Award-Eligible Fiction

This year was a quiet year for publications, as I was working on new stories and a novel. I was crowned winner of WYRM’s Gauntlet and had a reprint published in Flash Fiction Online. Also, I was a panelist at the Baltimore Book Festival.

Fellow writers and judges, I ask that you please consider my fantasy short story “The Day Time Stood Still” (Galaxy’s Edge) for the upcoming awards season. It is not currently online, but please email any requests and I will send it along to you.

Happy new year!



2017-My Award Eligible Stories and Behind the Scenes

2017-My Award Eligible Stories and Behind the Scenes

This year I published three professional stories: one literary story; one fantasy story; and one science fiction story.

1. “A Good Egg”Podcastle


This was my first time entering a contest in the Escape Artists family of podcasts, and it all began with a Snapple cap that my daughter showed me. Snapple fact 1334: “Nowhere in the Humpty Dumpty nursing rhyme does it say that Humpty Dumpty is an egg.”

I pondered it and researched it and, eventually, tried to answer a question many others had before: if the real story of Humpty Dumpty is not completely written, then who was he?

2. “Analog Signals”Daily Science Fiction

Science Fiction.

I am fascinated by the rapid changes in society driven by rapid changes in technology. In this story, I explored the idea that if you could hear the outcome of your decisions by tuning into a radio station, would you change your current path? Or does hearing possible outcomes make new ones by itself?

I’m slow to adopt new technology, but I love to learn about and admire it all the same.

3. “Sugar”Crab Orchard Review

Literary fiction.

This story is a bitter sweet for me. Drawn from a now-abandoned first novel, “Sugar” represents the heart of that work, boiled down to its essence.


Winter of Creativity Leads to Outburst of #Lunchbagart

Recently, the writing has been slow. Slow to form in my head. Slow form under my fingers.

Instead of waiting for inspiration, I started a new project to stir my creative juices: a cartoon a day for a daughter’s lunch bag.

It came about when the dry erase part of her lunch bag stopped working and the last message wouldn’t go away. We used to write supportive and fun notes each day, and it was disheartening to see we couldn’t do that anymore. I used to be an artist in high school, but haven’t taken any formal classes, except one elective in college. Still, I love to cartoon. I’m probably not an artist because I couldn’t stop cartooning and just draw a still life. I love superheroes and my kids like my art, when I get the chance to make it. Finally, in a quick fit of inspiration while my wife was packing the lunch bag, I created a silly drawing.

So this…


Became this…


Somehow, from that first, quick sketch, I branched out and made another and another. And now the inside of her lunch bag always includes a weird or familiar character or scene. Sometimes I draw from my love of pop culture or comics or the current season. I’m also a fan of the old Addams Family cartoons and H.P. Lovecraft.

monster image and Pac man scary funny image and Vampire Dracula hates Twilight.

Sometimes I draw from a character that she likes …

Rhett and Link

…and other times it’s ones my son likes …

Assasin's Creed 10608561_10204785671823041_8010709653459023269_o

Other times, I just challenge myself to create on the fly and see whether it works.


And once I even had a request from one of her classmates for a Phoenix.


I’ve taken to calling them #lunchbagart and have been sending some of them out via twitter @shawnproctor and via Instagram, just because, unlike my writing, it’s solely for fun. There’s a tiny audience I’m creating for–my family. It’s a thrill to hear one of the kids walk by and say, “That’s an awesome Rhett and Link.” Even if I copy an existing piece, I never resort to tracing, because there’s energy and thrill in discovering the shapes that make up a character. And, more than anything, I love to think about my daughter having something to look forward to in her lunch bag, a place where you’d least expect to find an original piece of art.

A Working List of Terrible Character Motivations


I was soaking in the tub last night and pondering how to motivate two of my characters to go where I wanted them to go in my novel’s new chapter. Instead of logical or even decent ideas, the only ones that came to mind were paper thin. They practically scream, “You’ll go here because I told you to!” Like stubborn children, of course, they dug in their heels and refused.

So I decided to amuse them with a list of the worst, hackneyed, or borrowed motivations instead. The good news is they must have been fairly amused because a good idea decided to come along, too. So, for your amusement, I present the best of the worst.

They go to (place):

  • because three ghosts–past, present, and future–visited them in the night.
  • because they made the Kessel run in 12 parsecs.
  • because a group of Nazis shot his father in the stomach, and he has to use the Holy Grail to save his life.
  • because Shia LaBeouf saw it in a comic once.
  • because he has Dead Pool’s/Wolverine’s healing factor and can’t be killed.
  • because he just found out that he is the last of a near invincible race.
  • because he volunteered as tribute.
  • because he hopes his vampire and wolf boyfriends will be there–even though he can’t choose between them.
  • because, sorry, Mario, but your Princess is in another castle.
  • because he bought a junker car that, to his surprise, can transform into a robot.
  • because when he checked the killer’s hook was still hanging from the door…
  • because he’s getting the band back together.
  • because he’s about to crack this case wide open.
  • because it was a dark and stormy night.
  • because: “KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!”