Thursday, March 29, 2012

Arriving in Salt Lake City

Hello from Salt Lake City! I am in my hotel room, enjoying the free wireless and thinking about making myself a cup of coffee. I am also working on a short story that I plan to finish by Saturday. (If I say it enough times maybe it will come true.)

The trip here was fairly uneventful. Jer dropped me off at one of the Seattle transit tunnels and I rode to the airport on the Light Rail for $2.75. A nice trip--and cheaper than crossing the 520 bridge at rush hour, locals amirite? As for flying, I was on small planes--propellers were involved--so there was some turbulence and some smooshing of bags. (Not a euphemism.) There was a problem with pressurizing the cabin so the pilot had to fly low in the clouds and they canceled our beverage service after offering us free beer. I am still traumatized.

I changed planes in Boise and my new flight was delayed. So I ordered a couple of beers to make up for the one I was promised and played on the internet.

Skipping ahead, when the airport shuttle dropped me off at my hotel, there was a hearse out front with a crazy mannequin thing in the passenger seat. I had arrived at World Horror Con 2012, baby!

For dinner I walked a block in the rain to Crown Burger and ate a burger with pastrami. Then I slept. Enjoyed the breakfast buffet downstairs and now I am trying to finish this damned story. Con stuff doesn't seem to start until closer to 3, so I should be good for a while.

So far I have talked to no live humans except through Twitter, but I'm sure they're out there. I am all geared up for tonight and excited. Assuming I finish a draft of this damn story.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A congratulations, a scroll of resurrection, and butchered French

First off, I want to congratulate Plunderpuss aka lots of other names, on his acceptance into Clarion West 2012. It couldn't have happened to a nicer fella.

Second off, I am roughly ready for my trip to Salt Lake City and the World Horror Convention. I bought some clothes, I washed them, I submitted our taxes, I renewed my gym membership, I have written at least half of the story I wanted to write before I left but hey I have until Saturday to finish... and I've played too much World of Warcraft.

Speaking of WoW, if you have the opportunity to use a Scroll of Resurrection I highly recommend it. Because my account was defunct, I was able to use the Scroll and level one character to 80, and instantly received all new level-appropriate armor, weapons, and bags. An insane bonus!

Third off... uh. I should probably pack. And practice reading my story, "British Guiana, 1853," out loud since I HAVE MY FIRST EVER PUBLIC READING ON FRIDAY, MARCH 30TH AT 11:30AM.

So, here's a funny related anecdote. One time I volunteered to read for the blind and dyslexic and they gave me a story with a lot of French words in it. I have no idea how to pronounce French words and you don't really get a lot of chances to fix your mistakes -- they're recording your reading on huge reels of tape. So I did what I always do in situations where I am in over my head. I made shit up and quickly. The only word I remember was duchy (there were others). I pronounced it ducky (or maybe dutchy now that I think of it) because douche-y just seemed wrong.

Yeah. To this DAY I feel guilty about screwing up that audio tape for the blind and dyslexic.

The moral of the story is: practice before you read text out loud.

The end.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wrapping things up

Before I fly to Salt Lake City I have a few things to wrap up here. I spent the afternoon working on our taxes. You know, in case I die in a plane crash I don't want Jer to have to worry about it. I'm such a giver.

I also made airport shuttle reservations. I added funds to my Orca card--I'll be taking Light Rail to the airport. I have a little free time in SLC, but I'm not sure what I'll be doing yet. And I haven't decided if I want to bring a camera or not. I love having it with me, but can be unwieldy. Eh. I'll probably bring it.

I still need to buy some clothes and finish my short story and get our gym membership worked out.

For research I watched the "Drinking Made Easy" episode about Salt Lake City. Now I know about the 3.2% alcohol by weight beer on tap, and the weird history about private clubs and booze and memberships.

Yep, that's right. My trip research was primarily around the booze laws. Go me.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A nice day for a drive

Yesterday Jeremy and I drove up to Marysville, WA, to get his motorcycle serviced. Marysville is about 40 minutes north and wouldn't have been our first choice, but something about a recalled part and only one location that could do the work and we were on the road. It was a beautiful day. Not too hot or cold, blue skies, and minimal traffic.

We dropped off the bike at 11am and the service guy said the work would be done about 3 or 4, so we stuck around town. Marysville is known for its casino and outlet mall, but neither of those options sounded appealing. Between our GPS and Jer's phone we found a public library about five miles away and settled in for the afternoon. I worked on a short story and Jer played a game. It was a nice location, with an enforced quiet area and a view of trees out the window. Around 2pm we packed up and drove over to Carl's, Jr. for lunch. While we were finishing, we got the call the bike was ready. Perfect timing.

All in all it was a pretty good day. In the evening we watched "Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil," which I enjoyed more than I expected. Funny stuff.

I'm excited for the World Horror Convention this week. I leave for Salt Lake City on Wednesday, which is a day early. I've never been to SLC before so I thought I might use the time to look around or write or whatever. Or maybe just sleep in.

You'll be hearing lots more about this con before it's over. Brace yourselves.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Clarion West Rejection

I was rejected from Clarion West 2012 by email last night.

I'm not sure why I'm not more affected. Of course it would have been nice to have been accepted on my first try, but between this rejection and being waitlisted for Clarion UCSD, I'm pretty fortunate to have experienced 2 of the 3 possible outcomes in one go.

This morning I feel remarkably free. For the last month I've been checking email constantly. I've been reading all the instructor's books and taking notes. My own writing has suffered because I've been so preoccupied with running the what-if? scenarios.

Obsess much? Heh.

I'm reminded of what's important here and my end goal is to get my stories published in professional markets. Clarion would have been a helpful shortcut to building a community, but you know I actually already have a community, both in Seattle and online. I've gone from no publications a year ago to being paid for my work. I've spent the last year participating in critique groups that used the Clarion method, so I already have that experience...Sometimes I even hear my critiquers' voices in my head when I revise. (That's not crazy at all, right?)

Of course if either Clarion called me up right now and said we changed our minds, would you still like to come -- I'd say yes, yes, a thousand times yes! :)

Because I'm not fickle at all.

Congratulations to the Clarion class of 2012. I look forward to reading your work.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March Recap

I haven't done any monthly submission recaps in a while--mostly because there hasn't been much to report. I have a few stories out and a couple I pulled from circulation because they're going to be workshopped at Norwescon in two weeks.

In the last month:

  • The first anthology I ever contributed to was released: Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations. My copy is on its way to me, but I saw my friend Nathan Crowder's book and it looks great. Can't wait to read the other stories.

  • I received Honorable Mention for a short writing contest.

  • I have a new very short story up at MicroHorror called Giblet Pan Gravy.

  • I have a brand new Amazon author page.

  • I've had a story shortlisted at a market.

  • And I was put on the waiting list for the 2012 Clarion Workshop at UCSD.

I've been debating mentioning the Clarion rejection, but since so many people are hungry for news and the email didn't say I couldn't talk about it, I figured it wouldn't hurt to share the information. I received the email about noon yesterday.

I just want to wish you luck if you're still desperate for news. Clarion has posted on their web site all applicants to the San Diego workshop will be notified by late Thursday.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New short fiction up at MicroHorror

I have a brand new, very short, dark story up at MicroHorror today called "Giblet Pan Gravy."

I hope you'll check it out.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Stories I enjoyed reading last night

I'm still playing at keeping busy and my mind on neutral things. I wrote a bit yesterday, and I read a few stories in the evening.

I finished reading Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. Without spoilers, the book is a collection of short stories attached to a frame. Twenty-five writers agree to disappear from their lives for three months at a writers' retreat to complete their masterpieces, but instead of working they choose to procrastinate in the most... physically and emotionally violent ways possible. This is a brilliant book, but it is NOT an easy read. I feel like I deserve a badge for my web site along the lines of "I survived Haunted."

The collection kicks off with the story "Guts," which I heard about years ago and made it my mission to read. At the time I think it was only published in Penthouse, but I got hold of a copy and was floored.

When I heard about "Guts," I remember thinking: It can't be as horrifying as people say. Well. It is.

I can't recommend this sort of horror to another person --graphic doesn't begin to cover it-- but I'm glad I read it. And I'm glad it exists to gross me out and make me think.

I also read a couple stories from American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940's Until Now edited by Peter Straub including Caitlin R. Kiernan's "The Long Hall on the Top Floor," and half of Kelly Link's "Stone Animals." Kiernan is one of those writers whose work I rush out and buy as soon as it's available. Her word choices are powerfully precise and evocative.

Kiernan's new novel, The Drowning Girl was just released and would be a good place to start if you want to try her dark fiction.

As for Kelly Link, she's a fantastic short story writer. You can read some of Link's work free at her web site.

There were other stories and snippets of things, but now it is time to brew the coffee. Happy Thursday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I'm a proud new member of the Horror Writers Association

Good afternoon! Since we last spent special private time together, I've been accepted to join the Horror Writers Association as an affiliate member and one of my shorts, "Pompeii is for Lovers," received Honorable Mention in the Flash Fiction Chronicles String-of-10 FOUR contest. I'm pretty happy about the Honorable Mention since it's the first time I've submitted work that's not speculative fiction.

Most of the rest of what I'm doing is trying not to obsess about various things I have up in the air. World Horror Convention is in a couple of weeks, followed closely by Norwescon. Sometime between now and then I need to write and submit a new story.

Saw John Carter at Cinebarre last Saturday and that was a lot of fun.

I also just survived my first visit from the plumber. The guest bathroom sink no longer leaks, which makes me happy.

I'm picking Jer up from the airport soon. He's been visiting family for the last week and it'll be great to see him again.

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Dark Tales of Lost Civilizatons

Great news! My first short story is now available in print as part of the anthology, Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations, which was released over the weekend.

It's a fascinating collection full of stories "relating to aspects of civilizations that are crumbling, forgotten, rediscovered, or perhaps merely spoken about in great and fearful whispers."

My story, "British Guiana, 1853," is about a scientist from the British Museum traveling the Essequibo River in search of a mysterious and valuable creature. If you've ever seen ABC's new show "The River," it's kind of like that in tone.

I'm really excited and honored to have my story be part of this collection, which includes the incomparable Joe R. Lansdale and my friend, Andrew Williams.

There are some early blurbs and reviews on the promo page. Here's one by Steve Rasnic Tem:

"As a boy, some of my favorite stories were those of lost lands and civilizations, made popular by such writers as H. Rider Haggard, A. Merritt, and Talbot Mundy. I daydreamed of falling through some hidden cave entrance into a lost and forgotten world (sans injury of course) and if asked about my career ambitions I would have answered that I wanted to be one of those specially lucky explorers. As I gradually became aware that such civilizations weren't terribly likely in our closely-examined world, that fantasy became a bit bruised. But now Eric J. Guignard brings back a bit of that magic with Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations, an anthology mixing the values of pulp fiction (returning us to a milieu where such stories seem more possible) with contemporary standards of fresh description. Here we have lost islands, civilizations on the brink, and uncharted lands imaginatively described with new mythologies. David Tallerman, Mark Lee Pearson, Jamie Lackey, Folly Blaine, Jonathan Vos Post, and JC Hemphill—to mention just a few—all shine, and the new Joe Lansdale piece with a unique slant on a western railroad story is a special treat."

Steve Rasnic Tem, Bram Stoker and World Fantasy Award-winning author of novels (including his latest, Deadfall Hotel) and numerous collections of short fiction.

I also just noticed the book is selling a little cheaper over at Barnes & Noble right now.

If you read the book, I'd love to hear what you think.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

An evening off

I'm meeting some friends to write tonight, but I won't be taking my laptop. I make no claims of advanced mental trickery or Luddite sympathies. I just need a break from the internet.

I've been going overboard reloading my email and the duotrope submissions tracker. It accomplishes nothing except to make me worry and I should be writing new things, not dwelling on stuff I have no control over.

Easier said than done.

I'm always amazed by how the brain can hold such conflicting ideas at the same time and not self-destruct, ideas such as: obsessing over submissions reduces productivity, I need to write more, and OH HEY, LET'S CHECK EMAIL AGAIN IT'S BEEN FIVE SECONDS.

Hello, paper journal!