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  "Allegory Asks Published Authors:
  Why Do You Write?"
      by Ty Drago


      by Tom Howard

      by Zakiya N. Jamal

  "Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc"
       by Deborah Sheldon

      by Tom Vaine

      by David Snyder

  "Andi's Birthday"
      by Lisa Timpf

  "The Closet"
      by William Quincy Belle

  "How to Hear the Desert and Other"
  Things I Learned from Ghosts"
      by Chase Wynn

  "The Queue "
      by William Squirrell

  "A Tree Grows in Hell"
      Michael Owens

  "The Caretaker"
      by Derrick Boden

      by Sarah Allen

      by Ty Drago

  "Novelette Preview: THE WRITING
      by Kelly Ferjutz

  "Novel Preview: CRYSTAL ILLUSIONS"
      by J.E. Taylor

  "Novel Preview: THAT ROOM AT
      by Kelly Ferjutz


  Resources for Writers
  Associations for Writers
  Writers' Sites


All stories/articles may be viewed

(1) By clicking on the title and displaying the text in a browser window;

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If you don't have Adobe Reader, you can get it free by clicking below.

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frenta / 123RF Stock Photo


End of the World"
Month9Books, March, 2016

Will Ritter vists a dark future in which the Corpses destroy the world. Can he somehow prevent it?

"Fright Before Christmas"
Leap Books, November, 2015

Thirteen tales of terror by thirteen different authors (myself included) thrill up this anthology published by Leap Books

Last Siege of Haven"
Month9Books, July, 2015

The Corpses have found Haven! Can the Undertakers end the war before the war ends them?

Secret of the Corpse Eater"
Month9Books, March, 2014

Trouble brews in DC as a mysterious monster haunts the Capitol, killing Corpses. Can the enemy of his enemy be Will's friend?.

Night of Monsters"
Smashwords, April, 2013

Will and the Undertakers spend a single night trying to thwart a terrifying new Corpse plot involving twins, maggots, and menace.

Queen of the Dead"
Jabberwocky, October 2012

Will and the Undertakers face a new and terrible enemy is this, the second book in the Undertakers series.

Rise of the Corpses"
Jabberwocky, April 2011

Will Ritter becomes relucantly involved in a war between children and an invasion of animated corpses.

"THE LITERARY HANDYMAN" by Danielle Ackley-McPhail
I was honored to write the introduction to this collection of valuable essays on writing.
"Yesterday, I Will"
Fortress Publishing, 2010

Anthology Grandmaster
My story, "Yesterday I Will Remember Tomorrow" tells the tale of a young man who finds himself living his life backwards

Tor Books, 2003/2004

A critically-acclaimed SF "whodunit" about murder, mayhem, and a mysterious monster on Mars' largest moon.

Regency Press, 2001

An historical mystery centered around Ben Franklin's 1776 visit to Paris - a tale of intrique, betrayal and friendship.


This time around our Name in Lights goes to one of this issue's authors.

We at Allegory love being a writer's first sale. It's not something we always know; it really depends on the individual author to tell us, and authors are often reticent on such matters.

Not in the case of Zakiya Jamal, the author of this issue's wonderful "Thusia." As she reveals in her bio, we are her first published work, a fact that we're all too eager to shout from the rooftops!

Congratulations, Zakiya. You're a wonderful writer and its a privilege to be your introduction to the published world. We have no doubt that you'll make us all proud!


Allegory Asks Published Authors:

Why Do You Write?

by Ty Drago


Some people seem to find writers "fascinating."

Maybe it's because we sweat and bleed to produce stories, a passion and calling that many folks aspire to, but few ever achieve. Or maybe its that wierd feeling people get when they see an author's name on a book they like, only to then later meet that person and think, "But ... he's so ... human!" Or maybe it's the simple fact that writers are crazy.

My money's on that one.

Anyhow, it stuck me recently that there are a class of questions that writers field all the time, and wouldn't it be fun to pose one of these to a number of published authors with whom I'm aquainted, and whose work I particularly admire.

So, with all that preamble safely behind us, Allegory has presented a gaggle of writers with this simple (yet not so simple) query:

Why do you write?

Here is a list of the authors who responded. Click the links below to see each author's response. Some are short. Some are long.

But all are fascinating! :)

"The definition of “create” is to bring something into existence. I am totally fascinated with the idea of causing something to exist that hadn’t existed before. Like children. And, yes, like books. And stories in general. A story that’s been told is out there, forever loose in the universe, and can’t ever not exist anymore. And the idea that I can create something like that is thrilling. I write to create. And because the voices inside my head tell me to." - Dorothy Dreyer

 "I have a confession to make: I see dead people.

No! Wait a minute, that’s not right.

But I do hear voices—lots of tiny little voices whispering all the time. Some whisper more loudly than others, and some bellow with an all-out roar in my head.

These voices belong to characters… some still forming, and others completely realized with their own personalities, histories, and stories to tell.

The latter usually drown out the still-developing characters. They tell me who they are, what they want, and where they need to go. To be honest, it’s enough to drive any sane person directly to the funny farm.

So, to avoid the terribly unfashionable white coats with buckles that tie your arms around your back, I choose to surrender to these voices and give them life.

Sometimes, that’s all they want—a little attention in the way of a short paragraph outlining who they are, where they came from, and what they look like. (Those are the easy ones.)

However, once in a while the voices are attached to characters who have been through a lot… epic adventures of self-sacrifice and battles of good versus evil. These need a little more than a short paragraph. These characters require a full outline of their adventures from point A to point B. They give me no choice but to sit down and plot out what happened to them.

Many voices are happy with the full day of attention this outlining normally takes. They stop screaming and melt into the background only to be remembered on the days when I sift through my old ideas for inspiration.

But then there are those characters that need more than an outline. Seeing the short descriptions of their exploits on the page makes them scream louder. They suddenly remember in great detail everything that happened. They scream that their journey was more exciting and more vivid than that simple outline can express. They demand their adventure come to life for all to see!

These pesky characters become the heroes (or villains) of my novels.

So, you see, there is a simple reason that keeps me writing: I don’t have a choice.

(And I’d look terrible in one of those white coats with the buckles in the back.)

Yup. In the end, it all comes down to fashion." - Jennifer M. Eaton


"It's because I've got stories in me that I want to share, and my method of sharing is the written word. I love shaping worlds through words. :)" - Jackie Kessler

"I write because it gives me a voice in a loud, unruly world. I can make sense of things in my own way on the page, and in doing so, I can give readers a voice, too." - A.S. King

"I write because there are voices in my head and they keep talking to me. If you’re not a writer, then this is a serious cry for help. If you are a writer, then this is how the process works. An example of this was how I created the character of Joe Ledger, the hero of my ongoing series of weird science thriller novels, the 8th of which, KILL SWITCH, debuts April 22.

I was sitting in a diner making notes on a nonfiction book when two characters suddenly began talking in the back of my head. I had no idea who they were or what they were talking about. I'm not entirely sure when they came to live inside my head. Ideas, fragments of stories, titles, characters, snatches of dialogue, plot ideas and other elements all tend to float around in the brain in a loose cloud and then something happens that makes some of those elements coalesce. That must have happened that afternoon because the conversation felt important. I stopped working on the nonfiction book and began writing down the conversation, and then -as writers will-I took control of it, giving it shape, guiding the direction, making sense of it. The characters were a cop who being interviewed by the head of some clandestine special ops team. The cop was snarky and the guy was very cool and controlled. Within a half hour I had a couple of hand-written pages of dialogue and knew the shape of the story. I took a couple of days off from the other project and fleshed it out, wrote a synopsis, crafted some pitch materials and sent it to my agent. This new book was not a horror novel like the first three books I'd done; it was a thriller. I told my agent that this was what I wanted to write next, and that I was in love with it. She believed me, and she began shopping it once I had fifty pages done. It sold right away to Griffin. Now I'm writing the 9th book in the series, and the books have been optioned for film.

That was early 2008. Since then I’ve sold another thirty novels, some of which aren’t written yet. Since then I’ve written comics for Marvel, IDW and Dark Horse. I’ve written nearly a hundred short stories.

Why do I write? Because I have all these stories in my head, and I love them. I get to know these characters and I want to know them better. I want to introduce them to other people, and as a writer I can do that through novels, short stories and comics.

Why do I write? Because I’m an avid reader, and so I write the stories I would most want to read.

That’s why I write." - Jonathan Maberry




by Tom Howard

“What is it?” I asked, staring at photographs of police officers standing behind coffins.

“Probably an old funeral detail,” said Sergeant Trask, studying a photograph. He thrust it at me. “Here, see if your young eyes can locate a date or recognize these guys.”

“Four coffins,” I counted. I studied the photograph for a moment, puzzled by the image. “This is weird. This floral arrangement says ‘In Memory of Officer James Kirkpatrick.’ I saw Jimmy at roll call this morning.”

“Could be a family member,” said Sergeant Trask, “but I don’t remember his old man being on the force.”

I examined the photograph further and my stomach turned. “This has to be a sick joke. This wreath says ‘Officer Lugo-Munoz!’ That’s me! Who put you up to this?”

by Zakiya N. Jamal

“Mother, wait,” I said. Her back was to me but I saw her tense up for a second before she turned and looked at me. Her lips were pressed tightly together in a straight line and there was a brief look of irritation on her face before she sighed deeply.

“Thusia, we must go,” she said. She spoke like I was a little girl that didn’t want to go to school today. There was a mixture of annoyance and frustration in her voice that made me worry about what I was going to say next.

“I know mother,” I said. I stood from the table, keeping one hand on the edge. I needed something to hold onto otherwise I felt I would faint out of fear.

“Then let’s go,” she said harshly. I shrank back at her words and her face softened.“I mean,” she said gently. “We should head outside. We don’t want to be late.”

“Right, of course, mother,” I said. “But – ,” I paused, “But, do I have to do this?”

"Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc"
by Deborah Sheldon

As it turns out, he bequeathed me his house.

I hire cleaners used to dealing with hoarders. Next, I hire a decorator. Lastly, removalists transfer my belongings into Grandpa’s house. No, into my house; it is my house now. And everything in it belongs to me.


The scratching wakes me at night. Pitter-patter, pitter-patter. I stare at the ceiling, dimly lit by the digital clock. Something lives in the crawlspace. Exterminators can’t find evidence of infestation. ‘The spoor is old and desiccated,’ one of the many exterminators says. ‘Whatever’s creeping around up there doesn’t take a dump.’

Yet a creature is getting in and out, somehow.

by Tom Vaine

"Mr. Buchanan?" He winced a little at his own words. "Mr. Buchanan, I'm Rowan Thomas. I'm the journalist who's come to dig up all of those skeletons you must have in your closet." He chuckled for affect, but Tony showed no sign of response and the silence thickened. Tony continued to stare, examining Rowan as he did so. After a moment more of this he relaxed somewhat.

"Yes, Mr. Thomas?"

"I thought... could we start the interview, sir? I'm sorry, I..." Rowan strove for the right words, "please, excuse me for asking, but is this a bad time sir?" The billionaire looked intently outside a nearby window as he answered.

"Do you ever feel, Mr. Thomas, that you're being crept up upon?" Rowan swallowed.

by David Snyder

The Library appeared empty, which was good. That’s helpful when you’re a thief.

It felt strange, breaking in here. Libraries, even the Library, should be open to all, right? Plus, it was the law. After the war, the treaty required that everyone in the galaxy have equal access to the Library. Turns out the Vertinax had a different definition of "everyone" than the rest of us. One that didn’t include humans.

So I didn’t feel all that bad about this particular job. Even less bad than usual. And I’d always liked libraries.

"Andi's Birthday "
by Lisa Timpf

It must be thinking about birthdays that brings us down First Street and then to the corner of First and Park Drive. I look at the big barn-like building, at the way the "R" has fallen off "Arena", and remember . . .

On my ninth birthday, Dad took me to see the Renegades play. He bought me a Renegades jersey and everything. I close my eyes for a moment and can still taste the popcorn, hear the roar of the crowd when Podovski scored the first goal --

My daydream is interrupted by an intense whisper from Yan.

"Trouble," he says, his brow furrowed beneath the fringe of jet-black hair.
He points behind us.

"The Closet "
by William Quincy Belle

He raised his gaze. The sky, or whatever was above him, was an odd shade of green. But there, almost directly over him, a coloured spot hung in midair. He stared at it for several seconds, trying to see through it, until he realised it was the inside of his closet. His eyes widened.

He rolled off the bush onto the ground and looked up at his closet hanging above his head. When he had stepped into it, he had fallen through a hole into this weird place. Obviously this wasn’t the third story under his fourth-floor apartment.

Jack tried to estimate the height of the hole. It seemed to be about fifteen feet up. Just fifteen feet away was his escape out of this place and back to his world, but how would he ever get up there?

"How to Hear the Desert and Other Things I Learned From Ghosts"|
by Chase Wynn

In the end, Dave’s own exorcism did not go very well.

For the first couple of months, being haunted had not been so bad. Dave, the ghost, didn’t inflict many of the classic horrors one associates with being haunted.

He didn’t float around screaming.

He didn’t rattle any chains.

He didn’t walk through walls or vanish suddenly.

He did the opposite of vanish, actually; he mostly stayed.

And stayed and stayed.

"The Queue "
by William Squirrell

A long line of people trailed through the valley and over the grassy hills. Adele had been standing in it as long as she could remember. Not always here, of course. The queue once moved at a steady pace. They had marched through forests, swamps and mountains. They passed by, and sometimes through rivers, lakes, and oceans. But the line hadn’t moved much lately. A few shuffling steps now and then. Every once and awhile just a little something more: one afternoon, two or three weeks earlier, there had been a burst of fifty yards in just a few minutes. Everyone became bright-eyed and eager, shifting their packs, starting to swing their arms, getting into a rhythm, excited murmurs swept back and forth: “Here we go!”; “Here we go again!”; “At last!”

Then it stalled. Tempers flared; children cried; there were a couple of fights; rumors of a stabbing a few miles behind. As the sun set a sleety rain swept in from the north. It left behind a starry sky washed clean of warmth and hope. And of course the wolves had begun to howl. The line had moved a step or two more since then, but nothing out of the ordinary. Now the sun had set again. Low clouds were rushing by. It was going to be another miserable night. Adele sighed, and regretted it immediately.

"A Tree Grows in Hell"
by Michael Owens

The Gardener has spent long years gathering dead dirt worn from the clawed mountains and badlands by stinging, sandpaper winds, and carrying it across rivers of lava or ice or excrement or worse to this spot, carefully selected to provide shelter from the winds and a hiding place from marauding bands of tormented souls. Using a fetid compost of feces--his own and what he could dredge out from the turgid flows that criss-crossed Hell--patiently piled and turned, then folded and worked into the lifeless grit, he has made a fertile, crumbly black cradle for his tree's pale roots. A clever wind trap gathers moisture from the constant wind, funneling the tiny, stained drops into reservoirs sewn from sections of his own intestines. Small tubes of the same material drips the tepid water directly into the tree's roots.

A small, distant part of me admires his work, but for the most part I feel irritation at his relentless, even obsessive passion for this tiny bit of life he has so carefully midwifed into existence, in quiet, hidden defiance of this place of eternal torture.

"The Caretaker "
by Derrick Boden

"Impossible!" Dad was hot in the face, his big chest heaving up and down. "Christian, this was your chance. Our family's chance!"

I slid around the coffee table for a better view. Christian was a shadow of himself: sunken cheeks, dark eyes, hunched shoulders. Staring at the ground. I'd never seen him like that. It turned my skin cold.

He mumbled something incoherent. The fingers of his left hand worked at the worn edges of Mom's necklace--the one she lent him as a good-luck charm the day he left.

"This was a gift." Dad was waving his arms, as if that would rewind the past. "A chance to establish ourselves in the community. We'd jump straight to the front of the rations line every week. Get first selection on supplies. Maybe even move into a bigger house. Dammit, Christian--we'd be heroes. You've squandered it!"

by Sarah Allen

The worst thing about that stupid reindeer song isn’t the unbearable kitschiness; it’s the fact that my name is last. So what if it goes in rein order? It’s not like we at the back take the light load. But it’s not really a big deal; I guess I’ve been with the Boss long enough for him to know I can take the grunt work.

The sun went down a few hours ago but I haven’t been able to sleep. The temperature isn’t right without the other seven in here. The wood of the stalls is slick with salty ice and the heavy smell of hay and Reindeer sweat is diminishing in the frigid air. There is just enough light for me to see the smoky breath that puffs from my nostrils. The straw underneath me muffles the sound of creaking wood and the shuffling of something—probably an owl—in the barn rafters. Sometimes the light from the moon will come in through the window and glint off the bucket above me.

And of course Dasher had to go and get that stupid song stuck in my head.

Staff Showcase

In this issue we're doing things a little differently. Instead of short stories,
a number of ALLEGORY staff members are highlighting their published
or soon-to-be-published novels. We hope you'll take a moment to see
what we've been up to -- besides this e-zine!

"Novel Preview:

by Ty Drago

"Novelette Preview:

by Kelly Ferjutz

"Novel Preview:

by J.E. Taylor

"Novel Preview:

by Kelly Ferjutz

Honorable Mentions

Allegory deals with submissions in the way that, as far as I know, remains fairly unique in the publishing world. Each story is individually reviewed and, if considered publishable, is placed in our "Maybe" pile. At the end of each submission period, these "Maybes" are reviewed, and the best eight chosen to appear in the next issue. This final cut is made on the basis of issue balance, and does NOT reflect the overall quality of these stories.

That said, here - in no particular order - are the "Maybes" who just missed publication in Allegory. Each one is a fine tale that we would have been proud to publish. Remember these names, friends and fellows. You'll be hearing from them in the future. I guarantee it!

The Long Walk by Mike Driver
Void by D.A. D'Amico
Regression by Tyler Marable
Tears Upon the Cheeks of a Now Sentimental Head by Stephen Wack
Recipe: 1 Universe by Effie Seiberg
The Dragon's Dinner by Lindsey Duncan
The Deal of the Century by David Smith
Connected by Karen Heslop
Special by Michael Cacciatore
Werewolf Therapy by Patrice Sarath
Swiping Stations by Holly Riordan
Shimmering Scale by Jay Requard
The Orb of Uber by Gregory Clifford
Two Car-Lengths Behind by Joseph Rubas
Man's Best Friend by Allen Saslaw
Connected by Sherry Welch
In the Garden by Michael Haynes
He Sensed Future Folly by Jenean McBreaty
The Blue Man by Dawn Lloyd
Diamond Ice by Tommy Smith
There's No Gadget Heaven by Diego Reymondez
The Meakrous Carrier by Kevin Greene
Look Inside by Melanie Rees
Version Four by Brandon Crilly
Things Plants Hear by Timothy Mudie
Shaky Grounds by Michael Tuggle

Editor for Hire!!!

Allegory's own Kelly Ferjutz, who has lent her editorial talents to this ezine since its inception in 1998, is now offering her expertise to writers out there looking for professional editing services.

Kelly is a veteran editor, a published author in her own right, as well as a "blogsman".

Click HERE to discover more about Kelly's offered services.

Or, better yet, consider redeeming the following coupon! Trust us, it's worth it!

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