Archive for April, 2013

hi-hats Since you’re doing me the courtesy of reading this blog, I might as well be straight with you. I’ve done some things in my past that I’m not too proud of. In short, I have a criminal history.

Remember the 1979 Walter Hill film “The Warriors?” The one about all the street gangs? Yeah. Well, in my misspent youth, I was a member of the Hi Hats. The street gang that dressed up like mimes. If you watch this trailer, you can catch us at the 34-second mark.

Look, I know what you’re thinking. Whenever anybody finds out about this element of my past, they ask the same questions. “Mimes? You were trying to come up with a concept for your street gang and you went with freakin MIMES? Was, like, every other conceivable possibility in the entire world already taken or something?” (more…)

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AddisonI’d be the first to admit I’m not a big “serious literature” guy. I love books, and I’ve read a lot of the “classics.” But I’m more into genre fiction. Give me a choice between, say, Camus and Elmore Leonard, and I’m going for the latter.

So I don’t read a lot of poetry – a literary form than doesn’t lend itself to depictions of shootouts or kung fu fights. That might change, though, since I’ve discovered a wonderful poet named Linda Addison.

I recently read a volume of her poetry called Being Full of Light, Insubstantial. When the very title of the poetry collection is gorgeous, I figure that’s a good sign.

She was a recent guest speaker at a group I belong to called the Garden State Speculative Fiction Writers, which is made up of writers of lots of different genres, but tends to skew toward horror and science fiction. (Great group, by the way. If you’re a writer anywhere in the vicinity of New Jersey, you ought to consider joining.)

I missed that meeting, unfortunately, because of a computer-related crisis. But I met the group for their customary lunch afterward, and had a chance to talk to Ms. Addison.

Man! Describing her as “charming” doesn’t do her justice. VERY cool person.

I was blown away when I found out the extent of her genre fiction creds. Her first poem was published in the seminal “Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine,” and her poetry’s won not one but three Bram Stoker Awards.

And I’ll admit, Philistine that I am, to being a little bit puzzled as to how poetry could be considered genre fiction. Horror poetry? How does that work?

But then I started thinking about it. How about Charles Baudelaire? How about Edgar Allan Poe? How about “The Erl King” by Goethe? Couldn’t they all be considered “horror poetry?” Hell, if I really dove into it, I could probably come up with a list a mile long. (more…)

Jon Gibbs - author pic 2I’m a member of several different writers groups, including Garden State Speculative Fiction Writers, for whom I edit the quarterly newsletter.

Writer Jon Gibbs recently contributed a piece that I think is worth reading for any aspiring writer. He gave me permission to repost it here. And once you finish reading this post, be sure to check out his Website and his blog, both of which have a lot of informative and entertaining stuff.

So take it away Jon …

Give Yourself Permission to Fail

by Jon Gibbs

For many writers, rejections are a bit like a trips to the dentist. We’ll do almost anything to avoid them, rather than risk getting bad news.

You can understand someone being afraid of dentists (I know I am), but why fear rejection? What’s so terrible about someone passing up the chance to publish your work?

I think it’s partly because, no matter how much we like to pretend we don’t care, it hurts to have a story turned down.

And so it should. If you don’t care if your story gets accepted, why submit it there in the first place?

But I believe there’s more to it than worrying about the sting of being told ‘No thank you’ by someone you’ve probably never met.

Jon Gibbs - Barnums Revenge - cover pic - compressedA rejection, especially when we’re starting out, is a hammer blow to our self-confidence. The bad news for would-be writers is that you’re going to get rejected, probably quite a lot. If getting published is important to you, those rejections are going to hurt.

The good news is that it gets easier. The more knocks you take, the tougher you’ll get, and if you make the effort to improve your craft, if you’re willing to recognize your mistakes and learn from them there’s a good chance that you will get published.

So go on, give yourself permission to fail. Take a deep breath and pitch that story.
One day, your dream will thank you.

Born in England, Jon Gibbs now lives in New Jersey, where he is the founder of The New Jersey Authors’ Network (www.njauthorsnetwork.com) and FindAWritingGroup.com, Jon’s middle grade fantasy, “Fur-Face” (Echelon Press), was nominated for a Crystal Kite Award. The sequel, “Barnum’s Revenge,” is scheduled for release in February, 2013.

Jon Gibbs - Fur-Face cover pic - compressedJon has a website: www.acatofninetales.com and a blog: http://jongibbs.livejournal.com. When he’s not chasing around after his three children, he can usually be found hunched over the computer in his basement office. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.

drunken comic book monkeysIf you go to a book fair, horror convention or science fiction convention in the Central Pennsylvania region, you just might encounter a small collective of literary visionaries — made up of writers, editors and publishers whose mission is elevating speculative fiction to unprecedented levels of quality and craftsmanship.

You might also encounter The Drunken Comic Book Monkeys.

But seriously, folks. The Drunken Comic Book Monkeys are Brian Koscienski and Chris Pisano. I’ve run into them at a few events, along with their project manager and handler Christine Czachur.

They, along with editor and writer Jeff Young, comprise Fortress Publishing. I’ve become a big fan of their magazines “Trail of Indiscretion” (science fiction, fantasy, and horror) and “Cemetery Moon” (horror).

I also picked up their “Scary Tales of Scariness,” in which Brian and Chris pit themselves against a variety of adversaries, including Cthulu, zombies, vampires, and The Potato People (don’t ask). It’s really funny.

They’ve got a bunch more publications, including a sequel to “Scary Tales of Scariness,” that you can check out at their Website here.

Of course, the Federal Bureau of Nickname Registration would have long-since revoked their license to call themselves “The Drunken Comic Book Monkeys” if they weren’t also a fun group.

So in the following interview, I try to convey the magic. The madness. The raw, unbridled sensuality that is … The Drunken Comic Book Monkeys experience. Read on. (more…)