Shades of Darkling Nights and Other Colorful Metaphors

What follows is the first few paragraphs of another of my short stories, published long ago in a small press magazine that no longer exists. Like the magazine that published Timewinder, my first story for which I actually received payment, this publication also disappeared not long after my story appeared upon its pages. And I don’t think, despite the evidence of a pattern, that my story had anything to do with this magazine’s demise, either. I’m putting this short story, and the previously mentioned Timewinder up on Amazon for the Kindle. This is what the covers will look like, I think (unless I change my mind):

Shades of Darkling Nights and Other Colorful Metaphors


Concept cover art for the Kindle ebook.

I’m hoping to put them up on Amazon within the next couple of weeks. This is my first foray into “indie publishing.” I was encouraged to take this route by Sarah A. Hoyt, an award winning science fiction author. Her next book is appearing in December, from Baen: Darkship Renegades. It is the sequel to her book, Darkship Thieves which won the Prometheus Award last year. She’s in the process of putting up several of her works as ebooks (do a search on her name on Amazon; thus far, it’s mostly short stories. Occasionally she’ll offer one for free); as she points out, your otherwise unpublished stuff isn’t making money sitting in a drawer. Why not put it out there; you might make a little bit. And if you’re lucky, you might make a lot. In either case, its free, you’ll make more than the nothing you’re making now, so why not?

After these two short stories go up, I’m planning to turn several of my other thus otherwise unpublished novels into ebooks on Amazon (and other platforms) over the next year or so. I’ve got help coming on future cover designs, though these two I put together myself (using GIMP and bits from multiple public domain pictures that I combined and altered).

So let me know what you think of my attempts at the covers for Shades of Darkling Nights and Other Colorful Metaphors and Timewinder.

And finally, the beginning of the story:

Shades of Darkling Nights and Other Colorful Metaphors

Maurice Bolder was just the sort of man to start imagining things. His parents, his teachers, his wife, his children, his editor, his analyst—all were in absolute agreement on this singular and important point.

Therefore, when he announced one day that a tiny monster had appeared in the window air conditioner of his study, no one felt the least bit surprised.

“Another short story you’re writing?” his wife asked.

“Sounds dumb,” exclaimed his twelve-and-a-half-year-old son, his face glued to a blaring television.

That would teach him to get into the super glue.

“How can you have a little monster?” asked his seventeen-year-old daughter, who was convinced she knew everything—and perhaps very nearly did. Her high-school counselor had informed them her IQ was just over 200. “Isn’t ‘little monster’ an oxymoron?” She was busy turning the lights on one by one in the living room.

Not an easy task for such a homely girl.

Maurice shrugged. “He’s a very small, exceptionally ugly person— about six inches tall. What else would I call such an ugly thing but a monster?”

His over-brained daughter smiled condescendingly. “Call him a demon, or an imp, or one of the wee people.

But monster just doesn’t work for something so small; monster means big!”

He shrugged again. “Perhaps you’re right—”

“Of course I’m right.” She glanced at her mother who smiled approvingly.

“Why don’t you go back and finish your story,” said his wife. You know the car insurance is coming due this month.. .”

Maurice just smiled calmly and went back to his study….

Read the rest when it appears on Amazon for the Kindle.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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