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Inspiration – Where Does it Come From?

Edits, edits, edits. I’m swimming in edits and my brain is mush. LOL So this is what I’ve got for you today.

My good friend William Simon and I entered a contest over the summer hosted by Writer’s Police Academy called the Golden Donut. I just love the title.  Although we didn’t come away with the prize, we did find the experience challenging as well as rewarding. Who knew writing a short story with “exactly” 200 words, including the title, could be so nerve-wracking, not to mention a great learning experience! Making every single word count really gets the old brain to working overtime. Below is the picture we were to use for inspiration. It’s funny how a simple picture can stir up emotions and spark creativity in so many different directions.

Just looking at it still gives me chills!

 With all the hard work we put into these stories, Will and I decided to share our entries with you.

 **Warning: This material may give you chills as well and make you want to sleep with the lights on! Read at your own risk. 😉

Evil Begets Evil

by Melissa Ohnoutka

The annoying pecking is back.

I know what that means, and shiver.

They have friends this time.

The old rickety roof bulges from their weight.

Will I be lucky enough to outsmart them again?

Crouching in the shadows, I wrap my trembling fingers around the knife’s handle. Not that this single knife will do any damage.

Demons, or whatever the hell these creatures are, do not bleed like the others. Believe me. I have tried. From guns to explosives, to even prayers of mercy. All I accomplish is pissing them off.

The damn house looked like the ideal refuge from the storm I created. Far from civilization. Bars on all the windows, locks on the doors. Perfect to keep my pursuers preoccupied.

But these security devices were meant to keep those like me in.

You see, the storm is not at all happy I made the others bleed. Hurting an innocent in this world is frowned upon. Deeply.

I wish the storm had caught me on the outside. Saved me. Thrown me in prison. Hell, incarceration would be a vacation.

One minor mistake and I am left to fight the devil.

On his turf.

For my soul.



by William Simon/Will Graham

Something happened here, a long time ago.

Something bad.

According to some, the legends are true.

Others say it never happened, it was all made up.

Me? I came here once to see for myself.

Looks can be deceiving.

You’d never guess what lies within.

Most people think it’s in Texas. Or Illinois. Even Minnesota. That’s an accomplishment for a house that actually exists in Vermont.

People drive by. They think they know the truth.

I’ll tell you the truth.

I’ll tell you everything.

You see, the time has come to tell everyone the truth. Not to be maudlin, but I don’t have a lot of time left. No, no, don’t cry, it’s okay. I’ve lived a good life. I did what I chose to do with it. Who knew it would be a cottage industry?

If you’ll pardon the pun.

No mask, I don’t like them.

Yes, that is a chainsaw. And a big knife.

But I’m very good at what I do, and I promise it won’t hurt.

You’ll be immortal, you know.

You’ll be the last one.

They’ll probably make a movie about us.

And they’ll use this house to show everyone where it all happened…..


I’m curious. Does the picture give you eerie thoughts as well? Or does it give you peaceful, romantic ones?

***Be sure to check out William’s story in the upcoming release “Love is Murder”  due out May 29, 2012


Prepare for heart-racing suspense in this original collection by thirty of the  hottest bestselling authors and new voices writing romantic suspense today.

Go on vacation with Allison Brennan’s Lucy Kincaid, where she saves a man  from drowning, only to discover he is in far greater danger on land. Meet  Roxanne St. Claire’s “bullet catcher”-bodyguard Donovan Rush-who may have met  his match in the sexually charged “Diamond Drop.” Debut author William Simon  shows us what happens when the granddaughter of the president of the United  States is kidnapped. And Lee Child’s pitch-perfect “I Heard a Romantic Story”  puts a whole new spin on Love Is Murder.


19 Responses

  1. Both of them were chilling. Good job!

    William’s novella in Love is Murder sounds great! I’ll look forward to reading it.

  2. It was an interesting experience, Melissa, that’s for sure..:) But it was good; talk about pairing the words down to the bone, nothing extra, just tell the story.

    When I go back and re-read both, I can see there’s a LOT more to the stories!

  3. At the risk of repeating myself…These were wonderful…scary…and a bit disturbing…LOL…What a great gift both of you have for thrillers!

  4. I love a good Monday morning chill! Thanks to you both.

  5. Chilling. Both of them–and they left me wanting more! I was glad to find out the house was in Vermont rather than Illinois where I live! Great job to both of you.

  6. Beautiful stories! I love horror – cut my teeth on it (I’m still not over The Haunting of Hill House!)

    Funny how cutting a story to the bone (pardon the pun) makes the words almost poetic – just love that.

    Short stories are on my list of things to try, once I’m not under deadlines!

    • I didn’t think I would like writing short stories as much as I do, Laura. But they are really addictive. 🙂 I mean, being able to write “The End” so much faster sure can make your day. LOL

  7. Great stories and yes the picture gives me the chills. I love it though – and appreciate the conceptual image from a photographer’s point of view though.

    Congrat’s to Will on the novella in the upcoming book. It looks like he’s in good company with Lee Child and Sherrilyn Kenyon and others.

  8. Thanks, Heather. I’ve never tried coming up with a story based on a photo before. It was and still is a pretty cool feeling. 🙂

    Sandra Brown and Allison Brennan are two of my favorite suspense authors. Throw in Will’s story and I sure wish May 29th would get here already! LOL

  9. I was going to say exactly what Laura did, about the ultra-short word count leading to a poetic presentation.

    I found the photo on the creepy side, but I think what comes out is very much related to the author’s mind. 🙂 I would never have come up with something that disturbing. No offense. LOL

  10. Thank you for the warning, but I admit, I’m a complete chicken and skipped reading. sorry. I can’t. just can’t.

    BUT I LOVE that picture. I was looking at it, thinking of cleaning up the yard, fixing the house. it’d make a pretty picture. I have a feeling yall went a different direction.

    Sounds like a fun (and hard!) contest!

  11. Holy cow! You both have dark minds. 😉 Good job, and thanks for sharing.

    The photo is both eerie, and just kind of depressing. I sense abandonment more than danger in it.

    Congrats William on being included in the anthology!

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