Why we're here.

A creative writing blog by Shawn M Klimek / Twitter: @shawnmklimek
(All rights reserved)

Thursday, April 20, 2023

The Dunwich Romance to be featured in The Horror Tree's "Fear and Trembling", "Unholy Trinity".

When Black Hare Press's "Love Me, Love Me Not" call opened last year, I composed a drabble inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's "The Dunwich Horror", titled "The Dunwich Heartthrob". It earned only a form- rejection (i.e., no explanation), but I assume it was rejected for not being dark enough for the publisher's tastes (see preceding blog entry).

So, I rewrote it slightly, then added two more drabbles, expanding the saga into an "Unholy Trinity" intended for The Horror Tree, an online magazine.

The Horror Tree accepted the trio shortly before Valentine's Day, sent me a contract today, (04/19/23), and promised to publish "The Dunwich Romance" on Friday, April 21.

Here's the link: https://horrortree.com/unholy-trinity-the-dunwich-romance-by-shawn-m-klimek/

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Two Drabbles to Appear in Run Rabbit Run

Available April 18, 2023. You can order (or pre-order) your copy of this anthology, here: 


While waiting for my writing groove to recover from its unusually protracted malaise, in recent months, I dabbled in more drabbles, submitting five for this anthology about scary rabbits. Two were accepted, about which I am delighted. There was a prize for being the first author to ten acceptances, (won by a more talented fellow named Bernardo Miller-Villella, ...

...about whose existence I was previously unaware, and is a reminder that as the pool of authors submitting to Black Hare Press has continually increased, my rate of acceptances was bound to diminish. (Congrats, Bernardo!).

BHP has so many projects going at a time and so much reading to do that they now rely on teams of volunteers to vet submissions, which has also somewhat shifted the editorial feel. Logically, more opinions mean less caprice, which suggests more measured, thoughtful results; and more submissions mean a larger pool of stories from which to choose, permitting them to pick the very best (and never or less often settle for mediocre filler).

Frankly, not everything I submit is equally great, although I usually strive to make it so. When I look at a rejected work with fresh eyes, I'm often relieved it was rejected. No writer wants their name forever attached to cringey dreck. Most rejected stories can be rewritten and then resubmitted elsewhere (although peculiar themes make that more challenging).

On the other hand, increasingly, our tastes simply differ. BHP' is predominantly a horror press, after all, and emphatically prefers their stories "daaark" (to quote some early editorial feedback directly from the founder). I lean heavily toward humor in my stories (dark humor, when writing horror), which puts me in the minority among horror writers. Having this work judged by an average pool of horror writers, therefore, most of whom do not prefer humor, predictably undermines my chances. 

That's my theory, at least. As deeply humbled as I am by the talents of other fiction writers (I am now linked to four thousand of them on Twitter: @shawnmklimek), I still have confidence in my own skills, as lacking as they definitely are, in certain areas. I am keenly aware that I am not, nor do I yet deserve to be writing fiction for a living.  To end on a positive note, though, I have published many short gems.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

 “Merry Crashed-Mass” appears in this annual compilation of Dark Moments drabbles and Patreon short stories, published January 2, 2023.

This story brought my count of works published by Black Hare Press to 130, including five short stories, three flash fiction stories, 111 drabbles and 11 poems.

LOCKDOWN SERIES: HORROR #2, (1 drabble) SCI-FI #1, #4:, (2 poems) FANTASY #1, #4, #5 (3 poems)
YEAR ONE, YEAR TWO, YEAR THREE, YEAR FOUR [These are compilation anthologies, so contributions are redundant).
ELDRITCH & ETHER (4 poems)
DEEP SPACE 1 (1 story)
500-WORD SERIES: REIGN, TOCK, HELL (3 Flash Fiction stories)

Also accepted, though not yet published: Lockdown Fantasy #6, 8, & 10; SCI-FI #7 & 9. 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Charlie Whinesworth's Lucky Trinket to appear in Lockdown Sci-FI #4 by Black Hare Press

Charlie Whinesworth's Lucky Trinket

On the sturdy, plastic dashboard of his trusty, one-man spaceship,
Glued with resin-paste extracted from an alien-beastie’s spleen,
Our intrepid space explorer, Charlie Whinesworth, keeps a trinket,
Sentimentally significant: an ivory figurine.

So begins the humorous narrative sci-fi poem, "Charlie Whinesworth's Lucky Trinket", which explains the troubled relationship between the celebrated space explorer and his eternal nemesis, the genocidal maniac, Reggi Farner. 

The two characters, Whinesworth and Farner, were created by my brother, Stuart, for a homemade, choose-your-own-adventure storytelling game we  invented in 1978, called "Blasers and Beasties". B&B adventures were always puzzles involving space explorers, typically having crash-landed on some planet and needing to rescue themselves (and if possible, also profit).  The game required one storyteller and one player, who made the choices for his fictional explorer-protagonist. Charlie Whinesworth's was the name Stuart usually gave to his heroic character. But on days when he was feeling rascally (or perhaps for sheer variety), he would play "Reggi Farner", whose invented goal was to murder every fictional alien, human, or creature he met in the game. This poem is about both characters.

The poem will soon appear in a collection of science-fiction short stories, "Lockdown Sci-Fi, #4, to be published February 3, edited by the good folks at Black Hare Press

  • Further information here ­https://www.blackharepress.com/lockdown-sci-fi-4/
  • Pre-order here - https://www.blackharepress.com/lockdown-sci-fi-4/
  • At other outlets here - https://books2read.com/lockdown-scifi-4

More about B&B, which inspired the poem: The game was inspired by the descriptions of two adventure story games that my brother, Stephan, related having experienced during his first year away at college. First, the burgeoning dice-dependant fantasy classic, Dungeons & Dragons, by Gary Gygax and Dale Arneson (published four years earlier). and the seminal computer text-adventure game, "Colossal Cave Adventure" (aka "Adventure" or "ADVENT"*), released in 1976 by Will Crowther and expanded on in 1977 by Don Woods. (I'm guessing my brother played the latter version on the University of Dallas mainframe. Interesting side note, he explained that the command line activation code for the game was "Adventure", but because the program only read the first five characters of any input, "Advent" was sufficient and the shortcut most users became accustomed to.)  
Having access to neither dice nor computers, B&B (obviously named to echo D&D) relied on multiple choice options (with some latitude, thanks to a human storyteller), the outcomes for which were mostly predetermined. 
Except for theme, a fixed story world, style differences (cheap manufacture was a running gag), and conventions (e.g., standard rayguns were "blasers", extra-terrestrial humanoids were "aliens" and critters were "beasties"), the gameplay was most similar to that in the "Choose Your Own Adventure" book series (which emerged the following year, 1979). Our younger brothers, Shannon and Scott, both furthered game development, indepentantly inventing numerous adventures and introducing original game elements (time pressure, time-travel, recurring characters, etc.)
Finally, there happens to be one more poem of mine (to date) inspired by a B&B character, but this one invented by my mother, June. She called her protagonist "Mary Crockett", and favored xenobotony storylines. "Mary Crockett's Garden" has yet to be published, but it's quite a fun piece, so stay tuned.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Merry Crashed-Mass: A Christmas-themed, Dark Moments Drabble.

How do you erase the cloying taste of fruitcake and eggnog without swallowing more calories? Try reading a wafer-thin, Christmas-themed, "Dark Moments" drabble gifted from indie-horror-publisher, Black Hare Press.

Oh, sir! It's only a tiny little thin one!

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Wednesday Limerick: Giving Birth to a Minotaur

When a horny queen chooses to marry a bull

The offspring are often uncarriable. 

Since above the boy half

Juts the head of a calf,

Minor tears & many tears are invariable.

Lockdown Fantasy #4 and #5 both launching in September 2022.

Two of my humorous fantasy stories told in rhyming verse will be among those published this month (September 2022) by Black Hare Press, in their most current Lockdown anthologies. Each volume includes several fantasy short stories or poems by a selection of talented writers.

In LOCKDOWN FANTASY #4, "Malomenire the Mad" tells the "sordid" story of a powerful wizard who becomes so insanely jealous of his apprentice that he plots his death by giving him unsurvivable tasks. It introduces the young wizard and future archmage, "Astromote".

In LOCKDOWN FANTASY #5, "Final Spell of The Archmage Astromote", takes up the tale of Astromote near the end of his illustrious, centuries-long career, as told by one of his former students. It concerns the archmage's quest for just the right ink and parchment to complete a final spell vital to mankind's survival. 

Only 99 cents on Amazon:

15th September - Lockdown Fantasy #4

20th September - Lockdown Fantasy #5