Sunday, May 17, 2009

I, Vampire

No, I haven't been running around in pancake makeup, decked out all in black attire and biting people on the neck (and sparkling whilst doing so). I've been sick in bed for the last several days. We have some of those window shades that block all incoming light, so when they are closed, the bedroom gets very, very dark. Just as dark as if it was midnight. I have the same type of shades in my office to help facilitate my writing mood. Anyway, I've been keeping to the bedroom for the most part, watching movies and TV shows when not zonked out on medication. I emerge only to check emails and get food. Then it's back to the Stygian darkness of the bedroom.

I have emerged now for two reasons:

1. My story, "Nuts," is now up at 52 Stitches. Please go check it out and let me know what you think.

2. Thanks to everyone who volunteered to beta read Deadliest Cachalot. I got a bunch of insightful comments and suggestions, many of which I will be using for the rewrite. The process made me smile. Elements that one reader may have loved, another thought I should lose and vice versa. It made for a good reminder that all of us have our own tastes and just because the story hasn't sold yet doesn't mean it's total crap.

OK, back to the crypt for me...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Spoke Too Soon

So the day after recovering from my stomach flu/virus thingie, a head cold, complete with stuffed nose, super sore throat and raging cough, settled over me. Well, more like landed on me like a ton of bricks. Today I am off to the doctor. The Other Half is convinced that I have Swine Flu because a coworker who recently returned from a trip to Mexico was quarantined by his doctor before being allowed to come back to work. I don't care what it is, I just want it to go away.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Back In The Land Of The Living

I seemed to be fully recovered from a recent battle with some sort of stomach flu/virus thingie. It won and kicked my ass all over. I've pretty much been going to work and then spending the rest of my time in bed bemoaning my fate. This has thrown a monkey wrench into my writing as well as the 100 Days, 100 Micros thing here on this blog. I'm about five days late at this point and there is no way that I'm gonna try to write five pieces tonight. Tomorrow doesn't look good, either. In fact, I think this forced vacation from the project has made me reevaluate it. From this point on I'm going to lose the "100 Days" bit and just call it "100 Micros," posting them when I'm good and damn ready to post them. Of course, I'll still try to work on them daily, but won't lose any sleep if I miss a day or twelve. This week I hope to get back to my story for the Vermin antho.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

100 Days, 100 Micros Day 6

Micro 006/100
"The New House" - 100 words

Taking a break from unpacking, Sara was feeding the baby when the front door opened, the twins barreling into the house.

“How was the first day in the new school?” she asked.

“The kids told us that our house was haunted!” Sally exclaimed.

“Yeah,” Tommy agreed. “They said that ghosts possess people here and make them do bad things. That’s not true, is it?”

Sara smiled. “Of course not. Don’t let those kids get to you. Those are all just stories.”

The baby’s eyes suddenly glowed red. “I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” she said in a menacing baritone.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday's Gone

Thanks to everyone who volunteered to read Deadliest Cachalot. Today was a short day at the day job, but a long one at the hospital and then home to do chores (which have been piling up). I'm knackered.

Micro 005/100
"The Customer" - 100 words

The sign read Mojo’s Magical Emporium. I opened the door and entered, finding it empty except for a short man behind the counter.

“Can I help you?” he asked.

“I have a problem,” I said.

“Well, you’ve come to the right place! What might it be? Werewolf? Vampire? Mummy? I carry an assortment of silver bullets, wooden stakes and fresh tanna leaves. What will it be?”

“None of those.”

“Is it a demon?”


“Ghouls? Fairies?”

I shook my head.

“Then, just what is your problem?”

“I’m short on cash.” Producing my gun, I shot him before emptying the till.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Whale Of A Tale

So Deadliest Cachalot came back today, rejected for the second time since being cut from the running for the Dead Bait antho. That's three rejections for this tale in less than two weeks. Ouch! It stings a little, since I am rather partial to this tale and the work that went into writing it...twice no less. I begin to wonder if the story just isn't crap, but then figure it wouldn't have made the Dead Bait shortlist of it was total shit. Still, there may be room for improvement. I think I'm going to let it sit for a bit and reevaluate it later. I'd rather not send it out again at this time because my mind imagines all these fish stories bouncing around out there right now after getting cut from Dead Bait like me.

The other problem I have with the story is its length. At 8,000 words it is more a novelette than short story. Finding a home for it may not be all that easy. However, I can't envision trimming it down, as I had to fight to keep it under 8k in the first place. In fact, I felt the ending got rushed a bit because I needed to wrap things up before I passed the DB word limit. Maybe I will go back and flesh things out some more. Who knows.

Anyway, the reason I've babbled on about this is because I'd like some fresh perspectives on the story and wonder if anyone is interested in being a beta reader. Is one still considered a beta reader if the story had been subbed three times?

Micro 004/100
"Tomb Raiders" - 100 words

Davis pushes the sarcophagus lid aside, revealing the lone occupant. “Read the passage,” he says.

Miles opens the ancient tome and in the lost tongue of kings, recites the resurrection invocation. With a dry snap, the withered mummy climbs from its resting place.

“It worked!” Davis cries, as the mummy lurches forward. “Read the next part.”

Miles consults the book then says, “Go, great prince and retrieve the treasure that rightfully belongs to you.”

“Be ready to follow him,” Davis says.

The mummy suddenly springs forwards, grabs the book from Miles and in the lost tongue of kings, says, “Mine.”

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Email Gods Hate Me

I really, really need to just turn my email program on once a day to check things. As it is now, I keep it open whenever the computer is on (which on a day like today, begins when I wake up at 6:30 AM and ends when I go to sleep). Whenever the chime sounds that denotes a new email, or whenever I return to the office to find something new in the inbox, I get all excited. Could it be a response from a submission? Which one? Possibly an acceptance? A rejection? Eagerly I go to check. So far I've received 17 emails since May 1st.

1 newsletter from Amazon
1 newsletter from Cemetery Dance
5 receipt confirmations from Tweet the meat
1 acceptance/rejection from Micro 100

The other nine? All notifications that someone was now following me on Twitter. Now, that's good and all, but it seemed like every time I turned around and eagerly opened an email, it was from Twitter. Talk about dashed hopes! The truly mystifying part is why my city's local newspaper has decided to follow me. Hmm...

Micro 003/100
"Mistaken Identity" - 100 words

It was only after twelve hours of orbital bombardment, which had vaporized over fifty major cities, that the alien fleet halted its attack on Earth.

We all climbed out of our hiding places and amidst the settling dust, listened as the invaders began broadcasting across the globe on every known frequency. In shock and anger we stared at each other as they apologized for the clerical error that led to their mistaken attack on our world.

To err is Human, someone once said, but to royally fuck up on an interstellar scale is purely Hygorian, or so it would seem.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

What Day Is It Again?

I think today is Saturday. I've been off work for three days and all the running around I've done lately along with irregular sleep schedules has screwed up my internal clock and calender.

I was perusing Duotrope earlier today and looking over the activity for the last seven days. I noticed that a market I had submitted to had sent out several rejections a few days back. I also noticed that the longest any of those replies took was about three weeks. Given the dates of the rejections, I could tell that those stories had been submitted well after mine, many as long as two weeks later. Since mine has been there longer and has not garnered a rejection yet, does that bode well for its chances, or am I grasping at straws? Probably the latter.

Micro 002/100
"Late Night Surprise" - 100 words

Jake was stirred from his peaceful slumber by a car passing by outside, the insistent beat of the stereo raised far beyond polite levels for this hour.

“Thanks for ruining my dream,” he mumbled. Blinking, he gazed at the ceiling, noticing a strange shadow stretched across its white surface. Casting his eyes back and forth, he found nothing to account for its existence.

“What the hell?” He blinked again, realizing he could only see the odd shadow with his right eye.

That’s when the spider sitting over his eye sank its fangs into the moist flesh beneath its eight feet.

Note: except for the final line, today's micro is a true story, happening to me several years ago. I wasn't bitten, but the realization of what was sitting on my eye was rapidly followed by high pitched screaming and self levitation as I bolted from bed.

Friday, May 1, 2009

100 Days, 100 Micros

So, to help kick start as well as maintain those creative juices, I've decided to engage in a new writing exercise. Every day for the next one hundred days, I am going to write a new micro fiction piece of approximately 100 words, and then post it here on the blog. I know that by doing so, they will be considered reprints if I were to attempt subbing them anywhere at a later time, but let's face it, most of them are going to be crap and thus, unworthy of such efforts. I'm sure this little endeavor will eclipse Sturgeon's Law and result in a 99 percentage rate of pure suckage. Still, an idea or two might be gleaned from this project for future expansion. We'll see. Here goes.

Micro 001/100
"Dead-Light District" - 100 words

As the taxi roars away, Sharon realizes it has deposited her five blocks from her destination. She rolls her eyes. Some cabbies refuse to get anywhere near this section of town, especially once darkness falls. She’s lucky tonight’s driver was willing to come this far.

Already her arrival has attracted unwanted attention. A few of the zombies that infest this area come shambling towards her out of the dark. Reaching into her purse, she withdraws the handgun. Making sure it’s loaded, she begins her trek through the dirty streets.

The commute may suck, but at least her rent is cheap.

What You Won't Write

While laying in bed, trying to grab a quick nap a short while ago, my mind was doing its usual thing and running through story ideas. I began thinking about subjects and or themes that I do not ever intend to write about, either within the boundaries of the horror field or speculative fiction overall. Here are two of mine.

1. Violence towards dogs. I love dogs. I enjoy the company of canines over that of most people, even members of my own family. I have always hated it when reading a book or watching a movie, a dog gets killed unnecessarily, either by some wacko killer or by the monster at large. I get that the threat has to be shown and even understand why authors do it, but I'm not fond of it. I have no problem when the death involves some sort of evil dog that represents a threat (like those zombie dogs in the Resident Evil flicks), but I do not ever plan on writing a scene where a dog is murdered. Canine deaths may occur within the story, but they will always happen "off screen." I just don't want to write about a dog (and/or most animals) being killed.

2. Zombies. I love zombie movies. I love zombie novels and stories. However, I don't plan on ever attempting to author one myself. I just feel that I could never hope to bring anything new to what is in my opinion, an already limited subgenre. I did write one short story that was centered around zombies, but those shambling dudes who smell real bad never really showed up in the story. That being said, because I love zombies so much, the idea of writing a zombie story sounds really fun. I do have an idea for a zombie tale and may use that as my first NaNoWriMo project later this year, but I would view it as an exercise only and would never try submitting it.

What topics are taboo at your keyboard?