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Blogs From Exile

Listen FREE to my short story "In-Body" on Escape Pod

Listen FREE anytime to my short story "In-Body", performed on the Escape Pod podcast by voiceover artist Tren Sparks.

In-Body is a futuristic tale that touches on PTSD and survivor guilt as it explores the theme of personal debts we owe to others. Hosted by the award-winning Escape Pod podcast, it's available for you anytime at this link:

or click here.

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Excellent review from Locus Magazine

I was thrilled to see the following review of my science fiction short story "Emptying the Bunkhouse" in Locus Magazine:

"A tense SF adventure about a group of convict laborers doing what seems to be mining on a dangerous planet – but something strange is going on. The solution is rather involved, but it's intriguing." -- Rich Horton, Locus Magazine


You can read the entire short story FREE in the latest edition of Bourbon Penn Magazine:

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Watch the video of my presentation for the Georgetown University Center for Security Studies

Today I presented my paper, "The Information Disruption Industry and the Operational Environment of the Future" online as part of the Weaponization of Information series cosponsored by the Army's Mad Scientist Initiative and the Georgetown University Center for Security Studies.


The presentation, and the Q&A that followed it, are both on this YouTube link.

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Read my scifi short story in Bourbon Penn magazine!

"I'm beginning this story in the second week of our voyage, because we lost half our number in the first week. And there won't be a third."


I'm pleased to announce that my sci-fi short story "Emptying the Bunkhouse" is in the newest edition of Bourbon Penn magazine.


You can read the whole story here:


Emptying the Bunkhouse

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International Theater Magazine Scene4 Has Published My Short Story

I'm pleased to announce that the international theater magazine Scene4 has published my short mystery story "Reading the Audience" in this month's issue.


Read the story online


Here's the link:

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Watch me pitch my TV pilot "Handler Hank" at the Austin Revolution Film Festival

My TV crime drama pilot script "Handler Hank" was an official selection at the 2019 Austin Revolution Film Festival, and I was videotaped promoting it in their pitch competition. 

This was a one-take, five-minute-maximum presentation, and it hits the high notes of my proposed series. Here's the YouTube link (or you can search YouTube with the term "Handler Hank"):

I'm currently shopping this around, so if you know someone in the TV industry (agent, producer, showrunner, etc.) please feel free to share it. 


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My short story "Door Number Two" is in Mystery Tribune!

My short story "Door Number Two" is in the Summer 2019 issue of Mystery Tribune, and I'm in some very august company:
  • Stories by Reed Farrel Coleman, Rusty Barnes, Casey Barrett, Brett Busang, Vincent H. O'Neil, David Rachels, Scott Loring Sanders, Mark Slade, and Robb White.
  • Interviews and Reviews by Alex Segura, Nick Kolakowski, Tobias Carroll, and Erica Wright.
    Art and Photography by Michael McCluskey, Patrick Clelland, and more.
  • This issue also features a preview of the new Bury The Lede graphic novel by CGaby Dunn and Claire Roe.


"Door Number Two" tells the tale of an unorthodox hit man who encounters something unexpected on a job one night--use this link to order it.

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My TV pilot script has been selected for the 2019 Austin Revolution Film Festival!

I'm pleased to anounce that my crime drama TV pilot script Handler Hank is an official selection for the 2019 Austin Revolution Film Festival. Handler Hank is adapted from one of my short stories, and would make an excellent TV series. Here's the pitch:

Ex-cop Hank Coughlin leads a double life, helping long-term undercover officers secretly communicate with their handlers. His own undercover career ended in bloodshed and betrayal, so he'll do anything—legal or otherwise—to protect the people who now trust him with their lives.

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Four of my writing workshops are available online

I've given a lot of writing workshops over the years, and have posted most of the slide presentations on Slideshare, where they're free to view and download.


Four of these workshops were given at the Sleuthfest mystery convention in Boca Raton, Florida, and audio recordings of those workshops are available for purchase as MP3 or CD. They follow the slide presentations saved on Slideshare, so if you download the presentation (for free) and purchase the audio recording, you'll get the experience of the workshop.


Please go to and type "Vincent O'Neil" into the Search box to see the audio recordings.


Here are the slideshows available for free on Slideshare:



Don't Miss a Thing: Brainstorming the full potential of your story, your characters, and your plot (Sleuthfest 2019)


Writing Action Sequences: You'll be lucky to survive (Sleuthfest 2018)


The Never-ending Brainstorm: Taking your inspiration from a gentle breeze to a full-blown hurricane (Sleuthfest 2017)


The Brute Force & Ignorance Approach: Writing when you have no plan, no plot, and even no point (Sleuthfest 2017)

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My horror short story "Elsie's Whiskers" is in the April Edition of HYPNOS Magazine



My horror short story "Elsie's Whiskers" is in the April edition of HYPNOS magazine. Here's the first two pages:

Elsie awoke when the moon was dark, as always. The crawlspace where she slept, near the top of a Manhattan skyscraper, was silent and shadowy. She stretched, detecting a slight odor. Droppings from a mouse that had passed through during her slumber. Judging from the faint scent, the visit was two weeks past. 

She thought of the mouse's whiskers, twitching and seeking in the darkness, and allowed her own senses to reach out. The building was almost empty after hours, and she only detected the energy of security guards and cleaning crews. The skyscraper's steel and concrete were dead materials, and didn't conduct the forces well. That was why she'd picked it, and why her hiding place was so high up. Disconnecting was the only way she could sleep between hunts. 

Her stomach trembled at the thought of food, and she slid toward the hatch.

The subway clattered as it rocked through the black tunnel. Articulated joints in Elsie's shoulders, hips, and ribcage flattened her body against the car's roof. Rough claws extended from beneath her fingernails to grip the ridged metal. A human riding that way would have been scraped off eventually, but for Elsie it was perfect. Her mental antennae—which she called her whiskers—became blocked by the energy of the other passengers if she rode inside the cars. 

She needed her whiskers clear at the start of a hunt, using the deepest subway routes to get within range of her prey. Surrounded by the living rock that was the sprawling city's foundation, her senses flexed and searched. Some months she rode different train roofs for hours before picking up a vibration, but the quiver came early this time. Distant, but fresh. 

The car wheezed to a stop at the next station, the tunnel opening into light and sound and movement. It was still early, so no one noticed when she slid down and joined the crowd. To them she was just another mid-teens girl in dark clothing, with pale skin under short black hair. 

Thoughts and emotions crowded in, all the languages translating instantly. So much of it was a cavalcade of needless worry and pointless urgency. The humans had whiskers too, but most of them had blunted their senses long ago. Silenced by a constant bombardment of meaningless input, their whiskers had atrophied to the state of a useless, unnoticed appendage. 

A quiver alerted Elsie, but it wasn't the adrenaline-surge alarm that said something was staring at her or launching an attack. This sensation was mild, and she recognized it while heading for the stairs. 

Sitting on a bench beside his mother, one of the children the humans called "special" followed her with wide eyes. Mouth open, he bounced lightly in his seat. Their whiskers touched, a bloom of warmth no one else noticed, and Elsie gave him a bright smile. He was clapping and laughing when she started up the steps.

Elsie knew every mile of the tunnels that cut through the rock under the city. Conduits for the subways, the sewage, the water, and all the connectors for maintaining the subterranean lifelines. Her whiskers flowed through the stone, noting changes both human and not. The jagged fissures, longer and deeper than any excavation. The chambers and cracks that had been filled or widened by cold and water. The fresh, focused channels carved by her prey. 

The April edition of HYPNOS Magazine is available here:

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