Another Night with the Muse (poem)

The muse sits in the corner

of my room; eyes like

vacant saucers.

I sit at my writing desk,

grasping for an image, a concept,

a sentence. Anything.

Nothing comes.

My mind is like this room,

empty, with an occasional draft.

 

“It’s up to you,” says the Muse,

heckling me from the corner.

“Oh, really?” I ask. “Because,

I’m sitting here at my writing desk

and you’re sitting there

and I’m looking at a blank page

and you’re gazing into the creative abyss

and nothing is happening.

So, who’s fault is this, dear muse?”

 

She smiles.

Like how one does at a foolish child.

She smiles.

 

Back to the blank page.

Oh, Christ.

Back to the blank page.

 

The muse taps my shoudler

I look up at her.

She says, still smiling,

“I can’t guarantee you

magic everyday. Don’t you

think it’s a bit presumptuous

to think I can, or

will?”

 

Then she all but vaporizes into

thin air,

except for that knowing smile.

It lingers in the middle of the room,

suspended. Teeth and lips sway

like a cobweb in the breeze.

Soon it is gone, too.

 

I get back to work.

With the muse out of my hair,

I can finally write this poem.

Dear Muse, I thought We Had A Date Tonight (Poem)

Dear muse,

I thought we had a date tonight?

I’ve been waiting a long time.

I ordered dinner and drink and

had too much of both.

Now I am overfed and undernourished.

Without you.

 

Dear muse,

I thought we had a date tonight?

I’ve been sitting at my desk

with my pen and notebook and

you’ve not dropped me a single

line, nor image, nor concept.

What gives?

 

Dear muse,

I thought we had a date tonight?

I am drowsy, weak without your light.

Life is a black ball clogging my soul.

My sighs are rancid dissappointments.

Dear muse, I have done my job.

Why have you not done yours?

 

Dear muse,

I thought we had a date tonight?

Now I’ve got a bad, bad headache,

I’m itchy & my clothes don’t fit right.

The earth turns senseless. After all,

what purpose in life if not to create?

Dear muse, I thought we had a date tonight.

“Familiarity Breeds Indifference” – Reflections on The Values of Wonder, Awe, Mystery & Curiosity.

“Familiarity breeds indifference.”

Our rigid perception of the world becomes so familar that we sadly become indifferent to the world. Hence why the wonder, awe, and curiosity a child regularly experiences is inevitably lost, rubbed away by time. The young mind, as if given to atomic decay, erodes to a half-life of indifference.

This “half-life of indifference” is what one calls “adulthood”. Not only is the loss of these vital senses (awe, wonder, curiosity) quite sad, it’s also unnecessary, as well as potentially negative for one’s health. How do we regain these positive senses to form an open-minded perspective in regards to our lives?

I argue we can do this by way of recognizing and contemplating what remains unfamiliar, or unknown. We must train our brains to “spot the strange” and bathe in its mystery.

One example of the unfamiliar is the mystery of consciousness. As you read this sentence, an organ consisting of over a billion neuron cells is currently encased by the 23-inch circumference of your cranium. It’s this very organ which allows you to read, to write, to think, to do anything or even be anything at all.

Scientists have yet to understand the vast inner-workings and complexity of neural bio-chemistry. In fact, one can safely say that the human brain is the most complex organ so far discovered in the universe. And how, exactly, does it produce this phenomena called “consciousness”?

There are many theories about consciousness. Some are scientific. Some not so much. Yet the subject remains intrinsically fascinating, and if one ruminates on consciousness long enough, one will inevitably re-discover their capacity for awe and wonder.

There is also the fact that cosmologists have calculated we can account for only 4% of the universe. The rest is . . . Mystery. The unknown. We human beings are incredibly fortunate to find ourselves equpped with the particular level of consciousness copasetic to the contemplation of these mysteries.

As a species who has been intelligent enough to invent language, mathematics, scientific methodology, religion and philosophy, we can contemplate stars, black holes, multiple-dimensions in space-time, gravity, quantum physics, quasars, dark matter, dark energy, and the plethora of other cosmological qualities which make up the fabric of our reality.

However, the contemplation of such gargantuan things isn’t necessary to invoke feelings of awe and wonder.

For example, one may contemplate the simple act of digesting food and realize that the bio-chemical phenemena occuring winin one’s stomach is incredibly fascinating and complex. Imagine this: You’re chowing down on a pepperoni pizza and at the same time, completely in awe about the microbes , molecules, stomach acids and various cells inter-interacting within the universe inside your belly.

Mystery is a gift to all who remain open-minded and receptive. Mystery is a gift to those who have not let familiarity breed indifference. Mystery, and the corresponding value of curiosity, I believe, must not be underestimated in its potential for providing a fullfilling life.

Indeed, curiosity has encouraged the lives and careers of countless human beings over many thousands of years. A curious mindset is what fuels scientists, artists and mystics alike. Yes, indeed. Mystery is a gift.

I’d also like to bring to your attention the phenomena commonly referred to as “altered states of consciousness”. An altered state of consciousness (one which is unfamiliar to our default mode of perception) can be brought about by use of drugs, the practice of meditation, and a long parade of countless other techniques of varying qualities.

What’s significant about altered states is the fact that the familiar can completely dissolve into the unfamiliar. Under the influence of LSD, DMT, or psilocybin mushrooms, feelings of euphoric joy, reverence for life, wonder, awe, and curiosity are not uncommon to users.

These novel feelings come about simply due to the incredible unfamilarity of the hallucinogenic experience. Synesthesia, for example, is commonly experienced under the influence of these drugs. Walls writhe and undulate, colors and textures of objects are increased with added vibrancy and significance, and one’s own internal senses seem magnified. All of this is a result of consuming a relatively simple looking molecule, or even a plant.

While such an experience may sound strange, it is only because we are unfamiliar to it. Had we been born with a psychedelic perception of the world, and grown up with it, perhaps we would not find it so wonderous and mystifying. Why?

Because familiarity breeds indifference.

That is why we must embrace mystery, revel within the unknown, and retain an open-mind and heart, despite the inevitable tide of familiarity and mediocrity pushing against us.

We must remember that we are finite beings within an infinite universe, and that one path to a sense of happiness and fullfillment within life, is the contemplation and pursuit of vast, mysterious, strange, and unfamiliar things.

All of this, so that we do not become indifferent. So that we don’t do ourselves the tragic injustice of cutting ourselves off from the truly wondrous life we are living.

 

Fear & Illusion (An Analogy For Understanding Common Fears)

Upon awakening from a nightmare one morning, I hazily realized I’d discovered a possible analogy for thinking about the nature of fear within the human mind.

There exists a nearly endless amount of phobias which people experience on a daily basis. Among some of the most prevalent fears are: the fear of death, flying, heights, snakes, insects and spiders, drowning, needles, enclosed spaces and strangers (xenophobia).

And let us not forget social fears, too. For many, social fears can conglomerate into neurotic social anxieties. People (including myself, sometimes) often worry about what other people are thinking of them. Such unnecessary anxiety, especially prolonged, can result in a shortened life-span.

I believe it’s beneficial to remember that nearly all fears are unnecessary, if not outright harmful to our long-term health.

Fear is built into our genes. It is an emotional trait which evolved perhaps hundreds of thousands of years ago, functioning as an essential tool for survival. To this day, whenever a possible threat to our safety arises, we experience fear, and thus are motivated to enact a fight-or-flight response in regards to the threat.

But much of our fears today are worse than worthless — they shorten our life span with needless stress, and arguably puts the survival of our entire species into question. After all, wars of mass destruction are waged due to underlying emotions of fear. Entire populations have been destroyed due to fear; lives taken, land stolen, kingdoms and countries usurped. The history of fear is older than the history of man, stretching all the way back to our proto-human ancestors.

Based upon the nightmare I had, here is an analogy for understanding the nature of fear inside the human mind:

Imagine a haunted house attraction. You go inside the house and discover an assortment of threatening figures. There are ghosts, demons, witches, axe murderers, and men with chainsaws around every dark corner.

It is easy to see why a haunted house attraction can be a frightening experience. Yet, if we understand that the supernatual and/or murderous subjects of the house are merely paid actors, elaborately crafted plastic dummies, or holographic illusions, then we will understand that the fear we are experiencing is superficial. Thus, we become less afraid with the knowedge there is no real threat or danger at all.

The fears we commonly endure throughout our everyday lives are of the same illusory quality as the false demons in the haunted house attraction. Therefore, if we realize our fears are only frightening if believe in them, then we can choose not to believe in them. This way, we take away their power and their hold on us.

Things are scary only if one believes them to be scary.

Let’s say you have social anxiety. You’re afraid of what your neighbor is thinking about you. You’ve noticed that he has been giving you “dirty looks” on a regular basis.

The underlying fear in this scenario is of not being accepted for who you are. Not being accepted, or loved, can be frightening. It’s often a fear rooted deep within one’s early childhood.

Yet if we examine your fear of what another human being is thinking about you, you’ll recognize there is no need for it, and the fear is baseless. What your neighbor thinks about you is none of your business. What you think about you is your business.

Now, it’s true that fears of all sorts requre far more than a mere intellectual rationalization in order to be overcome. It also requires emotional acceptance and recognition, and a willingness to be open to new perspectives and change.

Fears are rooted within intense emotion, thus must be understood at that emotional level, as well as on the intellectual plain of understanding.

I certainly don’t underestimate the value of sitting with one’s fears and accepting them for what they are, as opposed to resisting them. By accepting one’s fears, we are acknowledging the problem, which is always the first step to changing anything.

We must acknowledge our fears and not deride or beat ourselves up for having them. We must understand that we share the same or similar fears with many other people on this planet, and that fear is a natural aspect of being human.

Fear is just as natural, just as normal, as the sun dawning in the east.

When grappling with fears, we can begin by accepting them. We can also intellectually recognize they are merely illusory demons of the haunted house attraction inside our minds.

The clinking of chains and the groaning of the undead is ourselveswe clink the chains, and we groan like undead.

Yet what we are, objectively, are merely human beings — an ever fallible prey to our ancient emotions, with deeply rooted needs to feel safe and loved.

***

In addition, I would very much like to hear from fellow readers, writers, and bloggers as to their opinions on the vast subject of fear. This short essay is only one man’s opinion. Perhaps I am wrong, and have mistaken the nature of fear? Or underestimated it in some way?

Please do leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!

 

The Writing Life: Publications, Rejections, Submissions, & Unsolicited Writing Advice!

Welcome to The Writing Life! This column is dedicated to the art and craft of writing.

My name is Tylor James. I’m a writer of dark fiction. My intention with The Writing Life is to inform and entertain — all the while allowing readers and aspiring writers a peak into my creative life.

First, the good news. ACCURSED: A Horror Anthology features my first paid publication, The Typewriter. This excellent volume of short stories about cursed items (everything from typewriters, to Christmas ornaments, to tattoo ink!) was published in paperback and ebook earlier this December.

I’ve been published in previous anthology books before, yet never paid for my work — until now. As you can imagine, I was pretty excited when the book arrived in the mail. Take a look at the wonderful cover artwork done by Eloise J. Knapp:

Accursed

Working with editor Jonathan Lambert was a great experience. He was very courteous to me and helped fashion The Typewriter into the very best story it could be. For that, I’m thankful. I recommend fellow writers of horror to submit their work to Jolly Horror Press for their future anthology releases, so long as they think they’ve whipped up a good tale.

Honestly, ACCURSED is a great collection of stories, all of them written by a talented writers. Therefore, I highly recommend fans of the genre to check it out!

One other positive news item: My fifty word story BLUE CHRISTMAS, was accepted and published by Fifty Word Stories, an ezine. Although Fifty Word Stories does not pay for stories, they do have a drawing for “best story” at the end of every month, which can win a writer $10. For those interested in reading my flash-fiction piece: Click Here.

I GOT THEM REJECTION BLUES

And now, it is time to mention some of my most recent rejections!

For writers, rejection is a constant game of, “Oh? Rejected again? Well, TAKE THIS!” and the writer submits his work to yet another publisher for consideration. It’s like Newton’s third law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Wolfpak Publishing and 18thWall Productions reject my creature-feature horror novel, They Dwell Beneath. This novel is currently be considered by eight other presses, and I’m hoping to hear a ‘yes’ back from any one of them.

Aggregate and Tell-Tale Press rejects by short story, The Ultimate Torture of Charles Nevermore. This is a futurist tale about a literary outlaw and a subversive, underground movement of readers and writers.

TDotSpec rejects my shot story, The Eyes of the Lake — and yet provided very helpful advice in regards to re-crafting the story.

The Dark rejects my short zombie story, No Way Out.

Monster Porn Podcast rejects by short story, Bad Brains — and yet editors Bret and Matt were impeccably kind, lending advice regarding the betterment of the story.

Have you had work rejected lately? If so, just remember it’s only part of the business. Keep submitting, and keep writing. 

In Other News

This is the last column of The Writing Life for 2019. Looking back on some of the things I wrote in January and February of this year, I notice how far I’ve come in my ability to craft effective prose.

A lot of things I’ve written this year, in fact most of what I’ve written, has not been good enough to publish. But, I’ve also written plenty of damn good stories too.

So, for the record, here’s the tally for 2019:

I’ve written approximately 265,000 words.

I’ve never written so much in my life as I have this year.

And yet, when comparing it to some of the early 30’s and 40’s pulp fiction writers, it isn’t all that impressive. Those guys (Erle Stanley Gardner, for example) had an output of nearly a million words per year!

It’s hard to believe those writers were even human. In fact, I have my suspicions . . .

Yet, I am proud of the work I’ve done this year. I’ve come a long way as a writer, and have a long way to go still. I suspect there will never come a time in my life when I have finished learning how to write serviceable prose.

Writing is an art with a depth that is truly infinite.

Of the 265, 000 words I’ve written, I’ve created one short novel (They Dwell Beneath) and forty-five short stories. Plus several blog posts, The Writing Life Column, dozens of poems, songs, and essays. Not a bad year at all!

And thank you, fellow readers and writers, for putting up with my bragging.

UNSOLICITED WRITING ADVICE

This is advice about the craft of writing. Advice you never asked for, and which perhaps could hinder or outright destroy your aspirations as a writer. Without further ado, and as non-glamorous as this week’s advice is, behold:

Keep writing! 

When a story is looking ugly, don’t stop writing. Either finish it, or start a new story, poem, essay, whatever it is. But do not get up and walk away from your art. Sit down and write. Even if it is just one page.

You had an intention to write. Now it is not going as well as planned. That’s okay. All the same, you must continue to write. That is how we improve our work.

Practice.

Thank you to fellow readers and writers for their interest in The Writing Life. I hope you’ve found this column to be serviceable and entertaining. A very happy new year to you! May it be filled with love and art.

your friend,

Tylor James.

Badly Written Stories Are Your Friend & More —- The Writing Life!

Greetings, and welcome to The Writing Life! In this week’s article, we’ll be discussing the importance of believing in one’s self, the latest updates in my personal rejections & submissions, as well as finding value in badly written stories . . .

THE WRITING LIFE (issue #3)

It has been said that if you want to make it in the arts, you have to be mad. Whether you want to be a writer, a painter, a musician, a cartoonist, or whatever, you have to be mad.

And being mad means this: you have full confidence in your talent and abilities as a creative person and, above all else, you will turn it into a career. There isn’t any doubt in your heart that it will happen. You have complete faith in yourself and the understanding that through extreme devotion to your craft and plenty of endurance, it will only be a matter of time before the world recognizes and values your good work.

That’s what being mad means in the arts. It also means throwing aside pragmatism, throwing aside the dire warnings from family and friends about the economic fallibility of living off one’s creations, AND, ultimately, it means not listening to anybody but your own true self.

Think of the arrogance of such an attitude!

It is, nonetheless, the attitude one must cultive if one desires to make it in the arts. This is not just my opinion. It’s also the opinion of such legendary artists as Ray Bradbury and Gayon Wilson. Both men have spoken eloquently about the necessity of this outlook in lectures and interviews.

In addition to fostering one’s skills and abilities and believing in one’s self, a good bit of leg work in the way of making a career out of art is often done by sheer luck.

So, dear friends, fellow writers and artists, may you be good to the muse (that means show up and do the work, every day, relentlessly) and may the muse be good to you (that means may you get damn lucky and everything works out).

There’s plenty of room in this world for artists of all kinds and stripes, in my opinion. It isn’t a competition, or a battle for first place. There’s no need to fight over who’s the best writer or painter or dancer or singer. There’s room for all of us.

The muse is wonderously vast.

***

I GOT THEM REJECTION BLUES (My favorite segment of The Writing Life!)

It’s time for me to share the latest rejections of my stories. Every once in a great while, they can get me down, but most of the time, they make me smile. Whenever I read a rejection slip, I just say ‘Ok!’ And send out another submission straight away.

In the hope of inspiring fellow writers with the notion that rejections CAN be fun, here’s the latest:

Cast of Wonders rejects my story, Love From Another Place, a supernatural tale of love and loss. This tale is almost ashamedly adolescent in nature, BUT, hey, some people dig that. Teenage girls, for one.

87 Bedford rejects Love From Another Place as well (double your money!).

The Forge Literary Magazine rejects The Hating Game, a flash-fiction piece commenting on such contemporary topics “online trolling” and “cyber-bullying”.

The Future Fire rejects ‘Til Death Do Us Never Part, a story about a bickering married couple whose problems follow them even when they’re both six feet under! This is a comedic, philosophical horror tale, which I’ve recently adapted for the stage. There’s a good chance it may be performed live before an audience in 2020, along with two other strange tales of mine.

SUBMISSION NEWS

On the other hand, I’ve sent out:

Fish Out of Water, a strange fiction tale which merges pulp-style writing with Kafkaeque horror, to Automata Review.

I’m really proud of this tale, and I hope someone picks it up.

The Hating Game to After Dinner Conversation and Confingo Magazine.

Blue Christmas, the shortest story I’ve ever written, to 50-Word Stories! Read this one if you want to cry on Christmas.

Crash Landing, a lost-genre science-fiction story, to Planet Scumm.

LOVE the name of that last one, don’t you?

***

IN OTHER NEWS/WRITING ADVICE

I’ve had a great time tonight writing a zombie tale entitled, No Way Out. It’s got a hell of a lot of descriptive, gory passages and, what I hope are, some sympathetic characters.

First draft adds up to a little over 6,000 words. Tomorrow night I’ll be editing, re-writing and generally making it look like I knew what the hell I was doing the first time around.

NOW, time for this week’s edition of UNSOLICITED WRITING ADVICE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS— advice you never asked for, and which may or may not damage your writing career.

Today’s advice is more to do with one’s attitude than it does with the craft of writing, although it is nonetheless vital:

One ought to greatly value every lousy, bad, terrible story they’ve ever written. You know you’ve done it. Admit it! You’ve written a lousy tale or two; a story that might have germinated from a good idea, but couldn’t quite stand on its own? Even the best writers in the business have done it.

It’s not a bad thing, and here’s why: By completing a lousy, no-good story, you learn things. What you learn, especially, is what not to do the next time around. So for every lousy story you write, you are paving the way for all the good ones. You are gaining experience, and likewise, knowledge about your craft.

And that’s where I leave you: pestered and possessed by the muse. Until next time,

Your constant writer,

Tylor James.

 

 

Write What You DON’T Know: This Week in . . . The Writing Life!

Greetings, friends.

It’s getting cold outside, so come on in, get cozy, and welcome, to another edition of the The Writing Life. 

Life. It is to be lived, of course, but for a writer, it is also to be written. One cannot help but write about what one goes through. It’s a part of that old cliche, vomited from the mouths of countless authors and instructors: “Write what you know.”

I agree, and I disagree.

On the one hand, if we write only about what we know, how are writers ever to branch out and create something vast and new? If we are to write only what we know, how is one to write a story about extra-terrestrials on a far away planet? Surely we know nothing about that. Or how is one to write about an alternate dimension poulated by tiny humanoids? Or a history that never happened? It is, I think, to live inside an oppressive box — writing about only what one knows.

On the other hand, as I’ve stated, one cannot help but write what one knows. What one knows seeps through the spaces between the words we write. It lingers upon every thought, like a strange odor one is never able to get rid of.

We write, ultimately, about ourselves and what we think and feel about the world. What we know. As Henry Miller so aptly said, “The writer writes in order to discover himself.”

And so it is. For example, this evening I’ve written 1700 word short story about an old, world-famous playwright. He’s terribly and morosely addicted to coffee and he obsesses over his work to the point of fatality. When I took a step back from the story, I realized I was writing about myself, and my addiction to caffeine, and my obssession with words and the work I put into my writing.

And so, although we are not always conscious of doing it, we are writing about what we know all the time. We must.

***

THEM REJECTIONS BLUES

(My Personal Favorite Segment of The Writing Life!)

Oh, boy, folks! We’ve got some exciting news in rejection emails today! Believe me — I’m not being factitious, I’m being thrilled. Here’s the low-down, for the record:

Metaphorosis (magazine) rejects my science-fiction story, Crash Landing, and my strange-pulp tale, Fish Out of Water. A nice thing about Metaphorosis is this: the editor has a quick response time, and will leave feedback, if you so select that option in your submission.

Möbius Books rejects my debut horror novel, They Dwell Beneath. This is only my second rejection of this novel, and am waiting on plenty more. I look forward to each rejection like a bite of delicious pie. The right attitude is the only way to survive in this game.

Writers Resist rejects my story, The Hating Game, a flash-fiction piece which comments on the contemporary phenomena of “online trolling”.

Asimov’s Science Fiction & Fantasy rejects Crash Landing. The editor politely advised that I submit using the standard manuscript format. I thought I’d been doing that, but, as it turns out — I haven’t! I am learning things every day, and this, ladies and gents and fellow pronouns, is a biggie. In the immortal word of Homer Simpson, “Doh!”

Not One of Us rejects my story, Johnny Bad Apple, a story I’d written in 2018, about the vicissitudes of fame and fortune in the life of a rock star.

In submission news, I’ve sent out at least ten to fifteen submissions to various magazines as of this week. Wish me luck, fellow readers and writers, as I wish all of you luck.

Yet, a quick addendum to that — as writers, we make our own luck, don’t we? With much practice and endurance — yes, that will be our luck!

***

WRITING ADVICE 

To conclude this week’s fine edition of The Writing Life, I shall disperse the usual allotment of unsolicited advice. It is this:

Write what you know AND, if you can manage it, attempt to write what you don’t know. By this I mean, quite simply, write about your loves and hates and passions (what you know), but try not to “stay safe” by not taking chances with your writing.

When you take chances, you may end up with thousands of words that fail to capture a compelling story. But, those thousands of failed words will teach you things. And the things you learn, as long as you keep reaching for the ungraspable, will lead you to bigger and better stories. And it will lead you, not least of all, to a bigger and better future. 

“Man’s reach must exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” — Robert Browning, English poet and playwright (1812-1889).

Until next week,

your constant writer,

Tylor James.

 

 

 

The Life of a Writer — Dec. 1st (STANGE FISH, LOWSY LUDDITES, & ENDURANCE)

Greetings, friends. It’s just another day in . . . The Life of a Writer. 

Lots of good stories underway, let me tell you.

STORY NEWS

I’ve got a science-fiction story, Crash Landing, about a man who crash lands on an unknown alien planet. It’s your typical “lost world” genre story — except this particular yarn explores the absurdity of being a total luddite in a technological world.

Note: I was not aware of the word “luddite” until earlier this year. I came across it in a Kurt Vonnegut story. For those readers whom might not know, it means: a person opposed to new technology or ways of working. 

Imagine being a luddite AND a member of a planetary exploration crew AND your space ship crashes AND you have no understanding or meaningful relation to the technology that could potentially save your life — should you know how to use it.

Crash Landing is in its second draft stage at the moment, but will be a third and final draft next week and ready for submission to the magazines.

Then there’s Fish Out of Water, even better! It’s about a gang member who gets dropped in the lake wearing cement shoes because he’s killed somebody he shouldn’t have and pissed off a lot of dangerous people. He drowns, then awakens at the bottom of the lake with slimy gills on either sides of his neck. He’s grown webbing between his fingers. He’s got scales growing on his body. And he’s hatching a plan for revenge.

Fish Out of Water is a cross-genre piece, mixing hard-boiled pulp style prose with Kafkaesque twists of fate and, oddly enough, some mysterious Christian imagery having to do with the ressurrection of Christ.

Strange fiction? You bet.

I also got a poem out last night (Ode to Caffeine), a love song written for piano (dedicated to my fiance, Tessandra), plus some blog stuff.

As for today? I’ll be focusing on some editing and re-writing. And after that, if I feel up to it, writing some new stuff.

***

REJECTED!

DOWN-TURNED STORY NEWS (oh, boy, oh, boy, my favorite segment of The Writing Life!)

Silver Pen rejects my story, “Love From Another Place”, a ghost tale of love and loss. The editor, however, was so very kind in her rejection. I always appreciate when I am not handed the standard rejection form.

Crone Girls Press rejects my story, “The Voice”, about a man who commits hit-and-run on a trick-or-treater on Halloween night. The story was intended for an upcoming horror anthology. This is my second story I’ve submitted for this anthology, and so far no luck. Perhaps you, dear reader, if you dabble in dark fiction, will give them a try and have better luck.

STAY TUNED for future rejections. They are always upcoming.

***

ACCEPTED

My first professional publication is my story, The Typewriter. It was accepted by Jolly Horror Press two months ago and will be released in a marvelous book entitled, ACCURSED: A Horror Anthology, to be released this December 10th! JHP editor Jonathan Lambert is a wonderful guy to work with, and I highly recommend fellow writers to consider submitting to JHP for future anthologies.

***

In Other News

I work in a haunted factory these days. It’s an abandoned facility located in a snowy mid-west town where the people are cracked with an abundance of alcohol, opioids, and social gaucherie. But the facility (formerly a cheese factory) is relatively quiet, except for the clanging of the overhead pipes, the pterodactyl-whine of the boiler and the rattle of the radiator.

I sit in a break room with two security monitors. I glance at them from time to time, but mostly I write. And read. And look at what deranged things my fellow bloggers are up to.

This concludes today’s edition of The Writing Life. Questions? Comments? Hurled prejoratives? Please post them in the comments section below.

Lastly, a bit of advice for fellow writers seeking to master their craft:

The key to your success as a writer is endurance. And practice, of course.

The amount of effort you put in, and how long you can keep it up. These simple things largely determine what sort of writer you will become. To keep on top of practice, some folks aim to hit a particular word count every day, or every week.

As for me? I subscribe to the Ray Bradbury Regimen. That means, simply, focus on writing ONE short story a week. After fifty two weeks, you’ll have fifty-two stories, and hell, they can’t all be bad, can they?

As the colloquial saying goes, “Hold my beer . . .”

 

Until next time,

Your constant writer,

Tylor James.

 

 

100 Subscribers – A Thank You Note. PLUS, a relaunch of my blog: “WELCOME TO MY WRITING LIFE”!

While perusing my blog stats the other day, I noticed I’ve gained exactly one hundred subscribers. Thank you to all who follow this blog, to all who read, like and comment on my posts! I hope you’ll stick around awhile, because I’ve got some exciting plans ahead.

I don’t post often, but this habit, as of this moment, is over. From now on, expect to be hearing from me on a frequent basis.

I’ve been writing like a madman this year (nearly 300,000 words written, last time I checked), and yet I’ve been posting only once in awhile. The reason is this:

I want to earn a living by writing stories (be kind, for god-sakes, and at least attempt to stiffle your giggles!), but I can’t earn an income from my stories if I post them here. Magazines will not accept work that has appeared online. And so, I must hide them away, and submit them in private.

Writing, as they say, can be a solitary gig.

This year, so far, I’ve written one novel and forty short stories — ranging from  horror to science-fiction to western to pulp to weird/uncategorizable fiction. And it’s been a hell of a lot of fun.

Are all of my stories masterpieces? Nah. But I’ve learned a lot, and out of those thousands of words, I believe I’ve spun some pretty fantastic yarns.

So, this is the plan: Although I cannot share with my subscribers my stories, I can still share with you my life. I can share with you the labors of my daily grind, the pounding of the keys, the churning of the words, the sending out of submissions tethered with eager hopes like messages in a bottle tossed to sea . . .

I can share the gargantuan amount of rejection emails I receive from editors of little- known indie magazines and famous magazines alike. I can share with you what’s it’s like to be me. My inspirations, my struggles, my hopes, my dreams, and my failures.

I know, deep down (and forgive me if this sounds the least bit arrogant) that I am a unique, special man. And I don’t want to pass from this earth being the only one who knows that.

I believe my subscribers are unique and special as well. And I want to share with you. So, please, do stick around. Get to know me, and if you comment and share your thoughts, perhaps I’ll be fortunate enough to get to know you.

Stay tuned, and welcome, to My Writing Life!

Your kind and constant scribbler,

Tylor James.