Posts Tagged ‘horror’

Here’s your chance to win a $10 Amazon digital card! Entering is pretty simple, just read my novella Barbed Wire Kisses (either Kindle or Nook), leave a review, leave a link to it here and we’ll pick a winner. Whether the review is good or bad, won’t make a difference as it will be completely random.

Contest will be open from 7/3/12 until 8/10/12, with a winner being determined by 8/15/12.

You can leave a review either on the Amazon website or the Barnes and Noble website only.

http://www.amazon.com/Barbed-Wire-Kisses-ebook/dp/B008771Q60/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/barbed-wire-kisses-scott-colbert/1111319725?ean=2940014700627

This will be a bit interactive-I hope-so what follows will make more sense. If you would, click on the link and then click on the look inside to the left of the web page and read the first couple of chapters of BWK.http://www.amazon.com/Barbed-Wire-Kisses-ebook/dp/B008771Q60/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_1

I’m not going to ask you to buy it, hopefully that bit whetted your appetite to find out more of the story-I want to talk about those first two chapters. Originally, The book opened with Chapter two. The very first line I wrote was “Eddie’s god was dead.”  The entire second chapter was written, and then the  first chapter came right after. As I revised, I switched them for a couple of reasons. 1) Starting a story in the middle of action is always a great way to get a reader involved. 2) I was thinking of David Cronenberg’s movie Scanners, and how shortly into it, a man’s head explodes. I know I spent the rest of the movie wondering how he would top that, and the tension of not knowing what to expect enhanced the terror. I had hopes, my opening chapter would do the same.

It’s certainly the most violent, profane and disgusting bit I ever wrote. I’m not sure if I would have written it that way if I had to do it all over again, but nonetheless I’m glad I did. I wanted something so over the top, so gruesome and nauseating that you would have no doubt that that these two would deserve whatever may come their way. I let myself go unfiltered, and I think I did a decent job of creating a scene of such violence and grotesque behavior you’d want to know what makes them tick.  And as with my Scanners experience, I wanted that sense of dread to permeate the rest of the book, make the reader how I would top the opening.

Of course, along with that comes the language I use. I will admit I have a propensity for gutter language when appropriate, but also know when to keep it out of a conversation (like a job interview). 

But how much is too much? BWK is dark, profane, violent and hopefully disturbing. In the context of the story I had in mind, each curse had its place. And yet, even as I revised and edited, I did find some of it excessive and cut a bit. for some it may still be too much, for others it may not even register. I think some of the excessive swearing suited the story. These are uneducated people, they spoke the language of the rough and wild. But they were words, without the stigma attached to them that we have today. In that sense there’s almost a purity to them. If you’ve seen the HBO series Deadwood, or done some research, then you know what I’ve written was very much in the vernacular of the time. People used cocksucker as freely as we use the word, dude, or bro. 

Did I have to do that? Wouldn’t a “good” writer be able to get his ideas across without resorting to cursing? Perhaps, but it wouldn’t be nearly as flavorful, or true to the time period, and I really wanted to make BWK as authentic as possible (given some of the supernatural elements later on in the book).

There’s a fine line between authentic and gratuitous, few do it successfully (though David Milch makes it pure poetry in Deadwood) and I hope I did it well enough that people don’t see it as excessive or gratuitous, but as the seasoning for a very spicy chile. 

 

In my next post I’ll talk about the origins of some of the characters. 

With all the turmoil behind the scenes recently, I haven’t had a chance to post an update on Dead West, and now that I have some time, I thought I’d let everyone know what’s happening.

The signature sheets went out today. They’ll be making their way to Australia first-that way if they get lost or something, it will be no problem to get more printed up and sent.

Noah has finished one of the insert drawings and finalizing three others. All I can say is they look great! We’ll be giving some sneak peaks in the future on the revamped Bandersnatch website. As I said in my other post, Noah will also be doing the cover art for Dead West, and it may be enhanced by someone else who is a whiz with photoshop.

With the exception of three stories, all of the editing is done. Now that I can delegate some tasks, I’ll be able to get back into the edit mode and finish those up. Once that task is completed, and I have all of the drawings  I’ll start putting them in order, and getting it ready for layout.

And I really don’t want to sound like a broken record, but everything is still on track for an October release.  In spite of the problems, I’m continuing to do my work as an editor, and publisher to make sure this is the quality collection that I’ve had in mind since its inception.

I’m not sure I can adequately convey the excitement I feel as I start to see bits and pieces being pulled together. I’m already chomping at the bit to start the second one, but first things first.

The final component will be an introduction to the collection that I’ll be writing. I really need to get started on that!

All contracts have been emailed, and I’ve received and sent back most. There are still a couple I’m waiting on. Payments are slowly being made, and all is well in the land of the weird western!

First, and most importantly: Bandersnatch is alive and well. If you hear different, it’s simply not true. Yes there was a major shakeup, in which I felt the need to take control in order to keep the company going.  This was done not from an ego gratification standpoint, but an effort to keep Bandersnatch from going under.

And it would have, had it continued the way it was going. With titles slipping farther and father from release dates and no sign of them coming out, I  and others saw the writing on the wall.

I’ve invested too much time and capital to let that happen, and I did what any reasonable business owner would do. This of course has led to some speculation about the future.

In my opinion the future is now far brighter than it ever was. With two new people on board who not only have the same work ethic I do, but  know the importance of deadlines, our lineup will be out on time and not suffer in quality.

Of course this means some changes. With my former partner no longer involved, some have chosen to go with him, and I understand that, and hold no animosity towards anyone.  Some titles such as Death in Common and That Olde Black Magick will no longer be available.  Other titles remain in limbo  until I hear from the authors.

What will be available in the coming months is all three of T.M. Wright’s chapbooks, Karen Koehler’s novella “The Dreadful Dr. Faust”, and of course the Dead West anthology. I’m very proud to be able to continue my work with them, and thank them for their support. “Dead West” will have new cover art as will T.M. Wright’s “People on the Island”.

We will have a new logo, new website and what is essentially a reboot of the company. Our release schedule is going to be scaled back to a far more realistic level while retaining the best writers working in the horror genre. At this point, we will not be publishing poetry until we find a poetry editor that meets our needs and high standards.

Currently the website is being redone to reflect the new changes and direction. I anticipate it will go live within the next week and the new members of the Bandersnatch family introduced.

My forcing the issue of controlling the company didn’t come easy. I agonized over this decision and spoke to several friends regarding this. I attempted to resolve the issues the best I could, going so far as to bring in others to mediate the problems. Yet fundamental problems remained. With Bandersnatch registered as a business in my name, and the domain also in my name, I felt I had to take over and redirect the company from the way it was heading.  If there had been any way to have avoided this, I would have taken that road. sadly, there was not.

I have nothing but deep respect for my former partner and wish him nothing but the best in each and every endeavor he pursues. I will support all of his work, as he is a brilliant poet and fantastic writer. I’m saddened by the turn of events, but truly feel that this new direction is for the best.

This will be my one and only time addressing this issue. It’s more important to look forward and learn from the past, than it is to dwell on the past and have it taint the future. I felt, however, it was necessary for me to comment on the changes, rather than ignore them. There’s nothing worse than pretending there’s not an elephant in the living room, especially when it’s breaking the furniture.

I hope those of you who have followed and supported Bandersnatch in the past will continue to do so in the future. With new staff, exciting projects, and a host of surprises, I’m confident in saying Bandersnatch will be around for years to come.

Edited to add: J. Bruce Fuller’s Haiku collection, 28 Blackbirds at the End of the World, will remain a Bandersnatch title and will be redone with a new cover.

With submissions at the 100 mark or so, I’m now at the point where I’m looking at which stories I want, and which stories I really want. I’ll say this, it’s one hell of a tough job. Maybe I’m too easy to please but I’ve liked or enjoyed something out of almost all of the stories I’ve read thus far. Yes, there have been a few stinkers, yet considering the ratio of good or great stories to mediocre or bad ones is surprisingly in my favor. While I’m relieved to not have to wade through a pile of badly written, or worse, boring, stories, the sheer amount of quality work, makes it very difficult to pick only 13.

You may ask, what it is I’m looking for, what makes one story worthy and another one a reject? First and foremost, it’s story, story, story. Did I get hooked from the first paragraph? If so, did the rest of the story of live up to its promise? If that was met, it goes in the possibility pile.

Next is the mechanics and format. Did the author follow the standard format as  written in the guidelines? Are there any gross spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, or plot holes? If not it gets another check, if so, it’s on the way out.

Next is length, and this is where all the stories are on a level playing field. Since I only have 13 slots to fill, and a fairly set word count, I have to fit the stories together, not only by length, but by the stories pace. Slower stories are fine if they keep your interest, but they need to be balanced with faster paced tales.  If I need a shorter fast paced tale for space requirements, I’ll take that over a longer piece no matter that pace. It doesn’t mean one is necessarily better than the other but one meets my word count requirement for the whole collection. This is really the hardest part, and where I’m currently at. As of today I’ve already got about 6 slots filled, and the last seven will really be difficult.

This brings me to the final thing I look for, and it’s nothing more than a gut feeling. I may like a story, but have to have the stomach tightening feeling; the one that makes me say, “This is it!”  Even with one story which is a reprint,  I had that feeling. It’s a knowing that it not only fits in with the theme of the book, but I can’t wait for people to read it, to get their reactions.

so far, I’m really giddy with what I have. However, as slots fill up, I know that rejections will have to go out, and that saddens me, as I hate to get them as much as I hate sending them. Yet, that’s part of being an editor. It’s not always easy to tell someone I”m not taking their submission, even though I know it’s nothing personal. Remember behind that rejection is an editor with feelings as well as the person receiving it.

When I got back into writing over seven years ago, networking was the last thing on my mind, and the last thing I wanted to do. Yet I’d soon enough learn it was an inevitable and valuable tool in publishing, particularly in the small communities inhabiting dark fiction genres.

Sullenly at first, I signed up to a yahoo horror writers group and a forum or two. I admit I’m not a people person. On my best days, I’m distrustful of humanity as a whole (but have great faith in the individual), and I get tongue tied when nervous. Such an attractive combination.

But this was from behind the safety of the keyboard. I had a barrier to tuck behind while I quietly surfed the boards. I’m far more skilled with words when they flow via the keyboard rather than from my lips. Today, I can see what an integral part of my life networking has become.

Once you make the decision to publish your work, consciously or not, you’ve made the decision to network. For every story you sell, for every book deal you sign, you’ll have to communicate with at least one to three people before the story sees brick and mortar or cyber shelves. There’s an editor you’ll have to work with, a publisher you’ll have to communicate with, and most publishers today expect the writer to get out there and promote their work. There’s a lot more to writing than the actual writing, and working with people is a big part of this industry.

Welcome to the world of the writer. It isn’t an easy one. You’ll be expected to deal with many different personalities over the course of your journey—some grating, some delightful. But every person you meet in the business will teach you something, even if the lesson is an example of what you don’t want to be.

Networking is an essential key to your success in publishing. Of course, you have to have the talent to go with it, but if you don’t get out there and share that talent—show others you possess it—how is anyone ever going to know you exist? Go join a few writing communities, check out Storytellers Unplugged, and absorb the knowledge presented. Check out the social sites—Twitter, Facebook, My Space, Ning—and join some. But enter social sites with the caveat: use in moderation. Don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal. Networking is important, but writing is what brought you here in the first place.

When networking online, don’t forget to use netiquette. Be courteous. Be respectful and polite. Once you feel comfortable interacting within a community, introduce yourself. Don’t just chime in on a topic because you can. Sometimes the best way to network, particularly when you’re new, is to just listen and get a feel for the crowd. Don’t speak up simply to be heard.

Networking is a great way to discover what markets are writer friendly, and what markets to avoid. Sharing inside information with other writers keeps you up to date on which publishers aren’t paying, which markets are communicative, and which are not. Networking can help you streamline your options, in a sea of small presses where fifty percent won’t live to their first birthday. It can help you discover who wants to nurture their writers and who doesn’t.

From personal experience, networking can lead to jobs. Develop a solid reputation for quality work delivered on deadline, make contacts, and you’ll have options once your freelancing CV is ready to send out. Word travels fast in the small press. Publishers who want an editor they can trust often turn to contacts for tips on available freelancers. Same holds true with writing. Editors ask questions. They network. They hunt for the new talent on the Internet and at conventions. How will they know you have anything to offer them if you aren’t putting yourself out there, gaining the experience and contacts you’ll need to attract notice?

Expand your networking beyond the Internet. Try to take in conventions, or join a local writers’ group. Conventions offer opportunities to take in workshops taught by experienced writers, attend panels where you can glean valuable industry information and tips, and schedule pitch sessions.

Pitch sessions are hosted at most conventions. You won’t get the opportunity to pitch your kick ass horror novel to Don D’ Auria over the Internet. But you just might get that chance if you attend a convention or two and sign up for a pitch session. Check out some of the Guests of Honor and special author guests at places like Context, Killercon, Hypericon. Here’s a rich opportunity for the new writer to learn the ropes from names like Thomas F. Monteleone, Gary Braunbeck, and Michael Knost.

Consider joining a writers’ organization to expand your networking options. While not for everyone, writers’ organization (and other freelancing organizations) can offer a wealth of information in the form of links, contract templates, writing tips, articles on the business side of writing, and a great deal of community support. Some writer and freelancing organization I recommend you check out and consider are:

Horror Writers Association:

http://horror.org/

Speculative Fiction Canada

http://www.sfcanada.ca/

Editors Association of Canada

http://www.editors.ca/

Editorial Freelancers Association

http://www.the-efa.org/

International Thriller Writers

http://www.thrillerwriters.org/

All have varying fees and qualifications required before you join. Some have job boards members can browse, and most have an attached forum where you can sign up and network with fellow members. If you’re a recognized professional by the organization, often they’ll list you in their professional pages, which employers in need of freelancers can browse.

The more you network, the more contacts and relationships you build, the more you gain another valuable asset for the writer: experience with the human condition. Writing can be a lonely, solitary endeavor. Ultimately, what does every novel written explore to some extent? In one way or another, they all puzzle over why we emote, create, dream, design, and die. What better way to understand people than to interact with them? Soak up the human experience.

Watch the nuances of a conversation between two writers at a convention. Pay attention to the face of a reader when you talk books. Listen to the ‘war’ stories from authors with tales of publishers gone wrong. You’re not only networking, you’re filing away pieces to construct future characters.

Louise Bohmer is the author of the critically acclaimed “The Black Act” as well as a freelance editor and all around wonderful person.  Visit her at http://www.louisebohmer.com and be sure to order a copy of her fantastic book.