When You Wish Upon a Jar

Gnome with beard and red hat

“When You Wish Upon a Jar” started life as a fan-fiction story in the 80s. I was a big fan of the short-lived and long lamented paranormal investigation series Shadow Chasers. (In fact, Felix the wizard is based on Edgar Benedek.) There were only fourteen episodes altogether, and four of them were never aired in the United States–we had to get them from Armed Forces television, as I recall. It was a great series, and I wish they could have had a little more time to get an audience because I think they would have found one. Alas, like Firefly, it wasn’t meant to be.

But it led to a lot of fan-fiction. We had a group of ladies who put out a LOT of pages dedicated to Benny and Jonathan. I myself wrote a five-story arc fanzine that was one of my first in-depth pieces…sort of a pseudo-novel.

And I had this story published in a fanzine as well.

When it was time to put together some new Bruce and Roxanne stories, I thought this one would be easy to file the serial numbers off and revise for the purpose. Anyone who had read the original would find this one MUCH different, as it was majorly rewritten. For one thing, an ill-conceived wish from Benny to a genie in the original turns staid Jonathan into a kid again. In this one, turning Bruce into a kid was too easy. Who’s notice? So it’s Roxanne who takes a stroll down minority lane.

I also had Benny bring a stuffed Opus doll to life in the original (his Magnum Opus), but I wasn’t sure anyone would even remember what that was, so I made it a garden gnome in this case.

It’s a clear case of why one should never accept a genie’s wishes as Bruce tries to get everything back as it should be without his level-headed second-in-command to help.

And he has to hurry because there’s a wedding coming up…

Read all about it in Bruce and Roxanne from Start to Finnish from Yard Dog Press.

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Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered

Mysterious witch pot with blue potions and books for Halloween

On a well-deserved night out, Bruce and Roxanne have a close encounter with a tree that leaves them stranded in the middle of nowhere…or, it’s supposed to be–what’s that cottage up ahead?

As usual, things take a turn, and Roxanne must ally with Rose and her friend Felix–photographer and Grand Wizard–as well as their friendly neighborhood ghosts, to rescue Bruce from the clutches of a witch who wants to make him her own.

Mischief, mayhem, and magic ensue, and the mansion may just get a couple more residents.

See to what lengths Roxanne will go to hold on to her man in Bruce and Roxanne from Start to Finnish from Yard Dog Press.

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These Bones Are Made for Walking…

Funny skeleton standing and smiling, human skeleton isolated on white background, 3D rendering

This story originally appeared as a bonus on the website that used to exist for the Home for Wayward Spirits. (And may one day again…I am toying with the idea–because everyone needs four websites to keep track of, right?)

Bruce and Roxanne are settling into the mansion when she comes to her room one night to find a skeleton in her closet. Literally.

When she brings Bruce and Rose back to the room, they find it’s now in her bed!

As they question their unwanted visitor, they find that it is all Bruce’s fault it is here–of course.

Who is the skeleton, and what does it want? Is there a new resident in the Home?

Find out in Bruce and Roxanne from Start to Finnish from Yard Dog Press.

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The Luck of the…Italian?

high angle view of multi colored marshmallows

“The Luck of the…Italian” is the first story in Bruce and Roxanne Save the World…Again. And midway through Bruce and Roxanne From Start to Finnish.

Bruce is eating breakfast when he notices that the cereal company is having a contest to give away a trip for two to Ireland. (I’ve told you how much I love it…) Of course, the odds are a million to one…and, of course, Bruce wins.

Our two heroes are off to Ireland–and I am so jealous they get to see more of the countryside than we saw–where they stay at a little inn something like our B&B near Stratford.

Phone Download 8-28-19 1480

Out on the moor, Bruce discovers the truth about leprechauns. And it isn’t at all what he was expecting.

Especially when the leprechaun takes a shine to Roxanne. It takes all their combined wits to salvage the situation and come to a resolution that is acceptable to all.

And that’s no blarney!


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There’s a Bad Moon in Your Eyes…


“There’s a Bad Moon in Your Eyes…” was the final story in the original batch of Bruce and Roxanne tales. The first edition of the chapbook was published in 2006, and remember, the stories were several years older than that, so these were early in my fledgling career. Still, something about these crazy kids caught the imaginations of readers, and they were definitely my most popular characters before The Conn-Mann Chronicles came into being.

Six months after the Zombie attack, things are going well at “The Stuck Pig.” Bruce has even won The Silver Skewer from the Bar-B-Que Lovers of America. Madame Rose has established a tea room and consulting area in the parlor.

Outside a storm is raging, but when Bruce goes to take out the trash, he gets more than he bargained for. This time it is up to Roxanne and Rose to save the day…with the help of a bit of rum.

You may have noticed a predilection for puns in my titles. I love a good pun. Along with alliteration, they form the basis of most of my titles. A good title is extremely important to any work of art. There are several ways to come up with them. From the above starts to a random title generator. I used one of those to find the title for The Luckless Prince. Here is a good list of them by genre (There are pop-ups…sorry about that…but it is a great list.)

Don’t forget, the Kindle version of Bruce and Roxanne from Start to Finnish is available here, and the paperback is here. (And if anyone would like a signed copy, that can be arranged. Just drop me a line at riewriter@gmail.com.)

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Ghost of a Chance


Following the heroic shenanigans chronicled in “Zombie Invaders from Mars…” (you did check that one out in Bruce and Roxanne from Start to Finnish, right?) the grateful town elders offer Bruce a 99-year lease on an old mansion outside of town. Bruce, being Bruce, took them up on it and now…things are about to get lively.

Deciding it will be perfect for a bar-b-que restaurant called “The Stuck Pig,” Bruce and Roxanne move into the mansion, prepared to make it so. But the ghostly residents are not about to make it easy.

Enter the flamboyant fortune-teller Madame Rose to save the day. Or so she claims. Bear in mind, Rose is a stereotype…because it fits the profile of the over-the-top stories.

This story was originally written for a Book in a Week challenge where I decided to write a story a day instead. It introduces several new characters to the canon, and explains why the mansion is officially The Rogers-Vincent Home for Wayward Spirits as well as The Stuck Pig–it even sells T-shirts!

Here is one of my favorite bar-b-que recipes as a bonus. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Of course, my husband is vegetarian, so I don’t get to use it much…)


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Love at First Site

Funny overweight cupid aiming with the arrow of love with copy space

While “Love at First Site” is the first story in Bruce and Roxanne from Start to Finnish, it was definitely not the first story written, and it ret-conns things a bit, but that can be dismissed by the time frame of the story in relation to the others if you think about it.

Twelve-year-old Roxanne is checking out The Hobbit at the library when the door blows open with a gust of wind and rain and deposits her arch-nemesis, Bruce Vincent, into the lobby.

Charming the librarian into letting them wait out the rain, Bruce proceeds to get under Roxanne’s skin until something else blows into the room…and then things get interesting.

I don’t want to give it all away, so hopefully, your interest is piqued. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sorry to be so short and so late today, but I was busy most of the day getting a Rogue into my party…


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I Promised You Something New This Week

From Start to Finnish

Today we are going to begin an in-depth look at the adventures of two of my favorite characters, “Bruce Vincent and Roxanne Rogers, a restauranteur and his waitress who save the world from supernatural creatures every other week.”

That’s been my elevator pitch for these stories right from the start. Bruce and Roxanne were a warm-up for Jo and Alistair, I think.

Originally, the first story “Zombies from Mars…or Someplace Like That” was written for the Scavenger’s Newsletterย Killer Frog Contest, an annual event that unfortunately has ceased to be. The premise was to write an outrageously over-the-top horror story, and this story was the result. It didn’t win, but it did get an Honorable Mention.

Later, when Echelon Press was looking for Dollar Downloads, they were the first to publish this story, along with two more from the set.

When they phased out the line, I talked to Selina Rosen at Yard Dog Press, and we put out a chapbook called Tales from the Home for Wayward Spirits and Bar-B-Que Grill.

Wayward_Spirits (2)

This contained the original three stories published by Echelon, and a brand-new story written for the chapbook.

It proved popular enough that the second chapbook of three longer stories called Bruce and Roxanne Save the World…Again!


Selina decided to take a chance and combine both of the chapbooks into a perfect-bound paperback with two stories originally published online-only, and one original story written for the collection. So, all told, there are ten stories in the book, as well as some bonus material. The covers were done by the amazingly talented Sherri Dean.

A little bit more about “Zombie Invaders From Mars…or Someplace Like That.” This story was a lot of fun to write. I got Bruce Vincent’s name from two of my favorite horror actors and asked my friend Roxanne if I could use her name for my super-practical waitress. There’s only one blindspot in Roxanne’s competency…Bruce Vincent. She is head-over-heels in love from him almost from the day they meet, and Bruce is clueless…or is he? Although it is no longer the first story in the book, I consider it first, so I am going to talk about it today, and go back to “Love at First Site” tomorrow.

Bruce and Roxanne are working a typical night shift at the Beat ‘Em and Eat ‘Em self-serve omelet shop when an accident leads to…unforeseen consequences.

It takes Roxanne’s brains and Bruce’s supernatural luck to come up with a solution to their problem with the zombies from down the hill.

If you would like to know more about Bruce and Roxanne, watch this place for insights about each of the stories. Or, you can get the paperback here from Yard Dog or the Kindle version on Amazon.

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Write What You Know

close up of human hand

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So, here we are at the final story in RieTales. As you might be able to guess from the title, it was written at a time when I was getting a little frustrated by that perennial advice.

In this little horror story, an aspiring author gets one too many rejection notices and decides to put the advice into practice the only way he can think of. It leads to fame and fortune…but at what cost?

This was before I realized the secret behind the advice.ย I know I’ve touched on this somewhere before, but I can’t find where.

Write what you know doesn’t mean you have to have experienced everything that you write about. For example, Isaac Asimov did a lot of things, but he wasn’t actually a roboticist. Robert A. Heinlein never traveled to another planet. Anne McCaffery never rode a dragon. But they researched, extrapolated, and considered what they wished to write about and put it down on paper. In other words, if you don’t know what you want to write, learn about it. There are books on almost every subject imaginable. And if you can’t find a book, do field research if you can. If nothing else, learn about related subjects that are close to your idea and think about ways to extrapolate what you know to cover what you have in mind.

And then, of course, there are the things that are entirely imaginary. Vampires, demons, unicorns…no one says you can’t write about them, but ground them in research and reality. Vampires have similarities with bats (it’s in the lore ;). ) What would make a unicorn different in its movements and actions than a horse? By asking yourself these questions, you can bring strength and authenticity to your writing.

I think we should change the advice to “Write What You WANT to Know” — or else the consequences may turn out like those in the story…

What consequences were those? Find out in RieTales from Mocha Memoirs Press!

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mosquito biting on skin

Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com


I love “Whine.” It was fun to write…and almost impossible to find a home for. I must have shopped it around for two or three years originally. My mother liked it, but no one else seemed to.

I finally found it a home on a website that has long since disappeared. I felt vindicated. ๐Ÿ™‚

Then it was in the original RieVisions, and now it is in the current RieTales. My friend Steve Cook has anย audio version of it if you want to listen to it.

This is an odd little story. Is it a cautionary tale about mosquitoes, or a tale of madness? Perhaps it is both. Read (or listen) to it for yourself to see. ๐Ÿ™‚ Check out RieTales from Mocha Memoirs Press.



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