My 2017 writing life started by trying to revise a novel I had worked on for almost a decade, before deciding around March that it just wasn’t working. Plot holes kept shifting, twists I added to make the story unique only made other part of the story implausible, and I kept blending too many genres to the point where I didn’t know if the story was taking place in the past, present, or future, if it was a dystopian story or a noir or both or neither. I admit, I was making it too hard on myself, too complex, but I had lost the clear vision needed to simplify that story. I was in too deep and it just wasn’t working out. I love the characters so damn much, but I decided to stop for good (or...for now?) and pursue other projects I wanted to work on.Read More
What Lies In Wait
At least once a year there's a podcast that strikes a chord and seems to take pop culture by storm. In 2014 it was Serial, and there have been others since, but the current podcast I hear everyone talking about is Lore, which is also now a "TV" show on Amazon Prime. As many of you already know, Lore explores different frightening myths and legends throughout history...except each one is based on true stories, real places, and horrifying moments in our past that still affect us today in ways both subtle and supreme.Read More
It's that time of year where the leaves turn, the air gets cooler, and the ghost stories come out to play. If you're into that kind of thing, stories about a tentacled beast who dwells beneath the surface of a picturesque lake, of a house full of the ghosts of everyone who ever lived within its walls, of an abandoned car on a lonely country road with bloody handprints on the windows, of a motel in the Texas desert whose temporary residents are hunted by an ancient evil, of ... well, you get the idea: monsters, ghosts, and the end of the world. I've got you covered with What Lies In Wait! From now until Halloween, it's just $10 for print or $1 for the Kindle version. I hope you enjoy!
To celebrate Independence Day, I'm giving away FREE digital copies of a special edition of What Lies In Wait from now to the end of the day on July 5. The ebook is available as a PDF, EPUB, or MOBI file, and to get one all you need to do is email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a comment below, or message me on Facebook and I will reach out with the free file. It contains 114 pages of fiction, including the first three stories that appear in the full version of What Lies In Wait:
"Game of Life": A young woman decided to spend a summer in a remote fire tower, reveling in her isolation and determined to prove she can overcome such a challenge. But when her radio stops working and the weekly supply drops stop appearing at the foot of the mountain, she worries that something is wrong. When she convinces herself to walk back into town, she finds barren streets, abandoned homes, and a fate worse than total isolation.
"Hell or High Water": Deep in the woods of Maine, a lumberjack receives word that his family is dead, all but his young son. While catching a ride home from an outback pilot, the lumberjack wakes from a crash landing to discover he is trapped in the remote wilderness. What's worse, something out in the darkness is following him, and it's hungry.
"Bannerman Sanatorium for Children": A violent pandemic is sweeping the region, and one mother fights to reach the remote sanatorium where her deaf-mute child receives special care. But when she arrives, she finds the pandemic has not spared the sanatorium's staff and patients, and she is torn between staying in the eerie, perhaps haunted facility to help or escape into the woods with a band of survivors.
The right honorable David S. Atkinson has written a wonderful review of my new short story collection What Lies In Wait, now posted over at Buffalo Almanack, and I'm very happy that David reviewed the book because I really feel like he gets what I was going for in the collection. In his own words:
"The stories in this collection demonstrate Duncan’s wandering spirit in the impressive variety of ways that he explores the meaning behind his title. ... Considering the title on its own, someone unfamiliar with Duncan might expect this to be a collection of horror stories. Yet Duncan’s work resists genre, as his words pass through the conventions of apocalypse, noir, whimsy, zombie alternate history, and the uncanny. What Lies In Wait shows that though Duncan can maintain a focus, he doesn’t stay in one place for very long."
What Lies In Wait does cover a wide variety of styles and genres, but I'm glad he saw the thread that runs through the book, the idea that none of us knows what might be waiting for us right around the corner of this human experience; maybe something good, maybe something evil and hungry, or maybe its the discovery of our truest selves. One thing is for certain: once we cross that line and make that discovery, there's no going back.
Read the full review right here!
Copies are available online at Amazon.com.
Over the past several weeks, a number of people who have read or have heard me read aloud some short stories from my upcoming collection of fiction, What Lies In Wait, have commented that the stories would make intriguing radio plays and they remind them of those old time radio shows that aimed to give listeners a late night chill. There’s likely a good reason for this, as old time radio has long been a quiet passion of mine. Over the years I have been listening to a wide variety of suspense, mystery, horror, and crime radio programs from the 1930s through the late 1960s, using the Old Time Radio Internet Archive, which has hundreds if not thousands of episodes available for streaming or downloading. To say they have affected my storytelling in recent years is probably not giving them enough credit, as I’ve become absolutely fascinated with the eerie tension within these stories
If you like podcasts like Serial, or if you are an audio-book junkie, you’ll love some of these old programs, and many are complete with their original commercials for everything from Wheaties to wine, coal to car batteries, and even U.S. war bonds. I throw them on my iPod and ride the subways of NYC listening to some of the best actors and writers to ever lend their talents to radio, people like Ray Bradbury, Humphrey Bogart, Vincent Price, Dorothy L. Sayers, Lucille Ball, Orson Welles, and many others. Below are my Top Five favorite programs that I highly recommend for all of you out there.Read More
I'm getting closer to having my next collection of short stories - What Lies In Wait - ready for all you eager readers out there, if only to help you level out your uneven coffee tables and couches. In all seriousness, I'm hoping you'll enjoy these fifteen eerie, pulpy, humorous, and memoir-ific tales, exploring all kinds of genres and stories, everything from a young boy's adventures while running away to the circus, a woman's struggle to decide what to do when the ghosts in her house portend a coming evil, and even a lumberjack stranded in the deep woods who finds himself hunted by an unspeakable, writhing beast. I'm getting back some fantastic edits and feedback from test readers, and there's some proofreading left to do, but the book is getting closer to a release with each passing week. Stay tuned!
I have so many new writing updates that I'll present them to you in lightning-round format. Ready? Let's go!
1. What Lies In Wait will be the title of my upcoming collection of short stories, and I'm aiming for a mid-2015 release. I'm extremely happy that all fifteen stories are now finished, or finished enough for beta readers to finally give them a look. There's still tweaking and proofing to do, but the final lineup is set and it feels like a relief. All fifteen tales share elements of apprehension, fear, and a challenge to face, whether it's something out there in the dark or something within that must be put down. Half are straight-up horror, while others blend mystery, noir, and survival tropes into tales that fall between literary and genre-driven stories. I'm looking forward to feedback, and I'm always open to new test readers!Read More