Let the nail-biting…begin.

Or “I haven’t sent anything out for publication consideration for far too long, and now that I have I’m nervous.”

It would be quite accurate to say I’ve been keeping myself busy with writing since the start of 2014. I’ve churned out hundreds of pages (somewhere upwards of five hundred now, actually), which is exciting, but it is by no means a reflection of how good the writing is. Or isn’t. My goal of seeking publication isn’t exactly a secret, in the sense that I’ve practically taken over a major cable channel to broadcast that tidbit at all times possible (except from 3a.m. to 5:30a.m., because everyone knows those times belong to the infomercials). The writing side of things has gotten to be second nature, but the seeking publication parts are still murky waters for me. Self-published work aside, I’ve got three by-lines to my name. Related: my god, I’ve not used that phrase since my days at Point Park. Anyway, there’s my Wreck-It Ralph review, there’s the extended non-fiction piece on modern sword collectors (which isn’t exactly readily available for people outside of Edinboro University), and “The Glasmoor Beldam” (not available yet).

Needless to say, I want to get more things published. However, I’m also bad at sorting those bits out. I know, I know. If I had as much drive for figuring out the best approach to getting published as I do for excusing my nervousness about publishing, I’d have a bazillion titles out there for people to enjoy. I’m all too aware of this.

I broke out the external hard drive (which is named Heart of Gold, because why not?), dusted off Death at Teatime, and found a magazine. A copy of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy would come in handy about now, though I imagine I would still fail to follow its advice to not panic.

Now I play the waiting game. Fingers, toes, and other applicable appendages crossed. Here’s hoping Death at Teatime has finally earned a home somewhere.

A necessary bit of the heebly-jeeblies

Or “I don’t care if you think that’s not how it’s spelled, Chrome; I’m calling them the heebly-jeeblies” and “It’s open-window weather, which means it’s time to think creepy thoughts and deprive myself of sleep.” This post was brought to you in part by me posting a picture of Horrifying Houseguest (also known as Shadowlurker) on Facebook. Take a moment and Google it.

There’s a small, twisted part of my brain that is actually pretty okay with being scared. Plenty of things scare me, and I’d be willing to guess if you’re a living, breathing person, reading this post, there are plenty of things you are scared of as well. I’m not talking fear of rejection or how any college graduate is (reasonably) scared out of their minds about student loan debt. I’m talking about the things that occupy the space just in the corner of your vision, lacking clarity but still holding enough form to unsettle. The serial killers who may or may not be lurking in your basement this very moment, waiting until the lights are out so they can make their move. The creepy creatures who you might catch glimpses of just as you drift off to sleep.

You get the idea. Everyone’s afraid of something different, too, which is truly interesting. In terms of pants-wetting, high-pitched-shrieking terror, few things creep me out as effectively as distorted human faces and forms. I’ve got a rudimentary understanding of the psychology behind it; how something familiar, twisted, is a reasonable trigger for fear. It’s how horror movies manage to scare the bejeezus out of me when nasty specters with blacked out eyes and elongated mouths fly out of nowhere (jump scares are to horror as puns are to humor, as far as I’m concerned). Even though I can rationalize and dissect what about those things creeps me out, they still (almost) always manage to get my heart racing. It’s why much of what is featured in creepypasta stories (why, yes, I have read various creepypasta stories, and feel no shame in admitting it; some of them are pretty damn scary) manages to creep me out so much.

In any event, it’s been a fun night of thinking about scary stories, and the creepy things that inhabit them, and so I figured I’d write a post. Naturally, I must pose this question: what scares you? Name some of the things that really get your hair standing up on end, make your heart beat a little faster, and are cause to run to turn the lights on the moment you enter a room. Maybe sharing some of your favorite things that go bump in the night will discourage them from visiting? Or maybe it’ll just draw them a little bit closer.

Oh, and remember: it’s silly to be afraid of the dark, but perfectly reasonable to be afraid of what the darkness may conceal.

The age-old question: why do you drive on the Parkway and park in the driveway?

Or “I had no idea what to name this, but I’m waxing oddly nostalgic about things and couldn’t justify proper story-writing this weekend for some reason.” Or “Here’s a driving/travel post because I’m visiting Carnegie for Easter.”

Once upon a time, a long time ago in my grandmother’s dining room, the title of this post was posed to a much younger me. Mrs. Ott, a friend of my Grandma June, asked me this question, and I had no idea how to answer it. Sure, there are plenty of answers I have for it now, and I’ll get to those. However, I want to address the Parkway itself, first, because I get oddly sentimental over things that probably don’t merit such strong emotional responses. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve said that, I’d be significantly more well-to-do than I am now. Continue reading

Fickle Fate

Or “I was feeling lazy and never got past the working title, but it’s been a bad day so have some excuses for my laziness.”

This started off as a joke in a conversation with my friend Lindsey, who is an entirely remarkable writer, and it escalated into this short story. Enjoy. Warpt Factor 6 should be happening sooner than later at this point, but we’ll see where the rest of the week takes me.

Continue reading

My conundrum of wanting to write versus being able to write

Or “I promised myself I would do a little writing every day, and I refuse to break that promise” with a dash of “I resigned myself to not being productive tonight, so I had to prove myself wrong somehow or another.”

I need to write. It’s a compulsion, bordering on a requirement for my very survival (careful, I’m already getting all dramatic about writing and it’s only one line in, because the sub-title doesn’t actually count). If I don’t give my worlds a stage, or my characters the proper chance to have voices, who will? I mean, yes, you could argue that there are only so many, or so few, actual stories, and everything just reworks them to some degree or another, and I would agree to some extent. It’s all in the presentation, I say in such a powerful statement of the obvious that people pointing out how the sky is blue seem to have discovered a brave, new world full of awe-inspiring truths. That sentence was probably a lot more fun to write than it is to read, I imagine. Continue reading

Good riddance to a bad molar

Or “I’ve had one hell of a history with dentists, and it’s mostly not that favorable.”

Friday, around 1p.m. or so, I had a molar pulled. It was an emergency extraction, and the molar was barely even a proper tooth anymore at this point. It had a long, very frustrating history, but I now have an odd hole in the back of my mouth. If this sort of thing bothers you, you may want to find different reading material. Continue reading