How To Prepare For Book Launches Pt.1

21 03 2023

First, we write bios…

100 word horror bio:

Tim W. Burke grew up near two US Federal penitentiaries. After attending George S. Patton Junior High, he attended high school in the town that inspired the movie “Halloween”. Tim began writing horror in 1989 while reading submissions to Weird Tales. He produced video, performed comedy, stocked shelves, and co-owned a comic book store. His horror fiction has appeared in Space and Time, Weird Tales, LORE,, several anthologies, and the preliminary ballot of the Stoker Awards. Now Tim braces himself for what’s next in the state of Delaware, USA. 

150 word horror bio:

Tim W. Burke’s novel “The Flesh Sutra” earned a place on the preliminary ballot of the Stoker Awards. He was born in East Saint Louis before the riots. Growing up throughout the US, he lived within sight of two Federal penitentiaries. He attended General George S. Patton Junior High School, then high school in the town that inspired the movie “Halloween”. Tim began writing horror in 1989 while reading submissions to Weird Tales under editor George Scithers. Tim produced commercial and government video, performed comedy, stocked shelves, and co-owned a comic book store.  He lives with chronic anxiety and depression, using it as fuel for dark humor and weird horror. His fiction has appeared in Space and Time, Weird Tales, LORE,, and several anthologies. An enthusiast in all things supernatural and cryptid, he saw the ghost of his mother’s cat. Now Tim awaits the next weirdness by living in the state of Delaware, USA. 

100 word humor bio:

Tim W. Burke was raised by a nomadic family of social workers. He attended General George Patton Junior High and the high school that inspired the movie “Halloween”. He graduated Temple University with a BA in Media. With DQD Comedy Theatre in Philadelphia, he appeared on ABC’s Funniest Home Videos. He produced and performed in the stage show and movie “The Kibbles and Bits of ‘Hellorama’”, earning raves from local critics and FilmThreat Magazine. His humor has appeared in Space and Time magazine and several Philadelphia newspapers. He has rejected nomadism for slash-and-burn agriculture in the state of Delaware USA. Look for him at 

170 word humor bio:

Tim W. Burke was born in the wagon of a traveling show; his mama used to dance for the money they’d throw. Unlike the rest of Cher’s “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves”, Tim attended Temple University and got a BA in Media. Before that, though, he attended General George Patton Junior High, then high school in the town that inspired the movie “Halloween”. As a Boy Scout, he only earned a Reading merit badge, but did go on to play a lot of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. With DQD Comedy Theatre in Philadelphia, he appeared on ABC’s Funniest Home Videos in “I Feel Like ‘Iguana Tonight.’” He produced and performed in the stage show and movie “The Kibbles and Bits of ‘Hellorama’”, earning excellent reviews from local critics and FilmThreat Magazine. His humor has appeared in Space and Time magazine and several Philadelphia newspapers. Tim has produced commercial and government video, stocked shelves, and co-owned a comic book store. Now he has settled in Delaware, trying to make new quips from the 1965 hit “I Got You Babe”. 

Update! Cover Artists! Mine Is Really Good!

18 03 2023

This artist calls themselves “HumbleNations” and their business is “Go On Write”, which URLs as “goonwrite” or as I see it “goon write”, which I like more. It’s worth clicking on a book and seeing his examples, if just for a look at the mock-up titles…

Their blog is also Brithumorlicious.

What of my covers? There will be a release soon….

Create Story Ideas By Learning Your Passions and Terrors

20 10 2022

I’m using voice to text software for this post to see how well it works. Today I want to talk about starting a short story from scratch without even an idea as to the type of monster to make or even the tone of the story. First thing, I created a list of experiences in life I found disturbing or scary:

Home invasions, Insects on my body, Blood, Helplessness, Cocooning, Parasitism,Delusion, Torture, Pitch black darkness, Greek Tragedy, Turning against loved ones, Betrayal of trust, Loss of free will/identity, Trapped underground, Being an outsider, Vanishing without a trace, Impending unpleasantness

I created a list of movies and media that really made a great impact and I wanted to emulate to any degree. I’m a little disappointed that I recalled more movies than books:

Hereditary, Megan Is Missing (the premise and ending are so disturbing, I dare not see the movie), Get Out, Ringu (I liked Ring more), The Strangers (again, I will not watch this), US, Open Water (nope, not watching it), The Descent (I’ll watch this eventually), Se7en, Frailty, Midsommar, The Mist (movie is better than the novella), Session 9, Tomei, Junji Ito manga, Lolita the novel (listen to Jeremy Irons do the audiobook its amazing)

I was wondering if humor could play a factor in this and if so, I could see if some humor could seep into the story. Here’s a list of stuff that was fun to make: to find out what I considered funny.

The Marx Brothers, The Three Stooges, Steve Martin, Fights that go back and forth across doorways, The Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy (frigging brilliant), Pink Panther movies, Confederacy of Dunces, Hitchhikers Guides, Hyperbole and a Half, Jeeves and Wooster, Addams Family

There are a lot others but, yeah, I’m a middle-aged white bro.

I was surprised at the overlap between the disturbing and the funny.

Subverting tropes, Otherworldly mythos, Wordplay, Motivated yet relentless characters, Home invasions, Unreliable loved ones, More than a little self-delusion.

Now that I’ve done this, I can forget all about these lists and let them sit in the background.

Now let’s talk images and what they can spur. We hear of a writer experiencing something and being inspired by that sensation. I keep my Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, WordPress reader, YouTube, and Twitter loaded with photographers, artists, musicians, scientists, historians, psychologists, philosophers, and other smarties. I don’t get out much, so I need a steady supply of the Neato Ideas.

These Ideas will mix and mash and come up with things like:

A garland of roses looks like a coral worm, what if a vampire had duck louse instead of fangs, what if the YouTube algorithm invoked a primal Elder God, if dogs were elevated would they hire us to lick their asses, why doesn’t Delaware have cryptids or are they just real good at hiding, could post-humans lease out their body parts, would giants use people as kitchen appliances

Which are what’s been banging around in my head for the past week or so. Except the dog thing, that just occurred to me.

I’m doing all this because I am stripped of story ideas right now. I’m hoping something will shake out for a short story. It’s possible I may have to write to market for anthologies for a while just to get momentum back.

In future posts, I’ll show my next steps.

I've experienced two synchronicities and a life-altering experience in the past week.
I’ve experienced two synchronicities and a life-altering experience in the past week.

Reading the Bible. Here Are Some Horror Prompts.

1 09 2022

There are other gods. A lot of other gods. Did G-d make them or is there a divine ecology of which G-d is but one animal? Where there is ecology, there are parasites and brood parasites.

What would the Dark Goatee Wearing Version of the prophets be? Dark Noah might still be submerged in the Under-Arc, surfacing to eject cryptids onto land.

Which personage from the Bible could be cursed to roam the Earth for eternity? Jehu could be driving over feminists even now.

What if G-d came down to clarify The Word and He went really, really into the unexpected? What direction would you take it?

What happened to the fiery sword which faced all sides?

What happened to The Ear cut off by Simon Peter? If you cut off your own ear and stitch The Ear in its place, you can hear what?

What of the other tales of Jesus mentioned at the end of John?

Summary of Ray Bradbury’s Tips For Writers

21 07 2022

Some years ago, I posted a sour assessment of “Zen and The Art of Writing”, a memoir by Ray Bradbury of his life and writing. He seemed to rest his success on his supportive upbringing and sunny disposition, neither of which I had a lot of while growing up. I have not revisited my post, but this summary makes a good case for ZatAoW as a good writing guide.

Have a look and I do recommend buying the book from your local bookseller. Lets Me Experiment With Magick/Hacking My Subconscious

1 07 2022

I’ve written about art and reality are a dialogue allowing the artist to change. I’ve written about how my writers group pushed me to change my protagonist from a tragic romanticist to a protagonist who is more proactive and hopeful. In time, hopefully, I will tell you how that helped me grow past obsessing about supposed deficiencies and actually working toward growing.

Chaos Magick had always appealed to me. It supported the conclusions of my pragmatic upbringing while emphasizing the importance of creativity. I have neither the faith nor the energy for complex ritual and Chaos lets you invent your own process.

I liken it to playing slight of hand with my neurosis. By doing something unusual, by taking a small risk relating tangentially to specific goals, any progress toward that goal helps me to think I have control. Which yes, I do have control over my life, but my neurosis does not believe that. This slight-of-hand makes me more confident to see opportunities more clearly.

My goals are relationship and writing-based. I went to and followed the instructions. The resulting designs were drawn in sketch pads and adapted into cartoons. Then in accordance with the sigil process, I forget the original requests and pay attention to the cartoons.

Coloring the cartoons needed a liminal state, so I listened to the same song on repeat while drawing and coloring.

Have a look. I have only slight idea what these represent.

Portents? Am I Magicking Myself?

14 06 2022

I woke last week with a muscle cramp in my right shoulder spreading from my forearm to outside my shoulder blade. I tried to gut it out over two nights bad sleep. Then I was reminded of the deep tissue massage kiosk at The Mall. I paid $30 to be pummeled over a total 30 minutes. Felt better just in time for a day off so I could work on the revision that I realized I had been procrastinating.

Drank a cola at lunch and the pain came back almost as bad as before. At Panera, in front of my laptop, it did not subside.

I looked at my hand. I honestly became concerned. The ache spread so badly. Would this interfere with my day job? Would I even be able to type?

A realization quieted everything.

“Would I be able to type?”

I thought the pain may be something like how my body reacted when it was time to become Big Time Publisher and throw panic attacks at me.

Immediately, I opened my draft. I began fixing the first sentence of the chapters. And the ache ebbed away.

Then the pain came back. No easy answer here. No such luck.

I did a pass on the last three chapters for clarity. Now that I’m done, the pain is like an ice-cream headache centered on my shoulder.

I’m rather happy for this book.

Had a dream after seven this morning, maybe based on the ibuprofen kicking in. I dream often of enormous wooden structures, boarding houses the size of stadiums. Usually they are in need of repair. This morning the building was seemingly brand-new. I was part of a loose-knit theater group that had forgotten that today they were to perform.

The performers were a few former members of my comedy group and a variety of 30-ish people like those at my day job. The performance was supposed to be a multi-media comedy/drama of some critical importance. My first reflex was to head for the hills.

We pulled together and created this piece that mixed back-stage preparations of the show with the show’s performance, which is something I had wanted to do for decades. Dozens of 30-ishes leapt in with big trucks and lots of their own props to assemble spaces throughout this small area of this enormous victorian house. The set pieces include existing stairways, storage rooms, porches, rooms where one wall faced the outside. Props were automobiles, stage lights, tapestries, junk, all in the earth tones of the discarded. Audience wandered through all day.

At one point, though, I am not wearing clothes. A few 30-ish audience see my genitals. They giggle or show disdain at my performance faux pas. The performance had taken a hit by my blunder. What I remember is a 30ish telling me that one of our performers Dean Martin (that Dean Martin) took off his shirt and did a GG Allin punk-rock body thrash on the small wooden stage.

It was understood that overall the show had satisfied, in the way an ensemble piece satisfied; my own performance had not been good that evening, but it was the performance and its dialogue with the audience that had created a unique, satisfying moment. I awoke feeling that a portion of me had briefly reawakened; that bit of brain from being an impulsive kid at heedless play, something more basic than professional improvisation, or maybe a place without consciousness. The feeling opened a sunny, living part of me I had forgotten.

If I’m lucky, I have thirty years of life before me. If I can get back to that state of mind, I will count myself fortunate.

Watch Your Influences And When To Use Them

6 06 2022

So I was finishing my denouement. Capping 15 months of my current, well-received draft. Totally happy with how my novel landed. Then I thought, you know, the ending lacks the body horror that people like from “The Flesh Sutra”. I ought to get some body horror in. But how?

Then I saw “Crimes Of The Future”. And dagnabbit I got to rethinking the whole nice denouement I had going. Went from cursed artwork to possessed tupil polyp jewelry just like that. Does it work? I dunno. That’s for the Beta readers to decide.

Kij Johnson on Good Ideas

13 05 2022

More Thoughts On WIP and Magick

11 05 2022

Currently figuring out the big climax. All the characters are in one location. I realized I could resolve the Doppelgänger character by having the protagonist realize her core personal conflict. But I’ve got unwieldy cursed tumors and a near-immortal antagonist. How do I deal with them? Rather than be overwhelmed, I waited. I gave myself space and took a couple of days off.

A random listening to the “Psycho Analysis” podcast about Frankenstein gave me an idea — maybe THE idea as to how to resolve them to gruesome satisfaction.

I’m starting to look at publishers and I’m feeling my chest clench again. So, one step at a time. Get it finished first.

It’s worth mentioning that when I began this novel, and was writing from Alecsis’s perspective, I was doom- scrolling seven websites every day, several times a day. My spiritual concerns were limited to “what version of Christianity will keep me out of Hell?” I gnawed at decades-old regrets. My mind had a constant drumbeat of “must do”, “get done”, and “be more”.

At the same time, I was painfully aware that I had only one life, maybe only one opportunity at anything, and I should NOT SCREW UP. Which made mistakes and learning curves difficult.

Now, writing from Olivia’s POV, I am down to doom-scrolling only political Twitter, still several times a day, but a vast improvement. I am accepting that I do not understand myself. I relax more in the moment and do more of what I enjoy. I am comfortable that each person is their own solitary religion, picking through everything that came before. I am a more comfortable and accepting person, and am trying to forgive my mistakes and misunderstandings.

Olivia quested after meaningful goals, while Alecsi worked toward redeeming a mistake that couldn’t be undone. Olivia and Alecsi had both killed Thomas, and both had pledged to improve the world to atone. But in time, Olivia settled into accepting what they had done and making the best of her situation. Alecsi still wanted to be perfect.

I wouldn’t have tried Olivia’s POV if it weren’t for my friends in Noble Fusion Eastern Court. Life dictates Art which guides Life.

Many people I know needed to change their lives so dramatically, they changed their names to allow for that radical growth. Patty put her traumatic childhood behind her by embracing her nickname Bunny. Al put his past behind him by using his middle name Randy. Pseudonyms allow exploration of personas uncomfortable for the artist. Artists performing under their own names talk about their “stage persona”, sometimes referring to that persona as a separate being. Performers talk about how the audience expectations shape their performances, even their performing styles.

This is all kind of Jungian. The story is outside and inside, waiting. It may not be an ingenious work, but it must be told for you to grow.

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