Update: Shadows and Stars and The Chamber, April 28, 2021

It’s 2:50 a.m. and I am starting to feel the pinot noir. I still have a couple of glasses to go.

I am getting back to working on Shadows and Stars. I have been working on Lycanthrope since January, because ideas have been coming to me for Lycanthrope, while Shadows and Stars is becoming increasingly complex and ideas are not coming, if at all, as they once were. I am re-assessing Shadows and Stars and am trying to come up with a denouement that is more all-encompassing, more pervasive than my original idea. I want to have the denouement to be powerful, to explain/reveal more than I had originally envisioned, which was just to reveal the protagonist’s true nature.

Damn, it feels so good to have had a glass of wine too many and be watching clips from the old Tonight Show, which I loved as I was growing up. It’s too bad that it’s 3:00 a.m. and I have to get up at 7:00. It’s nothing I haven’t done before many times. Right now, I am watching The Tonight’s Show 17th Anniversary special (on YouTube). I miss the early 1960’s Tonight Shows, when guests would not only smoke and drink on set, but would often be outright drunk. Right now, Burt Reynolds is squirting a can of whipped cream down Johnny Carson’s pants.

Now Sally Fields, then Burt Reynolds’s girlfriend, on a later show is squirting shaving cream onto Johnny Carson’s head and face.

Carson returns the favor by squirting shaving cream down Sally Fields’s cleavage, on her head, and down her shin.

Today’s television is so damned staid.

This pinot noir is not great, but it’s good enough. It gets the job done.

Steve Martin is on there now. The original “wild and crazy guy”. Today’s generation will never know just how wild and crazy Steve Martin was in his early years.

Anyway…on with The Chamber.

The Chamber is going great guns. I have ten stories in draft. Most need just minor fine-tuning before I post them.

Pie -in-the-face gags now. Hilarious!

Now, back to The Chamber. I am getting a lot of submissions from a lot of great, professional authors. Even the stories I am receiving from authors that have only a few publication credits for a few short stories in a few magazines are really go. It is rare that I have to turn a story down. I feel that I am rather lucky in comparison to many magazine publishers.

I am also learning a hell of a lot about marketing and publicity, too much to write about in this short article. Maybe I will write about it later. The key, though, is to publicize whatever you to the max. I hear something about Bieber (even though I really despise his a**), Megan Three Stallion, Brittney Spears, or whoever, I realize he/she is publicizing himself/herself to the max, which is not only necessary, but essential, to get to the level of the upper strati of the public consciousness that they occupy. I have often thought that every time Madonna farts, it makes the national news. After having studied marketing and publicity for only a short while, that that extreme of self promotion (I am rather humble and backwards, very much an introvert, by nature) is necessary to reach the level of exposure they have in the public’s eye is necessary to their financial success.

Anyway, I have had enough Pinot Noir tonight (it’s 3:45 a.m.) that I am calling it quits while I am seeing only double.

Au revoir. Hasta manana. Bis spaeter.

Reflections on a Wasted Life

Here is a video I created as an experiment, not to tell a story so much as to capture a mood.

Here is a video I created as an experiment, not to tell a story so much as to capture a mood. Let me know what you think. What mood do you think it captures? How does it make you feel? How much part does the music play in reflecting what is happening in the films as well as in setting the mood.

By the way, I made this film from elements available in the public domain. I did no actual filming myself. I certainly did not compose the music.

Update: The Chamber and My Writing

Shadows and Stars

I have been busy establishing The Chamber over the past month or more and my writing has therefore suffered. The beautiful spring weather here in Arkansas seems to have brought in a severe bout of laziness as well.

On a personal note, as of April 3, I have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Nonetheless, I still follow CDC guidelines as regards wearing a mask and, maintaining social distance. The vaccine is 95% effective, so there is a small chance I could catch Covid-19 or one of its mutants anyway. Wearing a light mask and keeping my distance from strangers (who I normally don’t want to be close to anyway) are very small prices to pay to minimize my chances of dying slowly and miserably.

I was working great guns on Shadows and Stars until I started to be overwhelmed with double-checking all the details and was stumped on working in an additional chapter that I wanted but wasn’t certain if it was necessary or if it might be too much. I need to trim the book down anyway. At that time, I started getting a lot of ideas for Lycanthrope and work furiously on it for a while until I started running out of ideas. I still intend to finish both asap though.

At that point, I started getting a lot of ideas for The Chamber Magazine and started working furiously on that. Now, I have it at a good point, so I can now get back to writing on Shadows and Stars for a while.

I have made a lot of format changes (mostly simplifying things) and some behind the scenes mechanical changes as well, fine tuning it to attract a lot more writers as well as readers. I have also had it listed on two submission engines, Duotrope and The Submission Grinder and with Arkansas Writers. I will submit it to others, including the Horror Writers Association soon.

I have also examined the statistics for The Chamber since resurrecting it (it had been a failed project of mine that had been languishing in the background for several years) and wrote up a summary that can be used as something of a media kit to publicize it and to submit it to different organizations for listing. A copy is below for your information and edification.

The Chamber Magazine, an online magazine headquartered near Gillett in Arkansas County and founded by Phil Slattery, is seeking submission of quality short, contemporary dark fiction (of any genre) and dark poetry (of any style) . It can be found at https://thechambermagazine.com.

The Chamber has been operating since December 2020 and has been steadily growing. To date, the website has had 8,083 hits. It has from 15-270+ visitors/week resulting in 100-800+ views/week. Because The Chamber is striving to create a worldwide readership, since our opening we have had visitors from 65 nations. 

The Chamber accepts submissions from writers of all experience levels from around the world. Some of its writers have only a few publication credits of short stories while others, such as Niles Reddick and Marcelo Medone, are professional writers with several novels to their credit. 

The Chamber is looking for articles, reviews, essays, poems, and short stories of approximately 7,500 words or less including flash, micro fiction, smoke longs, drabbles or of any flavor of short fiction that demonstrates the art of writing dark fiction, whether it be prose, poetry, one-act plays, or any other form of literature. The Chamber wants to showcase the genre in all its subtlety, intelligence, art, horror, terror, suspense, thrill-seeking, and gruesome detail. The Chamber will also accept dark humor provided it follows the guidelines below with regards to content and good taste. At this time, The Chamber is not interested in anything of the erotica or young adult genres. Specifics are available on the submissions page of the website: https://thechambermagazine.com. Visit the website to find out more.

There is no pay for submissions except for a publication credit and exposure to the market. However, the writer keeps all rights to his/her work. Often, The Chamber offers (by invitation only) its more experienced writers the chance to participate in an interview of about fourteen questions.

The Chamber will accept reprints, multiple submissions, and simultaneous submissions.  

The Chamber can be found on Duotrope (Duotrope: Find markets. Track submissions. Get published.) and The Submission Grinder (The Submission Grinder (diabolicalplots.com)).

All submissions, queries, and questions should go to thechambermagazine@gmail.com.

Photo of woman in red turtleneck with face mask
Prevent the spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19. Follow federal, state, and local guidelines. Use common sense when the guidelines are insufficient.

Update: The Chamber on YouTube

Here’s an update on what’s happening at The Chamber.

The Chamber Magazine

Over the last few days, I have been experimenting with developing a YouTube presence for The Chamber. At this point, I am not much of a filmmaker. I don’t have the time, experience, or equipment to develop a professional YouTube video. Ergo, I have been experimenting with public domain, royalty-free videos I can find at Pexels.com or Pixabay.com using free video editing software at Kizoa (using the basic free membership demands that I have the Kizoa logo on my works) or the very simple stuff available using the YouTube Studio editor. Above is about the best film I have developed so far. I have a longer one of a minute and fifteen seconds in the works. As I get the hang of making these, they are becoming easier to make.

I have not yet developed an ultimate goal for these videos other than to use as basic advertising on YouTube…

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