Thursday, March 31, 2011

Social Networking: How Do I Know My Net’s Working? or Yep, I Totally Suck at This

Author, Anne R. Allen recently posed an intriguing question on her blog. The post heading:

Does Social Networking Make You Feel like Your Back in High School?

Read it. How much of it do you agree and/or disagree with it?

Many of you reading this are fantastic social networkers. You cast your net and draw out a boat full of fish. You’re well-spoken (I guess, well-typed in this instance), leave thoughtful feedback, and engage other writers with genuine relationship building skills and carefully presented self-promotion. You’ve got tons of Twitter, Facebook, and blog followers.

Me, I’m terrible at small talk and self-promotion. And don’t get me started on my net-flinging skills.

I often ponder; how social does a writer have to be? Personally, I’m not a social butterfly. For that matter, I’m not even a social caterpillar. In fact, truthfully, I write so I don’t have to speak aloud. I understand that as a writer, I have to take responsibility in promoting myself via all available media outlets. And I know this may include public readings, mingling with like-minded individuals, and general social schmoozing. I know this…yet, I remain hesitant to participate. Why? I think Ms. Allen’s right; to me, in a lot of ways, social networking is like high school all over again. There are the cool kids, and then there are the rest of us. Sadly (although there’s the hint of a smile as I type this), my high school no longer exists. The building was torn down. Terrible, I know. But I don’t have many fond memories. Of course (and please feel free to refer to my psychologist for further details), this may be due to my own self-induced ostracism.

Anyway, I do spend time lurking the halls of Twitter; waste time in front of my Facebook locker, nervously pretending to search for a textbook that doesn’t exist, willing myself to turn invisible. Is this something innate in me? Can a non-social person/writer flip the coin and change? I’m not shy; I’m just somewhat…disconnected, disconcerted.

Anne speaks of feeling ignored on social networks. I partake in conversations, add my two cents when opportunity presents itself, but the drive to engage individuals, who may or may not be who they portray (especially online), usually leaves something to be desired. And selfishly I think, man, I should be using this time to create.

I’d like to build stronger relationships with writers. I’d like to see more folk read my book, The Man of Shadows (like how I worked in a hyperlink to Amazon here?), AND have it increase in sales. But how do I successfully balance between writing and networking?

And with that question (yes, and now my sad attempt to throw my net out and gather ye little fishes up), I leave the mike open for social commentary.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Evil Inspirations: The books that made us want to write horror

On occasion, I’ve been asked, What horror authors have inspired you?

I’d be remiss if I failed to mention there’s no doubt Stephen King, by reputation (and sales) alone, is master of the horror genre. I’ve read, enjoyed, been in awe of many of his novels and short stories. I admit that. BUT, as fantastic as his work may be, he never reached in and touched that vulnerable, terrified chamber of my heart in the way the following five gentlemen have.

Make no mistake; these five books are for the hardcore horror fans. If you liken Edward the vampire as your perfect cup of tea, then these authors would be like drinking a bottle of Absinthe on an empty stomach.

I highly recommend them as must reads for lovers of dark horror fiction.

Greely’s Cove by John Gideon

It’s a story about miracles, dark miracles in a town plagued by ghosts, necrophilia, resurrections of the dead and black magic. It’s fast, ugly and graphically mind-blowing.

Grimm Memorials by R. Patrick Gates

It’s tales of the brothers Grimm spun by an evil, modern-day witch. There’s also a healthy dose of necrophilia along with other awful sexual deviancies, child torture, and violence to the Nth degree.

They Thirst by Robert R. McCammon

No romantic and/or rock-star vampires here. These bloodsuckers want to eat you and play with your blood. It’s chock-full-of disgusting death and charged with an apocalyptic climax threatening the entire west coast.

Dominion by Bentley Little

Take’s dorm life by the balls, Greek mythology-style. Blood, guts and lots and lots of sex. If you like your stories over-the-top, this one will leave you gasping.

Creekers by Edward Lee

All I can say is strippers with three breasts, in-bred rednecks, demons, witchcraft, mutilations and B-movie dialogue. Fast-paced and relentless to the shocking end.

So tell me, What are some of your favorite horror books and authors?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Is Plagiarism the only form of word theft?

Can we really trust fellow participants in our writing groups not to steal our ideas?

Writer, and creator of Crooked Fang, Carrie Clevenger has some sad and scary news. A character she created seems to have been “borrowed” by a former writing companion. A close variation of that character is now the title of that writing companion’s book!

Go to her site Mindspeak and speak your mind.

The perpetrator has been unmasked at Christina Vincent’s site Naps in the Library. Read all about her unforgivable behavior here.

UPDATE (3.18.11):
I've gone ahead and disabled the links for this post. This is done to respect the wishes of Carrie Clevenger. She has dealt with the issue and would like to return to doing what we all share in common here...writing.

Thanks for coming to a writer's aid. No further comments to this post are required.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My story, Mad Dash appears at Chris Allinotte’s Madness in March

Stop on by and join the insanity. Chris Allinotte’s hosting a week of mad fiction featuring a different patient every day. I happen to be patient #110315.

Get your daily dose here. My story, Mad Dash is posted today.

My thanks to Chris for keeping it crazy.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

5x5 Fiction presents ISSUE ONE: Murder, Monsters and Misfortune

At long last, it is my honor to present the premier issue of 5x5 Fiction, Stories Told Loud and Clear.

ISSUE ONE: Murder, Monsters and Misfortune

View and/or download your free copy now!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

AJ Brown at Type AJ Negative interviews me about writing, horrors, and 5x5 Fiction

I recently sat down with the awesomely talented writer, AJ Brown of Type AJ Negative and chatted about writing, plagiarism, The Man of Shadows, and the upcoming issue of the brand new 5x5 Fiction.

Pull up a chair and join us here.

I had a lot of fun, AJ. Thanks! And may your computer live a long, long life...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Panic Press Kindle/mobi books for only .99 cents!

Panic Press is offering their Kindle/mobi books for only .99 cents. That includes my book, The Man of Shadows. Here’s your chance to own all of their releases for less than $1 each!
Per their site:
Click on your chosen title(s), pay 99 cents and have your chosen title(s) sent straight to your email address. If it is different to the email on your paypal order, then please add the address you wish to have it sent to in the buyers instructions section.
All books are 99 cents. No more, no less!
The Man of Shadows by Angel Zapata
Ashes in her Eyes by Alan Spencer
Scream For Me by Brian Rosenberger
Sins and Tragedies by The Dark Fiction Spotlight
Sustenance by Nate D. Burleigh
Tales from the Dark Path by S.E.COX
Werehouse by Ryan Hunter
Without Notice by Jason Hughes
DEADication Anthology
Mind Rotting Tales by Ken and Kevin L. Jones
Revolution City by Darren James
Pantomime by Robert Essig

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

She's Nothing like a Feather When She Falls at In Between Altered States

Episode 10 of Aleathia Drehmer’s In Between Altered States is now live. It features work from Timothy Gager, Len Kuntz, Jeffrey Miller, Mike Whitney, Shawn Misener, Alexandra Brunel, and Justis Mills.

You can also find my flash piece, She’s Nothing like a Feather When She Falls.

They are currently open for subs for Episode 12 based on the prompt: Junkie Nightmares and Hustler Fiends. General guidelines can be found here.

Thanks, Aleathia!