Friday, July 29, 2011

Quote O' The Day

"A Christian telling an atheist they are going to hell is like a hippie telling me they are going to punch me in the aura." ~Unknown

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

'Twas a Good Week, yes?

Last week was one of those weeks writers like to write about, not because they suck but because they bring with them pleasant surprise and increased self-validation. Permit me to explain:

Way the Hell back in May, I submitted a recently completed, edited and abandoned short story called "Outside the Box" to a certain science fiction magazine for their consideration. Said magazine advises writers of their "up to 70 days" response time. I sent my story knowing this, but I also thought they might respond much sooner, since many publications make similar claims to cover their heineys.

Flash forward two months later and their website still showed the story as "under consideration," another way of saying it had made it past the initial round of editors. I had high hopes for that story making it into their magazine. With one exception, I have yet to truly penetrate the science fiction market.

Apparently, that tradition remains very much alive. On the 64th day, they rejected the story. Undeterred, I sent it right back out to an anthology of short horror stories and an online horror magazine. My faith in the story was such that I figured hedging my bets would pay off.

It did.

The anthology accepted it within 48 hours, prompting me to have to write to the other magazine to tell them it was no longer available. Here's what they wrote back to me:

Hi Christopher,
I have changed your submission status on "Outside the Box" to "Withdrawn By Author". Congratulations on your acceptance!
(Name omitted)

That made two stories accepted by the same publisher in the same week.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quote O' The Day

"Some folks confuse pretension with profundity."

-Will Aygarn

Monday, July 25, 2011

10 Reasons My Geek Flag Only Flies at Half Mast

(In no particular order of triviality)

I haven’t read comic books on a regular basis in years.

I don’t lapse into “Star Wars” or “Star Trek” quotes unless the subject is…STAR WARS OR STAR TREK!

I don’t drool at the idea of meeting some guy or gal who provided the voice for some cartoon I watched as a child.

I have never chosen nor experienced the urge to dress up like my favorite character(s) since sprouting hair in weird places, i.e. last week.

I can’t spend hours debating whose Silver Surfer was the “real” one without wanting to run screaming from my own skin.

I have no interest in video games, RPG’s or licensed material novels.

I shudder every time I see superfluous online updates about ComicCon.

I despise sub-genre trends that litter the market.

I won’t pay a monthly utility’s bill’s worth of income for the privilege of walking amongst celebrities whose careers have nosedived while doling out even more money so they will sign something they probably also made me buy, such as a picture of them.

Just because I like to create fictional worlds populated with fantastical elements and beings does not mean I like to pretend I live in them in groups of people doing the same thing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"I don't like it, make it end the way it already does!"

Sometimes when a writer goes for a cryptic ending, it leaves questions in the editor's mind that don't belong there. Apparently, such was the case with my recent accepted short story, "Emergence."

The story was accepted for upcoming Pill Hill Press anthology, The Trigger Reflex, the sequel to Leather, Denim & Silver: Legends of the Monster Hunter, in which my story, "Finally, the Source" appears. Without giving away the ending, there's a certain ambiguity in the first person narrative that is intended to leave the reader with a horrified, "It would be better if that character died" response. The anthology's editor thought the character died and, since narrators of first person stories can't die unless they're speaking from heaven or hell, he suggested that the story end...exactly the way it already does.

To my way of thinking, that means I need to add an extra sentence to clarify the ending a I sent those thoughts to the editor who replied:

I think you are right. A sentence or two should do the trick! We'll kick it around during edits.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Short List Ahoy!

Yesterday, I posted a rejection letter from a magazine that claimed it has ceased publication for a story someone else accepted months ago. Today, I present a more positive and less insane email from a potential publishing experience:

Mr. Nadeau,

I'd like to personally thank you for your entry "Edwin Murphy Sends his Regards", which has made the short list for The Memory Eater anthology. While submissions are still open, I wanted to let each author know where they stand. I do not expect the short list to exceed 60 submissions, and as stated on my blog, I’d like to include 25-30 stories in the anthology.

If you haven’t seen my reasoning for eliminating the deadline or what’s next for the anthology, please refer to my latest blog post. It can be found here.

I will contact you once the final stories are selected. Until then, best wishes!

Thank you again for taking the time to submit a story for consideration.


C. P.

I included the entire email in case anyone reading this is also interested in taking a stab at it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Here's a unique notion: Don't open your magazine to submissions if you don't think you can handle the workload. Here's another one: Don't issue a statement about halting publication on the magazine only to turn around and say you've changed your mind only to turn back around and basically say, "Nope, I meant what I said the first time."

If you have avoided all of the above, it might be a good idea to let people know you're still planning a "Final issue" in case they decide to submit whatever they sent you to someone else. Then the following email exchange won't be necessary:


Dear Christopher,

First I want to apologize for the ridiculous amount of time it took for us to get back to you regarding the status of your submission. Due to a number of reasons (Name omitted) Magazine will be shutting down.

I want you to know that I fully appreciate the time and effort involved in writing a short story. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to read your work. Unfortunately, we will not be publishing your story in our final issue. Thank you for considering us, and I wish you the best of luck placing your story elsewhere.

Oh, I wasn't even aware you were publishing a final issue. This story was picked up for an anthology months ago.

Can you say "unprofessional?" Sure ya can!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Quote O' The Day

From a Facebook poster regarding news of another misguided Chris Nolan Batman film:

Jason T. Parker
MK was, and will always be, the best Batman. Period...

Bale, Clooney and Kilmer fucked it up -bad-. -Real bad-. So bad that when I do bother watching the Dark Knight, it's for the Joker and no other reason. Bale is an especially rotten actor no matter the role. No where, ever, in the 'How to act as The Batman' manual did it say 'jam cotton into your cheeks and come to work each day constipated so you'll sound really conflicted and broody.'

Monday, July 11, 2011

From the Desk of Jeanni Rector, Editor of The Horror Zine.

In response to my previous blog entry about my experiences with submitting a short story to her, Ms. Rector emailed me the following (and said it was okay to reprint it):

Wow, you have no idea how much what you said in your blog means to me! I am serious, I go around believing that everyone takes me for granted. I am very touched by what you wrote. Many, many thanks, Christopher. You have no idea how hard I work on The Horror Zine, giving up many weekends, and I don't get paid. And then comes along an email like yours, and I remember why I am doing this. It's for the love of the craft, and it is because there are people in the world like you. So again thanks, what you wrote on your blog has changed my outlook today.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The "Poem" I Read the Other Day.

I read the following untitled attempt at prose the other day before an audience. It was written several years ago and is about seeing someone we thought we knew years later and realizing we probably knew them even more than we'd hoped:

Was it you?
It couldn’t have been.
It looked like you.
It couldn’t have been.
I didn’t believe it at first.
I went past you so many times,
So many times it must have looked,
Like I was stalking you.

I was shocked,
Frightened, perhaps,
Unwilling to accept what I was seeing.
WHO I was seeing.

I felt instant recognition,
Did you?
I couldn’t tell.
There seemed to be something there,
But you were so far gone,
In some world all your own.

Your eyes were filled,
With insanity.
I remembered that look,
The barest hint of,
Things to come.

I watched you,
Saddened & disgusted,
The desperation flashing like a beacon,
To your empty soul.
What were you seeking?
What did you think you needed?

What happened to you?

Was it you?
Yes, it was.
I wish it hadn’t been.
I brought what I saw back with me,
And now it won’t go away~

Friday, July 8, 2011

Say hello to my mentors

The beautiful lady to the left is the late, great Annabelle McIlnay, without whom I might never have finished anything worth publishing. She also gave birth to the writing workshop I now host in my home as well as COM Publishing.

The distinguished gentleman to the left is Professor James Gunn, science fiction author and pioneer in the field of teaching the genre to aspiring writers. If I had not journeyed out to Kansas twice to attend his writing workshop, I might have stopped writing altogether.

I can only hope to one day provide for someone else a tenth of the inspiration they instilled in me.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Grateful Author.

The Horror Zine recently published my review of Anne M. Stickel's "Alat," a short novel of erotic high fantasy. My review wasn't as glowing as most authors would desire, but she was very glad for not only the review but also the points raised within.

Read the review here.

And read Anne's response to me in edited form below:


Thank tou for the review. It will help me improve the sequel. I'm sorry you found the art distracting, and will let the artist know. I switched from working on the "Alat" sequel to polishing my 3rd book of 3...which has less erotic content.