Hey! I’m In This!

15 06 2018

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Every reaction, no matter how violent, always reaches some equilibrium state. This final anthology in the Enter the… apocalyptic trilogy shares stories of what the new normal looks like after the end of days.

Contributing authors include:

Richard Jones, Kevin Wetmore, Lou Antonelli, Alice Weyers, Tim Starnes, Donyae Coles, Nicholas Gregory, Emily Devenport, Timothy Turnipseed, Chad Schimke, Davyne DeSye, Zac Roe, Tom Barlow, Tim Burke, David M. Hoenig, Tori Stubbs, Bruce Golden, Holly Saiki, Lisa Timpf, Mark Wolf, Peter Talley, Allyson Russel, Anthony Addis, Richard A. Shury, Russel Hemmell, Madison Keller, Calvin Spears, Adam Breckenridge, Keith Hoskins, Amelia Kibbie, Cullen Thomas, Stephen Miller, Geneve Flynn, James Austin, Elizabeth Eve King.





Unsettling Dioramas. From Canada. I Know, Right?

5 10 2016

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Have a look at Patti Normand’s work. She says her intention is to show how nature and humanity coexist with indifference, and how that creates an unsettling expectation. I note that characters make drastic choices without presentation of a context. Why the moosehead? This helps with the unsettling.

Is there a victim? Is there a criminal? Sometimes lives veer away (as in the woman fleeing the relationship in “Gone With Dear Trevor” on her website) and we cheer despite the resultant anguish of Trevor left behind, or sometimes the dinner becomes diner (see the recipe for “Lake Monster” accompanying “What Lies Beneath” the bottom image). Part of weird fiction is pulling the camera back so far that the idea is in the forefront of the emotion.

When framed in the trappings of bygone times like 1960s Ontario, the unsettling becomes even more cerebral. This is how “Stranger Things” and “Twin Peaks” and “X-Files” can take child murder and make it palatable.

I think right now horror is chasing “unsettling”. Times are pretty horrific, true.  Unidentifiable horrors and serial killer antiheroes distract us from our frightful obligations toward tribe and nation. How can the faceless or inaccessible pay for their crimes? The police are ineffective, the lawyers too smart, the Gospel too clear. Let Cthulhu, Hannibal Lector, or the rogue FBI agent handle it.

I am disappointed by contemporary society. If the evangelicals are correct, all the nice people I know are going to Hell (which should always be capitalized). If there is no God, then I am part of a failing justice.  I can’t be the only person feeling this. I’m sure this is why weird is doing so well and that low-budget horror is in another golden age.

Touch the weird stuff up top to see more, or just go here:  http://www.pattinormand.com/





Listicles Can Help Writers

25 09 2016

Have you seen The Line-Up? It’s new website about noir, horror, true crime, and subjects close to my squirmy little heart. Most websites will have lists of this or that, but I find these lists on The Line-Up pleasantly surprising.

M.R. James gets respect from the more refined, but Sarah Waters doesn’t show up much. I liked “The Little Stranger”, though technically it was more a psychological gothic tale than a ghost story. Still, Waters researches the hell out of her period subjects and her descriptions did put me in the M.R. James neighborhood, which was cool seeing as she was born some decades after he died. “Hell House” is Matheson’s take on “The Haunting of Hill House” with his lurid pulpiness dripping off each page. The house’s history is delightfully over-the-top. Light chills like early King. I’m using this novel to help structure a work-in-progress.

Touch the book to see The Line-Up.

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Once you’ve had a look at the ideas, let your mind wander. Is there an idea that strikes deep in you? Is there a way to make that idea more personal to you by applying it to your life experience? Did an image appear, or a piece of dialogue, or a character from another book or movie, or anything strike you? That’s where you begin.

Anyway, finding esoterica on lists comes in handy.

Like this list for “50 Most Haunted Houses In 50 States”. Some kind soul swept together and summarized 50 ghost stories for us to read and pick over for ideas!

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What could happen if a child abuser stayed overnight in the Viullisca Axe Murder House? Or if you were the ghost on the recording in St. Vincent’s Home? Touch Spooky House to see that list.

 

 





Famous Writing Advice With My Addendums

21 06 2016

Write what you know. Your life is a great place to start. You have something you are doing that no one else knows about, like a job or location or life challenge. Start there.

Write what you know. Be sure to talk to lots of people so you know more.

Write what you know. So write about monsters you invent, because who’s going to argue?

Monsters shouldn’t glitter unless they kill people with glitter.

Write things that would embarass your mother. This may not work if your mom likes the Kardashians. If your mother has no shame, try for “dismay” or “repulse”.

The best subtext is unintentional. That is, if you write to convey a message, that message will consume everything — characters, plot, and eventually your ability to interest others. Those you wish to persuade will dismiss you for preaching and those who agree with you will think you’re a dilletente and ignore you. Write your story. If you realize, hey, this story is awkward and makes me look nuts, then work with that. Embrace it. There is a market filled with people who are also awkward and nuts.

Remove as much as possible from your story, especially if you’ve seen it before in other stories. That goes double if you are writing a pastiche or a monster that’s been done.

Writing is not theraputic. Speaking with a cleric, health professional, or mature friend is theraputic. Writing can improve you the writer if you write with the idea that you the writer are wrong and have been for many years. That is “cathartic”. You may have a really good story when you’re done, too.

If you wish to inspire with your writing, make sure your conflicts and antogonist are treated with respect.

Everyone disagrees. Even twins disagree. In theory, clones raised in identical circumstances would disagree. Your character has to do impress you and also make you facepalm.

Even locations have character arcs. Game of Thrones wouldn’t have worked in a thriving, newly born empire. If Salem’s Lot had been a vitalized town filling with immigrants or yuppies, Barlow would have been burned before his antique store opened.

 





StokerCon in Las Vegas, Baby! Also, Want To Beta Read My New Novel?

5 05 2016

I’ve finished my new dark fantasy/horror novel titled “Diesel Dead”. Elevator pitch is “Later this century, physics attacks humanity. A man with a secret can help bring civilization back from the brink, if he can overcome his PTSD.”
The book is now 43K words with zombies, diesel-funk, fire spirits, a high-tech ruling class, and quite a bit of bleakness.
Wanna read it? Drop me a line!
Meanwhile, I am preparing to go to StokerCon next week. I have signed up for seminars with rising young authors and plan on networking like hell. I hope to keep you updated through the convention about my impressions and learnings.
Right now, I am writing four synopsis for use in John Skipp’s brainstorming class. These are:

  1. Bev’s Demon: a novella set in the near future, a woman is crisis is shadowed by a mysterious being. The problem with this is my politics may be getting in the way of making a better story.
  2. Babbage’s Mandala: A head-smacking new take on the Difference Engine. So many places to go with this idea. Characters in search of a plot.
  3. Sequel to “The Flesh Sutra”: Tentatively named “The Flesh Frequency”, it will be set in 1970’s California. I have  POV and reveal scene and that’s all.
  4. Dagnoxy: Old friends from highschool convinced me to try my hand at comedy again. So I have a character and an idea as to where he should go. If The Talented Mr. Ripley and Terry Pratchett were to have a baby, Dagnoxy would sell it to make spell components.

An editor for a small pub is also critiquing the first 100 pages of “Diesel Dead”, and I’ll share what she has to say.





16 10 2015

Looking at Doctor Who. He is sci-fi fey with a magic wand and timeless castle. He’s even tweedy and Brit and safely thrilling while still asexual.

Doctor Who could be quite a villain. Not in the Master or Mistress sort of way, but in a time-traveling Goblin King from “Labyrinth” way. Hypersmart, transformative, thrilling, human-enough intelligence but still inhuman in outlook. Goblins or fey related to octopi?

Eventually, everything goes through the octopi filter.

He’s forever alone. Why? Why not be like Q from “Star Trek”, traipsing from planet-to-planet reshaping civilizations? DW does do that, of course, but it’s catch-and-release usually. Help out then scram. What if the charming bastard stuck around and provided firewall technologies to worlds, which would stop Daleks and Cybermen without his help?

Maybe he has already. How would we, on Earth, know?

Lovecraft stories went here, to interplanetary conspiracies hidden behind the demimonde, regulating the churning primal powers.

All manipulators know it is best to keep the true story in the background. Let the natives think they have the power.

Nothing is new here.

Is today’s stretch of the binary sexual paradigm part of this primal power resurging?

Have you read “Toast” by Charles Stross? In it there is a short story positing that an AI would assimilate all matter in the universe in a quest toward self-awareness.

What’s more charming, primal, thrilling, yet-asexual than an universe-sized AI?

Here are some links relating:

http://www.neatorama.com/2015/09/29/The-Creepiest-Films-About-Cults-in-All-of-History

http://www.indiewire.com/article/15-brutal-filmgoing-experiences-20150617?page=1

http://bloody-disgusting.com/editorials/3362330/10-sexy-horror-movie-villainesses/

http://www.amazon.com/Toast-Charles-Stross/dp/0809556030/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1445011611&sr=1-1&keywords=toast+stross





Visit My New “To Purchase” Page

8 10 2015

Which includes small press anthologies and my novel “The Flesh Sutra”, which made the preliminary ballot for this year’s Stoker Awards.








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