A review: Dark Screams (Volume Six)

May 6, 2017 3 comments

Well, it’s been a ridiculously long time since I’ve written anything here. I’ll talk about why in my next post, but for now, I thought I would go ahead and share a review of an ebook I was recently asked to read. It’s the latest entry (volume six) in an anthology series from Cemetery Dance Publications entitled Dark Screams.

Here’s a link to the ebook in Amazon: Dark Screams (Volume Six)

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I’ve posted my review there, but I’ll go ahead and include it here as well. If you’re a fan of horror fiction, check it out, or any of the other entries in the series. Or, for that matter, any of their other publications. The best place to go for dark fiction.

–ddp

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I’ve been a long-time fan of Cemetery Dance Publications. I’ve bought numerous books from them and have subscribed to their magazine for many years. They truly are the cream-of-the-crop when it comes to horror fiction, and I’ve never been disappointed by them. So, when I was recently given the opportunity to review their latest release in the Dark Screams series (Volume Six), I jumped at the chance. I’m glad I did, because it was great. Here are my personal opinions on each story in this most recent installment.
The Old Dude’s Ticker by Stephen King. I enjoyed SK’s intro to this story, and got a kick out of his apologies both to the reader (due to the age of the material, having come from the seventies) and E.A. Poe. I’ll leave it to the reader to understand why he felt he had to apologize to Poe. Regardless of the dated writing associated with this story, I still enjoyed it. A fun read and a nice homage to a story most readers will most likely have already read.

The Rich Are Different by Lisa Morton. I’ve never read any of her works before, but I must say I truly enjoyed this story, and her writing. A well-written tale, I found myself drawn in and taken on a journey which I had not expected (a bit of a twist on a love story). I can now say I’ve become quite a fan of Lisa Morton and look forward to reading more of her fiction.

The Manicure by Nell Quinn-Gibney. A manicure only found somewhere in a bad dream. It makes me rethink whether I ever want another pedicure, which is a bummer, because I like them. I’d like to read more of her stories.

The Comforting Voice by Norman Prentiss. A wonderfully creepy tale about new parents and a newborn baby that tries their patience (to the extreme), a situation everyone who’s ever had kids can relate to. Frightening in a way no parent wants to admit.

The Situations by Joyce Carol Oates. A new author to me. Overall, a quick read, but I didn’t really follow it very well. At the end, I was left with something of a “so what” kind of feeling. Because of that, I’d consider it one of the weaker stories, at least for me.

The Corpse King by Tim Curran. A grim and dark story about two grave robbers that ran quite a bit longer than the others in this collection. While the writing was top-notch, it could have been shortened a bit, as I found myself beginning to skip small sections to progress through the story. Also, the author frequently used words I didn’t know, which is either a commentary on my sad vocabulary, or it’s indicative of using bigger words when simpler will do. Overall, I enjoyed it and the two main characters, and I liked the ending as well.
Dark Screams Volume Six is a worthwhile read for those who enjoy reading short forms of horror fiction. My rating of the collection: 4/5 stars. Another worthy entry in the Dark Screams series.

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A mid-November update on NaNoWriMo and new short stories

November 15, 2014 10 comments

I’m smack dab in the middle of yet another NaNoWriMo, right along with all those thousands of others brave enough (or foolish enough) to dive headfirst into this annual frenetic activity. For NaNo this year, I chose to do something a little different in November. Instead of writing something completely new, I decided I would take a “completed” draft from a previous NaNoWriMo (2011, to be exact) and spend the month working on revision. I figured if I could get a minimum of 50K words or 30 chapters edited over the course of the month, I’d consider that a win. So far, progress has been great, and my novel is moving another step closer to becoming a finished product. While it’s far from perfect at this point, it’s improving with each revised chapter.

On the short story front … first, thanks to all of you who took the time to read my last story and leave a comment. I appreciate your support, encouragement, and feedback. Second, I’ve got two different short stories I’m working on right now, though the pressures of November writing might make it hard to finish them as soon on time. One hasn’t even been started, but it needs to be finished and polished up by the end of the month. Ooops. Timing for the other is a bit more open-ended, which is nice. I have a partially written story from years ago already in place, so I hope to expand and complete it in time for that submission. Both should be fun projects.

Hope everyone’s having a wonderful November, filled with plans for the upcoming holidays. My favorite time of year …

–dp

My short story is now available to read

November 6, 2014 14 comments

I was happy to be included in this year’s Halloween edition of the Siren’s Call eZine (click here to download the pdf), published by Siren’s Call Publications.

October Siren's Call eZine

Siren’s Call eZine

If you’re in the mood for some post-Halloween chills, or just want to read my story — The Patch Beyond the Hill — download the eZine and check it out. For any who do, please let me know what you think of the story.

–dp

End of (unannounced) summer hiatus and short story news

October 10, 2014 13 comments

Summer is over now, which is fine by me. Though our pool made those 100+ degree days bearable, and sometimes even fun, I’m ready for cool weather and the holidays. It’s also time to jump back into blogging and catching up with everyone else’s blogs.

First up, some good news. I recently submitted a short story to a very cool eZine for their upcoming Halloween themed issue. I was thrilled when they accepted it and am looking forward to when it comes out later this month. When it does, I’ll let everyone know where they can find it should they be interested in reading the story.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween 🙂

–dp

On writing: Cemetery Dance 2 : Dave 0

July 17, 2014 18 comments

Just found out today that the story I submitted for an upcoming anthology (October Dreams 2) from Cemetery Dance was, to put it euphemistically, not accepted. On to the particulars. Turns out that around 200 people submitted stories. From those they decided to use 3. What is that? 1.5%? Guess I shouldn’t feel too bad for not making it into the top 98+% 🙂 On the plus side, the editor (Richard Chizmar) looking over the stories did say that around 10% of the stories were excellent and that they’d already decided to use several of the others for various publications. Who knows, maybe I’ll make it into one of those? Oh, and I should also note that he personally read through all the submissions (yeah, that’s right, 200 short stories!). How many times is that going to happen? I thought that was pretty cool, and I thought it was pretty awesome that he chose to request submissions like he did. I can only hope he chooses to do the same thing in the future.

The original request for submissions and subsequent notification of those selected has all been done via Facebook. A perk, I suppose, for being a friend (Facebook only) of the founder of Cemetery Dance publications 🙂 Now here’s the question: do you think it would be unreasonable, or bad form, to send a message to him to ask if my particular story made it into the top 10%, or even 3% (they considered 6 stories in the end)? I’m not really worried about whether it didn’t, but just curious about whether my story was decent, as in good enough that a writer/editor for one of the premiere horror/dark fiction publications thought my story was worthwhile. Yeah, I know, I suppose in the end it’s really just about me getting some validation and all that. But for some reason I’m really feeling the need to know something, anything, even if mine was in the “gee that wasn’t so great pile”. But, I also don’t want to come across as too amateurish (even though I am). Thoughts?

Well, now it’s on to the next big adventure(s). In the short-term, I think that might be, along with working on the stories already in progress, looking for other good horror/dark fiction publications that are accepting short stories. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

A final note: as fate would have it, just yesterday, I saw this blog post : How to take rejection.

Read through this short but helpful article. The last paragraph sums up the writing life.

Here’s the lesson to remember: far better writers than you have been rejected far more often. In success, you will be able to look back fondly at the people who’ve said no. But to get to that success, you’ve got to power through the failures.

Update: Thanks everyone for your responses and encouragement. After hearing what everyone had to say, and allowing some time to pass, I think I’ll most likely just let it go and concentrate on writing and finding other good publications that would consider my genre. When I jump into the submission arena again, I’ll be sure and give an update.

–dp

On music: Graveyard (The Devil Makes Three)

July 14, 2014 Leave a comment

The first time I heard this song by the genre defying, three person band Devil Makes Three, the first thing that caught my attention was the very cool acoustic guitar picking. After that, it was the lyrics. Why? Well, they’re creepy, that’s why. Perfect for someone who loves dark fiction and horror, right? Aside from that, it’s a very catchy tune. Check out the lyrics below, or watch/listen to the video (hey, Eric, are you impressed? A song on Monday that’s not melancholy. Creepy? Yes. Melancholy? No 🙂

My favorite lines:

Just a’leanin’ on my shovel
In this graveyard of dreams

Nice.

Graveyard of Dreams
I wanna tell you a story
Ain’t got no characters in it but me
I wanna sing you a sad song
Most of it I don’t expect you to believe
It starts off just the Whiskey and Wine
Miles of travel and some real good times
But it ends in a dark corridor
Where there ain’t no windows
And there ain’t no doors

I wanna take you to a shipwreck
A thousand miles underneath the black sea
It looks like everybody’s sleeping
But look close they are dead indeed
I wanna lead you to an armchair
Deep black in the files of my mind
I wanna sit you in the candle’s light
Where I’ve been spendin’ all of my time

Well that’s me
Just a’drinkin’ off this bottle
Is it drinkin’ off of me
Now that’s me
Just a’sittin’ here starin’
And a’shakin’ like a leaf
Well that’s me
Just a’leanin’ on my shovel
In this graveyard of dreams


 
-dp

On life: what is the real world?

July 6, 2014 5 comments

For quite a while now I’ve been wondering about whether social media — Facebook in particular — is as great as everyone seems to think it is. Yeah, I check Facebook multiple times a day, as well as reddit.com. I do lurk on Instagram occasionally, and blog semi-regularly :-). But Facebook … there’s something about Facebook that just eats at me every time I get on and scan the latest updates. I have some theories about what it is that bothers me, but rather than get up on my soapbox and try to express them, I thought I’d share a short film that, to me, pretty much conveys how I feel about it. What do you think? Is the tag line for the video accurate?

What’s wrong with social media

Not to mention that every minute on Facebook is one minute I’m unable to spend writing 🙂

–dp