Summer Update – A Reading and More

August 24, 2018 at 3:21 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , )

I know I’ve been quiet this summer, but as usual, increased hours at work, outdoor activities and my garden has forced me into a bit of a blog hiatus. I do have a few things to mention.

Coming up this weekend, Sunday the 26th to be exact, I’m participating in Hal-Con’s reading series at the Halifax Central Library. The readings start at two in room 301 and I’ll be sharing an excerpt from “The Hack-Jack Prospect,” a cyberpunk fairy-tale mashup that was originally published in the Young Adventurers: Heroes, Explorers & Swashbucklers from Intrigue Publishing. Room. This will be the second session and this one is with guest, Elaine McCluskey. If you can make it, I hope to see you there.

My noir superhero story, “Amnesty” is now available in print in Crimson Streets #3. My horror story, “Scuttle” is akso available in the Abandon anthology, both released earlier this year.

And perhaps for future reference. I may be participating in as many as three presentations/panels ar Hal-Con proper this year. I’ll only be atteding on the Sunday, so we’ll see how things work out.

More news in the fall…

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Spring Blitz 2017 – New Release

April 9, 2017 at 11:35 pm (dark fantasy, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

Another two submissions have gone out, one micro-fiction and one flash, and both creepy horror tales.  I had another story I wanted to submit, but the venue I was considering doesn’t reopen for submissions until tomorrow, so it will have to wait.  This particular story has been rejected 12 times already, but I feel it is a strong story, as it has had four “maybe”s that turned into “no”s and some decent praise from some pro-rate editors, despite no acceptance.  So I’ll press on and perhaps it will find a home some day.

Another of my stories has just been released by Crimson Streets.  Not only have they published “Amnesty” but they accepted a follow up story involving the same character.  I have another story in mind if ever they decide they want a third.

Back to hunting out more calls for submissions – I still have three weeks of submissions ahead of me.

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The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Spooky Showcase

February 12, 2013 at 12:22 am (horror, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , , )

Spooky Showcase by Alan Draven

This collection included the following:

The Paradigm – This story has a nice noir flavour, its narrative is smooth and most of the dialogue, while a little cliché at times (I suspect intentionally) is good. The one quirk that irked me a little was that the boy, Terrence Graves, does not always speak like the 12-13 year old he is supposed to be (adult vocabulary and phrasing). I do like the play on words with character names and the characterization in the story really builds on that noir ambiance. A few sections dragged a little for me because noir is not one of my preferred genres and the goons and guns and snarky banter lose my interest after a while – I was hoping for more “spooky”. I think a diehard noir fan would really enjoy this, however. I was a little disappointed that there were still many unanswered questions at the end, but overall it was a decent story.

Beyond the Doomed Cave – The title of this sounded more my style – proper horror. It does, however start out with a fairy-tale air, the cautionary kind, with misbehaving children choosing to ignore warnings and talk of a Baroness involved in witchcraft. Once again, while the story was fun, spookier this time than the first story, and the characters were interesting, the dialogue for the children wasn’t always very realistic. For example, the average child won’t use a sentence like “Do you think it’ll sustain our weight?” I’d expect them to say something more like “Do you think it’ll hold us?” – simpler language when communicating with their peers. In all, it is an entertaining story with a ghostly tale at its core.

The Rattling Man – A bogeyman tale set during Halloween and probably the spookiest of the stories in this collection with a focus on kids, although still not hardcore horror (more like the kind of scary story you might tell around a campfire.) The dialogue was good in this one and the plot suspenseful. I particularly liked the ending.

A Madman’s Atonement – My favourite in the collection, it was a good mix of crime and horror with serial killer elements and a hint of noir flavour. Characterization was well done and the story held my interest, even though it was fairly long.

Vengeance is Mine – This was a story rife with historical references regarding Jack the Ripper. I normally wouldn’t expect to like this story that much because I think Jack the Ripper has been done to death in genre fiction, but I was surprised at the combination of both analytical detail and gory suspense, as well as some added twists and turns, so it actually worked for me. I did really like the vengeance element implied in the title. It gave the story an interesting spin.

While it had its quirks and a few editing issues, overall, this was a collection worth reading and could easily appeal to readers of varied taste. If you enjoy noir, crime thrillers, horror and historical fiction, there’s something in here that may be right for you.

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