“Bedevilled”–A scary new short story to start your summer!!!

A couple of things to cover this time around:

The proof copy of So Dark the Night arrived and we’ll get pictures up soon.  It’s a beautiful book—the folks at Lightning Source have done a brilliant job and we couldn’t be happier with the finished volume.  Unfortunately, there were a few minor glitches:  for one thing, we forgot to add the cover price (yeesh!  what dopes!) and there were a couple of formatting mistakes inside that needed tweaking.  So we sent in a revised set of cover and text files and that should be it.

In the meantime, the proof sits on my desk, just as pretty as you please.  At least five or six times a day I walk over, pick it up and ogle it, turning it over and over in my hands.

So…unless there are any unforeseen problems, we should be going into production in the next ten days and I’ll begin taking orders for So Dark the Night at that time.  Or you can buy my book through Lightning Source (and eventually Amazon and wherever else I can get it)

Watch this space.

For those of you who are currently seeking some fun reading, I’ve decided to post my newest short story, a work of suspense called “Bedevilled”.

This one has two main sources of inspiration:

The first was Roman Polanski’s “The Tenant” (terrific creepy film and the perfect evocation of Roland Topor’s short novel) and the second…well.  We’ve all seen the stories on the news, an obscene act of violence perpetrated by someone who is clearly delusional.  Our initial, knee jerk response to gruesome incidents like the killing on the Greyhound bus is to wash our hands of the assailant, throw away the key, put him out of his misery, etc. etc.  But, of course, as a writer my curiosity is piqued when I try to divine the thinking of such an individual:  what in God’s name would cause them to act out in such an extreme and horrific manner?

And so I wrote “Bedevilled”.

I have to say, now that the novel’s done and at the printer, I find I have some extra time to do things like journaling and writing short stories and I’m enjoying myself immensely.  “Bedevilled” challenged me and I think the end result is a solid short story.  I’ve played around with the formatting on this one, tried to make it more readable and eye-friendly (in PDF form).  Let me know what you think, dear Readers, especially you folks using devices like the iPad, Kindle, etc.  Do you like the fatter margins, find the spacing agreeable?

Let’s kick off the summer reading season with a tale of psychological suspense, shall we?

Click on the link below and…enjoy!



  1. Belle Starr

    if I havent said so yet, order one for me, fankx
    and for the story
    snurB uoy on tnuoc syawla nac I….;-P

  2. Cliff Burns

    The final proof should be in the mail as I’m typing this. You’re right, I’d better start putting together a roster of folks who’ve indicated they want a copy of SO DARK THE NIGHT. Good business sense is not one of my strong suits. Thanks for the helpful nudge and your order is so noted. Ten days-two weeks and we should be ready to go.

    As ever, I appreciate your support; thanks for being such a dedicated reader…and pal.

  3. Bee Summers

    Cliff, love this story! Am eagerly awaiting the novel! What do you think of The Darkwood Review? I like the idea of an all-story review website. There are a few others as well. I wish I could afford subscriptions to all the fiction journals to keep up with the stories. There’s a lot of great stuff being produced (yours included) but only so many hours/dollars in the day.

  4. Cliff Burns

    Thank ye kindly.

    The novels and longer works gobble up a substantial proportion of my time but I confess I dearly love the short story format. Hope to do more of them but, you’re right, the hours are finite, the days too short.

    Haven’t heard of the site/publication you mentioned. Send us a link so I can check it out.

    My appreciation to you for dropping by and sampling some of my work. We’re okaying the proof Monday and should soon have the book and e-book versions of SO DARK THE NIGHT ready for sale/ordering within seven days. Pictures coming soon, promise! Keep checking back for updates…

  5. Robert

    This may seem like a silly question, but did you try submitting your story to any magazines before posting it on your site?

    The only reason I ask is because “Bedevilled” has a real professional polish to it–it’s as good as any published work I’ve read in the past while. I know you’re “indie” and all that and like to do the DIY thing, but wouldn’t you like to see your work attain a higher profile and more readers?

    This was a super story, the best so-called “horror” story I’ve read in ages. Really spooky, dude! I definitely want to read more of your work and I’m looking forward to your novel. Good luck with that and I hope more people find your writing. I’m certainly glad I did.

  6. Cliff Burns

    Robert: thank you for your note and I’m positively tickled folks seem to be liking “Bedevilled”. The story just felt right to me when I finished it.

    In answer to your query, I rarely submit my work elsewhere these days. Why should I? My blog has tens of thousands of readers and I can present my work my way, without editorial interference and tampering. Every so often, a publication or anthology draws my attention and once in awhile I’ll submit something but content in the knowledge that, hey, if the editor passes I always have a venue for that piece on my site. So I don’t get cranky if the piece is turned down, I just shrug it off and forge on.

    Come back any time, lad. And keep reading

  7. Bee Summers

    Cliff, I agree. The DIY seems to suit you perfectly. Why bother with a publisher who has an agenda that’s anathama to your goals? If you build it (right) they will come. That site I mentioned only has a few reviews so far but i liked them because they are refreshingly honest. http://www.darkwoodreview.com

    looking forward to the pictures and the novel.


  8. Cliff Burns

    The indie writing/publishing movement is all about freedom, autonomy. I resent the direction traditional publishing is going; I’ve been producing my own work since 1990 and while I won’t be buying yachts or hobnobbing with Warren Buffett, I have a core of dedicated readers and a direct pipeline to them. It’s never been about money or fame, it’s all about creating ground-breaking, innovative work. If I have an agenda, that’s what it is.

    Thanks, Bee.

  9. Fiona

    Interesting story.


    So, I wonder, where did the fetishes, etc really come from? Maybe he made them himself in a schizophrenic state he didn’t remember? I wonder if I missed some sort of clue.

  10. Cliff Burns

    Fiona: I think Andrew’s problems extend back beyond the beginning of the story. He is already a “ward” of the state and there is, of course, the allusion to his father, who also suffered from a mental disability of some kind. Because of Andrew’s mental illness, everything takes on special significance, symbols and messages are implicit in everything. The fetishes are mere toys, the product of a bored child. But it’s what Andrew believes, what his damaged mind is telling him, that drives his motivations…and actions.

    Thanks for giving the tale a look-see, gal. And your comment is more than welcome…

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