Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sale to Dark Recesses and other News!


Alright, I just sold my story--At Least the Dead-- to Dark Recesses, and I’m silly happy. They’re a market I’ve been trying to crack for a while because I love what they publish, and they’re all shiny. A big thank you to a few friends who helped with their opinions: Shaun Ryan, Kevin Wallis and Ben Eads. You guys rock.

In other news, I decided to stay away from Facebook and some other sites that had started to eat up large chunks of my time (and brain power) the last week. The break was great! I finished a number of projects and my eyes don’t ache. And even better I got to read some real books! Which is something my soul has been starving for.

Two things I read this week, both highly recommended, are Greg Gifune's “The Bleeding Season” from Delirium Books and Shock Totem's first issue. Okay, Gifune knocked me flat. The Bleeding Season is a dark mix of Crime, Human Nature, and Horror all wrapped up in beautiful, gut-wrenching prose. I’ll be buying another of his books ASAP.

And Shock Totem’s first issue is excellent! The quality of the magazine blew me away (I know, tired cliché, but oh so true) and I read all the interviews first (all great.) Once I dug into the stories I realized something. They’re stretching new ground with the diversity they have going here, in subject matter and styles. Big kudos. Some of the stories were stronger than others (personal taste thing going on) but all of them were a treat for my brain projector. My two favorites were “The Dead March” by Brian Rappatta, and “Thrity-Two Scenes from a Dead Hooker’s Mouth” by Kurt Newton. Buy it, read it, you won’t regret it!

Now I have to work. Thanks for stopping by! Treat yourself well.


Thursday, March 18, 2010



Helping Dark Recesses & Horror Library with submissions has opened my eyes in a lot of ways. Before last year I thought that editors would only publish big-name authors, that they got all the breaks just because they paid their dues. I had, out of ignorance, believed what I’d wanted to; what I needed to justify my failings in placing a story with some of my favorite markets.

So, I was surprised when I helped with 500 submissions (for Dark Recesses) in a short period and only 10% were shortlisted. That’s the fifty best in the editors’ opinions. Out of the 50 best, and comments from multiple readers of the team, only a handful of stories (about 10 of them) were chosen for publication because there is only so much room per issue. Out of the 1,000 submissions to Horror Library, there are only 30 slots to fill. It’s staggering.

There are a lot of well-known authors who don’t make the final cut. My illusion of being an author with a book out and the easy ride into short story publication from there, shattered. It just doesn’t work that way. The space, the tastes of the editors and so many other things come into play.

Another thing I noticed was that all the themes we use are limited. We could receive five amazing stories from five talented writers, but only one of those stories running along a certain theme is accepted or there is no balance and every story will feel the same, no matter how entertaining and well-written.

Some people don’t read the magazines they’re subbing too, and it’s obvious when they don’t. I used to do it myself all the time. Until I realized what a waste of time that is for everyone involved. There’s a lot of wasted energy that way. Know your markets.

Follow guidelines. They’re not all the same. Some want double spaced, some single. Some only want your manuscript in Courier or Times. It shows respect and professionalism when you give it to them the way they want it. To ignore or shrug off their guidelines is to say, “I don’t respect you. “ Or “I’m lazy.” Editors like someone who is easy to deal with. Why be a pain in the ass?

The Cold Hard Truth is this: An editor has to LOVE your story to buy it over all the equally well-written stories.

Write the best story you can. Be professional. Don’t take rejection personal. Keep submitting. Keep improving.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This week

I sent the contract back to Pseudopod, who bought audio rights to my story, Crawl. It's going to be wonderful when they post it. Hearing someone else read my work is frightening and exhilarating. You can go listen to some of their archived podcasts. I think my favorite is:
Lavie Tidhar--Bophuthatswana

Well, this past week has been chocked full of activity. Regular work takes up some time. I finished up reading Peter Straub's A Dark Matter and wrote a review (just waiting on Dark Recesses to see if they're going to publish it); I'm now reading Greg Gifune's The Bleeding Season (which I am enjoying, big time!)

This past week I worked on three old short stories, taking the little I've learned from a few mentors and trying to make the pieces the best they can be. This week I entered a story in Shock Totem's March Flash Fiction contest; I got some encouraging news from some very talented agents in regard to my YA novel! I'll wait for something to develop more before posting anything specific. I'm working on a story for Murky Depths short story contest, and it's totally different from my normal style. I don't know where this came from. Maybe I'm just trying to expand, harness new techniques?

Reading submissions for Horror Library Vol. 4 this week. Writing and normal, bouncy life have kept me from reading subs as much as I'd like to. In the next couple weeks I am going to post a blog on some of the things that I think hurt people who submit. Some of them should be obvious, others, maybe not so much.

And soon I'll have the interview questions back from R.J. Cavender, Editor of the Stoker-nominated Horror Library series. He's a real pleasure to work with. Boyd Harris too. I am looking forward to this! Cutting Block Press

As soon as the short stories are wrapped up, I can tackle the next book. It's itching for me to write it!

I hope everyone is well, and happy, and living.