Digger’s Lament

Digger’s Lament is a side story to an epic science-fantasy trilogy I’ve had percolating in my head for a little over five years. Palta and Ananda were supposed to be minor secondary characters, but they are the first to hit the page. Robert Helmbrecht at the sadly defunct Hazardous Press, who bought my first ever story, asked me to contribute to the anthology “Tales of the Black Arts” and I wrote the first draft in one night. I’m more than a little in love with these two characters and have a pair of other adventures in mind for them before I tackle the Big Trilogy, “This Side of the Blue”.

In the night, the valley was so filled with smoke that Palta could not make out the dimmest guidestars. He had a dozen other ways to divine the time and his location, but it still filled him with a slippery dread, a feeling of being half-lost and pointed in the wrong direction. His tent, barely half the size of the reeves’ tents and still stinking of the marsh crossing, seemed to close in on him like a fist as he tried to catch a few fitful moments of sleep.

He’d wet his scarf and tied a thin strip to his face, but the sharp stench of the burned town and a hundred cook-fires crept through, clinging to the soft tissue of his eyes and nose. Outside, he could hear the 17th Expeditionary Host of Imperial Kattaka, the insectile buzz of a thousand men talking grimly by the fires, reeking of dismay and unease. He knew it wouldn’t be long until they started to blame him for the men who’d died that day.

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Black Stars Rise: New Fiction in FLAPPERHOUSE and True Detective Ramblings

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Firstly, this week marks the release of the first issue of FLAPPERHOUSE, a new magazine from editor Joe O’Brien. Joe is a long time visitor to the site, and I was honored that he asked me to submit. My story, “Axis Mundi”, (sample here!) is a sci-fi/horror story about derelict spaceships and divinity, is one of several new stories and poems to grace the pages of the first issue. It’s a terrific collection of varied voices, and the more I read, the more proud I am to be a part of it.

Secondly, I just finished True Detective last week. I wanted to hold off on the last episode for several years, just to inhabit the liminal space forever, but my wife demanded that we finish it. I’ve been enormously taken by the show, from the deliberate reference to the philosophy of Thomas Ligotti and other antinatalists in the first 15 minutes, to the series-wide use of weird fiction in general and Robert Chambers’ “The King in Yellow”in specific, the show was not only expertly written, shot and acted, it was also directly created to please me. Or, that’s how it felt across most of the 8 episodes. I’m fairly certain that this is, and will remain for some time, my favorite series on television, ever.

Since the show ended, I’ve been chewing on some things. One thing I’m maybe mildly disappointed with is that a lot of the intricacy of symbolism in set and costume design turned out to be coincidental more than intentional, but the show still has the feel of a puzzle box. And I adore puzzle boxes. With the writer mentioning that he’s a fan of some of my weird fiction authors (Ligotti, Barron, and Langan among them), and that he’s drawn direct inspiration from the genre (beyond the overarching King in Yellow references within the story), it had me on high alert for references, metaphors and symbolism. So, this is me pulling on threads and seeing what tumbles out.

Spoilers, obviously.

Right fucking

I’ll try, Rust. Here’s my thoughts on one of the repeating images and concepts from the show: Black Stars…

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Metapost: 2013 – Year Two and “Jamais Vu, Issue 1” Giveaway!

So, here we are, 2013.

Sorry, yes, I am going to give away a copy of Jamais Vu Journal, Winter 2014, but at the end of this post (and one more on facebook, and one more on twitter), so feel free to scroll right past all this other hogwash.

Anyway, I didn’t quite hit my goals this year, but enough good was accomplished that I’m not going to lament about it too much.

I didn’t quite keep up a respectable output, still falling into the feast and famine patterns of writing a huge chunk and then not again for many days. Here’s the thing: I know “write every day” is the advice everyone gives writers, but… Sometimes that’s not possible. For me, with a demanding job and a family, it’s rarely possible, and just accepting that was a big step for me this year. It meant untangling a few threads of guilt at perceived failure from all thoughts of writing. If I found time, that became a good thing, not a reminder of yesterday’s failure . This translated into longer and longer stories, as I wrote four and five thousand words in a sitting. While I wrote two flash pieces this year for specific contests and calls, the other pieces I finished clocked in at 11k and 12k words, far longer than my old 2k word stories. I’m finding I quite like the wider canvas to work on, and that novelette and novella length stories are very difficult to find markets for… So, click through to see how this year stacked up:

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“The Blues” is up on Pseudopod! (plus my location photos from the story…)

After a bit of an unforeseen delay, the incredible Pseudopod podcast has just posted a reading of my story “The Blues”, read for you by Gabe Diani, writer and star of the fantastic horror-comedy “The Selling”.

Gabe, along with his partner-in-crime, Etta Devine, are the masterminds behind The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: The Robotic Edition, and are currently producing and gearing up for their next feature, Diani and Devine Meet the Apocalypse, a comedy road movie about two comedians caught unaware by the end of the world, or as they put it: “Like ‘The Road’…but funnier!”… which is perhaps the best tagline for a piece of art, ever.  Check out their page, and when the Kickstarter is up, I’ll let you know.

Gabe and Etta are both old friends of mine, and I was honored that they volunteered to step in and read “The Blues” after the first reading suffered some issues. Their read turned out better than I could have hoped for, and I’m incredibly grateful to Shawn Garret, the editor of Psuedopod for all his help.

Having a story on Pseudopod is an enormous honor for me, as it was one of the reasons I started writing horror (4chan’s /x/ being my other big inspiration). I’m thrilled to have followed, at last in numerological sense, the incredible Thomas Ligotti, with episode 351 “The Bungalow House”, which was fantastic.

I am deeply appreciative to you all for your readership and support over the years, and thank you for being here with me. It would mean a great deal to me if you downloaded the show, left me feedback here, or at the Psuedopod Forums, and I would be especially grateful if you would share this episode with a friend if you liked it, or an enemy, if you didn’t.

Hit “Continue Reading” for some photographs of the locations in “The Blues”
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Metapost: More Audio Readings

Jeff Clement and the good folks over at AuralStimulation have just sent me the following video, an awesome reading of “Dust” with music, stunning, eerie imagery, multiple actors and sound effects. Here it is, with my commentary, which is simply “wow”.

I’m a big fan of modern and old radio theater, and I think Jeff and company really nailed the aesthetic. There’s a lively community of people reading creepypastas on the YouTubes, and I’ve shared a handful before, but here’s a list I’ve compiled of all the ones I’ve found read from my stories. Hit “View Full Article” to see the rest.

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Metapost: Releases and Revision

I hope this update finds you all as well as I have been.

In the past few months, I’ve had two anthologies released from Cruentus Libri Press, and another story featured in the Mad Scientist Journal. If you’ll forgive the self promotion, here are the links to read “Zero” at Mad Scientist Journal, or to purchase either anthology from Amazon:

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