Posts Tagged ‘ Short Stories ’

Entrance

Black_Eyes

A question I’m regularly asked is how I transitioned from writing literature to writing screen plays, too. Honestly, it wasn’t something I had planned to do. When it happened, I had actually only written one, brief, script. I have no idea why I wrote that 3-page-long script. I simply had an overwhelming urge to do it. So I wrote it.

Not long after, and this was back when I still lived in Florida, a producer/director from California found one of my short stories on-line. That piece was called “Black-eyed”. He liked it so much that I hired me to write a script for his production company. Shortly after that project, he hired me back to write a second, unrelated, script. And that’s how I came to write screenplays, too.

For those of you who have never read “Black-eyed”, I’ll include it below. Personally, I’ve never found this piece frightening. Yet I’ve had people tell me of how they read it in a brightly-lit place, surrounded by people, and were given cold chills be this story. We authors love getting comments like that!

Anyway, here’s “Black-eyed”, if you haven’t read it before. Or if you just want to read it again:

It’s a good thing I like my job, Susan Roe thought, starting toward the front door of her small home. Because the hours sure stink. I hate third shift!

Just as she was reaching for the doorknob, the telephone rang. Sighing, she glanced at the delicate watch on her slim wrist. As long as she kept the conversation short, she had time to answer and still make it to work on time. Hurrying to the mahogany table where the phone waited, ringing, she grabbed the handset.
“Hello?”
“Sue?”
She smiled, hearing her mother’s voice. “Who else would be answering the phone in my house at nearly nine at night?”
“I know you’re on your way to work,” her mother said, “but I wanted to call and invite you over for dinner tomorrow evening.”
“Sure,” Susan said. “I’ll be there. Thanks. Sorry to be short, but I’ve got to get to work.”
“Okay.”
“Tell Dad I love him.”
“I will.”
“Love you, too, Mom.”
“I love you, too, Sue.”
Soon as her mother hung up, Susan replaced the handset in the cradle and started toward the door. The bell rang, chiming softly through the house. Susan stopped and frowned. Who’s dropping by this time of night? Everyone I know knows what hours I work.
Moving back toward the door, she peered through the peephole and frowned upon seeing the boy standing outside. He couldn’t have been more than ten or eleven. She unlocked the door and opened it.
Rather than look up at her as she greeted him, the boy kept his gaze downcast as he returned her greeting. His voice was soft and held a traces of an accent Susan couldn’t place.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
“I hope so,” the boy said, nearly whispering. “May I come in?”
“I’m afraid not. I’m on my way out to work. I haven’t got much time. What can I do for you?”
The boy shifted his weight from foot to foot. He was dressed completely in black- tee shirt, jeans and sneakers – and his hair was such a dark, even black that Susan suspected it was dyed. “I haven’t eaten in two days. Please, may I come in?”
Susan felt her frown deepen. The boy didn’t look as though he’d been living on the street. Something about the child struck her as simply being…off. “No, I’m sorry. Like I said, I’m no my way out.”
“You live alone.” It wasn’t a question.
A small chill danced on her spine. Susan didn’t reply.
“A young woman shouldn’t live alone. Sometimes…things…happen to young women who live alone.”
Susan took half a step back, retreating a bit farther into her house, one hand still holding the door. “I’m sorry. You’ll have to go now.”
For the first time the boy lifted his face, his eyes meeting her own. She was struck by how pale his flesh was, but her attention was drawn instantly to his eyes. They were solid black, with not even a hint of iris or whites. Just pure darkness.
Feeling her own eyes widen, Susan said, “Those are…interesting…contact lenses you’re wearing.”
The child stared at her without replying. Susan felt another chill, this one colder and longer-lasting, make its way along her spine. A cold knot formed in her stomach.
“Please leave.”
Staring at her still, the boy shook his head slowly. “I’m hungry. Let me in.”
“No.”
“You must.”
Susan tried to shift her gaze from the child’s but couldn’t. “No.”
“Yes. Invite me in, Sue.”
“How do you know my name?”
He shrugged. “Let me in.”
“No!”
“Invite me in!” The words were snarled, barely discernible.
Susan drew back in shock, her gaze finally slipping from the boy’s eyes. She slammed the door in his face and locked it quickly, her hand shaking. Though she couldn’t see the child, she knew he was still waiting outside. She could feel him waiting.
Shivering, Susan moved away from the door, glancing around, ensuring that all the drapes were tightly drawn. She checked the backdoor, making doubly sure it was secure as well. A glance at the clock told her it was after nine. If she didn’t leave right now, she’d be late for work. But the thought of opening the door, this or any other night, sent a wave of cold sweeping through her.
Turning, Susan picked up the telephone and dialed the number from memory. When someone answered, she identified herself and informed them that she wouldn’t be at work that night.
“Are you feeling alright?” the man asked.
“No, Ralph. Not really. I think it’s these third shift hours, you know? I’ve been meaning to say something for a while. It’s messing with my sleep-cycle too much. I’m getting too run down.”
“No offense, but you don’t sound well.”
“I’m not. I’m sorry, Ralph, but I won’t be coming in for third anymore.”
“We don’t have any openings on another other shift, Sue.”
“Then I’m sorry, but I have to quit.”
She hung up the telephone and stared at the front door. The child was still out there. She could feel him. He was waiting for her. He would, she knew on some instinctive level, be waiting until sunrise.

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

Anthology: “Tasteful Murders”

A_Catered_Affair

Have you picked up your copy of the “Tasteful Murders” anthology yet? If not, do it now! My very talented wife, Desirée Lee, won an award for her entry in this short story collection – “The Catered Affair”. Check it out!

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

Creepy Toys

In yesterday’s post I talked a bit about the Wendy Markland prequel short story that I’m working on. As research for that project, I have a question for you all:

What do you think is the creepiest toy currently for sale on today’s market? Please let me know in a comment, or e-mail via the “Contact” form on my website.

Thank you!

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

Prequel

Stake

Not long ago I mentioned on this blog/website that a brand new, original Wendy Markland short story would be included in the Umbral Press re-release of my first Wendy Markland book, “Predators or Prey?” A concept for that project has been agreed upon. This new short story will be a prequel to the Wendy Markland series as a whole, taking place before the events covered in “Predators or Prey?”. The working title of the piece is currently “It Isn’t Paranoia”. It will be included in the re-release along with the previously published short story, “Remnants”. Currently, “Predators or Prey?”, and “Remnants” are undergoing a new editing process. Meanwhile, I’m plotting out “It Isn’t Paranoia”, which is planned to have a far larger impact on Wendy Markland down the road…

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

Wendy Markland

Stake

As I’ve stated in past posts on this blog/site, my Wendy Markland novels are, currently, off the market for reasons I don’t want to go into here. If you run across one of them somewhere for sale new, please let me know. They shouldn’t be wherever you found them; someone, somewhere has made a mistake if that happens. Those titles are:

“Predators or Prey?”

“Necromancer”

“Vindicated”

Hopefully those books will be re-edited, and re-released through a different publishing house.

Sadly, it looks as if all of the work that has gone into the comic book spin-off series has come to nothing. The publisher, who was just starting up by launching “Wendy Markland: Chronicles Nocturnum”, seems to not be launching after all. The artist who was doing pencils, inks, and colors for the book also seem to have lost interest in the project. There’s been no word from either front for many months now. Messages from me to them have gone unanswered. So that, as they say, seems to be that for the comic book project. For the moment, anyway. I’ll just keep that in my back pocket. Maybe it can be pulled out, and developed someday in the future.

In the meantime, assuming the pre-existing Wendy Markland books named above are re-edited, and re-released as hoped for, Wendy Markland’s adventures will continue in novels. I have ideas for several more books. In addition, I have ideas for several stories that were going to be written for the comic book series. Since it doesn’t look as if that project will happen anytime soon, if ever, those ideas will probably be added to, and developed as full-length novels for the series. Or worked in with other ideas, adding to what I already had planned for future books in the series. Expect more Wendy Markland novellas and/or short stories, too. Some of those unused comic book story plots would be perfect for shorter fiction formats.

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

Adaptations

Every since my fourth book, “Predators or Prey?” – which was the first book in my Wendy Markland series of novels – came out there has been interest in adapting it. Various parties have wanted to turn the book into a live-action film, a live-action web-series, a part live-action/part animated webseries, or a television series.

Soon after the release of my eighth novel, bestselling, award-winning “Quintana Roo, Yucatan”, a film producer expressed interest in adapting that book as a movie.

Unfortunately, none of that has ever happened.

Still, Desiree Lee and I recently attended a film festival. It made me start thinking. If anyone out there would care to adapt one of my books, or short stories, for an entry into a film festival, let’s talk. I seriously doubt that “Quintana Roo, Yucatan”, or “Quagmire Fen” would be within the scope and reach of a film festival budget to pull off properly. If so, great. But I doubt that would happen. Attempting live-action versions of “Winter’s Rite” or “Well Wishes” on such a scaled-back budget probably wouldn’t work, either. However, I’ve been told by a number of fans over the years that those books would make excellent animated projects – traditional hand-drawn, or CGI. Most of my short stories would make for low budget films. I keep giving thought to trying my hand with one of those, anyway.

Again, if you’re looking for material to adapt for a film festival project, please get in touch. I’ve written a wealth of material for you to choose from. Pick a title, and let’s discuss it.

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

“Lost and Found”

The short stories I’ve had published before are all on-line again. I wanted to get them up to allow fans and readers who have joined me since these were first published – years ago in many cases – to enjoy them. Here’s one titled “Lost and Found“. This was written very shortly after I completed the children’s literature course. “Lost and Found” is one of my early fantasy pieces. It’s simple, aimed at children. Yet several adults have taken the time over the years to let me know that they’ve read it, and found it sweet and endearing.

I’ve commented recently a few times that, with a lot of my earlier work, I don’t remember the inspiration behind them. With this one, I do. Faerie lore is a longtime interest of mine. Yet I’ve never heard of Urisks until right before I wrote this. I found them so unusual that I wanted to do something with them. “Lost and Found” is the result of that. I hope you all enjoy it!

Scott Harper

www.scottharper.net

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