A New Experience

Tags

, , , , ,

I’m proud to announce that I have been accepted on board as a Slush Reader for Every Day Fiction Magazine!

For anyone that may not know, Every Day Fiction is a web magazine that specializes in publishing fine fiction in bite-sized doses. Every day, EDF publishes a new short story of 1000 words or fewer that can be read during a lunch hour, on transit, or even over breakfast.

From a writer’s viewpoint, EDF brings a team of professional, respectful and supportive people to the table. They have published three of my stories, and even in the case of rejection, their insightful advice and support helped to improve not only those stories, but myself as a writer.

From a readers viewpoint, EDF offers a vast diversity in genre, with a solid quality standard. Each day is very much a surprise, as they embrace a wide spectrum of styles and themes.

I’m looking forward to being a part of an already great team, and getting a new perspective into the publication process. I think there will be a lot I can learn from this experience, and I couldn’t have found a better publication to support.

The Animism Fan Fiction Contest Winners

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

I’m excited to announce that my name is indeed on this list! For everyone that showed your support, I can’t express enough my gratitude; not only for this project, but for all the works you endorse with your time and interest.

To everyone that follows my writing, let the meager utterance of a thanks suffice for this, my deepest appreciation!

A New Story, A New Contest

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

I’m excited to announce that my short story, “The Trickster’s Promise” is now open for votes in the Animism Short Fiction contest!

You can find a link to the piece here.

When you’ve read the story, just click where it shows the Facebook icon on the right hand side, under where it indicates to vote for this week’s winner, and follow the directions for the app.

By voting, you will automatically be entered into a contest to win an iPod Nano, as well, though you will need an active Facebook account to do so.

With all that said, I should remind everyone that this story is based on the Animism world, so I advise watching the video linked below to get a basic understanding of the Spirits and their personalities. While the story is self sufficient, it will provide a deeper understanding of the world.

You can find that here.

Thanks to all those showing support, and as always, thanks for reading!

A Hard Day to Celebrate

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

One year ago today, Every Day Fiction Magazine published my first story to commemorate the devastating events that occurred a decade prior. I originally wrote it to address the atrocities of terrorism, and was both surprised and honored to have it brought to light on that day.

While the piece was met with some controversy, I felt we should hold close the reality of these horrific acts. Likewise, I felt we should never forget the dangers that we, ourselves, can pose through the realization of our retribution. In my own way, that story was how I showed remembrance for the innocents that fell victim, both on our shores, and those on others that may have suffered through our retaliation.

I suppose it still is, even now.

That said, this is truly a hard day for me to celebrate, given the concurrent anniversary of something so much larger than myself. Yet it is a day of personal celebration nevertheless, as it’s also the anniversary of my first published work, and the landmark of my first year as a public writer.

In this last year, my focus was largely on Flash Fiction. I worked on a side project for fun (which has already reached the length of a novel, and developed a bit of a following all its own), and also managed to get eight stories published. My material ranged around a thousand words or less, with some dipping as low as fifty. My work will be present in at least one anthology, and for The Widow’s Tale, I even found myself nominated for The Pushcart Prize.

I’ll admit, this exceeded my goals.

However, I have decided to up the ante. In the coming year, I plan to extend on that — to work on larger short fiction, to increase publications, and to prepare a novel.

I can’t express enough appreciation for all of you that grant your time on my stumbles in fiction. A writer is truly nothing without a reader, nor the publishing groups that make this creative process possible.

Likewise, I would like to show my appreciation for all the men and women that strove to rescue those victims on that horrific day. For the public service people that risked (and at times lost) their lives for our friends and our family, on 9/11 and every other day that tragedy has touched. You have not received the support you deserve, but for what it’s worth, I thank you!

Finally, for a hard day to celebrate, I say here’s to another year.

Swallowed by the Dark

Tags

, , , , , ,

Hey everyone, I’m excited to be posting here again! I’m even more excited to announce that the new publication is another fifty word story.

I’ve only had two so far, but each time I’ve managed to slip a micro fiction into the annals of fiftywordstories.com, I can’t help but feel a distinct accomplishment. It’s undeniably a challenge, writing a complete story with a fifty word limit, but writing a good story with a fifty word limit is like shooting discs in a squall.

Anyway, I put a lot of thought into this one, and I hope you like it. Here’s “Swallowed by the Dark

A Widow’s Podcast

Tags

, , , , , , ,

The podcast for “The Widow’s Tale” went live today, read by the talented Folly Blaine! You can listen to Folly’s portrayal of my widow scorned and check out her most recent works in the links below.

The Widow’s Tale

Folly’s Website

Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations (anthology featuring Folly’s work)

Taking the Wind (Folly’s most recent publication)

A General Update

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Hey everyone!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted here, but alas, publications have been slow so far this year. Though I do have some stories out there circulating, I’ve been dramatically laxing in my work due to some life complications. I have also been focusing a good bit on my burgeoning side series, Agoraphobe’s Lament, which has been gaining something of a following itself and has been very effective at sapping my time away from more serious works.

That said, however, I am proud to announce that I made semi-finalist in the Flash Fiction Chronicles “String-of-10” FOUR contest. I really enjoyed the challenges of this contest, and am proud of the results on my end. I certainly plan to take that story to another market after I delve a bit further into the piece. It’s one that I would love to see published.

Yep. That’s about it, so here’s to hoping I have some good news soon!

 

An Interview with John Cheese

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

Originally published on Ars Gratia Artis.

Late Sunday afternoon, I found myself following the Tumblr page of John Cheesecolumnist for the vastly popular comedy website, Cracked.com, and none other than the John that, I guess, dies at the end of some book, or movie, or something, that was written by his friend, David Wong.

Known for his amalgam of reality and humor, particularly on life articles, my goal was to study his brain, to delve into the cavernous recesses behind the work.

My motives were well justified. It all started last Halloween. For long months I toiled, meticulously devising the ultimate manifestation of wit and humor. I would call it the ironic non-costume; the world would call me genius. But mere days before it could see light, Cheese seemingly thought of it first, making it his number one terrible idea for a costume.

He knew. He knew! But how? I could only rationalize a single explanation — he was secretly spying my every move through my Barbie Video Girl Doll!

I had to get one step ahead.

After removing that traitor from the equation, I hit the web. It was then that I caught sight of his open call for interviews. He was taking interviews from some of the most obscure, underground of writers. Yes! With standards like that, there was a chance he’d even take one from me! And what better way to probe his grey matter? I could cleverly conceal my lab-tested brain study methods under the guise of a fan based questionnaire!

The plan was perfect.

So I dropped him an e-mail. To my laughter ridden delight, he responded, none the wiser. We soon met in a shady alley that I called, “my office.” Naturally, I cased the place first, eagerly searching for a hint of other Cracked columnists, just in case. Specifically Seanbaby, or that Brockway guy. But he came alone, as requested.

Or so I thought…

Resting on some moist boxes, I flipped out my note pad, and with a short, knowing smirk, started talking:

___________________________________________________________

So, Mr. Cheese. We meet at last. Tell me, you’re a funny guy, what is it about Comedy that speaks to you? 

Comedy has always been my defense mechanism.  Anyone who regularly reads my material knows that I had somewhat of a screwed up childhood.  I learned early on that when things got really bad, if I could make a person laugh, it diffused them.  It was the single most important lesson I learned as a kid.

Makes sense. So, how long have you been writing comedy online?

David Wong and I started writing comedy together around 1997 or so, on a website he used to own called Pointless Waste of Time.  Comedy was not only our escape from the normal drudgery of life, but it was a means of expressing creativity without having to spend an assload of money on art supplies.  Neither one of us have the performance ability to do something like standup comedy, so the internet was our stage.

Later, Cracked.com bought out PWOT and merged the two websites.  I wrote sporadically for a couple of years after that on my own site (no longer exists), but eventually, I found out I could be making actual money for it, rather than just throwing it out there and hoping people liked it.  Cracked not only paid me for it, but they provided a significant audience — something I had never seen before.  I had my underground following of fans, but not on the level that I do now.  The numbers I pull now are just insane.

Comedy has always been my defense mechanism.

I call shenanigans! How could you possibly keep coming up with new ideas after doing this so long?

It really depends on the article, but I tend to lean towards showing people a view of life that they may not have seen before.  Or maybe they’re so used to things happening a certain way, that they’ve grown used to how absurd the idea is.  For instance, I was grocery shopping the other day, and I saw the phrase “Made from premium pork” on the side of a package of sausage.  Sausage… the worst cuts of pork.  The stuff that is so bad, it can’t really be used in anything else.  It’s one step up from the shit they put in dog food.  And they called it “premium?”  Then I noticed it everywhere.  The next time you go shopping, look for it.  You’ll laugh your ass off.

But I like to take stuff like that and infuse it with a larger point.  So if you take that “premium pork” example, I wouldn’t just make fun of the fact that it says that on the package.  I’d break down what that says about our society.  What it says about advertising.  What it says about me as a shopper.  If there isn’t a bigger point, the article isn’t saying anything — I won’t write that, and Cracked wouldn’t let me even if I tried.

There’s inspiration like that everywhere, but you have to put yourself into article mode all the time.  Constantly keeping your eyes open for anything that can be worked into an article.  It’s hard.  Not a lot of people can do it.  Lots of people have a couple of those in them and then that’s it.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but being able to pull it off 52 times a year is a point of pride for me.

Did I ever tell you I write “premium” literature? Anyway, moving on: Who have been some of your biggest influences?

Seanbaby was a huge influence — especially back in the mid-late nineties when I first started out.  I used to be one of his fanboys even when I had gathered my own audience.  So when I started working for Cracked and found out that I’d be on the same writing team as him, I was all starstruck.  It was surreal to be able to message him and know that he’d know who I was.

And of course, David Wong was a huge influence as well.  We wrote together for so long that we knew each others’ characters inside and out.  Either one of us could adopt the persona of the other, and we knew it would work.  Being best friends in real life helped with that.  Everything he thought was funny, I did, too.  And vice versa.

So…uh…what is a typical day in the life of John Cheese like? And I am totally asking this as a curious interviewer, not at all because this is a lab-tested brain study method.

To an outside eye, it’s pretty boring.  I maintain the social networking sites for the John Dies at the End book, as well as doing some backend stuff for Cracked.  I run my column.  I maintain my own social networking stuff, and try my best to stay in direct contact with my readers as much as time will allow.  I think that’s important — they’re spending their time with my articles.  I at least owe them an attempt to give some time back to them.

But typically, I get up, work for 12-16 hours, catch a couple hours of sleep, and then do it all again.  The only time I really take a breather is on the weekends when I have my kids.

I maintain my own social networking stuff, and try my best to stay in direct contact with my readers as much as time will allow.

What are some of your side hobbies? When not writing and spying of course.

I play video games, but my patience with them is getting shorter and shorter.  Video games are starting to feel like a Hollywood movie formula to me, and I feel myself slipping away from them.  But when I’m not working or playing games, my fiance and I watch WWE (RAW and Smackdown) and TNA Impact.  When my kids are over, we shoot BB guns and play Magic the Gathering.

I see. And what are some of your future plans?

I’m writing a “life” type book right now, but I don’t think it’s going to see completion for a while.  Books are a slow process that takes an immense amount of organization and planning.  I’m doing my best to get it finished, but I want to be happy with what I’m putting out there before I stamp my name on it.  I want to make sure that I’m not just putting one out to try and cash in on my audience’s support.  I’m not that big of an asshole.  I want to make sure I write something for them that they can use and appreciate.  And that’ll take some time.

Write all the time.  Even if it’s not being published.

So, book and spying. Got it. Finally, in closing, are there any words of suggestion you could offer aspiring writers/comedians?

Write all the time.  Even if it’s not being published.  Start up a website of your own — even if it’s just a Tumblr or some other blog type of environment, and write your ass off.  When you get your first paycheck for your first article, do your damndest to never forget that moment.

And never under any circumstances, do you ever want to read the comments section.  I did it once back in 2008, and I’ve never been back.

___________________________________________________________

Immediately after finishing the interview, I felt the blunt sting of a needle pierce my neck. I struggled, but the unseen assailant bested me. It was Soren! Had to be. I’d recognize those chiseled man arms anywhere. When I awoke, I found myself in a tub of ice, in a cheap motel in San Miguel, with one kidney long since removed.

Through the deserts of a foreign land I stumbled, as the last drops of spittle dried upon my tongue. Over long miles I strode ever homeward, until finally, in my last moments of parched, hallucinatory consciousness, I reached my pc and wrote this down.

Thank you for the interview Mr. Cheese. You may think you’ve won this round, but little did you know that the kidney you stole was a decoy, planted with a camera. It was difficult getting it in there, but it all paid off in the end. Now it is I that shall be watching you, and soon the whole world will know your secrets!

Cue maniacal cackle.

A New Blog

Well, I decided to start up a blog. A side project if you will, where I can focus on random creative work unrelated to my serious fiction. I consider it “the other side of the coin” to this page, and hope you all enjoy it.

Be sure to drop by and check out the opening post, and keep an eye out here and my other usual channels for future posts down the road!

Ars Gratia Artis
The Official Opinion Blog of J. Chris Lawrence