Monday, November 30, 2009

I landed the Christmas Eve spot at Every Day Fiction

It's official! My 500-word flash story "Milk and Cookies" will be available at Every Day Fiction on December 24, 2009. It's definitely something a little different for the holidays!

Friday, November 27, 2009

No. 53 - Kull: Exile of Atlantis

by Robert E. Howard
artwork by Justin Sweet

Started: November 27
Finished: December 16

Notes: After my recent readings, I'm still in the mood for some old-fashioned Sword and Sorcery. Why not stick with the original master? I've read some of the stories in this collection, but there is plenty here of which I'm not familiar. Besides, I'm working on some fantasy short stories at the moment, and this keeps me in the right mood.

Mini review: Wow! That was just an awesome, rollicking ride of sword-slinging fun. I'd read a couple of those stories before, and they were still fun. More importantly, I discovered my all-time favorite Howard story, "By This Axe, I Rule." Great stuff.

Monday, November 16, 2009

No. 52 - The Hour of the Dragon

by Robert E. Howard

Started: November 16
Finished: November 25

Notes: For shame! For the most part, I've been neglecting my fantasy reading this year. Well, I've read enough about Robert E. Howard this year, so it's time I actually read something by the man. I've read pretty much all his Conan short stories, but I don't believe I've ever read The House of the Dragon, Howard's only novel-length work about his famous barbarian.

Mini review: Not a bad tale, but I fear Howard was a stronger short story writer than he was novelist. But, to be fair, he also had much more experience with short stories than novels. Who knows what would have came if he had lived longer? This book felt somewhat disjointed, but it all came together well in the end. King Conan loses his kindgom, but regains it in the end.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Where did Thanksgiving go this year?

A couple of weeks ago I was walking through stores and everything was orange and black. There were bags of candy all over the place, and smiling pumpkins and witches and monsters and ... the list goes on.

Then a handful of kids came to my house and asked for candy. I gave them some.

The next day I got up and went to the store again. Suddenly, over night, the orange and black had all disappeared. What little candy was left was really cheap (but mostly it was candy not too many people like any way).

Now the stores were filled with red and green and fake fir trees and smiling fat guys in red suits.

Christmas was here. The first week of November.

What the heck ever happened to Thanksgiving? Did it die? Did it run away? Did it get kidnapped?

It has flat out disappeared.

I'm already seeing Christmas lights up at some of my neighbors' houses. Wreaths are on doors. Ribbons are tied around lamp posts.

And I've not even had any turkey yet.

I really noticed when my wife asked me to pick up some Thanksgiving paper towels. I couldn't find any at the stores. No brown and orange paper towels with little images of turkeys or pilgrim hats. But paper towels with red berries and green trees are readily available. She didn't believe me when I called her from the store. She thought I was just being lazy. Minutes later she called me back, while I was still in the store, and apologized; she had called three other stores and none of them had Thanksgiving paper towels. Or napkins. Or nose tissues. Or anything.

Our closest Walmart had one little display of napkins with turkeys on them and paper table cloths with pilgrims.

I know Christmas comes quick every year, but right now in 2009 it seems to have come sooner than ever.

Is it the economy? Are the retail stores in such a dump that management decided to start Christmas early in hopes it would bring out more shoppers?

Maybe all of us are glad to see this. Maybe the world is in such a bad shape that all of us are ready for the Christmas season to kick in.

Friday, November 13, 2009

No. 51 - Selected Stories of O. Henry

by O. Henry

Started: November 13
Finished: December 13

Notes: O. Henry is generally accepted as one of the greatest American short story writers of all time, at least within literary circles. I read quite a few of his tales in school, but that's been years and years ago. I thought it was time I became reacquainted with him. Maybe he can teach me something.

Mini review: As can be expected, there was plenty of warm, homespun fiction here from the turn of the 20th Cenury. But what was surprising were a handful of tales that had a dark edge to them, or were out-and-out dark. I was happily surprised on more than one occasion. Every short story writer should become familiar with O'Henry.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

No. 50 - Vespers

by Ed McBain

Started: November 8
Finished: November 13

Notes: Sort of sticking with the horror theme, I'm now turning to one of the 87th Precinct police procedural novels. Why is this one sort of horror? Because it apparently has the detectives of the 87th dealing with murderous Satan worshippers. Oh, joy!

Mini review: I didn't care much for this one until the very end. There was a side plot about a former hooker being blackmailed by a couple of guys that I found mostly distracting. But why did I like the end? For one thing, the main killer took me by surprise. For another, the ending was quite dark, perhaps the darkest I've yet read in a McBain novel.

Monday, November 02, 2009

New tale of horror published

My very short short story "Forlorn" can now be found over at Deadman's Tome!

If you like stories where you get into the mind of a killer, this one is for you.

I'm being productive, I promise!

So, my blogging has dropped off of late. And I've not had many short stories published of late. In fact, I'm quite low on the number of short stories I still have that have not been published.

So what in the heck have I been doing, writing wise?

Quite a bit, actually.

Not too long ago I had to put together two different proposals for two different publishing houses. Haven't heard from either of them yet, but hopefully something will come through.

I've also just finished the second edit of a novel. I have one more edit to do, the quick-read edit, then I can begin circulating it to publishers, agents and possibly universities (this is a literary/mainstream novel).

All three books of my Kobalos trilogy are now available for the Kindle and at Smashwords.

Also, I've been working on something that I'm not going to talk much about just yet. It's something finished and something I'll be self-publishing online, but I'm waiting for Amazon to get their butt's in gear before I announce anything

See? I've been doing stuff.