Thursday, September 18, 2008

A long wait ended

Shit. Lost my last post. It was long, here's a short recap.

Two rejections, "Colburn Men" from McSweeney's and "Geoffrey's Pizza" from Neon. Going o get some writing done before heading to bed. Important work stuff tomorrow.

J.C. Tabler

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's not a Stoker, but I'll take it.

So, here I am, minding my own business in the dark over the past two days, when out of nowhere this guy comes along and slaps me with an award. The drive-by nomination came from Jeremy Kelly over at Join the Birdies. So, with tears in my eyes and the lights finally back on, here we go.
I have to say that Cate was the first regular visitor I ever got over here. It was fun. She's been a good buddy, a great writer, and an amazing proofreader. Not a week has gone by lately without there being an acceptance from her, and we're loving it! Besides, for a supportive soul, she is one who can both do and cheer. Looking at her daily habit of writing, the constant pursuit of perfection, should serve as an inspiration for any aspiring writer.
This is a fellow with an amazing writing style, I know because I've read his work. Never an unhelpful word, Mike has a blog that gives you a stare into the daily life of a published author. To get a look into the industry, you can't beat Mike Stone.

Join The Birdies by Jeremy Kelly

Sure, it seems like a bit of a cop, I admit it. The man nominates me, I nominate him. Well, here's the truth. This guy captures the stress of family, working, and writing perfectly. If there's something to be said about struggling, well, he's said it. For the empathy factor, among other things, I really do enjoy reading his blog.

The Other Aaron by Aaron Polson
I just want the chance to refer to him as Mr. Polson once in my life.

Written by Sin by Natalie Sin
Alright, let's just accept the fact right now that Jeremy put the reasons I like this woman's work far better than I ever could. Now, go get me some coffee.

What's that? I still have two more?


Ghosts in Parantheses by Barry Napier
Barry is a prolific fellow, even if he doesn't think so right now. Among everything else, he finds the time to work on novels. See, I don't write novels. I wish I could, but I can't. So I very much enjoy reading over his trials and tribulations when I feel bad my tiny little short story isn't falling into place.

Gospel of the Living Dead by Kim Paffenroth
Yeah, so I'm in a maybe pile for one of his anthologies. That does not mean I'm sucking up. I promise.

Okay, so, now the rules as they were given to me:

If nominated (and not insanely busy):
1)Add the logo of your award to your blog.
2)Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3)Nominate at least seven other blogs.
4)Add links to those blogs on your blogs.
5)Leave a message for your nominees on your blogs.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

One Slice or Two?

Well, in forty minutes tonight I wrote a flash piece, edited it in an hour, did a re-write over the next hour, and sent it out to Neon Magazine

There are several reasons I'm like "Geoffrey's Pizza", 835 words. First, and foremost, it made my wife cry. No joke. Honest to God tears over the ending of this story. I had guests tonight and let them read it, and not one of them looked happy afterwards, which tells me it punches in just the right place.

The second, and selfish, reason is that it is the first piece I've both began and finished since the birth of my children. I was starting to worry there were no good ideas left in my head what with all the work around the house and at the office, not to mention the recent pressure. So I have a new goal, now. A story a week. Not a finished, complete product, but something. Be it good or bad, short or long, one finished first draft of something every week. Length is not an issue. Taste is not an issue. Just something to keep me in practice until the kids sleep through the night and the house settles down.

The last time I stopped writing regularly, I ended up spending three years repairing the paddlewheel on a 100 year old steamboat.

So, back to it. Tomorrow I start trying to find my story for that week, and by next Saturday I resolve to have the first draft finished.

In the meantime, let's see what happens with my pizza order, eh?

On a different note, we took the babies and Sophie to the market today grocery shopping. There were nuns there. I have decided nothing I can ever write is scarier than a nun cooing over the baby strapped to your chest. I was squirming the whole time, expecting rulers to flash through the air and smakc my palms.

Plus, it's just a little uncomfortable to have a Bride of Christ looking at your personal Product of Lust.

Speaking of uncomfortable, this song kickstarted another story idea. It's a song about lynching, extremely haunting.

J.C. Tabler

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A More Definite Response

Arkham Tales has just accepted "The Simple Account of Sergeant Shea, Immediately Prior to the End of the World" for publication.

More later, bedtime now.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rejection letter, what art thou?


Alright, I never post rejection letters. I prefer to file them away...but this one has me scratching my head. The more I read it, themore I'm not sure what it is. Is it a rejection politely worded and pointing things out to cut any argument before it can grow? Is it a letter intending for me to rewrite and resubmit the piece? Is it an "almost, let's see what you can do" letter? Or is it just letting me down gently.

Normally I can pick these out on my own, but the more I read this one the more confused I become over what it is and what was intended. I've sent an e-mail out politely asking for clarification, but to be honest the editors are probably very busy and the only email I have is the submission email. I'm thinking rejection, but if I don't get a definite, firm confirmation by tomorrow night I think I'll flash a query over to the other editor's email to see if I'm right. That is, if none of you think I shouldn't.

Anyhow, the letter is below. It's the rejection, I think, for "Ain't Gonna Dig No More", which I sent a half-proofed manuscript of off. I know, beat me with noodles. I was juggling my kids when I submitted it...quite literally, as we were thinking Des would go into labor the night I sent it off and was understandably shaken a bit.

Dear J. C. Tabler:

Thanks for your interest in the Potter's Field anthology, and for submitting a unique story for my consideration. While I quite enjoyed this tall tale, I do believe it needs considerable work so that it will be the best it can be upon publication.

I rest my case, by pointing out just a few of the errors within:

(Insert a few examples of my horrendous proofing)

The above are just a few of the sentences that require work. This story is worth the effort it would take to go over the entire manuscript. Take the time. Ain't Gonna Dig No More has the makings of a great story.


I should mention that the examples given were all grammatical/typos. No mention of the story or writing style itself. Just...typos and grammar.

What do you folks think? I confuses me.

C'mon, let me have it.

-J.C. Tabler

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The First Line

Well, I'll join the band wagon. Here, in no order, are the first lines from the last 20 stories I've written.

1. Lantern light off tombstones cast an absurd glow onto browning grass. (Ain't Gonna Dig No More)
2. I was born in a small county hospital on a December night that was warmer than most around that time of the year. (The Ignoble Birth of Tucker Talbott)
3. Jeanette didn’t cry the first time Kitty scratched her, not until Mommy started screaming. (Beautiful Little Rubies)
4. Some folks say snakes aren’t smart, just do what comes natural. (Big Jim Can Wait)
5. “It’s ten in the morning here in the Derby City, and if there’s anyone out there still listening they’re listening to 89.1 WKBS, BS Radio with Mad Mike Stevens and his Midnight Mayhem." (Dead Air)
6. They found Old Man Jenkins’s face behind the radio cabinet, staring up blankly from the floor. (Demon Whiskey)
7. To be face to face with a legend, a man whose name had been tossed around the office since the first time you wrote up a police report for the back page, was more intimidating than you would think. (A Dream of England)
8. Hundreds of glass eyes stared blindly into the basement. (Fragile Obsession)
9. You have this theory that there are two tribes in the city, the Day People and the Night People. (The Tribe of Harry)
10. Poppa Bear knew history often repeated itself, and it was this knowledge alone that kept him working hard to prevent a circular flow of unforgiving time. (Poppa Bear)
11. Twenty dollars a night or ten dollars an hour for a room, an extra five if you want clean sheets, three if you want soap, fifteen dollar deposit for a remote that isn’t fastened to the beside table. (No Tell Hotel)
12. I don’t read newspapers anymore, and haven’t since I was a child. (Many Comforting Words)
13. I never stopped believing in him. (Sacrifice of Man and Cloth)
14. Welcome to Historic Innsmouth, Where America’s Dark Past Comes to Life! (The Simple Account of Sergean Shea, Immediately Prior to the End of the World)
15. “We do not cover amputations unless they are completely and totally unnecessary." (No Deductible)
16. I went to law school in Boston in the late seventies, though I won’t say which school or exactly when. (Winter Wonderland)
17. “Do you think we could work it out?” she asked (Rock A Bye Baby)
18. The first time David heard “Presbyterian Guitar” by John Hartford he was beside his father’s coffin in the Markham Funeral Home down on Main. (Colburn Men)
19. “Is it the undead?” Dr. Lance questioned as sausage fingers tugged unkempt beard. (Linguistic Prescription)
20. “Was that a dead emu?” Richard asked, examining the rearview with fervor. (Weekend Trip)

Alright, there we go. Not in order of being written or anything, mainly because I can't remember the order the were written in, but the last twety stories I wrote and their opening lines!

J.C. Tabler

Monday, September 1, 2008

Here ya go!

Hi. We've hijacked Daddy's blog. We were getting tired of the Alien references about facehuggers and chestbursters, so we've beat him up. To be honest, it wasn't much of a challenge. He's put on quite a bit of weight since Mommy got pregnant, and gets winded very easily. We've got him tied up in the basement right now. Don't worry, we'll feed him...maybe.

Now, bow before your new overlords:

Meet Maggie (Left) and Henry (Right)

Let's cover August.

Well, I am loathe to admit this, but I only finished a single complete work of fiction during the month of August. I had finished several things during July, got them sent out and such, but August was mostly work and pregnancy. So, as a result, only one piece of writing got finished. That was:

"Ain't Gonna Dig No More" - Submitted to Potter's Field 3

Outside of that, I started on several things only to have them fall by the wayside throughout the month, among them being:

"One Lump or Two, Balgaraog the Eviscerator" - a possible Dead Jesters story. This was started, and about halfway through set aside because I wasn't certain of the story's thread or where it was going. I had Balgarog, the demon from Hell forced to have a tea party with a little girl whose bed he slept under, down pat. As for the plot, the girl, her family...not so much past the first couple scenes. I'm working on this one still, and someday hope to read over what I have and churn out a definite story, but for now it's on hold.

"Mitchell Hill Road" - A calling from the world of Harvest Hill. I've started it, and have decided in a few hours of writing that it will be much longer than the simple one-shot I wanted to do as a work-up for my own amusement. This'll be on hold for definite development until I get the anthology in my hands and see what history has already been developed for the town outside of my own story. It may be a possible submission to some future anthology or project set in that tiny Tennessee town.

"The Coal Room" - Not really on hold, just having a few false starts. Everytime I found the thread, my wife (still pregnant then) needed something done, and by the time I was finished the story would have fled. The basics are still there, just waiting for me to sit down and type the story.

"Rex Storm, Large Vermin Exterminator" - A longtime project finally began, that saw a good amount of work on the outline for it over the month. Between this one and the babies, I have a decent excuse not to get many short stories done over August.

September will hopefully see a lot more work being done, both on "Rex Storm" (which may end up being that 'someday' novel I keep talking about, depending on how the outlines tickle my fancy) and on the short story scene. Now that the kids are here, believe it or not, I'll have a little more time to write because I'm going to be up half the night anyhow. Might as well make some use of those midnight hours. Plus, I tend to be prolific when I'm stressed out.

Well, back to the children, then back to the grindstone. By the way, remember to read Catherine Gardner's new story over at Allegory. It is, very simply, another wonderful piece from this talented writer.

J.C. Tabler