Friday, February 6, 2009

No Rules, She Won and A Cross

I’ve got a new saying. Sometimes I come up with something that I really like or I play with words or slogans, changing them slightly. A couple of months ago while explaining confidence in one’s ability to write I used sports as an example. Basically, the only way an athlete becomes good is to practice, practice, practice. Then, as they get better at their chosen sport, they gain confidence in their skills.

Writing is much the same way. You have to practice at it, learn from your mistakes and continue to grow as a writer. At the end of this I told the young lady, “No rules, just write.” This is an obvious play on Outback Steakhouse’s “No Rules, Just Right,” slogan. I thought it was cool and it fit the topic. I’ve used it a couple of times since then. I really like it.

I really do.

It reminds me to not worry about the writing but to just do it; keep working at it. One day that hard work and dedication will pay off. Maybe not in a Super Bowl or World Series but maybe in a big publication or something of the like.

The more I say it, the more I think it goes right along with my mindset. I won’t cut a story short so it can fit in a word count. If the story needs to be 12,000 words, then I let the story complete itself. I don’t hold it to that three to five thousand word range. I let the story live.

No Rules, Just Write.

Say it a few times. Think about it. Give it a shot.

No Rules, Just Write.


Umm . . . she won.

Yeah, that's right. She won.

Who? What? Who won what?

Oh, yeah, I guess it would help if you knew who won what, right? Say that five times real fast.

Fran Friel, a dear friend of mine, won the Black Quill Reader's Choice Award for her collection of short stories, Mama's Boy and Other Dark Tales. This collection, put out around this time last year by Apex Book Company is anchored by the novella, Mama's Boy, a Stoker finalist two years ago.

If you haven't picked this collection up you should. There is something in it for just about everyone who loves good horror stories. There is a pirate story, a story told from a dog's point of view, a deal with the devil type of tale and a delusional yarn with the feel of Psycho to it among others.

Fran is deserving of this award and the fact that the readers chose her makes it very special. For those of you who voted for Fran, I thank you. I'm sure she will do the same when it sinks in.

To go with this award, Fran has made the preliminary ballot for the Stokers. The finalists and winners will be announced in the not too distant future.

If you will, congratulate Fran if you know her. If you don't, well, you don't know what you're missing. She is truly a wonderful person and a great writer. And a true inspiration for folks like me.

So, Fran, big sis, congratulations from your L'il Brother. Here's to future success!

You can find the collection at Apex Book Company here:

Mama's Boy and Other Dark Tales


In other news of the not so weird:

In my quest for 1000 words a day every day I find myself sitting at 10777 words for the month of February. I’ve written a couple of really cool stories so far this month and I’m excited about editing them. One of them has me really stoked and hopefully in the coming months I can announce it has been published.

Going into today I was a bit concerned. I had received three rejections this month. The two that were not form rejections were nice and one of them very informative on why they weren’t taking the story. I appreciate the comments and thoughts. It’s not every day the editors will tell you why they don’t like a particular story. Especially since many publications get two and three hundred submissions a month and space and time are of limited quantity.

I was 0 for 3 on the month when I received my first acceptance of February. The place is called Flash Fiction Offensive, a fairly new site. The story is called “Stupor.” The editor, Rey Gonzalez, pointed out something that could strengthen the piece and I’m going to work on it tonight and probably tomorrow, but as it stands, “Stupor” is slated to come out next Friday.

You can check out Flash Fiction Offensive here:

Flash Fiction Offensive

Read some of their stories in their archives here: FFO Archives

Also, my story, Sarah’s Playground, is currently up at SNM Horror Magazine. It came in second place in their erotic horror themed contest. Second place. So close. So close.

SNM Horror Magazine Sarah’s Playground

Be warned. Language, nudity, sex. It’s all in there, as well as golfing and dead men. Scroll down the page and give it a read.


This is the section where I usually pimp my friends. Since I already pimped out Fran (for those of you speed readers who may have missed it, look up a few paragraphs), I will take a moment to mention John Rowlands.

John has a new short short up at Six Sentences, a website where you can only use six sentences to tell a story. Yeah, I know—kind of obvious, huh?

His story is titled “The Cross.” It’s a good piece, kind of chilling when you think about the topic. Stop by and give it a read, rate the story and leave him a comment. I’m sure John would appreciate it.

The Cross

I guess that’s about it for now, so until next time, I’m AJ and I’m out.

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