Friday, December 16, 2011

Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road is Now Available!

Ladies and gentlemen, Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road, an alternative fiction anthology that I'm proudly a part of, is now available for purchase. Check it out:

Here's a review where some friendly blogger heeps praise on my story:

To celebrate the release, our publisher is offering a free Kindle to one individual lucky enough, diligent enough, and/or brilliant enough to find all our holiday theme covers. It's a blog hunt people, good luck.

On a personal note, I'd like to celebrate the release by offering free copies of SpecLit Masters 1: H.P. Lovecraft and SpecLit Masters 2: Jules Verne to anyone who "likes" Writers on facebook, posts on my blog, and forwards me their e-mail address (I swear to all things holy I will not spam you, this is just to send the smashwords coupon).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Terrific Article on Copyrighting Publications Written by Yours Truly

Not sure if you need to copyright your novel? Have questions about the writing field in general? Guess what, I just started a column to ease your fears and answer any of those pesky questions you can't suss out with Google.  Here it is:

The gun pic is unrelated. That's not even my gun...I swear it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road Comes Out Nov. 21! (AR) is a website developed by master marketer Sassy Brit as a vehicle for promoting all comers from the writing world. In fact, it's her "anything goes" attitude for looking after her authors that helped bring together, for a special project, the most dangerous rule-wreckers from AR. These are the Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road, a group of authors with some sort of link to AR who sprang at the chance to create an anthology designed to give the reader "a different kind of reading experience." And just to make sure that happened, we took away the rules and let them write whatever the hell they liked.

Sassy is spearheading the Project and is also one of two editors.

Clayton Bye is the owner of Chase Enterprises Publishing, works as chief editor for The Deepening, and is the author of several books and a varied collection of short stories, poems, articles and reviews. Clayton is also an advocate and business consultant for small businesses, including writers struggling to manage their business and find time to write.

Clayton is publishing the Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road project and acting as a second editor.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Re-Stylized, Re-Edited, Ready to Take the World By Storm!

The Zona has been re-edited and re-released.  We're up to seven reviews on amazon, 5 five star and 2 four star.  Come see what all the excitement is about.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Update on SpecLit Masters Issue Two

SpecLit Masters 2: Jules Verne is a go! We have another extraordinary line-up of classic and original fiction from Jules Verne and some of today's hottest writers. Estimated date of arrival - November 5, 2011. Get some incredible classic and original Victorian Science Fiction and Steampunk.

Available on Amazon, Smashwords, and Nook.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Adopt an Indie - Sample of The Zona

An uncommon predicament

Lead woke with the sun peeling his eyelids back like the tips of God’s fingers. His vision shifted to focus on the haze of brown earth and the beige nothing of sand and grit. His wrists were bound together on the other side of a sandstone boulder, pulled to an excruciating limit, shoulders popped and throbbing. His beaten face felt like a mask worn off-center, swollen and repugnant.

Lead looked at the grains of sand and crystal pressed into the boulder. The morning’s sun shone fierce through a yellow sky, reflecting off every piece of quartz and desert’s glass a tiny pinprick of illumination. He turned his head and shut his eyes. His arms felt dead on the other side of stone, hugging the boulder like a fat friend. Lead shifted weight to his chest and face. He focused on his body, reaching out in mind’s eye for the lingering heat of infection. His body felt raw and skinless from grinding against the sandstone all night.

Lead opened his eyes. He squinted through the glare until outlines and images formed. On the other side of the boulder a car sat in the desert sand. Its husk was scraped clean of paint and rust by the eternal scour of sand and wind. It shown brilliant, a carriage from mans’ other time. Through the windshield Lead saw two skeletons holding each other, locked in an embrace, arms around each other like Lead’s across the boulder. Beneath the car, beneath the dirt, hidden from the curious eyes of man and beast lay a road. A road of black asphalt buried in sand that would never be shoveled away, buried in sand that would keep coming with the hot winds until the car was no more, until Lead was no more.

Lead shook the cotton in his skull. He pushed away useless wondering thoughts. Behind him rose the sound of pacing, impatient horses and men waking with the rising sun. Time was pressing. Lead pulled his knees up to the boulder and twisted his weight to the left, listening for sounds of cracks and breaks in the rock. When no noise came, he twisted to the right and strained against the boulder. A small scorpion crawled over the boulder’s top and stood still. Lead jerked his body back, exacerbating the conflict between the rope, his shoulders, and the bastard rock. His face hovered inches from the poisonous insect.

Lead whispered a prayer for protection to the Lord God. He pulled his head back until his neck shook and veins mapped its surface. The scorpion was young, its skin transparent. Lead knew bad fortune; small scorpions were more dangerous than the larger, older ones. The babies didn’t know how to keep their poison. When they stung, they stung with everything, every time. The scorpion scuttled down the boulder at a casual pace. It raised its claws and stinger into a boxer’s stance, contemplating Lead’s visage with blank alien eyes.

The shivers in Lead’s neck reached his jaw and chattered his teeth. He blew a stream of hot breath at the creature as an attempt to dissuade it from approach. The scorpion stood against the breath and moved closer to his body. In fearful imagination, Lead saw the scorpion crawling onto the bare skin of his chest and stinging him over and over again. The tip of the stinger would pierce his skin and a flood of poison would make his body hot and sick.

Lead closed his eyes and dragged his body further down the stone. He opened his eyes. The scorpion was now sitting at nose level, claws and stinger still in a boxer’s stance, still ready to inflict pain, misery, and death. Lead whipped his head forward with every muscle and tendon. His forehead caught the scorpion with a mighty crack that echoed off the nearby dunes. White light burst erratic in Lead’s eyes. The scorpion’s tail swung a lazy arc, its legs and body were crushed and made one with the rock. Lead hit it again.


In the darkness, a high-pitched whine of an engine sundered the emptiness. Though in a dream, Lead knew where he was. His fingers clutched the back seat of his mother’s motorbike. They fled the Great City. His eyes shut tight against unending wind, tears streamed and cold fingers ached for release.

Lead opened his eyes. His mother’s bike shot past cars and refugees. Men, women, and children wondered, dirty in nice clothes with eyes that had stopped questioning and just looked in the oblivion. Many rolled suitcases, some had the bad sense to still look for cell signals or carry heirlooms and beautiful technology, all of no modern value. Mother’s bike wove through the refugees, Lead’s hands shook, he wanted to wipe rain and hair from his face, but he knew that is he let go he might die. He held.

They left the Great City, and the lights, and smells, and so many people. In the Great City water ran into the streets where God called upon the ocean to smite man and the shining inventions of man. Storms, rain and waves had taken the City, consumed it in a rising tide that ate grand monuments. God saw their ways and reached out and was mocked, or ignored, or praised with false heresies. His rage brought the ocean and the plagues. So says the Church.

Lead shifted his weight and grasped his mother’s sweatshirt. His hand had turned bluish. They would be delivered unto the Camps; his mother would die burning of the plague, mumbling nonsense and leaving sadness in Lead whose meaning was enveloped in the sadness of a thousand other tragedies. She was of the times before preachers and marks and crusaders and the Church, before the world got hotter and everyone died screaming of Hell and damnation.


Lead woke. His forehead throbbed. A shallow stream of blood trickled down the side of his nose and littered droplets onto the sand. A shadow reached across the sand and shaded Lead’s face. Feet shifted and knees popped, a man knelt down behind him. Lead smelled decay on the man’s breath. He remained at the edge of Lead’s peripheral vision, a phantom.

“You’re ours, Preacher.” The man said. “You belong to us.”


The Preacher and the Mark

Some months prior, Lead halted his mule at a road sign proclaiming ASH FORK. The sign was twisted with rust and shown a shade of green no longer produced by man. A boar’s head was skewered on top of the sign; all but the snout concealed by a cloud of flies and coagulated blood. Lead escorted his mule past the sign. Pieces of tar and rock popped under the beast’s hooves, startling birds who were otherwise accustomed to the desert silence.

After a time, Lead heard music emanating. It was an ancient, forbidden song, something from the Broken Times. Lead stopped. Like many of his time, he was fearful of old things; music, books, reminders of times when men were soulless. He contemplated what hearing such throbbing lustful music would do to his soul. What forms of tarnish and stain would he have to endure?

Lead walked his mule to a sign adorned with pictures of a dining plate, a gasoline pump, and a bed. The sign pointed to a tar lot with two leaning structures. One structure was broke down and crumbling into scrub brush, the other vibrated with music. It was a building with a pulse neither man nor animal, but visceral and wrong.

The Radioman’s directions had been precise.

Lead’s mule brayed and twitched its ears. Anxiety built in Lead’s chest. The music was not gospel. A cleansing would be required upon his return.

The vibrating structure was a single story rectangle coated with mud and dust. One side was made of glass entirely, a craft lost to man. Inside the glass wall was lined with plastic shopping bags whose presence in desert was constant and plentiful, like bones and scrub. Portals shaped as stars and moons were cut into the bag layer.

Lead tied his mule to a water trough and pulled a rope and blanket from his saddle bag. He adjusted the heavy pistol resting against his chest. His finger traced the outline of the barrel, cold against his skin.

Lead opened the door to an assault of the forbidden music. Gas lanterns and star shaped sunlight illuminated interior dust and smoke. Men and women the color of dirt laughed and shouted over the din and haze. They grew quiet as whispers announced Lead’s entrance. Lead thumbed his straw sombrero back. He looked to the inhabitants, eyes lingering on each face. The owner, a man of indeterminate and forgotten race, turned switches and gears behind a stained pine bar. The music stopped. The room grew silent in a way both frightening and impressive. Some inhabitants returned Lead’s gaze, some didn’t.

Lead withdrew a silver crucifix from his pocket and held it forward as his badge and ward.

“I’m here under the authority of our Lord and Savior to speak with the one who calls himself Aaron Century,” Lead declared.

Whispers stopped. The inhabitants stood still. One spoke.

“I’m he.”

A middle-aged man dressed in brown jeans and a leather vest stood up from his table and gestured to an aluminum and canvas chair. His skin was darkly splotched with layered sun damage. His hands were thick and heavy indicators of lifelong labor. His eyes sparkled with intelligence. Lead pulled the seat out and sat down.

“I got no qualms with the Church, Preacher.” The man said. He sat behind a dinner arrangement of roasted pork. He kept his eyes on Lead.

Lead laid the blanket and rope on the table.

“Your violation is between the Almighty and thee. I’ll hear no appeals.” Lead recited by rote. Anxiety pierced his chest with a thousand little flames. He steeled his face against the fear.


Aaron contemplated the items on the table in a manner both slow and deliberate. He picked up a piece of pork and chewed it, as though mastication assisted the decision making process. Lead stared at Aaron’s face, watched the jaw muscles flex with each chew. Sweat slipped past Lead’s eyebrow and stung his left eye. He kept both eyes on Aaron, but his ears pricked for sounds of rear ambush. Aaron’s chewing and smacking lips echoed in the breathless room.

Suddenly, Aaron leapt from his seat and over the table with a dinner knife clutched in his fist. The larger man knocked Lead and his chair to the ground in a sweeping tackle. Aaron’s fist flashed, Lead felt a sharp, quick pain in his side. He smelled the meat on Aaron’s breath as the man’s face loomed enormous. Aaron tore the knife from Lead’s side and swung out. Lead caught the blade in his left hand, and twisted it, but failed to free it from Aaron’s grasp. Aaron shifted the blade and forced the tip into Lead’s chest. Metal dug into Lead above his heart, the knife’s tip scratched bone. He kept his grip and the two struggled. The room was occupied with grunts and screams from both men, though no inhabitant could tell one from the other. Blood ran down Lead’s left hand, coating the blade protruding from his chest.

All the noise of man was cut-off by a sharp pop.

Aaron’s grimace turned to look of surprise, a cloud of pink mist hung suspended behind his back. Lead rolled him off, breaking the knife’s tip in his chest.

Lead’s shirt smoked from the discharged firearm, an old six-shooter tied with rawhide loop around his neck and hidden under his shirt; a rig some called a Van Cleef.

Aaron clutched his chest with both hands, the knife clattered to the floor. The inhabitants continued their silence.

Lead pulled himself up with the edge of the table. He levered his weight against the table and wrenched his right arm, tearing his shirt and freeing the Van Cleef.

Aaron convulsed on the floor. He opened his mouth wide and tried to fill his lungs, but the hole in his chest issued a sucking wheeze. Blood bubbled out. He had neither the strength nor the ability to consume air.

Lead swung his gun in a wild parabola at the other patrons, an unnecessary warning.
Aaron died with a crimson face. His hands slapped his body in search of air that would never be found.

Lead unfurled the blanket with one hand, the other clutched his pistol. Blood from his chest and hand speckled the floor.

“What was done here was the Lord’s work.” Lead said to the inhabitants. “If any of you seek appeal on behalf of Goodman Century’s soul, you will be heard at the Flagstaff Parish.”

Lead laid the blanket over Aaron’s body and backed out of the front door, pistol waving at man and furniture alike. He rode his mule out of Ash Fork with the .38 clutched to his wounded chest. The anxiety heat burned worse than the stab hole.

Halfway to William’s Town Lead let go of his pistol with stiff bloodless fingers. No one was coming for him. Lead slumped off his mule and gathered dead wood and kudzu for his campfire. His wounds burned cold. A straight line had been cut across his palm through what the heathens called the head and life lines. Lead wrapped his hand in strips torn from his shirt and said a quick prayer of healing. He pressed cloth bandages against the puckered wounds of his chest and side. He searched for the broken knife tip with clumsy fingers but could not venture deep enough. He said another prayer.

Lead’s anxiety reduced with time and quiet in front of the fire. He felt soiled, worn, an old man in his middle twenties. He turned to the heavens and gave a prayer of attrition.

“Lord God, my Father. Lord of Earth and Heaven. Forgive me for breaking a commandment you set forth clearly. Forgive me for spilling the blood of man onto the Earth. Forgive me for all was done in your name and on your behalf. All was done to cleanse the Earth which we the meek and unworthy have inherited. Forgive me and if you have any dispute with my actions please give me a sign or smite me where I sit if thou finds me unworthy.”

Lead listened to the wind rustling through dying pine trees and dried jungle vines, to the crackling of the fire behind him, to the distant woyotes howling at the moon, to the humanless nothing of nature. He hunched near the fire and wrapped himself in blankets, a guard against the curious, hungry insects. Lead took a flaming branch from the fire and lit a paper of tobacco to ward off spirits, to pass the time. The stars above rotated in shapes named and renamed and named again by the variations of man both civilized and barbarous. Lead ignored the infinite and changed the dressing of his wounds.

He drifted into sleep, his mind drifted to dreams, which turned to the Storms, death and, as always, the Broken Times.

The Zona is available on amazon, smashwords, and nook.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Zona Receives Another 5-Star Review

The Zona received another 5-Star review, this time from

If you haven't checked it out yet, you can score a copy of my scrappy little post apocalyptic western at:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Issue One is Out!!!!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the finest Speculative Fiction e-magazine ever published...SpecLit Masters!

Issue 1, containing stories by and in the style of H.P. Lovecraft, is now available for amazon, smashwords, and nook.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

First Professional Review of The Zona

The first professional review for The Zona is in (and thankfully quite positive). Check it out at:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Submission Guidlines for SpecLit Masters

SpecLit Masters is now accepting submissions for our Jules Verne issue. If you have a Victorian Scifi or steampunk story between 3k and 7k words, please send it Include the full story and a bio in the e-mail, no attachments will be reviewed. If you send an attachment, we will mock you without mercy.

Submission deadline for this issue is October 22.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In Short Film News

Catbrain Film Factory's new short film Damsel (written by yours truly) is fundraising on Indie-a-go-go.

If any of you ever wanted to be an executive producer, now is your chance.

SpecLit Masters 1: In the Style of H.P. Lovecraft

The cover for SpecLit Masters 1 is complete and ready for your enjoyment/judgement. Our first issue will be available on amazon and smashwords on October 1.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Short Screenplays at the Speed of Light

It's Friday night, 48 Hour Film Challenge Weekend. Your team just received their genre, prop, and dialogue, and they are terrible (Western? Pudding? “Have you come to Jesus?” No ) They need to start shooting in three hours, but you have to create the world and characters they'll be shooting in two. What do you do, hotshot? WHAT DO YOU DO?

Relax. No honestly, put your feet up, light one if you smoke, go put the dog out on the lead. Feeling better? Good, there's a quick and easy method to short screen writing in the rush of competition. The following steps will guide you to short film victory...or barring that at least get you finished on time so your team doesn't disown you.

Step 1: Relax

I know I'm repeating myself, but so what? If you are stressed, if you are tense, if you feel the hot breath of that deadline (or some production assistant) breathing down your neck, you will freeze. That's how it works, artists freeze in a clutch. If you freeze up, your only options will be to quit (team hates you now) or recycle something you've already written (only works if you've written a Western about Jesus and pudding). So relax, take a load off. Hire a babysitter, put the dog out (again), find a quiet place in the house or a room to yourself and...

Step 2: Drink

There's been a lot of controversy in the written world about the effectiveness of drinking and writing. Here's my take. Artists are incredibly self-conscious people. Whether we like to admit it or not, we get into the art business to seek the approval other people to stroke some kind of bruised artist ego. There's nothing wrong with this, it's just the way of it. That said, a self-conscious person is prone to second guessing themselves. It's easy to criticize and rewrite your work if you are Charles Bukowski and literally have no deadline, but this is not the case. You have two hours and a whole lot of friends/associates waiting. If you start drinking, you can get out of your head and let the story tell itself. You'll be less self-conscious about whether or not your jokes are funny or whether the romantic subplot seems legit if you've got a buzz on. Every one of my short screenplays has a four drink minimum, preferably boiler-makers.

Step 3: Character

Okay, enough foreplay, let's get down to technique. I highly recommend a strong central character, a Lead if you will. The Lead must be compelling despite living in a 3-5 minute world.

To do this, you must give the character three things; Voice, Ethics, and Motivation. Voice is the character's distinct dialogue. A compelling character will look and sound different from the supporting characters (think James Bond, Tyler Durden, the Joker, Don Draper). They stand out because their phrasing is markedly different from all the other characters. This can be accomplished through accent, tone, or what they are and aren't willing to discuss. Ethics are the character's beliefs. A character must act in a way that is distinct and consistent. You must know how a character feels about religion, killing, sex, friendship, all the little things that create the impression of a real person. Once you have those ethics in mind, don't stray from them. Motivation is self-descriptive. A story is nothing more the collective motives of its characters. Everyone in the script (especially the Lead) is moving towards a goal. Any scene or piece of dialogue that does not move you towards this goal is pointless exposition and should be cut.

Step 4: Setting

Setting is always tricky for short film contests. The best thing is to know ahead of time what locations your team has access to and form a script around that. For example, if you know that your team has access to a warehouse, two residential homes and an office, it wouldn't make much sense to set your story a Mad Max-style dystopian hellscape.

Step 5: Supporting Characters

When you get a team together, it's tempting to want to write a role for each person in the screenplay. After all, each member has dedicated their weekend, no one wants to get sent home at the last minute. This is a problem because too many characters equal too many motivations and not enough time or space for the Lead, especially in a 3-5 minute short. The rule I follow is to write the screenplay with as many characters as seems necessary to complete the story but no more than that. It may seem harsh, but if you have to rewrite the story to add characters, you're basically diluting the soup. Do you know what diluted soup tastes like?

Step 6: Remember the Arc

To be compelling, your story must contain a complete story arc. A complete story arc involves three acts. If this seems insane to do in 3-5 minutes, that's because it is. Nevertheless, human beings (your audience) prefers completed stories, just like we prefer completed jokes, complete disclosure, complete service, etc. etc. Here's the breakdown: Act I- Introduce the characters, setting, and problem; Act II- Lead gets in a lot of trouble; Act III- Problem Solved. This is a simplification, but if your story cannot conform to this, you are not writing a complete story.

Step 7: Editing

Remember that two hour deadline? Good, then you know the script does not have to be perfect. Knock it out, give it a quick read (if you used Final Draft the format is probably correct) and let it go. Congratulations, your job is done. You can now sit back and watch your team go through forty-six hours of hair pulling, teeth gnashing, film-making fun. That is unless...

Step 8 Rewrites

Neither the director, nor the producer, nor the actors live in your head. You can check. I'll wait. See, they don't. For this reason, they might not understand your characters or their motivation or the plot in general. In this situation, the director might ask for a rewrite. Here's what you do: a) explain the characters, motivation, plot, to the very best of your ability. If you can get everyone on the same page then less work for everyone. If a) doesn't work b) rewrite the script, include the production notes to the best of your ability. Screenwriters inherently hate production notes because its an admission that your script is not perfect. The reality of it is, your script is definitely not perfect Even the best movies have horrible moments (i.e. Tim Roth screaming with a bad American accent in Reservoir Dogs, or any slave dialogue in Gone with the Wind). Put your head down, do your rewrite, and make something that everyone can work with. Besides, if the film is great you can still take credit for it...and if it's garbage you can always blame the director/producer/editor/actors/key grip/PA/DA/craft services.

I hope this little guide helps you turn out fast and awesome scripts. Beat that clock

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Writers on the Wrong Side of the Road - Alternative -Reader Anthology

Simon Seeks, a Simon Craig mystery, has been selected for the Writers on the Wrong Side of Road anthology! The publication date is November 21, 2011.

The First Issue

SpecLit Masters' first issue will be written in the style of H.P. Lovecraft. Look for us on Kindle and Smashwords starting October 1.

Monday, July 18, 2011

So What Do We Do?

We are creating a monthly Speculative Literature magazine to be published on kindle. In particular, we are looking for:

1. Cyberpunk
2. Steampunk
3. Post-Apocalyptic
4. Paranormal Noir
5. Punk Noir
6. Science Ficition
7. Fantasy
8. Myth-based Fiction

We prefer stories under 30,000 words. Send submissions to speclitmasters(at)gmail(dot)com.

The Genesis of Greatness!!!!!!!

What is Speculative Literature? It is the literature of the outside. It is the fringe development of human imagination. It is the world we create unlike our own, and whether we want this new world or fear this new world, me make it all the same. It is a declaration of our highest or lowest potentials, and sometimes dragons, unicorns, and/or psychotic AIs show up.

SpecLit Masters monthly is dedicated to bringing you the very best in short speculative fiction!