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Introduction and Respect

There is this feeling you get when a writer that you respect more than most agrees to write an introduction for one of your books. That feeling is at once giddy and weighty, it is thrilling and loaded with dread all at the same time. For a few minutes you laugh hysterically and then suddenly feel like you might throw up. There is a responsibility to live up to the kind words written about you by someone you look up to. Thus was the case when my friend, E. Ervin Tibbs, author of SUNSET TOMORROW agreed to  write the introduction to my latest book of short stories. I have posted the full intro below, but first I must say, if you can find a copy of SUNSET TOMORROW by E. Ervin Tibbs, It is unfortunately out of print, grab it and read it, you will love it. Here then is the introduction:

First let me say that Bill Wilbur is one of my best friends, and he happens to be the only man ever to have killed me. An explanation is in order. In his book Saragosa, Bill developed a character that he said was based on me, an honor because the character was honorable. But in the course of the story, the character had to die and so he died, heroically. That little episode illustrates Bill’s commitment to honesty, he will stay true to his vision whatever the consequences. I have known Bill for many years and have read most of the stories he’s written all the way from first draft to publishable manuscript. He characterizes himself as an old badger that just keeps on coming, and it is the best way I know of describing both the man and his values. When he writes a scene, no matter how wonderful, if it strays from the vision, or doesn’t fit the character, he will toss it out. That is to say that Bill tosses out writing that is better than many authors best work. In the stories that follow, there will be excitement, adventure, danger, and love, but there will be one overriding principal in them all. Honesty. Dive in and enjoy yourself, it will be a great ride. ~ Ervin Tibbs

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Celestial Raven Anthology

Many of you know that I have four published books so far, but what you might not realize is that I have been editor for an anthology. I enjoyed the process so much I am planning another anthology. This will not officially be associated with any organization. It is an idea I had for an anthology and it is a collection that I would read. I invite all writers to submit stories they feel would fit. Feel free to share with anyone you feel might be interested.

Prompt: There is a carnival that appears overnight in a field somewhere in the Midwest. You know the kind…there is something off about it…something wrong. It wasn’t there yesterday. Your character(s) visit the carnival, and encounter the mysterious Celestial Raven whose role at the carnival is unclear…she may be a mystic…she may be the owner or manager…she may be evil or good…and she may very well be the soul of the carnival itself. Your Character(s) must experience something odd or strange or unexplainable…light or dark…and they must end up at or on their way to the funhouse. Your story should be complete and have an ending, but then get your characters to the funhouse. 

Stories should be no longer than 3500 words.

Deadline for submission is July 31st 2016

Stories must follow the writing prompt.

Stories must be in standard story format: 1″ margins…double spaced…indented chapters…etc.

Bill Wilbur will choose the final stories to be included in the anthology.

Payment is one contributor’s copy and a significant discount on extra copies.

Submissions should be in the form of an email attachment as a .doc/.docx file. Submit stories to gnubill@yahoo.com

Editor will not significantly change your work, with the exception of punctuation.

Submit only your best work. Correct grammar and spelling is appreciated. All genres considered.  You may or may not receive feedback. If the story isn’t ready, don’t send it.

Late submissions will not be accepted.

Acceptance/ rejection notification will be emailed.

Questions should be submitted to gnubill@yahoo.com

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We Are on the Air

Recently, I was interviewed on LA Talk Radio. The show is called The Writer’s Block and once a week they discuss writing with authors. The show can be informative as authors discuss their process and discipline. They discuss all manner of things related to writing and it is always a fun and lively show. I brought Rey Ramirez along with me to the studio. Rey is the producer who is working tirelessly to bring my book, SARAGOSA to the big screen. We had great fun and the hour went by far too quickly. Host Bobbi Jean Bell and I have known each other more than ten years, but rarely get the time to see each other. So I had a blast talking with an old friend about writing and movies and the like. Here is a link to the interview:

CHWG Podcast

I am often interviewed by various writer’s groups across the country. It is always a good time and I am always encouraged to find an active group. Many people call themselves writers, but it has been my experience that most don’t do the actual writing. Coffee House Writers Group is well over 2,000 members and most are actively writing. J Bryan Jones is an intelligent and fun host who is serious about the craft. We spoke about the process of writing, the importance of language, what motivates us to write, and all manner of very important things. Below you will find the link to the podcast. J Bryan Jones has about a ten minute introduction about who he is and what he is about and then the interview kicks in. Give it a listen and let me know what you think, and if you are interested in writing, follow the CHWG’s Podcast.

Permanent: A Play

Because of the success of Saragosa: The Stage Play, I was approached by the drama teacher of my old high school the following year. She asked if I would consider writing an original play for her senior drama class. I was honored and we scheduled a time for me to go in and meet the kids. We sat around in a circle on the floor and tossed around a few ideas that I had. There were eleven students; eight girls and three boys. we discussed doing another western, a detective noir, and a comedy. Each idea had its supporters, but ultimately we decided on the comedy…but one with a message. Thus PERMANENT: A PLAY was born. It is a play written in two acts that can be performed in an hour as per the school’s request.

PERMANENT: A PLAY centers around the rock star known as PERMANENT, an androgynous musician whose identity and gender are hidden from the world. The president of PERMANENT’S fan club is a teen girl who, along with her sister discover that PERMANENT has checked themselves into the local mental health facility for a rest and the girls devise a plan to get admitted to the facility and try to uncover the rock star to the world. They meet an array of colorful, slightly disturbed characters and finally discover the truth. Available for purchase here!

The Characters of Permanent: The Stage Play

 

PERMANENT(THE ROCK STAR)

Permanent is an androgynous rock star whose identity and gender have been purposely hidden from the world and has been rumored to have checked themselves into a mental hospital for a break from celebrity

ALICIA

Alicia is the older of two sisters who is obsessed with PERMANENT and devises a way to sneak into the mental institution to discover her idol’s gender and identity

BECKY

Becky is the younger sister who goes along with the plan, and is a bit off kilter

PARENTS

The girls’ parents, who don’t share their girls’ obsession

NURSE JONES

Nurse Jones is the harried authority figure for the institution and in over her head a bit

NOSY

Nosy is the jaded long-term patient who befriends the sisters

MENTAL MAN

Mental Man is a patient who believes he is a super hero, but doesn’t know what his super power is yet

Mr. PRESIDENT

President is a patient who believes he is the POTUS

HUSH

Hush is a shy girl who doesn’t speak

BACKWARD

Backward is a girl who only walks backward

ZERO

Zero is a girl who believes that people wear masks to hide their true selves, and she seems to have lost her hamster.

NURSE TWO

Nurse Two is a support to Nurse Jones

Saragosa: The Stage Play

In 2012, I spoke with my old high school about doing a staged reading of the script.  To my delight, they were interested.  I asked the producer from the production company who’d optioned my book if he could become involved to help work with the students, giving them practical guidance and direction.

In February 2013, I was honored to be a part of SARAGOSA: The Stage Production.  Seventeen students took on the daunting task of putting a performance together in only three and a half weeks.  Stop and think about that for a minute.  A normal play takes months of preparation and rehearsals to pull off.   The students at Northview High School did it in three and a half weeks!  They had a total of eight rehearsals.  They’d been told that they could carry their scripts with them on stage during the performance, but on opening night, not a single one of them used the scripts, they had memorized a 62 page script!

Six months ago, I didn’t know any of these fine, young actors, nor did they know me.   SARAGOSA wasn’t on their radar.  But now I feel like they are all a part of my extended family.  These days I have nearly twenty new friends, like neices and nephews I never knew I had.

We all bonded during those crazy weeks leading up to the performance.  There is a term, Brotherhood by Fire.  It describes a group of people who bond over an intense shared experience.  That is what we had.  There were long hours and curve balls thrown at us the entire time, but in the end, these amazing kids, my new extended family shined like the superstars they are.  I am honored to have gotten to know them.

No matter where the SARAGOSA journey goes from here, no matter who may play those characters in the film version, these young actors did it first, and theirs are the faces I will see when I think of the characters from SARAGOSA.

Dahlia and Other Stories

 

The idea for Dahlia, the title story of this collection, appeared to me fully formed and ready to be put to paper. I love it when that happens, and in the early days, it happened often. But these days…well they don’t come that way as often.  Nearly every story I write starts with the thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” or “I wonder what would happen if…”. An old writing instructor once told me, “Good fiction should raise as many questions as it answers…more even.” The stories within Dahlia do not follow a singular path. Much as in life, where one road can lead to a bright and cheery Nirvana, another road just across the street might lead to a dark and gray neighborhood which might be just a little bit dangerous. As you follow the path I have laid out for you, remember what we were taught in Kindergarten. Never cross the street alone, and before you cross, look both ways and hold hands. Below you will find the opening lines to each of the stories. Some of them will beckon you forward gently while some will reach out and snatch you away into the dark. Available for purchase here!

DAHLIA

Her parents named her Dahlia, a poor attempt at humor from two of the most unfunny people she’d ever known.

Dahlia Lamma.

Hilarious.

PLACEBO

“Dr. Kelly.”  The intercom on the corner of the desk squawked. “Your ten o’clock is here.”

Robert Kelly closed the photo album and laid a hand softly on its closed cover.  It contained proof of a happy family.  A happy life.  A happy man who no longer existed.  Stephen Carter’s life was contained within those pages, but his was a past life, a used-to-be.

WAR PAINT

The world had moved on.  Darkness and decay became the norm, where once there was hope.

At the beginning only small towns fell, and then cities and states, and eventually, as the darkness grew to unimaginable power, entire countries succumbed until the world finally became united.  World wars no longer mattered when every day was a war of survival for those who remained.  Of course, his father had seen it coming.  He’d called it.  Long before the rest of them recognized the apocalypse for what it was, his dad had pronounced the end times’ arrival and he’d been silenced for it.

SANDTRAPPINGS

Jake had always been a nervous sort, prone to sudden glances over his shoulder, jumping at loud noises and a constant need to keep moving.  To watch him, one would believe he’d been born in a state of paranoia.  To watch him was enough to rattle even the calmest of people.  It was because of this, Jake had trouble making friends–or keeping them.

Cherry Bomb Slushee

Jeremy Fletcher was thinking about murder when he saw her coming toward him.  He was sucking down a cherry bomb slushee, courting a very serious brain freeze and concocting gruesome ways to kill his boss when the most beautiful woman in the world crossed beneath a street lamp at the bus stop half a block away.  Though the sodium vapor lamp shone brightly, the shadows moved with her, hiding her features as she weaved, unsteady along the sidewalk.  Only her hair shimmered, so black it glowed blue under the light, and when she looked up, strands of pure white framed her dark face and pooled at her shoulders.

MAN OR MOUSE

He rinsed his face in the bathroom sink and then straightened to stare at his reflection in the mirror.  He was tired and he looked it.  Last night’s fight had been the worst one yet.  “Are you a man or a mouse?”  She’d asked in her most sarcastic voice and then she’d giggled.  That damn tittering, high-pitched giggle.

FEEL THE BURN

Jacob Bodeen tossed off the sheets and sat up in bed.  This was the third night this week that he couldn’t sleep.  The heat was part of it.  His broken air conditioner wheezed and shook and tried to cool the place, but all it really succeeded in doing was pushing the hot air around the room like a soft breeze from hell.

Sleeping with the window open barely helped, but the bright lights of the billboard directly across the street lit up his room, painting the walls in their bright red neon.   The advertisement was for some new brand of lipstick and both the lips and the stick glowed with the promise of electric sex.

I AM NOT GOD

The streets seemed darker than usual and Scott pulled his coat tighter around him.  Threadbare and tattered, the jacket did little to keep out the cold, but he supposed it was better than nothing at all.  Keeping his head down, he stared at the sidewalk before him.  The shadows teemed with phantoms, lost people whose grip on reality had slipped, and eye contact could sometimes turn deadly.  What would have been a safe ten minute drive home was now a dangerous forty minute walk thanks to a bad transmission.

SHOE ENVY

When it came to fairytale kisses, Snow had them all beat.  She had been in a coma until her prince leaned in for a closer look and accidentally brushed his lips against hers.  That was the truth of it, no matter what they storybooks say.  It had been an accident. But it is true that kiss woke her from eternal slumber and became THE KISS, the one smooch by which all others were judged.

When it came to swords, there was the mighty Excalibur.  Hair was Rapunzel’s thing and you couldn’t think of a little prick without thinking of Sleeping Beauty.  But when it came to shoes, there was where the waters grew murky, the ocean, by the way, belonged to Ariel.

PENNY

“It’s just a penny on the ground until you pick it up.”

Bobby’s hand froze an inch above the penny.  The copper glinted in a shaft of sunlight for an instant before a large pair of shiny black shoes came into view beside it.  Bobby looked up.

A tall man in a flat, wide-brimmed hat towered over him, blocking out the sun.  The oversized shoes supported long, spindly legs clothed in narrow black trousers, which disappeared into a black frock coat.  Like an undertaker’s coat, Bobby thought.

ANNIVERSARY

She was in the 7-11 when she saw the calendar.  Three years, she thought, today was her third anniversary.  She’d only come in here to browse, a respite from the burning sun of early August as it radiated from the pavement, but now she supposed a treat was in order.

Looking around briefly, her eyes stopped on the clerk.  He was glaring at her as he had many times before.  A glare that said get out of my store, or, paying customers only.  But that’s what I am today,  she wanted to yell at him, a paying customer!  She wanted to scream it at the top of her lung capacity, Today I make the change!  Today I am somebody again!  But she didn’t.  Instead she let her eyes move beyond the man at the register to the calendar again.  Three years.

STAMMER OF THE GODS

Krohn scowled menacingly out to sea.  It was not intentional, but as a Viking it was one of only three or four expressions in his personal arsenal.  The sun was bright and sent daggers of light off the wave tips to assault his eye as the horizon line bobbed in the distance, while the strong north wind tangled his stringy hair into knots with his craggy beard.  In the near distance, Isla de Muerte loomed, rising up from the sea like a great beast.  The Island of Death.

WHEN MAGIC DIES

As soon as he saw the toy chest, Peter Paul knew he had to have it.  Every day after school, he pressed his face against the cool glass of the store window and studied the intricately carved wood of the case.  Half moons and multi-pointed stars danced and mingled amidst the rays of at least a dozen suns.  Peter studied every inch of every line until he saw them even after he closed his eyes.  Twice, the shop’s owner had shooed him from fogging up the windows.

Both times, Pete had tried to explain how the box spoke to him; how it called to him in his sleep and invaded his thoughts during every waking moment.  But each time, the old man only smirked, turned his back, and disappeared inside his store.