Posts Tagged ‘flash fiction’

So if you’ve seen some of my most recent posts, last night the Ohio Chapter of the Horror Writers Association, of which I’m a proud member of, held its first public reading event at Kafe Kerouac in the University District in Columbus. And you know what? It was a great program. We had a decent-sized crowd, and there were about eight or so different readers showing off their poetry, flash fiction, or short stories. I actually had a few ideas for stories listening to other people’s works. We even had an acquaintance of mine from one of my Facebook groups show up and read a short story he’s been working on.

Unsurprisingly, all of the stories and poems read to us were really good. Some were kind of funny, others were pretty dark. All were quite imaginative, and reminded me how many different kinds of stories can be written between a thousand and ten-thousand words.

Of course, when my turn came up, I read part of Rose to the audience. This was my first public reading of Rose, and I was really excited to share part of the story with an audience.

Now, for those of you who don’t know, Rose is my upcoming fantasy-horror novel from Castrum Press and is currently on schedule to be released on June 21st, 2019. The novel follows a young woman who starts turning into a plant creature (and that’s just the start of her problems). Just wanted to make sure everyone was on the same metaphorical page here.

And as promised in my last post, I did get my reading on video (thank you to Jennifer Carstens for holding my phone and filming this for me). It took about three or four hours to upload the video to YouTube from my phone, but in the end, I think it was worth the wait. Enjoy.

Now as I said in the video, what I read to the people at Kafe Kerouac won’t be the final version of Rose. In fact, after I got home last night I started working on the edits my publisher sent me. But you get the idea. This is what you can expect from the final novel. And I hope this intrigues you enough to check out the book when it comes out.

Thanks to Ohio HWA for putting together and hosting this event. Thanks to Kafe Kerouac for being an awesome venue for our first public reading. And thanks to all our readers–Lucy Snyder, Sarah Hans, Anton Cancre, Maxwell Ian Gold, Megan Hart, Jennifer Carstens, Rob Boley, and Mark Dubovec–for making the night so creepy and inspiring. I hope we can do it again sometime very soon.

Now if you need me, I’m off to do a ton of editing (while also spending time to celebrate my birthday). Until next time, my Followers of Fear, pleasant nightmares!

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I meant to write this post last night, but it was late when the opportunity to write it came along. And then I’ve been busy with one thing or another since nine this morning, so I haven’t had a chance to actually blog something until just now. Don’t you hate it when that happens? It’s even worse when you’re still recovering form a hectic weekend with not much sleep and you’re feeling a little under the weather, as I am. In fact, I’m going to be spending the rest of the day indoors most likely so I can recover. Maybe I’ll even go to bed early. I got my homework done early and applied to some jobs, so God knows I could use the rest.

Well anyway, during the past couple of days I thought I’d change things up and write some flash fiction pieces. I did this for a couple of reasons, including the short story I was working on wasn’t going in the direction I wanted it to go and I needed a break, I wanted to get some more work accomplished before I started editing Rose and I know of a website that specializes in horror flash fiction. Plus I had a few ideas for horror flash fiction stories and I thought I’d try to get them written out, seeing as they’re so short (if you don’t know what flash fiction is, it’s usually a story under a thousand words. Hard to pull off and still be compelling, but I guess that’s part of the fun).

So I went on that website and read through some of their most recent publications to get an idea of what they looked for. Once I had a basic idea of what they wanted, I started writing, and as of last night I had three flash fiction pieces written out. Two of them take famous fairy tales and kind of subvert them into tragic or scary tales (Rami Ungar, ruining childhoods since 2015!), while the third features that character trope I love so much, the serial killer.

I’m not sure if they’re any good, but I’m going to give them a quick look-over before I try to submit them to that website and see if they’ll get published. Previous attempts at getting published on that site haven’t gone so well, but I’m older and I’ve improved as a writer, so I hope that I can get at least one of them published.

Well, I’m going to get to work on that, followed by taking a break before trying to get one more blog post out before the end of the night. Hope you’re having a good day, my Followers of Fear, and wish me luck. Or renewed health. I wouldn’t mind that either.

Time once again for my Weekly Exercises. These flash fiction pieces are part opportunity to practice my craft, part sounding board so as I can feedback on what works and what doesn’t work when I write, and part shameless plug to get readers interested in my published fiction. Remember, the Weekly Exercises rely on reader feedback, so whatever your thoughts, it’s greatly appreciated if you leave a comment and let me know.

Also, if you wish to see my past Weekly Exercises, please follow the link to the Weekly Exercises page.

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He was angry. He’d been taken from the prison system as soon as his mother had died. They said they were going to take him to the funeral service. A special treat, said Officer Marcus, for good behavior. If anything, Teddy would’ve rather had a drink and some video games to celebrate his mother’s death rather than go to his funeral and see if anyone actually showed up, let alone anyone showed up with anything nice to say. After all, Teddy’s mother had let him go to school hungry every day to pay for her drug habit. And when he started breaking into people’s homes in high school, she had given him up as a scoundrel and a menace and lied at the trial! Now at least she could finance her drug habit without having to worry about her kid.

But he was glad to get out of prison for a little while. He could see the sun without having bars around him, and maybe convince these cops to stop by McDonalds for some real food.

But then he’d been taken to a government lab and drugged. And then they’d started experimenting on him, putting weird stuff into his bloodstream. What were they trying to achieve? To turn him into a super soldier? To see how they could awaken telekinetic abilities in him? To see how much a person could be tampered with before their bodies broke down? Or did they just do it for kicks and they had a poor minority kid in the system, so why not use him? Nobody would miss him!

But at some point the experiments had worked. And now he was taking his revenge. The scientists ran in terror while soldiers came for him with bullets. Teddy let them come, let them feel his wrath. He hit them with one of his new tentacles and then started biting them with his poisonous fangs. He was a monster, but he was finally the one in control of his life instead of stupid adults who only cared about themselves.

With a crash and a bang Teddy escaped the lab onto the roof. Far away were the lights of a huge city. Jumping off the roof, crashing through the gates and hiding in the forest, Teddy slowly made his way towards the city, using the trees and rocks and the river to hide from his pursuers. Now that he was out, he thought he’d hit the town and have a little fun.

It’s time once again for my Weekly Exercises. These flash fiction pieces are part chance to practice my craft, part sounding board so that readers can tell me what they think of my work, and part shameless ploy to get you interested in my published fiction. Remember, the Weekly Exercises rely on reader feedback, so whether you like or hate what’s below, please let me know. I always enjoy opinions…provided that nobody’s using swear words or calling me an idiot or something.

If you wish to read this and other Weekly Exercises, they are all listed on the Weekly Exercise page above. Enjoy.

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Mark had thought that “Cousin Nemo” was Jenny’s cousin who had come to stay, and that she’d forgotten to tell him. Mark could kind of understand her forgetting to tell him that her cousin was coming to stay with them while he conducted business in town. She’d also forgotten to tell him that she liked getting some on the side when she was supposed to be at a business meeting. With all that and trying to keep things as normal as possible for the kids while each considered therapy or even divorce, forgetting that Cousin Nemo was coming to stay was understandable.

But then after two weeks, he’d gotten irritated with Cousin Nemo, who seemed to never be doing anything business-like. Instead he just hung out with the kids. He helped them with their homework. He took them to the park, to the zoo and the movies and bowling and roller-skating. He read them stories and tucked them into bed while Mark and Jenny were arguing with each other or making calls that had to do with anything but the state of their marriage. In short, Cousin Nemo was doing everything a parent was supposed to do besides feed and clothe them but he and Jenny had no time to do.

So he’d asked her this afternoon how long her cousin planned on staying with them. And Jenny had replied “I thought he was your cousin.” His insides had turned cold then. He’d called the police, he’d driven home, he’d nearly hit his wife’s car pulling into the driveway. They ran into the house, but the house was empty. No Cousin Nemo. No kids. Not even the dog. Just a note that said “Goodbye” on it.

Mark and Jenny didn’t do anything for a moment. Then they broke down crying. They cried for their marriage, for their kids, for their own stupidity, and they cried for themselves. Especially for themselves.

I’ve only attempted to write flash fiction once in my life, back in high school. The attempt did not go very well: I was barely able to keep the word count under 1000 words, and the magazine I sent the piece to didn’t like it, something about the twist at the end. I have not attempted to do any sort of fiction under 1000 words since.

However lately I’ve been thinking of trying again. After all, if I can make a meaningful statement in a Facebook status, which is usually less than 100 words, why couldn’t I do a piece of flash fiction? Luckily my creative writing class was having a small lesson on flash fiction this evening, so I got experience from one of the best teachers at Ohio State University. Using examples we had to read for homework, my teacher taught us some things about flash fiction and then left the room to give us time to write our own stories. When he got back, I was eager to read my story to the class. He suggested a change, but then said I had the form down. Considering my first attempt was such a disaster, this was a much-needed piece of encouragement.

So now I’ll touch up the story I wrote in class and write another one that’s been sitting in my disturbed head for a little while. I’ll see if I can get either of them published in a magazine and then post about it here. Wish me luck, folks. I’m embarking on a bit of an adventure for myself, and in less than 2000 words to boot. (speaking of which, this post is 277 words. Who’d have thought?)