The mind behind ‘The Augmented Man’

I mentioned Rika Hemachandra (that’s her on the left. I could never look that good) interviewing me in Rika Hemachandra Interviews Joseph Carrabis about Writing.

Now she’s published the interview on her own blog in text form.

As I mentioned previously, Rika currently works in the construction industry, loves art and design, has a passion for reading, spreadsheets (really? She says so) and a curiosity about people, history, current events and Cognitive dissonance (love the way she links those two, don’t you?)

Rika and I covered lots of ground about writing, researching stories, transitioning through different publishing models, and where ideas come from. You can get the distillation at The mind behind ‘The Augmented Man’ if you don’t want to watch the full video interview.

In either case, do let us know what you think, and thanks.

Writing Short Stories – Live at SciFi Scarborough (Six Duckmans Live)

What can be better than six #weareallharvey writers getting together? How about them talking about how one writes fiction?

Specifically, science fiction, horror, fantasy, steampunk, historic romance, novels, short stories, flash, …

And even better, they’re all published! Some self, some indie, some small press. Some in the Harvey Duckman Presents series, some in other venues.

That’s what Kate @KateBaucherel Baucherel, Mark @darrackmark Hayes, Alexandrina @Caelestia_Flora Brant, myself and others did for #Scarborough Live this past weeked.

So give a listen (and let them know what you think).

(and yes, i’m one of them).

Search Chapter 4 – Tuesday, 25 December 73

Search is loosely based on a real incident. The incident remains, the story is greatly different.

Enjoy. And remember, it’s still a work in progress. These chapters are rough drafts. I’ve completed twenty chapters so far and it seems I’ll complete the novel this time. We’ll see.

Read Search Chapter 3


Search Chapter 4 – Tuesday, 25 December 73


Where were her children?

Pam drove her Marquis Brougham down to the coast, took US Route 1 for a while, then cut down to 1A, the coast road, looking for a place to forget things for a while, a coffee shop or knickyknacky tickytacky tourist shop open out of season, a place she could laugh at what brought people to Maine, people who summered there, what the locals called “Leave your money and go home” people.

She left Bill standing on their front walk. He thinks I didn’t see him, waving his hands to get her attention.

It was his fault. He said things he shouldn’t’ve. About her. And the church. And Dave. And their boys.

All of which was true.

But that didn’t matter. He didn’t have to say them. She wanted to call the police. Demand an update. She wanted details. What were they doing to find her boys?

Bill laughed. “Why, Pam? You going to give them a piece of your mind? You going to yell at them? Demand action? Ooh, scary, scary Pam.”

She planted her hands on her hips and looked him in the eyes. “You smell of drink, Bill Thompson. Are you a drunk?”

“Are you a bitch?”

Her eyes went wide and her head snapped back. “Why, I never – ”

“Say shit even if you have a mouthful. Try it, Pam. Say it. Say shit. You’ll feel a lot better if you do.”

She passed a small strip mall, three of the five stores closed for the season, and saw a blinking “Homemade Jelly Donuts!” sign. She turned around and pulled in. “I’ll bet their coffee tastes like shit, Bill. Shit. See? I can say it. I’ll bet their coffee tastes like shit. Shit, shit, shit.”

The sign stopped blinking as she got out of the car. “Damn.” She laughed. “How about that, Bill? I can say shit, I can say damn. How about we throw in a couple of good old ‘fucks’ for good measure?”

“You can’t get rid of your guilt by swearing at it.”

Pam spun towards the voice. She placed a hand over her heart to hold it in.

A middle-aged Penobscot woman, dark skin, long braided hair, wearing some kind of ceremonial costume complete with beaded earrings and necklace, held a coffee cup out to her.

“You startled me.”

“Didn’t want to interrupt you.”

Pam looked at the coffee. The woman held it up to her. Pam took it hesitantly, her eyes dancing back and forth from the cup to the woman and back. “Thank you.”

“No milk or sugar in it. Didn’t know how you take it.”

Pam nodded towards the coffee shop. “You work here?”

The woman pointed one store down. “I work there.”

Pam turned and looked at a sign in the window; Running Water’s Native Crafts and Keepsakes.

“Saw you pull up to the coffee shop. It’s been closed a few weeks now. Damn sign has a short in it. Keeps flickering. I called the owner to fix it. They haven’t done a thing yet. You got to stop swearing at your guilt. You got to own it to get rid of it.”

Pam shook her head. “Sorry?”

“Your guilt. You blame yourself for your boys going missing. You say it’s grief but it’s not. It’s guilt. You brought that boy into your house, bullied your husband and your church to let you have him. That’s what you said, wasn’t it? ‘Let me have him. I’ll put the love of God into him.’? Now he’s missing with your boys and you think it’s your fault.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

The woman nodded. “Uh-huh.” She smiled and walked past Pam back to her store. “Keep the cup. A gift. Someone needs to see it. To stir a memory.” She locked the door behind her, switched the OPEN sign to CLOSED, turned off the lights, and was gone.

Pam peered through the windows. Nothing and no one. No sound of a car starting up and no second story for an apartment above the store. She tossed the rest of the coffee and looked for a trash can to get rid of the cup.

Running Water stood in the parking lot. “Keep it.”

Pam looked at the cup. Handmade. “Ha. Native crafts.” No writing, only a picture of a stream in a woods on the side. The stream burbled as she watched. She blinked and looked again. Just a picture of a stream in a woods. “How do you get the picture to do that?”

She looked up. The woman was gone.

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Two Families Dine Together

Raccoons can be territorial. Especially around kits and food.

We have lots of raccoons and lots of kits.

We promote peaceful dining by putting out enough food for everyone.

The challenge to this rationale is simple; the more food, the more raccoons. The more raccoons, the more food.

Can you say “cycle”?

We’ve had as many as nineteen racoons visiting us at once. It might have been more. A lot.

Officially, we’d call it “a lot.”

All those “a lot of raccoons” got along fine. We had five piles of food distributed a few yards from each other. The various families got along well. It reminded me of that scene in The Godfather where the Five Families got together to discuss business.

Makes me wonder which of the raccoons in our yard is Marlon Brando.


Classic Science Fiction Podcast – April 2021 – James Blish’s “Mission to the Heart Stars”

As I wrote in last month’s Classic Science Fiction Podcast – March 2021 – Murray Leinster’s “Exploration Team”, I’m honored and thrilled to be part of an ongoing tribute to classic, Golden Age science fiction.

Mission to the Heart Stars is a favorite of mine for reasons detailed in My Sister Got Me Started.

James Blish
From Wikipedia: James Benjamin Blish (May 23, 1921 – July 30, 1975) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer. He is best known for his Cities in Flight novels, and his series of Star Trek novelizations written with his wife, J. A. Lawrence. He is credited with creating the term “gas giant” to refer to large planetary bodies.

You can download a zipped file containing both PDF and TXT versions from my site (not sure where I found them. Please let me know if I’m violating any laws and I’ll remove it).

Enjoy the podcast and let us know what you think.