Click on titles to access stories and essays. If there is only time for one story, read "Too Beautiful To Kill"
Outline and 15,000 +/- words of a novel, ZooBots:
Zoobots is an adult sci-fi novel about having to choose between prejudice and friendship. It’s Vienna, 2420, and Stau is a twenty-year-old scavenger who believes robots are the reason he will never get a job. It’s a prejudice he learned from his father who leads a band of robot killers, the Retter. Stau meets three robots—a jaguar, a python, and a parrot with talons—hiding from the Retter in the Vienna Zoo. They become his only friends, fellow outcasts who aren’t competition for jobs, and he’s fascinated by stories of their lives. On their own, the zoobots learn Stau is part of the Retter, but despite this they are desperate enough to ask him to help them escape. Stau must decide whether to continue to follow his father’s ideology or his new conscience. And with a robot detector arriving from another city that will surely flush out his friends, he needs to decide now.
Prompts for the following stories from the book 642 Stories to Write. Please finish the story before reading the prompt at the end.
"Brothers in Blood" ☆☆☆
Prompt 1 642 Stories to Write
Archer's Target ☆☆☆☆
Prompt 2 642 Stories to Write.
A finished novela of 37,000+ words inspired by the writing prompt, "The guy on the bus said I look just like his fantasy dream girl then named her, and it's my name."
"The story does the beautiful and careful dance of exploring an extremely high stakes situation, the loss of a spouse, with a quiet, calm voice. Doug Fortier chooses a specific slice of time and within the confines of that tiny space, he explores trust, promises, love and lies between two people." Natalie Serber, 2014 MCWC Short Fiction Instructor
Finalist - Short Fiction - 2014 Mendocino Coast Writers Conference
Published: NOYO RIVER REVIEW, 2014, p. 84 short story "Today"
Third Place 2016 California Writers Club, Sacramento branch
Short Short Fiction Contest
Rewrite of "Today?" at 100 words exactly
Scholarship Winner 2007 Mendocino Coast Writers Conference,
2nd Place, CWC SF/Peninsula's Fault Zone III anthology 2014
"I Knew It Was You" ☆☆☆☆
A very tall and socially inept man meets a woman
he thinks could understand him, but there is a problem.
Appears in CWC SF/Peninsula Fault Zone Uplift anthology 2017
"Killer Tesla" ☆☆☆☆☆
An in-car artificial intelligence is charged with making a Tesla owner a better driver after he crashes one car after another, giving the company a bad name.
"Life For Death"
In this drama of error, a wealthy US gem dealer goes to Bangkok and makes a critical discovery.
"Voodoo Taboo" ☆☆☆☆☆
Approached by an Orthodox Jew who’s losing his identity to Alzheimers, a Mendocino tattoo artist affirms his concern for people and his long lost religion.
"Sunshine Dive" ☆☆☆☆
A shady character free-dives for sport on a tab of acid.
"Happy Ending" ☆☆☆
A hospital ghost story.
Last night, a Sunday, I parked in the ER lot a few minutes before my 8:30 appointment for the last of ten antibiotic infusions needed for an infected foot. They appeared to be working.
The guard, Kelly, put me into a wheelchair before we headed down the first hallway. At the junction of the old and new hospital wings, I felt a little jostling, as always, when a nurse took over from Kelly, who returned to his post by the ER entrance.
"Death by Rabbit" ☆☆
For Phil Zwerling's '19 Fall Screenwriting Class, a monologue to include a randomly given character type—a bus driver, and a random object/complication—a rabbit.
"Presque Vu" ☆☆☆ In progress
Kemp is a baby when her superpower is revealed. Presque vu is the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon; in her head, Kemp hears the person who can't think of the word say it in their own accent and language. Her problem; she can't stop from calling out the word.
Thanks to Google Docs, the titles link to the documents I edit; if you happen to be reading one I'm working on, you'll see it change.
Edit until each paragraph has lost the ten pounds it gained over the winter. Edit until each sentence can survive three days in the wilderness on its own. Look at a sentence and, if it didn’t deserve to live, shoot it between the eyes. --Sy Safransky, The Sun Magazine
"... in their approach to their fiction. A little autobiography and a lot of imagination are best." — Raymond Carver
"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness."
— Dalai Lama
“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” — TONI MORRISON
in her Nobel Prize acceptance speech
"Toward the Light" ☆☆
If you were given a painting of a lighthouse and a boat in the water, what would you write?
"Get Back" theme of "April Showers" ☆☆
For California Writers Club, Mendocino Coast,
2015 "SmatchUp" tag-team writing of 2 pages.
"So That to Know Her" ☆☆☆ 1220 words
An essay based on Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway where we see how Clarissa embodies the people she loves and those she despises, and of the places important to her now and in her past. The thesis is, “So that to know her, or any one, one must seek out the people who completed them; even the places.”
An essay that argues that companies vying for dollars spent on products to provide mental exercise have not offered sufficient proof of slowing age-related decline, therefore we should not buy their programs or services. Crossword puzzles and others like Sudoku are a pleasant diversion but only give the player the ability to become better at crossword puzzles and Sudoku.
—info link: Jan6'15 Luminosity Fine
"Fire Across the Street" ☆☆☆☆☆
Evacuees from the Valley Fire of October '15 call their answering machine to see if the house is still standing, but instead of their message they hear a new recording of a loved one there to save the house. (fiction)
"Waylon and SuzieQ barked, then Linda nudged me. The clock read 5:23. “I heard something Wes. Listen.” Red and blue lights streaked in waves along the ceiling and walls of our bedroom." more...
"One More Time" ☆☆☆
"Welcome to the Purple Rose Zone"
"Tuesday is my night to cook, a euphemism for dining out, usually at the Purple Rose for our favorite Mexican food and outstanding margaritas.
The story of man's wedding band found when emptying the pond at the historic Kelley House for renovation.
Won Honorable Mention in 2016 Kelley House writing contest.
Professor Randy Celebra has four days to prove a human brain parasite could influence a fungus to turn people into zombies. Failure would doom his upcoming book and deny him tenure. In pursuit of the proof, Celebra joins the husband of the missing Margaret Stacey, his target.
"Senior Sumo" ☆☆☆☆ 2,631 words
Ronin Judo - Elmer Gale
Aaron, a superstar wrestler in college, works out twice a day and has always said, "If you're not ripening, you're rotting." On his 60th birthday, he's invited to join fellow wrestlers of another sort. He sees a chance to regain a sense of the glory days and prove he's still got it. His antagonist knows Aaron's strengths and weaknesses, is the owner of the sports club, does physical training and therapy, but a mystery to the general public, weighs three hundred pounds.
"Reunion Charade" ☆☆☆
What if a pet outlives its owners, generation after generation? Meet Arnold, hatched in 1790, marked with names and dates scratched into his shell by his owners, chronicling history, his story. A nine-year-old boy who has lost his mother helps a homeless woman unravel the mystery of Arnold's most recent owner and ensure that she and the tortoise will stay together.
"Summer of Love" ☆☆☆☆☆
"Inside the Jaguar" ☆☆☆☆☆
An astro-archeologist announces the Maya knew of the black hole at the center of our galaxy. This leads to a meeting with a Maya man who holds the missing half of evidence that connects the astronomical findings to the end of their calendar on December 21st, 2012. In the process of combining the pieces, the scientist inhabits the body of a jaguar in the Maya underworld where all is revealed.
"Hosteen's Problem" ☆☆☆
"Too Beautiful to Kill" ☆☆☆☆☆
"Fire and Water" ☆☆☆☆
A man with no money and an impending death sentence due to bad genetics becomes the recipient of nano-size mechanical brain cell replacements for each of his doomed components; but that's only the beginning.
"The Lesson" ☆☆☆☆
A con man brings a wild painting to an antiques store to find a buyer. The image is of a Pacific Island woman, bare breasted, swinging a banana peel over her head. Overnight, the store owner and his friend research the painter's name and find the painting described as part of a hoax on the art world in the 1920s.
Lares' body reacts violently to stormy weather's thunder, lightning, and rain. He is agoraphobic and goes only as far as the residence hotel's lobby where he impersonates other people because he doesn't want anyone to see him.
"Loose Gravel" ☆☆☆
Lucifer lived on a farm that became surrounded by Kansas City. His father was murdered, his mother withered from loss and grief and he had a mental breakdown. Years later, he returned to bring retribution to the people who had him committed and took the family farm.
"Surreal Poetry" ☆☆☆
Susan Wooldridge led an interesting session at the 2008 Mendocino Coast Writers Conference. From old dictionaries, single pages from books, and a dozen or so random words printed on what looked like theater tickets, we chose words, about 50 of them, and wrote them as a list. Then we went "poem crazy," as she called it. We constructed surreal poetry that might have made sense if we'd chosen to. I didn't.
See an odd video "Reading From Outer Space."
A short biography of the man who invented the word "surrealism."
An online chat room with eight people who've met this way for a long time continues until the tractor salesman, ThreaTT, learns the truth about his friends.
A thousand years ago, a slight-of-hand magician encounters a black cat, Anther, who intervenes on his behalf.
Two short writing exercises using second person. I tell my 18 year-old self about the day on the Air Force base flight line when I had a moment in the twilight zone.
Son of Antoine Fortier
Born in Dieppe, Normandy, FR
"My Protection" ☆☆☆☆
The gardener of a ten acre estate witnesses the protection provided by springer spaniels.
Wesley plays the organ in a pizza parlor in Philadelphia. He gives it up to move to Molokai because he hates his life and his triple swirl comb-over.
A fifteen year-old boy hides in a snowy mountain cave after his new step mother kills his father and blames it on him.
An essay from Tolstoy’s The Kreutzer Sonata and Ibsen’s A Doll House with the thesis we must understand our partners as well as the implications of our choices.
Once a waiter at the New Almaden Food and Beverage Company, New Almaden, CA
George Phillips and Jack Campbell's place before The Santa Cruz Hotel Bar & Grill