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Monday, June 30, 2014

Monstropedia: You have to check this out

A mixture of scholarship, news coverage and mythology is presented on Monstropedia. Great for research, great for reading in general. Check it out.

Happy July

In a few more hours. I have much planned to bring you into the upcoming Holiday including a new feature. Stay tuned.

And by the way I do know this is the 666th post on this blog. Why else?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

U. S. Soccer and The World Cup

The Coach of our own U. S. Soccer team prays that all of us stay home from work today in order to watch the match with Germany. His idea is that us Americans, much like the rest of the world, should be able to watch the artistry and the beauty of this sport while rooting our team to victory.

But aren't most of us home already? I say this because like much of the rest of the world we have emulated their economies and philosophies thus rendering our work ethic and entrepreneurial opportunities impotent?

Just my socio-political rant for the day.

I will be back with a classic book review and a quick look at the Old Hag and her influence on sleep paralysis.

U-S-A U-S-A.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Happy Birthday Ambrose Bierce

You may be sick of me promoting the bitter one but he should be in your library. Born in 1842 and a battle hardened veteran of the Civil War his works stand as a major bedrock of American literature. My Weird Tales article on this master will be out soon.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Breaking News Now!!

Ladies and gentlemen and all ships at sea Amelia Earhart has Lois Lerner's emails but she demanding a plane before she turns them over.

So we tweeted about Link Wray

And I was stunned by the reception in one way but not in another way.

My tweet was why isn't Link Wray in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Well, why?

It seems to me that innovators are punished these days; ignored and even shunned in favor of the shiny, the bland and the new.

Literature and music are very much intertwined the same way typing and noise are. To those who are true artists, and true means you are an artist by birth, as opposed to having a degree saying you are an artist; art is innate and spiritual; art is internal and visceral and true art changes those who come after.

Link Wray did that.

So why isn't he in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

This one bothers me.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

So There I was, was.....



accompanied by my associates....

Hey, a little diversion; something completely different from a mind always possessed and obsessed.

So there I was . . .

sitting in this stadium watching a large patch of grass grow and a World Cup Match breaks out; or was it the other way around?

Is it true?

I don't know but I heard Judge Crater has found Lois Lerner's emails.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Editors Notes: Time For A Literary Calling Out: Time For Some Professionalism

I was speaking with a writer friend and am glad he sees this landscape the way I do. This is at least tells me I am not suffering from the same kind of narcissism that these hacks enjoy.

As I have mentioned before much of the hack-a-rama that is the publishing scene at this point in history has to do with quick shot and short shelf life anthologies that essentially use the writer, who is either paid nothing, or less, to make the publisher money. These anthologies appeal to new writers for recognition but use more established writers in a less than socially acceptable way.

Many of these anthologies are published through anthologists who claim the book is 'by' them as opposed to 'edited' by that particular anthologist. This essentially strips the by-line from the contributor author and leaves all credit with the anthologist.

This is dishonest.

Another characteristic of these memorable tomes is the lack of recognition to the receipt of a story as well as the refusal to address queries and even to notify someone of either inclusion or rejection. Facebook and blogs by the publisher's friends and confidantes will publish a Table of Contents without the publisher or anthologist certifying the choices.

Sure life is harsh but these publishers, many of whom cavort about proclaiming how we have to have 'fairness' and 'diversity' in their art won't recognize the existence of contributors even as they count their sales.

So it is time to start calling out them out. Many inside publishing sites rate these publishers via response time and correspondence so what I propose here is nothing different. If anyone knows of any drop me a line as we will look to shed the light on the 'sludging' of this business.

First up is Skywarrior Books. For their anthology using the much tread title, "These Vampires Don't Sparkle". There was nary a response to either receipt or query. A review of their website has nothing about this anthology but some friends of the firm list their pieces within and one even published a table of contents. From a look at the proposed cover....well I had to shield my eyes from the glare.

Were we accepted? No, but we weren't rejected either. I have no clue if my story was even read.

Can we please be a little more professional? Is that too much to ask?  If you don't want me -- tell me. Answer emails.

This is not a gripe but an epidemic and more will follow. Anyone who wishes to contribute to this line of posting, please contact me. Unless we take the bull


 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

ELECTRIC FUNERAL Is Reviewed On LURID-LIT.COM Now!!!

Mark Slade and Darwins Mishap get together for an electrifying time. Check out this Sunbury Press book on www.lurid-lit.com.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

WEIRD TALES ISSUE 362 IS REVIEWED ON LURID-LIT.COM NOW!!!!

Yes we review a magazine, but not just any magazine it's WEIRD TALES --- it's the UNDEAD -- and it's the re-launch of the great old brand. Check it out.

It's Not Me It's You

Another magazine has gone to the dimension known as hiatus. The Foghorn who only took pitches and offered $1,000.00 per published short story seemed too good to be true.

And it was.

They published some issues but in their statement of surrender that seemed to ramble longer than their submissions requirements the blame was spread between contributors for sending in so-o-o much work and for readers who never read.

Gee, I thought it was money.

The lure of cash in this amount suckered us all but when editors don't reply to queries and basically treat contributors as the real 'hired help' those of us who wish to be fans get a sour taste.

I'm sorry this experiment in fiction failed but editors and publishers need to work with writers, particularly those who fail, as those who fail will always read to get a better handle on what the periodical wishes for.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Lovecraft

Made you look.

As with any marketing there are certain buzz words or branding that work better than others. Because of the lack of readership overall and because the shelf life of any book is less than the blink of an eye meaningful titles, clever titles; titles literarily tied to the content are no longer needed unless of course you are big name author and your name in print overwhelms the book title.

Exactly when literature became breakfast cereal is a date I cannot pinpoint. However, like our
grand experiment in freedom, sometime in the 1990s our standards really began to slip.

Like the great concept albums of rock and roll and inspirational political speeches in general, literature suffers from the sound bite and quick hit. Fads make money for some publishers but leaves writers in the cold usually tied up for months working for less than French fry cook.

Writers need not look to the constant stream of being prolific of having something to post on Facebook daily or even hourly. Writers need to spend time with their craft and listen to their gut and muse. Remember time itself is not a sprint but a marathon and the true test of the writer comes down the road not here at the corner.


 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Race Is On, Another Reason Why George Jones Was A Genius And Why Horror Is A Dead Genre

A mouthful is a brain full but it has to be said.

"The Race Is On" was written by the late and great country star George Jones when country music was about nerve and emotion; when country music and music in general was about the lyric rather than about the look.

The song details that moment in time when a man faces a loss in love and how he copes, badly. It is a pure and honest lyric. Like all great literature, simple and sturdy. The song was written and recorded in the early 1960s and is covered to this day.

George Jones was a genius that is why his music lives on.

The same goes for horror, a genre in decline. Yes, decline. Like all art forms the many kick out their imagination to only to prove Sturgeon's law is as basic as breathing. Some may call it an evolution, as such genres as Bizarro invade coupled with the monthly mad race of publishers to putting to paper and screen blander and blander fare in an industry struggling for funds can only spell out one thing; to paraphrase a genius:

The race is on but there are no winners other than false pride and a sense of 'done'.

My God, in a world obsessed with Bigfoot --- Bigfoot; do I have to say anymore? Yeah, public education demands I do.

Not a lot of this is going to survive meaning not a lot of us will survive either if we continue on this present track. We need to be bolder with our fare and we need to get our swagger back. We need to delve deeper with our lyric and our riff. We need to look beyond pleasing a gimmick in order to satisfy a muse.

The slackening of standards demands that I remind all; a country and culture can be found in decline when its art begins to slip. When the story is quantity over quality; when books are published by blind and illiterate editors whose spell check was chucked for the latest crush game on almost a weekly basis and anything goes you know we have gone.

And then there are those whose promises to publish are as fleeting as the proverbial 'candle in the wind' to quote Elton John.

When professionalism is a dirty word; when editors' cowardice is shrouded in their disdain for writers in shouts of silence; when stories are driven not by plot or idea but by quota; you have what we largely have today.

Not all the work out there is bad but I believe Theodore Sturgeon's law, truer than ever before, tells us that in most cases that the true winners do lose all.

   

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Editors Note: !!!!!!!!!!

What is it with young writers and exclamation points? ? ? Really, what is it? ? ?

I am befuddled and confused hence my question?????????????

I see it everywhere, fiction and non as if the scribe wants to make a point or end on an emotional high note.

Word to the wise: If you possess the skill to tell the joke you don't need a laugh track. In other words, if you know how to tell a story or make a point you don't need to plant one. !

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cover Art For Sub-Verse #3 Released

Not yet released but here is the cover art for the issue where BRIGHT will appear. Details to follow.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

And While I Am On The Subject IT'S PIRATES DAY!!!

Yes, it is Pirates Day in Milford. That day when children of all ages go on treasure hunts and scavenger hunts while dressed in the finest of 17th century attire.

Here we embrace the pirate lifestyle and celebrate it as part of our civic founding. Pirates are child friendly. Pirates are good. Pirates are fun.

But in reality they were murderers and rapists --- arsonists and thieves at best and not the kind of people I would or want my child emulating. Oh, I understand the whole 'Disneyfication' but history is history and fact is fact.

So the next time someone in town wants to call a pornographer for writing a story about a cannibal or serial killer I will remind them of today --- Pirates Day and I will remind them of the flags they fly on their porches.

So to that end I will only agree to celebrate Pirates Day if we remember and revel in the memories of Roberto Clemente, Steve Blass, Willie Stargell, Manny Sanguillen, Bob Moose, Danny Murtaugh, Bruce Kison, as well the rest of the crew from Pittsburgh's baseball glory days. Great teams and great players and good guys all.

 

It's not funny....

A recent splatter of man on the street interviews tells us the American educational system that reaps billions of dollars is at it again. That is that is broken and misguided and should be scrapped altogether in favor of a more remedial system which is merit based.

It seems D-Day for the vast majority of teens through people in their thirties means Donut Day.

Need I say more?

Yeah I will.

I recently attended an award ceremony where teachers were awarded and praised for their students accomplishments leaving the parents behind. I found the entire process to be somewhat surreal in that only public school teachers were allowed to take a bow.

Isn't that just the problem? I come from a long line of teachers and in those days teaching was a noble profession, whether public or private; where students were challenged and students were pushed to find an hone their talents. The teacher was always in the background guiding and reveling in the student's accomplishment while not attempting to steal the spotlight or take credit for something that may already lie within or be the product of the parents themselves.

It is a bad analogy on many levels but also analogous to the superhuman individuals that gave lives, limbs and hearts fighting for our freedom. Today they are largely forgotten and ignored, left out of curriculums that teach to a standardized and test devoid of knowledge and intelligence much the way a donut is devoid of nutrition.

Want to know why a child behind the counter can't make change? Thank a teacher.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Screw all else......This is why today is important

Some one may have posted this and again my apologies but this means a lot to me: Today is the 70th anniversary of what would become the D-Day invasion. Especially in the light of the incompetence, negligence and criminality of the VA scandal. Something I have had to deal with directly with clients needing medical treatment AND in the light of the obscene and criminal 'prisoner swap' I think we really need to thank those alive and gone for their sacrifices in preserving our freedoms. And beyond that we need to take our steps, local and state, to see that our freedoms are also preserved --- run for local office; be vocal with what your government is trying to do; get involved and never ever forget those who came before you and the sacrifice those men and women made for you.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

FIRESIDE POPSICLES Reviewed on Lurid-lit.com Right Now!!!

The weather is getting hotter, so why not grab a popsicle and lean a little closer to the fire? On Lurid-lit.com now.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Some Good News To Report

I am polishing up an article on Ambrose Bierce which will be appearing in WEIRD TALES. Details to follow.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

My Manifesto Going Forward And A Change Of Direction

I posted this on Facebook this morning to the two or three people who actually might care:

"Well it looks like anthology entrant has bit the dust. What looked like to be a break out year I have lost eight anthologies between November 2013 and now because either publishers have gone belly up or have just given up on the project because they been distracted by another shinier new penny. Since this was the last of my stories sitting and rotting for the better part of the year I have definitely learned my lesson. As I have told a number of good people I am changing the way I do things. I understand the problems publishers have in this present business climate; but I also understand that I am not chasing they way I did and will spend more time building up my catalogue again of available tales and will only do business with people I trust rather than what appears on its face via submission sites to be a good fit."

Good things have happened but great things have been stalled. So few anthologies and publishers thereof are trustworthy these days. Within the last year, as I have stated, we have seen the growing trend of 'a friends only anthology' as well as 'token' anthologies where characters beliefs, race, religion and sexual preference are mandated.

These have added to the erosion started by the unprofessional who for some money given them by the parents, grandparents or a doting aunt or uncle can set up publishing companies with no clue.

Writing should stand the test of time and that means beyond the shelf life of the next book and until publishers take that to heart they will continue to fly into the proverbial glue strip hanging under the naked light bulb of history to be forgotten.