Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Don't Count On a Hurricane To Do a Man's Job

That's the teaser for my story in the latest issue of Thuglit. And I'm with some great company, including Patti Abbott and Bryon Quertermous. Jesus, this is a great mag; and to be apart of the first anniversary issue is pretty friggin' cool.

If There's a Hell Below, We're All Gonna Go was written for a workshop in my MFA program - and it was written really fast. It was a pretty shitty draft that was part third person and part second person (hey, it's an MFA program, I had a right to be pretentous). It's the pop fic secret cabal (and our fearless leader) who deserves the credit for kicking me in the ass and making this story much better than it was destined to be. So, thanks to Alex Jackson, Lyman Feero, Sandra MacDonald, Dr. Dave Page, Debbie Smith, Rebecca Longster, Alice Luxton, Marie Hannan and Jim Kelly.

If you read it, let me know what you think.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Tess Gerritsen

Just got back from a book signing for Tess Gerritsen's latest book, The Mephisto Club. She's such a nice woman and was kind enough to sign the book for my wife and me. I really liked Vanish and can't wait to start this one, whenever my wife lets me have it.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I'm Pissed

My fucking e-mail account went down again, so fuck 'em, I'm changing. Of course this means a whole hell of a lot of work to change everything, but it will be under my own domain name. Once my registration is complete, I'll post the new e-mail address. So, if you want to get in touch you can either leave a comment below or wait.

In case anyone's interested, the new domain name will be www.stephenallan.net There isn't anything there right now, but there will be in the next couple of days.

The Killing

The latest issue of Spinetangler Magazine is available. Along with the usual great reviews and features, the issue also has some wonderful short stories, including one that I wrote entitled The Killing. Being published in such a noted magazine as Spinetingler is a complete honor. I'm glad that this story found its way there.

The Killing is very special to me. It started as a writing exercise in a creative writing course I took during my undergraduate studies. I had written a horrible short story for my final project in that class, but after reading it, I determined that it was utter crap and deleted it. This was about three days before the project was due. Unsure of what I would write, I started going through all the short stories I enjoyed, especially the work of Hemingway. The extra reading revved me up and I was just waiting for the words to fly. Of course, they didn't. I must have written 2000 words before the opening sentence came to me. "Charlie followed Billy into the field of their youth." Boom! The rest of the story rushed out.

This story's evolution reinvigorated my desire to become a professional writer. I had always wanted to be a writer, but I was never completely dedicated to it. In fact, before I entered this creative writing class, I was getting ready to take the LSAT. Man, I would make a terrible lawyer, but what the hell else do you do with a bachelor's degree in Political Science? But after reading this story, my writing teacher (who is now the current Poet laureate of the State of Maine) pulled me aside and told me I should pursue an MFA degree in creative writing. So, why the hell not? I filled out an application and attached this story as a sample of my writing ability.

Throughout my graduate work, The Killing had been read by some great teachers; including Roland Merullo, James Patrick Kelly, Dennis Lehane and Joan Connor.

But the sweetest morsel was the story's final step: publication. Sandra Ruttan sent me an e-mail message only a week after I completed my MFA creative thesis (and just a few weeks before graduation) that informed me that The Killing was accepted my Spinetingler. Suddenly, everything that I had been working for found some validation. I felt like I was on the right path - and I still do.

I hope you enjoy the story. Please drop me a line to tell me what you think of it. Thanks.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I Crack Myself Up Sometimes

Since John Rickards stole this idea for his blog (read his post here), I guess it's OK for me to steal it from him. What if you changed one letter in the title of a book?

Here are my deranged titles:

BRIGHTON COCK: The study of an evil teenage boy in the porn industry.

THE DAVINCI COME: World famous professor uncovers shocking secrets of Christianity using the DNA code found in Leonardo DaVinci’s semen.

A DRINK BEFORE THE WAX: PIs Gennaro and Kenzie do tequila shots before getting Bikini waxes.

SHITTER ISLAND: An investigation takes place on a rathy stinky island in Boston Harbor.

THE LAST GOOD PISS: PI C.W. Sughrue takes a leak.

IN THE CUM: I think the title says it all.

Other entries can be read in the comment sections of John's blog and Sarah Weinman's post on the subject.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Why I'd Never Be Able To Write Pretty Woman

Warning: Possible spoilers for a book I won't mention and also Pretty Woman.

Just finished a great book that had, in my opinion, a major flaw. One of the characters, who is killed before the book really starts, appears to be a crooked cop through most of the novel; but it turns out the guy was undercover and he was nice the whole time. Now the reason I think this is a mistake. The realization that this cop may be dirty takes a harsh toll on the main character of the novel. The guy is just destroyed. It's really heartbreaking. You don't want the character to go through his misery - and the writer knows this. So, he makes sure the seemingly dirty cop turns out to be a good guy. I think this negates the impact of the protagonist's struggle. If I had written this novel, the cop would have remained dirty, it's more interesting. To me, ensuring the cop is a nice guy is almost equivalent to the ending of Pretty Woman. There's no way a rich guy like Gere is going to sweep Julia Roberts away to marital bliss - but that's what the audience wants. If the movie ended with Gere saying, "Relationship? Are you fucking nuts? You're a whore. I picked you up on Hollywood Boulevard. I kiss you, all I taste is dick," well, it wouldn't have been as big of a hit. The difference between me and the writer of the great book with the major flaw is that I'd write the "taste like dick" ending, while he'd be much smarter and write the fairy tale ending.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

800 Words

I wrote 800 words today. Big deal. I should have written a hell of a lot more. Hell, I should be writing right now, but instead I'm checking e-mail and blogging between commercials during the U.S. Open. However, I did take back all of my bottles today - $16! Oh well, tennis is back on. Gotta go.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I'm Not a Very Good Pimp

Totally forgot about this.Anne Frasier has asked everyone in the blogosphere to pimp her new book, Pale Immortal. So, check out the book's trailer below; it's really good.

And just to rub it in a little, I'm getting an autographed copy. Yippee!

Recent Reads and Viewing

Here are some of the books I've read over the past couple of weeks:

Crusader's Cross by James Lee Burke
Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology, edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessell
Coronado by Dennis Lehane
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
Drive by James Sallis
The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos
Vanish by Tess Gerritsen
Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard

And some DVD's (with ratings):

House: Season One ****
The Dukes of Hazzard (the movie) *
V for Vendetta ****
Underworld: Evolution ** 1/2
Blade: Trinity *** 1/2
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang ****
Nobody's Fool ****
Angel Heart ***
Rescue Me: Season Two ****
Mulholland Drive *** 1/2
Little Einsteins: The Adventure Begins ***
The Wizard of Oz ****
The Spongebob Squarepants Movie ***

Friday, September 01, 2006

Holy Crapamoly!

Hey, I actually won third place in the Clarity of Night flash contest for The Tree Doesn't Fall Far From the Apple. How friggin' cool is that? I have to thank Jason and Anne for thinking my writing was good enough to place. The sky's the limit from here on out, baby!

If you get a chance, check out the other winners.