My collection of free short stories. Because nothing else in life is free.

Archive for May, 2012

Today’s post brought to you be the letter H.


Been super busy with, reading Heath Lowrance’s Dig Ten Graves – which is the greatest thing I’ve read all year – and writing. Can’t stop writing. Writing about everything and it’s fun. Especially writing for this new blog. So stop by if you have time. Better yet, join the team. Or let me interview you. Or just keep in touch.


– L. Vera


A new blog and we want you to help.

“A Knife And A Quill” is a new blog I’ve created with other writers and artist that will feature dark literature, from self published books to children’s books. So far the staff is four people strong and we have a lot of content coming out on Friday.

So there’s many things you can do to help.

1) Join the team. We are looking for article writers, someone with a little spunk who like to write 2-3 articles a month about writing news, keeping with our dark theme most of the time. We are also letting bloggers use their own amazon affiliate links so they profit off the traffic here.

2) Donate. Soon there will be an icon so that you can donate to make the site more dynamic. We only need $100 every year to make the blog a full fledge website.

Also, click on our Kindle Store link if you plan on making amazon purchases. We get a percentage of anything you buy through our Amazon Affiliate links and even that will help the site.

3) Let us interact with you. Need a book review, let me know. Want an interview, send me a message. Want a contest advertised, shoot me the info. Want your site featured in a blog, then maybe we can trade.

4) Send us any crazy short story you have, which we will throw up on “The Wall”. We’ll showcase strange, weird short/flash fiction every now and then which you can add as a publishing credit.

5) Follow us. It’s that simple. If you have a wordpress account or an email address, we would be thrilled to have you following us.

6) I’m almost out of ways you can help. ūüôā But the last thing I could think of is just communicating with us. I respond to everyone and love talking to anyone who’s brave enough to leave a comment. I may not have awesome ties to agents or big companies, but I do know lots of writers and after talking to you, I’ll know one more.

Diary of a Madman – August 20th

**Author’s notes: This is the tenth piece, the first is found here

You can find the complete, professionally edited and extended book here along with two short stories for $2.99.**

August 20th

Dear Diary,

I’ve been watching the old lady down the hall. This kill is going to be easy. From what I can see out of the corner of my peephole, she leaves everyday at around 8:30 in the morning to get the newspaper and a coffee. Around lunch time she leaves the door open to her apartment till about 8 in the afternoon. She leaves it open for ventilation while she cooks and to air out her apartment.

She takes her smoke breaks around 1, 5, and 8.

I didn’t notice this earlier but Vanessa left me some messages on my answering machine. She mentioned that she will be away for a couple days and, get this Diary, she misses me. So overall, a good day. Tomorrow, will be even better.

The hunger

scares me.

Messages on Todd’s Answering Machine

You have 5 unheard messages.

First message.

Todd, it’s me Vanessa. I haven’t talked to you since Wednesday. I thought you were back in town by now. I hope you’re not avoiding me. Anyways, call me or stop by. I know this may sound weird but I feel lonely when you’re gone. Anyways, call me.

Second message

Mr. Casil, this is Tony, from Frontier Publications. I don’t know how to tell you this but we decided not to go ahead with To My Enemies. What you sent, well… It isn’t what we are looking for. It’s… Look it’s too depressing. A lot of this seems like dribble and crying. I talked to your agent William and we are discussing an alternative to fulfill your contract. William will get together later with you on this. Thanks.

Third message

Todd, buddy old pal. It’s me William. I got out of a meeting with Frontier Publications and looks like they are pulling the plug on your book. But the jokes on them. If they don’t put it out they still have to pay you. You won’t get any percentage from sales but they have to pay you the full bonuses for writing the book. So keep writing. I’ll see if I can find another publisher.

Fourth message

Todd, it’s me Vanessa. I’m leaving out of town for a class trip this weekend. I won’t be back till Monday morning. By the way, I loved your book To Sarah. It’s very beautiful. Whatever happened to her? Anyways, I’ll call you when I get back.

Fifth message


Diary of a Madman – August 17th

**Author’s notes: This is the ninth piece, the first is found here

You can find the complete, professionally edited and extended book here along with two short stories for $2.99.**

August 17th

Diary, I am writing from my childhood bedroom. I found the letter. I found all of them. How can she be dead and still be able to send me all these letters?

She’s alive and I need to find her. I plan on heading back to my apartment tomorrow morning to pack up and get a flight ready.

I called Vanessa from my house phone. Vanessa was happy to hear from me and I was also happy to hear her voice. I felt so nervous to even call her. I felt my stomach get queasy before I even dialed her number. I’m glad I did. The sound of her voice made me forget about everything. We talked for about an hour and she asked me to meet her friends. Our relationship is growing pretty fast. I’m not sure how I can juggle two relationships. I have one with a loving angel and the other with a murderous hunger.

The hunger swims in circles in the back of my stomach. It’s like a hungry shark contained in a huge fish tank swimming constantly in circles.


August 18th

Dear Diary,

The old lady down the hall has green eyes.

Green eyes.


The hunger.


It feeds off of green eyes.


August 19th

Dear Diary,

I don’t know what got into me yesterday. I can barely read what I wrote yesterday. I felt terrified the whole afternoon. Now I finally have a grip on things.

I need to tell you what happened. I got home and I placed my stuff down on the table. Then everything toppled onto the floor and that’s when I noticed it. The notes and letters that lay on the floor has the same hand writing. I felt so scared my body trembled. I made some tea and tried to calm down.

I felt horrible. I felt like my world was ending because I knew that there was more to all this. I reached into my bag and found an old book of mine I brought from home. It was James Thurber’s 13 Clocks. I opened it up and in the margin where I wrote my name when I was thirteen, was the same writing as the notes and letters. I walked down the stairs in a mindless stupor to check my mail. Nothing, it was empty. I walked back upstairs and I saw the old lady. Her eyes are green.

I must kill her next.


The hunger burns like acid. I think I’m going to be sick.

An Interview With The Sly Ben Sobieck

L. Vera: Ben Sobieck, It’s nice to have you here. If you haven’t been keeping up, I’ve been interviewing non stop for over a week, and I’m pretty much on a roll here. So I’m happy I tracked you down.

Ben Sobieck: I wear a lot of camo, so it’s understandable. I’m happy to be back here in reality, virtually.

¬†L. Vera: So here’s a quick, offbeat question. Tell me the best place to hide in your home if anyone played Hide and Seek there.

Ben Sobieck: Anywhere but the office. I rarely come out of my hole.

L. Vera: Hopefully no thieves are reading this.

I really enjoyed your story “The Last Injustice”. I think any story with a grandfather and their grandson causing trouble, is always a fun read? Please don’t tell me this is based on a true story.

Ben Sobieck:¬†No, it’s not a true story. It involves a terminally ill grandpa going nuts one night. He brings along his grandson/daughter (I never make it real clear so as to allow the reader to insert him/herself). The grandkid tries to figure out what’s making grandpa be so crazy, outside of the illness. It’s a rhetorical question that isn’t completely answered. I want the reader to take a bird’s eye view of life and create their own meaning.

L. Vera: So why have this piece in Burning Bridges? Was it something written especially for the anthology?

Ben Sobieck:¬†First off, “Burning Bridges” is one helluva anthology. It has this punk rock/indie spirit running through it. A bunch of authors, disgruntled with how they were treated by a particular individual, got together to make a statement. It wasn’t anything vengeful. More like, “We got hosed, but we’re not slowing down. We’re burning a bridge and we’re never looking back.”

The grandpa character in my story feels the same way, but with life overall. His only purpose left in life is to die, and he can’t stand to go through with it. He can’t look in the past, either, since it’s too painful. He’s stuck, full of guilt, and he just goes nuts. On the other side of things, the grandkid has an entire life to anticipate. Using this contrast, I wanted to show the two options you can take in life: You can let the past eat you alive or you can look forward. I thought that matched the theme of the anthology perfectly. I hope readers agree.

L. Vera: Why should other readers download it? And what piece should they start reading first?

Ben Sobieck:¬†They should download it because it’s full of great writing. We put this thing together out of want. We’re not making a red cent off it. This is pure passion for writing. Start from the beginning and enjoy yourself.

L. Vera: What other craziness should we expect from you in the future?

Ben Sobieck:¬†I have these two sides to my writing. One is serious, the other is humorous. On the serious side, I’m chipping away at my next crime novel. On the lighter side, there’s always another Maynard Soloman stories on the way.

L. Vera:¬†Ben Sobieck, a fun writer. I plan on reading on reading Cleansing Eden and maybe later I’ll grab one of your humorous detective collections. Everyone should keep up with Ben by visiting his blog and facebook page . Thanks Ben.

An Interview With The Multiple Personalities of Edith Maxwell

L. Vera:Edith Maxwell it’s nice to have you all here. If you noticed the title to this interview, I think you might have an idea of where I’m going to go with this.

Edith Maxwell:¬†I do! We’re happy to be here, too.

L. Vera: How many pen names do you have?

Edith Maxwell:¬†Tace Baker is the first pen name I am using professionally. My three-book Local Foods Mysteries contract with Kensington Publishing specified that I couldn’t publish any other mysteries as Edith Maxwell during the terms of the contract. When I landed a contract with Barking Rain Press to publish¬†Speaking of Murder, the first in my Speaking of Mystery series, I needed to come up with a pseudonym. You can read about my process here.¬† ¬†I finally settled on Tace, an old Quaker name, because my protagonist Lauren Rousseau, is a Quaker linguistics professor. And Baker is at the front of the alphabet and easy to spell (and I love to bake!).

L. Vera:¬†I’ve also had plan to use the pen name, “4”? What do you think? I was thinking of releasing my sci-fiction under that name and having a whole persona behind it.

Edith Maxwell:¬†“4” is intriguing. I wonder if it would be difficult to make people understand it is a name, though.

L. Vera: The reason I chose L. Vera was¬†because¬†it’s hard to tell my gender. Just by correcting people, I’ve met lots of people.

So you and Tace Baker each have a story in Burning Bridges. Why did you decide to get those stories in “Burning Bridges”?

Edith Maxwell: Speaking of Murder  is the book for which I burned a bridge behind me, by withdrawing from my contract with a fraudulent so-called publisher. I wanted to honor the other authors who went through the same kind of grief by joining the collection. And since Tace is just starting her writing career, she needed a short story pub credential.

L. Vera:What can we expect those stories to be about?

Edith Maxwell:¬†Both of my stories are about revenge and burning bridges of a sort, so I thought they’d be a good fit. One describes a writer who needed an idea for a crime story, and decided to make it come true, as well. The other could be seen as murder out of compassion or out of greed, or both. My villains are just that, kind of bad people at heart.

L. Vera:In the future, where will we find your stories in? And any other pen names we should look forward to seeing?

Edith Maxwell:¬†Speaking of Murder¬†will be out from Barking Rain Press in early fall of 2012 in both paperback and e-formats. Look for¬†, @tacebaker, and Tace Baker on Facebook and Amazon. I’d love a follow and a Like! The first Local Foods Mystery,A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die, featuring organic farmer Cam Flaherty, will be out next spring from Kensington Publishing. I hope a few other short stories will pop up here and there, too!

A lot of friends actually call me Max, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I found a way to write under that name, too.

L. Vera: Thank you, Edith Maxwell. It was a pleasure to have you on my blog and I look forward to reading your stories in¬†Burning Bridges. Please visit Edith Maxwell’s blog and amazon page, follow her on Twitter, and give Edith M. Maxwell a Like on Facebook.

Edith Maxwell: Thanks so much for having me on, Luis. And good luck with your writing career, too.

An Interview With The Super Human Heath Lowrance

L. Vera: Heath Lowrance, man of many words, at least I would hope so. It’s nice to have you here Heath.

Heath Lowrance: Thanks, L.

L. Vera: Tell me a little about how you became a writer? Was it radiation? Revenge? Standing to close to a microwave?

Heath Lowrance: I was bitten by an irradiated Harlan Ellison, and eventually learned that With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.

L. Vera: I knew it. I’ve read your story “A Freeway on Earth”, and it’s so far my favorite story in Burning Bridges. Did you specifically write this one for me?

Heath Lowrance: I wrote it for you and every other working stiff living a life dictated by an alarm clock. Really, “A Freeway on Earth” was born out of frustration with the day job, and how such a huge chunk of our lives are very jealously owned by someone else. I hate that. And I hate that I would get so anxious and nervous about being even a minute late, because the people that owned my time would read me the riot act about it.

So “Freeway” is about day job anxiety.

L. Vera: Why did you choose to get Burning Bridges together? You and Ben Sobieck were the brains behind the operation, you guys don’t have better things to do?

Heath Lowrance: It just seemed like something that needed to happen. Here’s this group of diverse and amazing writers, all with one thing in common (they’d each been burnt by an unsavory experience with a small press). They’d all crossed over a particular sort of bridge. I loved the idea that this one common experience had brought all these different sorts of writers together. Someone (I think it might have been YOU, L., but I can’t really remember) suggested, maybe half-jokingly, that we do an anthology, I seconded it, and bamm-o, next thing you know here we are. I volunteered to compile it because, you know, I only had three other projects that were way past due, why not add a fourth?

L. Vera: It may have been me. I know I’m always trying to get writers together to make our own website, but no such luck so far. I’m actually very happy this anthology happened. I have already heard lots of good things about the other writers and it was an honor to be included. Was there another writer out there that you wanted to include, that didn’t make it onto the pages of Burning Bridges?

Heath Lowrance: Well, I would’ve loved if our Nigel Bird had the time to do a story. I admire his work greatly. But despite that, I think we managed to gather up a pretty stellar list of contributors.

L. Vera: I was hoping to find him in there as well. Where will I be able to find your books and what else should expect to see you in?

Heath Lowrance: You can always hit my Amazon page. My novel THE BASTARD HAND is still available, as is my short story collection DIG TEN GRAVES. My second full-length novel, CITY OF HERETICS, is coming out soon from Snubnose Press. And there’s two or three other things coming in the next couple of months. Follow my non-award winning blog, Psycho Noir, for updates and details and what-not.

L. Vera: Heath Lowrance, an incredible writer. It was glad to have you on my blog and I hope to see more of your stuff. Till then I just started Dig Ten Graves, great so far and if others want to keep up visit Heath Lowrance’s blog and amazon page.

Heath Lowrance: Thanks for having me.