Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hi There -- Remember Me?

Greetings WYMOP readers!

I look at the date on the last post and I feel extremely guilty. It's been nearly a month since the last time I shot all of you a 'Hi', and I've left not a word of explanation. 

I'm sorry.

I actually had a post almost ready to send out when the used food hit the rotating blade over here in WYMOP-ville. I'm going to include it below, but first I have to explain myself, if I can:

For those of you who don't know, I'm a writer. I generally (at the moment, anyway) write horror stories, but this blog is my place to write stuff that's not horror, just based on my day-to-day life. For a while there, though, writing took over. Everything was cruising along quite well for a moment. I mainly write short stories, though that will be changing soon, and I had a few anthologies featuring my work come out all at the same time.

  1. The Bloody Book of Halloween, featuring my story "And She Watches".
  2. Dark in the Limelight had my tale "Let Them Eat Cake".
  3. Dark Bits used "The Visit".
  4. Demonic Visions is where you can find "The Tank".
  5. Death by Drive-In published my story "The Colossal Monster"
  6. if you want to be frightened, Wicked Seasons is available from Amazon and contains "A Night at the Show", from yours truly.
All these came out within the same six weeks or so. Mixed in with all that was two different conventions I attended, Rock and Shock and Anthocon. Plus the Coffin Hop during the week of Halloween. Plus an appearance on Sci-Fi Saturday Night, an internet radio show/podcast (and if you click on that link you'll go right to my show, to listen to me say 'um' and 'ah' and all sorts of other brilliant things!).

Sound busy? Wait: There's more!

While all this was going on I found out there was a slight editing difficulty with a little something called Dead of Winter - the first book comprised entirely of my own work.

My own first book. Difficulty. Ack.

So I dropped everything I was doing and I started editing.

Most writers will tell you (and every editor, too) that editing your own work is a mistake. You're too comfortable with the writing, with what it's supposed to say rather than what it really says, and you'll miss things. Those writers (and editors, too) would be correct. I, however, had a secret: I would edit it backward, paragraph by paragraph, rather than looking at the whole story. 

It worked: I found countless things to correct or change. It was, however, extremely, exhaustively, mind-numbingly slow.

It took me two weeks of sleeping just 2-3 hours a night rather than my usual 3-4, but I got it done. It is, at the time of this writing, back with the publisher being gone over a final time before (hopefully) going to print sometime late this month... or maybe early next month? We'll see.

This is, however, the first book in a series of four. There are three more to come. That means there is a massive amount of editing still to be done, as well as some of the actual writing for book four. I went right into that, trying to head off any future editing emergencies, and am currently using the push of NaNoWriMo (that's National Novel Writing Month) as a springboard to help me get all of the writing for the project done so I can just edit myself into oblivion.

This means, though, that WYMOP is on a sort of hold. Not gone. Not by a long shot -- I have too much fun doing it to just up and quit like that. But this little Seasons of the Dead project is kind of important to me, and I'm trying very hard not to let it suck too much. 

So for now I'll be devoting quite a bit of time to just getting that done. I'll still be posting occasional blogs, just as I'll be putting up occasional Friday Frights. Just not every week. If you want to keep track of what I'm doing writer-wise (and I'd love it if you did) then your best bet would be to 'like' my Writer Page on FaceBook. That'll keep you pretty much in the loop. As much as anything can.

For now, though, I'd like to post to you the little bit I'd worked up to share with you before everything here went kablooey. To that end, I give you:

~ ~ * * ~ ~

Words are Weapons

The alarm went off on my phone.

I have several of these set, for various things, to go off at different times during the day and week. This one I knew right off the bat, however: my 9:30 pm alarm that basically means Dude! Get off your ass and put Handsome to bed!

But Jeremy Wade had just gotten his first bite of the show on River Monsters, and I didn’t want to get up. I was watching it on Netflix, so I could have easily paused it, but I didn’t. I was watching it on the 11” screen of my oh-so-portable Chromebook, so I could have even taken it with me, but I didn’t.

Instead, I hollered.

“Handsome! Nine-thirty!”

I heard an answering sound, inquisitive but muffled. Though I couldn’t make it out I assumed it was his usual response when all mind-sucked into his computer game:

“What, Dad?”

He could have gotten up and come to ask me, but he didn’t. I know I hadn’t gotten up either, but I’m the dad. I don’t have to. Instead, I shouted again, a little louder this time.


There was another inquisitive sound. I began to get annoyed.

“Nine-thirty!” I bellowed.

The sound of a chair scraping back. Footsteps making their way across the kitchen. Handsome’s face appearing in the doorway, eyes a little wide, exacerbated by the double raised eyebrows.


“Nine-thirty,” I said, loud and clear.


I beg your pardon? ran through my head, and I felt my own eyes getting wider. I inhaled to give him a piece of my mind, to run through all the possible consequences to his saying “So?”, none of them good, from his perspective. Instead I said, just as loud as before and just as clear:

“Bed. Time.”

Just to be sure he understood, I added in a clarifying syllable.


“It’s Friday,” he said.

My mind leapt ahead to the alarm that was going to go off at 10:00. There was a connection between that alarm and bed time and Friday, my mind knew there was, but just couldn’t see it. Somewhere in there, though, I realized I had been about to make a complete ass of myself. Now what I needed was a way out. My mouth, realizing my brain had slipped out of gear and was spinning like mad but not getting anywhere, went into “Emergency Stall Mode”.

“It’s Friday”, it said, maintaining that loud and clear tone.

“Yeah,” said a confused-looking Handsome. “It’s the weekend.”

“It is the weekend,” said my mouth.

The part of my mind that was pumping the clutch and yanking the gearshift like a little old lady working the slots on an all-expense-paid trip to Atlantic City, just trying to get some psychic traction, noted the slight change in verbiage and the added emphasis on that one word. It felt a moment of pride in the mouth, realizing it was pushing “Echo Mode” above and beyond and was on the verge of slipping into “Blind Improvisation Mode”.

“My bedtime?” said Handsome, searching my face for some sign I was recognizing any of this information. “It’s ten o’clock?”

“Your bedtime is ten o’clock,” the mouth said, in full declarative voice.

Go, Mouth! Go! my mind said, giving up on the gearshift entirely and opting instead to watch my mouth dig us out of this one all on its own.

Handsome squinted at me, unable to figure out exactly what the hell I was doing. He kept his squint on me as he backed toward the door.

“You’re weird.”

“I am weird!

He was gone, returned to the seat in front of the screen in his room.  I went back to watching Jeremy land a hell of a big fish with a mouth full of sharp, pointed teeth.

The fish had the teeth, I mean. Not Jeremy. Jeremy did have teeth, but not like that fish. It was in the middle of admiring the teeth that my mind slapped into gear and started making connections. The first connection it made was that I had succeeded in not getting up from my seat on the couch.

That was far enough for me. I slipped it back into neutral again.

“Good job, mouth,” I said.

~ ~ * * ~ ~

That's all I have for now. I can't apologize enough for leaving you all hanging, but I hope you'll all be here when I get back to WYMOP full-time again.

Until then, I'll talk to you later!

Just to keep you laughing and thinking, here are a couple of clips from a master of both: 

George Carlin.