Silence or Violence: Logan, Suicide, and the Culture of Masculine Silence

This post is relevant to my own experiences as well as the recent loss of a friend. Thanks, Satyros

Satyros Phil Brucato

Our friend Logan killed himself today. I wish we had known how badly he was hurting. We just spent most of this past weekend with him, and had no idea things were nearly this bad. If we had known, maybe we could have helped. But maybe not. These things don’t come from nowhere.

Logan MastersonLogan Masterson, author, friend, R.I.P.

It’s kind of a no-shit thing to say in hindsight that Logan had struggled with depression. Thing is, many people do, and never take their pain as far as this. It’s also kind of a no-shit statement to say that I wish I had known he was hurting so badly. And the problem is, he did what so many people – men especially – do: He played the Strong Silent Type until it killed him.

And when he finally did reach out, hours before the end, he got smacked in the face…

View original post 1,522 more words

Dust in the Wind

This morning I am stricken by the loss of a friend and a fellow writer. I never got a chance to meet him in person, but we’ve shared words online and in print. We appeared together in one of my first anthologies. It’s times like these that words like “God only gives us what we can handle” ring false. We often ask ourselves if there was something more we could have done, but I gave him my best words, my strongest thoughts and support. Sometimes, though it’s not enough.
I read an article yesterday about world building, about making everything too pat, too simple and logical. Life is not always logical. We’re not always happy when others expect us to be, even when we expect it of ourselves. Like most things, there are lessons to be learned and aspects we can never know. I hope to take something from the words he left us and the impact he made to make my contribution that much stronger.
Good bye my friend.

Surprise!

Another post! Has it been six months already? Nope! I’m going to try this new thing where I post at least once a week. In reality, I have more news. This time, it involves my art beyond writing. For those local to seacoast NH, I’ll be at the Wrong Brain Spring Bizaare[sic] an art show-slash-craft fair type thing for local artists and folk of eclectic taste. Here’s the Facebook event page. I’ll have some paintings, possibly some sculpture, some hand-crafted goods such as leather pouches set up as necklaces to some larger belt-pouches. I’ll also have a few different anthologies to which I’ve contributed on hand for signing purposes. Right now, those will include: Big Top Tales, Longest Hours and Capes & Clockwork. (The second C&C is in the works, but the publish date is still up in the air. It probably won’t be ready for May 7, 2016.) The location for this event is:
Millspace: Center for Art, History & Culture
55 Main St, Newmarket, New Hampshire 03857
May 7, 2016 11am to 5pm
In the spirit of surprises (this will be my first art show and only the second vendor gig I’ve done, so I wasn’t confident I’d pass muster), my wife and I got a surprise from the doctor the other day. We knew we’d be adding a little one to the family in October, but hadn’t planned on… two! “Twins!” as we keep looking at each other and saying. So we’ll have a bit bigger family. Oliver, my first son, spurred me to get going on selling stories and I’ve managed a couple of dozen sales so far. Maybe the pair will get me over the hill on a novel. We can hope! I’m going to give it a shot. Best to all! Keep reading, keep making!

Back to Blogtown

Creeaak! *dust pat cough* Oh hi! It’s been a while, well, more than a while, but I’m going to try to get some more regular posts in before the next Major Life Event coming in the fall. More on that later.
For now, I’d like to direct you to a couple of pieces I’ve had come out this year:
Koschei’s Needle, a flash piece about a Slavic mythological figure and Standing Stones, my first published poem, both out from Three Drops From a Cauldron online poetry magazine. The possibility of Koschei’s Needle coming out in a special print collection has been floated.
We’ll see how that progresses.
Also out at the start of the year was a circus story I wrote for Big Top Tales, a collection of circus stories set in 1956. My story takes place in my home town of East Kingston, NH and involves one of my favorite animals, elephants, as well as one of my least favorite, Nazis. You can find a lovely review here:Pulp Fiction Review: Big Top Tales.
I had a fun visit with some New Hampshire writers last night. We met at a library which hosted us as part of a regular program. It was great to hear what everyone was working on, discuss issues we were having and sharing ideas for getting past them, and generally networking. We were lucky enough to have local writing legends James Patrick Kelly (see his new, snazzy website Here) and Rebecca Rule with us for guidance and insight.

So, Father’s Day…

Is just around the corner. For many years, it was a non-holiday for me. I didn’t have the benefit of that relationship growing up and for a long time, my young characters either had one parent or none. It just seemed natural, and really, I had no idea how to write a ‘normal’ family. Despite the odds as they seemed to me much of my life, I am now a father. My son will be two years old a few days after I turn forty. He’s a handful and some moments I can see how some people can’t handle it, but somehow we make it out the other side and I see how smart and sweet he can be and how quickly he’s learning new words, his letters, numbers, etc.

Now instead of a day to be ignored or let gnaw at me, it’s my turn to add a tie to my meager collection, to get that card I could never send. My world has changed so much and I wonder how that’s impacted my writing. I think some of it is more hopeful, positive, but it’s also filled with new experiences and possibilities.

A new piece came out the other day, another Aeolus and Chiron story in an Emby Press release, Super Hero Monster Hunter: The Good Fight and another featuring our dynamic steampunkers will be out later this summer in Capes and Clockwork 2. Production is paused on bigger projects, though a series of novels in this steamy world is on a couple of different burners. After writing half the first book, I realized it was actually the second book and I went to work outlining the real book one. Once we’re settled into the new house, work will commence on this major undertaking. For now, it’s late and shorter works and bed call to me. I must succumb to one or the other soon. Good Night!

This One Time, I Blogged…

But it was quite a while ago. Sorry about that. It’s been a busy busy year. The boy is up and walking, running, stringing words together and getting up and down stairs! We’ve found a house we love and look forward to signing on it at the end of the month. We lived in California for five months and that was a neat experience.
As to writing, there have been a few more successes I’ll add to the list as they come out (and a few that are out already, but I’m in need of a master list. Organization is not my primary skill, but if it was, that would be rather boring…) Aeolus and Chiron have had their world expanded with some more shorts, including introduction of more allies, more enemies, more weirdness and being drawn into a more complex tale to be told over the course of not just one, but a series of novels, the first two of which are in the process of being written. I’m especially looking forward to Capes and Clockwork 2, due out this summer, as well as Dr. Lillian Broadstreet finally making it into print with a couple of paranormal-hunting stories leading up to the steampunk novels with Aeolus and Chiron.
On the making front, we now have a 3D printer and have been making little doodads, experimenting with its capabilities every day. It’s interesting and I look forward to making physical representations of A&C and other figments.
For now, I’m off to work, but I promise to try to write again soon, in between a rare stab at horror, the steampunk novels and some SF poetry…

Another Day Older

I turned another page on the old calendar yesterday. It was a calm, warm, sticky day. I’ve always been one to hedge toward science and medicine swooping in before I hit old age and rescuing me from the ignoble fates the twilight years save for us. Now that I’m gathering grays at the temples, I wonder if I’ll be lucky enough to see the day when you can order up replacement parts, made to original factory specs or better, using my own DNA as a template to prevent rejection. Every day I think about how I’ve had enough of that, yet I still write, still subject small pieces of my soul to judgement by others who know only what I show in my work.

Last night I sent a piece to a fantasy contest. The tale was set in a world with which I’ve been working for almost two decades. In the process, I found a long-lost backup of my first completed novel, also set in that world. I can only hope that it passes muster and that I can apply my (hopefully) ever-increasing skills to it and see it out in the next few years. I’m hoping the outcome of that contest will aid in that endeavor. I was put off a bit, though, by the fact that my main beta reader/wife said the short was one of the best pieces of mine she’s read. I had sent her the wrong file, the original, not edited by current-me version first to get this reaction. Thus, the oldest thing she read of mine was superior to everything else I’ve foisted upon her, even with a good portion of that being published in the last year and a half.

At any rate, I’ll let you know how the contest goes for me and let you know as soon as I know about upcoming pieces. I’ll definitely be diving back into that old folder and the world of Somnuran in earnest over the course of the year.

A Journey of a Thousand Views

In the last year and a half, I’ve gotten off my butt and finally started finishing stories, editing them as best I could instead of a cursory read through, gotten feedback on many stories, and even begun publishing. I opened author’s pages on Facebook, Amazon,Amazon UK and Goodreads and started this blog which has just hit 1000 views. Not very auspicious, but not every story can begin with a bang, especially in real life. 2013 was admittedly better to me than 2014 has been so far, but that can be chalked up to missing some opportunities this year due to motivation, energy and time availability issues.

Still, the important thing is to tuck past failures away once you’ve learned from them and not look upon them again. Every moment is a chance to make a choice about time use as every word is an opportunity to improve a story, even if it’s by removing it. Not only have I put out shorts in anthologies, magazines and on websites, but I’ve met a lot of wonderful, creative people. I’ve helped edit work for people whose work has appeared next to mine in previous pubs as well as new writers, and soon I’ll be posting reviews of anthologies and stories and pointing to the work of some of those new friends.

The last year particularly has been a huge learning experience, not only in the arena of writing, but of parenthood as my firstborn, Ollie, came out to meet us last July. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already. He’s grown physically and capability-wise into an interactive little person, and I look forward to seeing (and helping) that progress continue. In the last year I also married a wonderful woman with whom I look forward to growing old (as much as one can look forward to growing old 😉 ).

Now I sit here, looking at my failure to appear as scheduled for blogging over the last months and tuck that away, focusing on how I can improve my availability in this venue and others, how I can carve out more time to do the work of writing as well as continue to meet new people in the field, make connections and possibly even get one of these books that have been clogging up my brain completed and into the world. I look forward to the next year and all the things I’ll learn.

I liked your story, but Courier? Oh My G…

In publishing, especially online, we find a great pool of practices and expectations. Tab this way, not that way. When one sent out publications in paper, the manner in which one indented ones paragraphs couldn’t be less important. Now, though, the vagaries of electronic formats, .doc, .docx, .rtf, sounds like some kind of military codebook, but as long as you get that one piece right, everything else is cake. Don’t like the margins? Slide the mouse over there. Boom! Don’t like the font face or size? That control there lets you put it into whatever size you want. Seconds of work, and yet some editors, perhaps weighed down by moveable type blocks, discard works at the drop of a hat for formatting. Formatting, for which, as I went on about in a post last year, there is only an illusion of a standard.

The real kicker, though is that after all this hoop-jumping and managing to produce your art in Times New Roman size 12 with one inch margins, using slider bars to set paragraph indents (not to mention the actual making of the art, the idea, brainstorming, outlining, drafting, editing and polishing)… it’s not their policy to contact you unless they want your piece. That is the equivalent of breaking out the good cologne, actually ironing your shirt and pants for once, digging out the suit coat you haven’t worn since that one friend got married, showing her the town on a whirlwind tour of your favorite nice restaurant, a walk in the park, dancing and drinks, and having her climb out the bathroom window instead of telling you it’s not working out for her.

Oh, hey, you’re still here, yeah, back to the writing thing. No response to a submitted piece is just downright rude and passive aggressive, not saving anyone’s feelings. If you don’t have the time to send me even a two line form letter, you don’t have time to run a publication. I have a hard time culling the list of publications to which I submit, but your door I will gladly never darken again.

In happier news, the quarterly compilation from Mad Scientist Journal with my story, Beginning Botanist’s Guide to Lair Defense, is up on Amazon and Amazon UK and Smashwords. I’ve also been tapped to write a pulp circus novelette which will appear later this year and the table of contents for Emby Press’ Dark Monocle, an anthology of steampunk monster hunting has been released. My story, Spirits of the Season, will appear there soon.

Capes & Clockwork anthology of Steampunk and Superheroes

This is just a quick post to alert reader to my latest publication. The eagerly awaited anthology, Capes & Clockwork, available both through Amazon and B&N, is now available! My story, Aeolus, Chiron and Medusa was partly an experiment in voice and a foray into steampunk. It is not my last, however, as I have a steampunk monster hunter tale coming out through Emby Press and I will be working on other pieces soon.

Currently, I’m trying to polish up a scifi adventure tale on a very different planet, with nary a human in sight, a tale about food and the circle of life, a threshold-crossing tale of terror beyond the veil, and a Queen fighting extraordinary odds to keep her civilization in tact, or at least allow it to survive. It’s a busy month, hopefully the start of a busy an successful year.