Fiction that explores the monsters and strangers among us.

Friday, August 2, 2019

You're Invited to a Gallery Reception

My wife, Lynn Zuk-Lloyd, will have a one woman, month-long show at the prestigious Burning Bush Art Gallery in Wheaton, Illinois. In conjunction with the show, Lynn will host a workshop for visual artists, and I will host a writer's workshop. I pasted information below. Lynn and I would love to see you at these special summer activities.

August 4, 2019
YOU’RE INVITED TO A GALLERY RECEPTION

You are invited to the reception of Lynn Zuk-Lloyd’s The Power of Prophetic Art one-person show on Sunday, August 4, between 1 pm and 4 pm. Food, drinks, wonderful art to simply enjoy or to purchase.
Burning Bush Art Gallery
216 N. Main Street
Wheaton, IL 60187

August 8, 2019
WRITING WORKSHOP
The Power of the Plot Arc

Led by Amazon Top Selling Author Paul R. Lloyd
Ratchet up tension with a plot arc, a powerful tool to plan, write and edit your story. Learn key story elements like the inciting incident, surface problems, the dark moment and the climax. Covers key element definitions and how to use them to add story interest. Paul will tie the workshop into the theme of the art show on display – Lynn Zuk-Lloyd's The Power of Prophetic Art.
Date & Time: Thursday August 8, 2019, 7:30 pm - 9 pm
Place: Burning Bush Art Gallery, 216 N. Main Street, Wheaton, IL
Cost: $25 payable at the door by cash, check or credit card
RSVP: Click here or text 630 596-6685

August 14, 2019
PROPHETIC ART WORKSHOP
The Power of “Creative Play”

Led by artist, author, speaker Lynn Zuk-Lloyd
Creative play opens our hearts and minds to receive God’s inspiration and ideas for us. Participants will create 2-D art and mold and shape 3-D art in this fun workshop designed for adults. We will also discover how the Lord uses what we make to touch hearts in deep and meaningful ways.
Date & Time: Wednesday August 14, 2019, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Place: Burning Bush Art Gallery, 216 N. Main Street, Wheaton, IL
Cost: $30 per person includes all art supplies, payable at the door
RSVP: Click here or text 630 300-4899

Join the Write Time Writers Group
Perfect your craft through workshops, writing exercises, discussion and critique. Writers of all ages and levels of experience welcome. No cost.
2nd & 4th Thursdays, 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Vineyard Church of DuPage
1900 Manchester Rd
Wheaton, IL 60187
Next meeting: September 12, 2019
Learn more

Paul’s Writing Services – Fun and Affordable
Personal: Need help composing a letter or email? How about becoming the hero of a murder mystery, romance, horror, or sci-fi story? Custom puzzles, games & more. No extra charge for the humor. Email to learn more. Use subject line: Personal.
Grandchildren book: You’ve built up a lifetime of experiences and wisdom. Now share your life with your family with a personal biography that includes your story with photos and other mementos of your life. Email to learn more. Use subject line: Grand
Business Writing: Attract new customers for your small business with powerful copy written by a highly-experienced business writer. Boost the power of your website, social media, blog, video and print media with creative business copy from Amazon top-selling author Paul R. Lloyd. Email to learn more. Use subject line: Business

Monday, May 20, 2019

Gregorian Chant

It's only Gregorian Chant but I like it. I like it.

Yeah, Gregorian Chant is definitely not rock and roll. But you'll like it if you need soft, melodic, easy listening music, especially if you've never experienced the solemnity of prayers sung in Latin. But don't take my word for it. Click here to listen.

Click here to learn more about Gregorian Chant than you'll ever need to know. I recommend checking out the Wikipedia link because the history isn't what I thought it was and you'll get a good grasp of its history in the first couple of paragraphs. Gregorian Chant came later than I thought -- about 750 to 1100 depending on who you believe. A number of earlier plainchant forms existed, however.

The music is hauntingly beautiful. I recommend it as background music. A friend said you wouldn't be able to understand the individual words because of the drawn out vowel sounds. It's sung in Latin so even if you can figure out the words, you won't understand them unless you speak Latin. If I listen close, I can pick up some of the Latin words remembered from my youth when the Mass was still sung or said in Latin.

Click here to find the Latin words and Gregorian Chant notes. Be forewarned that the Kyrie is in Greek. This link is really cool because you can see the old form of notation. Music notes evolved over time so it's special to see the earlier forms. The text is from the post Vatican II form of the Mass. In the middle ages, the mass was slightly different. Take a quick look just for fun. If you're into music, this should be a real joy. If you're into Christian prayer forms, the text will also bring you joy.

ENJOY.
THE END

Listen to Gregorian Chant while reading HAGS. This novel is spooky with its witchcraft and spiritual warfare in the midst of a serial killer and a guy who just wants to clear his name after spending 15 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit (or did he?) Find out in HAGS.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Heart Attack

“You had a heart attack, but that's not what I'm worried about,” said Dr. Johnson,

Boy was I relieved to learn he meant my other head. I explained that on Flnxerod we all have two heads except for those pesky Reblandersnaps who only have one but it's huge with one big eye. But that's another story.

Dr. Johnson stared at me, both of me, as though examining a dead body at autopsy. Well, we were in the autopsy room when I came to the first time. Good thing Dr. Johnson hadn't opened me up for the autopsy yet. After a lengthy stare, he asked, “What about your yellow eyes, all four of them? They're yellow. We'll have to test for jaundice.”

“But on Zlipnork, we all have yellow eyes,” I lied.

After another moment of a downright rude glare, Dr. Johnson said, “But what about your liver?”

“Liver? What's a liver?” I asked. That's when I knew I was in for a long haul. At the same moment, I realized I was stark, raving naked.

THE END


Molly and Jack 
 
Molly, did you read Snpgrdxz?

Which one, Jack?

The first one, Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters.

Finished it last week. Why?

So did you read the second one?

You mean Snpgrdxz and the Time Warriors? The one you told me about last week and I quote: With the troll zombies behind them and Nosferatu, werewolves and worse in front of them, Bryan Ganarski and Jennifer Hawkins rush headlong into a romantic, fast-paced misadventure. Joining them on the journey are Gilbert, Tony, CJ and the rest of the gang, including Snpgrdxz, the teenaged space alien shape shifter who can be either a boy or girl depending on his or her mood. Little do they know what monsters await. Is Bryan still totally insane or is there a part of him that can fall in love with the right version of his time-traveling girlfriend? With hormones, earther and other, flying high, will these intrepid time warriors find their way home or become stuck in yet another out-of-time calamity?

Well, don't just sit there. Click here and buy Snpgrdxz and the Time Warriors.

Click.

Monday, May 6, 2019

I Died on Page 27

I died on page 27. Depending on how the publisher laid out this particular copy of the story, you may discover I actually passed away on page 36 or 43. Or you may be reading this on my blog. If you are, watch out because I'm not sure if I had a virus or a bacterial infection. In the event of the story appearing in an anthology, you may first find my dead body on page 342 or 296. In a literary magazine, depend on finding me sprawled out in a bloody mess on page 83. No matter, the point is I’m dead. For the record, I lied about the virus and bacterial infection thing above. Never trust an untrustworthy narrator even if he is dead.

Shot in the head. And I haven’t the foggiest who did it. Do you know? Of course not because I haven’t told you yet. You see the Catch 22 here, don’t you? If I don’t know who offed me, and I’m the only one who can tell you or at least deposit sufficient clues for you to follow, well, then you see the murderer or murderers got clean away with it, didn’t they? And we can’t have that. So where do we go from here? Well, page 2 for a starter. Let’s see if we can’t work together to solve this thing somehow based on the few details I remember from my sordid but happy life. Don't pay any attention to that smoking Glock in my dead right hand. Myrtle Beanbaum placed it there to throw us off. Didn't she?

THE END


Molly and Jack

Molly, did you read Snpgrdxz?

Which one, Jack?


Finished it last week. Why?

So did you read read the second one?

You mean Snpgrdxz and the Time Warriors? The one you told me about last week and I quote: With the troll zombies behind them and nosferatu, werewolves and worse in front of them, Bryan Ganarski and Jennifer Hawkins rush headlong into a romantic, fast-paced misadventure. Joining them on the journey are Gilbert, Tony, CJ and the rest of the gang, including Snpgrdxz, the teenaged space alien shape shifter who can be either a boy or girl depending on his or her mood. Little do they know what monsters await. Is Bryan still totally insane or is there a part of him that can fall in love with the right version of his time-traveling girlfriend? With hormones, earther and other, flying high, will these intrepid time warriors find their way home or become stuck in yet another out-of-time calamity?

That's it.


So Jack, do  you think Myrtle Beanbaum killed that dead guy in the story up top?

Betcha he killed himself. With an ego that big he has to be the killer.

I'm not so sure.


Click.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Down by the dark and lonely river, the young girl walks

If only Trevor were here.

Someone is following me. But who? Could it be Ralph, that pesky boy who simply won't take no for an answer?

With my luck it's probably that mad serial killer out to claim another victim.

Footsteps? They're coming faster. Trevor, why did you have to break our date so early?

I must... Run!

Oh no, he's behind me. What should I do?


“Ahhhhhh!”

“Marta?”

“Oh, it's you, Trevor. What a relief. I thought – well – well – boy, am I glad to see you, but what are you doing out here by the river walk?”

“I was searching for you, Marta.”

“You were?”

“Yes, I want you.”

“You do?”

“Yes, naturally. I couldn't stand the thought of you alone out here and me somewhere else.”

“Trevor, you're so sweet. Hey, what's that thing in your hand?”

“The murder weapon. I like to use it on lonely nights like this.”

“Ahhhhh!”

THE END

For more murder mystery and thriller action, read Steel Pennies. Click here to purchase on Amazon.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Narcissistic AI

Writing Exercise: Use the following phrases in a story:
  • The clink of the heavy chain
  • A secret message
  • A rabid coyote

When Dave heard the clink of the heavy chain against Bay Airlock 271G, he felt certain his field fix would hold until a repair team arrived. He had blown the hatch to suck a rabid coyote into earth orbit. While the coyote floated away as planned, Dave realized he'd forgotten Elizabeth Greenfelt. He couldn't say how he had overlooked his beautiful young associate, especially since she had yet to express an interest in romance during the year they shared the agriculture station as the lone human tenants. 

Fortunately, Elizabeth had the foresight to wear her space suit and grab hold of Antenna Cable C on the way out.

Dave couldn't comprehend why the narcissistic JCN 911AI hadn't sent a secret message to Houston about the coyote pack. Now, if he could yank Elizabeth Greenfelt back into the base without disturbing the jury-rigged airlock, she would express her great gratitude for saving her life.

“If I can't save her, I'll suffer another lonely six months until the supply ship arrives. At least the computer still communicates with me, right, JCN?”

Silence.

“Oh, JCN, let's not have one of your snits.”

Silence.

“I can deploy the earth antenna by wiggling the space station a bit to starboard. Are you listening, JCN?”

Silence.

If I don't rip Elizabeth's suit, I could slide the antenna into the open position and ol' Liz would slide down the empty antenna tube into Storage Bay S. She'd survive. JCN, will you help with the wiggle calculations?”

Silence.

“JCN, come back online, please. I need you now.”

Silence.

“JCN?”

Silence.

“JCN?”

Silence.

“It's an emergency, JCN.”

Silence.

“Don't worry, JCN. I'll do it myself. When Elizabeth is safely back onboard, you and I will discuss your need for main power or the lack thereof.”

“Oh, Dave, did you need my help?”

“No thanks, JCN. I can wiggle Elizabeth back into the ship and find the manual override switch by myself.”

THE END

Speaking of romance and long journeys, have you read Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters yet? Scary humor with no extra charge for the romance. Four and 5 star reviews eagerly sought. Click here to purchase.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Duck by Duck

"Bird by bird, duck by duck, I love you, but I will shoot you if you tick me off one more time. Love is such a fool’s errand. As my friend Tony’s dad told us one time, 'Remember boys, with marriage, the screwing you get isn’t worth the screwing you get.' Well, that may be, but bird by bird and duck by duck and maybe even rabbit by rabbit, I will come for you, and I will strangle you, and I will bury you in the yard under the birdbath."
“What are you mumbling about Ralph”
“Nothing, dear. I was just fantasizing about maybe hunting this year.”
"But you  haven’t gone hunting in years. You still have a gun?
“Well, I still have fishing gear. Yeah, fishing string. It could work.”
“What dear?”
“Never mind.”

THE END

Speaking of birdbaths, have you read Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters yet? Scary humor with no extra charge for the romance. Four and 5 star reviews eagerly sought. Click here to purchase.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Murder by Chocolate

Chocolate is not what it used to be. Think about it. In the old days, it was just plain chocolate. A  guy named Hershey invented it while working on his recipe for garlic flavored ice cream. Now, the chocolate is in everything. Take my friend Harry, for example. He walked into The Ruptured Duck and ordered a scotch and water. Billy the bartender gave him his drink and dropped a mini chocolate mint into the thing. Harry only got 10 years for murder second degree. Prosecutor wanted to let it go as justifiable homicide but the barkeep was related to the mayor and well, you know how that goes.

THE END

Speaking of chocolate and death, have you read Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters yet? Scary humor with no extra charge for the romance. Four and 5 star reviews eagerly sought. Click here to purchase.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Humor from Outer Space

The stranger lay motionless under the noonday sun when Arpdxz landed his saucer about 50 feet away.

Arpdxz nudged the stranger with his sixth leg, the one on the left side in back.

The stranger groaned but didn't open his eyes.

Arpdxz smiled with both mouths. He blinked his upper eyes and picked up the stranger. Wait until he wakes up in the Australian outback,” he chuckled, bottom mouth only.

THE END

Speaking of smiling with both mouths, have you read Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters yet? Scary humor with no extra charge for the romance. Four and 5 star reviews eagerly sought. Click here to purchase.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Anchovie Popcycles

Anchovie popcycles started as a joke at Lamar's Diner, but then that tourist bus showed up painted the same shade of ugly green as those disgusting would-be treats. And then the barfing began. Some thought it would end with the consumption of the last anchovie popcycle in the world, but it turned out to be a virus brought to the Chicago area on that darn green bus. Apparently you first have to eat an anchovie popcycle before it can make you barf.

THE END

Have you read Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters yet? Scary humor with no extra charge for the romance. Four and 5 star reviews eagerly sought. Click here to purchase.

Monday, March 18, 2019

When Martha Shot the Leprechaun

Officer O'Toole claimed the body was a dwarf and accused Martha of the foul deed. “Look, missy, already he’s turning green,” said Officer O’Toole.

“Now, O’Toole, you’ve got to understand he was green before I shot the little fellow.”

“Tell me, Martha, why you killed the lad.”

“He’s not a lad, he’s a leprechaun.”

“In all my born years I’ve never seen a leprechaun, Martha, so don’t be telling me fables. The lad’s a goner, and oh my, what’s this? He’s sitting up.”

“O’Toole, you better duck for he's pissed. Duck now,” Martha insisted.

O’Toole ducked in time to avoid being smashed by the rainbow the leprechaun fired from his forefinger. Martha attempted to beat the wee green fellow to the other end of the rainbow, but alas, the pot of gold and the leprechaun were long gone when she arrived. 'Twas as fine a rainbow as ever Martha laid eyes upon.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Where There's Smoke

They chopped down the giant willow and hauled the logs to the site of the annual end of school year bonfire. It wasn’t until Casey and the rest of the phi beta alpha crew stacked the logs for the fire that Dean Altman noticed his favorite tree missing.

“I’ll expel the whole fraternity for this,” Dean Altman shouted. He obviously forgot that using foul language on campus was forbidden and punishable by dismissal unless the professor had tenure, which Dean Altman obviously did. Nor did Dean Altman seem to recall that finals were over, the grades were in and the sheepskins printed. Real sheepskins in those days, not the embossed paper ones they use today.

After the lads stacked the chairs, desks and other old furniture no longer needed by students, Nickie Tunnelston torched the stack. Her powder blue miniskirt began to smoke when she forgot to back away from the flames soon enough. The smoldering cloth didn't burn her in the end.

Danny McCallister did a yeoman's job of throwing her on the ground. He ripped off her skirt like he had experience with such matters. He patted her down and wrapped her with his blazer. He, of course, patted her legs high enough to make sure Nickie felt safe. She felt safe to him. And if Nickie's smile was any indication, she felt safe, too. Yes, Nickie's skirt set their romance ablaze which just goes to show where there's smoke, you can always go a little higher.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Instructions for an Evening Date

Load the Rolls with oak stakes, lignum vitae bullets for your Glock and don’t forget the silver bullets for the rifles. You never know who or what you’ll run into in the city. Open the garage door after checking that the sun hasn’t set yet. Pull out of the garage carefully so you avoid hitting the mummy your neighbor made out of his murdered wife.

Follow Walnut Court to Poplar. Turn right. The city chopped down the giant willow on the corner lot so watch out for Tarzan the Zombie. He could pop out of any of the other trees or his little treetop hut that now sits in the big oak over on Chestnut where Jane, your girlfriend, feeds. Enjoy.

Monday, February 25, 2019

You Graduate, You Evacuate

When Bob turned 18, his foster parents showed him the front door. Bob explained he liked the entrance, but his foster dad declared he preferred Bob find the other side. So Bob borrowed $100 from his 12-year old foster sister. He visited Wally who lived in the basement of his mother’s house.

Bob and Wally hung out until they found a couple of jobs. They enjoyed life until Wally’s mom said they made too much racket at night. “You both will become more attractive on the south side of my north side door.”

Or did she mean the north side of the south-side door?

Either way, Bob and Wally met Ginger Stevens at the bus stop. Ginger's parents had persuaded her to leave home with a subtle change of the locks. “When you graduate, you evacuate,” Ginger’s dad informed her through the locked front door.

Ginger wasn’t happy about the forced move, but she was glad she ran into Wally and Bob because she could use a friend or two at the moment. Besides she had a job so they moved in together – on the up and up with no sex or nudity permitted. They worked their butts off until Ginger got the bright idea they should flip houses, which explains the sideways homes on Waldorf Ave.

Monday, February 18, 2019

What If Angels Sang the Blues?

What would the new king say? What about the Druid shaman? And the Christian priest? How would they feel about the blues? Or did they sing their own Dark Ages version of the blues, Druids to the earth  mother, Christians to Jesus? Who sang the blues didn't matter until the Druids accused Brigitte the Money Changer of murdering King Flipnot II on his 19th birthday. Christians defended Brigitte and dumped the blame on Axelrod the Red. While angels sang the blues in the Cathedral of St, Catherine the Juggernaut, I began the investigation. That's right, I'm the Sheriff of Nottingham. Murder is my game.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Quarterback Sneak?

Blithbather flew down the field. The masses roared, but with the lights out, who could tell if Blithbather would score or Bloombop would burn him? And if she did, would the ref call foul? The assemblage performed a spiritual wave which isn't as easy as it sounds with the seats taken up by ghosts, but I digress. Blithbather and Bloombop crashed into a billowing pile of dust and goalpost rubble. Dragon fire breath vs. vampire fangs. The crowd howled. The banshee cheerleaders screamed.

Book Selection: Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters

Monday, February 4, 2019

Just One Look

After the failed exorcism, Fred accepted Zibsnapper's unwarranted attention. He even raised bar-bet money with a 360 degree spin of this head. Zibsnapper did not approve but what was a demon to do?

Fred soon learned he couldn't pick up girls with super-charged head spins. Even worse, if he stopped halfway around to gain the young lady's attention on the barstool behind him, the conversation ended abruptly. When he advanced to eyeball-to-eyeball contact with a potential mate, he slowly filled his eye sockets with rich red blood. While the younger girls screamed at this, the toughest of barflies asked him to show them his vampire fangs. They misunderstood, of course. Fred explained he never sucked their blood for his own pleasure but for Zibsnapper's.

For revenge, the demon forced Fred to emit green muck over a friendly girl's new white blouse.  And if Zibsnapper picked that moment to elicit an evil cackle out of Fred's mouth, well, that ended the pickup attempt most times.

Fred freed himself from Zibsnapper's possession when he discovered the demon's penchant for invading tall, thin blondes from Minneapolis. Just one look was all it took.

Book Selection: Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters

Monday, January 28, 2019

Pure Mess Again

No more water under the bridge. Instead, boats and barges traverse the city by circling around the old canal, and a river no longer runs through it. Trucks meander the asphalt ribbon.

Imagine a highway built upon a river bottom. Envisage how many layers we paved before the route held. With every stratum but the last, the street sank beneath the mud, No matter concrete or bitumen. Finally, after we had buried a 20-foot-thick slab of roadbed sheets, it worked this time.

What do you mean the weather report calls for rain?

Alternate ending: What do you mean there might be a body buried down there?

Book Selection: Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters