Writing something scary or mysterious? Add an ALLEY

I love the word alley. All you have to do is add a couple words around it and the imagination takes off running. In the alley, out to the alley, through the alley, dark alley, cold alley, it really does not matter, because they all paint a picture that invokes emotions. Try it out. Give ALLEY a shot….Footsteps in the alley, creeping through the alley…blood in the alley….murder in the alley….wedged open door in the dark alley…..



Well, this was not selected by Writers Digest for the contest, so I guess it is safe to post.


By Morgan V. Phillips

I was sticky, hot, happy, and we were cruising fast to cool off.  Tim was driving while I sat shotgun. Slapping up drywall at our part-time construction job made for some serious thirst. Racing to get some of those end of the day suds was the priority.

We were filthy dirty and did not care. Smiling from ear to ear we rolled down the road in a modified, over the top, souped-up convertible built-to-the-tilt 1969 Camaro. It is lightning blue and ferocious. At a stoplight we jumped out and flipped the ragtop open to maximize cooling.  It’s our after work routine.

Tim stomped on it when the light changed.  Immediately the tires were smoking up while the car screamed sideways with the rage of manhood.

Bang shift two gears up, slamming each time ripping hard on the tires.

Screaming,  “Heck yeah,” something flew into my mouth straight to the back of my throat.


Tim looked over.  I looked back.

“Man I just swallowed something!”

Tears formed and I felt my face turn a couple of shades past red.

“You OK man?

At first I thought I was OK, but something was all wrong.

“Dude, you’re hacking on a big ass bug?”

Gagging and grasping for air, I couldn’t utter a word.

“I saw it man, it was huge!”

I was looking for something smart to say like, “It’s my Diner,” or some other crack, but it became apparent something was way wrong. I couldn’t swallow. It was hard to breathe and whatever it was, it’s alive and moving.

I think Tim saw that I was having a tough time with it and pulled over. We came to a stop, for a moment, I thought, things would begin to chill out. And things seemed to calm as if it had given up and moved down into the old food churner.  I was able to breathe a little better and my skin was changing back to its normal color.

I thought, now all I have to do is live with that uncomfortable feeling…“Gulp, hack,”…hacking that occurs when you swallow something, “hack,…HACK”… the wrong way, until we get a couple swigs of those suds. You know the feeling, you hate it. It just lingers around.

“Dude that is the funniest thing I have every seen!” was the remark he made right before it happened.


A piercing sting into the back of my throat! It felt like a giant needle-sharp thorn had just stabbed into the most sensitive part of my body!

I went epileptic. I had no control. My body was in pure reaction. My arms were flapping all over the place. My legs were stomping the floorboard, and I was slamming my back into the seat. “I’m going to die!” I screamed.

Tim edged towards shock himself at the sight of me. He jumped as far away from me as he could inside the car. No room for laughing now.

I was in pain and he was scared!

As fast as the pain came, it went away. What was going on?  Tim was now fumbling with his cell phone trying to call for help.

“Wait I think I’m ok, hold on a minute.”  He lowered the phone momentarily.

“Yo wild man, I don’t know – you’re freaking me out.”

It was the strangest thing.  One minute I’m out of control, the next I feel calm and really mellow.  In fact, I feel really good, kind of numb, and sleepy.

That’s the last thing I remember before I woke up in what I thought was barn with all my cloths missing and my body covered in an odorless, clear slime.


Squaaaak….CRRRRRRK…Can you read me?..Hello reader…Crrrrrkkkk….CAN you read me now?…Can you read me now?

That should be good. Pardon my reading interruption…It’s me.

Well I did remember a flash, I think.  It could have been just a sneeze. At this point it is but a faded memory.  My name is Coogle.  Alex Coogle to be exact.  One thing is for sure, that day was the beginning of all the new days in my life.  I call it a renaissance coming out of the dark ages.

Back to that day, well, it went straight to the top of the charts of my WOW!… days.  I never saw my friend Tim, or my family again. I have been rather lonely, but I manage it. If I were in your shoes right now, I might be wondering what the heck happened, but before I get into it, I have to warn you, what I am about to express is not for everyone. I can also tell you, if there was ever any doubt in your mind that we are not alone in the universe, please let me be clear as possible, WE ARE NOT ALONE.

You see, once I was a young redneck southerner with absolutely no clue about life. Now, due to extraordinary circumstances I am a well traveled galaxy hopper. And, the coolest thing is only one second of my Earth life has passed, but I have lived 253 universal years.  You’re probably smirking and saying, “Oh boy this is a real zinger,” and maybe you might even be considering moving on to another story, but I say just wait a few more paragraphs then I will let you go.

I know, I said I would explain what happened. You are curious as to what I was gagging on and what immediately changed my life forever, but it’s actually not the point of this story. You see, this is not a normal story. The whole first part was used to get your attention.

That day I was riding shotgun and now I am the new managing sales director of Universal Life Travel Company.  Recently, we upgraded our system to better accommodate human planetary space travel. Since I was formerly human, I now manage team of sales people throughout the 42nd sector of what you know as the Milky Way Galaxy. And, no, I did not borrow that number from Douglas. Just go ask one of those real smart physicists they will tell you there is such a place.

Before managing and being a company salesperson, my long time idea was to expand the untapped market of Earth and its surrounding life bearing planets. After all, it’s the home planet. So, if you are reading this, please know it’s an advertisement and you’re potentially a great candidate to receive a trial travel pass. It’s free and with full family and friend reinstatement guarantee if you are not satisfied.  It has been placed in special places to attract mavens who can help slowly spread the word about the ability of space travel.  You see, we, and by “WE” I mean the people of the SETTA (or better yet the Beings of the Universe) cannot just show up on Earth and say, “Hello, Here we are. Would you like to travel around the Universe?”  It would be a real mess. You have seen the movies. The governments would get involved and try to destroy us, or the rich people would try to buy and hide us for themselves. No, we cannot do it that way. So what I decided to do was write a couple short story contest entries, then enter them periodically over time in various competitions and wait to see who could figure out the secret code. I think the secret code thing is primo. Everyone always seems to like things that have mystery. We’re all just a bunch of problem solvers. I did try to remember how people were communicating around the time I took a new form, but all the FacedIn and TwitterBook stuff was just too scrambled up.

What I needed was to get in front of the people who can really get the word out in a positive way.

So to re-cap: The first part of this story was created to get your attention, the middle part of this story is to let you know you are not alone in the Universe and to let you know you can travel beyond any limit you can ever imagine. And, the final run to the finish is to let you know there is a code within the story that, if broken, will give you the directions on how to contact me Alex Coogle KB3MXV and learn how you can become a Universal Life Traveler. Good luck in finding the solution. If you do find it, then know you are who we are looking for to help spread the word….Signing off now…..crrrrrraaackkk…


“My sympathies. Mr. and Mrs. Coogle, I’m keeping you and your loved one in my prayers.” Thank you Tim. “You’re welcome. Who knew he was allergic to bees?”








15 Things that cause bad breath

I know we know lots of things that cause bad breath, but have you ever seen a list?

Being Sick
Gum disease
Caesar Dressing
Dirty Mouth
Orange Juice
Rotting Tooth
Food stuck in teeth

Hmm… I thought I could bang this out…seems to be a little harder than I thought. Oh well, if I come across something else that cause bad breath, I will add it. For now this is plenty of stinky stuff to think about if needed.

In case you think you might need some bad breath help… read about it here…How to Cure Bad Breath – a Step by Step Guide

Get your Western Genre on!

I feel like saying HI Ya”ll to start this post, but that might not be correct. I think HOWDY works better. I am sure Roy Rogers would approve. In any case, I wanted to gather some bits of creative inspiration for the folks out there who might be interested in conjuring up some kind of story about Cowboys. I have a timer on this one so it will have to be a fast produced post. As usual these post are to help get the Creative juices flowing. This is not in any way considered historically or  academically correct. It is inspirational only.

For starters how about a couple quick links Western Genre Wiki – Gunfighter – So ya wanna be a Cowboy?

Some words associated with Westerns:

American Old West – Cavalry- Outlaw – Railroads – Cactus – Ponderosa – Wagon Train – Boots – Spurs – Colt 45 – Indians – Buffalo – Roundup – Cattle Drive – Territory – Dodge City – Cattlemen – Wrangler – Blue Skies – Long Horns – Cowboy Hats – Saddles – Tin Can Coffee – Buckaroo – Cowhand – Cowpuncher – Great Plains – Civil War – Frontier – Hopalong Cassidy – Train Robbery – Buffalo Bill – Wyatt Earp – Dude Ranch

General central plot in a the western genre – Maintain Law and Order on the frontier.

Here is a great link to a site for to a Writer’s Guide to the Old West

Here is a bigger list of Phrases and Slang form the Old West

How about a GAG ReCAP:

~ Cowboy Standing at the bar with his gun Drawn. The Barkeep is Standing there frowning. In the background you see some very elaborate curtains on the windows. “You have till sundown to get rid of those awful curtains.”

All right, how about that…. Fifteen minutes of Western content for those needing some inspiration. Don’t get to caught up in researching. Use what Is here and get going! You can dig deeper later. Right now Just GO! Get’er Done!

If you need a book to read about writing westerns or about cowboys hurry and check this on out –How to Write Western Novels

Westerns not doing it for you? To finish up this post how about a LIST OF GENRES?



Part of the 1000 Creative Spark List

As part of a bonus to the The Creative Crowbar Reference VOL.1 book I will be including a list of 1000 creative sparks. They are word combinations that can be used to start a poem, the first sentence in a novel, get you out of a writing jam, inspiration for some joke…the list goes on and on for you. Below is a quick glance at a few from the middle of the list. See if you can use one today!…

507. Angry Gobstopper

508. Gaffer Rack

509. Sand Mountain

510. Sound of Orange

511. Orange Darts

512. Pale Face

513. Blue Shoe

514. Shaggy Moves

515. Upsized Downsizer

516. Dream Surrounded

517. Online Crash

518. Fortune Cookie

519. Fountain Pen Repairer

520. Special Sponser

521. Sea Storm

522. Infused Blues


So there you go, a quick list of some words that could inspire you on a project.

I recently came across this book. If you have time to read it, I would reccomend you do so sooner than later.

I just fueled up for the afternoon

So,….(I like the word so, so you will probably see it a lot Grammar Police) So…. I took a break from my usual idea churning and took a walk next to this….


Then I ate some of this….


Now I am ready to get going again. Do you think the ideas will flow? Well if they don’t for me, then maybe the will for you. Think Turtles and Tacos..got to be something funny with that I tell ya.

10 things I do all day long

Hi y’all,

All day long I think of content ideas. Here are 10 things I do to help the process.
1. Surf Facebook
2. Surf TV
3. Watch movies
4. Play games with my kids.
5. Try to start arguments with people.
6. Daydream
7. Take multiple showers
8. Play on my phone
9. Read my world record book
10. Wash the dishes

I did not say these were good or bad, healthy or not, or even lazy sounding,  I just said it is what I do every day. Some are more productive than others. I chew on and develop raw ideas the best while in the shower. Playing with the kids generates the least. I want to focus on them, but they do help.

The part not on the list is what I do to collect and organize the ideas. I have a ton of sketchbooks. Very few are full from page one to the end because I just leave them all over the place so I can pick them up and jot down the idea. I don’t want to loose the idea while looking for a place to write it down. I also have a computer and about 10 different websites. Each website is a different subject and if I have a good idea I can post on that website. It is not a perfect neat system, but it works for me. I don’t expect the diamond type of idea every time. In fact very few are worthy of repeating, however, I never want to stop the flow.

Oh, bonus 11. I venture out to bookstores and/or coffee shops specifically aimed at content generation. I also recently added flying a kite. Man is that fun and relaxing…. Unless you almost take someone’s head off by accident while are walking across the filed and the wind picks up causing your kite to go bananas.

Final note. I am in a hurry, at a bookstore typing this in my phone so please excuse my grammar and typos. I will at some point in the future re-visit and fix… Or maybe not… Got to catch some more ideas..

Gag Re-Caps for April 9th 2012

Here are a couple re-caps I came across today.

Stytoons 2000 – Lee Styron – In the middle of the desert there is a buzzard on the ground looking up at his buddies flying above. We see their shadow circling around a piece of blown out tire. “False alarm guys! False alarm.”

Henderson 2009 – A pissed off snowman looking down at a yellow spot on him. A dog walking away. “You stupid mangy mutt…The kids just built me an hour ago.”

Piccolo – In the living room of a family sits a mother and father rabbit. Standing in front of them is a young rabbit. “No, seriously, that’s where you came from — a magician’s hat.”





Some happy drawings

How about some happy drawings I drew for my kids on a dry erase board for the first post? We have a board on a wall next to the kitchen table. Every morning I write or draw something on it for our two kids. They are 2 and 4. I am never allowed to miss a day without showing them something. These drawings are from Ed Emberley’s awesome book of how to draw animals. My kids are a little young to draw them, but the see them. My oldest can draw circles and squares, however she is focused on making them in general. Using the shapes to create other shapes is a little more complicated, but she is on her way.