Monday, December 31, 2007

Heroes Often Fail

I ordered the sequel to "Under a Raging Moon" because I enjoyed the first book. Admittedly, it's been sitting in my To Read pile, but I finally had the time to read. (Often it's a choice between reading and writing, and the latter usually wins.) I chewed through the book in about four hours-- and finished long it after assuring my hubby I'd be to bed soon. It says something about a book that demands to be finished once the reader has entered the final stages.

Frank Zafiro creates marvelous characters, so rich and assorted. The only thing I wish is that I could get to know some of them a little more. For me, the characters kept me reading more than the plot-- and that's not intended as a knock against the plot. It's a well-written plot, suspenseful at parts and carefully orchestrated, but it's not a happy plot. The characters were so enjoyable, though, I don't think it would have mattered what the story was.

The story is a kidnapping of a little girl. Since the third person omnicient view point includes the little girl, it's clear to the reader what's happened long before the cops even know. In fact, there's a scene where the reader-- at least this reader-- wanted to kneecap Kopriva for his mistake because of what I knew. I think it's called dramatic irony.

I didn't like the ending. Nothing against Frank's writing-- he writes very well. But it's not an ending to be liked. The clues come together and the crime plays out. Unfortunately, I tend to flip to the end of the book when it gets suspenseful, and I was rewarded far too well for my efforts. This is wholly personal preference, but I was hoping that Frank would thwart my attempt to find out the end before I get there, especially since he did so well at not revealing the end in the last pages of his other novel.

I do recommend "Heroes Often Fail." It could easily be read without having first read "Under a Raging Moon," but they're both good books. I'm hoping to see more of these characters, because they're delightful, from Katie MacLeod to Stefan Kopriva, even Hart. I want to see Hart get what's coming to him. Or maybe he just needs a girlfriend-- and a good lay. =)

There are more of Frank's characters hanging out at Mysterical-E as his 4 part story comes to print. Which is nice, for now, but I'm ready for the next book, Frank.

And now back to being sick (if I find the student who gave me this cold...!)

  • Story in Progress: Bo's Novel
  • Last Story Finished: Family Resemblance
  • What I should be doing: Working on my Grad School Research paper (talk about a *whole* different type of writing!)


The Winter 2007 issue of Mouth Full of Bullets is out. The talented BJ Bourg has put together a fine publication-- and this issue even includes not one, but two Bo Fexler pieces. The first is "Highs and Mellows." This story is only available in the print edition, for now. Eveuntually, it'll be in the archives. Until then, just pony up the six bucks and buy a copy. It's worth it for stories like "Your New Fan" by Keri Clark. Damn. That's great writing there. And it's in good company.

The second story is "Lord of His Domain," and it originally appeared at Powderburn Flash. This one is available online at Mouth Full of Bullets.

And now, back to the novel. 22 thousand words written and it's still fun. But don't worry, I'll still be writing short stories. Bo has a lot of misadventures yet unwritten.

  • Story currently in progress: Bo Novel
  • Last story finished: final edit of "Skeletons of Past Loves"
  • What I should be doing: nothing, I'm on vacation
  • Current song: Hey Mister, by Custom

Sunday, December 23, 2007

And Happy Holidays to You Too

It's that time of year-- and from working ages in retail, I know first hand how the holidays bring out the "best" in people. Nevertheless, Christmas is just around the corner, the kids have been let out for Christmas Break, and there's plenty of social obligations that people get through with gritted teeth and/or alcohol. And there's a Bo Fexler short story, titled "Holiday Beating" over at Powder Burn Flash.

Maybe next year I'll write some cheerful holiday tripe.

Probably not.

Until then, I've a novel to work on, classes to prepare for, short stories to write, a grad course to take, and computer training courseware to edit. For now, with the wind howling outside my little Michigan home, I've got a candy cane and plenty of Diet Pepsi.

  • Last story finished: Big Instruments
  • Story in progress: Bo Novel #1 (just passed 10k)
  • Reason for not writing: Enjoying not having anything I *have* to work on.
  • Today's Song: Elf's Lament by Barenaked Ladies (What a funny song!)

Thursday, December 6, 2007


DBA Lehane has a short story contest going on right now. The stories are twenty-six words long, with each letter starting with a successive alphabet letter. I happen to have submitted an entry-- not a Bo Fexler piece. Couldn't figure out how to work that in... =)

You can click
here to read the entries. You can also comment (vote) on entries.

Vote Quimby!

  • Story in Progress: Bo Novel #1, NaNo2007
  • Last Story Completed: Mighty Maids Mystery
  • Reason for not writing: writer's block (aka what next?)
  • Current song: Criminal by Fiona Apple

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Soft around the edges

Today, Fictional Musings posted my short story "Celiac's are People, Too." It is a Bo Fexler story, but minus the sex, violence, and much of her edge. It's a story I've been kicking around for awhile and when my head cleared enough the other day, I managed to get it into the computer.

People with allergies, intolerances and disorders are, I think, more prone to blame things on their condition, which is what makes the idea behind this story so intriguing to me.

But then again, I'll readily admit that many things in the world to me are amusing and ripe for story possibilities. I'm quirky that way.

  • Last story finished: Celiac's are people, too
  • Story in Progress: Merry Maid Murder (at super-snail pace)
  • Reason for not writing: Ill... though I think I've finally nailed down why. For this week...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Good or Bad

Muzzle Flash just posted the shost story "Bad Dream." Bo's up to some naughty stuff. ;-) But it's for her case and for her client. Besides, I don't think the man *really* minded...

In other news, by the middle of this week, I finished the 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month. Not done with the story, but there's a solid tale in the middle of it. It joins two other stories that are in limbo. I don't know where I want to go next-- too much thinking perhaps.

For now, I have to clean my desk so the stupid cable guy can get to my TV to put on the digital box that I *don't* want but can't avoid because my cable company is playing 'jack the customers!' Yea!

  • Last story completed: Bad Dream
  • Story in Progress: Merry Maids Murder & NaNoWriMo2007
  • Reason for not writing: Writer's block
  • Current Song: Sex is not the Enemy by Garbage (one of my FAVE bands!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This time, it's personal.

There's a new site out there for crime and mystery fiction: Darkest Before the Dawn. And the first story published by them is a Bo Fexler story called "Misguided Flight." Gotta be a good site, right? It's run by the same folks who run Powder Burn Flash, only Darkest Before The Dawn takes fiction up to 10,000 words. Perfect...

"Misguided Flight" follows Bo as she takes a case to find a missing young woman. A woman who doesn't tell her parents nearly half of what's going on in her life. A woman exploring what life has to offer. A woman who only picks controlling men for relationships. Part of the investigation affects Bo deeply. It's a struggle for her to stay focused on the case, not on the choices she made.

So, read and enjoy!

  • Story in progress: NaNoWriMo2007; Bad Dream
  • Last story finished: Misguided Flight (and first accepted...)
  • What should I be doing: Grading papers. I *hate* grading papers... especially some of these history assignments.
  • Song I'm listening to: Uninvited by Alanis Morissette

Monday, November 5, 2007


After a fantastic run of acceptance and publication this past year, I seem to have fallen a bit into a slump. Not for lack of ideas! Or even of stories. The problem is I've been working on things that are too long for most publications OR that are, ah, well, not going to be accepted by most places. Usually for sexual content.

The other thing holding back some of my completed stories is 'themes'. I hate themed issues. Almost as much as I hate celebrity 'news'. Few of my stories fit into any themes because they are just written as stories. Everyday stories. Cases where Bo uses her brain, body, and fists to get what she wants. Fun stories. But not themed. And several of the places that used to take regular stories-- with profanity, sex and violence-- have gone themed.

Somedays it seems like I'm the only fan of hardboild crime noir pulp fiction. From the number of emails and comments-- and hits-- I get, I know that I'm not, but pulications don't seem to cater to our ilk so much. Or they go themed.

I hate themes.

So, I wait. Iwait for publications that take my kind of stories. And in the meantime, I'm going to try to work on some shorter stories that do fit the requirements of the publishers. And my NaNoWriMo story.

  • Last story finished: Edits of "Family Affairs of Adult Children"

  • Story in Progress: "Merry Maids Murder" (working title!)

  • Reason for not writing: Working on NaNoWriMo2007-- currently over 13k words (out of 50k)

  • Song in my head: "Back in your head" by Tegan and Sara

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sex Appeal

So, I updated the look of my blog. Titillating. It was a chance thing as I was over reading some stories at Fictional Musings-- which looks pretty cool with it's recently updated blog template. Anyway, I saw the link for Free Blog Skins and surfed on over. That's when I saw her. The ruby red lips. Sexy. Seductive. And damn, they could even be Bo's lips.

Given the unabashed sexuality in several Bo Fexler short stories, including the ones I've been working on of late, it seemed entirely appropriate. Bo is the smart, bitter, witty private eye, but she is also the sexy dame with the "legs up to here" who's always in trouble. No massive bazookas, though. ;-)

Unfortunately, things are otherwise fairly quiet on the publishing front. I have many stories out and about, begging assorted editors if they can spare some room in their publications. And I've been working at a furious pace on several shorts behind the scenes. I actually have more stories submitted than I have "in progress" which is unusual for me. Most of the pieces I have been hard at work on have been these gargantuan stories, even by my standards. 6, 8, even 10k. And one that tips the scales at 18k. Harder to sell these tales are. But they are some of my finest work, without a doubt.

So a lot going on, but not much to show for it. Speaking of nothing to show for it, I am foolishly signing up for National Novel Writing Month, aka, NaNoWriMo. I've done this for several years now, with nothing to show for it except the experience. This year, I'm hoping to get some nuggest of Bo Fexler stories out of it. Perhaps even some novellas. This is the first year, however, that I enter into this as published author. With fans.

Someday, I'll get to that novel and that series. Bo deserves for her novels to make it to paper. Her fans deserve it. And I deserve to make a few bucks from my writing. Just a few. Until then, it's back to my underpaid positions!

  • Last story completed: Black and Pink and Blond All Over (formerly "Exposure"), with many thanks to AW.

  • Story Currently in Progress: Misguided Flight, alternating with Man of the Month (v3!)

  • What should I be doing: laundry

Monday, October 15, 2007

Bo's in trouble again

Today, the fourth issue of Yellow Mama came out, and it includes "Beaten to the Punch." Readers know that Bo is as likely to use her body and her brains as well as her fists-- as seen in "Assortment of Bullies". This one uses fists. A notebook's been stolen right out of Bo's apartment and she doesn't take the violation well. Getting the notebook back becomes her priority. Is she making a mistake?

Assault, after all, can prevent a private investigator from keeping her license.

Phillip Marlowe never had to worry about losing his license after he knocked anyone around. Or broke into anyone's house. But Phillip Marlowe is a fictional character. ;-)

  • Story in progress: New Year
  • Last Story completed: Sex Act
  • Reason for not writing: I have way too many jobs. And a husband who actually likes to be around me.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dead Tired

With Mysterical-E's Fall issue, my story Dead Tired is ready for reading. This little tale has Bo investigating the death of a young man who walked the straight-and-narrow. But what will she do the information she uncovers?

  • Last Story Finished: Sex Act
  • Story in Progress: none
  • What I should be doing: preparing for History class

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Assortment of Bullies

The July archive is now available at Crime and Suspense so those who missed the story "Assortment of Bullies" can read it. This one is told not from Bo's perspective, but Dawn's. Something I was trying, in part to explore Dawn's character and in part to try submitting a story with a more accessible character. Bo's a little crude, crass and sharp. Dawn's softer, more vulnerable. They are, for you literary folks, foils.

But Bo's still the central character as she deals with a variety of difficult and violence-prone people.

  • Last story finished: Death by PI revisions-- and it's been submitted
  • Story in progress: Nothing at the moment, but I'll think of one. Probably should work on "Cracked" I have some good ideas for that one
  • Excuse for not writing: revising, which is very different and often times more frustrating than just writing

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


PowderBurn Flash has posted the short "Matters of Privacy." Bo Fexler has her own rules and her own definitions. To go along with those, in this tale she has a new blackeye and a new ex-boyfriend. Read to find out what happened.

  • Last story finished: Matters of Privacy
  • Story in Progress: Loose Screws, & Death by PI
  • Excuse for not writing: Preparing for and teaching the first week of classes

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Good Crook, Good PI

Bo's back in a two-part two bit story called "Good Crook, Bad Cop" over at MuzzleFlash. The story is a police 'interview.' The first part is with Axel, a friend of Bo's, and the second part is with Bo herself. Part 1 should really be read first. The story is about an arrest, some emails that may or may not have been obtained leagally, and a vendetta.

Insider's Note: Bo uses the word vendetta rather than grudge because of her speech impairment. Since her impairment leaves her unable to say R's, (amongst other problems) she does sometimes pick a synonym without an R.

  • Excuse for not writing: working 4 jobs. But I did get a fair amount of editing done on "Death by PI"
  • Last story finished: Good Crook, Bad Cop pts 1 & 2
  • Story in progress: Several different pieces as my whismy dictates

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bo's back . . . finally!

It's been a long several weeks, but Bo's finally come out of the shadows. The story is called "False Impressions" and it appears at Yellow Mama. In the 3600 word short story, Bo is trying to find a woman with a tendency towards fraud. Things start at a domestic violence shelter where the workers mistakenly thinks Bo-- fresh out of a bar brawl-- is there for assistance. First impressions can be both good and bad. They can also be true or false.

I had fun writing this story, especially given the amount of Bo's bitter naration.

One note: those who are familiar with Greek mythology might get the reference of LEDA (as in the mortal raped by Zeus.) I happen to think that it makes an excellent acronym for a domestic violance assistance program. But then, word play has always been my weakness. That's probably why nearly all my titles have some sort of word play in them-- this one included.

Lastly, thanks are in order for both DZ Allen at MuzzleFlash and to Frank Zafiro for putting links from their pages onto mine. The more the merrier. And I still get geeked when my little bookworm hit counter goes up and up.

  • Story in progress: just several different bits and pieces
  • Last story completed: Medium-Well
  • Excuse for not writing: writing tests for a Windows Vista course (aka job #4)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Under a Raging Moon

Still nothing to report in the publishing front. Sorry.

I did finish my anthology entry, with some wonderful help from DZ Allen, editor of MuzzleFlash and fellow writer.

I also finished reading "Under a Raging Moon" by Frank Zafiro. Not only is Frank a talented writer, but he also helped me out with my own writing back when I was first figuring this whole author thing out. When I ordered his book, I insisted on an autographed copy. When he makes it big, I'll sell it for cash!

I enjoyed "Under a Raging Moon." It was a gritty, suspenseful story following the lives, intertwined as they are, of a group of police officers as they try to stop a robber called Scarface. Not only is the tale taugtly woven, dragging a reader on and on, the characters are very real. These could well be real police officers, down to frustrations and fears and questions about who they really are.

Frank manages to ratchet up the suspense to incredible heights towards the end of the book. Literally, I was on the edge of my seat, damn near skimming because I wanted to see what happened next. Now, I'm a 'flip to the end' person. For better or for worse, the last pages don't contain any answers, which really defeats the efforts of one like me. But the pages before those last are intense.

I'm a fan of crime noir, often defined as gritty, dark settings and stories, and I would place Frank's first novel "Under a Raging Moon" into that category. Not only was a good read, it was probably far better than any "how to write police procedurals" book I've read! The jargon and routine and such that are the inner workings of a police department (or so I assume!) are woven into the story's setting and plot. And it's smooth, unlike some texts that are heavy-handed in their attempts to show an insider's view.

Overall, I'd recommend "Under a Raging Moon." Click on over to Frank Zafiro's website and tell him Bo Fexler sent you. Or Clair Dickson.

  • Story in Progress: Jammed Peg
  • Last story finished: Medium-Well v2
  • Reason for not writing: Too many jobs, not enough hours

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Strange Names

Ever notice how private eyes of fiction often have unual names? I was over reading Kevin Burton Smith's list of 100 Eyes article over at Mystery Scene blog and noticing the rather odd names that come up-- Jinx Alameda, Elvis Cole, Dirk Gently, Aaron Gunner, Max Hamm, Precious Ramotswe, Easy Rawlins, Daryl Zero. And let's not forget Thomas Magnum and Remingston Steele. What IS it with author's trying so hard to come up with such unusual names?

One might think that I could offer some insight, given that I've named my female protagonist Bo. I can understand how recognition could be a factor-- every writer wants the name of their detective to stand out, especially in the ocean of crime, mystery, and suspense novels. Sometimes there is also the notion of fitting a name to a character. Bo, with her traditionally man's name, is a very shrewd, tough, and un-lady-like woman. She can use fists and sex with the male private eyes that populate her genre. But beyond that, I don't have any answers for the other authors.

On a similar note, there was a study done a while back that found that children with unusual names were more likely to end up in trouble, and incarcerated, than their traditionally named counterparts. And private eyes are known for sex and violence and debauchery and all that fun stuff.

I wish I could add a link to some recently-published story, but it seems like folks are taking the summer off! In cooler months, I get much faster replies to submissions. And new issues of zines appear quicker. I'm not complaining, just observing.

Writers and private eyes do well in their trades when they are careful observers.

  • Story in progress: Medium-Well
  • Excuse for not writing: housework

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Limitations of Short Stories

Had to think for quite a while before I came up with a topic for this post. Especially since nothing new has appeared. Had a new acceptance, but still nothing has actually been published. Soon.

Until then, I'm going to breifly-- I promise!-- talk about the limitations of short stories in Bo Fexler Land. There is far more to Bo's world than just the cases-- short and long-- that she's seen working in the stories thus far. Briefly, we've seen her friends Axel, Dimi, and Michael and her assistant Dawn. Since I've been focusing on mystery stories, the mystery doesn't often include her pals. But their presence, if I could squeeze it into the limited word count, would show Bo to be a fuller, richer character.

Many of the sites I read and submit to limit story length, some as low as 700 words, but most under 5000. I have a couple stories in the to-be-revised bin that are hefty 8 to 10k. The cases are more intricate (can we say 'red herring!') The story more involved. But the markets are fewer for these. Then these are even parred down by the ones that won't accept violence and profanity-- But that's a whole separate issue.

Just wait until I get my novel written! Then you'll get to see so much more of Bo Fexler's little world. Actually, it's getting big enough that I sometimes get lost in there. =)

  • Story in progress: Medium-Well
  • Last story finished: False Impressions (accepted)
  • Reason for not writing: Summer school papers to grade

Friday, July 20, 2007

New Things

No stories published since last week-- though several have been accepted. As they appear, of course I'll provide links.

One important new development, however, is the addition of an email subscription. Those interested parties who would like to recieve posts-- and all accompanying links-- in their email inbox as they occur can subscribe in the little box on your right.

Maybe if I get enough subscribers, I can use that as leverage in selling Bo Fexler novels. Of course, I'd have to have to time to WRITE said novel(s), but we'll start one step at a time. Bo Fexler is growing in popularity, in spite of her bitter nature and sharp tongue. I understand: I like her too.

Bo's got stories scheduled to appear in August, November (2) and December as of right now. Rather exciting. Especially since I look back and realize that one mere year ago, I had a pair of stories in Flashot and 'Spark' had just come out in Mysterical-E. It's been a long-seeming short road, but a lot of fun. And surely just the beginning.

Oh yeah, I added links to the 'Internet Places I Haunt' section. Check 'em out. Good stuff there.

  • Last story completed: False Impressions
  • Story in Progress: Medium-Well
  • Excuse for not writing: Ah-ha! I have been writing. I get a scratch&sniff smiley face sticker for working hard. =)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Too smart?

My short story "Atoner" is in the July issue of New Mystery Reader. In it, Bo is called to a murder scene. Her client wants her to show that he didn't kill his wife; the police want Bo far, far away from the crime scene. The fingerprints on the suicide note are too smudged to be useful, so Bo looks for other evidence to clear-- or condemn-- her client.

A fairly quick little read. So . . . what are you waiting for?

Don't forget, I'm not the only good writer appearing in these online zines. There are plenty of other great writers. A few that I'm partial to (and this is by no means a complete list!) are BJ Bourg, Frank Zafiro, Stephen D. Rogers, Sandra Ruttan, Patricia Abbott, DZ Allen, and r2.

Hmm. A list mostly full of men . . . interesting. Anyway, consider this your summer reading list.
  • Story in progress: Medium-Well AND Mary Duncan story
  • Last story completed: Still DEATH BY PI
  • Excuse for not writing: Start of summer school

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Summer School

Long Story Short has just published my short story "Failing Mark." It's a Bo Fexler story drawn from my teaching experiences. Bo's a little less crude in this tale, but she's still on the top of her investigating game.

This story debuts on the last weekend before I start teaching summer school classes. Always an interesting experience-- summer school. Take twenty kids who don't much care for or about school, sit them in a classroom in beautiful July, and try to teach them English. I did actually get chastized by one parents because my class was too fun for summer school. =D

  • Story currently in progress: Medium-Well
  • Last story finished: DEATH BY PI (still)
  • Excuse for not writing: working. And reading Frank Zafiro's "Under a Raging Moon."

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Writing Has Nothing To Do With Making Money

I wouldn't call writing my hobby, per se. It doesn't make me money, and I spend all my free time putting fingers to keyboard or occaisionally pen to paper. But it's not my hobby: it is my passion.

One of the things that's hard as a writer is finding publications that will accept my stuff. I've written previously about how my stories are often harder than many mysteries but gentler than hardboiled. In the online world of zines, I feel that I'm starting to build a name. I've appeared in a dozen different publications, some multiple times. I'm part of the Short Mystery Fiction group-- admittedly because it's free.

Getting my money's worth is always something on the forefront of my incredibably frugal mind. The 'big name' publications that many newer writers would give their writing hand to be published in charge a fair amount of money. And they insist that a writer read the publication before submission. (I have, but it doesn't seem to have helped me, but that's another issue.)

Now, one of my favorite zines is struggling with being free. And some of my fellow writers are unwilling to pay a small subscription fee. I don't get it. I'll support zines that I like. And more importantly, as a writer, I will *happily* support a zine that supports (ie publishes) me. Same as I shop at the retail supercenter that employees me-- it is in my best interst to support those who support me.

SO many people want something for nothing. Publication from a free ezine-- not only that but many writers also want to see payment(!) from these free ezines that they are not willing to purchase. How appalling. I know it is not all writers-- but there are enough. This is obvious with the number of zines and publications that fold so regularly. Publications need to make money to survive, through advertisements, subscriptions, or something else.

Please, support your favorite publications. Purchase subscriptions, click the little links to the next time you want to make a purhcase, make donations. If writers and readers don't support the publications we enjoy, they will be gone. And we will be resonsible for their deaths. The electronic ink will be on our hands.

If a hundred readers and writers each paid, say, $5 to a given publication, that publication would have $500 to pay for the domain name, contests, prizes, and the valuable time of the staff who produce it. Individually, five bucks is nothing. The cost of maintaining a website is more than nothing.

Luckily, there is a place for Bo Fexler short stories-- several places in fact. So far, the 'big' publications don't seem to want to touch me without rubber gloves and tweezers. But if the online zines fold, there will not be a place for Bo Fexler.

So, after all this ranting and pleading, I'll end by asking fans of Bo Fexler stories to find a few bucks in your wallet or even the change from between the couch cushions and see how you can support the publications that have accepted her stories. This isn't about me, it's about the benefit of ALL writers. I'm just one, with a quirky, bitter female private eye.

  • Story currently in progress: Medium-Well
  • Last story finished: DEATH BY PI (novella)
  • Reason for not writing: school work

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


With the July issue of Crime and Suspense comes my short story "Assortment of Bullies." This one is a little different in that it is narratored from the point of view of Bo's assistant Dawn Pillaire. Where did she come from? Nevada. ;-) In this story, Bo and Dawn are investigating the beating of a young man. From a mysoginistic cop to a woman who wants to "show" her role in the fight, Bo deals with the challenges in her own crude way. Dawn, however, is bothered by Bo's tactics.

In order to read Assortment of Bullies this month, dear fans, you'll need to subscribe to Crime and Suspense's newsletter. It's free. Otherwise, you have to wait until August when I'll post the link to the story. Only subscriber's get the lastest issue-- everyone else has to wait until next month.

  • Story currently in progress: DEATH BY PI
  • Last story finished: Lay and Lie
  • Reason for not writing: cooking, cleaning, and working to pay the bills
  • Song in my head: "Paperback Writer" by the Beatles

Monday, June 25, 2007

Summer Reading

My newest short story "Lay and Lie" is up at MuzzleFlash. It's a steamy summer story with Bo casually investigating closer to home. Something went down while she was working, and Bo would like to find out.

  • Story currently in progress: DEATH BY PI (back at it)
  • Last story completed: Lay and Lie
  • Reason for not writing: house hunting with husband

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bookgasm Review of Out of The Gutter #2

This just in from the someone else is tooting my horn department: Rod Lott's review of Out of the Gutter #2 at Bookgasm includes a paragraph on my story and the remark that the reviewer would like to see more of in OOTG is Bo Fexler. That's pretty exciting!

Will I make more appearance in OOTG? Well, guidelines say that since I was in issue #2, I can't be in #3, but other than that, I wouldn't rule it out. It's a forum for some of Bo's stories that are . . . ah, a little less moral. Bo's a smart woman: she knows how to use public records, personal interviews, fists, guns, and sex.

  • Story currenlty in progress: Death by PI
  • Last story finished: Missing, but Not Missed
  • Excuse for not writing: I know what to say, just not how to say it. (Is that the same as writer's block?)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Works in Progress

Just finished writing "Missing, but not Missed" a story about some young people who absconded. The trail is hard to follow because no one seems to care about the kids.

"Beaten to the Punch" is in the process of being edited. It's a little tricky balancing the two investigations/ mysteries. I'm hoping to get that edited by the end of the weekend (ha!) but expect efforts to put together my travel photo book to interfere.

As for publishing news: my short story "Failing Mark" has been accepted in two locations . . . as I unwittingly submitted it to two places at the same time. I will post the links when the story is available for consumption.

  • Story currently in progress: Editing Beaten to the Punch
  • Last story completed: Missing, but not Missed
  • Excuse for not writing: actually, I have been writing. Slowly, but I did poke away at Missing, but Not Missed all week. And finished it. =)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

I'm Back . . .

Yeah. I said I was going to post weekly, then I go almost two weeks without posting anything. =) I have no defense. But I do have an excuse: I went traveling east to Washington D.C. (Arlington, actually) and to SE Pennsylvania to visit family and see some of the sights. We put some 1500 miles onto our little car heading from the mitten-shaped state I like to call home. And as much fun as we had traveling, I am really, really glad to be home again.

And, I'm down to just two jobs for a few fleeting weeks, meaning I may even have time to work on some stories.

Speaking of stories, a dark and immoral Bo Fexler story "The Pleasure Business" is supposed to appear in Out of the Gutter #2. It's a quirky little tale that shows how loose some of Bo's ethics can be. But it's all about the investigation . . . Oh yeah, OOTG is a print mag-- you can purchase a copy of the dark, corrupt, twisted collection of tales to read my story for about $14. If OOTG #1 was an indicator, there will be a number of good writers with well-told stories. Not happy stories, but well told stories of bad people and people doing bad things. Even Bo. Now, I think one of Bo's stories alone would be worth $14, but I have a pretty good opinion of myself and my writing.

Also, whilst I was away, Flashot ran my latest little story. It's actually a Bo Fexler story. The story is "Off-Kilter Perspective." It's currently on the Last 10 Flashot's page . . . for now. Read quickly!

That's the only news I have at this time. EVEN THOUGH I was gone and away from my email for a whole WEEK (I was starting to suffer withdrawl!) I had NO responses for the half-dozen stories I have out in cyberland! Don't these editors understand? I was supposed to come home to a slew of acceptances. A reward for my time away from email. =)

  • Story in progress: just a snippet so far about a missing girl and an old trailer
  • Last story finished: Beaten to the Punch
  • Excuse for not writing: Driving 1500 miles. I still feel like I'm rolling along even while I sit in my office chair.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

End of one chapter, start of the next

Okay, that title is far too grandious for the subject of this post! The semester is finally ending-- I just have to turn in my grades and attendance. Thus, summer is beginning. Or at least the bit of summer break that I get. I know some people think teachers get nice cushy summers off . . . well, I don't take it. I work my retail job until July, then I teach summer school, then it's back to retail for August. But working only one job at a time, rather than two, should give me some more time to write.

I have a couple stories I'm finishing. Of course, finishing is one of the hardest parts for me in a story. Particulalry short stories. I get everything all set up-- things get worse and worse then . . . ? Then what? It's hard to wrap up with a bang, rather than a whimper. I have to top the previous plot turns or the story falls flat.

One of the stories I'm working on is tentatively titled "Beaten to the Punch." (It's a word play thing-- I really can't help it!) Anyway, I know the story is at a point where it's time to wrap up. Bo's only one step away from the guy and the answer she's looking for. I even have a pretty good idea HOW I want the scene to play out, which is a great step. The problem is getting that idea into phrases and sentences.

Knowing what needs to be done and actually DOING it are two separate, sometimes unrelated things. Even in a story where the events are wholly in my control.

  • Story currently in progress: Beaten to the Punch (formerly known as the apartment story.)
  • Excuse for not writing: writer's block.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Update on updates

I've been thinking that I might try to post at least a little something everyweek. I suppose just to occupy my time. And perhaps entertain my fans.

This week, I finished a little story about an old love affair and a couple buried skeletons. I've got a thing for abandoned houses-- and this story starts with an abandoned house (or property rather) that was recently bought. The new owner finds a skeleton, the police don't give it much time, so the owner hires Bo to find out who this dead person might be. It was a fun story to write, since the guy with the answers is a couple whole degress off plumb.

I've noticed that in some of Bo's stories, it doesn't really matter that she's the investigator. She's focused, tenacious, and occaisionally mouthy, but the detective really could be anyone. Which explains (duh) why some editors have been displeased with my protagonist. But there in lies another conundrum: not every case Bo's invovled in will feature growth or anything personal. At least from the real-world side of things. Some cases are just cases she takes-- interesting stories. I think writing them as Bo's stories adds that flavor (a little grit) but they are still just A case. No more or less important than any other case.

  • Story currently under the "knife" (MSWord needs knife function!): Untitled 'apartment' story. Wow, not even a working title. Highly unusual.
  • Last story finished: Skeletons of Past Love (see above)
  • Excuse for not writing: I finally went through some of the piles and stacks of stuff I planned to take care of "later". Apparently today is "later"

Monday, May 7, 2007

Con and Conflict

Two more of my stories have seen the light of dark internet alleys.

The first, "Cat Nip" is appearing at Powder Burn Flash. Ever notice how many young women carry their cell phone right in the open top of their over-stuffed purse? Bo has. And she's willing to exploit that. And people's expectations.

The second is "Old Adversaries" at Nefarious. Back in high school, a man came between Bo and a friend. Bo's not willing to let those old tensions get in the way of her investigation.

Read and enjoy!

Latest Story Finished: Family Affairs of Adult Children (formerly Francis Thayer Whittacker) Now for editing . . .
Story currently in progress: Untitled story about someone breaking into Bo's apartment
Excuse for not writing: Too tired (stupid allergy)

Sunday, May 6, 2007


Since fellow writer M.C. O'Conner was kind enough to give Bo's blog a shout out and a link on his blog, it's only fair that I should return the favor. I'll even make the comparison that like my protagonist, I know that recriprocation and networking are important in this world. In some circles, it is crucial. A private investigator will do well to build a reputation for fairness and reciprocity because a burnt bridge or a scorned fellow don't help in a case.

Maybe it works for the hardboilded male detectives like Phillip Marlowe and Sam Spade because they are "bad boys." And when they are curt with the women, the ladies only fall harder. I think it's that 'bad boy' thing that seems to have so many woman complainging that "he's exiciting, but he treats me bad." And then complaining that the nice guys are boring. Phillip Marlowe isn't boring-- he's dangerous and decisive. He knows what he's going to do and doesn't worry a lot about who doesn't like it. This, apparently, is alluring to many women folk.

It doesn't work so well the other way-- a decisive dame is just a bitch. And a man who goes for that is allegedly emasculated. Maybe this is why a bitter woman like Bo Fexler isn't as easily accepted a character as Marlowe or Spade. Another double standard-- like how Marlowe can seduce any woman and he's just suave, good. So, while Bo may have a tongue sharp enough to slice any man or woman into piece, she also knows that sometimes building repoire can be even more useful than fear. But it's a skill that's rustier than a 1986 Ford Taurus from the Detroit area.

I'm not a PI, but as a new author, I know that building readership is always a good thing. Maybe someday I can use it for "leverage" when I pitch my novel to some publishing house. Someday. First, I have to find MORE time to write. And still make enough money to cover the bills, buy a house, and maybe even have kids. On a teacher's salary. Or rather, an alternative school teacher's hourly wages. Somehow, working with the most challenging students means getting paid less . . . one of the marvels of the modern world.

Story currently in progress: Francis Thayer Whittacker, still (I think it needs a better title.)
Predominate plot problem: who was outside Tuesday night with Toni? And why?
Excuse for not writing: I don't know how to "kill Harold"

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


It's not a Bo Fexler story, but you can read my flash fiction story "Money-back Guarantee" at Flashshot for a limited time. You can find it under the link for the last ten Flashsots. For about ten days since Flashshot is a daily genre fiction publication. While your there, you might consider signing up to recieve Flashshot daily in your email. I do and recommend it to others. They're all just one hundred words long, so its a quick read.

Speaking of things emailed, I believe that by clicking the button waaayyyy down at the bottom of this blog, you can sign up to be emailed whenever I post something. Obviously, it won't be that frequent. Not with three jobs. At least grad school's done for the semester.

Story currently working on: heh heh, yeah. no comment
Excuse for not writing: end of semester crunch-- such as making up the Goodnight Moon project for English 9 (see last post)
Story I want to work on: Francis Thayer Whittacker. I think I know how to end it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I wrote this as an example for a project in my English 9 class. With credit due to author Margaret Wise Brown.

Goodnight room
Goodnight moon
Goodnight CD with my favorite tune

Goodnight desk
Goodnight chair
Goodnight floor that is never bare

Goodnight boxes
Goodnight totes
Goodnight ideas hastily scrawled on notes

Goodnight paper
Goodnight pen
Goodnight story I don't know how to end

Goodnight office
Goodnight mess
Goodnight plot issues I need to address

Goodnight cups
Goodnight clock
Goodnight to another bout of writer's block

(Which also explains why I haven't done much writing.=)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Everyday Evil

I've concluded a couple things in the past year as I've avidly pursued and moderately succeeded in being a published short story author. One of those is that my particular storywriting has trouble fitting into most publications.

Obviously, if you're reading this, you're familiar with Bo Fexler. She's not a terribly heart-warming character. She doesn't always do what's best. And she's quite fluent in profanity. Well, my readers may not realize that since many publications don't accept profanity. So, it's edited out or downplayed to meet the audience (or rather the publication's editors).

These are fine publications and I accept that profanity is still considered inappropriate speech in many forums. Hell, I'm a teacher. I'm regularly reminding my students to watch their language. (The irony is not lost on me!) My stories are usually not affected by lose of vulgarities.

Except some of the stories are not about good people doing good things. They're about people who are bad to varying degrees-- including Bo-- doing a variety of bad things. I don't often write about murders in my stories, but rather missing people, cheating spouses, and other everyday evils. But many publications don't seem to accept bad people doing bad things. Maybe because there's no redemption and no warm-fuzzies. Warm fuzzies make me gag.

On the other side are the hardcore crime noir publications. These are bad people doing horrible things. Everyone gets beat up. People are killed for fun or sport. Women are prostitutes and men are sleaze. The extreme. Now, I'm familiar with pulp fiction (both movie and genre.) Some of my work pushes into this ultra-gritty area. And in these ones my aptitude for profanity also finds its outlet.

Except most of my work isn't hardcore enough. Bo doesn't beat everyone up. She tries to walk the legal line. She's not willing to jeopardize her PI license since she really likes her job. But she's also not redeemed at the end of the story with a "happily ever after" and a "God bless us one and all." Bo's not hardcore crime noir. She's not literary detective/ mystery fiction. She's just an articulate dame trying to make her way in the world full of regular do-badders.

Now THAT is writing I can relate to.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Muzzle Flash #4

My story "Bad Set-Up" is in the just-posted Muzzle Flash #4. In fact, I kick off MF #4, which is certainly good for the ego. While you're over there, I do recommend reading the other stories. There are some good writers submitting to Muzzle Flash.

Last story finished: Old Adversaries (Seventh's time a charm?)
Story currently under the knife: Francis Thayer Whittacker. Still. I can't figure out how to 'kill Harold.' (A "Stranger than Fiction" reference. Decent movie. Very apt reference.)
Excuse for not writing: the dish fairy didn't come

Monday, April 9, 2007

Latest News

Quick post on the latest news about Bo. Out of the Gutter has accepted one of my stories for issue number two. I will get a link to their site up shortly. (For the readers who know me personally, I adamantly emphasize that Bo Fexler is NOT the author. Or the author's alter-ego. She is a fictional character.)

Muzzle Flash accepted another short. I believe it'll be out in the next issue.

And I'm just revised a story the nice folks over at Mysterical-e were insterested in. With some changes. I'm not averse to changes.

That's the funny thing, I think, about being a novice writer. The writer's who need the most editorial help are often the ones who are just starting out. Many publications that allow new writers require the writing already be good.


I've been thinking about Bo's novel lately. Pretending I have time to work on it. (Maybe this summer). And I'm starting to waffle as to where to place the story-- originally it was to be when she first meets Dawn. Then I thought about moving it back to when Bo returns to her native Michigan. Both are points where Bo as a character goes through some personal growth, which I gotta figure is good for a novel. Since I like to envision Bo's novel as the first in a series, I'm also worried that the deeper, more sinister part of the plot in the original first novel (hereafter cryptically referred to as ML) would mistakenly be assumed to be a part of all her novels.

Of course, I'd have to write and publish a first novel before I even have to worry about a series! For now, I'll stick to my grad school case study and my novella. The latter is going quite well. The former is due Tuesday. Maybe I shouldn't be posting in my blog.

Yeah. This is a quick post. Brevity is not one of my strengths.

Last story completed: Cat Nip
Story currently in progress: DEATH BY PI (novella)
Excuse for not writing: allergies and 15 page case study.
Current computer quirk: fucking corrupted my compact flash card. Of COURSE I didn't have everything backed up! Why would I? It's supposed to be stable storage.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Private Eyes and Ears

Bo's story "Private Eyes and Ears" is now up at Crime and Suspense's April 2007 issue. Okay, it's not April yet, but I'm not going to quibble over a few days. Especially since I have a story in it.

Crime and Suspense, April 2007

Many thanks, of course, to Crime and Suspense Editor Tony Burton for letting me hammer a few of the kinks out of this story. It's now a tight tale that reveals more of Bo's character even as she works on a case involving allegedly dirty cop, a allegedly murderous husband, and an alleged affair.

Sometimes listening is the best skill a private eye can have.

Monday, March 19, 2007

All Quiet on The Internet Front

With all the stories I've sent out the last two months, I would have expected to have more to post. For better or for worse, I have heard nothing on the vast majority of stories currently farmed out to various editors.

The only one I've heard back on was a positive rejection. I've been working on this story. A bit. Trying to get across Bo's character better in the story, without clubbing the reader with it. I've done that before . . . of course the other problem is that I spent my entire weekend with my brain in the toaster. I popped out a fifteen page paper on alternative education, but my brain is burnt to a crisp.

I need a vacation. I'll settle for two days off-- one to relax and the other to do fun things, like writing, that have been pushed not to the back burner, but all the way off the stove. Two days off.

When you see the flying pigs get struck by lightnening twice, I'll get my days off.

Story I most want to work on: Francis Thayer Whittacker
Story last worked on: Private Eyes and Ears
Last story finished: Exposure
Excuse for not writing: everything

Saturday, March 10, 2007

MuzzleFlash Archives

Since MuzzleFlash added its archives page, I added the links here for the two stories of mine that appeared in January 07. I'd almost forgotten about "Sticky." I like that little story quite a bit-- it's fun.

Crime Scene Clean-Up


Story currently poked away at: none
Last story completed: Assortment of Bullies
Story I want to work on next: Death by PI
Excuse for not writing: creating worksheet questions for "Lady in the Lake," "Hitchhikers Guide" and "Double Indemnity."

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


A Q&A with the private eye

Name: Bo Alyse Fexler

Birthdate: Sept. 19

Eyes: Emerald green

Height: 5 ft 10.5 inches

Weight: somewhere between 130 and 155 (yes, too thin for my height. Don't say a fucking thing.)

Natural Blond: Most of the time. Unless I had to dye my hair back from being blue or pink or black or something.

Story behind unusual name: You'd have to ask my parents. I never did.

Opinion of name: It fits. I'm not what people expect in a PI. In several ways.

Career: Private investigator since age 21.

State(s) licensed in: Ohio, then Michigan

Reason for becoming a PI: Read too many private eye books as a kid. And, it's fun. I like the challenge.

Story behind accent: It's not. It's a speech impairment. And my mother always told me it was impolite to point out someone's disabilities. You wouldn't ask a blind man about how he ended up blind.

Favorite Drink: alcoholic or not?

Favorite Alcoholic Drink: Vodka

Favorite Non-alcoholic drink: Diet Pepsi

Favorite color: dark

Hobbies: Reading

Favorite Types of Books: ones with text (I read everything)

Favorite Author: Raymond Chandler

Hometown: A Michigan city with a hospital-- no, I'm not going to say which one

Parents: Reid and Connie

Parent's occupation(s): Reid was an ER doctor & Connie a librarian

Relationship with Parents: fine

Best childhood memory: No comment

Noteworthy childhood experience: No comment

Reason for not talking about childhood: Ask a psychiatrist. They'll have several theories to pick from.

Perception of self: Like, body image? Hot. Definitely Hot. I'm not blind-- I can see myself in a mirror, and I can see how people react to me.

Other opinions of self: No comment

Any comments on reputation: As a sharp tongued, misanthropic, bitch? I'm not ashamed of who I am. And I'm not going to apoligize for it.

Goals or dreams: Do well as a private eye, I guess. Give my folks, and my mentor something to be proud of.

Mentor: dead

Final thoughts: I was a fucking fool to agree to this. I hate talking about myself.

(It may be a crappy bitmap I made in Paint, but please don't steal my pic of Bo, please. =)

Powder Burn Flash

Powder Burn posted another of Bo's stories, titled "Lord of His Domain."

Here's the link for the story:

Raymond Chandler wrote stories that were a product of him time. Bo Fexler is a product of my time-- complete with internet gaming, Metallica, and cell phones. And it brings with it a whole different set of possibilities for crime and detection.

Like this blog, for instance. Not sure exactly what I'm going to do with it beyond posting updates on Bo's whereabouts. Only time will tell.

(And time, I recently found out, it more squeezed that originally thought-- stupid fifteen page paper. It's going to serious cut into my time playing Civ3.)

Novella Title: Death by PI
Story currently poking away at: LEDA v2 (working title)
Last story finished: Assortment of Bullies
Excuse for not writing: I finally won a game of Civ3

Monday, March 5, 2007

Game Over (Previously published Flash)

by Clair Dickson

"You're cheating?"
"How am I cheating?"
"I don't know. But you are."
"K.O. I win."
"How? I don't believe it."
"What? That a girl can play?"
"Not just a girl. A pretty one. A pretty woman."
"Thank you. Now, you're gonna tell me where the loot is."
"I didn't rob that place."
"Robbery requires a gun. You burglarized it."
"I didn't say it was me. It's my friend."
"Then I'll just do to you what I did in the game. Until you give him up. And the loot."
"You can't do that."
"Are you willing to lose another bet?"
"But - but, that's not fair. I didn't win."
### © 2006 - Dickson Published at Quiction Online March 2006.
It *is* a Bo Fexler short.

Here I am.

Well. I've been kicking around the idea of putting up some sort of page for Bo Fexler, especially as she's been spotted more and more, lurking in corners of the internet. So, now that my computer-- my Precious-- is finally returned in working order, I've decided to do it.

My computer was gone for the last week. And before that it was in limbo because it needed a new motherboard, but I needed to get a proccessor . . . it was horrid. Then I managed to get a virus that reproduced like Tribbles in my exe files. That was pretty cool. But, now my Spud is back. And hubby and I can share our internet connection. (My internet connection.) And for Valentines Day hubby got me a *REAL* office chair. After some thirteen years of personal computing, I have an actual office chair. With cushions and armrests. Took some getting used to.

Now, if my freshly ordered toner cartridges get here, my office will be fully functional. It's a good feeling. And I can finally get some serious work done on a couple stories. Wordpad just doesn't cut it when I've been spoiled with MSWord for those thirteen years.