Tuesday, March 31, 2009


So March has come to an end. I heard very little from editors in March. Not a single acceptance or rejection came my way, though I suspect April will be quite different (probably not in the way I hope). It was also a good month for me writing wise, especially the last ten days or so, when I realized I needed to actually finish all the stories I had begun in hopes of subbing by April 1st. I've been writing pretty regularly each day and once all those stories were completed and sent off, I was left feeling antsy, with nothing to work on. I also felt that even if every single one came back rejected, I had a good time creating them, so the effort wasn't wasted. In total I sent off six pieces in March. Hopefully at least one of them will get the hint and stay gone.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sore Fingers

Aside from a brief trip to the vet yesterday and a quick run to the pizza place today, I've been home all weekend. Much to The Other Half's chagrin, I've spent most of that time at the computer, writing. That is when I wasn't snoozing or giving her foot rubs. I've produced over 9000 words over the last week on several different stories. Some got finished and require editing. Others still need work. Naturally, there is no way I can get them all sub-worthy by the 1st, but I will get one or two out. Tomorrow I have the day off from work, though I will be rather busy til noon-ish. After that, it's back to work at the keyboard.

I heard from the Time in a Bottle anthology today, but only for them to confirm receipt of The Transcendental Man, which I sent out on the 3rd. They added that I'd hear from them again sometime in May. Great. MORE waiting, but that's the name of the game.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's What Day?

A few days ago I suddenly realized that the end of March was fast approaching. I also realized it was the deadline for about half a dozen markets I had wanted to sub to. Could I turn out anything of quality in time (does he turn out anything of quality ever you may be asking) for each one? No way, but I can try and get something sent off to two or three of them, which is what I've been busily doing since Tuesday. It helps that this is a three day weekend for me and I have very few errands to run, so I can maximize my time at the keyboard.

I also realized that I have not had a response at all in March from any of the markets I've subbed to, with the exception of the Dead Bait antho, which told me I was shortlisted back on the third. I'm getting rather nervous, wondering if I made the cut on that one or any of the others (Devil's Food). Of course, now that I've pointed this fact out, I'll be deluged with rejections.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Brain Dead


I put that weed story aside for a day or two in hopes of brainstorming an idea for the Hideous Evermore anthology (with a deadline in one week's time). I've sat here at this blasted keyboard, staring at this blank screen for the last fours and my grand total written tonight? ZERO. This must be the cosmos balancing itself after my 4k binge yesterday. An idea is slowly forming in my head for a story, but it appears that it needs time to bake some more, so I am off to bed.

Maybe it was a lack of cheese puffs today that did in my muse.

Plus, work has been a nightmare. My aches and pains now have aches and pains. I can't seem to do very much of anything without incurring sore muscles or some other sort of lingering discomfort. Getting older SUCKS.

Did I say UGH?

Still nothing from Devil's Food.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend Progress

Saturday was a lost cause. I ended up running around town on errands, but did score a free steak and crab dinner. After everything, I was too tired to write very much. I ended up watching The Midnight Meat Train and then passed out.

Today, however was very good. I polished up and edited Horror in the Chamber of Steam, then sent it off to two volunteer beta readers. Then the muse really kicked me in the ass and I pounded out 4,000 words for a new story currently called The Evil Weed. I know I'm gonna change that title, but I enjoyed the writing process today. Things really flowed well. Maybe my junk food diet today (toaster strudel, cheese puffs, candy bars and ice cream) helped kick start the creative juices. This new story is one of my more nastier tales, filled with sex, graphic violence, twin rapists and death by having one's internal organs sucked out...through the anus.

I see more and more people are hearing back from the Devil's Food antho. I confess to getting rather nervous about my own submission.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Worked more on Horror in the Chamber of Steam. There is something off about it, but I cannot nail it down. I may be too close to see the problem. Maybe once I get it smoothed out and chopped down it will become more apparent. Maybe not. Maybe I need a beta reader or two. Maybe I need sleep. Maybe it's just the opposite. Maybe I need more Coke to keep me awake and sharpen the mind. Nah, I've drank so much soda over the years, I've built up quite the tolerance for caffeine. I once had a girlfriend who could not drink a soda after 2:00 PM or she'd be bouncing all night. Me, I can drink a six pack of cokes between ten PM and midnight and pass out promptly at 12:01. Indeed, it is almost 11:00 right now and I've had four soda's since 8:30 PM, yet I'm yawning every few minutes. I just seem to be impervious to caffeine. Of course, I'd rather be impervious to something else, like bullets or even rejections. Oh, well.

Maybe I'll worry about it all tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Long Wandering Path

So I was thinking today about the path that brought me to where I am now. As a kid I always enjoyed writing stories in school, but it was at the age of 14 that I decided that I wanted to be a professional writer. I had just read Alan Dean Foster's novelization of Alien and decided to pen my own version. I entitled it SpaceDemon and instead of 7 people trapped on a ship with a murderous alien, I had 12 people (plus one monkey and one wise cracking robot) stuck with one. It sucked, of course, but my English teacher encouraged me to write more.

When high school rolled around I discovered fantasy, reading such things as Stephen R. Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books, Terry Brooks' first three Shannara books and Lord of the Rings, of course. I loved it all and decided that fantasy is what I wanted to write. I read nothing but fantasy for many years afterwards, disdaining everything else. Then at some point in the 90's I began reading more science fiction and horror. By now I thought that I would write both science fiction and fantasy, but actually did very little writing at all. I still thought of myself as a wannabe science fiction author until just recently.

A couple years ago I read several horror books that I really enjoyed and realized that I wanted to tell such tales, too. In fact, once I thought about it, it just seemed so obvious. I love all things horror. I love monsters, any and all kinds of horror movies and was always searching for something to scare me. Why not write horror? This doesn't mean I have abandoned science fiction or fantasy, but I must say, my efforts in horror have paid off far more than anything I did in years past in other genres. Maybe this is my calling.

Then again maybe not.

What paths have others taken to get to where they are now in terms of the subject matter they right about?

As for my feeble efforts, I wrote the followup to The Thing in the Bathroom tonight. I had originally called it The Thing in the Sauna, but may change it to Horror in the Chamber of Steam. Who knows. Right now I need to chop about 250 words from it, but will do that tomorrow. Having achieved my goal of at least 1000 words tonight, I am off to watch some TV.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My New Baby

No, not one of those kind of babies, but this, my new Shadowmobile:

This past weekend I traded in my old car for this new Chevy Malibu. Normally, I don't like buying brand new cars, but the dealership was so eager to make a sale in these bad economic times, that I made out like a bandit. I got a better deal on this vehicle than I did on my last one, which I had bought used.

Tonight I polished The Thing in the Bathroom (okay, that sounded kinda dirty) and got it whittled down to the proper length. Tomorrow I'll start the follow-up: The Thing in the Sauna. Inspired in part by Aaron Polson and his two Gary Sump stories, each of the Thing stories relates some of the same events from two very different points of view. Once the second story is completed, I don't know whether to submit them together or separately.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


I've been fairly quiet the last few days, not that I've been that busy. It's just that I usually post in this blog right before bed and several times I was so wiped out after long days at work that I was barely able to get showered before passing out. Maybe this week won't be as tiring.

I did manage to get some writing done this weekend. I finished a flash piece I had originally called Chimes, but changed to Racing Midnight. After about six or seven editorial passes, I got it within the word limit and sent it off. Then I worked on The Thing in the Bathroom. That one will definitely keep its name. I finished it and went over it a time or two, but I still need to chop it down by a hundred words or so. I'll let that task wait until tomorrow. While writing that one, an idea for a follow-up story came to me, so I might begin that when the first one is fine tuned.

It's funny, because until this weekend I had no idea how either story was going to end, despite giving them considerable thought at work last week. Then I sat down, started typing and poof, the ends came to me. Now I just need poof, acceptances and poof, money.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Tonight's word count is 600. That would be 400 on The Thing in the Bathroom and another 200 on a new story currently saved as "Chimes." I've been home from work for over seven hours and that is all I have to show for it. Of course, at this point both of these stories are more exercises than anything since I have no idea how either of them are going to end. Maybe I'll just type until I get there.

Monday, March 9, 2009

200 Words

200 words is what I've written since finishing The Transcendental Man and sending it off. I have really let my writing slide. This past weekend was a bust. As always, I hoped to write for several hours, but found that when I was actually parked in front of the keyboard, I had no drive to so. Thus, I ended up snacking and watching Primeval all weekend. Tonight I got back in the saddle and actually wrote 200 words or so on a flash piece titled The Thing in the Bathroom. Not a lot, but maybe the momentum will continue.

I got a kick out of all the comments the pictures of my Man Cave generated. In truth, this room is the culmination of years and years of dreaming about having such a place. I always wanted a desk like this and big bookcases on the walls, but naturally, money held me back. Then when I sold my first house and bought this one, I had the funds to furnish the place. The first thing I bought was the various desk components and a shitload of bookcases. I may not have a patio or lawn in the backyard, but by god, I have my writing lair! I only wish the room was big enough to get all my books and DVDs inside.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bad Ends

So tonight I finished reading The Younger Gods, the final book in The Dreamers series by David and (the late) Leigh Eddings. All I can say is ARRRGH!

I have always enjoyed their books, but this series left me wanting...more. And I don't mean that in a good way. Each book in the series had the same plot: the good guys race to put defenses in place before an epic battle. Each book also had the same ending: a deus ex machina is hauled out of someone's butt and saves the day. Never once do the protagonists seem like they are in real danger or are struggling against near insurmountable odds. At each step of the way, they seem in total control of the situation. Sure, some unexpected things arise, but they adapt well. Where's the freakin' conflict in that?

On top of all that, the final book ends with the biggest (and damn near literal) deus ex machina of them all, the story ending on a whimper instead of a bang. To make matters worse, someone gets the bright idea to use time travel in order to avert all the trouble in the first place, thus making it so that the events of four books NEVER HAPPENED.

I am utterly frustrated by that ending. I have enjoyed all the previous books by the authors, who did manage to create some good characters and instill them with unique and often humorous traits, but that ending...

I think I'll opt for a horror book next time, before delving back into fantasy.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Man Cave

Finally, I was able to get the pictures taken and uploaded. So here is my Man Cave, or as it is called around here, "Shadow's Lair," because Shadow is my nickname and the alias I often use on the net. Click on the pics for Super Size versions.

This one shows my office from the hallway. Yes, that is a GINO (Godzilla in name only) and Pikachu occupying the top shelf. The rest is all my old D & D and role playing stuff.

Here we see my desk. Note the stuffed Scooby in the foreground. He will feature in all the pics as a point of reference.

This one shows one of my bookcases. These are all my science fiction and horror paperbacks. The fantasy books occupy equal space in a different room.

I took the closet doors off and put this older dresser inside. It's filled with CD's and VHS tapes.

Below you can see Sandrine Liliane AKA Sandy, one of our two Pembroke Welsh Corgis.

Finally, a close up of my desk with some of the compartments open, revealing reference books, snacks, booze, notebooks, my ipod and other things. The DVD/VCR combo is connected to the computer for screen and video capturing. In the floor under the desk is a mini fridge filled with Cokes. The blue binder on the shelf holds copies of all my rejections.

Summing it all up, I am pretty much a big kid. :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Woo Hoo

Well, earlier today I took some photos of the office for the "reveal your man cave" thing going around, but wouldn't you know, me being a technodunce and all, I didn't have the camera settings right, so I'm gonna have to snap those pix again tomorrow.

Today at work I had to drive the oil truck rather than my fuel truck. On the fuel truck, all I do is pull a hose and pump fuel into tanks. The oil truck is much different. It involves moving a lot of 400 lb. drums, dozens of cases and pails of oil and lubricants. IT SUCKS. Factor in today's torrential rain and it made for a craptastic day. I got soaked and my muscles are sore. The only thing that made the day bearable was getting the news that Deadliest Cachalot has been shortlisted for the Dead Bait anthology. So, WOO HOO!

Now, I am taking my aching muscles to bed. Zzzzz

Monday, March 2, 2009

Time. There Is Never Enough

Somehow, despite The Other Half forcing me to watch the goofball finale to The Bachelor, I managed to get The Transcendental Man edited once again and then sent off to the Time in a Bottle anthology.

I was going to snap some photos of the local "Man Cave" (or Bat Cave as it is called around here, along with the name Shadow's Lair - which I will explain at some future date) but the camera's battery was low and by the time it was charged, all the day's natural light was gone. So tomorrow I hope to get to that.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Superior Scribbler & February

K.C. Shaw and B.T. have both awarded me the Superior Scribbler Award!

What were they thinking?! LOL

Here be the rules:

Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!

Since my circle of bloggy friends isn't too large, some of those I pass it along to will no doubt have already received it from others. Thus, I name:

Mercedes M. Yardley for having more pieces currently out in submission land than I have ever completed in my life. Plus her cooking can cause bowls to explode! Not bowels, but bowls.

Ken Wood, publisher of the forthcoming Shock Totem magazine for his own relentless drive to write. Plus, he has awesome taste in music.

Joshua Reynolds who won the zombie theme Deja Vu horror contest over at Dark Recesses Press. Anyone who likes monsters as much as me is super cool in my book.

Patrick Rutigliano for his story The Enemy of my Enemy in the Monstrous anthology, which creeped me the hell out. I'll never scratch an itch again without remembering that tale.

Duane Martin, editor and contributor for Rogue Cinema magazine. He writes fiction, non-fiction, reviews films AND edits and puts the magazine together. I don't know how he does it all.

Turning to the bygone month of February, I see on several blogs that it wasn't exactly the most productive month for many folks. I can say that I did not buck this trend. My month was rather slow. I finished two tales and got one sent off to Dead Bait and...that was it. The Transcendental Man went through several revisions this weekend and is in what I consider to be good shape. I'm gonna let it sit one more day and make another pass at it tomorrow night. Then it's off to the Time in a Bottle anthology.

Of course those two completed tales were stories I was rewriting due to the computer crash. Now that they are done, I can turn my attention to new things. Because I wrote each of those tales twice and back to back to back to back at that, it seems like I have been focused on them forever, so I am really, really, really looking forward to new things. I think there may have been a rejection early on in the month, but there were no acceptances.