Archive for July, 2011

Bloody Betty available at TK’n’C

Posted in News on July 31, 2011 by Christian

A few months ago, I wrote an updated version of the Elizabeth Bathory story called “Bloody Betty”, and it delivers what it promises, buckets o’ blood (in addition to some fairly graphic sexuality). Thrillers, Killers ‘n’ Chillers published it today for your reading pleasure (or reading revulsion). Click here at your own risk.

If that kind of story is your speed, then be sure to read “Ethyl’s Alcohol” and “The Last Reflection of the Marionette Man“. I think of the three of them as my Splatterpunk Trilogy, but officially calling them that would kinda prevent me from writing more, which I suppose would make my mom happy (hi, mom!).

If you’re skeeved out by this kind of story, then I apologize. Please know that I can do subtle, too, which you can see for yourself by clicking on any one of the other stories in the panel on the right side of your screen. I would personally recommend “Cadwalader’s Camera“, “The Damned Retirement of Rodger Cloots“, “A Factor of ‘X’“, or “Human Footprints of the Red Planet“.

Happy reading, faithful supporters, and thank you!

Look out! I’ve sprung a mini-WikiLeak!

Posted in News on July 30, 2011 by Christian

Here is the cover of WHAT FEARS BECOME (which of course, features my short story, “Bast”):

WHAT FEARS BECOME will be published this fall by Imajin Books as an ebook and trade paperback.  Chock full of creepy goodness in every bite, and I do believe there’s some biting in there, so you’ve been warned.

I don’t know if I was supposed to show you this, but you’re already looking. So in a way, this is YOUR fault.

P.S. I’m on Twitter now (@exlibrislarsen). If you’re on Twitter, let me know. We can follow each other around like cyber lemmings.

Submitted for your approval…

Posted in News on July 19, 2011 by Christian

Fans of my work (hi, mom!) and people who know me well (hi again, mom!) know that I am a big, big fan of The Twilight Zone. I consider it the finest product ever to grace a television screen, and a major reason why I write about the kinds of things that I do. The original series was best, but I also liked the 80s incarnation and the version of the show from 2002, which everyone else pretty much hated.  Of course, I own all of them (including pre-pilot ‘The Time Element’ from Westinghouse Playhouse) and when I finally watched them all, I was kind of sad.

So then I started sniffing around for shows LIKE The Twilight Zone. The first was Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. Great stuff. More straight ahead horror in the vein of Tales from the Darkside, which is another awesome show, but still very good. Then I found a neat little gem of a show called Tales of Tomorrow. It was televised live in the EARLY 1950s and recorded on kinescope for west coast broadcasts, so its very grainy and not all of the episodes survive, but those that do are very, very cool and star the likes of Leslie Nielsen, Paul Newman, and James Dean, of all people.

But what really got me excited was the discovery of X Minus One and it’s predecessor, Dimension X–radio science fiction anthologies from the 1950s that predated The Twilight Zone by several years. You’ve got stories from Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, Frederick Pohl, Isaac Asimov, Murray Leinster, Fritz Leiber, Robert Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon and lots more, a veritable who’s who from the golden age of science fiction. If you like old time radio and theater of the mind, these two shows are for you, and you can find out more about them, as well as Tales of Tomorrow, Night Gallery, and The Twilight Zone at this cool new site: The Twilight Zone Network, which acts as a hub for all things Serling–and its about time.

So, go there now and check it out. (There’s also information there about a show Serling wrote for called ‘Suspense’ that I haven’t had the time to take in yet, but I will…) Its a site I wish I had the time and skill to have done first, but didn’t…

(Full disclosure: The Twilight Zone Network also has an original fiction section, and a story I had published at Aphelion in November called “A Factor of ‘X’” is now the very first entry in TZN Fiction.)

Coleridge can keep his opium, but…

Posted in News on July 15, 2011 by Christian

When I was in college, I had a roommate (and former bandmate) who’s gone on to do some pretty impressive things in the music world play a song for me that he wrote, get this: in a dream. I was already writing prose at this point (if you’re not a writer as a teenager/young adult, will you ever really start?), and extremely jealous. I always wanted to write something in a dream. I mean, I love sleep, and if I can be productive while I’m sleeping, then hey, so much the better, right?

FINALLY, almost twenty years later, I woke up with the beginning of a story ALREADY WRITTEN. It was just before midnight on Wednesday, and I grabbed my computer and started typing down everything I could remember, which was pretty much all of it, and that amounted to about a page. It was a pretty cool subconscious prompt, too, with a lot of unanswered questions. Why were the characters doing what they were doing? What had already happened to bring them to this point (don’t all dreams start in media res?), and after figuring out that I dreamed the beginning of the story and not the end … what happened next?  Well, tonight I finished it and found out for myself.

I thought that this had happened to me before, but the dreams always wound up being super ridiculous to my waking self.  This time it worked, though. It was like Kubla Khan: a Vision in a Dream, but the only person from Porlock who visited me was a seven year old with itchy skin looking for a sleepover buddy.  Having finished transcribing my dream, I was more than happy to oblige.

Anyone else ever had a creative experience like this? Or are you still waiting to get some serious work done in your sleep?

Why am I never satisfied (part II)?

Posted in News on July 11, 2011 by Christian

So on June 22, I wrote this post about a story that has had rotten luck being accepted.  I try to be philosophical about the whole submission-rejection process (in the hopes that it will be replaced more often with the whole submission-acceptance process) and tell myself its more about volume than percentage, but hey, rejection always stinks–even when it’s complimentary.

And days on which I receive complimentary rejections are good days.  (Heck, days when I get responses of any kind aren’t half-bad, considering I have about 30 submissions out to publishers at any given time.) I like to cut up those complimentary responses into quotes like you see on movie posters, the kind where you take out all the criticism and are left with a short but glowing review:

  • “The concept for the story was great, and we loved the ending.”
  • “An original idea, and overall, well-told.”
  • “It has a nice Ray Bradbury feel.”
  • “I really like the writing here.  It’s unpretentious and effective at conveying scene and character.”
  • “The writing is very strong, and the story is well crafted and tight.”
  • “The story’s funny and matter-of-fact disturbing.”
  • “I enjoyed the story, and the writing was very good.”
  • “You explored the emotional ramifications of it well.”
  • “A fun—and truly creepy—ghost story!”
  • “It’s good writing and has a weird, surprising ending.”
  • “The ending was a real twist!”

And these were the places that said no to stories that (for the most part) are still without a home.  Generally, I look on these responses as good things.  But today I got a response about that story that just cannot find a home despite almost getting one, and it was a form rejection.  Boilerplate. If it wasn’t this story, I think I’d feel better about at least hearing from an editor.  But.  Geez.  Maybe its too hot today.

UPDATE: It was form rejected yet again (7/16/2011). Lots of stories go through stuff like this, but this one just seems to have gone through a particular saga of rejection, all things considered.

Happy Independence Day, America!

Posted in News on July 4, 2011 by Christian

About a year ago, I wrote a short story called “The Plagiarist’s Wireless” about the disappearance of a fictional 60s/70s rock band called “Wolves n’ Sparrows”.  It was inspired by my overriding love of two bands: Steppenwolf and Guns n’ Roses.  Fans of those bands will readily recognize them in the story, but it is by no means a true story.  That becomes relatively obvious as one reads it, but the factual elements are limited, and I am legally disclaiming any knowledge or supposition that anyone in those bands are plagiarists.

“The Plagiarist’s Wireless” was published in January by Golden Visions Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.  I would have linked the story here, but it was only published in print and I can’t find a link to purchase back issues.  If and when it is published online there or anywhere else, I will post itUPDATE: “The Plagiarist’s Wireless has been republished in FORTUNE: LOST AND FOUND (Omnium Gatherum) available at Amazon.com.

Guns n’ Roses is pretty well covered and documented, but Steppenwolf (“Born to be Wild”, “Magic Carpet Ride”) is not, and there is an extreme shortage of videos available on YouTube.com.  So I found a partial live performance of “Monster” and additional b-roll from a 1970 concert at Randall’s Island and made a video myself.  Here’s the tie-in: Monster is a proto prog rock song about how we have to be actively commited to our uniquely American ideals to keep America great.  And here is the video:

So, happy birthday, America.  You are awesome.