Friday, April 25, 2008


I'm trapped, trapped like a rat in a burning ship, sitting on a keg of gunpowder and watching flames creep closer with each passing second.

Alright, so I'm being melodramatic. Money's tight, so I'm working a 10-hour shift today to try and make up for yesterday, when I was in bed sicker than a dog who ate green meat. Rent's due next week, power bill (I lost my long-standing fight with LG&E) is due the week after, and my wife goes on bedrest Monday morning. This is not a good month to be a Tabler, considering the little lady has gotten in the habit of buying random things from EBay when I'm not home.

The trapped part? They're mopping the floor around my desk, and I can't go outside to smoke until it dries.

Still looking for work. Read that another writer has lost his job and been thrust in the same boat. Sympathies to the man, honestly. I know it sucks. I'm lucky to hold down a piecemeal job working for my father, and if I can't find some real work in the next couple weeks we'll be severely in the hole. I'm looking, but the market is far from cooperating with me at this time.

Had a couple ideas for stories today, one inspired by my former-Professor, now e-mail correspondence chum, Paul F. Griner. A deckhand who is thinking about letting his arm get severed on the job for the sole purpose of collecting the Dismemberment Pay so he can get his son a birthday gift. Also, the dystopia of an American Future is creeping in again with a scene that has a deranged Senator controlling the Army and giving the President a choice between a bullet in the head or legalizing his coup in another piece.

On top of that I took a commission a month back to write a short story and comic script, to be turned into a 10 page B&W comic and bound by a journal maker I know. It features giant walking animal people and spaceships. I'm still working on that sucker.

This is shaping up to be a busy month. Keep your fingers crossed that I A) sell something B)finished this commission in time, C) Find a job, and D) Get that $1500.00 check before we are royally screwed financially.

Now that the floor is dry, time to go smoke.

EDIT: 15:17 EST

Well, to anyone who had their fingers crossed, thank you! Less than ten minutes after making this post I was contacted for an interview. Sure, it's a job with an insurance company, but it's a job reviewing contracts and arranging payments, and it pays a middling salary that'd let us rent a house, pay our bills, and eat for the next couple years while I work on a higher degree.

Now, cross your toes that the interview goes well, eh?

J.C. Tabler

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Another Doldrum Day

You have to love Kentucky. One week it gets cold, then chilly, then you walk outside and it's 80 degrees in the bright sunshine, humidity has started to come into play, and you sweat like a stuck pig. I think when we eventually move I'll go somewhere with a more tolerable climate. Like Hell.

Started on another bit of work last night, actually on three different stories. Starting on one about an old lady who refuses to leave her land, a bit about a liar who traps himself, and a strange bit that features Papa Ghede, the Voodoo spirit/god of the dead. I don't know which one will take precedence, but they've all started to develop pretty well so we'll just have to see. Rewrote "The Tribe of Harry" after getting a pleasant rejection letter back from 94Creations for it that insisted it was "just not what they're looking for". Put it in the second person, made it a bit more...oh...blunt on some things, removed a little of the subtlety that both helps and hinders the work. Already resubmitted it, both to a "pie in the sky" market and a down to earth choice that is much more likely.

Waiting on rejections from the following:

"Linguistic Prescription" - ASIM
Demon Whiskey" - Harvest Hill
"Fragile Obsession" - Ghost in the Machine
"Dead Air" - Aberrant Dreams
"Weekend Trip" - Unspeakable Horrors
"Colburn Men" - McSweeney's Quarterly
"No Tell Motel" - Voices
"Tribe of Harry" - The New Yorker (I just couldn't help myself. I want a rejection from the New Yorker to frame, damn it!)

Soon as those rejections come in, I'll be hopping ready to get started on finding homes for these wayward pieces, or tossing them in the kindling pile, as is appropriate when I read back through them. Hoping to finish three-five stories in the month of May, and get some more work done on "The Long One". I'm not exactly prolific, mainly because I have a habit of getting distracted by other things for a day or two, and falling off track. In June I'm going back through my Disk of Beginnings, where stories that only made it two to three pages before another idea knocked them out of the running. I'll spend most of June figuring out which ones, if any, I can get back to work on.

It's a hard knock life, that's for sure, but hey. I chose it, right?

J.C. Tabler

Monday, April 21, 2008

Brief one

Finished the Ghost in the Machine revisions today for "Fragile Obsession". Don't know how to take it, but sent it in anyhow. Probably won't make it into this anthology, don't think it's the type of horror they're really looking for, but I'm confident enough I can find a home for it somewhere when the rejection comes back.

This week and next week are the last two that you can read "A Question of Freedom" over at It isn't great, but hey, I always like to pimp my own work.

Going to bed now.

J.C. Tabler

Friday, April 18, 2008

Shake N' Bake

So my wife woke up this morning to find the house shaking on its foundation, windows rattling, the sugar glider going insane, dogs barking, cats meowing, and our fish swimming erratically. She then assumed she was crazy, and went back to sleep. I never once cracked my eyes open.

In short, we had an earthquake this morning that I was completely unaware of until waking up and checking the news hours after the fact.

In other news, my Ghost in the Machine submission is done with the first revision. I more or less slathered it in black ink, took out a good bit of fluff and unnecessary lines, switched things around, and added a few sentences. Later today I'll sit down with the printed draft and my laptop and start revising, then pass it off to my still-confused better half for a read. Because I don't trust her opinion (she married me, she must feel obligated to lie on occasion), I'll then send it off to some of my regular guys to look over and get suggestions. As always, by the time I get their suggested changes I'll have done the second revision, tidied it up, and sent it out.

Not much more is going on. Game night tonight with another couple we know, then tomorrow I'm assisting my father in laying down sob and clearing some of his property. Still looking for work, have an interview with the AFL-CIO on Wednesday for a union organizing position.

Back to the grindstone,

J.C. Tabler

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Scared for a new reason

I've thought tonight about many things.

Mainly, I've realized fully that I will soon be a daddy. It scares the lving hell out of me. I only hope I can be half th father that that my own dad was.

Lil drunk tonight.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I've Scared Myself

So I'm working on the "Creepy Doll" story, hoping to get it finished in time to edit, revise, and send it in to the Ghosts in the Machine anthology. My problem is, that as a Stepdad and a Parent-to-Be, I'm starting to bother myself with this story. It took a very, very dark turn last night that I wasn't planning on, touching on a taboo subject, and I sort of frightened myself a little not just at the subject matter but at how easy it was to write.

I originally had a couple different ways to get from point A to point B, as I knew where it was going but was uncertain on a couple scenes. Typing them, they went from disturbing to just...plain...well, I'm a little shaken by it myself. Not that I'm an amazingly good writer, just the subject matter it hits on is unsettling.

Luckily, there're only two-three more scenes left in the story, then it'll be a wrap on the first draft and edits/revisions left.

I need some warm milk and a cigarette.

J.C. Tabler

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Great Big Gobs of Greasy, Grimey..

You know the rest. Been a hectic couple of days. There's some infighting going on in the family, but that' not unusual. We're all a little off our rockers over here.

This weekend is Thunder Over Louisville, the first one that I've lived downtown for. It is a little disconcerting, to be truthful. I'm already searching for things to do this weekend that will get me out of downtown and away from the traffic. I could always just pack up the wife and laptop and head out to Ray and Angie's on Saturday, as they plan on having some sort of get together. I think it's a spectacular idea, as long as I have no plans to return home until around two in the morning due to all the road closures that'll be happening.

Got a rejection back for my "cheeky" zombie dialogue today, the same one that got sent back from Bits of the Dead. I had resubmitted it to The Town Drunk, and got another "well-written, but not quite right for us" rejection. Not bad, though. I rarely get the "this is horrible" rejection letter, and most of the time get very polite, nice, and personal ones. I see it as a point of pride that I get more personal rejections than form, though it would be nice to occassionally get a personal acceptance, you know what I mean Vern?

Rewrote the "cheeky" piece, added about 500 words or so to lengthen it a bit and put some meat on the characters. It was originally a big bit of dialogue with a few speech tags, written to pump a nice and funny lil story into 500 words or less. Adding a little bit more, I wouldn't call it a story as much as just a nice little scene, and a decent enough chuckle from everyone. After pumping in those extra words, I did a couple revisions with my Blue Pen of Death, then sent it off to Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine to get the next in a series of rejections for it. Hey, if nothing else there's always The Rejected Quarterly after two more, right? Right.

Alright, at work, finishing up soon, then grabbing chow with my folks while the little lady is at work. Then, if it's not time to pick her up, I'll head home and get some story work done on the "Creepy Doll" story, which started going a different direction the other day and may turn out to be speculative fiction after all.

J.C. Tabler

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Booga Booga Booga

Sitting at home watching From Hell after having dinner last night with a couple we know. Desi is at work, and I'm trying to figure out if I should go ahead and start on a story idea I have niggling around or hold off a while longer to let it develop or disappear.

Did the revisions on my submission for the Unspeakable Horrors anthology and sent that off the other day. Now we play the waiting game. Still toying around with a few other ideas for stories, mainly non-horror stuff, though there are a couple creepy images burned into my head that I can't manage to get rid of. Decided I'm going to have to do more time for revisions and rewrites from now on, since things have started calming down a bit at home and I can concentrate a little better on my work.

Job search is still going. Seems like all there is out there are commission-based sales jobs, things I don't need right now.

J.C. Tabler

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Years and years ago, a Greek runner made a mad dash to tell the outcome of a battle. He ran an ungodly distance in a short time, never pausing, and upon reaching his destination yelled a single word "Victory" before collapsing dead. The battle was that of Marathon, to which the race gained its name, and has been used since to signify any long distance goal achieved in a single session.

Tonight I sat down with a little under 2,000 words on paper already and muscled my way through the first draft of my story for the Unspeakable Horrors anthology. It needs work, but the first draft turned out well. Tomorrow I'll be sending it out to get an edit from some friends of mine, then I'll be sitting down to do the rewrite, another edit, and get it packaged up and sent out.

So there we go.

I feel tired, worn, and accomplished at this exact moment in time.

J.C. Tabler

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Still Alive

Sorry, can't do a longer update. Involved in a job hunt, only getting offered sales work right now. In addition, I've got about six submissions out, got a couple rejections back, and am currently working on a first draft for the upcoming Dark Scribe Press anthology. Getting ready to pop in The Stand and go to bed, simply because I have to be up early tomorrow to get a couple of critiques done for Griner's workshop, then read three months worth of pre-Civil War periodicals for story research on another piece that flashed through my mind. I might end up taking the laptop in with me tomorrow to get a little more writing done than I already have on this anthology submission.

Not much more other than that. I'm going to try to do a longer, more in depth update tomorrow, but if I don't I'll have something up on here by the weekend that goes more in depth with how everything is. Make certain to read "A Question of Freedom" at Allegory Ezine. The story goes offline at the end of this month, and Lord only knows when I'll get a piece up anywhere again at the rate things are going.