m never saying that again. I feel dirty now. Where’s that bath towel?

I’ve given it a lot of thought, and the answer I’ve come up with isn’t one I’m too proud of. Time. It’s the number one complaint from would-be novelists or writers in general and I hate to think that that’s what’s keeping me down. After all, writers make time to write. I sure as hell did during those first few NaNos. Is it burn-out? No. I’m still working on Crows’ Harvest, after all. (Which is coming along nicely, by the way.) I’ve got a bunch of flash fiction coming down the pipe too, so I guess the real question is, what about my time is going to the crapper? Is it all the messaging I do with people during work or in avoiding homework? Probably.

The other day I turned off the wifi and was amazed at just how freaking “quiet” it got at the apartment. What with my rarely ever seeing my roomie, it’s not like I get a whole lot of talking to people done anyway. If I try to talk with other members of the Club, bam! Chat windows start popping up like toast from a fully-automatic toast dispensing gatling gun.

So I guess what I’m trying to ask is, what suggestions do you have for getting work done? Focusing on big projects that you enjoy but otherwise don’t find much time for? Is it turning off the intertubes and cranking up the stereo? Is it going to a coffee shop? Nine rounds of bareknuckle boxing until you’re so sore you can’t get up out of your chair? Suggestions please.

(And not Write or Die, please. That stresses me out like woah.)

Stata buon.



Grand Slam

Posted: July 22, 2011 by joemu362 in Uncategorized

For Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction contest.


Through the window, it looks like the world’s on fire.
It’s just me and Jimmy at Murphy’s Bleachers that morning – 4am, actually. The rest of the crowd figured they’d better get home while the getting’s still good, before the traffic backs up with folks trying to run. Me, though? I’m fine. Even under the blanket of sirens and shattering windows, I could fall asleep right here, snug as a bug. I smile to myself as Jimmy tops me off another shot of tequila. ‘course I’m happy. I’ve been waiting for tonight for a long time.
“Turn that up, wouldja’ Jim? I can’t hear the news.”
“Jesus Harry, you wanna watch what’s going on, may as well look out the fucking window. Shit!”
He ducks under the bar as another bottle of Rolling Rock smashes up against the glass, spraying beer and chunks of green every which way. Outside, a guy in a Red Sox hat is being beaten to death with a Louisville Slugger. No one bothers to help him. The attacker looks grotesque in the light of the trash can fire next to him, cackling and jeering as he takes another swing.
I take another shot of tequila.
Silhouettes of the rioters and looters dance a twisted mambo in front of their own fires as cars, apartments, and shops go up in flames.
“Turn on the sports, Jim. I wanna know what they’re saying about the game.”
He gives me this look like I just asked him for a quick handy, but he remembers who he’s talking to. He switches off the mute and turns it to ESPN. I fix my glasses and look up.
The Sports Center Guys are in an uproar, faces bulging and purple over their sweaty shirt collars. Pages and interns bolt behind the stage passing each other breaking news and new scripts, but the hosts start throwing punches and that’s the end of that. A happy balloon swells up in my stomach. Behind them on the screen, Wrigley Field looks like a giant crown, the red and blue of the emergency services crews like jewels on the rim. I can almost see the bar.
They switch to footage of Red Sox fans being carted away by the EMTs, who’re looking just as haggard and bloody as they are. World Series pennants fall like snow. Reports are coming in that Boston is just as bad, if not worse. Across the country, people are having to lock their doors and grab their guns as maniacs in baseball caps come dashing outside looking to start something. Funny part is, there’s nothing to start. It’s already over.
Outside, somebody starts shooting. Jimmy just looks at me and shakes his head. I smile and have another drink.
“Cubs win, motherfucker. Cubs win.”

Tax Not Included

Posted: July 22, 2011 by hellfirewriters in Fiction, Uncategorized

We’re working on getting a new piece of flash fiction up here every Friday, either by the Club or by people associated with the Club, and James Patrick Schmidt was kind enough to share with us. This is for Chuck Wendig’s latest flash fiction contest, and it has our full backing. Check it out.

-The Hellfire Club


Tax Not Included

“9-1-1, what is your emergency?”

“Hello, I think my house is being robbed,” the young man on the other end of the line whispered, so Joan turned up her headset.

“I’m sorry, sir, did you say your house is being robbed?”


“That pushes you to the front of the line, one moment while I transfer you.”

Joan marked the call as urgent and sent it to the police system. Since there was a crime actively being committed, she stayed on the line to help the customer remain calm in case he was put on hold. Fortunately that wasn’t the case.

“Police Billing, this is Toni, how can I help you?”

“My house is being robbed,” the man whispered into the phone.

“May I have your account number, sir?”

“I don’t have one.”

“May I have your social, please?”

“My what?”

“Your Social Security Number, so we can run a credit check.”

“I don’t think you understand,” the man sounded frantic. “There is someone in my house right now.”

“And that’s why I’m trying to take care of this quickly, sir. But I’m afraid we can’t dispatch a unit until we know you can afford it.”

“He has a gun!”

“I’ll be sure to apply the five percent intelligence sharing discount for you, sir, but may I please have your social?”

“I don’t…I can’t…you won’t approve me.”

“I can check for you, anyway. Free of charge.”

As the man read his Social Security number aloud, Toni didn’t tell him that her computers had already lifted his number off the phone account he was using and run the complimentary police credit check. As soon as he confirmed the number, she knew he was right — she couldn’t dispatch officers to help him.

But she was trained to not let the customer know you had taken the information from the phone line, so she waited about 20 seconds as if the computer was processing the information. She was harvesting Farmville crops while she waited.

“I’m sorry, sir, but I won’t be able to dispatch an officer to your location at this time. If you contact the non-emergen-”

“What?” the man started crying.

“If you contact the non-emergency number first thing in the morning, a loan officer will be glad to discuss investigation options with you.”


“Thank you and have a nice evening.”

Toni disconnected the line, glad her sign-off spiel hadn’t been interrupted more. Some people think yelling their heads off will improve their credit score and get an officer sent to deal with their problem. Some people didn’t realize how expensive it was to have an officer dispatched immediately — especially at night.

If the man had just taken the time to register with the department before hand and possibly bought an insurance policy from them, this whole ordeal could have been avoided. Some days it seemed like people didn’t actually believe that a for-profit police department would refuse service, but it had to.

“Are you ready for break?”

Toni looked up to see her friend Debbie standing in her cubicle door.

“I sure am,” Toni said, marking her status as “Away” on the computer and grabbing her purse. “I just had to turn away another person who acted surprised that I wouldn’t dispatch an officer that they couldn’t pay for — as if we were running a public service here.”

“Oh no. It’s been five years since the resolution passed and they still don’t get it,” Debbie said, leading the way toward the break room.

“It’s like they thought doing away with taxes wouldn’t stop the flow of government money,” Toni said.

“If you think we’ve got it bad, though, you should hear some of the stories I hear from my sister-in-law who works in the Welfare Office.”

Bang Bang (My Novel Shot Me Down)

Posted: July 18, 2011 by joemu362 in Joe

So my second-session summer classes are in full swing now, and damn if it doesn’t take up a lot of time. It makes me want to punch all those dudes who remember college as idyllic and pastoral right in the naughty bits. No, seriously. It really takes it out of a guy. (The classwork, not the punching – unless you’re doing it right, of course.) As a result of that, work on CROWS’ HARVEST has been slipping to the wayside a little, which is always frustrating.

Not to mention that I am completely, totally, smash-my-head-against-the-wall-and-hope-words-come-out stuck as to where I’m supposed to go next. I mean damn.

It reminds me of something Neil Gaiman wrote once about how he writes a book: “One word at a time.” That’s kind of been my mantra over this past little speed bump. Thing is, I’ve never ever written a book that’s been over 50k words. Ever. Not once. With a 50k novel, especially if you do it in a month, you sort of know what to expect. Week two (words 13, 333 and 23, 333, if you’re interested) is when the shit hits the fan. Characters go limp, insecurity sets in, you wonder if anyone would mind if you hide in your crawlspace for the rest of your life – at least until you run out of Dr. Pepper and those crazy Cheeseburger-flavored Doritos, anyway. (Have you tried those things? They’re fucking weird.)

Well, from everyone I’ve read and talked to, hiding in the crawlspace is not an acceptable means of advancing your writerly career. Writerness. Writership. You know what, whatever. I’m just making up words here. The point is, what I’ve learned is that over the course of writing a book, this happens a lot. Like, a lot a lot. The trick is to just keep pushing through it. (That sounded dirty.) That’s what separates the men from the boys, the women from the girls, the fluffy space alien creatures from Alpha Centauri to the still-sort-of-scaly space alien creatures from Alpha Centauri. So what’d I do?

I wrote out a synopsis of the book so far. Starred the things that I thought needed further review, and all of a sudden, a wealth of ideas exploded from there.

So now I’m making progress. I’ll keep you posted. Also, in case you didn’t notice, Chris posted yesterday, so check out what his latest project is. We’ll see if we can’t get Dan and Pierce to update here soon also.

Stata buon.



So, I guess this is the first one of these kinda status update posts I’ve ever put on here. This recent project I’m working on I have dubbed simply “The Underground.”
It’s a simple enough concept, “What would I do if aliens invaded?”
In this case, the planet has fallen to an advanced race of Cyclopean aliens known as the Mynocs (or Cyclopses as the resistance calls them). In a matter of days, all of Earth’s cities have fallen, their governments and armies crushed and scattered to the four winds, and the intentions of the martians are revealed. They have come not to stomp out humanity, but rather to take what’s left of our resources and use the surviving people of Earth as the labor force. In the story, a ragtag group of survivors (all modeled off of people I know in real life) are eight months into the occupation and have spent the better part of their days scavenging and scrounging together supplies and stores of weapons. Their cause for this pack rat behavior is a voice that calls itself “The Voice of Freedom” and it has hinted that there is something big on the horizon, a second storm is coming. The broadcast tells anyone receiving it that they should be ready. The revolution is coming.

Greetings from Holland, folks

Posted: July 7, 2011 by Edmo in Dan


I guess the title explains it all.  I’m chilling right now in Holland.  That’s me in my 12th century chair.  No, I didn’t get any sudden inspiration from it unfortunately, thought it would have been cool.  But, this is my reason for being inactive lately.


Anyway, I’m having a blast.  I haven’t gotten into the writing spirit yet, but I plan to this weekend if all goes well.  I’ve found that this small European city I’m currently in, Leiden, will end up being a great place for a different feel on settings and the like.  The atmosphere is just totally different.  And also, as a result of talking to a Greek woman while bar hopping last Saturday, I really have settled on the correct path for the female character I’m constructed for the short story I’ll probably end up working on first.  I already have the perfect things set aside for her.  Should be fun writing if I can tear myself away from all the fun shit going on here.


Will be in touch.  Don’t be too jealous.