Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Secret to Writing Donald Trump as a Short Story Subject.

It's really simple to write about Donald Trump in a fictional context because, ultimately, he is a living work of fiction. Nothing about him is genuine except his unerring propensity for absolute, unadulterated self-promoting horseshit. So really, he is the very essence of a caricature of a real person. The problem lies in knowing how to handle this knowledge. He's such an easy target that one could be accused of taking unfair advantage or going for the cheap shot with practically every sentence. He isn't a protagonist I would normally attempt in my writing except I happened to read about an anthology looking for parotic tales starring his royal orange majesty.

How did I figure out what to do? I decided to let the man speak for himself. Only a first person narrative could come close to capturing his word salad, nonsense diatribes. I also decided it was better to avoid turning Trump into a parody since he already is one. To try and take a ridiculous character like him and make him more ridiculous would be...well, you know.

So, it works better to let Trump be Trump and make the situation ludicrous or impossible. Directly quoting him is a good method as well, but it's also fun to write new dialogue that sounds enough like him to fool people into wondering whether or not he actually said it. I first cut my teeth on that one by using the Fake Trump Tweet app. Only the ones that insulted me as a writer were obvious to people.

The story is clipping right along and will probably be finished soon. Then the beta reader(s) get to read it and tell me how much it sucks so I can do a rewrite or two or twelve. Then I'll send it to the anthology and hope for the best. If it's rejected, I'm going to do something I don't normally do and self-publish it since it's far too specific to send elsewhere. That's why I rarely send to anthologies that want such particular submissions, but this was too much fun to pass up.

Friday, June 1, 2018

"Darkness Internal" The Five-year Anniversary

Five years ago (give or take a couple months) Voluted Tales Magazine Publisher Mark Turner approached me about editing a special issue of his magazine called "Voluted Dreams." I told him I was, of course, interested but I didn't want to compile yet another typical supernatural horror publication. Instead, I wanted to publish what I considered horrifying, namely the internal world of the damaged human being. To my delight, he agreed and a special project was born!

I was stunned by the amount of submissions I received, but even more so by how many of the authors understood what I wanted. Refusing to believe this was merely a case of my incredible guidelines writing, amazing as it is, what I uncovered was a pervasive hunger on the part of many authors whose work was getting ignored in favor of the common TV/movie tropes of the horror genre. These authors wanted to tell the types of stories I wanted to read, and it was difficult to say no to most of them. That's why Mark authorized a second edition for the overflow. And apparently he liked what he saw enough to go ahead and have me do a third special edition.

From there, I started editing a bi-monthly ongoing edition simply called "The Darkness Internal." I've grown nostalgic for those not-too-long-ago days and I'm pleased to see the issues are all still available to be read.

Click here if you're interested~

Friday, May 4, 2018

Forgotten Reprint Dirt Cheap!

An anthology I'd nearly forgotten about popped up in my history earlier and I thought I'd pass it along. The Ripple Effect by Thirteen O'Clock Press was an anthology whose proceeds went to Greenpeace. It featured, among others, my reprinted short story, "Across the Pond." I don't believe it was ever released as a print copy but it is available via Kindle, currently selling for $1.30.

All proceeds go to Greenpeace, so if that's a problem for you, it's probably not something you want to order.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

"The Handmaid's Tale"- The Struggle was Real!

When I was much younger, my mother was my source for literature. She was my internet, albeit a far more learned and well-read source than most of the ones I encounter virtually. She introduced me to science fiction, Stephen King and Ray Bradbury. And even when my own tastes formed and I started branching away from what I considered her safer, more by-the-numbers interests, I never stopped respecting her opinions, as they were informed and well-expressed. I have, in fact, tried to live my life in a similar fashion.

So when I finally decided to give Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" a chance, I found myself struggling with that respect in the worst sort of post-mortem way.

"What the hell, Mom?" I said to her memory. "Were you drunk?"

Realizing that was a horrible thing to ask a diabetic even if she's no longer among the living, I retracted that question and instead said, "Dude, seriously?" because nothing thrilled my mother more than being addressed as "Dude."

In fact, she loved it so much she appeared in my family room seconds after I said it.

"What's your problem?" she said.

"Nice to see you, too." I held up the copy of "The Handmaid's Tale" I'd borrowed from work and shook it in her direction. "But since you asked, this is my problem. Excuse my Swahili, but what the hell were you thinking?"

"You didn't care for it, I presume?" My mother's eyebrows were always thin and fine, yet somehow they became darker and bushier when she raised them in disdain.

"You presume correctly, Doctor Nadeau. You talked this book up throughout my teen years, made me think it was an untouchable, brilliant masterpiece of social commentary, and--"


"And I'd like to know if you were still in the process of getting your meds adjusted at the time."

She crossed her arms and sighed. "You know damn well I never took anything except Insulin and pain meds later on in life."

Nodding, I said, "Which brings us to the real issue, then. I mean, I know we disagreed on matters of taste when I got older. You kind've settled into a comfort zone, most likely due to your health issues and all."

She shrugged. "Probably a safe assessment. I always said you should have gone into psycho-analysis."

"One shrink in the family was enough. But my point is, setting aside the clearly intriguing concept, this is one of the dullest books I've read in years."

"All right." She uncrossed her arms and took a seat across from me. "Why?"

I sat as well. "For starters, the writing is bland and self-conscious."

"How much of it did you actually read?"

"I got through the first two chapters."

A heavy sigh. "Christopher,is it possible you'd like it more if you stuck with it?"

"Yes. It's also possible I could learn to like electrocution if I keep my feet dunked in water."

At this point, her image shimmered as if someone had flicked the lights off and on. I asked her if she was okay and she smiled. "What else didn't you like about it?"

I went into greater detail then. I told her how even though it accomplished the requisite task of establishing its universe early on, it never felt genuine. It felt, in fact, like a preachy commentary piee with a thinly disguised parable as its artful dodge. I concluded with the fact that the entire concept is wrapped in a cozy cocoon of white middle class feminism that presumes only gender divides stand between people and freedom.

"Okay, fair enough," she said. "But are you sure it's the book you're upset about or is it the fact that you're disappointed in my praise of it?"

I dropped the book onto the floor and stomped on it twice. "The book."

She grinned, telling me I hadn't lost my flair for the dramatic. "It's okay that you didn't care for it. If I taught you nothing else, I hope it was to develop your own tastes and be able to defend them. You've done that. So, why am I here?"

"Isn't it obvious? It's been years since I've had the opportunity to berate you. I've missed it."

She smiled that smile I can only recall in spontaneous memories or maybe sometimes find in an old photograph and said, "I miss you, too."

I watched her shimmer again, this time fading a bit. Our time was nearly up, then. "I love you, Mom."

"I love you, too, sweetie."

"Book still sucked, though."

And as she faded, I'm not entirely sure, but I think she flipped me off~

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

They Love me in Other Countries?

Something that's probably only of interest to me and possibly one as yet unrevealed stalker out there in the literary hinterlands, here is a snapshot of my stats randomly chosen from a recent date. It doesn't interest me as much to know how people are finding this page (Hell, Facebook!) but where they're from when they find it does.

I'm not ashamed to admit I had to Google "Belarus."

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Quote of the Week brought to you by anti-Millenial Bashing

"Baby boomers reaped the rewards of an economic system that was geared towards middle class families and as they grew up into power and money, they changed the system to favor the wealthy and themselves."
                    -From a Comment on a Bernie Sanders Post

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Amazing what one finds when typing in the title of one's own story to try and remember where it was published. While looking up my short story, "And What's Left of the World's a Better Place for it," I discovered its inclusion on the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. In addition to that one story, ten others are listed dating back to 2011.

So, if you're ever looking for a quick, non-Amazon way to find some of my work, this link will provide it.