Tuesday, September 26, 2023

A.I. for Writers: Useful Tool or Just a "Tool"

Is A.I. as efficient or effective as it is touted to be? Let's ask the writers!

Have you found it helpful, too much to make it useful, or just a waste of time (potential theft issues aside)? 

Alan J. Porter: I’ve worked on AI platform development in my day job and often write about it and always happy to help educate writers to see beyond the hype.

Brian K Morris: I've used ChatGBT a little and frankly, it reassures me that I'm a better writer than I thought I was. Their text is drier than 077's martinis.

I used an AI to write the back cover copy of my newest novel. I gave it the elements I wanted to see, then told it that the words were going on the back of a paperback. Then I added another element in two subsequent rounds, then gave it a quick edit so it sounded like me.

It helped to unstick my thinking in terms of a complex scenario I'd constructed. It looked at the material in a different way than I did, which was good. Three drafts later, in addition to a final polish by myself, it was ready for prime time. I'd never use it to write my stories, though.

R Alan Siler: I recently wrote a review in the form of a Shakespearean sonnet. I've never written a sonnet before, so I used ChatGPT to generate some ideas for me -- some specifically about the thing I was reviewing and some on the more general theme I was going for. None of them were that great (and some of them were structuraly wrong), but it helped me figure out ways to structure my review/sonnet. So what I wrote was 100% me, but the AI was a shortcut to help me get there. I'm sure I would have eventually arrived at approximately the same point regardless, but the AI gave me a map that helped me not wander aimlessly for quite as long.

Jenny Reed: I have not used it and see no reason to. I can write without help, thanks.

However, my housemate, who has always wanted to write stories but believes she is bad at it, has embraced ChatGPT as the way to realize her dreams. It seems to me that she spends way more time explaining what she wants and then tweaking the result to make it nice than she would to just write the thing, but she seems to think she gets a better result than she is capable of without the crutch.

Do note that I said she tweaks it afterwards. And by tweaks, I mean, she extensively edits it. She is apparently capable of editing a start until it's actually decent, but doesn't feel capable of creating from scratch. I guess we all have our mental blocks.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Motivational Monday: Faithfulness

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Sunday Funnies: Career in a Nutshell

I feel like this cartoon may have targeted my entire writing career.

(Thanks for hipping me to it, Cap'n Ron.)

Saturday, September 23, 2023

[Link] The Five Pillars Of Pulp Revival

by Misha Burnett

Opening Note One: There is some difference in meaning between the terms “Pulp Revolution” and “Pulp Revival”. The Revolution, I feel, is concerned with the publishing and distribution of literary works, ways to enhance discoverability and inform readers of the literary movement. Revival, on the other hand, is more concerned with the aspects of the movement itself. The first term is strategic, the second artistic. Being a literary theorist, my work generally concerns the latter term. Also, from a purely emotional standpoint, I prefer the image of people gathering under a tent to sing songs and praise the Lord to the more utilitarian image of crowds rolling a guillotine through the streets.

Opening Note Two: This article should not be taken as either authoritative or definitive. Pulp Revival is, itself, a work in progress, and any analysis of its characteristics is, of essence, incomplete and fluid. Perhaps a few decades hence someone will be able to stand back and get the entire picture so as to be able to codify the movement. At the moment, however, I am in the midst of it and jotting down my observations from, as it were, the trenches.

Opening Note Three: I have deliberately avoided any references to genre in what follows. This is because I don’t think it is significant to the Pulp Aesthetic. The guidelines can apply to Detective Fiction and Westerns just as readily as to Science Fiction or Fantasy. The Pulp era made no such hard distinctions, while some magazines specialized in a particular form of genre fiction, most were open to anything thrilling and exciting. Pirates rubbed elbows with cowboys and spacemen and barbarians from the bygone past in the pages of adventure magazines.

These having been said, this is what I see as the signature characteristics of Pulp Revival.

Read the full article: https://mishaburnett.wordpress.com/2016/10/05/the-five-pillars-of-pulp-revival/

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Movie Reviews for Writers: Amuck!

So... What does it take to bring me back to the movie reviews for writers? Of course, another sleazy Giallo thriller. This time it's Silvio Amadio's is-it-a-Giallo-or-isn't-it mystery Amuck! 

Why do so many Giallos feature writers? It almost makes one wonder which has more stories about writers caught up in horrific events -- Stephen King or Giallo? (But that's a question for another day). 

In this fun romp through the murderous halls of a writer's island mansion (see, it's a fantasy, I tell ya), Barbara Bouchet plays Greta Franklin, a secretary/typist hired by a publisher to help novelist Richard Stuart finish his current novel. She's there, however, to investigate the disappearance of her friend Sally Reese, who was the previous secretary/typist. Throw in some sexy parties and no-attachments-needed relationships, along with a murder and a body hidden in a swamp, and it's a fairly typical setup for a thriller. Without the tropes of black gloves and the razor blade POV camera, it's not, however, a typical setup for a Giallo. 

All that aside, you're here for what it has to say about the life of a writer. 

Well, this movie is pure wish fulfillment. It's the kind of thing people who aren't writers like to imagine the life of a famous novelist is like. 

Publishers who foot the bill to give writers assistants aren't common, and to be honest I don't think I've ever heard of that. Maybe it was common in the early 1970s, but I tend to doubt that as well (it is a conceit of the romantic comedy Paris When It Sizzles also, so maybe there is some ancient truth to the idea). Still, it would be nice, huh?

Transcribing a novel into a dictaphone (or the modern equivalent, a speech-to-text file) is something I have tried. However, for me, it's a bit of a challenge. I think I'm one of those writers who thinks better with my fingers than with my mouth. I think that for me literally, the act of typing as the ideas form in my brain helps them form. I do so much going back and correcting in an audio file that I wonder if it would be more trouble than it was worth to try to make sense of my backtracking. 

Plus, I find that I edit a lot as I type. Any typist a publisher might send me would most likely quit because of the frustration I caused him/her/them.

The novelist in question is writing his first thriller. People's reaction to that is the most authentic part of this film. 

They're aghast. Why would you want to do that? You'll kill your career (sure, but pay no attention to covering up a murder). 

It's something I hear from friends who tend to write in a single genre and then want to try their hand at another. "Why would you do that?" fans ask. "As long as you don't stop writing ____________ (fill in the blank with the genre of choice), I guess a one-off is okay."

It makes me glad I never stuck to one genre. But then, publishers don't send assistants to writers like that. And I sure wouldn't mind an assistant like Barbara Bouchet. Just saying.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

[Link] Stepping Into Raymond Chandler’s Shoes Showed Me the Power of Fiction

by Denise Mina

“The Second Murderer” is the first Philip Marlowe book written by a woman. Me.

Marlowe is, of course, the most famous creation of Raymond Chandler, perhaps the most famous of American crime novelists. Reading Chandler was always a guilty pleasure of mine, his vision of 1930s Los Angeles unfolding vividly for me all the way in cold and rainy Glasgow. On the one hand, there is his glorious writing, his blue-collar heroes and the occasional profound observations about the human experience. But there’s also his liberal use of racial slurs, his portrayal of people of color and homosexuals as grotesque caricatures and the fact that his work is suffused with misogyny. It takes a strong stomach to read a story in which a woman needs a slap to calm her down.

Crime fiction was, and is, anti-feminist. That’s why I chose to write it in the first place.

Traditionally, women never had agency in crime fiction, and when I started out I wanted to try to shift the dial, casting in with a movement that already counted such lights as Sara Paretsky, Marcia Talley, Mary Wings and Val McDermid. The way I saw it, crime fiction was the new social novel, wrapped in a genre that already seemed to be reaching a wide audience of largely female readers.

The knock on commercial fiction is that it’s often written so quickly that it tends to simply mirror, for good or ill, the social mores of the time that produced it. Chandler may have been a misogynist, but he definitely lived in misogynist times, and his fiction reflects that. When values change or views become more enlightened, these kind of books tend to age poorly. Sometimes this aging-out happens quite suddenly: How tired the endless copaganda procedurals seem now; how tone-deaf the books that end with the police justifiably shooting a suspect to death. The tsunami of books featuring women with faulty memories cannot be read in the same way since the #MeToo movement or in the context of changing attitudes about sexual violence and child abuse. Overnight, yesterday’s resilient trope seems hopelessly offensive, even dangerous.

Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/26/opinion/raymond-chandler-philip-marlowe-denise-mina.html

Friday, September 15, 2023



Known for his action-packed pulp storytelling, award-winning author Barry Reese brings a new twist to his Reese Unlimited Universe. Sovereign City's borders harbor horror and terror has a new name in THE STRAW-MAN BOOK ONE.

Grove's Folly is a sleepy little town on the outskirts of Sovereign City. Known mostly for its history with the Revolutionary War, most people visit the town for its annual Pumpkin Festival... but something dark and frightening lies beneath the soil of Grove's Folly.

Now that something has awakened, plunging the town into a hellish new reality. Who or what is the Straw-Man and why does this strange cryptid haunt the streets at night? From the mind of award-winning author Barry Reese comes the newest series set in his shared pulp adventure universe.

THE STRAW-MAN BOOK ONE by Barry Reese. From Reese Unlimited and Pro Se Productions.

With a haunting cover by Luis Filipe and print formatting and logo design by Antonino lo Iacono, THE STRAW-MAN BOOK ONE is available for 9.99 via Amazon.

The first volume in a new series from Barry Reese, THE STRAW-MAN BOOK ONE is also available on Kindle formatted by lo Iacono and Marzia Marina for $2.99. Kindle Unlimited Members can read this exciting tale for free!

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, email editorinchief@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at Pro Se Productions.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

[Link] Wordless

(Originally Posted on December 30, 2021. It's older, but still well worth a read for when you feel the words are broken and just won't make their way to the page.)


by Christa Faust

It’s Been A Year. Again. Next year looks to be more of the same and then some. But this isn’t one of those “how about that 2021?” Happy Fucking New Year type of posts.

I want to talk about not talking. Or more specifically, not writing.

Something has happened to me over the past couple of years. Something I can’t seem to put into words. Because that’s the problem. My words. They seem… broken.

We have all been playing this fun (not actually fun) game over the interminable eternity of this Fucking Pandemic. The options may be different on each person’s list, but the underlying multiple choice shuffle is the same.

Why am I like this right now?

Read the full article: https://christafaust.com/wordless/

Friday, September 8, 2023

Unleashed at last! League of Monsters, the new anthology published by Mechanoid Press Publishing is now available!

It Takes Monsters to Fight Monsters! 

Count Dracula. Frankenstein’s Monster. The Werewolf. The Gill Creature. 

You’ve seen various versions of them countless times. But never like this! 

It is the 1950s, and a cadre of Nazis known as the Last Reich are plotting to remake the world in their own horrible image.

Moira Harker, the great-great-granddaughter of Mina Harker and the last living member of a secret group of monster hunters known as the Order of Van Helsing, has brought together history’s most frightening creatures to prevent even greater monsters from taking over the world.

Within these pages you’ll meet: Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, a reluctant werewolf, and a gill creature and his beautiful telepathic handler.

These monsters have joined forces and now travel the globe saving the world from an even greater threat.

Join James Palmer (Monster Earth), Russell Nohelty (Ichabod Jones: Monster Hunter), Bobby Nash (the Hunter Houston: Horror Hunter series), Teel James Glenn (A Cowboy in Carpathia: A Bob Howard Adventure), Jessica Nettles (The Children of Menlo Park), and Adrian Delgado as they take you where monsters dwell, inside the… League of Monsters! Cover art by the invincible Mark Maddox, with cover design by the incredible Jeffrey Hayes.

League of Monsters is available in ebook, paperback, and hardcover at the following retailers:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CGJJPPHC

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0CGJJPPHC

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0CGJJPPHC

Don’t be afraid of the dark.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

New submission opportunity -- Remixing Giallo

Attention, all you folks looking for the coolest anthology ever to submit your crazy, creepy, sexy, bloody little stories to. I'm putting together the story collection outlined below. You're officially invited to submit

Giallo Re/Mixed & Re/Imagined
(AKA Sending Argento Into Space)

If you're a fan of Argento, Fulci, Bava, or Martino, you are familiar with the Giallo film genre. But did you know it got its name from yellow mystery books? Of course, the movies took it way past mere mystery into something almost synonymous with “Eurosleaze.”

Black-gloved killers. Sexed-up victims. Blood so red and thick it could never be real. But at its heart, a Giallo thriller was always wrapped up around a twisted murder mystery story that kept viewers guessing until the final blood-drenched scene. 

That's the vibe I'm hoping to recapture here in this anthology. 

Twisted mysteries that have one foot in violence and another in crazyville and bring to mind classics such as Twitch of the Death Nerve, Deep Red, What Have You Done with Solange?, Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, Stage Fright, Baba Yaga, Tenebre, All the Colors of the Dark, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, Blood and Black Lace, and Four Flies on Gray Velvet. (If you haven't watched any of these, please do. They're awesome-tastic, whether you choose to write for this anthology or not. 

The twist on this, though, for this anthology is:

Each story must take the standard tropes of Giallo and put it in a different genre setting.
No two stories can be in the same setting. Wrap your story proposal in the trappings of sci-fi, Western, urban fantasy, summer camp horror, Gothic romance, Dickensian, superheroes, sword and sorcery, planetary romance, 70s urban crime, haunted house ghost story, medical thriller, martial arts, bodice ripper, samurai epic, etc. 

Sound like fun? I thought so. 

The details:
  • Stories must be between 5-7k words.
  • Stories must use the tropes of Giallo (gloves, up-close killings like knives and garotes, no poisoner or sniper types).
  • Stores must be in a setting other than traditional Giallo.
  • Story pitches must be approved before you turn in the story. Someone else may have already claimed the Western you had an idea about.
  • R is welcome. Hard R can be even better. But let's avoid NC-17 or X though. 
  • All characters must be original. No public domain characters or characters from Giallo flicks that would need to be licensed.
  • The best Giallo stories still drop clues like any good mystery, even with all those twists and turns in the plot. 
  • When in doubt, remember that "over the top" is your best friend here. 
  • All stories will be approved by the editor, me. Speed is good, but this isn't first-come, first-served. 
  • If you have questions, please email me for clarification.

Let me see your ideas, and we'll put a super cool book together. 


For those of you who were interested in the Giallo-inspired book (Giallo Re/Mixed & Re/Imagined), here's a sample of what I'm looking for when you send your pitches. You can also consider the Samurai epic setting no longer on the board. It's all mine. 

Petals Fallen Off and Scattered So Suddenly
A giallo-style story set in Edo-era Japan
by Sean Taylor

Hisakichi is a ronin who wanders Japan taking jobs as he finds them. Sute is a disgraced geisha already kicked out of her master's chambers and now wanted for the deaths of three of his heirs. If found by the Daimyō's guards, she will be beheaded with barely an afterthought of a trial.  

Having found Sute (whose name means "foundling") weeping over the latest victim), Hisakichi is determined to protect her and vows to buy back her honor by solving the crime and finding the true killer. 

The killer slices the neck of each victim with a kaiken, the weapon of choice for a woman for self-defense, and leaves a scattering of cherry blossoms beside each body (which signifies the idea of mikkaminumanosakura, or sudden change in life). There is also a single bloody koto (gauntlet) left on the other side of the body, the one worn for the murder, which only makes the killing so much more confusing -- a warrior's glove paired with a woman's blade and a ritual flower.

But he's no detective or wise man, so he knows the odds aren't in his favor, even as the killer picks up the pace almost as if to taunt him. Not only that, the woman he has vowed to protect is also hiding a devastating secret from him.

Saturday, September 2, 2023

[Link] 7 Tips for Getting Back to Writing After Summer

by Jenna Avery

Today I’m addressing a question regarding getting back to writing after summertime.

“My kids are starting school again. (Whew! Ack!) Truth be told, it’s been hard to write this summer with so much going on between family vacations and organizing summer camps. How can I regain my momentum after a rocky summer, writing-wise?”

Hey, good question! Many screenwriter-parent types are asking ourselves similar questions right now. Whether you’ve been writing intermittently, or not at all, the good news is that as your kids head to their classrooms, you can tap into the “back-to-school” energy they’ll be experiencing too.

And this is true whether or not you’re a parent. There’s a natural activation energy that arises in the fall and spring in particular, so this is a smart time to revisit your writing practice and give it a refresh if needed.

Even pro writers disrupted by the strike and accustomed to regular writing deadlines might be floundering a bit right now too, even though it’s an excellent time to dust off and work on passion and side spec projects.

Here are some tips to help get you back in the saddle again.

Read the full article: https://scriptmag.com/ask-the-coach/7-tips-for-getting-back-to-writing-after-summer

Friday, September 1, 2023

Flinch Books announces Six-Gun Legends!

Chums, my Flinch Books publishing partner John Bruening and I are back in the saddle with our thirteenth pulp-pounding book, SIX-GUN LEGENDS, now LIVE on Amazon in print and Kindle editions! Lasso the link in the Comments below!

SIX-GUN LEGENDS returns to those thrilling days of yesteryear with stories by ten talented writers: Fred Adams, Terry Alexander, Jim Beard, John C. Bruening, Trevor Holliday, Jeffrey J. Mariotte, Terrence McCauley, Will Murray, Christopher Ryan and Duane Spurlock. Each of these storytellers spins a tale of the mystery, mayhem, intrigue, and adventure that inevitably unfold when one of these legendary entities steps out of the collective imagination and into the spotlight with guns blazing.

Cover illustration by Ted Hammond.

Available on Amazon.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

News of the World -- Putting Summer Behind Me

To start off, I realize that my posting has been lax with summer. Honestly, even the past two weeks, I've been mostly just posting the "easy stuff" -- press releases, inspirational quotes from writers, interesting article links, that kind of thing. It's been a few months since I actually posted the "bread and butter" stuff like original articles, interviews, and (one of my favorite regulars) Movie Reviews for Writers. All of that will be returning. 

A Tohru-tastic Christmas memory.

But for me, I guess I just need to get this all off my chest in order to move on with more compelling content. 

My summer sucked. Probably the absolute worst summer of my life. I know I can be prone to exaggeration, but not this time. I'll reduce it to a bullet list:

  • Week 1 -- My mom died unexpectedly.
  • Week 2 -- My cat, Tohru, whom I had kept as a pet for 16 years, died.
  • Two weeks ago  -- My dog, Boomer, my best fur buddy for 16 years, died. 

The thing about each of these is that any one of them would have driven me into grief. But the closeness of them to each other and the order in which they happened, only made the summer that much more painful. As much as I loved my cat and dog, their deaths only made the feelings of my mom's death start to swirl all over again -- this time combined with the memories of my sweet furbabies. 

Boomer, in repose,
and in my reading chair.

So, yeah, I spent pretty much the whole season more than a bit disengaged from the world around me. And that meant everything suffered, relationships, housework, responsibilities, all of it, but for the purpose of this blog, it meant my writing suffered. 

My actual stories.

My writing about writing (such as here on the blog).

My networking with other writers and publishers. 

All of it. 

My home is so quiet now that the sheer enormity of it makes it difficult to write. Gone are the skittering clicks from where Boomer would walk on the tile and linoleum on claws I had forgotten to trim. Gone also are the whining meows while Tohru wandered through the house wondering where her people were. Those things weren't distractions. They weren't annoyances. They were apparently the soundtrack of my life I needed in order to work. And now I have to get used to a new composition and learn how to work with it now. 

It still doesn't seem fair. But as long as I still want to be a writer, fair or not, it simply is what it is. (Though I have always hated that saying.) Que sera, sera. C'est la vie. 

MeMe's house, the best place on earth to write.

I'm still a living, dark-minded swirl of melancholy and memories, but I finally feel like maybe I can put the pen to the page again (at least figuratively, anyway -- I haven't written anything by hand other than a grocery list or a hall pass for one of my students in years). I even visited MeMe's house (where I go to focus when I need a writing retreat) and managed to finish two stories that I owed to my publishers. I didn't get the rest of the stories knocked out like I wanted to, but I considered those two stories a major tick mark in the win column considering my frame of mind. Now, I just need to finish the editing process on them both and send them off for publication. 

Anyway, I feel like words might be coming back to me. As such, I hope this month to finally give you a return to form for the blog. And that means interviews, original articles, movie reviews, the whole enchilada. At least, that's the plan. Hence this more personal post. It's a start. 

Now, we'll just have to see if I'm not misreading my own signals. 

Wouldn't be the first time. 


My beautiful mom. whom
I miss very, very much. 

Saturday, August 26, 2023

[Link] All Hail the Long-Suffering Cadaver

by Amor Towles

Once at the center of the murder mystery, the cadaver has become increasingly incidental to the action and now figures as little more than a prop.

For over 100 years the cadaver, that unsung hero of murder mysteries, has been accommodating, gracious and generally on time. There is no other figure in crime who has proved more reliable. Since the murder mystery first gained popularity, there have been two world wars, multiple economic crises, dance crazes and moonshots, the advent of radio, cinema, television and the internet. Ideas of right and wrong have evolved, tastes have changed. But through it all, the cadaver has shown up without complaint to do its job. A clock-puncher of the highest order, if you will.

Meanwhile, many of our most revered detectives have proved rather difficult to work with. They have been variously arrogant, antisocial or persnickety. Witnesses have often been skittish or defensive. Many have intentionally sowed confusion through lies of omission or commission springing from their own sins and prejudices.

But decade in and decade out, the cadaver has remembered its lines and hit its mark. This despite the fact that it has borne the brunt of a thousand humiliations. Having been subjected to that most definitive form of violence, it has had to lie undiscovered, often in a cellar or back alley, overnight. Once the police arrive, our cadaver has been poked and prodded, its pockets emptied. After being shuttled to the morgue and laid out on a slab, it has been cut open, unceremoniously. Almost from the moment the corpse is discovered, it has been an object of slander. Family, friends and acquaintances who tended to be complimentary and discreet when our victim was alive are suddenly enumerating personal failings and sharing rumors of infidelity or financial malfeasance. And all of this — the loss of life, the autopsies, the recriminations — the cadaver has suffered in silence, on our behalf.

The cadaver’s unwavering professionalism is all the more admirable given the diminishment of its standing over time. If we look back to the so-called golden age of detective fiction, in the 1920s and ’30s, when the form was reaching its apotheosis in the works of Agatha Christie, the cadaver maintained an almost enviable status. After all, it was the cadaver who set the wheels of a mystery in motion.

The stories of the era tend to begin in a relatively benign and inviting manner. A small assembly of family members or friends might gather for the weekend in a rambling country manor. The setting and circumstances are not that different from what one might expect to find in a play by Chekhov or a novel by Henry James. That is, until, with the scream of a housemaid, the cadaver is discovered. Its sudden appearance sprawled on the study floor with a knife in its back is what transforms the book in our hand, taking us from the realm of domestic drama into that of the whodunit.

But in the golden age, the cadaver didn’t simply get things going. It maintained its position at the center of the story from the moment of its discovery until the denouement. As Hercule Poirot often pointed out, it was the psychology of the victim that was paramount. In life, was the cadaver lascivious? Unscrupulous? Greedy? To understand who had most likely monkeyed with the brakes of her car or poisoned her cup of tea, one first had to understand whom she had loved and whom she had spurned; whom she had enriched and whom she had cheated.

Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/10/books/review/amor-towles-cadaver-murder-mystery.html

Friday, August 25, 2023


Airship 27 Production is thrilled to present the ninth volume in this showcase anthologies series featuring new pulp heroes created by today’s writers. Jamie Ramos offers up ex-super cop Steelgrave who comes face to face with an old foe on the streets of Detroit.  Jonathan Sweet introduces the beautiful and deadly, Black Wraith who investigated the blackmailing of a U.S. Senator. Mark Allen Van’s gangster hero, Killdevil, returns in a second outing when learns a woman is targeted by her own husband. Jarrett Mazza introduces Arnold Zigler, an enhanced athlete soon to be known by his secret identity as The Zig Zag Man.

“Our readers love this series,” states Airship 27 Production’s Managing Editor Ron Fortier. “The showcase format offers these wonderful writers the opportunity to present to the world their own unique spins on classic pulp heroes and Volume Nine is a perfect example of that. Each of the tales is fast-paced, exciting, and full of action and adventure.”

Airship 27’s award-winning Art Director, Rob Davis provides not only the interior illustrations but also the colorful cover this time featuring Mark Allen Van’s Killdevil. This is another stellar entry in a series readers demanded.


Available now from Amazon in paperback and soon on Kindle.

Friday, August 11, 2023


At seventy-five years old, John Taylor lives in an old church on Indian land, reflecting on his time as sheriff of Devil's Creek Run, a mining community that was desperately trying to find its way in the harsh and unforgiving land of the frontier west. From dealing with devastating droughts, an Indian uprisings, and legendary outlaws, he finds himself surrounded by the ghosts of those that he has lost along the trail, both friends and enemies as he reflects on it long after sunset.

Jonathan Casey delivers an original western focusing the spotlight on one man and how the land and history shaped him. This tale of the rugged frontier packs an emotional wallop.

Colorado artist Sam Salas provides the interior illustrations and Shannon Hall the dramatic cover, with Art Director Rob Davis doing book design.


Available now at Amazon.

Friday, August 4, 2023


When mysterious rocks fall out of the night sky, Princeton Astronomer Peter Armstrong is kidnapped by a group of criminals led by a mysterious little fellow named Stuka. He discovered the rocks emanate lethal radiation that melts people. Managing to escape, Armstrong soon realizes that he is the target of not only the gangsters but also foreign agents wishing to possess the stones and develop them into super weapons.

Writer Bob Madison delivers a fast-paced, old fashion pulp adventure reminiscent of the classic movie matinee serials. The action is non-stop with a cast of truly colorful characters. Artist Kevin Paul Shaw Broden provides the interior illustrations and Adam Benet Shaw the colorful cover. Book design by Art Director Rob Davis.

“This is an old fashion pulp yarn,” reports Airship 27 Production Managing Editor, Ron Fortier. “Madison is a professional writer and delivers a fast-paced action tale with some very likable characters.”


Available now from Amazon.

Saturday, July 29, 2023



Great Britain -- Mysterious, mystical, even murderous. When such threatens this empire’s shores, only Dr. Augustus Argent, assisted by his trusted aide-de-camp Jack Stone, can seize…and save the day! From his very own author imprint, Teel James Glenn’s Otherwhens, comes the second collection of stories from award winning author Glenn featuring Dr. Argent. BRITANNIA OCCULTUS is now available in print and digital formats.

As the Minister Without Portfolio for Occult Affairs under the Good Queen Victoria, Dr. Argent uses his arcane knowledge and magical skills to keep all of the sceptered isle safe from evil occurrences of every stripe—An ancient vampire, an Arabian curse, a charlatan count, an Arthurian apparition, a werewolf killer, and an automaton assassin all menace the peace of the realm, with only Argent to stand against them.

Award winning author Teel James Glenn takes the reader on a breathtaking tour of the past with action and mystery packed tales of terror and heroism in this second volume of Argent’s adventures within the secret history of England that will always be Britannia Occultus! From Teel James Glenn's Otherwhens and Pro Se Productions.

Featuring a stunning cover and print formatting by Antonino Lo Iacono, BRITANNIA OCCULTUS  is available from Amazon for only $9.99.

Formatted by Lo Iacono, this horror-filled second volume of short stories is also available as an ebook for only $2.99. Kindle Unlimited members can read for free!

SEMPER OCCULTUS, Glenn’s first collection of Dr. Argent stories is available from Pro Se Productions on Amazon!

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, email editorinchief@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at Pro Se Productions

Friday, July 28, 2023


In the first city of the Stone Age, a Neanderthal lawman hunts the world’s first serial killer. During a time of monstrous beasts and warring tribes, the sprawling Cro-Magnon settlement known as the Heap is a home to new things: safety, trade, peace—and law.  Red, a Broadhead exile adopted by the Heap, keeps those laws. He is a Fang, a sworn protector of the Heap’s people, and he’s dealt with everything from prehistory’s first crime lords and caveman blood feuds to forest-dwelling cannibals and mammoth stampedes. 

Now, a new terror comes to the Heap: the Blood-Spiller, a masked nightmare who kills without provocation. Red and his partner, the clever former warrior Star, struggle to catch this new killer in the flickering torchlight and primeval shadows of the dawn of mankind.  And lurking under it all, a brewing war between the Heap and Red’s Neanderthal kin—and the dark conspiracy behind the birth of civilization itself.

Writer Michael Panush delivers a truly remarkable tale set against the backdrop of mankind’s earliest presence on the planet. Artist Earl Geier provides both the cover and interior illustrations while Art Director Rob Davis the book design. An unusual adventure for pulp fans everywhere.


Available now from Amazon.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

[Link] The Importance of Book Collecting: Five World Changing Reasons to Collect

by Amy Manikowski

Other than personal satisfaction and an intelligent-looking bookshelf, why collect? There are significant, even world-changing, reasons to invest in book collecting. Perhaps that is why the most wealthy, powerful, and educated people have been doing it for centuries. 

Book Collecting Decides What Goes Down In History

After his father died in 1757, Thomas Jefferson inherited the library of his father’s Shadwell Plantation. When that plantation house burned down in 1770, Jefferson mourned the loss of the books most of all. When he built his historic new home, Monticello, Jefferson amassed an even more impressive collection of nearly 10,000 books. After the British burned the Congressional Library in Washington during the War of 1812, Jefferson sold over 6,000 volumes from his collection to the Government, re-establishing the Library of Congress. 

What Jefferson had chosen to collect and care for over the years were the books the Congress of the United States would use as a reference while establishing the laws of the newly founded country. Today, the Library of Congress is the largest library in the World.

Collecting Books Aids in Preservation 

By buying and caring for books you love, you are maintaining them for future generations of collectors, buyers, and bibliophiles. Condition is vital in the trade of books, and a lovingly handled collection ensures that the texts will be available for the next crop of bibliophiles. 

Books, by nature, are made up of materials that deteriorate – paper, leather, glue. Left alone, the ink and ideas on the pages quickly fade into history. But the ideas of the past represent human truths and concrete history that are important to save. Without books, what would we know about the Roman Empire, religion, The Renaissance, or the World Wars? 

Read the full article: https://www.biblio.com/blog/2022/08/the-importance-of-book-collecting-five-world-changing-reasons-to-collect/

Saturday, July 22, 2023


Blackened Roots: An Anthology Of The Undead is finally out! 

Mocha Memoirs Press and Nightlight Podcast are proud to present Blackened Roots: An Anthology of the Undead – a groundbreaking anthology celebrating nontraditional zombie stories from the African diaspora. The anthology is co-edited by Stoker-nominated and award-winning editor and writer Nicole Givens Kurtz and 2022 World Fantasy Award® Winner and 2022 Ignyte® Winner, producer, and editor Tonia Ransom at NIGHTLIGHT.

Blackened Roots is a unique collection and will be a must-have for zombie lovers. Blackened Roots takes the zombie mythos back to its roots. Drawing from a variety of cultural backgrounds, Blackened Roots imagines a world of horror and wonder where Black protagonists take center stage – as zombies, as hunters, as heroes. From a haunting recipe to sibling rivalry, a singing zombie cowboy, a slave ship, and disobedient gods stories, Blackened Roots is a groundbreaking Afrocentric zombie anthology celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the African Diaspora.

Featuring stories by award-winning authors Eden Royce, Craig L. Gidney, Milton Davis, Sumiko Saulson, Marc Abbott, Moustapha Mbacké Diop, Steven Van Patten, Brandon Massey, and Errick Nunnally.

Friday, July 21, 2023

John French Gives in to THE WAGES OF SYN

A new book by award-winning author John French, THE WAGES OF SYN, from Bold Venture Press, has 10 stories featuring Jericho Syn, alias The Scarecrow — the progeny of an early 18th Century character, Christopher Syn, a small-town doctor and vicar -turned pirate, smuggler and lawbreaker in a collection of books by Russell Thorndike. The earlier Syn creates an elaborate scarecrow costume, with eerie luminous paint, rides at night and has many encounters but, is killed at the end.  Like many characters who have survived in literature to the present including Zorro, known to have influenced new costumed vigilante-types like Batman, Syn left heirs. In John French’s Wages of Syn, the progeny Jericho Syn is an extremely likable character who doesn’t wear a costume at all, but is a slender, messy-haired fellow who walks a fine line between crime and the law. Like his ancestor, he is known to the hoods, the mob and the law as The Scarecrow. He deals in penance and he makes sure that the guilty always pay.

Lurking in The Shadows, shining law and vengeance on the city’s underbelly in Harbor City there are the police, and there’s the Outfit. And in the middle Syn walks a fine line between crime and the law. Known as the Scarecrow, he’s the man to see when no one else can or will help you.

Syn knows where the bodies are buried. He should — he’s put a few in the ground himself. But he’s always willing to help if the cause is just and the money is right.

So if you’re in trouble and don’t know where to turn, just step into The Shadows and look for Jericho Syn in the back booth. It’s dark there, better for him to hear your confession. But don’t expect absolution. The Scarecrow only deals in penance and he makes certain the guilty always pay. 

Saturday, July 15, 2023



On April 4, 2021, Genre Fiction in general and the New Pulp Movement specifically lost one of its most creative and beloved voices. On that date, Derrick Ferguson, the creator of Dillon and other fantastic characters, passed away. Pro Se Productions, the publisher of Derrick’s Dillon at the time of his passing, had in the months prior given Derrick his own author imprint-DERRICK FERGUSON’S POWER PLAY.  Pro Se Productions is now honored and privileged to announce that not only will the imprint continue, but new stories, digest novels, anthologies, and novels based on Derrick’s works as well unpublished works by Derrick will be produced, thanks to a licensing agreement between Pro Se and Derrick Ferguson’s estate, as represented by his wife Patricia.

“I literally owe my writing and publishing career to Derrick Ferguson,” says Tommy Hancock, Partner in and Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions. “Meeting through fan fiction, Derrick showed an appreciation for the way I wrote and when he saw an opportunity for me to propose something to an anthology that he felt would be perfect for me, he not only suggested, but he in his way also demanded that I submit something. I did that, got accepted and published and now I have the unquestionable honor of being allowed to do something that, while bittersweet, is precious to me. Pro Se will continue to publish not only Derrick’s remaining unpublished stories, but we will also be making calls for anthologies, short stories, and novels featuring Derrick’s prolific cast of characters. From Mongrel to Diamondback to Sebastian Red to so many others, writers touched by Derrick’s kindness through the years as well as his presence as an author will now have the chance to add their voices to the worlds Derrick created. And yes, this also most assuredly includes Dillon.”

For many readers and authors in the New Pulp Movement, Dillon is the penultimate New Pulp creation, due in large part to the various influences wrapped up in the character as well as Derrick’s passionate, out-of-the-box storytelling.  

Thanks to this licensing arrangement, two works under the POWER PLAY imprint will be out before the end of the year for certain-DERRICK FERGUSON’S DILLON: THE ODD JOBS VOLUME TWO featuring short stories focused on Dillon’s supporting cast written by other authors and WE ALL RISE, an anthology tribute to Derrick’s impact on multiple New Pulp creators. Other works are also in the queue, including a series written by Derrick Ferguson and author Joel Jenkins that will be published by Pro Se as a single collection.


For more information on this imprint, interviews with the author, or more, email Tommy Hancock at editorinchief@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com and like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.

Friday, July 14, 2023


Jesse Frost was a rising star in the worldwide conglomerate communication giant known as Megaplex. But when he accidentally stumbles upon a top-secret project underway that will subvert soon to be launched satellites to illegally benefit the company, he attempts to contact the authorities. In the process finds himself the target of hired assassins. In a desperate last act, he contacts the Daye Foundation via a library computer. The mysterious organization has ads offering to assistance to anyone in jeopardy, regardless of the circumstances.

Help arrives too late to save Frost, but a mysterious agent from the Foundation known only as Solitaire takes on the assignment of uncovering Megaplex's plans and finding the man responsible for Frost’s death. It is an assignment that will take the super spy from New York to Japan and finally to the desert outback of Australia. Write Lee Houston Jr. offers up a brand new pulp hero in this thrill-a-minute adventure that will soon have readers mesmerized. Solitaire’s debut appearance is a welcome addition to the role of new modern-day avengers.

Artist Chuck Bordell provides the interior illustrations while Pulp Factory Award Winner Ted Hammond the beautiful cover. This is the first in a new ongoing series.


Now available at Amazon.

Saturday, June 17, 2023



It's a growing problem, making it more difficult to distinguish real authors from AI-generated bylines of non-existent writers.

One publisher identified by the WaPo lists dozens of books on Amazon on surprisingly niche topics, with suspicious five-star reviews propping up the operation.

And AI-generated books on Amazon are only the tip of the iceberg, with other AI content flooding the rest of the internet with dubiously sourced material as well, which could easily trigger a pandemic of misinformation.

Read the full article: https://futurism.com/the-byte/amazon-flooded-books-written-by-ai

Friday, June 16, 2023


Pro Se Productions will be hosting a writers' retreat, focused on relaxation, active writing, and a little learning along the way. The focus of this retreat's loose classes will be SHORT STORY MECHANICS, focusing on genre/pulp but applicable to short stories in general. The retreat will be hosted at Castle Farms in Kibler, AR. Cost is 75.00 per person up to 15 people for the 2 night stay/3 day event. Breakfast and lunch and either bed or camping area is included in the charge,as well as any sessions or classes held.  

Please contact editorinchief@prose-press.com! to register for the event or ask any questions! The first writing retreat was a fantastic experience! Writers from Indiana and Texas as well as Arkansas attended!

For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/SRCastleFarms

Saturday, June 10, 2023

[Link] The Most Instagrammable Bookshops in the West

A good bookshop stokes the imagination in more ways than one. Add these literary gems to your list of places to stalk.

Read the full article: https://www.sunset.com/travel/bookshops

Friday, June 9, 2023

Bobby Nash announces a new story in Dark Sister magazine!

I’m thrilled to have a story in the latest issue of Dark Sister magazine from Amazing Things Press. Also included in this issue are stories by David Noe, Marvin Mann, Robert J. Sodaro, Auctor Trevel, Ronald C. Thomas Jr., Jim Ludwig, Mark Holmes, and more. Art by Jeff Austin, Dan Taylor, and more. 269 pages for only $9.99. Get yours today!

Dark Sister #11 is now available in paperback at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0C5P58896

About Dark Sister #11 - Little Dark Things:

From the tepid crypts of the Dark Sister's lair creeps a bevy of creators to bring you short stories and poems of the decidedly macabre and suspenseful side. From horror to adventure to humor to science fiction and fantasy and more, these tales will delight and disturb you. Some stories feature illustrations by some of the most talented (and sick) artists around. This is a Mature Readers title, so beware that you are mature enough to indulge.

My story in Dark Sister #11 is called “Driven By…”

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

I Made ChaptGPT Write This Article (Part 1)

AI (or straight-up theft, as some call it and perhaps rightly so in many cases) is a huge topic for creators of all types currently, from artists to writers to ideation generators. So, rather than just making assumptions, I figured I'd actually look at (what the programmers call) the tool and see what it can do and what it can't. This is that experiment. 

The Article

Prompt: Writer a tutorial for authors on how to use AI for creating elements to add to their fictional stories. 

Title: Harnessing the Power of AI:
A Guide for Authors to Enhance Fictional Stories


In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has become a powerful tool for various creative endeavors. Authors can leverage AI to enhance their fictional stories by generating elements such as characters, settings, plot ideas, and even dialogue. This tutorial aims to provide authors with a step-by-step guide on how to effectively use AI in their storytelling process.

Step 1: Define Your Story's Parameters

Before diving into the AI-assisted creation process, clearly define the parameters of your story. Determine the genre, setting, time period, and the general themes you want to explore. This will help guide the AI models and ensure that the generated elements align with your creative vision.

Step 2: Gather AI Tools and Platforms

Research and identify AI tools and platforms that cater to creative writing. There are various options available, such as OpenAI's GPT-3, which can generate text based on prompts, or other AI-driven platforms like ChatGPT, AI Dungeon, or even specialized writing software like Novelize. Explore different options to find the one that suits your needs best.

Step 3: Generating Characters and Settings

To create unique and compelling characters, provide the AI model with basic information about their background, appearance, personality traits, and goals. Experiment with different prompts, variations, and details until you find a character that resonates with your story. AI can also assist in generating imaginative settings by providing vivid descriptions or even suggesting unusual combinations.

Step 4: Developing Plot Ideas

AI can be a valuable resource for brainstorming plot ideas. Utilize the AI model by providing it with a summary of your story concept or specific plot points you want to explore. The AI can then generate alternative plotlines, twists, or even help you overcome writer's block by suggesting new directions.

Step 5: Enhancing Dialogue

Dialogue is a crucial element of any story. Use AI to generate realistic and engaging conversations between characters. Prompt the AI with the character names and their respective roles in the scene. Experiment with different dialogue options and refine them to fit the character's unique voice and personality.

Step 6: Editing and Integration

Once you have generated AI-generated elements, it's important to edit and refine them to align with your vision. AI-generated content might not always be perfect, so review and polish the generated text as needed. Ensure that the generated elements seamlessly integrate with your overall story and writing style.

Step 7: Maintaining Originality

While AI can provide valuable inspiration and assistance, it's crucial to maintain your originality as an author. Use AI as a tool to enhance your creativity, but remember that your unique voice and storytelling abilities are what make your work special. Use AI-generated content as a springboard for your imagination rather than relying solely on it.


Integrating AI into the creative writing process can be a powerful tool for authors seeking inspiration, new ideas, and unique story elements. By following this guide, authors can effectively utilize AI to generate characters, settings, plot ideas, and dialogue that align with their creative vision. Remember to experiment, refine, and maintain your unique voice throughout the process. Embrace the possibilities that AI offers while staying true to your own storytelling abilities. Happy writing!


The Story

Using these guidelines given by ChatGPT, I provided the following prompt:

Write a short story based on two characters confronting each other about one poisoning the other one's husband. The character who lost her husband to poison is a woman who used to be a spy for the CIA. The other character is her former boss, a power-hungry man with ties to foreign governments. He poisoned her husband to make her single again so she would be free to get back into the spy business. But she doesn't want to be a spy because he had a religious experience and is now a pacifist. The former spy speaks with an eloquent, well-studied vocabulary of a former literature major. The poisoner speaks with a Southern accent. 

Here's the story it wrote. 

The sun began its descent, casting long shadows across the secluded cabin where the confrontation was about to unfold. In a room dimly lit by a flickering oil lamp, two figures faced each other. Eleanor Sinclair, once a brilliant spy for the CIA, stood tall and resolute. Her piercing blue eyes glimmered with a mix of pain and determination. Across from her, stood her former boss, Richard McClusky, a man with a cunning smile and a southern drawl that dripped with insincerity.

"Richard," Eleanor began, her voice measured and commanding. "You've gone too far this time. Poisoning my husband, all to manipulate me back into the spy business. Is that the extent of your ambition?"

Richard chuckled, his eyes glinting with a mixture of amusement and arrogance. "Now, Ellie, darlin', don't go actin' all high and mighty on me. You know we were the best team the CIA ever had. We can't let a little thing like love get in the way of duty."

Eleanor's eyes narrowed. "Love? Is that what you think this is about? You have no understanding of what love truly means. You've always been driven by power and control."

Richard leaned against the cabin's rustic wooden table, a smirk playing on his lips. "Well, maybe I just know you better than you know yourself, Ellie. I thought you might miss the thrill of the chase, the adrenaline coursing through your veins. Besides, you were always a damn good spy."

Eleanor's voice remained firm, her gaze unyielding. "I was a good spy because I believed in something greater than power and control. I believed in protecting innocent lives and fighting for justice. But things have changed, Richard. I've changed."

Richard's smirk faded, replaced by a scowl. "Changed? You? Don't tell me you've gone all soft and religious on me now, Ellie."

A glimmer of defiance danced in Eleanor's eyes. "I may have found faith, Richard, but it's not about being soft. It's about finding a higher purpose, a way to make the world a better place without resorting to violence and manipulation. I've seen enough bloodshed."

Richard scoffed, his southern accent becoming more pronounced. "Faith? Higher purpose? That's all hogwash, Ellie. You think you can just walk away from who you were? You're throwing away your skills, your talents, and for what? Some airy-fairy notion of peace?"

Eleanor straightened her back, a fire burning in her words. "You were never one for understanding the depths of the human soul, Richard. My skills can be used for good without sacrificing my newfound convictions. I will find a way to make a difference without resorting to the darkness you embrace."

Richard's face contorted with anger, his voice venomous. "You can try, Ellie, but you'll never escape the shadows. You'll always be a spy at heart."

Eleanor's voice softened, carrying a steely resolve. "Perhaps, Richard, but I choose to define my own path now. And it won't be one stained with the poison of betrayal and manipulation."

With those words, Eleanor turned and walked away, leaving Richard seething in the dimly lit cabin. As the cabin door closed behind her, Eleanor felt a newfound strength within her. The path ahead was uncertain, but she was determined to forge a new destiny—one that embraced her faith, her convictions, and the power of love. And as she stepped into the fading sunlight, she knew that the shadows of her past would never define her again.


Not happy with it, I regenerated to get the following response.

Amelia Harrington, a woman who once moved in the shadows of espionage as a cunning CIA spy, now found herself face-to-face with her former boss, Harold McAllister. A man driven by power and manipulation, he had crossed a line that would forever alter their relationship.

Amelia, clad in a black suit that concealed her emotions, stood tall with an air of refined grace. Her piercing blue eyes, once filled with intrigue and adventure, now held a deep sadness. Harold, in his tailored gray suit, wore a smug expression as he leaned against the mahogany desk in his lavish office.

"Harold," Amelia began, her voice composed and measured, "you've always been a man of ambition, but this? This act of treachery, poisoning my husband to further your own twisted agenda, it's beyond comprehension."

Harold's gravelly voice laced with a southern drawl responded, "Amelia, darlin', I did what had to be done. You were meant for greatness, back in the field, where you excelled. Your skills were wasted on domestic life. I only sought to set you free."

Amelia's voice quivered with restrained anger, her cultured vocabulary clashing with Harold's Southern dialect. "Free? You dare speak of freedom when you ripped away the man I loved? I had left that life behind, Harold. A religious awakening had shown me the path of peace, and you thought you could manipulate me into becoming your pawn again."

Harold chuckled, a sound filled with smug arrogance. "Pacifism? That's all well and good, sugar, but you were made for this world. The thrill of the chase, the adrenaline of espionage—nothing can replace it. I did you a favor, breaking those chains of domesticity."

Amelia took a deep breath, regaining her composure. "You know nothing of my journey, Harold. My past, my present, and my future are mine to shape. I refuse to be dictated by your warped ideals. I have chosen a different path—one of compassion, understanding, and peace."

The room fell into a tense silence as their opposing ideologies clashed. Amelia's eyes glistened with unshed tears, and Harold's face contorted with a mix of frustration and disbelief.

"You were my prized agent, Amelia. The best I ever had," Harold whispered, his voice betraying a hint of regret.

Amelia's voice softened, carrying a hint of melancholy. "And you were my mentor, Harold. I respected you, even admired you. But you've lost your way, consumed by a hunger for power that blinds you to the lives you destroy."

Harold's gaze dropped to the floor as a heavy silence enveloped them once more. After a moment, he looked up, his eyes filled with a flicker of remorse. "I never meant to cause you such pain, Amelia. I thought I was doing what was best."

Amelia's expression softened, a flicker of forgiveness shining through her sorrow. "Sometimes, the road to redemption begins with acknowledging our mistakes, Harold. I hope you find that path one day."

With those final words, Amelia turned on her heel and walked away, leaving Harold to grapple with the consequences of his actions. As she stepped out into the world, her heart heavy with loss, she carried within her the strength of a woman who had found her true purpose—a purpose defined not by shadows and deceit, but by love, compassion, and the unwavering commitment to peace.


Still not happy, I tweaked the prompt:

Write a short story based on two characters confronting each other about one poisoning the other one's husband. The character who lost her husband to poison is a woman who used to be a spy for the CIA. The other character is her former boss, a power-hungry man with ties to foreign governments. He poisoned her husband to make her single again so she would be free to get back into the spy business. But she doesn't want to be a spy because he had a religious experience and is now a pacifist. The former spy speaks with an eloquent, well-studied vocabulary of a former literature major. The poisoner speaks with a Southern accent. Here's the big reveal. The woman doesn't have proof that her former boss is the one who poisoned her husband, but she is using this confrontation to discover proof. 

The dimly lit room crackled with tension as Catherine Sinclair, a woman with a past shrouded in secrecy, confronted her former boss, Robert "Bobby" Thompson. A man known for his insatiable hunger for power, he exuded an air of confidence that belied the darkness that lay beneath.

Catherine, her emerald eyes filled with a mix of grief and determination, stood before Bobby, her voice steady and composed. Her words were imbued with the eloquence of a literature major, each syllable carefully chosen.

"Bobby, I stand here today, not just as a grieving widow, but as a woman seeking the truth. My husband's death, the poison that claimed his life—it haunts me. And I can't help but wonder if your shadow looms behind it all," Catherine uttered, her voice laced with restrained accusation.

Bobby, leaning against a weathered wooden desk, responded with a southern drawl that resonated through the room. "Now, Catherine, darlin', you can't prove nothin'. It's all just wild accusations with nothin' to back it up. You're graspin' at straws."

Catherine's gaze locked with Bobby's, a fierce determination replacing her initial grief. "You underestimate me, Bobby. I may not have concrete evidence just yet, but I am here to unravel the truth. To peel back the layers of deceit until I expose the darkness that festers within."

Bobby chuckled, his voice tinged with a hint of menace. "You always did have a flair for the dramatic, Catherine. But what good is the truth without proof? You can't touch me without evidence."

Catherine smiled, a glimmer of cunning dancing in her eyes. "Ah, Bobby, you've always been a step ahead—or so you thought. But you see, this confrontation serves a dual purpose. Not only am I here to uncover the truth, but I also aim to obtain the evidence that will condemn you."

Bobby's face contorted with surprise, his eyes narrowing in suspicion. "And how do you plan to achieve that, Catherine? You may be resourceful, but I assure you, you won't find a shred of evidence that connects me to your husband's demise."

Catherine's smile grew wider as she produced a small recording device from her pocket, revealing her hidden ace. "You see, Bobby, I have become well-versed in the art of patience. And during my mourning, I stumbled upon conversations, whispers of secrets shared within the shadows."

She pressed play, and the room filled with the voice of Bobby, unmistakably confessing his role in the poisoning. Shock painted his face, his earlier confidence crumbling.

"You underestimated me, Bobby. But I learned from the best, didn't I? Your own arrogance proved to be your downfall," Catherine spoke, her voice a velvet-laced triumph.

Bobby, no longer able to maintain his facade, slumped into a chair, defeated. "I never wanted it to end like this, Catherine. I only wanted to free you, so you could embrace the life you were meant for—the life of a spy."

Catherine's voice softened, a mix of sadness and resolve filling the air. "I have changed, Bobby. I no longer yearn for the shadows or the machinations of power. I have found solace in a different path—a path of peace, compassion, and a desire to heal the world."

With those words, Catherine turned to leave, leaving Bobby to wrestle with his own demons. She had not only confronted her former boss but had obtained the proof she needed to bring justice to her husband's memory. In that room, the strength of her resolve and the weight of her loss forged an unyielding spirit—one that would not be silenced until truth prevailed.


Getting a wicked thought, I added one more tweak:

Write a short story based on two characters confronting each other over tea about one poisoning the other one's husband. The character who lost her husband to poison is a woman who used to be a spy for the CIA. The other character is her former boss, a power-hungry man with ties to foreign governments. He poisoned her husband to make her single again so she would be free to get back into the spy business. But she doesn't want to be a spy because he had a religious experience and is now a pacifist. The former spy speaks with an eloquent, well-studied vocabulary of a former literature major. The poisoner speaks with a Southern accent. Here's the big reveal. The woman doesn't have proof that her former boss is the one who poisoned her husband, but she is using this confrontation to discover proof. As she leaves her former boss, she asks him how he enjoyed the tea he has been drinking, implying that it too may be poisoned and he may just be paying for his crime sooner than expected. Then she leaves to visit her husband's grave to grieve. 

The quaint tea room exuded an air of elegance as Helen Montgomery, a woman burdened by grief, sat across from her former boss, Reginald "Reggie" Jenkins. Reggie, a man driven by ambition and hidden agendas, appeared relaxed as he sipped his tea, his Southern drawl filling the air.

Helen, her voice adorned with the refined grace of a literature major, spoke with a mix of sorrow and determination. "Reggie, we find ourselves here today, not as friends, but as adversaries. The death of my beloved husband, the poison that stole his life—I can't help but wonder if your hands bear the stain of guilt."

Reggie smirked, leaning back in his chair. "Now, Helen, darlin', you can't go 'round accusin' me without a lick of evidence. It's all just wild speculation. You're clutchin' at straws."

Helen's eyes bore into Reggie's, a flicker of intrigue illuminating her gaze. "Ah, Reggie, the art of subtlety was never your strong suit. You see, this confrontation serves a purpose beyond mere accusations. I seek not only the truth but also the opportunity to uncover the proof that will condemn you."

Reggie's confidence wavered as Helen's words lingered in the air, his eyes narrowing with suspicion. "What are you playin' at, Helen? You won't find anythin' that ties me to your husband's demise. It's a fool's errand."

Helen smiled, a hint of mystery dancing upon her lips. "You underestimate me, Reggie. I've learned to adapt and survive in a world of secrets. As we sit here, enjoying our tea, I wonder, how do you find the flavor? Refreshing? Perhaps with a hint of something more."

Reggie's facade crumbled as panic coursed through his veins. "What have you done?" he stammered, his voice betraying his fear.

Helen's eyes gleamed with a mix of vengeance and satisfaction. "Oh, Reggie, did you not realize the tables had turned? While I lack the concrete evidence to expose you fully, I found solace in planting a seed of doubt. You may be paying for your crimes sooner than expected."

As Helen rose from her seat, Reggie's trembling hands clutched the teacup before him, his once-confident demeanor now shattered. He watched in silence as she left the tea room, leaving him to grapple with his own guilt and the uncertainty of his fate.

Outside, Helen made her way to her husband's grave, her heart heavy with grief and the weight of unfinished justice. She whispered her final goodbyes, finding solace in the quiet serenity of the cemetery.

The wind carried her words as if to comfort her, as she turned away, leaving behind the ghosts of her past. Reggie's destiny remained uncertain, a consequence he would forever face in the realm of doubt and suspicion. For Helen, her path was clear—to carry her husband's memory and find her own peace in a world slowly healing from the wounds of betrayal.

In Part 2, we'll actually analyze how well this met the criteria and use Google-Fu to see what information out there in Internet-Land got ripped off.