Author Archives: mpiskun
It has been far too long since I’ve toiled on this website. My writing has been inconsistent recently but, I’ve had some positive results and have made a few anthology short lists, so time will tell how much success I have in the near future.
Quarantine life has led to more writing and I’m grateful to have that outlet during this time of pandemic uncertainty and economic despair as the great beast of boredom circles my house looking for a way in.
In the meantime, have a laugh and check out my vampire love story “‘Til Death” in Volume 3. Yes, it’s amusing and a nice quick read. It will cost you a mere $3.99 on Kindle and you’ll get to enjoy the work of other authors far more talented than myself.
Check it out and let me know what you think!
I’m thrilled that my story made it into my first anthology. In the past I’ve been rejected immediately and have made the short list only to be cut at the last moment, but at last, I made it all the way. Not only did I make it, but I was mentioned in the introductory message:
“Welcome to Broken Bones & Ten Dollar Bills. I honestly don’t think you’ll find such an eclectic (and sometimes downright disturbing (Kidney)) set of stories in an anthology.”
I’m never been happier to be labeled disturbing!
Amazon is taking pre-sales at the following links:
Morpheus Tales 30 is out now! The thirtieth issue of the UK’s most controversial weird fiction magazine! Featuring: The Grab Bag By Jack D. Zeidman Illustrated By Mark Pexton, Always A Soldier By Matthew Piskun, Voices On The High Wind By Michael Reyes Illustrated By Sean Bova, Candle With A Name By Nick Manzolillo, Wendell By M. J. Ryan Illustrated By Joe Young, The Fountain By Craig W. Steele, Jimmy Google And His Amazing X-Ray Spectacles By Todd Outcalt Illustrated By Max Martelli, X-Ray Spring By Jared A. Robinson, Late Night Programming By Stephen McQuiggan. Read the magazine Christopher Fowler calls “edgy and dark”.
The free preview of the magazine is available here:
The printed digest size edition is available here:
The printed perfect-bound edition is available here:
At long last my drought is over! Well, sort of… Morpheus Tales has selected my previously published short story “The Key” for their Best Weird Fiction Volume 5. Needless to say, I’m grateful to have something published again!
The Key begins with with a man burying his father. As he says his final farewell to his Old Man in his coffin he slips his hand beneath the departed’s collar and claims what his father has tried his entire life to keep from him, a key…
You can read my story, as well as many others from a group of talented authors, in the 110 page volume for a measly $6.88.
You can buy your paper copy here:
And for you futurists the Ebook can be purchased here for $2.99:
If you enjoy dark fiction/horror head on over to Pseudopod’s flash fiction contest.
Head over to the forum:
Then sign up for free, leave a comment to get activated and vote! Each story is 500 words or less.
I’ve a submission that’s holding its own right now in Group 10, so feel free to check that out group first. Rest assured though, each group is FULL of great reads.
Mark Grace could play baseball. He played for 16 years and ended his career with a .303 batting average. Dude could hit. How’d he do it, hard work, dedication, years of practice, god given ability? Nah, Grace used a little something he liked to call a Slump Buster.
When a player was in a slump, Slump Busting was the act of finding the a woman one would consider the least attractive in the traditional sense and have sex with her. This means of breaking a slump was also known by some terms you may consider a bit less flattering, such as:
– Taking wood to a fatty
– Finding a swamp donkey
– Finding road beef
– Throwing yourself on the grenade
– Getting a blubbernaut
– Nailing the whale
I think you get the point.
So, what to do when you are in a writing slump? I haven’t had a story accepted in over a year now, my longest stretch. In the spirit of slump busting I’ve (unintentionally at least) written some stories that I consider quite heinous, written for the sake of writing, read up on story crafting, and even tried to attend a writer’s group that was of course defunct when I showed up.
What now? What is the writer’s version of Slump Busting? How do I nail my figurative whale, find my mystical swamp donkey or elusive blubbernaut??
Someone out there MUST have an idea!?
For the first time since I’ve been published I’ve hit, what is for me, my low point. I’ve made no posts, because I’ve had no work accepted for publication in the year 2014! Admittedly, my volume has suffered due to lifestyle changes, the most time-sucking one having been going back to school. Add in a few more excuses and what you have is basically…just that, excuses.
Although the amount I’ve written has been decreased, I didn’t think the quality had suffered, yet I find even the “positive” rejection is now something of a rarity. Nearly extinct is the “great story, but it doesn’t quite fit with this issue/publication/genre.”
There does seem to be less markets available for my level of submission, with smaller windows of time in which they are reading, but again that’s just an excuse. I spent some time on a story or two that were certainly out of my comfort zone, and I’m sure I’m better for having written them, however; it’s little solace as the benefit of improvement is unmeasurable, particularly when success is measured by acceptance.
So, what is the answer? More writing of course! Easier said than done when the only results are form rejections. Is it fan fiction? The Press of Atlantic City published on 11/1/14, “Why publishers want fan fiction to go mainstream” by Jessica Contrera. In her article she mentions many websites in which fan fiction is published. She sites numerous success stories, one of which is “The Gabriel Trilogy,” which is Twilight fan fiction that was picked up by a publisher and has sold 850,000 copies. Another example of Twilight fan fiction is the “Beautiful Bastard’ series in which 1 million copies have been sold. Let’s not forget “50 Shades of Grey” and its 100 million and counting!
Is that the answer? Pick a best selling franchise and apply your talent toward retelling the story? I don’t know if that’s the best route to take, but it still seems a more palatable version of self-publishing per se. I don’t think I’m one to spend the limited writing time I have in producing a novel that is a retelling of an existing story, especially given that the chances of being successful are possibly no better (assuming the same level of writing talent in doing an original story vs fan fiction).
Anyway, for now, my answer will be to stay the course. I’ve switched it up with a flash fiction piece under 1,000 words. We’ll see where that goes. Other than that I’m open to some advice!
After a mind numbing six-week course on International Business where I debated such fascinating topics such as how Latvia could have better transitioned to the Euro as opposed to devaluing their lats and how South Korea could have prevented the crash of the won and the ensuing financial crisis after their recession in 1993 …it’s finally time to get back into writing mode.
As I started looking into various markets and the status on some of my pieces I was happy to learn that the reprint of my story “Little Pieces” is in the Wildside Press Haunts and Horrors Anthology.
Here’s the list of stories inside:
SURREAL ESTATE, by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
BIRTHMARK, by Seabury Quinn
THE MONKEY’S PAW, by W.W. Jacobs
FUGUES, by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
DEAD BABIES, by Lawrence Watt-Evans
THE MUFFIN MAN, by Mike Brines
THE SILENT MAJORITY, by Stephen Woodworth
THE TOMB, by H.P. Lovecraft
GONE, by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
THE MEAT FOREST, by John Haggerty
ETERNITY AND THE DEVIL, by Larry Hodges
MISS FAVERSHAM’S ROOM, by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
THE DAMNED THING, by Ambrose Bierce
THE SHADOWS OF THE DEAD, by Louis Becke
BONESY, by Larry Hodges
VENGEANCE IN HER BONES, by Malcolm Jamieson
LITTLE PIECES, by Matt Piskun
THE MAN WHO LIVED by Raymond F. O’Kelley
THE FOND NIGHTMARE, by Colin Azariah-Kribbs
THE RESIDENCE AT WHITMINSTER, by M.R. James
The good news is that if you want to check it out it’s on Kindle AND….
It’s only $0.99…
The anthology showcases many talented authors. Colin Azariah-Kribbs has published many short stories as well as poetry and of course there’s Chelsea Quinn Yarbro who has been named a Guest of Honor at World FantasyConvention 2015, which will be held November 5-8, 2015 at the Saratoga City Center in Saratoga Springs, New York. There’s also a story by some guy named H.P Lovecraft.
Anyway check it out if you can.
I’m on the bubble of being accepted into the Steel Cities Anthology. That’s what senior editor Steve Ramey told me; however, there are still some 57 other stories yet to review. As one of my favorite ficticious pilots famously uttered, “Never tell me the odds!”
So here is some of the negative feedback I’ve received from his editors:
- cliche metaphors
- I don’t think the payoff quite justifies the word count
- The metaphors were heavy-handed
- we once again have a male characters fixated on almost exclusively on tits and ass
However, just when you think the story has no chance, I present to you the good:
- very well written
- good sense of reinforcing imagery and escalation
- The writing pulled me in
- I was sickened by some of the imagery, but I kept reading because I wanted to know what would happen
- pulled in by the characters relationship triangle
- Overall, I was compelled to read this story to the end despite its problems
Should know in a couple of weeks.
I guess the 10th time is a charm!
My story “The Cost that Lies Between Heaven and Earth” has found a home. The story is about Queen Isabella and the Spanish Inquisition. What could possibly cause an individual to go to such extremes and start a holy war and ruthlessly torture those with different beleifs? They must be pretty messed up right? I have my take on it and some of the scenes are, shall we say. NC-17. I am proud to say that someone in my writing workshop I was a member of found parts of the story so offensive she quit class.
Needless to say, none of the material in question was gratuitous. The actions of the characters fit the theme of the story and are “in character.”
So, where has Isabella landed? Temptations Magazine: The Home of Erotic Fiction. NOT Temptation Magazine:Homoerotic Fiction as a friend hilariously misheard me say, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
I will certainly post the link once my story is up and running. I think I may let my mother skip this one.
Also simmering in the slush pile wasteland are several other of my stories:
- Beth Hartley is Hot is currently submitted to Shock Totem
- Colony is submitted to an anthology by Parsec Ink
- Pax Salutem is submitted to Pseudopod
- God Mother is submitted to Black Static