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Excerpt from Dancing With Raven

Originally posted on S.G. Rogers, Author:

I’m working on a paranormal novel entitled Dancing With Raven , about a young ballerina who can see demons. Hopefully, it will be released at the end of April. Here’s a sneak peek:

At the end of class, the students sank into a graceful reverence. A chorus of “Merci, Madame!” followed, but before the students had finished clapping, the lithe, gray-haired instructor held up her hands.

“Ladies, I have an announcement. The Saltare Ballet Theatre is coming to Los Angeles for a summer engagement. On the first Saturday in January, Mr. Saltare will be holding auditions for local dancers. If selected, you’ll be invited to take class with the company this spring and perhaps perform with the corps.”

Gasps of excitement ensued.

“For those wishing to audition, applications are available in my office.” Although Madame Martine addressed all her students, her proud gaze rested on Tori Moss. “I…

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Clichés and Chainsaws

800px-1885_Punch_three-volume-novel-parody_Priestman-AtkinsonOnce upon a time, on a dark and stormy night, I set out on a quest to become a writer. I had it in my mind I wanted an agent, and knew I must develop some Important writing credits to provide street cred to my résumé . To that end, I wrote a few short stories and sent them off with a pat on the head to several Important Magazines. With one particular fantasy story, I received a rejection, along with a link to the most frequent writer clichés that earn a submission a short walk to the guillotine. It was more than a pointed hint I’d fallen short of Importance.

I took the advice to heart, and turned my back on blonde-haired, blue-eyed girls who discover, much to their surprise, they are THE ONES to save the world.

A few years have passed since then and I can’t help but notice that readers gravitate toward clichés to a certain extent. Well-written (and some not so well-written) clichés are marketable (particularly in the romance genre).  So I guess what it comes down to is choosing to write a story people will buy, or risking obscurity in the pursuit of art. (See my previous post on writing what will sell HERE).

There are those who will say, “If you write a great story, readers will discover it.” Okay. Go for it and good luck. As for me, I’ve concluded that clichés are not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps clichés are merely another sort of blunt tool in a writer’s repertoire.  After all, beautiful art can be created with a chainsaw. ~ S.G. Rogers


Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters — Movie Review

(c) Paramount Pictures International
(c) Paramount Pictures International

I don’t usually do movie reviews, but I watched this 2013 release last night for free on Amazon Prime. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I have to tell you I enjoyed it so much I bought the DVD.

(c) Paramount Pictures International
(c) Paramount Pictures International

Here’s the official blurb, as it appears on the movie’s official promo page:

Get ready for a twisted take on the classic tale as Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) have turned pro, coping with the trauma of their childhood captivity by slaying witches for hire. But when the seemingly unstoppable bounty hunters meet their match in an enemy so evil, it’ll take all their training, weapons and courage to survive. Revenge is sweeter than candy.

Yes, there is plenty of gratuitous violence and one suggestive scene with a bare backside. But there is also lots of lovely dark humor and witty visual jokes. A few examples: When kids go missing, the townspeople paste their pictures on milk bottles. One of the minor characters is an unattractive troll who happens to go by the Twilight-inspired name of Edward. (No, he doesn’t sparkle. ) And Hansel has developed diabetes from all the candy he was forced to eat at the witch’s house as a kid.

Both the beginning and ending credits are stunning works of art.  Here’s the link to the instant video on Amazon Prime.  If you don’t mind a few silly decapitations and exploding people, and you’ve got a dark sense of humor, you’ll really like this overlooked gem. Two thumbs up.

~ S.G. Rogers

Written For Christmas – Flash Fiction

On the eve of Christmas, here is a reprise of my holiday flash fiction story, Written for Christmas.  Enjoy!  ~ S.G. Rogers


Diva hesitated a moment before pulling the gift-wrap from Lorelei’s Larceny.  As she gazed at the author photo on the dust jacket, the corners of her mouth turned up in a wistful smile.  The lights on the Christmas tree in the corner winked at her and the window beyond revealed a light snow flurry falling outside. She turned the novel over in her hands, wondering if she should brave the elements to walk to the corner coffeehouse.  While nursing a couple of peppermint mochas, she could make a pretty good dent in the book.  Besides which, she didn’t want to spend Christmas Eve alone.

“I can’t believe you opened that now,” Captain Westerly scolded. “Didn’t you promise Brandon Forster you’d wait until Christmas?”

Diva’s eyes slid over to the miniature pirate as he emerged from the pages of her recently released romance novel, Captain Westerly’s Conquest. The book rested on the table in front of the sofa, next to a Yule candle. “Nobody asked you,” she said.  “And besides, Brandon won’t know.”

The dashing captain tilted his head as he examined the dust jacket.  “Hey, he resembles me…or perhaps I resemble him.”

A crease of annoyance marred Diva’s brow.  “Do you have to leap off the page like that?  It’s kind of disconcerting.”

“It’s the way you wrote me, my lady,” Westerly said, with a courtly bow. “Why didn’t you give Brandon a copy of my book?  I mean, your book.  He would have enjoyed Captain Westerly’s Conquest.”

“Are you kidding?  He’s a man.  Men don’t read romance,” Diva said.

“I don’t see why not? Brandon’s a handsome devil, even if I say so myself—secure in his masculinity.”

“And furthermore, we’re just friends.  There’s simply no way a man like him would be interested in me,” she finished.

Westerly stroked his chin, covered with manly stubble.  “I thought we were talking about books.”

“Behave, Captain, or your next story will involve a wife and kids.”

Her decision made, Diva launched herself off the sofa and disappeared into her bedroom.  A few moments later, she emerged with her coat and scarf in hand.  She stopped short, gaping, as Westerly helped a miniature cat burglar step out of the pages of Lorelei’s Larceny.  Clad in a sexy black unitard, the woman bore an uncanny resemblance to Diva.

“You look like me!” Diva exclaimed, wide-eyed.

“It’s the way Brandon Forster wrote me,” Lorelei replied, tossing her glossy sable locks over one shoulder.

Captain Westerly kissed Lorelei’s hand.  “Would you care for a tour of my ship, my lady?” he asked.  “We’ll toast the season with a glass of rum punch.”

Lorelei raised an eyebrow as she gave the pirate an appraising glance.  “Lead on.”

“Wait a minute, you can’t—” Diva began, but the two main characters disappeared into the pages of Captain Westerly’s Conquest without so much as a backward glance.

A knock on the apartment door caused Diva to blanch.  She draped her coat and scarf over a chair and went to answer it.   Brandon Forster stood there, clutching Captain Westerly’s Conquest.  “I hope you don’t mind me s-stopping by,” he stammered.  “I, um, had to tell you how much I loved your book.”

Diva’s mouth opened, but no sound would come out.  Brandon flushed pink and ran his fingers through his closely cropped hair. “I’m sorry, that was lame.  What I mean to say is…do you, er, want to get a cup of coffee?”

“I’d love some coffee,” she said with a slow smile.

Brandon let his breath out in a gust.  He glanced at the sprig of mistletoe hung over the door and returned her smile with one of his own.

“How did that get there?” she exclaimed, startled.

A distant foghorn sounded from the vicinity of Captain Westerly’s Conquest, on the table behind her.

“I don’t know, but who am I to buck tradition?” Brandon asked. He leaned forward, his lips hovering over hers.

“Merry Christmas,” she said, before she sealed it with a kiss.

~ S.G. Rogers

Happy Halloween and Horror Flash Fiction

Christy's_HalloweenHappy Halloween to one and all! I have a short work of flash fiction to share with you, which was originally published in an online magazine (now defunct) called FlashshotFlash fiction is an art form in which the greatest possible impact is gleaned from the fewest possible words (generally 1,000 words or less). Flashshot specialized in stories of 100 words or less. Since it’s All Hallow’s Eve, I’m going to share my horror story, Black Holes (98 words). Enjoy!

~ S.G. Rogers

Black Holes

The competition at this year’s statewide science fair was fierce, but I was determined to win. My entry was an awesome model of an earthquake-proof building on rollers. It had won first place at my school. Ultimately, I got edged out at finals by a freak of nature who mounted a presentation about the role of wormhole physics in developing a quantum theory of gravity. About ten seconds after he received the blue ribbon, the kid literally imploded and shriveled up into a fist-sized geodesic ball. It was then that I realized some people just can’t handle success.


Charles Dickens, Reluctant Hero

410px-Dickens_Gurney_headCharles Dickens’ literary legacy cannot be overstated.  As the author of such gems as Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, and many more, Dickens is generally conceded to be the greatest and most influential writer of the Victorian Age.  But did you know he was also a hero?

The events unfolded on a summer afternoon, June 9, 1865. On his way back from Paris, Dickens was riding a train when it derailed in a horrific crash.  A series of unfortunate events had resulted in the train’s engineer being unable to stop in time to avoid track repairs over a viaduct in Staplehurst, Kent. A portion of the train made it over the ten-foot high viaduct, the next seven carriages ended up in the muddy river, and the last two carriages remained on the eastern bank. Dickens’ carriage was one that remained on the track.


Dickens heroically sprang into action to help, but there was little that could be done. He managed to fill his top hat with water to quench the thirst of the dying or injured, and he administered brandy from his flask. He comforted people as best he could, but in the end ten people died and forty others were injured.

Although Dickens himself was uninjured in the crash, the impact on him emotionally was profound.  Never again would he feel comfortable with train travel. He wrote a short story inspired by the event, The Signal Man, in which the main character has a premonition of his death.  On the anniversary of the crash five years later, Dickens succumbed to the effects of a stroke and died.

Ellen_Ternan. Public domain Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.Why did he not trumpet his heroic actions in the Staplehurst rail crash? Although Dickens was a good man in many ways, drawing attention to social ills and trumpeting the cause of the poor and downtrodden, he was not perfect.  Had he shown up at the Staplehurst inquest, he might have had to disclose the scandalous fact he’d been traveling with his mistress, actress Ellen Ternan.

~ S.G. Rogers