Just Getting Started

With the completion of my second novella, Havoc Tales Volume 2 The Hunt, I decided to put aside the third novella in the series, though it already has a head start, and turn my attention in a different direction. And what a difference it is, at least for me. After having finished four science fiction books, I am turning inward, with a personal story involving the friendship of two men.

The foundation has been set and the first chapter is nearly finished. I’m not certain where the story might eventually go, being a writing-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of writer, but I am encouraged and excited by what I have so far.

It is yet untitled. But as things progress, I will let you know.

As for the eleventh installment of Fallen One, it was placed on the back burner for some time as I pushed through on Havoc Tales. Fallen One 11 should be out in a week or so.

Havoc Tales Volume 2 The Hunt

Havoc Tales by Rollin Miller

The boys are back, facing an increasingly monstrous threat that is on the move. Follow Jack, AJ, Wrench, and Beast as they race against time to stop this invasive menace from taking over a New Mexico town.

This is the second novella in a series, Havoc Tales, with Jack Havoc and his team. The first novella, Havoc Tales Volume 1 Terror Below is available from all your online book distributers in ebook or print format.

Get your copies today.

Fallen One (10)

Stefan Keller – Pixabay

Jared staggered out of Spaulding’s house, his mind spinning and flopping in uncontrollably. The detective stood in the screen door, his head pressing against the mesh, watching as Jared made his way down the steps and to the edge of the street where his motorcycle waited for him.

Spaulding felt his fears renewed and stronger than they had been in years. But now, those fears were going to be shared by someone else. Someone other than that boy’s grandma and him. He watched as Jared picked up his helmet and slipped it over his head, turning back to the house as he did.

They stared at each other, lingering in silent understanding, trapped together in a common horror, neither knowing what to say or do.

Jared sat on the motorcycle as the door closed, Spaulding’s face moving to the adjacent window, the curtains pulled away for him to watch. Jared sat on the bike, his boots on the ground, the kickstand free. He raised it with his heel, his confused, agitated mind trying to figure out how everything had suddenly turned upside down. What began as an escape from his humdrum going-nowhere-life had morphed into an episode of the Twilight Zone.

Putting the bike in gear, he was soon out of sight of Spaulding’s house and its aging neighborhood and sat at the intersection with the highway. The stop sign was slightly bent, its paint faded, and two small bullet holes punctured the right edge.

He looked to the west, with all of its promises of things new and exciting. It was most appealing. The road was empty, wide open, and beckoning him to put his life behind him, including his latest revelations. He gave the bike a little gas, its body lunging against the resistance of his brakes. He looked west again, knowing there was nothing standing in his way, nothing tangible, that is.

The fight between engine and brakes was not the only struggle; his mind, helplessly caught in a replay loop of horror, tried to break free. An open road, fresh air, and Pacific beaches would only give momentary distractions, but in the meantime, his thoughts were bloody and frightening and impossible. A demon. He took a long breath and made up his mind. He would go back and hopefully find Landel. As he pulled out on the highway, he hoped Landel was still there and could help him figure out his next course of action.

When he arrived, Jared climbed off his bike, placed his helmet on the seat, and began a thorough search of the barn and surrounding area. Finding nothing, his search took him beyond the open field and barn into the surrounding woods as he traipsed through the tangled branches and low lying brush, calling out Landel’s name. But after twenty minutes, he returned, scratched up to his bike without having found any sign of him. “Great,” Jared muttered as he got back on the Triumph and started the engine. One last look behind him yielded him nothing but the sight of the barn door slowly swaying in the breeze. Easing up to the pavement, a sense of déjà vu overtook him, his eyes shooting to the right and the west as it did. Squeezing his eyes shut, he shook his head and pulled out, heading east, back to his hometown, to his past, his grandmother, and the truth.

Farms and pastures and the smell of cows blew past him in a flurry, largely unnoticed. His mind blotted out most distractions, thinking instead about Spaulding and his grandmother’s wild assertions of demons, his focus on the road waning. It was as if he were riding on autopilot, the vibration from the road and the whistling of air in his ears all that was keeping him tethered to the present. Not the safest way to ride a motorcycle.

Within the hour, Jared found himself back on little Pacific Avenue, the Rambler wagon still shaded by the old Chestnut tree, a gray squirrel clinging to the side of one of the oaks. There was no seeing inside this time. The drawn curtains prevented that. Venturing into the yard, the squirrel scampered away as he took refuge from the sun under the oak. His heart was pounding, anxiety building a barrier to the front door. The porch was only a few feet away, but it might as well have been a few miles the way he was feeling.

The neighborhood was quiet, closer to death if you were to ask Jared. In the time since his arrival back at his grandmother’s, not a car had driven by, not a soul had been seen. In fact, the only life he had seen was the now-vanished squirrel hiding somewhere high up under cover of oak leaves. Glancing around, Jared noted that nearly all the front yards were fenced and gated. From the sound of things, several of the fences kept back an assault by whiny miniature whelps, yapping and barking at each other. Jared imagined that they all had their noses pressed against the fencing, watching with great interest his reluctance to walk up to the front door.

Pushing himself away from the tree, Jared started toward the porch and the woman whom he had ignored for several years when a dark, horrific sound somewhere around the side of the house stopped him. Turning toward it, he stepped quietly on the grass, careful to avoid fallen branches and leaves. A hedge of Holly rounded the corner of the house to his left. It grew largely unchecked, bushy in its appearance and blocking his view. The frightening sound happened again, and the Holly shook, sending Jared back for cover behind the oak. He watched timidly as the hedge continued to shake, ducking as a frightening screeching noise began. It sounded as if giant fingernails dragged their way across a chalkboard, the neighborhood dogs joining in with their howls.

A crashing sound interrupted it all, and the sound of screaming inside the house sent Jared running toward the house, across the lawn, and up onto the porch. He grabbed the doorknob and tried to turn it, but it was locked. He called out to his grandmother as the screaming continued, smashing his shoulder against the door several times before finally busting the jam and falling into the foyer. Clamoring to his feet, Jared spun around, running to the kitchen and then to the back bedroom, before thumping sounds and more screaming pointed him to the upstairs.

Running to the stairs, he gripped the newel post and vaulted himself upward, his grandmother’s screaming and crying getting louder with every frantic step. When he got to the landing, he found three doors, two on the left and one on the right. He tried the right one first, opening into a bathroom. He was sweating profusely, his hands shaking. Her screaming had stopped, replaced by whimpering and crying. The second door opened into a spare bedroom. “I’m coming!” Jared screamed as he stepped back into the hallway and ran toward the last door.

The door was locked, and he frantically started throwing his shoulder into the door as a great roar caused him to step back, his whole body shaking. “Oh, my God,” he said, launching himself to the door, smashing through it. He struggled to keep his balance while something huge flashed to his left, jumping through the panes of glass out of the window. He ran to the window, only to see the unbelievable as some kind of animal, monstrous in size, ran off and out of sight. Anxiously, he turned around, following the whimpering and finding his grandmother on the other side of the bed, curled up in the corner of the room. Her dress was shredded, blood covering it, her face, and her hands. Her blood.

He pulled a sheet from a freshly dumped pile of clean laundry and wrapped it around her ravaged arm, fumbling with his fun as he called for help.

This story of Fallen One is a first draft. I encourage anyone to provide comments, make suggestions, and point out problems.

What Spaulding shared with Jared was unimaginable. He wanted to flee but found that he was unable to. The more that he learned, the more he had to know it all. And with that, he decides to go and talk with his grandmother whom he hadn’t seen in years.

Comments welcome.

Have a great day.


Havoc Tales Volume 2 The Hunt Begins

October is here and the pleasantness of the fall air is starting to take hold here in the southwestern desert. It is a welcome relief.

Havoc Tales Volume 1 The Terror Below is now available in both ebook and print formats for $2.99 and $7.99 respectively. The early reviews are quite thrilling actually, and I thank everyone who has purchased it so far. I also encourage you to write a review if you are willing. Reviews are important to help spread the word about this fast-paced horrific thriller.

The second novella in the series, Havoc Tales Volume 2 The Hunt Begins is well underway with our team, lead by Jack Havoc, preparing to go into this vast new underworld to chase after the creature before it’s too late. If you want to join the team to save the world, then come on board the Havoc train. Get Havoc Tales Volume 1 now, just in time for Halloween.

Havoc Tales Volume 1 Terror Below

Havoc Tales Volume 1, a new novella by Rollin Miller, cover by Rollin Miller

Havoc Tales Volume 1 Terror Below is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo in ebook format. It will be available on other outlets such as Apple in the next day or so. If you prefer to read Havoc Tales in a book format, it should be available from Amazon in about a week. Keep watching for it.

Two people, both Holman and Cassie Boring employees and working on the Transcontinental Water Pipeline project, have been murdered in Southern New Mexico.

Murdered does not adequately describe what has happened to them, but the gruesome details of their deaths will have to remain under wraps—for now.

Jack Havoc and his team have been brought in to uncover the truth about what happened to the victims and to put an end to the threat. They were selected based on their history of willingness to work outside normal boundaries of understanding and permissibility. Follow Jack and the others as they find the truth and, in the process, come face to face with the greatest threat they have ever encountered.

Havoc Tales Volume 1 (fini)

Having finished the first volume of Havoc Tales, I wanted to take a little bit of time with you, talking about the second volume which is already underway, and to share with you my writing space.

So, Havoc Tales Volume 2 is in the works. It picks up a few days after the first book leaves off, with a radical expansion of the team, under the leadership of Jack Havoc. Now, understanding the severe threat that they face, Jack realizes that there is no easy way to eradicate it. They are forced to go on the hunt.

The threat is a formidable creature, faster than you can imagine. Pound for pound, it could easily contend for the title of the most feared and dangerous animal on the planet. To make matters worse, there is evidence that suggests that the creature is not alone, and the number of them could be substantial.

So get your copy of Havoc Tales Volume 1 and prepare yourself for what’s coming next. It will be available in ebook format at Amazon and other outlets before Halloween.

As I was working on the second volume, I thought I would share a photograph of my desk setup and tell you the tools that I use in writing.

After working many years in computer support, I quickly moved away from Microsoft and embraced Linux. I have been using Linux as my desktop of choice for just about twenty-five years now. My computer, hanging on the wall behind the monitors is an older Dell 7010, running the latest version of Linux Mint Mate. Linux Mint has proven itself over the years of being one of the premier distributions of the Linux OS. Highly recommended.

But before I talk about the software that I use, I should point out the framed poster just above the screens with the light glare on it. It is a poster of Raiders of the Lost Ark with Indiana Jones whipping his whip. I have always been a movie, book, writing fanatic, and I am proud to admit that I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark, my favorite movie, thirty-two times in the movie theater, ranging from California to Illinois. I have no idea how many times I’ve seen it since.

My walls are filled with small shelves with various things that I have loved growing up. The majority of them are die-cast models of planes, warbirds to be exact, a metal toy dirigible with wheels, and an old notebook with newspaper cutouts of the story of Lt. Col. W. E. Dyess and the Bataan Death March, the tape holding the strips yellowed as well as the newsprint. One shelf has an enamel tin ‘The Adventure Begins’ coffee cup, and one of many metal Hallmark toys, this one a 1930 Custom Biplane.

A 3-D relief of the letter R is hanging, covered in various prints of old Marvel Comics. On the other side of Indiana Jones is a canvas bag hanging from a hook that also has a leather hat that looks like the hat that Jones wears in his adventures. Just below the hat and between the straps of the canvas bag is a framed picture of Mickey and Minney kissing on the pilot’s deck of a steamboat. The rest of the walls have additional hanging monitors, televisions, a large framed copy of the mysterious Piri Reis map, supposedly supporting the theory of ancient crust displacement, candles, family pictures, a framed copy of the cover of my first self-published book, and my tea and coffee supplies.

My wife’s desk is on the other side of our office, but as to what she has on her walls, I will leave that to your imagination. On a final note, I will say that we have two Xbox One S units and all the Wolfenstein and Halo games possible. I’m more the Wolfenstein guy.

Not bad for a semi-retired sixty-four-year-old author, huh?

As for the software, you will see on the far left of the left monitor, a recent find called Bibisco. It is software to help with writing, and though I am still on the learning curve with it, it has already proved very helpful. One of the things that I have found helpful is actually putting faces to characters. It has helped me to visualize them in my stories. Next, you will see XMind 8 opened to a file I call Writing Projects 2021. I have been fascinated with Mind Mapping software for years and have used them in many different applications. Using them for story flow, scenes, and characters in fiction writing is one of those, though to be honest, I have had mixed results. That is one of the reasons for using Bibisco. Low and in front of XMind 8 is a cool little program I have used for four or five years now, Simplenote. It is a great note-keeping application that is free, available for Windows, Linux, and my Android phone. With built-in sync, what’s not to like?

On the right, you see the basic graphic for Havoc Tales that I am still working on in GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program), a great substitute to use instead of paying those high prices from Adobe. Finally, overlaying the image is Evernote. Evernote is one of only a couple of applications that I actually pay for, the other being Grammarly. And for those who didn’t think that there is a native application of Evernote for Linux, there is, at least currently in Beta, which this is. Avoiding cost is just one of the wonderful reasons for going open source and Linux.

As for the actual writing, I use LibreOffice Writer. LibreOffice is a wonderful alternative to Microsoft Office and will handle anything thrown at it. And guess what? No cost.

So now that you’ve entered my domain and know a little more about what I use, tell me about your writing space and some of the tools you use when you write. I am always looking out for better ways to stay organized.

Havoc Tales

Jack Havoc and his team, including Arthur James (AJ) Tanner, Rusty (Beast) Belkin, and Teddy (Wrench) Black, have been selected to do what no ordinary sane person would ever consider. Following the brutal and savage slayings of two people in southern New Mexico, Jack and his team have arrived to find the killer and put a stop to him or it.

This first novella in a series titled Havoc Tales will be arriving well in time for Halloween.

Watch for it.

I Love It When I Get the Willies While Writing

I love it when I get the willies while writing. That’s what’s happening right now as I continue writing the first volume of Havoc Tales. Even with the lights on, I have to pause, go to the kitchen, put on a cup of coffee. Something. Anything to steer my mind away for just a few moments and let me calm down.

I’m taking one of those moments to do just that and to remind you that the first volume will soon be finished. This series of novellas follows a team led by Jack Havoc as they face the impossible, the unpredictable, and the horrifying. A throwback to the ’40s and ’50s creature films, Havoc Tales is sure to delight and hopefully frighten you.

Watch for it.

Sewing the Seeds of a Story

TeeFarm – Pixabay

Whether as a young boy you are assembling a model, a chef preparing the evening’s menu, or some haggard woman with a wart on her nose stirring a brew in the deep forest, all are working on assembling that final outcome.

The same is true of the author—assembling ideas, arranging notes, plotting the storyline, creating outlines. But the true magic of the author is not the mechanics of writing per se, but all of the inspirational and experiential tidbits that are thrown in the pot and stirred gently.

The mantra, Write What You Know, is misleading at best. Any storyline can and should possess things that you know about yourself—your reactions, your suspicions, your fears, your desires, your favorites, and so on. Your life is filled with inspiration from things you have witnessed, books you have read, movies and plays you have watched, and music you have listened to. You have driven on a dark stormy night. You have heard the cracking of thunder. You have awakened at night frightened at a sound you have heard or thought you heard. You have held and smelled a baby, you have wept over a calamity, you have cried with joy. All of that, and much more, is within you, the cabinet from which that vital ingredient can be added to your story.

And there are these little anchors which we can apply. Tangible things from our memories or our desires that can be inserted. I call them anchors, for they can become identified with and anchored to the story or to a character in the story. Anyone can write a fresh story about Santa Clause, but I would hope that they bring the anchors of his great belly, his bushy beard, his red suit, sleigh, and reindeer with him. A fresh story attempted about a skinny Santa wearing black, driving a sedan might play out, but it might run into trouble. Who is James Bond without a martini, shaken but not stirred? Who is Superman without a red cape?

One of my favorite authors, Wilbur Smith, utilizes anchors, such as settings in Africa, and a little prop that always seems to pop up, a cheroot for the character to smoke. Stephen King’s anchors are obvious, such as the continual setting of Maine in his stories and the frequent resurgence of Castle Rock.

I draw up my experiences growing up, wordworking with my father, my first cup of coffee, all the coffee ever since, my time in the Marine Corps and my faith in God. Airplanes were very important in my early imagination and often find a role in something I am writing. I also bring in a minimalist approach to technology, such as flip phones, cars and trucks without all the gadgets and chrome. Give me a black mat dash with round gages and flip switches anyday. Even the guns I choose, like writing about Sheriff Woods in Are We Monsters? and Virgin Birth, would be considered simple, opting for single-action handguns and repeater rifles like a Winchester. None of my heroes would wield an assault rifle.

So write about whatever you want to write about. What’s important is what you add to your story, drawn from your cabinet of experience and inspiration. That’s what will bring your story to life and connect with your readers.