Arm Cast Podcast

Recently, I was the guest on the Arm Cast Podcast hosted by Armand Rosamilia.

We talked about the anthology we’re both in (Arterial Bloom), pretending to be pro wrestlers, getting started in fiction, and the ever-changing game of publishing.

It was my first ever podcast interview and Armand was a really great person to chat to.

Happy listening!

In-Sentence Suspense

This is from the first exercise Matt Bell has posted on his “Writing Exercises” emails about creating an “in-sentence” suspension.

To briefly, and poorly, explain it’s about creating a simple sentence and then delaying the ending by using prepositions but you can also use a whole slew of other techniques. I realise I’m not explaining this well but…

Matt explains it much, MUCH better in his exercise emails which you can sign up for here.

My sentence was originally –

I have seen many places, but none of them like this, and I smile.

I liked what came out after about twenty minutes of writing, even though I didn’t really stick perfectly to the instructions given. Anyway, here it is in case anyone would like to read a very long sentence.

I have seen many places, from the safety of my head, beneath the twilight of an ocean sky, bouncing past deserts inside a broken and comically packed van where bad breath and B.O. reigned supreme, or ferried over water with sunburned skin alive and itching, accompanied by the monologue within, that spoke at length about things I don’t remember, with friends, lovers, companions, coworkers, guides, people I hardly knew at all or ever would again who spoke in languages and cadences once readily understood but now simply forgotten, steered to view the world from someone else’s vantage because the view was better or they told you that’s how it’s supposed to be seen, where obligingly you might capture the tired eyes and shining teeth of strangers, through variations of heat and darkness, constricted by limits of vision, or a willingness to witness (often, but not always, one and the same), from such great heights where cities look like galaxies or deep caverns where stalactites look like the distant skyscrapers on an absurd, forgotten, rusted planet, and the thought of a familiar blanket was not far away, but none of them like this, like you, and I smile. 

Some lovely words about “Mouths Filled with Seawater”

Last week (on my birthday, no less) my friend Kev Harrison let me know of this interview over on Writers, After Dark.

Mercedes M. Yardley, the editor of Arterial Bloom, said some lovely things about my first ever published story “Mouths Filled with Seawater”.

“It is dreamy and obsessive and terrifying and beautiful.”

Mercedes M. Yardley

On top of that, I was in the top three stories she chose from the anthology!

Needless to say, I was levitating for the rest of the day.

It’s a great interview and packed with interesting bits about publishing, writing, and submitting to anthologies.

You can listen to the full thing here

Arterial Bloom Review

“Arterial Bloom injects the ‘literary’ piece into the horror genre with works that excel in well-crafted surprises, powerful senses of place and character, and works that stand out from the crowd. Contributors to this anthology are diverse in their approaches, plot development, and themes, and so under the general ‘horror’ umbrella there is no unifying purpose other than to gather works that are truly exceptional.”

Six Easy Steps to Never Get Published

My housemate and I were recently talking about jiu jitsu and goals. I say recently, but really we talk about these things every other day. 

Essentially, we were talking about having hard and soft goals. 

With jiu jitsu, for example, I aim to get to AT LEAST 1 class per week – this is my HARD goal. A goal that I pinky-promise CANNOT break. 

But *ideally* I’d love to get to 3 or even BONUS ROUND 4 – this is my SOFT goal. A goal that would be cool to get but if I don’t no big deal. Life happens. 

It helps my mental state because if I hit 1 class then I’ve done my job for the week. I’m never going to compete in ADCC or a huge international IBJJF tournament. Nor am I looking to transition to the world of MMA. So training SUPER HARD isn’t really very important to me. 

I do jiu jitsu because it’s exciting, invigorating, and is really different from most of my other hobbies which are largely spent sitting about on my bum. 

“Write every day” will kill you

Well maybe not you per se, but quite possibly your will to create and isn’t that the same thing? 

It seems reasonable on the surface but there are a rake of reasons why this might not work for you. And as you miss days you’re going to feel shittier and shittier about yourself and your writing.  

Writing every day is the Soft goal.  

Livia Llewellyn only writes on the weekends and she’s amazing so, take that as your model, if you want. 

Six steps to obscurity 

So now you’re on board, what else can you do to add to the HARD/SOFT game? 

My new addition is “actually submitting stories.”

I’ve been writing in a serious capacity for about 6 years now. But I have practically zero publications. 

Why’s that? I hear you half-heartedly ask, worried I’ll continue on. 

Well, I’ll tell you, eager reader, in the form of a list. 

Below I give you Jonathan Cosgrove’s 6 Step Guide to Never Getting Published

  1. Spend an inordinate amount of time writing a story 
  2. Show it to one or two people 
  3. (Optional Step: Submit to one magazine)  
  4. Throw in digital-drawer 
  5. Forget about story
  6. Repeat 

If I were to show you my Submission Grinder it would be hella embarrassing. I just don’t set aside the time to submit and I genuinely wonder why I’m not getting published. 

But this year/decade/I’m changing all that. I’ve added Submitting to my goal setting. It’s equally as important as the writing, I think. Especially if you’re looking to actually get anywhere with the aul writing. 

So my goal is now 1 day to submit a week. 1 story – 1 magazine. 

At the moment I have three stories out so I’m well above average but likely some of them will be rejected.

Hopefully when the rejections come in I’ll hop back on Submission Grinder and submit that shit right away! 

Happy hunting.