short fiction

January = Delays

January is the toughest month of the year for me. The last few years it’s brought a new financial picture (in a good way) as well as (inevitably it seems) unexpected expenses. I mention this because financial changes have disrupted the publishing schedule for my next indie short. It will probably be toward the end February before I get cover art purchased and the copy edited.

I’m still looking forward to the project. It’s a horror piece that blends Lovecraft, math and finance in (what I hope) is a frightening and unexpected way. At the very least it was a blast to write.

In other news, my serialization of The Bazaar on this blog is just about wrapping up. It’s an exciting place to be. Not least because I will be putting an ebook version of this novella together over the coming year.

I hope to put more indie work out there in 2015, as well as get short pieces published in markets with a bit more visibility. I’ve already got ideas for a couple shorts kicking around in my head, and am eager to get them down on paper.

Or rather, hard drive.

Stepping back and some other random thoughts

I’ve spent much of today shaking off the cobwebs from a week-long vacation (check out the latest chapter of The Bazaar!). Also on my mind, in no particular order:

  1. Thinking it would be a good idea to try networking with some local writers
  2. Ready to launch myself back into promoting “Vampire Brides from Planet Hell,” possibly with some paid advertising (more on that to come as I investigate options)
  3. Realized I need to set a short story aside for a couple weeks before attacking a second draft

Item #3 relates to a story I’ve mentioned on this blog before. It was originally titled “Sweet Home,” then “Mirror, Mirror” and now “Tail Risk.” The story itself has changed as much as the titles. It’s a long short story (if that makes sense) that merges both horror and sci-fi elements. I like where I’ve gotten with it, but frankly have run into something of a brick wall as I work my way toward the end of the first full draft.

I always set stuff aside when I start to get blocked. I’m confident in my ability to finish what I start. Also, I find that coming back to a draft with fresh eyes yields better results then slugging through the pain at times like this. I hope to clear my brain with some free writing before coming back to “Tail Risk.”

Here’s the opening, in case you’re interested:

I’m ready for the biggest score of my career. I sit up all night thinking about it, propped up on a couple thousand dollar pillows. It’s not the coke keeping me up. I’m not high. I don’t feel even remotely high. This isn’t drug-induced euphoria. This is the fucking inevitability of success electrifying my brain matter.

“Ten million dollars.”

“Mmm?” the blonde in bed beside me rolls onto her stomach. She’s got a constellation of moles on her back. I vaguely remember making a pattern out of them earlier through an alcoholic haze while she was doing the reverse cowgirl on my five thousand dollar Italian leather couch.

I can’t wait for the morning meeting.

I can’t sleep, either, so I run through the score in my head. Every detail. Every eventuality. All that risk management bullshit Pike bitches and moans about. I run it all, again and again and again on a loop. I get out of bed and scratch the numbers out on a yellow legal pad in my office. Don’t even bother with a light. I’m so wired I can see in the dark. Fucking night vision. Like a fucking owl or eagle or some other killer bird. Suck it Pike. Bet you can’t see in the dark. A lot of good your risk management bullshit will do you there.

I figure I can clear ten to thirteen million on this thing. Ten million, easy.

That’ll mean senior trader. Partner. The world.

I pace the length of the room in the dark.

Bloody Mary watches from he shadows. She’s a vaguely human shape in the dark. Not that her appearance ever changes.

Scraggly hair hangs down around her face, in her face, in her eyes — a wet mop of a hairstyle. She wears an old-fashioned nightgown. It’s got to be at least two hundred years old. It’s got these ridiculous ruffles all down the front and little pink hearts embroidered at odd spaces. Also she’s covered in blood. Hair, face, nightgown. She’s soaked through with blood, as if someone’s drenched her in buckets and buckets of it.

Writing Recap

Been caught up preparing for the CFA Level I Exam the last week, so I really haven’t gotten too much writing done. Now that the exam is over I can focus more energy on writing. Unfortunately it will probably be next week before I really get back in the swing of things. I have three freelance assignments due this week.

In any event, here’s what on the horizon:

  • Submit a flash horror story to Bewildering Stories
  • Complete a substantial rewrite of another horror story, “Sweet Home,” which I will evetually self-publish
  • Continue posting chapters of The Bazaar according to schedule
  • Continue draft of novel manuscript

Plenty to do in the coming weeks!


Flash Fiction Online submission

As part of my ongoing quest for increased visibility, I submitted my flash horror story, “First Corinthians,” to Flash Fiction Online. In an earlier post I described the story thusly:

“First Corinthians” is about a little girl speaking to the exorcist trying to throw a demon out of her sister. It actually takes place apart from the exorcism itself, while the exorcist is taking a break. This isn’t blood and guts horror. I’m trying for something more cerebral – maybe even philosophical. The story is about faith and God and how one copes in the apparent absence of those things. What if God didn’t exist but the Devil did? Pretty horrifying stuff, methinks, albeit in a much subtler way.

As usual, updates to follow.

Flash fiction submission to Every Day Fiction

Just submitted a flash piece to Every Day FictionIf you’re unfamiliar with the site, it publishes one piece of flash fiction a day, every day of the year. Hence the name. All genres are welcome as long as the submission is under 1,000 words. EDF’s a great place for previously unpublished writers to submit. There are some very astute and honest commenters offering critical feedback. The only downside is Every Day Fiction doesn’t pay anything except for a token dollar.

This particular submission is titled “Like killing a mockingbird.” It’s a bit of sci-fi, based on the premise that if computers ever become self-aware some of them will probably commit crimes, and someone will have to defend them in a court of law. It’s Neuromancer meets To Kill a Mockingbird. Or maybe Dead Man Walking. 

Updates to follow. It could be up to 90 days before I hear anything.