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Category Archives: General blog stuff

I haven’t written since March?  Good god.  Are any of you still out there?  I don’t blame you if you’re not.

Since March and now, I have defended my dissertation, gotten the hell out of graduate school, and dove back into medical school.  Life is far, far better than it was.  I never did finish Flatland (yes, I know, it’s like 90 pages).

Apparently, horror country/bloodgrass is its own musical genre.  I’m baffled I haven’t heard about this until now.

I’m not sure if that’s a digiridoo or throat-singing in the second one, but I approve wholeheartedly.

I’ve been writing in fits and starts, but I’ve been fighting to get to a more regular schedule.  I’ve gotten one short story accepted so far…I’ll post the deets when it’s out.  (I was told sometime this fall…so, here’s hoping.)  Its subtitle might as well be, “Here’s how the Cultist feels about graduate school!” (and I will admit I was in tears writing most of it), but, eh, I guess they liked it well enough.

I’ve got a lot of questions about horror-writing (or, more broadly, speculative fiction in general).  And yes, I have read Stephen King’s On Writing, and I did find it quite useful.  But it’s not all-encompassing.  Particularly

  1. As far as I can tell, seems to be the go-to for current fiction calls.  And it seems to boil down to two classes: the calls that pay a (tiny) flat fee per story ($5-15), and the kind that pay per word (generally .3-.6/word).  The former seem much more casual and independent, and, as far as I can tell, the per-word folks seem to be better established and more serious.  Is it better just to apply everywhere and get your name out there, as beggars can’t be choosers?  Or should you be somewhat judicious?  I can see arguments for both, TBH.
  2. How can you tell if your pseudonym is stupid?
  3. Where does one find feedback?  I don’t know any other horror writers in the immediate proximity, and Stephen King seems to feel that feedback is necessary, but writer’s groups are/can be a bit masturbatory.
  4. Is there a market for people only interested in writing short stories?  It seems that people use short stories to break into the world of novels, but I think that horror novels are a very different (and frequently more disappointing) beast than short horror.  (It is far, far harder to avoid telegraphing the ending in a novel than a story–furthermore, short stories have room to be weird and inconsistent, and I adore that.)

So, I’m at a bit of an impasse right now (not that it’s keeping me from writing).  I’ll try to figure this out and post as I go.  Until then, I remain

The Cultist

Well, so.

I’m still here, still reading away, still mired in the Weird as ever.  But obviously, I’ve been absolutely terrible at updating this site.

Why is that?

Half of it is the usual stuff: grad school, writing papers, and what I hope to God is an impending defense.

The other half is a little more interesting, and much more exciting*.  Every time I wrote a post critical of Lovecraftian work, every time I read a story and got frustrated, a little nagging voice at the back of my head would whisper, “If you’re such an expert, why don’t you write your own?”  Some of the time (if I had been particularly vitriolic), the little voice was snide.  Most of the time, though, it was just wistful.  I love the community of weird horror.  I love seeing writers talk back and forth to each other.  And I couldn’t shake the thought that I wanted to be a part of it, so badly.

And so, finally, around the time that I was getting hung up on Derleth and his MOTHERFUCKING water elementals, I decided to give it a shot.  So I wrote a story.  And then another.  And I haven’t really looked back from there.

Nothing has been published yet–I’ve gotten a bunch of form rejections, a couple of non-form rejections that were quite kind and encouraging, one shortlist then a no, one shortlist and still waiting.  But I’m writing.  And I don’t intend to stop.

But this takes time, obviously.  I don’t want to transform this blog into a LET ME FOIST EVERYTHING I’VE EVER WRITTEN THAT NO ONE ELSE WANTS TO READ ONTO YOU, MY BLOG READERS!!! shitshow.  Furthermore, I remain (as ever) dedicated to diving headfirst into quality Lovecraftian fiction and then speculating/raving/complaining about it.

So, I intend to start writing on this blog again, with the same focus and tone, on the same old M/W/F/S schedule.  But the pieces might be a little more cursory, a little more split-up.  I might talk a little bit about writing on occasion.  And if anything does get published, I’ll let you know.

It’s good to be back.

Also, for those of you keeping track at home, my Cthulhu steins did arrive.  They are, indeed, wonderful.

The Cultist

*To me.

Grad school may kill my free time, my peace of mind, my dignity, and my ability to talk about anything other than failed experiments at parties, but it can never touch my love of weird fiction.  (It’s not quite Braveheart, but it’s something, I suppose…)  Work has taken me offline for the past few weeks, but 3 of the 4 time-consuming talks that I’ve had to put together this fall are now concluded (and the 4th is almost here).  And so I am very pleased to say that regular posts on the W-F-Sa schedule will resume forthwith.

Also good news: I just gave the Madison Nerd Nite talk, which was recorded and will be posted in podcast form!  I’ll post the link as soon as I have it, so give it a listen if you want to hear me wax poetic about Hellraiser and say “fuck” a lot.  (Also give it a listen if you want to hear one of the most awkward interviews in the history of perhaps forever.  I haven’t given an interview since applying for MD/PhD programs, and as it turns out, once the script veers away from “Tell me about your research” and “How do you view the balance between science and medicine?”, I am laughably dead in the water.)

But it was a really fantastic talk–people had some great questions (and the ratio of drunken ridiculous questions to very good insightful questions was wonderfully low!), and afterward I got a LOT of tips for future reads.  (How had I never heard of the Neonomicon?)

If you’re new to this blog, feel free to check out the associated Facebook page: I can’t shake the feeling that it’s a little redundant, having a page on a website for another website, but no, I am not immune to the dopamine spike of another Facebook “like”, so go ahead and follow away!

So I’m very excited, and very happy to be back and blathering on about Lovecraft once more.  But it’s late, so right now I have only one thing left so say:

The Cultist

So, as you* may have noticed, I’ll now be posting longer written pieces about weird fiction Wednesday and Friday, not Monday/Wednesday/Friday.  This is mainly because graduate school is graduate school, and I didn’t want the longer pieces to suffer for quality as a result.

So!  I am still here, and will still be posting on a regular basis, with the caveat that this schedule may be revised as time goes on.  I may go back to 3 a week during the winter break, for example.  Or in the weeks prior to my defense, I may just post Wednesdays or Fridays, and the entire post may be nothing more than a single, wordless, scream.

You know.  Just business as usual.

The Cultist

*Mom, maybe Dad, maybe a few college friends