October Submission Blitz – Night Swim Equals Death

October 23, 2013 at 2:50 am (dark fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , )

Three more submissions and the end of the blitz is approaching – only nine more to go. The last three, two reprints to podcasts and another pro rate attempt for “The Elephant’s Graveyard,” were a challenge since I’m down to almost nothing to submit. I’m soooo busy with my day job, blogging is a challenge as well.

…And I’m really tired.

Today’s horror trope is where a night swim equals death. You know the one. As soon as people start wading into the water in the dark, in a horror flick, skinny-dipping or not, at least one of them are doomed. Something is there to eat them, a serial killer is lurking along the water’s edge or somebody drowns (tangled in water weeds perhaps?) All I know is that I cringe whenever someone in a movie suggests one f these swims.

Time for bed *yawn*

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October Submission Blitz – Mouth Sewn Shut

October 20, 2013 at 2:17 am (fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , , , )

Three more submissions out the door: one under my pseudonym, a flash piece I wrote today, “The Candy Man,” and one of my fantasy stories. The next thing to work on will be my Egyptian-themed story involving the Coffin Texts and Anubis. I haven’t settled on a title yet. There are so many great anthology opportunities out there, it was difficult to choose one. If I thought I could handle it, I’d be juggling four or five stories at the moment. I know better – I need to keep focussed.

My horror trope for the day is “mouth sewn shut. ” My best recollections of this trope were from serial killer movies where this was part of how they tortured their victims. In some cases the person kept silent, in others they tore up their lips so they could speak (yuck!) It also makes appearances in supernatural sequences, probably because it is a shocking image so it makes for an easy scare.

Only twelve more submissions to go and I have only two left, so I’m hoping to get word back on at least a couple of my submissions so I can resubmit. I have a lot out there.

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October Submission Blitz – Indian Burial Ground

October 17, 2013 at 12:55 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , )

“Laying on Hands” is edited and away, followed by “In Too Deep” – two more submissions for two more days. At the halfway mark, not much has come back so far – I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I gleefully noticed a new posting by Penumbra based on Egyptian myth and I think I want to work on that next after I done my current “to-be-published-under-my-pseudonym” effort. I’ve already had a couple of maybes from them that didn’t pan out, but I’m encouraged to keep trying. I hope I can come up with something as interesting as “Dry Heat” which is no longer on print but will possibly be included in a collection of my short stories May December Publications had been planning.

My horror trope for today should be Native American burial ground, if I were to be political correct, but considering its an older trope, it happens to be pre-PC. Off the top of my head, I can think of two classic examples that include this trope, Pet Sematary and Poltergeist. It has a scary mystical appeal that can be used to explain anything from zombie cats to possessed severed hands, one of those “go-to” options.

Back to working on my current story…

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October Submission Blitz – Headless Horseman

October 12, 2013 at 3:34 am (horror, writing) (, , , , )

Yesterday and today were both pro-rate submissions , tackling new venues for me. Yesterday was another attempt at placing the bizarre and hard-to-place “On the Tip of her Tongue. ” Today, after getting a nice rejection letter from Writing Backwards that offered positive feedback and invited me to send a different story, I sent off “Amnesty.”

“Laying on Hands” is in its final stretch but I’m worried it will exceed the 5,000 word limit. That being said, I don’t mind making cutting down a story part of the editing process. You can end up with a much cleaner story as a result.

And today’s horror trope is the headless horseman. Most of the examples you seen in stories are either a retelling of, or an homage to, Washington Irving’s supernatural rival for Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow. It is an ominous figure that brings to mind both terrible nightmares and Halloween.

I’m hoping to have “Laying on Hands” ready to go tomorrow – we’ll see.

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October Submission Blitz – Grotesque Gallery

October 10, 2013 at 2:35 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , , , )

Today’s submission first required a retraction of my short story “Surfacing”. I’m not sure I’m going to send anymore submissions to the pro-rate venue who had been sitting on it for over a year (when supposedly their response time is 60 days). I’ve had issues with their response time for me once before and I honestly don’t think the editor likes my style (I get negative vibes from them). Maybe they figured if they hung on to it long enough I’d just go away. If so – it worked.

“Laying on Hands” is nearing completion and I think it’s a good example of how much I value the traditional storytelling structure. It has a clear introduction, I’m nearing the end of the denouement and then I’ll end with a well-defined conclusion. I really like it when I can see those components clearly within the story – it appeals to my pattern/structure loving accountant brain.

I have a book release announcement coming up this weekend, so that means more excitement for me.

And lastly, the horror trope for the day is the grotesque gallery. This is an often-used trope that appears in the form of trophies on display in rooms or hallways, in cases or hung on the wall, or maybe collected in jars on a shelf. It’s one of my guilty pleasures. I have used it on multiple occasions, including in my short story “Orbs”.

‘Til tomorrow…

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October Submission Blitz – Demonic Dolls and Dummies

October 6, 2013 at 3:06 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , , , )

So “Better” got the thumbs up from the hubby, therefore I sent it on its way. It’s a pro-rate venue that is already mostly filled with better-known names, so my chances are exceedingly slim (although, my chances certainly are better if I do submit than if I don’t.) Sci-fi is not my usual thing either, so I think that means acceptance will be even less likely, but that won’t stop me from trying.

Speaking of slim chances, finding a home for “On the Tip of her Tongue” is proving to be a challenge. It’s weirder than my typical fare and quite vulgar too, so I wasn’t surprised when Drabblecast came back with a quick rejection. I’ll put it back on the “to be submitted” pile. Maybe I’ll find a place it’ll fit someday.

Today’s trope is demonic dolls and dummy. I think the most recognizable of these is Chucky, although they are popular in horror short stories in general. Dolls can be creepy, even when they aren’t possessed by the supernatural. My daughter made me shelve a china doll that was given to her as a gift because it creeped her out. I guess it was just the way it would stare with its beady little eyes and its leering stony smile.

Back to “Laying on Hands” and more submissions tomorrow.

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October Submission Blitz – Circus of Fear

October 5, 2013 at 3:17 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

Today’s Submission was “Come into her Garden” to Jamais Vu. They are offering pro-rate, so it was worth a shot. I finished “Better” today and hope to submit it to Upgraded tomorrow. The hubby wants to proofread it first.

Today also saw the release of Dark Moon Digest #13, containing “Flash!” a submission from last blitz. You can find it here.

And for today’s trope I chose scary circuses – clowns in particular. For some reason, killer clowns have become a common theme, whether they come from outer space or are nasty predator monsters in disguise. “It” is my favourite Stephen King novel and Tim Curry played a terrifying clown in the mini-series adaptation. I thought I’d include my drawing of a zombie clown – definitely the stuff of nightmares.

Tomorrow I start work on “Laying on Hands”. More then…

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October Submission Blitz – Buried Alive

October 4, 2013 at 2:30 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , , , )

Today’s submission involved a reprint and a certain podcast which last rejected one of my stories because of my use of a southern backwoods dialect…only to offer up a story a couple of week s later with the same “undesirable” dialect. This patois that supposedly got old fast in my story was perfectly acceptable when used in a story by a big name writer with a shelf-load of awards to his name *sigh*. It’s something you get used to fast in this industry – everything is forgivable if you have a name people know. If you are unknown, forget it.

Personally, I liked the dialect – it gave both stories extra personality. And I showed them; one of my stories appeared with a story by that same writer on a different podcast a couple of weeks after that (ha!) I don’t have high hopes for an acceptance from these folks, but I’m not giving up. If they turn me down, I’ll try the story on another podcast and throw something else at them next blitz. I may be sending them a new story twice a year for the rest of my life. I should keep a collection of the rejection letters (although I deleted the first one because it was seriously nasty…downright rude, even.)

My horror trope for today is being buried alive. While it’s not the fear it used to be, more of an old one from the days where it was more difficult to assure someone was actually dead, you’ll find it in a plethora of stories and some movies are even based entirely on the concept. I especially liked one zombie story I read which began with a person who believed he was rousing to this state, not realizing he wasn’t alive but undead (and had been buried because he was actually dead). By the end of the story, it becomes obvious.

I’m hoping to finish “Better” tomorrow – we’ll see J

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October Submission Blitz – Axe-Murderer

October 3, 2013 at 12:50 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , )

Today’s submission was my short story “Cat-Birds” submitted to the all-female Grotesque anthology. It struck me as a good fit because it did not include any of the typical horror tropes, which the venue did not want. I also did some more work on “Better” a science fiction story I hope to submit to a pro-pay venue later in the month.

Speaking of horror tropes, my first for the month – my “A” trope – is the axe-murderer. This trope is notorious enough that spoofs have been based on it, “I Married an Axe-Murderer” as an example. It is as common in older stories and movies as the killer with a hook for a hand, although you would think an axe as a weapon would be a more likely occurrence. Axes are available in a variety of situations, particularly in isolated locations in the woods where someone no doubt has to chop wood for heat, be it a wood stove, furnace or fireplace. We own an axe for that reason (not for chopping people).

When you think about it, another horror trope, the chainsaw killer, is just a more modern version of the axe-murderer. The latter could be considered something of a classic trope.

Back to writing and preparations for another submission tomorrow…

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October Submission Blitz – Halloween Haunts

October 2, 2013 at 2:16 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , )

Now that I’ve finished the first draft of Endeavor, I’ve decided to attempt my second submission blitz for the year.  I started by submitting my weird tale, “On the Tip of her Tongue,” to Drabblecast. I have at least two pro-pay submissions to make this month, still trying to finally reach that goal. With a couple of hopeful submissions out there already, I may get my first pro-pay sale by year’s end. One can dream. I’m already getting the chance to see an anthology containing one of my stories in a local bookstore so it’s time to look ahead to the next great thing.

Along with my blitz, in honour of this Halloween month, I plan on exploring horror tropes as I go – for added interest. We’ll see what I can put out there, while revving up for this year’s NaNoWriMo and Hal-Con. It looks like things will be very busy right up until Christmas.


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