Posts Tagged ‘writing’
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 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.
• 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
I belong to many writers’ groups on facebook. Too many groups, too many pages, and too many discussions. All of them are horror related and I have met many great friends through these virtual watering holes. Each group is different in its own way, but there are two constants I can always rely on. One is drama. Some groups have it only periodically and others seem to thrive on it. The other thing is Twilight. Or rather, fights about Twilight. I could go on for countless hours about the drama. Though I generally try to steer clear, I have been sucked in to online arguments on occasion. Even a few about Twilight. Today though, I would like to tell you why Twilight and its sparkling vampires doesn’t really bother me. And why they shouldn’t bother you either.
I doubt anyone would argue with me when I say that it has become quite trendy to hate Twilight. You can’t go anywhere on facebook without seeing several memes about how real vampires don’t sparkle and what other vampires think of Edward. Hang out in any writer’s forum for five minutes and there will be a fight about whether or not Stephanie Meyers should be burned at the stake. These are facts. Don’t believe me? Google it. I’ll wait…
Now I’m not saying that these people don’t genuinely dislike Twilight, nor am I saying they are wrong to dislike the books and/or movies. Opinion is never right or wrong. It’s subjective. We all have an opinion on most things, and don’t forget what dear old granddad always told you about opinions… My question is, why the hate? I’m sure there are a great many writers that you don’t care for, but you don’t dedicate the time and energy to creating memes about it. Or spending hours of your time arguing about their works. What is it about Twilight that people hate so much? When asked this question, most of the answers I get are “Meyer is a hack. She doesn’t deserve the attention!” “Vampires don’t sparkle, that’s stupid!” “She’s ruining horror!” and my favorite “Kids these days are being dumbed down by that garbage!” While I can’t argue anyone’s opinion about her writing skills or whether vampires should sparkle or not, I can say with some certainty that Ms. Meyer is not the one responsible for the short attention spans and lack of reading comprehension in today’s youth. You are currently partaking in part of the problem with that. Yep! I blame the internet. And other things, but that is another post.
None of the reasons I’m given by the serious haters strike me as genuine. They may think they are, but I will tell you right now why she gets the hate. She’s popular. She’s selling books. She’s making money. Push a hater hard enough, and they will almost always say, “I can write circles around her. I don’t know why she’s so famous with the crap she writes.” I’m not going to point out what this statement suggests. I think we all know. Nor am I saying that everyone who dislikes Twilight feels this way. Of course not. Many simply say that they don’t enjoy the series and leave it at that. I’m talking about the ones that scream the longest and the loudest. Methinks thou dost protest too much…
I ask you all this: What’s the big deal? Why do you even care? How has Meyer affected you? Because Twilight is everywhere? That’s true of all pop culture. Because you don’t like her writing? Don’t read it. There are a great many writers I don’t enjoy. I don’t buy their books. It works for me. Has she done anything to take away from you or harm your career? I seriously doubt it. One person’s success in the writing industry has little to no impact on another’s. The truth is, she has done nothing to you nor anything to deserve your vitriol. She wasn’t even writing the series for you. She has a targeted audience that loves her books. Who cares? It’s very unprofessional of authors to openly attack one another’s work. It makes you look jealous and juvenile. It also makes other authors not trust you and worse, you run the risk of alienating a whole group of potential fans (yes, I know many who read both Twilight and standard horror).
I will leave you with this, though it is up to you whether you spend all that time and energy on hating someone you don’t even know, wouldn’t you be better served by writing and making yourself successful? And the way the Twilight fans react to criticism? I want you hardcore horror fans to think about how pissed YOU get when those uppity, literary nerds trash Stephen King and say his writing is worthless to society. What you are doing is no better. So spend your time and energy wisely, try not to hate anyone, and leave those poor Twi-hards alone. They aren’t hurting anyone. Cheers!—C.W.
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
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. 🙂
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.
Happy Monday once again my friends! Here we are only 2 weeks away from Halloween and just 7 short days from the beginning of the Coffin Hop! I hope you are as excited as I am. Fall is in full swing and I feel my mood lifting as my favorite season takes hold. 🙂 No self-respecting horror fan would admit to loving Summer over Fall. It’s against the rules. You must love Halloween, Stephen King and all things Lovecraft to be a true horror fan. Wait….what? I don’t even like Lovecraft (though I do adore Mr. King.) Are you as tired as I am of genre snobs trying to tell you what’s acceptable to like and what you must consider garbage? You know who I’m talking about, maybe it’s even YOU! Those people who consider themselves elite, their opinions above everyone else’s, their knowledge superior. They often use the word purist, and they are present in every avenue of artistic beauty, from music, to films, to literature.
I went to the movies this weekend with my beloved Lou. Despite reading nothing but horrendous reviews, we decided to take a chance on The Thing, which promised to be a prequel to the original, rather than a remake. Having not seen a single positive note about the film, I will admit I had lowered my expectations. I must say, though it wasn’t the best horror film I have ever seen, it wasn’t bad. We both enjoyed it. Neither one of us felt we’d been screwed out of 20 bucks and two hours of our lives. The review that sticks out most in my mind, went on and on about the lack of suspense compared to the original, the lack of character development compared to the original, the blah-de-fucking-blah compared to the original. Anyway, it got me thinking about that group of assholes, you know who I’m talking about, that think they are Horror’s Biggest Fan. It’s not enough that they declare they have seen EVERYTHING horror has to offer, but they also will dissect each and every film (or book) claiming to understand the directors motives and using pretentious terms that only college professors appreciate. You know, that schmuck that rolls his eyes, should you admit you don’t see the genius in Sam Raimi’s work, and calls you an imbecile.
These people are present in all walks of life, I have noticed they can be particularly obnoxious in the music industry, but I ask you this, why do we tolerate it? Shouldn’t you have the right to like what you like, without some pretentious prick feeling that it is his/her duty to illustrate to you just how and why you are wrong? And that’s the funniest part. It’s opinion for cripes sake! There is no right or wrong. I’m not picking on my friends who said they didn’t like The Thing. That’s their opinion and I totally respect them for it. I’m talking about that more heinous group of individuals who would treat me like a caveman for not liking Lovecraft. Clearly I am uncouth and know nothing of the genre.
Before I go any farther, some of you may be thinking back to the unfavorable post I did on the re-make of Fright Night. I stated clearly that it was only my opinion, openly admitting that I was prejudiced against the film due to both the 3D and the fact that it was a childhood favorite. I look forward to giving it another chance on DVD.
The most humorous thing about Horror’s Biggest Fan, is with his ever-present disdain for anything mainstream or commercially popular, he fails to recognize his own hypocrisy. Should you mention Scream, he will throw out some obscure title, delighting in the fact you’ve never heard of it, and informing you of how it is far superior horror since it never gained mainstream acceptance. In fact, the only constant that seems true of all these people, whether they are talking about literature or music or whatever they have styled themselves to be the experts about, is that anything with commercial success is shit. If it is universally loved by the masses, it must be worthless. I bet these people hate puppies. And fucking apple pie!
I don’t believe that you should jump on bandwagons and like something just because everyone else does. But I think it’s just as big a sin to not give something a chance because it’s popular. We are all individuals with different tastes and perceptions. I like what I like, regardless of what others say. Especially genre snobs. In fact, I will listen to their pretentious bullshit only if forced. Of course, what do I know? I’m just a buffoon who enjoys Sam Raimi’s movies, but wouldn’t call them genius. These idiots are the same ones who will soon be leaving me rambling reviews on Amazon, comparing me to Lovecraft and outlining all the ways I come up short. Now that’s scary……
The Coffin Hop is sneaking up on us! Get ready for the fun next Monday when 80+ horror authors will be hosting contests that will put the Howl in your Halloween! Visit me again on Monday, October 24th for a chance to win the items in the picture below, including a signed copy of Dark Moon Digest Presents Zombies!