Author Archives: trentpmcd

About trentpmcd

Trent P. McDonald Musician, composer, author, photographer, general creative.


Today I had a guest post on Melanie Noell Bernard’s blog, MNBernard Books, as part of her Hallo-we-en series for October.  Check it out!

— —

“You grew up here?”

“Yeah. It’s been in the family for generations.”

“I knew there had to be some reason for the way you turned out. I guess now I know. Brrr.” Addy shuddered.

“Ha, ha. Let’s go check if the keys work.”

Brandon got out of the car. He smiled at Addy as she got out of the passenger side, reassuring her that it was fine, then turned towards the house. He hoped that she didn’t see the slight shake in his hand or the worry in his eye.

Continue reading on MNBernard Books: Source: Ghosts


How Do You Draft?


About two weeks ago I started a second draft of The Halley Branch, a novel I wrote for the blog in real time in 2015 (I wrote and posted a new chapter every day).  Last night I was talking to someone about drafting, and we were thinking slightly different things.  I am a little curious on people’s opinions about how to draft.  I know, each person does things their own way, like the old arguments about being a Planner or Pantser when writing the first draft, but I am still curious.

I see two major styles of drafting, Old School and Edited Draft.  OK, I made up that last one because I didn’t want to call it “The Lazy Way”, particularly since that is my current technique.  I’ll give you a definition as to how I see these methods. Continue reading

Spur – #writephoto


Photo by Sue Vincent

Note – this is part of the story, Towards the Light.  Click here for previous.  Go to the Table of Contents. Or start at the beginning: (click here for part 1 – The Tunnel)

— —

I looked back up at the tower in wonder.  This was our destination?  It seemed unreal.  For a power that could take over several worlds, including my beloved earth, it seemed too small, to insignificant, too medieval.

“Quick,” Whindel said.  He was pointing to a side path.  I could hear hoofbeats.

A ridge stuck out from the hill that I couldn’t help but label an acropolis.  We ran towards it.  As we got a little closer, I could see a spur off of the main ridge creating a small “valley”.  Whindel pushed towards this little valley between the ridges and we were soon out of sight of the main road going to the castle on the hill and in another few spots were totally hidden from everything around.  I heard the riders pass close to us, their armor clinking and their spurs chiming as the went past.

Whindel waved his arms and a door leading into the new ridge became visible.  He led us into a dark room.  With another wave, a few lamps light up and the door quickly, but silently, shut behind us.  I heard a weird noise and somehow understood that the ground once again covered the door. Continue reading

What the Old Oak Knew


PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

It was an idyllic location, in a remote valley surrounded by Vermont’s Green Mountains.  The village was the type of place that tourists love to photograph, recalling “yesteryear’s New England”.

There was only one road in, and it was washed out by Irene in 2011.  The town asked for the bridge to not be repaired.

I walked down the empty street and stopped at a large structure surrounded by picnic tables.

I heard that all meals where communal events.

What happened during that last meal on the day the Preacher said the world would end?

Only the old oak knew.

— — — Continue reading

Mountains of My Mind #Haibun #Tanka

Flower with Flatirons in the background

Mountains of My Mind

I stop to admire a flower and wonder what she is doing.   I turn a corner, see a bird and think of the latest outrage he tweeted.  I touch the tall pine and politics dominate my thoughts.  I go up the rise, hard rock beneath my feet, and think of nuclear tipped missiles falling from space.  But I push harder, sweat more, and go farther up this mountain.  Soon, I take in the view and my mind is blank, quiet.  I look around and all there is, is nature.  And me.

From the mountain top
The Earth spreads out calm below
The world seems at peace
I need refuge from Mankind
The turmoil of daily life

I am an extreme Introvert.  My mind drowns out all sounds around it.   Sometimes I need to go where there is no competition, no distraction from people talking.  I need to go where there are no sounds made from Man.  On a deserted beach at dawn, or deep in the forest, or high on a mountain top, I can be me.  Sometimes that mountain only exists in my head.

— — Continue reading

Tower – #photowrite


Photo by Sue Vincent

Note – this is part of the story, Towards the Light.  Click here for previous.  Go to the Table of Contents. Or start at the beginning: (click here for part 1 – The Tunnel)

— —

My head began to clear and I realized that we were in a small stone chamber.  With the view I had from the only window, we were in an upper floor of the building, which was at the top of a hill.

“Where are we?” I asked.

Whindel stopped glaring at Rawcliph and said, “We are in the Sorcerer’s Tower, the very heart of the land of Wizards.  This is the most sacred spot for my race.”

“As such,” Rawcliph said, “it is our Hall of Justice for the largest crimes against our race.  And Whindel, none have commit a crime as great as the one you have suggested.”

“I don’t understand,” I said.  “We are planning on taking Glumoric out of the picture so he can’t just come back, as he recently did.  This is the only way to heal Blavour.”

“I know all of that,” Rawcliph said.  “The problem is, you plan on sending him to the Void.  There is no higher treason to the Wizards.” Continue reading

Friday the 13th – Friday Fictoneers Edition


PHOTO POMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

“I’m not superstitious,” Betty said.

When she was a child, her great-grandmother used to say that that world of the living and the dead drew together as Halloween approached.  She never believed it.

There was another loud “thump” followed by the strange voice.

And Friday the 13th?  Just the start to another autumn weekend.

More sounds.

Greg should have been home long ago.   Where was he?

A blood curdling scream came from the garage as Greg pulled in.  Then silence.

After a minute, she braved the garage.

“Look what I caught,” Greg said, holding a feathered object.  “A myna bird.”

— — — Continue reading

The Haunting You – #Haibun


The Haunting You

I feel the past as a ghost, insubstantial yet always there.  I sometimes strive to remember, at other times I ache to forget.   A sight, sound or scent can make me recall the smallest detail from my most distant past as if it where happening, yet I know it’s not real.  It is gone, the past.  Right now, whichever memories I might need to cherish, there is one that is the strongest.  I turn out the lights and remember.

When my eyes are shut
Your image floats before me
Ghost of a whisper
I am haunted by your face

— —  Continue reading

Swimming in October

A day swimming at the beach on Cape Cod… in October?

It is October in New England.  Summer is a distant memory.  We have chill nights and walks in the woods full of color.

Or that’s the way it is most years.

The colors aren’t’ bright this year and the air is warm.

I did a long paddle on my kayak today, ending at South Village Beach in West Dennis, MA.  That is on Cape Cod.  The beach is where Swan River meets the Ocean (actually, Nantucket Sound).  I started up in Swan Pond.

After getting to the beach, I waded in the water, going deeper and deeper.  Finally I dunked my head under.  And then I swam for about 5 or 10 minutes.  I didn’t have a towel, so I air dried.

Remember, this is October in New England.

OK, I hiked Franconia Ridge last November and swam off of Cape Cod this October.  I have kayaked every month (on the Cape) for almost 30 months straight.  So what will next year bring?  Sun bathing in January?

Glade – #photowrite

Photo by Sue Vincent

Note – this is part of the story, Towards the Light.  Click here for previous.  Go to the Table of Contents. Or start at the beginning: (click here for part 1 – The Tunnel)

— —

“We need to plan,” I said.

‘What?” Whindel asked.  He shook his head and appeared to have just woken from a dream.

“We need to plan.  You know, you asked about the, you know what…”

“Plan?  Maybe, but first we need to leave,” the wizard said.

We stepped out into a meadow.

“I thought we moved?  Why are we in the same place?” I asked.

“You did move, but you took your surrounds with you.”  The wizard didn’t look back at me, but set a quick pace towards the far trees.

“Seems awfully conspicuous to drop a forest and meadow next to the enemy’s stronghold, if you ask me,” I said.  I felt uneasy, and the fact that the trees appeared to be racing towards us at a much faster pace than we were walking contributed to this feeling.  The meadow had shrunk to a small glade and continued to shrink.

“It was, for a moment, to those looking for it,” the wizard said.  “But soon it will no longer be a problem.  Now hush.”

I heard a crash and looked over my shoulder.  There was no sight of meadow or cottage.  We were in a deep dark forest.  I shivered.  It wasn’t a pleasant place.  The trees were misshapen and odd shadows grabbed at us as we walked by. Continue reading