Friday, 18 December 2009 Zombie Hotel

A while back I mentioned that one of my delightful children had won a Scary Monster Story competition and, as it’s Christmas, I thought I’d post the story here. It’s also taken months of complex negotiations to broker a deal too, so that’s another reason for it being posted now.

I remember the look of sheer, unadulterated joy on his face when he found out he’d won and I hope the memory of that joy and achievement is something that stays with him forever. I hope he carries on writing too.

By the way, if you’re reading this young Master Bonehill, it doesn’t matter what you say or how well you promise to behave next year, Santa will most definitely not be bringing you Modern Warfare 2 this year.

So, without further preamble, Boneyard Tales proudly presents:

Zombie Hotel

by D. M. Bonehill

One gloomy night in Spooksville, the Martin family went for a walk. The kids ran ahead of their parents.

Suddenly a big green slimy monster appeared from the bushes. It had three eyes filled with deadly zombie powder. The monster threw an eye and it exploded on the parents. The kids were terrified.

They ran to a nearby hotel. They entered and rang the bell on the desk for help… but they didn’t know the hotel was run by zombie monsters. The zombie monster answered, 'Hello, little children... bye bye, little children!' The zombie monster jumped over the desk to attack the kids.

By a tenth of a second the kids escaped and ran to the lift. The lift had floors 1-25. They pressed 25.

While they were going up, they wondered what had happened to their parents. The lift doors opened slowly.

The kids screamed as they were dragged out of the lift by rotten smelly dirty zombies.

The kids realised that they were their parents. The kids became zombie monsters too and they all lived as a zombie family in the hotel.

Thursday, 3 December 2009 Rant Alert

There’s an interesting discussion doing the rounds regarding the small press and (lack of) payment range. Start checking it out here.

This is something that’s been talked about many times before and will, no doubt, be talked about many more times in the future. There was a similar debate a while back between Ken Wood (of Shock Totem) and Brian Keene.

It seems to be a fairly wide-spread opinion in certain circles that anyone who either publishes or writes for the small non-pro-paying press is basically one step away from self-published fan fiction.

Traces of shite on the shoe of worthy, real writers.

That no talented wordsmith would lower themselves to such base and degrading, exploitative shenanigans.

Now, I have nothing but respect and admiration for anyone who makes any kind of living (be it full or part time) out of writing fiction. After all, they’ve played the game the right way and they’ve won. It’s where I want to be one day.

But, have these people forgotten how difficult it actually is to break into the right markets?

How many pro-paying markets are there, especially pro-paying horror markets? Not many, and a quick look at Duotrope shows that most of these actually range from either token or semi-pro payment in the first instance.

Cemetery Dance? Well, they’ve been closed to subs for a year and their publication schedule is erratic at best. When they open again in 2010 with an average of 500 subs a month then, what are the chances? They publish around 8 pieces of fiction per issue and most, if not all, of those are (quite rightly) by established writers.

That’s pretty formidable opposition.

I’m not saying that I won’t be banging on a pro-mag’s door, but there’s very little realistic chance of a hearty welcome and a seat by the fire.

Not without stubborn persistence and saint-like patience, at least.

Does that mean I shouldn’t try to get published elsewhere in the meantime? That there aren’t worthy publications out there that can’t pay a great deal, but still want to produce something of value?

In short, are we wasting our time carving our stories as ice sculptures to be seen by few?

In my first year of trying to write seriously, I’ve been treated well by the small press, received some great feedback, made some new friends, shared TOC's with people I admire and respect, and have some publication credits that I’m proud of.

Next year, I’ll see my name in print alongside Peter Straub and Joyce Carol Oates amongst many others. Not bad for an exploited small press amateur.

It’s true that there’s a lot of crap in the small press, but there are also a lot of truly talented writers toting their wares in little seen publications too.

And they deserve better than belittling comments from people further along the road.