Friday, December 28, 2012

The Latest Review of Cities of the Dead

Four stars! And some sentences, albeit by yet another "anonymous" reviewer:

 Good story

This collection on zombie stories, vaguely connected while occupying the same story universe, is simultaneously oddly hopeful and hopeless. I know this was a web series, but I'd have liked a bit more tie-in of the vignettes and a more satisfying and conclusive ending. Otherwise I really enjoyed this collection. The writing was great, and it was a pleasure to read.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Weak Tea Xmas Gift to You

know I'm still working on the final re-write of "Of Monsters and Men," the sequel to The Divine World, but that doesn't mean the "writing curse" hasn't made me start a new story. Your Xmas gift is the first three paragraphs of initial rough draft of my next short story/novella/novel. Enjoy:
The Three Wishes

Some people call me a genie. Others, a djinn. But, yes, I can grant you three wishes. Not that I have any choice in the matter, though. If you have the bottle, just open the thing up and I puff out in a cloud of smoke or a flash of light or, if you like, I can just suddenly be there. Most people get tired of the smoke and light show early on and ask if I can just quietly materialize. Doesn’t matter to me, I don’t know what any of it looks like, although from time-to-time somebody will show me a recording he made with his 8mm camera/video recorder/digital camera/cellular telephone.

People always ask me what it’s like in the bottle. They imagine there’s a little apartment set up in there, with a bedroom, a kitchen and a living area. Some people guess I spend my time smoking a hookah and drinking alcohol. Others muse that I must pass the time by painting, reading or playing the sitar. People are always asking if I “keep up with the times” by miniaturizing modern conveniences and taking them into the bottle with me.

But I have no idea what it looks like inside the bottle. When I’m in the bottle, I don’t exist. There’s no thought or dreaming or passing of time, there is only not existing. And then someone opens the bottle and poof!, there I am. Could be minutes or years or centuries, but it’s all the same to me. One moment I’m granting someone’s third wish, the next moment I’m somewhere else, watching someone clap their hands to their cheeks in astonishment that they have a “magic genie bottle.” If there’s time in-between the events, I don’t notice it. I think I’d like the time off in the apartment with the miniaturized conveniences, though.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Jane Austen Death Match

If you live in the suburbs of Philly, you can join me the third Wednesday of the month at the Main Line Writer's Group event, a Meet Up group. Every other month we do "lectures," in-between those meetings we do critique sessions of our work. If you're a nobody writer like the rest of us, it's a cozy place to hang every month (and the host location has an awesome selection of beer, so...).

Anyway, here's a published work by Tony Conaway, one of the regulars. He bills himself as a "business book writer," but he writes comedy fiction. Although, from reading the piece, maybe he ought to write serious Victorian literature ... 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

A Note from the Writing Process

Working through the umpteenth rewrite of Of Monsters and Men, the sequel to The Divine World. I keep coming across notes in the text that simply say "write better." And then, when I look at the text, I wonder if I should just delete it and move on. Sometimes - a lot of times - you over-write elements of the original story thinking you need to emphasize something, but during the rewrite you look at it and go, "is it even necessary?"

Deleting is hard because you feel like you're killing your baby. But, if you're a writer, you know that sometimes you just have to do it.

Not every detail is necessary. And not every sentence you write is golden. Remember: as a writer, you probably write a lot of filler. That's bad and detracts from the story. Always edit down. It's hard, but train yourself to do it: you want to leave your readers wanting more (and you can give that in the next story).

Monday, December 03, 2012

Give the Gift of Life

The hell? Just finished watching the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead and the announcer comes on to say new episodes in ... February?!?! What am I going to do get my zombie killin' fix?

You, on the other hand, can get a copy of Cities of the Dead, in paper or electrons, and feast on 20 hand-crafted artisanal stories about humanity in the time of the zombie apocalypse. It's Christmas, get one to give as a gift, too!