Monday, March 31, 2008

Waiting for the world to change

No letter of suck yet from Polyphony 7. I'll take that as a sign that I've maybe, perhaps, who in all of mighty Arda knows, survived the first round of readings. I could be totally jinxing myself here.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

And now...

...further proof that the world is out to get me.

The Discovery Channel has been running a marathon of kickass Mythbusters episodes all day long, on the day I planned to get lots of worky work done.


I am weak to Jamie Hyneman's walrus moustache. As well as fun science.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sailing away in March

I was going to post about something else, probably book-related because gee I don't talk about books enough y'know, but this is cooler...

40-day SALE of my melting animals short story "Pigment" to Farrago's Wainscot.

Yay! Don't know the exact issue it'll be in, but when I do I shall most certainly let y'all know. Between the sale to Black Gate, finishing a few new short stories, and getting a bunch of free stuff in the mail, March has turned out to be a pretty good month. Who would've guessed?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Books in 2008, #11

#11. The Beach by Alex Garland

A very impressive first novel that mixes Lord of the Flies with Heart of Darkness and one seriously bad acid trip. While vacationing in Bangkok, Richard learns of a secret Eden-like island and convinces a French couple to join him in his search of it. Once found he believes he's entered paradise. And he can stay there, forever, that is unless the Thai men with guns on the other side of the island guarding the dope fields decide to exterminate everyone. Or, you know, if that map he left behind becomes problematic.

Mmm I like when characters slowly grow crazy. And Garland does that well to our neurotic leading man. The conversations Richard has with oh-so-dead Daffy (aka Mister Duck) are fascinatingly disturbing. Yet, by the remaining thirty pages, one might guess he was the sanest of the bunch. Observations are nailed perfectly, and the layout of the beach and who is where and when never became too much to absorb. Sure, not everything is exactly clear, but, much like Richard does, you just keep going on until you figure things out for yourself.

I wanted to read this after seeing the movie version starring that blonde kid from Growing Pains, and I have to admit a bit of shock in how different the book turned out. Yet another case for why books are always better than their moving pictures counterpart. But I guess the outright dismembering of dead bodies is frowned upon in a film showcasing sky-blue waters, miles of perfect tan sand, and beautiful people in bathing suits.

Still, good stuff. A lot of tension and suspense kept me turning the pages, and something about the way Garland handled his characters had them standing out very well on the pages. From Bugs to Jed to Sal, they all had jobs and quirks and things that they liked about living on the beach. I myself might never have taken such a journey, but I'm glad that Richard did, just so I now know what to expect if some drunk Scotsman hands me a map and offers me Vietnam. I'll say, "No thanks. What else you got?"

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Another first draft

Ah, just finished the first draft of the civilized cannibals story. Clocks in at 5,500 words. I seem to be writing longer stories lately. It is either flash fiction or longer stories. Can't I get a "in-between" up in here?

Anyways, the ending is complete crap and needs a lot of tightening up, but I love everything up to it (and why shouldn't I? I wrote the dang thing). I wrote this with a target market in mind, which is sort of why I am not saying much of the piece, especially its title. I want to submit it blindly, even if I know that no one reads this blog of mine.

So there, another first draft done. That makes two in March!

Will read through this later on this week over a cup of coffee at B&N. For now, I go to sleep.

More stuff pertaining to the mail

Yes, another grand post about...mail! Settle down, settle down!
  • Received my contributor copy and check (mmm money) for the beach-themed anthology Strange Stories of Sand and Sea, which contains my short story "Birds, Gods, and the Naming of Things"...and boy is it a big book. Over 300 pages. Lots of stories in here and I'm looking forward to sitting down with it and checking the others out. I don't re-read my work. But if I was to I'd probably describe the piece as an in-and-out hallucination trip under the boards of Atlantic City where an angry boy learns a mighty lesson from a talking seagull. Yup.
  • Received my review copy of the latest issue of the urban horror magazine City Slab, #12, which I'll be handling for The Fix Online sometime in the near future.
  • I mailed out my latest entry into the Writers of the Future contest this weekend. Go, little story, go! Shine on you crazy diamond! Er, I'll keep my fingers crossed that it makes it to California safely.
And that's that for now. I suspect I'll be getting a few more interesting items this week, but most of them will be bills. Ah, the bane of my existence! Bills! And CVS ads!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Books in 2008, Not #11

Not #11. Cast in Courtlight by Michelle Sagara

Two hundred pages in and I have to come clean...I'm bored beyond belief. The excitement and intrigue that caught me offguard in Cast in Shadow is so not found in this one. Kaylin is back with her attitude in full swing as she tries to find more answers about things I originally thought were cleared up in her first adventure. She quickly ends up being problematic to a number of courtly people with sooper sekrit names and I guess some characters want to kill her. I don't know. From what I gathered, she mostly spends a good deal of time complaining and being a walking body of angst. I never got what the plot of the book was, and being halfway through it I realized I didn't even care. A shame as I hate not finishing a book I've started, but alas there are others grabbing for my attention.

Sorry, sis. Not a series for me in the long run.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

All work and no play

Having wrapped up my WOTF story, which is ready to go out in the mail this weekend, I'm trying to decide what I want to work on next. I need to be working on something because all work and no play make Paul a dull boy. Hmm, okay wait. That quote doesn't make any sense. I like staying busy. Moving on...

The novel is still on hiatus while I try and wrap my head around why it isn't working for me. I'm toying with the idea to write a short story or two in its world, just to see if it holds up. Or to figure out what the bleep is actually going on in there. But I'm not (mentally) prepared for that move yet.

So I'm currently trying to finish up the civilized cannibals story. After that I need to review my WOTF critique for "The Lady of Jeweled Dreams" and see if I can't whip that piece into a stronger story. John O'Neill from Black Gate did mention he'd like to see more from me and that's the only other piece of high fantasy that I feel is submittable. We'll see what I can do to it when that moment arrives.

Eugie is sending me the latest issue of City Slab to review for The Fix Online. Looking forward to that. I find it so much easier to review print material than to read a large PDF file.

Oh, and I need to do some more work on the comics for Sandra McDonald's The Stars Down Under...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Black Box has arrived

Click the above image to head over to the Brimstone Press website where you can learn more about the 2-disk Black Box e-anthology edited by Shane Jiraiya Cummings, which features my horror piece "Something" as well as some 99 other stories from a whomping gathering of 80 kickass writers like Lucy Sussex, Mikal Trimm, Jay Caselberg, Lee Battersby, Jason Sizemore, and more! (I feel like a tiny speck in the presence of some of these people, yo.)

This isn't just some run-of-the-mill e-anthology though; it's a complete multimedia experience. There's art galleries provided, and the second CD contains music from the best of Australian alternative, gothic opera, metal, and hip hop artists. The box is selling for $12.95, and all the proceeds will be donated to the Australian Horror Writers Association.

So do yourself a favor...and open up the box. Don't you want to know what's inside?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Hooray, sale time

So, I woke up to good news this morning (and not that it was the greenest day of the year):

469(!)-day SALE of my short story "So Go the Seasons" to an upcoming issue of Black Gate!

Whew. I think I can finally exhale. And yes, I'm a very patient man, and I think, in this business, one really needs to be in order to stay sane. A long wait, but completely worth it. Black Gate is a great magazine, and I love all the articles about SF mags from the past by Rich Horton. The fiction is always great, accompanied by illustrations that reflect back to a more golden age of storytelling. To sum up, I am relieved, excited, and ready to continue waiting.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Books in 2008, #10

#10. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

This is actually a re-read. I wanted to revisit the book after seeing the family-friendly film version of Pullman's story, and am glad I did so. As I remembered, the world that Lyra Belacqua lives in is a dark, dark place, filled with violence and gore and wondrous soul-beings called daemons. She eventually finds herself on a mission to deliver the golden compass back to her uncle who has been taken prisoner in the cold, snowy North. A side plot about freeing the children stolen by the Gobblers is also dealt with, and was probably my favorite part of the book. This isn't Harry Potter stuff where adults actually listen to children; Lyra is berated again and again, talked down to, betrayed, you name it. Anyways, a great story with a lot of neat fantastical characters, as well as an elegant mix of science fiction and colleges and gyptians and lions, tigers, and (polar) bears oh my.

I wonder why that heart-eating scene didn't make it into the film. Hmmm...

Second draft done, thunk again

Just finished typing up my line edits for the second draft of the WOTF story, and I'm going to say it is done. That is, of course, unless first readers tell me otherwise. If anyone is interested in offering a critique, please let me know. I'll gladly return the favor.

The only problem is that I'm hoping to mail the story out by this upcoming Saturday to meet the March 31 deadline. So you'd kind of have to be speedy about it. Story is 5,600 words, science fiction, and does not contain a single curse word (I'm impressed about that!).

Let me know.

Okay, I'm going to go finish reading The Golden Compass now. 'Bout time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

First draft done, thunk

First draft done for the WOTF story.

5,400 words. I crawled through the final thousand or so, scrapping my elbows up and getting a bit dirty, but it was worth it. Definitely needs a second read through, with a bunch of things cleared up and hopefully a few too many details dropped. But I'll worry about that later.

For now, I go sleep.

I gots mail

Look at what arrived in the mail today:

What's that? You can't read that really long Italian name on the cover? Oh, here let me help:


::looks at some more::

::keeps on petting it::

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A small update

The WOTF story that's been kicking my ass lately is finally shaping up to be something whole. I figured out how it'll tie up in the end last night, and now just need to pump out about another 2,000 to 3,000 words to bring it to a close. Unfortunately, the March 31 deadline approaches, but I have high hopes that I'll finish it in time. The editing-as-I-go plan is, not surprisingly, very counterproductive. I think after this story I'll stop doing it and just wait until the end to clean everything up.

Yup, maybe more later...

Monday, March 10, 2008

This is a writing question, I promise

If you were to hide porn on your computer, what would you name the folder they'd go under so as not to warrant suspicion?

Again, check the subject line. This is a pertinent plot point here for the work-in-progress.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Round 'em on up

Here's some thingies that I should post about before I forget:

My review of Black Static #3 is now live over at The Fix Online. A very stylized magazine that focuses on horror fiction. I really liked a few stories, and others did absolutely nothing for me. Or the genre, if you want to look at it that way.

This week, I pushed past my 300th comic for MyLifeComics. Kinda neat.

I, um, also beat Final Fantasy XII. Was easier than I expected, but then again I put a good 100+ hours into my characters, making them beefier than a field of cattle. I probably could've finished the game a long time ago, but my OCD kicked in and I needed to beat every hunt, find every magic spell, get the best armor and weapons, and so on. Anyways, I loved this game. The story is strong, the world is spanning, and its details are plentiful. My only complaint is that they make Vaan out to be the main character when, in all truths, Lady Ashe is the focal point of the story. But that's minor stuff. The battle system has even gotten me interested in MMOs. Not that I'd ever play one, but it has sparked my gamer's heart.

Hmm, movie-wise I've seen the following:
  • No Country for Old Men (2007) - A quiet, slow-moving piece about violence out West. A bag of money is stolen from a deal gone bad, and a crazy, psychotic killer is tracking it down. What ensues is a methodical cat-and-mouse game that ends as it should, both depressingly and inexcusably real. Quite disturbing and quite beautiful, if that makes any sense. Definitely a film worth watching.
  • I Am Legend (2007) - Vampire flick that really, honestly, was a big letdown. CGI monsters? Come on. This would've been so much more successful if they stuck with live-action actors. Will Smith is fine though, carries the film well enough, but I don't know. This just didn't scare me like I had hoped it would.
  • The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) - This is the story of two drag queens and one transsexual woman trekking across the Australian outback on a mission to perform at a casino in Alice Springs. Hugo Weaving stars in this one, and thank the heavens above I saw this before The Matrix or Lord of the Rings because seeing him all donned up in makeup and groovin' to Abba has forever changed his appearance to me.
And I think that's all for now.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A bit tyred

Reading the latest issue of Black Static has taught me one thing...

I do not like the British spelling of tire as tyre. I cannot explain why. It just bothers me. Bring on the colours, centres, and bloody blokes. Just no more screeching tyres.

That is all.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

An authorly post

Hmm, I don't get to make too many of these so I'll revel in them while I can.

Let's see...Strange Stories of Sand & Sea, which has my short story "Birds, Gods, and the Naming of Things" in it, is almost out. The ISBN is 978-0-9794770-5-8. The book will be distributed exclusively by Ingram to bookstores, both online and brick and board. It will be available online at and Barnes & Noble's by the end of March. It will be searchable there by the title and the editor's name (Esther Schrader).

Here's the final cover, I believe:

Also, as it is March that means the latest issue of Aoife's Kiss is available. The March issue has my story "After Effects" in it, and I'm very eager to see the printed product. You can order an issue here, and the TOC looks like so:

Josh English: The Simple Life
Lee Clark Zumpe: Babel
David C. Kopaska-Merkel & Kendall Evans: Serial Salvage
Michael A. Pignatella: The Book of Sherman
Sheri Fresonke Harper: Knees
Matthew Keville: Killing Time
Howard Cincotta: Eat the Flow
P. E. Vogel: The Fox and the Wizard
JA Howe: A Tale that Tells Songs
Kajsa Wiberg: The Cali Roll
Paul Abbamondi: After Effects
Lawrence R. Dagstine: A Soul to the Stars
Ron Savage: That Tabloid Life
Gordon A. Graves: Witness
John Bowker: Apron Strings
Dorine Ratulangie: 0559
Andrea Fakete: Fireworks
Marcie Lynn Tentchoff: The Changeling's Song
Andrea Fakete: Outside
L. A. Story Houry: Secret Love
Jennifer Jerome: Telling
Linda Herring: When Things Go Wrong
Phillip A. Ellis: The Immortal
Terrie Leigh Relf & Marcie Lynn Tentchoff: Sea Ball
Melissa Sihan Mütlu: Scarlet Walls
Kyle Heger: Message to a Guard Dog
L. N. Allen: Merwoman
Melissa Sihan Mütlu: Butterfly Forest
E. P. Fisher: Countdown Begins at Ten
Jennifer Crow: Forsaken
William R. Ford Jr.: Land of the Broken Cities, Land of the Nuclear Sun
Julie Shiel: Visions
Kathy Kubik: Android Blue
Aurelio Rico Lopez III: Wizard's Betrayal

Okay, that's all from me for now. Back to writing the next WOTF story...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Weird weather

Last night it was cold. Then it snowed and stuck. I've woken up to sunshine and no snow on the grass anymore. How odd.

I need nicer weather as soon as possible. Not the blistering dry heat of the summer, but nice park weather. I want to go sit on the grass and finish all these books I have piled up here. Staying inside all this time is making me cranky.