Monday, March 9, 2009

I Wonder Sometimes

Good evening. I like to start things with the word ‘good.’ It is a greeting that doesn’t suggest that all is crap in the world around us. Usually it’s all down hill from there anyway, so why not start off with the best and work my way down?

That’s not exactly true. A lot of folks think that when you see that ‘good’ word at the front it’s time to bend over. Yeah, yeah, I know most of the time that’s true but not all the time and hopefully, not when you encounter me in a dark alley and I’m holding a rubber chicken over my head, wearing platform shoes and singing We Are the Champions. In that case if I use the word ‘good’ in any form, I would advise running.

Anyway . . .

I’m wondering a few things tonight. First off, why does the media insist on telling us every minute detail about every celebrity’s life? Seriously, do I really care if the president finally has a first dog or first cat? No. Do I care what Jen said to whichever girl Brad is with at the time? No. Do I care what color panties Ashley Judd wears? Well . . . Oh, wait. No.

It’s not important to me and I wish the media would just stop. It’s going to get to the point one day where even the most mundane thing the average Joe does is going to be in the tabloids.


Who cares?

I wonder why most people start counting at one and not zero. It seems to me that zero is the first number. Or am I missing something here?

I also wonder about speculative fiction. Why does it put off so many people? Now, before you answer that question, understand this: Why do people asks why did this happen or that happen in speculative fiction? Shouldn’t we leave something to the imagination or does everyone need their hands held while they read these days?

I think Shaun Ryan asked a pretty simple question when dealing with speculative fiction when he said: If there is no speculation or reflection on the part of the reader after they finish your story, if they don't sit and ponder what you just said and how it might fit into their view of the universe, why bother?

I love this statement, because, in my opinion, it holds a basic truth to it: why bother if you can’t make your reader think? Got yah thinking now, don’t I?


Recently I have been debating the state of the short story—especially the flash story. For those of you who have followed me over the recent months (or years if you are a glutton for punishment) you will know that I constantly say that today we live in a world with the McDonald’s Mentality. We’re in that time period where everything has to be done fast and if it takes too long, well then we want nothing to do with it. It’s got to be quick for our on the go lifestyles.

Slow down partner. Why not take a break from the hustle and bustle of the world and read a four thousand-word story? Why not let a story slowly suck you in just before spitting you out? (You men can get your minds out of the gutter now.) I think writing has become a lost art. Yeah, a lot of people are good at it—a lot of people are so much better at it than I am. However, a lot of people use that cookie cutter, it’s got to be this way and not that way format. They want something tried and true and are afraid to step out on a limb, put their neck out there so someone can lop off their head. Yeah, I know the publishing world isn’t too receptive to things that don’t follow the typical rules of writing, but them and you may be missing out on some great stories because of ‘rules.’

Weren’t rules made to be broken?

I’ve been experimenting a lot with my fiction lately, trying not to stay in that old rut that us writers get into. If it ain’t broken don’t fix it. Well, I want to break it and change it and mold it into something different. I want to change the way people view the short story. It isn’t always about what follows the rules the best, but what story is the best story told. That’s what I’m looking for. That’s what I want to do. Change the short story world, one imperfect story at a time.

Wish me luck—I may need it.


As of today I sit at 10,601 words written on the month of March, keeping with my thousand words a day goal. I’m still holding strong and looking to continue doing so.

So far for the year I sit at 101,587 words. I think that’s a good number. What do you think?


Don’t forget I have an interview up at SNM Horror Magazine. I know many of you will want to read the Romero interview, but if you can read it and then the next two interviews you will see my ugly mug, donning my always there sunglasses and then my interview. It’s a fun read and Kasandora Lilith asked some great questions.

You can find it here: SNM Horror Magazine Interview


A couple of other notes and I’ll be off.

I received a couple of acceptances in the last few days. I’m pretty stoked about both of them. The first one is my short story, “I Carved Her Name Upon My Skin,” to Sinister Tales. It’s slated to debut on April 15th. As the date gets closer I’ll keep you updated on where it can be purchased.

The other acceptance is to a place I’ve wanted to get into ever since I heard of them: Every Day Fiction. They accepted my story, Losing Grandma, for publication. As soon as I know the date, I’ll let you all know.

That’s about it for now. I’m tired and have a few other things to do. For now I’m AJ and I’m out.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Snow In South Carolina? Yeah, Right.

February has come and gone and, just like that we are at the beginning of March.

Here in the heart of South Carolina we have managed to survive the Winter Storm of 2009 getting so much snow that we . . . couldn't even see it. I awoke on Monday morning expecting to see anywhere from three to six inches of snow on the ground and saw exactly . . . none. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

My children were disappointed, as I'm sure most, if not all, the children of Columbia were when they got up to see their yards just as they had been left the day before. We were Snowless in Columbia but still there were inclement weather delays and closings. Are you serious? Closings? Yes, many schools and businesses closed on Monday because of the threat of winter weather.

Amazing. It's going to suck when South Carolina gets some real winter weather. "Shut the state down. Call the president. Declare South Carolina a disaster area and pray for financial relief."

On the news we'll see some redneck, probably from my family, with a beer in her hand, her hair all messed up and stubble on her chin, crying about her coon dogs' tongues being stuck to the bumper of her pick up truck. You know, the one with the shot gun rack in the window and the squirrel tail on the extended antenna.

Snow. In Columbia? Yeah right.


Sometimes it's nice to say I told yah so. So, here we go:



I think this is going to be a short blog today. I have a lot to do and not near enough time to do it in.

For those keeping track, February was a down month for writing. I still met my thousand words a day goal and ended up with 37659 words on the month.

However, I only received two acceptances for submissions I sent out, bringing my total to just five for the year or only 10% of what I would like to have by the end of the year. I admit I got a little discouraged when one story was rejected—I just KNEW it was going to make it into the publication I sent it to, so when it didn't I got bummed for a couple of hours. Put that in the 'don't count your chickens before they hatch' category and move on. Nothing to see here, folks. It's all under control.


A couple of other things:

I was interviewed for SNM Horror Magazine and it is live here:

SNM Interview

You'll need to scroll down and try to make it pass the Romero interview and the two that follow. If you can do that and get over my ugly mug, read the interview. I would appreciate it.

Also, 2M Magazine is not accepting submissions. The short version of the fiction guidelines are as follows:

Stories up to 1500 words. This is a firm word count. 2M will not publish any fiction longer than 1500 words. Stories can be horror, fantasy or action/suspense. They pay 1 cent per word. If you have something you want to send along, send it to:

Though the website is not currently up, you can find the full guidelines here:

2M Guidelinese


That's about it for today. I'm AJ and I'm out.