Saturday, May 31, 2008

Little Known Stuff

Stephen King's less exciting book: "Pet Seminary"

Alright, that's out of my system. Started work on the Mythos story today. Had to find a way around Lovecraft's destruction of Innsmouth, but I managed alright. Like how it's working, especially the narrative style right now. I know, I'm breaking a few standards of new Lovecraft stuff, but this isn't really's comedy with a Mythos slant on it. For it to work I had to have a familiar Lovecraft setting known pretty widely, and Innsmouth was the best one. So...I rebuilt Innsmouth.

That's my project this week, to finish and revise this piece, then get started on the revenge story.

Plus, to start a new thing, my daughter's quote of the day.

Sophie: "I broke your fan to make all my chocolate chips!"

My babygirl is weird.

J.C. Tabler

Friday, May 30, 2008

And it's done

Because I knew I would never get it finished otherwise, I found a quiet spot today to finish the Grinder story. Revised, slapped the title "Beautiful Little Rubies" on it, and sent it out to The Black Garden (no linkage this time, see a couple posts down).

Now, to sleep and then to get up tomorrow and start work on this Mythos piece.

J.C. Tabler

Delays, Delays, Delays

I will finish the Grinder story, damn it. I swear it. I just have to find two seconds to do it in. Yesterday I took the day off intending to sit down and get it out, start on revising, and start on a comedic Mythos piece that popped in my head the other day. What happened, as I was staring at the T.V. in the A.M. hours, was my friend and his wife called to tell me their car had died downtown in a parking garage after a job interview. Since Desi and I are the only friends they have that don't live in the suburbs, it was up to us. So I packed up my pregnant wife and five year old, thinking it would be a quick jump and then we could have a family lunch somewhere before I went home to work on that story.

Eight hours later, we finally had his battery replaced. Seems my buddy had dozed off listening to the radio while his wife was in her interview. It was drained flat, not even enough juice to hook tiny jumper cables up to a mouse's nipples and coax out intimate secrets. So we have to get the battery off...but it was under a stress bar and in an awkward place, and assuming it would be a jump I hadn't brought my toolbox. Back home go I, to return and find out the terminal posts are stripped, so I had to wander downtown in search of channel lock pliers. Finding and purchasing them was easy, but then the batery had to be charged by a local auto parts store, then replaced. Eight hours after setting out to give them a jump, we finally got home. I was tired, and after giving Sophie a bath went straight to bed.

So tonight, while the wife and kiddo are out at my sister's wedding shower, I'll be finishing up the Grinder story and starting revisions on it...or finishing it, setting it aside to get revised over the weekend, and leaping into the first draft of my Mythos story, as I have another story being outlined right now, and the Truck Stop Story is waiting to be written still. I can't slow down now, I'm already a week behind schedule.

Oh, yeah, as a sidenote, I got a job with Humana Insurance in their Medicare Customer Service department. I can't talk about the pay, but I can say it's enough that "We ain't po' no mo'."

Now, to devour my McDonald's.

J.C. Tabler

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Parents say the darndest things

Tonight, while putting my daughter to bed, I think I summarized fiction very well.

"You're a farmer," she insisted while wriggling out from beneath Snow White blankets.

"No baby, Daddy's not a farmer," I answered, trying desperately to keep my cigarette smoke from drifting over her. I had thought of putting it out, but only briefly because a draft was winking at me from my laptop and only the constant, cutting criticism of my wife had dragged me from a cocoon of Alice Cooper and Bing Crosby and into harsh lighting. Daddy would have to go back to his writing once a story was read and a song sang, and so Daddy's cancer stick stayed clenched firmly between yellowing molars.

"You're a farmer, Daddy," she insisted again, wrapping tiny arms around my neck.

"No, Daddy's a writer," I explained, reeling for a simpler way of explaining why we didn't live on her grandparents' farm in Pennsylvania, "Writers like Daddy don't make any money, so Daddy has to have another job, and there aren't any jobs like that where Grandma and Pap live. So we live in Kentucky."

"Oh," she answered in sweet little tones, deceptively sweet, "I understand."

"So why can't we live in Pennsylvania?" my wife asked from the doorway.

Sophie screwed her face up and sighed. Her smile was dazzling, cuteness and insolence in a wrapper of innocence.

"Because Daddy's a bad writer," she answered as I choked on cigarette smoke and tried to get my wife to stop laughing.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Fedora Wearing Hero

Saw the new Indiana Jones movie tonight, coupled with Iron Man, at the only drive-in left in town. My sister, her husband, and my nephews came along with us, and much fun was had by all. After that, we went home...where we just now arrived. Sophie is conked on her bed, and I'm sitting at my makeshift work station typing this before her mother and I follow suit in our own room.

Started on the story I plan on submitting to The Black Garden today, got 1,200 words done on a first draft in a little under an hour. After solving my machinery dilemma it came pretty quick and easy thanks to the cat scratching me last night. If you've never seen a Maine Coon, they are huge cats with a good amount of claw spacing. On my knee are three deep, bloody furrows about an inch apart from where he fell off the couch during a movie last night and tried to get purchase on my bare leg. It started the engine and got me rolling on how to start the story and this little girl's obsession.

I have to say I'm having fun with it, which I'm calling the Grinder at this stage. Third person close narrative style, with the narration done as if they are thoughts of a young child. We get a lot of "and Mommy and Daddy and Papaw" type of sentences, but I think it adds to it right now. I'm going to shoot for having the first draft done by Sunday, then spend Memorial Day (after my trip to Zachary Taylor National Cemetery to visit some guys I used to know) revising prior to the family picnic. Everything goes according to schedule, I should have the final draft ready to go out by Tuesday evening...but a schedule is more of a suggestion with me.

Found a few amazingly creepy things today that I like the vibe to. Alice Cooper's song "Steven" has become a top one on my gives me the damn chills. A few pictures and posters, and tomorrow we're heading to the flea market where I hope to find something else disturbing to decorate my desk. I'm a happy-go-lucky guy, but I like to set an atmosphere when I write to keep me on track.

My wife has already banned severed heads from the living room, so no worries there.

Speaking of her Pregnant Majesty, she's telling me it is time to stop typing and head to bed, so off I must go. I'll update with a word count and status on the Grinder tomorrow...hopefully.

J.C. Tabler

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bit of an update

Well, got my rejection back last night for The Age of Blood and Snow. Wasn't unexpected, though the letter was personal and nice. It more or less said exactly what I thought it was going to, well-written but not strange enough for the anthology. I have to say, it was nothing unexpected, and the fast turnaround time was a really impressive feat. I don't think I've ever had an anthology that has obviously been submitted to that much respond within a day. Kudos to the crew over at Morrigan Books.

Not much else has gone on today. Doing a bit of research for the Grinder story, trying to figure out what I could use that seems realistic. Considering I only want one fantastic element to this story, it would suffer if I had to make up the machine. The little girl needs to be the only creepy thing around, and I don't want to detract from her "vibe".

Resubmitted "Sacrifice of Man and Cloth" to a pie-in-the-sky market while I try to find a more down-to-earth home for it. Started fleshing out an idea for something that could be a bit of a companion to "Weekend Trip". I discovered I like that tiny town and it's Stoker-esque preacher a bit more than I thought I did. Still waiting to heard back from Unspeakable Horrors on the status of "Weekend Trip" with them, though.

Alright, I should probably eat my lunch. A little work, and then a haircut today for my interview next week. After that, my stepdaughter gets to meet her new cousins.

J.C. Tabler

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Age of Blood and Snow

Well, I did the revision on "The Parable of Judas" this morning and submitted it to The Age of Blood and Snow. Changed the title to "Sacrifice of Man and Cloth", taken out of one of the gospels I don't believe in that I read after finding out I was mirroring a concept with a couple religions. I don't think the story itself is what they're looking for, but with that deadline coming up fast I figured it couldn't hurt to submit and get a little criticism back.

Tonight I'm going to start on the idea I have brewing for The Black Garden. That is, if I can get a few hours to myself to type in. I like where the story idea is going, especially with the little girl character that's influenced by my stepdaughter. The problem is going to be getting a few minutes alone to type on the sucker after setting up a bed and cooking dinner.

Well, looks like I'm off to update Duotrope.


J.C. Tabler

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Curiosity Killed the Hog

Updates, updates everywhere...

Alright, let's see...doing the final edit on "Parable of Judas" tonight and getting it sent off to garner a rejection from Age of Blood and Snow. After that, I have this idea of a little girl and homemade, highpowered "hog grinder" (not sure what would work for that...) that I want to get on paper, edit, and submit to Black Garden. I should be hearing back this week on my Unspeakable Horrors submission, though I'm leaning towards another rejection. Once all this is done, I want to start fleshing out an idea I had not too long ago, see if there's a story or something longer behind it.

After this rush is done, I'm going back to work on the Long One again for a bit. I can't juggle two projects at once, not with the kiddo and wife and job search. On that front, I have a face-to-face interview next week with Humana for a call center, Medicare customer service slot. Not the best job in the world, but it'd pay the bills for now and the benefits package up there is great.

Let's see, things still out....

"Colburn Men"
"Dead Air"
"No Tell Motel"
"Tribe of Harry"
"Demon Whiskey"
"Weekend Trip"
"It Wonder Me"
"Fragile Obsession"
"Linquistic Prescription"

Also, there's a truck stop story outlined and just waiting to see page that'll start after I write on these anthology submissions.

Now, to head over to KFC and pick up dinner, cause I don't feel like cooking tonight.


J.C. Tabler

-Oh yeah, almost forgot. Picked up a Maine Coon last night from a rescue operation. Named him Ambrose, as in Ambrose Bierce. I'll get a picture of him, Hemingway, and the rest of our zoo up as soon as I can figure out how to work my camera. Technology, though art not my friend.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

On the road

Well, it has beena time of misadventures, though none quite zany. We left out of Louisville on Thursday afternoon, stopping in the town of Hurricane, WV for a hotel stay before hitting the road again early Friday. Around 7 p.m. we made it into Schuylkill County and met up with the in-laws, hugs and handshakes, checked into a no tell motel, and ate dinner. Later that night I made a run to a gas station for juice along a dark and windy road, missed the turn into a gas station, and wound up in a drainage pond. I'm okay, car's okay except for a dent caused by the tow man when he dragged it out. The problem is I borrowed my father's car for the trip because my old jeep wouldn't have made it.

The next day was spent cleaning up the car, fixing a slightly dented hubcap, and literally making myself sick. I contacted the old man, who wasn't thrilled to hear the news but didn't start screaming. We went out to dinner with the in-laws after that, then I headed back to the room and got a little sleep I hadn't gotten the night before.

This morning we packed up my car with Sophie's things and loaded her in, hitting the road at about 1 p.m. after visiting and saying goodbye to Pap. Taking off, we made it roughly to Cumberland, Maryland before deciding to put up for the night and finish the trip tomorrow. So we hit Red Roof Inn there, and here I am. We should hit Louisville around 6 or 7 tomorrow, with the most grueling driving ahead of me still. It'll be....interesting.

Waiting to hear back from Unspeakable Horrors for the story "Weekend Trip". Finished "The Parable of Judas" for my submission to Age of Blood and Snow. My trip to Hell has been booked, but Mom found my rough in the Jeep the other day, read it, and called to ask if she could send it to a friend of hers. I very reluctantly said yes, as it's still a draft and will stay one for a couple more days until we get home and get unpacked so I have revision time.

Came up with a basic idea for a story to submit to The First Line before August 1, as well as reading that there's been a new anthology announced by Catherine on her blog at . I like the idea, and I think I'll see if I can get two stories going side-by-side for once if a decent idea hits me. Sophie is running in circles around a hotel room, I'm tired from driving, and Her Pregnant Majesty has some seriously frayed nerves.

This is going to be a fun couple days.

J.C. Tabler

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Oh Hai!

Going to Pennsylvania.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Heresy, Thy Name is Tabler

According to the almost-finished first draft of this story, Jesus was a good-natured guy with his eye on the prize and Judas really wasn't that horrible of a fellow. I've gotten up to the climactic scene, which I plan on finishing up tonight. Looks like it'll come in either a hair over or a hair under 4,000 words, depending on whether I decide to go with a crucifixion or not. I would finish the whole thing tonight, except no work was done on it last night.

Yesterday, after calling police departments all over the state of Ohio looking for a year old accident report (piecemeal work for my father doesn't pay amazingly well, but it never has a dull moment attached to it), I was sitting at the office watching an episode of "Law and Order" when my phone rang. It was my upstairs neighbors, good friends of ours, who had just gotten back from a family reunion in Eastern Tennessee (No, there were no zombie Dolly Partons there). I answered, thinking they were asking where we left their key as we fed the animals, to find out my wife was in the hospital.

Nothing's wrong. Apparently she's a lil anemic thanks to the multiple gestation pregnancy. For the guys like me, it means her blood pressure fluctuates because she's got more than one baby in her. She passed out while talking to our neighbors, and they rushed her to the hospital. The doctors decided to keep her overnight for observation, but everything came back alright and both she and the babies are fine. I responded by sleeping alone on the couch, staring at the Dawn of the Dead poster over the T.V., and rushing back up there this morning. She was released with orders to take extra iron supplements and be more careful around the house.

Today, while she was napping, I sat down to muscle through this story. I don't want to give a lot of plot off, just that the narrator is one of the original 12 disciples, and it shifts between first person present and first person past tense. It also rejects most of what I learned about the last days of Christ's life. I was a little disappointed, in my research, to learn that one of, if not the, main idea is a major principle of the Coptic and Gnostic belief systems, but hey. I can at least write an old idea well and see what it gets me.

Alright, time to fix dinner, eat it, and cuddle with my wife before finishing up this scene. Take'er easy, folks!

EDIT 5/13/08 - 22:56

Finished the first draft of my heresy tonight. Wife's going to read it over after she gets done talking to her brother, tomorrow I'll start the edit on it, should finish around dinner time. This is one that I'm actually gonna look for a proofreader on, so if there's anyone out there who wants to read this sucker over, I'd be happy to send it out. Will, bless him, just isn't that into religion and is definitely gonna be bored to tears within two paragraphs.

J.C. Tabler

Monday, May 12, 2008

It went askew

Started working on a possible submission for the Age of Blood and Snow (is that right?) anthology. About two pages in, I realized it wasn't going to end up dark enough for them, but I still like the idea. This story is getting finished.

This, however, is one my mother and nobody at my church can ever read...I think they'd refer to it as heresy.

More later, heading to the office now.

J.C. Tabler

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Haunting Melody

I can't stop listening to Cole Porter.

Anyhow, started, edited, and finished up a piece for submission to the Northen Haunts thing today. Nothing great, though I did have to call my brother-in-law to get a little bit of advice on naming and old newspaper names up in his area. While my wife chatted for two hours, I typed, trimmed, edited, trimmed, typed, trimmed, reread, titled, and did a word count check on the piece. The first draft weighed in at a little over 1,000 words. The final draft sent out? Well..

...It was 666 words. Exactly.

I swear it wasn't intentional...


J.C. Tabler

Not Alone in the Dark (Sorry Nick!)

Well, I'm going to try my hand at flash fiction again, this time in a submission to the Northern Haunts anthology going out over at Shroud. God bless Duotrope, the scourge of editors where I am concerned. I wasn't going to touch it, as I have a hard enough time keeping things under a 5,000 word limit, but tongiht I think I fleshed out an idea.

Years ago my Dad told me a story about his first job, riding a bike to deliver papers, and how his pre-dawn route took him past an old graveyard that just flat out freaked him out. I finally found that old graveyard today when I was heading out to a friend's house for dinner, at least in my mind. It was one of those images that pops in your head and nags you for hours on end, refusing to let go. So, while my wife and I were enjoying the company of two dear, old friends, I was thinking about the place in my head and what could happen there to a boy on a bike.

I also think that after dinner, as Dick and I were enjoying the view from his back porch in the country, I came out with a good line. We were trading actual ghost stories, a hobby of ours, while the ladies were chatting in the living room. I was asked about my penchant for writing things that are a little other words, Apocalypse stories, horror stories, dark literary stuff that involves these mind-fuck (pardon the term, I'm just a crude country boy) angles. It got me thinking as I sipped a Hornsby.

My wife, after reading a recent, non-spec. fic. piece, looked at me and said "If you ever write anything happy, I think I'll have a heart attack." Never mind that, in my opinion, it WAS a happy piece if looked at from the side and with a slight squint. It was the thought, how she said it, that got me thinking about why I write what I write. So, a few ciders down and a bottle of bourbon calling, I lit a cigarette and put it in the best way I knew how to Dick when we talked about my subject matter.

"Well," I said, "I don't mind being in darkness. It doesn't scare me. I'm not really happy with not seeing what's there around me, but it doesn't bother me too much. What bothers me, what really scares me, is sitting in the light that's surrounded by darkness. Then you have to wonder what's at the edge of the light, watching, just waiting for a lantern to burn out or the campfire to die down. That's what scares me, and I think that's why I write what I do."

Now, if I can only force myself to be a better writer and sell some of this stuff...or just to sit down and write.

If I don't post some sort of word count tomorrow, I expect anyone reading this to beat me. For now, though, I'm smoking one more cigarette and heading off to bed.

Keep the lights burning bright,

J.C. Tabler

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I have no Voice!

Got my rejection from Voices . Of course, I was happy just to make the short list on it, so I'm still pretty damn happy. Now, to shop the story around for a new home, eh? The rejection was nice, not really a rejection at all, more a "It stayed in till our final discussion, and we just decided it didn't fit into the shape the other stories gave the anthology." You can't be disappointed, being one of 26 to make it to the final round, and I'm not. If nothing else, I have a little bit of recognition with the editors now, even if it is just "You know, he wrote a pretty good story for that one anthology we did, let's give hima read for this one"

Other than that, I woke up late this morning, rushed to take a Postal Exam, and am now getting changed to head off to an interview.

To the rest of you shortlisters, let me know you made it in, eh?

J.C. Tabler

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Productive Day

Went to the doctor yesterday to make sure my wife isn't going to fall apart. She's healthy, babies are healthy, however I stepped on the scale and was amazed at how much those little numbers kept going up. I'm going to act like an overly-dramatic southern belle instead of the stubble-strewn, bourbon drinking man that I am and refuse to say my exact weight. What it is suffice to say, though, is that I am closer to 300 lbs than 200 lbs, and am now in shock that I let myself go to that extent. Gym membership here I come, and I might even actually use it.

As for other things, I still haven't heard back about the Contract Load job. I have another phone interview (man I hate those things) today for a "Customer Service" slot that I don't especially think will have me jumping for joy, but it'd be a job. I sat down after getting home yesterday and started typing on a niggle of an idea on what that previously posted picture could be. I'm now roughly 5,000 words into the rough draft, and am still working towards a conclusion. Sure, it'll get trimmed in revision, but c'mon, 5,000 words in one day with only an hour's break to watch Jerry Springer in between? That ain't too bad.

Still waiting to hear from Voices on whether my triumph ends on the short list. Like I said, I'm happy just to be nominated.

Back to work,

J.C. Tabler

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Not much today. Getting ready to go out. Just wanted to drop a line and say that "No Tell Motel" made the short-list for the Voices anthology. Not a sale, but it's a step up the ladder. Now we wait to see if it makes it to the last round. to be honest, I'm happy just to make it this far.

J.C. Tabler

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Run for the Roses

So it's almost Derby here in Louisville, Kentucky, and while the horses dance in their stalls the jackasses wander the streets clad in garish suits of expensive cut, fueled by bourbon and boorish manners. My reaction has been to write, again, though I'm not making much headway.

Still waiting on rejections. In the meantime, I pounded out a short rough of another story that needs some expanding, but not too much. I'll most likely work on that for the next couple days, fleshing it a little more and smoothing out some rough spots. There's no excuse for me rushing through the first draft, other than I was on a roll when I started writing it, and wanted to get at least the major plot points down while the idea was fresh. A few extra paragraphs, some trimming of the fat and some rewording, and that'll be all she wrote on it. We'll see if it turns out as well as I think it will.

Job interview on the phone went well yesterday. They're passing my resume on up the ladder to see if they want to call me in for a face-to-face interview concerning the job. AFL-CIO accepted me for their second round of interview/training in June if I want to go. However, none of it is happening fast enough. Last week's illness has caused a major hit to the pocketbook, and rent is due tomorrow, so we're scraping and crying as that $1500.00 may be a few more days (or weeks. I hate office politics) in getting to my bank account. So we've got to come up with the rent, then another $200.00 to keep the power on. We'll live, we have so far. It's just tight around the house while I'm looking for work. But I'm not complaining. I've got neighbors, friends, and family willing to lend us a little cash if we need to, but I hate taking money even if I need it. I've placed a moratorium on Ebay, to the point that it is no longer accessible on our computer. I'm trying...just keep my head afloat for another week or two here.

Alright, complaints done. I'll be writing tonight, then starting in on a little bit of planning for anohter short story, another horror piece, that sorta leaped into my mind the other day. Needs some serious developing, but I know there's a story behind that image. Peace, J.C. Tabler

Edit 13:19 05/01/08

Going through a website or two of abandoned hotel photos, I found this picture. I don't know why, but there's something inherently creepy about this image. Especially that chair. Hence the reason that it has kicked the horror portion of my mind open again, and started sprinkling story dust. Yes, although I mainly enjoy listening to music while writing, today I think a story idea has started with this one picture.

Steal it, and I swear I'll kill you. It's just too bad this sucker is too late for Voices.