What’s New for April? Books!

 

C.M. Saunders has been a busy, busy boy. Last month, he published a little something in Crimson Streets, and he continued with his Retro Review series. In April, not only is he continuing is Retro Review series (catch the latest on his blog), he’s also releasing the third book in his X horror collection series, X3. You can pre-order it now, and while you’re at it, get the first two books in this series for just 99 cents in April as well.

Our very own P.J. Blakey-Novis has also interviewed him for Indie Writers’ Review (Follow the Facebook page for book, review, etc. news and for opportunities to win books) and Christian’s stopping by Roadie Notes for another interview. You’ll want to check both out.

61yusXRXjwL

Oh, and speaking of Mr. Blakey-Novis, keep your eye on this blog or his Indie Writers Review page next month for news about upcoming titles from him as well, including a little something called Boxes of Blood.

This month, Renee Miller released Splish, Slash, Takin’ a Bloodbath with Unnerving Magazine, and on April 10th, look for her twisted novelette, Cats Like Cream. And for the month of April, Renee’s got a little thing happening on her Facebook page. For the price of answering a question, you’ll be entered to win a digital subscription to Unnerving Magazine’s 2018 digital catalogue. That includes mobi, epub and PDF copies of all of the 2018 Unnerving releases below (not the magazine), plus a couple of more TBD titles, and/or a paperback copy of Eat the Rich, which will be released in July via Hindered Souls Press.

And Katrina Monroe fans, if you’ve been missing her lately, don’t fret, she’s been publishing a series of short fiction on her blog. The first, Liquid Innovations, Please Hold, appeared last month, and the most recent, Lost and Found, is available to read now. Stop by throughout April for more brand new fiction from her.

In case you missed it, Steve Wetherell also released brand new fiction in March. Check out his Shingles Series installment, The Monkey’s Penis. His comedic horror gem, Shoot the Dead, is also on Amazon Prime’s reading list for April (actually, its on the list now and will be for 90 days, which means it’s free for Amazon Prime members, so get on it).

Michael Keyton has been quiet, but tune in next month when we reveal May’s book news for more from him as well.

That’s all for now, kittens. Check our Facebook page for more news, and check back here next month to find out what we’ve got going on in May.

 

Advertisements

Clay Cross and #MeToo

by Michael Keyton (originally published on Record of a Baffled Spirit)

I’ve recently been working on a screenplay of Clay Cross – in fact I’ve just sent a sample off to a production company. I believe they’re called Spec scripts. Two things emerged from the process, one good, the other problematic. On the positive side, because a script focuses so much on dialogue, it highlights where the dialogue in the book could be sharper. The problem lies in the visual especially in the present climate of #MeToo.

clay

Clay Cross is a turbo-charged version of ‘Life on Mars’ and Alf Garnett, Micky Spillane and every Noir pulp/B movie rolled into one.

Clay Cross then, is a comic composite—comic because he is out of his time – no longer operating in late 1940’s LA but Newport Wales in the Nineties.  In this context, his misogyny, homophobia and racism – ramped up to an almost psychotic degree —are seen as laughable as opposed to something to emulate or admire. Cross—a monster in his world is comic in ours.

That is the theory, but does it work in his treatment of women, the saint or the whore syndrome. In the book, I think it does, because to noir aficionados the tropes are fairly recognisable, and words, too, allow the reader to distance themselves from the real thing. Words allow subtext and mockery.

film though. There is the problem. The two passages below for example. The words are taking the piss out of Cross. But seeing it on screen? Some have issue with this classic Lauren Bacall song in the Big Sleep, and she is just singing about it. So the issue is: do I cut those two scenes completely? Should I cut them, or is there a visual compromise?

Any ideas or feedback?

Source A

   “I’m no good for you, Clay, honey. Della Peach has a heart of stone.”

     What the hell, I thought. Prinz has taught her mind-reading!

     “She’s nothing but a good time gal, Clay. She’s not your type – kind, straight, honest…decent. Never was. But you knew that, Clay. Guess that’s why, mebbee, you found me interesting.”  She closed her eyes and exhaled a perfectly executed smoke ring that hovered momentarily between us.

So now I knew. Della became part of the greyness. Dead. Finished. But Prinz was still out there. This much Della owed me, and I gave it to her straight.

            “I want the low down on Prinz, baby!” I snarled. “And while you’re at it, what can you tell me about some punk brother of a one-time singer that worked here- name of April Dawn?”

            Della smiled, sphinx-like. “And if I open my mouth too much, someone a little less wholesome than you will be down it like a shot, asking me other questions -like where I want to be buried?”

            Time for the old Clay Cross treatment. I took her hands, warm, pale and smelling nice in mine. We stayed like that for some time. Somewhere in the distance music played. I gazed into Della’s eyes, wondering if they saw a world different from mine, gazed at her lips, warm red and lascivious with the untamed sensuality that dominated every treacherous ounce of her 36-22-35 inch frame. I studied a face that still shone with the unearthly beauty of a pale rose seen at dusk. My fingers ached to stroke once again the fine dusk of her hair which framed in wanton ringlets her poisoned pulchritude. Behind her beauty lurked the insatiable serpent that gorged on the desires of man.

            “It’s your eyes, Clay.” Della breathed. “When you look at me it makes me realise that I’m not only a lady, but…a woman.”  Long, dead, wasted years in the pen with just hardened hoods to practise on and the old C. Cross magic seemed as potent as ever it was. I smiled.

            And I punched her straight and hard in the face. Knuckles, teeth and lip coalesced in one cataclysmic sensation that meant one thing. Satisfaction. She staggered back out of her chair and into the corner where I wanted her.  She raised a wondering hand to ruined lips. Her eyes blazed.

            “You bastard!” she breathed. “You great, big, beautiful bastard!” I punched her again, keeping in time to the crazy music swirling around inside my head. As far as anyone else was concerned this was just part of the cabaret. I wanted to punch her for every stinking year I’d spent in nothingness, but I still needed Della’s mouth, intact and in working order.

            “Play it straight, baby.”  I snarled. “You know me. This is Clayton Z. Cross. We grew up together. Play it straight for once, Della. Play it smart.”  I was angry.

Della was learning the hard way. The way she liked it. She nodded, smiling faintly in the gloom.

Source B

I guess I owe the army for three things; like for training a killer; for giving me a partner in the form of a screwy left eyeball with a mind of its own, and finally for leaving me enough severance pay to set myself up in business as the best Private Eye in L.A.. And just now I was in business again.

            There I was reading the obituary column for fun, and then I guess my friendly eyeball came over slightly bored. It wandered… knowing my taste in dames… and struck gold. 36 . 23 . 36 carat gold. She was beautiful. She was woman. Hell she was dynamite on a very short fuse. My fingers made for the matchbox and squeezed tightly.

            Then I saw the dame was in trouble. Leastwise, some crazy ape was slugging her, and slugging her good. She was moaning, small soft animal noises that meant pain. And her head spun from side to side with every bestial punch he laid into her.

Something inside of me burned. Hell she was beautiful still, despite the savage red weals showing up like traffic lights on an otherwise rose soft complexion; lips split and bloodied and one eye slowly closing. Migawd! She was beautiful! And the punk doing the damage was as versatile as hell.

            A fist had grasped a bundle of her soft and darkly perfumed tawny hair, with flecks of gold, and now in wanton disarray. He was jerking, and jerking hard, forcing her head farther and farther back. Her lips writhed, foam-flecked and taut in understated agony; veins stood out on a delicately sculptured neck that seemed on the point of breaking.

            I eased a finger around my collar that had become just a little too tight, and I put the paper down and drooled. Her body was built for action… and it was getting plenty. I said the ape was versatile. He was a real bundle of tricks. A trouser clad knee jerked brutally upwards and honey-pie collapsed like just the most beautiful rag doll in the whole goddamned world.

Hell! That was no way to treat a lady, I thought.

You Don’t Always Have to Start at the Beginning

By C.M. Saunders

 You may wonder why I don’t blog more about writing and/or publishing. After all, I’ve been doing this a long time. Well, the answer to that is that I jealously guard any knowledge and information I’ve gleaned on my journey and file it away for my own personal use. Find your own knowledge and information!

I’m kidding.

Kind of.

I have written about some aspects of writing on this blog before, most recently writer’s block and I do so occasionally for various publications. But thinking about it, the reason I don’t do it more is because writing is such a subjective topic that it’s very difficult to impart any actual bona fide wisdom. What works for you, might not work for anyone else. I can give an opinion, sure. Maybe even an informed opinion. But at the end of the day, it’s still just an opinion, and as the saying goes, opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one.

Anyway, from an altruistic point of view, I probably should blog more about writing and publishing in the hope that someone somewhere might take something from it. So today I’d like to address what I see as one of many rookie errors, and that is the assumption that when writing a story, a novel, a novella, or even a feature or article, you have to start at the beginning and work steadily through to the end.

It’s bullshit.

That’s right. You can start in the middle if you want. Fuck it. If you have a killer final scene, write that first then work backwards. Obviously, I don’t mean write the words backwards. I’ve never tried it, but I imagine that would be ridiculously taxing. Plus, editors won’t appreciate it, and there’s also the danger that your nearest and dearest might assume that you’re possessed.

            Moving on…

It genuinely amazes me how many people start a writing project full of optimism and determination and with only the best of intentions, grind to a shuddering halt for some reason, abandon the project, then just moan about it instead. It’s easy to blame writer’s block but c’mon, you know that’s just an excuse. My advice is, if you are struggling with a particular scene, or have some plot issues to work through, or have just plain hit the wall, just pick up the story at a later point (on the other side of the wall) and continue from there.

For example, imagine you are writing a murder mystery and the victim has just been found dead in the kitchen with their own intestines stuffed in their mouth. Maybe you aren’t sure about the order of events leading up to the murder, or the weapon used, or even who the killer is. Maybe you can’t decide on the time frame, motive, or any number of other technicalities. Don’t sweat it, just let the story hang there for a while and move to another section. Nobody knows but you, and if they did know, nobody would care. Believe me, sooner or later things will fall into place.

Personally, I often start short stories with little more than a single scene in my head, then I write around the scene. If I’m lucky, I’ll have several semi-related scenes floating around. Then it’s just a matter of stitching them together. Sometimes the initial scene doesn’t even make a final cut. It’s there as kind of a sign post or marker, and when it has served its purpose I might pull it and throw it away, or use it in another story.

How you write is up to you. That’s the beauty of it. You are the master, and the page is your domain. Rule it. The important thing is the end result, the story, how you arrive at the destination is irrelevant. You don’t always have to follow convention, and you certainly don’t always have to start at the beginning.

C.M. Saunders is a freelance journalist and editor. His fiction and non-fiction has appeared in over 60 magazines, ezines and anthologies worldwide, including Loaded, Record Collector, Fantastic Horror, Trigger Warning, Gore, Liquid imagination, and the Literary Hatchet. His books have been both traditionally and independently published, the most recent being Apartment 14F: An Oriental Ghost Story (Uncut) and Human Waste, both of which are available now on Deviant Dolls Publications. He is represented by Media Bitch literary agency.

His latest release is out now:

human waste