Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays From Six-Word Tales!

Thank you all for being part of Six-Word Tales. It's been great to share these stories with everyone.

I'm ending the year with a piece by Greg Ruth -- the artist who helped me kick-off this project. We share with you one of Greg's many magical depictions of New York City during the season of winter wonders.

All the best in 2010!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Long Distance Caller

Paul Harmon returns to illustrate this tale of an unusual traveler.

I have to admit, this spaceman intrigues me. Has he been sent to explore... or conquer?

Words by Stiles. Art by Paul Harmon.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holy War: The Final Chapter

It began with the discovery of a massive angel skeleton. Then, after years of searching, the mythic 'gate to hell' was finally found.

Now... two sides battle for the fate of mankind.

Words by Stiles. Art by Craig Spearing.

Monday, November 30, 2009

No Exit

You've been on this elevator. It's at the mall, and it takes you to that place where you can't find your car.

Words by Stiles. Art by Terry Wolfinger.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Soul In The Microchip

"Machines with feelings" is almost a genre unto itself. This is a tale of mine that was always in search of the right image. Luckily for me, I came across the work of Robert Bloom and saw this drawing of the pensive automaton. Many thanks to Robert for contributing to this week's tale.

Words by Stiles. Art by Robert Bloom.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Rock Poster Art of Uncle Charlie

As a bonus to this week's tale, I'm presenting some of Uncle Charlie's killer rock posters. Make sure to check out his huge archive of past artwork here (click 'next page' to view the many galleries of rock 'n roll goodness).

Also, the Houston Press "Rocks Off" blog has a cool mention of Charlie's Six-Word Tale. You can read the posting here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Real Vision

"There are always flowers for those who want to see them." -- Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

Charlie Hardwick (aka Uncle Charlie as he's known in the art world) is an old friend from Houston. He was a member of the legendary Texas punk band Dresden 45 and is now one of the region's top rock poster artists.

When I first started this blog, I reached out to Charlie and asked him to contribute something. I was going to come up with a tale and see what Charlie did with it. But then Charlie came back to me with his own six words.

"Blind artist perennially focuses. Infinite spectrum."

He sent me a link to a recent story in the Houston Press. After reading the article, I realized that Charlie was referring to himself. He's the blind artist. I encourage all of you to read this inspiring article. It makes you rethink the entire notion of where artistic vision really comes from.

This week, I give the floor to Uncle Charlie, his six words and his art.

Words by Charlie and Stephanie Hardwick. Art by Uncle Charlie.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Chronomotron: Artifacts from the Six-Word Tales Repository

One of the first tales I posted was "Traveled time. Saw dinosaurs. Became lunch." The artwork featured a rather Steampunk looking device.

Artist Craig Spearing and his friend Chris Schaie are now creating an actual working model of the gadget. I'll keep you updated as they finish the Chronomotron... that is, if they're still around.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Weird Weather

Six-Word Tales welcomes new artist Paul Harmon! If you are a fan of comics, horror, illustration, or coolness in general, you must check out his blog. Seriously, go there. Now.

On to today's forecast: Winds moving in from the west. Strong chance of bizarre.

Words by Stiles. Art by Paul Harmon.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Holy War: The Second Chapter

Some believe there was a time when giants walked the Earth.

But those are just stories... right?

Words by Stiles. Art by Craig Spearing.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Their Secret

So far on this blog, I've only featured my own stories.  But since my wife is also my writing partner, I'm letting her have a turn on a Six-Word Tale.  Juliet has been fascinated by this week's subject matter for a long time.  Lately, I've noticed that she's acting slightly different.  Little things only I would notice.  But I'm not worried.  Not yet.

Words by Juliet Snowden.  Photographic art by Nick Palasin.

For more of Nick's work, please check out his excellent Flickr page here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Broken Promise Blues

Here's the legend. Struggling blues guitarist Robert Johnson traveled to a secret crossroads where he made a deal with the devil -- his soul in exchange for guitar playing genius.

Robert Johnson then re-emerged at juke joints across the south and astonished audiences with his sudden and almost supernatural musical talent. Over a five year period, Johnson cemented his legend as "King of The Delta Blues." And then mysteriously one night, he collapsed on stage and died days later at the age of 27.

Since then, many musicians have made their pilgrimage to the crossroads and inked their deal for fame and glory. Some of them are still waiting...

Words by Stiles. Art by Terry Wolfinger.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Making Of "Hey Kids!"

As a bonus to this week's tale, I wanted to show some of Devin Roth's progress pictures as he created the painting of Billy and his spectacular spectacles. For more of Devin's illustration and animation, please visit Scatterbrain Inc.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hey Kids! Amaze Your Friends!

Remember those ads for astounding gizmos in the back of comic books? Unfortunately, the promise of super-muscles or a fish bowl full of mini aqua chimps was always too good to be true.

Today at Six-Word Tales, the fantastic becomes real.

Devin Roth creates a spectacular work of art for this week's story. In the next few days, I'll post a first ever "making of" that takes you behind the scenes of how Devin put this piece together.

Act now! Supplies are limited.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Holy War: The First Chapter

Now for something new.  This week's story is part one of a trilogy.  As this tale came together, we felt like we wanted to see where it kept going.  The idea was too big.  Six words and one image would not be enough.

More chapters in the weeks to come.  Get ready... the War is about to begin.

Words by Stiles.  Art by Craig Spearing.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Tables Turn

The final illustration in Greg Ruth's initial series for Six-Word Tales.  Greg was a real inspiration for this blog with his highly acclaimed "52 Weeks Project," which you can check out by clicking here.  Big thanks to my old friend for helping me kick this off.

And now, this week's story.

The woods have a secret...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Someone's Been A Bad Girl

Just pray that she's not coming after you.

(Words by Stiles.  Spooky illustration by Craig Spearing.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Someone Left A Light On

Murder mystery.  Ghost story.  Maybe both...

Leave your comments.  Perhaps we can all figure this out together.

(Thanks to Steve Johnson for the photograph.)

Monday, August 31, 2009

On The Shoulders of Giants: Part Two

Somewhere in junior high...  

I was probably reading the incredible short story "The Veldt" by Ray Bradbury, when I had a major light bulb moment: 

Someone sat down and wrote this.

Mr. Bradbury taught me that it wasn't enough to daydream about all the great stories I had rattling around in my head.  You had to put the words on paper.  And then you had to write another story.  And another. And another...

The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Fahrenheit 451.  These are perfect works.  The writing stands the test of time because beyond the spaceships and midnight carnivals, Bradbury's stories were always about the power and failings of humanity.

So this week we honor a true founding father of the strange and fantastic -- Ray Bradbury.

Monday, August 24, 2009


This week's tale is a bit of reverse engineering.  Artist Craig Spearing spun this vision after a harrowing encounter with some geese.  It was an image just begging for six little words.  And if you know me, I can't say no to a scary story about birds.

(* bonus trivia.  Craig created this painting on his iPhone with an app called "Brushes")

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ring Bell For Service

Another new artist joins Six-Word Tales.  Terry Wolfinger does everything from magazine covers to special effects concept designs.  He recently illustrated the epic graphic novel "Vatican City, Las Vegas."

This week, he provides his talents for this story about Death... and customer service.

Happy Shopping!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Trapped By Her Own Device

Greg Ruth returns to illustrate a tale that might take place in a neighborhood just like yours.  Maybe next door... maybe closer.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Genesis : Reboot

Artist Devin Roth joins the Six-Word Tales gang this week.  I sent Devin this particular story, and he came back with an unexpected and fantastic science fiction interpretation.

Heads... or tails?

Monday, July 27, 2009

A One-Way Trip to a Faraway Place

This week we explore one of my favorite topics.  Artist Craig Spearing is back again to bring our tale to life.

Everyone have their tickets?  Good.  All aboard!

Monday, July 20, 2009

"Huntress Lycanthropus"

The very talented Craig Spearing provides the art for this week's tale. With a single image, Craig conjures up a character with a past, present, and rather dicey future.

Mr. Spearing will be illustrating more tales in the months to come. Until then, please visit his gallery at

Saturday, July 18, 2009

On the Shoulders of Giants: Part One

When I stumbled across 'The Twilight Zone' as kid, it was like nothing I'd seen before. Black and white. Stories that made your imagination explode. The enigmatic narrator who would set the stage before sending you hurtling into the unknown.

I also think the final line from one of the greatest episodes is possibly the first six-word genre story: "To serve man... it's a cookbook!"

And so I honor the first of our giants -- Rod Serling.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A strange day at Bradbury Elementary

Here's this week's tale, with more wonderful weirdness by artist Greg Ruth. And if you haven't yet, make sure to stop by Greg's fantastic site,

Many ocular confections await you!

Monday, July 6, 2009

What's on your mind?

Once again, Greg Ruth illustrates this week's tale. Your comments* are always welcome.

(* six word responses not required).

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mirror, Mirror

Here’s our inaugural tale. Longtime friend and incredible illustrator Greg Ruth provides the art. As always, I'll let the story speak for itself. If it strikes your fancy, leave us a comment. We'd love to know what you think.

Let's see where this takes us...

Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway once bragged he could write a great story with just six words. His creation:

"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

Haunting. Simple. And thus was born a cult literary genre.

This blog will feature my collection of six-word tales. Along for the ride are some friends and amazing artists.

If you’re visiting and taking a stroll through our gallery, please grace us with your comments and thoughts. I’ll be posting new stories at fairly regular intervals.