Thursday, June 26, 2008

Replacement Therapy

Abotu half-done with my first draft of a new story, violating the basic rules for "CRAP PILE MONTH" by producing a new and original work. After polishing it I'll be going back to nothing but pure crap, but for now I want to finish this one.

Work is going well. Quitting smoking, not so much. I've slipped a couple times, but the patch keeps me good on nicotine. My problem now is I've started sucking on toothpicks throughout the day as a replacement for constantly having a cigarette hanging from my lower lip.

This means I will have to institute a monthly "toothpick budget".

Waiting on a few subs, Harvest Hill and all that, to come back into my hands. Other than that, not much else to say. Started riding public transit again today, and had a flash or two for a story while doing so. Might flesh it out some, might not, not sure. I do know that after this one piece is done I'm going back to polishing up another turd I have with some potential.

J.C. Tabler

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Snuffed Out

Grab your ass, folks. I quit smoking. This is day one of "no cigarettes for Daddy", and it's been a doozy. What keeps me from flying off the handle? That small, flesh-colored patch on my arm delivering a constant stream of nicotine to my blood.

CRAP PILE MONTH has already resulted in one "gem", or rather a kernel of corn. Polished up (sorta) and sent off "Poppa Bear", a literary piece with a hopeless sort of dark ending to it (it made my wife ask what the hell was wrong with me). Johnny America got back to me in three days, sending a response that read:

"A good read, but just not right for us. Please remember us in the future."

That's not exact, but the gist. It was short and sweet, but obviously personal, so I view it as a good sign. Anytime a personal rejection has no real...well...criticism, I take heart.

CRAP PILE MONTH is continuing, but at the same time I'm working on a possible submission for the Necrotic Tissue Malpractice anthology. It concerns Medicare Providers and insurance companies. I'm enjoying it, working on it after work and some turd-polishing.

Yes, I really am that crude without a cigarette between my lips.

Anyhow, off to put my daughter to bed, get a bath, and change out this nicotine patch before bed. Christ, I want a cigarette BAD!

Peace (but not for me),
J.C. Tabler

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Weekend Update, with J.C. Tabler

Week one of the job over. Last night was my sister's wedding. Sitting down today to start outlining an idea or two.

Here's the thing: writing is, unfortunately, taking a back seat until I get this house in order and settle into my job. Let's call it a month long hiatus. Instead of coming up with new stuff, I'm spending weekends in June and most of July re-working old pieces that I didn't like after the first draft. Some of them have a lot of promise when read later, others (I was surprised to find) are almost complete stories that I just got distracted from by something else. So, I hereby name Mid-June to Mid-July "CRAP PILE MONTH"

Got a rejection back from Unspeakable Horrors the other day, with good criticism in it, which was nice. I don't think I'll rework that story. Reading back over it, I saw it was written for one anthology, and probably wouldn't fit anywhere else. So, there we go.

Now, to take a bath, get my tux back to the rental store, and come home to figure out dinner before doing some more revisions.

BTW, congrats to Cate Gardner.

She's been having a spectacular 2008 so far, with acceptances into some very, very good areas, most recently with SAND. If you haven't read her work yet, hop to it. We're gonna see a lot more form her.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Busy Days

Alright, so we got moved in. Sorta. We still have some things to move from the apartment to our house, but that's really it.

Got a rejection from Necrology Magazine the other day for "No Tell Motel", so I packaged it up and sent it, in Snail Mail, over to Weird Tales for another rejection. Other than that, there's not much going on in the writing front. I started my new job at Humana on Monday, so I need to get used to the routine before I can sit down and get back to work on stories again.

Still got about ten subs out there just waiting on a response. Should be a few coming in any day now.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Slay Bells Ring...

Yes, I know, it's a misspelling of "Sleigh". It's a pun. I apologize.

Finding out there was still room in the Northern Haunts anthology over at Shroud Press, I decided to submit another piece. Once again, my father served as a bit of inspiration. For those who don't know (all two of you), my dad went to Harvard Law up in Boston. As a kid, we would hear stories about the winters up there every time we complained about the cold, and one in particular about how once a big snow settled in. A snow plow, according to my father, had piled snow at roadside to create a wall blocking the sidewalk from view. On the other side of the walk, snow had been shovelled or blown into another wall. He talked about how, walking to his classes, he was in a tunnel almost the entire way, and that tunnel was made completely of snow.

So I wrote a story featuring a law school student, tunnels of snow, and a certain red tinge that coats those tunnels.

Revised and sent it in less than two hours. Now I play the waiting game again. I think I'll just make a submission for each of the anthology sections as long as it's still open, and if I can think of another campfire story idea.

In other news, we now have a house. Nice little 3-bedroom, big backyard, two car garage, full basement. Water and power are on now, Cable guy comes on Tuesday. Rent is reasonable, about $750 a month, and my new job lets employees ride the TARC (our public transit bus system) for free. So, I'll have to get up at 5 a.m. to catch the 6:30 bus and be at work by 8:00 , but I'll save a good amount of money in gas and parking.

We're moving this week, Desi and Sophie (and friends) packing while I move stuff after work, and then Saturday we plan on moving the rest of the furniture with a rental truck. We hope to be moved in, if not unpacked, but Saturday night, and unpacked by my sister's wedding next Friday.

J.C. Tabler

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Northern Haunts

Well, got a letter from Tim Deal, editor of Shroud's Northern Haunts anthology the other day. It was a request for a rewrite on my story "It Wonder Me". I rewrote, sent it back to him with the changes noted in an e-mail. Today, I heard back.

"Many Comforting Words", a ghost story set in Eastern Connecticut (formerly "It Wonder Me", a ghost story set in Pennsylvania Dutch country) will be published in the Northern Haunts anthology. Considering that, almost two years ago, my grandmother (who was the glue in my family and the namesake of my unborn youngest daughter) died of cancer, I'm very happy to be involved with this anthology.


J.C. Tabler

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Calling for help

This is gonna sound dumb, but...

Anyone out there willing to give "The Simple Account of Sergeant Shea, Immediately Prior to the End of the World" a read for me, let me know if it's even mildly entertaining? Finished up the first draft edits tonight, wanted to get someone new's opinion on it.

J.C. Tabler

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Heading out of character

It is very rare that I write anything without an eye on markets it could go in, but the Mythos piece was one of those. Of course, after finishing the first round of revisions, I find it nearly impossible to place it with any market. The narrative, the perspective, the light-hearted approach, and the short length seem to set it firmly outside of the boundaries established by most publications normally interested in Mythos sort of work. Instead, I have decided to do something else with it, and after final revisions will make a gift of it to a friend of mine who has a love of all things Lovecraft, as well as a strange sense of humor.

Knowing this, I decided concise titlings can go to hell. I have decided to name it:
"The Simple Account of Sergeant Shea, Immediately Prior to the End of the World."

So there. After revisions, I may just make it generally available to anyone who wants a chuckle of some sort, either at me or at the piece itself.


J.C. Tabler

Monday, June 2, 2008

Strange Days

I dreamed a dream again last night.

It was a strange night. First up was a dream placed in a zombie story, I think. not really sure. There were survivors, infected folks, lots of zombies, and a religious slant on it all that made it a bit frightening. What bothered me the most, though, was one particular image of a zombie attacking a pregnant hooker on the run, ripping off the lady's face from the nose down, and holding her while other friends ripped open her stomach to make a travel snack of the fetus.

I gotta work that into something somewhere.

After awakening and drifting off, I found myself on a train platform where my wife has been palced in a quarantine zone destined for destruction to prevent viral spread. Then it went to a funeral for a family member where beheadings were involved.

I'm never eating pie before bed again.


J.C. Tabler