Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Most Uncomfortable Thing I've Written in Some Time.

This is probably self-explanatory as you read on, but here is the letter I wrote and am sending to two of my mother's friends from her younger days telling them she died back in 1997:

I’m not sure why it has taken me so many years to write this
letter. Perhaps it was easier to tell myself I was going to do it and then go
into denial not long after. Anything to avoid the discomfort of putting
together thoughts best left felt than expressed.
It isn’t easy to talk about a parent’s death, especially
when that parent dies at such an early age.
Denise Nadeau died in 1997 due to complications initially brought on by
Diabetes and eventually becoming renal failure. At the risk of sounding blunt,
she suffered quite a bit up until that point.
The Nineties was a difficult time for my mother. She entered
the decade losing feeling in her feet, often the first sign that a lifelong
Diabetic is starting to succumb to their disease. She wound up on a cane at first, which is how
she was when my father died of lung cancer in 1991, at the age of 48. Soon she
was in a wheelchair, but she refused to let that stop her, at least at first.
If you remember Denise Nadeau, and anyone who knew her seems
incapable of forgetting, you know she did not just give in to what was ailing
her. She kept working until she couldn’t
anymore, when the onset of Diabetic Neuropathy took the use of her legs and
left her hands like shaky claws. Her mind still worked and she did everything
she could to keep it working.
Unfortunately and to my living regret, she went through a
period where her health was too poor for me to take care of her alone or even
with the help of family and an aid. She wound up in a few different nursing
homes, a rather demoralizing fate for someone with such a brilliant mind and so
much left to contribute to society. Blue Cross did everything they could to try
and deny her care based on her age (early to mid-Fifties) and the fight to obtain
her Social Security was a lengthy one that eventually wound up in some sort of
I promised my mother she would not wind up in a nursing home
forever and I kept that promise. She came home in December of 1996. However, in
August of 1997, I entered her room one morning to find her in bed with foam
running from her mouth. She’d experienced a few seizures recently but this one made
her non-responsive. Rushing her to the
hospital merely resulted in her coming back to without the ability to process
information for more than a few seconds at a time. I suppose I’ll always bear
the guilt of not having noticed the warning signs of the night before due to my
own physical and emotional exhaustion.
My Uncle Mike, her younger brother, refused to allow me to feel that way
but sometimes, when I relive that night…
Anyway, she lasted another 4-6 weeks after that. My other
Uncle, her older brother, was a physician’s assistant specializing in renal
care. The speech her doctor gave us about her lack of chances and the option to
place her in hospice care was identical to the speech he’d given countless
patients at his own hospital. It suddenly became too real for my uncle and he
wound up retiring a year or so later.
Providence Hospital, always looking toward that next major
malpractice suit, found a way to get my mother out of their hospital and into a
nursing home/rehab facility in Royal Oak a few weeks before she died.
It’s funny: The day she died, I inexplicably decided to call
in sick to work. I kept wanting to go see her and something kept causing me to
delay leaving. A phone call came in early that afternoon from the facility
advising me my mother wasn’t responding and that an EMS had been dispatched. I hesitated
to leave even then, wondering if I should make myself available in case they
needed to call back (this was before cell phones became the norm). Eventually,
I decided the hell with it and drove over there.
I met the EMS workers coming off the elevator. Their gurney
was empty, so I figured this was yet another case of Mom pulled through a
seizure. As I rounded the corner, I actually heard one of the nurses ending a
phone call by telling the person on the other end to please call back ASAP.
Don’t ask me why, but somehow I knew I was being left a message. I said, “Hi, were you just calling me?”
I don’t remember a whole lot about what happened next. I was
taken into my mother’s room, where I had just peeked inside moments before,
only now I realized the bed wasn’t empty at all. The covers had been pulled immediately
asked where I wanted to send “the body.” I remember having no idea and being
asked to go through the Yellow Pages and find a funeral home.
I also remember sitting in the room with my Mother one last
time while some insane woman in the next bed over complained about me being
there. Finally, I remember just getting up and leaving without saying anything
to anyone.
Each year your card has come to the house she once filled
with her powerful energy, a house I still live in and will be losing soon
due to foreclosure, and each year I tell myself I’m going to write a letter
back and tell you what happened. If I have a reason for not having done so
until now, it is because the cards made me feel as if she was still here. My
reason for doing so now? Soon I won’t be in this house anymore and the cards
will stop coming.
So, that’s what happened. Hopefully my decision to wait is
at least slightly forgivable.

Chris Nadeau

Friday, December 30, 2011

(Right Wing) Christians For A (Stupider)America

I think I might have found the stupidest blog I've seen in years. It's called "Christians For A Moral America" and it regularly posts idiotic gems like this, where they actually view the phrase "Fuck hate" as ironic for all the wrong reasons.

There's also this one, where the author displays unbelievable ignorance and arrogance in equal measure by claiming not only a Christian theme to JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series, but also that any battle between good and evil is automatically a Christian theme!

In Tolkien's words:

…I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse ‘applicability’ with ‘allegory’; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author. (The Fellowship of the Ring 10-11)

Since the authors of this site have taken it upon themselves to police the thoughts and personal expressions of whomever they have deemed their enemies, who am I to refuse to return the favor?

It's on.

(By the way, in the tradition of fanatical cowards everywhere, their blog has disabled comments)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Best Compliment a Reader can Pay a Writer of Fiction...

"It was perfect, and it made me cry. You bastard!"

In the words of another great creator of fiction:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Quote o' the Day

"Fundamentalist worship of 'free market' capitalism is the cause of our problems, not the solution."

-A Facebook poster

Monday, December 26, 2011

So much for name recognition!

Many writers agonize over how their names will appear on the covers of their novels and short story collections. Dean Koontz spent years trying to decide if he wanted to keep the middle initial "R" in his pen name. Kurt Vonnegut included "Jr." for years, only to stop later on when he realized nobody called him that and he was old.

When the pressure was on for me to decide how my name would appear, I went through the literary equivalent of wardrobe changes during a Broadway epic. Here are the ones with which I struggled before choosing what I now use:

Chris Nadeau
Chris A. Nadeau
Christopher A. Nadeau
C.A. Nadeau
C. Nadeau
Jose Felliciano

Okay, the last one is bullshit, but you get my point. Eventually, I settled on Christopher Nadeau, which happens to be my name, so it was easy to remember in a pinch. Besides, other than the young marine who murdered his child and wife, I hadn't seen the name used much. So, now I have a novel and nearly two dozen published short stories under that name and what do I run across on Amazon today?

This gimmicky pastiche of emails masquerading as a book!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Take me Home for the Holidays

Here is a comprehensive listing of my available writing and where you can purchase it as a gift for people who still see reading as an enjoyable experience as opposed to an unpleasant task:

If you're looking for something Christmas themed and irreverent, look no further than the Dead Christmas anthology. My short story "Midnight Service" is included in this collection. Available for 14.99 in paperback or 9.99 on Kindle.

Piggybacking off the Christmas theme, there's also my short story collection available through Amazon Kindle, From the Bridge and 7 Other Short Stories, featuring a title story that re-imagines the classic "It's a Wonderful Life" with George going after the man responsible for his worst misfortune.

For that cynical horror vampire who finds the "Twilight" phenomenon as repugnant as I do, there's my parody "Dusk," which also includes my unofficial sequel to a movie featuring a certain lovable alien whose departure rendered a young boy's life meaningless.
Both Kindle collections are only .99 cents, and you don't need an e-reader to purchase them.

Getting back to traditional publishing, I have several choices featuring my short stories. I'll provide a quick reference for the ones of which I am proudest:

The Dark Deeds in History anthology featuring my zombie/cannibal story "The Devoured."

The Triangulation: Last Contact anthology featuring "The Party."

The Shadows Within Shadows anthology featuring my disturbing novella, "Toilet Bums."

The Big Book of New Short Horror, featuring "Outside the Box."

Erie Tales: Tales of the Apocalypse featuring "Across the Pond."

And, of course, my novel "Dreamers at Infinity's Core" with its oft-rumored sequel in the works, is available.

Be safe. Spend money on me. Read my stuff~

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Multiple Submissions Dilemma.

Normally, I am opposed to simultaneous submissions. For non-writers, that is the term given to the process of sending the same story to two or more potential publishers at the same time. I usually have enough work that it isn't necessary, and with the amount of submitting I tend to do, it's easy to lose track of who has what.

However, I recently sent a flash fiction piece to a web publisher that advises it takes up to 75 days to respond. During that time, my friends at Open Casket Press sent out an email asking for stories to fill its Carnival of Horrors anthology. I was one of the authors contacted, as I'd recently been published in their Dead Christmas antho. Because I never do this, I figured I might as well send the story along with one other flash piece and see what happened.

Both were accepted. Then I received the following rejection in my email, prompting a longer exchange which follows:

Dear Christopher Nadeau,

Thank you for your submission to [our site] I regret to inform you that we are unable to use it at this time.

Two concepts here really nail the surreal aspect of the piece: the faceless friend, and the cyclical nature of the plot. My mind went wild with possibilities for what is going on here. However, I prefer when the surreal nature and cyclical aspects of a story have more direction, more support. Why is the "friend" faceless? How is it a friend at all if the MC wants to kill him? How is the friend recognizable without a face? In other words: what is the lack of face emblematic of? The same questions apply to the cycle. Without understanding more about where these concepts of bondage, facelessness, and the void-realm come from, there isn't much acting as foundation to the recursion. There's no anchor. Just throwing out ideas, but, for example, what if the facelessness represented the staleness of a relationship, and the cyclical nature represented the fact that we all keep trying to find new love when old love is lost. I can understand that as-is the author might think, "But this can go in whatever direction the reader wants!". That's all well and good, but when a piece is THIS open, this "meta", it feels like more outline than plot.
-- First Editor

I understood that the faceless killer/victim was being cycled from one person to the next, but there's no explanation of why each became a killer, or why they suddenly wanted to free the next man from bondage. The whole thing had an unreal/dream feel and I kept waiting for you to say that he woke up
-- Second editor

Unfortunately due to the insanely massive amounts of submissions in our slush pile, we cannot reconsider your piece at this time.
We wish you good luck in placing the story elsewhere.

My reply:
Thanks for the input. The story actually has been accepted elsewhere but I was unable to remove the submission.

Dear Christopher Nadeau,

Congratulations on your story's acceptance elsewhere, although I should point out for future reference that we aren't able to take simultaneous submissions at EDF because of our publication schedule and contract process.

Could you let me know why you were unable to inform us of your withdrawal, so that we can address the problem? Your assistance with this would be greatly appreciated, as we need to know if our contact form isn't working or if there's some other communication obstacle of which we are unaware.

Yet Another Editor

My Second Reply:
I was never able to locate a method for withdrawing the story and the one email I sent apparently wasn't received. Normally I have a personal policy against simultaneous subs but this was a special case where a story was commissioned. I can guarantee it will not happen again.

Yeah, don't do what I did. I probably should have kept my mouth shut (or my fingers inert) but considering the time-line of acceptance of publication, I thought it better to just be honest and take any lumps.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Publishing Update Addendum.

"Dark Dispatches," the war-themed horror and science fiction anthology from Static Movement Press, following a brief editorial shake-up, accepted a second story of mine for publication. So now:

"So Man Nathans" and "Bringing Down the Curtain" will be appearing in this collection. I am specially pleased with the acceptance of the second one.

I'll post a link once it's available~

Friday, December 2, 2011

Publishing Update.

A few more anthologies featuring my work have been released. Check 'em out below and junk:

Volume two in the Pill Hill Press Monster Hunters series,(Volume I included a story by me as well) this one features "Emergence," my tale of a driven mutant hunter whose obsession blinds him to the real danger waiting in the shadows.

Two of my flash fiction pieces appear in this Open Casket Press anthology, the second one to accept my work. (The first one is below)

Never one to shrink from a challenge, I saw this one advertised and had to try for it. My story "Midnight Service" about a hapless pizza delivery guy who's tied up and forced to watch an insane minister try to bring back his savior using zombie black magic appears in this one.

And in my apparent ongoing bid to refute my claims that I don't write zombie fiction, (see above) my ZOMBIE cannibalism tale "The Devoured" appears in this lovely Static Movement anthology.

And finally, one that just recently closed that features my short story "So Many Nathans." I included it because I thought the cover was cool:

Quote of the Day

"When some one tells you that you can't have Christmas without Christ, remind them you can't have Thursday without Thor."
-Nnedi Okorafor, author of lots of stuff.