Monday, July 28, 2014

A Vacation on Crutches

Well, the majority of July has been a major pain personally. Somewhere along the line early in the month I contracted acute tendonitis of the Achilles. For a week I was confined to a wheelchair. I learned a lot about how difficult it is to get around in them and gained a renewed respect for those tied to them for life. For another two weeks I will be on crutches, trying to finally heal the last little bit so I can start walking again. I spent the entire time with the family in Florida inside the beach house while the rest went down to the beach and out to eat. I didn't mind that too much. It was the stumbling around in the beach house on the crutches that annoyed me. Plus the couple times I nearly fell, further aggravating the tendon.

I did get a chance to do some writing, though. At least that wasn't too badly affected by my injury. I received an editing assignment from Pro Se Press the day before I left for Florida. It was to content edit three short stories before the end of the month. Content editing is much quicker than copy editing, still, it's going to be tight.

In spite of it all, I have been working to complete my writing projects. Encouragement came in the form of contributor's copies of The Martian Wave 2014 and Rat-a-tat: Short Bursts of Pulp! It's always good to be able to look at one of my stories in print, reminding me that I'm still entertaining enough to convince publishers my work should be presented to their readers.Someday I hope to have enough prestige as a writer to actually be a guest of honor at a literary convention or that one of my novels (preferably one of the Angelkiller Triad) would catch the fancy of the producer of major motion pictures.

Everyone has dreams. I started out wanting to be a published author. Done. Someday...

Anyway, that's all for now. Til next time, remember to stay low and keep your powder dry!

Seventh Night by Iscah - A Book Review

Title: Seventh Night
Author: Iscah
Hardcover: 260 pages
Publisher: Amoeba Ink co. (November 7, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0983551944
ISBN-13: 978-0983551942

There's a plot to prevent the treaty between Cordance and Tivin, but the identity of the conspirator is a mystery. When the marriage between the princess of Tivin and the prince of Cordance is interrupted by an attempt on the prince's life, things begin to heat up in this delicious fable. A beautiful princess, a magician's apprentice, a mysterious sorceress, and a surfeit of princes lead to a convoluted but enjoyable tale of intrigue, magic, betrayal, adventure, and true love.

Iscah's Seventh Night is reminiscent of a cross between The Princess Bride and The Last Unicorn. Her writing is clear, crisp, and precise. Her mastery of the ideas presented in the fable is obvious, and her story flows easily from page to page. Would that my own writing was so clear.

I have been writing and editing for more than four decades and seldom have I seen a new writer with so much evident talent. I was privileged to meet Iscah at a recent event and she is as charming in person as her princess in the novel. I wish her every success and, if this novel is any indication, she will certainly get it.

You can pick up a copy from Amazon at

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer Heat

June is nearly gone and so many projects have come to fruition. Beside problems with the house, things in general have been quite satisfactory.

I attended Hypericon 9 and had a great time. My friend Sam Flegal was the artist guest of honor. The con itself is one of the friendliest I attend and the committee treat their guests very well. Kudos to the entire staff for a job well done! I got to reconnect with the inimitable Stephen Zimmer, the vivacious Elizabeth Donald, the unstoppable Jimmy Gillentine (hope you're recovering well) and met Iscah, a talented up-and-coming fantasy writer. The panels were well-attended on the whole and the audience was engaged and participated sometimes more readily than the panelists. I was delighted to be invited back and am looking forward to next year.

On the writing front, I was notified of several acceptances and a couple of rejections. Pro Se Press released Rat-a-tat! Short Bursts of Pulp, containing my two short stories A Last Riddle and No More Running. Dark Oak Press announced the impending release of the Realms of Imagination anthology (Kimberly Richardson, editor) which contains my short story Stolen Thunder. And I received notice that Alban Lake Publishing was accepting my short stories The Price of Immortality for their Bloodbond Magazine November 2014 issue and Uncle Bill's Boys for their Disturbed Magazine December 2014 issue. I continue to work on several story calls. I have a new James Mayberry adventure for the next Dark Oak Press Dreams of Steam anthology, a dark humor piece for the Seventh Star Press Gothic Gnome anthology, continue to work on the novel for Alban Lake Press, as well as the second Velvet Wasp Case for Pro Se Press.

All in all, a full schedule in writing. But there is also another side to this summer.

I have completed several editing assignments for both Pro Se Press and Hermit Studios Press. I expect to hear more from them as time goes along. I edit general projects for Pro Se, including story collections, novellas, and such. For Hermit Studios, my duties are around the upcoming NovoPulp 2014/2015 Anthology. I am also editing a short novel for my friend Micha Fire. I don't usually do personal editing, but this one intrigued me and so I accepted the assignment. It has proved a most interesting story, not my usual cup of tea. I hope Micha finds my editing and revision to be useful.

The editing assignments keep coming. They keep me busy as well. Which is fine by me. Editing not only helps me hone my skills, but shows me what is currently accepted by editors in general.

My next convention isn't until August 16th, when I will be in Little Rock at the invitation of Tommy Hancock of Pro Se Press. I will be vacationing with the family in Florida next month, something I am especially looking forward to, as we haven't be able to get everyone together for a very long time.

After the August convention it will be off to Kentucky for the Imaginarium convention. This is Stephen Zimmer's brainchild and I will do everything I can to help make it a great success.

Well, that's about it for this time. Look forward to seeing everyone in Little Rock and in Louisville. Til next time, remember to stay low and keep your powder dry!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Summer's Here and Writing's Heating Up

May is almost gone and with it the temperatures outside are rising. My writing has begun to pick up pace accordingly as the dreariness of the hard winter subsides. Beside the editing jobs I've assumed for Pro Se Press here in the US and Hermit Studios Press in Denmark, I have been working on my own writing. The manuscript for the first of the Velvet Wasp Cases has gone to the publisher for editing and final approval. I look forward to seeing that series start in August.

I received acceptance for my story Stolen Thunder for Dark Oak's Realms of Imagination anthology (Kimberly Richardson, editor). This is a reprint. It originally appeared on the web back in 2003. I'm glad it will see actual print and that DOP thought it deserved to be presented to their readership.

Two original stories, No More Running and A Last Riddle, will be appearing in the upcoming Rat-a-Tat: Short Bursts of Pulp anthology from Pro Se Press. I expect it to appear before fall.

Lastly for now, my story The Price of Immortality, another reprint, will appear in the November issue of Bloodbond from Alban Lake Press. This is one of my rare vampire stories, so don't miss it. I don't write vampire fiction that often... well, practically never.

J. Alan Erwine's Nomadic Delirium Press has finally released the 2014 issue of The Martian Wave science fiction magazine for pre-order. It contains my story Object in the Sand. Pick up a copy when you get a chance.

I invite all of you to take some time to yourselves this summer and enjoy life. If you can, get away and relax. If you can't bring yourself to detach from the clocks and iPhones, then at least look up once in a while and realize there's more to life than computer screens, email, and texting.

Meanwhile, I'll be heading to Hypericon 9 in Nashville, TN. I intend to have fun while I'm there, just FYI.

That's all for now. Remember to stay low and keep your powder dry.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

What a Winter

The winter of 2013-2014 is one of the nastiest I personally remember. Not since the ice storm of '94 have I seen the amount of damage we went through this last year, but even then the damage didn't extend over such a wide area and so severely. I was very glad to see the beginning of spring.

Except for the inevitable tax season, April was uneventful. I was able to complete a couple of projects and get some real progress accomplished on several others. My backlog shrunk by a little and some work I hadn't been able to get to for some time finally began to appear at the bottom of the TBD pile. 

Writerly news: I currently have a new interview up on Sean Taylor's blog and my Facebook page is approaching 16.000 likes. I have signed up with Pro Se Press to participate in their new Single Shot Signature Line with a series of pulp tales called The Velvet Wasp Cases. The first of the four tales is scheduled to begin in August and will continue quarterly.

Nomadic Delirium Press still hasn't released their 2014 issue of Martian Wave magazine, but I'm confident that J. Alan Erwine, the editor, will soon get it done. Last I heard he was having trouble filling the issue. I'm sure that had something to do with the recent unpleasantness with Sam's Dot and White Cat leaking over into NDP, which is most unfortunate. J is a great guy and I have nothing but high praise for his work.

Beside the Velvet Wasp story I'm working on, I have a new James Mayberry steampunk tale for Dark Oak Press' next Dreams of Steam anthology. I hope Kimberly Richardson thinks it's worthy to be included. I have also started the final work on Deity, the last of the Thran Chronicles books, that should have been completed years ago but got continually pushed back by short deadlines. As an independent work, it had to take back seat to contractual obligations.

I will be attending Hypericon 9 in June in Nashville, TN, but that should be my last bit of writing-related travel until fall. It'll be nice to catch up with my friend Stephen Zimmer. I'm not sure what kind of panels I'll be on, but once I know, I'll post it here and on my Facebook page.

That's all for now. Til next time, remember to stay low and keep your powder dry!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

In Like a Lion...

March 2014. Quite an eventful month. Of course, every year at this time I attend MidSouthCon in Memphis and for the tenth time in sixteen years I received recognition for my writing from the Darrell Award Jury. Although I've only won once (back in 2000 for a short story), it's still nice to be noticed by the readers and have my work featured.

As a consolation, the final volume of the Angelkiller books, Doom Angel, finally appeared in March from Seventh Star Press. I am grateful to have this series finished and that it has received favorable reviews so far. The book made its first official appearance at MidSouthCon.

I was very impressed with this cover art by Matthew Perry. Matt has been doing the artwork for many of SSP's releases and I'm very fortunate he was assigned to the Angelkiller books. This cover has been cheered by pretty much everyone and there's no wonder. It is a remarkable piece of work.

Next, we have the release of Southern Haunts 2: Devils in the Darkness, also from Seventh Star Press, which contains my short story "Jack in the Box." It's been described as the kind of story you'd hear around a campfire in a horror film. This second Southern Haunts is also edited by Alexander S. Brown. There is already a story call for a third, for which I have submitted a story called "Granny Wise." Hope to hear whether it has been accepted after the deadline expires in May.

To round out the releases for March, the NovoPulp 2013/2014 Anthology became available for sale. Although Hermit Studios Press is a European entity, through the wondrous medium of the Internet I was able to participate as an editor and contributor on that project. The people involved were a wonderful bunch of talented folks and it was great working with them. I look forward to the next anthology.

I've completed my first couple of assignments as editor for Pro Se Press. Editing for others helps me with my own work, which right now consists of working on stories for three story calls as well as clearing out six stories in my backlog. Among those are a series of mystery stories that should appear quarterly beginning in August. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to seeing the upcoming issue of The Martian Wave from Nomadic Delirium Press, which should contain my short story "Object in the Sand". It should appear shortly.

That's about it for now. Til next time, stay low and keep your powder dry!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Too much to do, not enough Month

February flashed by. Somewhere last night it slipped away unnoticed. Looking back at it, most of what I see is January. Who thought it a good idea to short a month 2 or 3 days, anyway?

Reviving Classic Pulp Fiction Today
I've sort of joined up with Pro Se Press as an editor. They asked and I've accepted. They have dozens of ambitious projects in queue and it looks like it would be exciting to be a part of that. Time will tell.

March means Midsouthcon in Memphis. I will be appearing there as a guest (schedule below) and my short story "Eclipse over Elmwood" that appeared in Southern Haunts (Seventh Star Press, Alexander S Brown and Jennifer Mulvihill, editors) is a finalist for the Darrell Award for Best Midsouth Short Story. This is the tenth time since 1998 I have been on the Darrell Award list and, although I won only once (2000), I am honored each time to think the jury considers my work of notice.

I have been assured that the third Angelkiller book, Doom Angel, will be available at Midsouthcon. The publisher, Seventh Star Press, has had so many projects ongoing that it slipped from its originally announced release in 2013. SSP has signed quite a few authors in the last year. It is fast growing from its micropress beginnings to something more than a small press. This month they are promoting in several major blogs as well as the print issues of Locus and Fangoria.

So, now I'll be working on stories for the upcoming Dreams of Steam V (Dark Oak Media) and rewrites on stories that have been rejected this year. Sometime this summer I hope to have another novel finished and at least three stories published. I'm also working on developing a series of episodic stories around two original characters. Wish me luck.

Here is the schedule for Midsouthcon as it stands right now. There may be some changes, so check your program when you get there.

 03/22/2014     9:00 AM     Elements to becoming a successful Author     Art and business of writing.  Panelists explain how to mix the business with the creative side of writing. There's more to being an author than just writing

03/22/2014     11:00 AM     Self Publishing Promotion     Debunking the mythos, and the importance of social networking. The importance of social media to an author. How do self published authors promote themselves

03/22/2014     3:00 PM     Dark Fantasy / Goth 101     How to effectively write dark fantasy and Goth     Elements used in writing and what defines dark fantasy and Goth. What's the difference in the two.

It's going to be a busy Saturday for me. Anyway, back to the salt mines. Til next time, remember to stay low and keep your powder dry!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Yeah, It's Cold Enough for Me, Thanks!

This year is coming in with a vengeance. I've lived in the southern US all my life, so forgive me if I complain about the cold. If I wanted single digit temperatures, I'd live in Canada, for Pete's sake.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a great holiday season and weren't rash enough to make any New Year's resolutions. I gave up doing that long ago. To paraphrase a wise man - I'm in shape; round's a shape!

Foster Fade
My year opened up with the release of a short story in The New Adventures of Foster Fade, Crime Spectacularist from Pro Se Press and I couldn't be more delighted. Working with managing editor Tommy Hancock is actually a great experience. Between him, Stephen Zimmer of Seventh Star Press, and Allan Gilbreath of Dark Oak Press and Media, my experience with small to medium press has been nothing but positive. I look forward to working with them and many more this year.

Although I have already had a couple of rejections this month, I'm continuing to work on rewrites and other submissions. There is one particular piece I am determined to place if it takes all year, a kind of nemesis piece that's been rejected by five markets so far. It's been rewritten several times, gone through a couple of serious changes, but still retains its original idea. I often tell people who ask about becoming a writer that, no matter what you write, there is a market for anything you do. I believe this piece will prove me right or wrong on that assertion.

This year I believe I will be able to make a couple of conventions I originally thought I would have to miss. Besides Midsouthcon in Memphis (March), I am attending Hypericon in Nashville (June) and Imaginarium 2014 in Louisville, KY (September). I hadn't intended to continue convention-hopping this year, but my personal situation changed and I was happy to find out I could at least attend those three.

Still no word on the release of the last Angelkiller book (Doom Angel) though I do expect it to appear before March. There are still three of my stories slated to appear in various publications, although their exact release dates are still TBA. Will keep you advised.

I don't want to close without congratulating my friend Stephen Baird  on his being picked up by Dark Oak Press. I look forward to the re-release of his first novel Creiton's Sword and his future works, which I have been privileged to beta-read and critique. Much success, Steve!

That's it for now. Til next time, remember to stay low and keep your powder dry!