Monthly Archives: January 2008

The Idea Stampede

Well, it’s a new week, and I’m still forced to hold off on telling you any good news.  Everything is too shaky right now.  With any luck, the coming weeks will hold good news like a strip club patron clutches a fistful of singles (thus goes the worst simile I’ve ever written).

In the mean time, I’ll tell you about something fun that’s been happening lately.  Every now and then, I get a stampede of idea, just a bunch of stories popping in my head at once.  I can maybe hear them approaching like a subtle thunder in the distance, but I never have time to fully prepare.

See, I write pretty fast.  Not Jim Moore fast, but pretty fast.  I do not, however, write fast enough to write each story as it pops in my head.  I’ve got to queue them up in my brain and make each wait its turn.

This isn’t as easy as it sounds (does it even sound easy?).  There’s a notebook next to my bed full of ideas.  There’s a word file on my desktop full of titles and descriptions of upcoming stories (five of which are novels-nevermind that I have to sell the first four, still).  I have close to a dozen short stories that currently consist of a first paragraph followed by a few sentences of description.  That’s more than a little clutter created in the pursuit of storytelling.

But the ideas keep coming.  Sometimes the stampede slows down a little, but it always picks up again.  All I can do is type away and hope I get caught up.

Or hope I don’t get caught up.  Maybe it’s more fun that way.

On Fear

I love scary movies.  Just this weekend I saw both Cloverfield and There Will Be Blood, two movies that couldn’t be more different, yet both are terrifying.  Whether it’s a giant monster or the effects of greed on humanity, there’s a lot to be afraid of in those flicks.  At the end of the day, however, they’re just movies.

I write scary stories.  I’m told I do this pretty well.  I’ve had friends tell me my stories gave them nightmares.  I live to give folks a thrill and a chill.  That makes my day brighter.  At the end of the day, however, they’re just stories.

Nine months after buying my first home, the economy is sinking like a stone.  I’m a wage-slave in a world full of lay-offs.  If I lose my job, I don’t have much of anything to fall back on.  Writing doesn’t pay nearly that well.  I have twenty-four cents in my savings account.  My car is on its last legs.  My degree in screenwriting is damn-near useless.

At the end of the day, that scares the hell out of me.

What a week

On Wednesday, I received an email that gave me some real reasons to celebrate.  Seriously, this was the most exciting bit of correspondence I’ve ever received.  No, I can’t tell you about it.  Instead, I can tell you this…

During this week when I should have been ecstatic, I was instead drowning in a little financial crisis.  See, on Tuesday, the comany that handles my webhosting charged me roughly 23X the usual amount, leaving me with an available bank balance of about -$20. 

I used a cash advance to put me back in the black.  I figured it would only be a day or so, since my webhosting account shows that they’ve already refunded the erroneous amount.  Right?

Wrong.

See, it took 3-5 business days for the charge to go through.  Now, I have to wait another 3-5 business days for the refund to arrive.  Man, fuck that.  Fuck all kinds of that.  Fuck, fuckity-fuck, Fucky McFuckerstein, fuck.

And damn.

So I’ll be home editing and hoping I don’t need food this weekend.  How about you?

A Big Sale!

I found out yesterday that my short story “The Message” will appear in a future issue of Cemetery Dance.  This is a huge deal for me.  Cemetery Dance is one of those Holy Grail career goals I’ve set for myself.  I couldn’t be more thrilled right now.

I’ll update you all on the situation once I have dates and details.

Muy Mal returns

I’ve written about Muy Mal in the past (check out the original review here).

For a quick rundown, I’ll tell you that Muy Mal is the brainchild of the incredibly talented writers Mike Oliveri, Weston Ochse, and John Urbancik.  It’s a site full of free fiction revolving around a world much like ours, but one where magic never completely died.  There’s everything from horror and fantasy to gritty criminal dramas and Republic Serial-style adventure… and it’s all free.

Well, in the after math of their end of the world crossover Cataclysm, the boys are back to close out the world of Muy Mal for good.  They even updated the site’s look (and it’s a beautiful site, probably should have looked like this from the start). 

Go read.  Get caught up and learn the whole story.  There’s some incredible stuff there.

Guilt makes you do stupid things

Here’s a story to entertain you.

October 3, 2007. That was the last time I ate fast food and the last time I drank a carbonated beverage. The culprits that day were a Wendy’s spicy chicken and a large coke, as good a last meal as possible, I think. Since then, I’ve lost twenty pounds and feel much better about myself.

And then Saturday came along.

It was a normal Saturday–some relaxing, some proof-reading–no big deal. About halfway through the afternoon, however, I started to crave some fried chicken. Now, I haven’t eaten fried chicken since August, so I thought I was due. Problem was, only two places near my house sell the stuff: KFC and the local grocery (where the chicken tastes like deep-fried cardboard). After discussing the possible end of my streak with Shawna, I jumped in the car to grab some KFC.

But I started to feel guilty about a half-mile from my house. By the time I reached the KFC drive-thru, I really hated myself. I really wanted some chicken, though. I needed a solution, and I needed one fast. Lucky for me, I saw a shitty neon sign across the street that said WING STOP. Hmm. Looked like a local place to me, so I pulled out of the drive-thru and crossed the busy street. Two minutes later, I was in line.

And what a line it was. I ended up behind a group of four. There’s was a mother, father, and two teenage girls. Weird thing: one of the girls wasn’t wearing pants. She’d just painted her ass red with the word SWIM painted over it in white. Oh, nevermind. On closer inspection, I learned she was just wearing booty shorts. So I start to listen to this family’s order (I observe, it’s my job), but decide to tune them out once their order crossed the 150 wing mark. Oh, and the dad ordered three beers for himself.

Lovely.

So it was finally my turn. I walked up to the counter and ordered ten hot wings and an order of fries. My total wound up being eight dollars, twice what my total would have been at KFC. I was cool with that, though. It’s a local place, right? I was supporting local business. I paid my tab with something close to a smile on my face.

Then I was told my wait would be twenty minutes. Twenty minutes because I walked in behind a family of three and their resident porn star. Whatever. I was stuck in this now. Might as well deal with it.

So I sat down to wait, and that’s when I noticed Wing Stop boasts Troy Aikman as a national spokesman. National. Fuck. I did walk into a chain.

That’s the exact moment when I started to hate myself. I’d traded a shitty chain that sold exactly what I wanted for a shitty chain that sold a somewhat close approximation. My choice would also cost me an extra twenty minutes. Maybe the wings would be good.

They weren’t. As a matter of fact, each wing was about the size of a baby’s thumb. The fries were the worst I’ve ever had, apparently cooked in lukewarm water before rolled in salt.

So I spent twice what I’d intended for a terrible meal that took twenty minutes longer than I wanted to wait. I didn’t even get to spank the booty shorts girl. I suffered through all of it because I felt guilty about going to KFC for fried chicken.

Guilt, it makes you do stupid things.

So this is 2008

Weird.  It feels a lot like 2007, only the air is dryer.  Stupid January.  Cold as hell, dry as sandpaper month that doesn’t even hold the charm of my birthday at the end of it.

I think this year saw my favorite Christmas since I moved to Texas.  Well, more to the point my favorite Christmas Eve.  Shawna and I spent it together in the new house, snuggling with the dogs, watching TV, blowing our noses as allergies attacked, and putting our new coffee maker through its paces (we can now make more than two cups at a time!).  We’d planned to open presents after dinner (I made Shawna scallops), but just before noon Shawna starts throwing presents in my lap and telling me to open them.  Really, it doesn’t get better than that.

But that was more than a week ago.

In the days since Christmas, I’ve been churning out prose at an alarming rate.  Well, I guess it’s not alarming if I’m just following goals I set for myself.  I’d love to tell you what I’m working on, but I’m trying to keep a better lid on these things.  Why tell you about something that might not sell, right?

That said, I hope to have exciting news in the next month or two. Things are looking up.

In the meantime, I’m preparing for the World Horror battle.  Gotta get all my ducks in a row and such.  Joy of joys!