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 back stage. 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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Flash Fiction: Parade of Clowns

My flash fiction for Carrot Ranch. Mosey on over and see what all the hubbub’s about. Charli’s got some contests coming up, too, so check it out.

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Life Lessons from Mr. Magorium: Death & Change

There’s quite a few lines from the movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium that have stuck with me over the years. If you haven’t seen the film, I highly recommend it. The script doesn’t blanch at the realities of change and death. The characters frequently toss out clever lines and understand what it means to laugh and to struggle. It’s a simple plot, one that revolves around a magical toy store, but it’s powerful. I think I like the simple, magical stories the best.

One of the more poignant lines, one that is towards the end of the film, goes like this:

Molly: Are you dying?

Mr. Magorium: Light bulbs die, my sweet. I will depart.

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Writing Lessons: Steering the Course, Staying True

I don’t like my country very much lately. Since late 2016, a fissure emerged in America’s lands and everyone jumped eagerly to either side. Trump being elected was like a trumpet blown by the Republicans and all of their party supporters. The supporters were portrayed as frustrated, forgotten, worn out voters who put Trump into power to “Make America Great Again”–their version of greatness, anyway. Many of these voters had been affected by the lack of working class jobs, ones shipped overseas or replaced by technology. Trump was their secret weapon; he was their line drawn in the sand. They wanted to turn back time and have their old way of life back.

I’ve been sick for the past week and have had time to reflect. I attended classes and counseling sessions last month to jump start my writing platform. And to be honest, I found that I hated these sessions. I was asked questions like “What makesĀ your writing special?” and “Why should I pick up your book?” I answered their questions, in my typical straightforward fashion, but none of my answers seemed to appease. I sensed my words weren’t flashy enough, weren’t meeting the elusive standards of good marketing. I wasn’t attracting attention in the American, shallow way of enticement. I came away feeling I needed to change and become a saleswoman.

And I found myself simply not caring.

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Flash Fiction: Epic Work Place

Check out this week’s writing prompt at Carrot Ranch and crack on!

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Be Still: Setting Up My Writing Office (Collage Ideas)

“Be still and know that I am God” is one of my favorite scripture verses.* As an introvert who needs approximately four hours of alone time for every one hour of interaction with others, these words are balm on my soul. It reassures me that peace, quiet and solitude are necessary. I don’t need to seek after worldly things until I burn myself out or to prove to anyone that I’m “worthy.” Jesus died for me–I am his treasured one. This is my compass.

Is it weird that I’m a horror author who is also Christian? I don’t think so. Christianity, once you get past the baby milk and sugar, is actually filled with terrifying ideas and creatures–demons, angels, martyrdom and Hell being just a few. “Be still and know that I am God” are ringing bells of power in the cemetery of death, the world of lies and illusions we navigate before rejoining God in Heaven. Evil lurks behind the tombstones waiting to distract us or to push us off course. Few things about this are fair and the journey is sometimes filled with horrible things. But we get there. With God, we get there.

But let’s step back onto the main path for now. It’s foggy and cold in the cemetery, but the full moon is out and there’s a dry patch under the elm. Let’s talk about my main subject: setting up my writing space.

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Novel Snippet: A Paragraph Reveal & Other Exciting Updates

Thank you for fifty subscribers! As a warm thank you to everyone, I’ve included a small paragraph snippet of my upcoming novel–M.B. I will be doing both a title reveal and a cover art reveal in the near future. My goal is to finish the edits this week, before Labor Day vacation ensues here in America. Please light a candle for me.

Some other quick updates. I will soon be launching my YouTube Channel–Peregrine Arc. I am putting together my writing office which will also serve as my recording studio area. I’m gathering up artwork that will be shown on the back wall of my filming area that’ll help create my writing nest and also add visual appeal. The Saint is helping me design this and put this together.

This week I’m also meeting with a business adviser to put together my own LLC and help with the business side of administering Peregrine Arc–my official writing platform and also the name of this website. I took a business class last weekend to get primed for this counseling session. Ready, set–let’s go.

Thank you to everyone who’s joined Peregrine Arc along the way and has been patient as I finished M.B. It’s been quite a learning process getting the foundation of indie writing down but I’m getting there. The blog is growing at a steady pace and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading another person’s thoughts.

And without further ado, here is a selectedĀ paragraph from the prologue for your reading pleasure. Please remember to like and subscribe if you’d like to continue on this merry ride with me. Happy writing!

-A.R. Clayton

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Author Talks with her Protagonist: Persistence & Humor

I’m having a hard time wrapping up my final edits on my horror novel, M.B. Finishing a book, I’m finding, is like letting go of a friend. Anne is the name of my protagonist and she’s modeled a bit after me (but not entirely). We’re both intelligent women, both love old houses and each of us have our quirks. And our stubbornness.

I’ve been visiting Anne at her house, dragging my feet around her hallways while she pecks away at her laptop busily. Anne works as a freelance programmer inbetween renovating her house in her semi-retirement. I tend to mope and throw myself across her couch, counters, floors and rugs. I hide behind her long curtains and look out onto her front yard and the tree I placed at the edge, just outside the front row of bushes. Anne ignores my antics politely and reminds me to wipe up my smudge marks I leave on her windows.

Anne’s blunt and direct, like me, but slightly more patient. One of our latest conversations went a bit like this…

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