Wednesday, April 8, 2009

An acceptance!

So I haven't had much new finished this year, but I did get an acceptance yesterday in the mail.

I had known Allegory was interested in "Ain't Gonna Dig No More", but acceptance came in the form of a contract in the mail. Signed and sent, it should be out in May.

I am aware I've been awarded something, and I promise I'll get to it tomorrow. Right now, there's a baby that needs to be played with.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Three a Week my hairy...

So I dropped the ball...again. To let you know what's going on:

No writing in March. Long hours, added in to some problems at home. It looks like my lovely wife is actually suffering a touch of PTSD from the birth of the twins. She wanted a natural home birth, and got a c-section at the (iffy) advice of a doctor who didn't fill her in completely. This means most of my home time is spent being a Dad and Husband type of guy. In addition, she's taking her courses this year online, which means my laptop gets comandeered most nights. We plan now on purchasing a second laptop for her personal use, and I'll hang on to this old thing so I can actually get stuff done. Although I have several outlines and a couple of pages done longhand, my mind works faster than my hand can write, which means without my computer being available I'm more or less worthless.

A typewriter, for those who will bring it up, is out of the question. The clackity-clack of keys machine-gunning through our house is not a viable option in the wee hours of the morning, unless I want to write with a fussy baby on my lap.

Which brings up a question I want to put out there: I know many of us prefer longhand when possible, either due to portability, persuasion, or the simple enjoyment of a pot of coffee and a legal pad. Let's face it though, the pen and paper approach is falling off faster than a three legged dog slides downstairs. So we must accept the movement of technology into the arena or creativity, be it photoshop, word processing, or even music through mixing, blending, and synthesizing (Interesting side note: I once managed to synthesize a cat screelings [Side-sidenote: "screeling"- the act of screaming and squealing at once. Imagine a pennywhistle being blown by an overexcited child who, at the same time, is singing the Star Spangled Banner after sucking down a weather balloon-sized helium supply.] This was in college. It was not a pretty song.)

So, here comes the basic question: if tomorrow you were to have the modern conveniences of a computer and typewriter removed, how many would find it much more difficult to maintain their current story output. Cate, you don't get to answer this one. I'm convinced you'd write entire stories in blood on cave walls in the course of minutes if dropped in the woods.

Alright, time to go to dinner.

J.C. Tabler

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Watch me toot my own horn!

Stop with that thought, pervert.

Alright, so yesterday I stayed home while our landlord came over for an inspection. See, our roof leaked, then the water heater leaked, then the garage door broke. So we called for repairs. Our landlord harassed us, and I gave it back, so she wanted to do an inspection. Be nice to get out of this place, and into one where I can spend my money fixing something that belongs to me.

After all that, Issue 3 of Sand came in the mail, causing me to flurry to hide it. My wife likes reading my work after publishing, whereas I shove it away never to see daylight. I hate reading my own work, it makes me nervous. I start thinking "God, that was horrible" and seeing any potential writing career go up in flames. Plus, the subject matter of "Crib Death" is based, somewhat, off of my wife's post-partum depression, so I really don't feel like catching hell. But if you did read it, give me your honest opinion. Honestly, it isn't like I know where any of you live...except the ones who send holiday cards.

Working on a story later tonight, but I want to address Superior Scribbler. I was going to do one of those after I read my "award", but decided against it. I know too many great writers, and choosing five was a little too taxing on my tiny, overworked mind. So, here's to all of you great literary folk. I consider every one of you the best.

It IS nice to have Graveside Tales back, considering it was down for a while. The first mail I got when it came back online was a hold notice for "Ain't Gonna Dig No More", a nice little piece I enjoyed writing and am confident will someday see print, even if it doesn't this time.

A few submissions need to go out tonight, but other than that there's nothing really to talk about. How are you guys doing?

J.C. Tabler

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Below, in the darkness...

I've been seeing all these folks give up their writing spaces lately...I'm not one of those folks. I prefer description to photos, so if you'll please take me hand and follow me.

Our basement is a dark place, a strewing of clothes and broken fixtures, the regurgitated rejections of a million thrift stores and yard sales. Nothing there is new or in good condition, a washer which goes off-balance and dances over the floor in a banging ballet during late night hours, a dryer which stinks of melted plastic even on low. Clothes, washed or waiting, form miniature mountains among concrete, and no insulation serves to block ceiling from floor above. The lighting is horrific to an extreme, flickering randomly from flourescent sun to bare bulbs daring to plunge shadow into complete darkness, and throughout it all is a stench of cat piss older than whatever eldritch gods one may believe in. Among, above, amidst all of this stands two walls, wooden and painted gunmetal gray where paint hasn't sloughed off in massive collections.

The walls sit in a corner, forming a room locked tight though there is no necessity. Jokingly we refer to it as the "killing room", a place so forlorn and absent of feeling that it seems taken directly from a horror movie lair and landed gently and in our basement. A bare buld, the only strong one in the basement, shines off two wooden and two concrete walls, thoguh light is muted by cobwebs. one shelf sits occupied by an odd collection of screws, paint cans, broken tools and a single sword of indeterminate and hopefully innocent origin. High on the outside wall, inches below the bottom of the upper floor, sits a chute sealed over with welding and luck, painted black. An old coal room, still smelling of dust and dirt, of solid earth picked bare. Sparse on all the senses, sectioned away from the progression of time.

And in the center of it, my desk.

Got a good picture?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Still Standing...Somehow

Alright. So I've been absent since the end of last month. Apologies all around. Kids have been sick, in-laws have been in town, and I've been working massive amounts of overtime.

I'll do a longer post tomorrow, just wanted to say a few words.

Graveside Tales is migrating servers, which is good. The bad part is I use my Graveside Tales email to send submissions and receive it has been a week since I've checked that without access. I can't wait for it to get back up for that reason, as well as remaining in touch with the other horror writers.

Here are my goals starting this month:

Three posts a week on here, not a big problem, but hey.

Get some revising done.

Start on yet another novel attempt after finally sketching out a full concept.

Here's what was accomplished this month:


I did start on and am trying to finish up this weekend a story that I plan on subbing to New Bedlam when it opens to submissions called "Courting Lovecraft" as a working title. Working. I'm not going to rip off the anthology that inspired the e-project I plan on subbing to.

I reworked a few other pieces, but can't seem to get them to flow in a way I like, so am thinking about shoving them into the dark depths of my wicked heart.

I've been blocked this month, mainly due to working appeals cases for the elderly for about 12-14 hours a day and them coming home to be Daddy.

Oh, and the babies got christened, which was fun and resulted in much partying. Desi and I also celebrated a year of fighting and making up otherwise known as marriage on February 15th.

Congrats to all my guys with acceptances, condolences to those with rejections, and I'll be back tomorrow or Monday to start making good on my promise for posting.

J.C. Tabler

Saturday, January 31, 2009

End of the Month Thing

Finished two stories in January, so I'm ahead of my own curve.

"And the Cotton is High" was finished in first draft for Dead Bait , and will be revised tomorrow for the second and final drafts.

"Cooking for One" was finished in first draft (and started) today, and finished in four hours, and will undergo revisions afer dinner and a visit by friends for Devil's Food .

"Ain't Gonna Dig No More" was rejected by Apex for "lovely writing, no a tight story, and too horrorific for our tastes". It has since been re-subbed to Allegory for their consideration after a review and tightening of certain parts I missed during revision.

"No Deductible" is still a lady in waiting over at Weird Tales with no word.

I'm looking for markets still on "Rock A Bye Baby", "Fragile Obsession", and "No Tell Hotel". The first made the first cut and was then rejected by The World Is Dead and most recently by Necrotic Tissue, the second was a submission to Ghost in the Machine , which I have since given up as a dead market, and the third made the short list for Morrigan Books' Voices anthology. If you know of any markets, let me know.

Also, stoked that I finally got Rex Storm, Large Vermin Exterminator in a story.

Stories that have seen print this year are "Many Comforting Words", "Winter Wonderland", and "Big Jim Can Wait", all of which are in the Northern Haunts anthology from Shroud. My copy shipped yesterday. I'll be one pins and needles all week.

Stories to see print are a singleton, "Crib Death", slated to appear in the next issue of Sand from Strange Publications.

A few ideas bouncing around my head thanks to some weird dreams I had last night. I have to eat more popcorn before going to bed.

Other things to happen this month:

Got Promoted
Qualified for the loan to buy the ranch house
Discovered exactly how large the tax refund is going to be (let's say I'm getting rid of some debt this winter)

On the baby front, they've started to roll over, teeth, and crawl. Plus, Maggie has me wrapped completely around her finger. Des, my wife, has started painting again, which is good. In case I've never mentioned it, my wife had a little reputation as an indie filmmaker for her horror and weird movies, and is a wonderful painter. When we first started dating (I had a mustache) she made a painting of me as a confederate soldier under a tree, staring over a blood-stained battlefield in sunset. Don't tell her, I have no idea where it is. Recently she's started doing some other art.

Speaking of art, there was an artist out there that stays in my memory. I had a friend named Kelly who went to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. I forget her name, but she said she painted her nightmares. There was one painting that hung above their couch everytime I visited, a monster of some sort. I just remember it freaked me the hell out. I wish I had offered to buy it at that point.

Oh well.

That's the news from the homefront, where I now have more time because I have an 8-5 shift again.

J.C. Tabler

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Weekends Rock

First off, I got the G&A job. Second, on Friday I went to the hospital with chest pains, getting rolled out of work in an ambulance. No worries, turns out I have severe acid reflux brought on by stress.

After that, nothing much is going on. Working on a rework of the Dead Bait submission, using a longtime character idea called Rex Storm to see if he works as well as I think he will. The first draft of the submission was decent, but reading it over I realized it didn't carry into a short story all that well. This Rex Storm angle just might work.

Alright, baby crying, I'm off.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Poop: It's Everywhere

Guess what I just finished doing with my kids?

Anyhow, my weekend thing. Got off the pot today and started wrapping up the first draft of the Dead Bait story, starting the edits after a bit more in the way of grocery shopping. In the same not, Cate Gardner has received her first acceptance of 2009, much later than I expected. Seriously, Cate is a pro in a dabbler's world. This woman needs an agent and a contract just so I can say "Oh, yeah, I know her on the internet!". Great writer, and a friendly person. Congrats Cate!

Outside of that, not much going on at Casa Del Tabler. We had company over last night, and agreed to do a weekly potluck rotating between three houses. On the bright side, we may be moving again from a rental home to one we own. My sister is moving out to the country with her husband, and if she does they're offering to sell us their Ranch Home at the price they paid for it about 7-8 years ago. It was a foreclosure home at that point, and has a lot of work that was done to remodel it since, so getting it at that low of a price is a steal for us. We'll see how it pans out.

Finished a few short-shorts this month, and I realized that since I've become a father of babies again my horror mind tends to go towards the evils and fears of child-rearings, from zombie stillbirth to demonic, cannibalistic infants, down to the fear that something out of our power can hurt a child (think my fear of snakes...I hate snakes, yet have this worry one will somehow crawl through our heating vents and end up in the crib). "Trolling Nature's Bounty", my Dead Bait story, is a nice break from that, and injects a little dark humor in.

Now, my end of the year submission wrap-up:

"No Deductible" at Weird Tales
"Tribe of Harry" at Annalemma
"Parable of Judas" at St. Anne's Review
"Ain't Gonna Dig No More" at Abyss & Apex

A few more that came back, getting sent back out today.

No, to drive for diapers and Happy Meals!

J.C. Tabler

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Thank you, Cate, for tagging me. It woke me out of my stupor and back into the internet.

Anyhow, here goes a short post and a long meme. First off, I'm bucking for a promotion at work, sort of. Lateral transfer, but a good chance that there's a pay bump involved.

Secondly, finished a few stories, but not sure where or when to shop them around. Right now I'm puttering through a draft of a submission for the Dead Bait anthology, as well as plunking out a few short shorts for personal amusement and outlining a longer piece, basically a restart of the NaNoWriMo piece that I blazed through half of before stopping to be a father again.

In short, I'm doing alright. 2008, my first year of submitting pieces to paying markets, started with an acceptance to Allegory and ended with an acceptance to Sand , with a couple of anthologies in between. All in all, I sold/had accepted 8-9 pieces (too lazy to do my exact count) under my name, and a couple off-the-beaten-track, embarrassing works under another name. Not a bad start, though I hope to do better next year...this year...whatever. Anyhow, goals are toned down. A story a month, something I can manage with the kids and the job right now, plus finishing this damn novel before this time next year. Along with trying to get the promotion at work, which takes me off the call floor and gives me back my evenings and weekends.

Anyhow, to Cate's MeMe:

Share seven facts about yourself in the post. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.

1. I've always wanted to be a writer, but along the way I had several other professional choices, including cop, lawyer, psychologist, journalist, and history professor. I now work in insurance, pray to go to law school, and fully expect to one day actually sell a novel...moments before my death of old age.

2. My favorite job, to this day, remains bartending at night while working on a boat in the morning.

3. I'm a romantic. I admit it. Every relationship I'd had end in the past was followed by drinking binges and melancholy for months at a time. I view my DUI arrest as being a good thing, merely because it was recounting the tale of that arrest that got me noticed by my wife the first time we met.

4. I never intended to write horror, and remain a little disappointed that's where my effort is focused these days, althouh I find it to be a freeing genre and well-suited to my screwed up mindset.

5. I've never really seen the whole appeal behind CSI or Law & Order .

6. I was raised in a courthouse, quite literally, as my father was a prosecutor and would take me along with him to court. I used to draw on legal pads beneath the table in the prosecutor's room where my father would offer deals to defendants on child support cases. I still love being in the courthouse, and my love of the law knows no bounds. It's why I spend my off days, when not writing, working as a gofer at my father's office.

7. If my wife didn't control the checkbook I'd blow every penny we have. I like buying people gifts, and will loan almost anybody I know money if they need it. When at a bar, I often buy the next round. I like to have a good time, and too often that means taking my kids to movies when we can't afford it, or taking my wife to an antique store so she can buy something old and funky. I pull a lot of extra hours to make up for this, and am thinking about just handing my money over to the first bum on the street on paydays to make up for it.

I tag everyone. Go ahead. I'm tired and there's corned beef in the kitchen.

J.C. Tabler