Tag Archives: weird fiction

Method


Though I conduct my fictional affairs with a good bit of handwavium and a helping of deus ex machina, because that’s the nature of the beast, still, I’ve railed against such use in the past. And I was probably right, then.

Context.

Heh. Yeah, right, you say, and rightly so.

But boundaries, fuck ’em. I was wrong, plus it’s addictive…to be unleashed, to not worry about what hard-sf fans are gonna say, or what plot twist came straight out of tvtropes. To just tell the story as it occurs to you. Er, me. Because pov.

That’s a fun plaything, too. Perspective.

Just tell the damn story. I was good at that when I was young. I would just write until I was done. Wrote a 67,000 word novel in one day, on notebook paper, in pencil(s), longhand. It was awful. Only three people have even read part of it. They’re all on Facebook. *ducks* Continue reading

More power to me.


sgo-w640I’ve been fighting the system, the powers-that-be that govern the issuance of devices like the one to the left, for four years.

Yesterday, I was victorious, and the device was delivered to my home. It comes with one rechargeable battery, an adapter to charge via home electric current, and an adapter to charge via dashboard cigarette lighter.

In order to accomplish all of the tasks that make such a device necessary, I need at least one, and preferably two, additional battery(ies). The insurance company won’t spring for them. It would cost $258.00 apiece to rent them from the agency, or $450.00 to buy them from Amazon.
The latter seems preferable.batteries

So I’ve enacted a GoFundMe campaign to finance the acquisition of two batteries, so that I may go back to school, attend/vend through weird fiction conventions, hold book-signings, and travel more freely in general.

There are several levels of rewards, including such things as free ebooks, custom dedications, and even an opportunity to be written into a novel or short story. Words don’t suffice to express my gratitude to anyone who would contribute to the cause, but words are what I have.

The ultimate goal is to attend the Necronomicon, in 2017, and to take a vendor’s table at the convention, stocked (at least) with the six books that are already planned. This is but a step, albeit a giant one, on the way to that goal.

Thanks for reading, and many thanks for contributing.

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

Hooked Up


guttedGutted by Doug Murano

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was fortunate enough to be advanced a copy of this book prior to publication. And I mean fortunate. This book is destined to generate strong sales, firstly on the strength of the names involved (Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell), and then on the strength of the poem and stories included.
Stephanie M. Wytovich leads off with an effective piece of verse, which leads into what I think is the best story in the book: Brian Kirk’s “Picking Splinters From a Sex Slave.”
That story illustrates what lengths a person might go to to accomodate a loved one, in exquisite detail. The actual tableau is revolting, but the internal logic is inescapable. The tone is perfect.
“Splinters” is followed by Lisa Mannetti and then Neil Gaiman. Both stories are good — not pedestrian, but are overshadowed by the excellence of Kirk’s piece. Christopher Cooke’s “Dominion” levels up one from those and leads into a tetralogy of really effective horror tales by Mercedes M. Yardley, Paul Tremblay, Damien Angelica Walters, and Richard Thomas, before Clive Barker takes center stage with his “Coming To Grief”. I’m not going to say that this story is as good as “classic Barker” pieces like “In the Hills, the Cities”, but it is a Barker story, and has a certain resonance.
The second-best story, John F.D. Taff’s “Cards for His Spokes, Coins for His Fare”, which has distinct Kingian undertones, is set in the early 70s of my own childhood and morphs into a fairly classic ghost yarn. Cheers for the setting and characters.
Amanda Gowin contributes a decent piece, “Cellar’s Dog”, with a good portrait of po’ white trash, and Kevin Lucia adds “When We All Met at the Ofrenda”, which again hits me especially, as I live in the Southwest and am familiar with the lore that contributes to the setting and setup.
That’s followed by good pieces from Maria Alexander and Josh Malerman, before the capstone, Ramsey Campbell’s “The Place of Revelation”, which does not disappoint.
Strong, strong, strong. Pieces that find beauty in grotesquerie, love amid the ruins, that entice you with beauty and magic and then hang you on a meathook, still wanting more.
Gutted will have out your liver and lights in an instant, after you give your heart willingly.
An easy five stars.

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Monday musings 3/21


grovesm

Photo by Ian Sidlow

Monday. Edit/rewrite sorta day. The NIGHTMARE GROVE collection opens with the story “Ink,” which was cribbed from the CRAZYTOWN collection since it was originally set in Oak Grove and only recently moved to Tuxtown.

So I have to fix the references (for the most part-there are connections between the two collections) and there are a couple of scenes that could work more smoothly.
“Ink” is based on one of my more successful stories, “Parchment” in its original incarnation. It was published in three languages, and in seven separate magazines/ezines, and also kindled a fabulous audio reading by the redoubtable Morgan Scorpion (Parchment).
“Ink” makes the process of transposition clearer and ramps up the body-horror and psych-horror.
There is a sequel, which will be part of CRAZYTOWN, perhaps with some input from the inestimable Frederick J. Mayer. That’s getting processed after “Ink” and “stars” Nate Jenkins, who had previously appeared in the BROWN JENKINS series of stories and in “Pnakotic Reaction”.

crazytown

Art by Candra Hope

I’m reworking the text for the CRAZYTOWN cover. It looks like there may be a few things to add. Maybe a blurb or two, and the ToC has been monkeyed with. This is a copy of the original art, which is just beautiful, with the rot beneath the surface admirably depicted. Also in the current pipeline are the novella Fear and Loathing in Innsmouth, which is as gonzo as gonzo gets, a weird/bizarro treatment of the themes of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth and the preoccupations and subtext of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I do plan to run that one by Nick Mamatas and Brian Keene before it hits the stacks. They should be amused, as the authors of The Damned Highway, which has some of those ideas embedded within its pages.
FALII…

fin

Art by Will Jacques

Unfortunately, the graphic novel version of this story never got off the ground. But this version should knock everyone’s socks off.

Also in the 2016 pipeline is BETROTHED TO YOG-SOTHOTH, a Barbara Cartland meets Tom Tryon sorta version of the Dunwich Horror, with a lot of Lavinia’s biography filled in. The novel was inspired by a piece of art from someone at deviantart that doesn’t answer their email, and so that picture won’t be on the front cover. Instead, I have this evocative art:

yog

Art by JB Lee

Those are the four books I have planned for this year. They’re all in the finalizing stages — the i’s have been crossed and the tees dotted. Walpurgisnacht and the 4th of July, All-Hallow’s Eve, and Xmas are the projected release dates.

They’ll all be under my Planet Moderan imprint, and will be available in both ebook and treebook incarnations. I’m going to revive BEFORE CRAZYTOWN instead of sticking its stories into NIGHTMARE GROVE. That’s getting done this week too.

Tinfoil Baseball Cap


As usual, we’ll cover a lot of subjects with a too-small, too-thin blanket. But cover them we will.
Firstly…Saturday night, for a little while, my one-man internet band moderan was the #1 band in Tucson/Rock, according to data from music-posting site Reverbnation. I’m sitting at #2 right now.

It was pretty easy to get there, and the maneuver was mostly pre-planned. I embarked on a series of cover tunes, some of which I’ve actually registered. Eventually I’ll register them all, but they’re about 20 bucks each, and I plan to do a LOT of them. Cuz they’re fun. I have a system for producing them quickly, based on midi drums and the forty or so years I’ve spent playing those songs, off and on. The music ranges from pop tunes like Killing Me Softly through progrock epics such as Dance On a Volcano.

I sing, play all of the guitars and basses (with a couple of notable exceptions for collaborators), most of the keyboards, some of the strings, and arrange and produce the tracks. The drums are fashioned from midi tracks, which means faithful timing. I seldom monkey with the structures, though I add or change instrumentation.

You can listen here: Continue reading

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

Outlets


Space Cadet Marvin
It’s been a couple of months since I last blogged. Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned.

Such sins are unlikely to be repeated as this blog has become one of my prime outlets, at least for now. My personal website has been terminated, due to my distaste for playing security guard as well as content creator. I had that thing for the better part of twenty years, but enough is enough. Thanks, hackers and ne’er-do-wells.

I’m using the time to generate more content. I do a ton of work gratis. It isn’t really a problem for me–I’d like to get paid for some stuff, but I can’t always, and I have an earnings cap because of my medical needs.
So my chief interest is in filling the time and developing what skills I have. I pick up a little change here and there, and place the odd anthology or magazine piece. All of those things build audience for my book(s) (well, at least theoretically), and that’s worked so far.

“before Crazytown” has sold more than 1500 copies since its November 2014 debut. It still has but one review, and hasn’t been available since September. I’m embroiled in a Kafkaesque situation with Amazon regarding that volume, and slowly trying to either satisfy the requirements of an editor with an attitude or waste enough time to fulfill the one-year agreement with Amazon and cut loose from there and go back to Smashwords and Lulu. There’ll be a second edition, with a couple of stories added and a roster shuffle, no matter what. And it’ll be available as an actual real paper book that you can fondle, fold, and manipulate. Perhaps even read.

I just don’t know when. Continue reading

Blue and Brown, Brown and Blue, there are more Jenkins and one of You


Brown JenkinToday I posted the first installment of my serial, entitled Brown Jenkins. Several wits noticed the plural surname and immediately assumed bad typography.

But that isn’t the case here. The title character isn’t the pictured character. Or is he? There may be more than one Brown Jenkin in upcoming episodes. I won’t even know ’til I write them.

I have one episode and most of two tracks in the wings, waiting for their appearances. They don’t necessarily have to be the next ones.

The idea is to post one segment each Sunday night, with a blues tune that was also written and performed that week as a soundtrack. If I come across or fashion new art, I’ll add that, too.
All I’ll say about Brown Jenkins is that it’s going to be different. The mishmash of The Dreams in the Witch-House and Martians Go Home is only the beginning of a number of dastardly plot germs, red herrings, and tails that might lead to a rat king or even the Rat King himself.

Yes, Keziah Mason will make an appearance. Walter Gilman too. And perhaps others.

There’s metafiction, and metaverse, and savage satire, and oodles of crimson carnage. Just what you need for your Sunday night reading, before a long work week.

And some of the threads will likely lead to Crazytown, which is part of the same metaverse. Enough. Go read. There’s more on shoggoth.net to check out while you’re there. A nw short story by the uber-talented Brett Talley, work by John Donald Carlucci, other activities spearheaded by the well-bearded Sean Hoade…

Also posted was the soundtrack piece, Blue and Brown, seven minutes of cerebral blues noodling, mostly done on my trusty Ovation. It’s a good listen.

Innsmouth Fishing Trip and other stories


Yeah, so yay!
Ungrammatical, maybe, but honest.logo

I’m getting near the finish line of some long-running projects. Chief among those are the Letters from Outside website ( a labor of love to be sure) and the Fear and Loathing in Innsmouth book.

fin

The backend for the website is done, and all that remains is the copying and pasting, in reverse alphabetical order, of the stories and poems and comics and articles that make up the content.  You can see for yourself by following the link embedded in the title. That website was deleted from the web by the buyout of Fortune City by Yahoo. I had originally planned to make it part of my regular webspace, but I thought better of that and it’ll have its own space instead.

The above illustration (Innsmouth Fishing Trip), by the ubertalented Will Jacques, is for the cover of the novel. That ms. is fully-edited and just needs to be formatted for various media to hit the “shelves” as an ebook and trade paperback.

Fourteen years it took to write that one, despite several pretty lucrative offers. I just couldn’t re-invoke the crazed energy and complete lack of style that the narrative cried out for. So it sat and sat and sat.

One fine day, looking for something to do, I pulled out the paper version and started scanning it. I looked at the notes for the ending, in longhand on a couple of index cards paperclipped to the ms.

I wrote it out. And then edited and rewrote and edited and rewrote some more, and the thing came forth, shambling dejectedly, dripping with a putrescent green ichor and smelling of corruption.

I crammed the kitchen sink down its gullet, studied the source material One More Time, and rewrote One Last Time.

And it was good.

So I put it away for a little while. Waited until the stars were right. May will be devoted to getting that thing into orbit.