Too Spoopy

Too Spoopy

+menu-


  • Fuck You Pay Me Mentality

    It’s the new attitude I’m trying to adopt, in regards to my stories. In regards to the art that I spend hours laboring over.

    I’m not a very smart man. I think most of the important lessons I have to teach are simply from living through certain events, and forming an opinion based upon how it feels in retrospect.

    Let me tell you all a story. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English about ten years ago, with a minor in film. I’d dabbled off and on with short stories, and reviews in college. Primarily, I spent my time working on screenplays. I always assumed I would be a screenwriter, and then- well, then, nothing. I’ve always suffered from a lack of self esteem, and from feelings of inferiority. So, as is typical when it comes to my creative output, I never did anything with it.

    Anyway, cut to a few years out of college. I’d had a series of retail jobs, and one gig as an assistant teacher with autistic teens. And, spurred on by words of encouragement from my new girlfriend at the time (almost eight years with her soon, I love my woman) I started to work on short stories again. And I attempted to shop them around.

    Being the classic shoot off the email first, ask questions last type of man I am, my first attempts to sell short stories were doomed from the start because I didn’t bother to research the markets I was sending my stories too. And granted, a few might have fit, but the market was tough to get into, and I was brand new at the story game. But, admittedly, most of the stories I sent off just didn’t fit thematically with the markets I sent them too. The best example I have is that I sent an extreme horror story with graphic sexual content to an anthology to contain stories with monsters. See, just didn’t take the time to read up on the guidelines. That’s a great lesson kids: read the fucking guidelines before you send a story.

    So, I learned from that, and started trying to shop stories to the right markets; to openings where the stories would fit. And, somewhere along the line, I shopped a story to a place where the payment was a contributor’s copy. In essence, your payment is a physical copy of the book you’re in. And I got my first short story acceptance! And I was thrilled. The acceptance gave me the ego boost to continue to write stories, and shop them.

    And then, for the next seven years or so, I sold myself short. I submitted work to small presses, and magazines where I knew it would be easier to get in, because they weren’t paying me any money. And very rarely I’d go for a paying market, get shot down, and then go back to writing stories, and letting them be used in anthologies or web magazines for free.

    I’ve finally started to shop stories for paying markets again. And shocker: it’s tough to get people to pay you for your stories. But, I plan to keep shopping them.

    Don’t sell yourself short, like I did, and continue to do. Even if you were say, the worst cashier in the world, your employer would still pay you for your time at work. So, why is it any different for stories? Why is it that we allow magazines and short story anthologies to pay us nothing, and just blithely assume that it’s going to be good for us? Why do we work for hour after hour, and accept nothing for it?

    Because we are afraid we aren’t good enough to deserve money? I went to the RMV today. I had to renew my license. It took over an hour to talk to a lady, who asked me like two questions, took my picture, then sent me on my way. The RMV pays all of its employees, and they are slow as shit.

    There’s nothing wrong with accepting some kind of monetary compensation for your work, especially if the people you are giving it to plan to make a profit off of it. Complacency doesn’t mean a snowball in Hell if you don’t go anywhere because of it. Go get devastated for a while. It’s worth it, trust me.


  • The ADD Horror Fan: Rambling on a Saturday Night

    Watching a Canadian antho horror show called Darknet. It’s pretty fun. Watching one about a woman who gets a boob job, and then goes to New York.

    darknetrat

    So, where am I at? Well, last week was busy. Last Tuesday I recorded a new episode of Spooky Podcastery
    Ew, this ladies implant just moved.
    Anyway, recorded two of my stories with Charles Meyer of Miskatonic Musings. Charles is a real gem to help me perform these stories. It means a lot to me to have friends who are down to help me with creative endeavors with really no gain in return. It’s the mark of a true friend when they’ll help you without much in the way of kickback.

    I guess the kickback would be I help him with our podcast, Miskatonic Musings. And speaking of, we recorded a new episode last Thursday, (for posterity it was April 25th of 2015 we recorded it) covering Roal Dahl’s The Landlady, and George R.R. Martin’s The Pear-Shaped Man.

    You know, the inadvertently beneficial aspect of recording readings of stories for Podcastery is in a very real way, they help me to get a new perspective on them. I’ve recorded 4 or 5 right now. When I listened to The Crunch of Dead Leaves, I realized that the story becomes too much of a list of names and dates, without much in the way of emotional resonance attached. It’s the same thing I realized after going through my first novel, however many years ago. You can butcher 60 people in a book one by one, but if you never have a real emotional connection to them, than it’s not as effective as the death of one character that you care about. This was why in my first book the first kill (the narrator’s girlfriend) and the last kill (a woman whose house the narrator broke into, who he tortures for days on end a la Martyrs)were the heaviest. Because these characters were somewhat fleshed out, and were less cardboard cut out people who the narrator saw as objects.

    Noticed some things about the two stories Charles and I performed, The Chaos of a Real Estate Agent in an Alternate Dimension Populated Exclusively by Opium Overdoses, and The Rocket Takes Off. For one thing, both stories needed to set the scene a little better. I barely describe any of the surroundings in either story. They definitely needed a read through, and a few passes. As I grow as a writer, I discover just how unprepared my stories are. For a while, I assumed if you wrote a story, and it sucked on the first draft, that was that. So, I barely reread, and barely edited. Now I know the more time I spend going over a story, the better it usually is. And in a very real, and strange way, releasing them on my podcast so lacking is nothing if not beneficial for the stories. It’s great motivation to go back to them later, and fix them up.

    I’ve always struggled with setting the scene in a story. A lot of the time, I’m so preoccupied with just getting the words out of my head, that I rush through details I should add. And, of course, this is a series of articles about, ehem, The ADD Horror Fan. So, this is all part of it. The impatience. The reticence to go back over my work. Missing things. I really do need a good editor. I just can’t afford one right now. Or probably ever.

    The Good Stuff

    In the interest of my self esteem and sanity, it’s probably good I start emphasizing what I think I did well recently. So, let me see…

    Well…

    -I’m about halfway through Livia Llewelyn’s short story collection Engines of Desire. Really like it so far, and I’m proud of myself anytime I get any reading done. Believe it or not, reading is usually fairly hard for me. Hard to sustain my attention for long enough to finish a book. Hence, my love of audiobooks. You see, sound always distracts me. So, if what I’m focusing on is the sound of someone’s voice, reading a story, I can’t help but listen.

    -I’m also halfway through the re-listen of the audiobook of Nic Pizzalatto’s novel Galveston. I’ve made an effort to stray from horror when I can, and this novel is assuredly crime fiction/ a character study. Going out of horror makes me realize a good story is a good story, and genre is useless if the story isn’t good within the confines and classifications. So, reading out of genre, I’m proud of myself for that.

    -Been podcasting as steady as always with Charles Meyer on Miskatonic Musings. Covering a lot of great horror films, and stories.

    -Attempting to write, and sell stories again, after a brief hiatus. Had some rejections, but I’m putting myself out there. So no matter what, I feel good about putting in the work again, to try and make this writing thing I love so much work for me. In the last few months I wrote a story entitled Unlock the Door about alternate dimensional travel, and a horror western entitled Rot Gut. Submitted both to various presses. I wrote a poem entitled Imagination is a Muscle I sent in. I wrote one issue of a comic script Pants Shitter, and edited up another comic script. So, just working hard, and putting myself out there. And I’m damn proud to be doing it.


  • Two Gross Stories by Sean M. Thompson

    Enjoy me and Charles Meyer of Miskatonic Musings performing two gross stories of mine, The Chaos of a Real Estate Agent in an Alternate Dimension Populated Exclusively by Opium Overdoses, and The Rocket Takes Off.

    And here’s where The Chaos etc. first appeared. Surreal Grotesque, the Lovecraft issue. Page fifty-five, bitches.

    Lurvecraft issue


  • In Honor of Women in Horror Month 2015: The Authors

    I’ve read a lot of short stories this year, a lot of them for the podcast I do weekly with one, Charles Meyer, and one Mallory O’ Meara, entitled, MISKATONIC MUSINGS.

    So, before I get boggled down with self aggrandizement, on to some of the best stories by women I’ve read this year! They are not ordered by enjoyment, but rather the order in which I remember them. Though, admittedly, I’m putting the more well-known authors at the bottom of this list.

    Livia Llewellyn

    The Mysteries, which I read in Nightmare Carnival, really put me into a strange state with its descriptions. Very other-worldly and ethereal. I loved the crap out of this story.

    Subsequently, I read a story of hers from Nightmare Magazine, entitled It Feels Better Biting Down, which also was imbued with wonderful imagery, and a creepy character. We covered it on this episode right here.
    It Feels Better Biting Down episode of MM

    I can not wait to get to her collection Engines of Desire. I’ve read she gets into erotica territory, which stands to reason, since the title of the collection is as such.

    Nicole Cushing

    Children of No One, Cushing’s first novella, was a look at a blackened maze, in which children were raised. It irked me out. Recently, I listened to a Pseudopod episode of her story The Orchard of Hanging Trees (Psuedopod episode with Nicole’s story here) which, yes, has also irked me out.

    I’m almost done reading her novella, I Am the New God, which is excellent. If you want messed up characters, and a wonderfully dark atmosphere, Nicole seems to be the one to bring it.

    And yes, I did interview her on my solo podcast…

    A.C. Wise

    Again, I read a story of Wise’s in Nightmare Carnival, entitled And the Carnival Leaves Town. Likewise, I recently covered a story of hers Where Dead Men Go to Dream on a relatively recent episode of Miskatonic Musings (linky, linky). She has a dream-like quality to her prose which is cool.

    Gemma Files

    I only read one story by Files, This is Not for You, which you can read here… http://www.nightmare-magazine.com/fiction/this-is-not-for-you/ A wonderful story about women who hunt men for sport. I’d like to read more of her, and I plan to.

    Helen Marshall

    Another author I only read one story of, this one for Miskatonic Musings again, this one called The Mouth, Open (linky, link). The story, about a man who overeats in Croatia, is wonderfully strange, and is just a real gem.

    Joyce Carol Oates

    Dude, Zombie.

    zombie

    Obviously fear is subjective, but to my mind Zombie is one of the scariest, if not the scariest book ever written. I also read her collection The Corn Maiden and Other Tales, and was summarily annihilated. The title story, about kids who kidnap a classmate and trap her in one rich girl’s basement, is heartbreaking, and terrifying. The darkness of the human heart is something Oates does not shy from. And it’s why her work scares the piss out of me.

    Shirley Jackson

    The Haunting of Hill House is the scariest novel about ghosts I know. We talked about it on this episode of Miskatonic Musings, here (clicky, clicky). It’s a character study, and it’s a classic tale of a haunted manor. And Shirley Jackson is a fucking powerhouse. We Have Always Lived in the Castle, The Lottery: both worth their weight in gold. Jesus can Jackson scare the shit out of you.


  • What I’d like to See in Comics

    Seansouthernbastard

    First and foremost, I am far from an expert on comics. I don’t read any of the major DC stuff, save for the issue of Batman here and there, or something related to Batman. When it comes to Marvel, unless it’s a story about The Punisher, or something related to Stephen King, it’s a safe bet I won’t read it. I mainly read horror comics, and independent comics. And while I obviously seem like a pretentious douchebag right now, I assure you that I merely bring up my interests so you know what kind of perspective I’m coming from.

    Safe to say I represent the fringe of comic fans, the ones who have no idea what The Avengers are up to, or who Superman has laser-eyed recently (Does he use the laser eyes still? I’ve only seen him on Justice League cartoons on Netflix recently.) Regardless, when I walk into my local comic shop, or get an email about a comic, the first thing I want to know is the plot. If it sounds like something I haven’t read a billion times yet, I usually give it a shot.

    Most of the comics I’ve stuck with end up being because of an interesting plot, a cool way of laying out the plot, or a compelling character.

    And actually, when it comes to comics I end up dropping, I imagine it’s for the same reason I’d stop reading a super hero story. Blood and guts and cool monsters, or, alternately, great action, and cool villains simply aren’t enough. And when I say it’s not enough, I don’t mean I won’t read those comics anyway. There are plenty of comics I’ve read for cool monsters and blood and guts, or rarely for great action and cool villains. No, what I mean is, the comics I end up going back to, the ones I recommend to non-comic fans or other comic fans, are the ones where there are compelling characters, and a well crafted story.

    Alan Moore has an interesting book “Alan Moore’s Writing for Comics,” in which he discusses some of what he feels are issues with comics currently.

    “Admittedly, it would be fairly easy for the industry to survive comfortably for a while by pandering to specialist-group nostalgia, or simple escapism, but the industry that concerns itself entirely with areas of this sort is in my view impotent and worthy of little more consideration or interest than the greeting card industry.”

    One series I’ve really enjoyed in 2014 was been “Clive Barker’s The Next Testament.” Haemi Jang’s art, and the color by Vladimir Popov certainly helped, but primarily it was the story by Clive Barker and Mark Miller that moved me to keep reading this series. “Next Testament,” tells the story of what is essentially a hybrid of God and the Devil mixed into one rainbow colored being known as Wick , that is brought to our modern society after being unearthed by a rich man named Julian Demond. The story is haunting, grotesque. And while the human characters can often come across as very stock, Wick is fascinating. You can’t wait to hear what he has to say next, and his words are given weight by the fact he can also destroy a city in the blink of an eye. Yet, I’d love this character even without any powers. Wick just has this powerful gravitas to him you can’t help but be intrigued by.

    There have been a few other comic adaptations, things like the adaptation of “Stephen King’s Dark Tower series,” and “Clive Barker’s Nightbreed,” or “John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China,” which I’ve enjoyed. I like all of these series, but I hesitate to recommend them in an article about what I’d like to see going forward in comics. And the reason is simple: what I would like to see more of in 2015 and beyond, are original stories, be they horror or otherwise. Original stories as in original characters not from a film, or book series.

    Moore’s has a few good quotes pertaining to comics as a medium when related to film, and literature.

    “Rather than seizing upon the superficial similarities between comics and films or comics and books in the hope that some of the respectability of those media will rub off upon us, wouldn’t it be more constructive to focus our attention upon those ideas where comics are special, and unique?”

    I’ve found some of my favorite comics in 2014 were about, at least by comic standards, fairly simple and not mega-huge larger than life plots. Take “Southern Bastards,” an Image title about a corrupt southern town written by Jason Aaron, with art by Jason Latour . It’s one of my new favorite series, and I can’t wait to get my little wiry hands on each new issue. And straight up, “Southern Bastards,” is a simple story of corruption, and people searching for justice. Yet, the series is able to hit dramatic notes and hit me with the feels harder than anything else I’ve read this year. And it’s an original story, not based off any existing book or film, with a first arc primarily revolving around an old man and the town he grew up in!

    “The Fade Out,” by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips was far from a diverse cast, as it takes place back in what I think is the fifties in Hollywood, but this falls under the category of a different type of story leading to originality. I liked it too, because I’m a sucker for period pieces on Hollywood, or really any kind of story on Hollywood.

    One series in 2014 which really surprised me was “The Field,” with story by Ed Brisson, and art by Simon Roy. It’s only a four issue run, but it managed to pack enough mystery and shock, and most importantly memorable characters to make me plow right through it. A man with amnesia, and a world that has apparently gone bat-shit insane.

    In the interest of time, I glossed over a lot of the unique stylistic reasons in the art and the writing of the series listed that made me enjoy them so much. Rest assured that they knock it out of the park.

    In general, I’d like to see comics include different kinds of characters, from all walks of life. The series I enjoyed and listed certainly don’t contain any wildly unique characters. I’ve heard amazing things about the series Sex Criminals, but I haven’t read it yet, so can’t speak on it.
    The most important thing in my mind comics can do is to stop trying to rigidly tell “comic stories.” I was talking with the owner of my local comic shop one time a year or so back. I’ll paraphrase, as I don’t have an eidetic memory. I was telling him something to the effect that I wasn’t into traditional comics, and expressed how I wanted to start trying to write comics. Told him how I wasn’t into superheroes, really, so wasn’t into traditional comic stories. He sort of gave me a look, and proceeded to say some things I’ve taken to heart when it comes to comics. He told me that comics are a medium, and not a story type. He asked me, if I’d say I wasn’t into traditional movie stories, or into movie stories. I responded something like, no, I’d say I’m not into this type of movie, this specific genre, or I’d say the name of the movie. He helped me put things in perspective. Told me, there is not specific type of comic or comic story. That any story can be told in a comic, in the same way you could tell a story in a movie, or in a book.

    You can tell any story you want in a comic. You don’t have to write a comic in the hopes that it’ll become a movie, or get the respect of a novel. Comics are great because they are what they are; they can tell visual stories, but with the power of the written word. Comics occupy the sweet spot between visual art, and text based art such as short stories, or novels.


  • Shadows of the Past with a story by Yours Truly

    “Shadows of the Past,” is currently in ebook for a buck ninety-nine, and will soon be available in a hard copy, with flippable pages, and the like. The anthology is a collaborative effort on the part of members of the Arkham Horror Book Club, which has a definite penchant for the works of one H.P. Lovecraft, though discusses other works of horror fiction.
    “Shadows of the Past” is filled with stories of history, and horror. My story in the antho is entitled “A Smile Too Wide.” The story takes place during the Haitian slave revolt, and explains the origin of the vodun cult mentioned in Louisiana in “The Call of Cthulhu” by H.P. Lovecraft.

    Check out the cover, made by one Farah Rose!

    shadowsofthepast

    You can purchase the ebook here.