Posts Tagged ‘Chizine’

(Hell if I know, but I’ve been listening to a lot of old Tower of Power lately.  I used to play bass in a band that covered some of their tunes and if you’ve ever listened to Francis Rocco Prestia’s bass playing you’ll know that that’s a tough row to hoe.  Check out the unrelenting sixteenth note line in What is Hip and the lovely fills he drops in.  You’ve got to funkatize!!)

Jesus, I suck at keeping this damn blog updated.  My home wireless connection is down, and I got all my shit on my laptop, and I can take it out on the patio or wherever my little happy place happens to be at that moment.  I find it hard to write in our little office because a wife will stop by to chat, or the kid will come in and while I let him read quite a bit of my stuff, I occasionally touch on a subject that may not be suitable for an 11-year-old (Mommy, why does Daddy know so much about sex with a rotting corpse?) so that’s a bit inhibiting to my creative juiceflowage.  As an added bonus, the cat tends to jump up in my lap while I’m typing, or else pinch off a massive feline loaf in the catbox, just a few feet away from my nose, forcing me to take remedial action, followed by a thorough handwashing.  (I should be grateful that she doesn’t just plant a steamer right on the keyboard to get my full attention.)

But anyway…

Writing, writing… took a short break from “Smoked” last week and have taken to rebuilding a Cthulhu-ish story I wrote a couple of years ago.  Have now beaten it into a first draft, so I may let it ferment for a couple of days and go back to Smoked… or not.

Received a rejection on “El Dorado” from Strange Horizons.  That’s the story that won the Honorable Mention in the Chizine contest a few months back.  Wasn’t all that surprised, as Strange Horizons is more of a scifi than a horror market.  Didn’t make to the editor, the assistant said “you have an interesting setting and some unusual characters, but I think there were too many POVs and too much going on for me to really get pulled in.”

Get some ritalin, will ya?  Actually, I can understand why he would say that.  It’s a fast-paced story that shifts between two povs.  It does flip between the two more rapidly as it builds to the final climax.  Don’t think I want to change it much at this point.  It’s also subbed elsewhere, so we’ll see.

What else?  Oh, looks like my mother-in-law will be spending 4-5 months of the year here.  She’s 84, not doing so good living by herself, and being around the kid (and out of the frozen north) will be good for her.

No, I am NOT going to be reading her any stories.



I sent my short story, “El Dorado,” the one that got an honorable mention in the recent Chizine short story contest, to Weird Tales on August 10, but just got the “Dear Horace” letter.

However, I take heart that it was a personal reply from the fiction editor and not a form letter:

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read your manuscript. This is a well-written tale but is not quite right for me. Please try me again with something else.

Yours Weirdly,

Ann VanderMeer

Fiction Editor

Weird Tales

P.S. I grew up in Coconut Grove!

As far as rejections go, that’s about as good as you can get: a positive comment, a invite to send something else, and a personal aside.  Cool.

Now need to figure out where I’m going to send Eldo.  My tendency to overplay the humor may come at the expense of the horror, so I may be marginalizing myself a bit.

Tough shit.  If I’m going to fail, better to fail in my own fucked up way.

If you know of anybody looking for a story about an undead orthopedic surgeon called “The Handyman,”  his patient, a skeletal revenant named Larry and an ex-con drug dealer called “Crowbar Man,” let me know.

Sorry, folks, but I’m not gonna let y’all off the hook with one little post on this subject. I don’t brag much but… I’m braggin’ now!

Also, the life history of the story is kind of interesting.

The story started with The Handyman (aka Ira Handelman,) the orthopedic surgeon that crashed his car into a canal and became, post mortem, a reassembler/reanimator of dead people. In Southern Florida, all kinds of shit ends up in the canals — intentionally or by accident. People, parts of people, cars, animal sacrifices (santeria and voudou!) as well as native and exotic wildlife (gators, manatees, walking catfish, boa constrictors.) The canals seemed deserving of further literary exploration (or exploitation.) Gradually, the animatee — a former narc — and the one who put him there, The Crowbar man, a former coke dealer just released from prison, took shape and it very, very gradually fell into place. I workshopped it in my online and flesh & blood writers groups, changed from first to third person, present to past tense, put it on the shelf several times, submitted a couple of longer and lamer versions to a few markets (rejected,) then finally became interested in it again. Submitted it to a market, then withdrew it when I found out about the Chizine contest. Much cutting to get it down to the 4k limit. I think it was a little better around 4100-4200 words. (It’s like with women; a little extra weight is nice. Was that sexist? Too fuckin’ bad.)

It would be great to get some comments from the judges, but my feeling is that it probably got an A+ for originality, perhaps lost a few points with some for non-serious approach (many people like their horror straight up, humor is subjective and its a risk to overuse it but it’s a part of my shtick!) and despite my best efforts at cutting, there’s still maybe a little too much exposition in the first third of the story. Have a few reservations about the ending, but I can’t see a different one.

Anyway… even if I finished in the money, I would have made $280. More than I’ve ever received, but it would probably work out to about to fifty cents per hour.

Not sure why the call them short stories.

My story, “El Dorado,” was among the top 10 stories out of 231 entries in Chizine’s 14th annual short story contest

More later, I’m posting from an antique computer and it might explode.