Why we're here.

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

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Good news. When I last visited the local Barnes & Noble, I learned that two out of three of the autographed copies of Hungry Thing had already been sold, and the manager had ordered three more!
Because I put something different in each copy, I opened up the remaining in-store copy to see which bonus autograph variant had not yet been nabbed. It was this one. (see image below). I hope that's not a reflection on the poem!
 
"On His Deathbed, Uncle Mort" was actually composed as a companion piece to a longer, humorous story poem, "On Her Death Bed, Aunty Rose", first published in the now defunct Dastaan Magazine, Chapter 6: "Fantasy Lands" (Once free online, archive issues of the e-zine are now only available behind a paywall, here).



 In other poetry news, I printed a ream of my poetry already published online (much is available as free reads, see side bar) and mailed it to my parents. My father, who is also a poet, phoned me to say, "I bow to the master!" My mom reported that he cried with joy reading some of it. Now, that's good parenting.

Finally, I wrote a new humorous poem, "Angels Congregate on Wings", which I'm considering reserving unpublished for a chapbook of my poetry. I have a few about angels, which might allow for a themed chapter. So far, reactions to the poem have been overwhelmingly positive.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021


Months ago, I visited the Barnes & Noble book store in O'Fallon, Illinois, and mentioned to one of the managers there that I was a local author, and showed him my book.

He said that they sometimes do "Local Author" displays, and could give me a call then, when they might include my book. I left him a copy, to help him remember.  He never did. 

Months later, I visited the same store and spoke to a different manager, who happened to be a fan of poetry. He took down my information and made a purchase request on the spot for three copies. 

I checked back after a few weeks, and he apologized, explaining that the purchasing manager declined to put through the order. However, he made a second request, this time adding arguments for why the purchase should go through.

Eventually, he called me to say that the books had been ordered!  He promised to call when they arrived, and suggested I come by the store to autograph the copies. I said I would autograph three copies I have at home and swap them out instead. He thought that was a good idea.

I don't have a lot of experience yet autographing books, so in the future, I may improve my efforts by using a thicker pen, etc., but one thing I did which I think was fairly novel was to hand-write a brief darkly humorous poem to accompany my autograph in two of the books. I wrote a different original poem in each one.

At the beginning of April, I visited the store and saw my books on display! (See photos above and right)

I learned this past weekend that one of the three store copies had been sold.

Poetry is not everbody's cup of tea, and mine is not even the most common subgenre of the art. Though dark, it playfully embraces numerous of literary devices, including aliteration and rhyme.

And Norbert Somosi's surrealist artwork! There are more than 20 detailed, ink line-drawings.

I have good reason to believe most people who discover Hungry Thing will enjoy it. 

See all the Amazon reviews here, and check out the poster below (fashioned by my talented neice, Tiphany) for why I believe so:

Amazon reviews of Hungry Thing  

Finally, here are the purchase links, in case you'd like your own copy:

Hungry Thing on Lulu (this direct option pays the author and illustrator the most) 

 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Drabbles for Love and Money (but mainly love)

I've had rougly 130 drabbles published since 2018, two of them even reappearing in "best of" compilations. More than half of them were speculative fiction or horror drabbles published in Black Hare Press' 11-book "Dark Drabbles" anthologies series, and another 8 published on the BHP Dark Moments website


Although most of the drabbles were submitted to anthologies that paid writers no compensation, BHP paid me $4 each for 7 Dark Moments drabbles, plus $4.48 for one special, Christmas Dark Moments drabble, for a compensation subtotal of $32.48.

 Additionally, BHP awarded me four $10 Amazon gift cards for being the first author to have the full compliment of five drabbles accepted for each of the first four Dark Drabbles anthologies. (I lived in Japan during those days, in the same hemisphere as the Australian-based publisher. After I relocated to the U.S.A., I lost my timing advantage and never again came in first.) 

For each authors who contributed five drabbles (the maximum permitted) to all of the original ten Dark Drabbles anthologies ("The Five Club"), BHP also gave, as a surprise thank you gift, a tiny unique booklet exclusively compiling that 5-Club author's drabbles, named after one of the authors featured drabbles. Mine, titled "M.E.E. First", is shown below.

Finally, BHP once awarded me a plush horror toy (pictured below, est. value $27 +shipping) as a contest prize for the drabble chosen as the favorite to be included in the author-led cyberpunk anthology, "ZERO HOUR: 2113.


So, in digital cash, gift cards and gifts (excluding the priceless unique compilation), to date, BHP has paid me $99.48 for drabbles. 

Add to that the $5 I was paid in 2018 by Shacklebound Books for a single drabble in the "DrabbleDark Anthology Vol. 1", and I've earned just over $104 total for drabbles.

I realize these are amateurish earnings, and some might say pathetic, given that I've spent far more than I've earned to purchase one print copy of each of the books. Even so, they are a milestone in what I hope will eventually progress to become a respectable writing career.

Drabbles clearly aren't where the real money is at, for a contributing author. (Ask me again when I compile and sell my own collection someday).  ;)

Meanwhile, if you're an amateur writer like me and interested in writing drabbles for unpaid calls, I've just had five more zombie-themed drabbles accepted for "INFECTION", by fledgling publisher, Black Ink Books, who is planning a whole series of differently-themed, horror drabbles, called "Legends of Night Drabble Series". 




Four Black Hare Press Anthologies

These beauties arrived today. Noneko is enjoying a first look at some recent Black Hare Press anthologies featuring my contributions.

TICK TOCK: A Time Travel Anthology (Five Hundred Fiction Book 1) : https://www.blackharepress.com/tick-tock/
featuring: "Seize Tomorrow" (flash fiction)

WETWARE : https://www.blackharepress.com/wetware/
featuring: "Skin Trade" (cyberpunk short story)

YEAR TWO: https://readerlinks.com/l/1455213
featuring: "Kill the Messenger", "Satan's Butterfly" (drabbles)

"ZERO HOUR 2113": https://readerlinks.com/l/1455334
featuring: "Safety Off" (drabble interlude, between chapters)

Friday, February 19, 2021

My latest anthologies

Excluding early 2021 publications mentioned in recent posts,  Zero Hour: 2113 and Poetica 2
my most recently published anthologies to which I am a contributor are:

"Rowan & Oak (Hawthorn and Ash Book 2)" by Iron Faerie Publishing,
featuring my fantasy drabbles, "Dark Enough to See", "No Shelter" and "An Ill Wind", and


"Year Two (Dark Moments)" by Black Hare Press,
featuring my horror drabbles, "Kill the Messenger", and "Satan's Butterfly".

Thursday, January 21, 2021

I am not one of the talented contributing authors in this cyberpunk anthology, but I did contribute ONE of the sixteen thematically-linked drabbles used as "interludes" between chapters.

Here's the purchase link for your own copy:  https://readerlinks.com/l/1455334



My light-hearted poem, "The Penguin Leaped" was recently published in
Poetica # 2: The Inner Circle Writers' Group Poetry Anthology 2020
edited by Grant P. Hudson of Clarendon House Books (Clarendonhousebooks.com)

https://www.amazon.com/Poetica-Circle-Writers-Poetry-Anthology-ebook/dp/B08TB45QSG