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  • Writer's picturethejsingraham

Unacceptable Behavior, part II?

A new short story collection? Yeah, so that's happening. But why? Well, let's talk about that. And how about an excerpt to boot?


The bad thing about the way my brain works creatively is that I come up with more ideas than I have time. If you need one, bang my line, I live to workshop things.

I have a completed draft for a story that's been done going on for two years. I have a "surprise" idea I'm toying with for the end/top of the year. Two other stories are about 25% complete on first drafts, and I have two more in the queue, begging to be started.

When I tell my writer friends, I don't have the space to even think about some of the ideas I think up on the spot and share...listen!

Solution? Let's do another short story collection!


With two books being written and released this year, I've gained new eyes on my work. That said, I don't have much of a backlist for people to dig into, and I don't want those readers to think I only write in those genres/subgenres. A short story collection allows me to present varying sides of my pen, while also giving me a chance to get back to some of my favorite characters who haven't had the chance to make it to that Summer Jam screen just yet.

FYI this will not be my next published work. More of an ongoing behind-the-scenes project.

Unacceptable Behavior II

This new iteration of Unacceptable Behavior will operate along the same lines as the first. Thirteen short stories loosely based around relationships of different forms--read: not all romance. Varying POVs, etcetera.

Basil Cooper, my psychotherapist character will be there. David Marcus and Ms. Liza? Possibly. Jerian "Apollo" Adams, as seen in Cleis Press' The Big Book of Orgasms 2, likely. Some crowd participation work, where you will help me craft a story or two, yep. And my professional hitman absolutely is making an appearance. In fact, it was a recent question I got about the character that, jumped off this idea.

ETA: there isn't one, but I'm likely to share parts of a story or two as they make it to the page (kinda like I'm about to do right now)


presenting the intro to...

A Master's Decree

An eerie silence clung to the steam that filled the darkened semi-enclosed space. There, a man with skin the color of midnight lay perfectly still in a custom-built hot spring, eyes closed, thinking. While the waves of the Mediterranean crashed against the shore over a hundred yards away, he submerged himself under the water–attempting to drown all remaining conjecture.

The thalassophile in Diam Rousseau led him to build his home in Lampedusa, one of the Pelagie Islands, in southern Italy. The beautiful, remote location provides seclusion he appreciates in the day and dark of night, like now. The smell, sounds, and energy of the body of water existing below the cliff at the edge of his property, were a perpetual sound bath for him mentally. The feel of it all took care of the physical.

Diam didn't love the water, he needed it.

Lightning-quick reflexes, speaking four languages fluently, and being a master at disappearing in plain sight were some of the Black Frenchman's strengths. However, the ability to detach from reality and humanity was his greatest asset.

As one of the more calculated, sought-after, and storied assassins of the last quarter century, an intense multilayered reset process was necessary. To go the places he was trained to go mentally, his unplugging process, like rebooting a computer, allowed him to operate at peak efficiency. Classical music in the form of arias and symphonies were tools invoked immediately after a marker was satisfied. 

Soaking, diving, and the springs were used once one was placed. The process was ceremonial. Allowing him to release past methods and tactics. Resetting his mind and body to absolute nothingness in preparation for what’s next.

Three days prior a connection between Diam and his operator had been made, initiating a new contract. The target was a financial executive in the states, by the name of Daniel Master Manning. A man whose stereotypical trust fund kid ways, had matured with age, to blackmail, drug trafficking, money laundering, and sexual assault. At first contact, confusion consumed the man more aptly known in this world as Portiere, the Gatekeeper.

Manning fell short of the profile of Diam's typical target. Global crime syndicate czars, scientists, and political operatives were more his norm. The summoning of this angel of death orchestrated updation, restoring order when certain worlds fell out of alignment. However, after being made aware of who held the marker, it made more sense–even though that knowledge was not pertinent to accomplishing the task.

Breaking the surface of the water, droplets cascaded from his usually clean-shaven face. Running a hand across his eyes, then the stubble more regularly covering his cheeks and jawline of late, he glances up at the night sky, basking in its majestic beauty. 

It’s a clear night tonight and rays from the half-moon and stars overhead spotlight the tall grass beyond the back walkout of his home. Standing to his feet, it took everything in him not to climb out and break into a dead sprint, launching his naked form off the cliff–penetrating the raw power of the waves below, again.

That would be for sheer enjoyment, however, not for any process.

In due time, he thinks before turning and padding inside his bedroom. For after a night’s slumber, there was work to be done.

(to be cont'd)


Click below for five flash-fiction shorts on your soon-to-be favorite assassin.

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