Update: Lycanthrope, February 12, 2021

werewolf

As you may know, I have started on another novel entitled Lycanthrope. I am still working on Shadows and Stars, but I have ideas constantly flowing about Lycanthrope, so I am getting them down as fast as possible.

The story is about a man who decides he wants to become a werewolf, so he researches the Medieval potions used to transform someone into a werewolf and uses them. The story is set in modern-day rural Arkansas. I am writing it in the form of a journal, so that as I think up stuff, I can jot it down and it will fit in neatly with what I have written so far. I do very little revising or editing to keep it as realistic as possible. Like a journal, it doesn’t have a meticulously laid-out plot. It is haphazard and jumps from topic to topic, just like life. I am delving into the lycanthrope’s psychology. Telling this in first person is a challenge, because I have to think carefully about what to include and what to omit. I want to give some background on a subject now and then, but then I have to reign in that drive after I consider that a person would not know that from firsthand experience. So, the novel will have a nebulous feel to it. I have not stated a town in which this happens, because I do not want anyone to get the impression I am saying a murderous werewolf hails from their town. I may create a fictitious town name later, but for now I like not giving the town name and keeping it mysterious. I do name some of the towns around here through which the protagonist may pass now and then, but so far, I haven’t stated the name of the town where he lives.

I have written just over 23,000 words in just over a month. I would like to have it reach 100,000, but if the story ties up neatly at around 50,000-80,000, so be it. I want just enough words to tell the story and no fluff. I like lean, muscular writing.

That’s it for now. I will hopefully write more later.

Excellent Summary of Werewolf Lore

As you know, I have been working on a novel about a modern lycanthrope, called, appropriately, Lycanthrope. I researched werewolves sometime back as well as werewolf movies and videos. This video from YouTube’s Top 5 Scary Videos is an excellent, detailed, quick and dirty summary of werewolf lore from the historical perspective. I will post more werewolf-related material here as I come across it.

Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu

LeFanu

Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu

1814-1873

Over lunch, I was reading the Wikipedia article on horror fiction and came across a reference to Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu, of whom I had never heard.   I went to the article and found out some interesting things (granted, Wikipedia is not the most respected source, but if even half of this article is accurate, Le Fanu bears some investigating by avid horror aficionados).

Le Fanu was a respected writer of ghost stories and Gothic tales in the 19th century.   I read his “The Ghost and the Bonesetter” (1838), which Wikipedia describes as “his first-published and jocular story”.   For our generation, this is more humor than horror, but Le Fanu’s talent is patently obvious from this work.  I look forward to reading more.

It fascinates me that, as well-read as I am, I have never heard of Le Fanu, but then I have only recently begun to delve into the horror genre to any great degree.   Based on the Wikipedia article, he was very well-known in his time and influenced 19th and 20th century writers such as M.R. James, Bram Stoker, and James Joyce.   His best known works are the vampire novella Carmilla and The Purcell Papers (a collection of short stories).   Apparently, he has also had something of an influence on modern cinema, with movies still being made of his work occasionally (Le Fanu’s mystery novel “Uncle Silas” was made into a movie in 1947, and then remade, starring Peter O’Toole, as The Dark Angel in 1987).

Here is a paragraph from the Wikipedia article to whet your appetite for further investigation  of his work:

“Le Fanu worked in many genres but remains best known for his mystery and horror fiction. He was a meticulous craftsman and frequently reworked plots and ideas from his earlier writing in subsequent pieces. Many of his novels, for example, are expansions and refinements of earlier short stories. He specialised in tone and effect rather than “shock horror”, and liked to leave important details unexplained and mysterious. He avoided overt supernatural effects: in most of his major works, the supernatural is strongly implied but a “natural” explanation is also possible. The demonic monkey in “Green Tea” could be a delusion of the story’s protagonist, who is the only person to see it; in “The Familiar”, Captain Barton’s death seems to be supernatural, but is not actually witnessed, and the ghostly owl may be a real bird. This technique influenced later horror artists, both in print and on film (see, for example, the film producer Val Lewton‘s principle of “indirect horror”). Though other writers have since chosen less subtle techniques, Le Fanu’s best tales, such as the vampire novella “Carmilla“, remain some of the most powerful in the genre. He had enormous influence on the 20th century’s most important ghost story writer, M. R. James, and although his work fell out of favour in the early part of the 20th century, towards the end of the century interest in his work increased and remains comparatively strong.[1]

Thoughts?  Comments?

Shadows and Stars: Visualizing Sato

I was surfing through Pixabay, which offers public domain images, for some header backgrounds to use on my weblog, when I came across some graphics by a German artist, whose Pixabay userid is Anaterate. Some of his characters struck me as being good representations of how I visualize some of my characters in Shadows and Stars. His conceptions give me little nuances to add into the characters’ description that I had not imagined that will make them come to life for the reader (hopefully) and give them more depth. Here is an example:

This image is described solely as “man-5350603_1920” on Pixabay. I visualize him as a character named Sato (pronounce the a as the a in father), who is a reclusive monk living in a remote section of jungle. The belief system/philosophy he studies is called Pravojeco, which translates to something like The Ancient Way. This is similar to early taoism as found in the writings of Lao Tsu and Chuang Tze.

In particular, Sato studies the ways of the jungle: the balance of life, the roles of violence and birth, the creation of the world through the conflict of opposites, the relation of a person to the universe and his/her role in it, the possibility of an afterlife and/or reincarnation, and other topics of a metaphysical nature.

Sato does not think of death as an end, though he concedes that might be a possibility, but as a transition back to the forgotten world the spirit inhabited before birth. Sato sees reincarnation as a possibility for the spirit. though he concedes no one knows with any certainty what awaits for us in the afterlife or even if there is an afterlife. If reincarnation exists, in Sato’s mind the spirit is not limited by time and space. Someone may be reincarnated in the past or present as well as in the future. A person may also be reincarnated on another planet as a person or as an animal or as an insect or as any other life form. He/she might be reincarnated as a completely different life form in an entirely different universe or dimension.

Although Sato is not a sorcerer per se, he does seem to know things that he should not know. Sato is also not a warrior, but the monks of his order are known to be vicious fighters who mimic animals in their ferocity, mercilessness, and techniques.

Although Sato is a recluse, most of his home planet of Dagal knows of him, because one of his former pupils pilfered some of Sato’s writings when he left and published them. On occasion, some of the other characters may be seen reading The Musing of Sato the Recluse.

I had originally visualized Sato as an old man and mostly like Caucasians. Being Caucasian myself, this is my instinctive bias. However, upon seeing this photo, I thought why not go against the cliché? Sato could be a dark-skinned, young man. This would raise the question about how could such a young man become renown as a sage? I haven’t yet come up with a good reason behind the scars/tattoos. They might be a family or tribal tradition or they could have a philosophical reason. They might represent the elemental forces that afflict or benefit humanity. They might represent the winds of fate buffeting the individual. They might represent the metaphysical forces, like the Oriental chi or ki (similar to the Force in Star Wars), flowing within a person.

The Dagalian race that most resembles Caucasians is called the Sazhanoi (which is the plural of Sazhano). In appearance they differ primarily in their pupils being vertical slits like the eyes of cats or snakes. This is a distinguishing feature of all Dagalians regardless of race. Their color differs widely from albino to melanistic (pure black). Hair color also varies widely with many Sazhano dying their hair according to the prevalent fashion or their family tradition. Facial features, body shape, and other physical attributes are more or less Caucasian.

Tattoos are common among the Sazhanoi. In fact, instead of wedding rings to symbolize marriage, the Sazhanoi have an ornate ring of whatever design the couple chooses tattooed around the left wrist. The ring is tattooed before the wedding and traditionally covered until it is revealed immediately after the wedding vows. If the couple are separated by death or divorce, a black ring is tattooed above the wedding ring. The violent death of a spouse is sometimes indicated by a solid red ring.

All these characteristics of Sato and the Sazhanoi play out in some fashion in Shadows and Stars.

Over the next few weeks, I hope to post more about Dagal and its inhabitants. Stay tuned.

Photo of man wearing a coronavirus mask
Prevent the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19 for the sake of yourself, your friends, and your family.

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: September 30, 2019 Shadows and Stars

Selfie with Lotus in background near Arkansas Post, September 4, 2019

Over the weekend I made some important progress with my novel in progress, Shadows and Stars. Although I have over 80,000 words, there were still some large holes where I could not come up with a good plan to fill them. On Sunday, the 29th, I went to Ameca Mexican Restaurant to have lunch and took my notebook/journal for Shadows and Stars with me as I usually do when I go out to eat or have coffee. After eating (a delicious pollo Chihuahua by the way), I started writing another synopsis of the plot, which is something I do when trying to generate ideas. I try to reduce the entire novel to one sentence, one “elevator pitch”, or what you could find on the back of a dust jacket. The ideas started flowing and I could not stop writing for a few hours. I finally wrote one additional (and important) chapter of about 1,000 words, which I typed into the novel tonight. But, the important take-away is that I finally came up with the entire plot. Now I will continue expanding on that and refining it, until I have the first draft completed, which I hope will be by Halloween. Then I will refine that until I have the novel as perfect as I can make it. Wish me luck.

Phil Slattery Will Be Reading from His Upcoming Novel at the Farmington Writers Circle on September 13.

Phil Slattery, 2015

Phil Slattery will read the beginning of his upcoming novel The Spy Who Escaped from Hell at the Farmington Writers Circle, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, September 13, 2018, at the Cosmic Café, 220 West Main St, Farmington (next to Tales of Tomorrow Comics).  The Public is invited.

Phil Slattery has been writing short fiction for over twenty years.  He is currently working on two novels, one science fiction and the other The Spy Who Escaped from Hell, a deeply philosophical combination of horror, espionage, madness, and betrayal with an overlying story of a man’s undying love for a woman.

For more information, e-mail philslattery87410@gmail.com or contact us via this website.

To see all of Phil’s works, visit amazon.com/author/philslattery.

Phil Slattery Will Be Reading from His Upcoming Novel at the Farmington Writers Circle on September 13.

Phil Slattery, 2015

Phil Slattery will read the beginning of his upcoming novel The Spy Who Escaped from Hell at the Farmington Writers Circle, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, September 13, 2018, at the Cosmic Café, 220 West Main St, Farmington (next to Tales of Tomorrow Comics).  The Public is invited.

Phil Slattery has been writing short fiction for over twenty years.  He is currently working on two novels, one science fiction and the other The Spy Who Escaped from Hell, a deeply philosophical combination of horror, espionage, madness, and betrayal with an overlying story of a man’s undying love for a woman.

For more information, e-mail philslattery87410@gmail.com or contact us via this website.

To see all of Phil’s works, visit amazon.com/author/philslattery.

Phil Slattery Will Be Reading from His Upcoming Novel at the Farmington Writers Circle on September 13.

Phil Slattery will read the beginning of his upcoming novel The Spy Who Escaped from Hell at the Farmington Writers Circle, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, September 13, 2018, at the Cosmic Café, 220 West Main St, Farmington (next to Tales of Tomorrow Comics).  The Public is invited.

Phil Slattery has been writing short fiction for over twenty years.  He is currently working on two novels, one science fiction and the other The Spy Who Escaped from Hell, a deeply philosophical combination of horror, espionage, madness, and betrayal with an overlying story of a man’s undying love for a woman.

For more information, e-mail philslattery87410@gmail.com or contact us via this website.

To see all of Phil’s works, visit amazon.com/author/philslattery.

Phil Slattery Will Be Reading from His Upcoming Novel at the Farmington Writers Circle on September 13.

Phil Slattery, 2015

Phil Slattery will read the beginning of his upcoming novel The Spy Who Escaped from Hell at the Farmington Writers Circle, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, September 13, 2018, at the Cosmic Café, 220 West Main St, Farmington (next to Tales of Tomorrow Comics).  The Public is invited.

Phil Slattery has been writing short fiction for over twenty years.  He is currently working on two novels, one science fiction and the other The Spy Who Escaped from Hell, a deeply philosophical combination of horror, espionage, madness, and betrayal with an overlying story of a man’s undying love for a woman.

For more information, e-mail philslattery87410@gmail.com or contact us via this website.

To see all of Phil’s works, visit amazon.com/author/philslattery.

Phil Slattery Will Be Reading from His Upcoming Novel at the Farmington Writers Circle on September 13.

Phil Slattery, 2015

Phil Slattery will read the beginning of his upcoming novel The Spy Who Escaped from Hell at the Farmington Writers Circle, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, September 13, 2018, at the Cosmic Café, 220 West Main St, Farmington (next to Tales of Tomorrow Comics).  The Public is invited.

Phil Slattery has been writing short fiction for over twenty years.  He is currently working on two novels, one science fiction and the other The Spy Who Escaped from Hell, a deeply philosophical combination of horror, espionage, madness, and betrayal with an overlying story of a man’s undying love for a woman.

For more information, e-mail philslattery87410@gmail.com or contact us via this website.

To see all of Phil’s works, visit amazon.com/author/philslattery.

Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu

LeFanu

Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu

1814-1873

Over lunch, I was reading the Wikipedia article on horror fiction and came across a reference to Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu, of whom I had never heard.   I went to the article and found out some interesting things (granted, Wikipedia is not the most respected source, but if even half of this article is accurate, Le Fanu bears some investigating by avid horror aficionados).

Le Fanu was a respected writer of ghost stories and Gothic tales in the 19th century.   I read his “The Ghost and the Bonesetter” (1838), which Wikipedia describes as “his first-published and jocular story”.   For our generation, this is more humor than horror, but Le Fanu’s talent is patently obvious from this work.  I look forward to reading more.

It fascinates me that, as well-read as I am, I have never heard of Le Fanu, but then I have only recently begun to delve into the horror genre to any great degree.   Based on the Wikipedia article, he was very well-known in his time and influenced 19th and 20th century writers such as M.R. James, Bram Stoker, and James Joyce.   His best known works are the vampire novella Carmilla and The Purcell Papers (a collection of short stories).   Apparently, he has also had something of an influence on modern cinema, with movies still being made of his work occasionally (Le Fanu’s mystery novel “Uncle Silas” was made into a movie in 1947, and then remade, starring Peter O’Toole, as The Dark Angel in 1987).

Here is a paragraph from the Wikipedia article to whet your appetite for further investigation  of his work:

“Le Fanu worked in many genres but remains best known for his mystery and horror fiction. He was a meticulous craftsman and frequently reworked plots and ideas from his earlier writing in subsequent pieces. Many of his novels, for example, are expansions and refinements of earlier short stories. He specialised in tone and effect rather than “shock horror”, and liked to leave important details unexplained and mysterious. He avoided overt supernatural effects: in most of his major works, the supernatural is strongly implied but a “natural” explanation is also possible. The demonic monkey in “Green Tea” could be a delusion of the story’s protagonist, who is the only person to see it; in “The Familiar”, Captain Barton’s death seems to be supernatural, but is not actually witnessed, and the ghostly owl may be a real bird. This technique influenced later horror artists, both in print and on film (see, for example, the film producer Val Lewton‘s principle of “indirect horror”). Though other writers have since chosen less subtle techniques, Le Fanu’s best tales, such as the vampire novella “Carmilla“, remain some of the most powerful in the genre. He had enormous influence on the 20th century’s most important ghost story writer, M. R. James, and although his work fell out of favour in the early part of the 20th century, towards the end of the century interest in his work increased and remains comparatively strong.[1]

Thoughts?  Comments?