Sunday, October 29, 2017

"A Game of Tag" to be published in Nov 2017!

So excited and honored to have "A Game of Tag" included in this collection coming out SOON!! http://gallencook.com/2017/10/29/hardclay/


Friday, October 27, 2017

Gathering of Authors Event - Oct 28 2017


I will be at the Gathering of Authors event at the Texarkana, Arkansas, Convention Center on Oct 28, 2017! Come out and meet more than two dozen authors, enjoy snacks, and help us raise money for these two wonderful charities!

100% of my book sales will go to charity at this event!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

"Mirror, Mirror"

Sometimes, I write bits of very short fiction (referred to a Flash Fiction). This is one such tale:

"Mirror, Mirror"
Abby sings “Hakuna Matata.” Something darts from the underbrush. Should I swerve? I hold my breath. Indecision thrusts the vehicle forward.  On its haunches, it turns to me. The steering wheel wiggles against a small bump. “Thudathump” echoes from beneath. In the rearview, the small, furry grey squirrel lays in the road – tail raised stiffly in surrender. 
“Did you kill him, Daddy?” Abby asks from the rear as our eyes meet in the mirror.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"All This Digging" reviewed



Rod Richards, who owns "The Title Wave" bookstore in Portland, Oregon, has reviewed thousands of books and has been posting reviews on readerman.us. Recently, he reviewed my debut collection of short stories, "All This Digging and other stories."

The link to the actual review is: http://readerman.us/201504_7039/

I wrote these stories while working on my Masters Degree many years ago. They were part of a larger project I was doing as part of my thesis. At that time, the loose collection was called "Unfinished Business," because I believe that all short stories are mere glimpses into a moment in time. We don't generally know what led us to the event detailed in the story nor do we often know what happens afterward. I also named it that because I had the start of a novel (then called "Summer of Seven" which later became "Summer Breaks") and knew that it was not even close to being finished.

Some of the stories begin and end with roughly the same sentence. I was trying to develop a series of stories that I dubbed "Circle of Life" tales. That is, the reader is taken on a small journey that essentially leads the reader right back to where s/he started.

For example, the collection's title piece, "All This Digging," starts off with:
"I hate all this digging," the old man said aloud to no one.
As the story unfolds, the reader is drawn into a strange, ultimately horrific, tale. As the old man finishes his work, the story ends with the opening line above.

As Rod says, each story shows, "the way people think in different situations. Some I don’t understand but I recognize them." That is the point of many of the short fiction that I write: get inside the protagonist's head, even if you don't understand what's in there. We often wonder what other people are thinking or what it would be like to be the proverbial fly on the wall. All too often, though, what we'd find would either scare us or confuse us.

Don't get me wrong, these are not horror stories (er, well, not all of them). But, I have found the line between laughter and fear is not always clearly defined.

Want to read the book? Click on "All This Digging" in the right column.

Thanks for stopping by!

*What does the bear picture have to do with anything!? Read the book to find out!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Work in Progress: Game-inspired novel #writing #novel #ootp

Hey, everyone! Thanks for stopping by to see what I've been up to. Right now, I am working on a novel inspired by the baseball simulation called OOTP (Out of the Park). The story centers on two brothers from Chicago: John and Carter "Dingus" Bailey.



I let the game create everything in a fictional midwestern league: team names, player names, birthdates, cities of birth, etc. Then, I went through all the players and found all those with the same last name. After that, I looked to see if any of those had been born in the same city. Sure enough, the Bailey brothers were discovered.

Carter was born on April 26, 1980. John  was born on September 06, 1990. At the start of the novel, Carter wears #14 and plays left field for the Oklahoma City Mad Ants. John wears #5 and plays Shortstop for the Omaha Pumas. We'll see where their careers, and their age differences, take them over the course of their ball-playing time.

The cool thing about the game is that you not only get stats, but you get fun News Items, such as injury reports that tell you how the player got injured (say, accidentally shoots himself in the foot - an actual in-game event, though it was not a Bailey boy who did it) and how long the player is expected to be out. The game also picks Players of the Week and hands out various other awards.

I chose to create an 8-team league because I wanted that small town feel. I'm sure there will be superstars on some teams and drama on others. Some of those players and events will have an impact on one Bailey brother or the other - or sometimes both, I'm sure.

I've never tried to write a novel this way before, so we'll see how it all pans out. Wish the boys luck!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A "nameless" college



In the Fall of 1987, students learned that Loretto Heights College in Denver, Colorado, was being sold to Regis College and subsequently to the Japanese University (or vice versa).

In any case, the Spring of 1988 was difficult for the students who had come to love attending the small, private Liberal Arts college. I took a creative writing class that semester under the leadership of Dr. Bob Johnson. He was, by far, one of the best writing profs I have ever had.

We had an assignment to write about the closing of the college. I don't know what ever happened to my paper, and I hate that I did not keep it. It talked of crumbling sandstone and broken hearts. It also spoke of what I saw of my future.

I wrote that I would ultimately graduate from some "nameless college." As life's irony would have it, not only did I not graduate from a nameless college, I graduated from a university with MY own name! Twice.

In 1990, I transferred from University of Colorado to Henderson State University. I had not planned to graduate from there. I was enrolled in order to help get my grades back in line after majoring in "socializing" at CU-Boulder.

I actually came to enjoy attending Henderson State, met the woman who amazingly agreed to marry me, and in the Spring of 1993 I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts - Mass Media Radio.

In the Summer of 2003 (or thereabouts), I walked out with my Master of Liberal Arts - English (or, listed as "General") degree from Henderson State University.

And now, our son attends that same university.

Not only did I *NOT* end up at some "nameless" university, but the university with my own name has proved to be one of the pivotal points over the course of my lifetime.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Not quite #750Words, not quite awake either

NOTE: The following was written the night before after a long day of attending an eductech conference, taking part in The Great Escape Room and hanging out at Downtown Disney for a few hours. I am pasting it exactly as I had typed it - typos and nonsensicals included. For the record, I do not drink alcohol any longer. I haven't had a drop since 1990. Yes, you needed to know that. This little bit of writing below might lead you to believe otherwise:

Well, since getting back into writing 750 words per day, I really haven't written much of anything. It's nearly midnight on a Wednesday and I am in Orlando, so I figured as tired as I am, I would go ahead and write something. Makes about as much sense as anything else, right?

Caleb Tengan stood around 5'9" with short brown hair. He had brown eyes. Well, mostly brown eyes. His left eye had a peculiarity in which a full three-fourths of the color was brown, but one fourth of the circle surrounding his pupil was actually blue. You had to look closely to see it, but once you did, you saw it forever. His medium build, regular nose, and non-descript mouth made him look like anyone else in the world. He felt nothing special about himself. That is not to say he was down on himself. On the contrary, he thought himself to be of at least average intelligence and of at least above-average in the looks department. He wasn't going to set girls' hearts to fluttering, but he wasn't some ugly beast, either. And, he was fine with that. He scratched lightly at his chest.

"Well, I'm not too shabby, I suppose," he said to no one in particular. In fact, as he looked around, he wasn't saying it to anyone else at all. The room in which he stood was vacant. "Well, dang. How long have I been standing here?" He looked at his watch. It was 3:15 in the afternoon, and he had no recollection as to how he missed the fact that all the other participants had left the room. He shrugged, "Well, whaddya gonna do, eh," he said in a mock Italian-American accent.

**I can already tell, this is going nowhere right now. I keep typing in a haze, some kind of weird vegetative state where my eyes glaze over and thoughts escape me, yet my fingers continue to type. Sometimes, I have to go back and fix the words on the page because I have allowed my mind and fingers wander into places unknown. As I am typing this, I have hit 358 words. That's a little bit beyond the halfway mark.

I keep zoning out, playing some kindof boxing match in my head. In the daydream, I walk up to someone's house (always the same house, though) and ask for Niko or something (I can't remember just now). When he comes out, we have a scuffle and I cannot remember why. But, I end up getting an .. I have no idea. My mind is shot, and the line between the reality of the fact I am typing and that of being a hired hand to work, there are certainly drawbacks.

Okay, time to shut this down. Sorry. I just couldn't make it.

--- NOTE: Haha, I have no idea what the second-to-last line means. In fact, I don't even remember typing the last full paragraph. This, children, is why we don't write after we should have gone to sleep.