Tired. But the muse is yelling.


I would go to sleep, but I have been away from the computer for two days while i stood in for Papa Dash while Mama Dash had to go through Chemo.

Where once they had (still have for the time being) a ranch of some 540 acres, mostly desert, she is not going to return.  Her health precludes that from ever happening again. So he has returned to collect things such as pots, pans, sheets, clothes, etc.

But the six-hundred mile trip and he is tired ( Not only from his surgery, but worry about mom.) he does not want to make a round trip from Reno to the land of dust and a patch of earth where little exists but things that can (and will) hunt you. Big bitey, scratchy things on one side. ¬†Venomous and deadly on another, and just plain ol’ huge horned things that fear nothing – including humans to round out the feeling of being surrounded.

He (Papa Dash) is totally off the grid, generates his own power and water.  Built a palatial house that is elevate above the surrounding land (Flash flood defense!)

But that said, he had no urge to try to make a huge trip to make for a three-hour tour of doctor appointment, chemotherapy session and following the bus around town. (Mama Dash is currently in a wheelchair for ease of transport)

So I went in his place. ¬†While there, an 11-year-old sensed a disturbance in the force and sent me texts. ¬†Both the 11-year-old and the 16-year-old archers I created pounced me when I knocked on the door at 9 O’clock at night.

Me, my bow, twenty-plus arrows and two girls went to the floor.  Lucky the arrows were in a quiver and stayed together. We stayed up to midnight talking and doing homework.

(I may have lost some “Crazy uncle” points by insisting homework be done before we talked of novels, and stories that have their names in it. but the homework is DONE. Dunno if it is right, but it’s done.)

So we stayed up, they whupped on me on xbox (I have no such animal in my home- only computers. As I type this, it is an 8 year old HP with one broken hinge, six rows (Horizontal) of dead pixels on the top of the screen and one column of >red-only< pixels on the right side.  The keys of a,s,e,c, n,k,l,i are obliterated.  The space key has a divot worn in one side.

that is my “video” machine. heh. ¬†So, needless to say, when they headed off to bed finally (It was a >school< night! Mom gave special dispensation) at midnight, I settled down on the sofa about 1-2 AM. ¬†(It rang 1 AM while I was making the bed, tried to figure out a smart-phone problem then turned lights out). The sofa I slept on, I’m longer than by a few inches. So my feet hang over the edge.

Not really a bad thing? But I have fears something will try to nibble on my toes. ¬†So I don’t sleep well.

And another 200 miles worth of driving to come home.

I think I might go to bed “early” tonight. Family is already in bed, SO I might hit the sack at midnight instead of 2-3 am and get up at 7-ish.

In the meantime, I will try to catch up for a few days.  I will also attempt to get you more stories daily.

Hm… No. Maybe not. I would not want to overdose you.

How tired would you get of a crimson coiffed crazy uncle that tells stories? If he happened to tell four different tales every day? Hmm…


We shall see.  I struggle with 2 a day. AND!


NaNoWriMo is coming baby! Woot! Then I will be gonzo!

Hang with me!

Your favorite future best selling author.



lunch of crushed fire.


So far, I am convinced the world of the kitchen today is trying to perform some kind of twisted sense of humor.

In making a sandwich, A touch of mayonnaise, havarti cheese, mushrooms, sliced crimini mushrooms. Then powdered garlic, and a sprinkle of crushed red chili pepper.

Well, that was the plan. It all went well until the chili-pepper.

The dry pepper in a jar just takes a light shake. Instead of a pinch? I probably put two-tablespoons on the sandwich.

UGH!  Shake it off- carefully. And I ate it down anyway.  THIS was a sinus-clearing event.

and now, I know for sure it is not an anxiety/panic attack, but my tummy is asking me “WTF did you swallow? A bbq ember? Wow!”

Ugh, Refusal to back down, hard-headed “I refuse to let it ruin my meal.” attitude.

So now I sit here perspiring more than if I just sat in the sun after a hot shower.

To quote a famous cat. Pffttthhp.

I can even fail at making a lunch.

But I did finish making the frozen dog-treats. ¬†Greek Yogurt, (Local “raw”) honey, banana, peanut butter that are now in the freezer. I just tried really hard to make a mess. One of the containers had a hole in it¬†from a dog-tooth,¬†so it leaked all over the counter. *Sigh* but that was the only fail. Messy enough. At least when breaking up larger frozen “Cubes” of the dog treat, I didn’t slice a finger.

Not that I didn’t try. heh.

I did get a half-dozen shots in with the bow, hit the milk-cap twice. I’m trying to get focused again.

On a related “Focused” note. Keep an eye on this (and a few others! PoffPublishing and Rarity for two.). blog for announcements of an anthology of Horror scheduled now for (NO later than) 1 October 2016. ¬†Originally scheduled for 2015, but all of us have fallen behind and with my own rough patch coming up (Mama Dash with Multiple Myeloma- a bone cancer and Sister Sledgehammer [the “Dash it ALL” attitude. Do not @#$! with her, she will hurt you.] with hardware being taken out of her body to the tune of about a half-pound of steel. PLUS a discovery that the previous surgeries failed to reattach a TFL muscle back to the hip. ¬†Papa Dash trying to crash and burn in front of the nurses the day of his surgery. ) I don’t see me doing much in a full-fledged assembly of a story, even if we have a team of us authors.

Speaking of which?

Anyone who wants to be part of an anthology of a horror novel scheduled for a Halloween 2016 season release.  We have some openings. We are shooting for a 50-60,000 word novel. No more than 100k words total. At that point, our short-story size begin to shrink.

So, shoot me a note. We can chat.


Assistant cook and chief bottle washer.

Oh and just promoted from journeyman baiter to master. So all is good there. (think about it and you’re allowed to giggle)

Discharged! Hospital in the Rear View mirror.


At 5:45 in the morning, I woke alone in the room. Light was subdued¬†by heavy drapes in the room. The Inn at the hospital was comfortable and quiet. But excitement was the ruler of the morning, Three days, count’em! THREE!

An “In and out” surgical procedure. Problems arose, along with bleeding. But the patient, a tough old bird that has had a bumpy year, health-wise has survived the tribulation and both his attitude and strength is returning.

Somewhat tired, but so motivated to get the hell out of the hospital, when the morning came, he was nearly as excited as I was.

So we laughed, talked and waited. harassed nurses (In good humor) ¬† 7:00 hour rolled by.. 8:00… 9 AM… Breakfast arrives, chocolate milk. We share the milk in our coffee, father and son drinking side by each. The Great King and the Imitation of the man. one who sits on his own throne.

No doctor.  The Nurse practitioner kept promising the discharge was in the bag.

Yeah, 3 days burned on that note.  So When does the doctor come in?

TEN O’clock…

Papa Dash and I looked at each other.

“I need to go check out of the Inn. I can always check back in and checkout time is 11:00.” And off I went.

10:30 rolls around.  I return, no doctor.

ELEVEN. A.M. ¬†Nurses are starting to hide from me. ¬†If I have to check back in at the Inn, I’m going to start making a spectacle of myself.

Noon.  No doctor.  Papa Dash is now dressed in his street clothes and pawing at the ground like a bull ready to charge. Lunch arrives, pudding, chocolate milk. Carrot soup.

Quarter past noon, I head over to the nurses station.

“Is the doctor in surgery?”

“He has surgery¬†on the schedule for 1:00.” She looks at me. “I will call the Nurse Practitioner.”

Okay.  So I return to the room where an impatient and tired Papa Dash sits.

Brother-In-Law appears, sister is in same hospital and is having a scheduled surgery for trauma from three years ago. She is in the hospital at the same time as Papa Dash.

But Sister Sledge-hammer is as hard and strong as they come. More on her later.

Finally! ¬†At half-past the hour, the doctor comes in. Nods, shakes hands, “make an appointment with me next week.” and walks out.

We are FREE!

Two signatures later, we aer SO outta there. Shake hands with Brother In Law, hugs all around.

Papa Dash does not even want to wait for me to bring the car around. He is all like “#$%@ that! Let’s go!” walks out without the wheelchair.

So a hike of a half-mile to the car, after 4 days of enforced bed rest, bleeding, post surgery, dehydration, no real food (Pudding, coffee, chocolate milk) and he made it. Although, he was glad to sit down.

The old guy rolled the window down and stuck his head out the window for the first two blocks just to feel the wind in his face.

“Damn, I missed that.” With laughter. “Drive young’un!”

Now for sister:

She is in the hospital for at least TWO days. If the math works out like Papa Dash’s, we are looking at least a week, but Brother in Law says it went pretty well.

The steel plate they put on her ribs to hold her together showed signs of infection and the surgical team took a biopsy to send to the CDC to identify the source.  If it comes back with bad news, an alternative plan that includes more surgery is in the works.

If good news?  She comes home. At which point I evaluate my position here.

Maybe a day longer to see if she can function and have her control of the children and family, if so? I go home. If she needs me to be the legs she needs, I’ll hang out for a few days, do archery with my nieces, tell stories on Grampa. ¬†The younger niece has all but kidnapped me. We had tea with dolls, watched Cloudy with Meatballs 2, How to Train your Dragon and several games on Xbox.

I do not own an Xbox nor do I know how to play it. Maybe I can distract the kids as the favorite weird uncle that does things outside besides writing stories.

Maybe roast a few S’mores…

Tell a few fireside stories I make up as I go along.

More on that later. ūüėČ

For now,

Dash McCallen, your fave up and coming author signing off.

Good night.


What kind of writer are you?


In a recent conversation, an opportunity presented itself¬†to¬†question¬†a very talented artist if they were a “Discovery” or “Outline” type of person.

As an illustrator, I can see how planning ahead is required.

But as a writer and novelist, I find that we tend, as a group, to fall in those two categories.

Which one is better?

I can only shrug.  Neither? Both?  I have outlined an entire story before, areas, who the protagonist might meet, the action.

Then only to find the heroine of the story turned left and went out to the desert to meet someone completely different, instead of taking a right turn and going to the coast as planned.

Conversations planned, outcomes identified.  All I had to do was fill in the journey from one point to the other.

Silly me. My characters are challenging, willful and at times heretical. (I am god of their world, and they thumb their noses at predestined life?!)

WTF?  Really, I had this all planned!  Why are you making friends with the enemy instead of burning the castle and shooting them as they run out?

Maybe I’m a peace lover at heart? Or maybe my soul has far more facets to try anything so mundane as following a planned adventure.

What kinds of vacations do I like? I like to discover where I am going when I get there, I explore my world.  So perhaps I write the same way.

How about you? Do you follow your OCD and write to a formula or do you embrace anarchy and go where the (Literary) wind takes you?

I would like to have an outline, the best I do as a hybrid, is write the first chapter to start, then go to the end (yes!  I do read books that way, not always, but sometimes, it drives Mrs. Dash crazy, she watches my book reading style very closely, thanks to the powers that be for electronic medium so I can skip around without being noticed!) and I write backwards.

So it is “Introducing Mrs. Jones’ cat.” and then I write “and he came home, the end.” then begin to write from there.

There are no rules. Not really when it comes to creating.  You might do your best creation while in pain, so you exercise until your legs and arms almost fall off, then write in the rush of endorphins. Or perhaps you follow me around as I shoot my bow at bottle caps that I have affixed to target backings.  (30 paces*counted*, 80-85 feet, 25 meters *estimated, my paces are not exact*) using a longbow or recurve. (no counterweights, optical or telescopic sights, releases, arrow rests, kisser buttons, or any other accoutrements. Just a glorified stick and a string, I do make concessions to a nock point.) My point being as that it relaxes the mind, brings into focus that world that you are trying to describe.

Any method you use and works for you, is perfeckt for you.

I took a class at a college, the professor of the class, wonderful teacher, by the way, showed the class an image of a clown statue on a table.

“Write an outline of a story.” ¬†Okay. ¬†So I did.

Next assignment?  Write a story.

The story I turned in, bore little resemblance to the outline. He liked it, but questioned me in front of class, this is not how to use your outline.

My comeback was that the outline is only a guide, the characters will do what they choose.

The fight was on.  Until he said I would never make it as an author, I would find myself in a middle of a mess that would not be survive any kind of editing.

I told him then I had two stories already published (Children of Fury, Digital Heart) on Amazon, I would trade him books as I would be interested to compare styles.

We won’t cover what happened after that, but the term “shocked” took a new definition.

(PS. Well, the clown did not survive. But the story? “The Leader” It is a short in the “Walks of Life” anthology currently on sale.)

The upshot, don’t quit writing. ¬†Find your own voice, your own style. ¬†Maybe you need to drink coffee by the quart in the early morning while listening to the noisy raven that demands the crust to your bread. while sitting on your window sill, or maybe in the dark of the night when everyone has gone to bed and the most stupid of television is on the airwaves (so you turn the boob-tube off).

This morning, I sit drinking coffee spiced with nutmeg, cloves, crushed red chili pepper and other spices with toasted dry bagel.  Last night, I went to bed at the local time of 4:30, thus, i am all over the clock.  But that is what my rhythm is like.

Yours?  Find what works, sit down and type. Sketch. draw, paint, exercise that muscle in your mind and do not let anyone tell you.

I cannot say that loud or often enough, Do Not Let Anyone Tell You-

“That’s not how to do it.”

Even me.

It’s like shooting a bow, if you do it all wrong, but you keep hitting the “x” and you are having a good time, by all means, keep doing it.

If you outline? Make it so.

If you don’t follow the outline you made? Huzzah!

If the characters argue with you, they want to go this way, heck, follow them! See what new adventures happen you never planned. You can always put it in another story later if you have to pull them back to the previous point.

On that note: do NOT delete anything you write. ¬†If you don’t like it? Archive it. ¬†Keep it in the file of “Outtakes.” I have nearly one hundred different files of those.

If you don’t even do an outline, just sit down and write? Booya! Go for it!

(that is how I write, what I post here often has only spell check, it is as raw as it can get. Literally(no pun) only minutes old. )

If you get someone to privately message you on your fave social site? Telling you that you have to do a lot of editing on your Seymore the 8 eyed spider story for children, remember, they keep coming back to read what you make. it’s raw, painful and the stories are your babies. YOU decide when it is ready for people to¬†look at it.

Listen only to the voices in your head and heart.

Don’t stop writing.


Then you get a well-loved keyboard like mine. LOL(And this is my GOOD one.)


©2015 Dash McCallen All rights reserved