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Category Archives: Writing

My forthcoming poetry anthology just got a good pre-press blurb….

Death in Common: Poems from Unlikely Victims brings unusual depth, creativity and chillingly potent imagery to what is often referred to as “horror poetry.” The poems within this unique volume are not simply horrific, they’re genuinely lyrical and wonderfully human stories as well, and that’s not easily accomplished by any poet, liviing, dead, or somewhere in between.

–T.M. Wright, author of “Bone Soup” (Cemetery Dance, 2009) and “Blue Canoe,” a novel (PS Publications, 2009).

Thanks Terry!

… For a Black Quill Award for “Small Press Chills.”  The Black Quill is a relatively new award in the Horror Genre, and further details can be found here.

Whenever I find myself in the middle of a project, this blog suffers and gets no posts.  So, my last post says I was editting a poetry anthology.  Done and turned in.  Before that, I was writing a Novelette about Belgium.  That’s not finished, and has been put on the back burner for a bit.  As I did say earlier, I was going to broaden this blog out to be more than just Nostalgia posts.  Anyhow, in the mean time, here are two people I should add to my blogroll:

Jerrod Balzer

and

SD Hintz

Two good guys in the field of horror.  (And for disclosure’s sake, the people who published my Chapbook, into the Cruel Sea)

Shakespeare, I like to remind people, wrote horror. It’s hard to read the murders in King Lear or Macbeth or Hamlet, for example, and not think of it as anything but horror. Drama, for the Elizabethans, was a form of pulp fiction — entertainment for the unwashed masses while the cultural elitists wrote and read poetry. But the definitions of “poetry” can be fluid, and Shakespeare remains to this very day. He had his cake and ate it too, writing poetry, but writing it in a medium that the public, of all socio-economic stripes, could consume. I write this, partly because lovers of “dark fiction” are routinely asked to justify themselves, whether it’s from former professors or relatives and friends. Last I checked, Harlequin readers are hardly ever asked as much, “Why do you read/like romance?” For me, at least, horror fiction is a place that welcomes tragedy, which has a long, long literary history. Plus, tragedy allows you to examine life in its entirety, warts and all. I’m writing this, not because somebody has recently asked me, but because I just read a superb essay by Sarah Langan — one that argues the case better than I ever could:

When it works, horror gets as close to the veins of our emotions as any piece of literature is able. The monsters do not exist to frighten us, but to soothe us. Their existence reassures us that we are reading fiction. We’ve got a lifeline, in case the characters with which we are identifying drag us too far into uncomfortable emotional terrain. Our characters’ screams are our own screams, but when we are done, we can relax, because none of it was real, right? Except, we can’t stop thinking about the friends we met in those books. We hope that long after the stories ended, they lived happy lives. We hope they are okay. We hope we’re okay, too.

Ellen Datlow has posted the table of contents for the 2009 Nebula Showcase on her LiveJournal page.  It’s humbling to be in such good company.

(Haven’t updated for a few months because I got busy with work and with writing.  At any rate….)

At the present, I’m reminded of something Neil Gaiman wrote in his introduction for Mark Millar’s The Good Fairies of New York. He commented about how he’d bought the book, but was afraid to read it.  Gaiman was writing American Gods — you know, old magic in the “New World” — and he was afraid Millar had touched on the same idea.   In short, Gaiman was afraid Millar had beaten him to the punch, so to speak.  In the end, he wrote his story anyway, and then hazarded a read of Millar’s, only to be relieved to discover how different they were.

As a relatively new and novice fiction writer, I really didn’t understand Gaiman’s anxiety until today.  But before I get there, let me explain something.  I’ve been on a Bermuda binge for nearly a year now.  And then, in the scope of my research (which, some nights, means a 40 ouncer of Hurricane Malt liquor and Google), I discovered something interesting: some Bermudians think Shakespeare wrote “The Tempest” about their island.  So, I got this idea in my head: rewrite The Tempest.  It seemed like a brilliant idea at the time.

The problem?  Rewriting Shakespeare is not terribly original.  Writers far better than me have been doing it for centuries, but I clung to the idea.  Surely, I thought, “The Tempest” hasn’t been turned into a horror story, yet?  So, I turned it over and over in my head, and then, against my will, I started writing the story about four days ago.  Presently, I’m about 4,000 words into it, with the idea that it’s either going to be 9-15k, all around.  I’m calling it “Caliban’s Tempest.”  So what’s my problem?

Well, today, I stopped by a used paperback store in Belmar, New Jersey.  I didn’t want to linger long, as I was hoping to score a very cheap Clive Barker short story collection.  I ended up with volume 3 of The Books of Blood.   Further about three feet away, I see the name “Caliban” glaring at me from a book spine.  I grabbed it.  Robert Devereaux. Leisure Books, 2002. For horror, that’s pretty damn public.  Shoulders slumped, I bought both and lumbered to my car, angry at this Devereaux guy, thinking that I had to pitch my story away.

I haven’t read the book yet, but I’ve skimmed it.  And, thankfully, it’s not the story I was planning to write.  Devereaux rewrote Shakespeare’s play from another prospective.  I’m actually writing a “Prequel” that happens many, many years before Prospero shows up and enslaves Caliban.   Oh, and my story has women that are naked and half-human squid monsters.

Still, if I’ve learned anything idea is ever truly original 100%.  This is why, when one has been bitten by the writing bug, it helps to live in an area with a couple of libraries and a couple of used book stores, where one can get cheap access to older titles.  And, one thing else,..: it’s probably a good idea to avoid doing what Neil Gaiman did.   He would have probably saved himself some anxiety if he just examined the book when he first saw it.  But then again, who am I to second guess Neil Gaiman?