Lawrence Dagstine: “The Writing Life…”

In the last few weeks I’ve had the honor of giving four different authors and artisans blurbs.  Blurbs help sell a work.  Or at least give it that little helpful “boost”.  It’s a nice feeling.  It isn’t the first time I’ve done it, and it probably won’t be the last.  The purpose of this post, however, is that a younger author contacted me concerning the number of print credits I have.  Which would be 350 at the moment (give or take a few; probably more, and I really don’t include stapled-up fanzines and all that).  I do need to sit down one of these days and fix up my webpage a bit, but when you live a high-octane life like I do, you’re lucky if you have time to get down a single paragraph in the period of a week.  Some weeks, of course, are much better than others.  Time is a major factor, and there are only 24 hours in a day.  Some writers are fast at what they do, but then they have that luxury.  Unfortunately, I do not.  Some churn out crap.  I try not.

With so many of these micro-presses self-publishing each other to each other these days, with eBooks officially taking center stage as we head into the second decade of the new millennium, and with magazines both large and small coming and going at the speed of an asteroid, it’s really hard to tell what or who will be in in the next twenty years.

This leads me back to my conversation with the younger feller.  Oh, but you have 350 publishing credits.  Rocket fuel, my man.  Rocket fuel. Yeah, but that ought to get you some kind of book contract right on the spot.  Rocket fuel, my man.  Rocket fuel. But you have a short story collection finally.  Rocket fuel, my man.  Rocket fuel. Here I am, age 35, and I will tell you that this is only a tiny stepping stone for many other things to come in the fiction field.  Which, if you were not a stubborn bastard like me, you’d quit tomorrow.  Because only a mental case or a true agoraphobe would be involved in a game like this, especially in a generation where books are just not as important and attention spans are at an all-time low.  Come, let me slap you in advance.

I remember first getting into the written word when I was 21, making the transition from art, because I desired a little more.  I feel I came into this game late, because the entirety of my twenties was spent partying and traveling and experiencing life to the fullest.  I never really sat down and concentrated the way I do now in my later years.  Yes, the experience and reading paid off — that, along with the Vanity Press errors I made years back; yikes! — but even that means diddly squat when it comes down to a 20 to 80 dollar payday.  Newbies gladly sell their souls as if they were verb modifiers.  There are rumored to be at least 100,000 aspiring writers of genre fiction out there.  Now that’s a pretty round number for the ones that go on at it, so stand in line.   I may have all these appearances, a new collection, another on the way, but at the end of the day it’s just rocket fuel…

It’s safe to say that where the last three to five years were spent making short stories, the next three to five will be spent crafting novellas and novelettes.  What about that 200,000 word novel? Where’s that big epic book? Rocket fuel, my man.  Rocket fuel. Writing is a lifelong craft, and practice makes perfect.  Kind of the same way a store clerk eventually grows to supervising manager or maybe head foreman.  That’s just how it is, and that “is” often happens in old age.  Sometimes trenches are meant to be dug, tested, pioneered.  I would have to honestly say that I am not ready for that perfect 200,000 word novel — that serious book — for at least another ten good years.  Which is why right now I need the rocket fuel, and the small stuff, the paved road, to show me what I’m worth later in life.

Everybody wants to be the next big thing.  Look at yourself in the mirror and find your true self, and you’ll know that it doesn’t take words to breathe truth into who you are.  If somebody asked Lawrence Dagstine for a “How To” book on writing science fiction, I might recommend Orson Scott Card.  If somebody wanted a “How To” book on writing horror, I’d probably point you in the direction of Mort Castle.  Workshops and boot camps are fantastic; too bad I can’t leave the East Coast.  But if you really wanted the underbelly of the beast, the task of the artform at hand itself, then I’d recommend John Gardner.  As this gentleman in the link below has demonstrated so modestly.

Advice on Writing:

Simplicity and writing do not go hand in hand (Po Bronson knows), as should be the case with any creative endeavor.  There is the process of getting your thoughts down in so many hours per day.  There is the process of outlining and research.  You have tone and structure.  Dialogue and characterization.  Theme and summation.  Depth, motive, conflict.  Consistency and plotting (one of my weak points, I feel).  Beginning, middle, and end.  Showing and not telling.  Jeez, I could go on forever.  Or I could just go and write.  I can hear that young man harping now…  But Lawrence, when are you going to give us our Narnia? Eventually, my man.  Eventually…

Summertime will be approaching soon.  Many are probably wondering what the hell is the other purpose for this entry.  What is the purpose of anything? Well, I’ll be busy writing those lengthier works, the ones you anticipate, pimping, marketing, sipping on pina coladas and laying in the sun.  Things are going to slow down a bit.  Consider this an early draft for my departure from the public sphere.  I’m going to go live life and scream.  And I’m going to write, whether I get some invite or not.  Write.  Eat.  Sleep.  Sun.  Chocolate pudding, Rice Krispie treats, and banana cream pie.  Why? Because if you want the next generation Narnia, then I owe at least that much to you

With Love,

Mr. Lawrence Dagstine

P.S.: I, too, would probably work in a closet for some peace of mind…lmao.

Sam’s Dot Publishing: “Convention Calendar Early 2009…”

This comes a little bit late, but Sam’s Dot Publishing books and magazines will be available at the conventions just below.  Aoife’s Kiss, Beyond Centauri, Sounds of the Night, Champagne Shivers, and more! I would say once the April conventions hit, you can ask for FRESH BLOOD (my latest collection).  It should be available then.  They publish a whole array of wonderful periodicals, novellas, and other genre fare. 



20-22 March: MidSouthCon, Olive Branch, Mississippi
27-29 March: ImagiCon, Birmingham, Alabama

10-12 April: MiniCon44, Minneapolis, Minnesota

24-26 April: Conestoga, Tulsa, Oklahoma

1-3 May: DemiCon, Des Moines, Iowa

22-24 May: ConQuest, Kansas City, Missouri

As for myself, due to the recent woes of the U.S. economy, I probably won’t be leaving the Northeast anytime soon.  But I will be walking the floor of this year’s FANGORIA Weekend of Horrors.  If you see me, stop me.  Say hi.  I’ll be representing a bunch of publishers and handing out free merch! Also, now that the weather is getting nicer, I’ll be attending book fairs and book festivals, and hopefully the odd reading or two. 

More to come.

Doctor Who: Series Five Monsters…

New Monsters! It’s about time… Hmm, am I making any sense? I don’t know, I might not make any sense ever again.  Fanboy-ism aside, and as a science fiction writer to boot, I’m here today to declare my love yet again for one of the longest running shows in TV history.  That’s right — Doctor Who! Torchwood would probably come in second or third for me.  And, as we all know, David Tennant regenerates after this year and becomes The Eleventh Doctor.  This role will go to the then 27-year old Matt Smith. 


Now I will admit, at first I wasn’t too keen on the idea of Smith taking over the role; I had fingers crossed for Paterson Joseph, Adrian Lester, or even Colin Salmon.  But I guess it’s only right that we give the boy a chance.  After all, Stephen Moffat is a remarkable writer and it’s as if he were born to lead such a fantastic show.  Also, Matt Smith promises to bring a lot to the role as the Doctor — retracing the 70’s show model, Matt and Stephen? — and you know these newbies, one night they’re nobody, the next they’re a guaranteed success and eating the pie from the Actor’s Guild.  Matt Smith you have my attention.  I will give you a chance, I promise.  But what adversaries will you face? What monsters will you go up against? What surprises does Moffat have in store for us in 2010?

Official BBC Doctor Who Homepage:

I know the one monster I don’t want to see anymore is The Daleks — NO MORE! They’ve been done to death.  Russell T. Davies abused them enough, I think.  I love the Cybermen, don’t get me wrong… but please exit right.  And it’s safe to bet that the Sontarans were just a “one-time” gig.   I want monsters that harken back to the Baker years.  Or they should be, at the very least, considered.


I have read rumors (and they are only that), that the “Weeping Angels” will be making their return.  I’ve seen The Sea Devils being tossed about the Net.  The Troclafane were mentioned on one “source” forum, but I hope they weren’t serious.  And like the Sea Devils, my money is on the Ice Warriors all the way! I wouldn’t be surprised if they are a major villain in Series Five. 

There are so many monsters that haven’t returned, that should.  I mean, what about the Nimon? These were Minotaur-like monsters who could shoot you down with their horns.  In the insect department, you have the Wirrn, who are most memorable from Baker’s second story, The Ark in Space.   A Horror of Fang Rock-like story involving the Rutans would be kind of interesting.  Or how about using CGI to remake The Gravis and a new sort of Tractator? Perhaps The Zarbi? No, even better, how about the Rani?


As I get ready for PLANET OF THE DEAD, I wonder what surprises are in store for Matt Smith.  And us… 

What monsters do YOU want to see return to Doctor Who? Would you like to cast a vote?

Come, take a Doctor Who poll with me…

For another Matt Smith/Doctor Who related poll, go here: 

Like monsters? Then read my latest collection, FRESH BLOOD.  There’s plenty to be had there, in PG-13 color: 



Lawrence R. Dagstine

Black Ink Horror #5, Sideshow Press… (Reminder Post!)

This is just a reminder to say that, if you didn’t pick up Black Ink Horror #5, well, you should.  I received my copies and I must admit, I am very impressed with the quality of the product Sideshow Press puts out and will be going back in the near future.  Only 110 exist.  You’ll want this ink… Hurry before it sells out.  Once again, very impressed with the end product.


With artwork by Tom Moran and Others…


Black Ink Horror #5
Black Ink Horror #5




 17 Short Stories and lots of poetry.  Hard-spined, and the artwork is dynamite!

Aoife’s Kiss #28, March 2009… (Online Version!)

Aoife’s Kiss, published by Sam’s Dot Publishing and now going into its 28th quarterly issue, is  bigger than ever.  They offer a print version and an online version.  However, starting June 2009, they will become a straight-on print only venue.  I can be found this month, March 2009, in their Web edition.  Would you like to order a copy of the print version? Links provided below.  And remember to vote for your favorite story by your favorite author, as these get chosen for future Wondrous Web World anthologies.

AOIFE’S KISS # 28; March 2009

Published by Sam’s Dot Publishing


READ Volume 7, No. 4 online and VOTE!

Fiction by: Lorraine Pinelli Brown, Kurt Kirchmeier, Linda A. Gould, and Lawrence R. Dagstine.  Cover art by Teresa Tunaley.

Other New Entries: “Magazines”

Also published by Sam’s Dot, and available for PRE-ORDER at The Genre Mall!

Artwork by Mitch Bentley - Atomic Fly Studios

Artwork by Mitch Bentley - Atomic Fly Studios

FRESH BLOOD: Tales from the Speculative Graveyard

by Lawrence R. Dagstine


A Collection of Science Fiction & Horror: ISBN: 978-0-9819696-2-6

Sam’s Dot has come a long way in the last ten years, its authors being nominated for such awards as the Nebula, the Hugo, and the Bram Stoker.  Many a famous name have made a guest appearance there.  Most important, if you are a new writer, I am living proof that you can slowly work your way up the ladder and get a “book deal” or “payment” or things such as an “advance” or “publicist” for your efforts (bear with me, there’s a lot in the pipeline, and there are only twenty-four hours in a day).

I think this month’s “tuppence” column by SF award-nominated editor Tyree Campbell will be overlooked, and it’s such a terrible shame.  Especially for new talent.  Please, I urge you to read it and follow it with all your heart:

This is one way of becoming a WRITER…

This is being YOURSELF…

If someone tells you there is only one way to cross a street, well, you and I both know that that is ridiculous…

Other New Entries: “Books & Anthos”

The Fifth Di, March 2009… (appearances)

You can now find a heavily researched, post-apocalyptic tale about plagues, the death of the human race, and an alien species trying to save what’s left of mankind in… The current issue of THE FIFTH DI.  March 2009, to be exact.  The narrative is first-person, and comes from the perspective of an extraterrestrial doctor/coroner.  The Andromeda Strain was very much an inspiration here, but I wanted to change it up a bit and make my story otherworldly.  If you like 28 Days Later, you might also like this tale.  The Fifth Di is edited by J. Alan Erwine, and published by Sam’s Dot Publishing.  They’ve been around for years, and I’ve appeared there on up to almost 20 other occasions.

THE FIFTH DI…  Edition No. 11, Issue #1

March 2009; Edited by J. Alan Erwine

Cover Art: "After the Fall" by Mitchell Davidson Bentley

Cover Art: "After the Fall" by Mitchell Davidson Bentley

 Hope aboard and read “The Plague Planet”.  Click below:

Fiction & Poetry by: Lawrence R. Dagstine, Robert E. Porter, Rick Novy, Joshua Allen, Eric Penner Haury,  Scott Virtes, Shelly Bryant, Jaime Lee Moyer, G.O. Clark, and John Nichols

Other New Entries:Magazines”

M-BRANE SF: Issue #2, March 2009… (Now Available!)

The second issue of M-BRANE SF has just hit the Internet with a March edition to die for.  It’s a fast-growing venue with a positive future ahead of it.  Some decent writers have already submitted to it, like Rick Novy and Cat Rambo.  I have a story in Issue #2, and not only is the magazine well-formatted and very affordable for this economy, but I believe it is available in a few formats.  I recommend trying it out.  The PDF is only $12.00 for a whole year! For twelve issues, how can you beat that price? Christopher Fletcher gives his personal summations, too, on who’s who and what’s what involving the genre.  Not just Hard Science Fiction.  Love the retro 60’s feel!



Issue #2; March 2009

M-Brane SF Issue#2

M-Brane SF Issue#2



M-Brane SF

M-Brane SF

Featuring Work by: David McGillveray, Michael Griffiths, Lawrence Dagstine, Tim Mulcahy, Abby ‘Merc’ Rustard, Lawrence Barker, Jannett Grady, James Hartley, and Jeffrey Sims.  Edited by Christopher Fletcher.

A print version should be available on or around March 15th, 2009.

Other New Entries: “Magazines”