An excellent point.

Sometimes when I run into acquaintances or old friends, people I’ve stayed in touch with via social media, one of the first things I hear is “I’m sorry I haven’t read your books yet!” My response is usually something like, “Why are you sorry? It’s not your job to read my books.” I’m constantly surprised […]

via Why it’s Totally Okay if You Haven’t Read My Books (and Why it’s Almost Always Okay to Not Read Someone’s Book) — The Z-Axis

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Looking for Crime and Mystery Short Stories for Issue #2

I know a number of folks who might go for this one.

Books of the Broken

The first issue of “Millhaven Tales” is nearing completion (ahead of the April 1st release), so it is time to start the planning stages of the summer issue (Millhaven’s Tales of Suspense).
We need unpublished short stories for the project!
If your story features a hard-boiled detective with quick wits and a quicker tongue, we want to read it.
If your story centers on a heist gone wrong, filled with double and triple crosses, we want to read it.
If the lead of your story is a secret agent who must save the world with nothing but his wits and daring, we want to read it.
If the hero of your story is a crime-solving figure with a secret identity (The Shadow), we want to read it.
If your story’s premise is an unsolvable murder being solved by a genius sleuth (a la Sherlock Holmes) or by sheer dumb luck…

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Well. There’s a thing.

I just typed “The End” on the last page of Bad Dreams & Broken Hearts.

It’s just shy of 67,000 words. I have profoundly mixed feelings about this novel. On the one hand some of it is the best work I have over done, and it’s certainly the most ambitious project I’ve ever attempted. On the other hand, it’s disturbingly uneven in tone. I expect I’ll need to let it sit for a while and then go back over it.

It’s kind of a funny story how I ended it picking it back up again. I joined a website called Steemit that uses cryptocurrency to promote short fiction. I’m still not entirely sure how it works.

Anyway, I thought I’d start posting chapters from BD&BH because I had it lying around and I felt like I should do something with it. I’ve been putting a chapter up every two to three days.

Here’s the link to my Steemit blog so you can check it out if you want. Be advised, it’s not the easiest site to navigate.  As I was posting the chapters and reading them over for formatting I realized that I like this story, and these characters, and I really should finish it.

So I did.

I’ve got sixteen chapters up as of this writing, of twenty-three total. I’ll be putting the rest up over the next couple of weeks, I guess. I like making people wait between chapters.

I feel… relief at having gotten it out. My relationship with that novel has been ambiguous from the start. I’m not sure why, but I’ve never felt entirely comfortable with the universe that I created for it.

In any event, it’s done, or it’s done for now, and I can go on to other projects.

Posted in Bad Dreams & Broken Hearts, New Wave, On Promotion, On Publishing, On Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Ones Who Walk Away From Pulp Rev

Well, it was interesting, and fun, and I think I learned a thing or two, but I think it’s time that I come out and admit that I am done with the Pulp Rev movement.

I have nothing against the people in the movement, and I wish them the best. But it has become increasingly clear to me that the ideals of Pulp Rev and my own convictions are irreconcilably at odds.

What it comes down to is that, for me, the work is all that matters. You follow the story, you don’t lead it or push it. Fiction has an inviolate invisible architecture and that deep structure is the only and the absolute law.

It’s really that simple.  I don’t write for an audience and I don’t write for myself. I write to satisfy the gravid inevitability of the potential becoming the actual. The story calls the tune, I just dance to it.

When I am writing I am not speaking. I am listening. It’s not something that I do, it is something that is done to me. Done through me. I don’t create, I uncover.  I dive, wide-eyed, into a clear and secret sea, sinking into blood-warm waters in search of wonders.

And then I describe what I see.

That’s all I’ve got.  I tell the truth and make it rhyme.

I understand what other writers are talking about, I think, about making choices and writing one story and not another based on this value or that conviction, but that’s not something I can do.

I tell the stories that I am given to tell, as they are given to me. Or I stay silent. Those are my options.

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Building “The Happiest Place On Earth” for the Venus Anthology

I didn’t write “The Happiest Place On Earth” specifically for Superversive’s Venus Anthology.

I wrote it for a magazine that was having a contest with the theme of “After Humanity”.  The idea was to come up with stories that took place on Earth after the human race had become extinct.

The concept intrigued me, and the core of my idea was what would the animatronic figures on Disneyland’s Pirates Of The Caribbean ride do after the tourists stopped drifting by in their little boats and they had all the time in the world to live their little pirate lives drifting on their artificial sea.

It was a poignant, bittersweet idea, and I enjoyed exploring it. I created my characters as free roaming androids, fleshy but not wholly organic. A plague, I decided, had wiped out the human race, but the theme park androids weren’t susceptible to human diseases.

I wrote the story and sent it out and never heard back.  I’ve looked since, and I can’t find the website for the magazine that I sent the story out to. I suspect that they went out of business.

It happens. I write stories for a particular collection or publication and the story is either rejected or the publication closes down or the collection is not published. I keep such “orphan stories” in a special file in my computer and when I hear about a new call for submissions I first check my orphan file to see if something I’ve already written but not sold could be suitable.

Submitting “The Happiest Place On Earth” to the Venus Planetary Anthology was a long shot. I felt, at the core, that it was a story about love, in the abstract, and I felt (still do) that it’s a damned good story.  But it wasn’t about the romantic, sexual kind of love one usually associates with Venus. After all, you don’t get a “venereal disease” from baking someone cookies.

But I’d already sold “mDNA” to the Mercury Anthology, and I like working with Superversive, so I figured, what the heck.  The worst they can say is no.

Nonetheless, the story was accepted.  The editors asked for some edits, mostly a way to tie the story more directly to the planet Venus, and I added some new material.  I’m happy with how the edits turned out.

I was concerned at first how this story would fit into the rest of the collection, but I’ve read over an early edit of the book as a whole and none of the stories really “fit”.  I mean that in a good way–this is one of the more varied collections that I’ve been a part of.

The contributors all took the concept of Venus and ran in their own directions with it, the planet, the goddess, even a small town called “Venus, Texas”. It’s a fun, thought provoking group of stories and I’m proud to be a part of it.

And I’m glad that “The Happiest Place On Earth”, with Mayor Walter Wolf of Storybook Village and Princess Power of Hero City and all the rest of my characters, found a home.

A home on another planet.  It happens.

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9 Days Left to Subscribe!


There are 9 days left on our subscription drive.

If you’ve been waiting, now’s the time to back!

Getting final approvals from contributors, and putting the finishing touches on issue 7. We’ll be ready for final proofs in about two weeks once the last ads come in.

Update: I can now officially confirm that issue 7 will feature My Name is John Carter Part 6.

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That is not dead which can eternal lie…

Perhaps it was the smoke on the horizon that turned the setting sun into a dropped blood orange, or perhaps it was the pus-slimed wound in the his side, but the King was coughing–quietly, almost apologetically, a diametric opposite from his stentorian speaking voice–when the Knight entered, fresh from the battlefield.

No words were exchanged about the battle. Truths that are both obvious and distasteful are unspoken in the company of honorable men.

That’s how it began.

It’s been… maybe thirteen, fourteen years now? It was called “The Knight And The Princess”, and that was all I had.  I knew I wanted to tell a story about a knight and a princess.

It wasn’t a fantasy story or a historical military story.  To be honest, it was an attempt at an erotic romance. I started posting it on a BDSM message board. I wanted to try exploring a male dominant power exchange relationship in an… elemental setting. The man, the girl, the wilderness.

I never got around to any of what my readers would have called “the good part”. A lot of atmosphere, a lot of brooding… well, you can read the different parts from this page.

Somehow those characters never let me go.  The knight with his battle between duty and desire, the princess with her fear and her trust. Every once in a while I would think about them, huddled around a dying fire on Lord Chimaculean’s Stair and I would think, I need to get back to them. 

And I have.  The most recent was when I wrote the Introduction that is the first link on that page.  But at the time I wrote it, it didn’t seem to have anywhere to go.

Well, I just picked it up again, and I think I may be seeing an actual story there. Two stories, sort of. Well, two narrative tracks.  The knight and the princess part, which is going to be the sort of dreamy mood piece that I already have, but more of it.

The part that’s going to be like a story (I hope) is a half century later.  The princess, who is now the queen, at the end of her life.  She was trained by the knight and returned with an  army to retake her kingdom.  She ruled with an iron hand, forging an empire.

Now she is old and frail, her empire in the hands of barons who operate as a commonwealth, the queen a figurehead retired to a mountain fortress and surrounded by her Queen’s Guard. She spends the dregs of her life dreaming about her glory days.

Until something happens to wake her up and make her realize that her life is not yet over and that she has one last battle to fight, guided by her memories of her lost knight…

Again, I have little more than an image.  An eighty year old warrior queen, draped in moth-eaten furs and surrounded by a fanatical ceremonial guard, coming down from the hills to a city of politics and intrigue and rule by bureaucracy.

So.  A pre-industrial world without magic, and a warrior queen without a name, and a story that takes place both before and after the great military battles that created an empire.

And the memory of a dead man the queen loved, who feared that he was a monster.

Yeah, this has got best seller written all over it.

Posted in Artists That I Admire, New Wave, On Writing, The Knight And The Princess | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments