Entire RWM Catalog Free for Limited Time

That’s right, folks. The ENTIRE Rusty Wheels Media, LLC. catalog will boast FREE Amazon Kindle Versions from Tuesday-Saturday. (4/17-4/21) 

See which FREE KINDLE book suits your fancy from our Amazing Authors by clicking the links below:

 

 

Don’t Forget About Our Letters Contest!

Always accepting submissions.

We Dare You…

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A Day in the Life and the Premier of Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss

This book is a salute and celebration of the Modern American Worker. Generations of unrecognized heroes who wash our cars, mow our lawns, bake our bread, douse our fires, take our garbage, teach our kids, grow our food, build our houses, mend our roads, and defend our freedom.

The American Dream is still there for all of them, hidden in plain sight, riddled with confusion and abandonment.

In an America full of unemployment, late fees, foreclosures, bankruptcy, and loss of hope…

There Are Consequences.

This short story collection includes some of the pale misery behind faults in the American Economy. Find a cab driver who lost his way, a down and out executive who stumbles onto a Voodoo curse in New Orleans, a nurse who pays the price for rescuing a man once thought loved, and a horrific, dystopian future. Discover new hope after cancer. Follow a paratrooper to manhood as he approached the deadly ground. Help the underemployed win at a game where reality TV meets nature at the crossroads of technology.

The stories in this collection contain clues, breadcrumbs dropped along a path to help you on your way.

Can You Find Them? 

 

This short story collection was a while coming but I am overall happy with the results. Between pulling teeth over the cover design, hiring an editor, and editing AGAIN on a 60 inch TV in a hotel in Tennessee, this has been quite the ride. How did it begin?

It all started this past fall when I was underemployed. Isn’t that how all mischief starts? I feverishly wrote before the light of day. I tested on the phone to unsuspecting victims. I was posting these and other stories on my blog. All because I read Miracle Mornings by Hal Elrod and Steve Scott and went off to the races every morning, writing whether I cared to or not. I am NOT a morning person, despite my military background, but I became one with coffee and anger.

 

 

I wrote a few of the stories while out on a case (I moonlight as a Private Investigator). I did some first drafts with Dragon Naturally Speaking, but most I crafted before anybody could get to me and ask for anything.

The first  in this series Worked Stiff: Poetry and Prose for the Common was an unusual 2nd book to put out. Yes, weird after Country Noir Modern Waste but that’s what a year in Russian school at the Defense Language Institute will do to you. Utterly demoralizing.

If you are interested in poetry, great art, or political treatise without picking sides, Poetry and Prose for the Common is good. If you are interested in selling books, it was not. What was I thinking?

Well, I was thinking about art and I am glad that was the first in the Worked Stiff Series but man was it difficult. Think layout is hard? Try adding stanzas and full page digital artwork into the mix.

Really though, I cut my teeth on that baby. And, after the first edition of Letters Never Meant to be Read, I can pull any project together.

So, naturally, a children’s book would be next, right? No!!!

I am actually working on a psychological thriller with A.M. Hounchell which I need to get back to. I will also be pulling together the next Worked Stiff: Crime Always Pays. Or, something to that effect.

Short Stories to Tell Your Boss was difficult because of editing and more and more editing. Why? Well, when you edit a novel or novella, you have mostly one POV and one tense. Short story compilations are tough and I found myself having to edit one story and taking a break before starting on another. This is after I hired an “editor”. I had to fix his mistakes too. There is no brevity as in a poetry book either.

I made the final cuts while in Tennessee, in a hotel, on active duty, plugged into a big flatscreen. That was so helpful and I am never going to edit any other way. All the mistakes were HUGE and it really helped me when I needed to read out loud.

I needed to get this out before I could move on. I know my writer buddies out there feel the same way at times. The cover design was a terrible process but I am satisfied enough for now and I can’t wait to see the print version.

I wanted this release to coincide with my KDP free promo days for the Letters Book but I hit a snag back there. This process has been a lesson in patience.

I am going to go for ACX tonight. I usually meander around awhile before doing the Audible version, but not this time.

Do tell if you see anything glaring and I sure hope you like it. My dog Maggie and I just got done with a long run and there is nobody home, and nobody will answer my calls of joyous celebration. So, I am sharing the release with you in this quiet way, for now.

Slow and Steady wins this one. May your night be wonderful and filled with dreams of paratroopers, android sex, and black mambas.

 

 

She Handles the Propane

 

With so many years before us yet so little time, she grabs me, commands my attention. With her words and her eyes, she makes me stand still.

“I had a weird dream last night,” she’ll say with as much expectation for a response as I waiting for the dream. Pausing for dramatic acknowledgement, and allowing her thoughts to catch up, she fills in the gaps, her account gushes with stunning imagery. The resulting tale is always hard to distinguish between the real and the manufactured. Still, I remain enthralled by the outcome, the clairvoyance, the show.

She will cook, without meanness, without the sense of repayable duty, no malice, no hardship. Exotic smells will waft from the back door, before I even open, before I’ve had a chance to turn the key and announce. I can feel a sense of home with the new smell, the calming vibration of a home cooked meal between my teeth, warming my belly. I’ve never smelled this before or knew that I was hungry for whatever it could be. My brow sweats in reaction to something foreign and unbland, a staple in her parents’ homeland. I can feel her eyes burn my right cheek, seeing how fast I gobble, observing whether I go for seconds or no. Ever eager to please, she will offer them to me but not serve them herself, and I will want.

She could chop wood as good as any man, get the job done, and talk about how fun it was. Gnats would sip on her tiny sweat and she’d be onto the next task. With her company, I could survive the zombie apocalypse, no problem. She could kill a man without remorse, providing he had it coming.

The ability to bear any burden without such laziness or complaint at the most minor inconvenience is instinctual, cultural. Her mother’s people toiled in the fields for generations as a matter of survival, not knowing of a failed existence by modern, woeful standards.

She could find a job faster than any woman I’ve known, then obtain a second. She possesses the ability to work until her bones ache before settling into the most minor of comforts.

Her muscles are hard and smooth, capable of expected labor, set upon like thick rubber bands on that fragile and pretty frame. You wouldn’t think it to look at her, but she could bulldoze an apartment. Feminine virtues are not forgotten though. They are not thrown away by excuses of long days and petty misunderstandings between the sexes. She’ll dress up all right, using time to her advantage, taking on a shimmer and glow only rivaled by the contrasting vision of her natural beauty.

Oh how common we all look compared to that mysterious figure. People are so confused. “Where does she come from?” they ask. Even when told, they haven’t got a clue. Never has such a hybrid of the Orient joined forces with the American Pacific sunset. Her figure and attitude creates a perfect design, a mixture of old and new attitudes of feminism.

You think she has no power because she doesn’t shout the word? Because she doesn’t carry signs or demand against the laws of nature? Oh she does have great power. Ready to use and in reserve.

There is no replica. People know when they see her by my side that I have somehow managed to find a first edition. Yes, a traditional, sleek, steel design in a woman that causes the rest to only gawk in awe with a jolt of satisfaction of uncovering only a small part of the mystery.

If I went to a land with more of her, the land of her father perhaps, I would not know what to do. I would be overwhelmed by the sheer beauty amongst simple hardship. In the land of a thousand hers, I would attempt to multiply myself so I could fall madly for each of them as individuals. In the process, I would become unbound.

She understands and does not shun the demands of a husband, that wolf within the coarser sex. Instead, she discusses and throws jokes upon them openly, simplifies their meaning, makes them her own. I have no choice but to reciprocate. There is no blame for the sinister, no mocking of the frustrated anger to be released, no ignoring the perversion within us all.

Household chores are not so difficult or serious. She knows when an item has been moved, she counts with her eyes, forms patterns which I have disturbed. She could toil in a field, just as all of our ancestors, and eat upon the fine fruits with such great joy and satisfaction. Apply this principle to our motors, our flashy screens, our robots, the outcome of success is the same. Hard work in, happiness out. She knows this.

When we are on an adventure, back to where we belong, we set camp and enjoy where work is abound. She does more than her share, this comes natural without expectation other than smile and attention later. I roll through my mind in horror and loathing at all the tasks that need to be done, only to find but a few made just for me.

She handles the propane. What a wonder. I could ask for water but before the words are able to leave my parched lips, she has known from my yearning eyes. She has already trekked the miles through impenetrable forest, machete in hand, snakes waylaid, and dangers thwarted. These actions are to prove and to please, not only me, but us. She does for herself as much as for me.

She could set up the tent by herself if needed. Instead, I am her worker. She points, knows what to do. I have worn the uniform, I should know these things. I do, but I also know the chain of command.

I begin to tend the wood fire out of tradition or entertainment, but she handles the propane. She knows where to buy it and how to screw it on the stove. She is in charge of the modern version of that fiery bliss, and I haven’t got a clue.

She cooks, I learn, we both fish. She catches fish and I cheer. I worry while she has already done. I am expected to hunt, gather wood, and tend to the fire, feast and rest. I can do more, would have to if on and adventure with someone else, someone with a more “modern feminist sense”. Most of the time, she wouldn’t have it, she could do these tasks better than me anyway, with more satisfaction knowing it was done right.

She grooms me, takes away the blemishes of any day, warms my soul but she does not do my laundry. She would if I asked her. Knowing she has all the power, she still yields to my will, allows her man to stand out front. Power is unbecoming for those who demand its need. True power is already commanded, it is projected upon another to implement. She knows this too.

She takes children under her tutelage, shows them how to arrange and care for the ever growing garden. These small ladies are not hers, but they are ours. Still, she listens to them, she talks to them, caresses them, and plays with them as if they came from her own body. Ever selfless, she absorbs their pain, makes them smile.

She tells me what to do after I’ve thought about doing, but before I have taken action. This causes both known frustration and a humble smirk. I could give her two guesses, she only needs one.

We could go to Bangkok and stare at the pretty girls. We could go to St. Petersburg and marvel at the history, holding hands in our fur coats. We could sleep on a train and dine from a food cart in Madrid. She would shimmy up a tree, then cut stolen fruit in the Bahamas, her skin turning ever darker while mine screamed for another layer. Her exploration in New York would not contain panic. She would wander around at first, feeling joy and bliss at the simplest of nuance or observation. She would be an expert without a map in four days.

She will be there when I am old and look at me as if I am young. She won’t perceive what I was, rather, she will giggle at the boy trapped in the old man. She will comment on the smallest of gestures, poke fun at the strange habits, and appreciate my youthful preoccupations.

She handles the propane. What a wonder.

 

 

Calling for Submissions

Dear Writers and Friends,

Rusty Wheels Media will be releasing the second of the Worked Stiff Series “Short-stories to Tell Your Boss” in the next month or so. For those of you who read the poetry book “Worked Stiff: Poetry and Prose for the Common“, this second and third will not be the same.
I am interested in alternating between the short-story/short/novelette collections and poetry books for the Worked Stiff Series from now until I die.
The first poetry book focused on the plight of modern man, blue collar troubles, and political common sense. While I am happy that this was the first in the series, themed-based books are going to be the norm.
The second, due out soon, is a short story collection that focuses on the working class and the fictional world in which they live. Some of those stories I posted on my blog as an experiment.
The third Worked Stiff: Back to the Land, we are calling for submissions here: This will focus on nature. Of course, anything loosely involving nature: working the land, camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, quiet moments in the forest…you get the idea. RWM will consider unpublished poems, short-stories, essays, etc.
As with Letters Never Meant to be Read, RWM believes in profit sharing with percentages based on poems/works that make it into the book. Some of you who are receiving your first royalty checks in the mail now from the Letters Project are not retiring to the Bahamas just yet, but it’s a start.
I will of course be taking letters as well and would like to put out the second in May/June. Some of you have already submitted new letters which is encouraging.

Send your poems and letters to:

rustywheelsmedia@gmail.com

or

Rusty Wheels Media, LLC

PO Box 1692

Rome, GA 30162

I look forward to your submissions and I will show you mine one way or another.
-Marc

“Kid Talk” -A Short

Here is a little flash fiction for your busy Friday commute home.

 

Kid Talk

A young, pretty mother drove her two daughters on a routine trip home from school and daycare. The inevitable occurred including traffic, an intermittent heater, and the impossible task of driving as a single mom in a beat up old Buick. The inside of the car was small and with the two car seats in the back, the distance between the mother and her children was close. She couldn’t help but overhear and interject in the conversation between the two, although at times she wished she could stick her head out the window and listen to the wind instead of the constant banter between a three and a six-year-old girl.

“I wonder, do they have Disney Newborn?” Kristen asked, adjusting the seat belt.
“Newborns don’t exactly watch TV,” Mother responded as she turned into a curve.
“Of course newborns watch TV,” Kristen stated firmly, looking out the window.
“Why would a newborn watch TV Kristen?” Mom asked.

“Mommy, can I get a Disney Newborn for my birthday when I turn four?” Molly begged while attempting to make four with her small hands.

“Wait. I’m the one who asked about it, I’m the one who is about to turn seven, my birthday comes first,” Kristen yelled.

“Nobody is getting Disney Newborns because they do not exist!” Mother tried to stay calm and drive, just drive, get them home and get them fed, dishes, baths, stories, bed.
“Talking unicorns can watch TV! But only talking ones, other unicorns do not watch TV,” Molly interjected.
“Mommy, what does goûter mean in France?” Kristen asked.

“Yeah mommy, what does goooter mean in froggy language, you and Grandpa talk funny sometimes, ha ha!” Molly said while kicking the driver seat.

It’s not a frog language, it’s from France. Besides, I think it’s a cheese,” Kristen explained.

“Grandpa says Froggy languwage! And it’s my cheese!”

“Enough! Molly, please stop kicking my seat,” pleaded Mother.

“I have imagunary twin, her name is FuFu,” Molly said, pointing to the middle seat.

“Seriously?… I thought crepes come from France too but I saw them at Publix for one dollar and ninety-nine cents.” Kristen said.

“I’m hungry mommy,” added Molly.

“We’re almost home, just a little bit further.”

“Mommy, my teacher said that hula hoops come from France, but I know that she is not telling the truth because mine at home says ‘made in China’ right on the label and I’m pretty sure China is a long way from France.” Kristen declared.

China? Mommy, I want you to make me a cheese quesadilla. Mommy, can I have a cheese quesadilla when we get home?” Molly was getting hungry, she munched on her fingers and slurped her sippy cup.

All are relieved, especially mother as they pulled into the drive. She could then stop the answering of lofty questions and return to the usual simple commands of “shoes off, wash your hands.”

 

 

 

“The Canoe Cart”- A Story a Day

Here is another short story which may present itself in the upcoming collection Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss. This is written in the style of Patrick F. McManus, an outdoor adventure short story genius. For those of you who know how important fishing is for children, prepare to be entertained. For those who don’t, prepare to be educated. Happy Reading! As always, feedback is appreciated.

 

The Canoe Cart

Years ago, my father took me out to this pond in the middle of nowhere. It seemed like we were just wondering around for I don’t know how long but Dad knew the way. My pre-pubescent legs marched along to the purposeful soldier step, now my step. This memory has faded over time, but the tall grass combating my top-striped socks and those last school year’s sneaks are still vivid. Dad urged me to pack light, one pole each and just a few lures chosen with care: two Mepp’s spinners- golden #2, a Heddon Torpedo-frog colored, and maybe a plastic worm rig. All clipped tight in a small Plano box under my arm.

I remember feeling a tad disappointed with my budding fishing career before that day on account of getting skunked. I don’t like losing, still don’t, and I thought maybe if I had one good day it would change my own personal tide with the Fishing Gods as we headed into summer.

When Dad and I got to the pond, I surveyed the scene: stumps poking out here and there, seaweed, algae, and lily pads-everything an eleven-year-old boy needed to feel lucky. This body of water was peaceful too, secluded and small. The edges sealed off from the world by pine and birch. If you were careful enough, you could walk around the whole thing in thirty or so minutes.  The pond gave out the notion that it had itself convinced a good beaver to dam-creating an ecosystem just for us, just for that day.

I caught a fish on my first cast, then one after the other. The seven to thirteen-inch largemouth bass were so hungry for whatever I would throw, hungry to get bigger. For being so small, they all fought hard. I cackled and hooted at my many victories over nature as I reeled in each one, giving them a sloppy kiss before throwing them back, as was our custom.

This was more than twenty years ago and many fishing trips have come and gone since then. The memory of this trip is more of a happy sentiment of my re-found luck and the embedded archive, one of many time stamped adventures with my father.

My parents went looking for that old pond recently but it had been on state land and hard to find in the first place. When they figured they found it, Mom and Dad discovered that the dam had washed out but there was still a smaller pond. They were only doing some curiosity hiking, they hadn’t brought their fishing poles or anything. That’s when my father started to make big plans.

There were still unimproved trails leading to the pond with the same tall grass I had brushed through as a kid. Dad wanted to get a canoe in there but you could only drive the truck so far. That’s where the beauty of the internet came into play.

I have a family of my own so don’t live at home anymore, but I imagine my father pining over an eBay auction for a new masterful device-a canoe carrier. Turns out, they make them just for this occasion I’m telling you about, of course, they do. The darn thing wasn’t anything but two wheels, a rack, and a strap. Dad searched all around for this and when he finally won the auction, I bet he slept really well that night. I can just see him dreaming about the genius of modern man and big fish.

For this adventure, all Dad needed was a sturdy canoe and a good woman, he had both. The canoe was a 1985 vintage with my name barely recognizable in spray-paint on the bottom. This vessel had seen years of river, lake, pond, and reservoir fishing. Pontoons installed and de-installed over and over, and about five different pickup trucks.

The next weekend they had free had been torn up by rain all the days prior. The make-shift trails looked completely different to the wandering couple after the storms. My parents fumbled all around, getting muddy, sometimes making birth with the canoe in big mud puddles. They would go down a trail, realize it was wrong and double back to the last intersection. It all seemed hopeless, but still, they tried. After a while, they had no idea where they were. The outing became wet, muddy, cumbersome, and somehow comical-truly a disaster.

Mom tried her best to be a good sport during this misadventure by taking a point until she came across what I would call a M.O.A.M.P., or “Mother of all Mud Puddles”. This was the type me and my friends used to dare each other to ride through for sport. The body of water was just that, a pond itself, covering the entire trail and expanding at least five feet on each side. Beyond it happened to be the way Dad was completely sure the pond of mystery laid. Dad stumbled along the side, letting the canoe cart sail, roll, and drag through the almost three feet puddle.

Turns out he was right, and the dynamic duo finally found the pond once again. Dad tore the cart off, then they launched the canoe and quietly paddled around a bit. The scene was set for the fun and future fish stories to begin.

Only this didn’t turn out to be your usual fish story since there were absolutely no fish. No sign of fish, no frogs, no pollywogs, no minnows, no crawdads. The only thing in that pond besides the soggy couple in the vintage canoe was a mean hissing beaver. Sometimes ponds go dead-pollution, acid rain, ruined oxygen level, who knows.

Perhaps in another five to ten years, another young father will stumble across that strange body of water and its ever-changing shores. Maybe they will get the score of a lifetime, forever embedding the will of the Fish Gods into yet another small, eager soul.

My parents thought about telling everyone at work what a great place it was and regale the account of how big and plentiful the fishing had been that day. All their attentive audience would need was a canoe and a difficult to find canoe cart. Dad could tell them just where to get a canoe cart too, slightly used.