Jack William Bell

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Jack William Bell

About Me

Writing Sample

I heard O’Connell marching heavily down the path towards the house. I saw him, at first brightly lit then as a dark, hulking figure as a cloud plunged over the moon. I heard a dog inside the house make a couple of tentative woofs, and then start barking in earnest. I smelled the manure and horse sweat that permeated the barn and I felt it’s rough boards against my shoulder.

A light came on inside the house; a kerosene lamp glowing red through the curtained window. The door flew open and an arm held up the lamp, the rest of the figure hidden behind the glow. Another form moved out of the door; an older man holding a double-barreled shotgun. He wasn’t pointing it at Paddy, but both barrels were cocked and his finger was near the trigger. The dog was trying to get past the man holding the lamp, who stepped out and kicked the door shut behind him. I still couldn’t see his face.

The old man raised the shotgun, not quite pointing it yet. “Stop right there! Turn around and get off this property or I’ll drag off your body and leave it for the coyotes!” His voice was liquor rough and smoker harsh.

O’Connell stopped. “Hello Willy. It’s just me, Paddy O’Connell.” He spoke with a clear Irish brogue, not like his usual speaking voice. He lifted both hands from his pockets and held them out, openly.

The man with the shotgun peered forward, then recoiled back. The moon was beginning to come through the clouds more, but I still couldn’t see very well. The dog was barking its head off in the house.

Then the man laughed loudly. “I’ll be a son of a bitch! It is you, O’Connell.” He took a step forward. Then he pointed the gun straight at O’Connell and put his finger on the trigger.

The moon lightened a bit more and I could see his face. It was a mask of hate.

O’Connell didn’t move. He simply held open both hands and waited, towering over the man with the shotgun.

The dog was barking frantically, claws scratching at the door. I finally caught a glimpse of the man holding the lamp. A younger version of the man holding the shotgun. A younger version of the man who was not shooting his shotgun, not yet. A younger version of the man who I was aiming my own rifle at, my own finger on the trigger. The man whom I was not shooting, not yet. I had stopped breathing.

The man lowered the shotgun towards the ground and cracked it open, hanging it over his arm.

“I’m guessing there’s at least two guns pointed at me right now, aint there?”

What I Write

Science Fiction, mostly. I’m currently working on a historical mystery set in the 1920’s. As of yet there are no fantastic elements to it at all.



Twitter Handle



Not much to put here. Websites no longer on the web. Magazines long gone.

I just don’t have what Jay Lake called ‘psychotic persistence’ when it comes to marketing my work.

Write-a-thon Goals

Writing Goals

I have reduced the day job to part time and am working hard on a historical mystery set in the 1920’s. Unfortunately for word count, I am currently in research mode.

However, this does mean I am gathering information about real people I intend to use as side characters in the story. So my goal for the Writeathon is to write a blog post each week–in the form of a short biography–selecting for my subjects real people from 1920’s Seattle so wild and outre no editor would accept them if fictional.

Aside from that I will be working on my novel outline and writing selected scenes, along with getting older stories back into the submission pipeline.

Fundraising Goals

Just looking for anything you can donate. Clarion West needs the help.

If you want to do something to encourage me, commit to $5 to $25 for each story submission I send or each 10,000 words I write.