Posted Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 at 9:00 pm
Filed under: meta | No Rebuttals
Today marks the one year anniversary since the last post I made here on Flametoad, so I figured it only fitting to celebrate the anniversary with highlights from the past year.
- The biggest news is that I finished Degrees of Horror and it’s awaiting its turn at production with Pinnacle.
- I’m writing a weekly column called Class Notes over on the 12 to Midnight website.
- I’m using Goodreads more often if you want to connect there. I’m not entirely sure what link to provide, so just search my name and it’ll probably pop up.
- I don’t post often but I’m lurking around Google+ almost daily. I generally add people who add me.
- I started running, stopped due to shin splints, and have recently started again.
- Other amazingly cool stuff that’s not coming to mind at the moment.
I keep renewing the hosting and domain name for Flametoad, so clearly I’m not ready to give it up. On the other hand, I can’t say I have any immediate plans to start posting here regularly, either. Maybe I’ll see you in another year.
Posted Monday, February 27th, 2012 at 5:07 pm
Filed under: Current Events | Comments Off
Here are some recent items worth following:
Viva la Revolution! – Remember a year ago when we were cheering the Egyptian revolutionaries and talking about how the non-political Muslim Brotherhood would finally be free to help provide relief for the common citizen? Let’s follow up and see how that’s working out, shall we?
But I’m Different – Our sitting President is a Constitutional scholar who campaigned on making the government more open and transparent, not to mention rolling back all the authoritarian measures cooked up by the mustache-twirling President Bush and diabolical God-and-Guns Republicans. Let’s follow up and see how that’s working out, shall we?
Voting for Truth – The IPCC has published alarming reports about the the state of our climate for more than a decade. Each of the four IPCC reports include predictions on the catastrophic temperature increases to come, prompting never-ending clashes between the rational science-based believers and heretical skeptics. Let’s follow up and see how that’s working out, shall we?
Filed under: Movies and TV | Comments Off
Posted Monday, January 23rd, 2012 at 8:31 am
Posted Monday, October 10th, 2011 at 5:02 am
Filed under: Miscellaneous | Comments Off
Here in Texas a series of small cold fronts have finally broken the choke hold of 100 degree days that gripped the state. Now that we’re back down to more seasonable temperatures in the 80s and 90s, our thoughts turn to the time of ghosts and goblins (and candy!) drawing ever closer.
With retailers stretching their seasonal sales earlier and earlier, most of us in the U.S. started seeing Halloween decorations on the shelves in August. It’s a little hard to get into the spirit* of things after being pelted with pumpkin decorations at every turn for weeks on end. To help you restore some of that holiday fear**, why not pick up an anthology of ghost stories? In fact, let me suggest one anthology in particular. The recently released Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horror includes a story of mine- The Angry Stick.
This book has been a long time in the making, but the story even longer. I was approached by Matt McElroy of Flames Rising Press back in early 2010 about submitting an anthology story for consideration. Honestly, it was a pretty rough time for me. Ed and I were working like mad to put the finishing touches on Degrees of Horror, our big (and I mean BIG) Pinebox setting book for Savage Worlds set on the ETU campus. By that point we’d been running that particular marathon for several months. The last thing I needed to do was take on more writing work. Still, when opportunity knocks it’s hard to plug your ears.
The Angry Stick started as a thematic sibling to another project I’d started in 2009. That one was a sci-fi story (working title Mission Incomplete) that I’d started but set aside until I could figure out how to pull off the ending. I knew how I wanted it to end thematically, but I hadn’t worked out the actual mechanics of what the protagonist would do to generate the resolution I had in mind. The Haunted anthology story would be totally different– present-day ghost hunting had absolutely nothing in common with my sci-fi story. Yet as I cast about for ideas I came around to that same theme I had been exploring in Mission Incomplete. Apparently it was an idea that wanted out one way or another, and as elements clicked into place I saw how I could make the story work. The good news is that whereas Mission Incomplete lay, well…incomplete, the resolution on The Angry Stick came about much more easily. There’s something to be said for persistence and re-writing.
The protagonist in The Angry Stick is a seasoned ghost hunter who has been drawn to a pool hall in Pinebox, Texas by reports of strong supernatural activity. I had some backstory in which the protagonist got his start in Pinebox, but almost all of that ended up on the cutting room floor in favor of fleshing out other parts of the story. Those are the kinds of tough choices you have to make when you’re working under a word limit and I appreciate editor Monica Valentinelli’s wisdom on zeroing in on the more important parts. The story is better for her input.
It’s been more than a year since I wrote The Angry Stick and maybe 6 months since I turned in the final requested edits. With the benefit of time and experience, I recently picked up Mission Incomplete again. I’ve been polishing the parts I’d written two years ago and drawing closer to the ending I knew I wanted. Only, a few days ago I realized that what I’d originally envisioned (and pulled off in The Angry Stick) really didn’t entirely make sense for the protagonist in this situation. Now I either have to figure out how to re-frame things such that the ending is still logical or I have to come up with another ending that still satisfies the overall theme of the story. That’s okay though. I’m a writer. I have some ideas.
*See what I did there?
Posted Thursday, October 6th, 2011 at 5:48 am
Filed under: Books | Comments Off
In case you haven’t heard the news, a short story of mine is appearing in anthology this month. The anthology is called Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horror and the e-book can be had for only $4.99. A print edition will be following in the coming weeks. Anyhow, my story, The Angry Stick, is the last one in the book.
With Halloween right around the corner, the timing couldn’t be better. This collection of short stories brings examines the practice of ghost hunting. Not the Ghostbusters variety, but rather actual ghost hunting as it’s done today and on reality shows like Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International, and Ghost Adventures. I’m afraid my story takes liberties in the interest of drama and isn’t as scientific as actual ghost hunting, but the theme holds.
My story’s name, The Angry Stick, is taken from the tale’s setting—a rustic pool hall in the rural East Texas town of Pinebox. I’m sure nearly none of you will be surprised to learn that this isn’t the first time I’ve written about this particular pool hall. The Angry Stick made its official debut in an issue of the e-zine Modern Dispatch, though the issue number escapes me. It’s inspired by an actual pool hall here in Texas, though the name has been changed and the layout of the building is somewhat different. For whatever it’s worth, this Angry Stick and the events that take place within are officially part of the Pinebox setting continuity.
So what’s the story actually about? Here’s the elevator pitch: A seasoned ghost hunter struggles to conceal his curse while helping a pretty amateur who stubbornly investigates a hostile spirit.
That’s about all I can tell you for now without getting into spoiler territory. In closing, I’d just like to say that the nice thing about writing for anthologies is the opportunity to be associated with people more talented than yourself. I’m honored that The Angry Stick is being included among stories by such an excellent lineup of authors. If you’re in the mood for reading something spooky this Halloween season, I hope you’ll consider our “11 tales of Ghostly Horror”.
Come back in a few days to watch me do a deadly balancing act as I talk about how I came to write The Angry Stick while managing to avoid spoilers. Can it be done? Tune in and find out!