Metapost: The Post That Isn’t About Zombies

My apologies for the quiet spell. Things move and wheels turn but I haven’t had much to share for a while. I do have another zombie focused Media Roundtable post prepared, along with some musings on zombies in horror fiction, but that will arrive later this week. For the meantime, I’ll just leave you with a few updates and videos and links to share…

On the publishing front, I’ve reached 40+ rejections, and a scant handful of acceptances. I’m widening my search as it were, which has resulted in discovering some smaller publications I might not have found earlier. If you are in the mood for some short fiction magazines, I can suggest Lamplight Magazine, Abomination Magazine, and Fireside Magazine, as some hidden gems. If you have suggestions for other short fiction venues, either for submission or for reading, please leave a comment.

A Quick Bite of Flesh, the zombie flash fiction anthology that will contain a pared down version of Barricade, will be available on Friday Sep 21st on Kindle, and in print in early October.  Except a little more ballyhoo here when it’s available. The Dead Sea, a nautical horror anthology will be coming in early October, and I’ll provide links to both.

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An Open Letter to Weird Tales

Earlier today, I made the unpleasant decision to withdraw one of my stories from Weird Tales, due in part to their recent announcement (Link since removed, full text beneath). You can read a much better summation of the situation here, and here. Below is the email I sent. It’s nothing new, I’m just adding my voice to the others.

Update: John Harlacher of Weird Tales has responded to the issue, and I’m quite heartened by his candor. I still won’t be submitting anytime in the future as long as Marvin Kaye is involved.


Dear Editors,

It is with great sadness that I must tell you that I am withdrawing this submission for consideration. I saved this story for you, one of my most personal works, and one I have a great deal of pride in, because the Weird Tales name held such a complex and intoxicating charm.

I dreamt of having my first sale be to the magazine that introduced the world to HP Lovecraft, RE Howard, Clark Ashton Smith and others. Even though the magazine’s future has been in doubt in the last year, due to a strange change of ownership, and the unfathomable dismissal of Ann VanderMeer and her staff, I still saved my very best for consideration in your pages.

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Metapost: Audio Readings

Can I confess something? I google myself.

It happens. I’m not proud of it. But if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have found these readings of some of my older stories.

Youtube users MrCreepyPasta and ZoomingDakota have posted audio versions of two of my older stories, Fog and Chiasma. And they’re both pretty damned awesome.

Videos after the break…

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Midnight Media Roundtable I

A few folk have asked me over the last few months for some recommendations of horror fiction, and while I have more than a few suggestions, I’ve always put aside the task of compiling any sort of master list. And I’m still not going to.

Instead, let’s do this together. To start, here’s just a few films and books that have inspired or affected or intrigued me. I’ll try to keep this going with a little regularity. Also, on twitter I frequently do ultrabrief reviews, but this will give me a chance to be a little more detailed.

I’d also love your suggestion, so please comment and tell me your favorite or newly discovered films, books, authors, news stories, podcasts, terrifying Wikipedia articles or other scary ephemera of the web. There’s not a story I’ve written that didn’t have a clear inspiration point, and I always need more.

Some of these recommendations are likely old hat for many of you. I’ll try to get more obscure as I go. No numbers, or ratings. If I like it enough to talk about it, then I recommend it.

Continue reading “Midnight Media Roundtable I”

Metapost: On Genre and Storytelling

I warned you I’d start doing this more. Proceed at your own risk.

Over on my twitter feed, I got a little excited about the Lev Grossman article in response to Arthur Krystal’s article in the New Yorker (unlinked, as you have to pay to read) about genre fiction and traditional literary fiction. I debated putting those terms in quotations.

Before I even finished the article, I had to google one of the books in the lead image that I hadn’t heard of, Zone One, by Colson Whitehead, which led me to this review by Glen Duncan.

It begins:

A literary novelist writing a genre novel is like an intellectual dating a porn star. It invites forgivable prurience: What is that relationshiplike? Granted the intellectual’s hit hanky-panky pay dirt, but what’s in it for the porn star? Conversation? Ideas? Deconstruction?

So, genre fiction: pornography, literary fiction: intellectualism. Got it. Then I read this part:

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Metapost: On Pseudonymity, Publishing Updates, & More Metaposts

Hello all,

I had a good weekend for writing, finding the time to work out a new short piece, First Souls, (that I will be posting within the next day), and getting some good solid editing on some other work. Runner B stopped mid stride in the last couple weeks, as I’ve found little time to work on it from home. I’m currently on paternity leave, so my time to write is dictated by the nap schedule of a capricious id that cares little for quiet, uninterrupted working time.

First Souls was something that bubbled up between running and a bout of what I hope was food poisoning last week, and it needed to get on the page. If I didn’t give it a shot at life, it would have eaten away at me while I tried to work on Runner B. I will return to Runner B, but for some reason it’s proving more challenging than I’d thought.

I’m trying to take writing much more seriously now, scheduling out the tasks I need to address, including research of markets, agents, and publishers. Finishing Runner B is next on my task list, followed by final drafts and submissions of two other pieces. No more rejections or acceptance letters have come back in, and I’m about to send queries to some of the more tardy markets to see if I can goose them into a response, if only to free up the pieces for other submissions.

Two other things of note on the publishing front:

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Metapost: Passwords, Publication and Problems…

Forgive the Runner B delays, it’s been a complex couple of weeks.

That said, I’m having a bit of a dilemma regarding traditional publishing versus open blogging. I want to continue posting rough drafts for all to read and critique, because it’s become such a part of my creative process. But having a story freely available can jeopardize its chances of being published, as an open internet post can be seen as “prior publication.” I do think that publication and a wider audience needs to be my next objective.

My plan is to put all new Story Posts behind a password gate, with a single password for the whole site. This allows me to repost the drafts I had previously taken down. (They’re going to be back up within an hour, email me for the password!)

Since I can’t freely post the password, I hope you will be willing to email me to receive access. Of course, what you do with the password beyond that would be entirely up to you.

Of course, if anyone has any insight into traditional publishing, I’d be ever so grateful for your feedback. Does this solution work? Is there a more elegant solution I’m missing entirely?

Summer Night

This isn’t a new story, per se, but instead something I wrote up recently for a subreddit while I was waiting for some code to compile. This is, for most intents and purposes, a “true story”. Or rather, that’s what I said when I posted it there. There is one slight fabrication here, a keystone to hold this together as a narrative, as opposed to just a simple scene. But other than that, the rest is as I remember it, with all the unreliability that that implies. Enjoy.

I love horror, and I write scary stories, but I’m a skeptic, a strict rationalist through and through. I am not a believer. There have been, however, a couple of events in my life that I can’t properly explain.

When I was in college, a group of six friends and myself were on college campus, fresh from the disappointment of a failed attempt to score some hash. The college has a large arboretum, that edges a wide slow moving creek. It was a perfect California summer night, hot and muggy punctuated by gentle breaths of cool breeze.

We were walking along a long stretch of path, a wide paved trail with a steep drop into the water on the left, and a steep incline up a hill to the right. We’re talking too steep to go up without using your hands. On the incline to the right, a row of oak trees stood side by side with tall thin streetlights, casting the only light around, as it was a new moon. Ahead, we could see two hundred meters of trail, wide pools of orange light broken up by the deep black shadows under the limbs of the oak trees. But the path was flat and straight, so although the areas beneath the trees were inky dark, you could see there was no one else ahead of us on the path. The only sound was the gentle breeze and the frogs and insects in the creek.

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Metapost: The Case of the Disappearing Drafts

As I submit polished stories for publishing, I’ll be removing the corresponding scraps of the rough drafts that were posted here. Many markets consider any online postings as prior publications, and although the final drafts I am submitting are usually quite changed from the rough drafts you’ve read here, I want to make sure there is no room for confusion.

If the pieces are rejected from enough venues, I will likely update the pages to share the final drafts with you. What this means is that some stories will be unavailable while their polished counterparts are in submission, and potentially forever if they are accepted, in which case, you will not be able to get me to shut up about it.

If you’d like to read a draft that is no longer available, please email me and I will be happy to discuss.