Monday, September 03, 2007

High Seas Cthulhu: Below Decks

William Jones has extended an invitation to the writers of HSC to share tales about how their stories came to be and their thoughts on the process. Several writers have stepped up to the challenge, including myself, and you can find the results here. Please feel free to visit and share your thoughts there or here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

High Seas Cthulhu: Table of Contents

Well folks, here's the final table of contents for High Seas Cthulhu. I'm honored to be in such wonderful company. Run out and buy a copy. Hell, buy ten, I get royalties for this one. : )

The Idol in His Hand -- Darrell Schweitzer
The Tip of the Iceberg -- John Shire
Passage to Oblivion -- Lee Clark Zumpe
Dark Blue -- Alan Dean Foster
The Isle of Dreams -- Charles P. Zaglanis
Ensnared -- Paul Melniczek
A Kind of Fear -- C.J. Henderson
La Armada Invencible -- Michael McBride
The Others -- Stewart Sternberg
Signals -- Stephen Mark Rainey
The Havenhome -- William Meikle
The Bedlamite -- Ferrel Moore
The Star of Istanbul -- Chris and Linda L. Donahue
High Seas -- Michael Penncavage
Those Who Came to Dagon -- John Shirley
Clown Fish -- Matthew Baugh
Ice -- Heather Hatch
The Wreck of the Ghost -- Tim Curran
The Stars, in Their Dreaming -- Gerard Houarner
The Depth of Darkness -- William Jones

Monday, July 02, 2007

High Seas Cthulhu: Contest

Hi all,

There's a contest at and the prize is a copy of High Seas Cthulhu. Details below:, in conjunction with William Jones and Elder Signs Press, is proud to announce a new contest to win one of three copies of High Seas Cthulhu, a new fiction collection being released soon by Elder Signs Press.

Contest Rules

Entering the contest is easy.

To enter the contest, register for the forums, and post a witty, silly, or serious comment on this story by clicking the "Reply in the Forums" link at the bottom of this story.

Entries must be posted no later than NOON Eastern Time on 7/27/2007, at which time Staff will randomly select THREE winners. We will contact the winners by email, so please use a valid email address in your registration. We will also post the forum name of the winners on the forum and on the website.

Only one entry/forum account per person. No need to re-register; if you've already got an account just make a post. Staff (basically, me and the Trollboy) may not enter. We reserve the right to delete accounts we suspect have conspired to enter multiple times. We can Tell. We reserve the right to change the contest rules at any time without warning. Though, we probably won't need to. We will ship your prizes via whichever method we choose. It will likely be a slow moving gypsy caravan for domestic shipping or strapped to the back of sea anemones for trans-Atlantic shipping. So, if it takes a while, don't blame us. We are not responsible for any taxes or customs fees you'll need to pay as a result of receiving such a wonderful prize. We reserve the right to shout ia! ia! at passing strangers, if we want.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Frontier Cthulhu

The prodigal son returns with good news. Chaosium is publishing my Mythos/western story "Jedediah Smith and the Undying Chinaman" in Frontier Cthulhu:

Call of Cthulhu Fiction Anthology for 2007.

Frontier Cthulhu

CHA 6041 $14.95 isbn 1-56882-219-7

A New Land Founded upon Forgotten Horrors

As explorers conquered the frontiers of North America, they disturbed sleeping terrors and things long forgotten by humanity. Journey into the undiscovered country where fierce Vikings struggle against monstrous abominations. Travel with European colonists as they learn of buried secrets and the creatures guarding ancient knowledge. Go west across the plains, into the territories were sorcerers dwell in demon-haunted lands, and cowboys confront cosmic horrors.

Monday, February 19, 2007

My Poetry: Mom

My friend Stewart has recently begun a disscusion about poetry on his site and mentioned a piece of free-verse I'd sent him, so I thought I might post it here to torment you all. I took a creative writing class to sharpen my prose and learn more about my craft and I've found that most of what we do is write poetry thus far. I like poetry, mostly about dead guys, but I'd like to expand my horizons since we publish poems in the magazine. The topic was health and disease, so I tried a form I haven't used before and took my mother's fight with cancer as my muse. As will become quite obvious, I still have issues.

The fallen angels and brimstone were replaced by orderlies and antiseptic but I knew where we were. The screaming and moaning gave it away. I cut up her French toast. She had scrambled eggs and bacon, orange juice, and a glass of milk. They said she was too well to stay in the hospital. They were moving her to a nursing home across the street. She would come back for radiation treatments. She could move her legs again. What do I want she asked. I started to make a joke, but then she began to tremble. Her face contorted terribly, her eyes rolled up; her limbs pulled in like a dying bug’s. I cried out and buzzed the nurses. She’d had her first seizure you see, because her brain was speckled with cancer like pepper on eggs. She caught pneumonia. The port in her chest through which she’d once received life-giving chemo was infected. She shut down. They said she must have aspirated some food into her lungs when she had her seizure. Fat grave worm tumors burrowed through her body again. I begged her not to leave. I told her she had to live so that, when I had kids, they would know how wonderful she was. Her organs shut down. She looked jaundiced, like a dull lemon, as toxins built up. I signed off on a request to take her off the machines keeping her body alive. It took twenty-two minutes for her to strangle to death on the fluids in her lungs. I held her hand the whole time and died with her.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Writer Tips: Formating

So you’ve written an excellent story rife with memorable characters, superlative prose, and an engaging theme, yet it keeps getting rejected five minutes after you’ve emailed it. Why? Have you checked your formatting? Many, many markets will reject your submission unread if it isn’t formatted to the industry standard. This is the first (and often fatal) strike a great many writers make. It’s a shame they don’t teach this sort of thing in most creative writing classes.

A good, generic format looks like this: Real Name; Address; City, State, Zip; Country; and your email in the upper left side of the manuscript. Put your approximate word count on the right side. Further down, center your title in all caps; skip a line, then center By; skip a line, then center the name you'll be published as. Skip several lines, write your story, then center THE END when you're done.

In the top header of each page after the first put: Story Name/Your Name/ Page #.
Stories should be double spaced, 12pt. New Times Roman font is most often requested but many people have preferences. If you want something in italics, underline it instead. DO NOT use bold print.

Many markets have specifics, Read Their Guidelines! By not adhering to proper formatting, writers give editors the idea that they’re ignorant of the rules or too lazy to bother with them, not the impression you want to make. For more information, look under "Writing Help" at

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Jedediah Smith and the Undying Chinaman

Here is a bit from a weird western I was asked to write for an upcoming anthology. I can't say for whom it was written, as it has yet to be announced, but it was certainly nice to be invited. I wanted a charactor I could have fun with, so Jedediah is one part Indiana Jones, one part noir, some Briscoe County Junior to counterpoint the horror, and the rest is all Clint Eastwood.

Jedediah Smith and the Undying Chinaman

Hoss had the audacity to stand behind me and bray like a mule. There’s little I hate more than a man who laughs at his own poor excuse for humor. I slipped my hand snake quick over the well-worn handle of the Colt Peacemaker I kept crotched, swung my arm up in an arch as I skinned the cannon and smashed the butt against the bridge of Mr. Funny Man’s beak with a satisfying crack. He staggered back as his nose loosed a scarlet flood all over the floor. I kicked him in “the sweets,” threw him onto the red mess he’d made, and, because I was feeling ornery, upended that damned spittoon over his face. I shook my head. I could have wound up like him if my uncle hadn’t taken me in and paid for my education after my momma died from the consumption.

I took a long pull off my cigar and let the smoke ooze slow and evil out of my mouth as I said to anyone listening. “My name is Jedediah Smith. Does anyone else want to ask me a question?” This time I threw some of that steel in my voice I mentioned earlier. Hoss’ buddy jumped up with his hands in the air and knocked over their table. I hadn’t realized I still had my gun out. I saw a glass pipe caked with tarry residue rolling along the floor with the shot glasses and beer bottles. My eyes widened for a second as a bolt of inspiration struck me full on. I crooked a gnarled finger in the direction of Hoss’ friend and said “You!”

“Me?” He actually squeaked as he pointed to himself and looked around for a more likely subject.

“Yes, you. Where can I find an opium den around here?”

He looked puzzled, which was only slightly different from his usual idiot stare, and asked “Why do you…”

I cocked the Peacemaker as I interrupted him. “It sounds like you’re asking me a question boy, and you’ve seen how I cotton to questions.” I kicked Hoss once in the gut—hard—for emphasis. The poor bastard gurgled and went fetal as his buddy turned wedding dress white.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Dark Wisdom #10

Well, issue 10 of Dark Wisdom magazine should be in the stores soon with another great cover by Dave Carson. As of this issue on, we'll be full color and glossy, I think only Realms of Fantasy can say the same. This edition features work by: William C. Dietz, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Jay Caselberg, Michael McBride, Stephen Mark Rainey, Richard A. Lupoff, Gene O'Neill and others. One of the others is me, I wrote a movie review. I liked doing it so much, I'm writing a book review for a future issue.