"No matter how terrified you may be, own your fear and take that leap anyway because whether you land on your feet or on your butt, the journey is well worth it."
-- Laurie Laliberte
"If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."
-- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-- Anais Nin

Sunday, February 3, 2013


If you're a faithful follower of this blog, you already know plenty about the Kindle All-Stars and our (insane) project from 2011 that brought together 32 authors from 7 countries in one anthology. Our goal was simple: raise some money for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children by releasing the compilation entitled Resistance Front.

Shortly after RF's release, my partner in literary mischief, Bernard Schaffer, and I announced our intent to do it again, this time with a cryptozoology-themed collection. This time, on a much smaller scale. We ended up with seven short stories, one of them a pseudo-teleplay, and a narrative interlude, written by Bernard, that ties them all together.

Now, I told everyone a year ago I had no intent of writing anything for the book. Cryptids aren't my thing. Maybe if we had chosen a vampire theme, or pirates, or even just another genre-bender, I might have dug a short story out of my hat. But terrestrial monsters lurking in our jungles, and forests, and oceans? Not exactly my forte. I enjoyed playing stage manager for this one.

Still, Bernard convinced me to throw a few words together and see what came of it. So I did. More because, as I said to him later, "I didn't want to be the only kid without a crayon." However, after reading the finished manuscript and then the essay I had written, B and I both decided my piece just didn't mesh with the rest, so I decided to bow out after all.

What does that have to do with anything? You ask. Well, I thought you'd all like to see what didn't make the cut:

Now available on Amazon.com.
All proceeds will benefit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Cover design by Tony Healey and Keri Knutson.

Medusa …

Lamia …

Was she the snake in the Garden of Eden? Or was she simply a myth created and morphed by the popular religion of the day? Reason would support the latter. Atheists will tell you reason would insist the Garden of Eden is its own myth. But my intent is not to debate religion versus reason. My intent is to get you to consider the impossible as possible.

For centuries, sailors and landlubbers alike spoke of mermaids and sirens whose hypnotic tunes lured sea captains to meet their doom. Beautiful voices raised in song convinced grown men to set course toward them. What other explanation could there be for otherwise intelligent men to sail so close to shore that they crashed their ships’ wooden hulls on shallow reefs? Surely they weren’t afraid of falling off the ends of the earth by traveling too far out to sea.

Countless sailors returned home with stories of sea monsters like the Kraken and giant squids that prevented safe passage across the oceans. Ah yes, monsters! A reasonable explanation for crews setting sail, never to be heard from again. Hurricanes be damned. But wait … haven’t scientists found carcasses and taken photographs of giant squids? Cross that one off our list. That one is no longer a myth.

And what of Nessie, and Ogopogo, and Ishi? Are they real? Are they, as so many scientists have theorized, plesiosaurs that became trapped in deep lakes as waters receded from the last ice age? Survivors from a long forgotten era? A pre-human era? We know that Loch Ness, Lake Okanagan, even Lake Michigan cover depths and areas vast enough to support a few dinosaurs, so why not?

Consider the coelacanth, thought to be extinct, headed for cryptid status due to “sightings,” removed from that list several decades ago. Why? Because live specimens were not only sighted, but documented in the 1930s. Two species. Turned out some survived after all. How many other species of fish remain undiscovered because we have yet to engineer a manned vessel that can safely travel to the depths at which they thrive?

For decades, explorers in Central and South America searched for Chupacabra. This goat-killing, blood-sucking, dog-like creature that terrorized farmers and their livestock in search of its next meal. Weren’t Chupacabra carcasses discovered back in 2010? Well, not really but a reasonable explanation for the mythos was found.

Bigfoot, Yeti, Skunk Ape – call it what you will – is it only a matter of time before specimens are in our zoos rather than our imaginations? Will we yet find a man-ape traipsing through some remote jungle, or along a forest path, or on the far side of a mountain? Surely not every photo, not every sighting, is the result of a hoax.

As we travel to Mars in search of signs of life long extinct … as we look to the heavens and theorize how life began on earth … let us continue to explore this third rock we call home …

Happy Hunting!

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