An Actual Thing

At the end of the previous post, I mentioned in passing that an anthology I had a story in was now published.

I got my author’s copy in the mail.

The dramatic movie poster-style blue/orange effect was got by taking a picture in my kitchen on an overcast winter day.

Not pictured is me grinning like several fools, me clapping my hands with pure delight, my wife gazing admiringly upon me, or my son’s wait what how can this be a thing?!? expression when I showed him his old dad’s name in an actual book.

Like this:

I’ll mention here that I very much approve of the type-face choices made by the editor. That’s a good looking page, that.

I’m making a big thing of this because it is, in my life, a big thing. I have never had an author’s copy of a print book before. It rates as a big milestone in my writing career, which by the measure of “correctly making an effort to present stories to paying markets” is not very old.

So, I blow my party horn and wave my achievement around for all to see. I also litter this post with links to where you can get the book for yourself. I get no more money out of it, just the warm glow of offering entertainment to others. It is (ignoring my own splendid gem of deathless prose) a bunch of jolly good stories.

…and I got an author’s copy! {dissolves in giggles}

Mouth is Writing Cheques…

October, glorious home of Hallowe’en, dread gateway to Winter’s icy bowels, is about to consume us all.

This is when I’m (almost) actually trying, too.

For some artists, it is also Inktober, a month of drawings. I’m not a graphic artist, as is clearly evident, so this need not affect me. Yep, I can just sit on the sidelines and not worry a bit about Inktober. I enjoy arting, but this is not the arting area I art best at.

But I am also a bit of an idiot.

I should be devoting my efforts to bashing out marketable fictions. I have, as I think I have mentioned once or twice, very little time to devote to my art (say, that does sound pretentious, doesn’t it?) and so I shouldn’t go burning it on silly things.

Except the unsilly life is hardly worth living, so I’m going to do Inktober in my own way. I’m going to write stories. Writing and ink have long association, even if in this particular format there’s not a drop spent.

What inspired me to do this was my favorite place locally for ink (as well as pens and blank journals)  offered a set of prompts, urging local artists to get to work on generating art. I’ve been having some fun on Twitter running up the teeniest flash fictions from one-word prompts, so why not do something similar with this prompt list?

[At this point, you must imagine a brief silence in which some sensible person, were one at hand, would start talking sense]

So, stand by! Either I’m posting a new story here every day– of remarkable brevity and edited hardly at all, but a story all the same– or you can derive some entertainment from watching me tripping over my own big red clown-shoes in failing to do so. I’ll be doing them as posts here, and when the month is done, I’ll digest them into permanent storage in The Back Files. If I don’t pull any serious muscles, perhaps this will become a yearly thing.

Here’s that list of prompts. Stay tuned for stories!

At last, finally.

I’m making a story public today that probably should have appeared when the latest sequel of Halloween was hyping people up. I certainly could have, as I wrote it well ahead of the movie’s release although I respect the original Carpenter film too much to coat-tail on it like that.

The genesis of the story is… murky, as is often the case when the cry comes of “Where do you get your ideas?” It’s probably the result of having thought about, without sufficient space between one and the other, Friday the 13th and Forbidden Planet. The connection between the id’s antics and ’80s slasher films’ featured villains is pretty clear, after all, and from there it’s only a few synapse closures to Last Flight of the Final Girl.

For those who were curious; Patreon patronage would indeed have put this story in front of you before all the rest of the world.

A Swift Kick in the…

This is sort of a story announcement, although at the moment the story remains  in a box which is full of but also entirely devoid of cat fur. It’s a story that will, eventually, become manifest, but in what form and when is a matter as yet uncertain.

It may, and this would be my preference, appear in a print anthology, along with fifteen other stories and (if you can stand the strain!) a poem. This anthology is being put together by Dragon’s Roost Press, and they are running a Kickstarter to underwrite the costs of production.

And this is why I’m posting this; the fate of sixteen stories and a poem rest upon people subscribing to the fund. There’s all sorts of goodies, too, as is common in a Kickstarter offer, so give it a look and see if you can find it in yourself to help collapse the observational wavefront of what promises to be a very entertaining collection of stories.

It’s not just an imformative image, it’s a link!

p.s. The reason I’m making all the fuss about the poem is that poetry is very hard and I think anyone that pursues it with skill is slightly intimidating.

Tiger Tiger

A item of trivia which will not assist you in breaking into my Twitter account: Tiger Tiger is my wife’s favourite ice cream flavour. I bring this up because it’s summer; it has no bearing whatever on the story I’m releasing today.

What does have some bearing upon it is the seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day. I found myself writing a story set in the European theatre of operations given the amount of attention the war was getting. Tiger on My Back is (mostly) outside my usual line of thing, but I did what I wanted with it and I hope you enjoy it. It’s technically horror, but it’s low-key, non-cosmic, personal stuff… and to be honest, given the setting, it’s extremely restrained.

I say mostly because there’s a small hint at the end of something that might not be all in the narrator’s mind. I had toyed with the idea of inflating that hint, but… well, they say “kill your darlings” but occasionally one gets to live without even frivolous cosmetic surgery.

Mouse. Whole?

A flash fiction to mark… well, the start of local spring. Between drought and persistently chilly weather, the trees here have only just begun to unfurl their leaves.

There is nothing, really, particularly thematic to connect nature’s unclenching with Cow’rin, Tim’rous, apart from it being at its base a love story, and we’re told one’s fancy turns toward love at this time of year.

I should also mention that it involves (possible) insanity and (possible) imposture of humanity. All packed into a teeny little flash fiction.

March Madness

Good heavens, I let the whole of February slip past without posting a story. It was a rather distracting month on The Regular Job, and when I was thinking about writing, I was either doing it or submitting it to other people. It’s also a short month, despite having lasted a subjective seventeen weeks.

Let me not let another month slide past, though. Like the previous story, this one is about travel– I understand there’s something called March Break for some people, and because I write horror I’m here to spoil it for them with a look at the Screening Process.

Getting Away from Winter

It’s definitely winter. It is, unusually, less winter at the moment here than it is on pretty much the entire east coast of North America, but even here it’s winter enough to make one think of warmer times and places.

This coincides with a little story I ran out in response to a prompt which appeared last week on the Facebook Group which CBC Books keeps to support their Canada Writes program. Let me show it to you:

Clumsily blotted to avoid giving away identity of someone on a closed group.

Now, Canada Writes is aimed primarily at literary fiction, which is not what I do. There are those who argue that any fiction is necessarily speculative, otherwise it’s stuff that happened and thus not fiction, but I bow to the common separation of literary from genre. However, this doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally drop my kind of stuff on the table there, when I don’t think it will cause too much upset.

I was pleased enough with the effect that blatting something directly onto Facebook produced that I’ve decided to polish it a very little and present it here as On a Beach.

 

Sinterklaasjegeshenk!

Dutch is not the equal of German when it comes to menacingly long compound words, but sometimes it offers up a good’un.

Today is the festival of St. Nicholas, familiarly Sinterklaas to the Dutch, when good kids get a present and bad kids get threatened with abduction to Spain, because we’re still upset about the Thirty Years War and colonialism. We won’t, to avoid roaring arguments about racism versus cultural heritage, think too hard about St. Nick’s sidekick who does the abducting. Let’s just imagine a regional variant of Krampus and leave it at that.

ANYWAY, by way of observing Sinterklaasje and honouring my own paternal heritage, and to also nod to the British seasonal tradition of a ghost story, I’m posting Wassail today. Keep warm, as the sun prepares for its bounce off the southern limit of its yearly wobble, and if you have a sufficiency of bounty please share it with your fellows.