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Friday, January 31, 2014

So What Do You Think? Yeah another Editor's Note

I finally found some time in between my real life work to submit a short story. I became rather intrigued when I found a particular publisher had re-opened after a couple of years.

I pulled the disc; the story's file and hit the website. We all understand times are tough. We all know this is a business but I became disturbed in finding a graduated submission program wherein you can submit for free or for a graduated fee.

It's all tied into the response the editor will give you; a creative critique --- more of a critique for more money.

So what do you think? While you are supposed to be paid for an acceptance --- who do you think has a better shot: one who pays nothing or one who pays. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

THE DUNWICH ROMANCE By Edward Lee is reviewed on LURID-LIT right now!!!!

This isn't quite your father's Cthulhu. The H P Lovecraft update is on Lurid-lit.com now.

Heartcore Anthology Preliminary Table of Contents Out

In what appears to be a huge volume for the first anthology "Watch The Bouncing Ball" is sitting in 26th position on the table of contents. We are happy to be a part of this charity anthology and humbled to be with the other writers in this venture.

The volume is expected to be published in February and details will follow.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Standards of Intelligence Are Actually For The Misguided

Collectively we tend to demarcate certain measures where those in the same vocation are to assess themselves. So-called 'standard bearers' are there to quantify our own talents and our own competence in relation to or colleagues.

Yet it seems to me this waste of competition is nonsensical and that every time I run across one of these yardsticks it falls short from the start.

For news it is always the  'New York Times'. For a paper that wins awards, and therein lies the problem, it seems it has always had difficulty in getting the to and out the truth out. Whether its the Spanish-American War, the existence of Concentration Camps in Germany, and a celebrated wunderkind writer who paints tales of being overseas while chomping on pizza in his Manhattan loft; I can't it seriously.

And while we are in Gotham, what about those cartoons in 'The New Yorker'? The vague insipid caricatures that Seinfeld's show so successfully slew with sarcasm. I actually had a friend from the City tell me she knew whether or not to pursue a romantic relationship with someone depending upon that person's reaction to the 'joke' from that issue's cartoons.

Really? Really.

What brings me to this point is a recent editor I spoke with in connection with a new set of classes I am going to teach told me the sure sign of writing excellence and overall talent is possessed in the simple test of brevity. Those who can write a story in less than two hundred characters is a true story teller; in other words embrace the 'twitter-verse' the future of fiction. If you can't, then he told me, you can't write.

Right? Right.

When writing consider the editor who is going to chose. Prizes, awards, degrees and  punch-less statements  may seem clever to some, but if someone believes he is clever he isn't and its best you stay away from those who look to mold you and constrict you.

To be an artist, a true artist, is to expand and experiment but also push for more. One line stories and twitter tales are cute exercises and exercises only; in the same way flawless jumping jacks may look impressive, but will never win a game at any sport. 

"Gloomy Gus' realization the 'self-control' is what WAS missing in his life came ironically too late as his car flipped over the cliff."

In days prior this would be first line to a story now it is the story. We are missing a lot in our writing these days.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

So Just How Long Is It?

That's quite a personal question as the Pythons might say, but I will answer.

I haven't written anything in weeks. I have been so busy with my day job. I'm not complaining after all I do enjoy heat and food.

Well, I do see time opening up this weekend and Jo-Jo needs finishing.

WATCH THE BOUNCING BALL to be published in a charity anthology

Details to follow but Heartcore's premiere anthology will include this horror story. Heartcore was created by writers in California for writers in need. Once the press release is released there will be more info. I don't want to let out too much until they publicly unveil their project. I thank Heartcore for the invite to submit and I hope good things are accomplished by this and future anthologies.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Classic Book Review: THE BIRDS By Frank Baker 1936



In an earlier post I explained the controversy surrounding the Hitchcock classic and the existence of this novel. Only a few hundred copies were published in 1936. Thanks to Valancourt Books the novel has been re-issued and I am happy to have read it.

It is an engaging and intriguing study of life and survival against a backdrop of apocalyptic proportions. I want to emphasize that the story presented here, as opposed to atomic bomb and zombie tropes, is the focus on the people and their story; the everyday mixed in within the threat; and the superior blending of words and imagery that makes more contemporary fare crap.

You can keep the apocalyptic literature of the last ten years --- even movies and television; for the best parts of it all combined cannot measure to Mr. Baker's quiet masterpiece. 








Degrees, I Don't Need No Stinkin' Degrees

So my wife is surfing the net...surfing USA.... and she stumbles upon a bachelors degree in creative writing specializing in Horror and Science Fiction from an online university. Open sails and full speed ahead you need a degree if you wish to be a writer so to speak.

As I say over and over. You can't teach writing, like any other talent, physical or mental, you can only guide it along and show it a way to meet its potential.

You don't need a degree to publish a story but it doesn't hurt to be part of a class where your talent is nurtured and pushed.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

LITTLE BOY BLUE BY JAMES A. MOORE REVIEWED ON LURID-LIT.COM NOW!!!!

I review Moore's limited released chap book that has garnered so much controversy. See it on Lurid-lit.com now.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

CLEANING UP AFTER has been published by THE CARNAGE CONSERVATORY

We are pleased to announce that CLEANING UP AFTER is on THE CARNAGE CONSERVATORY. A big thank you to Jeremy Maddox who aided me in getting this tale on track as this tale was a product of the Surreal Grotesque Writers Workshop.

Link:

http://carnageconservatory.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/cleaning-up-after/

Monday, January 13, 2014

HATE to appear in MASSACRE MAGAZINE in March

HATE will appear in March and details will follow. HATE is a story that I have nurtured for some time and sheltered from submissions because I couldn't find a perfect home. The reason simply is its concept on horror and its over all comment in war.

This is not an anti-war piece that will have many lauding but a commentary that I believe most commentators and artists continually miss. Evil is a part of the world. Evil is always around us and will always be. Evil is at the root of war and evil thrives in violence but chasing and preventing evil, while noble, is an impossible practice unless evil is dealt with directly and even then impossible to eradicate as it is an essential an element to our existence as air and water.

Thank you MASSACRE MAGAZINE.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

THE BIRDS

So have I said recently that I was so happy we scuttled our television? If I didn't I am. Now I can read more crap rather than watch it. With the exception of life interrupting these past few days I have flung myself headlong into the controversy that became Hitchcock's THE BIRDS.

My wife hates the movie. I find it amusing yet the genesis for the flick is under dispute. Okay maybe not but yeah really. Alfred Hitchcock's THE BIRDS is purportedly loosely based on Daphne du Maurier's 1952 short story. Hitchcock supposedly told screenwriter Evan Hunter to expand the plot and create new characters. What he came up with reads quite closely to Frank Baker's 1936 novel THE BIRDS.

I am two thirds through and the parallels are amazing.

Or in the immortal words of the immortal Keith Richards, and I am paraphrasing, 'there are just so many chords a lot of things sound alike.' 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Editor's Notes Part Five : IT IS TIME FOR MY CLOSE UP MR. DEMILLE

I am amazed how many writers and publications are now looking for author/writer photos. Generally writers, being the creative types they are generally will shoot their photos in a handful of overly staged poses including: standing outside smiling; while reading a book looking studious; attempting to replicate some long lost album cover from some long forgotten band; wearing a stupid hipster hat; etc.

Why is a photo necessary? Why is important to get to know the writer from how attractive or unattractive he/she is/isn't.

Photos concern me and they should concern writers looking for substance over fashion, that is style.

Also, photographs steal your soul.......

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Classic Book Review: GRAVEYARD by Ed and Lorraine Warren

Fun read covering some classic New England landmarks by New England's legendary ghost hunters. This is a slim book that can be read in just a couple hours meant to keep you up all night.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Saturday, January 4, 2014

"Santa Claus Saves The World" reviewed on Lurid-lit.com Now!!!!

Okay so he's a little late for Christmas -- but I wouldn't this guy in my chimney anyway. Check it out.

Classic Book Review: NEW ENGLAND'S VISITORS FROM OUTER SPACE by Robert Ellis Cahill, 1985

Mmmm, sounds like a family reunion. Seriously, this slim volume is fascinating and packed with legendary tales that have followed many of us since childhood. From colonial times forward, if you enjoy a good solid 'unexplained' tale laden in innuendo this is a book for you.

Friday, January 3, 2014

ACCORD has been accepted by SMASHED CAT MAGAZINE

Thank you E. S. Wynn. ACCORD will be on SMASHED CAT on March 4th. Link to follow.

Editor's Notes Part Four

I know many writers want to keep their political thoughts to themselves for fear they may rile editors with contrary views. It is understandable. Many people in many walks of life are afraid to jump into the political arena for fear of losing work.

Understandable.

But the fact this country is spinning into stupidity is because of this. When you write you are writing truth so how can your work and product be valid if you deny truth and even deny truth from others. To bar writers, editors, actors and artists on the basis of a political belief rather than on the truth of their work harms all discussion and stains ones own work. Be true and not a follower.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy Birthday, though belated by minutes to Charles Beaumont

Yesterday, January 2nd marked the birthday of Charles Beaumont. For those of you who know me, you know the esteem and reverence I have for Mr. Beaumont who was taken from in 1967 at the age of 38. He and his genius continues to be missed.

Classic Book Review: RATMAN By Howie Carr, Frandel LLC, 242 Pages, 2013

We have reviewed all of Mr. Carr's books concerning the Winter Hill Mob and this is the last and best. As a wise man named Stan Lee once said, " 'Nuff said." This is a must read.

Editor's Notes Part Three

There is a line from 'The Producers' where Max says emphatically and concurrently NEVER PUT YOUR OWN MONEY IN THE SHOW.

The same can be said for writing. Oh, it is okay to donate a token for a cause or help launch an anthology or magazine that you may be working on but NEVER and I mean NEVER EVER pay a read fee. Read fees are not industry recognized except as extortion.

NEVER PAY A READ FEE for a contest.
NEVER PAY A READ FEE for a publication.
NEVER PAY AN ENTRY FEE FOR A CONTEST.

You might as well wear a sign that says LOSER!

You are just setting yourself up for a heartache. Read fees are inherently and historically ... Oh Heck, if you are going to do that why not just send the money directly to me, I will send you my paypal address. At least I'm a nice guy and honest about the flushing of your money down the drain.

Don't pay to play.

Editor's Notes Part Two

Resist. You must resist assimilation.

You really should.

A relatively new phenomenon is to stoke up writers on social media with the lure of a place in an anthology. For editors this is a marvelous thing because floods of stories will naturally pore in.

But be wary. Be careful WHO is dangling the shiny baubles.

I recall a recent pitch, a couple of years ago, where scribes were pumped up with invitations; daily messages of the grand scope of the project; lucrative contract terms and visibility from space. Facebook was all a twitter and twitter was foaming at the beak; new writers, writers who barely dipped a toe in the ink of published works posted feverishly about their brushes with greatness only in the end to be dashed by cronyism.

I am not smart. I warned people as I warn today. Choose wisely who are willing to entrust with your work.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Editor's Notes Part One

This year we will start a new feature title EDITOR'S NOTES. As we prepare for the opening of class in February this a good tine to get a good jump on what editors look for in a story.

Today's word is 'disconnected'. When your story is disconnected it is random, disjointed, just a series of unconnected scenes with no unifying element. Let's use the word in a sentence: "The incoherent, delirious inmate whose incoherent ramblings frustrated the staff". Thank you Merriam Webster Dictionary. Editors look for a story line something simple to mark the line of action from Point A to Point B to Point C. Linear connections involving a unifying element such as a character is preferred.

Understand that literature is not always linear just as arithmetic is not always addition. When a character does unify each scene he does just that and as an editor that should be evident.

Editors and writers rarely see eye to eye; they are natural born enemies so while helpful hints may seem innocuous such, as the unity of a story missed, may seem derogatory.

 

My Interview Is Up!!!

And from Scotland by way of the Internet here is my interview on authorsinterviews:

http://authorsinterviews.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/here-is-my-interview-with-joseph-j-patchen/

Thank you Fiona Mcvie.