Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Well we had to pull stories out of two more magazines today because they are non-responsive or their emails just bounce back. Nothing has been updated in two months...so.............pull the stories out of dry dock. It is very frustrating to have stories tied up for mnonths only to have the publication dry up. But these are the signs of the times. Hey at least we git another anthology...
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Sunday, November 25, 2012
We are happy to announce that WAKE UP, my good olde fashioned vampire story of terror not glamour will be one of thirteen storiesd accepted for publication in Zombie Works Publications' YOU CAN'T KILL ME, I'M ALREADY DEAD: A VAMPIRE ANTHOLOGY.More details to follow.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Clearly not as much as Amazon.com is. It was as if I was pulling a large, cracked and bleeding molar before Barnes and Noble would even look in my direction. What I wanted to do was what I had already did do on Amazon. What I thought Barnes and Noble possessed was what was already held by Amazon. And that is an author's page from which to promote a book. Amazon couldn't be nicer and easier to me and for all writers; novice and established, treating both with dignity in the collective pursuit of selling books. But if you wish to promote your book on Barnes and Noble, the small press department imposes requirements only a manic depressive accountant and a medieval torturer would love. Bottomline: It is a rigged game in favor of established publishing houses and their writers. Upstart publishing houses and new writers cannot possibly comply, unless they self-publish and do so through Barnes and Noble. The six week review process alone cripples them. Think about that when you purchase a new book and think about, in the end, who you are helping and quelling. For my money it more adventurous to travel to the Amazon.
Monday, November 19, 2012
I write this as I watch The BBC's magnificient TOP GEAR Apocalypse Special. If you ever wonder what will happen to motoring and motor sport in the zombie infested nuclear winter that has killed us all--this is your primer. But I am happy to announce that I actually picked up a small editing gig. Not only will I have a story coming out next month in the Surreal Grotesque Apocalypse issue; I edited or read three submissions and made recommendations. I have to say I am enjoying working behind the scenes as well. This editing thing may lead to something....well it will will next Halloween, more to come on that.
In an earlier post I described my puzzlement concerning Efiction's submissions process and policies. I have also consulted with a copyright attorney and well if my story does pop up somewhere---we are ready. Anyway, I have making posts and asking questions and as it seems I am invisible these dayshave heard nothing until tonight. I recieved an email from someone purporting to be a groupie of sorts from India proposing something that may interest General Petraeus. I was skeptical before. I am now concerned. Writers listen up---look long and har---wrong words. Look carefully where you submit. Even if all is innocent, these kind of breaches through hacking is troublesome.
Does that mean I am constipa----hey hey hey. Cut out the bathroom humor. All that toilet tales must be going to my head. (Insert rim shot here.) Back in June we submitted a short story titled 'Nature's Calling' to a horror/mystery/fantasy ezine know as "Blood and Lullabies". I do like that title. The story has to do with a man returning home from work to find his doppelganger there in his place, one step ahead of him taking over his life and wife. It is a tale utilizing the allegory of passages that we enter through in our lives as we, hopefully evolve and change with the times. Well, the story was submitted in June. An editor got back to me stating that they would hold my story if I so consent, because of production reasons they couldn't do anything until November. I was to query back November 1st. Did you hear anything? Several emails later I see the website shows no change. Being the monolithic slug brain I am I check Facebook only to see that a new issue was launched and if it was missed to write the editor for a copy. Did you receive yours? Well I sent an email that I know will be ignored telling them my story sailed. It will find a home in due course, although I hope my emails are discovered first. For all I know is published bt maybe it is so in that other dimension with my doppelganger. I'll check his blog at widewideawakesawakesreduxredux.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
I haven't publicized these as much as my ezine and print appearances but you can find two funny/satirical ghost stories of mine at the Saugus.net Ghost Story contest site. In 2011 we placed third under the Adult category with "A Visit" and this passed 2012 contest we finished second with "The Death Knell" a satiric look at writing, at ghost and horror stories, death, yes death and even Edgar Allan Poe himself. Stop by...more news to come about Saugus and their long running and world renown juried contest. Stay tuned....
Saturday, November 17, 2012
My contributor's paperback copy of TALES FOR THE TOILET (I love that title and all the dignity it brings, not to mention we want to scare the sh#$ right out of you) arrived today from just over the pond from CROWDED QUARANTINE PRESS. FLIGHT 377 is there and ready for its ill fated flight for the ages. AVAILABLE NOW AT AMAZON.COM AND BARNES AND NOBLE. Take a seat and a read....
Okay I tried the Efiction workshop for horror. If you remember we were told a story of mine titled JUST ANOTHER GHOST STORY was ready, or just about ready, for publication but it had to go through 'the workshop'. We submitted the story eight days ago and there were no comments. In fact there was little activity in any of the workshops; some over a month. I know things are slowing down; but my ADHDMOUSE and type AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA personality just wants to move my stories to publication. In short not a good fit and I pulled the plug. I just pray Efiction isn't just short of pulling the plug for lack of activity. We wish them well.
So in the wake of the election where getting stuff means more than Country, The White House has opened a site titled WE THE PEOPLE where anyone can write their own want list to the President. Gather up 25,000 signatures and The White House, since it has nothing better to do like put people back to work, solve the debt crisis or deal with China's invasion of Japan, or Israel being bombed every ten second, can attempt to fufill your Christmas wish everyday. One of the first is the Twinkie where people have called for a government takeover of Hostess---damn pressing issue. But another caught my eye which is gaining support. This a call to limit copyright protection om the net and in print. In other words, artists should not have copyright protection because 'they can make money in other ways'; and to arrest people who illegally violate copyright laws 'would be an invasion of privacy'. So everything should be free for me a talentless, intellectually lacking bum so I can sample or outright steal the product so I CAN make money on it as I claim it for my own. And if I should break the law an arrest is an invasion of privacy? Does that also apply to murder? Welcome to the future of the United States-- Land of Free Stuff and Home of the Lazy. This is not a political statement: property rights are under assault. Those who don't have or even lack the talent to have feel everything should be given them. The oresent administration to remain in power will placate them. Whine and it shall be yours. But to us writers who contribute to the culture of this great nation, be damned. This proposed peace of legislation is so poorly written you can tell what kind of talentless hack wrote it. I would reproduce it here but the administration who claims they are for preserving the free exchange of ideas and have no copyright on these tomes will not allow it to copied and reproduced. Comrades, once we lose our art we lose our soul. To the talentless, to the hacks, to the people whose only creative act is to hold out their hands and demand: history is full of socialist, facist and communist movements such as this; movements seeking the free exchange of ideas for the good of the collective at the expense of the creator. We have beaten these movements before and we will beat them again. If these individuals could only read history they would see, but then again that would require work and that is something this movement seeks at every cost to avoid. Freedom is never free.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Tonight serenading me at dinner was the Sci Fi Channel's 2012 filmed film "Rise of the Zombies". This particular apocalyptic romp stars LeVar Burton, Danny Trejo and Mariel Hemingway. Basically this is 'The Walking Dead' but on Alcatraz. Wait; zombies and prison---naw, nothing similar. The Daily News of New York gave it high marks. The Daily News is also good at wrapping fish. Anyway, just before part of the group, led by Mariel Hemingway, and note the irony in her name and lineage, is about to leave the besieged island and prison by zombies swimming over from San Fran Danny Trejo utters the most memorable line in this piece of cine and possibly one of the greatest lines in the history: 'We just sitting like sitting ducks." And I fancy myself a wordsmith? I think thunk thank not!
Hey this our 200th post! Please wait while the balloons and confetti lightly fall to the earth and the sounds of the kazoos fade into the background of time. Wait. Wait. Wait. Not yet. Wait for it. OKAY. I could end the post here and make sort of a Euro-hipster-psuedo-intellectual statement about milestones but I won't. I am a fat, loud mouthed American and I have to say something. Okay. A number of writers have taken Ray Bradbury's formula to enth degree and I fear that as writers we are losing the trees in the woods. Some of the things Ray always said, and I paraphrase; if you get rejected send it back out; get a submission out every couple of days to achieve a publication a week, etc. Well life interferes. The last couple of months I have done a lot less writing because of busy work at work; family emergencies; a hurricane; a nor'easter, etc. And life should interfere. A writer told me recently that she was beside herself because she was 8.2 stories down this month and on Halloween she was pulling an allnighter to get back to level. Wow. Really. It's great to be published and its great to have stories out there to be published--- and leave finances out of this ---but can we all just look at our quality rather than our quantity? Are we really happy with the piece we just sent out because it is well written or a fine experimental piece that brings up satisfaction or are we just filling some arbitrary milestone, some statistic, some quota. Sure a well written piece of literature is the same as a well written piece of music and a proper mathmatical formula. Each possesses a symmetry and a cadence and a flow; there is a tightness and aire of correctness and certitude. Can we all strive for that rather than hack a chunk of our intellect off? Ray Bradbury could play in the ballpark of numbers--he had that talent--most o us don't and need to approach our game with more care.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
My review of the independent book "HORROR D'OURVES" by Lisa McCourt Hollar is posted on Luridlit.com now. Catch my review of small bite horror and find out whether I asked for more or had indigestion.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
I am now being told, as publishers die off, that the future is in writing labs or workshops as precursor befor publishing. This is sort of a focus group approach to publishing thus taking the editor off the hook for decisions that might be too controversial or questionable. Here a writer will submit a work to the 'collective' of other writers in the shop will review the piece and offer suggestions to the writer as to how to shape the work for publication. Once the story has been workshopped the editor will review the piece and comments and the revised piece and make a final decision. I understand the commercial use of this but am concerned about how a writer makes a name for him/herself by writing a daring tome. Well, I have decided to approach this process with one of my new stories and here we will report the results. More to come.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
We are happy to announce that my take on the apocalypse in a short story titled SNOW BABY will be published in the December issue of SURREAL GROTESQUE. I do have to warn readers in advance: this is horror, pure and simple not the PG rated "scary story" kind or the romanticized kind that is sweeping the nation. It is also not bloody or gory--it also does not involve zombies--this is an original take an old school horror story and will have disturbing images; hey that is what makes it so effective. SNOW BABY will be out in December and we will have more information here, the December issue of SURREAL GROTESQUE and at josephjpatchen.weebly.com.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
A wonderful article on writing and the creative process can be found at ElizabethAWhite.com written by one of our favorites Anonymous-9. What is heartening to me is that I now know that I am not the only one ignored by family and vilified by some for the content of my stories AND that my method of writing is the same as A-9s and we are part of a larger group called 'pansters'. Let's start there. A 'panster' is a writer who works without an outline, whose inspriration hits and that writer may right the end or the middle first. These, or I should say, we are writers who work in the truest sense of having a muse whisper in our ears and in our dreams. I am honored to be in a club with A-9 on that. As for the first car in my train of thought; several writers have chimed in that at times we have lost friends and family because of the content of our stories. For some reason, some people take what we do too literally and seriously while we try our best to be creative and entertaining. Please stop by the website and read the article it is marvelous insight into the creative process and the mechanics of literature. Also check it out for marvelous book reviews as well.
When did the term 'horror' become dirty? I am finding more and more that publishers, especially new and young publishers, steer away from the word 'horror' in favor of 'scary'. I don't know 'scary' seems to me to be a bit of a childish word. If the aim of these publishers is to water down content I wouldn't be surprised. It is the nature and has been the nature of all entertainment in this country to be watered down. In sports we talk about parity, which is a synonym for mediocrity; in music we talk about 'pop' which really equates to homogenized and modulated crap. I know many adults have complained to me that they cannot read some of my stuff because it scares them....Well isn't that the idea? And while I do write satire/comedy -- stick with that; if your senses are too fragile don't read the horror. I am just afraid we are going down the road to 'babyness'. Look Chris Christie cried when he met Bruce Springsteen. Really? I met and spent time with Jerry Lee Lewis. The Killer is certainly more influential and important to the fabric of Rock and Roll. I didn't cry. Heck, Jerry Lee would have kicked my ass. SO where are we headed? Will "The Tell Tale Heart" become "The Tell Tale Tennis Elbow" with a guy getting a twitch every time someone mentions the trophy he won? Will "Incident At Owl Creek Bridge" become "It Happened At The Mall". This also comes on the heels of so many prohibitions issued by these publishers--no graphic violence; no vampires; no this; no that...Come on can we just get back to good old kick butt horro and fear. And if you are too sensitive to read it---then don't; sit down with the Governor of New Jersey and watch the Hallmark Channel.
We are looking for inclusion in a rather small anthology run. When I say small I mean small. This will be a handwritten story in a journal that includes a story with local flavor with a local souvenir scotch taped to the last page of the story. This handwritten journal will then be mailed from writer to writer until it filled. This project is the idea of 'Literary Orphans' and is a fascinating and an appealing project. Why you ask? Why would you want to take the time to do something that is so limited? One reason is the challenge of capturing my local area in an engrossing tale. The other reason being, it is art for art's sake. My writing is generally not audience aimed. I write from nightmares. Unlike many my aim is firstly not sales, but art and legacy. Foolish? Yes. I mean I could try to be a hack like most but I couldn't sleep at night giving birth to offspring resembling a lot of the crap I see on the best seller's list and juggled in the hands of those coffee suckers at Branes and Noble. We will see if the project comes off, if I am included, and if I have been run out of town with coffee stains on the back of my head.
As forecasted, in the wake of the election several more publishers bite the dust including the publisher of my book--CORPSES DON'T BLEED. If anyone is interested in this book, you can still go Amazon.com or contact me and I will arrange for a copy for you. Thanks.
Helping with an upcoming issue of Surreal Grotesque reviewing some stories for inclusion. I have to thank Daniel Gonzales for the opportunity. I enjoyed it immensly. I have always wanted to add this facet to my resume per se. I had applied for an editors position with a horror ezine a few months ago, but never heard back; queried two more times but never heard back. The assumption is obviously they don't want you, but courtesy being what it is you would hope they would at least tell you. I read three pieces, recommended two and we will see how it goes.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
"FLIGHT 377" has landed today in paperback. The anthology, by Crowded Quarantine Press, from the UK, has a great title, TALES FOR THE TOILET is in paperback. I just received mine and again I am honored to be here with great writers and stories. Page 91 has the ill fated flight.
Monday, November 5, 2012
I have been buying my books lately through used bookstores, Amazon.com and eBay. The reason is there is very little new that I find appealing (my Luridlit.com gig aside). When I choose a book for myself I to want to go back in time and study whence we came. But I felt pinings and yesterday decided to visit my local Barnes and Noble. So when did they stop selling books? Between the cafe and toy sections, one quarter of the establishment is set aside for letters. This is probably a good thing since the store stunk to heaven of coffee and pastry. Just what I want in a crisp new book the aroma of food laden in its pages and binding. It is somewhat fitting that all those diet books they sell would also carry the scent. So why not start a danish diet. You will have a hankering by page 14. I also didn't realize there was a dress code. I wonder how I broke past security? I wasn't wearing a tweedy winter jacket, a non-descript blank brown baseball cap and a scarf. I wasn't wearing jeans and some hybrid between a sandal and a sneaker with fuzzy sox. I didn't hold a paper coffee cup in my left hand and had the dexterity to text in my right while I read books cover to cover. What is the point? In the twenty minutes I was there. I saw no one purchase a book. I saw a mob of people dog ear books, smudge books, and leave their empty coffee cups on top of books or stuffed in between them on shelves. After seeing this over and over I came to the conclusion that if I want smells and munge all over my reading material it would just be cheaper to have my dogs do it to my books at home. Needless to say I didn't make a purchase. Granted this is only a small portion of an hour at one store in Milford Connecticut but enough to keep me away.
Somewhat. Sunday's episode of "The Walking Dead" was better; although I did not see T-Dog being killed off, I was suprised Lori met with her end so soon. I was expecting her to meet her maker in the next three episodes. My wife will continue to watch, I am still sticking with football.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
The horror anthology and paperback version of 'TALES FROM THE TOILET' is out. Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble are carrying both the Kindle and now the paperback versions. Priced at $15.99 for the paperback it makes for good reading, especially page 91.
I think I may have broken a rib but let us continue... So, what is more horrifying than one serial killer. My God that is obvious---it must be two or more serial killers. True. But take it a step farther, what is even more horrifying than more than one serial killer---my God that is it!!!! EUREKA---A family of serial killers. Yes, that is right: A Daddy, a Mommy and even 2.5 children--okay 2 children serial killers. I bet their dog even gives rabies. This plot line was first introduced in 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' chain of movies from 1974. The X-Files, even Jason and his mother, and various novels and short story plot lines have followed. Last season, an episode of 'Luther' chillingly showcased two twin serial killers. This episode more than any other I have mentioned was, yes brilliant and terrifying in its random portrayal, but the majority are---Really? What is happening to this trope as with the prior themes; it is losing all of the character, the history, the sense of terror, the footsteps in the here and now. This trope by extending to an evil family set denies the characters of their twisted intellect and urges. It becomes a cartoon. Think 'Munsters' and 'Addams Family'. Intellectually we know there are no vampires. We know there are no werewolves so whatever damage was done to these tropes big deal we live with it and in a century or so they will rebound when the vehicles that destoyed them fade into their inevitable obscurity. But we do know there are serial killers out there. Families are more likely to kill each other than group together and kill as a matter of urge or sport. To turn this into an edge Addams Family or The Munsters or some stylized cartoon further numbs our sense of reality. No, this is not about rehashing Tipper Gore's idiocy about record labels'; or pushing bad data about horror stories, movies, television and the creating of murderers. This about the cartoonization and trivialization of this trope. How many horror writers out there have ever met a serial killer, let alone a cold blooded killer? How many understand the nature of these inviduals and their crimes? The old nurture versus nature arguement, you know. Few to none I believe. How many have sat in a maximum security prison across from someone who believes that murder and dismemberment equate with shopping? I thought so. When we write we need to suspend reality. True. But the only way this suspension truly works is if the writing holds onto something real and the suspension is still rooted in day to day life. The problem is this latest trope is simply piling words upon words like potato chips in a bowl, blood here, blood there, a limb here, a limb there with a brag about what the killer is about to do. It's the comics all over again. While these stories, in the short term, look tasty, once eaten they will leave your stomach in an ache and wanting for more. I don't want to be flavor of the month. I want my stories to live beyond me and the next post. To that end this year we have made great strides. I want my stories to be read by someone a hundred years from now and I want that future reader to squirm in his or her chair and not look upon my tale as some greasy yet popular potato chip of the day. Can we derail this trope now before it becomes even more comedic and limiting?
After the Vampire trope was trashed and destoyed several years ago for the next century, writers and producers took aim at the zombie trope and today I can report the same Sherman-like surgery and wake of destruction has taken place. Notably, the new season of AMC's "The Meandering Dud" or "The Walking Dead" continues to bore. Even using electrodes and battery shocks my brain cannot be stimulated by the overworked plot and kitchen sink approach. I have gotten to the point of humming "A three hour tour" each and every time the programs comes on. For God's sake, we can how the epidemic zombie rampage has come about but no one can tell me why every lawn is meticuously kept month and months after the apocalypse. Magazines and ezines are now backing away from zombie apocalypse story lines admitting they have played out. DING DONG -- WHO IS IT? THREE YEARS AGO. For a time there was confusion around the globe. What will us poor writers do? What can we turn to? What can we write about? Do we have to retreat to greeting cards to satisy our creative lust? Well since imagination is hardly promoted or sought in the arts we need to find the next best thing scientifically. We need to take our giant brains and apply the scientific method in order to develop the next horrific scream maker. But how can we do that you ask? How can we find something something interesting and more horrific that will satisfy a reader's curiosity and allow our immense talents to manipulate language better than any, and here is an oxymoron, skilled attorney, to delight and enthrall the public? What abour werewolves? No can't use them. They were collateral damage in one of those series that destroyed the vampire. What about werewolves in speedoes? See above. What taking history and a historic figure and merging it with horror? Yeah, great idea why don't you have Lincoln hunt vampires-----oh yeah that went well. What about the Devil? What about Satan? No, we must stay politically correct and we do not want to offend Atheists or Christians and what would the President and Islam think? No, we must find something that will appeal to all generations and all faiths and all political and socio-economic sensabilities. We need to get back to basics. We need to find the true base-line; the underying theme that unites us all. MURDER. Yes, murder. And what is more horrifying than than one murder? More than one murder. What about serial killing? Well that hasn't played itself out. Short pause for immense laughter from the writer of this blog.) Part Two coming after I finish laughing.
It appears that the chip giant has taken no action against its' spokesperson Eva Longoria and her jokes concerning rape. This is most disappointing. And in the wake of her insult laden rant again Mitt Romney one can only draw the conculsion that this corporation takes such statements as flippantly as their customer service and agents have treated them. For individuals who wish to promote the protection of women jokes about rape should not a basis from which to start. This goes beyond the election and beyond politics. The civil discourse that the left wishes to promote only exists on their terms. If you express disagreement, even in those exact words, you are not civil and images of hate, of rape are allowed to be thrown against you; denigration of others who disagree is seen as a way of expressing civility only against those who disagree. This is not only sad, it is pathetic and small minded. And for that matter we don't need Frito Lay calories in our home anyway.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
My story "The Death Knell" now appears on the Saugus.net website as a second place finisher in the 2012 Ghost Story Contest. Last year I placed third so not bad my first two times out.