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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Updates Galore!

Recently I participated in Miss Snark's First Victim "Secret Agent Contest." These monthly contests allow aspiring authors to get an intimate review of their work from a well established literary agent. It's a very cool blog and a very welcoming community with tons of opportunities to refine your craft, compare experiences with other aspiring others and hopefully get noticed by an agent!

This month's Secret Agent just so happened to be Rachelle Gardner at Word Serve Literary. Though she did not choose my manuscript (wisely, because it really doesn't jive with what she's looking for), she did leave some very positive and constructive feedback. And that's really what I'm after these days!

In other news, the The Literary Lab is hosting a short story contest featuring prizes in six different genres: science-fiction/fantasy, horror/crime, literary, romance/women's fiction, children's literature/middle grade/young adult, or experimental. Check them out!

I'll be attempting to submit a short story in each category.
Wish me luck!


Monday, October 12, 2009

SY:1 – Day Two

Hard to believe that earlier this very year, America and the other world powers were united as never before. It wasn’t a war that brought us together, or a terrorist attack. It wasn’t a threat from without, but a mutual understanding from within. 2020, the Year of Hindsight, marked one of the greatest and most humbling achievements of mankind.

Two American scientists, now as famous as Watson and Crick, had demonstrated the creation of life. Not only did they spontaneously generate new life forms, but they proved that those organisms could survive and replicate, even evolve. Years of research lifted them up onto the shoulders of giants, of Gods. It was this revelation that sparked the great debate: the existence of God.

2020, the Year of Hindsight. We as a human race looked back on our known history with a new understanding. Science was our new religion, Knowledge our new God. There was quite the schism among the people and those wounds have yet to heal today. But with a fresh perspective, free of dogmas and irrational rhetoric, the developed nations of the world declared a new era. They decried the conflicts of the past and promised a better future and an unprecedented time of discovery.

The year was 2020 AD, a religious relic anchoring our present in the conflicted past. The new year was secular and scientific, with a focus on space exploration. Space Year, Secular Year or Scientific Year, whatever one’s opinion it was still SY: 1. A new beginning.

How ironic it is now that I find myself huddled in a church amongst strangers, waiting for the Gods of the sky to destroy us, or God-willing, pass us by. A strong pair of hands, many hands actually, pulled me from the streets into sanctuary as I was gathering supplies. I was the last one saved. We’ve barred the doors.

I can see a woman’s face outside the clear glass. A woman in her forties maybe, terror stretching her face. She’s begging us to let her in. It’s too late for that.

Though the behemoth sky ship is maybe 100 miles away still, it has sent out scouts. Smaller shimmering copies of the giant ship blistered off and raced toward our city. Each the size of 747s, they move with astonishing speed and maneuverability. What’s more terrifying is their weaponry, or whatever it may be. All I know is that once their beams of light touch you, you’re done for. Thanks to these strangers, I was saved. It could have been her safe inside here instead of me. She was a moment too late.

A beam of light shoots down from one of the smaller, shimmering ships that hovers above us. For a second it shakes the walls of our sanctuary with resonating force. It lights up the woman’s face and she stares directly at me. Not at the light source, but at me. In the next second she is gone, vaporized. The shaking stops. The scout ship leaves.

This is how we survive day to day. Scurrying like rats for supplies, seeking shelter at every turn. Only one more day now until the real terror arrives.

God help us when it does.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Life Resumed

The last couple of weeks in September consumed nearly every spare hour of my life. Aside from the other organizations I'm involved in (and oh yeah, that pesky full-time job) I've spent that time re-editing, revising and polishing my novel, Crawl. Why you ask?

Other than it being good practice in general, there was a contest sponsored by and Leisure Fiction at Dorchester Publications called the "Fresh Blood Contest." They were looking for unpublished authors with a fully-finished horror manuscript. Cha-ching!

Rather than bore you with details concerning the painstaking process of hacking and chopping a novel to pieces, then stitching and reviving it into something better than when it began, I'll just say this: added a new character, filled out some others, added a couple of chapters to round out the story and provide some more description and put a few touches into the concluding chapter.

The finalists for the contest will be posted in November of this year. I will update you guys on my novel's status either way!

Until then, I will continue to post new chapters of "SY:1" as well as update the blog. Currently I'm trying to decide which project I want to tackle next. This weekend I'll be plotting out four of those projects, hopefully picking a winner by Monday. The worthy competitors are:

SPECTRUM - a sci-fi detective thriller set in a dystopian future
Romero Strain - a post-apocalyptic zombie survival novel
Crock - an adventure story mixing treasure hunting, cutthroat criminals and Irish folklore. A pairing of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" meets "O' Brother, Whereart Thou"
The Appleseed Murders - crime/thriller, a hardboiled detective tracks a serial killer who plants seeds in his murdered victims' remains

Since it's October with Halloween on the horizon, and I just saw Dead Snow and Zombieland this week, and I'm currently reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies...I might be leaning towards The Romero Strain. Time will tell!