Monday, April 28, 2014

EDITOR INTERVIEW: George Cotronis of Kraken Press Talks New Publication, "Aghast", and Upcoming Novels

Better late than never, this month's editor interview is with George Cotronis, editor-in-chief and artists for Kraken Press. Though still a youth in the publishing world, Kraken Press has been making some big moves lately with a new magazine. Aghast, a dark fiction magazine, is paying semi-pro rates and features an artistic aesthetic that screams of quality. Using the Clarkesworld model, the magazine will be free to read online, or print copies will be available for purchase. With fiction lined up from Tim Waggoner, Jonathan Maberry, and Gemma Files, it's a magazine worth submitting to.

They will be open to submissions May 1st.

At the time of this writing, Aghast is at the end of its Kickstarter campaign. It's 145% funded. Check it out. Even if the campaign has ended. There's some great artwork, done by George, and further information on the publisher and what they plan to do.

Kraken also has experience publishing novels. In fact, Max Booth III's second novel, The Mind is a Razorblade, is being released through them later this year.

George was kind enough to give us some insights into the publication, what he looks for in fiction, and why Aghast is the magazine you should be reading (or submitting to).


What do you look for in a manuscript? Is the criteria for novels and short fiction the same?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

FLASH FICTION: First Line Challenge and an Original Short-Short Story

As a writing exercise, Chuck Wendig challenged writers to come up with a great first line. Entries were posted on his blog and according to his count, there were nearly 500. Now he's challenging writers to read through that pile of entries for someone else's first line, write a flash fiction story (1,000 words or less) using it, and post it on our own blogs.

Challenge accepted.

Okay, in truth, I didn't read all 500. Sorry. I read a bunch, though. I read until I found a line that sparked a full-fledged idear and I went with it. 

I'm what's called a "pantser" in the writing community. I don't outline what I'm going to write in advance, I just sit down and put those crazy ramblings in my brain down on digital paper. In other words, I write by the seat of my pants. Sometimes, if the ramblings aren't too incoherent, a story can be carved out of that. Which is why I like this exercise so much--it challenges me to write a complete story in a single sitting, edit it, and immediately put it out for the public to shame and tear to pieces.

Anywho, I chose a line written by George Kaltsios. I need to thank George for writing an intriguing sentence--"Try as he might, the Postman could not stop looking through the keyhole." It certainly captured my imagination.

And, as always, thanks for reading!


by JC Hemphill

Try as he might, the Postman could not stop looking through the keyhole.
The house, a two-story Tudor set back unusually far from the road and hidden behind an overgrown jungle of fragrant weeds and unkempt bushes, carried many legends that were known to him. Home to the deranged, the grotesque, the unwanted, 2211 South Bend represented the debauched fringes of human imagination, the details of which were as multifaceted as the locals professing its history. The house was haunted, people whispered, citing the dozens of murders and rumors of murders that had occurred beneath its thatched roof. Some claimed it was home to succubi. Or vampires. Or constructed with the bones of missing children.
But one thing was clear to all who viewed the house--this entity belonged to a darker age. Modern man had no claim here.