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Short Stories on Instagram

If you’re a fan of my novels and novellas, you may get a kick out of the short stories I published on Instagram as @5150DuncanMac. In addition to “What Lurks in the Library”, I also published “The Baptism” and “The Phone Calls”. They are a blend of humor and horror lite. The trick to reading […]

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What Lurks in the Library

A short horror story about bullying and its underlying causes Julius Highbaugh loved books more than anything. He read a book every couple of days and listened to audiobooks when he walked to and from Midvale Junior High. School was a mixed bag. He liked math, science, English – all the classes except Gym. He […]

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“5150” Book Group Discussion Questions

What was your favorite part of 5150? Your least favorite? The author intended to reduce stigma around mental illness by putting a reader inside the mind of a psychotic. Do you think they reduced stigma? Why or why not? Although 5150 is set in the past, in a pre-internet world, do you still feel it […]

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DEL *.* – Clearing the Mind – a New Mantra

Looking for a quick trick for clearing the mind? In olden times, when we had to navigate our computer using text commands, there was one DOS command that always scared me: ‘del *.*’, a command that wipes out all the files in a given directory and all its subdirectories. If you did it at the […]

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Bespoke Data Scrubber

When I’m not writing and editing my bestselling novels and short stories, I actually work a day job with numbers and spreadsheets and databases. I found my niche in that market. Think of someone who has to write, edit copy and make improvements to a manuscript. What skills do they possess that could possibly be […]

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The Baptism

I met Bill Rasmussen in Fourth Grade at Mills Elementary School in Benicia, California.  Bill came from a large, poor family who lived in a big house on East J street. His mother, June, was very good at stretching dollars.  She baked her own bread, served Carnation powdered milk, and forced the family to go […]

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Transgressive Fiction

A Revelation I recently stumbled across the term “transgressive fiction” while researching my genre. I was baffled because my books were too far out to get into a mainstream genre like “Young Adult” or “Gay Coming of Age”. Coming of age locked up in jail and the mental hospital is too far out for that […]

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Ready, Fire, AIM!

Sometimes I get so excited to finish a cycle of edits on a novel, I decide it’s ready to go without giving a holistic read. The solution for this is to order review copies and pass over with a red pen. In the process of fleshing out 7th Avenue South (prequel to 5150) I inadvertently […]

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Pathetic Fallacy and Other Literary Devices

It sounds much harsher than it is. Pathetic fallacy is a story-telling technique in which the environment surrounding a character is an extension of what is happening inside their head. My first introduction to pathetic fallacy was in Wuthering Heights when Heathcliff is raging somewhere on the moors while thunder and lightning crash and flash. […]

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Grammar

Readers ask me how I manage to construct complex sentences without grammatical errors. My answer is always the same: ‘Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition’. In Junior High, I had two great English teachers. They were night and day when it came to their teaching style and curriculum. The only constant was the cursed Warriner’s grammar […]

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