Category Archives: Writing Like Crazy

Writing Like Crazy: I’m Not Quite What You’re Looking For

It can be disconcerting at times when you wait for a response from a publisher or periodical, only to wind up falling just short of the mark. They like the story, but it’s simply not quite what they’re looking for.

Ouch. It’s the kind of phrase that stings despite the good will behind it. The story isn’t bad–an editor will have no qualms in telling you that, I figure–but it either isn’t a good enough fit for the magazine or collection, or there is some indefinable piece of the story that is holding it back.

I don’t know, I suppose it’s nothing really. What one person doesn’t accept, another may very well scoop up. It’s like fishing with a gun, the refraction of the water winds up distorting your aim just enough so that you miss that elusive fish. Just gotta adjust my aim and pull the trigger again when the next fish comes around.

Okay, enough of the clumsy aquatic metaphors.

In some happier news, Fearology 2: Beware All Animals Great and Small, is inching its way toward publication through Library of Horror Press. My story, “Walk ‘Em Up,” will appear inside its pages, and I’m really looking forward to reading what everyone else has written.

Here’s a shot of the cover art:

Pretty cool, if you ask me.

In the meantime, I’ve got over a dozen other short stories submitted to various markets. Fingers crossed. And I’ve got more on the way.

Just noticed that the flash fiction market, Everyday Weirdness, seems to have died. Well, I noticed it back in February, but Duotrope made if official, pretty much. Oh well, I had a story submitted there from back in November. Alas, “King Lloyd” will have to try his luck someplace else.

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Writing Like Crazy: "Seasons in the Abyss" Now Available

Seasons in the Abyss is finally available for purchase. The flash fiction anthology, in which my winning story “Staving off the Thaw” appears, is published through Blood Bound Books and can be found through Createspace, as well as Amazon and Barnes & Noble very soon.

Here’s a quick write-up:

Welcome to the Abyss! If you stay awhile, you’ll find that horror is always in the forecast, regardless of the time of year. Seasons in the Abyss is a flash fiction anthology containing more than 70 stories of horror and suspense.

The season of fear has begun!


Elsewhere on the writing front, Library of Horror Press is getting closer to publishing Horrology 2, an anthology of animal-themed horror stories. My contribution, “Walk ‘Em Up,” will be included in that anthology. The cover has recently been displayed and should be available for purchase soon.

I wish there was more to report, but I don’t consider my collection of rejections very newsworthy right now. I’m simply trying to find homes for my stories, as most writers are, and doing what I can to apply the constructive criticism I receive from editors towards the stories. Most rejections are form letter responses, but on occasion I’ll receive a personal note with some opinions or suggestions, and more often than not it’s good advice. Nothing drastic, just some fine-tuning.

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Writing Like Crazy: The Waiting Game

Last week, I received the final draft of my winning flash fiction piece, “Staving off the Thaw.” My last chance to go through it and give my stamp of approval before the anthology is finally sent to print. I pored over it one evening, then gave the big thumbs up. Seasons in the Abyss is making headway, and should be available for purchase through Blood Bound Books on Februrary 1st. But, man, the waiting is always a killer. I’m also standing by for the final edits on a couple of short stories.

“Patience is a virtue”: That mantra was drilled into me at a very early age, but I’ve never really taken to it so much, as I’ve simply tolerated the reality of it.

The writing life is one with a hurry-up-and-wait mentality at times. It takes time to write a story. It takes time to submit a story. It takes time for those accepted stories to be published. And the only way to not drive yourself crazy is to move onto the next one.

I’ve got about a dozen stories out there in the ether right now, waiting months for a thumbs up or a thumbs down. And waiting months for a rejection is a heartbreaker, not matter how well you keep it out of mind. Granted, the long awaited acceptances are always great, but that uniform rejection popping up in my inbox always comes with the jingle from The Price Is Right when the contestant goes over the suggested retail price. But that’s the Waiting Game, ain’t it?

The ability to wait is necessary when writing too, I’ve found. Yes, always write. But it takes time for those words to gel, draft after draft. I’ve tried fixing my stories on the fly, essentially reworking that first draft as I go until it is just right. But that is an exercise in aggravation. I find, despite the despondency that sometimes comes from writing a terrible first draft, I just have to wait until I can dive into the second and third before I find the heart of the story.

I’m reworking a short story right now. It’s one that kind of fell apart on me. But I stewed on it, and I think I’ve finally figured out the tone I want for it–and the ending. The hardest part of that process was the waiting.

How do you handle the Waiting Game?

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Writing Like Crazy: My New Jalopy


It finally happened. I got myself a second-hand laptop. Just something that with wifi and can handle a word processor. I got a whole lot more than that with my new jalopy, but so far it does exactly what I need it to do.

In a perfect world, this would greatly improve my writing productivity, but so far that is an unproven assumption. Time will tell. One thing I know for sure is that the guy who owned it previously left a ton of music and games installed on the machine. Just what a writer needs: more distractions.

The keyboard is going to take some getting used to, but at least it`s portable. Sometimes a guy just wants to sit down on the couch at night and type–is that so wrong? Also, I think I’ll need to invest in a wireless mouse, because that navigation pad under the space bar is cumbersome to a schmuck like me.

What kind of hiccups do you have when transitioning to another computer.

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Writing Like Crazy: The Art of Noise

How is your concentration when you’re in a noisy room? Can you read? Can you write?

It used to be that I could read in the living room while the television was on and a sewing circle gabbed away a mile a minute, and not miss a beat. Tuning out annoyances was a learned skill when I was a kid–ignoring the bullies on the bus helped hone that skill at an early age. Nowadays though, I can get sucked out of my reading if so much as a car drives by outside. I dunno, maybe I just need more beta-carotene or probiotics or something.

I bring this up only because noise has a nasty habit of messing with my writing too. Any writing, really. I learned this the hard way over the holidays. My mind was basically fried after the first storm-related power outage on Boxing Day, and all of the stress entailed with a domino effect of crap that followed. I sent out a submission on December 30th, my final submission of 2010, while a boisterous conversation carried on next to me and some kind of construction went on the floor above. Sufficed to say my concentration was a bit frazzled at that moment, and when I got the unsettling suspicion on January 2nd that I’d addressed the editor by the wrong friggin’ name and without internet at home through which to double check, I was forced to wait until the 4th to get online.

Fortunately, I did use the correct name–unfortunately still got rejected–but the seeds of doubt were planted because my mind wasn’t keenly focused on the matter at hand when I was going about it. And that was because of noise.

Back in September I sent out a submission and because of hindered concentration neglected to attach the document to the e-mail. I felt like a schmuck when I realized that amateur-hour flub. Thankfully I didn’t finish off the year with another such goof. Though, 2011 is just getting started and it’s not like I’m immune to noise again.

So, how do you work when in a noisy environment? Got any tips?

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Writing Like Crazy: A Winner Is Me

The world isn’t in the habit of handing out major victories to yours truly, so when the tiny victories arrive I greet them with a smile and a thank you.

I found out recently that my flash fiction piece, “Staving off the Thaw,” was awarded first place in its category for Blood Bound Books upcoming anthology, Seasons in the Abyss. The entire anthology is a writing contest of sorts with competitions for each season, the winner receiving pro-pay rates. Hooray for that. I had a story I’d had rattling around in my head when I originally heard about the contest, and when all was said and done I was pleased to see it accepted for the winter season.

Like I said, tiny victories.

Elsewhere on the writing front, I hear Fearology 2 should be published in the near future. That anthology is through Library of Horror Press and revolves around the theme of animal-based horror. In case you’re curious, my story “Walk ‘Em Up” involves rabbits. I had originally wanted to submit my short story about a zombie-fied dog, but they weren’t looking for zombies and were sick of submissions starring dogs–I’ve since submitted that story elsewhere.

The dry spell continues with no new acceptances coming in my inbox, but I’m willing to chalk that up to the fact that I’ve been aiming higher as of late, submitting my short stories to predominantly pro-pay markets. I think I heard this referred to as the trickle-down method: start with the top-paying markets and work your way down. Time will tell if that actually pays off.

One of the tricks is picking out appropriate markets to which to submit. A recent story I submitted is one I would describe as speculative-fiction, but only because it deals with the end of the world. It’s not strictly sci-fi, and it’s certainly not horror or fantasy. There is a hint of western to it, but that’s only because the setting is without much of the technology we take for granted. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

For now, I’m wrapping up a submission for Fearology 3, which is plant-based horror for that anthology. Animals, plants–I checked their line-up of themes and I was expecting to see minerals. It’s not listed, though.

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Writing Like Crazy: Rejection. It’s What’s for Dinner.

It’s been a while since I wrote about my writing life, so I thought it was I should probably offer up an update on what’s new on the writing front.

Absolutely nothing.

There, that was easy.

That’s not to say I’m not writing. It’s just that what I’ve written isn’t selling. I’m basically catching up on all those form rejections I should have gotten earlier in the year. I’m submitting more of my work, and as a result more of it is getting turned away at the door. And that’s why I’ve held off on posting a Writing Like Crazy entry lately, because it would basically be a lamentation. Happy thoughts, Foxy, happy thoughts.

I’m looking forward and working on a couple of short stories as we near winter. Plus, I’m doing some research for a future submission to Woodland Press for a Mothman anthology. Fingers crossed.

As far as National Novel Writing Month goes, I am yet again not participating. I’m going to be pouring any energy that would have gone to that and focusing it on the projects I’m already working on. Maybe next year, but no promises. My first novel is whispering my name, after all, from its proverbial trunk, so I may have to stop ignoring it and give it some proper attention.

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