This weekend I completed the edits for my submissions to the Inkslingers 2015 Anthology. This yer they have accepted two of my short stories, The Perils of Being Peter, and Spiders in the Bed. They couldn’t been two more different stories, but it shows the greatness of this anthology’s scope and variety. I will post more information as the release date approaches. For now if you missed my contributions to previous anthologies you can order them through Amazon.com.
You heard about coloring in the lines. How about writing in the lines? Members of the West Valley Writers Group know about our two minute drills and monthly assignments. Both of these have prompts that ask the writer to continue a story or create something within a certain set of conditions. Anthologies often work this way. For example, you may come across a call for stories 2,500 words or less set in the Pacific North and featuring a beloved pet. Go. Do you get the sweats? Do you ask yourself how will I ever come up with a story like this? The challenge of writing for anthologies is conforming to the theme of the work.
Following the fickle machinations of our muse is one way to get our stories done and results in some interesting works but the moment you hand that muse some guidelines the wall goes up. Is there some magic bullet way to get past this? Sadly, no, in these instances each writer is tested in a unique way as the object is to take these elements and work them into a compelling story. The risk here is readers are not dumb. They can and will pick up an details that are forced or do not feel right for the story or characters.
Rather than thinking of these criteria as constraints on your muse think of them as elements in a garden. You placed them there for your muse to wander through, climb on or hide behind. I know, but just go with me on this. This kind of visualization early into the story creation can really help your writing move past whatever is blocking it. Before a story is written all the elements don’t exist. They are like some bizarre Schrodinger’s Cat experiment, there but not there. So don’t sweat the details, just let your muse wander about them in the garden and soon a story will emerge. I know I have used this technique many times to create works for different needs and even research assignments. Try it you may find your muse enjoys his or her new garden.
I have recently had two of my short stories published in the anthology, Inkslingers 2013: Memoirs of the Southwest. The book is a collection of works by members of the West Valley Writers’ Workshop and all have a southwest theme or setting. If you have a taste for short stories and poetry head over to Amazon where you can buy the paperback for $9.00 and the Kindle version for $2.99. http://amzn.com/1937083330
This Monday I figured I would put up a post about where I am with my current writing projects. At the very least I figure it will help keep me on track. At the best I hope it gives some of my fans a heads up for what is coming.
Undead Heart The final edits are coming along really well. I have decided to switch the POV from 1st person past tense to 1st person present tense. This speeds up the narration and more closely matches the current trend in YA novels. So for the next couple of days I’m turning all my *ed verbs to *s. I still plan to have this out by the beginning of Summer.
The Hole in Your Mind My fist collection of short fiction is coming along. I have all the stories selected. I have also had four of the older ones polished up by a professional editor. Thank you Ekta at The Write Edge. This work will have stories and flash fiction pieces and a couple of odds and ends; some very odds and ends.
The Fourth Prometheus My Steampunk take on Frankenstein is still in the first draft stage. I will be polishing this up through the rest of the year and I am thinking that it could be out by April of next year. I haven’t settled on a cover design for this one yet.
Midnight Detail This is the novel, (my 9th), that I am currently writing. Right now I have about 20,000 words written and they are coming at a good clip. This is a vampire tale for adults and features a Secret Service agent, a former president (not named Lincoln), vampires, demons and a kidnapping. A taste of it can be found in my contribution for the anthology Twisted History.
I recently realized that I have a whole file cabinet filled with short stories that are just sitting there. So I decided to go through them and pick out the best 20 or so for an anthology of my own. Most of them are in the weird fiction vein so I’m calling the anthology The Hole in Your Mind.
Most of my early writing, (look at that, my early writing, it sounds funny even to me) is in the weird fiction genre and many mimic the style of my idol H. P. Lovecraft. Some literary critics have remarked that horror only really lives in the short story form. In the case of weird fiction this is probably correct. I think it is a matter of the writer being able to maintain the suspense for 200 or 300 pages where for 15 to 25 pages it is less taxing. My next two novels fall in the horror category but they are a world apart from some of the stories I’ll be including in the anthology.
It is important for a writer to experiment with both forms and recognize that one is not just a shorter version of the other. I stopped writing short stories for a while. I can say I regret that. So this year my goal is to write more short stories and get this anthology out.
Twisted History, the latest anthology to contain one of my short stories, is out now on the Kindle store. All of the works in the anthology feature a different take on history, hence the title. My contribution is a little twist on the secret service, called Midnight Detail. To say any more would give away too much. I do have some plans for these characters beyond this story. I thinking novel here. For now though you will just have read it and the other 11 stories in the anthology. The best part is you can download it for only 99 cents, right now. Get on over to the Kindle store for your bit of Twisted History.
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