Saturday, November 1, 2014

The New Project

Years ago, I created an alternate universe version of Lavinia Whateley who survived the Dunwich Horror incident and continued to live on in secret. I did a lot of background work for it and even role-played the character here and there, but the actual project never materialized. It got shelved, along with several others, as I tried to focus on two other novels I was revising. I tend to be the kind of person who comes up with too many story ideas to focus on at once, so this was nothing unusual.
"Somebody get me a goddamn drink."

Recently, however, my partner made contact with his long lost (hasn't seen since he was four) mom, and she turned out to be a horror writer as well. We both love Lovecraft, and the idea of co-writing something in the Mythos came up. I did a write-up of Lavinia's alternative history, and the idea took off from there. Right now I am working on the first chapter of a tongue-in-cheek modern Mythos story involving Lavinia, a plucky and very eccentric supernatural investigator, the obligatory horrible cultists, and an escaped pet that isn't exactly a poodle.

Lovecraft lends itself so well to black humor that I'm surprised that it doesn't get that treatment more often. I think the key is to keep that same undertone of doomed-world desolation, and the constant struggle against madness and evil, that exists in the original. You can't just take the trappings and go goofy with it.  You have to use humor, in large part anyway, as a coping mechanism, both for the reader and the characters. You have to portray these characters as living in a darker world than our own--one which may not technically be on the brink of destruction, but has a bunch of crazy idiots running around on it who would very much like to push it there.

My Lavinia, partly out of a deep hatred for her father and elder son, has no patience for doomsday cultists. She is a snarky, embittered, pot-smoking, semi-recovering alcoholic who has made her peace with the fact that the world will someday end, yet has no desire to help the process along. She likes being an obsessively scholarly, slightly batty immortal witch. And even though she has a terrifying side to her, most of the time she just wants to pore over her hoard of occult books, play with her familiar and surf the Net. Unfortunately, as the only Whateley with any conscience or interest in her neighbors, she also has to do things like go out and kill whatever monster has decided to nest in the hills lately. (She then tends to eat or sacrifice them. She's still a quarter Deep One.)

Anyway, I'm looking forward to plowing through this chapter, and it's high time I get back to it. One of the best things about co-writing is that you have someone waiting on the next chapter. That's a great motivator!

Lifequake, and Starting Over

Hi, and welcome to my writer's blog. I'm kind of doing a gut remodel of the whole thing, so please don't mind the current lack of content. I'll be fixing that soon.

I didn't make the decision to revise my blog lightly. In fact it was made under fairly extraordinary circumstances. Without getting into too many unpleasant details, I have severe health issues that have only recently started receiving real treatment, and my economic circumstances have put me under tremendous strain. I also live in a neighborhood which could provide content for episodes of Cops for about the next decade. It's not fun. We're actually currently fleeing after being stuck there for seven years--and believe me, that is a relief.

My past entries were written under tremendous strain, as I came to understand the problems with the current publishing model, how e-publishing might be my best option, and how modern writers are facing a dilemma--take the traditional route and try the lottery odds that they become the next J. K. Rowling, or explore e-publishing, self publishing and other alternative routes. Those who take the latter road are more likely to see results, and can avoid the bottom-rung treatment which most writers endure in traditional publishing. However, they risk being taken far less seriously by most people than their traditional counterparts, and that stigma can be hard to take. I agonized over this decision for almost a decade before I decided to focus on the road less taken, and I was very honest about my frustrations.

Now that we have an escape strategy from our current situation in place, and I have a plan for my writing career from here on, I decided to have a look at how I was presenting myself online. I read back over my whole blog, every surly, clue-bat-wielding, probably-sometimes-over-sharing bit of it, and found myself debating. Delete it and start over? Preserve it as is? Preserve some of it? On the one hand, I still stand behind much of what I said. On the other hand, my lack of diplomacy or subtlety bothers me now that I am no longer under such extreme stress. And if it bothers me, it was likely bothering other people.

I didn't delete anything. I have a lot of good information I want to preserve for people's use, and I have my entire writer's resume to redo, including a lot of link updating. Now that I have actual time to do so, I can handle all of this without a lot of lengthy delays.

Friday, February 29, 2008

List of publishing credits, with comments

Here's my list of short story and article credits. Eventually I'll be reformatting it as a more formal writer's resume, but for now the list serves to remind me of where I've been publishingwise.


“Hero For A Day”, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine #24, Summer 1994 This was probably the most lighthearted story I've ever written, let alone gotten published. I spoofed the whole sword-and-sorcery "child of destiny" theme by having the protagonist be a literal kid who wants nothing to do with slaying the local tyrant.

“Midnight at the Aphrodisia Hotel”, First place winner, Murder and Mayhem online fiction contest, 2000: Sadly, the creator of this e-zine ended up having to close up shop after a year or so, so there's no online copy of the story available. This one was notable for being the first horror/suspense story I wrote with no supernatural elements whatsoever.

“Mary”, Blackest Death Volume 1, 2003 A creepy little Typhoid Mary tale involving an immortal plague-carrier. During this time period, I started writing mostly horror, and trying to keep my word count down to shorter stories; before that I was writing novellas that turned out to be too long for a periodical or anthology.

“Only Begotten”, The Undead Anthology Volume 1, 2005 This one is what the sweetie likes to call my "zombie baby story". It was about the world's scariest entitlement-mother and her flesh-eating undead spawn. For some reason most people seem to see this piece as about "extraordinary devotion"...aheheh.

“Chance Encounter”, Building Bridges: The 2008 San Francisco Writers Conference Anthology This one is rather special to me, because it features the main character in my novel.

“The Scarlet Cat”, Flesh and Bone: Rise of the Necromancers Yet another dark fantasy piece from my novelverse, this one involving Danica, my necromancer. Read a review of this story here.

"Family Matters", A horror short short about the clash between two very different family traditions.

"Under The Skin", Another standalone Anakim story, this one about a former street kid who will do anything to survive--including turn into a monster.

"Feral" (novel excerpt), May December Publications' e-novella series, or on Amazon at (December 2010/Horror) The first chapter of my upcoming novel, this story was written as a standalone piece and an introduction to the bizarre nature of the Anakim universe. It's getting good reviews so far.

"The Petitioners", Mother's Day 2011, this is one of my Yearly Zombie Stories--about a government aide who just found out that the dead vote with their feet.


The below articles were written during my stint as a member of the Knowledge Management Magazine editorial staff. I started out as a line editor, was bumped up to rewrites and layout assistance, and slowly became an in-house writer on top of my other duties. Unfortunately, KMM, like several business technology magazines and imprints at the time, was a casualty of the dot-com bubble; as its advertisers went out of business, so did it. The remainder of the company, as well as its archive of articles, can still be found at, now owned by Information Today, Inc. instead of Delphi Group. Unfortunately, they kept only about 10% of the total articles published in KMM, meaning that I had to dig for copies and references for the remaining material.

  1. “Informal Learning Most Effective”, Knowledge Management Magazine, November 2000 Quoted here:

  2. “Perceptions of Employee Turnover”, Knowledge Management Magazine, November 2000 Referenced here:

  3. “Building Better Knowledge Maps”, Knowledge Management Magazine, April 2001 Quoted here:

  4. “Portals for Every Occasion”, Knowledge Management Magazine, April 2001 Referenced here:

  5. “KM Technology, KM Reality”, Knowledge Management Magazine, August 2001

  6. “The KM You’re Already Doing”, Knowledge Management Magazine, August 2001

For the most part, I really liked working at Knowledge Management, because I got to learn about the publishing process, go through "deadline boot camp" to learn to manage them well, and show my writing skills more than once. Granted, business technology was never my preferred area to write in, but after discovering that I could rise to the challenge anyway, I felt a lot more confident. Working as part of an editorial team also gave me a certain flexibility when it comes to working with editors. After the first month, I had very few sacred cows left when it came to having someone else critique and edit my work. When you're on a tight deadline, you're forced to get over any attachment to clever turns of phrase, and focus on clearly and engagingly presenting the story at hand. I'd honestly recommend that any writer out there work as an editor for a while, just to understand the process a bit better.