Free Fiction! Just Review It For Amazon!

31 10 2013

Body horror, civil war wickedness, a little girl zombie
three horrors FREE
for your Amazon review
“Death Is Only Skin Deep”

or ask in comments!

My PhilCon Schedule

31 10 2013

This next weekend (Nov. 8 – 10) is PhilCon and I will be participating in these panels:

Sat 1:00 PM in Plaza V (Five) (1 hour)
[Panelists: Tom Purdom (mod), Neil Clarke, Sally Wiener Grotta, Tim
W. Burke, Ken Altabef]

What new venues of short fiction have emerged recently? What
markets have grown better or worse in terms of pay rates, response
and general pleasantness to deal with

Sat 4:00 PM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)

[Panelists: Tim W. Burke (mod), Edward Carmien, Tom Doyle, Jim
Freund, Steve Miller]

Taking another look at Harlan Ellison’s ground breaking anthology.
Did this change the field forever? Or is it overrated

Sat 9:00 PM in Plaza V (Five) (1 hour)

[Panelists: Tim W. Burke (mod), Muriel Hykes, Jay Smith, Pam Smith]

Defeating ageism in fandom. We’ll look at it from both sides… both
ageism against the older fan, as well as ageism against younger fans
as well

BTW I Burned My Ships LOL

30 10 2013

A year ago this past June, I couldn’t handle my management job anymore. I had been promoted from within a department that had gone without direct supervision for several years. It had no Policies and Procedures, no progressive discipline, even no employee review until I had become manager. My supervisory stream’s motto was “We are not going to go to labor court.” Unknown to me at the time, I even had an employee who had sex with another department manager in her work cubicle, then told her coworkers (please sue me for saying this, Employee; I will subpoena your cuckold and your other guy too).
But the manager job paid more than I thought I would ever make working in video production. After seven years on the job, I had paid off my car, had no debt, and lots of money in the bank. My parents’ estate was liquidated, and I received even more money.
I wanted to be a writer.
Hans Gruber in “Die Hard” tells us of Cortez, who burned his ships to cement his commitment to success.
I quit. Flat-out quit. I’d been living off savings until this summer. Now I got a job at a Major Big-Box Store Chain as a sales associate and rented a room from a friend.
This is all to further my writing.
I am fifty years old, and frankly this is My One Big Shot At Success.
Since quitting, I finished a horror novel, polished a fantasy fiction novel, drafted most of another fantasy fiction novel, and wrote a few short stories, and helped to establish a new publishing imprint.
I am down to 1/3 of my original amount. I am at a net loss every month. Moving and getting a job has staunched the flow by about ½.
I do have a retirement fund which WILL NOT BE TOUCHED.
There are days when I could be more productive. However, when I consider I would have lived in my car rather than stay in my manager job, I feel I did the right thing.
Many good things are in the works. I will tell all as evidence of those things accumulates.

Things I Learned In Boyhood…

23 10 2013

You could fit your cat in the vehicle bay of a Major Matt Mason Moon Base. Because the sides were clear plastic, it turns out the cat didn’t mind so much.

If mammals average 21 seconds per session of urination, it took 105 seconds worth of urine to put out the brush fire that got out of hand back in Boy Scouts.

Even as kids, you could tell who would end up in jail. The guys who shoplifted. The girls who got into fights. That guy who belched the alphabet and pretended to have sex with the Putman’s collie.

Old people didn’t think it was nice for a nine-year-old to call a girl “broad” or “wench.”

When you moved to a new town, no one was going to know you picked your nose up and ate it until seventh grade. But you’re still going to end up hanging out with nerds.

The kids on “Zoom”? Yeah, I could’ve done that.

For some reason, when Mrs. Mayberry did yardwork in her bikini, Mom didn’t want you to watch.

When you shot frogs with b-b guns? Or filled a cool whip container with grasshoppers and firecrackers? You had to be discrete.

Teachers called parents about weird stuff, like when my friend drew the story about the war between frogs and mice, and used up the red crayons.

Rubber cement was the most precious substance ever created. It helped build a model of a Panzer tank, and when set alight made that model into a glorious blaze. Rubber cement was the Alpha and the Omega.

The Poisonous Bile of Nostalgia and How You Never Really Loved Anything

21 10 2013

Using That Creature I Created…

19 10 2013

…in a story.
Remember the Carnivorous Robot?
I’m using it in a story. Current body count: a government agent, a best friend, and a cat.
That’s right, Internet! I’m breaking the ultimate taboo! I’m killing a cat!

I May Have Already Written You Into A Story

8 10 2013

One way to improve your art (writing or performing) is through creating surprising, realistic characters. All the writing books suggest using people you know as templates for characters. In improv, some of the more liked characters I’ve done are based on people I know.
But what if you put your friend in the weirdest situation? Have them react realistically to the best of your ability. In art, there is no wrong answer, only a more plausible and committed answer.
My story “Flammin’ The Haints” was based on my friends Martin and Michael, who had a deep respect for each other and years of routines they would perform in conversation.
The oddness was that I put my friends into an alternate United States in 1910. This alternate world had discovered a way to mass-produce spiritualists. Through medical operations and mystic procedures, the bodies of the living could be made homes for the souls of the dead. The poor would be pressed into becoming possessed by the souls of the wealthy and powerful. Over time, the possessed bodies would take on the physical characteristics of the possessing soul.
My friends Martin and Michael are African-American. Michael’s preferences ran to cardigan sweaters, classical music, and cooking. Martin was a self-taught autodidact with years of acting experience. Both loved speculative fiction. Martin would make fun of Michael, saying he was “an undercover White man.”
I’d had the idea of the alternate society for months before author Lawrence Schoen suggested “why don’t you have a conman in this society who can pass?”
I immediately thought of Michael, which meant that I immediately thought of Martin. Michael became a man who came north to Philadelphia with faked credentials and scars to give scam lectures about the spirit world and live off the donations. Martin became the educated local who saw through Michael’s con. Michael and Martin team up to give each other more clout and credibility. I even adapted their running gags to the times, and there two well-received characters were born.
“Born” is the correct term. Normally, I plan out a plot and the characters move it to its resolution. Using Martin and Michael, their personalities were so deeply real in my mind, that at the very moment I was writing the story climax, they took it into another direction and came up with another ending.
This is good: anther thing the writer books all say is “If the writer s surprised, then the reader will be surprised.”
Obviously, using your friends can be socially awkward. I got Michael’s permission to write and gave him final say over the credibility of his and Martin’s characters. To appropriate from “the other” is challenging enough, but to appropriate your friend without his input? That’s rude.
Right now, I’m slushing around in my head a character who is a twenty-five year old fanboy who won $400 million in Powerball. The plan is for this character to take this money and use it to better society using Spec-Fic Methods. Form a Nerd League of Justice. Using hired mercenaries and their own 4Chan.
I say “hope”, because he may surprise me. I’m basing the character on a popular, outgoing guy I know, and that character may take it in a whole different direction.
That adds to the excitement. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Remember those carniverous robots?

1 10 2013

Remember the carnivorous robots? They are fueled by digesting meat. They can ooze through crevices.

They can learn your habits.

And some can move like snakes.

Now they’re invisible.

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