So, I've been working on a story for a while now. It's a weird one, definitely firmly in the realm of "weird fiction," and it was spawned from a really lovely writing group meeting I attended back before the world started ending in March of 2020.
The story itself is a bizarre one, lacking in answers, but deeply-creepy and strange, and, I like to think, a little touching. At least, that's what some of my critique group members have said.
And yet, I can't sell the damn thing.
I've edited the story three times now, more than I have any story that I've sold, and yet, I can't find a buyer or outlet for the thing, even though I think it's strong, and it's been worked on by a few different groups of talented authors, there's some weird reason this thing can't find a home.
It'll end up in my next anthology, for sure, but at the same time, I'd love to find it a temporary first home where folks can read it and get creeped out by it.
The missing ingredient needs to be found, and even after three re-writes, it's still not there. The point is, your stories and writing won't always be perfect, and more often than not, you won't know the reason why something isn't working.
The way to fix this is to get involved in writing groups and critique groups. It's a scary thing, for sure, but in the end, the feedback will make you a stronger writer, I promise. Check Facebook, check your local library, join an organization, do whatever you can to get your work looked at by different eyes, and I promise you'll grow from it.
Even when you can't figure out what the missing piece of the puzzle is, like me.
Robert P. Ottone will be hosting a number of online readings and events in the month of October in support of his new short story collection Her Infernal Name & Other Nightmares.
The dates and locations are as follows:
October 8th - Galactic Terrors (online)
October 13th - Brentwood Public Library (online registration required) - 7pm
October 14th - Riverhead Public Library (online registration required) - 7pm
October 29th - Jericho Public Library (online registration required) - 2pm
October 29th - Sayville Public Library (Facebook Live) - 7pm
*More To Be Added
"This is a collection of horror stories that dives into many different types of horror including creepy creatures and supernatural stories with some twists that I didn't see coming. All in all a very solid collection of dark nightmares." - @LastBookOnTheLeft (Instagram)
"One of his greatest strengths is this ability to pull powerful metaphors out of nightmarish horror yarns. Another is his skill in building ominosity in seemingly safe settings, whether it be a Midtown office building or a mountain cabin. Because of that, his psychological horror is especially powerful." - Rebecca Rowland, RowlandBooks.com
8/17/2020 1 Comment
Michael Jess Alexander's collection of masterful horror has received Indies Today's 5-star Recommended Badge! That means they really loved it!
We think you'll love it, too! Get your copy here!
Hey everybody! Spooky House Press is proud to announce that Michael Jess Alexander's collection of short horror fiction is now available in paperback and pre-order for Kindle from Amazon!
Please check it out here.
From the back cover:
From cultish rituals to cosmic horror, Michael Jess Alexander's collection of horror fiction will leave you disquieted and unsettled.
In "Chatterbox," a college professor is haunted by the spirit of a former student.
"A Profound Impact" tells the story of a lost group of people who finally find a place they belong.
In "Space For Amateurs," a science experiment goes horribly awry.
These tales and six others await you in this haunting volume of horror fiction.
Click here to read Robert P. Ottone's latest story, Support, over at Blood Moon Rising magazine's website! The story will be featured in his next collection, due out in September of 2020.
Jesus, do you see that guy to the left? The one whose head is exploding in a bouquet of paper, various typed notes on them? That's pretty terrifying to me. I'd love to go out like that, as though one day, the embarrassment of riches that lives in my head just can't be contained any longer, and my head just explodes with already-typed and edited material.
The other day, I was lucky enough to attend my first gathering of members of the Horror Writers Association, of which, I am a member, thanks to my publishing of People: A Horror Anthology About Love, Loss, Life & Things That Go Bump in the Night. I couldn't be more excited to meet with so many great, talented writers, most of them super-local and not far from me, so, it's a valuable opportunity to connect with them. At the first meeting I was able to attend, there was a discussion about writing, and overcoming the various hurdles that face writers, every day. Whether its having the time to write, or if the ending isn't making itself abundantly clear, whatever the excuse, it was sorta' touched on during the gathering. I was the newbie in the group, so I didn't want to monopolize the conversation, so I listened to these incredibly talented guys chat about their writing styles and modes.
I remember, years ago, I met an author named Keith DeCandido, lots of personality, huge genre guy. Very friendly and affable in my experience meeting and chatting with him. I remember him saying that he preferred to write at a specific time of day, as opposed to whenever. I, personally, have always found I'm most productive in the middle of the afternoon. I'm writing this very blog while sitting in a Brockport, NY restaurant, eating a haddock sandwich (with provolone cheese, thank you very much), hammering away on my laptop and eavesdropping on the conversations around me. In a few minutes, I'll be knee-deep in editing two stories I finished this past week, one vastly stronger than the other. This will continue into the late afternoon, until I decide to leave and either head back to Long Island, or find a hotel here in the snowy upstate regions most metro-NYers forget exists.
My point is, I suppose, is that it doesn't matter when you write. No time is better than any other, the key is to write when the inspiration strikes you. I get that we all have obligations, kids, work, whatever the case may be, but finding the time to decompress and write (or paint, crochet, knit, draw, whatever the hell you love to do) is just as important as the work you do every day. Without indulging one's passions, what's the point?
When I'm at work, I like to write during my off-periods, logging into the computer in the teacher's lounge and hammering out a few pages a day. I'm lucky I get to do that, other folks, locked in cubicles, don't get to, so I get it. If you want to write, just write. Find the time, no matter when it is, and exorcise your demons.
Robert P. Ottone is an author, teacher, and cigar enthusiast from East Islip, New York. He delights in the creepy.