Archive for September, 2009


In this ghost story, a writer does not sell his soul to obtain fame. He discovers a source of recognition, but there is a price.
This story was published in Nocturnal Ooze.


So long ago, to gain success and fortune, I accepted help. I had no idea of the cost of my weakness.
* * *
I made West Chester, Pennsylvania my home. It’s a small hamlet forty miles west of Philadelphia. Although construction marched across the landscape, there were still open fields, some farming and a sense of freedom not found in the city. I pursed a writing career turning out short stories and poetry published in small presses. I had not made a cent. Working as a short-order cook and doing seasonal work, I managed to get by.
For years I’ve also been working on a novel of gothic horror. I felt the story line was fine but could not capture the moodiness of the genre, could not complete the book. Every night, after work, I would sit and produce nothing but a pile of crumpled paper. The manuscript lacked a life of its own, remaining far from a finished product.
To boost my spirits, I would sometimes visit one of my favorite haunts in West Chester – Baldwin’s Book Barn. Baldwin’s is a rambling building with shelves upon shelves of old books spread over five ramshackle floors. I would roam the barn for hours, finding treasures on the shelves to ponder in one of the comfortable rocking chairs scattered throughout the barn or, if the price was right, take home.
One day, while visiting Baldwin’s, I wandered past the rare book room. This room was kept locked and special arrangements were needed to gain entry. Although I had wanted to spend some time in that room, I knew my pockets were not deep enough to gain admittance. This day, however, much to my surprise, the door to the room was ajar. I cautiously entered and found the room to be empty. It was a small room. Its walls lined with bookshelves and a solitary table and chair off to one side. The shelves held leather-bound volumes, first editions of some of the most famous authors of the English language. There were books by Hemingway, Hawthorne and Poe. Herman Melville was represented along with H. G. Wells. As I poured over the titles, something caught my eye, a slight movement from the direction of the table. I turned quickly but could find nothing. I continued to wander around the room and again felt a presence, a feeling that I was not alone. I turned slowly to the table to discover that my intuition was correct. For a fleeting moment I was not alone, and in that moment, I knew I must return to the Book Barn that night.
I left the bookstore and drove my car from the small parking lot in front of the barn to one of my part-time jobs. My plan was to return near closing time, sometime before nine o’clock. I would park my car in a nearby development and walk the mile to the bookstore. I was sure that they checked their parking lot at closing time to see if any customers remained in the store and in this way my presence would go unnoticed. The store itself was one huge hiding place. With its haphazard arrangements of shelves, it was full of nooks and crannies where one could easily be concealed.
Entering the store at eight, I nodded to the manager and made my way to the upper levels. I quickly found a hiding place on the second floor, the home of the rare book room. Soon after nine, I heard the store manager climb the rickety stairs and begin turning off the lights, starting at the highest level and working his way down. I made sure I was nowhere near the light switch and my hiding place went undiscovered. The only sounds I heard were the occasional creaking of the old building settling in for the night.
Security lights illuminated the first floor and some of the light filtered up through the spaces between the floorboards. I tried the door to the rare book room and found the door to be locked. I located a comfortable rocking chair and began my surveillance. The excitement of the quest quickly gave way to the weariness of the day and I was soon dozing, then fast asleep.
It was one A. M. when I suddenly awoke. It took me a few moments to remember where I was. I slowly made my way through the darkened passageway of the bookshelves until I stood before the rare book room. An eerie glow emanated from beneath the door. I tried the door and it opened easily. There, sitting before the ghost of a candle was the figure I had glimpsed that afternoon. I recognized him immediately by his manner of dress, the small mustache and the sorrowful eyes – it was Edgar Allen Poe. He sat at the table piled high with papers, his face sad with the knowledge he held. He did not look up but his lips were moving and the words entered my brain.
“I exist in neither heaven nor hell,” he said, “but between these leather-bound volumes. My soul is tied to my thoughts, to my dreams and my fears, and it is mostly the fears that lie between these covers. … The tortured nightmares that pursued me I in life I entrapped on the page, but their number was endless as I dipped into their essence for material. Once a fear was conquered it was replaced by a fiercer, more wicked specter.” Glancing at me, he continued, “You carry demons within you, as we all do,” he said as he slowly shook his head.
It was then he began to write. It was the same story I had written, well, almost the same for the improvements were obvious. He rewrote sections with which I had been having the most trouble, sections that would not come together. His lips moved and I could hear the words he was writing.
“Nothing in life comes easy, there is always a price,” he said. With that he set aside his writing, stood, and was gone. With trembling hands, I retrieved the pages. I accepted the help. I was in need of help even if it came from beyond the grave. I kept all the changes and the story was published. To see my name in print, to have my work recognized was like a drug. I could not get enough. That was some time ago. Fame and fortune are mine, but I now know the price.
It began one night, months after my book was published. I dreamt that a creature was squatting in the corner of my room, a being not of the waking world. He had a narrow face ending in a pointed chin. His eyes glowed red like the fires of hell. I refer to this being as ‘he’ but the more proper term would be it. Its body was covered with gray matted fur and its short thin legs bent backward at the knee. It there is a hell; this creature journeyed from that destination.
Speaking in a hollow – echoing voice it spoke to me of horrors. The horrors I could see as the demon’s form faded to be replaced by the story it told. This visage from hell weaved unspeakable stories, stories to gruesome to use. I took their essence of horror and changed them for no one would believe what was depicted in my dreams. It was after the stories were published that I learned the horrible consequences of my plagiarism.
The first was of a man possessed by demons. His wife had just given birth to their first baby, a son. The demons told the man that the son would grow to be a spiritual leader; the baby must be destroyed, and he was. I could see this in my dream, every detail, along with the shocking outcome. With changes made I wrote the story and it was published. Once in print, the story became reality. A man did kill his son as I had dreamed, and if I had dreamed longer, I would have seen him slaughter his wife and end his own misery.
I thought that surely this was a horrible coincidence, and then my nightmare visitor paid me another visit and revealed another dream.
This scenario played itself out more times than I choose to remember. The demon enters my dream, and then the story begins a movie in my mind. The more I use its stories, the greater becomes my writer’s block, until I have no stories of my own to tell.
My nights grew restless, filled with demonic dreams, dreams that would make your blood curdle. I have no release until the story is written. Once on paper, my stories are readily published and the cycle begins again. The demons hiding in the shadows seek the light of day in my dreams. I fear sleep because I know the stories won’t stop.
It has been some time since I published my first novel. From that time on success came easily, but I did not recognize the price – the horror I have unleashed upon the world. I have gathered every pill I could find, every painkiller and sleeping pill I have accumulated to serve now as my ultimate relief. Will I carry my demons into oblivion or, will they merely return to the shadows and await another while they drag my soul through hell?

September 27, 2009 at 4:52 pm Leave a comment



I have a small window on how much Stephen King must be tormented by his imagination.
This story was published in AlienSkin some time ago. It concerns a science fiction writer with an overactive imagination, some would say beyond control. Coupled with his mind wanderings was a new-found power.
I hope you enjoy the story.


I have always had an active imagination. If I had had the courage to put a bullet through my head when I first realized the consequences of my thoughts, you dear reader, would have more than five days to live. I suggest, for your own sanity, you put down this story. Now!
Consider yourself warned.
I used my vivid imagination to write works of science fiction, and had some measure of success. I was no Ray Bradbury, but I was able to make a reasonable living with my novels with flashy covers showing alien worlds and their weird residents. The occasional scantily clad Earth females depicted on the covers didn’t hurt sales either. I would let my imagination run wild and my pen would follow. I do not know the true extent of the powers, but I fear I may have done some damage light years from Earth.
The first hint of my peculiar ability occurred a month ago. I visited a bagel shop early one morning, as was my habit, to avoid crowds. In my southeastern Pennsylvania community, three people constitute a crowd, four a mob.
I entered the store and found, and much to my satisfaction, found I was the only customer. A husband and wife owned and ran the establishment. They were always there together.
I placed my order, and as I stood idly, a strange thought emerged. How easy it would be to rob this store at this early hour. I could write a mystery. It would be my first attempt at something other than science fiction. My mind was consumed with plotting the crime, and as I waited for my bagels, my thoughts set up the robbery scene. Seven days later, that store was robbed and the couple murdered.
What a strange coincidence, I thought, as I read the newspaper.
A few days after the robbery, I was driving along an interstate highway behind an old pickup truck. A ladder was propped up against the tailgate. I imagined the truck hitting a large bump in the road and the ladder being hurled from the truck and through the windshield of the car following. I switched lanes and forgot the vision.
Seven days later a horrendous accident happened, almost identical to the scene I imagined. It made the local news.
This time I was shaken. Was this just a second coincidence?
I tried an experiment. I pictured a week of continuous rain. We were under drought restrictions at the time, so I thought this would be an innocent and perhaps beneficial test. Exactly seven days later, the rains poured down and rivers overran their banks. I had forgotten about the rivers. Property was ruined. Lives were lost.
To avoid more damage, I went back to writing science fiction. Fiction that I ensured occurred far from this planet.
Then it happened. Two days ago, after I vowed never to conjure up stories about the here and now, but I slipped. I was writing a story about an alien ship traveling through an asteroid belt. Before I knew it, my mind was picturing the asteroid that impacted the Earth some sixty-five million years ago causing the extinction of the dinosaurs. But God help me, my mind wandered and took another step. I wondered what the Earth would be like if an asteroid ten times the size of the one that killed the dinosaurs impacted the Earth.
We have five days left.


September 26, 2009 at 5:11 pm Leave a comment

The Superior Species

I had this thought some years ago when I wrote this story. What if the Neanderthals were not the dumb louts we picture them to be? Perhaps they did not journey peacefully into extinction, but were driven there by a more populous cousin, out of envy. I wrote a story, The Superior Species, and it was published by Aphelion.
In my writing, I enjoy including some science fact as well as the products of my imagination to create stories of pure conjecture, but with a hint of believability. Of course, I select facts which support my story, but they are facts.
Recently, I read an article describing Neanderthal skeletons discovered exhibiting nicks in their bones made by thrown spears. Neanderthals never developed this type of weapon. Who attacked them?
Read this story and let me know your thoughts.

September 13, 2009 at 7:02 pm Leave a comment



The subject for this article is, an essential website for the reader and writer. I will introduce it to you, but it must be explored to be truly appreciated. It is like an English muffin, with nooks and crannies that must be savored.
If you are with any of the major providers, you may use this site to check your email. In addition, this site provides access to all the major search engines.
Using Refdesk, you gain access to a host of both national and international newspapers. You can also read most of the major national magazines.
Provided also daily, is a different reference website, which I find myself bookmarking. The Library of Congress, encyclopedias and dictionaries are examples of some of the sites offered.
Other features are This Day in History and Today’s Birthday.
As a science fiction writer, the sites I daily explore located on Refdesk, are Today in Literature, Writer’s Almanac and Science Daily. I especially enjoy Science Daily for I like to include some science fact in my writing and I get access to a vast amount of information at this site.
You must check out this website to truly appreciate its power.

The next article, the first in a series of articles, will be for writers and explore the daunting task of finding an agent.

Walt Trizna

September 4, 2009 at 6:33 pm Leave a comment



My name is Walt Trizna. I am a longtime member of the Wordwrights, and during the course of my writing career, I have gathered information on many aspects of publishing material. I am also an avid reader and would like to share free sources I have found where novels, short stories and poetry are available. My hope is that both readers and writers will find this information useful.
The subject of this article is ( This is an excellent resource for writers. A host of online and print publications are referenced that accept novels, short stories, flash fiction and poetry. For the reader, it offers many online sites where short stories and poetry are available, all for free.
Writes can explore the site by genre, theme, word count and pay scale. Duotrope lists over 2400 sites and is updated on a regular basis. Other information beneficial is the publisher’s policy in simultaneous submissions, reprints and multiple submissions. With feedback from writers, Duotrope also tracks response times and rate of acceptance. Also available is a connection to the publisher’s website offering information about the publication and further information on what they are seeking.
This website should be in every writer’s go-to list for places to publish his work.

Future articles in this series will deal with great resources for readers, sites for reference and finding agents.

September 4, 2009 at 6:16 pm Leave a comment


Walt Trizna – Writer’s Blog

My name is Walt Trizna. I am a writer of horror and science fiction short stories and novels. My intention is to use this blog to make available my short stories that have been published on line and inform you when my work appears in print.
I have published a total of fifteen short stories and one novella. I have also written three novels which I am trying to publish. My stories that have appeared on line and chapters of my novels are what I plan to offer to you with the hope of obtaining feedback.
Also, I write articles for my writer’s group, the Wordwrights, for both writers and readers. Websites will be discussed for readers where they can find free books and stories. For writers, I will discuss places where you can publish and a host of other topics important to fulfilling your dream of seeing your work read.
I hope you find this blog entertaining and useful.
Here is the first of my stories I offer to you.

September 4, 2009 at 6:12 pm 3 comments

Hello world!

Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

September 4, 2009 at 5:30 pm 1 comment


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