Miscellaneous Writings and Musings


A genie and her rock band

(Novel and Short Stories)

Steal Tomorrow

Steal Tomorrow
Murder, Mystery, First Love, and the End of the World

(Novel and Short Stories)

My Books and Stories

My Books and Stories
Where to Buy, Read, Download

New Flash Fiction

New Steal Tomorrow flash fiction: Double Agent.

Flash Fiction: Future Perfect

This is a prequel to Tin Soldier, my free online novel about a post-petroleum dystopia. It's also linked at Three Word Wednesday which is a great place to drop in and read new writers.


Carina walked the paddock fence, deep in thought. She had visited her parents' high desert rancho for years, but now she was here for good, or at least until her husband came back from the war.

One of the donkeys trotted to the fence and Carina rubbed her velvety nose. "There will be no getting out of your checkups now, silly girl. Soon you'll be wishing I'd go back to the city and take care of dogs and cats."

The city. Carina sighed and leaned against the fence, a gentle breeze blowing her hair and tickling her cheek. In spite of the privations of the Resource Wars, she had enjoyed city life - not just the stores and entertainments, but the little niceties that made life easier. What wouldn't she give to be able to light a room at night with the flick of a wall switch? Would she ever again enjoy a hot shower without having to hurry so as not to empty the rooftop tank and deprive the next person?

She patted the donkey's nose again and continued her rounds. When her husband came home, it would be different. He was a doctor and between his medical skills and her veterinary prowess, they would do well in this valley. When the wars ended, no one would have to hide their solar panels in the basement and ration their batteries behind blackout curtains. The anti-hoarding laws would be lifted and she would be free to prosper.

In the meantime...she looked around the dusty property with its ribbon of a creek meandering through, coaxing green living things out of desert dust. She was the only qualified veterinarian in this valley, and word was that the veterinarian on the nearby reservation was old. Carina would make out okay here and lay the groundwork for her husband's return.

The sun was low in the sky now, starting to dip below the mesas. In a mellow frame of mind, Carina started toward the house, but stopped at the edge of an alfalfa field where her older sister stood brooding over the freshly-irrigated crop. "It would make a nice painting, don't you think? All that green surrounded by desert."

Amalia looked at her through narrowed eyes, then turned away. "I'll be a regular Georgia O'Keefe," she scoffed.

Carina suppressed a sigh. Although Amalia was in many ways the more practical sister, her interests had always gravitated toward literature and the arts. Farm life was going to be hard for her. At least Carina had a skill her neighbors needed. "People have always made art in the desert, even when it was just native people painting pots. We'll find things to do here. Maybe we can even make it fun."

"You'll find things to do. I'll just cope."

"It's better than the city, with the riots and rationing."

"Perhaps." Amalia jerked her head. "Dinner was almost ready when I came out here. Let's go before Mom and Dad worry."

"What's to worry about?" Carina tipped her head and looked at the deepening blue of the sky, where a few faint early stars twinkled. "They've lived out here too long to still have city fears."

Amalia worked a shrug into her movements as they walked the path toward the low adobe house. "It doesn't matter why they think what they do. We may be married women, but living under their roof we might as well be kids again."

"It was best to come out here. Everyone said so."

"Of course."

She said it reluctantly, but Carina decided not to belabor the topic. They were nearly at the house, and she had to admit that the glow of candles and kerosene lanterns in the windows gave it a certain charm. She would find a way to make this work.

"What are you smiling about? I saw what Mom was cooking and it wasn't much."

Carina didn't care if dinner was a bowl of beans or an epicurean feast. "This place is our future," she said with conviction. "We're going to make the most of it."


Want to read the whole thing? Go here: Tin Soldier.

Flash Fiction: Destroyer

New flash fiction featuring Coyote from my blog fiction, Bella Diana. It's also linked at Three Word Wednesday which is a great place to drop in and read new writers.


Coyote fidgeted in the saddle. The sun had set, but a faint glow remained, just enough to see the twin rails stretching into the distance. He sighed with impatience.

On time.

"Don't lie," Coyote said. It was bad enough that he heard disembodied voices, but the deceptions and half-truths were enough to drive anyone mad.

He turned his attention from the horizon to the valley floor. From his vantage point halfway up the mesa, he would be able to see everything unfold if it were daylight. Unfortunately, this was an operation that had to be carried out by night. A part of him wondered if he should be doing it at all.

Trains kill.

Coyote had an affinity for all things mechanical, but trains were special. As a child, he slipped away from his mother at every opportunity and went to the depot, where he became such a fixture that he would sometimes be allowed to hand tools to the maintenance workers. The best days were when the engineers would let him climb into the idling engines where he gazed in rapturous delight at the switches and controls. What wasn't there to love about trains?


"Shut up." Coyote hated it when they taunted him. He picked up his binoculars and squinted at the horizon again. Was it his wishful thinking, or did he see a pinprick of light?

Always right, always right, always right...

"Except when you tell me too late, you fucking bastards."

Coyote looked again at the steadily growing light of the approaching train and his mind flashed on memories of gears and pistons, and the perfect way they moved. He would've loved to have been a train mechanic. It seemed more appropriate to build such beautiful things than--

Trains are death. Your parents...

"You always mention them, as if it was anything other than an accident. Maybe I don't want to do this. Someone else's parents might be on this train, you know. Parents like mine."

Now he could hear the chugging of engines, the hum of wheels and the faint rattle of swaying cars. In his mind, Coyote saw it as if it were daylight - the dusty engines hooked front to back, the spinning wheels, the flat cars and box cars trailing behind, rocking to the rhythm of their own song.

A shrill metal-on-metal squeal of brakes. The engine's headlamp had illuminated Coyote's blockade, but it was too late. The sound of the crash ricocheted down the line as cars crashed into each other, sparks flashed, and cars toppled off the tracks. Even in the dark it was breathtaking, and Coyote sat transfixed.

A few small fires caught in the dry desert grass, and in their glow, Coyote saw cars scattered about like great dying beasts, and felt an unexpected surge of pride.

You are powerful now.

"It's only just one train."

There will be others.

Coyote opened his mouth to argue, but thought better of it. Yes, there would be others, now that he knew how easy it was. He loved trains, but a train had taken the lives of his parents, and that couldn't be forgiven. His mother and father hadn't believed in the voices he heard, but that was the only failing Coyote could think of. They had been otherwise perfect and deserved to be avenged. "Which one should I try next?"

The voices didn't answer. They were like that sometimes.

With a sigh, Coyote turned his horse and started up the switchbacks.


If you want more, Bella Diana is free and online.