Early New Year

As I wait (impatiently) for what should be the final e-proof from Ingram on my collection of 2017 work, I’ve put the latest 2 shorts into the 2018 Work folder, to get a jump on things.

Those stories are “Fill ‘Er Up”, a perfect Twilight Zone occurrence set in 1959, and then “Malone’s Hand”, a dying patient telling an unbelievable story to his visitor with his last breath.

They will lead the 2018 effort, which will include my first (gulp) effort at outlining a novel, then writing and collecting the pieces together. I’ve always been what they call a “pantser”, writing on the fly, the story and the characters driving it along. It works very well for short stories, but I doubt it would be a practical approach to a novel.

Meantime, both those new stories have been submitted to new markets, I’ve just sent “Tumor” to Dennis Serra to see if he’d like to add it to a future Evil Podcast episode, and once my e-proof is approved, we’ll go to press and print a very limited run of all my 2017 work, both to give as gifts, and also (let’s be honest) for my own bookshelf.

Full Cover

Odd Couple

Joe Bannon and Felix Perez, my two detectives from “Bequeath” are about to make their second appearance in “Ghost Writer”, which will appear on the Astounding Outpost website in December, and then in their “Ghosts, Ghouls, and Grave Robbers” anthology, which will debut on Amazon in January.

I modeled Bannon after Jerry Orbach’s great Lennie Briscoe character on the long running Law & Order TV series. He’s a jaded cop that’s seen it all and copes by making wisecracks and not letting it get to him. Perez considers him “a good cop, but blunt as a rock.”

Perez is a young man, new detective, partnered with Bannon to learn the ropes, much like the Chico Gonzalez character paired with Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry character in the first film.

I wanted that kind of contrast, to make the interplay between them interesting, even though it has been somewhat limited in the two stories thus far.

I foresee these two making their way into future stories, especially where the unnatural events may challenge Bannon’s tendency to not let the job get to him. He’s already seen things in these two tales that are anything but the usual, run of the mill crimes that he’s investigated for so long. Wonder what they’ll be assigned to look into next?

We shall see…

typewriter

We’ll try…

My plan for December was to complete the layout of the private run I want to do of everything I’ve done thus far, and then take a break to catch up on reading. I have a number of books in the Kindle waiting their turn, growing impatient.

And that’s when the Muse dropped a new “What If?” on me, one that would have been a perfect fit for the Twilight Zone in Rod Serling’s heyday.

Set in 1959, with as many elements to capture the time as I can include without being obvious, this one even plays in B&W in the theater of the mind as I read it…I even hear Tommy Tedesco’s guitar playing the Zone theme at the end! This one is not so much traditional horror, as a….well, as a Twilight Zone occurrence.

I’ve created a folder on the desktop for 2018 work, and this will be added once the final edits are complete. That folder already holds my “attempt” at drafting an outline for a novel, outlining not being my forte…we shall see. But, I’m pleased that my short story ideas continue to come along, as they always have!

Serling

Private Reserve…

I’m going to produce a printed anthology of all the work I’ve done in 2017, as gifts for friends, and also (be honest, now) for myself.

As some of the stories are reserved by the publishers who’ve accepted them, this book will not be published, nor will it have an ISBN number. It will only have a product SKU, in case I choose to do another print run at some point.

As such, it won’t be available in any retailer, thus keeping my part of the publishing contracts and agreements with my publishers.

It should, however, be a (hopefully) nice gift for those for whom it’s intended.

I’ve begun designing the cover, and will next need to revisit Scrivener, make any final changes and edits, then compile to Word to ship off to Ingram.

Exciting stuff!

Full Cover

Enter the Drabble…

Steph and Stuart, editors at The Horror Tree, regularly publish super short pieces of exactly 100 words on the site, and refer to these pieces as Drabbles.

I’d never tried to write anything that short before, so…Challenge Accepted!

As these are non paying submissions entered as a means of giving back for all the terrific leads The Horror Tree provides, it is acceptable to have had them published elsewhere, so why not put it up here, for your enjoyment? Then, if it’s accepted and published on The Horror Tree, you can say you knew it when…

The title is “Dad”…

“Wha?” Bobby shook his head, still groggy.

A nightmare. Screams, and a heavy, wet, thumping sound, then silence.

He opened his eyes, letting them adjust to the darkness, and gasped when he saw the tall silhouette standing between his bed and Jimmy’s bed.

As the figure turned, Bobby relaxed. It was just Dad, probably came in to check on the boys. Maybe he’d yelled in his sleep?

As Dad turned, he lifted Jimmy’s baseball bat, which looked different somehow. It was darker, and looked wet in the dim light. Bobby saw a grim smile on his father’s face.

“Now, you…”

Sleep well…

(Edit, 12/16/2017 – Story accepted, contract signed this morning. Release date TBA)

About Writing…

I was going to title this post On Writing, but Stephen King wrote that book, and those are toes I will not step on…

I know my writing is never going to make me either rich or famous, and I’m perfectly OK with that.

I write for me. I write what I like, and I enjoy reading it, and that’s the reason I do it.

When someone else enjoys what I’ve done, man, that’s a blast. To see positive reviews of your work by name kicks up cool to notches unbound. That is the icing on the cake, and it is chocolate, and chocolate is my favorite!

The other benefit is the community of fellow writers and publishers who’ve accepted me into their club. I’ve become one of the gang, not by intent, but by simply writing, and getting the work out there.

MJ Zander, a.k.a. “Coach”, gave of her time to read an early one, and write prolific notes as to what was right, and what wasn’t. I learned a great deal from her kind gesture, and will always be grateful for her guidance.

C.P. Dunphey, founder of Gehenna & Hinnom publishers was the first publisher to accept a piece I’d done, and that opened the door for others, and I am grateful for them all.

My fellow writers have been very supportive, and I try to return that favor as often as I can. The beauty of this club is that we don’t compete with each other…instead, we support each other. You don’t see this kind of thing in other endeavors, at least I certainly haven’t.

Music, for example. How many lead guitarists does it take to change a light bulb? 100. 1 to do it, and 99 to talk about how they could do it better. Granted, my friends and band mates were free of huge egos, but they were the exception, not the rule. Hell, not by a long shot.

It all started in January, when I decided to get off my ass and give writing a try. I’d thought about it off and on, but always procrastinated for whatever reason happened to be handy at the time. So, I gave myself a year, to see if I could arrange the 26 in a form other folks would be willing to read, and shocked the hell out of myself.

I did it.

So, the work…and the fun…will continue. I want to keep learning, keep improving the quality of my stuff, and the only way to do that is to do that, then do it some more.

Sleep well…

typewriter

 

Taking the next step…

It’s been an enjoyable ride, not just writing short tales of horror, but successfully having a number of them published, and reviewed favorably…back in January, I committed to a 12 month trial, to see how it would turn out, and I am pleasantly surprised so far!

I’d never have anticipated so much progress in the months that have passed!

As of this writing (11/11/2017), I currently have 13 stories out, submitted to different markets for consideration. I hope they’re not all rejected, but we’ll see in due time.

Now, the next step begins. I have an idea that I’d like to expand into a novel, so I’ll need to work on planning and plotting, something I haven’t done yet. My shorts have all been done on the fly, the story taking over and leading me through, but that’s not a realistic outlook for such a longer piece. I’ll step off from time to time as ideas for shorts pop up, and make sure I capture those, but for the first novel, I want to take my time, learning as I go.

I just used the phrase, “the first novel”…wow.

GA Working

Here we go!

Good Weekend…

Very productive weekend indeed! First, we had pre-orders open on Friday for Horror Bites Magazine #2, with my story “Nightmare” in the lineup, then on Sunday, my very dark humor tale, “Just A Little Bloob” appeared in the Trembling With Fear column on the Horror Tree website…

HB

bloob

Then, in the late afternoon, I got a message from Dennis Serra, informing me that my story “Rough Draft” would be in the November 20th episode on his Evil Podcast site!

http://evilpodcast.com

Sadly, Monday has arrived, and with it, a return to reality….

A good Friday indeed…

On November 3rd, 1954, Gojira made its debut in theaters in Japan, which makes this day Godzilla’s birthday…certainly a cause for celebration.

And then, as I work my way through the first cup of coffee of the day, in comes an email from a publisher to announce that pre-orders have opened on Amazon for the new issue of his magazine, in which one of my stories appears:

HB

Now, if only it weren’t a work day…..

A pleasant chat…

I recently had the opportunity to enjoy a pleasant Halloween chat with Author Kari Holloway, which she kindly shared on her blog here:

Kari Holloway Interview

Among other topics of importance such as candy corn at Halloween (Yay or Nay?), we spoke about my story “Bequeath”, which appeared in Hinnom Magazine 001, and has been submitted to the jury for consideration in the Bram Stoker Awards, short fiction category.

Bequeath

We also discussed influences, the 80’s boom in horror, and so on. A very pleasant experience, and I encourage folks to use the link above and check it out!

While you’re there, be sure to check out Kari’s own work, as well as the formatting services she offers to help writers prepare their work for submission.