“The Zodiac Clock”

I’m currently trying to find a home for this story I wrote called “The Zodiac Clock.” I don’t write many short stories these days, and I only wrote this one because there was an open call for submissions and I wanted to give that a shot. My story didn’t get picked for the anthology, so now I’m like, Well now what do I do with it? I think it’s a good story (though I’m probably biased), and I’ve been told to maybe write more and put out my own anthology, but before I go through all that, I’m looking for a place that might take the story first.

All this is a very long introduction to what I really meant to write about, which is: How I came up with the idea for the story.

I used to see this ad for a book called The Zodiac Cooks. It’s a cook book based on astrology, I guess? The image with the ad showed this blue cake divided into an astrological wheel/chart. Well, every time I saw this ad—every single time, even though I’d seen it a dozen times before—I’d think it said The Zodiac Clocks. Something about a quick glance at the image, and seeing the words out of the periphery of my vision—the cake looked a little like a clock, and “cooks” at a glance can be read as “clocks.” And I was sort of disappointed that it wasn’t The Zodiac Clocks because to me that sounds like an awesome book.

Well, as they say, if you can’t find the book you want to read, write it.

I didn’t write a whole book though, just the story. It does lend itself to expansion however. There’s potential there. I could either turn the story into a full novel or write more stories in the same world. I just don’t know yet if I want to do that.

Hopefully one of the places I’ve sent the story will want it. Otherwise I’ll shelve it for the time being.

Some stories start with the story and the title comes later. But sometimes you’ve got this great title and just have to find a way to make it happen.

The James vs. Clarence Thing

I’m pleased that my new Sherlock Holmes Professor Moriarty story is finding readers. (If you haven’t read it yet, you can get it here—free to read if you have Kindle Unlimited, and just 99 cents otherwise.) I even received my first review, and it was 5 stars! But I did notice the reviewer wrote that, really, she gives it 4.5 stars because she was confused by the James/Clarence thing. So I thought I’d answer that question in case others also had it.

In Conan Doyle’s story “The Final Problem,” Watson writes:

My hand has been forced, however, by the recent letters in which Colonel James Moriarty defends the memory of his brother…

Colonel James Moriarty is not the criminal. You can be forgiven for thinking as much since there seems to be an ongoing use of James/Jim/Jamie for the character of the evil Moriarty in books, films, and television programs. But, going by the original source material, this isn’t true. James is just the professor’s brother. So I gave my version of Professor Moriarty the name Clarence. Which happens to be my father’s name. And before you think that says something about how I view my dad, you should probably read the story first. In any case, I’m sure my dad will be hugely amused when he reads it. (He and Mom are on a cruise at the moment, so…)

Anyway, that’s my reasoning. Sorry for any confusion. Hope you still enjoy the story!

New Story Out!

I have a new short story out on Amazon today. I’d say it’s a Sherlock Holmes story, except it’s told from the perspective of Moriarty. You can check it out here. Kindle Unlimited members can read it for free!

What if the famously evil Professor Moriarty wasn’t as evil as Holmes made him out to be? Hear his side in this new short story that revisits the Reichenbach Falls.

WIP Wednesday

Now that my three previous Sherlock Holmes stories have been tidily collated into a single volume, I started writing a new story, though from a decidedly different POV:

Let me begin by saying I have no “domed head,” or however it was Dr. Watson described me. Nor am I particularly old—though older than Holmes, I daresay I haven’t more than half a decade on his biographer. I am a professor, but of chemistry rather than mathematics. Holmes knows this full well. I tutored him.

Having fun with it, seeing where it takes me. If all goes well, you’ll be able to come along for the ride when it’s finished.

My Sherlock Holmes Stories—now collected!

You may know that I got my start writing Sherlock Holmes stories. The first one was published in 2012, with a second not far behind it, and a third in 2015. They were originally sold separately, but we’ve now combined them all in one. THESE ARE NOT NEW STORIES. If you’ve already bought and read the others, don’t buy this too, because they’re the same. But if you’ve never read my Sherlock Holmes stories, now you can have all three in one book. The audiobook version of this collection should be out in another couple weeks, too. I’ll definitely post once it is!

Order

It probably doesn’t matter, but I get questions about this sometimes, so I’ll post an answer here. I’ve written three Sherlock Holmes stories, all available on Amazon Kindle. This is the order they were written/released in:

  1. “The Mystery of the Last Line”
  2. “The Adventure of Ichabod Reed”
  3. “The Monumental Horror”

But if you wanted to read them in the order the events take place, you’d go the other way:

  1. “The Monumental Horror”
  2. “The Adventure of Ichabod Reed”
  3. “The Mystery of the Last Line”

Not that it makes a difference. Each story stands on its own, though I have begun writing a direct sequel to “Last Line.” It seems many people feel they didn’t get closure with that one, so I’m working to fix that. I did once write a small epilogue of sorts to “Last Line,” which you can find here. It does not, however, give answers to the lingering questions, hence my plans to write something more explicit.