The Charred Tree

Friends In Low Places

“I can’t help you, Rob. Sorry.” The chain stretched across the opening drooped into a mocking smile as the door started to close. This was the fourth person he had tried since the phone call had startled him from his bed. Robert Penman’s patience broke. Read more…


Story Delayed

Sorry, everyone. This week’s story will be delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. I am almost done with the story and still have to edit it before posting it.

In the meantime, I encourage you to read an earlier piece that ties in with this week’s story. Enjoy!

The Price of Four Minutes

The Funeral

“No, I should be home by 2:30. Just a graveside service with the family.  Sure, I can stop by the store on the way home. Mmhmmm. Anything besides milk and sugar? OK, Honey. See you in a bit.”

Lloyd Kirkland replaced the receiver on the rotary phone at the corner of his desk at Faith River Covenant Assembly. He jotted a few words on a sticky-note Read more…

Excellent suggestions! Writer’s block hits me more often than I like…these are great ways to put that time to creative use!


After waiting for it all week, you’re finally settling in at your computer with a giant mug of tea. You open your novel-in-progress. You scroll to the blank space at the end. You stretch your fingers.

And nothing happens.

You don’t feel like writing. You’re still tired from the mad work week. Your brain hasn’t woken up yet. You need to start the laundry, balance the checkbook and scrub out the tub. And this scene is boring. And you’re not really sure what happens next. Well, you know what happens next, but you don’t know how to get from here to there and it’s just not coming!

No use in wasting time staring at your computer (or, more likely watching YouTube videos and checking Pinterest). Here are 23 fun things you can experiment with to make your novel better while you wait for inspiration to strike.

  1. Cut 50 words from…

View original post 410 more words

Diaspora: Prickles and Thorns

“Ciyige!” the woman at the metal desk barked. There was so much gold piping and embroidery on her uniform Jon would have thought it gaudy in any other context. Considering he was flanked by BDU-clad military police armed with stun batons, her uniform seemed just the right amount of pomp to balance the dreary circumstances. “Next!” One of his keepers pushed him forward and Jon stumbled Read more…

Author On Site — Farewell! Away! Down River!

A short clip of me on location to share a little about the setting of one of the stories on The Charred Tree, “Farewell! Away! Down River!” As some may know, my grandmother passed away last month and I traveled to central Alabama for the funeral. While there I visited some of the places from my childhood that stood out in my memory. This was one of them and since it was a direct tie-in with one of the stories I have published here, I chose to video a short bit to share here on the blog.

My apologies for the shakiness and jerkiness of the video. This is my first attempt at doing a video for the blog.

The Unanswered Phone

Everything was quiet on the second floor of 39 Brooks Lane as Tuesday drew to a close. The light reflected in through the bank of broken windows at the western end of the littered hallway changed moment by moment through most of the yellow-orange-red part of the spectrum before beginning to fade. Nothing moved in the corridor Read more…

Story will be late this week

Due to unforeseen circumstances, oppressive heat, and required travel for work, the story this week will be a few days late. Expect it on Wednesday, July 4.

Sorry for the delay….


Story Installment Lists–Serial Stories

Greetings again, Faithful Readers!

I just wanted to take a moment to draw everyone’s attention to the installment lists I’ve placed on the site. One potential problem with serial stories is that some readers may join midstream and miss the first part of the story. By providing a list of the installments (in chronological order), those just joining in can catch up and those wanting to go back and revisit earlier installments can easily find them.

The link is at the top of the page (see the screenshot below for details) and there are separate lists for Bound By Silence and Diaspora.

Enjoy!  If you have suggestions for improvements to the site, please contact me at charredtree (at) “GeeMail” (dot) com (you know what to do to fix that! 😉 ).

Bound By Silence: A Bitter Draught

The crystal wine glasses redirected and amplified the light from the lamps around the room. Faithe sighed to herself as she realized the burgundy glow from the glasses around each setting looked like blood stains on the white cloth covering the table.

Read more…

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