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Starting in graduate school, I used writing as a release. When I had time, I cranked out what I wanted to read. I was never good at it, I'm not good at it now. I've written a lot of fluff, very short stories (as little as a page, often less than five) that meant nothing other than to flesh out an idea. A long story for me is about 15 pages. I've rarely gone more than that.
Strangely, as I've been reading some of my old work, I'm finding some affection for what I've done, something that I've never had before. There were even some stories that I thought I could like if someone else had written them. Not all of it, but a few stories I don't cringe (much) at reading. There are some that I may decide to extend with sequels now that they are back in my mind. Heck, at least one sequel, "Major Setbacks" I had completely forgotten about and have found it wasn't archived anywhere. I had lost all but an original draft of the first page somehow, and was actually excited at finding it. Having re-read that one again for the first time in almost a decade, I might find a way to extend it further.
I am also willing to take suggestions if people have stories of mine that they wish to see go longer. Be warned, I may not agree, or I may task you with the job if you're too persistent.
Over the last several years, my writing has gone almost dormant. I've tried to pick it up over the years here and there, but pressures of my professional life, plus now a young family, have made it almost impossible. The vast majority of what I've written dates back to 2000, with most of it in 1996-1997, my first two years of grad school.
I plan on making this a repository of all I've written then pulling down my old website. It hasn't been updated since 1999 and I've lost interest in using it.
One thing that has come up in putting this site together, I'm missing a number of stories. I may have them now, thanks to Bryan secret life as a pack rat, but I've discovered at least half a dozen stories that I'd completely forgotten about or had thought were never posted. At the moment, this site is not complete, I have a lot more to post, but if you find that I'm missing a story you know I've written, go ahead and request it be posted. Chances are I have it and just haven't gotten to it. But if I don't have it anymore, it'll give me a chance to find it.
The stories are listed alphabetically. I'll probebly add indicators for ones that I like the most, though you can probebly tell with the blurbs. These may not follow with what is currently on my old site, since my feelings on some of these tales has changed over the years.
On a lighter note, as I've added stories I've come to realize that well over half of what I wrote seems to contain horses. Now, considering that somehow I was linked with raccoons at some point, and find my thoughts wander sometimes over to larger mammals like deer and bears, it might seem a bit strange. However, in the 1990's, I had a lot of computer problems. I like living as close to the bleeding edge of technology (or at least as closely as my money will allow) and that didn't always make for a working computer. Of course, I knew someone that could help me, and primarily asked only for horse tales in return. I shudder to think what I might have written if my computer had just worked. In fact, I believe that I still owe him a couple...
I don't have much work that isn't complete that I usually show, but I do have a couple I might post. How much I work on them depends on the story.
- This one is in progress, and I am currently working on it. Set on a planet where people from all over the universe find themselves in a blank field in the middle of a city perpetually on the edge of chaos. A police officer finds himself thrown into the middle of murder investigation. (no updates in a while, but I am working on this and do plan on finishing it)
- A quick story inspired by news articles at the time about a scientist that wants to actually research the theory that the universe is actually a massive computer simulation. I thought about one of the implications of that research. I also do some serious hand waving about the technology here. If you're wondering how it all works, to paraphrase the old show, it's just a story and you should really just relax.
- This story takes place in our old future, as they used to say on MST3K. I wrote it around 1996 or 1997 to take place in 1999. The first part of the story takes place in an alternate Iraq where a coup d'etat takes place, only be be followed by an invasion from the west. That's all set up, since on reading it I could have made this story a lab accident or magical smash-up. I will say that, in reading this one for the first time in a decade, it really looks pretentious.
- This is a bit of a period piece, something I rarely write outside a fantasy setting because I don't think I'm good at capturing that kind of setting, though I rather liked this one at the time.
- This one clearly had roots in news accounts of "The Horse Whisperer". I remember the news-magazine stories from the time, though I never read the book or saw the movie. There isn't much to it, but even if I'm not sure I pulled it off, it's one of my favorite ideas for a story.
- I rather like this one as a story, right up until the ending. It doesn't' make that much sense unless you know the person I was thinking of when I wrote it. Given how many stories I had under my belt by this point, you'd think I'd know that the reader is unable to also read my mind. This one I may one day write an alternate ending for. Or not.
- My short note on this one says this idea rattled around for a while before I wrote it. It's not much, one of several preachy stories I wrote that I don't think I realized were preachy at the time.
- Not one of my personal favorites. I'm not sure I ever liked it much, to be honest. Maybe if I'd taken the story and run with it, it could have been better. Oh well.
- This one is definitely one I did in trade. It was also meant to explain why my friends horse was sometimes a bit... skittish.
- One of a few shorts I wrote early on, mostly trying to be cute and flip some minor point of transformation stories around. Nothing profound here.
- I remember the genesis for this story, a trip to Las Vegas. If I recall right, I wrote the outline on my first Palm Pilot one evening in the hotel, then fleshed it out on the plane home. It was mostly a fun story to write, if just to toss in different details.
- This is one of those stories I doubt I'd write today. It is, at best, wish fulfillment. The story has no plot to speak of, little in the way of logic... basically the whole set up makes no sense. I'll plead insanity in originally posting it. This is not a story that could be improved by making it longer. Maybe by just deleting it...
- This one is just a bit of a bizarre trip down my thought processes. I imagine I wrote this after an exam after four days of intensive studying. At least, I hope that's the case.
- In June, 2000, a friend and I stopped in Moab, Utah overnight as part of a long drive from Boston to LA. The next day, we stopped at nearby Arches National Park, then he suggested a visit to Dead Horse Point. It was breathtaking. It isn't that different that described, a nearly barren mesa attached to the mountain by a very narrow band of earth, with a sheer drop down. It has views that can't be captured in word or picture, though I tried. This is easily my favorite setting I've ever written in or about, including places of complete fiction. It's also one of only a handful of stories that I really like, even if I wince a little at one rather big conceit in the story. Evidently, I originally titled this Lost at Dead Horse Point, but since I'm not sure I've ever referred to it as that title since, I'm dropping the lost now.
- I'm only posting this to prove that I'm willing to post even my stinkers. This looks like it started as something intended to be lighthearted and silly and veered into some Twilight Zone-y ending that almost feels like its out of another story. Almost want to break the story into two completely different stories.
- Why I've always remembered this story, which clocks in at about a page and probebly took an hour to write, and forgotten others is a mystery to me. I'm not sure what computer problem led to this story, but I'm sure that one did. There isn't much here, obviously, but I actually don't hate how I wrote this.
- This has to be an early story of mine, I can strangely recall writing it in my old apartment in Boston(which itself was a bit of an eyesore). It was written with a specific location in mind: an abandoned A&W stand that had been open in my hometown in California in 1977 but closed soon after. Despite being on a major offramp, the building stood vacant and empty for years. In fact, when I moved to Boston in 1996, it was still vacant with no attempt at occupancy. It finally got refurbished and re-opened around 2000, I think as a used car lot.
- This story prompted me to search the old mailing list archives for missing stories. For some reason the thing popped into my mind and I remembered writing it, but found that it wasn't in my own archives or in file of my own stories Bryan mailed me. I found it this morning, along with four others. It was a lot of work for a story I'm not sure is all that good, but it's not horrible, either.
- This one is a attempt at almost complete farce. I think I managed to pull it off in a few ways, but humor is pretty subjective. There are a couple dated references, though.
- I'm mildly surprised re-reading this story. I don't hate it. To be sure, it's fluff and a bit of preachy fluff at that, but my memory of this story is a lot worse than it was. I feel certain that a computer failure led to this story as well.
- Another forgotten quickie. Strangely, after reading this I recall exactly where I was when I got the idea, sitting at in a restaurant in Northampton, MA. Can't recall the name, though I could probebly find it again if I was in town.
- For a long time I liked this story, but I think it badly suffers on the re-read. There are a few points that make little or no sense. I'm not sure when this was originally written, but I suspect it's old.
- This is a dark little tale. The notes I had on it when it was originally posted indicate I wrote it "on the road", which by the date means when I moved from Boston to LA before going to Seattle a couple months later. I apparently, by admission at the time, was in a lousy mood. It's not a perfect story by any means, but I think I did well here at playing with my audience.
- This was my first long form story, and here it is in all it's glory, chock full of poor characterization, amazing coincidences and plot points designed to get me out of trouble. This is a story that I agonized over at the time. I have the excuse that I was a very new writer, and long form stuff was never my strong suit. The story was inspired by events that are basically similar to the first few paragraphs: While walking though Boston that first month before I started graduate school, one morning I got a series of odd stares. It wasn't much, and I'm not even sure if I was imagining it or if I was just dressed oddly or something, but there it is.
- This is a sequal to "Just Because You're Paranoid" and that story needs to be read in order to understand this one. I'm not sure I like this story, I recall at the time not feeling it was as good as the first. Now, decades removed, I find this to be a technically better story, in that it seems to hang together better than the first. A small side note, the title came to me during a lecture many years ago. "Blood and Thunder" is a descriptive medical phrase for a specific kind of retinal hemorrhage.
- This was a quickie I wrote with Posti in mind after he helped me out with some electronics issue I was having. I actually have no recollection of what said issue was, but that's pretty normal for me.
- I'm not sure what point I was trying to make with this story. When I read it I feel like I was going for some larger topic and didn't make it. This story has an interesting post-script. Not long after it was written, someone wrote and asked if I minded if he translate it into Russian. When this was originally posted, I had no idea who had translated it or what happened to it. Thankfully, he posted that translation along with others on Shifti. He goes by Inry, and the translation is here: []
- This is one of those stories that started out one way as I envisioned it, then transformed itself as I wrote it. In my original thoughts, the protagonist was going to be something closer to a villain than he turned out to be. I stopped and started this one several times trying to figure out how to write it the way that I wanted. It doesn't end exactly as I'd originally intended, but I think I do like where it went.
- Another story whose origin probably dates back to a favor, but where the original concept is lost to memory. I do remember that I rather intentionally mixed and matched the fey character at will depending on what I wanted.
- A very short story, about a donkey struggling to piece together his memories, and what he does with that information. This one took a strange turn in my head while I wrote it. Well, stranger in my head than on paper.
- This idea for this story came out of a news story in 1999 about a woman that embezzled money from the bank she worked at and proceeded to buy horses with them. I started pondering why she might do that (other than a love of horses) when I got this idea.
- I am almost certain that this story started off and a short-short that encompassed only the first section. I recall getting to the end of what I'd written there and deciding that more story was needed. It was continued with no planned destination, and because of that a major character doesn't even show up until about halfway in, and then in about the most chance encounter possible. It's also interesting to note that the first part bears a lot of similarity with another older story of mine, Mary-Lynn. I'm reasonably certain I didn't know that or think about it at the time. There isn't any connection between the two.
- This one is a sequel to Major Problems, and oddly enough I completely forgot that I'd written it. In fact, because I had only the first page or so of it in my files, I thought I'd given it up years ago. As far as I know, it was never archived anywhere officially. This picks up a couple years after the events of the previous story. At some point, I apparently started a third story that I found recently, but I honestly don't know where I planned on taking it.
- I think this may be one of the very few of my stories that I actually like. It's very short, very light and almost strange for me is not mired in dark themes (though they are hinted at). My thin note at the time was that there might be a sequel at some point. Considering that I wrote this in 1998, I'm not sure there will be. But re-reading it for the first time in several years, it's certainly a thought.
- I wrote this back in 1997, long before I ever thought I'd have children. It's mildly interesting to note that, as I sit and write this, I have a little girl just a bit younger than the one here. She sees monsters, too.
- I evidently wrote this mean little tale for a contest to write Nasty stories. I've long forgotten the contest, but I don't believe it won.
- I don't remember where the idea for this came from. I have always liked this story just because I think this is not too far off what might actually happen.
- It seems that when I attempt to write humor, I have two settings: So subtle it doesn't look like humor, or farce. This one is farce, and one of my older stories. I just re-read it for the first time in years, and it's almost surprising that it seems more relevant today than it did in 1996. At least, as relevant as a story like this can be.
- I half remember the kernel that became this story, it was a quote used in an advertisement said to be uttered by Henry Ford's banker in 1903, "The car is just a passing fad, the horse is eternal." This isn't so much a story than a series of vignettes. What surprised me was that it spawned about a dozen follow up stories, some tiny some rather long, that actually fleshed the setting out a bit more. None of these were written by me. If they get posted here, I'll link them.
- This one is pretty short, many of my stories are single concepts wrapped in a very few words. I suspect this was done as part of a trade with someone who requested horse stories in return for favors. I needed a lot of favors, so I have a lot of horse stories...
- I'm going to tag this one as adult not because of anything sexual, nothing approaching that occurs in the story, but it's a little darker than my normal tale. My one regret about putting these stories out now is that I don't remember where the ideas came from. I suspect this one started by seeing a real puzzle box somewhere (given the date, in Boston) but I can't be sure. I really would like to know what possessed me to write the ending to this one. I must have been in a really dark mood that day.
- This was the first story that I actually posted for the TSA mailing list. Contrary to what I thought earlier, this would be the second story I ever showed anyone. I recall the idea for the story came from a small debate on the list over the science of transformation. There were some valid points raised that this story didn't really follow science well, either, but it was fun to write it.
- A bit longer than my typical story, this one caused me some distress recently, not because of the story but because while looking for it, I described it to Bryan and he said, "Oh, the one Posti wrote." I was flummoxed because I was sure I'd written it, but wondered in my mind if I'd managed to think about his story so much that I'd co-opted it in my mind. It didn't help that I didn't have it in my own saved files. Turns out, we both used almost identical plot points, though his story and mine are otherwise not that similar. His is better, too.
- Oddly enough, this is almost a lost story. I only remembered it while skimming another one, and Bryan had to find it for me in his files as I no longer apparently have it. I suspect that's the fate of a few stories. I'll have to re-read it at some point...
- This is the closest you'll see to a "new" story here for a while, I suspect. Based on an old idea, about half of this was written around the year 2000 or so, if not sooner. I found it while skimming my archives for stories. I've always loved the concept of the story found in the first couple sections, a were-raccoon that uses his gift for thievery that stumbles onto something bigger than he imagines, that I've attempted to write the story many different ways. I think I like how this turned out, even if I may need to write a follow-up to explain just what happened. (In fact, I wrote an epilogue, but I discarded it because I didn't like what it did to the ending.)
- This was an absurd story I wrote in 1996, probebly my second for the list. This is the story that, for better or worse, got me associated with raccoons. It became a theme that would pop up in different writings by myself and others. Back when I wrote it I noted it was influenced by Kafka. Clearly when I wrote it I was even more arrogant that I am now...
- I know what the source of this story was, a picture drawn by the artist known as Flinthoof. I rather like the story, even if I feel I went a bit overlong. I suspect I started it without an ending, as is often the case for my longer stories. Thanks to Bryan for the assistance in formatting.
- Definitely qualifies as a nearly-lost tale. I didn't remember it, and it's not archived anywhere I know of, other than the TSA list archives (which is where I stumbled across it looking for a different story.) A short-short that I rather kinda like, and I suspect is partly the result of an other, longer story idea that's never been written.
- I've attempted to re-write this story on a number of occasions, and until I got the file of a bunch of lost stories from Bryan I hadn't recalled posting this much of it. My original idea is far, far longer but I never got it to work. Once I got past what's here, I locked up and couldn't continue. At some point, I must have felt the set up made a pretty good short. Given that I've attempted to re-write this one at least a dozen times over the last decade, I think that may be where it stays. As for the title... I have no idea what it means, either.
- No a personal favorite, another story where I think I had a point, but even I'm not sure what it is anymore. Still, not the worst story here in my opinion.
- After re-reading this story an odd thought struck me: The main character is a real bastard. Not for the blindingly obvious, but for the fact that he appears to have wiped out humanity in an accident and he doesn't seem concerned. Not completely sure how I missed that bit of a plot hole.
- This is another one that I think suffers in the re-read. I recall enjoying this when I wrote it, but there is just too much written here that I didn't research that could have used it. Also, the transformation felt very tacked on. I recall that I re-wrote the ending once, after it was posted. I'm not certain which version this is, however. If I find both, I'll post both endings.
- I wrote this and a gift for a friend with an interest in equines. In fact, I dare say that most of the horse stories listed on this page can be, in some fashion, traced back to him.
- An odd short that I found in my archives about a desperate woman, her pet Labrador and a spell book.
- This one has been on Shifti for a while, but for some reason wasn't linked from this page. This is one of those stories that held up pretty well in my memory. The transformation in this story is, in some ways, incidental. It wouldn't take much of a re-write to change this into a story of an obsessed and vain man doing something less fantastic. I still like it myself.
- This is one of those stories I resisted posting because the story remember writing turned out to be nothing like what I actually wrote. For some reason, I remembered this being a really short quickie, but forgot aspects of it that I actually like in the re-read. The story came from seeing a picture or drawing of an Albrect Duher woodcut combined with un-ending computer problems that were being paid for in stories.
- This one is a twisted little thing that I wrote with the basic idea, how do you make a curse work for you. My only regret is that someone else, Destrier, wrote a sequel that was far superior in about every way imaginable. Read mine for the set up, then read his to be impressed. It can be found here: "Hell Hath No Fury"
- Not an example of a personal best. I think this was my second attempt at long (for me) form. There were some parts of this I liked, but for the most part I think I trapped myself a couple times and had to work my way out. I suspect if it wasn't being posted in parts at the time I'd have given up on it.
- I've never forgotten this story, but I can't recall what prompted me to write it. Most of what I write comes from twisting an idea or phrase around in my head until something clicks. I suspect I heard the title spoken, then twisted the meaning of "House" to "House of Representatives" and the story came from there. I think.
As I've posted my stories, I held off on these. Partly because I wasn't sure if to put them in one location, but partly because I'm not as fond of them as I once was. I need to re-read them, I think. The Old Man of the stories was always a bit of a cheat, there to move the story how I wanted. His motivations were also always shrouded. I tried to hint in a few stories that he was making an atonement for something, I even called it a penance at once point. I also tried to broaden his methods a bit at some point, so he wasn't just a one trick pony, as it were.
I did have a visual model in mind at the time I wrote the stories, though I always refused to tell people who it was. I'm not really sure why I refused, since it isn't of any consequence. The character, in my mind, came from a Twilight Zone episode, where a woman finds herself being followed across the country by an elderly hitchhiker. She later finds out that the man is the Grim Reaper, and she'd died at the beginning of her trip. That is the man I think of when I write these stories.
- I suspect this is a later story, given that I've turned the old man into less of a one note character here. I borrowed from several real-life ships and names here: The ship in the present is borrowed from a cable-laying vessel contracted in 1912 to retrieve bodies from the Titanic disaster, the Indianapolis is a well known true disaster of WWII and the vague details of a couple other accidents were definitely inspired by real-life incidents.
- I'm not sure where this fits into the run of stories, but I suspect it's probebly the second or third. There isn't really a progression. This is a pretty basic story or a sort that's pretty common for this type of fiction.
- This, I'm almost certain, is the first story of these I wrote. What came later I know wasn't planned, but over the following weeks I kept getting ideas for other areas for this character to pop up. In re-reading this, a lot of details are from where I grew up (street names, stores) though I never specify it. Funny thing is, I probebly give away more about what the old man is doing here, if obliquely, than I do in later stories.
- This is probebly the last of these stories that I ever wrote. The original note I put with it when posting it was still attached to the version I have and it indicated that I wrote it during a break from writing "Blood and Thunder" which would put it a in the middle of my second year of grad school. I didn't do that much writing after that, and these stories had largely dried up by then. This was an effort to expand the time line of the man in black character, to show he'd been around for hundred of years, if not longer.
- One of many stories I'd forgotten, and I have to say I like this one. I'm not sure how I could have made it work outside this series. The ending is a cliche and a bit of a sledgehammer, but what else is new?
- Worldwide Dispatches Winds of Change Universe
- This was supposed to originally be set in three or four different settings at the moment of Change in this setting, but the only one that ever read right to me was the one that took place on an aircraft over the Pacific Ocean nearing Australia.
- Hot Time in the Old Town Winds of Change Universe
- This is actually part of the "Winds of Change" universe, though it's not connected directly to any other story or characters. It was written, I think, as a small set up for the long defunct Winds of Change Round Robin, in setting up Boston as a slightly different city in that setting than it is here. The story isn't much, like many I've written is reeks of being the start of something longer (though I don't recall anything ever being planned).
- Set in an alternate time period where some people are transforming, hidden in plain sight. A wonderful setting created by JonBuck.
- First story of 2008, set in JonBucks "Paradise" setting. After reading his setup and follow up stories, an idea wormed into my head that couldn't be shaken. I kinda like how it turned out.
- Another installment in Jon's excellent setting. Trying to flesh out a bit of the medical background and at least give a hint to some potential problems the people in this universe are about to face. Not much plot here, the story meandered a bit more than I like, but I think I did what I wanted with it.
- Another small story in this setting, this one showing some personal and societal changes as things progress.
- I wrote this one on a whim, and kinda like how it turned out. Set in the Paradise setting, tells the tale of a couple of college students and a year or so of dealing with their transformation and adapting.
- Follow up to "Stages". The next year or so of the lives of Tim, Dusty and friends leading up to big changes for them and the world at large.
- Follow up to Reverberations, but with a shift over to some other characters. I may continue the story of these guys if I can find one story to tie them all together.
- To call this the ultimate in convention-gone-wrong settings is probably not that far from the truth.
- I wanted to do something in this setting for a long time, but never really had a story I could work with. I finally decided to cluster up a couple quick thoughts with a few others, then threw it all into a series of vignettes. There's one theme here, which should be obvious, and more may get added as I get ideas.