Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

A Brief Reflection.

2012 is just about over, and 2013 is knocking on the door. What this new year will bring is anyone’s guess. I wanted to take a moment to reflect on 2012 and what it has meant to me. This year has been one of the best of my life. It brought me the publication of my first collection, many story sales, my first horror convention and new friends in the publishing industry. It has been a banner year for me as a writer and I hope to see even more progress in 2013. I could go on and give you a list of all the accomplishments and joys I have felt, but they seem trivial at the moment. You see, despite the many wonderful things that 2012 has blessed me with, it ends on an extremely sorrowful note for myself and my family. We lost someone very precious on December 20th. My beloved Aunt Susie left us much too soon and the void in the family is not one that will soon be filled. If ever.

I want to take this moment to thank you all for being a part of my journey, my life, and my family. I pray that 2013 will bring you all many good tidings, but mostly I pray it will bring love, friendship and healing to all of us in need. Be good to one another. We aren’t promised tomorrow, so my resolution is to never take one bit of it for granted. Much love and Happy New Year~C.W. LaSart

It’s Coffin Hop Time Again! Who Wants Some Free Shit?

Those of you who are familiar with my blog are used to my snarky and hopefully amusing posts, but I think I will take a break from that for this most hallowed of holidays. No worries, there’s sure to be plenty of sarcasm in the future, but how about we make this easy today. Let’s just give some free shit away, shall we? I thought you might like that. All I ask you to do is sign up for the blog and leave a comment below telling me you did it. Yep, that’s it. For those who are already following the blog, just leave a comment stating as such. When the week is over and the ghastly ghouls are walking the streets in search of candy, I will chose one lucky winner out of a hat (high tech as always) to receive my lovely Coffin Hop Grand Prize including: A signed copy of my premiere collection Ad Nauseam, a signed copy of a limited edition chapbook (ONLY 500 IN EXISTENCE) published by none other than Cemetery Dance, one copy of the Exclusive Coffin Hop Teaser for next year’s much anticipated Death By Drive-In anthology in the e-format of your choice, one sweetly spooky Halloween sock monkey, a collection of classic horror movies, and many more spectacular goodies! For the rest of you who don’t win, as There Can Only Be One, here’s a special treat, something I very rarely do… A free short story. I’m adamantly against posting free stories on blogs but what can I say, I guess I just got caught up in the spirit of my favorite holiday! So without further adieu, here for your reading entertainment, I give you RETIRED GODS. I hope you enjoy it. And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and comment for a chance to win all the goodies. HAPPY HALLOWEEN MY FRIENDS.

 

RETIRED GODS

 

 

           

The old gods were bored. They gathered in the soft sunlight that filtered through the frosted glass windows of the common room in Windy Brooks Rest Home, as they did every day. Some played cards and some watched television, while others stared off into space, lost in their own minds with little hope of return. Like any group of seniors, they spoke of the old days, reminisced about a time when the world was much younger and simpler. This was where they chose to pass the time while they waited. Endless days of waiting; for lunch, then dinner, to watch their shows, to take their meds. Mostly, they waited to die.

Zeus sat at a square table in the corner, his gnarled fingers laboring as he slowly shuffled a deck of cards. Palsy was starting to get the better of him, but as long as he could manage, there would be a game. Hera sat to his left, still beautiful to him after all these years. She smiled and nodded, occasionally reaching out to pat his hand when he spoke, showing her affection. He paid her demeanor little heed, aware that she nodded not out of agreement with anything he said, but because of dementia. Hera was forever trapped in a time before mighty Olympus had fallen, destruction brought about by the Heaven that was a promise made by the Nazarene. Sometimes Zeus envied his wife.

Poseidon sat directly to Zeus’ right, a chair pulled away from the table to accommodate his wheelchair. He sat slumped and mostly lifeless, except for his eyes. Though he had ceased speaking months before, Poseidon still watched the game, his faded blue eyes tracking their hands as the hours passed. Zeus finished his painful shuffle and laid the deck carefully on the table.

“Cut the cards, Hades.”

Hades sat directly across from Zeus, his gaze never leaving the arthritic hands as they worked the cards. He still doesn’t trust me. Zeus was amused. After all these years, he still expects me to cheat him.  Hades cut the cards and the game began.

Young nurses in bright scrubs adorned with cartoon characters drifted in and out of the room, silently performing their tasks with bland expressions. Windy Brooks was not a rest home strictly for the gods, and they paid no more attention to the conversations of this particular group than any other. The young have a way of tuning out the old, dismissing all their conversation as ramblings of senility. Still, they were cared for competently.

Hades stopped arranging his hand and cocked his head to the side, his bulbous nose turned up to sniff the air.

“Do you smell that?”

“I believe Poseidon has shit himself again.” Zeus replied dryly.

“Not that.” Hades waved a hand dismissively. “The other smell. How can you not smell it? It’s death! I smell death! The old man in Room 207 has died.”

Zeus shrugged.

“What a bastard he was during his life. He was a thief and a cheat. How I long to collect that soul and drag it across the River Styx to serve me in the underworld!” Hades eyes were bright with wistful excitement. Deaths around the rest home were frequent, sometimes several a week, and they never failed to send Hades into a fit of longing. The knowledge that he no longer ruled the Underworld was painful.

With a triumphant cry, Aphrodite rushed the table, flinging her gown wide and gyrating like an ancient showgirl. Only Hermes took notice, reaching a gnarled hand over to squeeze her pendulous breast, earning a rebuke from Zeus.

“Hermes! Leave your sister alone. Incest has been out of fashion for centuries now.” Chided, but not ashamed, Hermes slunk off to the couch where he pouted in front of the television set. Aphrodite continued to bounce and flop her deflated boobs at the card players for a moment, and then she ran off, cackling like the toothless hag that she was. An orderly disappeared down the hall in pursuit, his gentle voice fading as he coaxed her into abandoning her naked revelry.

Zeus sighed and returned his attention to his cards. Sometimes he wondered if he and Hades were the only ones with any of their faculties. He laid a card and waited for his brother to counter. The daylight was fading and soon it would be dinnertime. He hoped they would have Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes tonight. It was his favorite.

Dionysus raised his frail voice in argument with one of the staff. She was trying to walk away, but he gripped her elbow. This altercation was another daily occurrence, one of the ways they passed the time at Windy Brooks. Dionysus wanted a bottle of wine. Dionysus always wanted wine.

“Just get me my wine!” He insisted, his face flushed with anger.

The nurse shook her head and pried at his fingers. “The doctors’ orders state that you may have one glass of wine every evening, and not until after dinner.”

“Don’t you know who I am?” The old man whined, clearly near tears.

“Of course I know who you are, Mr. Jones.” She turned on her heal and swiftly left the common room. This same scene took place every night. You could almost set your watch by it. Giving up on his wine, Dionysus turned his attention toward Zeus for yet another predictable conversation.

“Hey, Zeus!”

“Yes, Dionysus.” Zeus replied calmly.

“Why don’t we go find the Old Norse Gods? Or the Egyptians? That Ra was one powerful guy. Maybe if we all banded together, we could pool what’s left of our powers…” he trailed off as Zeus shook his head sadly.

“They’re gone, Dion. All gone.” Zeus reigned in his frustration with sheer will and not a small amount of pity. “I have told you many times. They are all dead now. There is no help for us anymore.”

Dionysus looked deflated for a moment, then his face brightened and he held up one crooked finger triumphantly, his mouth opened to speak.

“No Dion,” Zeus cut him off, “The Hindu Gods won’t help us. They are still very powerful, but we have tried contacting them. They don’t wish to trifle with relics such as us. I suppose that they too will weaken as time goes by and they become forgotten. It’s the way of the world, my son.”

Zeus patted Dionysus on the back, but he just stared out the window, his lined face stricken with misery. This also happened every evening.

The glorious days of Olympus were long gone, but the gods hadn’t gone quietly into submission. They had been vain and powerful at first, enjoying centuries of play on Earth and in the Heavens, watching and meddling in the existence of mortals at will, often ruining lives for little more than sport. So feared were they that their powers fed on the emotions of their subjects, both adoration and terror, growing stronger every time a mortal turned his gaze to Olympus in prayer. It was a good time for the old gods, and they had foolishly believed it would be such until the end of time. Many wars were fought to preserve their territory and way of life, battles often sparked by jealousy and vanity. In the end, they were defeated by something that had never occurred to them. Love.

A Jewish man from Nazareth quietly walked the lands, encouraging all the people of the Earth, both before and after his death, to abandon their old gods and embrace his own. His message was powerful. He promised love and redemption, something that people desperately wanted after dealing for so long with the fickle gods of old. Their subjects responded, pulled by the power of a compassionate God, never petty or spiteful like the ones they worshipped. No matter how hard Zeus and the others tried, however much they spread punishments to the mortals under their rule, the people slowly slipped away from them.

Other gods met their destruction by Muhammad’s message, and some were simply pushed aside in favor of science. Men would continue to kill in the name of a God, but not their names. Not anymore. They became stories, myths, and their strength slowly dwindled over the centuries, rendering them little more than mortals. With their powers went immortality and they eventually aged, becoming the shells of gods that now sat in the common room of the home, playing cards and losing their minds. The only magic they had left came from scores of middle school students who studied them briefly in class and for a moment found them cool. This was no life for a former deity.

“Zeus?” Hades soft voice intruded on his reverie, bringing him back to the present. He found his mind wandering more often lately and it scared him more than he cared to admit. Zeus could handle the infirmities of the flesh that plagued him daily, but was terrified of losing his mind. Whatever else awaited him, he wanted to meet it with his wit and intelligence intact. “ZEUS!”

Hades pointed to the right where Poseidon slumped, his head back and eyes unblinking, jaw slack. He had quit breathing again and the rest of the gods formed a semicircle of concern around their fallen comrade. All eyes fell to Zeus, pleading silently for him to fix the situation. He closed his own eyes for a moment and dug deep in his being, harnessing whatever pool of strength and power he still possessed, before he laid his hand gently on Poseidon’s unmoving chest. With a grunt of exertion, Zeus felt the hairs on his arm crackle as a subdued bolt of blue lightning passed through his hand and into the heart below it. Poseidon’s body bucked lightly and everyone gasped, watching in wide-eyed anticipation of whether or not it would work this time.

After several agonizing seconds, during which Zeus was sure he had failed to revive his brother, Poseidon drew a harsh breath and coughed, his eyes bleary and unfocused. As the fit passed, he looked around at the concerned faces that hovered around him. With a scowl, his eyes darted to Zeus, and to everyone’s amusement, his shaky hand raised and shot Zeus the world’s most pathetic bird. Zeus smiled and shuffled the cards, happy Poseidon had come back from the brink, but not certain that he would have it in him next time.

The mood in the room inevitably turned from amused to somber, as the gods considered the enormity of what would have happened if Zeus had failed. Soon the questions began.

“What’s going to happen to us?”

“Where will we go when we die?”

“What do we do?”

Questions barraged Zeus from every side. Only silently nodding Hera and the mute Poseidon refused to join in the verbal assault. They had relied on Zeus for the entirety of their long existence and still looked to him for answers to questions that both confused and terrified them. Answers he did not have. Frustrated by his impotence in the matter, Zeus threw up his hands, scattering cards about the table. His thunderous scowl, a part of his former glory, caused them all to cringe away, fearful of the mighty lightning bolt he no longer possessed. “I DON’T KNOW!”

Zeus’s shout earned him a reproachful look from a passing nurse, as he painfully gathered his deck of cards together. The other gods huddled in the corner, causing Zeus to regret his outburst. He didn’t mean to scare them, but DAMNIT! He didn’t know everything. His days of omnipotence were long gone, and he knew no better than the rest of them what fate awaited the gods on the other side of death. How could any man know such a thing? All men went to their deaths, unknowing and alone. It was the fear of all the elderly, so close to their time but unsure of the outcome. Zeus was no longer a god, just an old man, fearfully waiting for his end.

Zeus laid the deck in the middle of the table. They had time for just one more game before dinner. “Cut the cards, Hades.”

Hades cut the cards and the game began.

 

Now Back to the Hop With You!!! http://coffinhop.wordpress.com/ 

And if you’re really enjoying the Hop and want to help support the 2013 release of Death By Drive-In, featuring 22 of our very own Coffin Hoppers, visit http://www.cafepress.com/coffinhop for some cool swag with all proceeds going directly to the release of that charity anthology!

It’s Coming! Are You Ready?

 

 

 

 

It’s Coming! Once again Dark Moon Books has dedicated the month of August to Stephen King. Hop over to the LastWrites blog (Just Click big Steve’s face) starting Wednesday to read awesome reviews of some of King’s best short stories, by writers you know and love. See why we picked our stories and the impact they had on us as horror fans and writers. Check back every day to see what story I reviewed and why. Happy King Month, fellow fans!—C.W. LaSart

It’s Here! Cemetery Dance and C.W. LaSart. You don’t want to miss this!

 

 

 

It’s Finally here! Only 600 copies printed so get yours ordered now.

 

 

Bad Dreams, New Screams
a “double” chapbook featuring stories by Ray Garton, Douglas Clegg, Brian Keene, C.W. LaSart, M. Louis Dixon, and Nikki McKenzie!

Cover artwork by Ken Cain (“Bad Dreams”) and Edward Bourelle (“New Screams”)

About the Chapbook:
This special “double” chapbook includes classic tales of terror by three modern masters of horror, original fiction by the three winners of our Cemetery Dance Forum’s short fiction contest, and original color cover artwork by Ken Cain and Edward Bourelle that were chosen by the members of our forum. Featuring more than 11,000 words of horror fiction, this is one of the biggest chapbooks we’ve ever published!

Table of Contents:
“A Date with Maggie” by Ray Garton
“The American” by Douglas Clegg
“The Ghosts of Monsters” by Brian Keene
“Dr. Johnson’s Patient” by C.W. LaSart
“The Wings of a Fly” by M. Louis Dixon
“Meat Socks” by Nikki McKenzie

Note from the Publisher:
This chapbook has a color cover like Sepsis by Graham Masterton, Wetware by Kevin Quigley, or Blood Splattered and Politically Incorrect and is not part of the promotional chapbook line.

Published as:
• Limited Edition chapbook with a color cover limited to just 600 unsigned copies ($10)

So there you have it. Your chance to own one of only 600 copies of this special book that includes the story that earned my way into the Horror Writer’s Association. Just click the top picture and it will take you to the only place that you can order this. I hope you enjoy it!—C.W. LaSart

 

Lessons Learned.

Hello friends! I trust you’ve all survived the hectic Christmas Season with its family drama, over-eating and traveling. I hope Santa treated you all right. I had a quiet holiday here with my kiddos, and that was just fine by me. 2011 just kissed me on its way out the door and 2012 is wiping its shoes on the welcome mat, so I thought I might reflect on what a crazy year it has been (Though my first short was published in October of 2010, this is my first full year in publishing), and share some important lessons I’ve learned in hopes of helping any new writers out there who are choosing to throw their hats into the ring this coming year:

The publishing business is hard. It’s mean and unforgiving. If you make it to any level in this industry, there will be ugly and sometimes unfair reviews. There will be those that like you just because they think it will help them. There will be those that hate you because you are doing better than they are. You need a thick skin and a certain level of shrewdness to determine who is really your friend, and you will still be suckered by a few.

It’s still worth it. I have met some real assholes over the last year. Some were straightforward with their assholery, while some were weasels, pretending to be friends. It’s still worth it. I have met a handful of honest, genuine friends in this industry, and their friendship makes it all worthwhile. Thanks guys~you all know who you are.

Aim for the stars. Set your standards and goals too high. Tell yourself that you are going to do all of these things and win all of the awards. Tell yourself you can achieve what you have only dreamed of, then go after it. Failure is not an option.

Forgive yourself when you fail. You won’t reach all of those goals, but you tried. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Look at all of the goals you did reach because you pushed so hard. You are a ROCKSTAR! Next time, you will make it. The failure helped you learn. You are improved. I repeat~you are a damned ROCKSTAR!!!!

Not everyone will like you. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, not everyone will like you. Sometimes it’s personal. Sometimes it’s not. I have a sarcastic personality and a strange sense of humor. Some of you get it and enjoy my posts for what they are. You realize that they are only 5% actual annoyance, and 95% humor and snarky fun. Some of you don’t, and I offend the hell out of you. I’m not good with sensitive people. All I can tell you is that I don’t mean to offend. There is very little real malice within me. I won’t apologize for being myself.

Letting someone else edit your work sucks! It hurts. It never stops hurting. Some editors are better than others and don’t hurt you as badly, while others don’t care. Some editors want to improve your work, and some just want to change it. Once you get over the initial shock, you will recognize which one you are dealing with and learn how to react to the edits.

Letting someone else edit your work makes you better. Besides improving the work itself, a good editor helps improve you. There are lessons to be learned by a good edit from a good editor. Pay attention. Despite the pain of having your story overhauled, they are your new best friend. Everyone needs an editor. EVERYONE. Maybe even 2 or 3…

Act like a pro if you want to be a pro. There are poopyheads everywhere. Some will try to get under your skin. Some will succeed. Always conduct yourself with a professional attitude. Don’t defend a bad review, but if you are personally attacked on a blog or forum and want to respond, do so with class and grace. The other person may be a dickhead to you in response, but the other readers will remember that you were a pro about it.

Don’t let it go to your head. People like other people who are approachable. Readers love authors who interact with them. You aren’t Stephen King. He’s one of the few who can get away with not having an easy way for readers to contact him such as facebook, twitter, email and so on. Be there for your fans and they will be there for you.

Spare us the drama. Writers are people like everyone else. We have bad days and good ones. We get pissed at life and depressed at times. But, if you take my advice and have avenues in which your fans can interact with you, don’t use them as outlets for your personal drama. If your personal facebook is also where you interact with readers, don’t piss and moan about your mundane problems and what a bitch your mother-in-law is. We all hate that when our actual friends do it on facebook, what makes you think we want it from a stranger whose books we happen to enjoy? This all goes toward the professional point. Sure, be personable with your fans, but stop short of telling them about the fight with your husband or whining about how no one really loves you. Everyone has problems and sometimes it feels good to vent. Just not on facebook okay?!!

 I could go on with this list forever, but I will stop here. 2012 can be a great year if we let it, and I for one intend to do so. Thank you to everyone in my life who has, in some way, helped to encourage me on this journey. I love you all from the bottom of my sarcastic, dark little heart~C. W. LaSart

 

On The Publishing Front

Hey friends. Not a whole lot to say today, so I thought I’d get you up to speed on what I’ve been up to. I had a story included in Frightmares, just click on the picture if you’re interested! In other news, Dark Moon Presents Zombies! and Dark Moon Presents Ghosts! are both available, with Dark Moon Presents Vampires! coming out any day now. I’ve sold a couple of reprints, A Wise Woman’s Revenge will be coming out in May December Publications Wake The Witch Anthology, and Sirens will be included in the premiere issue of Dark River Press’s new magazine due out in February. Other than re-writes for Ad Nauseam and one other story for Slices of Flesh, I am taking it easy for the rest of the year. I intend to spend the holidays with my family and reflect on what a crazy, busy, and wonderfully blessed year 2011 has been for me. Cheers friends—C.W. LaSart

My New Hobby~Idiot Search

It’s Monday once again my friends. Time to dust off my soapbox and climb aboard. This rant will be brief, as I am right in the middle of a project, but I thought I’d take a short break to share with you my latest hobby/obsession. I like to call it GoogleWreck or IdiotSearch, and I have lost many hours of what could’ve been productive time to this. I just can’t help myself, they make it so easy. The main focus of my mindless pursuit is, of course, the writing industry. This is not only because it interests me, but because some writers seem so prone to show their asses on the web. Never before have I seen so many people act like assholes over poor reviews. And to be fair, it’s not just the writers. I have even seen some small presses fall into this trap, engaging in flame wars on the net that have forever marked them in my mind as a press I will not submit to. Ever.

Those of you who don’t spend much time chatting with and following other author’s may think you don’t know what I’m talking about but, trust me, you do. You know those friends on facebook who regularly air their dirty laundry right there on your timeline? Sure you do, we all have them. The Drama Hounds who will give every detail of their last fight with so-and-so and other info that makes them look like an asshole. The best part is when they give some vague status update about how pissed they are at someone, only to refuse to give the details to commenters. I’ll DM you, it’s private. Really?!! Then why did you bring it up? Asshole.

Back to the writers. I am friends with a large number of self-published authors who run blogs and put out their work in e-format. The majority of them are very professional and though I may not enjoy their writing (Some I do, some I don’t), they really seem to be making the extra effort to show the world that they take their craft seriously. There are, however, a few that haven’t gotten that memo. These people are a goldmine of amusement for the rest of us. From Amazon to blogs, these idiots can be found grumbling and insulting their own reviewers in meltdowns that become very spectacular. I was recently a target, where my constructive criticism was met with a Fuck You and a question of whether or not I was getting laid regularly enough. As if the only reason I might take exception to an illiterate blog post was that I was sexually frustrated. Well thank you! You are so right, I shall correct that problem immediately. If you claim to be a writer wanting me to buy your book and the best defense you can come up with is, You suck Poopyhead! Get Laid!, then you aren’t much of a writer at all.

There is one particular person in the horror industry that provides more entertainment than most. The writers will know who I’m talking about without my having to say names, and the rest of you can find it in the comments section of my post about David Boyer, if you are really curious and willing to do the work. Anyway, this poor guy is so delusional and obviously unbalanced, that scores of websites have been developed for the sole purpose of mocking him. This may sound like a cruel case of cyber bullying to some of you and I guess in a way it is, but if you spend just 5 minutes looking into it, you  will see he brings it on himself. He goes looking for it, attacking random strangers in such offensive and strange ways that they eventually retaliate. It is actually through mindless perusal of his antics that I have found so many others worthy of my new hobby. Thanks man, you bring me much amusement. I love your rambling rants and hollow threats. Congrats. You are the train wreck that the rest of us can’t look away from.

An individual writer who acts like a whiny bitch is only hurting him/herself. But what about when the head of a small press does it? Not only do they hurt the reputation of the company, but the reputations of the writers they have published. This is a bit more heinous in my book. One such publisher, a former facebook friend of mine, recently posted email correspondance between himself and a blogger who criticized his publication, in a note on facebook. This was not posted under a personal account, rather the account bearing the name of the press. What sticks out most in my mind is this:

  1.  The email by the publisher was barely literate, including none of the proper spelling, grammar, capitalization or punctuation that one would expect from someone who calls themselves a writer and an editor.
  2. Open threats made to the blogger. Physical threats.
  3. The fact that he openly aired his dirty laundry to potential submitters and readers alike.

And here’s what happened. I lookied up that blog site and read what the blogger had to say. I then looked on Amazon at the reviews given to the publisher’s work, where I was able to see how badly he reacted to negative reviews. I made the decision then and there that I would never submit to that particular small press, nor would I buy his books since he didn’t seem to have even gotten to first base with the English language, let alone made it his bitch. I dropped the publisher on facebook and added his mortal enemy The Blogger. Why did I add the blogger? Because he was articulate and made sense. He’s snarky and a bit mean, but then again, so am I. You see how well that worked out for the small press publisher? Yeah, not at all.

You should never defend yourself to reviewers. Who cares if they didn’t like the book. If your work is good, it will stand up to negative comments. King has gotten plenty. If your press is being blogged about in a negative light, you should ignore it. Who cares. Going on to their site and making an ass out of yourself will only show how unprofessional you really are, and prove the bloggers point. If someone is questioning your press, defend it professionally, as my own publisher did here http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=164644 when questioned at the Absolute Write Water Cooler. Notice how respectful he was? He tried his best to answer questions, even when the tone of the question was negative. Good job Stan! I am proud to work with you.

I guess what I am saying is this, if you are a writer or publisher trying to sell your craft, don’t defend yourself to reviewers. Keep your blogs professional. Though the tone may be light and unconventional, atleast use your damned spellcheck! And don’t air your dirty laundry to the public, whining for support and throwing juvenile insults toward the evil bloggers that have hurt your little feelings. Flame wars may get hits to your website, but they don’t sell books if you end up looking like a trainwreck. For those of you who still think it’s okay to show your ass on the net? Go for it. There are teams of bloggers just waiting to make your unique brand of crazy, their platform to mock you. And I will happily read it. You make it just a little bit easier for the rest of us to sell books. 🙂

 

Could Being A Writer Ruin Me As A Reader?

Lately I’ve been struggling with something that bothers me more than I care to admit. It’s something that goes so deeply into the core of who I am, that the thought of changing it at all terrifies me. It’s my love of reading. I have always loved to read, from the day I learned how. I can’t remember a time in my life that books didn’t play such an important role that I often chose them over real people. That is, until about a year ago, when my writing really started to take off and I was presented with a little thing called deadlines. My reading has been woefully inadequate of late. But what do you do? I’ll tell you what I did. I started setting time aside for reading. Making goals that if reached, allowed me to read a book before trying to write something else, and that’s when the real terror set in.

Though I have always been a writer, I haven’t always dealt with editors. This is something new and unusual for me. And painful. Holy cats is it painful! This isn’t going to be a rant about my LOVE/HATE relationship with editors, but more a voicing of my concern over how that relationship has changed me as a reader. I have always been a very forgiving reader. A few typos might catch my eye, but I wasn’t one to reflect on how much passive voice a writer chose to use, or if their characters were unrealistic, cliche or every other thing editors like to say. I think most readers out there are the same. The only people who actually care about these things are editors, book reviewers and those assholes on Amazon that can’t just say whether they liked a book or not, but have to throw all kinds of high brow terminology into the review and act superior to every other reader on the planet. You know who you are. If you are reading this, I just want to tell you that you are a pretentious asshole and we see through you! Good Day, Sir!

Sorry about that, but that guy really torques my bisquick! (Yeah, I don’t know what it means either, but my friend Axel said it once and I liked it!) So here’s my problem. After spending the last year-year and a half with editors, I am beginning to lose my enjoyment of the reading process. Suddenly I find myself picking apart stories, noticing flaws in the pacing, passive voice and other things that I like to call “soft writing” when I find myself doing them. And you know what? It really scares me. A story has to be really great to keep me from noticing the errors. Am I becoming one of these people? I don’t want to. Is this just a phase for me? I guess only time will tell, but I hope so. Maybe I need to practice meditation, or yoga, or voodoo magic before I pick up a book. Anything to teach me how to keep my own inner editor from ripping apart the work of others. I want to love to read again. The alternative is too scary.

Ad Nauseam Update

Hello my friends. I hope this Monday has found you all happy and healthy. Here we are a mere 3 weeks away from All Hallow’s Eve and only 2 weeks from the beginning of the Coffin Hop. What an exciting month October is! My daughters are still deciding what to be for Halloween, but my son has already appropriated my green, brain-shaped jello mold to serve as his exposed brain for what will no doubt be a kick-ass zombie costume! That’s my boy! 😉 I’m sure those girls will do me proud as well. I myself am leaning towards a delightful Little Red Riding Hood…..from hell! No worries, I will post pictures on my Halloween Day blog post.

I know that many of you have been with me since the beginning of Ad Nauseam, following along as I accepted the project and wrote about my journey. I really appreciate every one of you and all of your support. I also know that some of you are eager for the release of Ad Nauseam, something I had promised would take place this Fall. Well, I didn’t exactly lie to you. We HAD planned for the release next month and the work was done. We could’ve brought it out on time, but after much discussion between myself and Stan Swanson from Dark Moon Books, we have decided to delay the release until early January of 2012. I’m sorry to disappoint my friends that have been so eager to read this collection, but let me assure you that there are very valid reasons for this decision and I am 100% behind it. It’s only a few more months, and it gives us some advantages that make it worth the wait.

For those of you who just can’t wait, I encourage you to pick up a copy Dark Moon Presents Zombies! which includes my only zombie story (some would disagree and call Jack and Jill a zombie story but I maintain that it IS NOT!) All The Rage. Over the next 2 months, Dark Moon Presents Ghosts! and Dark Moon Presents Vampires! will also be released and include stories I’ve written as well, including 3rd place winner Mommy.

Here’s a sneak peek at a few of the stories that will be included in Ad Nauseam:

Sister Alice’s Suitor  A lonely woman learns the hard way that if God doesn’t answer your prayers, the devil may be all too willing to help you out.

Simple Pleasures  Yardwork takes on a chilling and seductive twist for a simple bachelor who wakes one morning to discover strange holes in his backyard.

Micah’s Muse  What if your muse really was a twisted bitch. And what if she moved into your house?

The Hand That Feeds  There are some crimes that other prisoners find unnacceptable, and even the insane sometimes believe the punishment should fit the crime.

Look for these stories and more in Ad Nauseam:13 Tales of Extreme Horror available online where books are sold in January of 2012!

 

Forced Writing and Why I Don’t NaNo

It’s that beautiful time of year again, my favorite of all seasons. Fall. Autumn. The Season of harvests and Halloween. Changing leaves and first frosts. Jack-O-Lanterns and pumpkin pies coming up soon. Who doesn’t love Autumn?! Of course, there are other things that happen at this time of year, strange, even sinister writing rituals, unknown to those outside the bubble of writing groups and author chat rooms. To some it is a rite of passage, to others it’s a much anticipated thirty days to do little else other than write and hobknob with other writerly types. That’s write, er…um RIGHT I’m talking about NaNoWriMo! National Novel Writing Month for you civilians 😉 It actually takes place in November, but since it’s only the 3rd of October and I’ve already been asked no less than 3 times by other writers if I’m ready for it, I thought I’d discuss it today.

I learned about NaNoWriMo some two years ago from a friend. The concept confused the hell out of me at first, and I would be lying if I said I truly understand it today. Before I get rolling here though, I want to stress that this is not me bashing those who choose to participate in NaNoWriMo. Far from it. You go NaNo your little hearts out and more power to you. To each his or her own. This post is my explanation of why I DON’T NaNo, and it’s nothing personal.

Okay, for those non-writerly types reading this, I shall try to explain the unusual ritual that is NaNoWriMo. There is a website complete with chat boards and friends (so I’ve been told) and everyone signs up. The clock starts ticking on November 1st, and they have exactly 30 days to write 50,000 words of a novel. I guess the purpose of the exercise is to get people off, er…on their asses and writing. It’s a support group and incentive to flex the creative muscles. I can understand all of that. Sometimes people just need an excuse to be creative and who couldn’t use a support group? But that’s where my understanding of the process ends. Abruptly.

The only thing you have to do to win NaNoWriMo, is accomplish 50,000 words in the 30 days. I have been told by more than one person that they don’t even have to make sense. No one checks up on you. You could write FART 50,000 times. OOOOOKAY….so what do you win? Well, nothing. You win the ability to truthfully say that you wrote 50K words in one month. Unless of course, you cheated and wrote FART 50,000 times. Then you are just lying. I believe there is a certificate you can print off as well. Call me a greedy, but I only like to enter contests that will pay me if I win, either with cold, hard moola, or with publication.

Like I said, I get that some people need the extra push. I am absolutely on board with those who are looking to network with other writers and offer encouragement to one another. What I don’t get is the forced writing mentality behind a project such as this. I hear it all the time. If you want to be a success, you have to treat writing like any other job! Well, yes and NO. Of course you have to be dedicated and allow the necessary time required to do your writing, but it’s a creative endeavor. You can’t force creativity. It doesn’t work that way. When I write despite the fact that I’m just not feeling creative, I churn out a big pile of shit. It shows. A reader can smell forced from a mile away. Well, at least an editor can.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t place emphasis on your writing every day, but if you aren’t feeling the work in progress, spend some time on other aspects of the business. Blog, advertise, social network-there’s a whole lot more to writing these days than just penning a novel and sitting back to watch it sell.

I don’t NaNo. I have enough deadlines and stress hanging over my head without adding yet another project that grants me nothing more than bragging rights. You like to NaNo? Have at it. Enjoy. I myself will be spending my November in other ways. Preparing for the launch of Ad Nauseam this January and all the work that entails….now that’s scary.

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