Asked and answered…

Steph and Stuart at the Horror Tree recently posted an open question about what should be on a “Must Read” list for authors and I decided to send a response.

Well, Stuart liked it, asked me to expand on it a bit, and then elected to include it in the column that debuted today:

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It’s just my opinion, of course, but I really think Stoker broke a lot of ground when he created his iconic character that has thrived for so long.

Sleep well…

Busy day!

Wow…I am not only back in the saddle, but the horses are racing!

Let’s start with the new one. “Daydream Believer”, a tale about a man who falls back on violent daydreams as an escape from his temper issues…

I have to keep a handle on my temper, you see. Once the ex slapped a restraining order on me just before she filed for divorce, I had to make sure I didn’t give her or the courts any ammunition that would cause problems at work. As a financial adviser, I have to maintain the persona of the cool and collected professional, not given to emotional outbursts of any kind. That would tank my reputation in a heartbeat.

I do have a temper though, and it’s a raging beast. Luckily, I also have an active imagination, which has proven to be my only safe outlet. A man can’t be convicted for his thoughts, at least not yet. I did see a therapist, as ordered by the court, and he wasted no time in writing me a script for Prozac. I filled it promptly, assuming they’d be tracking it, and dutifully put the bottle in the medicine cabinet.

If I ever decide to take one, I know where to find them.

With this one I broke tradition and decided to write in first person POV, to make it more personal and hopefully add more impact to the finale. My readers will let me know if I was successful.

DDB Cover

And this evening, as my bride and I enjoyed too much wine and had a wonderful conversation, in comes a fantastic email from the good folks at Gathering Storm magazine, with attachments to use in publicizing the upcoming release…

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I was impressed by the cover, but was absolutely blown away by the layout within…it looks like the New Yorker magazine!

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I can’t wait to get my bloodied hands on a physical copy of this one!

Yeah, I’m back, and running full speed ahead. Next up, I need to finish the new short story and then get down to some serious work on the novel.

It ain’t gonna write itself…

Sleep well…

Get back to where you once belonged…

My geekazoid project is coming close to completion, which will leave me free to explore the dark corridors of imagination and spill fresh blood on the keys!

I’m fully moved into the Spectre, and am nearly finished transferring the contents of my wife’s laptop to my Dell after a format and OS reload for a fresh start.

I just had the pleasure of previewing the proof copy of Econoclash Review # 2 to check my tale “Trappe’s Rest” before the magazine goes to press this week. This is going to be a fun addition to my shelf, and I’m looking forward to the release!

ECR2

I’ve broken ground on a new story this week, the first on the new laptop, titled “Daydream Believer” (no association with the song), in which a man’s tendency to drift off into vivid, blood soaked daydreams takes him to a place he’d never have anticipated.

Just did a cosmetic update on the app, with plans for a full featured overhaul next month, so that will be forthcoming, along with three new story releases (two in print, and one on the Horror Tree, which debuts on September 30th). September promises to be an interesting month overall, more on that later.

There is a possibility that some of my tales might be available as podcasts at a new site, again more on that as I find out the particulars. I always enjoyed Dennis Serra’s narrations of my work on his Evil podcast, so I’m keen to find out about this new possibility.

For now, do sleep well…

In Progress…

It’s been a while since I added a new post, so I thought a short update was in order. I’ve been setting up and moving into a new laptop, and i like the keyboard on this one more than my other one.

My previous laptop will be scrubbed and given to my wife, as hers is now seriously slow and lags badly. She’ll love the speed of the new (to her) one.

I went with the new HP Spectre (sorry, 007) based on the feel of the keyboard and the impressive specs. It’s a very solid machine, really fast, and the keyboard has a satisfying tactile response, much more so than the one on my Dell.

I looked into a laptop with a mechanical keyboard, like the old Think Pad model, but all they have now are models meant for gaming with hideous lights behind the keys and ridiculous price tags.

hpspectre

It also comes with a pen, and if you flip it over to use in tablet mode, you can transform the pen to the dreaded red pen to do your editing. When the Best Buy dude showed me that, I was sold.

Anyway, that has been taking a lot of my time, as I want to insure I leave nothing forgotten before I scrub the Dell and stage it for my wife.

Soon, I’ll be back to work here in the dungeon, putting my Muse back to the task.

Sleep well…

Sunday…

A nice quiet morning in the Dungeon today, sipping coffee and updating the web site.

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I’ve reviewed and approved the edits for “Tumor”, which will be making its debut in Gathering Storm Magazine, Issue 9 soon, my guess being September, which is also when “Test Case” will appear in the Trembling With Fear column on The Horror Tree.

“Trappe’s Rest” will be appearing in EconoClash Review number 2 sometime very soon now, slated to drop in August.

I’ve decided that if “Spirit of the Dead”, my novella set in Carson’s Mill, is not accepted by the publisher in whose hands it currently sits, then I will self publish on Kindle in time for a Halloween release.

Spirit Cover New

I may put it up solo, or might add a couple short stories along to keep it company. Not sure yet, but I do have a little time between now and then to make a final decision and prep the files for upload.

The last couple weeks have been productive, adding three new short stories to the lineup, so things are progressing nicely. I have to discipline myself better to allocate time and get some work done on the novel. I’ve been lax in that regard, perhaps some time on the Rack might help improve my behavior?

We’ll have to see.

Sleep well…

Just a walk in the park…

Just finished a new story titled “The Man in the Park” in which our main character Tom is taking his daily walk through the city park and meets a stranger…

He was a husky fellow, a perfect model for the grandfather role in a Norman Rockwell painting. He wore a short sleeved white shirt, with his eyeglass case and a sharpened pencil pointing up in the pocket, presumably for the crossword puzzle.

They sit on the same bench, Tom needing a rest and the stranger reading his newspaper, and chat a bit, as people sometimes do.  Things turn a little strange soon enough, however…

“You seem to read people pretty well.”

“Something you learn to do over time, Tom.”

“I thought you looked familiar when I first saw you. I apologize though, I can’t recall where I know you from.”

“We’ve never met, no need to apologize.”

“How did you know my name then?”

“It’s my business to know people.”

I glanced at his newspaper then, and instead of the usual columns of stories and advertisements, it seemed to be comprised entirely of lists, some in foreign texts that I couldn’t read, unlike any paper I’d ever seen before.

“Who are you?” I asked, more intrigued than uneasy.

“I’ve gone by many names over the years. Call me Joe, if a name eases your mind.”

Tom is about to experience something that only occurs once in a lifetime, he just doesn’t know it yet…

This is another of my stories that would be a good fit for the old Twilight Zone…is that time machine ready for a test yet? Just drop me off in front of Rod Serling’s office, if you don’t mind.

man park

Sleep well…

With Thanks…

In today’s Trembling With Fear column on The Horror Tree, Steph Ellis made two comments that helped bring me out of a four day funk.

I’d been very hopeful about my submission to Cemetery Dance magazine, but received a rejection a couple days ago. That was a market I really wanted to break through in hopes one of my tales might actually be read by Stephen King.

That’s been a big goal since the first word landed on the first page, you see…

Steph also got rejected by them, and she is a very talented writer. She takes it in stride, which is how I generally deal with rejections when they come. Seeing her column helped me take the personal aspect out of it, and just consider it business as usual, like I do with all the others.

She also has some kind words about the site, as she is visiting a number of sites in preparation for building one for herself.

So, thank you Steph Ellis, for putting things in proper perspective and in so doing, dropping that ladder into the grave so I can climb back up and out!

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Sleep well…

Stuff…

A few items of interest over the last few days…on July 14, I’d posted this:

Saturday morning, the house quiet. I sit in the recliner with my laptop and the dog is curled up sleeping on the couch. A hot cup of coffee sits on the small end table to my right and the pleasure of a slow and easy waking is in progress.

Just sent off “Tumor” to Gathering Storm Magazine, encouraged by their aim to try and respond within 15 days. I wish all publishers would adhere to a shorter turnaround time in their responses. Yes, they’re busy people, yes they have lives and other obligations beyond reading, I get it.

Well, they were true to their word, and I had a response on July 27, letting me know I’d moved to Phase 3 for a final decision, and then on Sunday, July 29, another message telling me that “Tumor” had been accepted for Gathering Storm Magazine #9.

What a pleasure – not just the acceptance, which is always a rush, but also the speed with which the whole process took place.

Nice! Much appreciated, especially in contrast to the months of waiting that generally follow a submission! Thank you Gathering Storm!

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Also over the weekend, I decided to get a solid handle on formatting a manuscript for print publication, and that worked out very well. A good learning experience, and a good looking final as well. I liked it so much, I dragged it into Scrivener, and compiled it as a Kindle book.

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As the title implies, “Thirteen” consists of 13 stories, mostly newer works, including “The Man in the Cloud”, written this past weekend after our vacation. I think the ones I chose work well together.

Lastly, I also formatted “Spirit of the Dead”, my novella, and updated the cover design. That’s been out for submission since April, and if it’s not chosen by the publisher, I’m going to self publish and learn that process next. I’d like to see that on the shelf in time for Halloween.

Speaking of horror, it’s time to get ready to go to work.

Sleep well…

Back at it…

A week off, wandering through northern New Hampshire and a side trip to Montreal, was absolutely relaxing and invigorating… and now, back to it!

I took a quick grab shot with the phone camera through our room window at the clouds dropping down onto the mountains:

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We got to experience this phenomenon as we drove through the national forest, rising to an elevation of nearly two thousand feet, literally driving into and through a low cloud on the mountain.

I coupled that idea with our experience waiting to check out at a local grocery behind a horribly conceited woman, added a mysterious hermit, and am currently working on a new story, tentatively titled “A Man in the Cloud”, a tale where Karma plays an important part.

When we returned home yesterday, I found a delightful message waiting for me in email too…

Thank you again for sending us “Tumor”. To make sure that every author and artist remains “in the loop” and not wondering if their submission got lost, we strive to keep you constantly updated when your piece makes movement with our staff, either forward in the publication process or if we decided to pass on it at any time. We are authors too, so we understand what its like to not hear from a publication. 

Your submission has PASSED our SECOND ROUND of reading and is moving to Phase 3. 

The third review (Phase 3) is conducted under a microscope. We are looking for the best of the best out of all the submissions related to the particular theme. We are also sitting around a table discussing, begging, debating, arguing, bribing, and downright fighting for our favorite pieces. Due to budgetary restraints, some submissions in Phase 3 will still get the axe but are held very closely to our hearts. 

Lastly, if you’ve made it past Phase 3, you will get a personal notification from one of our Editors-in-Chief, declaring a National Holiday in your favor because you made it to publication. The only thing preventing this success from happening is if you had it published elsewhere in the time it took us to make a decision, if you failed to sign the contract, if we don’t mutually agree on the edits/revisions, or if you simply don’t respond to our emails. 

So, after hundreds of submissions, you are moving forward, just bear with us. We do post a lot of hints on our social media of what to expect in upcoming issues. Make sure you follow/like us on Facebook to keep up, because more than likely, we will be mentioning your submission at some point. 

Stay tuned! 

Michael & Cinda, Editors-in-Chief

“Tumor” is a rather nasty tale about an ambulance rushing a patient to a hospital, unwittingly opening a portal to Hell.

Good stuff indeed!

So, website update will occur this weekend, along with work on the new story to continue, and August just around the corner, bringing with it the release of EconoClash Review #2, which will include my tale, “Trappe’s Rest”.

Back at it!

Sleep well…

The Bookmobile From Hell…

It seems the Muse was sleeping today… or, maybe spending a day at the beach? In any case, I decided to try something new today instead of sitting in front of the TV, letting my brain dissolve into a fetid pool of sludge.

I created a new app comprised of all 43 short stories I’ve done so far.

Yeah, 43.

Needless to say, all that content adds up to over 51 megs, but…it is cool having my entire collection literally in my pocket! I went with an antique card catalog motif for the design, and I like it!

Bookmobile

The composite photo is actually 5 screen captures from my phone, lined up together in Photoshop. Each story resides in its own “drawer”, and there is a menu that pops out from the side for those who want short cuts. Me, I like scrolling the drawers!

and then phone

Here’s a detail of one of the drawers for the stories. I went with the font that looks like a typewriter with a ribbon on the way out to add to the vintage vibe.

Sorry, but this won’t be a public release, as I do hope to sell some of these stories to publishers! I want to have it on my phone for convenience, and possibly a sample for someone to read on the fly, and it was a fun exercise to put it together.

Tell you what… I have 10 or 11 stories out as we speak, at publishers like Gehenna & Hinnom, Cemetery Dance, and Amazing Stories, among others.

Let’s see how many acceptances I get, and then we’ll discuss releasing some of these stories, OK? Watch here and on the site for updates, and as always…

Sleep well…