William Blackwell

Dark Fiction Author

Tag: tales of the damned

What can you buy for 99 cents?

What can you buy for 99 cents? I’ll tell you. For a limited time, my newly released horror anthology, Tales of Damnation, is on sale for only 99 cents. That’s right, only 99 measly pennies for an ebook copy of terrorizing horror tales.


If you enjoy a nail-biting roller-coaster ride through hell, you’ll love Tales of Damnation, an anthology of short horror stories.

The Spot: Watch a school bully finally get his comeuppance in grisly fashion.

The Cab Ride: Witness a malignant narcissist realize a little too late that it’s time he started caring.

Fire and Fury: Feel the heat when a pyromaniac learns that playing with fire also means getting burned.

The Succubus: Discover the horrifying consequences when a loser succumbs to the seduction of a succubus.

Fake Friends: Learn the shocking difference between real friends and fake friends.

The Stalker: Ride shotgun with a demented stalker as she tracks her prey through the haunted woods.

And there’s more. A total of thirteen finely crafted short horror tales guaranteed to educate, terrorize, and entertain.

Simply click the link below and buy now:


Or, if you prefer, read an excerpt from short story Fire and Fury before you click your way to terror:


                                               Fire and Fury

I don’t know why I felt so much trepidation about venturing into the forest. Normally Mother Nature brings me great joy. Yesterday, I even learned a new word—werifesteria—the human desire to wander through the woods aimlessly in search of magic and mystery. So where was my werifesteria this evening? Sipping a coffee on the back porch of my humble abode on 60 acres of Prince Edward Island paradise—with 2000 feet of pristine oceanfront—I tried to put a finger on the reason for my frayed nerves and jangled senses.

I looked to the sparkling stars and the looming full moon for answers. Nothing. I listened to the hissing of the trees, driven by a 20 mile-per-hour west wind. Still nothing. I looked into the darkness of thick woods, just beyond my manicured lawn. I thought I heard a twig snap. I jumped, spilling hot coffee on my shirt and down my pants.

“What’s wrong with you?” I said, snatching a recycled old t-shirt off the balcony railing and wiping myself somewhat dry. I took a couple of deep breaths and sat down. Waited for relative quiet. What are you waiting for? It’s always quiet. Only wind-blown trees hissing. Not even a bird chirping. No twigs snapping. You’re hearing things. Think, think, think. Why fear? Why now?

Even though it was a cool summer evening, I suddenly felt hot. A bead of sweat exploded on my forehead. Dribbled into my eye. The saltiness stung and I wiped it with my hand. Hot, hot, hot… that’s it.

It came to me in a flash. I have nightmares every night. I remember them at the time, but most of them disappear soon after I wake up. Most of them, I don’t write down. Only the really gory ones. This one, I had last night. I didn’t write it down, but I still remember it. Remember it like it happened yesterday. Remember it like it’s happening right now. In the nightmare, which felt more like a living hell, I woke up in the middle of the night, went outside, climbed into my trusty pickup and drove down a twisted and bumpy road to my waterfront site, about seventy feet from the water’s edge. The night before, I had had a rather large bonfire, along with some friends and a few beers, and I wanted to make sure the blaze was extinguished since I had left the site with the fire still burning quite brightly. Flashlight in hand, I arrived at the smoldering ashes, poked them around a bit, and then let out a deep sigh. It wasn’t out but pretty damn close. Then I heard a whoosh, felt a hot flash singe my eyebrows, and looked up at a large pine tree. About six feet up its three-foot diameter trunk, it branched out into three trees. In the middle of those three trees, a large bonfire blazed wildly out of control.

With a sinking feeling of despair and helplessness, I scrambled over to the tree, watching in disbelief as the fire’s orange tentacles ravaged the three amigos. I knew with a dread certainty that there was nothing I could do. It would burn out of control, burn down my forest, probably ravage me and kill all of my neighbors in that small corner of the island where I live. Then I woke up, heart pounding in my chest, sweat streaming down my face, and screamed at the top of my lungs, “No, no, no… please, God no.” And it was the sound of my own voice that had snapped me into reality, assuring me that everything was fine, the forest wasn’t burning, I wasn’t gonna burn, and my neighbors on the island weren’t gonna die. The fire was out.

Or was it? I wondered. Hell hath no fury like Mother Nature scorned.

I have a confession to make. I’m a pyromaniac. Even as a kid, I loved starting fires. I’m not talking arson kind of fires. Just the ones you have when you’re camping, or the ones you sneak out and light in your backyard when your parents are asleep. Everything about fires has always fascinated me. The glow. The heat. The dancing flames. The magic. The mystery. Even fireworks. Sparklers. Shooting stars. Rockets. Firecrackers. As kids, we used to have firecracker fights, lobbing them idiotically at each other’s heads, and if we got really lucky, shoving them down some unsuspecting fool’s pants and watching them shriek in agony as their asses exploded. Lol. Hilarious, right?

But, as an adult, I developed a healthy respect for fire. My mother used to tell me, “You play with fire, son, and you will get burned. It’s not a question of if, it’s when.”

And of course, Mom was right. Clearing an old logging road and a beachfront site, my disrespect and underestimation of Mother Nature came back to scorch me in the ass. Burns to my hair. My eyebrows. My arms. My legs. More than once my clothes caught on fire. Most of my fireside clothes are pock-marked with burn holes. Fortunately, none of those burns were life-threatening. My ass didn’t explode, thank God. And, believe it or not, the burns to my clothes and flesh were not what terrified me the most.

During the beachfront clearing operation, I hired a logger to help me with the project. I decided to burn some of the logging slash as we worked, telling him I had a safe, albeit makeshift fire pit. His name was Norman but I called him Normandy. He was as big as the country. Watching me pile twigs in an open area, he eyed me with skepticism, concern, and a healthy dose of fear. “Be careful with that, Gary. It’s a hot and dry day. Don’t make it too big.”

I looked at him, oozing arrogance and over-confidence. “Don’t worry, Normandy. I’ve got this.”

Like hell I did.

As soon as I lit the pile of twigs, it went up in a flash. Seconds later, flames shot through the dry moss forest floor like mission-bound streaks of lightning—bee-lining it straight for the nearby trees and stumps. It was like an octopus’s poison tentacles, fanning out in all directions.

Seized by unbridled panic, I started dashing around, stomping out the hot tentacles of fire. Normandy immediately dropped his chainsaw, picked up a nearby shovel, and began frantically pounding out the flames. Fortunately, after about a minute—that seemed like an hour—we had most of it contained. We met at a tree-stump that had ignited, me foot-stomping, Normandy pounding with the shovel until finally we extinguished it.

He dropped the shovel and glared at me, a mixture of disgust, anger, and fear, contorting his grizzled features. “I fucking told you to be careful. I’m not gonna tell you again. You do this when it’s raining. Light it again and I quit. I mean it.”

Normandy didn’t have to tell me again. And I didn’t light it again, until one day when it was pissing rain. I could tell by the look on his face he’d suffered a nasty experience with fire. Someone close to him had died. Burned to death.

Nobody had to tell me. I just knew.

A sound. A twig snapping. Or was it crackling? Or was it popping? Whatever it was, it snapped me out of my reflection. Suddenly, I thought I could smell smoke. I stood up quickly, realizing with a sense of anguish I had not gone down to the beach site this morning to check last night’s fire, in spite of last night’s nightmare. Somehow I’d gotten distracted and frittered away the hours playing on social media, binge-watching the news, and reading Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Yikes, of all things to read now.

Opening the screen door quickly, I shuddered, reaching for my flashlight and baseball cap. A million thoughts, like a million flashing fireflies, were dancing through my mind. Is it too late? Is the fire raging? Why didn’t I check it today? Am I gonna to die? Are my friends and neighbors gonna burn? Have I pushed the envelope one step too far with Mother Nature? Hell hath no fury like Mother Nature’s scorn.

My mother’s warning reverberated in my head: “You play with fire, son, and you will get burned. It’s not a question of if, it’s when.”

I was gripped by a tingly, adrenaline-fueled paranoia that I was coming to an end, that the world was coming to an end. Beads of sweat popped on my forehead in rapid succession and streaked down my face.

I climbed into my pickup, started it, revved the engine, and veered toward the winding road leading to the beach. By the time I arrived, I was in a state of almost complete and utter panic. Even as I approached the fire pit, I could see an orange glow surrounding the area. I quickly parked the truck, killed the engine, climbed out, scrambled over to the fire pit, and shone the flashlight beam down upon it. Orange embers glowed and small spirals of smoke twirled up. But the night was calm. It wasn’t going anywhere. It would be out on its own in a matter of hours. Maybe less.

I sighed deeply, looking around the site, feeling my heart rate slowly but surely returning to something approximating normal. I set my flashlight down, picked up a wooden poker and jabbed at the hot embers, trying to convince myself my eyes weren’t deceiving me. But, no. Just a few hot embers and a few twirling ribbons of smoke. I carefully placed the poker on a log near the fire, careful not to put the hot end on any loose twigs.

A crackling sound startled me. I jumped, jerking my head toward the beachfront, obscured partially by a seventy-foot tree bluff. Then I saw it. An orange glow near the water’s edge—about six feet off the ground, right smack in the middle of a three-foot diameter tree, fanning out along the tree branches into the night sky and wreaking destruction on everything it touched. An apocalypse. Armageddon. Just like my nightmare. Seized by panic, I grabbed the flashlight and charged to the water’s edge. About ten feet before the blaze, I stopped, the realization of the reality of what I was witnessing striking me like a bucket of cold water upside the head.

It was the moon rising up above the ocean, looming large, a fiery orange ball peering through the trees.

“Get your shit together,” I said, taking several deep breaths in an attempt to replace déjà vu with reality.

That crackling sound. Again. I looked around, trying to determine its origin. Nothing. I looked out to sea, taking in the magnificence and stunning beauty of the glowing moon rising above the water. Then I saw it. A large bank of dark rainclouds rolling toward shore. The crackling again. But this time I knew what it was. It wasn’t the snap, crackle, pop of a fire. It was the bone-cracking sound of thunder…

Thanks for your support. Click the link below and buy now:



The Spot: A Short Horror Story

Good day, my friends,

For those of you who’ve been following my blog posts, you’ll know I’m in the throes of creating a finely crafted collection of short horror tales, tentatively titled Tales of the Damned. I had earlier decided to take most of the summer off, but my muse crashed one of my beach parties, kicked me in the ass, and said, “Get back to work!”

Don’t worry, the party wasn’t exactly stuffed to the brim with guests. Unless, that is, you count my mannequins, squirrel and seagull friends.

So here I am. In the office again. Writing. That is, at least until Mother Nature invades my office and invites me to another wonder-filled and raucous beach party.

I guess it’s not a question of if. It’s when.

Until then, it’s back to work.

As a teaser for what’s coming down the blood-soaked pipe, I present to you, dear readers, The Spot, a short horror story that will form part of my haunted collection.

It’s a freebie and I hope you enjoy it. Enjoy your day and thanks for your support.


                                      TALES OF THE DAMNED


                                                            The Spot

Balboa, or that’s what he liked to be called anyway, moseyed his way through the raucous house party. A stop here. A pretty blonde. A wink. A flexing of the six-pack abs. A look from her. That should equal a little fun in the midnight moon later on. He moved smoothly through a gregarious laughing crowd, making his way over to the rum punch bowl, but not before another stop, another wink, and this time flexing his right bicep to an attractive brunette. Blonde or brunette, it mattered not to Balboa. He was built like a brick shithouse, and very proud of that fact. It got him attention. It got him respect. It got him laid, which was what was on his mind now. He reached the punch bowl and, using the oversized serving spoon, refilled his plastic cup.

He noticed a scrawny, nerdish-looking dude loitering around the punch bowl blinking furtively at the throngs of revelers, evidently lacking the self-confidence to approach anyone.

“You too shy?” Balboa said, extending a meat hook. “I’m Balboa.”

The man’s eyes widened at Balboa’s imposing, muscle-bound physique. “A little bit.” Then he hesitated, spilled a little rum punch onto a pencil-stuffed shirt pocket, and nervously offered his hand. “Ralph.”

Balboa squeezed, grinning as he watched the little man’s face flush with pain. When he released his iron grip a few seconds later, a few seconds too long, Ralph quickly withdrew his hand, set his drink down, and began rubbing his knuckles.

“That’s a vice-grip you have,” Ralph said, a single tear sprouting and glistening on his lower left eyelid.

“Oh, that,” Balboa said, looking approvingly at his massive forearm and bicep. “My old man always told me that a firm handshake is a sign of self-confidence and strength. Nobody wants a wet rag. Right?”

Ralph wiped his eye, studied his reddening hand, picked up his drink, and gulped two large mouthfuls. “I guess so. You… you look familiar. Is Balboa your real name?”

“No. Brad Powers. But everyone calls me Balboa.” He racked his brain trying to remember where it was he might have met this little twerp before. In the cavernous space between his ears, nothing materialized.

Ralph took a few steps back as two women approached the punch bowl. “You mean as in Rocky Balboa? From the movie, Rocky.”

“You got it, Einstein,” Balboa said, a spark of recognition flashing across brain circuits but sizzling out before producing a mental image. As the giggling women stepped up to the punch bowl, Balboa scooped up the ladle and pushed the punch toward the ladies.

“Sure, a pretty blonde said, holding her plastic cup unsteadily above the trickling pink liquid. “Don’t mind if I do, and thank you, Mr. Strong Man.”

“You’re very welcome, my dear.”

The other women, a short-haired bubbly brunette, extended her cup and Balboa seamlessly refilled the ladle and refilled it.

She grinned drunkenly, attempting but failing to curl her hand around his massive bicep. It was like trying to wrap a paper clip around a sledge hammer. “Wow, you’re strong. You’re huge.”

“I am indeed,” he said. “And you’re only scratching the surface.”

Both women laughed.

Ralph backed up a few steps.

“Who’s your friend?” the short-haired brunette said after the laughter had subsided.

“That’s Ralph,” Balboa said. “And I’m Balboa.”

“Ralph?” the blonde said. “He looks like he’s gonna be sick.”

All three of them laughed boisterously. Ralph silently shrank to the size of a mouse.

The brunette hugged Balboa’s bicep with both arms and brought her mouth close to his ear. “We’re over there,” she whispered, gesturing with a finger. “I’m Sarah and my friend’s Sandra. Come and join us and we’ll promise you a little more than scratching the surface.”

She kissed him on the cheek and both women wobbled off. Balboa watched as they joined hands in an effort to stabilize one another, weaved ten feet into the dance floor, spun around and simultaneously winked at him, seductively licking their pouty red lips.

Balboa polished his drink, refilled it, and turned to Ralph, who had returned to the rum punch table and was now leaning on it like it was the only thing in the world propping him up. “Excuse me, I have to go rescue two damsels in distress. Duty calls.”

“You have something on your face,” Ralph said.

Balboa had always prided himself on his impeccably clear complexion and chiseled warrior-like features. “What?”

“It’s a spot. Looks like skin cancer to me.”

“Where?” Balboa said, worry lines creasing his youthful face.

Ralph pointed below Balboa’s right eye. “Right there. On your cheek. I’d get that checked out if I were you. Melanoma’s a bitch. Fast-spreading cancer. Can kill you off in a matter of weeks.”

It was likely just an eerie coincidence, but Balboa felt a tingling sensation exactly on the spot that Ralph had pointed to. He felt his face flush and a vein popped on his temple and snaked its way down toward the spot, creating a slight stinging sensation. Fucking jealous loser.

From his peripheral vision Balboa noticed Sarah and Sandra off in the corner of the large home, seductively gyrating their tight little asses on a table top and waving to him. He knew it was only a matter of time before some other drunken losers would move in and try to take over where he’d left off. No fucking way.

But the fear he was beginning to feel was palpable. He touched the spot on his cheek, took a few deep breaths, and tried to assure himself that it was only the tiny scar left over from a small cut he’d suffered from a brawl a few weeks ago. He’d flattened an acid-witted loser with a straight right to the jaw in the parking lot outside of a bar after the man had upstaged him in front of an attractive woman he had been oh-so close to closing. Surprisingly, the man had gotten to his feet a few seconds after the shot, smashed a beer bottle in half on the lid of a metal garbage can, and swiped at his face. A sharp edge of the bottle had sliced his cheek, before he’d hammered the man with an uppercut and knocked him out cold. After the incident, malignant narcissist that he was, he’d carefully disinfected the wound before applying a topical antibiotic and bandaging it with a small circular adhesive Band-Aid. A week later, he’d grimaced at the small quarter-inch scar in the mirror; yet he’d finally come to terms with it, reassuring himself that “battle scars add character and make you look tough.”

Ralph was grinning at him now. “I see you’re worried about it. As I said, I’d get it checked out if I were you. Melanoma’s a bitch.”

But Balboa found his usual arrogant confidence, seeing Ralph steal a longing look at the gyrating hotties. “I’d invite you over as a wing-man. But who the hell wants a shy, chicken-shit wing-man anyway?”

He spun around and walked purposefully toward his prey. A hunter he was. A hunter he would always be.


More than Balboa’s big head was throbbing the following morning after waking up in a strange and disheveled apartment in Calgary’s downtown core. He blinked a couple of times, gouged the sleep from his eyes, and watched as two blanketed heads bobbed and weaved, expertly working his swollen member. He lay back on the pillow, reminisced about the wild threesome last night, and enjoyed the carnal pleasures of the here and now as Sandra and Sarah expertly sucked him to a shuddering climax.

Sarah pulled the blanket away, licked her lips, and wiped a sticky milky ribbon from her chin. She winked. “I see you enjoyed that.”

“I did. Thank you.”

“You were a fucking stud,” Sandra said, popping out from underneath the blanket and rushing into the bathroom.

Sarah wiped her sticky finger on Balboa’s leg, stood up and held out her hand. “I think you got your money’s worth. That’ll be six hundred bucks. And a bargain at that.”

“Call it eight hundred,” Sandra said from the bathroom as the pitter-patter of water droplets could be heard cascading into the shower. “Two hundred more for the blowjob.”

“Right,” Sarah said. “Eight hundred it is then.”

In spite of the throbbing in his head, Balboa got out of bed quickly and grabbed his underwear. As he put them on, he said, “What? I never agreed to that.”

Sarah stepped forward and jabbed her index finger into his muscled chest. “Oh yes you did. Now cough up. By the way, what’s that spot on your face? Looks like melanoma to me. Melanoma is a killer, you know.”

In a lightning-fast move, Balboa reached out and grabbed her hand, twisting it back at an awkward angle as she winced, groaned, and quickly bent to her knees. Subdued. He applied a little more pressure, comfortable in the knowledge it would be smarting for a few minutes and would give him a chance to get dressed and escape. The other bitch was in the shower. Occupied.

As Sarah shouted and screamed, Balboa scrambled around the apartment, picking up his clothes and dressing. In no time, he approached the door, checking his back pocket, feeling for his wallet, exhaling a deep sigh when he felt the warm and leathery, cash-stuffed mound.

The dim recollection surfaced. Balboa, in his drunken stupor, had agreed to the threesome. Had agreed to the fee. And he had the money. On him. Thanks to a two-million-dollar inheritance three years ago from his deceased mother—he was still angry that his snobby sister had received ten million—he wasn’t hurting for cash. That inheritance had allowed him to quit his security guard job, downsize, invest modestly, and live off the interest. And pursue his dream. Prey on women. Intimidate men. But he wasn’t the kind of guy to throw money around, even if he had agreed to it.

As he opened the door, he heard a loud clang, and felt a sharp pain on the back of his head. Dazed, confused, and indeed seeing stars, he spun around to see Sandra, buck naked and dripping wet, grinning and holding a cast-iron frying pan high in the air. Raising it up. Coming down for another strike. Reflexively, he brought his right pipe up. She slammed the frying pan down hard on it, so hard it squirted loose from her hand, and bounced on the front porch of the house as Balboa, blood dripping profusely from the head wound, staggered out the door, found some momentum, and fled.



Two weeks later Balboa waited anxiously in the skin cancer specialist waiting room. He was dazed for at least a day or two after the blunt force head trauma, but he hadn’t bothered to get it diagnosed, instead taking it easy until the goose egg had subsided on its own. But he had sought a diagnosis for the spot on his face, the one that fucktard Ralph had pointed out. He had called his doctor and gotten a referral to a dermatologist—one Doctor Ray Burman.

He had become obsessed with the spot, analyzing it ad nauseam every day in the mirror. He had even begun to have terrifying nightmares of the spot growing rapidly, covering his entire body and destroying his cells one agonizing cell at a time.

The waiting room was full of patients and he had already been sitting there for well over half an hour. One woman came in and sat next to him. Her face was mostly covered with a white blood-stained bandage.

She focused with one bulbous eye on the spot. “Looks like melanoma to me. That’s what I got. I have to get half my face cut off. Complete facial reconstruction.”

Balboa didn’t respond, looking away as he felt this morning’s bacon and eggs churn in his stomach and start clawing up his esophagus—an acidic puke ball. He swallowed hard, tasted egg, bacon and horseradish, combined with orange juice, and coughed.

“You might be lucky,” the cancer-stricken woman said. “Mine is stage four. There is no stage five you know. Well, I guess there is, but it’s six feet under.” Her mouth opened, exposing rotten teeth. A single drop of blood leaked out, clinging precariously to her bandage-wrapped chin.

Balboa felt a bead of perspiration pop on his forehead, dribble down his head, and lodge in his bushy eyebrow. He wiped it away, tried unsuccessfully to smile, then got up and sat in another chair. She was starting to creep him out big-time.

She tssk-tssked him away with a pointed finger.

He picked up an outdoor adventure magazine and began flipping through the pages, seeing but not seeing the kayaks, mountains, campfires, lakes, rivers and wildlife. Would this be his last chance to really live? Everything’s gonna be okay. It’s nothing. You’re gonna be fine. You’re gonna be fine.

His mind drifted back to where it had all begun. Ralph. His nerdy image had popped into his head a few times over the last few weeks, and he was still dumbfounded as to how he knew the man. If I see him again, maybe I should apologize. Fuck that. Fuck him. Just as a dim recollection of where he knew Ralph from began to settle over him, he heard his name called.

“Brad Powers?”

“That’s me.”

“Doctor Burman will see you now.”

He wiped a sweaty brow and stood. “O… Okay.”

Five minutes later, Doctor Burman, holding a large and sophisticated magnifying glass, stepped back, a pained expression on his face.

“What’s wrong?” Balboa said. “Am I gonna be okay?”

Doctor Burman put the magnifying glass down and rubbed his knee. “My knee hurts,” he said. “The joys of old age. It’s arthritis.”

Balboa felt little sympathy for the aging white-haired man. “What about the spot?”

Doctor Burman slowly removed rubber gloves and tossed them in a wastebasket. He went to a sink, scrubbed his hands, dried them with paper towels, crumpled them, and tossed them into a wastebasket. “We’ll have to cut it out and get it biopsied. That’ll tell us for sure what it is. But to my trained eye, and I’ve been doing this for over thirty years, it’s a very common, slow-moving skin cancer. You’re gonna be fine. Nothing to worry about. Make an appointment with my receptionist and I’ll see you in a week or two.”

Out on the busy street, soaking up cancer-giving rays of bright morning sunshine, Balboa was elated. He felt like he had a new lease on life. Maybe it wasn’t too late. Not too late to turn his self-serving ways around. Track down Ralph. Apologize. Return to Sarah and Sandra’s house. Pay them out, even give them a handsome tip. Say sorry. Write down the names of all the people he’d wronged. Right the wrongs.

“That’s it,” he shouted, jumping for joy, tripping on the cross-walk curb and falling head-first into the busy intersection. He rolled on the pavement, began to spring to his feet, and then his mouth formed a wide O of horror as he saw the speeding bus descend on him.

Crunch… crunch… crunch!

Balboa felt his bones snapping like brittle twigs as the large tires squashed and splattered him into the pavement. He felt his skull caving and cracking, his eyes popping from his sockets.

The bus dragged him along the road for about a half block before the tires spat his crumpled remains curbside.

As the last vestiges of life drained from Balboa, he remembered Sarah, Sandra, and Ralph. He had used and abused the two women in high school, probably devastated their self-esteem and led them into prostitution. One night stands. Dropped them like a ton of bricks. He had bullied Ralph to no end, mercilessly stripping the man of his self-esteem and self-confidence—helping to mold the loser that Ralph had become.

But as the skeletal hand of the grim reaper slowly enveloped him in blackness, he realized three things: It’s too late for redemption. Karma’s a bitch. And then you die.



                                                                The End

Tales of the Damned

Tales of the Damned. What is it? It’s my latest work in progress, and it’ll be a finely crafted collection of short horror tales.

For me it represents a deviation from the norm—full-length dark fiction. For the last seven or so years, I’ve written mainly full-length novels across multiple genres: horror, psychological thriller, supernatural thriller, thriller, paranormal, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic or dystopian fiction; even a foray into inspirational fiction.

Why a collection of short horror tales? Call it an experiment in form and structure, call it intellectual curiosity, call it whatever you want but for me it represents an opportunity to try something different. Something new.

I like the idea for a number of reasons. Recently I did a little Twitter poll in an attempt to try and determine the level of interest in short horror tales. To my surprise, the response was overwhelming. It’s no secret that global sales of short fiction and short horror tales are going strong. There are many talented short horror story writers in the Twitter #writingcommunity and I certainly see a strong demand.

In today’s complicated world, books compete with so many other things for people’s attention: gaming, YouTube, Facebook, TV, Twitter, the labyrinth of information on the internet, and dozens of other social media platforms—not to mention the myriad of other distractions, tasks, and problems that are just a part of living.

People lead busy, often stressful lives. It’s often easier for them to read short stories than full-length novels. Waiting in the doctor’s waiting room, they can get through one or more stories and not have to worry about losing the thread if, heaven forbid, a distraction prevents them from revisiting it again for another week or two.

The timing is also excellent. Being that it’s summer and summer is short on Prince Edward Island, I can create a story and, depending on word length, probably knock the first draft out in one sitting before escaping outside to enjoy the glorious summer weather. And, of course, there are my outdoor projects and my outdoor pets to attend to.

When I start a full-length novel, I usually write for about five to six hours a day, six days a week until I get the first draft completed. By writing consistently I stay with the thread and, at least to my mind, it makes for a more powerful and better flowing read.

Tales of the Damned (a working title that may change) will contain at least thirteen short horror tales, examining everything from real-life ghostly encounters; actual horrifying nightmares; and completely fictional yarns that will be the product of a dark and twisted imagination.

I’m only half way through the first entry but can already feel the creative juices generating other story ideas. When I write in a particular genre, I generally also read a lot in that genre. I’ve plowed through dozens of short horror tales in an effort to learn something about structure and form.

I generally have a lot of backstory in my novels which I try to weave into the narrative in bits and pieces as opposed to laying it all out at once in one big info dump. I also use a lot of internal dialogue to give readers a really clear idea of what motivates my characters to behave in often erratic, unstable, and unpredictable ways.

But in Tales of the Damned, I won’t have time for a lot of backstory or internal dialogue. The challenge will be to say more with less—much less.

It’s a dynamic form with limitless possibilities.

As British author William Boyd, says, Short stories “seem to answer something very deep in our nature as if, for the duration of its telling, something special has been created, some essence of our experience extrapolated, some temporary sense has been made of our common, turbulent journey towards the grave and oblivion.”

Stay tuned for updates on Tales of the Damned. As always, thanks for stopping by.