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I envy Stephen King. His wife, Tabitha, reads everything he writes and offers her thoughts and opinions on it, which I’d think is an invaluable resource for him. After all, it was Tabitha that rescued the first few pages of “Carrie” from the trash and encouraged him to keep going with it.

My wife, however, is afraid of those things that go bump in the night, and the only work of mine she’s willing to read are those stories that are influenced by the Twilight Zone.

Respecting her feelings, I gathered a collection of work, especially the more recent stories, together to have just a couple copies printed, so she can have her own personal ‘Reader’s Digest’ of my work that is deemed safe for her to read.

The centerpiece of the set is my novelette, “The Cabin On The Lake”, along with 9 or 10 other stories that fit the criteria. Some of these stories are currently out for consideration by publishers, so this won’t be a public offering. She, like I, enjoys the feel of a book in hand, the aroma of a printed page wafting up with each page turn.

Sadly, in the age of Print On Demand, that aroma is more one of residual ozone rather than a printer’s ink, like the ones Van Son used to produce for offset presses.

With this now completed, I had an urge to ‘be bad’, to turn to a more sinister influence, and write something absolutely designed to produce nightmares. That led me to a new Flash piece titled “Dead Cold”, which is a phrase I came up with many years ago, It describes the deep-seated chill that permeates to the core, racking you with uncontrollable shivers and shaking along with the loss of feeling in the extremities.

The only cure I ever found for the Dead Cold was to bury myself under the heaviest blankets I owned, trapping and recirculating my body heat, bringing my core temp up ever so slowly. I’d fall asleep still shivering and finally wake feeling normal again.

This new Flash story is a departure from my usual style. It’s a first person narrative, almost a monologue in fact, where the narrator is telling an unseen companion a strange story. In my mind’s eye, this would be the perfect script for a storyboard destined to take its place in an issue of EC Comics, perhaps the Vault Of Fear or Tales From The Crypt.

Oh, this one would be right at home there!

I’m not yet sure if this will make its way to a submission call, or if I’ll just put it up for everyone to read. It still needs editing and revisions, but I believe it’ll be finished soon. If I come across a call for submissions that looks like a fit, I’ll probably take a shot with it, and if it’s passed on, I’ll just put it out for the hell of it.

After all, winter’s just around the corner now, and it’s getting colder.

Sleep well…

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