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You are Invited to The Chamber Magazine’s Commemoration of Jack the Ripper’s Murder Spree (August 31-November 9)

In the spirit of the horror and true crime genres, over the next several weeks in its blog, The Chamber is commemorating the horrific murder spree of the infamous Jack the Ripper during the late summer and early fall of 1888.

Une rue de Whitechapel Le dernier crime de Jack l'Éventreur

In the spirit of the horror and true crime genres, over the next several weeks in its blog, The Chamber is commemorating the horrific murder spree of the infamous Jack the Ripper during the late summer and early fall of 1888. At 10:00 a.m. (US Central Time) on the anniversary of each of the five “canonical” murders (August 31, September 8, September 30, and November 9) , The Chamber will run a documentary on Jack the Ripper from YouTube along with a few other esoteric tidbits of information. So grab the tea or coffee of you choice and a light breakfast and join us for should be four intense yet fascinating mornings.

Few Changes Made to The Chamber

I just want to drop a quick note that I made some changes to The Chamber today and I have more planned…

I just want to drop a quick note that I made some changes to The Chamber today and I have more planned.

I added widgets to go to The Chamber’s Instagram and YouTube pages. I should have thought of this long ago. While the YouTube link goes directly to the YouTube Channel, the Instagram link goes to another page on the website, where the latest thirty posts are shown. Then another, prominent link will take you to the Instagram page. I could have just set up a link like the one to the YouTube channel, that takes one directly to the Instagram page. However, WordPress has a feature where one can show as many of his/her Instagram posts on one page as he/she wants, which may actually be better than the official Instagram page, because it is limited in how many posts you can show at one time. A person can go to The Chamber’s Instagram page and quickly get a good overview of what is on the Instagram page.

I also put a link to the Bookshop.org twitter feed in the sidebar. Note that it is next to the widget that takes one to the Bookshop. I also changed the name on the widget from “Bookstore” to “Bookshop.org” and I changed the photo on the widget. The twitter feed is large and prominent. People can’t help but see it and then, hopefully, see the Bookshop widget next to it. Maybe this will result in a few sales.

I also removed four of the links to Zazzle products, so that I could insert the Bookshop Twitter feed and not have the sidebar extend past the “Like This” buttons, which I thought would look unprofessional.

I am working a lot with Instagram and YouTube these days to develop decent videos and posts that will attract more viewers. The Instagram post at the top is an example.

I am considering changing the overall theme of the website, so that I have more room for links, widgets, ads, and what have you. But I will think that through thoroughly first.

That’s all for now.

Hasta luego.

You are Invited to The Chamber Magazine’s Commemoration of Jack the Ripper’s Murder Spree (August 31-November 9)

In the spirit of the horror and true crime genres, over the next several weeks in its blog, The Chamber is commemorating the horrific murder spree of the infamous Jack the Ripper during the late summer and early fall of 1888.

Une rue de Whitechapel Le dernier crime de Jack l'Éventreur

In the spirit of the horror and true crime genres, over the next several weeks in its blog, The Chamber is commemorating the horrific murder spree of the infamous Jack the Ripper during the late summer and early fall of 1888. At 10:00 a.m. (US Central Time) on the anniversary of each of the five “canonical” murders (August 31, September 8, September 30, and November 9) , The Chamber will run a documentary on Jack the Ripper from YouTube along with a few other esoteric tidbits of information. So grab the tea or coffee of you choice and a light breakfast and join us for should be four intense yet fascinating mornings.

In the Latest Issue

“His Assitant”, Dark Fiction by Patrick Crossen, is now live at The Chamber.

Patrick Crossen is a writer living in Pittsburgh, PA trying to balance reading, birdwatching, writing, and breathing. When he’s not writing, he’s eagerly checking under bushes and stones for the pixies he knows are watching his every move. But he’s not paranoid. 

Subscribe to My Nascent YouTube Channel

I am planning to develop a fully fledged YouTube channel, as I have developed The Chamber, and see where it takes me.

Phil Slattery
Phil Slattery, Aztec, New Mexico 2017,

Recently, I have been experimenting with creating YouTube videos and have so far produced three. In these I give an introduction to myself, my writing, and my current projects. The last one I made (which was about 2:00 a.m. this morning) focused on what can be learned in writing dialog, if one analyzes Quentin Tarantino’s move “Pulp Fiction”. Now I am planning to develop a fully fledged YouTube channel, as I have developed The Chamber, and see where it takes me.

My current plan is to make these in a variety of places, so that I am not tied down to a studio. This should make the videos more lively, spontaneous, and always changing. Some I will do outside at night, some at scenic spots around my house, some inside the house, and so on. I will probably do them at all hours as I do not have a regular sleep pattern and in varying states of sobriety. These won’t be for kids, if you do not want them to watch someone speaking while having a gin and tonic or smoking a pipe. This is my channel. I intend to be myself, more or less, for better or worse. At least at first, I will not have a regular schedule for posting the videos, though I may develop one later, targeting the times when I might get the largest audience.

Currently, I am not planning to write scripts for the videos, but will shoot from the hip and talk with the viewer as if he/she and I were talking face to face. These videos will be informal, though I intend to dress presentably for them and not do any in my work clothes. We will see how that goes. If I have to do formal presentations to make the videos viewable, I will. I have lots of experience in giving formal presentations.

So, drop by the channel at any time and check out my videos. You will probably find them most enjoyable late at night when you are chilling and having your favorite beverage and/or smoke.

Let me know what you think of them so that I can continuously improve the channel.

Hasta luego.


You are Invited to The Chamber Magazine’s Commemoration of Jack the Ripper’s Murder Spree (August 31-November 9)

In the spirit of the horror and true crime genres, over the next several weeks in its blog, The Chamber is commemorating the horrific murder spree of the infamous Jack the Ripper during the late summer and early fall of 1888.

Une rue de Whitechapel Le dernier crime de Jack l'Éventreur

In the spirit of the horror and true crime genres, over the next several weeks in its blog, The Chamber is commemorating the horrific murder spree of the infamous Jack the Ripper during the late summer and early fall of 1888. At 10:00 a.m. (US Central Time) on the anniversary of each of the five “canonical” murders (August 31, September 8, September 30, and November 9) , The Chamber will run a documentary on Jack the Ripper from YouTube along with a few other esoteric tidbits of information. So grab the tea or coffee of you choice and a light breakfast and join us for should be four intense yet fascinating mornings.

You are Invited to The Chamber Magazine’s Commemoration of Jack the Ripper’s Murder Spree (August 31-November 9)

In the spirit of the horror and true crime genres, over the next several weeks in its blog, The Chamber is commemorating the horrific murder spree of the infamous Jack the Ripper during the late summer and early fall of 1888.

Une rue de Whitechapel Le dernier crime de Jack l'Éventreur

In the spirit of the horror and true crime genres, over the next several weeks in its blog, The Chamber is commemorating the horrific murder spree of the infamous Jack the Ripper during the late summer and early fall of 1888. At 10:00 a.m. (US Central Time) on the anniversary of each of the five “canonical” murders (August 31, September 8, September 30, and November 9) , The Chamber will run a documentary on Jack the Ripper from YouTube along with a few other esoteric tidbits of information. So grab the tea or coffee of you choice and a light breakfast and join us for should be four intense yet fascinating mornings.

Update August 7, 2022: Progress on Incommunicado-Second Draft Completed

Today, I finished the second draft of my full-length play “Incommunicado”. Hopefully, I will do only one more to tidy everything up and it will be ready to be submitted.

Today, I finished the second draft of my full-length play “Incommunicado”. Hopefully, I will do only one more to tidy everything up and it will be ready to be submitted.

Phil Slattery, Arkansas Post National Memorial, 2019

This has been a great learning experience for me. The main challenge throughout this process has been to not only be diligent in progressing on it, but also to ensure that everything is tied up neatly and that the reader will know why anything happens.

The themes, if you can call them that, are honesty, personal courage, self-control, controlling one’s life, and probably several more. I am sure someone will see some that I do not.

I wanted to keep the cast at three characters, but I had to increase it to four so that there would be more action and tension by introducing a villain of sorts. Not a true antagonist who opposes the protagonist throughout the play, but a character that appears only briefly but nonetheless has a major impact on the storyline.

Anyway, I hope to have this completed before long and I will start submitting it around and maybe start looking for an agent. I am not certain what I will tackle next. I have two novels near completion, but I have the bug for writing plays at the moment, so I may resurrect my original full-length play called “Centaurs” that has been languishing in the background for a few years now. Having completed “Incommunicado” may give me some ideas on how to finish “Centaurs” which has a similar storyline.

That’s all for now.

Hasta luego.

New Advertising Tactic for The Chamber

I have developed a new, inexpensive way of advertising The Chamber.

Phil Slattery, Arkansas Post National Memorial circa late 2019

I am always for new ways to advertise The Chamber, especially if they are free. Over the last few weeks, I have been toying with one and it seems to be working. I haven’t noticed any significant increase in traffic yet, but I do get reports that people have been reading the so-to-speak ads.

For some time, I have had an account at Google Maps to review certain restaurants and other public venues I attend. Now and then, I get a note that someone liked my review. It dawned on me that if I create an account under The Chamber’s name, I will get a little free advertising for the magazine, especially when someone follows the link from my avatar to the website.

Advertising little mom-and-pop shops in south Arkansas will not garner me a lot of attention. However, I often travel between here and Midland, TX, passing through Dallas-Ft. Worth when I do. There are a lot of very big establishments along the route (think Buc-ee’s Travel Center). I also occasionally stay at La Quinta and dine at big chains. A lot of travelers check the Google Map reviews for info on these places.

Therefore, I review every place I can, but the larger the venue, the more I focus on it. Two people may read my review of El Toro Mexican restaurant in Dumas during a month, but 200 may read my review of Buc-ee’s along I-30 east of Rockwall, TX.

So far, I get notified now and then that someone liked my review. So I know people are reading them.

Stay tuned. I will provide updates on this strategy when something of note happens.

Update April 26, 2022: Notes on Incommunicado and The Chamber

A quick update on what I am doing these days.

Watch for the next issue of The Chamber coming out May 6. Great dark stories and poetry as always. I haven’t finished selecting all the material yet, but so far here are the contributors: Alan Catlin, James Mulhern, Peter Michael Bush, Janelle Chambers, Patrick R. Wilson, Hareendran Kallinkeel, Cecilia Kennedy, Kate Bergquist, Damir Salkovic, Jessica McGlyn, and Prithvijeet Sinha.

I estimated the number of pages I have for my play “Incommunicado” a few days and discovered there are only 45, which makes a performance of about 45 minutes. I want to do a full-length play of 90 minutes, which means I will need about 45 more pages. So, I am only halfway done. The real trick will be to add 45 pages of quality material vs. filler/crap. I believe in leaner, muscular writing, keeping the text to as few words as possible while giving as much meaning to each word as possible. This gives impact to the writing and makes it powerful. There are only three characters: Quinn, Cassie, and Ruth, but most of the dialogue is between Quinn and Cassie. There is not a lot of action in the play, so I am banking on having deep, fascinating characters, but I don’t want this to be overly intellectual. I want the average Joe in the street to appreciate what is going on. That makes the play more marketable and will attract a broader audience.

Quinn, by the way, is Quinn Gallagher, who is the protagonist in two of my short stories: “The Scent” and “The Slightest of Indiscretions”. I would post a link to “The Slightest…” but the website is down right now. You can find it along with several of my other stories on https://fictionontheweb.co.uk. Both of these are included in my short collection of relationship-based stories in The Scent and Other Stories.

Update April 13, 2022: Incommunicado

I am close to finishing the first draft of Incommunicado. The writing has gone well over the last few days. Hopefully, I will have it done by the end of this week…

I am close to finishing the first draft of Incommunicado. The writing has gone well over the last few days. Hopefully, I will have it done by the end of this week.

I want the play to be around ninety minutes, as this seems to be the average length for a modern, full-length play. To lengthen it, I took some notes in which the protagonist, Quinn, is speaking and molded them into a monologue. Originally, I think I had intended them to be the basis for dialogue between Quinn and the other characters, but I am not certain. They might have been intended to be used as short monologues to be placed at various points. It has been a while since I wrote them.

In any case, last night I was working on a scene in the dead center of the play, in which I wanted to show what was going through Quinn’s mind. I decided the center of the play would be the appropriate place for one long monologue. Now, I will go back and keep paring the monologue down to about five or so minutes in length and keep it relatively fast moving so the audience’s attention doesn’t wane. I will also give Quinn a few things to do that will have some symbolic meaning and will keep the motion/action going on the stage. It’s important for the audience to know what is going on in Quinn’s mind at this point, as I have already revealed what is going on in the head of the other main character, Cassie. Knowing these two things will be important for impact during the final scene between Quinn and Cassie.

As regards the draft poster used as a graphic below, there are only three characters in the play: Quinn, Cassie, and Ruth, a friend of Cassie’s. The poster below shows Quinn and Cassie (theoretically–the photo is from Pixabay and is in the public domain; I have no idea who the models are). I think I will develop an alternate poster that shows Ruth as well. The relationship between Quinn and Cassie is the focus of the play, but Ruth plays an important role as she helps provide background to the story and provides a different perspective.

The play is a complete departure from my original concept, which was to have only one character, Quinn, who would be in a room in a bed-and-breakfast struggling with whether to take up drinking again after having given it up for a year. That inner struggle within Quinn is still present, but is only a part of his background and is no longer the focus of the play.

That’s all for now. Hasta luego.

Hypothetical poster used as graphic for posts

Poster for Incommunicado

As you know, over the last few days I have been working on a play titled “Incommunicado” that I haven’t worked on in over a year. Yesterday, I was toying with an idea for a possible poster, should the play ever be produced. My draft is above. Let me know what you think. Does this poster tell you enough about the play that it would make you want to see it?

Possible Poster for “Incommunicado”

I am finding that toying with possible book covers for my works helps keep the writing fun and gives me a moment to contemplate the essence of the work.

As you know, over the last few days I have been working on a play titled “Incommunicado” that I haven’t worked on in over a year. Yesterday, I was toying with an idea for a possible poster, should the play ever be produced. My draft is above. Let me know what you think. Does this poster tell you enough about the play that it would make you want to see it? Are the colors bright enough and the design distinct enough to capture your attention should you pass it on a street?

I found that one unexpected benefit of drafting this poster is that it made me think about what exactly would be a good tagline for the play. To do that, I have to boil the play down to its essence, which I had not contemplated previously. So now, I have a core idea to which I can adhere to maintain the play’s focus and unity.

Let me know what you think.

Hasta luego.

Update: April 11, 2022 Working on Incommunicado

Just a quick note. Today, I have been working on a play I started a couple of years ago and put away when it started getting complex and I started to run out of ideas. Yesterday, I thought I needed a break from working on Lycanthrope and also that I need to publish something. I haven’t published anything of my own in a while. So, I recalled a few unfinished works and I remembered this one (I call Incommunicado) being close to being finished…

Just a quick note. Today, I have been working on a play I started a couple of years ago and put away when it started getting complex and I started to run out of ideas. Yesterday, I thought I needed a break from working on Lycanthrope and also that I need to publish something. I haven’t published anything of my own in a while. So, I recalled a few unfinished works and I remembered this one (I call Incommunicado) being close to being finished. So, I started working on it and the ideas started to come. I won’t say much about it other than it is a sort of dark romance/drama set in the present-day Gila Mountains of New Mexico. I finally have it sketched out from beginning to end. So now, I have to cut out some dialogue and mold it into shape.

The one thing that confounded me when I last worked on this was that I couldn’t come up with a good ending. The one I had for it was too similar to the ending of another play that I am working on (called Centaurs), but I couldn’t come up with anything else.

I finally realized that one major problem I had was that their characters were too similar. Now, I have found a way to vary them and have the entire play basic conflict arise out of their inner natures. Now things are flowing. Hopefully, I will finish this soon and can start submitting it.

That’s all for now.

Hasta luego.

Connie Nielsen as Karen Blixen in Upcoming Danish Mini-Series”The Dreamer”

A quick post on Connie Nielsen portraying Karen Blixen in an upcoming Danish mini-series.

Karen Blixen and (possibly) Denys Finch-Hatton in the 1920’s

If you are a fan of the Danish actress Connie Nielsen or the Danish writer Karen Blixen (on whose experiences the movie Out of Africa was based, follow this link to an article, “MIPTV: Connie Nielsen on Becoming Karen Blixen in ‘The Dreamer'” by Scott Roxborough. The article discusses the challenges Nielsen faced in portraying Karen Blixen and how her portrayal differs radically from that by Meryl Streep in Out of Africa. Streep’s portrayal was of a young woman engaged in a passionate love affair, whereas Nielsen’s is that of a broken woman who has returned to Denmark penniless having lost her farm and her lover.

One note about the photo above: in trying to find a photo to accompany this article, I ran across this one. There are two copies of this photo on Wikimedia Commons. One identifies the man as Denys Finch-Hatton, (Blixen’s lover portrayed by Robert Redford in Out of Africa). Another identifies the man as Thomas Dinesen, Karen’s brother. Its source is supposed to be the Danish Royal Library. The source of the first is not identified. However, a quick search on Google resulted in a lot of photos of Denys Finch-Hatton, most of which (in my opinion) look like the man above. If you enjoy detective work, do the research and let me know what you come up with.

Hasta luego.

Lycanthrope: Update of April 5, 2022

An update on my progress with Lycanthrope.

One theoretical cover

I have finally broken through the barrier that has kept me from adding more to Lycanthrope. I still have more to go, but I am probably at about 67,000 of a desired 80,000+ words. I am coming up with some good ideas, but I must jot them down quickly or I forget them. Hopefully, I will be finished before long. I am focused on finishing this finally. It has been a long journey and the storyline is radically different from the original I imagined nearly thirty years ago when I was in the Navy and living in Bremerton, Washington.

I find that the best way to come up with ideas is by sitting down in the chair at the computer and just staring into the distance until an idea surfaces. A lot of times though, the trick seems to be to go to bed after having thought about the story throughout the day or at least just before going to bed. The ideas seem to just leap into my head at moments like those. Then I scrounge up some scrap paper or an old envelope on the shelves next to the bed and jot down all I can. Sometimes, to get paper and pen, I have to go into the adjacent living room. A lot of times, this seems to happen when I am tired. Sometimes, I just act out what the character is doing or maybe I just take a break and do something out of the norm and then I can imagine the character doing the same. For example, I took a break from writing late one night and, after grabbing a bottle of vodka, walked out to the empty highway running through the woods in front of my house. I live in a remote area, so I didn’t have to worry about any traffic at all. I then walked up and down the centerline looking at the moon and stars and sometimes going into the pitch dark section of the road running under the canopy of the woods. I had one or two swigs out of the bottle, but nothing to even give me a buzz. It was a neat moment and I did see a few shooting stars. However, when I got back to the house, I had the protagonist do the same, but I embellished it considerably as he thought of the nature of the world and universe while getting quite drunk. Trying to find his way back to his house, he bumps into a tree and falls to the ground, where he sleeps until his girlfriend comes looking for him and drags him back to the house, scolding him all the way. I think this scene turned out to be a very nice passage and I think I wrote it quite beautifully and poignantly.

When I first started writing the story in Bremerton, I envisioned the story as something much more conventional than I have now. Set in the forests and hamlets surrounding Bremerton, the idea was about a man who had become a werewolf and was the narrator as he watched the police get ever closer to finding out who he was. There is a lot of magick and fantasy added to the current story and it is set in another state. I am hoping the story ends up a lot more intense than my original concept.

I will write more updates as time permits. Now, I need to go grab some supper and get to writing again.

Hasta luego.

My Interview with Duotrope is Now Live!

My interview with Duotrope is now live!

At Arkansas Post National Memorial near Gillett, Arkansas, 2020

I was recently interviewed by Duotrope about my work on The Chamber Magazine. That interview is now live. Follow this link to read it.

If you are not familiar with Duotrope, they are a submission engine, i.e. they aid writers in finding magazines, book publishers, and agents to print their stories and poetry. The way they do this is by listing important data on magazines, which their subscribers can search. I have used them for several years and they are a very useful tool in finding publishers. They do charge a nominal fee of about $5/month. What you get out of the website is well worth that $5 many times over. If you are a writer, I recommend them highly. Even if don’t write and only read, they will still be very useful in finding the right magazines for you.

While you are there, check out The Chamber’s listing. It is a good example of how they run their website/database.


Progress on “Lycanthrope” and Other Matters, March 30, 2022

Here are a few notes about my progress on Lycanthrope and on writing in general.

I have been working on Lycanthrope over the last few days. I am at 66,000 words and I would like to bring it up to just over 80,000. So, I am far from finished. Nonetheless, I have been toying with some ideas for the cover. Let me know what you think about each style. Which is more powerful? Which gets the idea of a werewolf story across the best? Which represents best a combination of all the incredibly strong emotions and challenges a werewolf must face in the modern world?

I am still working on Shadows and Stars, but it is around 157,000 words and I am slogging my way through it a few sentences at a time, trying to ensure that everything holds together well and that there are minimal plot holes and things that are not explained or logical. Shadows and Stars is definitely the most complex of the two works as it has three plots going at once and each must link in spots with the other two.

Because of this slow-going, I am going to try to finish Lycanthrope first, so I can start looking for an agent and a publisher. I need to get all these stories going. I actually have about four novels in the works, each of which I have worked on a little at a time as the ideas pop into my head. Those moments are the best, when everything flows. But when the ideas don’t flow, I cannot say that I am miserable, but it is easy for me to become apathetic and to let the work slide. Then I look back on all the time I have wasted with considerable regret.

I try different things to get the ideas rolling again. The best seems to be to just sit down and start typing or writing by hand. Although I can type fast and get more down in a short amount of time, I prefer to write out material in longhand. I am just more emotionally invested somehow and I may be able to visualize things better.

To this point, I have not worked with an outline on anything. However, my wife pesters me to use an outline, and I am going to have to give in. The stories are being too complex to keep all the details in my head, like I can with a short story. An outline may also help me generate ideas by enabling me to see how everything works together. I have tried this occasionally for Shadows and Stars, but it becomes overwhelmingly complex quickly.

Last night, I was struggling to get ideas for Lycanthrope. I even walked outside around 9:00 p.m. to the middle of the stretch of remote two-lane road in front of my house and walked up and down the centerline, listening to the owls and coyotes while gazing at the stars and the occasional meteor on a comfortably warm, clear night. There is no traffic out here at night. I could have set up a table and chairs on the centerline and had my own star party with food and drinks and I would not have seen a car until past dawn.

I did manage to make a little progress by writing down Peter’s (the protagonist) thoughts and feelings about (not surprisingly) the night sky and the sounds of the night around him as he stood out on the highway in front of his house (or maybe it was in his yard–I will have to review my notes). This is a technique I have used before and it seems to work well. But I went to bed before typing it all up, and, consequently, I lost the ideas I had that I didn’t type up. I will try again though. Probably tonight. Writing in the stream of consciousness does seem to help. Sometimes it’s a matter of getting the emotions flowing out of the right hemisphere of my brain rather than being lost/trapped in the logical, left-side, to which I have a natural tendency. Sometimes, a balance between the two just doesn’t seem to work. In those instances, I get too little out of each. It’s like tap water. Turn on the hot and cold to equal proportions and you get lukewarm water, but sometimes you need the hot turned up as far as it will go while at others you want the cold on at full force. I do have a tinge of Taoism to my personal philosophy and usually believe it is best to have everything in balance, but then sometimes you need the world to be out of balance. Sometimes out of balance is best. Like is said in Ecclesiastes: “for everything there is a season”.

Anyway, I need to go now that it has stopped pouring rain and take this opportunity to walk the dog and get supper quickly so that I can get back to writing. I wonder where I will end up tonight, maybe back on the highway centerline trying to decide which way to go with my writing and my life.

Hasta luego.

My Interview with Duotrope is Now Live!

My interview with Duotrope is now live!

At Arkansas Post National Memorial near Gillett, Arkansas, 2020

I was recently interviewed by Duotrope about my work on The Chamber Magazine. That interview is now live. Follow this link to read it.

If you are not familiar with Duotrope, they are a submission engine, i.e. they aid writers in finding magazines, book publishers, and agents to print their stories and poetry. The way they do this is by listing important data on magazines, which their subscribers can search. I have used them for several years and they are a very useful tool in finding publishers. They do charge a nominal fee of about $5/month. What you get out of the website is well worth that $5 many times over. If you are a writer, I recommend them highly. Even if don’t write and only read, they will still be very useful in finding the right magazines for you.

While you are there, check out The Chamber’s listing. It is a good example of how they run their website/database.