Monthly Archives: September 2013

I’m Participating in the HWA’s Halloween Haunts Again This Year



See that banner above–or the vertical banner over to the left there, right under that handsome dude’s pic?  Well, those are for the Horror Writers Association’s Halloween Haunts, a 31-day celebration of Halloween that the HWA does each year.  I’m a proud active member of the HWA, and I participated last year for the first time.

Basically, each day for the 31 days of October, the HWA posts a blog from a horror writer member concerning some aspect of Halloween.  There are interviews, book excerpts, giveaways and all sorts of cool stuff…and it changes every day.


This year, I threw my hat into the ring and, lo and behold, I got the primo date–October 31st, HALLOWEEN.  That’s right, my Halloween HWA guest blog will actually appear on Halloween.  Pretty cool, right? Yes.  There’ll be an excerpt from my latest novel, The Bell Witch, as well as a giveway contest for one paperback and one digital version of the novel.

So here’s the complete schedule of events for the HWA’s Halloween Haunts:

1-Oct Welcome to Halloween Haunts 2013 James Chambers
2-Oct Personal Experience in Halloween Fiction Lisa Morton
3-Oct Stoker Spotlight Interview with L.L. Soares
4-Oct Ghost in My House Cat Winters
4-Oct Thats My Boy Matthew Warner
5-Oct Anti Christ Devil Children J. Thorn
5-Oct Why Do You Write That Stuff Thomas Smith
6-Oct More than Just Candy David B. Riley
7-Oct Candy Corn Memories Amy Grech
7-Oct Halloween in the Hudson Valley J.G. Faherty
8-Oct Stoker Spotlight Interview with Gene O’Neill
9-Oct Halloween Hootenanny Greg McWhorter
10-Oct Stoker Spotlight Interview with Lucy Snyder
10-Oct Why I Write Horror Carl Alves
11-Oct Beware Jersey Devil Carol MacCallister
12-Oct Stoker Spotlight Interview with Marge Simon
12-Oct Night Terrors Heather L. Reid
13-Oct Dracula: Entre l’Amor et la Morte James Dorr
14-Oct Halloween Animated Specials Ed Erdelac
15-Oct Stoker Spotlight Interview with Rocky Wood
16-Oct Halloween—What First Comes to Your Mind at the Thought? John G. Rees
16-Oct Halloween as a Kid Michael J. McCann
17-Oct Stoker Spotlight Interview with Lisa Morton
18-Oct Opening the Vein John Palisano
19-Oct Stoker Spotlight Interview with Greg Chapman
19-Oct Coming Home to Horror Rena Mason
20-Oct Sunglasses At Night Julie Campbell
20-Oct Reclaiming Horror Annie Neugebauer
21-Oct Traditions Marge Simon
21-Oct Halloween Is Every Day Johnny Worthen
22-Oct Stoker Spotlight Interview with Jerad Walters
22-Oct EquineAnatomy Kenneth W. Cain
23-Oct Plastic Fangs and Cotton Fur Mark Onspaugh
24-Oct Distances Marty Young
25-Oct The Slumbering One Jinx Strange
26-Oct Halloween Should Be Banned Mick Sims
27-Oct Halloween Stories Steve Rasnic Tem
28-Oct A Walk in the Mists Keith Deininger
28-Oct Autumn People Loren Rhodes
29-Oct Stoker Spotlight Interview with Mort Castle
30-Oct Haunted Halloween Party Joe Augustyn
30-Oct That Restless Halloween Feeling John Mantooth
31-Oct My Personal Haunted House John F.D. Taff

Pretty nice lineup of folks here, all capped off by me!  Starts tomorrow, as you can see, so go there every day to see what’s happening!

And Happy Halloween!

And My Next Story is Coming in Postscripts to Darkness IV


So, the next story of mine that’s up to be published is a little ditty I call “The Night Moves,” to appear in the upcoming Postscripts to Darkness IV, which will be out…October 8th, just 9 days away!  That’s the cover above, by Dutch artist Tais Teng…isn’t it great & creepy?

“The Night Moves” is an odd story, as I’ve explained somewhere in the past on this blog.  It’s heavily stylized, and therefore not some people’s cup of poison tea.  But I’ve always liked it, and I kept submitting it until someone bit.  The lovely people at PSTD bit.  And I’m very proud to be in their publication.

Here’s what you’ll find in Volume 4, coming this October:

Soft Shell Story, by Tony Burgess

Opening Night, by Albert Choi (ill. Joel Grunerud)

A Mother’s Love, by Alyssa Cooper (ill. Alyssa Cooper)

Cracks, by Laura DeHaan (ill. Tomasz Wieja)

Ice, by Robin Wyatt Dunn (ill. Seb Williston)

Candy, by Ephiny Gale (ill. Mina Belvin)

Six Aspects of Cath Baduma, by Kate Heartfield (ill. MANDEM)

Good Fences, by Scott T. Hutchison (ill. Alfred Klosterman)

Pushers, by Sean Logan (ill. Luke Spooner)

Market Street Smell, by Graeme Lottering (ill. Teresa Tunaley)

The Door in the Wall, by Stephen Owen (ill. Luke Spooner)

Tapestry, by Lydia Peever (ill. Rob Thompson)

Forgive Me, by Jonathan S. Pembroke (ill. Teresa Tunaley)

Cousin Alice, by Erma Petrova (ill. Brenda Dunn)

Funeral Games, by Jason S. Ridler (ill. Derek Newman-Stille)

The Night Moves, by John F.D. Taff (ill. Mina Belvin)

Echidna, by Luke Walker (ill. Luke Spooner)

This issue also features poetry by Aurora nominee Helen Marshall, cover art by Tais Teng, and an interview with Genie nominee Tony Burgess, author of Pontypool Changes Everything, conducted by Aalya Ahmad.


If you happen to be in Ottawa, which I will not, PSTD will launch the issue with ChiZine’s ongoing Chiaroscuro Reading Series, hosted by Matt Moore. This Chi/Scripts mashup is taking place on Tuesday, October 8th at Maxwell’s Bistro and Club (340 Elgin Street, Ottawa). You’ll find them upstairs with books, authors, illustrators, and other sundry talents, at 8 p.m. Order a drink, some hors d’oeuvres, and settle in for a night of readings by Lydia Peever, Kate Heartfield, and a surprise guest.  Nope, sorry, not me.  I’d love to be there, but…

Can’t wait to see this issue.  Go here, grab a copy and give it a read.  Hope you enjoy my story!

Writing Marathon: The End

36 hours (and counting!) of no sleep, 22 hours of writing, 18,000+ words.

Now it’s all over, and the only thing left is a sort of jangly feeling I imagine tweakers have after coming down from a meth high.  (Believe me, I know a little.  I watch some of them from the windows of my own home.)

No, that’s not true. (Well, yes, the viewing of meth heads out my windows is true).  I mean, that’s not the only thing I have left.  I have about 12,000 words added to my novel and about 6,000 words scattered over some short stories.  And they’re pretty good, since I did spend some of my time (especially near the end) re-reading the stuff I’d written and editing on the fly.  I cut, altogether, about 3,000 words along the way.  So, in reality I really wrote about 21,000 words, with 18,000 making the final cut.  I’ll take that percentage any day.

What did I learn?  Weelllllll, first and foremost, I learned that I am no longer 25.  Or 35.  Or even, Jebus help me, 45.  I am 49.8 years old.  I am no longer able to stay awake for 36 hours or even 24 hours straight and then function normally.  Or at all.  OK, old body, lesson learned.

Second, here’s my true lesson, and it’s a shocker.  Writer’s block?  What the fuck are you talking about, son?  Writer’s block?  Are you kidding?  Do bricklayers have layer’s block? To doctors have medical blocks?  Do lawyers have…ummm…screwing people blocks?  NO, particularly that latter one there.

So  why do whiney writers claim writer’s block?  I’ll tell ya, because we’re lazy and whiney.  “Oh, I have writer’s block today.  I can’t possibly sit here in my underpants and labor over a hot laptop and move my pudgy fingers a scant few inches to type 2,000 words.  I need to lie down instead.”

Fuck that noise.  I proved to myself that writer’s block is an excuse, like so many other things in life.  It’s something I’ve talked myself into over the years in order to make myself feel better about being lazy.  No more.  If I can write 18,000 (good!) words in a 22-hour period, I think I can scrape the energy to write 2,500 words in a normal eight-hour day…and on a daily basis.  Just start typing.  Hey, they might not all make the cut, but the ones that do will bring you closer to that goal of finishing that short story, novella or novel.

For me, an additional 12,000 words brings me 1/3 of the way to the end of this book.  I want to have this done by the end of October.  I kind of doubted my ability to do this, but no more.  I might not make Oct. 31 on the button, but I’ll be close.  Because now I know I can do it.  Period.

So thanks to the six of you who read this.  Thanks to everyone for following the tweets.  Thanks to my fiance, who thought (OK, really still thinks) I’m nuts.  Thanks to my three dogs who didn’t understand why we weren’t going to bed.  And thanks in advance to everyone who finally buys & enjoys this book when it’s finally done, sold & published.


Writing Marathon: FINAL UPDATE About 4 p.m.

OK, folks.  Stick a fork in me.  I’m done.  22 hours of writing later, I’ve clocked a few words over 18,000.  Good enough for me.  I’m pretty loopy right now, being awake for about 34 hours.  I’ve done a lot of on-the-fly editing, trimming and rewriting, along with adding to about a half dozen of my short stories.  But I think it’s over.

My head is muzzy and I’ve got this general, overall twitchiness that’s unpleasant.  My body calls out for sleep and a Pizza Hut Pan Pizza…I know, but an exhausted body wants what an exhausted body wants.

Overall, though, I feel great about what I accomplished, because I got some good stuff down on paper.  And it’s given me a strange new energy to really move on the novel, which now stands at about 35,000 words…1/3 longer than it was just 22 hours ago and almost halfway done.

I’ll share more soon, but man, I gotta rest.  Thanks for coming along on this ride. And thanks again to Armand Rosamilia for the idea and the supportive tweets!


Writing Update…Ummm…6? About 11 a.m.

OK, definitely twitchy now.  Lack of sleep is palpable and making it hard to think straight…

Novel is back up to 34,652 and I’ve scattered words liberally across several short stories now, another 2,300 words, for a grand total of….cross the Is, dot the Ts, carry the zero, 13,567 words!  That a 17 hours of writing, at about 800 words an hour.  Definitely down from my peak of 1,000+, but still respectable.  With another 7 hours to go, that should put me in excess of 18,000 words; not the goal, but still pretty damn respectable.

See ya at around 2 p.m.!

Writing Update 4: About 7 a.m.

Hah!  You thought I fell asleep, didn’t you? Well, you’d be WRONG!

I am awake, alive, coursing with energy…ok, I lied about that last part.

But I’ve taken some time to edit and prune the words I’ve got, and I’ve come to a hard pause on the novel…I trimmed it back to about 31,5878 words–still in the 8,000 words added rang…and I’ve been tinkering around with two short stories, “In the Dim Meadows, Desolate,” which is actually going to be a novella; and “Toothsome,” a weird little short about…well, don’t want to give it away.

SO, let’s recount…been awake for 24 hours now, been writing for 12 of those hours, with more than 10,000 words to show for it.

Loopiness is setting in tho…

Writing Marathon Update 3: About 2 a.m. Local time

Well, my three pugs are officially freaked out.  They’re aware I am something of a night owl, but they want to go to bed.  And they don’t want to go to bed without me.  So, they’re all camped out, snoring away on the couch.

But we’re singing along here.  Up to 31,654.  So, still holding to my 1,000 words per hour pace, which should allow me to hit 20,000 words by the time we’re finished.

Will they be good words, though? Great question!  I’m going back as I write to edit and rewrite  bit, usually after each 2,500-word block.  So, it won’t be just thousands of words of mush that I erase sometime in the future after I wake up from this.

So, going along.  Got to get something to nibble on and drink.  See ya at 6 a.m.!

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