Back To School

Briana had just barely heard the knock on her bedroom door through the Def Leppard blasting out of her Walkman headphones. She rolled her eyes and pushed the stop button with her thumb. The tape inside stopped playing, and Love Bites would have to wait just a minute longer to continue biting.

“What?” She had hardly moved her eyes off of the Teen Beat Magazine lying in front of her, and the interview with Cyndi Lauper that she had read at least a dozen times.

Her door opened and her mother stepped in. Sally knew what to expect, she just wished she was wrong. Her daughter had been up all night listening to that damn Walkman and reading her teenie bopper magazines. Maybe she had done her nails, or sprayed an entire can of hair spray onto her curly, dirty blonde hair. At some point she had probably sat in her opened window and smoked a cigarette or even snuck out to smoke a joint, which she’s told her mother plenty of times she didn’t do. What she wasn’t doing now was sleeping.

Sally had been having issues with Briana for a little over a year, just after she turned fifteen, and they were only getting worse. She figured this would be the hardest day yet, because it was back to school day and Briana had no desire in school. The previous year’s back to school day was the leader so far for “bad days with the kid.” That year is when she started hanging out with all of the cool kids and doing all of the cool stuff. When she started the smoking of both the regular and wacky tobacky, drinking, and having sex. Now at sixteen, things had only progressed for the worst, including her back talking, which had grown to near seventeen year old levels.

Sally pinched off the nervous tick that was about to come out and cause her to strangulate her daughter, composed herself, and said, “You go back to school today. Are you ready? You have to be there in an hour.”

Briana glared at her mother. “Are you serious? You’re giving me an hour to get ready? That’s not nearly enough time to do my hair and my nails and you know that!”

Sally folded her arms across her work apron. She had to be at work at the same time her daughter was supposed to be arriving at school. “Well it looks like you’ve already done those, sometime last night when you should have been sleeping!”
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(Giveaway) Win an Amazing ‘The Electric Coma Dream’ Prize Pack!

Matt Roberts:

Awesome book giveaway (with more awesome stuff!) over at HNR! Get in on this while you can! You know I have!

Originally posted on Horror Novel Reviews:

Ready to leap into a world of insane, intense violence and mental terrors? Perhaps you’ve got the moxie to crack the pages of Matthew Gillies’ latest psychologically driven tale, The Electric Coma Dream. We certainly hope so, because you’re about to get the chance to win an absolutely wicked prize package. In order to be in the running all you’ve got to do is send us an email @ hnrcontests@live.com, drop us a book recommendation. We’ll randomly choose a handful of winners.

Check out the details on the prizes up for grabs:

This August/September, Flinch Publications wants you to experience the latest in surreal psychological horror. One lucky person has the chance to win The Little Box of Trauma prize pack, with contents that include:

  • One signed trade paperback copy of Matthew Gillies’ debut surreal psychological horror novel, The Electric Coma Dream;
  • Four promotional posters;
  • Four limited edition…

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Writing fiction in layers results in more speed and less frustration

Matt Roberts:

Great advice that, I think, is really the way to go for any writer. The key is to actually do it, which is something I’ve always had a hard time doing myself. But, I think this is the easiest I’ve seen it explained and now maybe the burden won’t be so much for me to fight through. Awesome!

Originally posted on Today's Author:

By Model Land Company, Everglades Drainage District (Everglades Digital Library) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Model Land Company, Everglades Drainage District (Everglades Digital Library) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Last week it struck me:  I’ve rarely read an article on how to write fiction—more specifically, how to actually put words down on the page!

When I started writing fiction regularly about eight years ago, I read many books and articles to help me create great plot, make dialog realistic, and strike the right balance between “show” versus “tell”.  I thought I was reading books and articles on how to write.  But instead I was actually reading books and articles on how to create great plot, how to make dialog realistic, and how to strike the right balance between show versus tell.

As a novice writer I’d sit at the keyboard for a couple hours and squeeze out two well-polished paragraphs that read as though they came straight from a book on the…

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Cohesion Press Accepting Subs For Anthology!

Do you really know what’s real and what isn’t?

A man called Arnold Paole was accused of being a vampire in 1732 in Yugoslavia, after his body was dug up five years after his death and found with long pointed teeth and nails, with blood in his mouth.

The Mothman of West Virginia was a winged man-sized creature with glowing red eyes and huge moth-like wings sprouting from its back, seen repeatedly during 1967 and 1968.

In 1977, a dead creature that looked a lot like a plesiosaur was caught in the nets of a Japanese fishing vessel, the Zuiyo-maru, offshore east of Christchurch, New Zealand.

The sage Apollonius of Tyana, born in Turkey at the start of the first century AD, hunted demons, and once saved one of his students from a vampire who was going to drink his blood and eat his soul.

These are all supposedly true stories. And there are more, more tales of monsters that shouldn’t exist, of demons and devil possession, of serial killers wearing human skin, ghosts terrorizing families…

But these tales also sound like fiction, don’t they?

Read More Here…

Enter Our New Contest, ‘Horror: Told in 100 Words’ to Earn Some Cold Hard Cash and Publication!

Originally posted on Horror Novel Reviews:

A quick editor’s note: Tim Meyer, longtime HNR contributor and kick ass author of multiple critically acclaimed novels will be spearheading this contest, and I cannot possibly thank the man enough! We owe Tim a very serious debt of gratitude, as running a contest of this nature isn’t the comfy walk in the park some may believe. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into an event of this nature, and the fact that Tim was eager to step up to the plate says an awful lot about the man!

HORROR: TOLD IN 100 WORDS

Contest/Anthology

Okay, folks! Here’s the skinny. Flash fiction is pretty hip nowadays and we want to see who can come up with the most creative horror story using 100 words or fewer. Sounds fun, right! Right?!?!

So first thing’s first—the theme. This contest/anthology will have a dual theme. The first is Creation. The second…

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Horror Story Of The Week At HNR!

horror-novel-reviews-horror-story-of-the-week

Horror Novel Reviews is starting a Horror Novel Of The Week at their site, and everybody is encouraged to enter. I hope Matt has some help over there, he’s going to get a lot of submissions each week that he’s going to have to get through!

While details are limited at this point, that feature of the site starts next Wednesday. One story will be picked each week and showcased on HNR! Hint: THEY GET A LOT OF TRAFFIC!

Get those horror short stories dusted off, this would be great publicity for you!

Hopefully the rest of the details will be posted soon, but you can check out the official announcement by clicking here!

Book Review: Say No To Drugs

Matt Molgaard, official cool guy and horror extraordinaire, recently released his double-shot short story collection, Say No To Drugs. Both stories are cautionary tales about how doing drugs can do some terrible things to you.

Matt, a man who was once in the clutches of both alcohol and drugs, as he explained on his extremely popular website Horror Novel Reviews, decided to pay it forward in a way and try to help keep kids off of drugs by giving them this book.

say-no-to-drugs-cover

He was kind enough to hand out a few free copies with the promise of a review, regardless of the review itself, and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on one of those copies. So, here’s my review of a book written by a guy who writes book reviews. I feel like I’m in a weird alternate reality of books and reviews and authors. It happens all the time.

From his site about the book:

A double feature told in the tradition of vintage drive-in tales, Say No to Drugs serves as a reminder that some clichés are worth paying heed. In The Pot, the first of two tales, terror turns green, while Blue – the double feature’s second tale – should encourage hard drug users to think twice before mixing fatal cocktails.

Ray Waltz just wanted to get high as he ushered dreaded high school years into a deep crevice designed to bury life’s strangest of moments; never to be revisited again. But Jimmy Hanniger, local weed-man with the strongest herb in town held different designs for Ray and his future.

If only Ray had just said no.

In Blue a confused young man must decipher the visual riddles surrounding him. Why are the walls a sudden and mesmerizing blue? Why is there a body sprawled across the floor. And just what is that forcing its way through an ocean of turmoil, bound for dry land; bound for murderous actions?

Find out in longtime entertainment journalist, Matt Molgaard’s debut double feature, crafted with the intent of pleasing those who favor the whacky, absurd grindhouse style of yesteryear.
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Short Horror Story Contest

Want to see your campfire tale acted out before an audience of horror and cult film fans? Enter your short story for a chance to win this and other great prizes! The winner will get to see their story told on stage by a master storyteller, have the text and video of the reading showcased on our website, and be included in the forthcoming 4 Hour Film Festival Campfire Tales anthology.

RULES FOR THE SHORT STORY CONTEST:
Deadline for entry is July 17, 2014.
The entry fee is only $5.
Maximum word count 1000.
PDF and DOC file types accepted.
Stories must be horror or have a dark theme. Horror-comedy or dark comedy is welcome.
No excessive profanity, sex or gore. Don’t shock us, haunt us.

——————————————————————————

This seems like an awesome opportunity! I’m hoping to enter but thought I’d pass it along to the rest of you! I just heard it about it myself and know the deadline is quickly approaching, so get those stories in! This whole thing takes place in Hollywood, I do believe!

For more on this and how to submit, click here! And good luck!

8 Steps All Writers Follow When They Edit

Matt Roberts:

This is great stuff. Apparently my approach is to have an idea, let it sit in my head for 10+ years, write some of it, never go back to it. Repeat. I wish someone had a full proof method to get everyone around you to understand when writing time is, and to shut the f*** up during that time. Aside from locking yourself in a safe. I need to invest in a safe.

Originally posted on Today's Author:

Every author has a different approach to writing. I know this because I read Rebecca Bradley’s wonderful series on how writers do their thing. Each author she spotlights adds a personal twist that intrigues me.

Not so surprisingly, no one’s approach is like mine. Here’s how I write a novel:

  • Draft out events for the novel in a spreadsheet program like Excel. This gives me room to add columns and rows with new information, new ideas, notes to track an event through the story. Here’s what my spreadsheet for my latest WIP looks like:

plot with Excel

  • JK Rowling’s is low-tech, but still an obvious spreadsheet:

jk rowlings plot

  • Convert the draft to a word processing program like MS Word. Mine is usually 70+ pages.
  • Add details about timing, setting, characters, clothing, transitions, chapter breaks.
  • Start at the beginning and read for flow, timing, pacing. Edit diligently. I do this a day at a time. I…

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Daily Prompt: By The Dots

We all have strange relationships with punctuation — do you overuse exclamation marks? Do you avoid semicolons like the plague? What type of punctuation could you never live without? Tell us all about your punctuation quirks!

Many moons ago when I was in high school a buddy of mine mentioned one day how I used entirely way too many commas. I wrote him a note and slyly passed it to him so the teacher wouldn’t notice. In, the, note, I, put, a, comma, after, every, word, like, this. You know, just to piss him off. He didn’t get it. “See?! You use way too many!” I just shook my head. He wasn’t one for sarcasm.

Even though I thought I knew what I was doing, what he said still scared me. I remembered it for, well, the rest of my life up to this point. Any time I’m going over something I wrote I typically end up deleting or otherwise removing a lot of the commas I had placed in whatever I wrote. Sometimes they actually aren’t needed.

However, I recently wrote a short story for an anthology (it wasn’t picked) and I had my editor, the extremely awesome Jordan Drew, tell me what she thought about commas. It turns out she’s a fan and she told me to use them whenever I thought I should (basically) and how I wasn’t entirely wrong in the first place. So now I’m a fan of them again.

I also have a horrible time with apostrophes. I’m never sure when to use them or when not to. Semicolons, forget them. I almost completely understand when to use them, too, but I never get them right when I do use them, so I just don’t.

That’s about it. I think. Unless I’m massively screwing up other stuff and everybody has been too nice to tell me.