Posts Tagged 'page of reviews'

Ten (and a half) Things To Know About Touch the Sky, Embrace the Dark

My new short story collection Touch the Sky, Embrace the Dark is now available on AmazonSmashwordsBarnes & Noble (Nook)Google Play and the Apple iBookstore! It contains a mix of horor, science fiction and a few in between. Until the end of the year, I’m offering it at a discount of $4.99.

Since Touch the Sky, Embrace the Dark features ten short stories plus an introduction by Adam Shaftoe-Durrant, here’s ten and a half things I’d like you to know about this collection.

1) The title Touch the Sky, Embrace the Dark came to me immediately upon seeing the photo taken by my friend Frank Depino. (See #3 below.) I love that the photo was both inspirational and terrifying. Of course, part of the title comes from my short story “Touch the Sky, They Say”. But more than that, a lot of my fiction touches on contrasting ideas, so Touch the Sky, Embrace the Dark has both an inspirational message (“touch they sky”) as well as a more grounded, almost pessimistic message (“embrace the dark”).

2) Though I am self-publishing this collection, all of the stories have been published in magazines and anthologies like On Spec, AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, the Drabblecast and Leading Edge. That is to say they have been professionally edited and have been through several proofreads.

2.5) “The Weak Son” was edited by Bram Stoker Award winner David Morrell, best know for creating the character John Rambo is his novel First Blood.

3) The cover is a photo taken just before a storm in my home town of Guilford, Connecticut on Tanner Marsh Road on the overpass above I-95. It was taken by a high school friend, Frank Depino, who is president of mediaBOOM, a company that specializes in amazing looking websites. Check out Frank’s Instagram page for some amazing pictures—some bright and cheery, others just as creepy.

4) The collection is dedicated to my high school creative writing teacher, Joan Frances Garbar, who gave me a piece of criticism that has stuck with me over the decades: “I don’t see enough of you in your writing.” (I should also use this space to thank my university creative writing teacher, Janice Law, who pushed me to improve my prose and tighten my stories.)

5) The introduction is written by Adam Shaftoe-Durrant, who runs the Page of Reviews website. While Adam has favourably reviewed a number of my stories, his review of “Touch the Sky, They Say”—which is the first time he reviewed my work—was not too enthusiastic.

6) Some of these stories began life with different titles. Perhaps changing them helped get them published. For example:

  • “The Machinery of Government” was originally titled “Lovey, Dovey” after the main character’s pet name for his wife (which I later excised).
  • “In the Shadow of Scythe” started life as “And Behold, a Green Horse”, combining the biblical reference to the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse with the colour of environmentalism.
  • I first entitled “While Gabriel Slept” as “Father’s Day”.
  • “The Weak Son” received a number of rejections under the title “Soliloquy”.
  • When I sold “Touch the Sky, They Say”, it was titled “Grey New World” but the editors did not want a derivative title.

7) Two of the stories in this collection have been nominated for the Aurora Award, Canada’s most prestigious award for non-genre fiction. “ΔΠ (Delta Pi)”, which opens the collection, was nominated for the 2013 award. “Touch the Sky, They Say”, which concludes the collection, was nominated in 2011.

8) This collection includes the first short story I ever sold. “Full Moon Hill” appeared in the Winter 2007 edition of On Spec magazine. However, this version is a shorter, tighter version than what appeared in that issue.

9) Even though I firmly believe stories should, by default, be told in the third person past tense, six of the stories in this collection are told first person, present tense. I talk more about first person writing in a three-part series. Read part one of this series.

10) Every story in this collection begins with an image that reflects a scene, concept, item or theme from the story. Some are more obvious than others. My hope is that they give this collection something a bit more  than just straight ahead text. Below are some examples:

ascension

“Ascension” is about something universal and connected—and horrible—within us.

fullmoon

A full moon and saloon figure into the mixture of horror and western in “Full Moon Hill”.

weakson

Something awful happens in “The Weak Son”. The questions is what… and who.

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I’m over on the Page of Reviews today

Promo Image from AMC's television TV series The Walking Dead

Remember when Rick used to be horrified when he used his gun? And because he was, so were we. That’s missing now in The Walking Dead.

Page of Reviews mastermind Adam Shaftoe had been laid low, so he asking me to contribute something.

My piece “Why it’s Hard to Make Horror for TV (or “Why I stopped watching The Walking Dead”)” discusses the topic of horror and what makes something horrifying versus thrilling. I talk about how our tastes in horror have evolved, mostly in response to what we are able to deal with as a society.

And as a jaded society that can get real-time footage from a war zone, what’s left to horrify us? Rather than the extremes, it’s small changes to our assumptions about our everyday life.

Stop on my and give it a read!

 

2011 Year in Review

2011 was not my greatest year as a fiction writer.

Out of 44 submissions, I made a single sale: “Ascension” to AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review. While thrilled, some of the rejections were to markets I really wanted to be a part of, namely Mike Kelly’s Chilling Tales II and Blood Bound Books’ Night Terrors II.

Perhaps that’s because this year was mostly a year of revisions. I didn’t turn out as many original stories as I would like, instead going back to older stories and revising them, using skills I have sharpened to fix mistakes I hadn’t realized I’d made. In retrospect, this was not the best strategy. Some of these stories are too long to be marketable, and others are still not at a level I am happy with.

But, this will be my 59th blog post of the year, so at least I am blogging. I have also jumped on Google+ and created a Facebook page.

My career, however, gathered a lot of momentum.

In January, I was thrilled to hear Cast Macabre‘s version of my short story “While Gabriel Slept” (sold in 2010) after a number of other audio markets said they loved it, but didn’t know how to make it work. This rendition chilled me… and I wrote the story! (Download the MP3). Later in the year, Cast Macabre also accepted my ghost story “The Weak Son” (first published in Tesseracts Thirteen), but the site seems to be on hiatus and I don’t know when things will get rolling again.

In mid-2011, I learned “Touch the Sky, They Say,” published on AE, had been nominated for a Aurora Award. While I ultimately lost to my friend Hayden Trenholm, it was a great honour and great experience, especially the support D.F. McCourt from AE gave me. And my friends from ChiZine Publications Erik Mohr, Helen Marshall and Sandra Kasturi won Auroras for their work.

I also made a good friend in Adam Shaftoe, editor of the Page of Reviews site, who interviewed me twice for his podcast and ran reviews of my stories “Full Moon Hill,” “Touch the Sky, They Say” and “Ascension.” He also name-checked me in reviewing Contagion, using my thoughts on what makes a horror story (which was inspired by Gemma Files) to try to define the film.

Speaking of naming checking, Helen Michaud, non-fiction editor over at AE, called me out in her essay “Over the Transom: A Rose Without a Name is Not as Cool a Companion.” Her premise is that characters should be named. Trying to use nameless “he” and “I” and “you” in order to add a certain mystery to the story often falls flat. However, she used “Touch the Sky, They Say” and “Ascension” as exceptions that prove the rule.

In non-fiction news, editorials I wrote ran on AE (about “dark SF”) and The Page of Reviews (about whether we still need to vigoursly defend genre distinctions). Another editorial on the decline of science fiction and rise of fantasy, which I co-wrote with Adam, will appear in On Spec.

I attended Ad Astra, the World Horror Convention and SFCOntario, sitting on panels, catching up with friends and making new ones. Since attending Ad Astra 2008 as a nobody, I find myself run off my feet at these conventions, knowing so many people and often leaving with regrets I didn’t get a chance to talk to this person or that.

I am looking forward to 2012. I have learned a lot over this past year and hope to apply it in the year to come. My goal is to “bring the awesome” (as I am calling it). Not just writing what comes to mind, but telling chilling horror stories and thought provoking sci-fi.

In closing, my heartfelt thanks to everyone who made me feel welcome, appreciated and a part of the wonderful speculative fiction community. I’m looking forward to spending more time with you in 2012.

The ChiZine Connection: Brett Savory, Sandra Kasturi, Helen Marshall, Laura Marshall, Sam Beiko, Brent Hayward, Bob Boyczuk, David Nickle, Gemma Files, Nick Kaufmann, Claude Lalumière, Derryl Murphy, Mike Rowe, Doug Smith, Paul Tremblay, Erik Mohr, Barry King, Kevin Nunn, Tristan Joseph, Rio Youers, Ryan McFadden, Corey Beep

Authors & Editors: Mike Kelly, Madeline Ashby, Suzanne Church, Matt Johnson, D.F. McCourt, Helen Michaud, Diane Walton, Adam Shaftoe, Julie Czerneda

The East Block Irregulars: Derek Kunsken, Peter Atwood, Marie Bilodeau, Hayden Trenholm, Liz Westbrook-Trenholm, Geoff Gander, Agnes Cadieux

See you all next year!

New Article on Page of Reviews

I have an article up on Adam Shaftoe’s Page of Reviews about the divisions and definitions in genre literature, and why it might be time for us to start thinking about what makes a good story rather than fighting over whether it is or isn’t sci-fi.

It begins:

In August, AE: The Canadian Science Fiction review published my short story Ascension, which is about the zombie apocalypse told from a zombie’s point of view. Some would say this alone makes it a horror story. Yet it also deals with mass consciousness and the transcendence of the physical to the purely mental―the zombie apocalypse as the singularity―topics normally found in science fiction.

So, is it then a sci-fi story?

My question is: does it even matter? And are these divisions hurting us as a community?

Head over to Page of Reviews to read it all and let Adam know you were there by leaving a comment.

Review of my story “Ascension” on The Page of Reviews

Over on his Page of Reviews website, Adam Shaftoe has reviewed my latest story “Ascension” (which can be read on AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review).

Adam begins with:

What to say about Ascension? I suppose I could come out and say that it is the best piece of horror fiction that I’ve ever read.  Although, I’ve been told that a good reviewer is never supposed to be so direct in their praise as it may come off as being too obsequious.  But when a story works as well as this one does, there’s really no need to be circuitous with the praise.

And ends with:

Matt Moore has proven his masterful talent in using flash fiction to create a rich and thoughtful world.  Ascension emphasises the living in “living dead” to create a unique demarcation from the established forms of zombie/horror fiction.  Now will somebody please give Mr. Moore a bucket of scotch, an empty room and a blank cheque so he can write a novel of this calibre.

In between, he discusses a lot of the issues and ideas I tried to put into this story… and even some I was not aware I had addressed.

Many thanks to Adam for his thorough, thoughtful review.

If anyone had a bucket of scotch they want to donate, contact me using the links at right.

Review: Cowboys & Aliens

Adam Shaftoe has posted my review of Cowboys & Aliens over on his Page of Reviews website. A quick preview:

Alien exploitation of Earth’s natural resources as a metaphor for the white conquest of Native American cultures. A blending of the American Western and Science Fiction themes of utopian visions, including the sacrifices needed to achieve them. An eye-popping cinematic blend of science fiction’s wondrous visuals and the sweeping vistas of a Western.

Cowboys & Aliens is none of these things.

What is it is? A fun romp. Just don’t think too much about it.

Adam has also posted reviews of my short stories “Full Moon Hill” and “Touch the Sky, They Say” and we got together to do an interview not to long ago.

The front door of his site can be found at http://www.pageofreviews.com/.

Many thanks to Ken Berndt and The Comic Book Shoppe for the free pass that got me in to see this movie before its release!


Read My Book

TOUCH THE SKY,
EMBRACE THE DARK

A ghost tries to solve the mystery of his death. The zombie apocalypse is the gateway to higher consciousness. A mercenary must kill the savior of mankind.

Includes the Aurora Award-nominated stories "Touch the Sky, They Say" and "Delta Pi".

Table of contents and reviews.

Available on Amazon, Kobo and Smashwords

Upcoming Publications


"You're a Winner!!!": Night Terrors, Volume III

Upcoming Appearances

September 21, 2014
Reading at Postscripts to Darkness, Vol 5. Launch
Toronto, ON

September 23, 2014
Hosting ChiSeries Ottawa: Madeline Ashby & David Nickle
Ottawa, ON

October 3-5, 2014
Panelist and attendee at CAN-CON 2014
Ottawa, ON

Where Else to Find Me

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Email me at MattMooreWrites@gmail.com

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My Other Projects


ChiZine Publications

I'm the Communications Director for ChiZine Publications, publisher of dark, surreal fiction
 · www.ChiZinePub.com
 · www.facebook.com/chizinepub
 · Matt@chizinepub.com
 · @ChiZinePub


The Chiaroscuro Reading Series

I chair the Chiaroscuro Reading Series in Ottawa, Ontario.
 · ChiSeries Web Site
 · www.facebook.com/chiseries
 · chiseriesottawa@gmail.com
 · @ChiSeries


Wisdom for the Day

My other blog Wisdom for the Day, a side-project balancing humor & sarcasm on Tumblr.


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