17 September 2011

Submissions Update

* "The Pendant of Zeklin Kha"
^^+ "Jabeld's Casket" (third time's the charm?)
+ "Pennies of Doom"
!_# "A Heavy Pack"
* "One Estate, As Left by Owners"
*& "A Ruined House"
+ "The Damned Cat"
^+ "Underneath the Cemetery" (formerly known as "A Graveyard's Shadow")
^+ "Mosquito-Things" (submitted to Innsmouth Free Press, super excited about this one!)
^# "Teiselwalk's Bridge"
%# "Laserman Vs. Dash Dervish & the Tornado Machine"

* = published
& = reprinted
+ = pending response
^ = rejection
_ = unsubmitted
! = new
# = just sitting on my hard drive
% = self-published

11 September 2011

Laserman #1: Laserman Vs. Dash Dervish & the Tornado Machine

Silhouetted in front of a dizzying, steel-and-glass tower filled with hurricane force and spewing electricity, stood a man whose very outline was a whirlwind.

“You'll never escape my lair this time, Laserman!” cackled Dash Dervish. “You will be the first victim to my Tornado Machine-- then the whole city will bow to my quantum control of the winds! Nothing can withstand the power of Hurricane Dash! Ha ha ha ha!”

From the other side of a glass wall, trapped in an as-yet inactive wind tunnel, our hero struggled through paralyzing vertigo. The mere sight of the Dervish in his quantum suit disrupted the concentration chip required for his laser precision. He tried to lift the laser arm of his own robosuit and aim it at the villain, but couldn't. Motion-sick nausea overcame him. An all-over weakness gripped him and squeezed.

“Take my laser cannon, if that's what you want,” pleaded Laserman. “I'll release it from inside my suit-- but spare the city! They don't deserve this!”

“Moot and moot-- that oversized laser pointer doesn't concern me anymore, Lazy Boy.” Dash shot over to one of the Tornado Machine's control panels and began operating it at breakneck speed, his fingers a constant blur. “You'll find I've taken every precaution to ensure your death. The glass before you is heat-absorbent. Not even a flamethrower could damage it. Any rays of yours that pass through will be as harmless as a flashlight, aha ha ha! But, come, let's not take the wind out of this party...!” The madman grabbed a hold of a sizable lever and threw it forward, turning the wind tunnel on at full force.

A sudden typhoon filled the room, tossing Laserman against the wall where he stuck, helpless as a fly on paper. He gritted his teeth against it. “... windbag...!”

The mad whirlwind of a man burst into another fit of manic laughter. Dreams of power materialized before his eyes. His insane plans worked. With the flick of one more switch, the Tornado Machine swept into its final phase, churning its inner gale into a massive, swirling cone of destruction with a subsonic roar that shook the whole underground lair.

“Sorry I can't stick around to watch,” Dash yelled over the din. “I'm sure the show will blow you away! Ahahahaha...!” With that he took off-- whish-whoosh-- up the stairs, no doubt surging out the door to Stormstriker, his secret helicopter.

Dervish's disappearance meant his quantum suit no longer interfered with Laserman's concentration chip. Despite regaining his focus, however, no heroic effort of muscle or mind could move him forward against the titanic push of the wind tunnel. His laser was useless past the heat-absorbing glass, and cut too slowly through the monumentally thick walls of the wind tunnel to get him out before the final tick of the Tornado Machine's countdown. Things finally appeared totally hopeless for our hero and the city... and they would have been, had Dash not left the door wide open in his hurry, allowing Laserman's feline companion-- Blackout-- to come sauntering down the steps into his lair.

It might still have been harmless beyond that heat-absorbing glass, but cats still cannot resist laser beams. Squinting against the wind in his eyes, Laserman grabbed the black cat's attention with a tight swirl of the laser, and led it onto the control panel. It leapt at the lever, turning the wind tunnel off and switching off the countdown. Laserman sprang forward, smashed the glass with his cannon arm, and barreled over to the control panel. His laser-precise vision spotted the self-destruct initiator under a steel panel. His laser arm burned it open and he pounded the button.

T minus one minute and counting to abort...”

Laserman wasted no time in escaping. He scooped Blackout into his arms and bounded four, five steps at a time up the stairs out the Dervish's fiendish lair, into the brilliant light of day. He was barely out of the way in time to slide to a kneel and shield his cat from debris, embers, and ash when a great pillar of fire erupted, shooting skyward in a cyclone blaze that destroyed the dastardly scheme of Dash Dervish and his Tornado Machine.

Looking back at the terrific plume of smoke rising from the still-smoldering ruins of the fiend's lair, Laserman knew that Dash Dervish would return again. Dash would not let this defeat go lightly. His manic fury would deepen and his plans would turn more insane, more wicked and grandiose, and nobody could ever stop him.

Nobody except for Laserman who, this time, would be ready for him.

09 September 2011

Back from Burning Man, Update on Stories

Still adjusting to being back in default world after my first time at Burning Man. So many new friends. What an amazing time. I hope to return the following year.

Did not end up writing a story while at Burning Man, meaning I've missed 1 story for the month of September already, but I intend to keep at it. I do not regret not writing at that event. I would have missed a lot of awesome shit if I did. Frankly, I found the environment too overstimulating to stop and capture things in text for any length of time. The experience was the quintessential "You had to be there." Maybe I'll try harder at describing it later.

Otherwise, my most recent story is "Laserman Vs. Dash Dervish and the Tornado Machine." I have no idea where I can get superhero flash fiction of this sort published, and even suspect that to anyone familiar with comics (in a way I am not), this story is probably fairly trite. Not to mention that after Burning Man, I'm tending to question its founding premise, "lasers > flamethrowers." I've seen so many lasers now. So many flamethrowers. But I suppose it still works for this particular story's cat-based solution. Perhaps I might just bypass other means of publication and post this story on my blog.

Before leaving for the Nevadan desert, I sent a slew of stories out to presses. I have heard back from almost all of them, resulting in 2 rejections (one for use of 2nd person, one for a publication no longer being active) and one publication. "The Pendant of Zeklin Kha" was published at Flashes in the Dark. Please check it out here and comment. I am still awaiting a response to "The Damned Cat" from Bosley Gravel's Cavalcade of Terror, and recently sent a copy of "Jabeld's Casket" to Bete Noir Magazine (which I assume will be rejected, but nice practice anyway).

So, stories are currently looking like this:

* "The Pendant of Zeklin Kha"
* "One Estate, As Left By Owners"
*& "A Ruined House"
+ "The Damned Cat"
^+ "Jabeld's Casket"
^ "A Graveyard's Shadow"
^ "Mosquito-Things"
^ "Teiselwalk's Bridge"
_ "Laserman Vs. Dash Dervish and the Tornado Machine"
_ "Pennies of Doom"

* = published
& = reprinted
+ = pending response
^ = rejection
_ = unsubmitted