Monday, April 23, 2012

Paranormal Investigations cont.

The tale of the strange reflection in the world's largest crystal ball has grown even stranger.

After further photosho...clarification, it appears that the devil is either wearing a Cthulhu hat, or Cthulhu is just sort of tasting his head, testing the juiciness of the consciousness contained therein. Unfortunately, it seems that we may never learn the truth. I received this dire email from my source:

In the haste and excitement of uncovering what I thought to be the most compelling photographic image of a para-paranormal event, I overlooked an even more horrifying presence. I tried to alert the media, but I was detained, and authorities have confiscated my equipment and data. At least, they thought hey had. I'm entrusting this to you. I hear them coming, they will find me soon

Bubbarahp kio;jlgfsdlk gs;l dm

Have you bought Penny Dreadnought: Uncommitted Crimes yet? You should. It's only $0.99, and it's awesome.

Amazon / UK

Friday, April 20, 2012

Penny Dreadnought: Uncommitted Crimes

From the criminal minds of the Abominable Gentlemen come four tales of murder, malfeasance and malarky:
"Occupational Hazard" by Iain Rowan
"The Aerialist" by Alan Ryker
"Packob's Reward" by James Everington
"Poe's Blender" by Aaron Polson

Penny Dreadnought: Uncommitted Crimes contains approximately 14,000 words of both new and previously published fiction. Buy it at:

My story is a new one, and kind of a weird one. It was pulled out of the slush by several magazines, but ultimately rejected. There are few places looking to publish traditional pulp adventure. The perfect self-pubbing situation, in my opinion.

I just noticed that the Amazon “Click to Look Inside!” arrow points directly down the barrel of the dreadnought gun. Although to read any issue of Penny Dreadnought is to look directly down the guns’ barrels, I would hesitate to instruct anyone to do so.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Paranormal Investigations

I posted some pictures taken at the Smithsonian recently. One in particular has started something of a tornado of speculation in the paranormal world: the world's largest flawless crystal ball. You might notice there's a face in it that's not mine:

There have been theories about this apparition, but up until this point, nothing has been conclusive.

Until I received this communique:

Using the latest in proprietary CSI image enhancement tools, I have been able to identify the reflection of the person or entity viewing the Flawless Crystal. The results may shock you. It was Satan.

Bubba Rice 
Forensic and Para-Paranormal Investigator: Badge 32

Compelling evidence, to be sure.

Shocking? Or is it completely expected that Ol' Scratch is so interested in my doings and goings ons?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Cutting Angles

I’ve been thinking of cutting angles, recently, and like most of my thoughts, I’ve tried to apply the concept to writing. I really don’t know why I draw those connections. I guess it’s because I think of writing a lot, so anything else I think about gets twisted along well-travelled neural pathways.

So let’s lay the groundwork. Cutting angles.

Most good fighters cut angles. That means that they don’t slug it out head on. By changing the angle of attack in unpredictable ways, a fighter will land strikes more often and suffer fewer counter strikes, and weaker counter strikes if they try to keep in mind that they should move away from their opponent’s power side.

When I kickboxed, I attacked straight on, both because it’s the traditional Muay Thai style, and because I’m just not very nimble. I tried to make up for the lack of angles by taking advantage of the length of my limbs. Still, I would have gotten punched less if I hadn’t stood right in front of my sparring partner.

But I do cut angles in another activity: first person shooter video games. Specifically Battlefield 3. I’m generally good at video games, and very good at Battlefield 3. The funny thing is, I have very slow reflexes. If Battlefield 3 were a twitch-fest like some other shooters, the little kids would own me. But it’s not. It’s an extremely strategic game in all aspects. And in the aspect of combat, having good aim and fast reflexes isn’t as important as knowing the maps and utilizing them to ensure that encounters happen at the distance of your choice.

If you’re carrying an assault rifle, you sweep wide around corners, and equip a secondary shotgun when you go into a building composed of staircases and small rooms. If you’re carrying a carbine, you make sure your encounters don’t happen at a distance versus assault rifles, but don’t happen so close up that you get wasted by someone carrying a shotgun or SMG. If you’ve got a shotgun, you better duck around a corner when someone sees you from a distance and either hope they come chasing after so that you can ambush them from 20 feet away, or work your way through cover until you get the drop on them. In other words, you cut angles. If you can do this, you’ll win nearly every time.

So, the angle of attack is important. And this got me thinking of something I said in my last post, that there’s no break in the spectrum of my writing, with horror at one end and literary at the other. But that’s not accurate. Whether something is realistic or fantastic has nothing to do with if it’s literary. The opposite of literary writing is probably writing that’s purely for entertainment. Writing that isn’t meant to make an emotional impression, or a lasting one. Some of my horror falls into that category, but not much (though I can only comment on my intent, not the effect). The reason is that I write what I like, and if I want escapism--pure entertainment--I’ll typically go for a movie or video game (that’s just me. I’m not making a broad value judgment).

So what matters is the angle of approach. The literary horror angle involves attention to language, emotion, and above all else, character. It doesn’t mean overwritten, pompous, or boring. It doesn't mean the work can't be violent and disturbing. It means that the reader comes out the piece viewing the world differently than when she went into it. It means that the horrific becomes an angle to get through the reader’s defenses and strike vulnerable spots.

Now that I’ve wrung every bit of juice from that analogy…