Posts Tagged ‘Stan Swanson’
Hello again, friends! Time for another installment of my experiences from the fabulous World Horror Convention 2012, in Salt Lake City, Utah. I would like to dedicate this one to all of the wonderful people that I met in person, whom up until then, had only been friends through email and facebook.
This may sound crazy to those of you not in the industry, but nowadays, books and even whole magazines are put together by a staff of many people who often have never met in person. Dark Moon Books is no different. I had dealt with Stan, conversing sometimes several times a day through email, for over a year as we put together the stories that would become Ad Nauseam, without having ever heard each others voices!
WHC was the first time that we were to meet, as well as many other members of the staff and some very great face book friends. I was nervous, but at the same time, I felt as though I’d known Stan my whole life. And you know what? I might as well have. Meeting Stan wasn’t awkward at all, in fact, he was just as I’d imagined him to be. It felt great to hug the man that had given me my first break in the industry, both by publishing my first short story AND my first fiction collection. Dark Moon Books, but particularly Stan Swanson, has been a huge force in my life lately and I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to meet and spend time with him. Hell, just to hug him. I love Stan Swanson, and I honestly feel like he and the Dark moon crew are now family to me.
Besides Stan, some other Dark Moon people that I got the pleasure of meeting were my editor Mina Matthews, Lori Michelle, Max Booth III, Micheal O’Neal, Abner Goodwin, and Eric Guinard. Last, but certainly not least, my fellow Ovalteens (it’s an inside thing) Jennifer Word, Craig Garrett and Julie Jansen! (We missed you so much Axel!)
From one of my favorite Facebook groups, Kindle Horror Books, I met Stacey Turner, Paul Dail, Mark Scioneaux, Robert Shane Wilson, Jennifer Wilson, Charles Day and Andy The Undead Reviewer Taylor. They were all exactly like they are on the computer. A little bit goofy, but so fun to be around. Everyone was great, and I’m sure I’m leaving some of you out, forgive me if you would. I could go on and on about all my wonderful friends, but I think I will leave you now to just enjoy a few pictures of them. It is my most heart-felt desire that I will someday meet every last one of you. Well, not the crazy ones, but most of you! Much Love—C.W. LaSart
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:
- 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.
- Open threats made to the blogger. Physical threats.
- 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.
I have already advised you all about the importance of not being an asshole, so to save myself from coming across as one, I think it’s about time I mentioned some very important people in my life. This last year has been one of the most amazing of my life, with many very exciting opportunities and occurrences. I wonder how I could’ve possibly dealt with it on my own. Actually, I know the answer to that. I couldn’t have. With that in mind, I would like to introduce you all to some Rock Stars in my own life. The people who help me be who I am. Here they are in no particular order.
First off I want to thank my family. My three wonderful children who make me get up every morning and try. Watching them grow up with their dreams and ambitions has given me a reason to chase my own. Mommy loves you wee ones! My beloved Lou who has given me the love and happiness required to be in the frame of mind I need to write, and the unwavering support despite losing my company many late nights to a glowing computer screen. My parents who have never failed to support me in whatever I try to do, and raised me to believe that I can have or be whatever I want if I work hard enough for it. My sister, brother-in-law and niece and nephews whom I don’t see nearly enough, but who always have my back no matter what.
Thank you to the best group of friends a gal could have! Kacy who pre-edits ALL my work for nothing more than friendship. Jeni, Angie, Marcia, and Amber for believing in me and refusing to entertain the notion that I might NOT be the next Stephen King. Thanks for all the support from my extended group of friends and writers such as Craig Wallwork, Draven Ames and Ken Cain-you guys rock! And of course my colleagues at Dark Moon Digest-Kevin McClintock, Araminta Mathews, Julie Jansen, Jennifer Word, Axel Howerton, David AET, Max Booth III and Craig Garrett, for not only being great writers, but making me feel like a part of the family.
Thank you to Jeana Cherland for designing the website, cuz Lord knows I couldn’t have done it without help. All my facebook fans and twitter followers-without you guys, what would be the point?
Perhaps one of the biggest thanks to Stan Swanson of Dark Moon Digest and Dark Moon Books, for not only taking a chance on me, but believing in my writing enough to help me pursue my dreams. Stan is a wonderful guy and during this process we have crossed the line from author/publisher, to being friends. You rock out loud Stan!
And last but not least-I thank God for all my blessings, my opportunities and whatever talent I may have (which some will no doubt find debatable). Thank you also to my MUSE-that twisted bitch who lives in my head, way deep where it’s dark and scary, relentlessly driving me on to tell my tales.
I certainly hope I didn’t leave anyone out, but I’m sure I have. If you are one of those very deserving souls in need of recognition, forgive for the oversight. I wouldn’t want to lose any of your friendships or wonderful presences in my life. Without my amazing group of friends and family, I would be nothing more than a woman and a computer screen, quietly pecking my life away. What a frightening thought!
Okay, so you’ve all seen the new cover, and so far there has been nothing but positive feedback. I’m so glad you all like it. I myself am in love with the art and feel I am able to gush about it a bit, since I had no part in this creative endeavor. I LOVE it so very much! It’s exactly the type of rockstar cover I would want. Thanks Stan, you are amazing my friend. But if you will notice, it calls for 13 tales from me. 13. Yes, 13. To date, I have 10, hopefully 11 if he likes the story I wrote last night (I think he will). So for the sake of being hopeful, let’s call it 11. That leaves 4 more stories and only 1 more week until August, which was my deadline. We decided to push that deadline out a bit, but it still needs to be done soon. You are probably doubting my math skills right now since 4+11 doesn’t equal 13, but I will explain. Two more stories plus an additional 2 just so we can pick and chose which are the best (total of 15 to chose from) equals 4 more stories. Doesn’t seem that daunting to you , I’m sure. But add in 3 kids in softball. That’s 3 games a week plus tournaments. Also figure in 3 nights a week of bar-tending. Tired of the math yet? Did I mention editing all of those stories multiple times plus the 3 other stories that have been accepted for special issues? How about the flash fiction charity collection that I have promised several pieces to in hopes of one being accepted? But wait-that one isn’t due until October. Then there’s my Twitter page, 3 facebook pages, Google+, a goodreads account, multiple forums to keep up on and this website to run. And this blog of course. Did I mention all the planning for a book launch? All that said, I am still having the time of my life. I’m stressed as hell, but it has come to my attention that I just might be crazy enough to be enjoying it too! Don’t mistake me for being ungrateful, I am always aware of my good fortune and very glad for the opportunities that have been knocking at my front door in mobs. I just need you all to know why I haven’t washed my hair in two days. Or why I exist on coffee and chocolate donuts for days on end!
Don’t worry, I will get it all done. And I will be very happy when I do. But if any of you run into me on the street and I am muttering to myself with bald patches and nails chewed to the cuticle-I just wanted to let you know why. Look me up in September, I should be more human then! I am also rewarding myself and Lou with a working vacation in March. We have been invited to attend the World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City. It will all be worthwhile then, and hey! Maybe someday I will actually be able to earn a living at this writing gig. Until then, I have work to do, and sometimes it scares the hell out of me…..
It’s human nature to look at the hand of fate when bad things happen to us. News reports say that the couple killed in a drive-by shooting meant for a rival gang, were in the wrong place at the wrong time.It’s easy to think that we wouldn’t have had that fender bender if we had just left five minutes earlier for work, and the list goes on. We all do it. The what-ifs, if-onlys, and why-mes of life can really bog you down. But I ask you this, how often do you examine the hand of fate when GOOD things happen to you? The last time you won fifty dollars on a scratch off ticket, I bet you didn’t say to yourself Oh what if I hadn’t stopped at the gas station today after work? It’s easy to get caught up in the negatives of life without really giving much thought to the positives. We have become a negative and cynical society as a whole, but we don’t have to give in to that. Let me give you a couple of examples.
Years ago, just after my divorce, I was forced to endure the humiliation of a bankruptcy. I worked at 6 AM but I had to leave at 9 to go finalize the paperwork. The woman who opened the lawyers office was running late that day, so I wound up waiting outside of the office for a good 15 minutes. I remember standing under an apple tree, feeling sorry for myself and the turns that my life had taken. Those who know me personally, know that I’m not one given to self-pity, but I can tell you I was feeling as low as I ever had in my life on that day. When the secretary finally arrived and began unlocking the door, I moved from my pity-party beneath that apple tree to stand by her side. Just then, a drunk driver (yes, the prick was drunk at 9 AM) lost control of his car and bounced off a sign, flew across the lawn, sheared off said apple tree and deposited it on my car before speeding away. We were stunned at the speed with which it happened. After the cops had come and gone (they never did catch the guy despite the fact that he left a trail of broken car parts and leaking fluids in his wake AND I had gotten most of the plate number) and I had waited for the professionals to remove the tree from my car (heavily damaged but drive-able) I went to work and told them all what had happened. I couldn’t help but grin the whole time. A co-worker looked at me incredulously and said “You are the most unlucky person I know”. This made me laugh and they thought I’d lost my mind. I explained to them that I was truly the luckiest person alive. You see, only seconds before, I had been standing beneath that tree. I had been seconds away from orphaning my young children. I had stood there, feeling sorry for myself, completely unaware that death was driving around the corner. That was the first time that I really felt appreciation for fate and its power over our lives. I know that God was with me that day, and I no longer feel sorry for myself.
Just a year ago, at this time, I submitted a short story to the first horror contest I found. It happened to be a Monster contest run by Stan Swanson from Dark Moon Books (also Dark Moon Digest, though the magazine was still months away from becoming something he would pursue.) I had written poetry and longer prose for most of my life, but this was my first short story. Submitting for publication opened up some dormant area of my brain, and soon I was writing stories by the dozens and submitting them everywhere I could. When I learned that Stan would be publishing my story in Dark Moon Digests premiere issue, I was stunned! I continued to write and submit and other stories got picked up as well. I could’ve gone on this way for a very long time, publishing stories randomly, but once again Stan contacted me with an idea. I had submitted a nasty little tale for an extreme anthology that he was planning to publish, and he liked my story so much that he wondered if I could come up with more. Most mainstream horror magazines will only let you go so far with your stories, only so graphic before they become uncomfortable with the material. About half of my work turns out too extreme for the typical market, so I told Stan that I thought I was up to the challenge, and so far I have been. Thus Ad Naseum, my first book, set to be published this Fall, began to be formed. Though there’s no exact formula for these things, from what I’ve learned from other writers, I am years ahead of the game. Just one year into the business, I am already scheduled to attend and advertise my book at the next World Horror Convention. Once again, this is because of Stan Swanson. And again the hand of fate is obvious in my life. You might think I’m lucky, and I am. But more importantly, I’m grateful. If it wasn’t for me finding Stan, I wouldn’t be half as far as I am now. Sure, I would have probably still gotten here, but it would have taken much longer.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, though I’m not taking away from my accomplishments (or yours), I worked very hard to get here and really put myself on a limb, you have to recognize the positive effects of fate on your life. Instead of just shaking your fists at fate when things go wrong, remember to give her a nod of thanks when good things happen too. She’s out there and she’s watching, and a little gratitude goes a long way. Thank you Fate for that apple tree on my car, and thank you for Stan Swanson!
Though my book won’t be out until Fall, why not stop by Dark Moon Books and check out some of their other new releases by awesome authors like Araminta Matthews and the wonderful Stan Swanson!