Last call for SKIN JOB – and can you give me some advice/opinion?

if any blogger wants a copy of my novelette SKIN JOB for review, let me know…
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Last call for SKIN JOB

I’ve gotten some great support from the blogger community for my first stand alone ebook in the horror fiction genre. I really want to thank you all for your enthusiasm and help (especially those from the Long Time Bloggers Club). I asked the bloggers that I felt closest to and bloggers I knew the longest (only 5 – ones that I felt a bit of kinship and friendship with) if they would like to review my release. Then a few more expressed interest and I sent some more off into the blogger community for reviews.
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If any blogger that I haven’t asked, wants to review the book, I’ll be happy to send one over to you. You can leave a comment here or go to my contact page and email me.
 skin job cover art
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And now, on to the next….
I think that the novelette or novella is the way for me to move forward.

Can I get your opinion on these?

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Let me know which book sounds most appealing. Let me know which one you would want to read, which you think should be me next release. They are all written and would have to go through the next six months of editing processes. I’d love if you guys could help me make this decision…
Here are my choices for my next book release:
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Renfield’s Carnival (style: modern/monsters)
Julie, a young woman on the run from her abusive boyfriend collides with a rogue band of carnival of freaks. Led by the deformed snake-charmer, Renfield, the carny folk are attempting to resurrect an historical carnival in the Arizona desert despite opposition from the nearby townsfolk. The town had burnt down the carnival forty years ago when a local girl had gone missing. Now Julie has to fight her abuser while navigating her way through the age-old melee, and rebirth of Renfield’s Carnival.
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Shroud of the Crimson Queen (style: era late 1800’s/Hammer Films style)
London in 1885 is once again the scene for a string of horrific murders, but this time evidence points to a wild animal as the culprit. Doctor Edwin McKee, a pioneer in forensic investigation, teams up with Detective White, Scottland Yard’s top cop to hunt down clues and solve the mystery of these grisly murders as rumors and sightings of a gray lion within the city confines mount. Is it a man or a wild cat, or something even more sinister? This tale combines the crytozoology of Great Britain’s legendary gray lion and the detective partnership reminiscent of Holmes and Watson in the Hound of the Baskervilles to bring readers on a thrilling ride combining horror, mystery and action.
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Three Witches – (style: era late 1800’s) this would be three different olden tales about Witches, however the main novelette is about a cursed sea vessel, The Angel Witch, so it’s not actually a witch. The Angel-Witch – Set in the early 20th Century, Captain Ryan and his crew find themselves stuck in the windless doldrums after capturing a mythological fish for their client, the Countess Bisselle. To make matters worse, they spot a man on a raft who sleeps by day and walks at night. As his raft inches closer to the ship Captain Ryan decides to bring the man aboard to save him, but soon realizes he may be the one in need of saving as his crew plans a mutiny, and a larger evil looms.
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Stormbringer – (style: modern/monster) The novelette Stormbringer and two other tales. Lovecraftian.
As Hurricane Jehovah devastates the east coast, Matt Hoffman works to secure his family’s Connecticut mansion and keep it from ripping apart at the seams. However he will soon have to fight for his life and save his loved ones from a hidden danger. Under cover of the storm something has slithered out of the ocean and made claim to the ancient land where the mansion sits.
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So, vote below for the story you find most interesting:

Attention all Horror Writers, authors, and story tellers…

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Attention all Horror Writers, authors, and story tellers…

Parlor of Horror is gearing up for the 2nd annual Halloween Horror Best ‘Free Read’ on the Internet. There will be more info coming soon so keep an eye out here at Parlor of Horror for more info. For a look at last year’s winners and Top 25 Tales click this link:

https://parlorofhorror.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/25-super-terrific-terrifying-tales-for-halloween/


 

Stanley Kubrick’s, THE SHINING gets a new trailer for UK and Ireland Halloween 2016 Screenings:


 

Just want to let you all know I am participating in the “Keep Watching the Skies! Science Fiction Movies of the 1950s Blogathon!” from The Cinematic Frontier on Monday Sept. 26th through Wednesday Sept. 28th. The film I chose to review is 20 Million Miles to Earth by special effects titan, Ray Harryhausen and his partner Charles Schneer.

Click the logo to check out the nearly 20 films that will be reviewed during this blogothon!

look-to-the-skies-blogathon


 

Lastly, I got a nice boost for SKIN JOB on the charts from Amazon sales, thanks to the recent Blogger reviews and reviews on Goodreads and Amazon itself.

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#197 in Horror – Short Stories – is pretty decent, I think…

Thanks to all that have reviewed SKIN JOB up until this point:
By Hook Or Book, Book Reviews

JMount’s Written in Blood

Robbinsrealm Blog

Tranquil Dreams

The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger


 

My short story, Urban Legend #9 is now in Sirens Call eZine #27

Sexy-girl-using-computer

My short story, Urban Legend #9 is now in Sirens Call Zine #27.

Some of you may have read this story already on another website but out of the clear blue the other website deleted all their stories. This annoys me somewhat because when I offer my story to a website and they post it, the story is no longer ‘first run,’ it’s now a reprint and has lost some value. Thankfully The Sirens Call accepts some reprints and liked the story enough to accept it for this issue.
So now I have a more permanent home for this little story. You can download Sirens Call eZine #27 for FREE to your tablet, desktop, or your I-phone. There’s no request for your email, no strings attached. It downloads as a .pdf. It looks like a slick magazine, It’s nicely laid out and has some awesome horror from some infamous horror writers.

Sirens Call Ezine 27

Skin Job – Now Available on Amazon.com

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Skin Job
Sex, drugs, tattoos and mad monster violence!

 

My novelette, Skin Job, is now available on Amazon.com, for those of you that have been following my writing news and wish to give it a shot.dragon tat 1

 

There’s a real life struggle that unfolds in the story, not just with the monster, but with a situation that many, if not all of us, have to deal with at some point in our lives.

There is also a monster, a demon that takes pleasure in ripping lives and people apart. In my incarnation, the Car Nex Demon is a giant shape-shifter with some Lovecraftian monster qualities.


 

I’m hoping that some of you that I have met here in the past few years will download the story from Amazon and give it a read. It would mean a lot to me to hear your opinions and read your reviews (if you are so inclined).

I’m a horror fan just like you and I strived to put forth something that I would have liked to read. I think I’ve reached my objective. I’m hoping you will enjoy it too.

Thanks for your support, it will help me to move forward with my writing.

Skin Job
by Michael Thomas-Knight
on Amazon.com

skin job cover art darker

“Everyone makes mistakes; that is how we learn. You just have to hope that the mistakes you make in life don’t cost you everything.” MK


Skin Job is a novelette by the author/owner of this blog, Michael Thomas-Knight

Parlor of Horror – Horror Books

The World’s Most Evil Books – in movies and real life

The World’s Most Evil Books – in movies and real life

book of shadows

For conjuring, spells, invocations and summoning the dark powers and Demonic entities

Books for summoning dark powers, entities, and magicks are often called Grimoires. These Grimoires were often collections of incantations and spells that practitioners accumulated in their travels, rewritten in an orderly fashion. Some were more intensive studies by monks, Satanists and sorcerers interested in the dark arts and attempting to unlock the secrets of death and the great beyond. Here’s a brief look at some of the most powerful dark arts books in the world.



TheBlackPullett

The Black Pullet – 1700s

This book from 18th century Rome gives instructions and guides on creating and using Talismans. The magic of the rings is known to bring forth a multitude of extraordinary powers of protection, healing, and spellbinding. One such ceremony concerns producing the Black Pullet, known as the Hen with Golden Eggs, to build wealth and fortune.


Grand Grimoire - Cover

The Red Dragon aka: The Grande Grimoire – 1500’s

Presumed to have been dated back to the 1500’s this book is a prized source of black magic and demonic invocation. It is believed to have been transcribed from original writings of King Solomon, known to be a master of spells, rituals and pacts with evil.


Malleus Maleficarum

Malleus Maleficarum – 1486

aka: De Hexenhammer (German) / Hammer of the Witches (English) This famous book is a legal treatise on the hunting, detection and persecution of witches. Written in 1486 by Heinrich Kramer after he had been given full papal approval for Inquisition and prosecution of witches in 1484. Part of it is a guide on the rules and methods of conducting a witchcraft trial, including accusations, tortured interrogation and proving witches guilty. The book covers arguments against witchcraft and how to maintain that it is real, the powers of a witch and the demon’s recruiting strategies.


aemeth_jhp_sl313s

Liber Juratus – 1200’s

aka: The Grimoire of Honorius, is one of the oldest Grimoires known to man. It is said to have been created at a gathering of the world’s magicians and sorcerers for the expressed purpose of collecting all their knowledge into a single useful tool. This book of higher necromancy offers instruction on saving souls from purgatory, conjuring demons, casting spells and even powers of the church such as using angelic powers and seals. Its date of origin is unknown but can be traced as far back as medieval times in the 13th century.


egyptianparch

The Handbook of Ritual Power – An Ancient Egyptian Book of Spells – 700 AD

This is a 1,300-year-old book of bound parchment papers describing spells to accomplish many things including, controlling a person or freeing oneself from possession. It is written in Coptic and dialect points to its origins in the ancient cities of Ashmunein and Hermopolis. It could have been a rewriting and transitional documents of Sethian spells. It’s currently housed at the Macquarie University Museum in Australia.


necronomicon art

The Necronomicon – 1929

The Necronomicon was a fictional book created by HP Lovecraft in his story The Hound. It showed up in several other stories by himself and others after its first appearance and was described as written by The Mad Arab. It was not the book bound in human flesh as many people think. Although fictional, The Necronomicon was later the title of a “real” book of spells described as the Simon Necronomicon. The Simon Necronomicon is a two-part book. The first part is of how the editor, only known by the name Simon, came into possession of the book and his work to translate the book. It’s followed by the book of spells and identifiers. It claims to be able to summon entities to do your bidding or to ward off evil. The rituals are a mix of cultures including some Babylonian creation stories and Sumerian rituals.


Necronomicon Ex-mortis - Evil Dead

The Naturom Demonto – aka: The Necronomicon Ex-mortis – 1980

This is the fictional book that appeared in the Evil Dead films. It is purportedly written by The Dark Ones, who were banished into the Mirror Dimension, as a tool to release the Dark entities. This is the book that is described as bound in human flesh creating confusion and making people think that Lovecraft’s Necronomicon was also bound in human flesh.


tibetan book of the dead

The Tibetan Book of the Dead

The Tibetan Book of the Dead is meant as a guide for Buddhists when they die and enter the Bardo, the hell-like place that exists between life and death. The text also includes the Signs of Death, and rituals to perform when death is near, in order to help the dying in the afterworld.


The black pullet - talismans

The Book of Shadows – 1940’s

The Book of Shadows contains rituals and ceremonies for the Wiccan Neopagan religion. It was created in the late 1940’s by Gerald Gardener and used in his Bricket Wood Coven. Originally he had tried to keep the contents of the book a secret but with the expansion of the religion in the 1970’s and adaptations by Alexandrianism it soon became publically used by solitary practitioners and the demand for it led to published copies. The book had become popular after its usage in the TV show Charmed and other film references but the spells and rituals in the show never adhered to the content of the real book.


egyptian-handbook

The Hecate Scriptures – 1206 AD

My first discovery of this book was during research in my Theology class in college. I had taken notes on this book only to find at later dates the information gone. This book had instruction on how to use magic, spells and conjuring.  Also, the book supposedly disseminates the laws and rules of Hell itself. It has instruction on binding, conjuring and commanding evil entities and lists known demons of the time.



 

What you’re looking at here is my research notes for my story, Skin Job. I will often do in-depth studies to gain an understanding about what I’m writing in my tales. I wanted to make sure the actions in the story were consistent with the rituals and outcomes from interactions with these sacred texts. It was interesting study to find out about these books and the ceremonies contained within them.

In my story, Skin Job, Alex uses a conjuring spell also known as an invocation, to call forth the ‘Car Nex’ demon. The book is unnamed with no markings upon its cover. It could very well be one of the books I’ve mentioned here. The book also has power in of itself as it possesses Alex and haunts his dreams until he can’t resist using it. The book torments him until its powers of darkness are unleashed.

The Five Stages of Writing

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Do you want to be a horror fiction writer? The 5 Stages of Writing

The Five Stages of Writing

There are five stages I take to get a fiction story from inside my head to a finished work, ready for publication. You may find you follow these or similar stages. It’s a way of organizing my work. When I follow this in stages I never get stuck on what to do next and I never have to do the same work twice (such as rechecking the grammar after I’ve made changes to the story).


STAGE 1 – Incubation period

I’ll have an incubation period where I take the idea of the story and add to it as new thoughts come into my head. I’ll write notes about different scenes, descriptions of the characters, possible endings, develop scenes that will demonstrate the conflict(s) in the story best. Sometimes I’ll collect pics and photos from the internet and add them to a file folder. I’ll look at these pics in order to influence my story or help with descriptions.

I like to have times where I’ll sit in silence and let my imagination go into the story. I see a scene play out in my head like a movie and take mental note of the setting, characters and pacing. I do this without stopping to write anything down. If I stop to write, it breaks up the flow of the scene. Once the scene has played out to the end, I’ll put it on paper.

I will do some research on items, settings, people, cultural beliefs, similar story ideas, myths and legends, and anything else that will pertain to the story. If there is a mythology or a previous ‘world building’ that is accepted by the general public, then you have to follow those guidelines in order to keep the story in a suspension of disbelief. You can add to the mythology, but the basic premise has to coincide with people’s beliefs. For instance, if you’re writing a story about Slenderman and you give a description of his face that is inconsistent than the accepted mythology (he has no face) the reader will not continue reading.

I’ll also determine if a story is developed enough to ensure I can write freely. Sometimes I’ll do this with an outline, sometimes with notes I’ve been taking and other times I’ll have it all in my head.

writing hands b&w b

STAGE 2 – Write it

I’ll often think of the opening line first. What that will be, will depend on how close to the major conflict you want to start the story. It’s best to start in some sort of action, either physical, mental or dramatic, in order to get the reader hooked. It’s also important to get the reader emotionally involved with your character early on.

I’ll try to write a little every day until the story is finished. I don’t usually try to follow a word count quota. That works well for many writers, but if I force myself to write on a day when my mind isn’t completely engaged by my own story, I wind up throwing what I’ve written that day in the trash. So, I’ll start with a paragraph and if I get that ‘flow’ going, that energy that many writers call their muse, I’ll continue writing for as long as the ideas are coming. I’ll also write no matter where I am. If an idea comes to me when I’m out, I’ll pull out my kindle, write my scene in an email and send it to my desktop computer. When I’m home I’ll copy and paste it into my storyline.

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STAGE 3 – Edit it – (aka: drafting)

This is done many times, creating many drafts. This stage involves getting the story into shape so a reader will understand and enjoy it. I will work on pacing, settings, character development and arcs, story arc, and understandability (is that a word?). I’ll check the continuity. I’ll add more story to places that may need it and remove aspects that do not add to the story. One piece of advice I always liked was, make believe Judge Judy is going to read it. Does everything make sense? Do all the characters have sufficient motives to engage them in action. Are there irrational thoughts, actions, or motivations that can’t be explained? Does everything line up to the conclusion of the story? In this step I will not delve heavily into grammar. This step is about the story as a whole, not the individual words and sentences.

Other steps in this stage is to make sure the story follows the same tense all the way through. Make sure the story has a clear POV. I’ll check to make sure I’m using Active Voice, not Passive Voice.

Passive voice / active voice
A passive voice puts a barrier between the reader and the character, never letting the reader to be fully immersed in the character’s world. It’s like the difference between reading a good fiction novel or reading a story in a text book. Historical accounts in text books are almost always passive voice. While both can tell the story, only one will allow the reader to feel the emotion, empathy and impact of the story.

Each time I save the story after a period of editing it’s called a draft. You start with a rough draft and keep working on it until the final draft (finished product). This can take months for some stories. I might complete 10 to 20 drafts for a 3k word short story. If you write a story, then only check the grammar and spelling, most likely the story is not ready to be published.

writing-essay

STAGE 4 – Proofread it

This is the step where all the grammatical rules come into play. Word spellings, grammar, punctuation, verb/subject agreement, all that good stuff is checked during this stage. For very short stories I do all the proofreading myself. If the story is longer, I’ll send it to a proofreader and pay to have it done. It’s often difficult to proofread your own work because your mind sees what you want it to say, not what another reader will see. Using the spellcheck and grammar check in your Word or Writing programs is not good enough. It will not alert you to using the wrong words that sound alike, (homophones: there, their, they’re or where, wear), or having the wrong word in a sentence that is spelled right (such as ‘on’ instead of ‘one’).

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STAGE 5 – Format it

This is where I’ll set up the format of the story to get it ready for the editor’s review. It will have the proper spacing (either Shun formatting or editor’s specs), proper font and font size (I write in Arial, but most editors prefer Times New Roman or sometimes Georgia or Courier) and proper indents for new paragraphs. Do not use tabs to set indents as it will mess up formatting it to eBook. Use the paragraph format and set it to first line indent (usually+3 but check submission guidelines). At the top left you will have all your information, name address, phone, email, story name, word count, what book or zine issue you’re submitting to, the date, etc.

If you follow these 5 stages carefully, you will have a publish-ready story in your hands. Now to find a place for your creation. More advice on that in my next article.

slenderman old photo

 

Do you want to be a horror fiction writer? Terminology

I haven’t done a post like this in a while so I figured it was due. For my aspiring writers out there here’s some basic info for getting your work published.

skeleton-writing-letter

Do you want to be a horror fiction writer?
Getting published – Terminology

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Terminology – I thought it would be a good idea to review some of the terminology that is often part of the submissions page and instruction for publications for which you want to send a story. Some of this stuff is pretty basic but it is important to know for someone starting out.
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One of the big questions is what constitutes published/unpublished works.
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Unpublished – unpublished work is a story that has never appeared in a public forum anywhere. That includes in any book, magazine, webzine, on the internet, on your own blog, or on a forum even if it only got five hits. Some publishers/editors will make an exception for a story that was posted in a closed group, where you have to sign-in to read the stories and is there for the purpose of critique. Writers clubs, groups, and associations all fall into that category. The idea is the general public could not read it unless they are a part of that group and would have had to sign in. Also stories in these groups are usually not searchable in search engines. I will let the publisher/editor know if my story had been posted in a literary critique group and let them decide if they consider that published or not published.
Submission
Naturally, that is the story, poem or prose that you will send in (submit) to the publication.
Call for submissions
The publications call to writers to submit work based on their guidelines. It is usually posted on their websites, on listing pages such as Horrortree.com, Duotrope and on Facebook Open Call groups. There is often a reading window with a deadline.
Copyright
is the rights that you as a writer have upon creating your story and the right to let others (publications, websites, etc.) copy the material into their media presentations.
First English Language Rights
Many publications want First English Language Rights. That is, they want to be the first to offer the story to the public for reading in English. That means they want Unpublished work. They will often want an exclusive period where they won’t want you to have the story available anywhere else for the public to read. That could be from six months to a few years.
Reprints
If a call for submissions allows Reprints, that means you can send work that had been previously printed, posted, or offered in other media. Previously published works can be submitted as long as you have allowed for any exclusive time period to end.
Simultaneous Submissions
means you can send them a story or work that has also been submitted to another publication for review. Sometimes the reading periods and wait time is long for publications. If the call to submissions includes allowance for Simultaneous Submissions, you can send your story to several publications at the same time. You have the responsibility to let the other publications know immediately if your work was excepted elsewhere. Once accepted to a publication or website, in most cases, your work will be ineligible to be accepted into other publications until two things have happened; you have let the exclusivity time lapse and you resubmit the work as a reprint to publications that will accept reprints.
Multiple submissions
Means you can send more than one story, poem, or prose to the call for submissions.
Word counts
Submission calls usually have a preferred length of story. In your word program you will have to click on word count and the program will count the words. You will have to make that count clearly visible somewhere in your submission. The call will usually tell you where to put the word count. If it doesn’t, you can put it in your cover letter or directly following your tittle and byline. Everything that is separated by spaces is considered a word. ‘a’ is a word. A street or house number is a word. (215 13th Street = 3 words). An abbreviation is a word.
Byline
is your name, writing name, pseudonym and correct representation of that name. I like to be called Mike when I’m with my friends, but when my name appears in print as credit for writing a story, I like to use Michael – every time, everywhere.
Manuscript formatting
There is a standard way that your story should be formatted. However, with the advent of digital  submissions (email and form submissions), some of those rules have changed depending upon the publication. The Shunn Format was the standard for many years, but on the submissions page there may be preferences that the publications will want different. It’s best to start with the standard format and then change aspects according to special instructions.
File types
A Word document is .doc and .docx file types. However, with the Word format, depending on your computers age and Operating System, there could be difference in how your formatting looks compared to when the publisher opens the file to look at it. I prefer to save my files as .rtf documents which helps it have a uniform visual look no matter what program it is opened with. To save as an .rtf, open your story file, select SAVE AS, and then select .rtf from the drop down bar.
Author bio
Most publications would like a short Bio (biography), perhaps one paragraph about you the writer, written in third person (as if someone else had written it). They don’t want a full history of your life. Make no mistake, the author Bio is also a testament to your writing skills. Try to make it interesting and readable to someone that has no idea who you are and probably doesn’t care. You can see a sample of my BIO on my author page here: Michael Thomas-Knight, Author
Cover letter
Write a cover letter that is simple, with no frills. Just have a greeting and introduce yourself. Tell them your story title and what publication you’re submitting to. End with a thank you.
typing
“I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”
– Ernest Hemmingway
“If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.”
– Edgar Rice Burroughs

RULES-FOR-WRITING-PRODUCTIVITY-1