Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays gang! I wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I am afraid, with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I have sorely neglected my blogging. For this I apologize. Please accept the following updates as my penance :)

* Back in November, I mentioned four pieces of short fiction that were pending publication...they are still pending. As of late, I have been submitting to venues that require a great deal of my patience--however--they are worth the wait if they choose to print my work within their pages. I shall wait for as long as it takes for the next evolution of my writing career. It's all quite exciting actually.

* ZEALOT, originally published in the November edition of SNM Horror Magazine curteousy of Steven Marshall, will be featured as a reprint in the anthology, SATAN'S WICKED REFUGEES -- a fitting home for the story I dare say.

* I have written, and submitted for publication, two more short stories: THE RENDERING OF SHLOSHLO and FEAR CAGE. The latter is for an anthology being put together by The Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers. The former I can't speak of as yet...but soon!

May the blessings of the season be upon you all...

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Some great news on the anthology front! The anthology, ATRUM TEMPESTAS, is now scheduled to be out February 2009...better a bit late than never (especially since many big names have been added to the line-up).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers

I have been out hunting the wiley whitetail, so just a quick tidbit in way of an update (with more to follow very soon as events develop).

I am, as of last Friday (Nov. 7th), affiliated with and member of the The Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers. Check out our website at: www.greatlakeshorror.com and lend your support of the horror genre.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Halloween & Writing Updates

Happy Halloween gang! These are truly exciting times on many fronts, especially since this is my website's first Halloween...oh yes, and my short fiction is being picked up as quick as I can write it. Thanks to all of you that have been reading and enjoying--I have the best friends and fans to be sure! Thank you for your continued support of the Horror genre, at Halloween and also during the rest of the year.

In way of updates:

My short story, ZEALOT, has been chosen for publication by SNM Horror Magazine and will be in their November edition. There will be a link from my website as it becomes available. If you enjoy religious horror and want something to ponder...read it...it will leave you disturbed!

Several other pieces of my short fiction: THE NOTE; GHOST DRUM; YOU KILL IT, YOU EAT IT; and SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE NECROMANCER have all been submitted for publication. More details to follow as I have them.

Shroud Magazine is starting a new column for its magazine that spotlights "up and coming" Horror genre talent. They are currently accepting storys to spotlight...and also for potential names for the column. I have contributed to both and would be honored to be included.

Happy Halloween to everyone! Remember to give out lots of candy, have fun with the kids, read and watch horror books and movies, and be safe.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Apparently It's Contagious

Apparently, being published is contagious. Things are starting to roll strong for me in that regard and I hope it keeps right on rolling!

As you all know, my first published work, IT CRIES, bloodied up cyberspace via Trei Literary Magazine. Now Trei's Halloween (October) edition is up...and it will absolutely knock your socks off! It is a homerun swing by editor-and-chief CL Friere--you must check it out! My short fiction piece, THE DREGS, is in there along with a lot of other talented authors. This E-zine is wild...so get in on the Halloween spirit and check out what's hot! www.treimagazine.com

On another front, and as previously mentioned, John Gledson has started a literary endeavor called Black Hound Publishing. His first project is an anthology of horror/fantasy short fiction pieces called ATRUM TEMPESTAS (that is Latin for Black Storm for those wondering). My short story, VESSEL OF THE DIABLO SI, has officially been chosen for inclusion in the project and I am proud to be a part of it. I will post updates on the anthologies availability for purchase as I have information.

I have also just finished up with two more short stories entitled THE NOTE and ZEALOT respectively. Soon I will be sending them as submissions to Necrotic Tissue and Shroud Magazine for consideration. The way things have been rolling, I would not be surprised to see my fiction in these hallowed pages as well. Either or both of these working out should prove to be a boon for my career, inching ever nearer the brass ring.

In regards to my longer fiction, SPIRIT ASYLUM specifically, Brendan Deneen (my future agent if I have anything to say about it) contacted me to say that he will have finished reading the MS by the end of next week. This one is the big one guys...fingers crossed and prayers please! If this one takes off, it all takes off...yes, I'm a bit nervous, excited nervous.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A New Dog on the Block

There is a new dog on the block in the publishing world: Dark Hound Publishing. The company has been started by John Gledson, an author from England, specializing in horror and fantasy fiction...or some combination thereof.

Dark Hound is coming out with an anthology of horror/fantasy short fiction pieces entitled, ATRUM TEMPESTUS. The anthology is appropriately slated to be out in time for Halloween. If this time-line proves a bit ambitious, it may be a bit later in 2008 than that, but not much.

I have submitted a short story from my collection to the project, entitled: VESSEL OF THE DIABLO SI. I am very excited about this story and the project in its entirety. I believe that it is going to be one for the ages, chuck full of things that will scare the hell out of the bravest of us.

Also, please don't forget to check out IT CRIES as featured in Trei Literary Magazine's September edition. On that note, Cindy Frier has guaranteed that the October edition (the Halloween edition) will "Haunt you in your dreams"! So check it out. My short story, THE DREGS, should be featured and is scarier than hell (if that's possible ;) www.treimagazine.com

Monday, September 1, 2008

IT CRIES featured in Trei Literary Magazine.

It is official, Trei Literary Magazine is launched!

My terrifying short story, IT CRIES, is one of the featured pieces...and it will scare the hell out of you. I promise!

In addition to my own contribution, many other talented authors have also been included. If you're a fan of reading and writing, you can't miss this magazine...you absolutely must see it. It is a monthly publication so check it early and often. In October (the Halloween addition), look for my short story THE DREGS (it may just be there).


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wedding & TREI Literary Magazine

Just a quick note--because that's all I have time for--to say that Ali and my wedding went very well. Thank you to all of our friends and family for making the occasion wonderful and special. We are now on our honeymoon for a week, laying on the beach...and doing very few other things ;) I must add, because I can't help but shout it to the world, my bride was (and is, but especially on our wedding day) beautiful in every way imagineable. I cried like a baby when I saw her in her dress, mom and dad both helping her up the isle...awsome!

Secondly, I encourage all of you to check out the premiere issue of TREI Literary On-line Magazine. It comes out September 1st, 2008 and my new short story, IT CRIES, is included. Once I have been sent the link, I will post it here and on my website...otherwise just Google TREI Literary Magazine.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Impending Marriage and Writing Updates

On August twenty-third of this month, Alicia Victoria Grivno (my beautiful and faithful muse) shall become the beautiful and faithful Alicia Victoria Holley. I am independent, sometimes to the extreme, but I must concede that my life (and writing for that matter) has grown to heights I didn't dare to think possible as a result of "Ali" being in it. I look forward, not only to the nuptials that saturday, but to a life-long journey together...wherever that life may take us.

On the writing front, that certain producer from Cali is still perusing THE DREGS in regards to its filmability. There has been some difficulty getting the MS in front of him, however, due to e-mail problems (them not reaching him). I found out because he e-mailed me wondering why he had not received the MS as of yet. I shall take that as a compliment, that he would bother to contact me. Being that I am an incessant worrier, I did contact Brendan Deneen (my potential future agent) to see if he had any wisdom to lend me in regards to contacting the above mentioned producer directly. Brendan graciously offered to e-mail the man himself. Not exactly an offer of representation, but dare I say that I am creeping closer? I will continue to work hard and see what happens.

My short story, IT CRIES, is still under consideration for inclusion in Necrotic Tissue's new BLOOM MEMORIAL print anthology. The anthology is due to run in late 2008 or early 2009.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Beyond the written word... perhaps?

Sometimes things in life take an unexpected, but delightful detour and rejection turns into something else entirely.

My short story "The Dregs" was rejected by Necrotic Tissue last week. More specifically it was rejected by Paige McCoy, one of the editors of the highly touted e-zine. Paige mentioned that, in her opinion, the peice has too many POV changes for a true short story. She did suggest, however, that it has the potential for the screen and that she wouldn't be surprised to see it there.

I had mixed emotions of course. Rejection is never grand, but within it came an opportunity that I had never considered. I sent the MS to a producer from Sacramento that I have become familiar with. I shall leave him nameless at this point, but he has worked with horror author Michael Laimo and so I thought he may be a good fit.

I am a bit excited because this producer got back to me and asked to see "The dregs". He thought the concept had merit and said that he would get back to me upon assessing "The Dregs" filmability. Now I wait as always, having learned that good things come to those that do--and those that work hard.

In the spirit of waiting, Brendan Deneen requested that I also keep him posted. Wouldn't that just be a wild ride... if this producer would care to produce "The Dregs" and Brendan Deneen would care to represent me. That is too much to think about, so I'll wait to jump up and down when it actually happens!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Recent Short Stories For Necrotic Tissue

In the last week, I have finished with two short stories that I am quite excited about: The Dregs and It Cries. Both were written for the e-zine Necrotic Tissue--both are terrifying (so I am told). The Dregs is a submission for the e-zine itself, with It Cries being a submission for Necrotic Tissue's upcoming "Bloom Memorial" anthology. Please look for the anthology in late 2008... perhaps early 2009.

Not to worry, my work on No Innocent Victim and Jewel is coming along just fine--both are still on schedule anyway.

Some good news for Spirit Asylum! In the last week, I have had a few more requests for material. The one that I am excited about inparticular is from Sandy Lu of Vanguard Literary. Sandy is a rock solid agent and along with Brendan Deneen, one of my top choices.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Jewel Exerpt (Revised Edition)

Thank you to all who gave me input on the exerpt that I had posted for Jewel. In considering all of your sage advice, I rewrote and below is what I came up with. Please take the time--once again--to let me know what you think. All your help and compliments are much appreciated!


She was new to our school, so I suppose that in some uncanny fashion, that made her fresh and exciting. In the first few days of her arrival, we all flocked to her like moths to a flame. Maybe it was the cute red hair and freckles or maybe it was the helpless look she had about her—our young male egos already starting to bud like an insipid forbearer of things to come.

Jewel was sullen.
And that is akin to calling blood simply a liquid.
A more appropriate term would be haunted, which fell nearer the mark than anything; that red hair hanging in clumsy strands over sunken pale blue eyes which almost never opened to their full potential, bony shoulders that slumped just a bit too far forward causing her back to hump in an awkward posture. Jewel made a habit out of the way she played with her fingers—wringing them when nervous, which was almost always—as she stared at things no one else, save her, could see. Jewel never wore sleeves and her gangly arms seemed to dangle like pendulums. Her bare freckled arms and white skin accentuated the faint bruises on her forearms that never seemed to quite heal up. They matched in a rather fiendish compliment with the red scrape on her forehead. She reminded me of a tortured soul without a voice—a thirsty flower, uprooted and wilted. Dead.

For most eleven year olds, attention span was still a bitch, and so my other classmates—already singed well enough for their tastes—fell away like moth corpses in the breeze. Despite the lapse of the others, I always was resilient so fluttered about her longer than most—perhaps too long.

I noticed all this before she had ever parted her thin lips to utter a word, but then she did and my world changed forever.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Exerpt of "Jewel"

Besides writing No Innocent Victim, I am currently working on expanding one of my short stories—Jewel—into a novella. The short story version is currently under consideration for award. I am extremely excited about this particular project and would appreciate some feedback—positive or constructive as always—from those following my writing endeavors. Please feel free to leave a comment under the “comments” section beneath this entry. I will do my best to respond to everyone who takes the time. Thanks!


She was new—to our school anyway—so I suppose that in some uncanny fashion, that made her fresh and exciting. In the first few days of her arrival, we all flocked to her like moths to a flame. Maybe it was the cute red hair and freckles or maybe it was the helpless look she had about her—our young male egos already starting to bud like an insipid forbearer of things to come.

Jewel was sullen and that puts it as rather a bland understatement. A more appropriate term may be haunted, which fell nearer the mark than anything; she had red hair that hung in clumsy strands over sunken pale blue eyes that almost never opened to their full potential, shoulders that slumped just a bit too far forward causing her back to hump precariously. Jewel made a habit out of the way she played with her fingers—wringing them when nervous, which was almost always—as she stared at things no one else could see. Jewel never wore sleeves and her gangly arms seemed to dangle like pendulums from her bony shoulders. Her bare freckled arms and white skin accentuated the faint bruises on her forearms that never seemed to quite heal up. They matched in a rather fiendish compliment with the red scrape on her forehead. She reminded me of a tortured soul without a voice—a flower not watered and stepped on, uprooted and wilted. Dead

I noticed all this before she had ever parted her thin lips to utter a word, but then she did and my world changed forever. The other moths had already been singed well enough for their tastes—for eleven year olds, attention span was still a bitch. They fell away like moth corpses in the breeze. I always was a glutton for punishment so fluttered about her longer than most—perhaps too long. In fact, I remember the day in which I knew I had hung on a bit longer than prudent.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What is a friend?

How does one know when they have great friends? I would wager that most people would list unconditional support, or some such nicety, at the very top of their list of priorities. Although I agree that bearers of unconditional things are desirable, downright hard to find truth be told, I find myself wondering—after my friends’ latest shenanigans—if a better test of the metal of friendship might be the satisfying of my rather bizarre whims.

In case you have not been paying attention, I am to be wed in August of this year. It will be a resoundingly small affair, with a rather large gathering—in comparison—after the nuptials themselves. Along with the said ceremony come the many other trivial bits of pop culture that Ali and I must endure to reach the end prize. I shall not bore you or insult your intelligence by listing them all, but safe to say there are a great many. Anyone who has gone through this type of thing before knows exactly what I mean. In particular, there is the bachelor party.

I know… when men (or women for that matter) think of the bachelor party, images of brass poles, beer kegs, and seedy hotel rooms flit into their minds like random bits of mischievous confetti. Not my friends. No, my friends are the best friends anyone would ever want. Not only have they planned a bachelor party for me that satisfies one of my greatest whims, but will also provide spice for my writing endeavors. They have lined up a private trip to the Tuberculosis asylum in which I wrote of in Spirit Asylum.

The Saint Julia asylum is a sprawling mass of concrete on the otherwise beautiful shores of Lake Julia. Nothing but wildlife… and perhaps the inhuman, have inhabited it for fifty years. It has been resold religiously every couple of years because of the strain that it would have put on the purse strings to tear it down. My heart is already pounding as I imagine walking into Saint Julia with video camera in hand, hoping that I have not upset anyone or anything by way of my novel writing. Of course I am being dramatic, but it will be exciting none-the-less… my novel springing to life before my eyes, at least in my mind. Better yet will be watching my friends, as they navigate about in the pitch black, perhaps gaining a small understanding of why I write about the things that live “Within The Shadows”.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Art of Querying

Earlier this month I finally sent out a batch of query letters requesting representation for Spirit Asylum, my second novel. It has taken me awhile, but I believe that I have the manuscript honed to at least a reasonably sharp edge.

I know that perhaps I should have used more of a scattergun approach, but instead I have employed a technique that I thought any agent should appreciate. Having been an HR Manager, I understand a little bit about being approached for a job. I always liked it when job seekers did some research and tailored their materials to match the job I had open. I figured agents can’t be far off from feeling the same way. After all, publishing is a business like anything else. Why would an agent want to represent someone who doesn’t meet the criteria for the kind of author they are looking for? So anyway, I did a little research.

I started on Agent Query with my research and branched out to agency websites. I also noted who represented authors that resembled my style and genre. From there I narrowed down the field by researching each of the agents one by one. I had a wonderful time actually. I read through agent blogs, agent profiles, and any advice that they had rendered available on-line. I took the information to heart and tweaked my query letter for each of the six agents I chose. I can hear my fellow writers laughing now. “You’ll never get a request for a partial after only six tries!”

I would kindly like to point out what a keen eye Mr. Brendan Deneen of Objective Entertainment has. I would also like to thank him for proving my theory to be accurate and for finding my short synopsis “cool”. Brendan was within the top two agents that I decided to approach and I would be ecstatic to begin a professional business relationship with a solid agent and agency. Here is to hoping that Brendan finds my sample chapters equally as “cool” as my short synopsis. The manuscript is already enveloped and stamped, prepared for departure to New York.

Just thought I would share a little information that other authors might find helpful.

Okay, back to No Innocent Victim (my next work in progress). It has been speaking to me from “within the shadows” as of late, feeling neglected. I shouldn’t keep it waiting.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Winning Formula

I have had a couple of people ask me recently what I think the "winning" formula may be for writing and getting published. My first somewhat sarcastic remark was, "How would I know?" At the time, I thought that perhaps I didn't have the right to answer. I have enjoyed a modicum of success with the contests, but have not yet been published with a major publishing house. After some thought, however, I have come to the conclusion that this is America, and by God, I shall give my unabashed opinion… take it or leave it.

A pastor friend of mine once said, "Justin, you should give the first two minutes of anything you do to God." Okay. Fine. The first part of the formula: God gets his measly two minutes - whether he wants it or not - from this foul mouthed horror writer. After all, I need all the help I can get. Ha!

The percentages that I am about to set forth represent a percentage of the time that you actually get to devote to your craft. The actual hour count is obviously going to vary greatly from person to person depending on other time commitments that they may have. My hope is that as you find success in writing, the more time you will have to spend on what you love. I am also going to make an assumption: The people reading my blog, and actually paying attention to the formula, will already have completed at least one piece of work that they feel is worthy of representation or presentation.

Here it is folks; the Winning Formula… I hope!

60% writing new material (Why bother writing otherwise?)
15% marketing current material (Reach for the golden ring… and grasp it!)
12% revising old material (Only upon suggestion from a competent authority or peer)
7% networking (Face it… we need the encouragement and advice from our peers)
6% research (it's called the internet folks. Don't lie… you use it too!)

Let me know if the formula works for you. Obviously there may be times in your writing career when certain priorities will take over and this formula will go flying out the window. Here's to hoping that it is an agent or an editor dictating your time for you!

As for me, I must get back to my writing; something is clamoring for my attention, from "Within the Shadows".

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Humble Attempt At Philosophy

As I sit down to write this blog entry, I can’t help but ponder the human dichotomy. We are truly a duopolistic species; torn between our chemical reactions in regards to fear and love… and devotion to an omnipotent deity (at least for the majority of the world). As a horror writer, I find it absolutely delicious that the human psyche performs at its most optimal when aroused, either by the need to mate or by fear. Furthermore, I would go out on a limb to muse that nothing has motivated human beings more so. I challenge each of you to think of anything more powerful in your life than; the need to reproduce, escape harm, or please the whims of our jealous God. Only after these three visceral criteria have been adequately met, do most of us humans venture further into the world to appreciate the arts and other more superlative endeavors. I allow for the fact that the need for belonging is strong among us, but even that… can it not be lumped, at least communally, under one of the other three? Is it any wonder that we are often a slave to our emotions… or our chemicals? Perhaps we need not be. Atheists confuse creative stifling with our inability to travel past our instincts… the things that make us human. I challenge us all to step outside our fragile shells and live; embrace our fears not subdue them.

I dare say, however, that fear is a dish best served at a time of our own choosing. Many self proclaimed atheist authors and philosophers such as Georges Bataille and Friedrich Nietzsche rail against the design and fabric of Christianity. Why? Please bear in mind that this explanation is simply put: Besides their ideology that religion purportedly renders us inhibited and less creative, one of their prevalent arguments is that religion instills a sense of trepidation into its constituency. Bertrand Russell said, "Religion is based . . . mainly on fear . . . fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand...” I won’t argue the point that the Spanish Inquisition and the various Crusades were cruel. Never has there been a darker time in the history of Christianity. We made our beliefs compulsory. What is religion when there is no freedom to choose? What is religion when it is forced down our gaping maws on a hardened steel blade? Perhaps the Dark Ages were exactly that… dark. As for myself, if not for having witnessed direct answer to prayer and seen the presence of spiritual beings, I could quite possibly have shifted my thinking to the same vein as the above mentioned because of poor examples within the religious community – and admittedly, there are many. I have not because I do believe, at least to an extent, that religion and fear should be allowed to walk within the same circles… as they always have. Fear is not a bad thing as long as we don't allow it to reduce us to a quivering mound of mush. I believe that our spirituality may be the only way we truly can break the bonds of our innate chemicals and embrace our fears. After all, some aspects of religion are accurately portrayed as fear invoking… hell is supposed to be evil… evil should invoke fear.

I then find it of interest that God challenges us to overcome our fear and “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid…” The Bible goes on to say that we as humans have dominion over the powers of darkness. We win, they lose. Despite our body’s efficiency while fueled by the above stimuli, many come to the conclusion that obedience and reverence to an omnipotent being brings us a certain respite from exactly these things. I would then also mention that I believe the opposite to be true as well. Without fear, what need have we for our all powerful God? What need would we have for the spilled blood of Christ if there were no fear of spending eternity having our flesh burned off? Yes indeed, the Bible is chock full of horror… potential eternal suffering, spilled blood, demons, the end times… I do believe, however, that there is a bit about love as well (just to be fair).

Thus I write within the horror genre. Yes, I am aware that many of my titles spill over into the thriller category as well, but I prefer horror because it elicits fear or at the very least, creates discomfort; this discomfort thus nourishing our body’s natural efficiencies and giving us the opportunity to step outside our disquiet natures, while allowing me to write about things from “Within the Shadows”.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Finally a moment to sit at my writing desk and reflect upon my first blog entry; it’s been a busy four days. My back aches and I am dog tired, but it’s all good. One would think that moving two households together wouldn’t be a daunting task – two people in love, coming together in a new home. Cake walk. Okay, yes I hear your uproarious laughter. Actually, despite my pretense, I will have to say that it has gone very well. The beds are put together, the appliances in place, clothes and kitchen items put away and… ah yes, the computer systems are up and functional.

Speaking of computers, we have four – two lap tops and two rather precarious desk tops. You would think that four computers for three people would be sufficient. Well, throw into the mix that there is only one modem – it’s something akin to the Stygian Witches squabbling over the oracle around here. I would swear that my new stepson was planning my demise this morning. However, I cleverly bested the ten year old (don’t laugh, he’s smart) and was able to hoard “my precious” for myself; research you know. Truth be told, I had to bribe the bounder with ChocoNilla Rice Krispies just so I could check my fantasy basketball team. Amid the chaos I felt myself praying that one of my new neighbors had wireless internet that I could pirate – God seems to have said no.

So anyway, I am kept quite busy. What with a new family and home, marketing Broken Mirror and Spirit Asylum, writing No Innocent Victim, and outlining Inhuman; I am hopping along quite merrily. My new wife Ali (actually we won’t be wed until August, but don’t tell) is a great support. Don’t all great authors have the support of a beautiful woman? Please, please, please nobody tell her that I’m not a great author! Seriously though, she is a creative genius and is currently developing cover art for books that she just knows her future husband is going to market vigorously – at least he had better. What a waste all those endless hours at the computer would be otherwise.

My next blog entry, just in case you are following closely, will get a bit more in depth about me being an author of the horror genre. You shall learn more about the kid in me who wants to believe in things that don’t have a rational, scientific explanation – or do they? Perhaps seeing the ghost of a Bigfoot would kill two birds with one stone for me.

Thanks for reading my first entry… I am humbled by it.