Thursday, October 29, 2009
Last night, while working on a few things in front of my laptop, my email application lit up. I’ve tried to unsubscribe myself from every irrelevant mailing list I receive so that I don’t have to wade through tons of junk just to get to important emails, though that’s only been marginally successful so far. I still find I have emails waiting for me, hoping they’ll be about a submission, only to find they’re advertisements or other stuff I could care less about.
I wasn’t expecting much, but when I checked my inbox I found it was from Victorya, editor of Library of Horror’s upcoming Baconology anthology. Yes, it’s a collection of horror stories involving bacon as a main element. It’s a real book, and it’s coming out.
And I’m going to be in it.
This is one of the submissions I’d been anxiously waiting on a response for. Up until last night, I’d never been in a Library publication and it was something I really wanted to get involved in. Now I have that opportunity, as my story, “Porn and the First-Person Shooter,” will be appearing in Baconology.
I’ve been jittery and excited since I read the email. Really, really looking forward to this. I can’t even imagine what the cover art is going to be.
So, for the year so far that makes two anthologies, at least two small press print publications, an internet serial novel, several appearances on fiction sites and two placements in flash contests. I still have a few submissions still floating around, for another two anthologies and a few more magazines.
I feel so lucky right now.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I’d been planning, most of the summer, to outline the plot on notecards, keep a small notebook nearby for ideas and generally have my thoughts together by the time NaNo rolled around. Last year I worked off of the Ten Key Scenes notecard plotting plan (found in James Smith’s book The Writer’s Little Helper), and this year I’d been hoping to expand that setup to include non-critical scenes to set tone, establish character back story and slip in a little foreshadowing here and there.
I’ve done none of that.
With the exception of the notes I took on the day I went to photograph some dying malls in the area (which didn’t go as well as planned - I didn’t have a decent camera at the time and one of the malls turned out to be thriving), I haven’t done any plotting. I’ve got three or so characters, two settings and some general notes, but nothing I can start the story out with.
I’ve got four days to rectify this, on top of reading, doing classwork and posting reviews and interviews on the book blog.
My first year, I worked off of a very scant idea, and it worked somewhat well - until I got to the 50k word mark, NaNo ended, and I found myself with the first half of a very bizarre story. I never went back to finish it, and I’m hoping this year to be able to do a 75k - 100k full manuscript by the time I’m done, whether it’s in November or December. I need to be able to do this while also juggling an Internet serial novel, short fiction submissions and whatever else I need to compose for my grades.
I need to either cut back on sleep or find a better way to manage my time.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Finish edits/insertion of new material for Teahouse, format and check for errors. Send off as soon as humanly possible.
Begin plotting out the rest of Rain.
Plot Ghostbox for November so the story isn’t all over the place and full of garbled nonsense.
Review John Dies at the End.
Review Drop Dead Gorgeous and post the interview with Wayne Simmons.
Start reading Among the Living and compile questions for Timothy Long interview.
Finish reading The Rage Plague and finalize DL Snell interview.
Read a friend’s film script that I’ve had for several months so far.
Write my entry for The Worst of Love flash contest.
I don’t even know how I’m going to manage getting all of this done, but I’m going to make a valiant attempt. I think I might have to cut back on sleep and invest in a caffeine I.V. drip.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
They want to see Teahouse.
Now I just have to go over the whole thing to make sure it’s exactly what I want it to be, make some last minute alterations and possibly add some material. This is the first novel-length work I’ve ever completed, and no matter how much work I do to it it’s going to feel strange. I’ve got nothing else in my history to compare it to and, thusly, no benchmarks with which to gauge its quality.
I’m not going to go into details about the publisher or the response I got, but it was very positive and really made my morning. If things work out I’ll more than likely detail the whole thing here.
Crossing my fingers and launching OpenOffice as I write this. It’s going to be a long night.
Friday, October 23, 2009
I spent a while pouring over my wish list, which is probably close to ten pages by now. In the end, I picked up a copy of In Ghostly Japan, a collection of classic Japanese folk tales compiled by Lafcadio Hearn. I’ve been meaning to pick this up for a while, but never got around to it.
Flashes in the Dark’s next contest, “The Worst of Love,” is taking submissions until November 30th. The guidelines are -
“What we’re looking for: Dark stories that tell us what happens when love goes awry. This could be romantic love, or love between family or friends. Throw in a paranormal twist to this premise, and we want to see your story!
Rules: The usual word count: 1,000 words. Reprints are acceptable as long as they fit the aforementioned theme. Be edgy, be original, and bring your “A” game.
Please, nothing bordering on fanfic. If your characters sound or act like Edward and Bella, Bill and Sookie, or Lestat, please edit your story before submitting. Not that we don’t love these characters, but we want the originality in your work to shine through.
Vampires, Werewolves, and all manner of creatures are welcome.
There will be PRIZES for three winners, which are to be announced later.
Yeah, I’ll definitely be entering this one as well.
Please remember to put “THE WORST OF LOVE” contest clearly in your header or email.“
Monday, October 19, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Second place went to Graeme Reynolds’ By The Light of the Moon.
First prize went to the always awesome Angel Zapata with his story Surrogate Fruit.
I came in third with In the Shadow of Blossoms.
Honorable mentions went to Jody MacArthur for Creepy Crawly and Shane McKenzie for Heat.
Very cool stuff. I'm excited to see what the prizes are.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Derek J. Goodman, author of The Apocalypse, is my first review/interview combo, and the whole thing went up on the book blog this morning. You can read it here.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
On nights like this, in the grimy old city, the only people who’d brave the cold and damp were the downtrodden, the hopeless, the victims. Only they, and perhaps the shifty-eyed dirtbags they needed protection from, would leave the comfort of their homes or offices to make their way through the darkened streets.
Angel sighed and reached into a desk drawer for a bottle of whiskey. It was going to be a slow night. He could tell. The world outside, save for the pattering of rain on the sidewalk, was eerily quiet.
Suddenly he heard footsteps outside his office door. They were soft and quick. A woman’s shoes, it seemed.
The door burst open and a dame walked in. Her hair was soaking wet, her makeup running, and she had a horrified look on her face. As she spotted him sitting at his desk, she walked across the room to stand in front of him. “You... You’re Angel Zapata, right?”
“That I am, madam.”
“I need your help. Please. There’s nobody else I can go to.”
“What do you need help with, lady? Husband straying? Been framed for something? Someone been viciously murdered?”
She shook her head. “No, nothing like that.”
“Well, what is it, then?”
“I need you to catch a thief.”
“What kind of thief are we talking about?”
“The worst kind. Damn dirty scumbags, all of them. You got a name for me?”
“Ridyard,” she said. “Richard Ridyard.”
“Give a bit of time, lady, and I’ll find the dirtball thief for you. Don’t you worry about anything.” As she thanked him and turned to leave, Angel Zapata, private detective, reached into his drawer for his gun and a cigar.
He reached again for the bottle, as well. It was going to be a long night.
That was actually a lot of fun to write. I should do old-timey detective stories more often!
Anyway, here’s what’s been going on recently. Apparently the horror community has a bit of an issue with plagiarism. It’s not so much a problem of people stealing off of each other but one man ripping off a ton of people and passing their work as his all over the small-press and horror e-zine community.
His byline is Richard Ridyard, though that very well may not be his legal name.
Angel Zapata is a real person, an awesome guy and a great writer. We’ve been published by a few small presses together, which is why this whole thing hit so close to home for me.
Angel realized a few days ago that one of his pieces had been ripped off (you can read details of the whole sordid affair here) and did what any enraged writer would do - He tracked the jackass’s shady dealings all over the Internet and exposed every one of them, contacting every editor, publisher and author involved that he could find. There are quite a few, unfortunately.
Would you believe this Ridyard character ripped off little-knowns and STEPHEN KING as well?
He pulled a fast one on a lot of publishers, including ones who’ve been kind enough to accept my work. He hit Flashes in the Dark, MicroHorror and quite a few others, all good people who provide outlets for new and under published writers. He tried (and occasionally succeeded) snowing other publishers I know from horror fiction message boards.
I’m probably the last horror writer to blog about this. Honestly, it feels like the rest of the Internet is way ahead of me on this, but I really felt the need to both do my part in spreading the word (to the few people who may not have caught wind of this yet) and to voice my opinion and frustrations.
Most of us make very little money doing what we do. We write for a variety of reasons, but mostly we write because it’s something we can’t ignore. It’s a passion, a driving force, an obsession. We do it often because to not write would make us feel miserable and incomplete. We don’t do it for wealth or fame, but because it’s in our blood and we can’t not do it.
Imagine the complete pain and anger you would feel if you were to discover someone took a piece of your work, stripped your name from it and claimed it as their own. Imagine if this person were so good at doing what they did that they managed to impress publishers with it. Imagine going to a website or print publication you respected and enjoyed reading and seeing your own work there with a different byline.
Just the thought of it makes me a little nauseous.
I’m glad this didn’t go unnoticed. Thank you, Angel, for shining your angry spotlight on this very disgusting act of theft. You’ve saved a lot of writers and publishers quite a bit of misery. It was a lot of work you went through to so thoroughly root out the thief, and we appreciate everything you’ve done for us.
You can read Angel’s follow-up here as well.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
According to Duotrope, I'm waiting on responses for eleven submissions. Of those, one is for a podcast, four are for print anthologies, one is a contest entry and the other five are for various online and print magazines. I'm also waiting to hear back about my novel query, which I expect will take quite some time.
I think the anthology submissions are killing me the most. I love the idea of being part of a print collection, one piece of a badass group. I can certainly handle rejection, but just the thought of being included in other print collections sends me running as soon as my computer makes its new message notification blip. I keep hoping for word to arrive, but it's mostly been junk mail and things that I could care less about, which somehow makes the waiting seem both longer and much worse than it normally would.
Today I did something I should have done a long time ago. I got rid of most of those mass mailings, unsubscribing as soon as they hit my inbox. I feel bad for all of the nonprofit organizations that send me messages, but seeing as how I'm unemployed and just scraping by it's not like they're going to be able to wring donations out of my sappy, bleeding heart at the moment. The rest of the mailings, for bookstores I don't normally buy from or clothing shops I rarely frequent, were never much more than a distraction anyway, and I don't need to be getting my hopes up over crap like that.
And now the waiting game goes on, only with fewer false alarms.
One good thing about this, though, is that I checked my overall performance on Duotrope while tallying up my submissions. I've got a higher than average acceptance rate going at the moment, almost at fifty percent. Not too shabby.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I'm really impressed with the cover art, too.
That said, there is less than a month left until the thirty-day writing exercise begins anew. I managed to get some research done yesterday in the form of a photo-snapping project at a local dying mall. Originally I'd intended to visit two or more of them, but one of the others seems to now be in fine form and the last one is in the process of being demolished and rebuilt. Still, the photos from the site we managed to visit are rather interesting. Next step in the research phase will be combing through old news articles and scouring the Internet for shopping mall maps and schematics.
In addition to photos, I managed to sketch out a few rough character and setting bios yesterday, which caught me quite by surprise. I didn't expect these aspects of the story to gel the way they did. One moment I was walking down a nearly abandoned mall corridor and the next I was running into the still-open (yet extremely depressing) KMart frantic for a notebook. By the time the evening was over I'd filled five pages of notes on at least three characters and two settings. Not too shabby.
Tomorrow evening there will be the first pre-November meeting down in Oakland. I'm still not sure if I'm going to be able to make the drive down and back, but I'm dying to meet the other participants. Hopefully there will be some familiar faces in the crowd.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I'm glad I'm in his good graces now, because I'll probably be able to mooch off of him later when he's really famous.
His novel Sunrise is about to hit its second printing through The Library of the Living Dead Press, and his new love-themed short story collection, An Amorous Thing, will be out next year through Lame Goat Press. He's got a ton of free fiction floating around online as well, and I urge anyone with an interest in all things horror to check him out.
Right now, though, Kody's looking for a cover artist for Amorous Thing. I'm giving him some of my blog space to pimp out his search, because he's just that damn awesome.
An Amorous Thing--to be published by Lame Goat Press in 2010--is a collection of dark fiction revolving around the theme of affection. Whether that be a killer's desire to slice your face open or a lover's will for you to be happy, all revolve around the twisted, oftentimes morbid theme of love. We do crazy things when we care about people--love them, hate them, kill them. Each act is done with love and with purpose.
So, to celebrate the release of this collection, I am holding a cover art contest. Simply enough, people will send covers (front covers for now, but if you get selected, we'll ask for a full front/back/spine) to the head of staff at Lame Goat. From there, he will forward them to me, and I, along with Chris, will review the submissions to see which piece of art would be best suited for the theme. Now, to view full, detailed specifications, you can head on over to his blog and check out there, or just look below the majority of the post for the general guidelines.
What are the prizes if you happen to create the best and most striking cover?
A signed copy of An Amorous Thing upon release
Leprechaun - Back to Tha Hood
Night of 1000 Cats
One Door Away From Heaven - Dean Koontz, Hardcover (missing dust jacket)
Bitten - Kelly Armstrong, Paperback
Stolen - Kelly Armstrong, Paperback
Touch the Dark - Karen Chance, Paperback
Born in Death - Nora Roberts writing as J.D Rob, Paperback
The Green Mile - Stephen King, Paperback (slight wear)
Dark Hollow - John Connolly, Paperback (wear)
The Bone Collector - Jeffrey Deaver, Paperback (wear)
Per Mr. Boye, this is what he'd like to see:
Cover with a skeleton in the ground, surrounded by various items that symbolize the various stories in the collection.
A white bell with gold/bronze accents, with a butterfly on the side of it
An origami swan
A fish skeleton or bowl
A dog tag, broken in half
A piece of lavender (flower or otherwise)
A stuffed giraffe
Something symbolizing a cat
Mainly, though, I want something that stands out. The minor details might make the cover a little overloaded, so the skeleton in the ground would be a good idea. But, again, it's an idea--if you have a better one, I'd love to hear it. I think something in red would be nice though.
The theme of the anthology revolves around affection, whether it be through horrific or loving means. What this means to you will be what inspires your cover piece. A skeleton is not required, nor are any of the other optional pieces that could be added. We want to see what YOU, the artist, think of the prompt. We want to see YOUR unique version. The idea is provided for a basis of the author's original idea, but is open to interpretation in other ways.
It’s the way of the world. Hug your neighbor, kiss your lover, hold a hand or bear a child—every action comes with a consequence, and every consequence bears a reaction. In a world where people live, die, and give birth to the cycle of madness, affection is required to live a sane life.
Or so they say.
Take a trip to a cemetery, then fall in love with a bell; ride your bicycle down the street, then have your face cut open by a beautiful woman; fall in love with a monster and play the benevolent god to creatures that cannot understand you. These are amorous things, these acts of violence, and they wouldn’t be committed if they didn’t care about you.
Welcome to a world of madness.
Welcome to a world of affection—a world of amorous things.
Send all queries and subs to Christopher Jacobsmeyer at email@example.com for consideration.
I am also looking for people interested in helping with general promotion. This would involve:
-- Allowing me to guest blog about one of the stories in your blog (writers/magazines only.) Nine more spots are needed.
-- People interested in reviewing/blurbing the collection (again, blurbing for writers/magazines only.)
-- People willing to promote the collection through links, banners, blog posts, etcetera.
-- Interviews/interviewers are especially needed.
If you are interested in helping, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.