The Sudden Fictions Podcast Schedule for March (and Prompt for April)!

Podcast Schedule March 2023

1 MAR: Post this schedule and prompt for MARCH (Submissions re-opened)

The Prompt for APRIL is: STORM

3 MAR: Episode 9 – Eden Bailey “Life in the Air”

10 MAR: Episode 10 – Kristi Petersen Schoonover “It Can’t Rain All the Time”

17 MAR: Episode 11 – ****SPECIAL GUEST****

24 MAR: Episode 12 – Jason McIntyre “Train Car Six”

31 MAR: Episode 13 – Andrew Butters “The Prophecy”



  1. Stories are to be YOUR work of original, not-previously-published flash fiction of between 750-1000 words FIRM
  2. Once the prompt for the month is released (on the 1st of the previous month) You will have either 30 days or until the number of accepted stories for the month has been reached.
  3. Submissions are to be in MANUSCRIPT FORMAT (if you aren’t sure, here is the wiki page on standard manuscript formatting)
  4. Submissions are to be e-mailed to submissions <at> suddenfictions <dot> com
  5. Once your story has been selected, you will be asked for a bio, photo and PAYPAL E-MAIL address. Right now we are paying $25.00 USD per accepted story.
  6. NO stories about rape or child abuse will be accepted. I have a hard time with violence agains women/children/minorities in general. Don’t test me.
  7. These guidelines will be posted each month under “Events.” The latest post has the latest version of the guidelines
Upcoming Sudden Fiction podcast Events

Podcast Schedule February 2023

1 FEB: Post this schedule and prompt for MARCH (Submissions re-opened)

The Prompt for MARCH (With apologies to Billy Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar) is: PROPHECY 

3 FEB: Episode 5 – Maria Haskins “Marta’s Smile”

10 FEB: Episode 6 – Cindy O’Quinn & Nathan McCullough “I’ll See You in Forever”

17 FEB: Episode 7 – Kerry E. B. Black “Beloved by Shadows”

24 Feb: Episode 8 – Jason McIntyre “Keys”



  1. Stories are to be YOUR work of original, not-previously-published flash fiction of between 750-1000 words FIRM
  2. Once the prompt for the month is released (on the 1st of the previous month) You will have either 30 days or until the number of accepted stories for the month has been reached.
  3. Submissions are to be in MANUSCRIPT FORMAT (if you aren’t sure, here is the wiki page on standard manuscript formatting)
  4. Submissions are to be e-mailed to submissions <at> suddenfictions <dot> com
  5. Once your story has been selected, you will be asked for a bio, photo and PAYPAL E-MAIL address. Right now we are paying $25.00 USD per accepted story.
  6. NO stories about rape or child abuse will be accepted. I have a hard time with violence agains women/children/minorities in general. Don’t test me.
  7. These guidelines will be posted each month under “Events.” The latest post has the latest version of the guidelines
Star Wars Storytelling Matures with ANDOR

NOTE: This post originally appeared in issue #69 of Journey Planet

There is no doubt that Disney’s stewardship of the Star Wars franchise has suffered from growing pains. Fan and critic reactions to the final two films of the Skywalker saga and the move away from Star Wars feature films are a clear testament to that fact. The one bright spot for Disney in the cinematic space was the one true “war film” of the franchise – Rogue One.

There are spoilers ahead for many of the Star Wars properties. You’ve been warned.

Rogue One follows the exploits of Jyn Erso, a strong-willed woman with a checkered past (and daughter of the lead architect of the original Death Star project) who leaves her history behind to fight the Empire. During her onscreen journey, we are introduced to a cast of marvelous characters, including rebel spy Cassian Andor.

Rogue One ends as one would expect a war movie prequel to end for all the characters never mentioned in any other properties. The beauty of the storytelling in Rogue One is that, as a seasoned and obsessive fan of Star Wars, I knew how the movie was likely to end for the characters we meet in in the movie – yet the writing was so good, their foregone conclusion did not take away from the enchantment one bit.

Maintaining story tension for two hours for a tale where the audience already knows the outcome is no mean feat – see the Star Wars prequels for an example of a missed opportunity.

The (in my not-so-humble opinion) mediocrity of the prequels was the reason I was nonplussed when it was announced that Disney would be producing a prequel series to Rogue One called Andor. Would they ruin a spectacular film with another missed opportunity prequel story?

The short answer is that the House of Mouse got it right.

Disney brought in the writer for Rogue One, Tony Gilroy (whose credits include Beirut, Proof of Life, and The Devil’s Advocate, to name a few), as showrunner. The result is a story unlike any other told in the vast Star Wars universe: a slow-burn, character-driven show with superb acting, poignant writing, and political intrigue. It showcased the absolute horror of a fascist regime and the sacrifices those who revolt against such a government must make to eventually win.

Andor takes place five years before Rogue One and follows the returning Diego Luna’s titular character for his own journey from rogue to freedom fighter. But this fight is not a solo endeavor, as we also are reintroduced to the eventual political leader of the rebellion, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly), and the expert in subterfuge and antiquities, Luthen Rael (played by the brilliant Stellan Skarsgård). Through their eyes and actions, we witness the birth of multiple insurgencies that, as we know, eventually come together to form the Alliance of Leia, Luke, and Han.

But Andor is not a black-and-white story of good versus evil. This is a gritty story of sacrifice, lies, and murder – more often than not carried out by the heroes of the story. While Cassian Andor’s journey is like that of Rogue One’s Jyn Erso, it is the interaction of the characters that drive this story. Tony Gilroy takes his time to properly set up the pieces on his chess board, an act done with great care. Oh, there are still explosions and Star Destroyers, but they are used sporadically and only when a necessary part of the story.

Andor is telling a story about regular beings in a complex universe who are facing extraordinary and deadly choices within the framework of a tyrannical government exerting its power and control to obliterate individualism and freedom. The scenes within the Imperial Security Bureau (ISB) – analogous to the German Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS) or the Soviet Union’s Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (KGB) – show the Empire’s attempt to quell the movements of Mon Mothma, Luthen Rael, and others. As the twelve-part series unfolds, we are shown that both sides of the galactic conflict break the rules of basic morality and law to achieve their goals. There are no white and black hats – green versus red lightsabers – to be seen. All hands are dirty, and Tony Gilroy shows it with great finesse. There are brilliant speeches and monologues to underpin the passion that the various factions feel about their chosen paths (Fiona Shaw’s speech as Maarva Andor will make the viewer shed a tear). But the triumph of Andor is taking a story with a known ending and making it both entertaining and relevant for the times we live in.

While telling a poignant Star Wars tale with nary a lightsaber to be seen, I cannot wait to see where Andor goes in season two.

REVIEW: Slow Horses (Seasons 1 &2) streaming on Apple+

4 5 StarRating
4.5 out of 5

Based on Mick Herron’s “Slough House” book series.

Rated: TV-MA

Starring: Gary Oldman (Jackson Lamb), Jack Lowden (River Cartwright), Kristen Scot Thomas (Second Desk Diana Taverner), Saskia Reeves (Catherine Standish) and an additional cast of delicious characters.

I’ve heard that Mick Herron has been equated to a modern-day Ian Fleming, comparing the latter’s James Bond books to the former’s series of MI-5 misfits. If anything, the series is the antithesis of James Bond—and the stories and characters are richer for the experience.

The Apple Plus series is a visual masterpiece and the pacing more than makes up for the books tendency to become bogged down in details that, in my not-so-humble-opinion aren’t needed.

Each of the first two seasons is named after the first two books in the series (Slow Horses and Dead Lions) and follows the disheveled, alcoholic, chain-smoking, and rather disgusting Jackson Lamb (Oldman) and his Slough House division of MI5 (The British Security Service) misfits.

Season One opens with a very action-oriented scene that sets the stage for the series. We are first introduced to an up-and-coming agent by the name of River Cartwright who…makes a career altering mistake, landing him under the disapproving and abusive eye of Lamb. I would equate Lamb’s character to that of Hugh Laurie’s Gregory House character—but Lamb is worse—way worse than House.

Political intrigue descends upon Slough House as the team of MI5 misfits (this season rounded out by Saskia Reeves, Rosalind Eleazer, Christopher Chung (who plays Roddy perfectly) and Dustin-Demri-Burns step up to solve a kidnapping case with political and international ramifications.

The Second season finds the team again fighting the politics of the MI5 Regent Park HQ along with personal agendas that have dire consequences for some.

The season long stories are tightly scripted. The Characters—especial Oldman, Reeves and Lowden, are brought to life in a way better than I’d imagined when reading the novels, the first time around. Gary Oldman sells Jackson Lamb. Even when the stories ebb a bit (as they do in both seasons occasionally), Oldman’s performance is a delight to behold, and his delivery (and outrageous accent) made me laugh out loud more than once.

A few of the villains of the series are a bit over the top (Freddie Fox’s James ‘Spider’ Webb for one). Samuel West as the conservative right-wing MP (and Home Secretary in season two) was brilliant in the first season, and a smarmy git in the second. I knocked off a half star for those quibbles.

But there is a reason that season’s three and four have been green lit by Apple already. Overall Slow Horses is a well written romp of a spy series. So, if you like your spy thrillers with a side of snark, and with twists that are surprising, I think you should give this one a go. I, for one, can’t wait to see Gary Oldman run more rings around the intelligence establishment in future seasons.

Happy New Year!

Welcome to the “new and improved”!

The refresh was sorely needed, and while the team is still working on things in the background (the new store, for example) we felt a soft launch was in order, as 2023 is bringing a LOT of news!

On 31 December, just a couple of days ago, I had a paper I wrote on the Disney+ series Andor published in issue 69 of the fanzine Journey Planet. Thanks to Erin Underwood for thinking of me and inviting me to participate.

The year begins on that publication high note, but there is so much more in store!

January sees the release of the first four episodes of my new podcast called Sudden Fictions. It’s a weekly show featuring one piece of flash fiction of between 750-1000 words. These so-called sudden fictions are concise stories that don’t end with a twist or a bang but are suddenly just there, surprising, unpredictable, hilarious, profound, and moving, all in a couple of pages. The first year-long theme is “Seasons,” with January’s monthly theme of “Blizzard.” Bill Kirton, one of my old “irregulars” from my last show, joins me the first week, with original stories from Sheri White, Suzanne Madron, and J. Edwin Buja rounding out the month. I’ll release February’s prompt on 6 JAN, so look for that posting on Twitter, Hive, Facebook, and Instagram. The show will be available in multiple locations, including my website, Spotify, iTunes, and more.

I’m also continuing a secret project I began with a partner last fall. Announcements on that will be forthcoming, but we are building something I truly hope will be magical—especially for those who write, wish to write, and love speculative fiction. 

My writing continues; I have three short stories ready for open calls that I’m looking forward to in the first half of 2023. Work on the novel (The Daemon of Flatbush) goes well, and I recently crossed the 50k word mark. I aim to have that wrapped up by June 30, so I can devote my time to the secret project launch. 

Have a poke around the new site and drop me a line at me (at) rbwood (dot) com to let me know what you think.

It’s going to be a good year for all of us, I hope!


RBW 2 Jan 23

Podcast News! Sudden Fictions Schedule-January 2023


Podcast Schedule January 2023

6 JAN: Post Feb Prompt and Open for Submissions

6 JAN: Episode 1 – Bill Kirton “Twins?”

13 JAN: Episode 2 – Sheri White “All is Calm, All is Bright”

20 JAN: Episode 3 – Suzanne Madron “Cold Faith”

27 JAN: Episode 4 – J. Edwin Buja “Tight White Smile”

“West of Hell” is born…

My latest novella called The Trickster of Paradise (There is a link to me reading a 5-minute scene at the end of this article) is out now in a collection of three wonderfully weird westerns by myself and my fellow writers and friends Michael Burke and James A. Moore.

You and buy the eBook, paperback, or hardcover version of “West of Hell” at this link: WEST OF HELL

           How did I, an uncanny & macabre thriller writer, end up writing a weird western? Well, my friends, tie up your horse and come sit by the campfire, and I’ll tell you a tale from yesteryear.

            I grew up in the 70s on Long Island, New York, wearing a red cowboy hat and toting two silver plastic cap gun “six shooters” strapped to my waist. My imaginary horse was called “Toby,” and he and I went on the most insane adventures a young boy could think up. This was before “Creature Double Feature,” “The Twilight Zone,” and “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” changed my life.

            My dad—may he rest in peace—was a western fan all his life. From the books of Zane Grey to those of Louis L’Amour and the movies of Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, my dad loved them all.

            I remember watching those old movies on WPIX channel 11 in New York. I also loved “The Rifleman” (and always thought I would make a better son to Chuck Connor’s Lucas McCann rather than actor Johnny Crawford). I would wait eagerly for “The Wild, Wild West” to come on (and as an adult, I’ve decided never to discuss the cinematic remake starring Will Smith).

            I guess what I’m trying to say is that before the darker speculative fiction that became my passion in my teen years and beyond, westerns were the first stories that tickled my imagination. The sense of adventure. The peril of living “on the frontier.” The simple morality tales at the end of each episode of “Gunsmoke.”

            And the singing of Gene Autry.

            Westerns were my childhood; so it was only natural that as an adult speculative fiction writer, I would create a weird western story that would combine the supernatural with a “hearty ‘Hi ho Silver, away!’” My novella as a part of “West of Hell” is, in many ways, a tribute to my father as it is a story of revenge and the power of legends, both good and bad.

            I hope you enjoy the collection as much as we enjoyed bringing it to you. In the meantime, I’m going to grab my red cowboy hat because Toby and I are riding off into the sunset of our next adventure.

           And I would be much obliged if you grabbed yourself a copy of “West of Hell” today!

Here is a 5-minute snippet of me reading from The Trickster of Paradise:

It’s Been A While…

West of Hell scaledThings are beginning to pick up in the writing world again!

In ten days, Crystal Lake Publishing will release my Novella The Trickster of Paradise. I’m honored to be in a weird western collection with the talents of James A. Moore and Michael Burke. The collection is called “West of Hell,” and it is the second in CLP’s new Dark Tide series. Early reviews have been great, and the prerelease is already climbing the Amazon charts.

A couple more announcements are forthcoming.


Earlier in the summer, I attended my first in-person convention since Covid…it was truly fantastic to get out of the house and see people I haven’t been able to hug in over two years. I Sat down for over ninety minutes with the great joe Landsdale and he was an absolute blast to hang out with and hear his stories. I love being around people in this industry who have a passion for the storytelling arts…and his Jonax Hex comic series may have been an influence on my weird western novella.

IMG 8054

I’m looking to work on a new show with the last episode of the Word Count Podcast long since in the can. I’ve been kicking around a few ideas and will hopefully have an update on them in the fall or early winter. In the meantime, there has been some “writer-adjacent” stuff happening in the background that I can’t chat about yet. Maybe soon, if the stars align.

Finally, the next Novel in the Psalms of the Arcana series is taking shape. I’m nearly 30k words in at this point and expect to have it finished by 2023.

There is, as always, a lot going on, and I’ve missed you guys so much! I hope you all are well, and I’m making a renewed effort to post here more often. The spooky season approaches, and I’ll be at the Merrimack Halloween Book Festival in Haverhill, Massachusetts, next month. More on that soon!

Peace, love, and hair grease!



(Photo by Tony Tremblay)

Bayou Whispers–Early Reviews!

Bayou Whispers EbookA few reviews are trickling in from the Advance Release Copies of the novel we sent out. First up, though, the Press Release went live up at PRWeb and is beginning to grab attention:

Thriller writer R. B Wood announces his latest Book Bayou Whispers which tells the story of a strong female lead and survivor…

And a few reviews. One from Sean M. Sanford at Horror DNA:

The bayou. It’s a world within worlds. Some good things; some bad…

And another from Ashley Perkins (Psibabe) at Game Vortex:

Bayou Whispers by R.B. Wood revolves around Jeannine LaRue…

I’ve been recording interviews like crazy and have a fairly booked schedule through May. This experience is so amazing…and I hope you all join me for the OFFICIAL LAUNCH of Bayou Whispers on 29 April at 8 PM Eastern on FaceBook Live!BW Launch Event

Bayou Whispers Online Book Launch Event!

BW Launch Event

I will be hosting a Facebook Live event in conjunction with my publisher, Crystal Lake Publishing, on April 29th at 8:00 PM EDT! I’ll be in conversation with the esteemed Todd Keisling, and I’ll read a few scenes from the novel! Sign up today, it’s free!

Early feedback on Bayou Whispers:

Wood wrote a compelling tale steeped in New Orleans flavor and dark magic. The characters are colorful, likable, and altogether a triumph.

Mercedes M. Yardley, Stoker Award-winning author of “Little Dead Red”

Bayou Whispers is a haunting, touching novel that blends the horrors of everyday life with that of the supernatural. Tapping into the tension and setting of films like Angel Heart and True Detective, this is a hypnotic story told from a place of loss, community, and resolute hope.

Richard Thomas, author of Disintegration and Thriller Award nominee, Breaker

The secrets in BAYOU WHISPERS unwind like a line of music. But it’s the music that plays just before the monsters jump out.

Sarah Read, Stoker award-winning author of “The Bone Weaver’s Orchard”

Wood’s Bayou Whispers is a sublime cocktail of horror, supernatural thriller, and urban fantasy, where the mythos of voodoo clashes with the modern day. Fans of Jim Butcher and the Marvel Cinematic Universe will love this.

Todd Keisling, Bram Stoker nominated author of Devil’s Creek

Bayou Whispers Cover Reveal!

In April 2021, my novel Bayou Whispers will be released by Crystal Lake Publishing in both eBook and Paperback formats. Audio to be announced later!

First, the cover:Bayou Whispers EbookIsn’t that gorgeous? the amazing Kip Ayers is the artist. And I love that blurb from Mercedes!

What’s the book about?

Bayou Whispers is the story of no-nonsense New Orleans native, Jeannine LaRue, the sole survivor of her family after the devastation brought on by Hurricane Katrina. In the aftermath of the storm, she believed she’d been saved, but soon found herself held hostage and sexually exploited, rescued months later by sheriff’s deputy Curtis Jones. 

Twelve years after Katrina, Jeannine is a new attorney who returns to New Orleans to save her old friend Curtis Jones—now a local thief and trafficker of stolen goods—after he is arrested for the murder of Jeannine’s captors, whose bodies have recently been found. But Jeannine discovers more than she bargained for when she uncovers a family history of dark voodoo magic and an unholy alliance with an ancient evil Haitian god. 

There will be an online launch event at the end of April and a host of other activities planned. I can’t wait to get this one in your hands!

Stay tuned!

Peace, love, and hair grease,



My Interview on “The Writer’s Voice Podcast!”

Near the end of 2020. I was interviewed by Linda McHenry of The Writer’s Voice Podcast! What a delightful experience, and we talked for so long about the business, speculative fiction, and my upcoming novel, that my Interview had to be split into two parts. Links are below–I hope you enjoy!

The Writer’s Voice PART I- 30 December 2020

The Writer’s Voice PART 2- 13 January 2021