Monday, November 30, 2009

Flash fiction challenge: Walmart, I Love You. "Acceptance"


Ante Scriptum: This story has been removed in order to honor a contract with Untreed Reads. When the contract is up, this story will be reposted here.

This was for a flash fiction challenge and I have an alternate story that I did for this same challenge that I'll save for mid-December. This act of arson is allegedly based on an alleged incident that a supermarket allegedly pulled to get rid of a union warehouse. They allegedly did this so that they could move everything to a warehouse in the boonies, that was outside of the union's jurisdiction and in a the county didn't recognize the union's rules.

I don't know the particulars beyond the alleged forklift "accident" and the alleged sprinkler "failure." Everything I've heard about alleged incident was third-hand, so don't ask me to comment on it.

Quoth the Patti-

Steve Weddle recently posted a link on facebook to this. (People of Wal*Mart) and suggested along with Keith Rawson) that Aldo, Gerald and I host a flash challenge using this site as our inspiration.

What I would like to propose is a 750-800 word story that is set, or at least partially set, in a Wal*Mart Store.It could also be a story that refers to such a store in a meaningful way. If you take exception to Walmart, name it something else. We'll know what you mean.

Post the story on your own blog or on Aldo's Powder Burn Flash. I'm thinking of November 30th. Please don't post your story ahead of time--it throws things off. Let Aldo know if you want him to post it. Let Gerald or me know if you're "in" as soon as possible.

Walmart shoppers: beware.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Got writer's block? Apparently there's an app for that

While I've been wrestling with a story for almost three months and me becoming a story teller's version of Captain Ahab is almost a certainty, I don't have writer's block. If you do, however, apparently there's an app for that.

It's called Writer's Block Buster. It generates character development, scenarios, etc...and it is meant to defeat all the roadblocks you might encounter as a writer.

Now if only they had an app that helps with consistency and quality, I'd buy that for a dollar, RoboCop.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Get Plugged In #4

Jean-Paul Sartre said that, "Hell is other people."

Super Editor and author, Katherine Tomlinson has a brilliant story up at A Twist of Noir called "Another Day In Paradise," that says Sartre was only half-right.

But that's not all, she also the Chocolate Editor for BellaOnline. Her article not only has recipes, but everything that you can think of that is chocolate-related. Health links, Vegan links, books, how you can prepare it sans sugar, and gifts for chocophiles.

Last but certainly not least, Johnny Dollars a.k.a. Editor JDC a.k.a. Publisher JDC a.k.a. John Donald Carlucci, has made the leap to webisodes.

I've already checked out the first episode of "Fierce Cravings," and it's good stuff...along the lines of a certain low-budget, super successful film from the 90's. Check out his press release for more details-

MANITOWOC, November 19, 2009 – Darke Media, the film production studio and producer of the digital magazine “Astonishing Adventures,” today announced the release of the new webserial “Fierce Cravings.”

Looking to explore online sources for distribution, Darke Media is releasing the entirety of “Fierce Cravings” for free through sources such as YouTube and iTunes. Plans are in place to launch a second serial, starring the mascot Scarlett, of Astonishing Adventures, in mid 2010.

“Uncertain where the horrific changes to his body and mind are leading, the masked man begins documenting his descent into Hell.”

“Fierce Cravings” tells its chilling tale in the same cinematic style utilized by hits like “Paranormal Activity”, “The Blair Witch Project”,and “Quarantine.”

For more information on Darke Media please visit the dedicated website at

For the online in-story diary of “?” from “Fierce Cravings”

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Beat To A Pulp has "They Come From Above"

Some people have no vision at all. Not only can they not see the forest for the trees, they possess the tunnel vision of a mole on the darkside of the moon. I am fortunate that David Cranmer is not such a person. He saw a piece of microfiction that two other editors had rejected and he decided that it could be more, and that it could have a greater audience.

With plenty of encouragement from David, Elaine Ash, and Katherine Tomlinson, that piece of microfiction is now a fuller, richer story that is now up at Beat To A Pulp.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you "They Come From Above," at Beat To A Pulp.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Retribution" is up at A Twist of Noir!

It was originally printed in the Premiere Issue of Crooked Magazine and now, my story "Retribution," has come to A Twist of Noir!

And remember, anything you say in bed, can be used against in the Court of Noir.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My TBR pile

When Walmart started the publishing price war, I upped my dedication to make each and every literary purchase that I could at an independent bookstore. I'm happy to say that since then, I've spent over $170 at indie bookstores. So I had to special order one tome at Booksmith, and I hope that it will be worth the wait.

We went to the store to pick it up on Thursday, and there was quite a commotion. There were kids bouncing around the store like Super Balls in a rubber room and their rude parents, who were just knocking over the unaware shoppers such as The Teen and myself, like sharks in an aquarium roundabout. Ah yes, you work so hard to teach your child some manners and to not walk through people, and then a bunch of adult idiots do their best to unravel that lesson.

There were five times as many people there as usual, I wouldn't have ventured in any further than the sales counter, but The Teen wanted to look at the manga section. We were in a hurry because I wanted to get back home in time for the Niner game. There was a small stage and quite an autograph line that was still going strong. So strong in fact, that I couldn't see who the author or authors were.

Yet, what do you care? You're more interested in the book I ordered, right? Here it is, "One Too Many Blows To The Head," which triples my "to be read" pile.

Oh, and the just who was the source of this hysteria? TMBG was there to do a quick gig and sign their new children's book. Of course I didn't figure that out until after I had left the store and saw a notice similar to this one in the window.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Meh, I got nuthin'

So I DVR'd "Barton Fink," and watched it, because I'm having writer's block like that. I have to write an introductory to an interview and basically finish this same story that I have been working on for almost three months now.

This has been vexing me to the point that I can't really come up with a subject to blog about here. I have been basically linking other people's works (which I would've done anyway), and rehashing older stuff (which I wouldn't have done so much). So I had to outside for inspiration.

The place is named, "Would You Believe? Cocktails." Shouldn't that be, "Would You Believe, Cocktails?" Regardless, I'm a cynic, so the answer is, "no," however it is phrased.

Hey, I may have writer's block, but whoever did this...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Proof Of Life" is up at A Twist of Noir!

Many crime writers (including yours truly) tend to see crime fiction in just two dimensions and thus, on some levels, it becomes predictable. Now Katherine Tomlinson told me that she wrote a tale for Thug Lit a couple of years ago and I told her that I had absolutely no idea.

Her story "Proof of Life" was in Issue #19 of Thug Lit and it is probably one of the most unique crime fiction stories that you will ever read. Katherine truly gave my favorite genre a third dimension, so please see for yourself with "Proof of Life." Todd Robinson really got it right when he chose it for that issue.

Yet, she's not one toot her own horn and so the work that should be recognized, almost becomes a strange version of that koan about the forest.

Two years later, Christopher Grant enters the picture, because that's the beauty of his site, A Twist of Noir. The stories that didn't find their proper audience the first time, can reach a new one and the reader benefits this time. Because not only do you get a chance to discover or rediscover a story, the artist gets a chance to do the little things to improve that story.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Christopher Grant gives you the revised and improved version of Katherine Tomlinson's "Proof Of Life."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Get Plugged In #3

Try this, you can buy that perfect gift and help out kids at the same time.

Wolfmont Press is giving you, "The Gift of Murder." Nineteen stories of mystery, thriller and crime fiction revolving around the winter holidays...including one by our own Sandra Seamans. Best of all, all proceeds go to Toys For Tots. Click the "TGOM" link and you have your choice of purchasing via Wolfmont, eBook or Amazon.

Speaking of Ebooks, Full of Crow Ebooks has the "Less Than Three Anthology." Tales of absurdest fiction under three paragraphs, featuring Paul D. Brazill's latest tale, "M." Click the Full of Crow site and then click the "less than" symbol next to the number three.

Finally, if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, look no further than The Tainted Archive. Gary Dobbs has put together over thirty posts about the Great Detective over the weekend. Click here, here, here, and here. Whew, it's going to take a little more than a weekend to read all of them, Evelyn Wood.

Best Of: "Peanut Oil"

"Peanut Oil" originally appeared on Powder Burn Flash.

It’s hot. Almost “ Death Valley kills the pioneers” hot. Which is no easy feat, considering that this is October in usually foggy San Francisco. But the Northern Californian version of Chandler ’s Santa Ana winds, the "Diablo," is seeing to that, making everything as arid as the Sahara.

Kelly Boles has it in his head to take a week off…unpaid. Fuck the mounting pile of bills on the stand by the door; he feels a novel running through his head like a dam about to burst. Kelly though he would he would try “kickwriting” like Kerouac did with “On The Road,” minus the rolls of tracing paper taped together and the Benzedrine.

Nothing doing.

He over-caffeinated himself and as a result, every single thing is a distraction: the wailing cries of his computer’s overworked fan, his dying piece-of-shit refrigerator, his growling stomach, and the ambient noise of his neighbors that is bouncing off the heat and into his open windows.

The couple next door is particularly vexing, as they argue about how to prepare a dish.

“It’s not Szechwan beef if you cook it vegetable oil! You have to use peanut oil!”

“Then why don’t you go buy some fucking peanut oil, already?”

“I will!...uh, can you lend me some money?”

Kelly cannot believe that she tolerates this tool. She’s beautiful and she can cook? That idiot should be kissing the very ground that she walks on. Women like that might become extinct within his lifetime.

Kelly’s stomach is grumbling, so he drinks a glass of water to shut it up. He looks across the street and sees “Szechwan Beef” dash into the corner store. Kelly thinks about the wonderful aromas from next door that are to come and his stomach grumbles again. He gulps down another glass of water.

As he puts the glass in the sink, he notices a balding man in a trench coat dashing into the store. Who the hell wears a trench coat in this kind of weather? A flasher? The guy has to be a flasher, because porn theaters don’t exist anymore.

“Open the register now!”

“Jesus, that guy had a shotgun under that trench coat,” whispers Kelly. The store’s owner reaches under the counter and oh shit, watch out Szechwan Beef! He didn’t see or hear “Trench Coat” and he panics, dropping the bottle of peanut oil and startling everyone.

The store’s owner brings his pistol up and “Trench Coat” pulls the trigger. Good God, the roar is deafening as the heat ricochets the sound all over the neighborhood. The store’s windows are peppered with blood, gore and holes. The store’s owner is nowhere to be seen. Trench Coat turns toward Szechwan Beef, but he already fled during the first shot.

Trench Coat pumps a shell into the chamber and takes a step. He slips, he disappears, a foot comes up, and there’s a muffled boom.

Kelly looks left and right, but there seems to be nobody in the store. He gets his phone and dials 911. He grabs a chair and stands up. Kelly can barely see Trench Coat’s feet twitching in the window and he sees what he guesses are teeth or bits of bone, right by the front door. It’s hard to tell from this distance.

The panicking footsteps of Szechwan Beef echo outside in the hallway. As the 911 operator puts him on hold before he can say anything, Kelly shakes his head. Not because of the operator, but because this would’ve made a great story. Unfortunately, Kelly feels that just like stickups, crime fiction doesn’t pay enough.

Note: I added a line to this version, because it's not entirely clear what happened to Kelly's obnoxious neighbor.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Writing Quotes, Three For One

Two are writing specific and one is more attuned to screenwriting, but it still has some literary relevance, and is certainly amusing.

"There are some books that refuse to be written. They stand their ground year after year and will not be persuaded. It isn't because the book is not there and worth being written -- it is only because the right form of the story does not present itself. There is only one right form for a story and if you fail to find that form the story will not tell itself."
- Mark Twain

"In Hollywood, defining the content of a movie is like sex-- everyone thinks they can do it and do it well. And they're not inclined to give up the chance to do it just so someone else can do it."
- Terry Rossio

"Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public."
- Winston Churchill

From two issues of The Creative Screenwriting Weekly Newsletter and no, don't fling your writing toward the at large public, or at anyone in private.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Have you been over to Lots Of Pulp?

So since I got some of my new readers hip to Arresting Tales, here is another site that you all might want to check out called "Lots Of Pulp." This blog has covers from the Golden Age of Pulp up on through into the 50's. We're talking every genre; action, romance, westerns, crime, science fiction, and even some subgenres that you probably weren't aware of. Covers such as these-

"Call me Mike?" With a huge bejeweled turban and a silk outfit like that, wouldn't you rather be called "Rajah" or "Maharajah?" Okay, okay, put the sword away, we'll call you "Mike!"

The robots of the world did not take kindly to Doris Dingleheim's panning of the special edition of "Metropolis."

It was inevitable, but there was nothing that any of us could do to stop it. Eventually Kanye West's ego became so large that it consumed us all.

Fredrick Bumbry was quite the scientist and eventually he discovered a way to take the manssiere to its ultimate level.