Tag Archives: Horror fiction

Prepare For Release!

We are plummeting towards the full release of my first novel “Camp Arcanum” at a rapidly increasing rate. Editing is essentially done, just a matter of blurbs on the back cover now. I just got word from Eric at Post Mortem Press that Camp Arcanum is up on the website for preorder of hard-copy with the eBook actually available now!

I am taking an opportunity to breath into a small paper bag for a few moments.

We have a cover. We have a pretty manuscript. We have a great small press behind us. It’s time to jump now!

Camp Arcanum is an occult comedy about sex, magick and power tools. It follows the standard romantic plot of Boy meets Witch; Boy loses Witch; Witch’s ex tries to kill boy with Invisible Tentacle Demon.

Here’s a picture of the cover:

Camp Arcanum

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It’s all become incredibly real…

“Have I mentioned I have a book coming out?”

I say this every other day in my normal job’s daily huddle.  It has become a punch line that keeps getting funnier since I first announced my contract at the end of last August.  My First Novel has become something more than a holding pattern and a promise this last Tuesday.

I got the first round of edits completed from the editor and found only a handful of content changes to be made.  98 per cent of the mark up was commas, quotes, and formatting.  I grew up sloppily following White & Strunk; Post Mortem Press adheres to Chicago Style Manual.

They’re paying for my book. They win.

The publisher and I had a short back and forth via Facebook messaging on the cover design.  Won’t go into details for fear of spoiling things, but there is one object on the cover where there would be three in the actual story.  The publisher said that would make things too crowded.  I agreed saying: “This is storytelling, not accounting.  We can owe the readers the other two (cool things) inside the book.”

See, in spite of everything a certain theater group says, I can work and play well with others.

I have a manuscript.  I have a book cover.  I have a release event at Millenicon the weekend of March 14th.

I b an Author!  How the Hell did that happen?

BTW, authors engage in ruthless self-promotion.  Here it goes:

“Camp Arcanum” is an occult comedy about magick, sex, and power tools.  Marc Sindri, a contractor with a bad history with crazy people who believe in magick, is sent to Arcanum Ohio to build a renaissance faire. He finds a small town hip deep in witches, demons and reanimated roadkill.  To thwart his deadlines even further, he gets caught in a triangle between Brenwyn, the head of the local Wiccan coven, and her ex Jeremiah Stone, associate professor of demonology at Arcanum University.

Keep coming back for more details on this funny/scary story that has noting to do with my own past love life.


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Horror Stories We’ve Seen Too Often

I was poking around the internet, trying to track the final disposition of a story submission, and I came across this on the web site for the magazine “Strange Horizons”.  Finding it to be the most helpful thing I have seen in a coon’s age, 2-3 years in the wild/20 as a pet, I immediately stole borrowed with proper credit for the illumination of others like myself who spontaneously come up with the exact same story that thousands of other writers have done already.


The following list is an attempt at classifying the kinds of horror-story plots that we receive too frequently. We have a separate page for non-horror stories we’ve seen too often.

Note that we’re not generally interested in horror of any kind; this page simply lists some particular kinds of horror stories that we see especially often.

Main plot types are numbered; subspecies and variants receive letters.

This is not a canonical list of bad stories or story cliches. This is a list of types of stories that we at SH have seen too often; it’s not intended to be a complete list of all types of bad stories, nor are all the items on the list necessarily bad.

We recognize that horror stories are often more about mood or tone than about original plots. Still, these plots and ideas are particularly common in the horror stories submitted to us.

  1. Serial killer or vampire stalks and slays victim(s).
    1. The tables are turned at the end. (For example, the intended victim turns out to be a vampire or other powerful supernatural creature.)
    2. The serial killer is insane.
    3. The serial killer is under supernatural influence.
    4. The serial killer was abused as a child.
  2. Person is insane, and kills a lot of people because of it.
    1. The insanity is due to supernatural influence.
    2. The insane person does property damage instead of killing people.
  3. Protagonist sits around for a while.
    1. In the end, it turns out protagonist is dead.
    2. In the end, it turns out protagonist is a serial killer.
  4. Evil creature kills lots of people.
    1. In the end the creature escapes to kill again.
    2. The creature is disguised as something cute.
  5. Person sees mysterious things that nobody else can see.
    1. Person has unreasonable dread of a Thing that nobody else can see; in the end the Thing gets the person after all.
    2. Person has bad dreams; they turn out to be real.
    3. In the end, it turns out the person is crazy.
    4. In the end, it turns out someone is drugging the person.
  6. Warnings are ignored, with unfortunate consequences.
    1. Person is warned to Always Do something; fails to do it; thereby sets Nameless Evil free.
    2. Person is warned to Never Do something; does it anyway; thereby sets Nameless Evil free.
  7. A place is haunted or scary. [No, this isn’t a plot, but we do receive plotless place descriptions in which this is the only point.]
  8. Child is abused.
    1. The tables are turned at the end.
    2. The abuser is under supernatural influence.
  9. Person is targeted by Evil Thing; in the end, Evil Thing kills person.
  10. Horrible things happen to person in the end, either as punishment or irony.
    1. Person is a bad person; in the end, they get their comeuppance                when unspeakably horrible things happen to them. [A.k.a. the Twilight  Zone plot.]
    2. Person attempts to kill or dispose of spouse; in the end, the                tables are turned.
    3. Person isn’t such a bad person; but in the end, unspeakably horrible things happen to them anyway.
    4. Person wants or wishes for something, and they get it without                any trouble, but it results in horrible things happening to them.
  11. Therapist enters into the thoughts of serial killer in prison, via telepathy or VR. [a.k.a. the Cell plot.]
  12. Initiate into religion discovers that the religion is actually killing/destroying  its initiates.
  13. Alien creature lays eggs under the skin of a human.
  14. A kid has an imaginary friend, but the adults don’t believe in it. In the end, the imaginary friend turns out to be real and eeeevil.
  15. There are zombies. [We have published zombie stories in the past, but very rarely, and at this point any story featuring zombies is an extremely hard sell for us.]

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The Wicked Library: Chrismassacre II

The horror fiction podcast “The Wicked Library” has their second Christmas episode “Chrismassacre II” up online now.  It has thirteen short stories by twelve different authors, including me.  If you like you Christmas gory, frightening and stark, this is the thing for you.  My contribution, “The Last Magical Christmas”, is actually just a little creepy with a tinge of humor.  Do not listen to this around small children or high-strung animals.  Enjoy and Merry Christmas!


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