The Original Short Story Normal Things


Following is my original short story Normal Things, here presented with its original POV treatment, told through an FBI agent’s view.

(In the October 2018 release of the Dan Alatorre horror/thriller anthology Dark Visions, Normal Things underwent an editorial review that allowed me to change the story to the single POV of the killer, making it better suited for the horror/thriller anthology.)








An untidy, but sane environment. Unity. Sanity. Home and normal things. This original version of Normal Things was meant to sympathize with Stonebreaker’s viewpoint of how he survived his day job by keeping his home life in mind.

The story I revised for Dark Visions took on the dark mindset of the killer; normal things for her are vastly different from Stonebreaker’s viewpoint.

Pick up your copy of Dark Visions today!

Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

(NOTE: Some characters, phrases, and paragraphs of Normal Things came to life originally in my self-published novelette titled Interlock, which also involves other characters essential to a longer story and the use of multiple POVs. I also created a handcrafted, abridged edition of Interlock titled Interlocked, which deals with some of the same characters. Interlocked may be read in chapter postings at: )

My Writing Life Xposed


A Second Amazon Anthology — Dark Visions


Dark Visions, a second anthology from over 20 authors who worked with Dan Alatorre, editor and best-selling Amazon author, became available this month on Amazon and hit the best-selling list within its first week of release.

Dark Visions

Whether you like the macabre, horror stories, the thrills of mystery and suspense, the strange and odd, or the creepy and crawly, you will find it, delightedly, in Dark Visions. 

In 2017, some of the same authors collaborated with Dan Alatoree to produce the scary anthology The Box Under the Bed, which also hit the best-selling lists.


The dark awaits you! Get your copy of Dark Visions from Amazon today!

Photo image courtesy of

Writing Is A Flower Garden

A process that grows through many stages, writing itself resembles a flower garden. Words begin with budding promise; sometimes they bloom to full maturity; other times, their growth fades and withers on the vine.

NikonCeebedheadCardinalsGreeniesTreesFlowersBirds 041
There are times when words develop into a surprise in your story and blossom into a whole different piece in your writing garden.
Different colors and thought processes sometimes enter your writing garden, watered by abstract feelings and subconscious images…

As you grow your writing garden, some colors may dominate and become prominent  characters you hadn’t counted on, and some may blend into equally important protagonists, while others stand side by side in action as they tell your story.

In scenes written, they’ll be a glitch, or two, while others come shining through!

No matter the struggle, or the strife, in your writing garden life, blooms will triumph and your story will survive, if you only answer the call to persevere, while enjoying the ride…

to success! Your colors will separate, and your thoughts and scenes will burst forth to clarity and fullness.

Only don’t stop! The real story of your writing garden is glorious, diverse, rich, and fed by Nature itself, and victory is yours.

Feed your writing garden and it will feed you in return!

Photos from the personal and copyrighted writing garden of Barbara Anne Helberg


Small Advice for the Small Writer

Shake off the writing obstacles and soar past them!

Obstacles for Writers

Obstacles that keep writers from writing are common. Life happens while you make plans to write.

Don’t wait, therefore; darkness comes too soon. Write now!

Journalists (reporters) are not writers in the true sense. I know that because I was a reporter for local newspapers of Northwest Ohio. Reporters are bound by the Who-What-Why-Where-When-and-How credo. They are not allowed to be creative in the same league as jump jockey-turned reporter-turned novelist Dick Francis. They cannot use the word “chatteringly” (Proof, by Dick Francis, Chapter Two, 1985) and get it by a newspaper editor. D. F. loved adverbs; newpaper editors do not.

Deadlines and WordPress for Writers 

Speaking of reporters who work under stiff deadlines, why would you want to work on your fiction with a deadline staring you in the mirror?

You can open a forever WordPress blog free of charge and recite your entire novel on it! Work on your novel words when you want to.

Some “Writers” Have Said… 

“I love having written, but I hate writing.”

Say what?

Are you in the writing for the money like a lawyer who admitted he left the courtroom  for the more lucrative game of writing novels, or are you writing because you’re a writer; a writer being someone who can’t stop writing no matter what is happening around him?

Do you worship the dollar, or the pen (typewriter; word processor?)

If you love to write, keep soaring!

Soar with your pen!

Are You Maverick Enough? 

My friend spent tens of thousands of dollars to have an editor guide her through self-publication. She had a great story of love, Heaven, and perseverance to tell. She ended up on WordPress just the same to partially advertise her stellar work through blogging.

Are you maverick enough to use WordPress to tell your story, chapter by chapter — at no cost whatever?

Be your own writer’s best friend. Use WordPress.

I run 20 blogs, here, at WordPress and tell my stories everywhere among them.

Soar to your writing heights!

WordPress Editors/Writers 

Working with Dan Alatorre opened my opportunity to advertise on my WordPress blogs a book he edited and produced in which my short story Interlock appears.

That meant I also got the opportunity to post an Amazon Author Page of my own, plus cross reference it to my diverse WordPress blogs, and visa versa, so that my stories appear on the Internet at zero cost.

I’m 72 and probably will never finish all the writing projects I have under way, or have them all published.

But I will come exceedingly close to same thanks to the opportunity that is WordPress, where, yes, I met Dan Alatorre. The story Interlock, which I submitted to one of his writing contests, placed an Honorable Mention, and he invited me to use the story to participate in an anthology he produced — The Box Under the Bed. 

Maverick-ism, publication, love of writing collided. With no pressure, an easy deadline, an encouraging editor, and the love of the writing game — wha-la — an Amazon Author’s Page, anthology participation, stories published commercially!

Keep your writing wings soaring!

And that was accomplished at the age of 71!

Are you maverick enough for the WordPress opportunity?

Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Night Dreams Day Dreams

My Writing Life Xposed


BAT Publishing Stories presents the unabridged edition of the Short Story Night Dreams, Day Dreams. An abridged edition of this story highly rated on the former writing website Helium appears at My Writing Life Xposed, here at WordPress.

***** 1 **********************
By Barbara Anne Helberg

Merrick Sawyer thrashed in his bed. His body dripped with perspiration. It leaked from his armpits and smothered his face.

The Korean truck drew closer — it was still Korean — its image blurring and its boxlike shape becoming magnified. Its rapid pace was bringing it too close, as Merrick vacillated between obeying orders like a good Marine and desperately fumbling in his pocket for a bullet.

There was only Merrick and the brown canvas-covered truck rushing toward him. Its headlights glinted in the sunlight,

























Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

The Order of Words Matters


While many successful writers of the past viewed simplicity of words as the best MO to keep their readers engaged, it should be remembered that where a word appears in a sentence is also important.

Different meanings altogether can be gleaned from words differently placed in the sentence.

From “Principles of Good Writing” — Famous Writers Course I, Famous Writers School, Westport, Connecticut, 1960:

  1. — “Only the nurse told me to take this medicine.”
  2. — “The only nurse told me to take this medicine.”
  3. — “The nurse only told me to take this medicine.”
  4. — “The nurse told only me to take this medicine.”

5. — “The nurse told me only to take this medicine.”
6. — “The nurse told me to take only this medicine.”
7. — “The nurse told me to take this only medicine.”
8. — “The nurse told me to take this medicine only.

Some things about good writing don’t change over the years, even if style and expediency come into play to alter the way we communicate via written sentences.

“I never write metropolis for seven cents,” he said, “when I can get the same price for city.”

Keep it simple and make it clear remain as important to good writing as when they first were declared basics of the art.

Long, string along sentences are one of my vices, and I think it is because my mind is always thinking ahead of my pen, which scratches furiously to catch up — as does my type-write technique — but never quite makes it, leaving a simple, solid thought tangled in wordy extras that would never, by an expert, be deemed necessary!

How does your writing garden grow?

Photo courtesy of

(NOTE: I traveled through the Famous Writers School “Fiction Writing” correspondence course from 1964 through 1968.)

Oh Brother…

Pictured above is the Brother Word Processor that introduced me to modern typing technology. It was a revelation, since my first typewriter was an old Royal pound-the-keys-hard machine that wore the fingerprints off both hands. Some writers of habit never did take up word processing, and I admit to being a hard sell myself, but somewhere along the way, I saw the benefits and took up the practices of desktop publishing and self-publishing. Of course, computers were the next game changers, and I made myself learn a little about those, too!

Producing my own short stories and novelettes and other products has occupied me (through my own established BAT Publishing) for a major portion of my life. While “Seawind” — see the blog “My Writing Life Xposed” — always was my main project, other tasty tidbits cried out from somewhere inside me to be created and fixated on paper. And I always obliged my gut instincts.

Roughcraft Art came into my creative mind as a way to include artwork and drawings in my handcrafted bookie endeavors. See Roughcraft Art for more on that!

Over the years, I found much satisfaction in producing my own work, as self-publishing allowed me to choose my own markets, work at my own deadlines, and freely share information with other writers and artists, notably across the Internet.

How does your writing garden grow?

Photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg


The Short Story Interlock and the Scary Anthology The Box Under the Bed

Commercial Publication.

The first time it happens, your world changes. Your family applauds you. You think of yourself as no longer just that writer who loves to wordsmith, and even self-publish, but as an accomplished author. Now, when someone asks you that writerly question: “Do you have anything published commercially?”, your answer is a proud and humble, “Yes!”


Meeting Dan Alatorre changed my writing life, but didn’t alter my love of the pen upon paper procedure I’ve carried all through my life’s journey.

The Box Under the Bed, in fact, is a self-publishing effort on Dan’s part and his 20 authors at Amazon. This week, our anthology reached Amazon’s #1 in sales in its category! So it already is a commercial success.

See my Amazon Author Page:

My contribution to The Box Under the Bed is Interlock, a short story condensed from the longer version and the novella, or my Novel In A Nutshell (NIAN.)

And get your copy of The Box Under the Bed today!

Photo of the book cover of The Box Under the Bed from the personal copies and collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

The Long and The Short of It


At my blog Fans and Gamers, you will find chapters from my handcrafted Novel In A Nutshell “FANS”. Sometimes, a novel, novella, or novelette, will, by its very writing, give birth to a chapter that in itself can become an individual short story.

Such was the case with the following short story I titled “Plastic”, which resulted from actively separating several paragraphs in two different chapters from the rest of “FANS” to express an important part of the whole story in a profound short story all its own.

Here, from the Novel In A Nutshell “FANS” is the short story:





There are 26 mini chapters to “FANS”, but this pivotal moment in Rodd’s life became its own story within a story. Such opportunities to glean more from your long story in a short version aren’t always possible, and sometimes the opportunity pops up in front of your nose!

— Note: The two originally typed pages of “Plastic” are scanned copies for use, here, at this post entry.
Also, read more chapters from my NIAN “InterlockED” at my Fans and Gamers blog. Look for “Interlocked Chapter A”.

Photos, Artwork, and the short story “Plastic” are from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg


Cry Wolf


The following — “Cry Wolf” — is one of my short story efforts that let’s animals do the talking, a method of storytelling of which I became fond at an early stage of my writing endeavors.

(For more on that method, enjoy my blog “Horses and Animals Are Talkin”.)

***** Cry Wolf:


002The End

Photo and Story from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

(Note: Scanning of two originally typed papers was used to reproduce “Cry Wolf” for this post.)

The author’s short story Roughcraft ArtWork creations can be discovered at “Short Stories and Story Art “.