Monday, June 30, 2014

SQ Mag Presents My Visceral/Psychological Horror Tale, "It's Only Going To End Badly."

Actually, a lot of my tales are visceral and psychological.  Depth charges, y'know? Dropping something deep into the subconscious realm to think about amidst the physical mayhem. Perhaps. 


The origin of the story: I was living in Portland, OR, with my ex-girlfriend in a funky studio apartment. This was the early 2000s.  Out back, a smattering of small statues and a struggling garden...and beyond the fence that separated the apartment complex from the residential houses, there was a couple that let the World know when they were having a...disagreement.  Waves of hatred flooded into our apartment on more-often-than-should-happen occasions.  (Once, when I was going to be out for the evening, I told my ex to play some SPK--Information Overload [this track is the opener, "Emanation Machine"] if she wanted to shut them up; that evening, they argued, she set up the CD player and speakers against the window screen...and told me, yes, she did play it and, yes, they shut up, but by perhaps the fifth song, she could no longer take it!)

Where was I?

I used this couple as a starting point on a story I had no idea what it would be, but knew I wanted the tension amped up to unbearable...and for the level of something weird--you'll see--to overlay that...and then, with no idea where I was going, a trapdoor in my creativity opened up to the psychological possibilities.  After the reader has been strung out to the snapping point, it all slams to a sinister finale, totally unexpected.  Deeply wrong.

I hadn't submitted the story in a while when the SQ Mag 2013 Story Quest competition came up and thought, yeah, why not? SQ Mag does quality Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. My Winter's Bone influenced tale, "Ring Finger," was published there, so obviously they have, um...good taste. Ahem...

I tweaked it and sent it off.  Made the finals, brought a smile and, more so, this weird tale that I often don't know what to make of had found a home. 

Here, for your enjoyment or to make you uncomfortable or...well, there are many possible reactions, is "It's Only Going To End Badly."

There's also links to my two books, Autumn in the Abyss and The Dark Is Light Enough For Me, after you read the story and think, hey, I need to read more John Claude Smith. :-P  (Of course, I've linked the books here, too. Easy access...)

When I say strap in tight, it's mandatory for "It's Only Going To End Badly." 


Sunday, June 15, 2014

J.G. Ballard--Crash & Something "Beautiful."

Oh, I know. Been too long. Time to get back in the proverbial saddle and ride the blog again. It kicks and rattles; it rumbles and tumbles. It makes me write odd sentences like the previous one.


The lovely Ginger Nuts of Horror Website ran my The Book That Made Me post, for J.G. Ballard's Crash.  It was a tough, yet easy decision. I juggled it and Clive Barker's Books of Blood, Volume One, a real eye-opener for many of us, but I kept coming back to Ballard, so roll with it I did. You can find it via the hyperlink in red above.  It was way too much fun to write.  I hope you read it and enjoy it as much as I did writing it.


The Something "Beautiful" deals with the strange path of my story, "Beautiful."

From Editor/Writer Christine Morgan's Sabledrake's Lair website review for Autumn in the Abyss, the first two opening paragraphs:

"Side note just to say, I first encountered the work of this writer when he submitted a story for an anthology I was putting together, and I could not believe what I was seeing. I was sure it had to be a mistake, why something like that would be sent to ME.

Because, holy smokes, it was amazing. It blew me away. I about broke my fingers banging out an acceptance super-quick to lock it down in case there’d been a mistake. I mean, wow. Wow!"

Yeah, that's the reaction "Beautiful" gets.

So, it was published in that anthology, Fossil Lake, in January. 

Soon thereafter, writer/editor Ted E. Grau got in touch with me about the story, as I had initially sent it to him a year earlier. He loved it, but it was too short word count-wise, so he passed.  But it stuck with him.  Putting together a special issue of Strange Aeons to be sold excusively at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, he asked if he could use the story. Since the rights were mine, I said sure. It appears alongside some top-notch Weird/Horror fiction writers such as Richard Gavin, Jeffrey Thomas, Gary McMahon and more. Fantastic company.

But the path does not stop there!

Because of circumstances out of their hands, the initial edition of Fossil Lake barely made it out of the gate.  The editor, Christine Morgan, took the reins and directed a second edition publication of the book in April via her own publishing house, Sabledrake Enterprises.

Yes, you read that all correctly. In one year, in less than half a year, my story, "Beautiful," has been published three times!  Craziest path I've ever experienced with a story.

I wonder if there will be a fourth?  Ha, no, no, but the easiest path to pick it up and check it out now would be in the second edition of Fossil Lake.  So, please do check it out. That story...oh, my! Sometimes, well...  You just need to read it.


More blogs sooner than later.  More stories, poetry, madness, and, oh, yeah, have you bought Autumn in the Abyss yet? Check the reviews! Look Inside! We're rockin' 'n' rollin' and you should join us for the dark ride.


I would some day like to own every version of Crash ever printed. Every version.