As I say on my website, I love to write stories as much as you love to read them. I write novels and short stories. I write mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, and more. And I write them for you.
I've been writing since childhood, but I'll be honest, I didn't get good at it until at Northwestern University I met an amazing girl named Kathleen who undertook the herculean task of editing my term papers, short stories, and eventually novels. She was so devoted to my writing that, well, I just had to marry her.
Okay, probably she liked one or two other things about me, too, and I certainly liked a lot of things about her. But we're talking writing here, so let's focus on that.
That woman labored tirelessly for decades to turn my writing into something readable. And it worked. I may have been a slow study, but it did work. Eventually. Want proof? In 2022, A Day for Bones, my fourth Howard County Mystery novel (and seventh book overall) was named a quarter-finalist in the Publishers Weekly BookLife Prize competition, garnering a score of 9.25 out of 10.
Alas, Kathleen didn't get to bask in the glow of that achievement, at least not in this world. In 2014, she was diagnosed with liver disease, and although she remained fairly stable for some years, she passed away at the end of June, 2022, one week after our 45th anniversary. Here's the last photo taken of her, on our anniversary.
Did I say last photo? Not quite. There's a companion photo of me kissing her a minute later, but I'll save that for another time. Point is, she made me what I am today—in more ways than one—and although that may sound cliché, it's absolutely true.
I don't, as a rule, pour my grief out in public, but you can probably tell I'm still crazy mad in love with her. I always will be.
But writing. Yes. What do I write? In fiction, I'm all over the place. I mostly write mysteries and science fiction, but I've spilled out mainstream, fantasy, western, a bit of horror, and even one light little romance. You'll find all of that here on Medium. In nonfiction, I've written on religion (I'm a Baha'i), a bit of astronomy (two essays in Sky & Telescope, anyway), software development (my "day job"), and a fair bit on writing right here on Medium. I'll give you some of my Medium favorites below. But first...
Here's the complete list of my books as of November 2022. (If you're reading this long after that, you might want to bug me to update this!)
Howard County Mysteries: The Fibonacci Murders, True Death, Ice on the Bay, A Day for Bones
Bernard and Melody Capers: Weasel Words, Rooftop Sonata (in progress)
Science Fiction: Space Operatic, The Belt (in progress), Penitence (in progress)
Short Story Collections: The Realm of Tiny Giants, Found by the Road (in progress)
My favorite short stories
An Incident at the Mall: This humorous flash fiction story introduced Bernard and Melody Earls, who later appeared in Weasel Words and will pop up again in Rooftop Sonata. Bernard and Melody starred in eight flash tales in all.
The Lighthouse: The first flash fiction story I wrote from a prompt, it took several days to get this one right. But the effort was worth it. It won a minor award, also a first for me.
A Perfect Crime: Stories don't often spring into my mind full-blown, but this one did. While I was driving to work one morning. What rotten timing! I typed it up as soon as I got to the office, and it worked out beautifully.
Rattler: Another award winner, this one is just plain fun!
Forest of Giants: This story not only won an award, it lent its name (sort of) to my first short story collection, The Realm of Tiny Giants.
The Gift of Empathy: Once I was a regular contributor to the Medium publication Lit Up, I wanted to write a longer story for their "Tales in Parts" section. This was the result. One of the Lit Up editors called this story "brilliant." Before the pandemic, they talked of doing an anthology and wanted to include "The Gift of Empathy." Of course I said yes, but that never came to fruition thanks to the turmoil. (Note: The link takes you to part 1 of 4. Each part has links to the next and previous part, as appropriate.)
The Stones on the Shore (Long version): I originally wrote a flash fiction tale by this name. I thought it was pretty good, but it needed more room, so I wrote this version. It turned out to be a somewhat different but much better story. I've done such expansions several times.
The Memory Bag: The stories above are older. This one is relatively new. I wrote it from a prompt at the Art Institute of Chicago's website while preparing to do a workshop in conjunction with an exhibition at a local arts college. I think it may be one of my best stories ever.
I've published over 160 short stories on Medium. If this sampling whets your appetite, plenty more await!
My favorite writing articles
How to Use Writing Prompts: The title says it all. This article has proven to be my most popular Medium story ever. It not only will help you with writing prompts but with drawing inspiration from literally anything, because as I'm fond of saying, the world is your writing prompt!
Dictionary and Thesaurus: A lesson I learned from Kathleen, so of course it's one of my favorites. It's not the sexiest lesson in the world, but for writers, it could be among the most important.
The Action Scene: I enjoy writing about specific elements of a story. For one thing, I get to research subjects that I might not have thought much about, which helps improve my own writing. For another, I get to write examples. Often I provide bad examples (which is fun!) and clean them up to create good examples (which is educational).
You Talk Too Much: Another instance of that, this one focused on dialogue.
Clean Up Your Language: Aside from writing, I also dabble in bonsai. This article resulted when I realized that there is a connection between the two arts. It has some nice bonsai images in it, too.
Titlecraft: I wrote this one after seeing other writers struggling with titles, something that doesn't (well, not usually, anyway) plague me.
Where to find me
The best way to find me is via my website, which is just my name: DaleELehman.com. The best way to keep in touch is to subscribe to one or both of my newsletters, Story Corner for readers and Writing Corner for writers. I give you freebies when you sign up. Tap that link to see what I'm offering.
And of course here on Medium. How about that?