Descansa en paz!

That feeling when you finish a book that you didn’t want to end, it seems like the author is a dear friend, and then you discover that he passed away a few months ago.

“It got dark in there. That’s how thick the wave was and how deep within it I found myself,” writes surfer Allan Weisbecker in his memoir In Search of Captain Zero. “I was in a crouch, which is pretty much instinctive in that sort of situation, but I could have stood up and still not gotten my hair wet. For the three, maybe four seconds before that wave spit me back out into sunlight with my feet still firmly planted on my board, I was exactly and without doubt where I wanted to be on the surface of planet earth. And there was not a drop of water in my universe that was out of place.”

I hope you’ve found that perfect wave, my friend! Descansa en paz!

Muchas gracias!

As some of you know, I put my creative writing aside last year to focus on my editing service. The seeds I planted then are beginning to bloom. O’Brien Editing Services has been incredibly busy the first two months of 2024.

You all have played a part in that. The number of referrals OES has received—some from people I have not even worked with directly—has been overwhelming. Muchas gracias!

OK. That’s all for now. Back to work!

The Arrival

One of my Vegas vignettes, “The Arrival,” is currently live on Twenty-two Twenty-eight’s website.

It’s a color piece that I could see serving as an intro of sorts to a collection of stories from the streets of Las Vegas, but I’m happy that the editors of the journal feel it stands well on its own.

Take it for a spin—it’s only 500 or so words long—and let me know what you think.

A strong start

The year is off to a strong start. I’ve been reconnecting with clients of my editing service and connecting with new and interesting clients. Another one of my stories from the streets of Las Vegas was accepted for publication (by a magazine that pays)—thanks to Ed Komenda and Veronica Klash for their feedback on this piece!—and I’ve started on the next story in the collection. And I booked a trip to Vegas (my first in two years) for later this month.

Let’s hope that this wave keeps rolling.

#2024 #OBrienEditingServices #OES #LasVegas

Some ‘Light’ Reading

Some light reading for the weekend.

Actually, it’s kinda heavy. More trigger warnings—violence, racism, drug abuse, sexual abuse, etc.—than a Tarantino film.

This short story, which was recently published by Winged Penny Review, is based on conversations I had with a friend who lived in the underground flood channels of Vegas and worked the streets for many years. She gave me permission to use the material in any way I saw fit. This is her story, though abbreviated and, at times, altered for artistic effect. The title is intentionally provocative and somewhat satirical.

I’ve been working on vignettes, flash fiction, and short stories set on the streets of Las Vegas, and this is the third piece to be published or accepted for publication. Thanks to Rodney Lee and Erica Vital-Lazare for their feedback on the story!

Give the gift of editing!

This holiday season, skip the long lines at the big, brick-and-mortar stores and support a small, independent business owned and operated by someone you’re familiar with! Give a unique gift! Give the gift of editing!

Someone on your gift list needs to update their résumé, has a website or bio that could use a boost, seeks guidance on an academic paper or a chapter or book, could benefit from one-on-one, online writing classes or coaching, etc. Get them an O’Brien Editing Services gift card!

For more information about OES, please visit For more info about the gift card, including pricing, please email me here (via the “Contact” form) or fill out the “Get Started” form on the OES website.

Happy holidays!

A good day in the tropics

I woke to a soft chorus of birds, reviewed a chapter for a writing student of mine, took a 15-minute nap after lunch, read two sections of what promises to be a fine work of literature (The Lost City of Z), it was partly cloudy and the high was 80 F (27 C), another one of my short stories was accepted for publication, I made a few shots and my team stayed on the court in the pickup basketball games, fresh ceviche for dinner, and I fell asleep next to a kind and beautiful woman who I care about deeply.

Yesterday was a good day in the tropics.

Be on the lookout for …

As some of you know, I’ve been working on vignettes, flash fiction, and short stories set on the streets of Las Vegas. I’ve finished ten of the pieces, and hope to write a handful more, and one of them has already been published: the short story “All Eyes on Me” in the April/May 2022 issue of London-based Lay It Out Magazine. And I just found out that the flash-fiction piece “Coming Clean” has been accepted for publication in The Perch, a creative-arts journal associated with the Yale School of Medicine.

A hearty “thank you!” to Brittany Bronson, Scott Dickensheets, and Mike Masefield for their informed feedback on “All Eyes on Me.” And to John L. Smith, Kelle Schillaci Clarke, and Steve Lang for their thoughts on “Coming Clean.”

“All Eyes on Me” was published behind a paywall, but I plan to post a link to the fall issue of The Perch when it goes live. The theme of the issue is substance use, and “Coming Clean” is about a homeless, drug-addicted prostitute who hits rock bottom at a seedy, downtown motel. Can you guess what motel that is?

My Best Rated Book

Beneath the Neon is my most popular book, I suppose. The book, which details my experiences exploring the underground flood channels of Las Vegas, has sold the most copies, received the most media attention, etc. When someone says, “I really liked your book,” I assume they’re referring to that one.

But my best rated book is my latest, Dark Days, Bright Nights. An uncensored oral account of surviving the Vegas storm drains, it has a 4.5 rating on Amazon, 4.02 on Goodreads, and 4.8 on Audible. (Thanks to those who have reviewed or rated it!)

If you have not read Dark Days, Bright Nights, please consider flipping through its photo-laden pages. Twenty-five percent of the money I make off the book is donated to Shine a Light, a nonprofit organization that assists the people who live in the tunnels. To date, the book has raised roughly $1,500 for the organization.

One-on-one, online writing class

As an extension of my editing service, which continues to evolve and grow, I occasionally offer one-on-one, online writing classes tailored to the student’s specific interest: business writing, academic writing, creative nonfiction, fiction, etc. I brainstorm a prompt, provide simple instructions and a deadline, and then edit the piece, giving big-picture and micro feedback. I’m also available to discuss the piece via an audio or video call.

If you want to improve your writing, and a simple and pressure-free class like this suits your schedule and learning style, please reach out to me. I’m comfortable working with all levels of writers, from beginners to professionals, and I would love to discuss the possibilities of designing a class specifically for you! #OBrienEditingServices