My novel, DEMONS DOLLS AND MILKSHAKES will be published by Post Mortem Press and will be available sometime in September of 2013!
Some of you may know this by another title-STITCH, which was changed after I Googled it one day. After huindreds of Disney and sewing results, I figured, something a little less specific would suit the story’s future a little nicer.
I am beyond pleased, if not a little humbled since this is one of the coolest things ever to happen to this guy. There’s a lot of stuff to do before kicking off anything and there’s really not a lot of times to do the victory lap. (Hell, I’m already working on the follow up!) Stay tuned and thanks for all the support!
Fellow author Rose Blackthorn has tagged me in something called the BLOG HOP. It’s a kind of cool self interview thingity thing that I’ve signed up for, so here it is. I’m also tagging three rock solid authors as well and you can go dig what they came up with on their respective blog/web sites! Here we go!!
BlogHop: What are you working on right now? How does it differ from other works in its genre?
Me: Right now I’m working on a pseudo-sequel to my first as of yet unpublished novel. Tons of short works in progress, but the book is what I’m pining to return to and I think what separates it from other horror novels is that the horror doesn’t come from where you would expect it to; it almost comes out of nowhere and the least innocuous places. I know most horror writers say that, but the approach for me is more of making the reader relaxed and comfortable as possible before springing the monster on them almost out of nowhere.
BH:What experiences have influenced you?
NWP: I used to have horrible nightmares when I was a kid. I was afraid to sleep but as I had a sort of rotten childhood, the nightmares becamea good place to hide. I started thinking of horrible stuff on my own and started writing them down. Nothing too awful, but in 8th Grade I really started stepping it up. Once I started writing horror, the nightmares never came back.
BH:Why do you write what you do?
NWP: The easy answer is, because. The same reason birds fly. They’re birds. It’s what they do. I don’t think I chose to write horror as much as it’s just what comes out of me. I was trying to write a western. Just a straight up western for a change and at one point, suddenly, there were monsters. I sighed and finished it, and sold it a few weeks later. I don’t argue with my muse.
BH: How does your writing process work?
NWP: I try not to question it too much for fear of discovering that in reality it shouldn’t work. It just does. It’s very much “What if this happened?” or even better, “What if this person has THIS happen to them?” The stories are all character driven and much in the same way your mom won’t punish you the same way your dad will, stories are born.
BH: What is the hardest part about writing?
NWP: The rewriting. Good stories are, I feel, not written, but rewritten. The first job is to get it all out. The hard job is all the edits and rewrites to do to make the story flow. It’s hard because there is a point where you get sick of looking at your story.
BH: What would you like to try as a writer that you haven’t yet?
NWP: I’d love to try creative non fiction. Nothing autobiographical-people are still alive after all, but something Capote-esque would be cool.
BH: Who are the authors you most admire?
NWP: Well, admiration is a loaded word. I was influenced by the bigs; Lansdale, King, Barker, Twain, Poe and so on. But admiration? Having been doing this for a while now, I admire the authors that don’t quit, that keep swinging and don’t take the easy ways out. They hone their craft, and it is a craft. Be very sure of that one fact. Everyone may be able to write, but you only write well when you do it a lot.
BH: Who are new authors to watch out for?
NWP: That’s a hell of a laundry list right there! The advantage of doing the podcast (THE WICKED LIBRARY) is that I get to read the work of a lot of new authors. Without playing favorites, I have to say my top eleven list includes .Jessica McHugh, Rose Blackthorn, Suzanne Robb Lydia Peever, David Dunwoody, C Bryan Brown, Craig Saunders, Paul Anderson, Emma Ennis, Erin Thorne, and Maddie Von Stark. Maddie does the art for my podcast, but she is an amazingly good writer. All ten, but there are so many good solid authors out there. That’s why I do the show in the first place. I shouldn’t be the only one reading the work of these folks. Watch out for every single damn one of these writers!
BH: What scares you?
NWP: Other people scare me. They’re unpredictable. They don’t do what you would do. I’m terrified of something happening to my kids. That’s a huge one. Before kids, I was afraid of generic stuff, like fire and tidal waves. Oh, and I’m scared of centipedes. Creepy…
I’ve tagged four badass authors for this (it’s supposed to be three, but I wanted to do four. Sue me)-they are
So, it’s been some time since I’ve updated anybody on anything. Let me start by saying hello.
New Book Stuff!!!
WESTWARD HOES is the latest from Burning Bulb Press (the guys who brought you THE BIG BOOK OF BIZARRO) and features my story “Just Enough Rope.” The story takes place in the old west and was originally going to be a straight up western/adventure story. And it pretty much still is…but I couldn’t help it and made it a monster story. Hey, it’s still a shoot ’em up…sort of. A former Texas Ranger turned bounty hunter finds his man after a long hard search. Now he can relax before draggin’ the dead guy back to Texas. But, he soon learns that leaving may not be an option…and living might not be one either. You can pick it up at Amazon.com right HERE!
FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE is from Grinning Skull Press out of Massechutetts and features my first ghost story, “Spritus Ex Machina.” It’s a quirky little tale that takes place in England and some of the locations take place in the actually really real village of Penkridge where my sister and brother in law live. It was inspired by an the Le Mans racing disaster in the 1950’s. No release date just yet, but keep posted!
I’ve got 2 more stories out there, floating around and I hope to give (good) updates on them, as the one tale remains my favorite short story. (My second favorite is in “Westward Hoes.”)
So, what lse has been going on?
“The Wicked Library” is no longer on the Red Horse Radio Network. I feel excited by this new opportunity, although a little sad to have left RHR-mainly because of my work with Jon Towers. He’s a hell of a good guy and I look forward to working with him down the line. (You’ll be able to catch us and David Fairhead at Horror Realm in March.)
I’ve got great authors lined up for the show, including the return of Joe R Lansdale! Champion Joe has allowed me once again to read one of his badass tales-and no, I’m not telling you which one. But, it’s killer. Trust me.
I’m gonna have to update this site a hell of a lot more now that some eyes are looking at me these days. It’s a good thing, too. I get lonely.
I’ll be doing some renovations here at my lil dot com, so stay tuned!!
I’ll catch you all very soon…like…later, probably.
Man, I haven’t blogged in a while! Sorry about that…here’s something that might be slightly interesting!
As an author, you tend to make nice with some of the authors you wind up appearing with in anthologies and other publications. In the new anthology called FEAR THE ABYSS, my story appears with older pals like Jessica McHugh, C.Bryan Brown and Paul Anderson and a new pal is author Rose Blackthorn. Rose went and tagged me in this thing called “The Next Best Thing Blog” which is an ‘interview’ of 10 questions that I get to answer about whatever project I’m working on at the time. So, I’m going to tag some other authors later on when this post goes live. It’s always fun to talk about yourself, unless you don’t like to talk about yourself, which I’m on the fence about constantly. Sometime, you can’t get me to shut up about what I do, but other times I get tight lipped and defensive.
Anyway, here is my interview! And big thanks to Rose! Check out her website which you can find here.
The Next Big Thing Blog:What is the working title of your book or story?
Nelson W. Pyles: Spiritus Ex Machina
TNBT:Where did the idea come from for the book or story?
NWP:The idea came from reading about the Le Mans racing accident in 1956 where over 80 people were killed at once. I thought that a body count that high might have some sort of spectral consequence. If a violent death in a house would spawn a ghost, what would happen to a car that caused violent deaths? And although that’s not where the story winds up, it sure did inspire it.
TNBT:What genre does your book/story fall under?
NWP:It’s horror A lot of my writing tends to dance in and out of the genre, but it’s my first love. And it’s my first ghost story.
TNBT:Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
NWP:I’d love to see Simon Pegg and Nick Frost rock this one. Not a lot of comedy here, but I think they’re good enough to play it straight. I had pictured both of them as I was writing the story.
TNBT:What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book or story?
NWP:An insurance claims adjuster meets England’s most prolific serial murderer-a race car from the 1950’s.
TNBT:Will your book or story be self-published or represented by an agency?
NWP:Oddly enough, I got the word early Christmas morning that it was accepted into an anthology. More details to follow, but it will see the published light of day in 2013.
TNBT:What other books or stories would you compare this story to within your genre?
NWP:I wouldn’t compare it to CHRISTINE by Stephen King although it is about a haunted car. It’s more along the lines of the “Twilight Zone” in terms of tone. It’s more THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE than anything.
TNBT:How long did it take you to write the first draft of the story?
NWP:It took about a day to write the first really rough draft of the story and about a week of rewrites. There’s an old writing saying that is “Stories aren’t written, they are rewritten” and I hold it as gospel. The first version of the story is way different than the finished version, which is how it should go I think.
TNBT:Who or What inspired you to write this book or story?
NWP:The real car, which sold last year for about a million pounds, has never been driven since the accident at Le Mans. It’s a pretty spooky concept that in less than a minute, one car caused the death of over 80 people at once. The thought of that really got my gears turning. I wound up doing a lot of research for this one since I’m not much of an aficionado about racing. The more I read up on it, and there actually is footage of the accident, the more disturbing it became.
TNBT:What else about your book or story might pique the reader’s interest?
NWP:The town mentioned in the story, Penkridge is an actual village in the UK. My older sister lives there with her husband and I used the local accent as the dialog center for the main characters. Writing in British English was a challenge as there really is a different tempo for it. It was challenging to do, but I think it worked out well. And in all honesty, this may be the creepiest short work I’ve wrtten so far. I’m looking forward to people reading it.
There has been so much stuff going on as of late, that I haven’t had time to write in my public diary..you know, the one I swore I’d keep up with a while ago?
Yeah, this one.
Well, here we are, several months later. Lots of things have changed…
For one thing, this new thing I do, “The Wicked Library” has sort of unexpectedly taken off. I’m not really used to that to be honest, and fortunately it’s time-consuming enough to where I don’t actually have time to process it and panic. I mean, it’s doing really well. It’s been received well by the authors who’ve let me read their work and by the folks listening. Hell, one of my favorite all time authors, Mr Joe R Lansdale not only let me read one of his stories, but he liked it enough to link to it on his website. That’s pretty cool to this writing nerd.
The show has been a beautiful kick in the creative arse that I needed for some time. It’s a lot of fun and very satisfying. I plan on doing this for the forseeable future…or until I’m told to knock it off…
I’m still writing as well. My plan to abandon my first novel, which had been in rewrites, was cancelled by someone asking if I was done with the rewrites. Yeah, back to work on that one…with a vengance.
And a story I wrote very recently called “A Box of Candy” has been purchased and will be in an anthology to be named and plugged shamelessly later. That’s always good as I am an author…
The online comic “Forever After” is on a small break; mega artist Crystal (Aja) Ash is involved with some bitchin’ art opportunities, so we’re chilaxin’ for a bit. The next issue is pretty well written and holy crap is it awesome!! You won’t be disappointed.
Musically, not a whole lot going on; I’m enjoying writing and the new job of broadcaster right now. The recording element of The Wicked Library seems to more than satisfy the performing impulses, although I won’t say I’m done with music (although it may be done with me.)
One thing though…I do not discuss politics on this site for a reason. The political climate is such so that the dastardly ‘choosing a side’ is damning on every level. People who hate me know nothing about my political loyalties. I’ll tell you if you ask nice, but I’m friends with folks from every possible political faction you can think of, and there are plenty.
I think I sit where most Americans sit, which is firmly entrenched in what I view as the right thing. The right thing is neither left or right, it is simply the right thing. Whatever your definition of that may be, if it moves you, then you act accordingly. Doing the right thing often times is not the popular thing and sometimes you will be alone in doing the right thing.
This is okay. It’s called conviction.
What is not okay is the verbal brow beating and name calling for having a difference of opinion. It happens from both sides. Ironically, the cries of tollerance are often infused with name calling and hate. Cyber bullying is still bullying even when you’re calling someone a name for doing the very thing you are clearly railing against. This is hypocricy. It’s not like it, it is the definition. You will never have tolerance by being intolerant yourself. You destroy your argument. And I have no tolerance for that bullshit and you should have no tolerance for it either.
I’ve watched good friends jump all over each other from some clap trap bullshit someone on the radio said in passing. Opinions are very much like assholes…everyone has one, and it usually stinks. However, I keep and love the friends I have regardless of their political affiliations. Why?
Because after the election, they will all go back to being themselves and will likely stop giving a shit, regardless of who wins.
And they’ll need a friend who isn’t yelling at them.
Then I’ll advise them to listen to my show, because great horror fiction heals all wounds. I think if your conservative/liberal friend is all bummed out after the election, invite then over for some coffee and a sitdown viewing of “Trick or Treat.” Not everyone can agree on politics, but I think we can all agree Anna Paquin in a little Red Riding Hood outfit surrounded by werewolves is pretty fucking awesome. (No, really…this movie kicks ass!)
I’ll try to write more in here. Sorry I’ve been away and stuff. Thanks for all of your continued support!! You all seriously ROCK!
Sometimes, life gets in the way of things. Keeping up with friends is one of those things that life seems to interrupt. You can’t help it really; you can sorta kinda do it with the massive influx of social media which makes it both easier and harder to keep up with folks. Easier, because they’re right there. Harder, because everyone you’ve ever met in your entire fucking life is right there.
So, you can reconnect with people you haven’t seen in years. Old friends, old loves and sometimes, people you wrote off for various reasons that you fondly reminisce with for a while only to realize why you stopped speaking with them in the first place. It’s a grand time. It’s a grand amount of time, too.
Almost exactly a year ago, I reconnected with someone I was genuinely happy to hear from; one of the 11 people I graduated from grade school with showed up on the often unreliable “Do You Know?” list of mugs. (Usually, from what I’ve seen, it usually consists of ex girlfriends and people you went to school with that you totally fucking despise.) But, this was different. We weren’t awfully tight friend wise and honestly hadn’t spoken in over 20 plus years, but as our class was so small, I knew her and she knew me. We corresponded back and forth and had agreed the next time I was in NJ, we’d meet up for some quick coffee and hang out a bit.
Of course, life getting in the way, it would be a year before I made it back to New Jersey. I drove around my hometown in Boonton, and drove past the house where she grew up. I thought, “I should write on her FB page and see if we can meet up for a little while” but, I shot it down as I was on a schedule. I did, however, promise myself that’d I’d shoot an email when I got back home and tell her I was in the old neighborhood and would be back soon.
I drove back home on a Monday, exhausted and went almost instantly to sleep.
The next day, I saw her obituary posted online.
She had died that Sunday.
I was and still am a little shaken up by her passing. Not because we were such good friends or that we had bonded over anything other than being in the same grade school from Kindergarten through high school for a while. It was that someone my age (her birthday had been a month ago) that I knew had just suddenly died. It’s different when it’s an old family member or even any family member. But an old friend? Something I had never given a thought about until this point.
I was going to try to go to the wake or the funeral, but there wasn’t enough time to arrange things on my end. Maybe that is a cop out, maybe it isn’t. I wanted more than anything to just crawl in my head and try to make some sense out of it. Usually, the thoughts of your own mortality stem from some personal tragedy that gets you to think about it, but on the list of medical maladies I have, this is the first time my own mortality became something real. But, it still isn’t real because it’s not my mortality I was thinking about, it was Barbara’s.
Barbara was a very quiet girl when I knew her and a very witty person to correspond with later on in life. She was quick to smile and had (as a little girl) the best “I’m so disgusted with you” glare I’ve ever seen. In a class of 12, and only 5 girls, there were lots of opportunities to see that look. (Pam’s look was truly terrifying. Katherine’s look was equally shame-inducing.)
I’m going to have to make a pilgrimage soon though, this I do know. It’s a very unsettling feeling that lurks around after hearing about her passing that I just can’t quite put my finger on and that isn’t something I usually encounter. It’s not about closure or anything like that at all, but it did really slam something into focus for me and that is to not wait. You want to send an email to an old friend but you start second guessing it? Just send it. You’ll either be disappointed or pleasantly surprised, but send it. Call that person you haven’t talked to in ages. You don’t need a reason to do it either. Just do it. We do not live in a consequence free environment and we never have, but the actual consequences may not be an awful thing. The worst thing that could happen is someone tells you to fuck off. Or they don’t even respond to you in any way. Hurts to be sure, but you haven’t lost anything really.
My very excellent friend Scott asked me a month or so ago if I wouldn’t mind being the godfather to his rather new son (with the excellent name of Cormac.) There are few moments in your life that humble you, and oddly enough, two of them involve children. The first is, of course watching your own being born. The second is being asked to be the Godfather of your friend’s child. Of course, I said yes; I’ve been friends with Scott and his wife Shannon for well over 20 years at this point and I’ve known them longer than I have not known them. (Do the math-I’m getting up there.) So, when the time came, we packed up the car and drove from the bustling (ha!) city of Zombieland, PA and onto my state of origin, New Jersey.
I’ve lived most of my life in New Jersey and really, have only lived out of it for 11 years. But, they’ve been 11 really awesome years that include less aggressive driving, better coffee, drinkable water and signs that aren’t obscured by massive overgrowth. (Just like the old days! If you don’t know where you’re going already well, then fuck youse guys.)
I don’t want to give the impression that I hate New Jersey, because I don’t. That being said, you couldn’t pay me to move back. I loved it while I lived there, and I do have fond memories of it. Most of my oldest and coolest friends still live there and I try to get there to see them when I can. Jesus, they have Pork Roll for Christ’s sake, and how awesome is that?? Plus, the pizza is the correct size (ie: massive.)
Anyway, we arrived in Whippany at around 11:30PM and checked into “America’s Best Value Hotel” which can really only claim the fact that it is in fact, in America. The rest of their name is pure bullshit. I didn’t take pictures of the room, but here’s the pool.
Yeah. Total shit.
We scrubbed the bullshit off and went to the baptism; It was at this little hidden away church in Rockaway/Dover (on the big hill that would be best described as the ‘alternate route’ to the Rockaway Townsquare Mall.) A groovy little church that surprisingly didn’t explode by my mere presence.
Twenty minutes later POW, I’m a Godparent; a Godfather. I would have made more jokes about being a Godfather, but I really was humbled by the whole experience and it does take something like that to lock me into the mode where people comment ‘Wow, he’s taking this seriously.’ And in spite of Shannon’s mom calling me ‘monster’ in the church (which was to be expected as I used to work with her years ago…Geri still rocks) it was a really great experience. Cormac is the coolest baby and I’m very proud to be his Godfather. He’s a lucky kid; his parents are cool, his big sister is cool and has a collection of great aunts, uncles and cousins and Grandparents. It was such a great vibe and I rode that wave all the way to dinner.
Then, both of my children exploded.
We all go to dinner, the eight of us for a nice family style dinner together as we do not get to see each other as often as we want. I will also include that the one big rule my children are to adhere to at all times is “DO NOT BE THAT KID.” They both know who ‘that’ kid is and they even finish the statement for me when I start saying “DON’T BE…” and they respond “THAT KID.” Well, even before the goddamn food showed up, they were both taking turns at being “those kids.”
Now, kids happen to act like kids once in a while and that means small underhanded terrorists. One kid spills a drink-not awful, shit happens. But then the other kid starts kicking her flip flops off into other tables because she got some birch beer on her foot. It devolved into matters of crying, small fits, not listening and invasions of personal space.
The small victory here is that no one began yelling “Jesus Christ, what the fuck is wrong with you??” But man, I was thinking it…
Away from the fiasco, we crash and head to Point Pleasant New Jersey the following day. I got to see my two favorite (and frankly, remaining) aunts. It was a great day of just digging the ocean, eating great boardwalk food and watching the kids lose their little minds in the Atlantic Ocean. The looks on their faces were awesome; equal only to finding out that Darth Vader was Luke’s Dad.
Then we shot gunned to our friends in East PA for the night, where we just mellowed out and enjoyed the company of more friends we don’t get to see often.
The drive is long coming back to Pittsburgh, but it’s always an interesting one for me. I’m a huge fan of long ass drives and in between loud laughs and bad disco on the radio, I started plotting out some stories for my writing pipeline.
Becoming a Godfather came with a whole list of new experiences including the final squeezing of any homesickness I had been harboring. I miss people I grew up with and friends so very distant from me. It’s great to travel and see these people and I wish the distance wasn’t a factor. It was great, for example to see Scott.
Scott and I have been through the wringer from the days of sneaking into bars and playing for four hours to find out that we were going to be paid in Kamikaze shots and pizza. So many people counted Scott out so many times and now he’s surfing on a wave of life experiences over most folks I know and getting a tan. Good on you man-hell, you’ve more than earned it! As nice as it is to hear a great success story, it’s even better to see it happen to one of the good guys you actually know. (Even though he cheated like a motherfucker at NBA Jam, which prompted me to push him off of the game and onto the floor at the Victoria Diner…)
I’ll come back to Jersey again soon, but it’s just so vastly different. It doesn’t feel like home anymore. I’m an outsider now. I don’t need massive traffic and jug handles every quarter fucking mile. Still, I love you New Jersey. How could I not? You got Pork Roll. And a lot of my good friends too.*
*Incidentally, Scott and his family live in Maryland. Just sayin’…
Much has been written about aspiring author Mandy DeGeit recently. A lot of it by better writers than myself to be honest, but there is something both inspiring and galvonizing about her story. It isn’t a groudbreaking situation; a lot of new writers get screwed on their first published works. What seperates Mandy’s story is what she did, which is now somewhat legendary.
She punched back.
One would think that after all of the fallout of the original blog posting of her plight, she’d take her moment in the spotlight and be the darling of the independent writer for about a week and call it a day. Her story was butchered and she roared and got the attention of big name authors. End of story, right?
The anthology where her story briefly appeared had other contributing authors, likely to suffer having their names and reputations tangled in the wake of Mandy’s war. Some of those unpaid authors also had their work botched by the publisher and the inept editor. What about those guys?
Mandy’s latest punch is the release of her sotry “She Makes Me Smile” on Amazon for a measly 99 cents. 50% of it goes into a fund to properly pay each of the authors who should have been paid in some fashion for their work in the first place. (This publisher didn’t even offer a contributor’s copy, which is an acceptable payment in some cases.)
The other half of the proceeds will go into a fund to hire a lawyer to look at the contracts from the aforementioned shitty publisher and see what if any legal action can be taken on behalf of any author who has gotten screwed.
That’s pretty noble and ambitious for an emerging writer. Hell, that’s pretty noble for anyone period.
There aren’t many times in your life where a virtual stranger will go to bat for you. This saga is an example of what comes of it when you do. Mandy stood up for herself and about 30,000 people stood up for her. Then she stood up for her fellow authors, putting her money where her mouth (or in this case, pen) is.
Having your first story published, I’ve said before is a really big deal if only for the writer. Well, Mandy doens’t get to really have that feeling anymore in light of what happened. However, what she does get I think, is something that few first time writers get to claim.
She gets to be a heroine and a good example of an outstanding individual.
A few days ago, I shared the story and blog link about aspiring author, Mandy DeGeit. Since her virtual explosion of notoriety online in her mere act of crying foul at a certain lousy publisher (I’ll name names later) a lot has happened on the horizon of independent publishing, and in publishing in general.
A whole ton of authors big and small took Mandy’s plight to heart and spread the word. If this incident has proven one thing, it is this; writers stand up for one another regardless of their bank account or notoriety. I honestly couldn’t be prouder to be part of such a group of authors than I was this week. Authors and publishers as well all shared this story on blogs, Twitter, Facebook and their own web sites (like mine.) It was (and still is) a display of solidarity I haven’t seen in a good long time.
And where is Tony G?
The now more infamous than ever Anthony Giangregorio remains silent, although I did see from a comment on Mandy’s site that (allegedly) he believes if he gives the rights back to all the authors, it’ll all blow over. He even (allegedly) tried getting one author to write a testimonial for him saying what a “wonderful experience” he had working with Tony.
Yeah. Good luck with that, man.
Anthony should also be enjoying the fact that he is now, at least delightfully so for me, a vocabulary word for having your story butchered. “I sent my story off and it came back all tonied.”
Hilarious! Of course, what Mandy has been doing equally can be referred to as someone being degeited. (Those aren’t mine-Mandy and one of her pals, Richard Salter came up with those, but I think I’m going to start using them…who would want to be tonied?)
But, with any kind of luck, he’ll do the right thing…whether he wants to or not.
So, what is next for the groovy Ms. DeGeit?
She’s going to publish her story on her own…and so much more. Her pretty spectacular idea can be found here and I’d ask those of you who visit my site, to share this and her page and get the word around. It’s a pretty selfless idea and pretty savvy as well. (I will expect my copy to be autographed, by the way…make that t-shirt idea from my first article for extra cash too…I’m sure it’ll sell too. Just sayin’)
BAM! Another punch!
Also, do yourself a favor. Check out the rest of her site. She is a good writer, which at the end of the day, is really what counts. (Well, that and not getting yourself tonied.) I doubt she’ll get tonied again. Good for her. And good for all of you, my fellow authors. I really am proud of all of us.
Sometimes, when really terrible things happen to you, you might have to face it alone. But sometimes, when you stand up for yourself, you just might find yourself surrounded by more people than you could possibly imagine.
May 14th was an interesting day for authors new and old. An aspiring writer from Canada named Mandy DeGeit snared a spot in an anthology. Getting one of your works published in an anthology is a big deal. It’s a bigger deal when it’s your first published work. It’s akin to having a kid; you beam, you’re proud and you feel ten feet tall and bulletproof.
How terrifying then, to discover that the ‘editor’ not only spelled the name of your story incorrectly, but changed it. (Note: editing doesn’t involve that ever.) Disfigured it somehow, pissed on it like a drunken yard cat and essentially abused your kid. What do you do?
Mandy wrote to the publisher head of Undead Press (I won’t link to those pricks) with a very legitimate gripe, to which she was effectively told “too bad” and was even lightly threatened with legal action. The following is taken from Mandy’s blog. Keep in mind when you read this is that this isa response from the fucking publisher…it has not, according to Mandy been edited in any way except that it is in italics.
“wow, i truly cant believe that e,mail. you go girl. this one one hell of a story about dealing with unstable writers
lets see. on the contract, it clearly says publisher has the right to EDIT work. you signed it. are you saying you are a dishonest and immoral person and will now try to deny you signed the contract? well i have a copy right here and as for the story. the editor had a hard time with it, it was very rough and he did alot to make it readable. despite what you think, your writing has a long way to go before its worthy of being printed professionally. we did what we had to do to make the story printable. you should be thankful, not complaining. ah, the ungrateful writer, gotta love it the contract also says any disagreements you have about the contract must be filed legally in Massachusetts and when you lose, you must pay all court costs. so, we are done here. any more correspondences from you must be from your lawyer. i will then send any of those letters to my lawyer and they can hash it out as i dont waste my time arguing with writers over legalities. thats what lawyers are for. you are so funny. thanks for this email, it truly made my day.”
Wow. What a tremendous douche bag.
So, what to do next? Your publisher insults you and because they were nice enough to publish your story, tell you to go fuck yourself effectively punching you where you live, what could you do?
In a span of no time, Mandy DeGeit went from disgruntled author to a poster author in the relatively small universe of writers trying to carve out a name and a career for themselves.
And yay to that says this writer.
I read her blog after it had been ‘shared’ on Facebook by author friends of mine and by none other than F Paul Wilson, I did the same thing and shared it as well. One of my publishers sent it out and if you look carefully at the comments section of her blog, you’ll see that it was spread around by the likes of Neil Gaiman and Warren Murphy. (Trust me, if Warren Murphy thinks you’re a tool, you indeed are a tool.)
I’ve been fortunate in having worked with great publishers in my writing career and I can only imagine that Mandy will be able to say that as well on her next published works. Still, if you’re going to have a bad experience, you could do a lot worse than get universal support from authors both big and small from all over the place.
Big thumbs up to you, Mandy. That took a lot of spine to do and frankly, some other writers might have actually taken that shit from a lousy publisher.
On a side note and this is directed at Mandy if she reads this; there is potential for a Café Press T-shirt. It’s wordy, but I think it works.
On the front, a picture of you, grinning wildly.
On the back, it says “More People Have Read My Blog than the Entire Undead Press Library of Books.”