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

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 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 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!'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


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
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!