Lawrence Dagstine: “Wizard World Comic Con 2013…” – New York City

I’ll be at the 2013 Wizard World “NYC Experience” Comic Con with books on hand, including my alternate history novella, A CHILD WEEPS IN MOSCOW, for two out of the three days.  Only $40.00 a ticket, children under 10 get in free; why pay more at the door? There will be loads of comic book artists, TV personalities and movie stars, WWE superstars, genre book authors, and character toy and comic merchants.  Also, in the near future, stay tuned to a new section on this website devoted to vintage toys and collectibles, comic books, and retro video games.  Should be fun.

WIZARD WORLD COMIC CON in NYC

Basketball City (Pier 36) – 299 South Street #36, NY NY 10002

June 28th – 29th – 30th 2013

Wizard NYC

 Tickets and other details here:

http://www.wizardworld.com

Some of the TV personalities, artists and guests this year include: Norman Reedus, Jon Bernthal, Laurie Holden, Chandler Riggs, Michael Rooker (basically, the whole cast of The Walking Dead), James Marsters (Buffy, Angel), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Patrick Stewart (Star Trek TNG), CM Punk (WWE Superstar), Wil Wheaton (author), Dean Cain (Superman & Lois), Sara Underwood, Lawrence Taylor, Henry Winkler (Fonzie), Ray Park, Neal Adams, Boris Vallejo, Stan Goldberg, Michael Golden, Paolo Rivera, Greg Horn, Pam Grier, Anthony Michael Hall (Breakfast Club), the legendary Stan Lee, and hundreds other.

Lawrence Dagstine: “Casa del Dagstine…”

Today I decided to update my website, which I never seem to have time for anymore.  What has it been? Three months? Four again? Forgive me if I go on a little stream of consciousness.  Anyway, many people have been probably wondering where I pen my stories.  My fiction, my moment of Zen or just overall grooviness.  I rarely let people into my life.  I like to be left alone.  I’m that 40 year old (well, almost) codger who doesn’t like the company of human beings too often.  Yes, as antisocial as it sounds, I gave up on the human race a long time ago.  We need to be recycled, as corny as it sounds.  Those harbored thoughts, which I analyze on a daily basis, while sitting with a cup of Joe on my windowsill, helps to motivate me.  Small shards of my inner self, small particles of my inner thought processes are engrained in every single thing I write.  You may not notice them at first, or not until a second or third reread.  But they are there.  Whether one of my stories takes place aboard a giant mechanical shark  off the shores of 1880s Victorian New England; or an agoraphobe wakes up to find a beanstalk rising up through his living room ceiling into a homosexual neighbor’s mind; or a nuclear household living the same volatile routine among a lunar base that will lead to forced oxygen depletion, I am embedded in the grains of the virtual ink.

And yes, a little TV, movie and pop culture didn’t hurt anyone either, especially in the inspiration department.  After all, we didn’t all become artists or writers because we had something important to say.  Outside influences clearly stirred us; they were the wheels for that ‘important thing to be said.’

Me, today

Okay, that wasn’t stream of consciousness.  It was a plug for a future project.

At the moment, I have a collection coming out with a new small press in first quarter 2015 (chock full of short stories, novelettes and novellas) and it will be available in a limited edition print and ebook form, the stories available nowhere else ever but that single tome.  Apparently, I’ll also be one of the launch titles with three other authors.   Then, there’s a second collection.  This one is a fully illustrated collaborative project (my first) — think graphic novel writing — and it’s currently under consideration (and still being written).  Then, there’s the gargoyle secret agent novel, on the backburner, which needs to be tended to.  Agent would really like me to finish this, but there’s never any time.  It’s part of a swansong trilogy, and I’ve never seen a guy show so much enthusiasm in me.  And let’s say I did write the first book in 9 months, get a pitiful advance of $2000 or $3000 in the current publishing climate, ends up lasting a month on a B&N shelf until it’s taken down and turned into obscure pulp.   I sometimes wonder if there’s a point to any of this; even today’s most legendary publishers and editors rely on Kickstarter campaigns to start projects that, while awesome, will never earn out.  For Christ sake, Night Shade is gone; how long till B&N is next?

Friend of mine asked me the other day, if you could go back in time would you return to journalism school or your first option, pharmacy school.  I said ‘pharmacist,’ a one hundred thousand dollar a year field.  In a heartbeat! We live and learn.

Thank God for ebooks, I suppose.  And simple creativity.

Anyway, without further ado, here is an intimate look at Casa del Dagstine…

Let’s start with the kitchen, here is where I cook my meals…

kitchen 1

Black Fridge 1

Black Fridge 2

Black Fridge 3

Those are porterhouses on the right, and you can’t go wrong with Birds Eye veggies.  The kitchen itself has brand new white wooden cabinets, sanded granite floors and granite-marble countertops for preparing food, and I’m usually always prepared for the zombie apocalypse.  You’ll also notice my Alf doll from the 80s on top of the waste bin.

Chinaware

Apple Jacks_Cookie Crisp

I also, in the last year or so, love to cook.  Like four days a week.  It’s become a passion of mine to make whole grain pastas, meatballs, homemade macaroni salads or tuna noodle casseroles, steaks and center cut pork chops, marinated chickens and broiled or deep fried cutlets.  Here and there, brussel sprouts or fresh cauliflower, steamed in a tangy butter sauce (I use regular margarine), with salmon fillet or lamb (when on sale).  I experiment with seasonings and homemade recipes.  And I just love my chinaware, which is the green plate below, called Amazon (after the rainforest).  It’s ceramic with a clay pottery material.  Heavy, fragile.  For breakfast, it’s Apple Jacks or my personal favorite, Cookie Crisp.  You can also see in one photograph I’m making Angus Beef porterhouses (25 to 30 minutes at 400 degrees) with steamed vegetables.  I eat steak every week.  When I’m cooking, I listen to classical music, video game soundtracks like Final Fantasy, opera or ambient/mood music.  Or, my personal favorite, Trance.  Yes, I love trance.

PorterhousePorterhouse_After

Dinner 1

Eating Dinner

The second dish is my honey mustard barbecue chicken, tangy but delicious.  Off to the living room, miscellaneous rooms, and some random pics…

couch-table

TV area

The living room is small, compared to most one-bedroom apartments (welcome to NY real estate), but for a cozy area to nap, or work on my laptop, or watch TV or play video games, it’s suffice.  The couch is black leather, Crate & Barrel.  The table is an imitation marble, which I have to Pledge every second.  I’m hoping to put an AC in the window real soon.  Opposite that, I have two bookcases, and two in the bedroom.  But I’ve unloaded a lot of my print books and limited editions (from Asimovs to Analog to 25 dollar hardcovers, I couldn’t even give them away) due to everything being Kindle and Android readers now.  I used to own 2000 books and magazines at one point in my life, I’m guessing that number is more like 500 or 600 now.  Now I mostly use it for video games and to display collectible toys.

The entertainment center is average for a small living room… I don’t have all my video games there, and as a collector and somebody involved in the industry, I’ll do a separate blog post or something displaying my 1000+ game collection from NES up until now.  Too long to write about today.  Mostly retro.  However, below, I’ll put up my favorite system ever made, mint condition, with trusty Express handheld, and I own 45 HuCard games for it.  Called the PC Engine in Japan, but over here, the Turbografx-16 Console.  Circa 1990.

Turbografx 5

Turbografx 6

Turbografx 4

Castlevania 1_2_3

MegaMan_1_2_and_6doctor who

Bleecker Bob's Pulp Paperbacks

Like I said, it would take another blog post (maybe two or three), and about two spare weekends, just to catalog those four bookcases: video games, toys, genre books, genre mags, encyclopedias, non-fiction, baseball card albums, Yu-Gi-Oh, Star Wars, obscure fanzines.  Where do I begin?

The print books above, however, are my most recent acquisitions.  Doctor Who with the Ice Warriors, and my GF’s sister picked these four pulp scifi paperbacks up for me from a now out-of-business record store called Bleecker Bob’s.  Yes, the famous rock and roll institution of Greenwich Village.  And Bob himself, now in a nursing home, was a science fiction fan and avid collector and reader.  These are Bob’s pulp paperbacks.  I used to own The Martian Chronicles (and read it already) in 1986, but mine came from Forbidden Planet and was a later edition.  This might be a first, not sure.  Nevertheless, can’t wait to dive in.

bedroom

toilet

This is the smelliest room in the house.  Mornings I occupy this room for about — er, uh, well you know how it is.  I eat a lot of fiber.  Above that, the bedroom where, sometimes I’ve been known to lock myself for twelve hours at a time and work.  Some people have cabins in the woods, others stay in hotel rooms.  Me, I have a blue bed.

TMNT Playset

This is another toy.  TMNT playset (but for use with Batman figures).  Stands four feet tall.  I bought this for my son for X-mas 2012. It’s as tall as him.  He plays with it when he comes to visit.  It took seven hours to put together.  The desk in the background fell apart two months ago, thus I’m now writing on a blue bed.
My Son 2012 A

My Son 2012 B

My Son 2012 CMy Son 2012 D

My son, summer 2012.  He got big.

The 9th Doctor

Cool Hand Larry

Cute Eyes Larry

The uppermost pic (the humorous one; okay, they’re all humorous) is me at age 23.  I must have been rocking the Tom Selleck look back then or something.  That might have been taken at Benihana’s Japanese Restaurant.  Friends and I used to eat there a lot.  The next two, and rather hipsterish, are February 2013, my living room.

kitty cats

Last but not least, friends on Facebook may remember that I acquired two kittens in summer 2012, but I couldn’t take them with me.  No pets allowed.  Blackey and Trouble (sister and brother).  Well, good news.  They’re big now, and they’ve found a wonderful home with a cat-loving mom and her little girl in Brooklyn.

If you want to help an animal, give a kitty a foster home or make a donation, there are some wonderful cats at: www.brooklynanimalaction.org

Please consider giving an older animal a place to live today!

With that said, drop by over the next few weeks.  Free ebooks, magazines coming out, subscribe.  Stuff like that.  Always feels weird blogging; like I’m talking to myself or something.  :/

Lawrence Dagstine on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Kobo, Smashwords, and the Apple iTunes Store:

Amazon      Nook      Kobo      Smashwords      Apple

Smashwords: “The Paraplegic” by Lawrence Dagstine – Now Available!

For only 99 cents, you can now own my vampire novelette, The Paraplegic.  Available at Smashwords.  Just click on the picture below, or, see what other low-cost titles I have available.  I even have a free science fiction story you could try out, and in the coming months I will be downloading more stories at no cost (usually under 5,000 words); I’ll also be coming to Kindle, Nook, Apple, Sony, Kobo and Nexus.  Novelettes and novellas will always be at the right price.  Quality, plot-driven stories, characters we care about: because that’s what matters first and foremost.  Science fiction, fantasy, horror and more in Mobi, ePub, PDF, and a variety of other formats.  You’ll be able to order them direct from here (eBooks & Kindle), or be redirected.  Also be sure to follow me on social media platforms such as Facebook & Twitter.  There will be cool contests in the coming months and free reading material will go out to my 5,000th Facebook follower and my 500th Twitter follower.  Cover art by Bob Veon.

THE PARAPLEGIC

Now Available at Smashwords – ONLY 99 cents!

TheParaplegic

When Herbert was told he had amnesia, he knew things were bad.  When he couldn’t feel anything below the waist, he got scared.  When the doctor told him he’d be paralyzed for life, he got depressed and wanted to die.  After all, no one wants to be a paraplegic.  But what made him crippled so suddenly? Did somebody do this to him? And if so, why? Now in the hospital, undergoing intensive surgery, little does Herbert know that the force responsible isn’t done with him, not by a long shot! Something’s coming back.  There’s a little unfinished business to take care of, and it comes in the form of vampires.

Get your favorite Dagstine stories in under a minute. Click below: Smashwords_Tall75

Coming Soon: “A Child Weeps in Moscow” by Lawrence Dagstine

COMING SPRING-SUMMER 2013

to Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, Sony eReader, Kobo…

Coming to e-Dagstine.com Download Center, coming to eBooks & Kindle (and as a chapbook).

In the vein of George Orwell’s 1984

“A CHILD WEEPS IN MOSCOW”

A Novella by Lawrence Dagstine

ChildWeepsMoscow

Alien possession meets alternate history, in this communist tale set in 1923 Russia, about a boy named Abraham (Abe), whose parents suddenly disappear one day.  Like many of the adults throughout Russia, they are being taken away in the night by a special police force put together by Lenin’s “new” government, a government put together after the arrival of spacecrafts with biomechanoid origins and higher intelligence and influence.  Aliens the citizens simply call, The Invaders!

Klara Izolyev, Abe’s teacher, tells the boy that the only way he can learn the truth about the Invaders is to go to Moscow.  There he will learn what they really want on Earth, what role they play in the current socialist movement, and possibly find his missing parents and sister.  There he will fight starvation, arrest, combat homelessness, and meet an even more influential figure.  Arkady, the leader of a Moscow street gang, whose parents have also been taken away.  Together they will all journey to find the people they once loved, discovering just why the aliens are so interested in helping Lenin.

Official soundtrack for… Mysterious Lady of the Caribbean (teasers):

Also coming in 2013, and a MUST READ!

For fans of Weird Tales & Pirate Fiction

“THE MYSTERIOUS LADY OF THE CARIBBEAN”

A Novelette by Lawrence Dagstine

MysteriousLadyoftheCaribbean

Coming Soon to: New Releases, eBooks & Kindle

Artist Spotlight: “Interview with Cover Artist-Illustrator Bob Veon…”

If you draw or write in the genre communities, if you are affiliated with comic books and illustration in any shape or form, if you know who Alex McVey, Vincent Chong, and Daniela Siera is, then you probably know who Bob Veon is.  If not, you are missing out on the next big thing in horror and scifi illustration, Ebook and print cover art, as well as mind-blowing graphic design.  Like McVey, Chong and Siera, Bob Veon is currently breaking into the big time.  2012 seems to be his year, and things are only looking up for 2013.  Here is a small press artist that turns your visions into beautiful—or scary, if that’s how you like it—prints.  A man who can turn a canvas or book cover into the next museum masterpiece, or who can bring ideas to the table that probably no other artist of his caliber can.  This freelance master of pencils, ink, paint and Photoshop is also available for hire.  Let it be said that there is nothing this man can’t do.  He is the next award-winning genre artist.  It is not only an honor and a privilege to obtain his services for my own fiction work, but to interview him this very day.  See what inspires him and makes him tick.  You will also see some of his favorite art samples and be able to contact him at the end of the interview should you desire his services.  And now, on with the Q and A…

Robert Veon (a.k.a. Bob) hard at work

Lawrence: Bob, I’m glad you could be here today.  Let’s start from the beginning.  Where did you grow up and go to school?

Bob:  Thanks for having me here!  I grew up in East Palestine, Ohio, and went to high school there.  After, I went to Pittsburgh Technical Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where I studied Multimedia and Graphic Design.

Lawrence: What was your childhood like?

Bob:  Probably pretty much the same as any other kid growing up in the 80’s/90’s.  I was always interested in horror movies and books from a very early age and anything else creepy and strange.  I liked to play video games and draw, read comic books.  Pretty typical stuff.

Bob Veon  — pencil, ink, canvas, computer art, etc.

Lawrence: How did you first get into drawing?

Bob:  I liked to draw pretty early on in life.  Ever since I was able to pick up a crayon, I think I’ve been drawing since!  I always liked to come up with strange creatures and places that were different from what you saw in life.  When I was a kid I was always fascinated with drawing skulls and skeletons (no shocker that I still have that fascination).  I remember a tornado going over the apartments we lived in during the mid-80’s and afterward I went into my “tornado drawing phase.” Drawing has always been my place to go to think and look at things.

I always doodled in my notebooks at school and at work.  Probably about 2005 or so I decided to start doing more elaborate work with it.  Trying to make something distinct, original.  I came to this decision that I’d make some stuff that I would like to hang on the walls around me, art that would reflect myself and things I found interesting.  Then a friend of mine suggested that I try doing illustrations for short stories, so I checked around online and Whispers of Wickedness gave me a try.

Lawrence: I used to be a reviewer and contributor for Whispers of Wickedness.  So tell me, what inspires you? For example, certain music and video games set the mood for me.  But they also inspire me, too.

Bob:  I’ve always been drawn to dark and strange themes.  When I draw I tend to put on a lot of music that reflects that, and the two of them, music and drawing, seem to go together great!  I tend to listen to things like Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath, Marilyn Manson.  A lot of Industrial music too, things like Wumpscut, Combichrist, and Dismantled.  That sort of thing.  It really adds an energy to what you’re doing!

Bob Veon’s Comic Book work 1

Bob Veon’s Comic Book work 2

Lawrence: Let’s talk influences.  Everybody has them.  What writers, artists, or filmmakers influenced you and your work?

Bob:  Huge fan of Stephen King’s work – The Dark Tower series is still something I read over and over.  Clive Barker has been a major influence in my life since I first saw Hellraiser and then went on to read his books and get acquainted with his artwork.  He’s great in any medium he works in, as far as I’m concerned.  Besides fiction, I read a lot on paranormal subjects.  The things like alien abduction, UFOs in general; mysterious occurrences, cryptozoology, and conspiracy theories. Books by folks like John Keel and Jim Marrs. There’s a lot of strange things that happen in the world that kind of get brushed aside.  I don’t know what’s more fascinating a lot of times, the stories you hear themselves, or the reactions in the “official world” to them.  As far as art goes, I’ve always been amazed by HR Giger’s work – definitely an original vision there!  Frank Miller’s black and white comic style is definitely something I was impressed by.  Jae Lee is fantastic in that whole positive/negative style too.  I love his attention to minute details.

Bob Veon’s work space

Bob Veon & Lawrence Dagstine project

Lawrence: I love your penciling and inking style the most.  I love how you draw everything by hand first.  But at the same time you’re the kind of guy who can do pencils and inks one day, then jump from canvas to crayon to computer art the next.  What is your favorite medium to work in? Also, what mediums are you experienced in?

Bob:  I’m going to have to say that the medium that seems to be “me” the most is pen and ink drawings.  It’s a pretty fun and worthwhile effort all around to see what you can come up with.  When I first started to get serious with pen and ink drawings I would sit down to a piece of paper with just a pen, no pencils or other starting points, and just start going.  Make a mistake?  Just fold it into what I was doing somehow!  It could get challenging, but at the same time was pretty exciting.  Especially when I pulled off something that looked good!

I also like to paint a lot, but haven’t done much of that in the past year.  It’s always interesting to me how drawing and painting, while essentially very similar in that you are trying to create form, space, and value, defining something two-dimensional to look a certain way, are so very different to do in technique.

As for other mediums, I do stuff with Photoshop, but mainly just for coloring or adding effects.  I don’t do much with it aside from that.  I do a lot with Illustrator which is a really interesting graphic design program with a lot of potential.  When I was in school I worked in some 3D programs but never really got into them like I thought I would.

Mysterious Lady of the Caribbean 1 – Bob Veon

Mysterious Lady of the Caribbean 2

Mysterious Lady of the Caribbean 3

Lawrence: Originality.  It’s definitely something you have.  What is your take on it?

Bob:  Like I said before, I was striving to try to go into places that I hadn’t seen before when I started getting serious with my artwork.  I try to be as original as possible when I’m coming up with things to work on, but I’m sure that you see a lot of the things that influence me in there as well.  I guess that you’ll always have that, though.

Lawrence: Your black and white illustrations would look great on somebody’s back or forearm.  I’m sure they would also make your typical tattoo artist salivate.  Have you ever thought about working alongside a tattoo artist?

Bob:  I have indeed!  Actually, I’ve done tattoo designs for a few people.  My girlfriend actually got one that she asked me to design for her.  I did check out a tattoo shop a few years ago that was looking for apprentices and took in several of my sketchbooks for the owner to look through.  He seemed to be really impressed with what I was doing and said it was very original, which I took as a great compliment!  Unfortunately, due mainly to time and economic reasons, I wasn’t able to go forward with this.

Family Reunion Novella – pencils

Family Reunion Novella – colors

Lawrence: A lot of artists create their own graphic novels or books of their work these days.  They even do it on places like Lulu or CreateSpace.  Have you ever thought about coming out with an art book?

Bob:  I finished up a graphic novel script just last year that I’d love to get moving on.  I started penciling about three pages then got busy with other projects, but would love to get back to it.  I know that it’s going to be a long project, and I think that kind of keeps me reserved on it.

I do have a book of artwork available through Lulu from 2007 called Landscapes of Hell.  It’s still available if anyone’s interested.

(to order Landscapes of Hell: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/bobveon)

The Paraplegic – pencils

The Paraplegic – colors

Lawrence: Who are some clients, authors or publications you have done artwork for?

Bob:  I started off doing black and white illustrations for Whispers of Wickedness.  They always had some really good stories!  From there I started working with Jason Gaskell on his online magazine Oriental Tales, doing illustrations for the stories people sent in.  Other than that, I was asked to send some original work in for Taj Mahal Review and Harvests of New Millennium.  For a while I hadn’t been doing much illustration and then just this last summer Jason Gaskell got in touch with me about doing illustrations for more of his short fiction for a collection he wanted to put out.

Grim Reaper print (part 1) by Bob Veon

Grim Reaper print (part 2) by Bob Veon

Lawrence: What do you think art is most lacking these days? And why?

Bob:  I try not to get too elitist about art.  It’s usually something you get or you don’t, but the fact that someone created something, took the time out of their life to put the energy in to make something for someone or just for themselves, that’s pretty important and deserves a look.  If I want to get picky about things though, I could say there is too much of a reliance on digital technology to make something look good.  But that would be a stupid thing to say since I do it myself!

Gargoyle-Dragon Creature

In Thrall to the Succubus

Lawrence: Although it’s taken both of us almost a year, what do you think of the “Six Novellas” eBook project? Have you ever done something like this before?

Bob:  It’s been a lot of fun and exciting!  I never know what to expect in the next story I get from you, and that adds to the fun of what I do for them.  Hell, I’d never drawn a pirate ship before and then found myself doing it for Mysterious Lady of the Caribbean!  I’ve never done anything like this before, but would love to do more of it.  It certainly keeps the creative process moving!

Lawrence: If there was an artist or writer you could work beside, living or dead, who would it be? And why?

Bob:  I think it would be pretty fun to work with someone like David Lynch.  He certainly brings a very unique touch to whatever he’s working on.   Really just about anyone I mentioned before as influences would be great fun to work with.  It would be neat to see firsthand how they go about their work.

Death Clock

Dream Within a Dream

Lawrence: Funny how when we first teamed up we learned that we owned the same exact video games, the same exact toys and stickers (Star Wars, Mega Man, Final Fantasy, etc.), and other collectibles as if we had identical childhoods.  Fun Stuff… What do you do for fun? Where do you turn when it’s time to take a break?

Bob:  I know what you mean!  It was pretty wild to find out we pretty much owned the same toys and video games!  Usually for fun I like to play video games.  I’ve been a huge fan of them since the old Nintendo system and haven’t stopped playing since!  Things like Final Fantasy, Metal Gear, Grand Theft Auto, Castlevania – I enjoy them all.  I also like to watch movies and read.  Seems like most of the things I liked to do when I was a kid have pretty much stayed the same!

Nurse by Bob Veon

Secrets of Darkness

Soul-Eating Demon

Lawrence: In twenty years time, where would you like to see yourself?

Bob:  I would love to be able to work on my artwork full time.

Lawrence: If you could be somebody famous in history, who would it be? And why?

Bob:  I don’t know if he’s considered someone famous, but the Count St. Germain.  I just want to know if he was this immortal that he claimed to be or a fake.  Regardless, I’m sure it would be an interesting time!

Scarecrow Piece by Bob Veon

Tarot Reader piece by Bob Veon

The Return by Bob Veon

Lawrence: Favorite comic book superhero and super villain? And why?

Bob:  Oh boy, this is one that’s hard for a comic geek!  If I had to boil it down, I’m going to go with Wolverine for superhero.  Why?  With his powers and unbreakable skeleton he pretty much has no choice but to be this tough little ball of fury taking it to the villains every time they come up!  As for super villain – Herr Starr from the Preacher comics.  He takes villainy to a ridiculously fun level to read!

Lawrence: You know it’s bad for you.  Favorite junk food?

Bob:  I could eat pizza every day if I could, though I don’t consider it a junk food because it contains the four food groups.  See how I justified that?

The Tormentor by Bob Veon

We Can Make You Better

Wicked Forest

Lawrence: Have any advice for aspiring artists who might be reading this?

Bob:  If you want to make artwork just do it. And keep on doing it.  Don’t try to compare what you’re doing with what someone else has done because that’s a very quick way to get discouraged.  Good and bad are arbitrary things in art, and you are your own judge.  The important thing is that you are expressing yourself creatively and hopefully gaining confidence as to just what you’re capable of doing with your abilities.  It takes time and effort, but you will find your own unique style.

Canvas Work 1

Canvas Work 2

Canvas Work 3

Lawrence: Bob, I want to thank you for being here today and wish you the best of luck.  Do you have any last words?

Bob:  Just that I hope everyone likes what we’ve got on the Six Novellas project for next year! It’s been a pretty fun thing to be working on, so I’m hoping everyone gets that sense of fun when they get to read the stories.  Thanks again, Lawrence!

Commissioned cover for Surprising Stories

Need a book cover done? Or maybe a canvas or a graphic novel? Hire Bob Veon now.  Click any of the links below:

Main website:

http://bobveon.webs.com/index.htm

Also check out:

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/bob-veon.html

http://www.artistrising.com/shop/tags/bob-veon.htm

http://bobveon.deviantart.com/

Or contact Bob Veon directly at:

bobveon@yahoo.com

Artwork Copyright by Bob Veon.  All Rights Reserved. 

Coming Soon: “Family Reunion by Lawrence Dagstine”

Only five to six months away till the release of Family Reunion, my suspense novella  — an “exclusive”  eBook available for download in 2013 — for you readers of horror and suspense out there.  Now if you thought Norman Bates was a creep, wait’ll you meet Howard.  Better yet, ask yourself this question: how far would you go to get your family back? It’s the plot that will keep them guessing.  So if you like alternative genre stories about marriage, divorce, relationships, children, adoption, and the like (what I call Family Dynamics; my particular niche), then you’ll definitely want to be here next spring.  Cover art by Bob Veon.

Coming in 2013

Coming to Amazon, coming to eBooks & Kindle

"Family Reunion" - A Novella by Lawrence Dagstine (2013)

If you do like such stories, be sure to check out some of my old science fiction and horror within the same category, tales from real-life experience, tales like Visitation Rights, Our Family Awaits, Planned Parenthood, and For the Love of a Corpse.

Coming to Kindle, Nook, Sony, Apple, Kobo, and via booksellers like Smashwords!

– DIGITAL STORYTELLING: WHERE THE FUTURE IS NOW! 

Tales of the Talisman: Volume 6, Issue 2… (Now Available!)

Now Available for Purchase:

featuring Lawrence Dagstine

Tales of the Talisman: Volume 6, Issue 2…

www.talesofthetalisman.com

With stories and poetry by: Martin Turton, Thom Gabaldon, Aurelio Rico Lopez III, Lawrence Dagstine, John Grey, roibeard Ui-neill, Patrick Thomas, TJ McIntyre, Daniel C. Smith, Deborah P. Kolodji, W. Gregory Stewart, Jean Davis, Richard Harland, and MORE!

Previous Issues with Lawrence R. Dagstine:

Einstein’s Pocket Watch, July to September 2010…

You can now find me for a second time  in what has become a very popular and free webzine for writers of poetry, inspirational stories, Christian and Experimental Fiction, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Christian Science Fiction, literary, and more or less stories that are uplifting.  NO horror pieces.  Friend and editor Rob Crandall presents: Einstein’s Pocket Watch.  Rather than genre this time, I have a mainstream piece.  It’s a wonderful blog webzine.  Do check it out.

Einstein’s Pocket Watch – July to Sept. 2010

2nd Appearances – Mainstream – Edited by Rob Crandall

Fiction & Poetry in link below:

FREE READS – CLICK HERE:

http://peafant.wordpress.com/

Photography: “From Train Site On World Wide Web”

Other New Entries: “Magazines”

Lawrence Dagstine: “Masters of the Universe 2010…”

The birthday of all birthdays approaches.  Three.  And this year’s theme is actually the very expensive, 30th Anniversary re-release of some funky figures I grew up to in the very early 1980s.  He-man and the Masters of the Universe: Adult Collector Series.  These are for my son, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had a little fun with them myself (he he).  The artwork and detail is out of this world, done by the Four Horsemen, and if you have an action figure or toy news blog, please feel free to use these pics.  I was most surprised by how expensive they were.  First off, they sell out in less than 24 hours all the time on Mattel’s main homepage… So your only shots are places like eBay or Amazon if you want to own these high-end figures.  Next, when I say high-end, I mean it.  The 2010 Masters of the Universe line-up runs between $25.00 and $80.00 per figure on average; with $35.00 to $60.00 being that in-between number with S&H.  Are they worth it? Yes and no (I also managed to pick up a 2002 Castle Grayskull MINT in the box.  Some of the more memorable characters are even more awesome-looking than when they first came out in 1982.  Characters like He-Man, Man-at-Arms, Trap-Jaw, and Moss Man included.  And they include better weapons and equipment, too.

Word, yo. It all good... Later we go to Mr. B's for a Nickel and Shiznit!

It should be noted that I didn’t pick up Skeletor but, rather, Scareglow instead.

No hard feelings, Skeletor.  I’ll give a little description of the figures further down.

Sorry, Skeletor... but Scareglow looked wayyy cooler than your candy ass.

So with the castle and the average forty-fifty dollar action figure I ended up spending close to $700.00 in He-man related toys.  Why spend so much, you ask? Well, while I agree they are for my son and I’m reliving my childhood through him, and hope one day that he might want to repeat the process… It wasn’t just a birthday celebration or bunch of gifts I just “had to own!” Yes, I do collect my own Doctor Who and Star Wars action figures.  Yes, I have Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars.  Yes, I have baseball cards made of chrome.   Oh, and don’t even get me started on Transformers, Thundercats, Smurfs, G.I.Joe, and some now-old school 8-bit NES games.  These toys were a celebration to welcome my son into my home as I now have custody (visitation rights) of him 7 to 8 days a month.  In the event a weekend lands with a Monday as a holiday, there’s your eighth day.  So I have my kid for lots of cartoon fun (and the park outdoors) one week a month.  Which means more to me than my writing, so yes, along with a new bed directly across from mine, makes $700.00 seem all the more worth it.

2002 Castle Grayskull - MIB; with Action Chip/Sound Effects

2002 Castle Grayskull - Back of box/castle interior view

Other gifts included a Superman “Through the Ages” gift set, a 13″ tall Cyberman, a pair of Iron Man sneakers, and a 2010 AT-AT Imperial Walker.  But let’s concentrate on the Masters of the Universe line-up for now.

Scareglow - Skeletor's Henchman from another dimension

Beast Man - Skeletor's Original Henchman with realistic paint job

Tri-Klops - Skeletor's Henchman who can see through one eye

Trap-Jaw - Skeletor's iron-mouthed, claw-armed henchman - RARE! $50 and up!

The He-man adult series also comes in nice collectible boxes

It appears I’ve picked up an unequal amount of good guys versus bad guys.  Maybe that’s because the bad guys always looked cooler.  I’ve also picked up the whole 130-episode television series, which lasted four years in the early 80s — they tried to bring it back in 2002, but failed — and they were the basis of my childhood and fantasies growing up.  It’s now time to introduce it to another generation, just as some parents from Generation X are introducing Star Wars and Transformers to their young ones.  Who knows, maybe the 80s culture will always be with us.  Why? Because the 80s into the early 90s were probably one of the coolest periods for things in general.  And not just toys.  Though cheesy to some today, you had your clothes, music, movies (ala Empire Strikes Back, Predator, Terminator, and Aliens), comics, graphic novels, and even science fiction, fantasy and horror novels when it was at its height.  There is a man by the name of Stephen King we can thank for that.  Anyway, on to some more action figure pics.

He-man in Battle Armor - paint job just like the day he premiered

Faker - The evil He-man which Tri-Klops & Skeletor put back together.

Wun-Dar - Savage ancestor of He-man; great grandfather - VERY RARE

Moss Man - authentic green fur and he smells like a Christmas Tree

Man-E-Faces - Good guy robot from the 2002 collection with three faces

Now before I go, get a load of this… Not only did they make the new figures look just like the older figures, only with superior paint jobs — once again, the Four Horsemen are responsible for these figures — but one of them included a ring.  The ring you see below I used to own and wear almost thirty years ago.  The Castle Grayskull Ring.  Every detail has been repeated.  I don’t know what’s funnier, the way it looks since I lost it in the early eighties and the fact that I still remember it, or when I was running around second grade with it on, raising my hand to the sky, shouting, “I HAVE THE POWER!” Actually, what’s probably hilarious is the ring still fits my ring finger, and I wore it outdoors by mistake one day, not realizing I had it on.  Nevertheless, when I was young I loved that He-man ring, and I’m glad to have an exact duplicate of it back.  It sits on my writing desk, and believe it or not, it even gives me a little inspiration when it comes to penning horror stories.  I fiddle around, put it on, or sometimes just stare at it.  Oh yeah, I also picked up the NEW Webstor figure.

The Castle Grayskull Ring - Memories that still fit almost 30 years later.

Castle Grayskull put together w. The whole gang saying goodbye.

Once again, there’s nothing wrong with reliving your childhood or passing it on to the next generation.  And it’s things like this which helped inspire me to become the one thing I do most these days.  Being a genre writer.

With that said, everybody say goodbye.  Until next time.  BYE BYE.  Bye everyone.  See ya.

Cheers,

Lawrence Dagstine

Lawrence Dagstine: “400 Publishing Credits…”

 

“The world only exists in your eyes. You can make it as big or as small as you want.” 

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.”

 “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.”

— F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Lawrence Dagstine

Short Stories * Novelettes * Digital Stories

Magazines – Periodicals – Webzines – Anthologies – Kindle

Other New Entries: “The Dude” – Biography

Author’s Note: F. Scott Fitzgerald… The Great Gatsby… One of my ten favorite authors.

Einstein’s Pocket Watch, September 2010 (2nd Acceptance!)

I’ll be coming for a second time to what, over the last year or so, has become a very popular and free webzine for writers of poetry, inspirational stories, Christian Fiction, Experimental Fiction, Some Science Fiction and Fantasy, Christian Science Fiction, and more or less stories that are uplifting.  NO horror.  Rob Crandall’s: Einstein’s Pocket Watch.  This would be my 2nd upcoming appearance to the webzine, but with a mainstream/literary piece this time.  I was in the first issue, and I’ll be back again September 2010.  It’s a wonderful blog webzine.  Check it out.

Einstein’s Pocket Watch – Coming September 2010

2nd Appearances – Mainstream – Edited by Rob Crandall

Fiction & Poetry in link below:

http://peafant.wordpress.com/

 

I’ve also gotten 2nd acceptances to “Shelter of Daylight” and 3rd acceptances to OG’s Speculative Fiction.  I’ll try and post those over the next two, three weeks.

Other New Entries: “Magazines” – Webzines

Visitation Rights, Amazon Kindle… (Reminder Post!)

Many of you have probably been wondering where the heck I’ve been, blogging two, three times per month.  Well, lately I’m going through a very hectic divorce.  Yes, I’ve split up and moved away from my now ex-significant other.  We shared four wonderful years together as a couple, gave birth to a scifi nut for a toddler, but with a 70% divorce rate in the United States, hey, sometimes these things are not meant to last.  On June 10th (and maybe beyond), it’s all about who gets the custody and visitation and when and where (I’ll probably get the kid on the weekends).  But New York Court can be a dragging process when it comes to this.  I’d like to thank all of my friends I grew up with in Manhattan, my friends in Brooklyn, all of my very supportive friends–all 2,500 of you–on Facebook, for cheering me up, for being there for me.  Even though there is more legal stuff ahead, a lot of you took the teary moments and depression away.  I’d like to also thank you for your privacy concerning all these family matters at this time.  Sometimes love is not meant forever.  What this does mean, however, is I need to get my ass writing more when all this is over.  I have a roof over my head.  It’s a room… cozy… $500 a month with utilities (I know peeps), and for a Native New Yorker and Bohemian like myself it will suit me just fine.  I feel as if I’ll get more work done now.  Perhaps better work, as I’ll be able to concentrate.  Oddly enough though, the way the visitation proceedings are playing out—minus the paranormal elements, of course—they’re roughly 70% similar to my first Amazon Kindle title: Visitation Rights. 

VISITATION RIGHTS: by Lawrence Dagstine

for Amazon Kindle and most other Digital Readers/Platforms

Sometimes very small fragments of art imitate life…

…and sometimes very small fragments of life imitate art.

Damnation Books – Direct Link:

http://www.damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781615720088

Other Amazon Kindle & eBook Titles by Dagstine:

https://lawrencedagstine.com/ebooks-kindle-dagstine/

ISBN 13: 978-1-61572-008-1
ISBN 10: 1-61572-008-1

Welcome to my life…

M-Brane Science Fiction, Summer 2010… (3rd Acceptance!)

In about a month or so I’ll be returning for a third time with a weird SF/alternate history tale of sorts to M-BRANE SF.  Edited by Christopher Fletcher, M-Brane Science Fiction is not just a monthly, speculative magazine dedicated to the pulps in PDF format.  It’s also only $1.00 per electronic issue ($12.00 per year), and you can download it to your Amazon Kindles and other digital readers.  Christopher Fletcher provides a daily blog site, complete with hardcore news, reviews, and insight on subjects of science fiction and science fact.  Hard SF, Sociological SF, Cyberpunk, Alternate History, authors new and old can all be found at M-BRANE SF.  A LULU version is also offered, I believe.

M-BRANE SF – Third Acceptance (summer 2010)

COMING SOON – SO STAY TUNED!

www.mbranesf.blogspot.com

Other New Entries: “Magazines”

Lawrence Dagstine: “Historical Works in Progress…”

On Alternate History, Historical Weird Tales, and SF Serials…

In the next couple of weeks I will be continuing my bimonthly series of Free Fiction.  This time I will be serializing a science fiction-themed novella about two orphans that get stranded during an interplanetary adoption. It takes place on the largest planet in the universe — The planet Ragnarok (aptly named after the warring Gods of Norse Mythology, which later supposedly caused a lot of catastrophes concerning Mother Nature and the like for Mankind).  You’ll understand why as you get into it over the course of the year.  There are even a few flashback sequences similar to the series LOST.  On Ragnarok, Quadrant 4, located on the outer rim of the Cat’s Eye Nebula, like most of my worlds, there are eighteen seasons.  Unlike Earth, which has only four.  The good guys are a bunch of giant lizards with chest communicators.  Think the Silurians from Doctor Who, only bigger, stronger.  Bad guys are a bunch of elemental wind creatures who harvest meat by “shadowy” & “vampiric” means.  These guys are the horror element to the story.  Main orphan characters are Chelsea and Blake, and you are sure to fall in love with these two kids.  Mind you, this serial is FIRST DRAFT, so if you see the occasional typo or a bit of redundancy, I don’t plan on publishing this anywhere but my homepage.  Entertainment purposes only.  I could best describe the early portions as a cross between Lord of the Flies, the movie Pitch-Black, and Living Amongst the Lizards (short story).  Serials shall run between 2,500 and 5,000 words in length.  Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.  Once again, all first draft.

Name of planned Bimonthly Serial: “Orphan’s Prey” – Stay Tuned!

On The Great Depression and post-Civil War era…

I already have a batch of finished short stories and novelettes set in these two eras.  Some accepted, too.

Story One: “A Town of Crows” – Killer Scarecrows after the Civil War now appearing in Steampunk Tales #6.  See eBooks & Kindle.

Story Two: “A Time and Place for Monsters” – a very long novelette with vampires and werewolves during the Great Depression coming to Cover of Darkness.  Also, a bit of back history concerning President Hoover and The Monsters.  Never before done.

Story Three: “The Two-Sided Market” – Dedicated to H.G. Wells/Parallel Piece.

Story Four: “The Great Martian Depression” – Scifi currently appearing in The Martian Wave Issue#1.

Story Five: “FDR and the Locusts” – Franklin D. Roosevelt and BIG Insects, with a plot twist.

Cleopatra VII - Brooklyn Museum of New York 2008 - 2009

On Cleopatra and Alternate History…

There are two finished stories, finally edited, featuring Cleo as a fourteen-year-old.  They take place between Ancient Egypt and Rome. Alternate History meets Historical Fantasy, and there will also be mages, sorcerers, the undead, gods, and demigods! Also, the stories begin with Mark Antony as narrator for the first page and ends with him conceptually.  Here, I decided to experiment.

Story One: “Young Cleopatra and The Whispering Ancients”

Story Two: “Young Cleopatra and The Eye of Horus.”

Story Three: UNTITLED (coming 2011, and concerning the suicide of Mark and Cleo).

On Pompeii and Rome…

Next, later in the year off to Pompeii and some more fiction in Rome.  Introducing the Children of Ash short stories/novelettes.  All stand-alone tales, which I often prefer.

Story One: “The Children of Ash” – After Volcano Day.

Story Two: “The Nightmare Lair” – Inside the Volcano.

Story Three: “The Vampires of Pompeii” – The Romans have some neighbors. 😉

I’m also thinking up a totally “messed-up” Caligula-style crossover piece as well.  Of course, this is still not a guarantee that a market will accept all of them.  Never is.

I also noticed that a lot of Fresh Blood PDFs were sold.  Like 40 or 50 in the first two, three weeks.  At $3.50, yeah, it’s a great price. If you own a reader, click on eBooks & Kindle and treat yourself to a copy.  You can also now read PDFs on the Amazon Kindle, or download the free iPhone/iPad application off of Amazon.com as well.  I’d like to thank all of you.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  The same with my scarecrow story in Steampunk Tales #6 (www.steampunktales.com).

Other than that, there are ten brand new short stories and novelettes completed, my first novella is in the editorial screening stages, and ten brand new acceptances for 2010-2011.  I wish I had the time to blog ten times per day, but life does not permit me such luxury.  I’ll try and fit what I can.  Historical stories take two, three weeks alone.  However, some acceptances are to print anthologies.  So stay tuned! SF serial starts Late April/May 2010.  It’s gonna be fun!

Cheers,

Lawrence Dagstine

Print Magazines * Amazon Kindle * The iPhone/iPad * Sony & PDF Download

Other New Entries: “General News”

P.S.: Speaking of crazy historical tales, enjoy the new season of Doctor Who.   Series Five with Matt Smith!

FREE FICTION: “The Overrated Pro” by Lawrence Dagstine

Welcome to my first installment of what will be a continuous monthly to bimonthly project.  Free Fiction Stories.  Approaching all genres, and sometimes even serialized (the serials will most likely be novelette or novella lengthed works).  For February and March we have a brand new Extreme Horror piece — put the kiddies to bed — about a writer.  A good chilling tale about a writer quickly brings to mind the work of Mr. King and Mr. Ketchum.  One such tale that comes to mind right away is Secret Window (the movie version starred Johnny Depp).  Sometimes a good story is too good to pass up, such as is the case with Secret Window.  The picture below, which I got off the Web and am a die-hard fan of (I’m a die-hard fan of all pictures on my site, from Doctor Who to Action Figures to Whatever), I think compliments this piece well.  It’s not for the faint of heart.  But it does beg to ask the question: How far would you go to become a writer?

How far would you go to become a writer?

Free Fiction Series Take 1

 

THE OVERRATED PRO

by

Lawrence Dagstine

The package fluttered as if it might fall, but it didn’t.  Carnesto preferred to take a cigarette out of the pack himself.  Despite the tremors, his fingers had facility, and he reached into the pack for a smoke.  The paper fluttered and sounded, but out came the cigarette, and it orbited to his lips.  He lit up by himself, too.  He even had this way of making cool artsy smoke rings.  The single and simple act assumed the proportion of a wannabe performance, which all watched as he sat in the back of the truck stop diner working heavily on his laptop. “Thanks, Colbert,” he said. “I promise I’ll leave you a tip next time.” He got a refill on his coffee.

“When are you writing this next bestseller?”

“As soon as one of these organizations actually recognize me,” he said.

Colbert nodded. “I guess that means never.”

“How’s your cat?”

“Dead.”

Another one.”

“It’s okay.  I’ll just go down to the Humane Society and pick me up a healthier critter.  Anyway, good luck with your manuscript.”

There was something about people on computers in diners or Starbucks or sidewalk cafes.  All were the next big thing, the next blockbuster screenwriter, the next professional anthologist, and, for the deluded, sometimes even Pulitzer Prize winner.  They always looked cool sitting there with their Compaqs and Toshibas and Hewlett-Packards.  At the end of their days they went home and popped an extra Zoloft or two, stared at themselves in their medicine cabinets, and often died of something like pancreatic cancer and very much penniless.  As a balding, middle-aged man living between Middletown USA and the UK, however, he still didn’t get it yet.  It was sort of like the meaning of life, only staring you cold right in the face.  Being a writing celebrity was the most transient fame in the world, but it was magnificent while it lasted.  Who could resist wanting to know what it was like to become as inflated as a zeppelin, even if rather hollow? Still, ego or no ego, magnificent while it lasted.

A man on the keyboard, if he had inspiration, could have more immediate impact in a couple of hours than a genre historian with a lifetime of books and no national or international exposure.  For, at the end of the day, genre is what he wrote and absolutely creamed on himself just at the thought of it.

Clicking sounds from the keys, then long emailed queries.

A curious kind of aberrant, macroscopic reputation attainable because of the nature of the exposure, and the redundancy of the work routine combined.  Much of his life revolved around two credits, and much to his pub mate editors’ likings.  An amateur might write down a few interesting metaphors or pen just as decent a story—a beginning, a middle, and an end—publish a few in some low circulation or obscure quarterlies; it might a few years later change a portion of the face of the globe, and such a figure might or might not get to be known even inside the publishing community.  Impact and creativity was fantastic.  But the genre writer was straight on your eyes, because it was a form of fantasy, page by page, as while he repeated the lines written by another; if you watched television or went to the movies, plots came free and life was a contrived and clichéd vessel.  He and the non-reading public became well acquainted, because, quite frankly, Carnesto never really wrote anything of worth.  He was beat as a child if he got less than a B, sometimes his father would hit the bottle and then creep into his room in the middle of the night and display his inebriation.  Carnesto even had a lax imagination at times to show for it.  A character like himself writing fiction was like a dead fourth brain inside the human skull.  Internet crazies with drug addictions thought he was super-important, and he might think so too.  That spelled out Web Idol.  But there was a difference between the web idol and the literary idol.  For real writers the grandeur of self-satisfaction spelled New Heroes, New Days, New Minds, New Attitudes, New Influences.  For Carnesto it often meant just another day glaring at that screen in the back of that smoky truck stop diner, full of resentment and false pride.

He’d even met an amateur one day, typing crazily and happily a few booths away.  He went over to him and said, “Are you a writer by any chance?” and he saw next to the computer a stack of black and white magazines. “You know if you are, you really shouldn’t prostitute yourself to such small publications like this.”

They talked a bit and it just so happened that this other typist was also into genre.  When he’d heard that, Carnesto felt embarrassed asking the amateur for advice; he even glanced over his shoulder to make sure Colbert and the diner regulars weren’t watching. “But these periodicals you’re in are mere fanzines,” he said. “Why do it for so little money?”

“Oh, you must be from the Old School,” the amateur writer said. “Because you only live once, and there are many other rewards and remunerations from this kind of writing.”

“No! I—I don’t understand it!” He actually clenched his hands into fists and grinded his teeth. “I—I don’t compute!”

“Well, of course you don’t.  I noticed you over there, just spacing out at your screen.  I didn’t want to say anything but it was just an observation.”

“What observation? What are you talking about?” Carnesto looked slightly heated.

“You know, progress.”

“Dear sir, I’ll have you know that I AM A PRO.” It almost sounded like he was doing a Colin Baker schtick. “I’ve appeared in these two publications and I was paid such and such a sum!”

“But look at the dungeon you’ve put yourself in.  There’s no key to the door, no crawlspace, no way to get out.  You get no satisfaction from it.  It’s sad.”

“How can I get no satisfaction when the credits exist?”

“But you obsess over something you’ll still never be.”

“Are you trying to say I’m pathetic?”

“When I look from afar, yeah, I guess.” Then the amateur went on to say how many professional writers hate their lifestyles, their jobs, their families and their miserable existences.  How it’s not as easy as it looks. “You see, I exist outside the bubble.  You are trapped inside the bubble, where there are all sorts of stigmas and silly rules.  Outside the bubble, there’s relaxation, lack of worry, so much space and area to explore.  I live life to the fullest, you obviously don’t.  Inside the bubble, you’re confined and injected with this malcontent.  Even now, instead of focusing, you probably watch other writers making it one step ahead of you and feel like a prisoner in your own skin.”

“But I have two pro credits! I have two pro credits! Two pro credits!”

“That still does not make you a professional.”

“Yes it does! Two pro credits make me a somebody!”

The amateur looked back at Carnesto’s laptop and said, “Then if you’re a somebody, why are you dilly-dallying with me at my table when you should be over there writing your third professional credit?”

Then he explained to Carnesto that: Nothing x Nothing = Nothing.

But Carnesto wouldn’t have it, no matter how much the amateur tried to break things down to him.  He stormed off insisting that he was right and the amateur was wrong.  He stormed off insisting that he was this famous thing, trained by long forgotten grandmasters and alcoholic slush pile editors.  The more Carnesto saw the cobwebs under his arms and suspected his own imposture, the exaggeration of his value, that his sublime vogue was just a façade for the crazies, the more he began to drink, cheat on the missus, and dissipated.  He almost felt like lashing out his own failures in life on somebody who wouldn’t suspect, somebody he wished to be. 

A few weeks later, in decline, reading from time to time of his own professional wane or passing, experiencing the oh-he’s-washed-up coldness of the public and the literary critics, and now, having lost his mind, having lost prestige or real value, he decided to choose his victim carefully and make that individual feel the same way.  He wanted to make somebody feel just as inwardly collapsed.  Emotionally, physically, professionally, deflated beyond recovery.

This would be his release.  He would call himself “The Winner” at times.

But there was nothing to be won.

During these days, when he went on the Internet actively seeking people he hated or wished to be, or just couldn’t stand being happy because his own life lacked joy, his wife walked about with a deep inner upset.  Carnesto, still not recuperated from his own lack of success, didn’t have the energy or desire to make love to her.  They were often quiet at the dinner table, too.

“When are you going to get off that fucking Internet! I didn’t marry a robot.  You’ve become this—this computer junkie.  I needed you yesterday!”

There Carnesto sat at his computer, in a slumped position, head straight forward and practically paying her no mind.

“Did you hear what I said? I needed you!”

“Why? Because your friend Janet’s brother is in the hospital on a respirator?”

“That poor devil was in a terrible accident.  He might not make it through another night.”

“So let them pull the plug.  It’s not as if she cared about him anyway.  They had their differences.  If I’m a computer junkie, so’s she.  Tell me, how many hours does she spend on the Web? If you ask me, she’ll probably be relieved once her parents fly back and they take the fellow off life support.  Oh, and don’t ask me to come to the funeral.”

“Carnesto, what’s wrong with you?” his wife pleaded. “You were never like this!”

“I’m busy! Working!”

“On a fucking messageboard? Who are you talking to anyway?”

“This is strictly business.  Now please get the fuck out of here.”

His wife came over and threw down some drug paraphernalia.  His eyes glanced it briefly as he typed away. “And where did you get this?”

“I don’t know where you got that, but it’s definitely not mine.”

“Smoking drugs with that crack whore.  I spotted you with her the other day, chatting about.  She’s the big druggie and floozy of the neighborhood.”

“You know her?” Carnesto asked.

“Who doesn’t! What are you doing with that meth head?”

“We… We get along together.  We understand each other.” There was a brief silence. “Oh, you wouldn’t understand.  You’re not a writer, you’re not a professional.  How could you understand?”

“Carnesto, I know full well what you do.  You’re slacking off.  You’re not the man I once knew.  You talk of writing yet you haven’t written or edited a single draft in three months.”

He quickly changed the subject, talking about her inconsistencies: her manners, her mind, her language. 

“Shit,” she screamed at him, “you’re always trying to make an idiot out of me!”

“I fear it’s a lost cause,” he said to her, then swiveled around in his chair back to his computer. “Just like this poor chap…”

“I’m not a lost cause! I’m your wife!”

“Says you.  I’m giving you a difficult assignment.  Change yourself a little,”—but this had only been an excuse to get rid of her and focus on his new computer mate—“make yourself into something fine.  Learn how to cook or something.”

“I like the time I’m having with you now! If I didn’t care about you, if I didn’t care about our marriage, I wouldn’t be here begging with you, would I?”

The logic made him laugh.

Christ, she said to herself, he hasn’t fucked me in a month.  I ought to go down to the pub or get a piece somewhere else.

He sensed her thought, but he was still heavily focused on something else.

“Look, darling, I’ll be with you in a few days.  Now don’t get impatient.  This Web business will all be over soon.”

“If that crackhead came along here, you’d be able to put out,” she complained.  As she headed for the office door, she added, “And make sure you don’t do anything with her here!”

A little celibacy will be good for her, he thought to himself, grinning wickedly.  It’ll drive her wild, and besides, I’ll get what I started online finished.  They said I wasn’t a pro, I gave them helpful advice, but they just tossed me away.  Well no more!

As time went on, his dilapidation showed.  He didn’t shave, didn’t shower.  He didn’t even brush his teeth.  Lack of hygiene.  But he couldn’t and wouldn’t let it be a singular ruin, as he was bent on taking someone else down with him.  This was his therapy, because they all said and felt he wasn’t good enough.  He was bent on destroying this other person who was almost a perfect identical image to him…

…only happy with life.

He went to messageboards, review sites, emailed friends of his—if one didn’t know any better, they’d think he was a full-time stalker—wherever this individual had been last, he would be there to spy and bait.  Sometimes he even forced sleep deprivation upon himself and Googled the individual’s name as much as one hundred times in a single day.  All the while muttering to himself, “I’m a professional! I’m a professional! I’m a professional!” At other times, he would say, “Fucking amateur! Fucking amateur! Fucking amateur!” He had become so obsessed with this other person’s writing career, that not only had he almost permanently forgotten his own, but he started checking his victim’s work for logistical and grammatical errors that either did not exist or just wasn’t to his liking.

Sometimes he thought of his ex-wife—by now, she had dumped him and not only was his computer on constantly, but he always carried a whiskey bottle and a loaded revolver by his side—and his marriage to her had been his foundation to begin with, and she was the only woman he had ever loved. “I will not pose any longer as a married woman nor tell myself any longer that this is a marriage,” she had said.

The words stayed on with him, fatally, robbing him of much.  So along with the victim on his computer console, his life had spiraled downward and proceeded from one self-robbery to another, depriving him of the people and dreams he once had, though without doubt, by the nature of his current self, he had earned his defeats.  And his only friends? Well, they were crazies. 

The court awarded his ex custody of their little girl, and he must pay alimony until she remarried.  But she hadn’t done that, and the cost of maintaining her lifestyle, and the costs of his daughter, had been a drain. 

About three, four times a year he saw them.  He was entitled visitation rights with his child, but his computer life always cut in, and there were times where he didn’t pursue the privileges.  Besides, it was always unpleasant to see his wife for a few minutes or hours, only to realize he could never have her around permanently.

There came a point where his daughter had reached the age of twelve, and here he was, still latched on to his computer and his writer victim, who had started moving on to other things.  The girl had lost her childhood charm and matured into a shapely, thinned-down girl.  She had her father’s haunting features and the same bone structure as he.  Carnesto was pleased with her beauty, and he complimented his wife. “You’ve done a fine job with the girl.” He held his daughter’s hands and stared at her.

His daughter said, “I think you’re so wonderful, Daddy.  Everybody does.”

“It’s your mom who’s wonderful.  Surely you must know what everybody else knows, that I’m a big international bum.”

“It’s not true, Daddy; you’re simply fabulous.  I see all your literary works in a pile over there.”

He laughed. “I may let you head up the Carnesto Johanna Fan Society.”

“You’re so outrageous, Daddy, so simply outrageous.”

His now-ex came along. “Honey, be careful.  You might fall afoul of someone like your father and get your life garbled before it begins.”

“Is your life so garbled?” Carnesto asked.

“I’m trying to spare her some of the things we’ve been through ourselves.  Like computer privileges?”

“Don’t spare her any of that, and don’t do me any favors.”

When his ex left the room he looked over his daughter.  She had leaping, anxious eyes, and she was crowding her father, wanting his attentions, even his arms around her. “Glad to see your mother letting you sleep over finally.” He looked around at the small flat. “It’s not much.  At least, not like on my old teacher pay.  Not like we used to have.” He grabbed hold of her and gave her an earthy kiss.  He held her tightly and his hands, from a lifetime of typing and not touching, found its way over her developing breasts.  His face flushed.  What the hell was going on?

He felt rocked.  He pulled himself away from her.  He had a frenetic look on his face, which his daughter studied but couldn’t understand.  With my own daughter, he told himself, staring at her loving face, her body full of trust and affection. What am I thinking? He wondered whether other fathers had incestuous surges toward their beautiful daughters.  He paced up and down cursing his passions. 

After his ex left and said she’d return on Sunday, he couldn’t get his daughter out of his mind, or quite out of his blood.  He started looking for the revolver.  You bastard, he said to himself, wanting to jazz his own child.  He looked at the messageboard on the computer and thought he saw a familiar name sign in. “It’s your fault, you fucking amateur!”

“Daddy, are you okay?”

The gun was nowhere to be found.  It had to be there.  Maybe in a drawer, maybe underneath the bathroom sink.  The incident preyed on him; it was a new experience, unlike writing fiction, and the thought shocked him.  He had a second moment’s agony.  How many crazies had such thoughts about their daughters, he wondered.  He knew a lot of crazies, but why did the notion persist with him? There she was, in his imagining, all fresh and full of young blood, a handsome smile on her face all the while, a touch of cherry blossom softness in her cheeks, eyes wide and curious.  He looked down and saw a bulge in his pants; he was rock-hard.  Maybe, he said to himself, it’s a case of me wanting to screw myself.  She looks like me.  Goddamit, I better stay far away.

Then, as his daughter was changing in the bathroom, getting ready to go to sleep, he found the gun sticking out from one of the higher shelves of his bookcase.  That one particular shelf had been lined with all the anthologies ever created, all the books ever produced, all the periodicals of the writer he had been victimizing all these years, and he realized, “Holy shit! I’m your number one fan.”

Glancing quickly over his shoulder, he saw flashing.  When he turned around to face the computer he saw action on the screen.  The numbers on the board lit up, and the writer, who he had lashed out his own misgivings and failings on for all those years had scored a book deal. “Oh no.  Oh no, you don’t! You fucking amateur! I’ll prove you don’t deserve this!” He started tearing his hair out and walking in circles.  Then he grabbed the computer and tried to log in and type right away, but he’d forgotten the password amongst the confusion with his daughter. “No you don’t! Stay at the bottom of the ladder, you fucking slime ball!” The gun was looped around a finger as he wrote.

“Daddy?”

“Not now.”

“Daddy, what’s wrong?”

“I said not now!”

“Daddy, please!”

“What don’t you under—”

He swiveled around in his chair and let go of the trigger.  A bullet entered the center of his daughter’s chest, ricocheted off her shoulder and lung, and exited through her back.  Carnesto fell to his knees.  The twelve-year-old girl’s mouth dropped in awe.  She was wearing one of those long pink and white Hello Kitty sleep shirts.  It began to soak red.  The floor soon matched in color. 

A few seconds later she collapsed at the side of the bed.

Carnesto rushed to her side, but she wasn’t breathing.  Sitting at the edge of the bed, he cradled her in her arms, weeping like a baby. “I’m sorry, child… I didn’t mean to, I swear…” Teary-eyed, he faced the computer and it said that the new book being released by the same author he had victimized from all those years, was a story that, deep down, most hardworking authors working the trenches for many years would be able to associate with.  But that was if Carnesto had the desire to live and add it to his collection.   

The title, according to the online publicist, was “The Winner”.

Carnesto Johanna had three simple words for that publicist and the author as he put the revolver up to his own head. “I’m a pro…”

The End

Lawrence Dagstine: “A Day at the Brooklyn Museum…”

The following series of pictures were taken a little over a year ago, when I went on a research trip to The Brooklyn Museum of New York.  During that time, between 2008 and early 2009, there was an Ancient Egyptian/Assyrian Exhibit.  They also had an “Old School” Graffiti Art exhibit on the 5th Floor.  It was a lot of fun.  I got to see some real mummies (which you’ll see below), tombs, statues, canvases, masks, and a whole lot of other interesting stuff from the days before Christ.  I finally got around to resizing some of those other photographs.  The results of this visit would be a short article for an archeological magazine and an alternate history tale featuring Cleopatra (novelette-length).  Here they are, finally, in all their glory.  Historical and artistic pics.

Assyria * Ancient Egypt * Mummies * Tombs

The mummies were the freakiest…

(There were more pics for this exhibit, but those were sold along with the article)

Asian Artifacts * Age-Old Trinkets * Masks * Molds

 

Paintings * Canvases * Stained-Glass Works

Graffiti Art Exhibit * Urban Art Canvases * Retro Works

As you can tell, you could even participate…

 

For more information about the Brooklyn Museum of New York:

www.brooklynmuseum.org

200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11238-6099
(718) 638-5000

Lawrence Dagstine: “How to make $5000.00 from writing…”

*HOW TO MAKE FIVE-GRAND IN YOUR SPARE TIME FROM WRITING*

An Essay by Lawrence Dagstine

This conversation always seems to come up whenever my name is made in passing in certain industry circles, regarding that “Prolific Hack” Lawrence R. Dagstine.  This time it came via Facebook a few days ago by a person we’ll call Chubbs.  Congratulations, Chubbs, you are now a character in my upcoming, racially provocative, cyberpunk novella, MAURICE AND THE URBANITES.  All with good intentions, Chubbs; I won’t kill your character off.  If there’s one thing I’m known for, it’s helping other writers find markets for their work.  However, I think it is important that all housewives or househusbands, part-time tutors, teachers or students looking for extra cash, has-beens, wannabes, bohemians, panderers, starving artists, prose-driven lushes, pain-killer popping poet laureates, and yes, even young technical writers who need reminding pay heed.  Or if you’re smart, can program yourself to type methodically, but find yourself currently unemployed.  So let’s start this off right…

Publishing Clip/Magazine Tupperware No. 2 of 4 - Yes, I own four.

Hi, my name is Lawrence.  I’m a hack writer who made roughly $5000.00 in 2009 from the written word.  Cash.  Mojo.  Bling.  And I’m going to show you too how to make this kind of money over a 365-day period; have checks and payments coming in regularly in this tough economy; samples on how to get writing gigs and become a fiction writing machine in your spare time, and the difference between quantity and quality (in my opinion).  As a trench-writer since the late 90’s, with close to 400 magazine and webzine credits, and in this current market, this is how I perceive Quantity and Quality.

QUANTITY = The Possibility of Fast Money and Brief Popularity.

QUALITY = The Possibility of Immortality and Elegance of Prose.

Author’s Note: With the above, your mileage may vary.  But both can exhibit a certain level of professionalism.  I’ll also get to the novelist a bit more later on.  Everything I put down here in the meantime is from firsthand experience, acceptances, years of observation, and generally whatever else worked for me concerning the written word.

I think everybody pretty much knows by now that I submit to a LOT of half-cent to three-cent per word paying markets.  I often have a minimum of 20 to 40 different short stories and novelettes floating out there at any given time, and so should you; with reprints, once rights have reverted back to me, sometimes as many as 60 fiction markets.  There’s one short that I’ve sold over seven, eight times already.  These are often called “Trunk Stories”, stories which have already been published and are just sitting on your laptop, can be dusted off, and sold again after many years.  And I’m not including small non-fiction gigs, which rely mainly on published clips, actual “print” periodicals, or through connections/recommendations one might have through freelancing or journalism.  That’s a whole other ballgame.  If you want to make some kind of extra cash with short stories, you need to write plenty of them! Like one or two per week, then build up a hefty folder over time.  This is a must! It won’t be an overnight thing.  Oh yeah, and expect to get a boatload of rejections.  But I think every writer and his or her grandmother is aware that it comes with the territory.

At the same time, I truly believe that while the written word is the written word – by that, I mean whatever you manufacture from your keyboard – within short story writing and novel writing there exists two very different breeds of writer.  Two very different thought process patterns between both of them.  Even though, over time, it is essentially the hardworking novelist who will round up the most funds.  One is taught to submit to nothing but the highest paying markets, because there is this invisible rule, and everybody should adhere to it.  Because we should better ourselves.  Start at the top, work your way down.  Maybe go to Clarions or Borderlands or a similar writing workshop, and attend seminars where you can sit down with actual New York Times Bestselling Authors.  Excellent philosophy.  I’m for it one hundred percent! I’ve been told to submit to nothing but five-cent per word markets, otherwise throw your story away.  I’ve had writers tell me five cents is an insult and submit to only seven-to-ten-cent per word paying markets.  And there was the one old-schooler who said submit to only ten-cent markets (yeah, and out of the thousands upon thousands of genre writers, statistically we all know there’s a ton of those out there).  I wouldn’t dare say keep that piece sitting in a drawer, especially if you believe in it.  Submit it! Still, at the same time we can’t forget that some levels of writers do it for the sake of paying other bills, no matter how big or small that earning from writing may be: it might help you fill up your gas tank, it might help you afford air conditioning this summer, or even pay your mortgage or credit card.  For some the opportunity is out there (on both levels); for some, not in a million years because they might not know what to do or how to go about freelancing or how to utilize reprints or how to get into the “Writing Habit”.  Personally, I could give a damn about immortality.  I live in the Here and Now, therefore I must eat, think, and survive in the Here and Now.  That’s my philosophy.

Basically, have a secondary income coming in on a fairly repetitive basis.  Checks and Paypal payments flying in every week to two weeks.  The same way prolific novelists receive royalties by the quarter.  Two very different breeds of writer, in my opinion.

Example 1:

On one particular day in September 2009, I opened up my email to find seven paying acceptances in ONE DAY – nothing big, nothing exorbitant – and I’m not a full-time writer.  That’s my current record, by the way.  In December 2009 I had another four paying acceptances in ONE DAY.  That’s eleven paying short story acceptances right there.  In only two days out of 365.  Now, out of those eleven acceptances, who am I to say no to $25.00 checks, $50.00 checks, $75.00 checks, or even a $100.00 check, which might turn out to be a 2-cent per word story which just happens to equal a Benjamin Franklin? Especially if they’re rolling in constantly! Unless you’re already established, you never say no to Benjamin Franklin.  Benjamin is your friend; Grant ain’t so bad either.  A 2,000-word short story to a professional market equals the SAME hundred dollars.  Not to mention I can probably name three or four other prolific short story writers who have me beat with the numbers above.  And while Benjamin and Grant are your best friends, they can do more than just get your name and work out there.  In this current market and economy it can pay for things.

Here’s another example from December 2009.  The publication in the link below, which has been around eleven years, I often get acceptances from.  I’ve even helped improve their exposure and circulation a bit.  They pay me 1-cent per word for material.  The two accepted stories in this particular entry, to be released this year, are 6,000 words in length each.  That equals $120.00.  Over a period of twelve months, it adds up.

CLICK HERE: https://lawrencedagstine.com/2009/12/21/nova-science-fiction-spring-2010-eight-acceptances/

This recent story acceptance below is fairly long.  It took me one day to write this story.  The creative juices were flowing.  The check from it will pay for one gas bill.  Still, if you want to pay more than one bill, you need to have at least 40 different short stories floating out there for you.  When rejections come in, send the stories right back out.

CLICK HERE: https://lawrencedagstine.com/2010/02/10/aoifes-kiss-35-december-2010-12th-acceptance/

Once again, that $5000.00 was from part-time writing, not full-time.  This came from short fiction, short non-fiction, selling Dagstine mags and wares in Coney Island, small leads and gigs on places like Craigs List to resume writing (www.craigslist.com).  Let’s throw in a little off the books proofreading for people advertising simple jobs from foreign-speaking countries (e.g., gigs I had for Denmark and The Philippines).  You can charge these people a fee in the low hundreds just to edit their manuscripts or fill their technical and business writing needs.  Always charge less than what the Writer’s Market suggests for these jobs; work with your clients, they’ll use you again or recommend you to others.  That’s how resume writing fell into my lap.  It doesn’t matter where you come from: if you understand English, have Internet access, and enjoy typing, anybody can do this… ANYBODY CAN DO THIS! So what if it isn’t entirely fiction? Now I’m building up an entirely different kind of portfolio in the process, something I would never have done or thought of, say, five years ago.  I’ve written under such names as Lawrence Davis, Lawrence Roberts, Lawrence Hewitt, and in the science fiction arena, Lawrence Dagstine.  The list goes on.  I even wrote a porn story once under the name Nabudi Sun (this was for kicks).  Plus, the freedom of this also gives me the time to write more genre fiction, which I enjoy and grew up on.

SAMPLE FOREIGN / FREELANCE LINK: http://manila.craigslist.com.ph/wri/

You ever see that show, DEAL OR NO DEAL? Hosted by Howie Mandel? He comes out on stage rocking his baldy, a woman with a silver briefcase hollering and screaming at his side.  The audience is cheering on.  The woman is given the option to pick briefcases and go for a six-figure win.  Let’s pretend that the contestant is a writer, and that this game show scenario applies to writing.  Very rarely do people get that six-figures; shit, some times they don’t even score five.  Howie Mandel will call upstairs and one of the producers or whatever will make an offer.  It might be $6,000, $8,000, or $10,000… Do yourself a favor, TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN! Don’t wait around for a half-million dollars.  Because, in traditional publishing, six-figures ain’t happening.  $10,000, sure, why not.  I can figure that.  Pay your bills and have fun with your peers.

Example 2:

You know, when you think about it, $5000.00 equals an advance on some novels, which might take you a year to write and then an additional 18 months to be released.  There’s no guarantee the book will sell, the agent you have will keep you or you will keep her, or that you’ll be the next big thing.  Your book may sit on a shelf for what seems like an eternity, or be sent back for a refund.  Or, in the end, have its cover torn off.

You have to remember, writing is a starving profession.  Freelancing is quick cash.  Thanks to it, I sell most of my works a minimum of three times each.  Thanks to it I have heat and hot water, a full refrigerator, electricity and gas, copays on prescriptions covered, clothes on my back, toilet paper to wipe my ass, diapers on my kid’s behind, and all other bills and necessities besides a rent firmly paid.

But, I understand.  Even though you realize that genre is a lottery, with one in every 10,000 to 20,000 truly making it BIG, you aspire to be that New York Times Bestselling writer.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  Dreaming big is a part of life.  Sometimes those workshops or classes, however, are pricey.  With round-trip airfare, hotel and food, you could be talking $2000 just to attend! Freelancing, in the fashion mentioned above, can PAY FOR THAT PROFESSIONAL WORKSHOP… It can help you afford these writing camps in what is a truly reserved economy.

In the end, it’s all about enjoying what you do.  The storytelling aspect, and of course, entertaining your readers.  Listen, you don’t have to stay in this little shell your whole life because some organization has it hammered out that way or because people have inferiority complexes (such as Chubbs).  What good is a writer who ends up worm food from lack of finances? I think that at a certain point, you have to come out and set up your career the way you feel most comfortable with it.  Remember, only you are responsible for your own destiny.  Only you can carve out a niche for yourself, thus turning it into your own reality.

Until Next Time,

Lawrence Dagstine

The Martian Wave, Premiere Issue… (Coming Spring 2010)

A little reminder that The Martian Wave, edited by J. Alan Erwine and put out by Sam’s Dot Publishing, will be coming out spring 2010.  There’s the old banner below, back when, for about ten years, The Martian Wave was a quarterly webzine of interplanetary stories, space opera, astronaut tales, and fiction about intergalactic exploration.  That was always the central theme.  I appeared in the old Martian Wave about five, maybe six times, and it’ll be real nice to see it now in its much fuller form, and as a semi-annual print magazine.  Intended line-up below!

The Martian Wave – Summer 2010

After ten years – Now an upcoming print magazine

To be published semi-annually by Sam’s Dot Publishing:

www.samsdotpublishing.com

PREMIERE ISSUE LINE-UP… THUS FAR:

Adaptor by Steve de Beer
Bypassed by Shelly Bryant
Prize Crew by Dan Thompson
The Barren Wastes by Justin Bohardt
The Reefs of Jove by Keith P. Graham
another pit for sale by s.c. virtes
Luminescence by Patty Jansen
A Hollander’s Secret Weapon: 1609 by Marge Simon
Into the Silence Flies a Moth by Bret Tallman
Hindsight by Marge Simon
The Pillars of Europa by Rick Novy
The Great Martian Depression by Lawrence R. Dagstine

First Issue Cover Art by Laura Givens

 

Other New Entries: “Magazines”