Archive for category Conqueror Worm

The End of a Legend

I’m a day late on this, because I wanted to talk about SOPA and PIPA yesterday.  Most of my readers are probably already aware that the Poe Toaster was a no-show for the third consecutive year, leading many to believe that the tradition has come to an end.  For those not aware of the Toaster…how did you find this blog?  He was a mysterious figure, or likely family of figures, who would visit Poe’s grave in Baltimore every year on the anniversary of his birth, leaving a half bottle of cognac and three red roses.

Rumors and questions have surrounded the tradition for years.  Why three roses?  Why cognac?  Why an opened, half bottle?  Who was he?  And now the biggest question of all: where has he gone?  What is known: the tradition passed on from a father to a son several years ago, that the new Toaster controversially included some political commentary in one of his offers a few years back, and now that the tradition has ended.  There are impersonators, people who have tried to keep the tradition alive, but the original line of Toasters haven’t show up since 2009.  Is he dead?  Did he just decide to end the tradition?  Was it always supposed to end?  The last year of the visits coincided with Poe’s 200th birthday, and perhaps that was the correct time to quietly end the ritual.

The end of the tradition saddens me as I’ve written what currently stands as a trunk novel that opens on the Poe Toaster (though decades before the actual Poe Toasters showed up).  It does have me interested in getting back to that novel, but that’s going to have to wait until Nickajack is done, at the absolute earliest.  Because of that novel I’ve been tempted for several years to partake in the vigil, waiting for the Toaster.  I suppose I’m glad I didn’t, because that’s the same time that he stopped showing up, but I wish I’d had the opportunity at one point to join in with other fan’s of Poe’s writing.

So, wherever you went, Toaster, I hope the tradition ended on your own terms.  And perhaps, one day, a Toaster will come again.

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The Ctrouble with Cthulhus

My name is DL, and I have a problem.

I’ve been aware of this problem for awhile.  Which is good, because I’ve had the problem much longer than I’ve been aware of it.  My problem is that I like to attempt Lovecraftian stories, but when I start down on them I enter into a miasma of filtering and distancing that I try to struggle out of.  But each time I think I’ve gotten my voice into the story, the temptations of the Lovecraft style pull me back down and leave me shouting from the bottom of a well, watching stories shoot by where people seem, and feel, and find, and appear, or appear to seem to feel to find out something that really they should have just found out.

This used to be my writing style for everything.  Bad characters drabbling along through a story that happened around them, all the while writing the equivalent of a making-of documentary, with my camera not focused on the actual action, but on someone else watching the action.  It’s no way to tell a story.

I’ve gotten better.  I’ve learned how to have active characters (force them to be active).  I’ve learned how to create details.  I’ve learned how to get into a story, tell a story in the first or third person, the present or the past tense.  Then I come up with a story that’s vaguely Lovecraftian and BOOM!  Everyone seems to feel things all over again.  And I end up with a story that I frustratingly know there’s a problem with, but not what that actual problem is.

Part of me wants to give up.  To walk away.  To just say I’m never going to have Nyaralathotep slinking his way through stories, have the Mi-Go dissecting my characters brains, or to have unspeakable horrors drive my hero slowly insane until the only options become living with what he has learned or reaching for the cold embrace of the grave.  But I don’t want to give up.  In a way I almost can’t give up.  I have these ideas, I want to write these ideas.  And in the end, its something I have to teach myself to do because all of that filtering is holding captive one of my favorite novels in progress: Conqueror Worm.  My main character seems the CRAP through that book, and it all has to be fixed if I even have any hopes of selling it.


I’ve heard of these groups, but I never thought it would feel so good to get this all off my chest.  I’d always heard the first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem.  I just never expected this group to be here.  But why do you call yourselves the Esoteric Order?

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State of the Writer: July 2011

I’m going to come right out and say it: the state of the writer is good.

On a writing front, I’ve got three stories out the door to anthologies and contests that had deadlines at the end of June, and plan two more submissions this coming week.  That will mark the first time I’ve ever had five stories out for consideration at once.  Hell, this marks the first time I’ve had three stories out for consideration at once.  Out the door already are Face of the Serpent, Beyond Light, and Vampires of Mars, and getting ready to head out the door are Sleep and Home Again.  I have high hopes that one of those will land in its current market, with a potential ceiling of three of them landing.

Yup, I’m getting all excited and optimistic, but I already wrote that post.

July is going to see a change of direction.  I’ve been working on short stories for awhile, and I’ve really enjoyed it.  But I’ve left Capsule languishing for far too long now, and it’s time to get back into it.  Especially since I’m already starting to world build my next novel, and I don’t want Capsule to get steamrolled and forgotten.  I like the story too much to let that happen.  So it’s going to be back to work on that, trying to keep a strong pace going.  Really, I’d love to have the first draft finished by no later than the end of August, and then it’ll be a process of figuring out what to do next.  That might be turning right around and editing Capsule, that might mean making another go at Conqueror Worm, or it might mean starting Nickajack.  Really, that’s going to be more a subject for September’s State of the Writer.  I hope.

It’s an exciting point in my push to be something more than just an amateur writer.  First short story is still due out soon-ish (though I’m honestly thinking July is unlikely, even if the anthology hasn’t officially said so), and so much more hopefully on the horizon.

State of the Writer’s Blog: June was a great month for readership.  I didn’t quite hit the record views of May, but I didn’t miss by much.  This was aided by the last day of June being the best single day for viewership since the relaunch of this blog back in December.  So yay!  Google Analytics also tells me that I collected my first views from six states this month: Hawaii, Idaho, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Ohio, and South Carolina.  That leaves 13 states that have never visited my blog: Alaska, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Delaware, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Maine.  I’m hoping to hit all 50 states before too much longer, so look for me to start pandering!  Woo!  Do you Dakotans know just how sexy and intelligent you are?

But seriously, I’m going to try to set my two July Fortnightcaps in states that have yet to show up, just to see if I can’t push viewership.

Update: Hello, Omaha!  That’s another state down.

State of the Writer’s Beer: We have now drunk 4 of the 24 bottles of Mustache Cat, and it’s getting better with each bottle.  A few more weeks, and I’ll be glad to share some.  The bitterness that it had when brand new is mellowing out nicely, and there’s a very strong strawberry aroma and aftertaste.  This weekend it’s going to be bottling time for Lazarus Ale, which I’m going to try and have the self discipline to not crack a bottle of until August.  Next batch is still being planned, but I may take a week or three just to give us time to catch up on the drinking process, because this is becoming a lot of beer.

So.  We’ve passed the solstice, the days are getting shorter but no cooler, what better time of year to avoid the outside, and instead write?

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State of the Writer: May 2011

Hey, look at that.  It’s a new month, so it’s another chance for me to unbutton a shirt button to allow for optimal naval gazing.  April was an oddly productive month for me, which is largely to say that I was productive in odd directions.  The primary project of the month has been working on updates for my Lucha Libre story, something that’s turned into a pure joy to write and work on in a way few other stories have.  Almost a shame it’s so short, but there’s really nothing else I can do with it.  Going into May, that story is still going to get much of my focus because even though it’s not due until July 1, I’ve got a personal deadline of May 12 set.

In other projects, Future Lovecraft has just opened up, and yes, that’s the story I was talking about in my previous post.  I have a concept that I like, I just can’t quite crack the blank page to really get a start that I like.  Perhaps because I’ve got a few other stories running around my brain that are insisting on being told one-by-one.  These are the Steam Worlds.  These are the stories that came from my curiosity with the way that the Victorians imagined the earth and the cosmos working.  One already existed, then four more titles came about in the course of about an hour.  By the end, these stories will head to Mars, Venus, Phaeton, the Moon, and even inner Earth.  Right now they exist in the following formats:

  • Mars: Submitted to an anthology, still waiting to hear back (anxious, anxious)
  • Venus: Plot noodled.  I’m loving the plot I’m coming up with, which will include elements of Chernobyl, UrbEx, and 1940s air pollution disasters.  And robots.
  • Phaeton: Title with a vague X meets Y notion.  Least developed of the five.
  • The Moon: Change of title, change of focus, and suddenly there’s a story to be told here.
  • Inner Earth: This one depresses me a little.  Possibly the most ambitious theme and concept of the set.

I don’t know what will ultimately end up happening to them.  Mars, being in current circulation, could really help the others get told and sold.  Perhaps one day when several are sold and some rights revert they might merge together and be my first short story collection.  For now, I’ll search for homes where I can find them without worrying about continuity between them.  They don’t share characters, and don’t really share a timeline, they just exist in similar worlds.

Been reading too much Save the Cat.  Has me wanting to write another screenplay.  A proper one.  Maybe one that I could put up on Amazon Studio.  More on that if it actually starts happening.  Also been thinking about a certain xenophobe and his Serbian mentor.

State of the writer’s beer: Mustache Cat fermentation has slowed.  Bottling could happen this weekend, is more likely to happen next weekend.  Might be able to crack a bottle in time for June.  Looking at my options for batch two, considering a Ginger/Lemon/Honey Ale offered by Austin Homebrew.

It’s going to be a three Fortnightcap month.  First one will be up tomorrow, probably in the form of a new article.

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