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.

. 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


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

Monday, July 13, 2009


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


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 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


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!