Monday, 18 January 2021

(where the dead things go)

Final edits are complete, the front and back covers are done, and it will soon be available on Amazon.

Read a sample chapter here

Watch the trailer here

Can't wait for Amazon?  You can purchase the epub or mobi directly from my website

Friday, 15 January 2021

We all need practice ...

I was asked by a novice writer recently to draw on my 40 years as a professional writer and provide feedback on the opening four chapters of the first novel in a multi-book SciFi/Fantasy series he had planned.

It was horrible.

Poor continuity, inconsistent characters and story line, nonexistent character development, amateurish prose, littered with grammatical and punctuation errors, and derivative of popular films such as Game of Thrones, Dune, Lord of the Rings, The Last Star Fighter, and Star Wars.

I provided feedback as requested and suggested he practice on smaller projects until he found his style.  Perhaps joining a local writer's club to receive feedback on small projects.

I also suggested he join in on games we writers play on Twitter ...

There's a writers' game on Twitter in the #WritingCommunity than I enjoy because of its challenge.  Every Friday, fellow writer Craytus Jones drops a theme for that week's #SatSplat.  When selecting my #SatSplat entry, I usually try to find a short passage in one of my own novels that fits the theme.

The catch is; Twitter allows only 280 characters, including spaces and the tag #SatSplat.  It demands brevity while still making your point, delivering your punchline, building that tension.  It forces you to refine your prose down to its sleekest form, making every word count and letting the chaff flutter away in the breeze.

It's important practice and has actually prompted me to return to a section of a wip and tighten up my prose to provide a more economical yet still potent kick.  Here's a few of mine;

Unrequited love

I held my pillow and stared into the dark, remembering Angel's smile that day. How it would be if she was there with me right then, wondering if she was thinking of me – if she ached for my arms to be holding her as much as I ached to do that small and intimate thing.



“You’re not just a pretty face, are you?” I said and sipped my coffee.

“I don’t have a pretty face.” Tosh said, looking concerned.

Either he didn't understand the slang or I was meeting a lot of concrete thinkers lately. 

'BETWIXT (where the dead things go)'



“Betwixt.” he said, “Most ne’er heared of it and them’s what has think it a story for children to keep them abed at night.  But it’s real as bones, old son.  D’yer know how I knows it?”

“If I had a thousand years I couldn’t guess.”

“Because I died there, mate.”



The hippest station for rock in 1959 was CKWX, spinning songs that just made you want to dance.  No one with a soul could help but at least tap their foot when Red Robinson spun a disc, and there were days that listening to those songs stopped my heart from breaking.



I miss the sunset in this space between

that edge of falling light and promised dawn

nevermore in this space between

where the dead things go

where the dead things go



I swung the machete down hard on the top of the bodyguard's head and buried the blade between his eyebrows.

“Glurg.” he said, staring at nothing as I pulled his sawed-off free, cocked it and aimed both barrels at Billy’s face.

“You gomered him!” Billy squeaked.



I am waiting to see if that novice writer takes my advice.

Aaron D McClelland

Monday, 11 January 2021

Mac & Beth ~ hurly-burly review

Mac & Beth review

by Tabitha Tomala of 'Behind the Pages'

Thank you to Aaron D McClelland for providing me a copy for an honest review!

Banks cleans and processes the money brought in from Duncan’s illegal drug deals. He also hears and sees everything that happens within the gang. He sees the difference as Bethany enters the trailer park, and begins to wrap Mac around her thumb. He watches as greed begins to infest members of the gang, and begins to doubt Mac’s ambition. The violence and tragedy he will witness are worthy of a Shakespeare retelling.

Never before have I been unable to put down a story based on Shakespeare. Mac & Beth is the best retelling of Shakespeare I have ever read. All the key players were on the board from the original play but rebranded into gangsters and fortune-tellers living in a trailer park. Instead of sword fights and long winded soliloquies, it was brutal gun battles and drama fueled action scenes. 

Aaron D. McClelland did an excellent job of humanizing the gang members. Seeing Banks in his day to day life builds empathy and compassion with the reader. And even though you know all the characters are peddling drugs and committing murder, you can’t help but sympathize with them. Would you really blame Banks for killing someone to protect his family?

Modernized Shakespeare at its finest, Mac & Beth stays true to the overall plot and themes found in the original play. Readers looking for a tragic hero will certainly find one. And it will tear you apart to watch the downfall. Even knowing what was going to happen, I kept wishing for a different outcome. Aaron D. McClelland can retell any Shakespeare play and I will be sure to read it.

To Purchase: Amazon 

Original review is here.

Friday, 25 December 2020

Caribou Man ...

They were chanting quietly, but their voices were almost drowned out by the cries and moans of the gomers in the cart they pulled.  They were packed in tightly, twenty or more – the sacrifices made in the fog I’d snuck past that morning

The memory of the fear I had felt returned, so keeping an eye on them I idled Bone Shaker along, moving it slightly faster than they were walking, ready at an instant’s notice to open up the v-twin and getting the hell out of there if they moved toward me.  I was behind the sparse shelter of trees and bushes lining the highway and at least a quarter mile away, but seeing the grim purpose in how they progressed into the meadow set my teeth on edge.  I’d seen religious cults before and never liked them; I feared their blind single-mindedness, the inherent danger behind their cruel and heartless belief that they were right and every one of them wanted to burn the world to the ground and kill all the non-believers.  Every religion is a death cult.

As I gradually pulled ahead of the cult at a slow idle, I became aware that it was growing dimmer beneath the canopy of trees that over-arched the highway.  At first I thought that the foliage was getting thicker and blocking out the dim crimson light that glowered through the clouds, but when I looked up, the sickly green leaves I had gotten used to on the spindly trees had turned black.

The black leaves were long and spade shaped, coming to a point.  At first they were sparse, but grew thicker as I moved under them and then I saw that they weren’t leaves at all.

The tree branches above were covered in crows.

Hundreds.  Thousands.  Every branch of every tree festooned with shiny black crows perched almost shoulder to shoulder.  Though most were watching the procession on the other side of the meadow, the ones above me on branches that reached over the highway were watching me, their black marble eyes tracking me as I passed beneath them.   Their silence was unnerving – not a single caw or croak disturbed the still air.

I looked back across at the procession, then surveyed the meadow between us and saw that more than random rocks nested there in the stunted grass.  The expanse was littered with hundreds of human skeletons tied to the rocks, their clothing shredded as their flesh had been shredded.  Their yellowed bones a testament that real death was possible in Betwixt by being gomered by a cult then left as an offering for the silent hungry crows.

I kept moving, limiting my pace to maintain the balance of tension between me and the crows, not daring any sudden movement or noise that might break the homeostasis of the spell that existed there under the trees.  The crows watched and waited for their feast.

Part of poem I’d read once from Galloway, Scotland came to mind, unbidden.  In it two crows talking about their plans to eat a dead English knight;

You'll sit on his white neck-bone, 
And I'll pike out his bonny blue eyes
With a lock of his golden hair 
We'll thick our nest when it grows bare

Crows were carrion eaters, and in a land of the dead I supposed that’s why they were the only birds I’d seen.

After a time the numbers of crows grew less, the living black leaves growing sparser until I could see the dull green once more.

As I left the crows and the procession behind, I gave Bone Shaker a taste of throttle and as I built speed I passed a second red boulder, this one bearing just the white symbol that had been on the crow at the entrance.  And when I passed it, I looked back and saw the far side was the same as the first; a single black crow, the same symbol on its forehead.  They were marker stones, a warning to all travellers that this was sacred ground where non-believers were sacrificed to become crow bait.

I opened up Bone Shaker’s throttle, giving it her head, the roar of its exhaust drowning out the terrible silence behind me.

"BETWIXT - where the dead things go"

Thursday, 29 October 2020

The crows ...

I was dragged from the depths of sleep by Olive sliding into bed beside me, her long sinuous body naked and smooth and smelling of apples and cinnamon.  I drew her to me, our legs entwining, the softness of her skin like warm silk, her small frame delicate, cradled in my arms.

“Just hold me?” she whispered.  Her voice was weak and hoarse.  She was exhausted.

I held her gently, wrapping her in my arms so she felt the truth that pulsed gently inside me; I never wanted to let her go again.  Within seconds she was asleep and I soon followed her down into the comfortable darkness.

It was late into the night when I heard the girl’s voice once more; “They’re coming” and I heard a distant fluttering outside the window.  At first I thought it was a dream, like when I awoke in  the cabin to the chanting of Caribou Man’s cult, but the sound persisted even after I opened my eyes.

Carefully untangling myself from Olive’s arms and legs so I didn’t wake her, I slid out of bed and walked to the window, pulling back the curtains.  With the charcoal and crimson clouds as a backdrop, the sky was peppered with clusters of jet black crows flying toward Peacock’s castle.  I could only hear the flutter and flap of their wings, not a caw or croak to be heard.

Even they knew that a deadly feast was coming and it sent a chill up my back and over my scalp.

"BETWIXT - where the dead things go"

Friday, 2 October 2020

Normal is a dirty word ...

Normal is a dull census of the tedious; an amalgam of average.

Give me the outliers, the abnormal, the manic who rupture the sky and churn the tides.

Give me men who scoff at law.

Give me women undainty, who sweat, spit, and swear.

Give me grit and blood, because normal scares me.

Aaron D McClelland

(somewhere south of normal)

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Mac & Beth

 My latest.

Read the Prairies Book Review HERE

Purchase it HERE (Kindle, Paperback, or free on Kindle Unlimited)

BETWIXT (where the dead things go) Final edits are complete, the front and back covers are done, and it will soon be available on Amazon . R...