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Progress on the Journey

INTJ female writer who set out to become a published author of contemporary literature. She published her first novel, Memory Bound, in October 2018. She continues to write, including novels and through entries on this blog. Writing includes horror/mystery, young adult fantasy and science fiction.

All opinions, mistakes and dog hair are my own. Thank you for joining me. Pass the tea kettle, would you?

Mr. Swinebottom Presents: The Author, A Librarian and A Tale of Fright (Humor)

The curtain rustles and Mr. Swinebottom sticks his head out through a parting, appearing quite abruptly. For a moment, he appears to be a floating head, his rounded spectacles flashing against the stage lighting eerily. He gathers himself and walks through the parting, dusting off the invisible lint on his pressed pants and tail coat.

“Ladies and gentleman, I know we’re currently in the middle of “The Tale of the Terrible Traffic”, but for your viewing pleasure tonight, we’ll be adding a special vignette to this evening’s intermission. With us backstage is the saint–or as you know, the author’s spouse. He will be debuting with us tonight. So please, gather your wits, or what you have left of them, sit back and prepare to be…entertained…”

An orchestra underneath the stage erupts into a fanfare of trumpeting and cymbals. Mr. Swinebottom jumps and runs to his stool for safety, startled by the sudden appearance of live music. He glares at the blog writer and flicks on his reading lamp curtly, mumbling about dirty tricks and a lack of respect for artists. He adjusts his spectacles tightly and readies his script.

“Our story begins on one cold, November evening…”

Continue reading “Mr. Swinebottom Presents: The Author, A Librarian and A Tale of Fright (Humor)”

Author’s Thoughts: Promises, promises (Horror & Gun Control)

I’m listening to the audio book of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson currently. It’s a great story and I plan to pick up the novel at the library soon. I got a little lost in the house while the doctor was describing how everything was built during his tour. (He did this so the group could avoid getting lost, ironically, and learn each floor’s layout.) Hill House was built in concentric circles with the inner rooms having no windows or doors. Furthermore, everything was built slightly angled, about 15 degrees off–on purpose. The mansion was intended to catch you off guard, it seems, to perhaps idly trap you inside its interiors. It disoriented your senses, disturbed your balance.

I tilted my head at the windows and then at the stairwell, trying to catch just how everything was tilted. I couldn’t quite grasp it and I thought it was silly and dubious to waste a contractor’s time with such frivolity. A set of doors had closed earlier in the dining room and we were seeing if footsteps on the angled floors caused the doors to shut on their own. I sense these details are themes that will come back around in the closing pages. Ms. Jackson is a sharp writer and she’s leaving her bread crumbs in the pages, beguiling. I scurry along, following the group as we leave doors open behind us, turning our heads to check them before crossing into an adjoining hallway. One particularly heavy door has a stool put before it to make sure it stayed open. We’ll see if they’re closed or open when we return.

Horror is fine, it seems, if we can control it or try to make sense of it. When Halloween comes and goes, the decorations and ghost stories seem comical afterwards, don’t they? Horror movies can be paused; masks taken off and put into storage, easily forgotten about until next year. But what about real horror? What about people getting shot in a bar, running around defenseless in smoke curtains created by a stalking predator? What about Jews worshiping in their synagogue and being slaughtered?  What about children and teenagers, coming to class and not leaving alive?

Our country averts its eyes back towards the rotting Jack-O-Lanterns. They stare back, gaping at our stupidity.

Continue reading “Author’s Thoughts: Promises, promises (Horror & Gun Control)”

Reginald Swinebottom Presents: The Author & The Terrible Tale of Traffic (Act I) (Humor)

Audience is seated and conversation is humming. The lights dim and Mr. Swinebottom walks on stage eagerly, holding his script. He is greeted with loud, vigorous applause and whistles. He smiles and pauses mid-stage for a moment, basking in the glow of the flattery. He catches himself and ducks behind the podium, arranging his script. Taking out his glasses, he unfolds them and perches them precisely on the edge of his nose. Clearing his throat, he clicks on his reading light and begins speaking.

“Good evening, ladies and gentleman, and welcome to another Reginald Swinebottom presents. I am your narrator, Mr. Swinebottom himself. Let’s begin tonight’s story, shall we? It all takes place, one late afternoon, on a most trying commute home from work…”

Continue reading “Reginald Swinebottom Presents: The Author & The Terrible Tale of Traffic (Act I) (Humor)”

The 8th Annual Halloweensie Contest (Entry)

If you’d like to enter, please check out the webpage here. My contest entry is below, all 100 words. Thanks for reading!

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Thoughts on Hate: Antisemitism

Humans are very good at killing each other. They’re also very good at justifying why they kill. I believe in order to kill a person, the human mind must firmly believe the other is exactly that–an other. The other is a stranger, different from you, and therefore inherently wrong because of their differences. The other’s existence is perceived as competition for resources that enable your “right” way of living.  The other, therefore, becomes unworthy of resources, any semblance of mercy or even existence.  This “reasoning” quickly snowballs into hatred, takes root in the soil of self-righteousness and grows tall and strong. Pretty soon the other is blamed for peripheral things, such as lack of work, a lack of prosperity or a lack of notice and regard that you clearly deserve.  The act of killing is just a short step behind this hatred, patiently waiting to leap down from the rafters.

I think this is why the rabbi in the dusty sandals said murder begins in the heart. He knew; he told us. And yet we’re not listening. We’re killing, instead. Why? Because people who hate believe they are right to hate. And people don’t like to be told they’re wrong.

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Book Publication Announcement: “Memory Bound” (Horror)

Exciting news! Memory Bound is now officially available in e-book and in print! It’s also available in Kindle Unlimited if you have a subscription to that service.

This is my first, real book publication. I hope you enjoy a good horror read filled with layers of provoking thoughts, what if’s and dark corners. Oh, and of course, a dog. If you follow along with my writing, you’ll see dogs are a reoccurring theme.

If you like the cover art, please check out the below links to look into getting your own cover art done. The artist I worked with was Donna Dean. Her and her fellow artists created the following websites to display their work. Please be sure to check them out.

My primary editor was Ms. Starr Waddell of Quiethouse Editing. She was fantastic to work with, I highly recommend her. Please check her out as well.

More updates and blogs soon to come! Thank you everyone.

Writing Gizmos: Need a Cover Artist? (Got One)

Just a quick check-in to say hello (hello!) and to share some writing resources with you.

The cover artist I used for Memory Bound is Donna Dean from Donna Dean Photography. She was great to work with and her art fit my novel like a glove. Please check out her web page and share with any writers you know.

Her and her artist friends have also started a couple of social media pages to showcase their work. Please check them out here and help me to share their great work and talent:

Thank you and happy writing!

Reginald Swinebottom Presents: “The Tale of the Cowardly Author” (In One Act)

Hello, and welcome to the first edition of “Reginald Swinebottom Presents.” I’m your narrator, Mr. Swinebottom himself. Please no drinks, candies, popcorn, gum or anything else that fills you with empty calories and cavities. Flash photography and cell phones are not permitted during the stage performance. If used, your device will be confiscated and destroyed, along with your arms and legs. Now, please enjoy the show.”


(The red curtain parts. The scene opens to a house, filled with many rooms. The stage lights focus on a simply furnished bedroom on the second floor. A lump underneath the blankets is snoring deeply in rhythm. A black dog wakes and stretches in the corner beside a quaint doggy bed.)

“Once upon a time an author woke up early on a Saturday morning. A certain Labrador Retriever needed to use the great grassy beyond and began vocalizing her needs. The Labrador also desired num nums. Good num nums. Delicious num nums. It was time to put on the slippers and start the day.

“The author found the leash and collar and tiptoed out the front door in her purple slippers, the canine companion trotting closely behind. Anyone passing by would see the author’s darling new owl pajama bottoms and her worn-but-cozy hoodie. A pee and a poo later, the Labrador sprung sprightly back inside the house, ready for her meal. Breakfast was served for both.

“The author, now fed and warm, curled up in her chair. Quiet ebbed and flowed; blood cells danced and swirled inside her veins in bliss. It was peaceful and silent, save for a squeak or two from a dog toy. Maybe she would write. The day was open and hers to explore. All was well.

“And then the doorbell rang.”

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Author Interviews Herself on New Book: Memory Bound (Humor)

Interviewer: “Good afternoon, Arcians! We are excited to have with us today, up and coming indie author A.R. Clayton. Peregrine Arc is her platform and Memory Bound is her first pending publication. Welcome!”

Author: “Thank you. I don’t know what an Arcian is but thank you for having me.”

Interviewer: “It’s something I came up with backstage. Your followers need a name, right?”

Author: “Do they?”

Interviewer: “…Yes. Yes they do. Moving on. First question from our fans. What inspired you to be a writer?”

Author: “I’m still stuck on the Arcian thing. Followers should already have names, unless the hospital forgot to write them in on their birth certificate. Or their parents couldn’t make up their minds. Or maybe they were switched at birth, and their actual name is something horrible, like Swinebottom. Imagine finding that out when you’re twenty. That would be dreadful…”

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Book Update: Cover Reveal & Title

Above, you can see the cover of my upcoming book–Memory Bound. I finally feel comfortable releasing the cover for view as I (really, truly) believe publishing is very close at hand. A second editor is going through my narrative currently as a “last proof” edit and is also formatting my book for ebook and hard copy print. It’s definitely been a long journey but I’ve learned a lot.

The editor is hoping to get the book back to me before Halloween, but I’m not establishing a firm publication date at this point in time. Every time I’ve set a deadline, another step has popped up I need to complete. It’s become comical really, and is to be expected (I think) with one’s first book.

Or so I tell myself. With hands shaking and eyes twitching. Pass the wine, would you?

Continue reading “Book Update: Cover Reveal & Title”