Why we're here.

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

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Read "Zombie Epistolary" here!

An epistolary is a literary work told in the form of a letter (or letters). 

A few months ago, I was inspired to write a collection of fictional letters which might be written during a zombie apocalypse. I made them all drabbles (stories exactly 100-words long). 

I knew that the e-zine Horror Tree features new horror flash fiction stories weekly in their "Trembling With Fear" section. 
This section also includes a sub-feature labeled  "The Unholy Trinity", consisting of three related horror drabbles. 
So I selected three of my best 100-word "letters during a zombie apocalypse"  and submitted them for publication. 
Maturing in the Apocolypse
Farewell Note
Missing You

Read my "Unholy Trinity" of connected horror drabbles, collectively titled "Zombie Epistolary," in the "Trembling With Fear" section of the current issue of "Horror Tree"!

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

13 LIVES OF ALICE by Black Hare Press

Update: Now available!


Thirteen authors contributed stories about the grown-up Alice in Wonderland, sequenced like chapters so that one adventure leads to another. 
I personally contributed one chapter, "Watership Sideways", which I'm excited for you to read.

Below is the publisher's blurb:

Alice in Wonderland rehashed for grown-ups.
Alice in Wonderland as you’ve never seen her before. Vampires, werewolves, witches, robots, ghosts, and aliens…and even a few dalliances with romance…
But will she ever get home?

Alice is well-known for her adventures in odd places, and her battles with terrifying creatures. She always overcomes the ferocious forces that try to destroy her—she’s a timeless A-list heroine, after all.
And now she’s all grown up, the adventures haven’t stopped.
But can Alice still survive the challenges as she did as a child? Can she work her way through a range of speculative fiction genre stories, each with its own major confrontation?
What significance does the White Rabbit hold? Will he…can he?…help her get home?
And when Alice finally confronts her thirteenth nemesis, does she have the courage to face fear itself?
#WritingCommunity #bookbloggers #bookblast #shortstories #amwriting #horror #darkfantasy #amreading #paranormal #writerslife #anthology #indieauthor #newrelease #Amazon #kobo #nook #aliceinwonderland #blackharepress #holidayseason #shopindiebooks

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

A Taste of Friendship: Personal Bests Journal, Issue

My darkly humorous story, "A Taste of Friendship", first published in "Vortex: The Inner Circle Writers' Group Literary Anthology, 2018”, by Clarendon House Publishing, as been accepted as a reprint to appear in David Gardiner's forthcoming "Personal Bests Journal: Issue 3".

My story Pregenesis featured in Personal Bests Journal. Issue 1.  

Scifaikuest: "Fear Unmasked"

Indie speculative fiction publisher, HIRAETH PUBLISHING, has accepted my 100-word drabbun, entitled, "Fear Unmasked", for their online/print magazine, "Scifaikuest".

A haibun is a hybrid story and poem, consisting of a pargraph of prose concluding with a connected haiku. A drabble is a 100-word story. Combine the two, and you get a "drabbun", which is a 100-word story which concludes as a haiku (without exceeding the same 100 words).

13 Lives of Alice

I wrote one of the thirteen bizarre chapters in this 13-author collaboration led by co-author, D.J. Elton. Naturally, my own chapter (Watership Sideways) will include a Carrollesque poem or two. The book also features some interior illustrations. I can't wait to get my own copy. :)

Alice in Wonderland rehashed for grown-ups.
Alice in Wonderland as you’ve never seen her before. Vampires, werewolves, witches, robots, ghosts, and aliens…and even a few dalliances with romance…
But will she ever get home?
Alice is well-known for her adventures in odd places, and her battles with terrifying creatures. She always overcomes the ferocious forces that try to destroy her—she’s a timeless A-list heroine, after all.
And now she’s all grown up, the adventures haven’t stopped.
But can Alice still survive the challenges as she did as a child? Can she work her way through a range of speculative fiction genre stories, each with its own major confrontation?
What significance does the White Rabbit hold? Will he…can he?…help her get home?
And when Alice finally confronts her thirteenth nemesis, does she have the courage to face fear itself?

#WritingCommunity #bookbloggers #bookblast #shortstories #amwriting #horror #darkfantasy #amreading #paranormal #writerslife #anthology #indieauthor #comingsoon #Amazon #kobo #nook #aliceinwonderland #blackharepress #holidayseason #shopindiebooks

Monday, November 1, 2021

As promised back in September, two of my best works about "Journeys" have been reprinted alongside similarly strong pieces by other great authors and poets for this charity anthology, benefiting Doctors Without Borders. You can purchase a copy on Amazon here:

"Dark Trek" is a action-horror story about the obstacle-strewn journey of a young woman to 
reach shelter of .her fiancé's cabin in the woods after a nuclear attack, first published in the monthly ezine, World of Myth Magazine.

"The Right Stuff" is a long-form comic adventure poem about the journey of an "old school" astronaut to explore a mysterious object in the Oort Cloud, first published in the quarterly ezine, NewMyths


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Horror Tree Submission: Zombie Epistolary

 In other publishing news, I submitted three, connected zombie drabbles to Horror Tree's "Trembling with Fear/Unholy Trinity" feature, and received a tentative acceptance, requesting edits. 

[Update: the trio were accepted, with publication expected on December 24th].

Besides the zombie theme, the three drabbles were related only by the novelty of their epistolary format. However, the editors suggested a way I could make two of the three related. I therefore wrote a new drabble to subsitute for the last drabble, establishing a firm relationship between the three.

The submission is still pending, however. I don't yet know whether my revised submission will be accepted. Horror Tree has published two prior drabble-trios, and the results were included in a subsequent year-end anthology: Trembling With Fear: More Tales from the Tree,Volume 2. I would like to be in another one, someday.

Rise and Fall: Breaking Rules Europe

I'm sorry to have submitted only one drabble (so far) to this anthology, "Birth of the Mountain-Valley Nation"

but I'm proud to announce it was accepted. I will share any updates including the purchase links as they become available.

Unity Volume 2: Angelic Series

 My contribution to the charity anthology Unity Volume 2 (proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders) will contain six angel-themed pieces! 

  • Two cartoons: "2 Heaven" and "2 Tickets to Paradise";
  • Three poems: "Where Angels Dance" (light verse); "Body of Proof" (a sonnet); and "Not the Whole Angel" (one of my best-liked poems, also technically a reprint*); and
  • One short story (horror): "Wings of Hope", originally published in "Full Metal Horror 2by Zombie Pirate Publishing, who have published several of my stories.

An anthology definitely worth owning, I'll post the purchase link when available. Meanwhile, here is the link to Unity, Volume 1 (also a charity volume for DwoB)

*Not the Whole Angel was first published in Dastaan World Chapter 4: Dreamscape, Sept. 16, 2018, on page 50. The once-free magazine is now defunct, and archive copies are only available for a fee.

Monday, September 27, 2021

The World of Myth 100th Issue

My fantasy short story, "The Dawn of Magic: Here be Dragons, Goblins, and Unicorns (Oh My!)" has just been published in the 100th issue of "World of Myth Magazine". 
Once you read it (as I hope you will) and perhaps even vote, I'd really like to know if you would like the story to continue, as suggested by WoM editor, Stephanie Bardy.

Here's the link to The World of Myth, 100th Issue home page: 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Hell Launching soon.

Speaking of delayed pleasures, Black Hare Press' "Hell"-themed 500-word story anthology is launching soon, including my story, "Delayed Pleasures Loophole".

Stay tuned for updates in the coming weeks.

Journeys: A The Writer's Journey Blog anthology.

To celebrate the anniversary of her The Writer's Journey Blog, (https://www.authorelainemarie.com/blog), Author Elaine Marie Carnegie - Padgett has compiled an anthology of works by awesome authors she has interviewed. Two of my works will be published: "The Right Stuff" (the first poem I ever sold), and "Dark Trek", a short story published in The World of Myth Magazine (http://www.theworldofmyth.com/), for which I earned "Author of the Month".

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Crow's Feet Journal "100 Ways to Die"

 In other drabble anthology news, Crow's Feet Journal has accepted four of my tiny tales of tragedy for their upcoming anthology, "100 Ways to Die"

  • Never Quit,
  • Price of Mercy
  • Keelhauled
  • Tragic Depth by Autocorrect

Black Hare Press' 666 LAUNCHES 31st AUGUST 2021


Black Hare Press' 666 launches 31st August 2021

Featuring 666 tiny tales of horror, including my drabble, "Ice Queen".
DOWNLOAD: https://readerlinks.com/l/1433239

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

REIGN published by BHP;100 Ways to Die accepts 4 drabbles.

My flash fiction story, "Curse of the Demon Lord" will be one of those featured in "Reign: A Dark Fantasy Anthology (Five Hundred Fiction Book 7), with an expected print date of August 31st, but already available on Kindle


In other news, four of my drabbles, "Never Quit", "Keelhauled", "Tragic Depth by Autocorrect" and "Price of Mercy" were accepted for a horror anthology, "100 Ways to Die," by the fledgling publisher, Crows Feet Journal.


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Two Recent Clarendon House Books Publications

Having been extremely preoccupied recently, what with moving to South Korea and feverishly writing for some contracted deadlines, I've been slacking on updating this blog. To catch up, I'm going to combine two belated publication announcements for the same publisher: Clarendon House Books

First, my humorous story Pregenesis has been published a fourth time as part of the "Best of" series in Issue #29 of Inner Circle Writers' Group Magazine

This story was first published in "Carrier Wave: The Inner Circle Writers' Group Comedy Anthology 2018", and voted the best of the anthology.  As a winning story, it was chosen for inclusion in "Gold: The Best from Clarendon House Anthologies Volume One 2017/2018", and published a second time.
Next, it was republished in Personal Bests Journal Issue 1, and finally, in the magazine above.

Finally, my science-fiction love poem, "A Spaceman", was published in May 2021 in "Poetica # 3: The Inner Circle Writers' Group Second Poetry Anthology 2021"

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Breaking Rules Europe to publish "Death House" (old news)

Breaking Rules Europe Publishing has taken over the publication of this horror anthology from Raven & Drake Publishing, including my short story, "Funny and Sad".  The e-book version is now available: https://books2read.com/u/bze7DE

Saturday, May 1, 2021

"Death House" the first book in a new horror short story anthology series, by Raven & Drake Publishing, is now available on Amazon. It includes my story, "Funny & Sad".

Here's a nifty promotional video created by contributor, Gregg Cunningham.

The Devil Made Me

Parts 1 and 2 of my horror story, "The Devil Made Me" are now available to read for FREE in the March and April issues of The World of Myth Magazine, respectively. 

Here is Part 1 (March): and Here is Part 2 (April).

(If you like the story, please vote. 🙂)

Mythical Creatures of Asia

Now available for pre-order, "Mythical Creatures of Asia" features drabbles about...well, exactly what the title says, including three of mine: "Corpse Flies", "Hunger of the Nian" and "Manticore Hide". 

Sunday, April 18, 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.

Wednesday, April 7, 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) 


Friday, February 26, 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)

Saturday, February 20, 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".