Update on Shadows and Stars

Character from Shadows and Stars

Over the last couple weeks, I have had a bit of writer’s block on Lycanthrope, so I decided to start working again on Shadows and Stars. However, I have been stumped on where to pick up with that. As you may recall, I stopped editing Shadows and Stars, because coordinating and double-checking all the details in a 150,000+ word novel was becoming overwhelming. Meanwhile, I was getting one idea after another for Lycanthrope.

So, for a few weeks I have worked on neither and instead focused all my energy on building The Chamber Magazine, for which I have had ideas pouring in. Now, I am at a decent point with that, so I have been wanting to pick up on Shadows and Stars, which is what happened last night.

You may know from earlier posts, that I love to sit in a restaurant or coffee shop and write my manuscripts by hand in a journal or notebook. Since the start of the Pandemic, I have rarely been in a restaurant and never to simply sit and write. Yesterday, I got a haircut in Dumas. Because the pandemic restrictions are easing and I have had both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, I decided to go to one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, El Toro in Dumas, to write.

I wrote only for maybe an hour and a half, but it was so enjoyable. I felt at home and the ideas for Shadows and Stars flowed like in old times in Farmington. I made some important decisions and refined some plot elements, so that I no longer have the block I did when I took up Lycanthrope. I hope to be working more on Shadows and Stars tonight. It’s a beautiful, picture perfect day here with an absolutely perfectly comfortable temperature.

One idea I had yesterday evening for spurring creativity derived from my branding and advertising for The Chamber. You may have noticed that I love to use eye-grabbing, attention-snagging graphics in The Chamber. Most I use over and over for different tasks. You may also have noticed that I like to have a little fun and put a little fun into The Chamber as well. For that reason, I took some of the graphics I was using and created an imaginary staff with some interesting names and backgrounds suitable for a dark magazine like The Chamber. I reuse some of these graphics enough that for quick reference, I think of them by the names I gave them in the staff photos section. So, instead of thinking, “where’s that photo of the girl leaning on a door with the red tattoos running from the ends of her mouth, across her cheeks, and through her eyes, I simply think, “Where’s Orly?”

Anyway, I have been struggling with what happens when my Shadows and Stars protagonist, Daryn, wanders into an industrial city called Katliam. It has been a lot harder for me to visualize Katliam than it is for me to visualize Janhalo, the main city in the story. I have also been trying to come up with the types of characters he encounters there, but I keep drawing a blank.

Then I thought why not use Pexels and Pixabay (the two main websites I use for photos for The Chamber and elsewhere) to help stimulate some ideas.

So, I went to those and I searched for the strangest, alien-looking people I could find. Now, I can visualize some of these characters interacting with the characters I have already created to come up with new subplots and interactions. It’s already giving me some ideas. I took the images I chose and stored them on my hard drive for reference. I used one of them for the image at the top of this post. I can now look at a character and invent a background for him like Professor Tripp and his editor, Crabs, did in the bar in the movie Wonder Boys. This happens to be a game my wife and I used to play while sitting in a night club when we started dating. However, we were trying to figure out the person’s actual background from their appearance (so we were more like Holmes and Watson).

Now talking about this gives me an idea for a game which might generate more publicity for The Chamber. I can put up a photo of someone and ask people to give a quick bio. Writers like to make up characters. I think I would post in The Chamber’s blog, so that it goes out to other social media simultaneously or I might just tinker with it on Twitter first. I think I will do that and then move it to the blog if I get a good response. I will do that now..

As mentioned, I have been doing a lot with The Chamber over the last few weeks. I will have to write maybe several posts on that covering a variety of topics from being an editor to planning marketing and trying to come up with ideas for grabbing some publicity. I am not dropping that by any stretch of the imagination. I have got it to a point now that I can manage it at my leisure. One reason for this is that I now have enough submissions that I have been able to plan out and schedule the issues to mid-June. Now, I can take off for a month if I like then come back and pick up where I left off without interrupting the flow of the magazine. I am making use of Buffer.com and capabilities in WordPress and Twitter to play my posts as far in advance as possible.

Anyway, that’s all I care to write for today. Stand by for more updates in the weeks ahead.

Hasta luego.

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 for March 4, 2021: Lycanthrope

Here is a quick update on my progress on my horror novel, Lycanthrope.

Currently, I have over 46,000 words on Lycanthrope and I am gradually building toward a climax, probably the first of two or three along with at least two plot twists that should spice things up.

The main setting of Lycanthrope is in rural southeast Arkansas, but it ranges over a lot of the area. So far, action has taken place in an unnamed small town in southeast Arkansas, Memphis, Little Rock, and Shreveport.

I like to set things in places where I have been because I feel it adds an air of authenticity to the story. In this way, I can describe things that people who haven’t been there would experience, but which natives would note as missing. Hemingway and Fitzgerald set the majority of their stories in places they had known. For me, this makes their stories quite realistic, which is a quality I would like to achieve with my writing. I want the reader to vicariously live the experience described in my stories. I want to make it so realistic that the reader feels that he or she is the protagonist.

I can write comfortably about southeast Arkansas, Little Rock, and Memphis, because I have been to those places. I have not been to Shreveport, however, and had to rely on the Internet to get an idea of the city. I described the Shreveport setting in rather vague terms, so that the action seems plausible. I hate it that I had to describe Shreveport without having been there. Maybe I will get the chance to go before I finish Lycanthrope. If that happens, I will be able to revise the Shreveport events in the story enough to intensify the reader’s vicarious experience. I have plans for later events to take place in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but I have spent a lot of time there, so I can accurately describe the locations where events will take place.

Currently, I am writing about events that take place in Texarkana. I have been to Texarkana several times, so I have something of a feel for the place. However, I have not been to the places where the events are taking place and I am having to rely on the Internet, and particularly Google Earth, to enliven my description of the setting. However, Texarkana is only three hours from where I live in Gillett, so I can probably go up there one weekend and scope things out where the novel’s actions take place.

On another matter, I am going to explore using the Anchor App to produce podcasts of my posts, so that I can reach a wider audience. This post will be my first test of the Anchor system. I have liked what I have seen of the system so far and I think it will be useful.

Take care, stay safe, and have a pleasant day.

My Kind of Place to Write

Before the Coronavirus struck, I used to love to go to coffee shops or diners and write with a decent pen into a spiral notebook. I have a few dozens of these on my library shelves, where I would come up with an idea while out running errands and then go buy a notebook (I always carried a pen with me to jot ideas down on napkins, etc.) and then head to a coffee shop. As for my beverage of choice at moments like this, I normally imbibe basic American coffee, black, or unsweet iced tea. Even when I go to Starbuck’s (or went to Starbucks during the pre-coronavirus days), I would often order just their café Americano, black. Occasionally, I might order a vanilla latte. If I felt like living a bit of a life of luxury, I would order an Irish cream breve. All of these would usually be in the (euphemistically termed) tall or grande sizes.

I put this ambience video on to listen to while I work this afternoon. It is supposed to be the Double R diner from the 80’s TV series Twin Peaks. Looking at this, I became nostalgic and wished I could find a place like this again. This diner is straight from the 80’s and is a place I would love to sit with a notebook and spend an afternoon, and maybe even into the evening, scribbling down ideas as fast they come. Usually, when I am writing a scene, it’s like a movie is playing in my head and I am just noting down everything I see as fast as I can. I can even envision the dialogue between people and what is going on inside their heads to make them say what they say. It’s a very enjoyable process. I can become totally immersed in it for a while and therefore it is great for relieving stress, tension, anxiety, what have you. Just being in a place like this once again would be a bit of paradise for me again.

Just look at the place in detail. It has the old-style, Naugahyde bench seats. On the table closest is a slice of cherry pie, which Agent Dale Cooper (played by Kyle McLachlan) used to eat at the end of an episode. There is also an old style tape recorder with a cassette in it and an old style hotel key, which was used before key cards made their debut. In the front booth and to the reader’s right are the traditional mustard and ketchup bottles, a sugar dispenser, salt and pepper shakers, and a worn menu. In the very back under the plate glass window and to the left is an actual jukebox. The slow, soft jazz playing is perfect for a setting like this. I have been in many, many places like this across the US. In the back of the front booth and on a shelf is an ash tray with a burning cigarette in it. Although a lot of people hate tobacco smoke, I would love to smell it in restaurants and bars again.

Good times.

Hopefully, before long, this pandemic will be over and we can once again pack places such as this and not even wear a mask.


Update: Progress on Lycanthrope, Feb. 2, 2021, 4:56 a.m.

I resurrected Lycanthrope on December 31 and now have 45,729 words in it. I couldn’t sleep, so I am working on it now (4:56 a.m.).

As you know, I love the ambience videos on YouTube. I was watching the one below to help me relax and fall asleep, but my mind wouldn’t shut down (I was mulling over my life as a whole). Therefore, instead of wasting time lying in bed (actually on the sofa, which I find more comfortable), I decided to write.

I came to a point in the story where the protagonist and his girlfriend are in wolven form in the forest late one night. Without going into details I don’t want to reveal, for the setting I decided to base my description of the setting they are experiencing on the video below. It turned out to be exactly the right touch the story needed.

If you are ever up late at night, and need to wind down and relax, I recommend this video. It is a beautiful moment that lasts twelve hours. Just set your TV to YouTube, turn out the lights, maybe light some candles and/or incense that smell of the forest, and revel in the moment. That’s what my characters do.


On se protege
Protect yourself.

Update: Lycanthrope

werewolf

I just now reached 40, 246 words on Lycanthrope. According to my scan of publishers on Duotrope, 40,000 words is the minimal word count that almost all publishers will consider a novel.

My best estimate currently is that I will need another 20,000 words to complete Lycanthrope. I have been working on this since the end of December. I stopped work on Shadows and Stars to pursue Lycanthrope because the ideas for it were coming fast and furious. They still are. I work on this almost every night.

I have recently come up with a couple of really good plot twists that should make this interesting. These will bring a supernatural element into the story.

Once I have the first draft finished, which should not be long now, I will do some editing, but I expect to do minimal revision. Of course, that could change. I am coming up with new ideas and I like subtle plot twists. I also like to leave some subtle clues hinting at a denouement, but these could be a red herring too.

This work is being increasingly intriguing for me.

For me, I see the events unfolding in my head and I just write down a description of what I am visualizing. Sometimes the characters take control and I just watch and record.

Hasta luego. I need to sleep.


Update: Shadows and Stars, Lycanthrope

I haven’t written more on Shadows and Stars recently. I am deciding on a major revision or two and on the final length.

I have resurrected the first novel I worked on way back in the 90’s: Lycanthrope. This is my take on the legends of werewolves but set in present-day rural Arkansas. I am using stream-of-consciousness to make the story more immediate and powerful. I hope to end it with 50,000+ words. The writing is going surprisingly fast. I have been working on it for about 2-3 days and already have 4,000+ words, which, being stream-of-consciousness, I intend to edit or revise very little. The writing is straightforward now, but I hope to develop some plot and character twists to make it more interesting. It should be very interesting for those who enjoy character development and first-person point of view. I am striving to bring out the narrator’s twisted psychology.

I still have a couple of short stories I am working on and a play, “Incommunicado”, which is turning into a complex love story involving a man and a woman who are struggling with their inner demons.

I got a lot done on it recently when I traveled to Midland, TX, to visit the wife. I kept a voice recorder handy as I drove and took down a lot of notes and ideas, incorporating them into the script when I had time after arrival. I haven’t worked on it since returning to Arkansas though. I am going to experiment in developing it by writing up a long dialogue between the two main characters using stream-of consciousness/ automatic writing or whatever the popular term is now. This will hopefully lead me to new ideas and insights. Originally, this was to be a one-act play involving two characters. Now it will probably be three acts involving three characters. It will be set in the present in a remote ghost town in the Gila mountains of southwest New Mexico.

More to come as time permits.

September 20, 2020: Progress on Shadows and Stars, Tangents, and Internet Marketing

Shadows and Stars cover 2

Coming hopefully soon.

Contrary to what are probably well established principles of writing, I will start this article off with a side note, which I foresee as setting the tone for this morning. It’s 11:46 and while I wait for the oven to heat up so that I can bake my croissants (small ones from Pillsbury with black tea–my favorite breakfast of late), I am watching Better Than Food.

If you are not familiar with it, Better Than Food is a book review channel on YouTube that is hosted by Clifford Lee Sergeant. He reviews books from all periods of history. I enjoy his reviews a lot because he is passionate about them and can discuss the book’s structure, plot, characters, everything a writer would need to know to select the best books to read. Today, Clifford is reviewing The Sound and the Fury, which he says is one of his favorite books.

I started reading The Sound and the Fury a few years back, but, even though I was enjoying it, became distracted and wandered off onto others. Based on the little I read, which was probably ten pages at most, it is beautifully written. I have wanted to go back to it since, but haven’t sat down long enough to focus on it as it deserves. I have a print copy and have been into audiobooks for some time, which I can listen to in my car. Right now, I have Gogol’s Dead Souls, in my car, which I am not far from finishing, but the second book is not as entertaining as the first, so it is difficult to focus on it.

So much for the side note/tangent.

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

Back to the tangent. I took a break from writing this to have breakfast.

The last time I made croissants, I added about half a teaspoon of ricotta cheese to a couple of them before I rolled them up. I did it today with most of the croissants. The cheese becomes hot but does not melt (350 degrees at nine minutes). I eat the croissants with butter and just a little grape jelly. Combined with black tea this is a nice way to start a Sunday morning.

Why am I mentioning all this? Answer: marketing.

I am finally coming to realize that the Internet is a vast library where one searches not for books but for words. If I write a book that is stocked by a library, people come in and search for a topic the book covers. But with the Internet, they may search for a word (or phrase) and be led to a lot of books, which may not be what they were looking for, but which they might find interesting anyway.

Ergo, an avid reader of science fiction, let’s say, may be searching for a new filling for her croissants. Then she comes across this page and finds out about an upcoming sci-fi novel called Shadows and Stars. She decides to follow me and keep up with the updates on Shadows and Stars. She also finds out that I have written other stories, including sci-fi ones, and buys one or two to check out my writing style. If all goes well, I have a new fan that will pre-order Shadows and Stars when it comes out.

What are your thoughts on this strategy?

But, finally, on to the brief note about Shadows and Stars that I originally set out to write.

By the way, this is how I get onto tangents and why I haven’t finished reading The Sound and the Fury yet.

I am at 148,517 words for Shadows and Stars at this moment. I finished filling out a chapter yesterday that has been bugging me for a while. There are some other plot holes I hope to fill in today.

I want to finish this up asap without making it read as if I finished this up asap.  So, from here on, I am going to focus on removing as much as I can to bring the final draft down to about 100,000-125,000 words if possible. If I can’t bring it down that far, Shadows and Stars will be concise and tightly written with an intricate plot and good character development if nothing else. Filling out the plot holes will probably add at least 1,000-2,000 words, so I will have a lot of cutting to do. Let’s see if I can pull this off.

Don’t forget to like, comment, and follow.

 

Photoshopped painting of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci wearing a medical face mask to prevent spreading COVID-19/Coronavirus

Prevent the spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19.

 

Update of September 15, 2020: Follow up on “A Semblance of Normalcy”

Just a quick note. I finished “A Semblance of Normalcy” tonight and submitted it to Nightmare Magazine. I should hear back from them in anywhere from a few days to two weeks.

After I submitted it, of course I thought of a way I could improve it. I should have added more descriptors to make the senses come alive when reading it, things that would reflect what the characters are experiencing. what they are hearing, touching, seeing, smelling, and tasting (if i can work that in somehow) while being concise. If it’s rejected, I may add those to it before submitting it to the next publisher. One principle I try to live by with my writing is that when one story is rejected I send it out to another publisher the day I receive the rejection.

I am going to try a new tactic and find a photo that captures the spirit of “A Semblance of Normalcy”, format it for Twitter, and post it below. Then, when this article appears on Twitter, it will have a simple banner to help promote it.  Let me know what you think.

 

A Semblance of Normalcy

Read the short story by Phil Slattery

Update of September 12, 2020: My Short Story “A Semblance of Normalcy”

Eating at an Italian Restaurant in Midland, TX

Eating at Ray’s Italian Bistro in Midland, TX, 2019. Photo by Francene Kilgore-Slattery

I managed to come up with an idea as to how to fill a gap in the story and wrote a synopsis in the spot where it should go, but I have to flesh it out today. Hopefully, the finished story will be about 2,500-3,000 words long. This is horror.

The original title, as I conceived of the story a few years back when I started the first draft, was “Apocalypse”. When I took it up again recently, I changed the title to “The Final State of the Union”. “A Semblance of Normalcy” is the latest title an I will probably stick with that one, because of the irony between it and the plot of the story on completion.

The story is about a US president who delivers what will be his final State of the Union address after a nuclear war and a pandemic have devastated the world. The catch is that everyone in the audience and in the White House are dead, just decaying cadavers, which he talks to as if they were alive. He continues to deliver the State of the Union (which was held in the White House during the war vs. before a joint session of Congress), because he wants to present a “semblance of normalcy” to the world. However, not all is at it seems and there is a wicked twist at the end.

I will let you know when and where I will have it published.

Don’t forget to like, comment, and follow.

Hasta luego.

President McMillan

President McMillan in “A Semblance of Normalcy” (based on a photo of JFK)

 

A Quick Updates for September 11, 2020: Publicity, Marketing, and My Novel

At Buzzard Beach, Arkansas

At Buzzard Beach, Arkansas

First of all, my heartfelt condolences go out to all the families who lost loved ones on 9/11. That tragedy and its consequences, both direct and indirect, changed the US and our society forever. We will be feeling the repercussions of that day for decades, if not generations, to come. It awoke us to the dangers of an rapidly morphing and unpredictable world in the 21st century. Although at a great price, it taught us to be always vigilant and not to take our peace for granted. There are those, both in and out of the country, that would topple us in an instant if given the chance. In these challenging, divisive times, it is critical for us to remember when facing adversities of all types the seasoned adage “United we stand; divided we fall.” Stay woke! Stay alert! Remember that our strength through unity is unconquerable if we can overcome our differences and work together for the good of the nation. Truth will prevail.

Now, for my update:

I continue to work on Shadows and Stars as much as opportunity affords. I am now at 147,000+ words and still completing the first draft. I have recently made some critical headway in coming up with two good ideas to fill out a couple of plot holes. I have a few more to go, though they should not be as challenging.

Shadows and Stars cover 2

Coming hopefully soon.

I am also working on how to best publicize my works and am studying marketing strategies to use once Shadows and Stars is on its way to publication. I will be publishing this via traditional methods not via Amazon or another self-publishing platform. I will no doubt need an agent first, which will take time to find. Once he has a publisher lined up, it may be awhile before Shadows and Stars goes to print.

As part of putting my name before the public to facilitate marketing prior to the publication of Shadows and Stars, I am trying to resurrect some old concepts/drafts I have for short stories. This is taking a little time away from Shadows and Stars, but not a lot. The ideas for these stories are coming to me rapidly.  A few bits of micro fiction will be coming out between Halloween and the new Year. I will keep you informed on those.

I have renewed my membership to the Horror Writers Association and I intend to take maximum advantage of their marketing and publicity opportunities. I am currently an affiliate member, but I hope to meet the requirements soon to be an “Active Writer”, which is the top membership rank. There are several way to do this, but the one I am shooting for is to have three stories totalling at least 7,500 words published at professional rates, which is 6 cents.word and up. I intend to write three stories of at least 2,500 words each and find a publisher for them. One story, called “A Semblance of Normalcy” is at 2,006 words now, but I can easily add another 500 and keep the writing concise. I have started two others and each is about 1,000-2,000 word range currently. These are drafts I have had in my files for a few years, but I am now making a sincere effort to finish them up.

Whatever stories are published I will include in either a new edition of A Tale of Hell and Other Works of Horror  or come out with a second volume of horror with a different title.

There are a lot of other developments and plans, but I will discuss those at a later date. I have other goals to accomplish now.

Don’t forget that Click and Alien Embrace are free on Kindle today.

If you don’t have Kindle, don’t fret. I have almost all my works in paperback. Check for those when you visit Amazon. If it isn’t in paperback currently, it will be soon.

Amazon distributes via print on demand to many bookstores and libraries. If you don’t want to deal with Amazon, ask for my works at your local book outlet or library.

Hasta luego.

Don’t forget to like, comment, and follow.

Photoshopped painting of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci wearing a medical face mask to prevent spreading COVID-19/Coronavirus

Prevent the spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19.

Update of September 8, 2020, 12:01 a.m.

Working late at night in an IHOP in Midland, Texas, May 2019 (photo by Francene Kilgore-Slattery)

I have managed to get some critical progress done on Shadows and Stars today.  I have a few major plot holes in my first draft. My goal over the weekend was to fill them and add a significant amount of words (though still keeping the work concise) to the text.

I forget what I did Friday evening. If I recall correctly, I work on finding book reviewers in library journals. Libraries buy a lot books. I became familiar with the process of submitting a book to a library journal for review and what the major journals are.

On Saturday, I mailed off a copy of Nocturne… for review. I ran some errands. I was stymied in coming up with ideas for Shadows and Stars. I got a few words written, but couldn’t get the creative juices flowing all that well. I fell asleep on the sofa.

On Sunday, I woke up on the sofa about 6:00 a.m. I went to bed, but had an idea, though not relation to Shadows and Stars. I had been thinking about Nocturne and that I still have a few poems laying here here and probably some at home in Kentucky. On the spur of the moment, I decided to create another volume of poetry. I decided to call it Remnants (of a Life). I would put in it some of my early unpublished poems that I could find here, and maybe some prose shorts, and maybe some stuff from my things in storage in Kentucky. Eventually, I decided not to use the prose. I went through a few dozen spiral-bound notebooks dating from way back, some dating back to the 90’s, and pulled out a few unpublished poems. I started typing those into a draft. I decided to put together a collection of 365 poems of varying lengths, though I would have to write most of them. I chose 365 so that the book would be relatively thick and because 365 is the number of days in a year, the basic cycle of human existence. That consumed the morning. I did find about half a dozen poems that I decided to include in another edition of Nocturne. I will also gather whatever poems I can find in Kentucky that are suitable and include them in that edition also. All that took up the morning. The poems will be primarily observations on life. Some will be on past relationships.

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.

Other than that, I stayed home, but still had problems with the creative juices with regards to Shadows and Stars. I got a few words written though. I spent a lot of time staring into space. I went over a lot of my past notes on Shadows and Stars trying to see if I had had a suitable idea in the past that I could use.

Today, I spent at home. I went over my notes again. I came up with ideas to fill two of the major holes. I did not type up text, per se. I typed up some rough ideas of the plot for those two sections, refined those, and typed them up. That made me feel real good. Now, I can write those two sections and have my details covered. I am now checking for other plot holes and I took care of a few small ones today. I think I can make some decent progress this month. I have been trying to overcome these plot holes for a couple months anyhow.

The end is in sight. Thank God.

I would write more, but it’s late, and I have to go to work in the morning.

Don’t forget to comment, like, and follow.

Hasta luego.

Update of September 5: “The Interrogation of General Tsak” and the Search for Reviewers Continues

I have spent a long time writing a short story entitled “The Interrogation of General Tsak” and I finished it today. I can take a quick breather before I get back to Shadows and Stars.

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

This is the story of a self-centered Air Force colonel who is interrogating a captured,princiled alien general after a failed invasion of Earth at the end of a decade-long war. It is 5,813 words in length.

As I wrote this off and on over the last several months, I kept discovering more and more nuances that I had to answer in order to avoid any plot holes. I really hate to leave any plot holes in a serious story. It makes me appear careless and unprofessional. I have finally worked them all out and the story is now intricately woven together like a weaver finch’s nest. I hope it holds together as well.

I had intended to spend the day working on Shadows and Stars, but over the last few days, I have had an inexplicable drive to finish this story and to cover all the minute details. I have spent the day doing that and running a few errands. I feel this is a story that will fall apart if something is overlooked.

I have submitted the story to The Dark magazine. I should hear from them soon.

One of the errands I ran today was to mail a copy of Nocturne to American Book Review. Hopefully, I will get a good review from them. Wish me well.

I spent a lot of yesterday researching getting my books carried by libraries. In order to be carried by a major library, a book needs good reviews in a respected journal. Unfortunately, I have been trying to find reviewers on Amazon and Goodreads and on various websites. I have also learned that libraries also prefer to purchase books from Ingram Spark or another wholesaler rather than directly from a website such as Amazon.

This is another reason I need to pursue publishing the print versions of my works with Ingram-Spark. I have started the process with A Tale of Hell and Other Works of Horror. So far, I like the process more than I like the Amazon process. I have more control over how my final work will appear among other things. I will probably publish Nocturne with them next.

So now I am trying to find ways to be reviewed in a journal respected by major libraries. I am finding out that there several of these. Of course, each has a different submittal process. I will take it a step at a time as usual.

Photoshopped painting of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci wearing a medical face mask to prevent spreading COVID-19/Coronavirus

Prevent the spread of the Coronavirus/COVID-19.

Major libraries also like to carry books that are in the Library of Congress. Unfortunately, for a self-published book to be carried in the Library of Congress, it must be submitted unpublished. I will have to give this a shot with my next self-published book, which may be another collection of my horror shorts. It might be another poetry book if I can find more of my poems from the 80’s-90’s.

Let me know your thoughts and suggestions.

Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe.

Hasta luego.

 

 

Update of August 26: Instagram philslattery1957 vs. pslattery1515

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

Just for everyone’s information, if you have been following my Instagram account at pslattery1515 and have noticed that there have been no updates for a while, that is because I have changed my Instagram account to philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

The reason for this is because I no longer have the cell phone or the yahoo email accounts that I used to create the pslattery1515 Instagram account. Now Instagram recognizes that I am on a new computer and it wants to send me a security code to confirm my identity, but the only contact info it has are the old cell phone number and the old email address. So I cannot open that account. Therefore, I have created the new account Instagram.com/philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

Update of August 26: Instagram philslattery1957 vs. pslattery1515

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

Just for everyone’s information, if you have been following my Instagram account at pslattery1515 and have noticed that there have been no updates for a while, that is because I have changed my Instagram account to philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

The reason for this is because I no longer have the cell phone or the yahoo email accounts that I used to create the pslattery1515 Instagram account. Now Instagram recognizes that I am on a new computer and it wants to send me a security code to confirm my identity, but the only contact info it has are the old cell phone number and the old email address. So I cannot open that account. Therefore, I have created the new account Instagram.com/philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

Update of August 26: Instagram philslattery1957 vs. pslattery1515

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

Just for everyone’s information, if you have been following my Instagram account at pslattery1515 and have noticed that there have been no updates for a while, that is because I have changed my Instagram account to philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

The reason for this is because I no longer have the cell phone or the yahoo email accounts that I used to create the pslattery1515 Instagram account. Now Instagram recognizes that I am on a new computer and it wants to send me a security code to confirm my identity, but the only contact info it has are the old cell phone number and the old email address. So I cannot open that account. Therefore, I have created the new account Instagram.com/philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

Update of August 26: Instagram philslattery1957 vs. pslattery1515

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

Just for everyone’s information, if you have been following my Instagram account at pslattery1515 and have noticed that there have been no updates for a while, that is because I have changed my Instagram account to philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

The reason for this is because I no longer have the cell phone or the yahoo email accounts that I used to create the pslattery1515 Instagram account. Now Instagram recognizes that I am on a new computer and it wants to send me a security code to confirm my identity, but the only contact info it has are the old cell phone number and the old email address. So I cannot open that account. Therefore, I have created the new account Instagram.com/philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

Update of August 26: Instagram philslattery1957 vs. pslattery1515

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

Just for everyone’s information, if you have been following my Instagram account at pslattery1515 and have noticed that there have been no updates for a while, that is because I have changed my Instagram account to philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

The reason for this is because I no longer have the cell phone or the yahoo email accounts that I used to create the pslattery1515 Instagram account. Now Instagram recognizes that I am on a new computer and it wants to send me a security code to confirm my identity, but the only contact info it has are the old cell phone number and the old email address. So I cannot open that account. Therefore, I have created the new account Instagram.com/philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

Update of August 26: Instagram philslattery1957 vs. pslattery1515

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

Just for everyone’s information, if you have been following my Instagram account at pslattery1515 and have noticed that there have been no updates for a while, that is because I have changed my Instagram account to philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

The reason for this is because I no longer have the cell phone or the yahoo email accounts that I used to create the pslattery1515 Instagram account. Now Instagram recognizes that I am on a new computer and it wants to send me a security code to confirm my identity, but the only contact info it has are the old cell phone number and the old email address. So I cannot open that account. Therefore, I have created the new account Instagram.com/philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

Update of August 26: Instagram philslattery1957 vs. pslattery1515

Phil Slattery portrait

Phil Slattery
March, 2015

Just for everyone’s information, if you have been following my Instagram account at pslattery1515 and have noticed that there have been no updates for a while, that is because I have changed my Instagram account to philslattery1957. Please follow me there.

The reason for this is because I no longer have the cell phone or the yahoo email accounts that I used to create the pslattery1515 Instagram account. Now Instagram recognizes that I am on a new computer and it wants to send me a security code to confirm my identity, but the only contact info it has are the old cell phone number and the old email address. So I cannot open that account. Therefore, I have created the new account Instagram.com/philslattery1957. Please follow me there.