Sunday, December 21, 2014

Looking Forward

Here we are at the end of another year. It seems like they get shorter as I get older. I finally understand the concept of time dilation.

My short story The Price of Immortality appeared in Alban Lake's Bloodbond magazine in November. This was the only vampire story I ever had published. Although it hasn't appeared yet, AL's Disturbed magazine will contain my short story Uncle Bill's Boys, one of my few werewolf tales. I seldom branch off into those two genres, not because I don't read them but because I believe today's take on those stories has departed from the monster aspect and become soap opera. When women and men begin to see walking parasitic corpses (vampires) and shape-sifting predatory killers (werewolves) as targets of romance, I have to cry foul. And I've heard the argument that sex has always been part of the vampire mystique. What is conveniently forgotten is that in its original form vampirism was a form of predation perpetrated by a maniacal murderer. Sex was used as bait to draw in the victim. Is it a statement on our society that we have come to see that as romantic?

There is a dearth of good speculative fiction nowadays, in my opinion. Television and movies have degraded the genres into prepubescent entertainment. The occasional attempt at reaching an adult audience doesn't ever seem to get the same attention and dies off almost as soon as it appears.

Recently on Syfy (Lord, how I hate that name) there was a miniseries called "Ascension". I found it principally a good example of science fiction and understand they may be trying to pitch it for a series, but like all speculative fiction today it suddenly veered off course and hurtled into the abyss with the line "The starchild must be born". 

I am a writer and an editor. Unfortunately. I can see where writing works and where it goes wrong. I know how the sausage is made. Sometimes I wish I didn't.

I got the chance to see the movie "Radio Free Albemuth" based on the Phillip K. Dick story of the same name. It cost nearly 40 million to make and garnered less than 6,000 in theaters. The reason? It was true to the story. The movie actually used the concept behind Dick's story, that of an oppressive society that controls dissension with an iron fist. It is a depressing story on the whole, even though it does have a hopeful ending. People in America shy away from that kind of thing. We have become educated to be a society of followers, led by fantasy ideas of the possibility of a perfect society if all just recognize everybody is the same. The idea of individuality and individual responsibility is being leached out of our society, something we as writers should be highlighting in our work rather than avoiding.

Enough of that.

My facebook page will likely break 30,000 likes by the end of the year. I am delighted at this but wonder how the changes to facebook policy will affect my pocketbook when they go into effect on January 1. I have already looked into Ello and Tsu as alternatives and have begun using Twitter more often. If it become necessary, I will shut down the facebook page with great regret and move on.

I'm headed to Shadowcon in a couple of weeks. This is a comfortable little convention I enjoy and look forward to every year. I already have a few more conventions to attend in 2015. Maybe I'll see you at one of them.

Til then, remember to stay low and keep your powder dry!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

With everything going on in this world, it may be hard to stop and give thanks for the blessings and loved ones in your life. I understand that. But why else do we go on if not for those very things?

I have been blessed with a loving wife for more than 40 years, two beautiful daughters, grandkids, friends far and near, and the ability to finally do what I've always wanted to: write. I may not have the perfect life in another person's eyes but I think I'm doing very well, thank you.

It isn't enough to simply accept your life as it comes. You should appreciate it because it's the only one you're ever going to get. Take the time to look around you, not from the spirit of greed or envy but from the spirit of gratitude for what you have and who you are. There are millions of people who have little or nothing, not even their health, the most basic of blessings.

So, Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope you can appreciate all those in your life.

Enough of that.

My writing is going well. I recently received a rejection for a reprint of "No Pay, No Pass" but an acceptance for an original story. I finished and sent in the second Velvet Wasp tale and am looking forward to hearing back about stories I have submitted for Pro Se's Hercules Hathaway, Seventh Star's Tales of the Goth Gnome, Dark Oak's Dreams of Steam VI, Charon Coin's State of Horror: Tennessee, and the Interstellar Bartender anthologies. I have also started writing for a web series that will premiere in 2015. More on that as it develops.

On the editing side, things have been quiet but steady. November has been mostly dedicated to the writing side.

I continue working on several short stories for submission to different publications who have no idea I intend to inflict my work on them as yet. We shall see what they think.

That's all for now. Have a safe and happy holiday. Remember to stay low and keep your powder dry!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October Wrap-up

The majority of  what has been done this month isn't immediately visible because it resides almost exclusively on my laptop and in my notebooks. 

I finished, finally, the second Velvet Wasp case and am currently putting the finishing touches on two other stories whose deadlines are the 31st. Finishing these stories was often interrupted by editing assignments from Pro Se Press but I can't blame them for my own procrastination. The VW case was supposed to be done by the end of September. 

Good news came in the form of the announcement that my short story "The Hard Part" was accepted for Hermit Studios Press' NovoPulp Anthology Volume 2. I got a look at the preliminary cover art and it looks fantastic. I also got a notice that the Blink! anthology from Ink Monkey Press, which contains my flash fiction piece "What is a Ninjabot?", has started back up again after an extended hiatus brought on by computer problems.

Expect me to start talking soon about a Lovecraftian anthology I will edit for Alban Lake Publishing next year. The guidelines have been drafted and the details are being ironed out now.

Last month Jackie Gamber and I had a blog tour through the internet. You can check out the index of the tour in a previous post. I'm happy to participate in blog tours. It gives me a chance to connect with a larger audience without having to traipse all over the place physically. I want to thank all the host websites for the opportunity.

After the Imaginarium convention, I'm done with conventions for this year. This gives me a chance to catch up on my writing assignments and spend more time with my family, friends, and grandkids. Over the last couple of weeks we've had wonderful visits from my daughter and her boys then from James and Marcia Miller and their kids. We were delighted to get a surprise visit from Nora Tamada, who we hadn't seen in about 10 years. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the family between now and the end of the year.

Okay, back to the notebooks. Til next time, stay low and keep your powder dry!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Poisonous - A Review

by Tommy B. Smith 
ISBN-10: 1937758249 
ISBN-13: 978-1937758240
Rainstorm Press, 2010
118 pages

Blurb: Following the Quake of ’79, a terrible force came to the city of St. Charles. This was the Living Poison. In Lilac Chambers, it may have found the perfect host. As she finds herself changing, becoming increasingly dangerous to everyone around her, it becomes apparent that her state of being is no accident of nature. She is becoming a prime vehicle for the Living Poison’s destructive swath through the streets of St. Charles. Detective Brandt McCullough has seen the Living Poison’s brutality. John Sutterfield, ringmaster of Sutterfield’s Circus of the Fantastic, is discovering its malignancy festering within the very circus he founded. These two are the only ones who might stand in the way of a force greater than anything they have ever known, one which threatens to wash the streets in red and swallow the city into chaos, but the stakes may be higher than either of them can imagine. St. Charles—indeed, the world—may tremble.

 Can a disease be sentient? And if it were, how would it act?

Poisonous might be the answer to those questions. Maybe it's the Living Poison, maybe it's something more supernatural, but whatever it is, it's killing people and spreading. The mysterious atmosphere of the storyline, it's suspense and growing threat, make Poisonous an edge-of-the-seat thriller as well as a first-class horror tale. Smith certainly has an eye for what makes a great story and relentlessly uses that skill with an unflinching determination to give the reader a hell of a ride.

Find it at Amazon and Rainstorm Press

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Letters to Daniel - A Review

Letters to Daniel
A Documentary 

Written, Directed, and Produced by Amy McCorkle

Producers Melissa Goodman, Pamela Turner
Music by Danny Jones
54 minutes
Healing Hands Entertainment

Impressed by the on-screen work of Daniel Craig, Amy McCorkle created a blog to do what she couldn't do personally: share her life with him.

A self-described fangirl, Amy is a prolific writer of novels, novellas, short stories and screenplays. Her work has won awards and received recognition from several venues. Some would envy her success but Amy suffers from bipolar disorder and doesn't always appreciate how people react to her work.

"Letters to Daniel" is a window into the mind of a woman learning how to deal with her psychological problems and her healing process from an abusive family history. It is an inspiring story describing how Amy grows to know who she is and finds out how to handle her life.

The blog has obviously been therapy for Amy, probably more successfully than any psychologist could ever be. She uses the blog as she would a dear confidant and the documentary lets you hear it in her voice, something you won't get from the blog itself.

"I wonder if I'll ever meet my heroes" she says. My opinion is she should look in the mirror.

To learn more about Amy, visit her website or Amazon page. Letters to Daniel is also available as an ebook on Kindle here.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Imaginarium Convention - A Review

Over the weekend I had the honor and privilege of being a guest at the Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, KY. In my opinion, this was a wonderful event springing from the respect and love the staff, guests, and vendors have for one remarkable man. But before I go on, a little background....

A few years ago there was an event in Louisville which came to be known in our writers' community as "SweatFest". I won't go into the details about this debacle except to say that were it not for the efforts of one man and his team of capable and efficient people, it would have been simply the most horrible experience I have ever had in my 20 years of convention-going. They literally made a silk purse from a sow's ear that year. The following year they again rose to the challenge and salvaged that same event from being a mistake of massive proportions. To this day, I am amazed at how they could do it. In spite of that, however, I have determined to skip that event from now on. I understand this last year the literary track did very well and I have no doubt it is because the rest of the concom finally allowed those who knew what they were doing to take it over.

Somewhere between then and this last weekend, it was determined that Louisville could do better for its creative community. Out of that came Imaginarium and I cannot applaud the creators and staff enough for what they have accomplished.

Am I gushing about this convention? Yes. And I don't gush often. But to see how this convention was organized, laid out, formatted, and run rank it as one of the best I have ever attended.

If you are an inveterate convention attendee or guest, you know the things that can and do go wrong. And I'm sure they did go wrong at Imaginarium but there was so little evidence of it, it may as well have gone perfectly. Of course, there was the odd cancellation and programming changes, but those were plainly posted in two places at registration. The staff were magnificent, hard-working, and ever-present when you needed them. The Author GOH did not appear, apparently due to a sudden illness (?), but we were content to have the other Imaginators (GOHs) there and things progressed smoothly. This was no mean feat. With over 100 guests and a programming track that would make a mathematician have nightmares in its complexity, they effectively herded the cats... er.. writers and got it done with admirable aplomb. For our part, every writer, filmmaker, and comic book artist worked just as hard to make sure we got to our respective panels, signings, showings, and readings on time. It was truly a joint effort as I have never seen before.

And I'm back to the beginning of my post. This was, indeed, a most heartfelt thank you to the man and his most capable staff who saved Louisville's writers' conventions. To Stephen Zimmer, Susan Roddey, Robin Blankenship, Frank Hall, all the staff and volunteers who worked so long and hard to make this come about, I salute you. You have created something that should and will be the forerunner of great things to come.

Find out more about the convention, guests, and programming, from its website at

In parting, I want to say I really enjoyed meeting up with old friends and making new ones. There are too many to list here (with over 100 of you, where would I start?) but I especially want to mention D. A. Adams, Amy McCorkle, Kay Iscah, and Jerry Benns. So glad you could make it. The rest of you -- my SSP friends, the people of Dark Oak, the Pro Se crazies, and the distinguished members of the Literary Underworld -- see you next time!

Til then, remember to stay low and keep your powder dry!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ongoing Blog Tour and Upcoming Convention

A bit late, but here is the itinerary for the blog tour.

Tour Schedule and Activities
9/8 SpecMusicMuse Review
9/8 The Rage Circus Vs. The Soulless Void Multi-Blogger Interview Part 1
9/8 Horror Tree Guest Post (Blalock)
9/8 Elizabeth Delana Rosa ~Book Lover & Creator of Worlds~  Guest Post (Gamber)
9/9 Jorie Loves a Story Guest Post (About Gamber)
9/9 I Smell Sheep Interactive Thread with Jackie and Dave
9/9 Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author Guest Post (Blalock)
9/10 The Southern Belle from Hell Art of the Angelkiller Triad (Blalock)
9/10 Bee’s Knees Review Guest Post (Gamber)
9/10 Blog of Sheila Deeth Guest Post (Gamber)
9/10 The Official Writing Blog of Deedee Davies Multi-Blogger Interview Part 2
9/10 Seers, Seraphs, Immortals & More Jackie Gamber Interviews H. David Blalock
9/11 Seers, Seraphs, Immortals & More H. David Blalock Interviews Jackie Gamber
9/11 Workaday Reads Guest Post (Gamber)
9/12 Vampires, Witches, & Me, Oh My! Guest Post (Gamber)
9/12 Trip Through My Mind Multi-Blogger Interview Part 3
9/12 Beauty In Ruins Guest Post (Blalock)
9/13 Jess Resides Here Review
9/14 Willow’s Author Love Guest Post (Blalock)
9/14 Fantastical Musings Multi-Blogger Interview Part 4
9/14 Jorie Loves a Story Guest Post (Gamber)

Next week I'll be heading to Louisville, KY for the Imaginarium Convention. I hope to see you there. For more information on the convention, check out their website.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The August from Hell

August is gone. At last!

I spent the majority of the month on crutches after a bout with tendonitis degenerated into a full-fledged battle. From a wheelchair in July to crutches for most of August to a cane and back to crutches when the other foot decided it had worked enough and wanted a break... I had a brief period in the middle of the month where I actually thought I might get back on both feet at the same time but it turned out to be a mirage. I'm done with this.

I still managed to attend the River City Comic Expo in Little Rock. It was a great event and I'm glad I could make it. My daughter Herika Raymer did most of the heavy lifting. Thanks, Herika! I got to see the preliminary artwork for the cover of the upcoming Velvet Wasp series from Pro Se Press. I must say, it looks fantastic. Can't wait to see it in print. It should be out soon. Kimberly Richardson of Dark Oak Press took pictures of my hands. Strange, huh? More about that later.

I finally finished the steampunk story for submission to Dark Oak Press' next Dreams of Steam anthology. I was able to keep it under 10,000 words by sheer force of will. I hope it came out as a steampunk story. I kept getting lost between western and scifi somewhere in the middle there. I have written several steampunk tales now and, truth to tell, I'm still not sure I know what steampunk is. All I can do is try to channel Jules Verne and HG Wells as I write and hope for the best.

Finished several editing jobs for Pro Se Press and Hermit Studios Press.  They each have their particular ways of doing things, so keeping that straight is a third job there. The deadline for NovoPulp's next anthology passed but I was able to get my submission in before the end. Hopefully it will make the cut.

August 17th my mother had a birthday and August 24th was my wedding anniversary, two bright spots in an otherwise trying series of weeks. My Facebook page passed 18,000 likes on August 28th, the latest milestone showing it's possible my work may still be entertaining. A lot of people have been complaining about Facebook's advertising and privacy policies. Odd, since in spite of what a lot of people maintain, using social media is tacit permission to expose your posts to the public at large. Private messaging is different from status updates but people seem to think they are the same.

Before I go, just a reminder that links to my latest work are live at my website. Til next time, remember to stay low and keep your powder dry!

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!