Promo Post: Submissions Open for the 3rd Edition of the Machinery

The submissions for poetry and fiction for the third edition of The Machinery are now open till 15th October. Theme – Point of Divergence

via SUBMISSIONS OPEN – THE MACHINERY THIRD EDITION — The Machinery – A literary collection.

Dead car battery this morning might have a real post later but wanted to share this with any aspiring poets or authors out there.

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Is It Not Midnight? (Part 2)

Morning, Legions of Fans! In yesterday’s post, I promised you a second installment of the urban fantasy/horror short story on which I’ve been toiling away. Lucky for you, I’m putting it out there earlier than planned. AKA, today.

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Image courtesy of Collective Weeds

Part 1 is available here. Enjoy it and enjoy what follows:

“Who’s there?” Richard’s voice came out in a strangled cry. Instead of a verbal reply, the distinct sound of human footsteps reached his ears. The feet moved in near unison taking unhurried steps. The scuttling and scratching sounds intensified. Then the singing began.

Low and terrible, the voices formed long forgotten syllables to make words in an ancient tongue. Richard let out a panicked moan. The chanting voices were all around him now. The horrible hymn was building to a crescendo. The voices rose higher. Some let out vaguely female shrieks of ecstasy. Others sang with primal masculine tones in the alien language. The paralyzing cacophony grew louder still and, with sudden finality, it stopped. Somewhere along the way, the scratching sounds had ceased. The only sound was Richard’s panicked breathing.

The bag covering his head was removed. The room was dimly lit by candles in tall iron stands. Richard could see he was laying on a large block of white stone with stark black veins running through it. The stone was curiously warm against his skin. Richard was suddenly gripped by a powerful impulse. Get up! Run!

Feedback and encouragement are (as always) welcome.

 

Weekend Posts Aren’t My Forte

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via Disney.com

But I am trying. This past Sunday, I was basking with my boys in the comfortable, arresting glow of Toy Story 2. It is imaginative, well plotted, and deep.

Pixar is one of the few studios in the era of the remake/reboot/crap-fest to consistently churn out above average films. I’m not just comparing Pixar’s movies to other kids movies. I’d put any of their, films up against the big releases of the day.

And as if the quality wasn’t enough, the quantity is is pretty impressive too. Since 2006, they’ve managed to release  a feature film every year, and in 2015 they doubled their output to two per year.

Let’s make like Pixar and get busy.

PS: People seemed to like the excerpt/sneak peek  of my Hungarian Demon Hunter Short Story so I want to let you know I’m planning on sharing another excerpt this week and short story itself should be finished soon. That means I can start submitting it. If no one buys it, maybe you guys will enjoy for free.

 

 

Why am I doing this?

No, dear sweet LoFs (Legions of Fans), your spiritual guide and fearless leader is not questioning his mission. Despite the existential crisis this post’s title may seem to suggest, your hero doesn’t tremble at the slavering hordes of naysayers, illiterates, back biters, and syndicators that stand in his path.

No, I say! I shall become a successful writer of speculative fiction! I will build me a mighty armada of outlines, and set sail on an ocean of dreams to discover new worlds. With siege engines of piss and vinegar, I will smash the gates of the publishing industry and plunder their fat treasuries. I shall plumb the subterranean depths of the Weird and the Ghastly with my words.  On an A-10 Warthog of courage, I will strafe the e-book market place with the armor-piercing bullets of my insight into the human condition. And when I’m done, I’ll have to buy a blimp to survey my riches in their entirety.

The point of this post is to explain or examine why, I’m starting and continuing this journey. That is, of course, putting aside the blimp and the treasure that wait at the finish line for me.

One contributing factor for my pursuit of the authorly arts, is my day job. It’s good enough, it pays the bills. But I don’t love it and I know it isn’t “for me.” Now, you might say, “How bout you try getting a job elsewheres?” And I would say, “You’ve got poor grammar, and that really isn’t an option for a variety of reasons right now.”

Another big factor, and this is the probably the biggest one. Are certain powerful images I can’t get out of my head. Over at Mad Genius Club, Soul Sister Sarah Hoyt wrote a big ol’ post on the phenomenon a few weeks ago:

We don’t talk about it a lot for reasons of not being that fond of “I love me” jackets.  Among writers, sure, particularly late at night at a con bar.  That’s when we say things like “And the damn thing dictated itself to me”  Or “I’d never planned on killing the character, and damn, she was dead, and there was nothing I could do about it” or the truly freaky “And the story was done.  I had another ten pages of outline, but no, it was done, this was the right ending, and I wasn’t going to be allowed to change it.”  Other things you will hear about: writers who see/hear their characters/plot/events in the book.  Now, this can range from anything like what I have — thank Bob, no Visual/audio hallucinations.  Yet. — which is just thoughts, at the back of the head, in a voice that is definitely NOT mine.  (Important: Terry Pratchett was absolutely right when he said “always remember which voice is yours.”  Otherwise you DO need that “I love me jacket” or at least some really good drugs.)

However, if my colleagues aren’t bullsh*tting me, … the experiences range from “just knowing when the story is right” … to full on visual/audio hallucinations.

I’m not claiming to have entire novels dictated to me (or hallucinations for that matter), but I can attest to certain scenes just “coming to me.” It happened on and off before I gave fiction writing a serious look (when you’ve got kids, a wife, and a day job, you gotta be ruthless when it comes to hobbies and interests).

Once I started really writing, the visitations became more frequent. I try to scribble them down every time. Most of them don’t relate to the current project (because of course they don’t). Some are powerful enough that I get visibly choked up when they come. Like a talking dog that sacrifices itself for the protagonist’s safety. It was a Airedale Terrier if you’re curious. I wrote it down in a notebook and I hope I can use that fragment some day.

But if I can’t, at least I got it out of my head. And THAT’s why I’m doing this. And who could say no to a story about this guy?

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via Pintrest

Prufrock: Truer Now than Then

I read a little T.S. Eliot last night (he said with extreme modesty), Prufrock to be exact. I haven’t read it in full since high school. It was enjoyable. I won’t attempt to comment too much on it except to say, it ain’t for everyone and it’s probably hard for most folks to interpret (self included).

I think I “get” it on a more emotional level than when I was first introduced to the poem. The frustration with inaction, the sense of impending age with little to show for it, I gets it now that I’m north of 30 (I know, “wait till you’re knocking on 50”). Anyhow, here are a few of the less famous passages I want to share (mostly) without comment (find the entire thing here.)

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky

I’d forgotten evenings could do that.

But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker

I’d happily settle for a flicker of greatness.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

I’d happily settle for composing three lines that could touch those.

Sneak Peek: Hungarian Demon-Hunter

In the interest of providing you (my hoary hosts of fans) with a few scraps of content for the day, I give you a little taste of a future classic. I refer, of course, to my Untitled Hungarian Demon-hunter short story. Feedback and praise welcome. Also, I like this pic of St. George and the Dragon. Maybe you will too?

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via WikiWand

Here’s the excerpt:

Richard Wilson awoke to an unfamiliar sound. It was a dry, scraping, scuttling sound. It was inconsistent. Now a slow purposeful dragging, now ceasing, now returning with scrabbling intensity.

Richard had no earthly idea where he was, but he often began his mornings that way. The Vodka often left him places without explanation. So far as he could tell, Richard was inside. That was different. Usually the shelters wouldn’t allow you to spend the night if you showed up drunk. So where am I? he wondered. The Vodka didn’t know either.

As Richard’s mind resumed normal operations, he was dimly aware that whatever was making the scraping, scratching noise was moving around him. Back and forth, back and forth. It reminded Richard of how his childhood dog would dance and jump in anticipation of its dinner. Whatever this was, it was much bigger than a dog.

He realized, to his horror, that he had a bag over his head. The return of his senses told Richard  his hands were bound with rough rope. His shirt was gone and he could feel smooth irregular stone beneath him. His pulse quickened and he began drawing quick, shallow breaths. Panic was rising in his breast. The scrabbling noise continued.

Want more? Tell me about it. Want less? Screw you.

Sustained Momentum and MCT Oil

coconut-oil

via MedicalNewsToday

I know, I know. I skipped the weekend. I am lazy, shiftless, and a bad person. But hey, if Sarah Hoyt can miss a day, I can miss two. But I can’t keep going this way. I also fell down on writing more words for my Hungarian demon hunter short this morning. I fell into the internet rabbit hole but to a productive end. That’s right, I’m talking about MCT oil and the coconut oil from which it is derived.

Apparently, MCT oil/coconut oil may help symptoms of Parkinson’s and related movement disorders like Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD) of which my Dad is a sufferer. So I shot the info off to dear old Mum and hopefully it improves Dad’s quality o’ life a bit. I’ll report back on how that turns out.

Full disclosure: I am not being paid to endorse MCT/coconut oil (but I wouldn’t mind it if I were). So, full disclosure: I have nothing to disclose. Except my bathrobe. But this isn’t that kind of site. So I’m gonna keep dis’ bathrobe closed!

Did you guys hear that? That’s the sound of my wife’s eyes rolling. Until tomorrow, legions of fans.

P.S. I should clarify that her eyes are only rolling b/c  of my attempt at “bathrobe humor” NOT at MCT Oil.

 

 

Every Little Bit Counts

I’m currently working on a short urban fantasy-ish story about a demon hunting Hungarian. This is a story  I’ve been writing for an embarrassing number of months now. Every weekday I try to write a little more. Sometimes I only get a few sentences down before I have to start my daily exercises, eat breakfast, and get the toddler up and running. Then, once the wife has the 7-year old awake and fed, I gently drag him to the bus stop and begin ye commute to ye daye job.

I’m not complaining or asking for your sympathy. I’m working consistently on an idea that has plagued me for a year (maybe more), and that’s more than I could say a year ago. That’s more than I’ve done in the way of extra-curricular writing for a long time. I need to make more time for it and stop getting distracted in the middle of it by my favorite podcast or researching medieval Hungarian weapons. But I’m getting there. hungarian-short-sword-1

Sooo awesome via Sword-Site

Despite my lack of focus and poor time management. I’m doing it. I’m actually doing it. If you find this annoying or self-absorbed, it probably is. But I don’t care because it’s mainly a reminder to myself and maybe someone else out there: You’re doing it, you will continue to do it, keep doing it till it’s done.