halloween treat


It’s the season of tenebrous nights, ghost stories, fiery-eyed pumpkins and shadows, perfect for a little creepy reading while the ululating song of the children of the night raises shivers along your spine. My horror short story anthology ebook, Grave Shadows, is FREE until midnight November 4 (PST).

Happy Halloween!

coming soon



This is why penpanther has been quiet lately. I had a January 31st deadline to complete the first draft, what I call the down and dirty draft. I started the prep work in December and actual writing began January 4, finished it January 29!

This week I’ll do the read-through, make notes, do additional research, and do this neat new thing I just heard about called a reverse outline: http://monmouth.edu/uploadedFiles/Campus_Life/Writing_Center/ReverseOutlining.pdf/”>Revers.

A nifty revision tool for after your first draft is done. It gives you a panoramic view of the  book’s structure so you can see all of that elephant dominating your vision. Since this is my first time writing a non-fiction book, I want all the help I can find in making it as precise, useful and professional as possible.

I’ll begin rewriting and revising February 15 and hope to complete the first revision by February 29, then send it to my beta reader.

I read a variety of fiction–fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, romances, historicals, and literary novels. Some of them stay with me for years, some of them I’ll read more than once, (More than twice!), some of them disappear from my mind when I close the back cover. I find myself thinking about the good ones, still seeing the settings the writer portrayed, still remembering what the characters looked like, sounded like–why is that? What makes the books we vividly remember so alive in our minds? And what makes us go out and buy more of the same?

Writing Emotion is how I decided to answer that question.

I had a March 31 publication deadline but that won’t work since I’m going to put the book through two rewrites–one to get it into final shape and one to polish–so I’m looking at April or May, depending.

So, coming soon! Relatively!

Oh–the cover was done by Angie at Fiverr.



Indelible Beats: An Abishag’s Second Mystery

Indelible Beats

In Michelle Knowlden’s Indelible Beats, the second Abishag  mystery, intrepid romantic rationalist, Leslie Greene, finds herself entangled in the secretive doings of betrayal, fraud, and murder when she becomes an Abishag wife to the reclusive and misunderstood artist Jordan Ippel. Leslie realizes she’s not connecting with Jordan Ippel with the same affection she had for her first comatose husband and she struggles to understand what she’s learned about him. Leslie’s friends, Cat and Dog, are back and, surprise, Sebastian Crowder, from Sinking Ships, shows up too. I like Sebastian. I do not like Donovan Reid, Leslie’s arrogant and condescending boyfriend. He is neither a prince nor charming. But I digress. Indelible Beats, an Abishag’s Second Mystery, is another winning entry in the Abishag series. Enjoy!

Sinking Ships

Sinking Ships Cover with Eric's picture

Unusual characters combined with unusual ideas are a hallmark of noted mystery writer Michelle Knowlden. Sinking Ships is no exception to her talent. From the first page, I was hooked. Needing money to continue her education, Leslie Greene becomes an Abishag wife, a young woman whose job is to provide therapeutic comfort to comatose men in a temporary marriage that ends when the man dies. A unique and fascinating idea, and Miss Knowlden does it justice in a story with surprising twists and turns. Leslie is a courageous young woman determined to do her absolute best despite the prejudicial attitudes she encounters. Arriving at the home of her new husband, Thomas Crowder, Leslie finds the body of Hillary, Thomas Crowder’s niece, dead on the kitchen floor. With an eye to the care and comfort of her comatose husband, Leslie sets about solving the woman’s murder. Blackmail, an old secret, and a tragic shipwreck combine to make Sinking Ships a fascinating and well-written mystery. This is the first in a series of Abishag mysteries and, having read the excerpt included at the end for the next one, Indelible Beats,  I am eager for it. Not to be missed!

a slow rush


Of all my favorite literary characters, I think Jay Gatsby is the most tragic. A man who believed he could relive the past, and ended dead in the swimming pool of his magnificent, over-wrought mansion, shot fatally over a death he didn’t commit. The Great Gatsby has always been a favorite novel of mine. The movies have disappointed me, except I enjoyed the most recent–finding Cary Mulligan’s performance as Daisy the first non-vapid characterization I’ve seen. She brought Daisy to life like none before her. At least this version, with its near-manic kaleidoscope of music, dance, and wild partying, held my interest. I’ve read the novel four times over the years. It’s final sentence, one of my favorites: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back seamlessly into the past.”

Last night, the predawn hours really, the wind blew fiercely, a loud hiss rushing through the trees, bending them as if they were made of rubber. It scrubbed the sky clean, revealing rarely seen tiny points of light glimmering in the dark reaches high above. This morning the wind caresses–trees sway gently back and forth like lovers wrapped in a slow dance.

Today is Writing Saturday with Michelle. I’m preparing a lunch of broiled lobster with clarified butter and lemon; Mediterranean lentil salad; and roasted squash. She’s bringing bread and dessert. I may work on Sleight of Hand or do NANO prep for this year’s November novel.  By the way, Michelle interviewed me for the October post of First Friday Breakfast with an Author, michelleknowldenwrites. It was nice of her to ask and fun for me to do. My publications, Grave Shadows, an anthology of disturbing dark fantasy stories, and my latest, The Ghost Jewel, a sword and sorcery tale, are featured. It’s a good day for spooky and fantastical reading. Thanks, Michelle!


where i live


While cleaning the kitchen, the thought crossed my mind: in my home, where do I live? What spaces do I actually inhabit in the complete sense of the word? Turns out it’s the living room and my writing office.

I’m either on the couch writing, reading, or watching cable or a movie dvd or I’m at my writing desk. These two places are where I spend most of my daily hours. We all have our favorite spaces and probably don’t realize or think about the amount of time we spend in them. Some people can always be found cruising through the hours in their living room, or bedroom, kitchen, game room, or home office. And what do you do in these favorite spaces? Your favorite activities, of course. Mine are writing, reading, or watching.

Yesterday had a good meeting with my writing buddy, a productive day. And this morning I spent time creating a cover for my sword and sorcery tale which I plan to publish as a Kindle Single. I’ve got one more of those to do for another short story. Today is all writing desk time.

And, after a long time thinking about it, I’ve published a print edition of Grave Shadows, with a new cover and available at Amazon (Reviews are welcome!)  and at my CreateSpace page.

Happy writing, d:)!

by the way…

Taking a moment to thank all who have downloaded my dark fantasy anthology, Grave Shadows (link at left). THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I hope you enjoyed the stories. It’s a  kick in the pants to me to work harder!

I’ve got a supernatural thriller novella (or novelette) in the works, Shadow Walk. Not sure if I’ll keep that title, but it’ll do for now.

Grave Shadows at Kindle!

In the Kindle store–four tales of regrets and desires–a young man’s regret leads to disaster; a teen wishes he could change the past; a wife babies her husband in the worst way; and a fearful husband’s desperation takes a grave twist.

I can’t believe I did it! I enjoyed handling all the aspects of preparing the anthology–liked that feeling of having complete control. I think I may do this again! Thank you, Janet for helping me clear the last hurdle!