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This Desperate City
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Comic Name - This Desperate City Page 99 - Cover Art

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Page 99 - Cover Art
PAGE 99 POSTED: Tuesday August 6, 2013
TDC Recommends
Good Reads
Thuglit - Short Stories with Bite
Shotgun Honey - Micro Fiction
The Flash Fiction Offensive - Micro Noir
Heater - Online Crime Goodness
Literary Orphans - Fiction that doesn't fit
More Brubaker - Fatale
Internet Randomness
Spinetingler Magazine Online - Crime Fiction
Absolute Write - Writing Resource
Crimespace - Crime Fiction and Networking
Rolln' with Thuglit
July 06, 2014 - JJS
Yup. I have a story in this quarter's Thuglit 12. This is a bit of a watershed moment for me, as it is the first time one of my stories appears for purchase on Amazon. And on top of that, there're two ways you can lend your support AND get a book full of great crime fiction, a kindle edition and a hard copy edition. For all my Kindle user friends, you know a buck for good fiction is hard to come by. And plus, it's a buck, you can pull more out of your sofa on a Saturday night!

Now the story. The Hard Sell takes us to a forgotten back road motel somewhere in Kansas, and its not so secret history of murder. Hoping to avoid adding to the body count, Frances and his drug dealer attempt to score some cash with the local cops in a merchandise exchange. But the fortuitous appearance of a young girl touring the country with her college friends may set Frances' well laid plans into an unrecoverable spin.

Thuglit is ultra well respected in the industry, and a leader in many ways of upcoming crime fiction trends. 12 issues in, and they have established themselves as a force in the industry. To be accepted by them for me is an amazing opportunity, and I hope I can make the best of it. 

One more in the barrel, hopefully word on that one soon. Thanks, and yes, who knows, maybe something other than this blog will be updated on this site at some point .... No promises though.

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The Flash Fiction Offensive
June 06, 2014 - JJS

Business is picking up!

The awesome folks over at The Flash Fiction Offensive (Out of the Gutter Books) have picked up my story Legacy. It’s a sordid little ditty about a Camaro, a pair of handguns, and unresolved daddy issues. And the best part? It’s free and short. So get your asses over to this great site and read it, and while you’re there, give them some clicks and read the rest of the great stuff over there. These guys know crime fiction like few others and it’s a real milestone I was able to get my foot in the door there.


Legacy – Flash Fiction Offensive


And just to spice things up, they include pictures (!) that go with the theme of your work, which is, of course, awesome. Love the care they take with their authors.


Rocking the 60s Camaro

Thanks everyone for taking the time and stick around here in the next few weeks, because there’s one more announcement in the barrel just waiting to be fired!


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One More to the Pile
May 28, 2014 - JJS
 I'm pleased to announce (though it's a bit late coming to here), another story of mine has been picked up. The great people at Fiction Magazines .Com have published my story Lost and Found.

It's a dark little tale about a man, his obsession with John Milton, and the ways in which a person can manipulate themselves to perform horrible actions. So, pretty standard crime fiction stuff!

As way of a writing update, be on the lookout for a few more announcements over the coming weeks and months. Some good news broke this way a few more times, however, the business being as slow as it is, things sometimes take awhile to manifest. 

As far as new issues of the comic go, adding another little girl into the mix at home has made me re-examine the availability of free time and my ability to distribute something on any type of a normal schedule. The site will not be going away, however, it may be changed significantly in form and function in the foreseeable future. 

Thanks to everyone as always for the support. I post a bit more regularly on 
Google+ if you have any interest in following my random thought processes. More soon, thanks everyone!

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The Hell You Been
December 09, 2013 - JJS

The Hell You Been?


Well my friends, isn’t that a wonderful question?

Where the hell has this website been and why has it taken so damned long to update?

 Keep ‘em coming.

This story was kinda sorta at a breaking point and now nothing? Oh and what about the prose section, is that crap every going to update again?

Anymore out there? You, you in the front.

 Is the Universe going to contract at some point or is it going to inflate forever until everything is just a frozen nothingness.

Finally, an easy one. Frozen nothingness is the winner!


No buts, it’s nearly fact at this point, read some physics. In regards to the rest of you, the initial thought was something of a big unveiling and a re-launch. But that’s probably not going to happen. So for now, we’re in “Coming Soon” mode while some things get set up in the near future.

What are those things?

Can’t say just yet, but they could be cool (or could be nothing).

What? That’s kind of dumb.

What’s that, guy in the back with the backwards Dolphin’s hat?

What else you got?

Yes, fine, yes TDC’s story will continue but it will be re-launching in a sense. The initial string of pages has eclipsed 90 panels. So, we’ll be re-branding with a new number one. Keep things better organized.  The story will also read as a new launch, so NEW READERS WILL BE WELCOME.

The main TDC story will be moving to black and white though. This is a decision governed exclusively because of internal time constraints. Coloring takes away from creative time. You may see a random splash page mocked up, but it’ll be the exception and not the norm.

That it?

No, smart ass, that’s not it. You’ll also see some subtle design changes in the comic itself. This is intentional and not (exclusively) because of time constraints. Two years in the same layout and style has grown and a little stale and I wanted to shake things up.

Doesn’t seem very much like news at all.

Ya’ got me there.

What about the prose section? Anything new coming there?

YES! That one is a yes. New chapter of The Great Dame is NOW posted in the prose section.

That’s good news at least. Although, it’s been so long, I have no friggin idea what’s going on in that story anymore.

That’s okay, you weren’t the only one. But it’s up and there’s also a quick one page outline to help you get caught up.

I’m not reading that.

I know, but it’s there so shove it.

Fair enough.

Where was I?

Something about not updating the site for a few months and then repackaging it so it looks like it takes less time to update but trying to spin it like you’re giving your readers something extra. Oh, and it’s still not even up yet, so we can’t even see it.

Right. C’mon, new prose chapter. New Comic Panel to come. New style. Black and White, and more consistent updates. That’s not horrible for a creator owned site, you gotta give me that at least.

Actually, when you package it all up like that, it almost sounds like you’re giving us something we didn’t know we wanted.

That’s the business I’m in.

I thought you were in the business of getting webpage hits.

You kidding? This shit COSTS money. I meant my real job.

What’s that?

Don’t ask.

You brought it up.

I did but just do me a favor, don’t ask.

Fine. You realize you’re just talking to yourself right?

In so many more ways than one.

Good, at least you admit it.

I think that’s all the news I have though.

One more.


You serious about the whole end of the universe thing?


Random for a crime blog website.

Indeed. But it’s interesting. And it’s in a story I just submitted too, so it was top of mind.

Cool. So how long?

How long what?

How long until everything just spins off into nothing.

10 to the 100 years.

That’s awhile from now.

Well the universe is around 14 billion years old.

How many zeros is that?

Like 9.

Oh, so we’ve got awhile.

Yea, lots of time.

Good, now why don’t you use some and gives us some damned content already.

Touché my friend, touché.


Simultaneously back in and out of touch,



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Time, Relatively speaking
July 20, 2013 - JJS

In the many and varied efforts by writers attempting to climb out of the amateur fens and into the light of professional recognition and more importantly money, one culprit more than any other holds their feet forever in the mud. Time. When writing isn’t the only gig, when being a parent, or a wife or husband, or a teacher or a mechanic or an assistant manager or any of the myriad of labels life brands on people, wanted or not, time stands monolithic and domineering, casting a dim shadow over all the amateur desires to accomplish.

            In the existential view, of course, time is against everyone. The less the writer puts pen to paper or fingers to keys, the less time remains in his short days to pass on his stories and knowledge to the future. But that everyone dies is a trite excuse to not push passions forward.

            Time, or finding time, is easily the largest lament non-professional writers share. Countless minutes and hours and days and weeks pass with characters clinging to each other from the edge of the cliff, or running, frozen mid-stride, away from the killer, or tears frozen in paradox, glistening and wet, as they wait weeks in the same day for their estranged husband to call. The lush and very real world writers manipulate when guiding their characters past the obstacles they put in front of them does not progress during the normal passage of time.

            Einstein’s general theory of relativity states -- amongst a multitude of other very science-y and non-relevant points to this article – that speed and time are intertwined because of gravity, and the faster something travels the slower time moves for them in relation to those not traveling the same speed. Such is the world a writer’s characters inhabit. Only the characters’ slowed time has nothing to do with speed. The clock holds fast in their lives solely because of their relativity to the writer.

            This is why it is so important and all-encompassing for writers to carve and dig and scrape out writing time on a regular basis. It’s great to think about a story, to plot out arcs in the mind, to talk about storylines with fellow writers, to rework and rework and rework, but ultimately, until the writers actually write, not one second of time passes for those characters so desperate to climb the ledge, escape evil, or have the phone ring. Writing is the only remedy to kick the chocks from the wheels and get the monstrosity rolling.

            Much the same as gravity, there is another force at work here as well. Writers also lose their own relativity to the worlds they create with the passage of too much time. Just as Einstein pulls on the edges of perception of those moving slowest, clarity becomes elusive to writers, and the structures they so intricately built become fuzzy and distorted. The tales, even with complete outlines, don’t ring with familiarity, and ultimately, the very words writers choose fail to convey the immediacy of a once vibrant universe.

            How to discover more time in a day is the subject of a multitude of writers’ blogs. Admittedly, the problem is more complex than any other the amateur writer faces and warrants the attention. But understanding why consistency is so important is vital to understanding why writing itself is so important to all writers. Overcoming the amateur’s malaise and omnipresent sense of dread is essential. When those hours flow to days, and days to weeks, their characters suffer greatest, changing from lively real people into clockwork drones with one purpose, finish the plot exactly the way the writer needs. No writer wants mechanical automatons taking up precious space in their environments. They want their populations to use free will, to climb and run and search and love on their own. Writers want to sit back with everyone else and watch the majesty of reality take place on the page. If they’re doing it right, they don’t exactly understand how they accomplished it.

These elusive qualities fade, and fade quickly, with every second writers are not walking amongst their creations. Breathing the air, tasting the food, breaking bread with these fictional people is vital to both the characters’ survival and the writers’ dreams of the future. 

            So instead of thinking about that next chapter before going to bed, or editing a few extra lines of dialogue at lunch, or typing out the next tweet, do your characters a favor and push time, ever so slowly, forward another few minutes. They’ll appreciate it now and you’ll appreciate it later. Relatively speaking of course. 

Feet Firmly in the Mud,

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