Category Archives: Writing
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!?
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 finally made it to a writers convention. After a few years of thinking about it I finally decided it was time to go, but the universe seemed to conspire against me. Fist came the bitch storm, Sandy. She flew into south Jersey and New York devastating so much around me. I am grateful that I had only minor damage and loss of power for 2 days. Not even a flesh wound compared to so many friends and neighbors.
Sandy flooded LaGuardia airport which is where West Jet flies out of. Day by day they handled fight cancellations leaving my fight status in constant limbo. 10/31 cancelled. 11/1 cancelled. Would they give me my money back and let me make other arraignments? First off, no, because despite being nearly completely submerged LaGuardia held out hope they would be able to fly me out on 11/2. Second, there were no other flights to be had…anywhere…as thousands of people were in the same situation as myself. My flight ended up being cancelled 11/2 anyway and I stopped keeping track after that.
The cosmic joke continues…as I’m on the phone with Orbitz, begging for my money back I get an e-mail from Black Static rejecting my latest and greatest story, “Pax Salutem.” So now I’m thinking that maybe this whole writing thing wasn’t quite meant to be.
Now I get my money finally and begin the drive from Atlantic City to Toronto. Good, right? Now there is no gas to be found. All up the Garden State Parkway and through New York it was Mad Max territory.
So, at last I arrive at WFC and I had a great time. I met up with my old teacher and friend Jeff Ford, as well as lots of other talented writers and editors. The panels were excellent, entertaining and informative and the networking proved to be most valuable and reason alone to make the trip. I’d list all the cool people I met, but would hate to leave someone out. I posted some pics on Facebook if you’re interested.
I can’t recommend going enough. 2013 will prove to be interesting as WFC will be in England, but the World Horror Convention (where I probably belong) will be in New Orleans. Either way I better start saving.
In my home office, that I primarily use for writing, I have been trying to surround myself with things that I enjoy (obviously) as well as inspire me and get me excited creatively.
At the center of my desk is a replica of LeMarchand’s box, better known as Pinhead’s Hellraiser box, and I have many other autographed Clive Barker pieces smattered about.
Also on my walls are several autographed sketches and inkings from various comic book artists I’ve collected over the years, two of my favorites are from John Romita JR, and Ron Garney. I also have a unique photograph of a Stormtrooper drinking beer in the Cantina Bar on Tatooine from the http://www.thesecretlifeoftoys.com.
However, there was a giant space right above my desk. For about 1 year I waited and searched for just the right piece and finally I found it in the art of Will Conrad (many examples of which can be found at http://www.willconradart.com).
I won’t get into MR. Conrad’s bio other than to say I love his stuff and I finally found what I was looking for in Wolverine Origins #38 page 13, a 1/2 page splash of Wolverine stabbing his son Daken. Cool stuff. I had it framed with the actual comic cover and page. It came out pretty nice.
Good news today as two of my previously published stories have been picked up in anthologies! I spent about 8 months writing a long piece and the accompanying synopsis, then had a bunch of rejections on the stories I finished recently so these acceptances are welcome news.
“Little Pieces” which was originally published in the October 2010 issue of Necrotic Tissue. The story deals with the harsh realities of dealing with death, knowing when to let go, and the complicated family issues that can accompany such pain.
“Little Pieces” was accepted into a Wildside Press’Haunts & Horrors’anthology. The editor said:
“It was great fun to read; very well-written and atmospheric, with an excellent ending.” I hope others agree.
“Cookers” was originally published on August 10th, 2010 in the aptly named Tales of the Zombie War. The story follows our young heroine in a coming of age story as she struggles to survive with her father and grandmother in…wait for it…a zombie apocalypse! These undead are super-heated, their flesh overdone and falling from the bone, and are just as dangerous as the mutated, meat-eating plant life.
“Cookers” was accepted into the ‘Zombie’ Anthology.
Dates are not set for either publication, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted.
At last issue #15 of Morpheus Tales, a UK quarterly magazine of horror and science fiction, has arrived!
“It’s a beautiful casket.”
The story begins as a boy finds a key around his dead father’s neck as he lays dear old dad to rest. Curious as to what secrets the key holds he begins a surreal journey through the present while using clues from his past to ultimately arrive at an answer he surely wishes he never found.
My story also brags art from the talented Vladimir Petkovic.
A free preview of the issue can be found at:
You can order the issue here:
The cover art of #15 reminds me of the cover Berni Wrightson did for the Spiderman graphic novel “Hooky.”
My dark fiction piece on a lost soul floating his way through life and discovering what he may or may not be through various mundane every day occurrences has once more been rejected.
Originally declined by Pseudopod the editor gave me the following feedback : “I really liked the style of this piece, and the tone is great, but I didn’t really care for the way the
narrator deals with his ……. Finding out that ……just didn’t deliver the impact it really
Then I sent it to Morpheus Tales and the editor said: “we enjoyed reading your story we do not feel the material is right for Morpheus Tales and unfortunately we cannot use the material offered. We liked your writing style, but felt the story could only end one of two ways and it was too easy to predict….”
I deleted some plot reveals from the feedback above, but taking what the editors told me I added some depth to the main character and an extra twist or two making the ending much less predictable. Apparently, the changes weren’t enough for the fine people at Apex Magazine, so onward to another publication!