Category Archives: flash fiction

Patreonage


I’ve finally broken down and put together a Patreon page. It’s just a beginning — I don’t know exactly what to do yet…so I’m offering a story or a piece of a wip each week, plus access to music that then public won’t see for a while and the opportunity to have me write something from your story prompt.
Just part of an overall effort to organize and focus. I’d welcome participation and suggestions. Thanks for reading!

Broken thumbnails


Gateways to Abomination: Collected Short FictionGateways to Abomination: Collected Short Fiction by Matthew M. Bartlett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gateways to Abomination consists of a number of vignettes and flash fictions tied together by a framing device, a fictional radio station way to the left on the dial, and by the rot that exists within a small town. It doesn’t have any plot, possesses little forward movement or narrative structure. It’s somewhere between a new-wave novel and a themed collection, and what it has, in spades, is an overwhelming sense of dread, an anything-can-happen atmosphere, which gives the events that take place within a certain non-sequitur quality. Things just happen. Strange things, disturbing things, things that go bump no matter what time of day or night it is.
Nothing is defined or explained, and this opacity lends itself well to the mysterious occurrences in Leeds. It’s unclear whether WXXT is the cause of or merely the reflection of the rot in the town’s heart, or whether it just chronicles the happenings, but the whole bundle is very effective at communicating a sense of foreboding, and the spot-on thumbnail sketches of the people, animals, and places within add an element of hyper-realism to the proceedings.
Definitely not your run-of-the-mill portal. Pass through this gateway and you’ll never be the same.

View all my reviews

eebs and arcs


In book news, I entered into what may be the last phase of edits for the collection NIGHTMARE GROVE. This book compiles material from my ebook Before Crazytown and several newer stories, three of which were written especially  for the collection. Here’s a look at the table of contents (the asterisked are new):

grovesm

 

Ink
Linkage*
The Forgotten God*
Ghoul Picnic
The Whispering Trees
Green
Pawprints *
Pnakotic Reaction
Frieze in Blue and White*
Waiting for the Sun (both the story and as a title for a flash fiction section)

 

E-versions (“Eebs”) and ARCs will be made available for review purposes, upon request, from moderanathotmaildotcom, shortly after the first of the month. Continue reading

blogospherical


Or House of Blog or somesuch.
Here’s the list of creations:
Modblog, the domain version, which won’t be incorporating any of the content from this blog (officially the son of the son of modblog in my private nomenclature). That’ll have the basic daily rants and screeds and fluff, and update posts like this one. I’m committed to daily posting and may well crosspost between the three blogging platforms-blogger, wordpress, and my domain. It depends on how much I have to say each day.
I’m planning at the very least to do a lot more reviews-books and cds more so than movies, which I don’t watch much, and more sports content. Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks specifically. I get a lot of the Cub games on WGN, and the Bears have a few national games. The Hawks are rarely on tv, and the 160 bucks for a season’s worth of streaming is ridiculous. But I digress…next on the list is :

Fallen Earring, the eventual home for the edited first draft of the nanonovel. This version is radically different from the versions previously posted. The delivery system is all that I kept-otherwise it’s a complete rewrite and is causing retrocon ripples throughout my little pocket universe.
You’ll notice that the design is a little different…in that the background is the same gif that I made most of the old buttons from. I think it looks pretty good in that context, and I’ve chopped up the colored-pencil drawing some and used it for a header graphic as well as the “book cover”.

WordWorld, where I’m planning to post a good variety of my written work. That will include the revised versions as well as some first and second drafts as I wish to discuss the genesis of some of the pieces.
The content will change from time to time as I add and subtract pieces, depending on which segment of the overall continuity they’re slotted into at the moment.
The design has my usual starfield background and a bunch of desk tools, including the requisite cuppa joe.

Fear and Loathing In Innsmouth. This webcomic (including a portion that is envisioned as a graphic novel) will be starting around the New Year.
The greenish color scheme indicates the relation to the Letters from Outside anthology, due to start appearing around the same time.

There are also a couple of things I’m not prepared to unveil as yet. It seems that I found the key to my lethargy after all as my O2 converter experienced complete fail at @2 am, causing my dearest to be awakened and the on-call tech to be summoned. It had been sounding like a garbage truck in the driveway for most of the afternoon and night, and finally gave up the ghost.
Fortunately I had one last portable tank on hand and D put that together while I made the call. The whole process was handled very professionally, and Jose was here within the hour to change out the unit. I’d have to say that the old converter was probably failing for a while, and that’s why I was feeling so run-down that I was literally huffing and puffing just from getting up to go into the kitchen. Burning plastic fumes, air instead of straight oxygen, a combination of the two, those are likely culprits.
I’m feeling much better. My gigantic migraine has just about gone away. D has gone to work dspite having just a couple hours’ sleep, though she’s gonna go home early if allowed. Last Friday was pretty slow, or so I was led to understand. Let’s hope today is likewise. We could use the money but she has to be exhausted.

Happy Birthday To Me and A General Checkpoint


Today is my 50th birthday. Or rather, the fiftieth anniversary of my birth. A lot of significance is attached to the years with zeroes…I don’t know why, but I do feel that this one is significant, if only because I almost didn’t have this one.
It’s been a sucky year overall-the good points are far outweighed by the bad, but we’ll come out of it all smelling pretty good. My long illness and recuperation will be the means by which I can switch horses and start on a new career path (or paths), and I’m all about getting creative with that.
It’s been difficult to get myself into a productive schedule-my insomnia has kicked in again, and the constant state of enervation keeps my energy level pretty low.. I can lie in bed and close my eyes to my heart’s content, but morpheus never overtakes me. My mind just keeps running and running, fueled apparently by some odd combination of cabin fever and artistic inspiration. I spend the endless waking moments planning, making to-do lists and plot skeletons or partial skeletons, knitting the threads that will relate those bones to other bones, playing in my mental ipod the pithy lead guitar and melody lines that will break my songs free of their formulae, and haunting the forums.
Yesterday it was made public that myself and another forum moderator were elevated to the role of global mod. A nice lady was told that she is now moderator of the Lounge and Debate sections. While I wouldn’t wish that role on anyone, I’ll be happy to help steer those conversations in the directions dictated by the site’s bylaws. There have been a couple of mentor appointments made recently, and all of them seem to be working out.
I have a couple of projects running there, some goals to shoot for. I’ve developed more patience this year, probably (okay, almost certainly) the result of my hospitalization. When you can’t move and have to depend on other (and rather busy) people to obtain food, water, and basic creature comforts like a urinal or bedpan, you learn to wait.
I’ve also developed a desire to finish things. I’m a killer starter of projects-I understand perfectly my dear lady’s knitter project list. I love most of my things so much that I don’t want to end them and keep starting new ones so that I don’t have to.
This can lead to aberrations like the 627,448 words of Carcosa (my 2009 NaNoNovel) that I typed up between November ’09 and January ’11, most of which are completely useless for anything other than cannibalization but were fun to do anyway. That monstrosity grew from the 1999 short story I of the Storm, which had the unique twist of the narrator undergoing transdimensional personality transplant and liking it immensely. I still like the general idea and did a buttload of worldbuilding for it, so I may try it again. That might be a good place for one of my patented themed-short-story groups.
The collection Blue Easter is going along quite well. I’m rewriting all of the principal pieces-“Green”, and “Parchment”, the original “Blue Easter” novella recast and repurposed, all of those fragments and linkpieces and thinkpieces, and am including the never-public rewrite of “Ghoul Picnic” entitled “The Whispering Trees”, and a couple more shorts that I’ll sandbag for now.
The webcomic/graphic novel Fear and Loathing in Innsmouth, which runs concurrent with that collection (it was originally intended to be part of it but has developed into a companion piece in terms of chronology), is underway at long last. I’ve done some of the character sketching and will be debuting that either around Xmas or just after the first of the year.
Those are virtual locks for completion in the next six months, and are on the front burners, along with the blognovel Fallen Earring. That’s going to be appearing on my website proper after nanowrimo. I’ve decided to do a complete rewrite, from scratch, and am doing it as my nanonovel. As soon as I can apply a decent edit, I’m going to put it up in sections. “It” being the version I’m happier with afterward. I’d like to put that novel to bed and get on with the next one in the series, Vermilion Dawn, which I’ve decided not to do for Nano this year.
I think four finished novels is a good goal to shoot for. It’d be great to post a year from now and say that I had achieved that goal, plus the musical projects. Hell, it’d be a great year.
Aforementioned musical projects: Suite Indigo, Warm Worlds and Otherwise, Cyberpunk Honkytonk are the titles of the three cds I’m planning to issue. Each will have material remastered for inclusion, new tracks/new instrumental parts, and probably new cover art. I’ll probably distribute them through reverbnation unless something striking catches my eye. They’ll all be available after the first of the year-might stagger the releases from month to month.
I’m finishing up another promotional video project. This time I’m doing voiceover as well as backtrack. Good practice for when I put my own videos together, something I’ve been mulling over for quite some time.
Here are a couple of the projects I’ve been associated with:

One of these days I’m going to try scoring my own pieces. I still have in mind to do the narrative of “Ghost Tracks” as a podcast, spoken over the music that inspired the story. I’d just have to figure out exactly how much time it takes to read the story put loud and go from there. That could easily make the front burner for a minute since it would be quickly accomplished.

That’s all for now. Lotta stuff since I haven’t been posting much lately. Thanks for reading!

Watch the Birdie


 This is a flash fiction that was submitted to the Literary Maneuvers contest at Writing Forums. It has been edited since that appearance and is slightly altered.
There’s a golf game playing on the television. The others are either dozing or harmonizing with Mr. Bird. Bird wants to know if the outside nest has an outside nest. It’s known that there are boundaries, because Herbie and Junior have both been out, and everyone saw them fall and heard the sound of them hitting the wall.

“The wall, the wall,” the chorus croons, “it’s the end of the world, and it’s near.”

Herbie sings-“I can plainly see. It is clear to me.”

The chorus peeps-“He can plainly see what is yet to be…”

Junior warbles-“Look to the right at the source of the light. For you’ve been granted sight to assist your flight.”

The chorus tweets-“Look to the right to the light.”

It is clear that the light comes in through a pane,as the mirror pane that shows you yourself when you stand before it, but without anything behind it.

You mention this-“When you look to the right there’s a nest outside. The light comes in through a mirror that’s clearer.”

The chorus chirps-“A mirror that’s clearer is clearly superior..”

Preening is.

The bigger featherless has been making something that looks like a new nest. That it was a nest had been the subject of the last improversation. Everyone is hoping that the two nests will become one.

He’s moving it closer. Now it’s right in front of the twin nests.

The hand comes in and begins to quest, everyone dodging and tweeting location. The young ones go first. Your brother Herbie, who had been in the middle nest, is clutched, and you see him in the new nest. Then the hand comes in and chases you around until you’re caught!

Your beak digs into flesh and your talons clutch and your wings desperately try to open. You bite down hard, hoping to make the big featherless let go, and it WORKS and your wings really do open and flap and you’re in the AIR OUTSIDE THE NEST and you see another clearer mirror and you head for it hoping that there’s a hole in it somewhere and you can just keep on flying until you’re away and you flap and you flap and you flap and on the television, a golfer is on the fairway near the right-hand bunker and is attempting to reach the green with a 5-iron. He winds up and the head of his golf club hits the ball with a thwack! as you flap one more time and bounce. Your beak and claws clink! on the glass.

“He’s by the window,” says the smaller featherless as the bigger makes haste and recovers you. He takes you to the new nest.

You rush to sit beside your brother and begin to compose while the rest of the flock are brought to the nest. Your father Huey is preening, proud, and Lady Bird your mother sits erect beside him. Huey is percussion, rhythm, and he brings a little extra swing to his beats.

“If you hit the wall, then you’re bound to fall,” you begin.

Mr. Bird ripostes-“This much we do know, but what about the window? Where does the window go?”

And you answer-“Where the window goes, we still don’t know, but the resulting fall is the same as the wall. There’s just no hole in the window so there’s nowhere to go. If you hit the glass then you’ll hit your ass fast.”

Preening is. 

Together is joy.
“I wonder what they say when they’re all singing like that,” says the smaller featherless, looking at you, the flock.
“Impossible to know,” answers the larger featherless, watching the golfer sink the third shot of a par four, a 25-foot putt. The golfer preens too.