Sunday, December 27, 2009

Reading Fail

The other day I finished reading my 24th book in 2009, a far cry from the 50 I had hoped to complete. Of course, back in January I was working a different position at my job, one that allowed me plenty of time to read. Along came the recession and did away with my position for the time being, necessitating the move back to my old job, one that gives me NO time to read. Thus, my reading really took a dive this year. I've had to read (gasp) at home, rather than at work! That means reading time has to compete with writing time and movie time...and oh yeah, spending time with the wife. Next year doesn't look to be any different, so I'm not even gonna bother keeping a list.

Saw this the other day and it made me smile:

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Just popping up out of the void to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyful Kwanza, Festivus or whatever. I hope all is good with everyone out there.

I should be back to my old blogging habits come the first of the year, so expect the inane ramblings to increase exponentially. My big movie site project is about 95% complete. I'm really looking forward to writing some fiction once again!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

November

Another slow month as far as writing is concerned.

Words written: 0
Rejections: 1 - Weird Tales
Acceptances: 2 - "Matches, Martyrs and Mortality" to the Zombie Feary Tales antho and "The Wind Whispers My Name" to 52 Stitches.

Despite the slow last couple of months, 2009 was a good year and I'm getting myself prepared to hit the keyboard hard and fast come 2010. Until then I continue to work on my big movie site project, which gradually nears completion. I'm over halfway through it all, so things are proceeding on schedule.

In nearly forgot that I had a tweet go up yesterday at thaumatrope.

The Twisted Legends antho came out, with my take on the tarantulas-in-the-cactus tale, "Desolation's Brood."

Plus, the "Road Trip" themed issue of The Monsters Next Door arrived, with my story "Valley of the Splintered Oaks."

It's been out a few weeks, but I don't think I ever mentioned the Creature Features antho from House of Horror, featuring my story, "Returning to Eden."

Okay, enough pimping. Time to get some real work done.

One last thing: congrats to all of you who fought your way through Nano this year. Next year, I am so there! :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Cause For Celebration

Back in 1996, in the midst of one my earlier attempts at writing and submitting stories, I wrote a story called A Cause For Celebration. Inspired by the movie Independence Day, it told of a world wide alien invasion that grinds to a sudden halt when the extraterrestrials discover they have mistakenly attacked the wrong planet. The story is told from the view point of some random bar patrons, drowning their miseries and watching things unfold on TV. Of course, the story didn't sell and after two or three rejections, I pushed it aside and soon after stopped even trying to write (the general idea was explored again in 100 word Micro I posted earlier in the year).

Still, there was something about the story that I liked. While events of epic proportions were unfolding, it focused on just a handful of everyday folk and their own personal views, using the alien invasion more as background. About a year ago, when deciding to give "this writing thing" another shot, I dusted off that story and changed the background events. Rather than an alien invasion, it was now a plague overrunning the Earth, transforming people into zombie-like hordes of the infected. What remained the same was everything else: people in a bar discussing the impending end of the world. I began sending the story out again...and again it got rejected. A lot. I was on the verge of shelving it forever when it finally sold to The Nautilus Engine.

Aside from any references to the virus and zombies, this is the exact same story from 1996. When you have a chance, read it and let me know what you think.

A Cause For Celebration.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Remembering October

October was an easy month to sum up:

(fiction) Words written: 0
Rejections: 0
Acceptances: 1

See? Easy. The reason I wrote nothing is the same reason why I have opted to not participate in Nano this year. Some of you may recall me mentioning a movie website I maintained. Well, that site got hacked and that disaster coupled with my hard drive crash from early in the year meant that I lost quite a bit of material. Thus, I have been working to update all those older movie reviews in a new format. This means writing about 3k (on average) words each for the 44 reviews I had on there. That is what I've been working on and what I will be working on for the rest of the year. This blog may be in run silent, run deep mode until January, but I'll pop up from time to time.

I hope Nano is going good for those giving it a go!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blog? WHAT blog?

Yikes! Nearly two weeks since I posted here! The truth is, not much has been happening. Certainly nothing worth blogging about. I have written zero words this month. Well, aside from the notes for my Nano project. I've been mapping it out with a very rough outline. I continue to think that story over in my head each day, still not convinced to take the plunge and give Nano a shot this year. I've also been busy on several other non-writing projects, so I figured if I am going to do Nano, this month would be a good time to get to all the things that have been piling up, cuz I won't have a lot of time in November.

I've been reading everyone's blogs, but just have been too tired to comment. I haven't even bothered to trying to get caught up on Twitter. I get home each day and it announces that I have 200+ new tweets to read. That's when I leave the room and go take a nap.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

WIP Wednesday

My WIP this week is a story called The Anubis Appropriation. The title is recycled and has a strange history to it. It started off as an unnamed Tweet story for thaumatrope. They rejected it, so I decided to expand it beyond 140 characters to a full blown 100 words for the now defunct Micro 100. At this point I came up with the title, to help describe the story of two buffoonish con men/adventurers who raise a mummy from the dead in hopes of tricking it into revealing the hiding place of its treasure. It got rejected again. I think I posted a different 100 word version on this blog as part of that 100 days/100 Micros thing that I gave up on. Then along came The Scroll of Anubis anthology. I expanded the idea into a 3000 word story, but since the anthology already had the name Anubis in the title, I changed the story's name to The Legacy of Seshat. This time the story was accepted and it tells the tale of Arthur Davis and Miles Kirkpatrick, two unscrupulous Indiana Jones wannabes that get in over their heads when raising the mummy of Prince Ibus from the dead. Davis and Miles survived the story, which brings us to my WIP.

Since I never used the name The Anubis Appropriation, I decided to haul it out again for a new story, again featuring Davis and Miles ( I hope to use them in several future stories, each one detailing a new scheme of theirs or further inept attempts at getting rich while dealing with the supernatural). This time they're trying to procure (steal) an ancient Egyptian artifact from a Las Vegas pawn shop that legend says was cursed by the god Anubis and which gave rise to Jackal-men, which in turn eventually lead to modern werewolves centuries later. Maybe this time the title will stick.

My flash piece The Sea Hath No King is now up at AlienSkin magazine. Check it out and let me know what you think. It was one of those stories that I wrote on the spot, having been inspired by the old monster films, The Horror of Party Beach and The Monster of Piedras Blancas. In fact, I paused one movie halfway through and came to the computer to write the story before continuing with the film. Dutiful members of the Aaron Polson fan club should note that the new issue of AlienSkin also features his story, Melons.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ideas

Numerous times over the last two decades, when reading interviews with various writers who were asked about their ideas, I've seen many say that they have more than time to develop them all. Often the mere notion of having that many ideas was foreign to me because in times past I always struggled to come up with a good idea myself. Sometime last year, that all changed.

About this time in 2008 I decided I was going to give writing another shot. However, before I could start, I had several other projects I wanted to complete before devoting my time to my muse. While finishing up those projects I would often come up with an idea for a story, which I would jot down in folder "for later development." Once I wrapped up those other projects and had time to write, I had several ideas to draw upon. Many were based on personal experiences with a horror "twist" thrown into the mix. Which one did I tackle first? Why, none of them. The first thing I did was write four flash stories for 52 Stitches (two of which were accepted). After that I passed over my idea pool in favor of a new story for Dark Jesters (reject) and then Devil's Food (Accept!). Long story short, here we are a year later and I have yet to tackle any of those ideas I had. In fact, I've added to the list of story ideas. Now I finally understand what those writers were talking about. Not enough time!!!

I bring this up because I've been thinking over various ideas for a possible Nano project. I'm fairly sure I've settled on one known only as "Jars" at this time. This idea came to me about six weeks ago (once again, bypassing all those earlier ideas) and I've been plotting it out in my head over the last couple of days. When I consider the core idea, it seems like a good candidate for a YA adult book, so I am unsure how bloody to make it. Then again, I might go balls to the wall and go for a more mature focus. Either way, the first death in the story is a High School teacher. Sorry, Aaron!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

September Stats

Wow, September really flew by. I suppose because I was on vacation for nearly two weeks the month seemed to zoom past faster than normal. Without further ado, the stats for the month:

New stories completed and subbed: 3

Matches, Martyrs and Mortality (3400 words)
Letter from the Dead (750 words)
Trial of the Century (2700 words)

New stories begun but incomplete: 1
Curse of the Fallen Star (700 words so far)

WIP's worked on: 1
Church of the Deviate Minds (added 2900 words, 5000 total)

Total words written in September: 10,450

Rejections: 4
Shroud
Rymfire ebooks (vermin antho)
Ideomancer
Horror through the Ages anthology

Acceptances: 3
Church of the Deviate Minds to Alienology: Tales from the Void
Ground Zero to Night Chills magazine
Sanctuary of the Shadowed Sleeper to Zombology IV: The Undead vs. the Living Dead

Overall, it was an excellent month. I can't complain. After 78 days, Ground Zero was rejected by the Vermin antho, but just three days later Night Chills Magazine snatched it up, so that was very gratifying. I've been going great guns on short stories all year, but I'm giving serious thought to participating in Nano this year. I almost gave it a shot last year, but opted out at the last minute, since I still had projects that needed finishing. This year I have no other commitments, so the idea is more tempting. I have one more short story that I want to complete in October and if at that time I'm up for it, I'll begin outlining my Nano project. Time will tell.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pure Suckage

It just hasn't been a good few days around here. I seem to be losing stuff left and right. First, for some reason I cannot explain, my Ipod got completely wiped. I have no idea how that happened. One day it was loaded with songs, the next day...nada. I was rather pissed and bummed out because a lot of the music I had on there was irreplaceable. All my stuff on the hard drive was wiped out earlier in the year, so the Ipod was my back up, but now its been wiped. Grrrr.

Then I found out that my movie website has been hacked, files corrupted and altered big time. Again, all the originals were obliterated in the hard drive crash back in January, so the stuff on the website server was my back up, but now much of it is ruined. It seems I can salvage a lot of the media files (photos, screencaps, video clips, sound bytes, etc) but the important stuff - the written material - may be a total loss. Considering that I had easily written 500,000 words (at least, it may be closer to 800k) for the site, that loss has me ready to hit the bottle.

The situation at my job has been very depressing as well. It's too long to even bother getting into. Besides, I don't want to bore you into a coma. Suffice it to say that while I am in no danger of losing my job, I seem to have gotten screwed over in certain areas. It's impacted my health because I am no longer a kid and can't perform such heavy physical work for extended periods without it taking a toll on my body. Plus, I'm not getting the hours I once did and as a result, am bringing less home. Overall, very discouraging at times.

And of course there was the rage-inducing news of a plagiarist that hit the web today. It baffles me how anyone could be so stupid. Did they really think they could steal from King of all people and get away with it? Sheesh.

About the only thing that seems to be going good is the writing. While I haven't hit the NY times best seller list (I have to actually write a novel first), I'm doing better than I expected for my first year. I may even give Nano a shot this year if I can work out a good idea. Still, aside from that one positive thing (OK, two things - my family being the other), everything seems to be rather crappy and I'm finding it hard to muster much enthusiasm for anything.

I did get one piece of good news today. Primeval has been saved from cancellation and will return for a 4th and 5th series. Yay!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Narcolepsy is Contagious...Right?

I think I may be suddenly narcoleptic. That happens, right? Everything is going fine and then one day, WHAM! Narcolepsy! This entire weekend I have been fighting to stay awake...and not always wining the battle. One weapon in my arsenal was Jack of all Trades by K.C. Shaw. That book is so engrossing, it's almost impossible to put down. I could have easily read that thing from cover to cover in a single sitting, but I have purposely drawn out the experience, reading a couple chapters each night. Alas, I am almost finished. Methinks I'll have to wait a few days before jumping into a new book, as nothing will be able to fill that sense of enjoyment that JOAT has imparted.

The new issue (number 5) of House of Horror is now online. Included in the new batch of tales is Taking Root by Aaron Polson, so all you fellow AP fan club members be sure to check it out. Also in this issue is a story called Planting Season by some turkey named Caine. You can check that one out, too if you feel like it. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pine Hollow Horrors

Damn, but it was hot today. It was pushing triple digits in these parts and the rest of the week doesn't look to be much cooler. I thought this was supposed to be freakin' Fall fer Pete's sake. I'll be glad to have a few less scorchers now that Summer is over.

There have been two recent rejections in these parts. On Friday, Beyond the Veil was rejected by Shroud, after having made it past the first round of cuts. To be honest, I was slightly surprised that it did that, so when the rejection came I wasn't exactly devastated. No one likes rejections, but this one didn't sting too bad. Then today, Ground Zero was rejected by the Vermin anthology. Since the basic idea behind that story as well as all the major plot twists were my wife's idea, she was a bit more saddened by the rejection than me. I just sent it right back out again.

I do have some good news. The new issue (#8) of The Monsters Next Door is now out. This issue marks the transition to print, though a free PDF version is also available. You can find that by following the link on the page above or just by clicking HERE. You can also buy a print version HERE if you so desire. Anyway, my story The Horror of Pine Hollow is in this issue (page 102 to be exact), so check it out and tell me what you think.

On other (slightly) good news, I was organizing my files last night when I came across a 2700 word zombie story that I had completely forgotten about. It was like finding buried treasure. It seems I wrote it while on vacation a couple weeks back, but I suppose my illness and other factors contributed to me losing track of it. After a good polish or two, I'll have to find a place to sub it, though for some reason duotrope seems to be on the fritz right now. Oh, well. This story ain't going out tonight anyway. There's time to wait.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Writing Fail & Book Pimping

Last week I sat down to write a fantasy short story. I got about 300 or so words into it and stopped because I've had easier times removing fence posts from dried concrete. The words were just not coming. I opened that story back up each day this past week and stared at it, hoping to conjure something, but nothing magically appeared. I just couldn't do it and wasn't sure why. Then when reading K.C. Shaw's new novel, Jack of all Trades (go buy a copy!), I realized what was wrong. Years back I read fantasy to the exclusion of all else. I did that for years before venturing into science fiction and horror. Because I read so many fantasy books in times past (literally hundreds of books), I gradually moved on to other things. I realized tonight that it has been a long time since I read fantasy regularly and because of that, the unique terminology inherent in such tales as well as basic knowledge of medieval/renaissance life has fled from my mind. At one time, I studied such things and poured over history books on life in the middle ages, but it's been so long since I did that, whatever I learned needs to be re-learned. So the end result is, I've given up on any fantasy stories until I can brush up on my facts. Poo! I had this neat idea about a wizard named Gabeus Fillymander who ran a private magical detective agency, but who was called upon a lot by the city guard to help solve crimes and mysteries. Naturally he is hiding a big secret from his past. Oh, well. Maybe someday.

Time for some book pimping!

First we have the 52 Stitches collection from Strange Publications, gathering all the stories from the project's initial year, including two of my stories, Nuts and The Confession. Available from Amazon.





Next up is the new anthology from Pill Hill Press, The Middle of Nowhere: Horror in rural America. Available from both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. This one opens with my ghost tale, The Gallery of Final Repose.





And of course, we have The Devil's Food from The Monsters Next Door. My offering, The Faceless Ones shares this awesome book with notable names like David Dunwoody, Natalie L. Sin and Aaron Polson. Available from Amazon.





Even though I don't have a story in it (I did make the shortlist though!), the new Dead Bait anthology from Severed Press is now out. The aforementioned David Dunwoody and Aaron Polson have tales in this book, so you know right there it's packed with quality stuff. Available from Amazon.




Let's not forget the book I mentioned earlier, K.C. Shaw's Jack of all Trades. You can get it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or from the publisher. I advise the latter.






While you're buying books, be sure to get a copy of Cate Gardner's awesome chapbook, The Sour Aftertaste of Olive Lemon, available from Bucket 'O' Guts Press.





Now I'm off to get in another chapter or two of Jack of all Trades before calling it a night.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Back To The Grind

The only problem with taking so many days off work and spending most of them sick in bed watching movies, is now I am accustomed to my days unfolding like that and the thought of returning to work tomorrow fills me with a feeling of dread. Damn, I need to win the lottery. Of course, I need to play the lottery before I can win. So it's back to work for me in the morning. Thankfully it's only three days before I can be lazy again.

Speaking of laziness, I accomplished nothing today. Not a single word written, not a single thing read (aside from a magazine article or two) and not a single TV show or movie watched. What did I do? When not wasting time on the Internet cruising blogs, forums, news sites and such, I was hooked on Professor Layton and the Curious Village, a game my wife bought for her Nintendo DS. Since she was at work and I was at home, I decided to play it. Damn! Talk about addicting. I'm a sucker for games centered around puzzles and this one is loaded. I spent hours on the damn thing. In fact, the wife had to practically pry it from my hands just now so that I'd come upstairs and go to bed.

Church of the Deviate Minds was accepted by the Alienology antho today, which makes going back to work tomorrow a little less painful. That makes one less story cluttering up my WIP file. I've tried and tried and tried to come up with something for the Baconology antho, but every idea I have just sounds terrible. Plus, I can't figure out where to take half of them or how to end the story, so I may just have to move on to something else like Wolfology. Who knows.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Vacation Recap

So nearly a week after my last post, I've returned to this blog. Not much has changed. After last Monday, I still was rather ill and rested most of the week, though each day I was able to get up and get moving better. I even managed to get out of the house some. I also completed a couple new stories and got them subbed, so I felt like I accomplished something. The Other Half was in some pain from her neck/back problems so coupled with my not feeling good, we really didn't get out to do the things we wanted to do on vacation. The exception was yesterday, our wedding anniversary. We went out for a day of shopping and fun, had a nice meal and watched a movie. It was a good day. Today I worked really hard on polishing Church of the Deviate Minds before launching it off. Tomorrow the wife returns to work, but I still have two more days of vacation before returning to my job on Wednesday. I plan to use that time to write as much as I can. We'll see how that goes. If the stuff I ordered from Amazon finally shows up, I may end up watching old Japanese monster films instead.

EDIT: To everyone at Agriculture Industries: Yes, this blog is run by Cindy's husband.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Still Alive

Man, did this surprise sore throat-stuffed nose-bad cough thing really knock me on my ass. I've been pretty much laid up the last three days. Sunday was the same as Saturday, with me sleeping and watching movies all day. I did feel well enough to stagger to the computer and pound out 1600 words on a new zombie story, finishing it. Today was more of the same: sleeping and watching movies. However, today I was feeling much better and spent more time at the computer, editing that zombie story several times before sending it off. Tomorrow I hope to be feeling good enough to be a bit more productive and actually enjoy my vacation. Just for the hell of it, here's the list if films I watched yesterday and today:

Kronos (1957)
The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
The Evil of Frankenstein (1964)
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Land Unknown (1957)
The Deadly Mantis (1957)
Darkness Falls (2003)

As you can see, I really love scifi and horror flicks from the 50's. They can be quite inspiring. One of the stories accepted last month was partially inspired by two old 50's flicks. Anyway, I hope everyone had a good Labor Day. Time to go drink more juice, pick out a movie and flop out for the night.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sequestered

I feel like one of those sick people in a movie where a virulent plague is sweeping the land. I've been practically quarantined in my own house. The Other Half insists I stay in bed and rest while doing her best to fill me with juice and pharmaceuticals. I have accomplished nothing all day. Not a damn thing. Well, I did watch some movies. Being sick allows me the opportunity to peruse the DVD collection and view some favorites as well as films I have never seen before. So today I, while awake and lucid, watched Tarantula from 1955 with the ass-kicking John Agar and gorgeous Mara Corday. Then I was in the mood for some European fare, so I watched the 1973 Italian giallo film Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye and wrapped things up with the joint Italian/Spanish zombie film (but set in the UK) Let Sleeping Corpses Lie from 1974 (aka The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue). Giant man-eating spiders, mysterious murders in a Gothic castle and hordes of the gut-munching living dead. Yes, this is how I relax. Doesn't everyone?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Well This Just Sucks

Tomorrow is my last day at work before my vacation. I don't return until Wednesday September 16th. All week I've been eagerly awaiting this time off. And now I've gone and gotten sick. A really bad sore throat hit me out of nowhere today. I really hope it goes away, but I suspect that it will get worse before doing that. So now I get to spend part of my vacation in bed. Joy. So if I'm rather quiet for the next few days, you will all know the reason. If I'm not back by next week, it means I have probably succumbed to the Swine Flu. Wonderful.

Monday, August 31, 2009

"August Stats" aka "Screw You Duotrope"

Despite the utterly craptastic week I had last week, August was a really good month on the writing front. Without further ado, here is the breakdown for the month.

New stories completed and subbed: 4
The Wind Whispers My Name (700 words)
Hungry Waters (500 words)
Returning to Eden (3000 words)
Desolation's Brood (1900 words)

New stories begun but incomplete:
Untitled Monster Story (300 words)
Jars (500 words)
Beast of Blackwater Gulch (500 words)

WIP's worked on: 1
Church of the Deviant Minds (+600 words, 3100 total)

Total words written in August: 8,000

Rejections: 4
Reflection's Edge
Nossa Morte
House of Horror
Elements of Horror antho

Acceptances: 9
The Customer to Blood Moon Rising
A Cause For Celebration to The Nautilus Engine
Valley of the Splintered Oaks to road trip theme issue of TMND
Deadliest Cachalot to The Bitter End antho
Planting Season to House of Horror
The Sea Hath No King to AlienSkin
Hungry Waters to Elements of Horror antho
Desolation's Brood to Twisted Legends antho
Returning To Eden to Creature Features antho

Needless to say, this was my best month ever. I received enough acceptances that I won't feel bad if the next couple of months are slow. The flip side to my small bit of success is that Duotrope thinks I am full of it. With 12 days of vacation coming up, I hope to get several WIP's completed and sent of into submission land.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ready For New Week

Last week sucked.

Just a few things that made it craptacular: constant back pain, equipment failures at work, me screwing up something at work that added HOURS to a long day, the father-in-law going in to the hospital, lots of running around after work, not getting enough sleep, a cranky wife, a wide screen TV going on the fritz, a washing machine already on the fritz, not enough money to fix them and a zillion other things. I am ready to get this new week started, hoping it is better than the last one. More to the point, I am ready to get this next week over because come Friday, I will be on vacation for nearly two weeks. I am so ready for it.

Not much writing over the last few days. I started and finished one story and worked out details for a couple others. Mostly I've been trying to rest with any free time. Last night I dreamed (dreamt? I'm too lazy to check and see which is correct) I was a character in one of my stories - The Horror of Pine Hollow to be exact. Armed only with a shotgun and a handful of shells, I was trapped in an attic, fending off an attack by dozens of the goblin-like Gimplings. Woke up in a cold sweat. Sheesh, I can't even catch a break when asleep!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kreative Blogger

Laura Eno over at a Shift in Dimensions has awarded me The Kreativ Blogger Award. I am quite shocked as the last word I'd use to describe my blogging would be Kreativ. Boring? Routine? Inept? Sure, but creat...er..kreativ?

There are two parts to this award. First, that I pass it on to seven other bloggers. This is where I get creative and just pass it on to one, cuz I'd feel like Typhoid Mary otherwise. Plus, I only know a handful of other bloggers and wanna leave lots of potential suckers...er...candidates for them.

Thus, my choice for the Kreative Blogger award is Carrie Harris. I could spend hours going on about how awesome her blog is, the sheer comedic value in every post coupled with keen insights on life and writing (especially the dreaded query letter), but it's better if you just go see for yourself if you have not already.

The second part of this award is to list seven mystery authors. This is the easy part for me. I don't read mystery and couldn't name a single contemporary mystery author.

Aside from that bit of frivolity, this week has been pure suckage. Work has been hell. Monday was one of "those" days when things went wrong all day, making a long day even longer. Today was marginally better, but I am sore all over from it all. On top of all that, my wife's father has been in the hospital, so there has been lots of driving around after work running errands and helping her parents. No writing at all this week. It's all I can do to keep from collapsing at the end of the day.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award

Well, it would seem the utter pinkness of this blog has earned me the One Lovely Blog Award. I know, I know...pink for a horror writer's blog? If it helps, think of it as the color of burned flesh or maybe a spectacular sunset that heralds the approach of darkness and all the vile things that come with it.

Anyway, the talented Catherine J Gardner (have you got your copy of her new chapbook, The Sour Aftertaste of Olive Lemon yet?) has bestowed the award upon yours truly. I thank her not only for the award but also for believing in me when duotrope hinted at me being a liar of all things.

This of course means that I get to pass the award on to a new recipient and I have chosen the soothing colors and perceptive wit inherent in The Knotted Thicket, the blog of K.C. Shaw (have you got your copy of her new novel Jack of all Trades yet?). I'll forgive her for getting me addicted to lemonade, as I did wave my cheese puffs in her direction, leading to her developing a craving for their snacky goodness.

Thus, the rules for the award:

1. Accept the award, and don't forget to post a link back to the awarding person.

2. Pass the award on.

3. Notify the award winner(s).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

WIP Wednesday

Around my house today, aside from Work in Progress Wednesday, it was known as Horrible Back Pain Wednesday. I stayed home from work because my back was hurting so bad. This gave me lots of time to rest and watch DVD's. Movies enjoyed included The Slime People, Attack of the Crab Monsters, Creature of the Walking Dead and Conan the Barbarian. I wrote in between films, finishing my unnamed monster story. Total words today: 3,000. Tomorrow is edit time. Right now it is sleep time. Regardless of how I feel in the morning, I have to go to work. Ugh.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Way We Were

Things are back to normal around here. This means that my back is in near constant pain from the day job, The Other Half is not satisfied with the speed I am accomplishing household chores, I can't seem to get enough sleep, no one wants to cook and...oh yeah, rejections are once again rolling my way. Hey, the ride was fun while it lasted, but it's back to reality for me. At least duotrope doesn't snicker when I report rejections as opposed to its snarky response to my acceptances.

After brainstorming like mad the last few days with help from The Other Half, I've got several good ideas for short stories. When push comes to shove, she can be quite inventive with her settings and scenarios. Of course, it's almost always left up to me to come up with an ending. Tonight I wrote a good 800 words on a new monster story and then promptly deleted them all. They were good, I suspect, but I could see that I was going to go waaaay over my word limit if I began the story in that spot. Plus, I realized that I was beginning in the wrong spot and the scene I was so carefully crafting could easily be referenced easier in dialog later on once the spooky shit was going down. So I chopped them and then jumped forward and started the story where things get creepy.

Right now it's time for ice cream. Yum.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Awesome Aftertaste Of Olive Lemon

Yesterday, my copy of The Sour Aftertaste of Olive Lemon by Catherine J. Gardner arrived in the mail. I waited until 8:00 PM to settle down in a comfy spot on the couch and dig into it. WOW! This is easily my favorite story of hers. As the story was unfolding, I kept looking at the page count and bemoaning the fact that it was so short. Such beautiful, haunting strangeness! And all wrapped up in one memorable ending. I wanted more! Bucket 'O' Guts press could not have picked a better story to kick off their chapbook line than this one. Be sure to grab a copy for yourself!

On the personal writing front, since my gleeful post from two days ago I have actually had two more acceptances. I am in utter shock. That's four days in a row that I've gotten an acceptance and six overall for the month. The acceptances actually outnumber the rejections this month. I'm sure duotrope thinks that I am a full of shit when I report these. As elated as I am, I need to get to work on some new stuff as I am running out of stories to sub (I know, cry me a river ;) ). I also know that such a good run is not the norm and I could easily be in the middle of a weeks long barrage of rejections. Still, I am tickled pink - as pink as the colors on this blog - that my first year of serious writing has worked out as well as it has. There's always room for improvement, so back at it I go.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Somebody Pinch Me

I keep expecting to wake up at any second. The acceptances during this first part of August have balanced out the onslaught of rejections that came in late July. Last Wednesday my short micro piece The Customer was accepted by Blood Moon Rising for their spring 2010 issue. Then on Friday, the story that has seen more rejections than any other, A Cause For Celebration, was picked up by The Nautilus Engine for their November issue. I was this close to retiring that story. I am super glad it finally found a home. Yesterday I came home to learn that Valley of the Splintered Oaks was accepted by The Monsters Next Door for their Road Trip themed issue (and the positive feedback in the acceptance letter made my day) and then today came the news that had me whooping and jumping around the house like I was on crack: Deadliest Cachalot was accepted for The Bitter End antho as part of a few early acceptances to kick start the formatting process. Seriously, August has been kicking ass! I don't wanna wake up! I've been trying to be more low key about reporting acceptances (much like Aaron) but when this many come this fast, I just have to jump up and down and scream like a fool. Pardon me now while I go jump and scream some more.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Just Noticed...

...that this blog has an awful lot of pink on it. Not exactly the color one imagines when thinking of horror and the macabre. I guess I was trying to go for a twilight-ish (the time of day, not the crappy sparkling vampire movie) look and feel. I may need to change things around here soon.

So today was WIP Wednesday. At least, in other parts of the world is was. Here there is no WIP. More like WOT - works in thought. I keep thinking about various ideas and stories, but when I plant my butt down to write, I either fall asleep before getting too far or pound out a paragraph or three and upon reviewing them and deciding they suck, head for the big upstairs TV and my collection of horror films on DVD. I've been watching older movies this week for inspiration (it's worked before). This week included The Monster of Piedras Blancas from 1958 and Beast of Blood from 1970. The only thing the latter inspired me to do was fall asleep.

Anyway, all this babbling is just my way of saying that there is not much new in these parts, aside from new addiction to lemonade. I've been going through it like crazy and still can't get enough. I think I'll blame K.C. for that one. Maybe I'll go get another glass and then watch The Thing From Another World (1951).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Olive Lemon Has Arrived

The new chapbook from Catherine J. Gardner is now available! The Sour Aftertaste of Olive Lemon is up for sale at Bucket O' Guts Press for a mere six dollars, which includes shipping to anywhere in the U.S. Rush on out and get your copy today! Er...wait. I mean, run to your computer and order one today! Um...you're already at your computer, aren't you? Then click on over and order one today!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I Broke Another One

Earlier in the week came the news that Lurid Lit was canceling their annual journal, thus freeing up a story of mine they had accepted. Then Baen's Universe announced it was closing after the April 2010 issue. At least I had nothing to do with that one, never having submitted there. However, today came the news that Macabre Cadaver is terminating production as well. The story I had subbed there has been sent to a new market, but I have to wonder if I'm killing these markets with my toxic submissions. Truthfully, I know it's not me, but it sure seems odd.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Chop! Chop! Chop!

This past weekend I edited Deadliest Cachalot down from a bloated 8200 words to a svelte 5,000. What got chopped? I completely removed the photographer character, lost about 98% percent of the real life background info on the Farallon Islands, did away with the long talking scene after the initial attack (that ground the story to a halt) and trimmed words here and there. Once done, I sent it off to The Bitter End: Tales of Nautical Terror antho. Today I learned that after the initial reading, it was being held for further consideration. Um...yay! Yes, I have my fingers tightly crossed...again.

On the writing front, after one night on Church of the Deviate Minds, I have already pushed it back aside in favor of a story for a new creature horror antho taking shape at House of Horror. Monsters are my first true love in the realms of horror, so any chance to delve into such territory must be taken! It helps that Church of the Deviate Minds is one of those stories that is not being written with any specific market in mind, thus I feel no pressing need to finish it asap. It will happen in its own time. Right now it's monster time!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

WIP Wednesday

Last week on WIP Wednesday I had no project with which I was firmly engaged. This week I have dusted off Church of the Deviate Minds, adding another 600 words tonight. I know exactly where this story is going, it's just a matter of getting there. Since I'm exhausted and fighting sleep at the moment, the rest will have to wait until tomorrow. In the mean time here is a snippet.

The cacophony of voices sprang into agonized song simultaneously, a discordant chorus of tortured souls lamenting the cruelty and hopelessness of their sudden fates.

Kenley stared at the other interns in shocked confusion for a fleeting second, caught unaware by the abrupt disharmony before she realized that the anguished voices were coming from rooms on either side of the hallway.

All of them.

Behind each door, some unseen torment was inciting every patient on the third floor to howl in misery.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Phooey

I learned today that Lurid Lit will be closing due to financial reasons. Thus, their new print journal won't be appearing. This means that my previously accepted story Pruritus Maximus is getting sent back out into submission land. It was originally written for the Dark Jesters antho, but it was only after I subbed it to them that I realized the publishers had already produced a book with similar material. The end result? They enjoyed the story, but passed due to those similarities. I subbed it a couple other places before Lurid Lit took it, but now I need to find a new home again. Any suggestions for a horror/humor tale about a poor sap who drinks from the wrong bottle and winds up with a case of very itchy balls? An itch that just won't go away, no matter how much he scratches and rubs?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

July Stats

July started off pretty good, with an acceptance on the second from The Monsters Next Door for my story The Horror of Pine Hollow. Then things were silent for a long time. Around the 17th, rejections started rolling in...and didn't seem to stop. While June was my best month for acceptances (4 total), July brought me the most rejections I have ever had in a single month: 9. For some odd reason, none of them really bothered me. Well, not too much. I shrugged and subbed again. Eventually, by month's end I did score two more acceptances (to paying markets no less), so the month turned out rather well after all.

Acceptances: 3
The Horror of Pine Hollow to The Monsters Next Door issue 8
The Gallery of Final Repose to The Middle of Nowhere: Horror in Rural America anthology
The Legacy of Seshet to The Scroll of Anubis anthology

Rejections: 9
GUD
Weird Tales
Brain Harvest
Pill Hill Press
House of Horror
Necrotic Tissue
Absent Willow Review
Alternative Coordinates
Dog Oil Press

New stories completed and subbed: 5
Ground Zero (7500 words)
Valley of the Splintered Oaks (5700 words)
The Legacy of Seshet (3000 words)
Down These Dead Streets (500 words)
Sanctuary of the Shadowed Sleeper (3300 words) - Alliteration is fun!

New stories begun but incomplete: 2
Church of the Deviate Minds (2500 words so far)
An Inheritance of Shadows (1400 words so far)

Total words written for July: 23,900

Bring on August!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

WIP Wednesday

It's Work in Progress Wednesday and I have no WIP. Sad, I know. I've spent most of the day thinking about Church of the Deviate Minds and An Inheritance of Shadows, though I haven't touched either in nearly a week. I'd like to get one of them completed by Friday night so I can sub again to Necrotic Tissue, but I don't know if I'm gonna make that deadline. Tonight I fiddled with a zombie flash piece, so I guess you could call that my WIP. The day job has been busy and I've been zonked each evening, though somehow I managed to write a mummy story that was accepted for the Scroll of Anubis anthology. I'm still not sure how I scored that one and am half convinced it was a dream. I'm sitting here now, marinating my insides with liberal amounts of lemonade and bemoaning the fact that I have no proper snacks in the house (salty and crunchy). My eyelids are getting heavier by the second. Methinks it is time for bed. Oh, and rejoice, those who of you who - like me - are still looking to find a home for their rejected Dead Bait story. Looky here!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What A Week (End)

The Other Half and I were planning on seeing the new Harry Potter movie today, but last night we noticed a nail in her car's left rear tire, so we got up early to take the car into Sears, where we bought the tires originally. We have the coverage plan that fixes road damage flats for free, so we knew we didn't have to spend any money. We got there early - 9:20 for a 10:00 opening. We were the first ones there.

About five minutes later some guys pulls up and parks his car right in front of the roll up door leading into the garage. A minute or so later, a second car pulls up behind him. The Other Half and I get out of our vehicle (parked in the lot) and walk up by the door. Technically we were first, but I wasn't about to make a big deal about two people in front of us. While we waited, more cars got into the impromptu line formed by that first guy. My mistake was not moving our car into that line because when the doors opened and our turn came to talk to someone, we were told that if we weren't in line, we couldn't be helped. Well, then HOW ABOUT A FUCKING SIGN EXPLAINING THAT?!!! So we got there first, but had to wait for about 8 other cars before we got checked in. Wow, was my wife fuming.

The end result was lunch in the food court at the mall and not getting the car done until it was too late to catch a matinee (I refuse to pay full price). So I get to wait another week for my Harry Potter fix. Instead we came home and watched Confessions of a Shopaholic. I know, not quite the same thing.

On the writing front, this has been a rather depressing seven days. No acceptances since July 2, but eight rejections so far this month - and six of them just in the last week, including a fifth "no thanks" today for Deadliest Cachalot. I haven't been too down about things, not having been in the greatest mood to begin with, but I did get to experience the "one editor hates it/one editor loves it" phenomenon for myself.

Last Sunday my story The Valley of Splintered Oaks was rejected from the Rural Horror anthology. No biggie, I thought. I'll just sub another story. I sat down and started writing the piece I eventually called An Inheritance of Shadows. That was coming along great until I learned the antho was closing to submissions today (Sunday the 26th). I knew I would never get the story done it time, so set it aside to work on other things around the house. Then Thursday came and I got a rejection from Necrotic Tissue for The Gallery of Final Repose, a story I had originally subbed here, but withdrew. The NT rejection kind of stung, making me question my ability to craft a good story. Their comments included such things as "run of the mill"and "story that did nothing new with the genre." Ouch.

Since The Gallery of Final Repose is set in a small town, I realized only minor tweaking would be required to have it fit the Rural Horror guidelines. What the hell, right? It's worth a shot. So Friday and Saturday I tweaked then subbed. Tonight I got the news the piece was accepted. It's funny how one yes from an editor can take the sting out of all those other no's.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

WIP Wednesday

I didn't get too much time today to work on my latest project, a second piece for the Rural Horror antho. About another 300 words were added tonight. So far the working title is An Inheritance of Shadows. I'm sure this one will get rejected because they've already accepted a story featuring a cornfield. Yes, I'm being snarky.

Right now I have about four short stories in various stages of development. I think I finally figured how to fill in the gap with Church of the Deviate Minds, but that will have to wait until this new story is completed...or hits a snag of its own. You know how that goes. You don't? I hate you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Nice Surprise

So after 113 days I heard from Shroud Magazine today. I nearly fell out of my chair when I read that my story, Beyond the Veil, had been narrowed down to the next phase of the acceptance process. So the story has earned another read and additional consideration. This tells me the story wasn't perceived as total crap, but with the sheer number of people trying to score a slot in that mag, I still know my chances are slim. Still, it was enough to bolster my spirits. For those of you who volunteered as beta readers at the time, Beyond the Veil is the name I gave to the single story that ultimately combined the two pieces The Thing in the Bathroom and Horror in the Chamber of Steam.

Another 350 words tonight on latest WIP. What would you consider to be the scariest form of disembodied voice? A scream? Crying? Laughter? Belching? This (wannabe) writer wants to know.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Timing Is Everything

So after all that hard work on Valley of the Splintered Oaks, I sent it in Saturday to the Horror in Rural America antho and got a rejection Sunday. The reason? They had already accepted a "broken down car on the side of the road" story, so to whoever beat me to the punch by a few days, I have made the appropriate offerings to the lords of the underworld. You should expect fiery revenge any day now. ;) To think that I might have had a better shot if I'd only subbed that thing a day or three earlier had my wife blaming herself for taking me away from the keyboard last week. Hey, at least the response time was damn fast. Amidst my plans for seppukku, I hit upon another idea for the anthology and tonight I started a new story, getting about 500 words down. This one doesn't involve cars of any kind.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Movie Meme

Following in the footsteps of Alan who followed Natalie who got it from K.V. Taylor, comes The Movie Meme!

1. Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times.
Where to begin? I've seen so many films multiple times that listing them would take hours. I love just about anything science fiction, fantasy and horror related, so I tend to watch those types of movies over and over. As for the one film I've seen more times than any other, it's probably the original Star Wars (1977). Ive easily seen that one close to 150 times. The original 1951 version of The Thing From Another World ranks up there, too. Ive seen that one dozens and dozens of times.

2. Name a movie that you’ve seen multiple times in the theater.
As with question one, I've seen lots of films multiple times in the theater. I don't do it anymore though. As I've gotten older and even lazier, I'll only go once...if at all. With films eventually arriving on DVD, I tend to wait and buy it then. For 20 bucks I can just own it for the same price as one admission ticket and some snacks. However, back in the day I would regularly see films up to four or five times in the theater. My all time record is for Willow (1988). I was really into fantasy at the time and such movies were very rare, so I went 23 times to the theater to see that one.

3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie.
Hugh Jackman or Will Smith. I tend to like them in just about anything they do.

4. Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie.
Will Ferrell. I loved him on SNL, but his movies make me want to gouge out my eyes with a spoon and fill my ears with cement.

5. Name a movie that you can and do quote from.
Galaxy Quest (1999). It was such a great send up of Star Trek and space opera in general. I love it.

6. Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs.
Oddly enough, Grease 2 (1982). I had never seen the first one by the time the sequel aired on HBO a billion times in the early 80's, so I have always preferred part 2 over the original. It's one of those guilty pleasures of mine.

7. Name a movie that you have been known to sing along with.
The aforementioned Grease 2. I have the songs on my ipod and listen to them regularly. I know, very sad.

8. Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see.
The Robot versus The Aztec Mummy (1958). Then people will know what a truly crappy film is all about. This one will either put you into a coma or scar you for life if you make it through awake.

9. Name a movie that you own.
At last count, I have close to 2,000 films in my DVD collection (and that's just films, don't get me started on TV and anime) so I have a lot to choose from, so I'll go with A Clockwork Orange (1971).

10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.
Will Smith. I like his films MUCH better than his music.

11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?
I haven't been to a drive-in since the 70's but I can clearly recall seeing Jaws (1975) and The Gauntlet (1977) at one.

12. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven’t yet gotten around to it.
A Clockwork Orange. I've owned that bloody film on DVD for 10 years and have never gotten around to watching it.

13. Ever walked out of a movie?
Only once, with the truly craptacular Leonard Part 6 (1987) with Bill Cosby.

14. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater.
E.T. The Extra-terrestrial (1982). Hey, I was a kid.

15. What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?
J.J. Abrams big budget Star Trek reboot/relaunch from earlier this year.

16. What’s your favorite/preferred genre of movie?
Anything Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror. I also love historical dramas and epics, especially if they take place in a time before gun powder was invented.

17
. What’s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?
As a wee lad of four and five, I remember going with my family to see some Bruce lee films in the early 70's.

18. What movie do you wish you had never seen?
I can't say that there is any film I regret seeing, but I do know that I have no desire to see Howard the Duck (1986) again.

19. What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed?
Probably The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). A rock and roll musical that glorifies the scifi films of yesteryear, complete with bisexual transvestites from outer space? Gotta love it.

20. What is the scariest movie you’ve seen?
When I was four years old, the original Night of the Living Dead (1968) scared the crap outta me. Since then, nothing has ever frightened me again. Sure, going surfing was freaky after seeing Jaws, but the film itself didn't scare me.

21. What is the funniest movie you’ve seen?
Well, the movie I laughed the most at was Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985). Then again, I was in high school at the time and was probably drinking the night we went and saw it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Final Stretch

It was full steam ahead today. Since getting home from work at four PM, I've written 2800 words on Valley of the Splintered Oaks. The story is now at 4650 words. I was hoping to keep it under 5000, but I am really close to the end, so maybe some liberal chopping and several editing passes will get it back down to manageable size. This is one of those times when the story almost told itself and I just sat and typed nonstop, getting it out. It's been fun as well, creating creepy moment after creepy moment, (hopefully) building up the tension until all hell breaks loose. I'm still debating the end. I know how it all comes to a conclusion, I'm just not sure if I want all the characters to survive...if any. I suppose I should sleep on it.

Today at work was much better. The heat still sucked at 100+ degrees, but at least I had AC in the truck!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

WIP Wednesday

Like a few others, the Muse was missing in action for a few days, but then I got wind of the new Horror in Rural America anthology. Valley of the Splintered Oaks fits this one to a T, so I pushed aside the not happening Church of the Deviate Minds and dove into Oaks. So far, so good. 1300 words tonight with a clear picture of where the story is going. I'm actually forcing myself to stop writing for the day, as the characters are about to make a creepy discovery and I want to do this scene justice by operating on less exhaustion. 10.5 hours at work today in 103 degree heat AND NO FREAKIN' AIR CONDITIONING IN MY TRUCK!!!

Stick a fork in me, I am done!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Flashback

Am I the only one who remembers this creepy video from the 80's?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Crash

Wow, it's been a week since I posted here. Not much has been happening. For a few days I was blazing away on my latest WIP, The Church of Deviate Minds, but then I hit a snag. I knew how the story was going to end, but suddenly the road that I had envisioned leading to that ending wasn't feeling too good. It was like BOOM! Here are the characters, WHAM! Murder, POW! Freaky Shit and then......the end. It just didn't feel right. I chopped out one entire section and then was unable to come up with anything to fill it with. The writing just came to a grinding halt. I'm still trying to work this story over in my mind, but for the last few days, I haven't written a thing. I'm just gonna view this as one of those "recharge" periods often experienced before another burst of creative genius.

Monday, July 6, 2009

WTF?

So I see on Duotrope that The Drabbler is open to submissions again. I also see that according to Duotrope, this market only notifies those whose work is accepted. So no rejection notices. Sauntering on over to the Drabbler website, I see that they don't accept multiple submissions. As part of their FAQ's they have the following:

How many stories may I enter?

As many as you can write. However, no multiple submissions. Please submit one story at a time.


I then see that at the current time, they are open to subs until August 31. I also read that winners will be announced on October 1st. So a great big WTF?!! If you can only sub one story at a time, BUT they don't send out rejections, you will have to wait until October 1st to know if you've been accepted. By that time, the submission period will have been over for a month and it is too late to send a second piece...so why in hell do they encourage writers to send as many stories as they can write? Does that make any sense?

The sore throat was better today. Thanks to all for their remedy suggestions. I found the easiest way to get to sleep last night was the old classic: several shots of scotch.

My Vermin story, Ground Zero got polished and sent out tonight. Here's hoping. I also managed a few hundred more words on Church of the Deviate Minds. My big news of the day was an acceptance from The Monsters Next Door for my story, The Horror of Pine Hollow. It will appear in issue eight. TMND is also changing format, with issue eight being the first as a free PDF. There will also be the option to purchase a printed version. I think I'll have to buy a couple print copies to show off to friends and...well, friends.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Productive Weekend

This was a productive weekend. Saturday The Other Half and I had already agreed to stay home for the day and relax, due in part to all the running around we did on Friday. Thus, I was able to make several passes at Ground Zero and get it down to manageable size. I'm letting it a sit for a day or so before another polish and then off it goes.

Today was another day where I worked on several different stories as the day progressed. In the morning I dabbled with an unnamed flash piece. In the afternoon I worked on a story called Valley of the Splintered Oaks (which was once known as Wrong Turn in Dutch Hollow) and a new one entitled Midnight in the House on Whispering Hill, though that name is subject to change. Then this evening it was another writing marathon (1200+ words) on a new piece called Church of the Deviate Minds.

No rejections or acceptances this weekend, but I expect to hear soon from something. I have two subs that have been out for 97 days each and another two that have been out for 75 days each, not to mention the story for the Time in a Bottle antho, which is now at 125.

For some ungodly reason, I have managed to develop a sore throat over the last two days. I can feel it worsening with every hour. I only hope I can get some sleep tonight and that it won't be too bad come morning.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Did I Do That?

So mere hours after I received a rejection from GUD the other day, they closed to submissions. Coincidence? A part of me wonders if they took the quality of my submission as a sign to close their doors for the time being. Oops.

On the writing front, Ground Zero, my Vermin story is complete. Yay! Only...there's a problem. It's waaaay too long. The other day I was at about 3.5 thousand words and confident that I'd have it wrapped up by 5k. Then 5k came and went and the story wasn't complete. Then 6k came and went. The same with 7k. sigh As it is now, the bloody thing is 8200 words long. The word limit is 7500. Chopping is in order. Since I'd prefer it to be even shorter than 7.5k, serious chopping is in order. However, that comes tomorrow. After my writing marathon this afternoon (1800 words! woo hoo) and then watching the Friday the 13th remake tonight, I think it's time to unwind with a good book from Richard Laymon.

Oh, my latest Tweet story went up today at Tweet the Meat. Check it out.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

June

So June has come and gone. Overall it was a pretty good month for me. I only had two big rejections. One from the Hideous Evermore antho (and that one really bummed me out) and one from Murky Depths magazine. Technically I got a few rejections from Tweet the Meat since I subbed five stories and they only took one, but those aren't exactly heartbreaking. Oh, and there was that rejection from Dark Recesses, but since that story sucked, I was rather glad it got the boot.

This was my best month ever as far as acceptances. In the Dog House went to Everyday Weirdness. Thin Ice found a home at Flashes in the Dark. The aforementioned Tweet the Meat took a tweet story I refer to as Invasion and Lurid Lit accepted Pruritus Maximus for their new print journal. So, yay! Thus the grand total was:

Rejections - 7
Acceptances - 4

The year is now half over. 2009 marks my first ongoing attempt at carving out a writing career. While I did sub a few pieces in late 2008, I think of this year as my beginning phase. In years (and decades past) I'd go through the occasional period where I'd hammer out some crappy stories and sub them a time or two before calling it quits, but this time around I was determined to stick with it. I have to say, I exceeded my expectations. I fully expected to have a file overflowing with rejections by this point, with very few (if any) acceptances, but my rejection/acceptance ratio for the year is not too shabby. So while many great markets have yet to be cracked by yours truly, I'm doing well enough that I feel that I am learning and progressing to the point where it will only be a matter of time before I see my name...or at least, my pseudonym, in them.

Now bring on July!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Eeeewwww!

Mystery Life Form in NC Sewer

I am reminded of numerous horror films at this point.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Liar Liar Pants On Fire

Yes, it's the latest meme. I've been tagged by at least three people, so here goes.

"Sometimes you can learn more about a person by what they don’t tell you. Sometimes you can learn a lot from the things they just make up. If you are tagged with this Meme, lie to me. Then tag 7 other folks (one for each deadly sin) and hope they can lie."

Pride: What is your biggest contribution to the world?

Not having children.


Envy: What do your coworkers wish they had which is yours?


My vicious charm, good looks and success with the ladies.


Gluttony: What did you eat last night?


Not enough.


Lust: What really lights your fire?


Women with a BA - bank account.


Anger: What is the last thing that really pissed you off?


The snippy attitude Honey Bunny, my stuffed rabbit, took with me this morning.


Greed: Name something you keep from others.


The secret of existence.


Sloth: What's the laziest thing you've ever done?

Aside from the short answers to this meme, this: I tag Danielle, since everyone else has been tagged (that I know of).

The title to this post was Liar Liar Pants On Fire and good gravy, is that last part true. It was 108 degrees F in these parts today and the triple digits are forecasted for the next several days. My response to the realization that I will be working in such heat: FUCK!

Due to various emergencies, Ground Zero (my vermin story) got little love this weekend, but I hope to fix that tonight. I tried writing a serial for thaumatrope since they are open for serial submissions, but that ended up sucking worse than a malfunctioning sex doll.

Time now to go listen to the Funky Werepig.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

This Rawks

A 60-foot Gundam statue in Tokyo Bay, that lights up at night!

See?




Now I fully expect a 400-foot tall Godzilla statue that roars on the hour.

Despite a hellish week at work (made all the more crappy by all my various pains, be it back pain, neck pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, etc), the writing has been going very well, at least until today. Tonight I am too zonked and sore to write. Instead, I researched potential markets and contemplated expanding a couple of those 100 word micros I did a while back into longer flash pieces. My Vermin tale, Ground Zero, has been coming along great. I've now reached the final act, which naturally is when all hell breaks loose.

On top of all that, today I got an acceptance from Tweet the Meat for a Tweet story I subbed. Plus, last night I got an acceptance from Lurid Lit for Pruritus Maximus, a story that is equal parts humor and horror (at least for men). Time now to pass ou...

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Godzilla Tree

I once lived in a small town called Galt, situated in the heart of the San Joaquin valley and located at just about the halfway point between the greater Sacramento and Stockton metro areas. The area is mostly farm land, with patches of trees here and there. When I lived there, I worked in Stockton, 20 miles to the South. One day not long after moving there in 1999, while making the home commute for the first time, I noticed something odd in the distance when I approached Galt from the South. I spied a giant tree far in the distance, located somewhere in the heart of the city. From the freeway, the tree resembled Toho's Titan in profile. I thus dubbed it The Godzilla Tree. A couple times I tried to locate the tree by driving around town, but it seemed to only resemble the Big G from that one particular angle. I looked for that tree everyday while driving home from work. Then in 2003, I sold my house and moved. I rarely get out that way these days, but today I had deliveries in those parts. When returning North, I spotted my old pal The Godzilla Tree. Part of me imagines it uprooting itself and then stomping around town, squishing people like bugs. I'd take a picture of it to post here, but as mentioned earlier, the only way to see its resemblance to Godzilla is from the freeway...and I'm not about to stop and stroll out into the fast lane to get a clear photo.

The Vermin tale continues to develop. Another 400 words tonight. Hopefully more tomorrow. The only death so far is a cat, torn to pieces by...well, you'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Good Weekend

I had a fairly productive weekend, logging several hours of writing. The Vermin story is finally coming along nicely after weeks of being stuck in limbo. I should really thank both Alan W. Davidson and Natalie L. Sin for unknowingly helping. Alan posted a Characterization Checklist on his blog the other day that reminded me of a few crucial things, while a short story of Natalie's that I read provided the impetus to make my characters more "flavorful." Once I added a few more character traits (some good, some bad), the story really came alive, so thanks, you two!

My back is feeling better, but it's a return to work tomorrow. I hope these new pain killers can do the job if I need to call upon them.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Is The Weekend Here Yet?

This week has been a real pain in the backside. Well, more like the back. My lower back started hurting Monday afternoon and has not quit. The soonest I can get to the doctor is Friday afternoon, so I've been muddling through work each day, going sloooow and leaving early in order to get home, pop some muscle relaxers and start applying heat and cold to my back. This isn't the first I've had back pain and I'm hoping that I can avoid having the muscles become too inflamed and swollen. If that happens, they'll pinch the sciatic nerve and I really will be immobile. I've had that happen twice before and I do not wish to repeat the experience.

Writing has taken somewhat of a backseat, but I have made steady, if slow, progress on my Vermin story. I also wrote a flash piece but haven't subbed it because it just seems to be missing something that I can't identify at the time. I'm torn between calling it a crappy flash story and considering it as the opening for a longer piece. I dunno. What I do know is that I'm tired of all the aches and pains.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thin Ice

More shameless self promotion. My story Thin Ice is now up at Flashes in the Dark. It was inspired by a true event that happened to my mother when she was a girl waaaay back in the 1930's. I actually wrote a non-fiction piece about the event about twelve years ago and sold it to the Good Old Days nostalgia magazine. That was the first time I ever sold anything I had written. Now, years later, I've taken the same basic premise and put a horror spin on it. Mom grew up in Illinois, but in keeping with the supernatural element of the story, I moved things to the South West, Arizona in particular.

A Puppy Post

This post is for my two dogs, who helped inspire my story over at Everyday Weirdness. Plus, I just felt like talking about something new today. These two are like my children, so they get spoiled something fierce. Be warned, this entry might be sickeningly sweet. As mentioned before, these two are Pembroke Welsh Corgis and are now about 2.5 years old. I know this makes them dogs rather than puppies, but we still call them our "puppy kids."

First up we have Sandy above, who popped up a few months back in my Man Cave pics. Her full name is Sandrine Liliane. She takes after my wife in that she is very sensitive. Any loud talking or sounds and she gets nervous. Her many nicknames include:

Sand Lilly
Sanders
Colonel Sanders
Sandster
Sandy Dandy Doop
Little Miss
Little Miss Kiss Kiss
Sandy Ruff Ruff Roo Roo

This is our male Corgi, Jag. His full name is Janus Argus Griffinus, but we just call him Jag. Jag is like me. He doesn't like being touched in certain areas (mainly his front feet) and is very excitable. Any commotion and he is up and barking. I often call him "son" but his other nicknames I've given him include:

Jaggy
Jiggy Jaggy
Jagster
Jagalicious
Jaggernaut
Jagapanthus
Jaggy Waggy Woo Woo

There's the three of us this morning right before our morning walk. And for those of you who may notice, yes, I no longer have Rob Zombie length locks and facial hair like in my Twitter pic. There's just too much gray hair to pull it off any longer.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Everyday Weirdness

Yesterday I arrived home and checked my email to find two new messages (yes, only two). One was from L.B. Goddard, co-editor of the Devil’s Food antho, advertising her appearance later on The Odd Mind blogtalk radio show (which I forgot to listen to live). While reading that message I noticed who sent the other email: Everyday Weirdness. I then opened that email and upon seeing only two lines of text, figured that I had been rejected. Then I actually read the text and was surprised to learn that my story, In The Dog House, was accepted for today. Read it HERE.

In other news, I’ve had a second story enter triple digit days while waiting for a response. The first was the horrid story Dark Recesses rejected after 177 days. Now, my piece for the Time in a Bottle antho, The Transcendental Man, has just reached 102 days. I’m wishing I had a time machine myself so I go forward and see what the result for that story is going to be.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rejection Relief

I just got a rejection from Dark Recesses Press after 177 days. I had submitted that story before the hard drive crash and as a result of said crash, I had totally forgotten where I had sent the bloody thing. I figured it would eventually come back as a rejection because the story was rather lame, but after so much time had gone by, I had nearly forgotten about it. I think this is the first time I am relieved at a rejection because since subbing that story, I've come to the conclusion that it SUCKS and the story needs to be retired. I would have hated to have that story represent me to potential new readers.

On the writing side, I spent tonight playing story tag team. I'd work on my Vermin story for a while and then when I hit a bump in the road, I'd jump over to another work in progress. When that one started to get difficult I jumped back to the Vermin story. Back and forth I went. Surprisingly, I got quite a bit done on both stories. The real test comes tomorrow, when I read over what I wrote and decide whether or not it's all crap.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Best Laid Plans

So Saturday, after running errands around town in the morning with The Other Half, I had the house to myself when she went to help her parents after lunch. No responsibilities and several hours to call my own! Prime writing time! I was eager to get to work on my Vermin story, but I was feeling a little tired, so I opted to take a wee nap first. As usual, I popped a movie into the DVD player before stretching out. The movie I chose was a "classic" monster flick from the early 60's, and when I say "classic" I mean that it is regarded by most people as crap. As I watched the film (which I have seen dozens of times) and started fading into slumber, something in the film jogged a "what if?" in my mind. I went ahead and snoozed and then got up and thought about this what if some more, eventually sitting down and writing a story called The Sea Hath No King. I polished it up Sunday and again today before sending it out.

I never did get to that damn Vermin story. It taunts me like some sort of...taunting thing. Tonight I intend to make some progress on it.