Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Black Dog

By Kurt Newton

A boy went down the block, door to door, asking those who answered, "Have you seen my dog?" He held a printout of a mutt--black coat, floppy ears, droopy eyes. Smiles were smiled, heads shook, advice was offered, but no one had seen the pet.

The boy continued on to the poor side of town. Even fewer people answered their door. Some even warned him he shouldn't be out by himself, and where were his parents? None had seen the dog. The boy thanked them just the same and continued his search.

On the outskirts of town the boy came to a trailer park. He knocked on doors that rattled like dog cages. Sometimes his knock wasn't heard above the volume of the television inside or the loud voices shouting at each other. Again, those who answered offered no help.

The boy continued along a narrow road that led to a string of mansions, each buried deep in the woods. At the first mansion an older man answered a fancy sounding doorbell. He seemed not to hear the boy when shown the picture and asked about the dog. Instead the man stared at the boy as if he were made of gold. "It's getting dark," the man at last spoke. "You must be hungry. I have cookies and milk. I could make you a sandwich. Why don't you come in?" The man stepped aside to let the boy enter. The boy walked in.

Soon after the door closed, screams could be heard, but no one heard them because of the mansion's remote location. Not long after the screams ended, the door opened again and out walked a dog--black coat, floppy ears, droopy eyes. The dog traveled back the way the boy had come. He was home before dark.

Copyright ©2015 Kurt Newton.  All rights reserved.  Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.

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Kurt's stories have appeared in Weird Tales, Dark Discoveries and Shroud. He also has a flash piece in the upcoming return of Weirdbook.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


By Emily J. McNeely

The Greek Galleon put in near Peragua on the Ile du Roy. Captain James set out in the launch with Greene, Castle, Kirkpatrick, and Mr. Dobson, the purser. They brought the spices for Piney and letters of introduction. Piney knew Captain James well, and in fact, had seen him and his crew not three months earlier, when they stopped for water. Unbeknownst to Piney, they had also come to drop off a certain lockbox for safe keeping. Piney had recently gotten word that a Navy brigantine was seen running down the Malabar Coast looking for James and his ship and he was under no small amount of pressure from the Crown to report on James' activities. Consequently, he was not in a generous mood.

When they arrived at Piney's estate, a honey-colored servant girl with large brown eyes brought them into the waiting hall and bade them wait. They waited for an hour. Captain James was pacing. It was never a good sign when the Captain resorted to pacing on land.

Mr. Greene was the first to speak. "Captain James, if I may, sir. You could send Dobson and myself to collect the...canvas...while you and the others wait for the governor."

Captain James stopped his pacing and eyed Mr. Greene carefully. He looked at Mr. Dobson, who knew nothing of what went on among the higher officers and was at the moment picking his nose. He made his decision and nodded at Greene. Mr. Greene collected Mr. Dobson and they left the manor.

Greene and Dobson walked down the long road and came into town half an hour later. Mr. Dobson was aware of the lockbox's existence but he was not privy to its location; only Greene and Castle were trusted with that information. Mr. Greene planned in advance to arrange to have a letter sent back home and had found his opportunity. He might not get to leave just yet but he could surely send word.

Greene pulled Dobson into the Fille D'Or, Peragua's main drinking hole. He sent Dobson off to order drinks with the barman and called over another patron to his table.

"Listen, friend. I've got two pieces that could be used to post a letter to Father George, if only I knew a friend who could do it for me," said Greene in a low voice.

The other man, a native looking fellow with an older style Navy uniform nodded and stuck out his hand. Mr. Greene handed him a sealed paper.

"I'll drink with le fille again tomorrow in the evening," said Greene, and looked down at the table. The other man left without another word.

Mr. Dobson came over to the table a minute later with two pints in hand. "Oy, Greene, you best be payin me back for these 'ere pints. I ain't made o' silver y'know.
Mr. Greene nodded. "Aye, Dobson, you're safe with me."


It was well past dark by the time Dobson and Greene made it back to Piney's manor. They went up the long walk with the lockbox in hand, and the same servant girl let them into the parlor. Captain James, Mr. Kirkpatrick, Mr. Castle, and Piney were playing at cards and a sideboard was laid out with meats and cheeses. Captain James had a pile of money by his hand and was in a better mood than Greene had seen him in months.

Captain James looked up when they entered. "Took you swabs long enough. And a good thing too, else I'd not have collected Piney's bribery income."

Piney frowned and put his cards down. "Oh, I fold. I don't know why I don't just turn you into the law, James. God knows you're worth more to them."
James swept up the pot. "Because I bring you cinnamon, Piney. And better news than those tight-lipped saluters."

Piney stuck his fat fingers into his waistcoat and harrumphed. "I'll need more than cinnamon and gossip before I let you leave my port."

The men of the Galleon started pocketing their coins and collecting their gear. James gestured to Dobson, who handed him the lockbox. The Captain opened the lockbox to display a pile of bank notes, letters of recommendation and introduction, coins of all kinds, and a few pieces of jewelry. He pulled out a small draw purse which clinked when he shook it and plopped it on the table. Piney swept it into his pockets, which were deeper than they appeared. James also pulled out one of the necklaces, which sparkled in the flickering light of the lamps.

"And something for your hospitality."

That, too, got swept into the depths of Piney's waistcoat. He patted his generous stomach and stood to leave. "Welcome to Peragua, gentlemen. Don't overstay your welcome." Piney went out of the parlor and up the long staircase and the maid saw the men out.


The next day Mr. Castle left a skeleton crew on board the Galleon and the rest of the men came ashore on longboats with strict instructions to return and relieve the others by midday. The officers, less Mr. Kirkpatrick, who stayed on board to supervise the skeleton crew, headed for the Fille D'Or. Mr. Greene sweated under his cap and not just because of the humid tropics. If he should run into the native fellow at the bar he was unsure how he would explain it to the Captain.

Captain James, Mr. Dobson, and Mr. Greene entered the bar. It was less close than English bars and less smoky than Indian bars. The bars in the tropics were often informal affairs - rude thatched huts and the like. This one was a true brick-and-mortar building, but it kept its doors wide open and its ceiling low in the same fashion as the other establishments on the island. The natives of the land knew how to keep the breezes moving through their perpetual summers.

The three sat at a table and doffed their hats, except Captain James, who never removed his unless he was abed. It was a good breeze that morning and the air refreshed them. James sent Dobson for drinks and turned to Mr. Greene.

"How are the drinks in this establishment?"

Mr. Greene felt the heat rise up in his cheeks. "I expect they're good enough."

"Expect? Don't you know?" Captain James said, calmly.

Mr. Greene shifted in his chair. The bar didn't feel very open anymore. "I'm sure I don't, sir."

"But were you not here when we ported at Peragua not three months ago?" said Captain James, maintaining an air of innocence.

Mr. Greene let out his breath. "Oh, that. Yes, sir, I did come in here on our last furlough."

Dobson came back at that moment with three pints. He looked at the two men at the table. "Did I miss somefin'?"

The Captain did not take his eyes off Mr. Greene. "No, Dobson. We were just speaking of the quality of the drink here at the Fille."

Dobson set down the drinks and plopped down in his own seat. "Oh, aye, the drinks 'ere are top quality. They was particular fine last night, ey wot, Greene? He still owes me from it, too."

The blood dropped out of Greene's stomach and he couldn't meet Captain James' eyes. Captain James grin spread across his lips - the fish caught. "You do, do you, Greene?"

Mr. Dobson, oblivious, kept chattering. "He said he was good for it. I 'spect so, considerin' the haul. You brought cards, sir?"

Captain James did not answer. He stared at Mr. Greene. "Well, George. Are you going to pay the man back?"

Mr. Greene nodded and fumbled in his pocket. He pulled out a silver coin and dropped it out of his shaking hands onto the floor. He reached to pick it up again and handed it toward Dobson.

Just as Dobson extended his hand for the coin, a short metallic shriek sounded and a silver sword flashed through the air. Mr. Greene's arm fell to the table, severed just below the elbow, the hand still clutching the silver coin. Blood splattered across the table and floor. Captain James stood and drew the sword around in a wide arc, slicing off Mr. Greene's head. The head toppled off the body and landed on the floor with a thunk. Mr. Greene's body slumped in the chair.

"I told you, Greene, I would kill you before you spent a penny."
Captain James sent Mr. Dobson for a rag to clean his sword and sat back in his chair. A serving girl came over to collect the hand (from which Dobson had already pried loose the silver coin) and wipe up the table. Dobson brought back the rag and Captain James cleaned his sword and wiped his boots. He sheathed the sword and pulled out his cards.

"Mr. Dobson, do you think you could find me a native man wearing a uniform?"

Dobson nodded his head. "I know the one ye speak of. I seen him last night."

"Good. He's got a letter for me, I believe."

Copyright ©2015 Emily J. McNeely.  All rights reserved.  Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.

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Emily McNeely is the Art and Acquisitions Coordinator at Double Life Press, an independent publishing house she and her husband, Craig McNeely, own and operate. Emily has been published in Pulp Modern magazine and Dark Corners magazine. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

**This site is accepting submissions for stories, September - October 2015

Updated today.

I am still accepting submissions for weekly stories, to be published later this year, starting on September 30 and ending on October 28, 2015.


Polished fiction stories only -- no poetry, please.

Word limit: 1500 words or less. Flasher-length works (e.g., 200 word stories) are especially welcome.

Email submissions only, please, with the word SUBMISSION at the start of the email title line.

Send manuscripts to this address:

One story per submission, please. Please don’t submit another story until you’ve heard back about the previous one. I’m also a working writer, so I’ll get back to you A.S.A.P. about your work, usually within two weeks (probably less).

If you’re submitting a simultaneous piece, please let me know.

I accept previously published works, as long as they're not currently published on the Net. If submitting a previously published piece, please include its publishing history in the submission email.

Novel excerpts are acceptable, as long as they work as stand-alone pieces.

If you want to be published under another name, let me know.

Authors retain the copyrights to their works. All I ask is that work published here is allowed to remain on the site, and that it remains “exclusive” here during the week I publish it. Also, if you republish the work elsewhere, please acknowledge that it was published here prior to its republication.

Please be sure to include this statement in your email: “I am the sole author of this story. No one else holds the copyright to this work.”


 $10 per story. In addition, authors may submit a 75-word bio and an author-related link or two. Not only that, I will promote, online, the future works of authors published here, on this site as well as on its sibling site
Reading By Pub Light.


I’m open to any story subject and style, as long as it’s story and not just an extended scene (i.e., there must be a plot, some semblance of characterization and motivation, and a conflict/problem to resolve, etc. ).
That said, authors who mix genres (e.g., science fiction, pulp, horror, quirky humor and speculative fiction), will increase the likelihood of their submitted work getting published here.

Caveat: I am not a fan of religious-inspirational or Hallmark-flavored work. Nor do I want sexually explicit works here – I’m going for a hard-“R” rating (at the most extreme) on this site. That said, sex may be a present element in submitted works, as long as it’s an integral part of the story.

Any rejection notes will be constructive in tone, and, time permitting, be accompanied with a reason why I’m not accepting the work in play.


Include story in body of Rich Text email – no attachments, please.

No paragraph-start indentions. Double-space between paragraph breaks, and space your lines at 1.15.

If there are italics or bold-face words in your story be sure to make that clear.



 As I stated before, I will publish one story per week, each Wednesday, September 30th through October 28th. This will be a first-come, first-serve gig, so get to it. I look forward to reading your work. :)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

**One of my stories, My First Love, in three confessional parts, was published on the Erotica Readers & Writers Association website

One of my mainstream stories, My First Love, in three confessional parts, was published on the Erotica Readers and Writers Association (ERWA) website.

This briefly sexual, sometimes romantic, always blunt piece charts thirteen roller coaster years of a guy, as self-inflicted loss and eventual forgiveness evolves him from an emotional f**ktard into a somewhat responsible man.

My First Love is part of the loosely linked First Love series, which includes the poems Beyond a fearful door,  The long-ago dreamt and Marker (asterisk edit), published on the Leaves of Ink site last month.

My First Love will appear on the ERWA site until the end of August 2015.

Big thanks to Daddy X (ERWA) and  E.S. Wynn (Leaves) for publishing these works!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Bottle & the Book by J.L. Martindale & Daniel McGinn

(pb; 2015: limited-release poetry chapbook with CD)

Overall review:

All the works in this thirteen-poem chapbook are worth reading -- and publishing. All of them have at least one line that impressed or interested me, though a few stood out (see below). Its accompanying CD, with selective readings by the book authors, further bring these poems to aural, emotion-imbued life: worth purchasing, this. You can buy it here.

Standout poems:

1.) "Sometimes I breathe" (particularly the first/page two version of it) - Martindale and McGinn: Intense, not-quite-a-call-and-response recurrent/evolving work whose stifling desperation alternates with unhearing, different-trip realities and sensibilities. This poem is effective in its display of relational futility, deafness and blindness.

2.) "Let Us Rebel Against the Inevitable" - Martindale: Multi-sensory vivid, feel-like-you're-there work.

3.) "Every Time It Rains" - McGinn: Soothing, interesting rebuttal to the image-intensive "Rewrite My Sorrow" (written by Martindale).

4.) "I Pull You With the Weeds" - Martindale: Sharp, era-specific, sad and darkly funny versework. This, as of this writing, is my favorite poem in this chapbook.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

**An overview of JL Martindale's published works, 2010 - 2015

JL Martindale, whose In Sepia graced this site in December 2010, has been published numerous times since then. These works include:

Two poems in the verse collection A Poet is a Poet No Matter How Tall: Poems by Poets of All Shapes and Sizes.

Waiting on Winter, an image-vivid, autumn-stark relationship poem, published on the Cadence Collective: Long Beach Poets site on December 1, 2013.

Simple Harmonic Motion, a music-and-sensuality piece, published on the Cadence Collective site on January 25, 2014.

Spliced, an emotionally-harsh versework highlighting booze and bitterness. The Cadence Collective site published this on February 24, 2014.

Beautiful, an aggressive-in-spirit take on notions of attractiveness, dark music and romance. The Cadence Collective site published this on March 12, 2014.

Cons in Prose: A How-to Guide, a clever, funny poem about reading at open mics. The Cadence Collective site published this on April 16, 2014.

Last Line Epiphanies, about being an aging, socially "respectable" punk, and the doubts that entails. The Cadence Collective site published this on May 23, 2014.

I Lie When We Lay, an emotionally-wracked piece about troubling, complicated bonds of intimacy. The Cadence Collective site published this on June 18, 2014.

No Afterlife for Garbage, with its straight take on our material objects. The Cadence Collective site published this on January 28, 2015.

Lovers like us and ghost towns, about the past and symbolic archeology. The Cadence Collective site published this on February 4, 2015.

Martindale co-authored a verseworks anthology (The Bottle & the Boot) with Daniel McGinn. This limited-release chapbook comes with a CD of selected readings from the book. You can purchase it here.

Three of her poems -- Afterbirth; Deliverance (Birth is a Violent Lover) and I Pull You with the Weeds --  was included in the jazz-enhanced spoken-word reading CD/download Prose, Rhythm and Noise: Muliebrity, Vol. 1, released in May 2015.  (One of Martindale's works, I Pull You with the Weeds, also appears in the aforementioned The Bottle & the Boot.)

One of her poems, Like a Dog, was included in the jazz-enhanced spoken-word reading CD/download, Prose, Rhythm and Noise: Muliebrity, Vol. 2, also released in May 2015.

Monday, June 8, 2015

**One of my poems, Northward, (not so) thrilling, was published on the Leaves of Ink site

One of my mainstream poems, Northward, (not so) thrilling, was published on the Leaves of Ink site.

This autobiographical versework sketches out a long, dead-of-night and creepily tactile walk down a long road.

(Again, many thanks to editor E.S. Wynn for publishing the poems, which are set to appear in my 2016 follow-up book to Mondo febrifuge: omnibus poems.)