This has been a good week so far. My full manuscript was requested from a great publisher, I compiled a short story collection and sent it out (no word yet, but I’ve not done this before), signed a publishing contract for a short story, went to a true Oktoberfest, and had a weekend off for once. Wow…if only I could catch up on all my reading and I was with my wife this Saturday, then this post would turn into a GREAT week.
Seven Archons first anthology is out! You need a copy of this on your bookshelf to complement your copy of Invisible Monsters and Last Exit to Brooklyn. There are some truly great stories in the pages.
REVIEW: Stories To Poke Your Eyes Out To
Jonathan Moon recently released his latest collection under his own imprint, Barn Burner Books, called Stories to Poke Your Eyes Out To. When I say Jonathan Moon is a badass, I mean that in the most endearing of manners. This guy has gut. His writing has heart. You haven’t heard of him…? Hogwash. He is one of the front men for underground horror. It is a movement that’s pushing the big six out of the spotlight (Have you seen the Stoker recommended reading list?). This collection is further proof of why that is happening. Great writers are tired of going through the “time tested” method of submitting and waiting for days, months, and in professional markets years for a response (and with small royalty returns, nonetheless).
With this latest selection of stories Moon has shunned the big houses by creating an atmosphere within a cohesive work, one that is memorable to say the least. His words drift into your ears, only needing to read them for the sake of comprehension. You can hear a faint voice whispering the narrative on every page, a desperate voice with the need of escaping the pages.
The first of eighteen stories, which swing between flash and near-novella length, is called “Heart of an Angel”. It’s short, dark, and reminiscent of “The Tell-Tale Heart” in that something sick is speaking to the narrator, begging him for supplication.
“Real Love Burns” is the first introduction of the narrator’s lost love, January. It’s delivered with a graceful and beautiful language. There are demons and talking dog carcasses, and everything you’d expect from a black and white horror film. I’m usually uninterested in stories that involve zombies; however “Poisoned Meat” offered a very interesting take in that the virus is unprejudiced to different species. One of my favorite stories in the collection was “Roadside Crosses”, where we see the story through the eyes of characters with no connection at their own mile marker—great haunted road story with a devious villain. “Conversing Doctor DeFeo” follows next. The story reeks of hopelessness. It’s what happens when you start digging into things that are better left alone. There’s a Frankensteinian monster and an amazingly twisted storyline.
“Corpse Eater” is told using one of my favorite characters: new-guy-on-the-job. You can imagine from the title what will happen in this one. Still, worth every page. “Human as a Vulture” is probably the shortest piece in the book. Told in second person, it’s a nice tidbit to break up the longevity of a collection. “Disasternoon” is also short in form. It’s the most honest and real to life story in the book. “Bone Home” resonated for me. You will walk through a haunted house led by a creepy guide. You’ll feel as though you just took a ride on the Haunted Mansion in Disney, except with blood with crazier inhabitants. You’ll come to your doom in Bone Home and you’ll love every minute of it.
Revenge at its sweetest comes in “The Man with the Zaftig Gun”. MoOn has the knack for delivering flash fiction that’s to the point. “All That Glimmers Isn’t Copper” is told through two time channels. We flip from present to past with a cast of characters that are constantly fighting for power in a mine. Awfully frightening in nature (and Lovecraftian, too), it’s the story of how greed can shadow human judgment. Humorous, yet at the same time rather disturbing was “MC Stiches”. Everyone wonders about these freaks in the basement.
“Amputee Disco & the Lord of the Groove” was the first story where I saw MoOn’s bizarre side shine. He invented such strange creatures for the sake of the story. The surrealist can admire the dreamlike journey embarked upon in this one. Here we encounter another sharp, short prose that speaks volumes, “Soul in My Throat”. My favorite story, “So Proudly They Crawl”, in which an Aryan gang is attempting to create a race of super-soldiers, is next. It races along at light speed, the action not ending until you can finally breathe at the final word. The macabre creations in this story will have you wondering if a movie should be in the works.
“Self-mutilation Blues” is a flash with a catchy tune, one “you can dance to, baby”. It builds with anticipation and breaks with poignancy. As with every collection, you’ll come across a story about which you’re not crazy. “Temper like a Hammer” was the one for me. The characters seemed to blend together, and eventually I had trouble sorting them out. However, “Devil’s Bath Shack” brought me back to that reverie that is MoOn’s writing, that chilling voice that can take you to places you don’t really care to go. The narrator has come full circle and finally is contented with the fact that the pain never leaves.
As I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, anthologies and collections are hit or miss. Stories to Poke Your Eyes Out To was definitely a hit. It has every element to stand with the giants such as Clive Barker’s Books of Blood or King’s Night Shift. If it doesn’t become a standard, then color me an idiot. I’d buy the book one thousand times over, just to give them away on the street.
It is with much regret to say that my novella, The Mercenaries of Havenshaw Crypt, will not be released by Jagged Books. It seems that the financial situation and e-reader revolution, which is taking its toll on many small presses and publishing houses (not to mention bookstores), was more than the company could handle. I was banking on this one being released, so that I could finally have my own book out there. However, it seems the time was not right. It is back to the drawing board. A home will not be easy to find for such a strange, quirky piece of writing. Though, my faith in it is strong and unwavering. For now, I shall continue on the quest of my next novel and also on Seven Archons.
Coming in May 2012 from Jagged Books. It’s my first book (of novella length)! Of course anthologies are nice, but this will feature only my name. A work all my own. Here is a short synopsis:
For so long as anyone could remember, The Flagrant Five have ruled the land with an aggressive hand—enslaving children, destroying the wilderness—but Father Necrocious is tired of it all. One of his worst enemies (and a member of the Flagrant Five), Manservant Genesis, has escaped his imprisonment as a shadow.Therefore, he’s enlisted the help of a ragtag group of fabricated Mercenaries to turn the fascists to shadows. The annual Dictators’ Ball is pending (a battle in which children are used as pawns to determine the fate of the free world), and the brothers plan to stop the gala before it can commence. As they weave their way through the cartoonish landscape they will fight with their options to either trap the Flagrant Five with their shadow guns, or disobey their creator’s orders and finally kill the Five for good.
I haven’t posted in a while, but have been busy with the holidays and editing. I know…no excuse. In between editing two separate books, one for Seven Archons and one for Twisted Library Press, I’ve been shopping my horror novel and bizarro novella around the market. I hope to also come into the new year with a fresh spirit for my own writing. Happy New Year to all my writer, and non writer, friends. May it be a safe holiday for you all!
Two Great Releases from NorGus Press, Just In Time For Halloween!
My story “Shallow” inside!
“The Untold Story of Harvey Barnes” within!
Ah, the worrisome search for the perfect market… where does one begin? Well, to put it frankly one should start with the research of potential publishers, and with the worrying, before the writing has even begun. When one sets out to pen the next great American novel they must be prepared to fail, for becoming the next bestselling author is an exception. Considering the wealth of writers in not only the United States, but the world, the market is tough for an author who wishes to write full time, let alone be a break-out star.
First, one must find a suitable niche. Dig in to that niche and find out all there is to know, read the popular books in the category. If you desire to write horror, you must know what’s already been done to avoid hackneyed plots. Network with others and figure out the secret to their success with similar publishers. What sells in the publishing world? It varies according to trends. There was Harry Potter, there was Twilight, there were zombie books, and there were apocalyptic books, but riding on their waves is a surefire way to be forgotten when it all washes ashore. Learn your own personal reason for writing your story and for whom you are writing. While this won’t guarantee success, it will lead to a better understanding of what has come before and what has gone, so that you won’t write the same thing. Don’t want to repeat history, right?
If you’re in it for the money, you might as well bow out gracefully now. With every bit of work there should come some piece of satisfaction. For me, money is last on my list. Sure I would love to make a living writing, but that’s not why I do it. I like to make something out of nothing. It makes me feel (hey, I’m feeling a bit blasphemous today) divine. My mind dreams up these things and they magically appear beneath my pen. It’s your creation. Nobody else will ever recreate the exact line, because everyone witnesses the world in a separate light, and writing is a way to truly show how different opinions can be formed.
Now back to the perfect market. There isn’t one. Some pay, some don’t, some market well, others not at all. As with writing there isn’t one formula with which to conform. You can’t say that what works for one person will indefinitely work for all. I never write an outline. It works for me, but someone else may need to organize their thoughts. Their mind doesn’t spin like a tornado, tossing characters and plots around crazily until they finally land and I can place them in order. I like to see my characters develop and know not why or how, but to be surprised like a reader. The market you need is the one where the editor enjoys your story, plain and simple. It boils down to taste. Surprise them.
The first publisher you send your work to may reject it flat out, not liking your style, your characters, or your plot all together. The next may have thought your concept was brilliant, but there simply wasn’t enough conflict. This is where more discouragement may arise, but the writer can’t let it bog them down because, hopefully (again it’s never surefire), you will find that editor who simply can’t part with your novel, short story, or poem. The best way to find a place for your work is to not worry about money or pleasing an editor. Don’t look at other writers and wonder why they are they are successful. Write for the pleasure, to create your own masterpiece. I always like to think that success is measured in happiness. Whether others like it or not, you will feel satisfied. Then you are in your own niche.
There’s a new review up of Mason James Cole’s “Pray to Stay Dead”. This one swept me away…
Happy Memorial Day, everyone! “Alienology: Tales from the Void” is out now on Amazon. Get it at http://www.amazon.com/Alienology-Tales-Void-Patrick-Rooney/dp/1461169526/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1306804620&sr=8-12. This book is loaded with amazing stories. If you are a fan of alien speculation, fiction, movies—anything—you have to check this book out. T. Patrick Rooney and I also have a story inside, called “Sector C”. It was one of my favorite stories to craft. Thanks, Uno, for giving me a shot! I enjoyed the experience so much.
Currently, I’m re-drafting my novel and shopping for a market, while editing another author’s novel. So busy, so busy. Submissions have also started to pour in for Seven Archons “Writings on the Wall”. Some really great material has been coming in. Hopefully, we’ll see more sweet stories from you authors out there in the month of June.
A new book review in the near future! Now go have a drink…