Sunday, November 30, 2008

Of Travel and Children

So, here I sit at a HoJo in PA. We've driven up to coal country to visit my wife's parents for the Turkey Day festivities, and are now on our way back home. I've gotten a few things done, finishing the first drafts of a couple stories over the past couple days and getting the inklings done for a couple more to be finished in the next couple weeks.


Still have a few stories out at Space & Time , The New Yorker , Saint Anne's Review , Guigonol (Sp?), Fantasy & Science Fiction , and Underground Voices . Looking to polish a few turds and get them out before the Ho-Ho-Holidays.

Personal news, not so good. See, let's go in depth about why writing has become a little more difficult to find time for. My oldest was recently diagnosed with high-functioning...yes, you see it coming...autism. Not a surprise, but still disheartening. On top of that, though it's a positive, I'm doing more at work than before as I'm helping with training classes and becoming a walking policy manual on the center's floor. Then the babies, who are fine by the way, but I'm still worrying they'll stop breathing in the middle of the night, and since these worries started about the same time I was reading Stephen King's new short story collection, Just After Sunset (Wonderful, as always. Look for more this week) and child death was a big theme, I'm freaking out.

Weight of the world, won't bore you with it. Just know, I am trying to get back in the game and back into play with all of you prolific, talented, and successful people. Considering what a hack I am, I'm not sure if that should scare you or not. Just with figuring out what school to send Sophie to next year, and, consequently, how the hell I'm going to afford it, along with everything else...something has to go on hold until things calm down, and right now I seem to be shoving writing aside in order to keep my family sane and healthy. Not a hard choice to make, but I'm still in the game...just a few moves behind.

On the bright side, I think we met a ghost in PA. More on that tomorrow night. Now, I'm curling up with my wife and children in a motel bed. Hope everyone had a good Turkey Day, and I'll be talking to you all soon.

Best Wishes,
J.C. Tabler

Friday, November 14, 2008

Of NaNo, Shorts, and other things

First off, I am now the embarrassed owner of a minivan.

Yes, my old, beloved, beat up Jeep went the way of the dinosaurs on Wednesday when we purchased a Luxury model minivan with a Ford logo on the front. Leather seats, cup holders, automatic locks and doors, seperate climate controls, and an ass warmer. I'm not sure what I can do with an ass warmer, or why I need one. But rest assured, if my ass gets chilly, I will be able to warm it.

"Deep Dark Hellhole", a short I was working on prior to NaNo (of which I am slacking...I know), has evolved. No longer is it a horror story. It's becoming a sci-fi piece about a union struggle on an offworld mining colony mirroring that of the Molly Maguires in Pennsylvania. I'm going to work on it afer getting back to my NaNo word count (flagging, always do) tomorrow. Thinking it may be good for anything that looks at stories for almost identical events happenign across far spaces of time.

"Good Neighbors" is also evolving, this time into a bit of a horror piece, that is next on my plate after finishing "Hellhole", which is going to get done, either prior to or during my trip to Pennsylvania to visit the in-laws for Thanksgiving.

Got a story out 67 days at Strange Horizons , "Ain't Gonna Dig No More". Nothing heard back yet.

Another story is out with Space and Time again, this time the rejected World is Dead submission "Rock a Bye Baby", with 8 days on its count.

Still haven't heard back from a couple of big literary markets on some stories I have out there. I will eventually sell "Tribe of Harry", but most likely not to any market near as recognizable as the one I submitted it to.

Now, to other things. I was talking today with someone about writing, and how I just need to get on my horse and spur it to a trot again. I'll do it. I know I can. But it's getting damn hard to even force in the time to write. 10 hour shifts at work, Des is suffering from...well, let's say MS and post-partum don't make for a relaxing home environment. I keep obsessing over the kids not breathing in their sleep (they do, but I randomly wake up frightened they're not). There may be a story in the last, but the topic seems mildly repulsive to me and would be difficult to even imagine a situation like that.

Reading Stephen King's new short story collection. Expect a review sometime this weekend after I finish it.

Still climbing up that hill,
J.C. Tabler

Saturday, November 1, 2008


So I started NaNoWriMo at 12:00 a.m. Nov. 1st, 2008. To this time, 6:49 P.M., I have 4,561 words done on the story, into the beginning of the second chapter.

What is it that's caught my attention?

I'm calling it "One Year Prior", and unfortunately it's about zombies...sort of.

Alright, here goes my synopsis.

In January Sheriff Ben Jenkins of Colton County was called to the scene of a suicide in the woods. The result is wo missing brothers and an angry county in the town of Riverview, Kentucky demanding answers. Answers come soon enough in the form of government broadcasts, and Riverview must pull together to hold up against a river of the undead with Sheriff Jenkins leading the charge.

Basically, this is less about zombies and more about people at this point. The entire town of Riverview belongs to the church of Fenton Brock, an Independent Baptist preacher whose corruption is one of Riverview's many secrets. Even after the town itself is secured, even as things deteriorate in the outside, humanity turns on itself in the microcosm of a small town hidden in coal country. Law and Order versus Faith and Justice, not to mention a world falling down around their ears, drives this story so far.

I'm interested in seeing how it turns out. so far I'm shooting for 24 chapters, each one being one day of a month. Each month gets two chapters, plotting the progression of the town and of Sheriff Jenkins, how people deal with the undead, and what happens when civilization fails. I'm also thinking a wrap-up epilogue, but we'll see.

Anyhow, that's where I stand at this point on Day One.

J.C. Tabler