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:

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! 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:

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:

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

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.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

[Link] Are we ready for COVID-19 as a central theme in literature?

By Gabino Iglesias

Nearly two years after the start of COVID-19 social-distancing protocols and lockdowns, the pandemic is still a thing we think about — and live with — daily. Its constant presence and the way it has changed our world has had an impact on everything, including literature.

I, like I'm sure many others, had no interest in reading books about plagues generally or about how we were dealing with COVID-19 more specifically over the last two years. But as this pandemic seems like it will eventually turn into an epidemic or become endemic, I have started freeing myself up to read about these topics beyond daily news — and to start looking back, and forward, with literature that either mentions COVID-19 or features it a central element of its narrative. And from the slew of books coming out this year, it seems like other have too (or at least publishing houses think they have!).

Pandemic fiction and nonfiction began more quickly trickling into our libraries and bookstores in the second half of 2021, and has since found a growing presence. We've seen novels like Louise Erdrich's The Sentence, Catherine Ryan Howard's 56 Days, Amitava Kumar's A Time Outside This Time, and Sarah Hall's Burntcoat. There have also been anthologies like COVID Chronicles: A Comics Anthology, Lockdown: Stories of Crime, Terror, and Hope During a Pandemic, and And We Came Outside and Saw the Stars Again: Writers from Around the World on the Covid-19 Pandemic (the latter two of these actually came out in 2020). All directly address the pandemic and chronicle how it has affected our lives, relationships, plans, and productivity.

Read the full article:

Friday, June 2, 2023


Famed fantasy adventure writer Nancy Hansen returns to the post-apocalyptic world of The Silver Pentacle in this second volume which features two new stories. In "Sunken Treasure" the starman, Jordyn Orion continues to add to his team of heroes. This includes the shy but courageous half-human silkie, Roan Finnman.

Then in "Silken Death," our crew comes across an abandoned residential community infested with giant spiders that must be eradicated completely. Once again Hansen weaves her magic spell in a world totally unique but filled with the same universal struggles of good vs evil in the most amazing ways.

Artist Guy Davis provides the beautiful cover and accompanying nine black and white interior illustrations.


Available from Amazon in paperback and soon on Kindle.