Concept art for upcoming blogfest REBIRTH — from my entry, the short story “Valiance.” Val and Milo. Don’t worry, Val doesn’t let Milo hold onto that gun for long. (Though to be fair it’s a Carl/Walking Dead type situation.)
Holy buckets of cats, I’m getting married in twenty-five days! There are sooo many details to work out! And so many costs to get covered! I don’t want to go so far as to get a gofundme or kickstarter deal going, but if you would like to help, here are a few links you can check out: my book is at https://www.createspace.com/4877086, you can hire me out for logos or art at https://roblopezart.wordpress.com/, and if you would like to make a donation of ten to twenty bucks, click the paypal button at the right and enter “Wedding” or “Honeymoon” in the Purpose field, and I will send you a very special Thank You digital art piece for your computer or cell phone wallpaper.
If you are crazy in love with Forsaken Stars, and you’d like to purchase one of the original 8.5″x11″ cardstock pages, message me and we can work out the details. I will give you a good deal!
Heads up Central Valley California Writers! The Fresno Scifi and Fantasy Writers (fsfw.net), myself (forsakenstars.com) and Nichol McGhie (SimplyMcGhie.etsy.com) are hosting/sponsoring a blogfest/bloghop in May! While the idea is to show off our local talent, we have members who have moved to Utah, L.A., Canada and Germany, so I’m hoping they get in on this too, but it’s also to discover and possibly bring in new talent! So don’t hesitate to click that email button in the menu bar above or here to request more info or to sign up!
We’re still working out the details (even the promo image is a quick mock up), but there will be a prize or two and judges, and I’m hoping to collect all the pieces into an FSFW anthology for digital download, with proceeds going to a local charity, but the theme/prompt is REBIRTH. So whether you are a science-fiction, fantasy or horror writer, the possibilities are endless. Tentative word limits will be between a minimum of 500 and maximum of 1500 words, so you may want to limit your piece to one or two characters and your main character’s moment of change/epiphany/awakening/resurrection.
Stephen King equates the short story with “a kiss in the dark from a stranger.” Kurt Vonnegut said to “start your story as close to the end as possible.” Edgar Allan Poe is quoted, “A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it.” So get writing and check back here for updates!
“For seasoned bloggers blog hops/link ups are most likely second nature but for others who may be new to blogging blog hops may be uncharted territory leaving them with many questions. If you are unfamiliar with blog hops, they are basically a great way to meet other bloggers and gain followers.”
1) What is a blog hop? A blog hop, also called a link up, is basically a widget, called a linky, that allows bloggers to add their blog to a list. The list can be on multiple sites or may just be on the site of the blogger hosting the hop.
2) What is the purpose of a blog hop? Blog hops allow you to visit other blogs, follow blogs you like, and gain followers. This one will concentrate on Central Valley writers and past, present and future members of the Fresno Scifi and Fantasy Writers.
3) How do I participate in the REBIRTH Project Blogfest?
a. Come up with a story or vignette based on the writing prompt “rebirth” — what comes to mind when you think of the word rebirth? Is it an awakening? An enlightenment? A physical death and rebirth? Metaphorical? — the word limits are a minimum of 500 words and a maximum of 1,500 words. The piece can be science-fiction, fantasy, horror or speculative fiction.
b. It is preferable if you have your own blog, but if you do not, you can submit your piece to myself at forsakenstars.com (forsakenstars AT gmail DOT com). We may set up a thread at fsfw.net to also host writers that don’t yet have their own blog, but still working out the details on that. In any case, email me or comment below that you would like to participate and I will create and update the link list as it grows. Deadline to join the list will be May 1, 2015! Though the sooner you join and write your piece, the sooner you have time to edit, revise and polish it!
c. The REBIRTH Project blogfest will have a competitive component with awards and prizes. We will have a small panel of judges to decide on the “best” piece based on character, plot and theme, a “fan favorite” piece based on comments from the participants and public alike, and a “door prize” piece awarded at random to one of the participants and one of the [non-participant] public commenters.
d. It is our intention to collect the pieces into an FSFW anthology and make it available for purchase with the proceeds going to a central valley literacy program, so keep in mind that by participating this blogfest you are publishing your piece firstly on your blog and possibly secondly in our anthology for charity. So if you would like submit your piece elsewhere, know that most publishers have rules and limits regarding previously published works.
e. The actual blogfest will go live Tuesday, May 12, 2015 and run through Saturday, May 16, 2015. At the kickoff, you will post your hopefully final, polished piece on your blog, as well as the link list of all the other blogs participating. Then you will hop through each blog, read the other pieces and leave comments about what you think about the pieces. Be respectful! If you come across a blog you enjoy, feel free to follow it!
4) Why should I leave a comment? Leaving a comment allows the blogger to know that you are now following them. However, there are a few rules of etiquette:
- Don’t spam bloggers
- Don’t ask bloggers to visit your site and follow you
- Try to leave a sincere comment. Comment on the post or their blog in general and then let them know you are stopping by from the blog hop. No need to ask them to stop by your blog, if they are participating they already know how it works.
5) How long is a blog hop? Blog hops typically last one day although some may last an entire weekend and specialty blog hops may last a week or more. Again, the REBIRTH Project Blogfest will last five days, going live Tuesday, May 12, 2015 and run through Saturday, May 16, 2015.
6) How many blogs should I visit? As many as you would like. Visiting blogs through blog hops takes time so you may not get to everyone on the list, so just do your best. The more you visit, the more likely they are to visit your blog.
7) How do I find the REBIRTH Project blogs? The list will be maintained here, below, so check back often! There will also be a blogfest badge you can post on your site below your story/piece/entry or in a sidebar at your blog/website.
A tentative list is shown below and links will become live as their stories are posted. Sponsor links will also be listed.
Sponsor links – not live just yet! – will become live as prizes are confirmed and officialized.
REBIRTH Blogfest Link List – the stories will be listed below!
Flash Non-Fiction, Essay, Horror, Love Note to the Dark
I scare myself. Call it a talent, call it a curse. You may do it too. I’m not so full of myself that I believe I’m the only one. I’m sure Stephen King or Dean Koontz or Clive Barker do it all the time. Mostly at night. When I’m by myself. When it’s quiet. I live by a highly trafficked street now, down the center of Fresno, so it happens a lot less than it used to.
But I scare myself. I think myself silly. When I was a child, I thought about how big the universe is, I tried including heaven and hell and I would give myself anxiety attacks. I would think if All That Is is surrounded by a wall, how thick might that wall be? Would it go on forever? And if not, what might be beyond that wall? Now I know there are theoretical physics that deal with those questions, that there are membranes between dimensions, and just—oh, it makes my head hurt and my stomach ache.
My family lived in a tiny house, and sometimes I would sleep in my parents’ bedroom and stare at the pattern in the couch sandwiched next to the bed. I would see a witch or a face and it would stare back at me and scowl at me. I was afraid to close my eyes for fear it would tear itself out of the fabric and come at me.
When I got older and we moved across town and I finally got my own room, there was one night I stared at the window so hard I convinced myself that any minute I was going to see a shadowy shape on the other side of the curtains. Years later that moment inspired the scifi prose poem “She Is Not Herself” published in Prelude to Spiral Legion.
One night, I awoke to my own X-Files moment when that same window was bathed in light and a terrific booming noise, the curtains billowing madly from air being blown through the screen. My first thought was, “They’re here! The aliens are here! I knew it!” Only to have my hopes/fears dashed when I ran to the window and discovered that it was a helicopter landing in the field next to my house. After that night, emergency medical choppers landed with regularity there. Unfortunately, car accidents happened a lot in Orange Cove and that field was centrally located. Eventually a clinic was built in the spot. I don’t know where the choppers land now.
My nightmares are, well, the stuff of nightmares. Fueled by science-fiction epics, the slasher films Friday the 13th and Halloween, they involve a lot of running, a lot of pulse-pounding fear and the worst, waking up within a dream. With the advent of Computer Generated Images and films like the Abyss and Terminator 2, the killers in my dreams have become fluid and damn near indestructible. In my youth I trained myself to achieve dream control, but these days, working in retail with a constantly changing schedule, I have no steady sleep-waking cycle, so it’s tough to recall my dreams, let alone control them while I’m in them. It’s also rare for me to realize I’m dreaming until it’s too late.
And yes, I have been killed in dreams. It’s not fun.
I don’t consider myself to be superstitious, but I do believe in the psychology of self-fulfilling prophecy and to a certain extent karma, so as much as I dismiss those kiddie emo chain letters or posts that start off, “okay, you’ve started reading this so you have to finish it or such and such bad will happen to you,” I can’t help but avoid them at all costs because I don’t like the (f)ear worm affect those things have on my subconscious. Especially when I come across them at night.
Recently, while stalling from going to sleep, I read a “scariest stories in two sentences” list on one of those buzzfeed/reddit type sites and scared myself shitless. I didn’t want to look up, down or sideways. I didn’t want to listen for my non-existent kid’s voice down the hall or up the stairwell I don’t have. And I certainly didn’t want to look under my bed.
And what the fuck is up with the Thin Man?
Yeah, I scare myself. I love Supernatural and Ghost Hunters. I’m a sucker for the Paranormal Activity films. I really loved Insidious and The Conjuring and Dark Skies spoke to me. My fiancée tells me that when we get together I usually steer our viewing choices to scifi and horror films. And now that I know that she’s a little tired of them, I watch the smaller, more indie horror films like WER, the Signal (Really Good!) or found footage films like Afflicted and Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones when she’s not around.
Alisha is moving in this weekend. This may be the last night I spend alone for awhile. I’m in the living room on the laptop and I gave up trying to watch movies or listen to a podcast as I wrote this.
I let the silence envelop me. The cars aren’t whizzing by as often as they were, say, an hour ago.
The blinds covering the sliding glass door occasionally flutter. They shouldn’t, as there is no open window and I don’t have the central heating on. But occasionally they flutter. Maybe air still shifts through the ventilation or through the crack between the door to the apartment and the doorframe.
My imagination is a powerful one, though. Sometimes, I think, powerful enough to manifest something. Something dark, evil even.
I can almost imagine the figure coming down the hallway, having coalesced from the darkness coming from the bedrooms, or stranger, from the bathroom. Next to the darkened bedroom, I have started to consider that the bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house. I have slipped in that shower before. I’m sure at least a couple people have fallen in there and hit their heads, maybe even died.
Fresno is a dangerous place. A violent place. There have to be lots of ghosts here, trapped between the membranes.
God, my eyes hurt now. Maybe if I take my glasses off, I can last another few minutes or so. Long enough to post this. Long enough to get this to you.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll live through the night to see your comments in the morning.
Good night. Get some sleep. If you dream, dream of lovely things.
Unless, of course, you prefer the dark.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Sorry I got swallowed up by my day/night job the last month, and what little free time I had I spent it with family. My time is still being taken up by work, but I am moving the fiancée into my apartment and with her, finally, finally, internet, so that means, if I get a spare hour here or there I can hop on the laptop and at least get some blogging done. And the more blogging I do, eventually the more art and hopefully webcomicking…that’s right, a return to Forsaken Stars the comic is in the works!
For now, I’m looking to connect back with my local community and continue to promote Prelude to Spiral Legion, which I hope will include reading some excerpts at local libraries or open mics, but until I set those things up, here are a few events I plan to attend in the next few weeks:
The Last Unicorn Tour
View The Last Unicorn, the 1982 Rankin/Bass animated film the way it was meant to be seen! On the Big Screen!
Sunday, January 18, 1:00 PM
Sierra Vista Cinemas 16 in CLOVIS, CA
Sierra Vista Mall, 1300 Shaw Avenue, Clovis, CA 93612.
Novelist and Screenwriter Peter S. Beagle will be present!
For more info, visit lastunicorntour.com
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Fresno Scifi and Fantasy Writers Meeting
Tuesday, January 20, 6:30PM
Local writers review latest films, novels, short stories and comics in speculative fiction as well as each other’s works! If you would like to join us, message me by clicking on the email button on the menu bar above! Visit our website at fsfw.net and like us on facebook at fresnoscifi!
Okay, so it’s not Aaron Eckhart’s I, Frankenstein, shown above, which I thought was actually pretty cool. I’m not sure what to expect from the Woodward Shakespeare Festival’s Director Greg Taber, other than Intense Dramatic Goodness, so I am NOT missing this staged reading!
Wednesday, January 28, 6:30-8 pm
Fig Garden Library
THE BARD INSIDE / LIBRARY SERIES
A staged reading. Directed by Greg Taber.
For more info on the Woodward Shakespeare Festival and its performances, visit www.woodwardshakespeare.org
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If you know of anything cool happening this month or the next that you think we should know about, or if you’re interested in having me at one of your events, let me know! Again, just click on the email button in the menu bar above! Thanks and hopefully I’ll see you at one of these local happenings!
Hey, gang, we all could use a little extra money around the holidays, so I’m taking my shot here and now:
You all know I just published a book, and it would be a big help and honor if you pick it up for kindle or paperback on amazon.com. A Big Thank You to those who have already done so! I’ve also got other titles, and you can see them all on my author page. http://www.amazon.com/Rob-Lopez/e/B0081FEZSO
If you’re local (Fresno, County area, California, USA), or you’re willing to pay a little extra for shipping and handling, and if you would like a signed copy with an exclusive print of art inspired by one of the stories in the collection, message me and we’ll set you up!
Finally, for those who live in Fresno County, if you’re interested in “A Night of Terror with Rob Lopez,” I will make myself available to come to your home, soiree or venue and perform selected readings, some improvisation and likely do a jig, for a nominal fee–or Free with purchase of five or more books!
That’s my spiel. Thank you for your time and have a Happy Holiday Season!