Cover Reveal and Release Date

After much anticipation, PICKMAN’S GALLERY has a rapidly approaching release date. Scheduled for release on August 18th (HPL’s birthday), my story “Beyond the Veil of Pretty Pink Lies” is one of seventeen tales in this anthology inspired by Lovecraft’s Pickman’s Model. I’m extremely proud of Pretty Pink Lies, and find it particularly fitting that it comes one year after being unable to attend NecronomiCom (the intended publication date), which ultimately resulted in my writing hiatus and tangential pursuit of painting. Perhaps this series of coincidences will bring me back to the written word, but in the meantime, snag  a copy of PICKMAN’S GALLERY (I’ll post a link as soon as it’s available) and check out what may or may not be my final story.

As always, thanks for reading.

 

Pickman's Gallery

Advertisements

Publication Announcement – The Sun Screams in Retrograde

I’m pleased to announce that my story “The Sun Screams in Retrograde” will be included in Turn to Ash, Vol. 2 – OPEN LINES.

clubflyer-2.75inx4.25in-h-front

 

From the publisher: Turn to Ash, Vol. 2 is a uniquely themed issue featuring the weird tale of Charles “Chuck” Leek’s strangest night hosting “The Late Night Leak,”  a call-in talk show focusing on things that go bump in the night. The frame story is written by Jonathan Raab, and the “calls” are written by several other authors, to be announced in the coming weeks.

I’m thrilled to be part of this unique volume. I’ll post links with ordering information when it becomes available, but in the meantime, you should pick up a copy of Volume 1.

 

Short Story Mechanics with Richard Thomas: Day 2

Narrative hooks—those first few words that sink into your reader’s flesh and drag them through the depths of your story only to leave them gasping onshore when they reach its end. You do want your readers to follow the story all the way to the end, don’t you? Of course you do! So make sure those hooks are good and sharp; and if you’re writing horror (like me) throw in a couple of rusty barbs for good measure.

rust2

This was the lesson for Day 2. Our assignment was to come up with five hooks, four of which could be only one sentence long. I don’t know about you, but I tend to write short sentences, so trying to include all the information necessary to craft a good hook in just one was a challenge for me. I think I succeeded to some degree, but it was Richard’s opinion that they all lacked a little something. I’ll probably visit and revisit these hooks a number of times over the next however long it takes me to get each of the stories written, and hopefully by the time you see them in print, they will be sharper and rustier than ever leaving you with a bloody hole in your lip and a smile on your face.

Here’s what I came up with:

1:  Audrey first noticed the spider when it was still only 105* inside the sauna; the spider was tiny, only the size of a pencil eraser, but the dread it inspired was large enough to crush a Greyhound.

2:  As frigid rain cut and shaped frozen heaps of road-stained snow into twin rows of sculptures that lined both sides of the two-lane highway like an army of malformed sentinels, Lyska—wearing nothing but a skimpy, black and white French maid costume and a pair of stripy pink knee-socks—gripped a World War II era gas mask in one hand while using the other to lift her skirt’s hem just a bit higher.

3:  It was date night again; Lester caressed cracked leather and inhaled the ghosts of a million dead cigarettes as he counted hash marks on the dash—one for every romantic evening that had culminated in sweet satisfaction.

4:  To a casual observer, the jagged split in the floor of the abandoned mortuary’s basement was nothing more than a sign of entropy slowly reducing the loathsome edifice—and, perhaps more importantly, the shadows of past deeds still clinging to memory within its halls—to dust; to Sean, that crooked concrete smile was his own personal ATM.

5:  The waiting room smells like a department store perfume counter. Heavy particles of floral vapor orbit each of the eight or ten women—some still with hair, others wearing designer hats or kerchiefs—as they sit reading magazines, sipping ginger ale plucked from my snack cart, and pretend they aren’t dying. Each woman waits patiently, wrapped in a cocoon of aerosolized denial designed to mask the scent of her own decay. It is as if by dousing themselves in expensive, migraine-inducing fragrances these women think they might confuse Death, throwing him off track, as if by buying PETA-friendly cosmetics and perfumes they are actually buying themselves extra time.

Short Story Mechanics with Richard Thomas: Day 1

I’m taking a class over at LitReactor from dark fiction writer Richard Thomas. This isn’t my first online writing class, but I’m hoping that, in conjunction with all of the other tools I’ve acquired along the way, this class will be a major turning point with regards to my ability to translate ideas into coherent narratives. I told Richard that over the next week, I intend to absorb his powers, but he warned me that magic comes always comes with  a price…

047c0170b6532b6ded740477063b4503

As long as that price doesn’t match what I paid for my MD, I think it’s worth the risk.

Our first assignment was to write a six-sentence story. Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year working with flash fiction (Go #FlashDogs!), but that didn’t make the assignment any easier. Fortunately, I didn’t fall flat on my face as I’d feared I would. Richard had some lovely comments for me and suggestions to make my story stronger, as well as a few things to consider in general when writing short fiction.

All in all, I’d call today a success. Can’t wait to see what Richard has in store for me tomorrow.

2015: It Begins

After dinking around with writing off and on for over two decades, last year there was a turning point in which I went from dinking around to taking my writing seriously and pursuing publication. I had some success in 2014, placing a handful of pieces (all flash) with a number of publishers, both online and in print. My goal this year is to continue that trend, expanding my publishing credits to include short stories as well as flash, and (if I’m lucky) find a home for my novella.

But you can’t get published if you don’t submit.

With that in mind, I’ve been working on a piece entitled ‘Ecdysis’ for several months now, and I think it’s finally ready to send out into the world. I’ve assembled a list of horror magazines currently open for submissions (many of which do not accept simultaneous subs, so if they see fit to reject me, let’s hope they do it quickly), and have sent it off to the first publication on my list.

Now, as they say, we wait. In the meantime, I’ve got a healthy project list with over a dozen short story and novella ideas (and maybe even a novel or two, though those might have to simmer until I’ve taken boards) just waiting to be tackled.

Here’s hoping 2015 far surpasses 2014 for writerly awesomeness.

My Writing Process Blog Tour

While I’m in the process of transferring some of my content from blogger to wordpress, I thought I’d take the opportunity to make “My Writing Process” the first blog post on my new site.

Thanks to David Shakes (@shakes72) for tagging me. You can find his content here.

 

What Am I Working On?

I’m working on a number of projects at the moment, the most ambitious of which is a novella entitled Aletheia that I hope to have completed by October. The rest of my projects lie safely within the realm of flash and short fiction, although I’m still looking for a shiny idea that might carry me through NaNoWriMo this year.

How Does My Work Differ From Others of Its Genre?

It doesn’t apply to everything I write, but a great deal of what I put to paper has distinct medical undertones (and overtones; subtlety is not my strong suit). That said, my goal is to write in such a way that a medical background is not required to understand and enjoy my stories. Only my readers can say whether or not I succeed.

Why Do I Write What I Write ?

I write dark fiction because I’m still afraid of the dark. I write dark fiction because the only way to survive darkness is to understand it and to know what lurks inside it. I write dark fiction because when I sleep, it is the darkness that whispers dreams to me.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

This isn’t a rock solid formula (I’ve been known to deviate from the recipe from time to time), but more often than not, writing a story goes a little something like this:

Step 1: Idea (often while driving in my car, shampooing my hair in the shower, trying to formulate a comment for a report at work, or working on an unrelated story)

Step 2: Magic (seriously, magic – though it sometimes takes a long, long time to conjure)

Step 3: Story (happy dance!)

Step 4: Editing (self-doubt)

Step 5: Editing (self-loathing)

Step 6: Beta-readers

Step 7: Editing (consider throwing the whole thing in the garbage and giving up on writing all together)

Step 8: Beta-readers: Round 2

Step 9: Editing (agonize over every single word, change key words 6 or 7 times, decide to keep the original word)

Step 10: Submit and wait for the crushing heel of rejection (repeat ad infinitum)

Step 11: Idea

Introduction to 3 Other Writers

I’d be remiss if I didn’t tag at least one of the folks who participate in my weekly flash fiction challenge at The Angry Hourglass. They show up week after week and in a period of 36 hours, create vivid, engaging, super-short fiction based entirely on a randomly chosen photograph. That’s damn impressive, I don’t care who you are.

 

First up is Jaime Burchardt (@jaimeburchardt)

C-zKSyJ2_reasonably_small

Jaime writes and occasionally judges for The Angry Hourglass. His passion in life is film, and he writes primarily screenplays with aspirations of one day being a director. Having spent almost a year sharing creative material with Jaime, those are some movies I’d definitely like to see. You can read his blog here.

 

Next up is Taylor Scheid (@TaylorLScheid)

1b1c3f2ef7b2b2ab91a775cc30ab4d38_400x400

Taylor has the great misfortune of living in the same area and thus attending the same writers group as I. This means she’s subject to the fallout of every step of my writing process as outlined above. She’s also a good writer and keeps me on track with regard to grammar and punctuation. She deserves chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate. Read her blog here.

 

and last but not least, Gordon B. White (@GordonBWhite)

95d760b2245b1d1b16e5575974ac885b_400x400

I met Gordon on LitReactor, and since he isn’t a malpractice attorney, we get along just fine. He writes dark fiction that makes my skin crawl and does some beta reading for me from time to time. This is lucky for me, because Gordon is a much better writer than I, and I can use all the feedback he can give me. You can read his blog here.

 

Well folks, there you have it! Now I’m going to go inside and get back to work. There are some very large insects out here and…

Step 1: *IDEA*