Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dr Pitch update

Oh, lord. The story of Dr Pitch did not wind up being short at all. In fact, it's nowhere near the 5500 words I projected. I've completed a bare bones 1st draft today, and it's already come it at 9300 words. That is already outside the realm of short stories and well into the realm of the novelette. And it's only going to get longer once I actually start adding flavour to it.

Oh well. Being unsaleable at this length as a stand-alone just means that I'll include it in the anthology I'm working on. The title I finally decided on for this story is Five Witnesses to Dr Pitch's Final Experiment. (Subject to change.)

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Completed Amidst Shadows They Wait. Really happy with the finished product - now I just have to start searching for a home for it. Found a couple new markets to try out, but not much in the way of anthologies where I'd prefer to submit.

Hopefully I'll have time to work on Dr Pitch this weekend.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dr Pitch

Been busy sort of casually working on a new short story tentatively titled Five Witnesses to Dr Pitch's Ascension. Have the first two chapterettes complete, and a very rough outline for the remainder of the story.

I'm really going to try to keep this one under 5000 words this time. I feel pretty sure that I'll be able to pull it off. With the first two chapterettes complete, the story sits at around 1500 words, and I feel like it's already 1/3 complete, so that should put me at around 4500 words when finished. We'll see.

I haven't looked at Amidst Shadows for awhile. It's complete but for a final proofread, and I've always felt this task is better done when I've given myself some distance from the work. Perhaps another week.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

4th draft

Completed the 4th draft of Wish You Were Here which is now called Amidst Shadows They Wait, Amongst Us They Play. The 4th draft also saw the word count grow to around 7200, which I think is right about where it'll stay. Just have the final draft to go, checking for straggling errors, before I format it and send it away.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

3rd draft

The 3rd draft of Wish You Were Here sees me dip below 7000 words, finally coming to rest at around 6950. I'm really pleased with how streamlined the whole thing has become. Still need one more draft which will see this number go either up or down by up to 100 words or so.

I'll definitely be changing the title, but I'm not yet sure to what. While working on the last two drafts, a previously hidden theme popped up and I'd like the title to reflect this. I'll have to think on it.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

2nd draft

Put in 3 more hours last night, and finished a 2nd draft of Wish You Were Here, paring it down to just under 7500 words. Feeling a lot better about that number, and I'm fairly certain I should be able to get it closer to 7000 in subsequent drafts.

long short stories

I have a problem. It's incredibly hard for me to keep my short stories short. I had every intention of keeping this new one (Wish You Were Here) to 5500 words maximum, and now here it is sitting at a bloated 8000. That's such an undesirable length for a short story. Unsaleable really. I've tried selling pieces of similar length in the past, and typically get, "good, but too long, sorry."


And so, now I have a few of these short stories of awkward length sitting on my hard drive. One piece of advice was to make them even longer, turning them into novellas. I tried that with one of them, blowing it up to 18000 words. In the end, it felt a little watered down.

I dunno. This one is the shortest of my awkwardly long short stories. I'll see what I can do to shave it down a little. At least get it down to the low 7000s.

Here's a screen capture of the completed first draft:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Haiku for today.

On this wintry day,
a four-car pileup
freezes rush hour traffic.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

hallucination (fragment)

Some details can not help but be lost here. Driving aimlessly in the jungle for a day after the ingestion of an unknown hallucinogen. Psilocybin, but more so. Not quite LSD. Baby woodrose? Argyreia nervosa. Maybe. Ayahuasca, almost certainly.

There was strange mishmash of what Harlan thought to be hallucination, and what he thought to be reality. Mostly, though, he couldn't really tell for certain which was which. Strange shapes shuttling alongside the Jeep, existing only in his peripheral vision. Great birds circling overhead, just above the canopy, which he knew were far to big to be real. Weren't they? At one point he drove full speed into a mercifully shallow pond after mistaking the placid water for a stretch of much sought after asphalt.

With the guide curled up in the small backseat of the Jeep, drifting in and out of consciousness, moaning, but unable or unwilling to speak, Harlan had his wrecked mind set on getting to higher ground. Gunning the engine, they reached a certain elevation, and the vehicle broke from the tree line. Before he knew it, they were above the canopy, easily charging through the scrub, climbing higher and higher up a long, gentle slope.

There has to be something around here, Harlan thought. If I keep driving, I'll eventually find a dirt road, at the very least. Get up to high ground and do a little surveying. He raced higher and higher, the engine pinging and sputtering. Higher and higher. High, so high. Don't look down. Or do.

Harlan slammed on the brakes, skidding across the dew-slick underbrush, and came to rest with one of the Jeep's front tires hanging precariously over a sharp drop-off. He looked out through the muddied windshield over a great misty expanse, and marvelled at the green canopy far below. He was so in awe of the landscape's beauty that he paid no mind to the fact that he had nearly driven off a cliff.

Opening the door of the Jeep, Harlan got out and stood on the foliage-covered, but unnaturally straight, sharp edge, of the drop-off. He cocked his head as his eyes found a perfectly straight line running the length of the escarpment. He squinted, not believing what he was seeing, and turned his head to the right and found the same distinct line cutting beneath and past the Jeep. In all, the anomalous cliff had to be over four hundred feet long.

It clicked in a second what this was, and Harlan fell to his knees, digging frantically through the tough vegetation. Through a tangled, twisted mass of vines and tree roots, he worked his right arm down into the wet growth until he was nearly up to his elbow in it. Nearly a foot down, his fingers met resistance in the form of rough stone. Exhausted mentally, physically, spiritually, he collapsed, weeping.

He knew he had found the ruins for which he had been searching.


New anthology available from Horror Bound Magazine, Fear of the Dark, a collection of short stories from twenty-one contributers (including me!).

five new reviews

I've contributed five reviews to this installment of Horror Bound Magazine, starting with Brian P. Easton's Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter. I'm not just blowing smoke in this review; this book seriously kicks some major ass. One of the best I've read in a long time.

John Savoie's anthology, The Zombie Chronicles, is a nifty collection of zombie short stories.

Jaym Gates and Erika Holt have truly put together a unique collection of short stories with Rigor Amortis, an anthology of zombie erotica.

Tesseracts 14: Strange Canadian Stories, edited by John Robert Colombo and Brett Alexander Savory, continues a succesful line of anthologies.

And Bekka Black takes the cell phone novel to the next level with iDrakula, a new look at an old monster.

In addition to my own contributions, there is also an extensive review by Jason Rolfe of Paul Kane and Marie O’Regan's Voices in the Dark, an excellent collection of horror writer interviews.

Issue #15 also features nine new short stories, a profile on author Lisa Mannetti, and much more.

Friday, January 7, 2011

hologram (fragment)

“So, that leads me to today. Dead. And where am I now?” He frowned, glancing down at the box before him, that ominous symbol of death, the long, black coffin. “Certainly not down there,” he waved dismissively. “You'll notice – and some of you may disagree with this decision – that the lid on that box is closed. This is as I requested. There is nothing there but a husk. An empty shell. This,” he said, patting his chest, “this is how I want to be remembered. Full of life, full of thoughts, speaking. Not some waxy likeness.” The hologram flickered slightly, before blinking out completely and back on.