The Bridge between This World and Another

Bridges have the capacity to delight and also terrify me.

On one hand, from a bridge you have an amazing view of whatever it crosses, and it’s a lot of fun to look down at water.  On the other hand, a bridge also has the capacity to cross heart-stopping chasm, and that can be terrifying for someone like me who doesn’t like heights.

In the painting above, there’s a small bridge leading to a tiny island where the Torii stands.  Since the Torii is the gateway between the normal world and the sacred, the bridge is the path to that possibility.  Then, when you look out into the fog – who knows what odd things you might find out there?

If you’re a writer, bridges make great metaphors.  They are also natural choke points so you can use them to force characters to have to meet something.  They can bring up all kinds of feelings, especially if that bridge happens to be a high railroad trestle with all the world visible between your feet!

Speaking of bridges, portals and gateways, I just finished a short story of about 10,000 words called Gateway Drug.  Check it out on my Books Page!


via Daily Prompt: Bridge

Thank you, Readers! Giveaway Time.

Thank you, everyone, I just broke my old record for views – and tripled it!  I want to show my appreciation.

This weekend I am hosting a giveaway of all three of my main books.  From October 21-23 you can go to Amazon and download them, absolutely free!  Re-post, feature or reblog if you are interested.  I’m also running a giveaway for my latest book.  Three paperback copies are being given away over at Goodreads.

Go to, main page, for the hard copy giveaway.


Available for the eBook giveaway, October 21-23:


Dice of Fate cover small
The Dice of Fate
How to P!ss Off The Customers


Purple Dragon 4 brightened
Quests of the Avatar
Seeking Virtue in the Modern World
Info for all books can be found at
Don’t have a Kindle?  No problem!  You can download a Kindle Reading app here: – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

Inktober Day 15 – The Red Eyes (fiction)

Hunching against the rain, Daphne hurried up the concrete walk till she reached the overhang that sheltered the apartment door. Her battered key rattled in the lock, stuck for a moment, then the knob turned and she was in.

She came inside, shook herself and flipped the light on, looking for her only roommate, the cat. The big Siamese was nowhere to be found, however.

“Dagoba– I’m home– come on out, girl.”

Putting her grocery bags on the stove and taking off her wet sneakers, Daphne padded back into the small living room. She meowed. It wasn’t the best feline impression but usually got a response. This time, though, Daphne didn’t hear an answer. Where is that silly cat? she wondered, her mind already starting to run wild from the stories she’d been swapping with her coworkers on that wet October evening. SHe grunted, lowering herself to the carpeted floor, She got on her hands and knees to check under the couch. That was Dagoba’s favorite spot to hide when the storms were too scary.

“Come on out, Neko-chan,” said Daphne, using her favorite japanese pet phrase for the cat. For some reason, Dagoba sometimes responded to Japanese words more rapidly than words in English. Daphne had wondered before if cats simply liked words that had fewer sibilants in them, but whatever the reason was, right now she just wanted her furry friend out from under the couch.

Two glowing, red eyes shone out from the darkness beneath the padded seat.

Fighting down the jangling from her already frayed nerves, Daphne called quietly. “You got me again, Dagoba,” she said. “Scaring me with those pretty eyes of yours. Come on out from there.”

That was when Dagoba’s warm, round head butted Daphne in the side. She stretched, blinking sleepily, as if to ask “why did you have to wake me up from my nap?”

Daphne glanced over at the Siamese. The cat looked at her curiously, as if wondering why she was on the floor. Her voice shook badly. “You were in the bedroom? Then who’s under there?” Or what? she wondered silently. Her blood was running cold in her veins. She most definitely did NOT want to look at those red eyes again. She got up and grabbed the flashlight that was stuck magnetically to the microwave and turned on its powerful 28 led beam. Slowly, shakily, she got back down on hands and knees. There was no other way to see under the low futon-style couch.

Feeling better with the light, she shone it dagobah-800underneath the couch. There was an old roll of duct tape. A wood saw. Some crumpled up grocery bags. A partial sheet of sand paper. A bottle of white glue, still in shrink wrap. An old radio. Some airsoft beebees. Lint, cat hair. Cardboard. And nothing more.

Dagoba mrowed questioningly.

“Nothing under there, I guess,” said Daphne. “Maybe the airsoft ammo reflected the light somehow?” Even as she said it, she knew it was a lame excuse. But her conscious mind fastened on any halfway plausible explanation. She wanted a normal evening. Life had just been too weird lately. She got up, scooped up her cat and hugged her. Instead of wriggling out of her grasp, Dagoba wrapped her long, brown forearms around Daphne’s neck, licked her cheek, and purred.

Two red eyes under the couch, blinked, waiting.

Free book giveaway!

As of today, October 13, and until October 31, anyone in the US can enter to win a free paperback copy of my new book, “How To P!ss Off The Customers!”

It’s a comedic look at customer service’s seamy underbelly, and a guide to being the world’s worst employee.  If you aren’t a member of Goodreads, it’s free to join and there’s no obligation.

If you win this giveaway, I’ll sign the book for you and even pay shipping!  Sorry, international readers, I’ll try to do a better one later but it’s a little expensive to ship worldwide.

Just click on the cover to be taken to the giveaway.

(Please feel free to reblog – spread the word!)



Art Exploration “Kitsune”

Cover final painting small

This is the second version of a cover painting I did for a novel I wrote.  I usually try to paint things that tell some kind of a story, but this was meant to be representational of some of the book content and hopefully somewhat intriguing to the casual viewer.

The novel was “The Dice of Fate,” a story about a young woman who was suddenly transported directly from her day job to a place that was like something from one of her roleplaying campaigns.  Early in the story, a little white Kitsune with three tails comes and helps her, and the theme of dice features prominently in the story.  Therefore, I chose to depict the kitsune, the ten sided die, and a hint of the long road she had to walk on foot to get to civilization.

I started (as usual) with the sky gradient.  The better the sky gradient, the better the foundation of the work.  Since this was acrylic, I could dispense any worry about the transparency of my layers.  With the trees I worked from dark to light, always keeping in mind that most trees have gray bark, not brown.  For highlighting, I used chalks and pencils in the final steps.

I was fairly pleased with the work.  If anyone wants to see it on the cover, feel free to click through to the link – and if anyone wants to buy it, it’s free for Kindle subscribers.  Just search the title “The Dice of Fate.”