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Archive for the ‘Writing Life’ Category

I’ve finally gotten around to updating my publications page with links to the blog posts I wrote for Apex and Science in My Fiction from August until now. I’ve hit my year blogging with @apexbookcompany and will hit my anniversary with @sciinmyfi in May. I picked up a new market, EMG Zine. I realized I’d be getting fresh traffic from that post and decided to refresh this site to greet them properly. Now I just need to make more fiction sales to add to the sheet and I will be happy.

Hello to the new faces and old friends stopping by my site. Hope you guys are doing well. Leave me a comment and let me know you’ve visited.

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Apex Book Company Blog

Lessons Learned in Haxan

Some of you might remember Kenneth Mark Hoover from his guest post helping me roast Jennifer Brozek. This blog entry discusses my time as a first reader for his Haxan weird western series. Hope you enjoy it and please check out the series if you get a chance.

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Apex Book Company Blog

Bipolar and the Practicing Writer

This was one of the hardest posts I’ve written. It was also the first one I’ve posted as the web content editor.

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Traffic here is driven by how often I post and how much I promote the entries. It is also fed by flowthrough from the places I comment and leave this link. I have two book reviews I am behind in posting. I set this website up to put a professional spin on my efforts and to be a hub for my activities. I find it hard to quantify some of the things I do in my writing life much less recount them here. This was to be the home of author platform which is a concept Justine Musk explains very well.

I joke often that I am leading thirsty horses to an empty stream. One of these days I will have more publications of my own for you to check out. For now I am just as happy to share the work of my friends and other talented folks with you and send you in their direction. That thrills me. You come here and then head there. I thank you for that. I thank you for your support and encouragement most of all. You help keep me going. Thanks for 4000+ hits. When we hit 5000, we will have to have a virtual party.

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           The Captain didn’t rest at Massacre Pond.

            His body was buried there and a monument erected, memorializing the tragic day the good Captain and his valiant men were culled from this earth by my people, the Micmac.

            Yet still he roams.

            Some say he lost his wife and child to a raid. Others say his widow married twice after. Whatever the reason, it is certain that he spent much of his life killing Indians, innocent or otherwise. He once decapitated a man and left his head on a spike as a warning to the other savages. That warning proved an invitation to his murder. He lingers there now.

            Sightings of the gangly settler covered in blood surfaced every few years. His notoriety was renewed by the ghost buzz each Halloween. The most recent tale featured an evil specter hoisting the blinking head of his last victim. A local firefighter encountered the Captain at the edge of his 300 year old residence, now the local tavern. 

            Ghost stories were not told at our dinner table.  Mom warned discussing the dead would open a doorway into our home. In the case of the Captain, it would be sending an engraved invitation to the worst hell could offer. Just the same, his legend was known in my household. His haunts were personal not random.  He was more than folklore for the descendants of his executioners. I knew something the townspeople didn’t.

            He still hunts us, the savages.

            I was twelve when I first encountered the Captain. He stood there in plain sight. His tattered clothing touted stains from the blood of his victims. The red grime seemed to gleam as if freshly showered on his person.  There was old blood as well, the black kind that looked more like mechanic’s grease, smeared on his arms and neck.  The reality of him was much worse than any fable circling the town.

            I saw him from a short distance as dusk settled on the marsh. He was bold. He counted on my recognition. His appearance was intentionally hideous, a wretched sight. The snowy egret drew my eyes to his as it took flight.  I couldn’t look away. Something passed between us even at that distance. My body shuddered without warning, suspension of disbelief. His gruesome countenance compelled everything in my being to run. Fight or flight; no just flight. In shocked protest at my hesitation, my jelly legs faltered then failed, spilling me to the ground.

            His sneer was triumphant. His pitch eyes and black hole mouth gaped at me. He was closer now. The edge of the marsh contained him. My parking lot seemed a false sanctuary as I reached for mom’s car door. Hurry! Oh please hurry. She saw nothing. I am not sure which was more frightening, his appearance or her indifference.

            I said nothing to her. How could I? She didn’t see him. She looked right through him. I spent the ride home trembling and praying to the Creator for protection. I also watched the horizon behind us with diligence for the bloody hunter.

            In my dreams, he chased me through the Scarborough Salt Marsh screaming and howling that he would end my life. I woke in a sweat, terrorized and sore, ragged when my mom saw me. She was concerned. “He got to you; didn’t he?” She knew the answer. She had seen him. She reached around her neck. With a white face and trembling hands, she passed her necklace to me; a small dream catcher. “He has been chasing our family for centuries. There is no Micmac tribesman in Maine safe from this vengeful monster.” We sat facing. She rested her hands on my arm after fastening the catch. “We wear these to protect us from more than bad dreams. You can’t leave it over your bed. You must wear it at all times.”

            I didn’t speak. For once, I just listened. She told his familiar tale. “He waits until we see him, until he connects. He uses our dreams to extinguish us. You will see him. He is here. He remains. He can’t touch you, though. Not if you wear this. You must wear your dream catcher.”

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Apex Book Company Blog

Practice and the Practicing Writer

My latest blog post is up over at Apex. Please go take a look and leave me some comment love.

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Jennifer’s mom was kind enough to pitch in for the roast. She was the first volunteer in fact. She was also the first person to turn in a story. That must run in the family.

Ms. Sigrid Brozek takes the mic:

In this life there are those people who never have a nickname … and those who have nicknames galore.  Jennifer is one who “collects” nicknames.  One of the nicknames she had was “Calamity Jane”.  She earned that.  It started with all the usual childhood accidents/injuries/mishaps that everyone goes through, then added a few more notable incidents.

 

  • She and her twin brother were born in Alaska at Elmendorf AFB outside of Anchorage.  When she was three, Mom, Dad and older sister were in the backyard working.  She and her brother were supposed to be taking a nap – or at least having quiet time.  Well, Jenn really, really wanted to be outside with us.  Not sure exactly what she was trying to do – watch, or escape through the window, but somehow she got stuck half in and half out of the window (no screens).  She couldn’t go the rest of the way out and she couldn’t get back inside.  We were called to the window by cries of “Help me, somebody, help me!”  She was clearly stuck and in no danger. It was so funny, I laughed till I cried. It has become a watchword in our family.


 

  • Belgium was a dangerous place for Jennifer. 


 

  • She went to school in a Belgian school that only spoke French (she didn’t.) and survived. 


 

  • That was also where she decided to see if a 220 light bulb was hot and stuck her thumb on it.  It was!  She got a badly burned thumb for her efforts.


 

  • She cut her hand to the bone with a bread knife and had to be rushed to the ER.


 

  • She tried to drive and put the car into neutral causing it to roll out and completely block the roadway.  We lived on a very sharp curve, not 90 degrees but probably 75 or 80.  It was down the road a half mile or so from a sugar beet factory and huge trucks raced past our house all the time. Needless to say, it ended well. 


 

  • And there was the time she fell from a second story window inches from an old style water pump.  We were living in a 300 year old house that had 18 foot ceilings.  She should have been badly hurt.  But another trip to the ER showed only a small bruise on her shoulder.


 

Through it all she was usually stoic and didn’t complain.  She has always been my adventurous one.  She always wanted to try new things and was never afraid of getting lost.  She wanted to be different.  She wanted to be the eccentric auntie.  She’s pretty much achieved whatever she set her mind to.  It was not easy most times, but if she set the goal, she kept at it until she attained it.  If someone else set the goal, maybe she would do it, maybe not, depending on whether it suited her. 

Jenn’s Response:

I am a danger to myself though rarely to others.

 

I suppose it is a good thing that I don’t remember much of Alaska. It might have been traumatizing otherwise. However, I have to admit, the image of a kid, perfectly balanced in a window so that they could not go forward or back, is a funny one. Especially Mom’s mimic of what I apparently sounded like.

 

Belgium was an interesting time. To be fair, I was actually trying to turn off the light when I stuck my thumb on it. It was Dad’s “Oh, look, fried thumb for dinner” that made me holler louder.  Actually, the more I think about Belgium, the more surprised I am that I survived it.

 

And people wonder why I’m content to be the weird aunt to my nieces. I know what kids do to themselves.

 

Oh, and the part about getting lost… I can’t help it. I have a heroically bad sense of direction.

 

That’s a wrap for the Jennifer Brozek Roast. Please visit the landing page for more entries!

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