Lawrence Dagstine: “Christmas Time 2009…”

For the 2009 holiday season, I decided to update my blog homepage and fill my fans and followers in on some of my gifts and achievements of the last twelve months, along with what to look out for and what will be under the x-mas tree this yuletide season (for the little one).  Regardless of the last year-and-a-half of dying markets and a bad genre economy, 2009 still managed to be my best year in the “earning” department, where I doubt I will ever be able to rival 2007 in the quantity and material department.  Some of these achievements range from smaller press and semi-pro fiction acceptances, minor proofreading, non-fiction writing and essays, resumes, my first official short story collection being released, my first Kindle title being released, making over 2000 friends and followers on Facebook, and just a lot revolving around the written word and The Spirit of Christmas.

Isn’t that a beautiful Christmas tree? The lights flash blue and white.  Progress-wise, this year I had very little time to blog/plug but got a lot of acceptances (some straight through 2011), let go of a lot of reprints, wrote 26 BRAND NEW short stories, wrote 8 BRAND NEW novelettes, wrote four unfinished novellas between 15,000 and 30,000 words in length — which I may make available on my blog to read next year.  I mean, why let good stories go to waste.  Or maybe I will get around to editing and finishing those novellas.  I have future eBooks & Kindle titles on the horizon.  I realized that, money-wise, it doesn’t pay to release a second short story collection.  I can earn more individually.  I was shortlisted a couple of times by some decent pubs, made second readings, almost made it into 4 professional level magazines/venues.  And that’s just the fiction department.  Oh yeah, did I mention the steampunk and satire offers?

Below you will find pictures of just half of this year’s gifts.  It’s mainly a Cybermen-themed Christmas this year, with David Tennant regenerating into Matt Smith and all.  And my son is now a Dr. Who fan and absolutely adores The Cybermen (he’s scared of the Daleks).  Oddly enough, he’s also more a Christopher Eccleston fan.  One of the items I searched the UK high and low for was The Cybermen Age of Steel 4-figure collection.  Collect them all, open up the packages, and you can build a fifth figure.  The Cyber Controller.  I also picked up The Next Doctor on DVD and ordered a Cyber Leader Voice-Changing Helmet to seal the deal.

Some of the other gifts, which are already wrapped, consist of model kits with glues and paints from my old man, though they say ages 8+ and 12+ on the packages.  So I guess the little one will have to hold on to them until he’s old enough to understand them.  Those are made by Revell.  There are also Bob the Builder videos.  Believe me, Doctor Who wasn’t the only stocking stuffer.  There are some other wonderful toys and gifts ranging from Super Mario to Toddler Costumes to Spongebob Squarepants-themed games, and, like last year, play food items.  Like “make your own pizza.”  The Spongebob game in the picture below is actually Connect Four, but obviously for a slightly younger age group.  Then there’s the one last-minute gift I just couldn’t put down.  The paint job was so realistic.  It reminded me of the Super Powers Action Figures of the 80’s.  Remember those? The Justice League of America Boxed Set: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern.  These figures are mint and pristine! And who doesn’t love the JLA?

Now that’s a big ass cup of coffee (by the way, that’s made of metal).  Just couldn’t resist.

In a reduced and very affordable fashion, I also treated myself to a few early-season gifts.  First, notice the non-fiction book above on Pompeii.  You got it.  It’s research time.  Lawrence Dagstine will be coming your way sometime in 2010 with a story set in Pompeii.  It could be before Volcano Day, it could be after.  It could be Alternate History or not the story you’re expecting.  But you know me when it comes to Historical Weird Tales.

Also, I can’t recommend enough WEIRD HISTORY 101 — published by Falls River, and if you’re a B&N member, you might be able to get it reduced now for $4.00 — in hardcover.  This tome is sooo awesome.  It’s like a mini factbook and reference tool for the writer, and just all around interesting to own.  If you’re a writer of historical tales, alternate history, steampunk, or period pieces, trust me and go to Barnes & Nobles and get this book.  Doesn’t matter what genre.  Author is John Richard Stephens.  You won’t find these kind of facts on Google, or between the pages of traditional historical reference books.

And if you look up above, I finally have a new computer desk.  Nice to have shelving and a drawer, but still unsure of what to fill it up with yet.  Now that the little one has gotten older, the bookcase units pretty much belong to him and his toys.  Now that I have a Kindle, most of my print books will be donated.  Those I wish to keep will be locked away in storage between two households (yeah, there’s that many).  But that desk above is situated in a new corner, it’s my new workspace, and it’s where I’ll pen that Pompeii tale for you Dagstine readers when the time comes.

With that said, I’ll probably only update this blog four more times before the New Year.  Stay with me in 2010.  We have many adventures to go on together, and much awaits.  Won’t you join me? To all my fans and readers…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Lawrence R. Dagstine

Other New Entries: “About Me”

Surprising Stories, January 2009… (appearances)

Didn’t catch my Sci-Fi love story, A Virtual Affair, the first time around…? Well, you can always read it again before it goes into retirement.  Below in the January 2009 issue of SURPRISING STORIES.  Edited by John and Eric Thiel.  This well-received story would be one of the final 30 hobbyist venues which will feature work of mine over the next twelve months.

SURPRISING STORIES; JANUARY 2009

Surprising Stories

Surprising Stories

 READ HERE: http://surprisingstories.dcwi.com/

Featuring Work by: Steve Sneyd, David Zeldis, Lawrence Dagstine, Jamie Meyers, Herbert Jerry Baker, Gerald F. Heyder, Rose Gordy, Bob Bolin, Joanne Tolson, Albert J. Manachino, Anne M. Valley, Paul Truttman, Gary Every, and John Thiel.  Reviews by Elmwood Kraemer.  Art by Ramos Fumes and Peter Zenger.

My New Years Resolution was to retire from many a small venue, with 350 publishing credits as rocket fuel, and see where I can take these crazy horror stories and science fiction-cluttered thoughts of mine.  And while I will still be an integral part of the Small Press, I’ve decided to take a leave of absence from the hobby press to search for a little more.   As I invest over four hours per day into a new novella with “true” emotion and real, identifiable characters, make up marketing materials and get ready for the premiere of my first short story collection, and outline fresh ideas for a hopefully pro-paying anthology, I really can’t wait to see what this year off from shorter work brings.  In the meantime, please, enjoy what the publication above has to offer.

Other New Entries: “Magazines”

Lawrence Dagstine: “Christmas Aftermath 2008…”

In the spirit of wintertime holidays from years past, I decided to go ahead and do an aftermath blog entry  for Christmas Day 2008: holiday hand-me-downs, boys and toys, or cool gifts from Yuletides’ past.  From Star Wars to Doctor Who to Matchbox and, of all things, Puppets.  There’s some cool play things here to see, new and old.  Some things even you might remember as a kid.  Unopened presents and a few stocking stuffers, too.  Not to mention this past year’s tree, a few ornaments, and the delicious meal that I cooked; plus, a recipe.  But first, the night before Christmas…

The Christmas Tree

The Christmas Tree

The Presents

The Presents

The Puppets

The Puppets

The Decorations

The Decorations

The Stocking Stuffers

The Stocking Stuffers

The Christmas tree stands about four feet, nothing spectacular, and the puppets are by Melissa & Doug’s (coming soon to book promo videos near you).  The stockings were a very interesting investment.  Something like two for five, but purchased the day after Christmas 2007.  It’s amazing what you can find for practically nothing once the holidays are over.  The Sesame Street theme was cute, too.  We had lights up in the kitchen, and hanging snowmen and Santa ornaments in various places around the house — some attached to magnets — made of wire and a clay mixed with ceramic.  These were inexpensive, too.  Next, we have the meal

Baked Ziti w. Hint of Chicken Casserole

Baked Ziti w. Hint of Chicken Casserole

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Cayenne Pepper Chicken

Cayenne Pepper Chicken

I didn’t make the baked ziti — it was out of this world! — but there was a lot, and it had a hint of “chicken casserole” in it, if you know what I mean.  The side dish this year was garlic mashed potatoes, and I cooked my own specialty in the picture above: Cayenne pepper chicken, spicy and delicious! Having been to Santa Fe, New Mexico, I know how to give it just the right flair.  Yes, you could use a barbecue marinade.  Hey, even a mesquite.  But why use a mesquite when you don’t have to?

The recipe is very simple, and after you burn your mouth eating it — have a lot of water handy — you’ll still be glad you broiled it because of that flavor.  Here is what you will need, and this is good if you’re cooking for the whole family and want leftovers.   As for ovens, your typical gas range is fine.

-Two big oven pans/trays for broiling. Layer them with aluminum foil.

-32 to 40 Perdue Oven Roaster drumsticks AND thighs.

-Defrost chicken well, then lightly salt (garlic works, too).

-Two hours later use cayenne pepper seasoning on pans/trays.

-Dip bottom of chicken in cayenne pepper seasoning, then spread it across the top layers heavily.  You want spice!

-Put the thigh/drumstick tray (or pans) in oven.  Make sure the top of chicken looks nice and reddish-orange.

-Preheat oven to 425 or 450 degrees, cook for 45 to 50 minutes.

-Check on it while it’s cooking.  45 to 50 minutes is well done.

-Shut stove off.  Let cool.  Sit down.  Eat, and Enjoy…

Now for the hand-me-downs

Big Guy and Little Guy

Big Guy and Little Guy

Star Wars and Dad's Toys

Star Wars and Dad's Toys

And these would be from my own personal collection…  A few of what’s left, anyway.  I’ve collected Star Wars for 30 years now.  Yup, since I was a toddler.  On the left is a talking Darth Vader stuffie, the Empire Strikes Back action figure Bossk the Bounty Hunter (behind him is another packaged figure; Han Solo in Hoth Gear).  Next  to that you have the Hammerhead figure, Roron Corobb (The Clone Wars cartoon).  Behind Roron Corobb, there’s Luke Skywalker, dressed in ceremonial garb from the ending of A New Hope (when he received the medal for destroying the Death Star).  Over on the right, yes, that would be the original 1983 Rancor Monster and Darth Vader Action Figure Holding Case.  Inside are TONS of figures made between the years 1977 and 2007. 

Last but not least, the blue phone box in the center is Doctor Who’s time machine, the TARDIS.  It blinks, it flashes, it makes sounds, and David Tennant’s voice emits from it.  It also doubles for a coin bank.  I used to have a couple of Dapol ‘Who’ figures and a Tom Baker doll back in the day, too.  All this and more will be handed down to my boy when he gets a little older.  Unless he wants to trade his 2008 Hess truck, mind you. 

Then came Christmas Day (or Boys and Toys)…

Wakey, Wakey, it's Christmas Morning

Wakey, Wakey, it's Christmas Morning

Oh snap! Santa was here!

Oh snap! Santa was here!

Decisions, decisions.  Which shoud I open first?

Decisions, decisions. Which shoud I open first?

Betty Crocker 43-piece play food set

Betty Crocker 43-piece play food set

Another shot of the Betty Crocker set

Another shot of the Betty Crocker set

Opening the other gifts - 2008 Hess Truck (grandpa)

Opening the other gifts - 2008 Hess Truck (grandpa)

Never too young to write - Leap Frog Phonics Writing Desk

Never too young to write - Leap Frog Phonics Writing Desk

Matchbox talking pirate/skull mountain playset

Matchbox talking pirate/skull mountain playset

Toy ATM Machine and Toy Shopping Food Cart

Toy ATM Machine and Toy Shopping Food Cart

Animal Planet Remote Control Tarantula - I loved this!

Animal Planet Remote Control Tarantula - I loved this!

Some MORE Mr. Men books by Roger Hargreaves

Some MORE Mr. Men books by Roger Hargreaves

2008 Limited Edition HESS Truck w. snow tractor (from Grandpa)

2008 Limited Edition HESS Truck w. snow tractor (from Grandpa)

Christmas toys and books

Christmas toys and books

Noon spelling lesson

Noon spelling lesson

Time to visit the relatives

Time to visit the relatives

Other gifts for the 2008 holiday included a Curious George Doll and children’s book set, a few Berenstain Bears children’s books, a plush recliner for toddlers from Land of Nod, a Remote Control Spider (which I think I already posted), a Little Tykes Piggie flashlight, and for me, books yet to be read.  There were some small NERF balls, too.  However, the Pillsbury Doughboy is not new.   Very old school.

At the end of the day it’s time to finish off the season right… Watching the Doctor Who Christmas Special via BBC satellite, like every year, or on a Web forum tonight.  David Tennant and David Morrissey in the long-awaited episode: THE NEXT DOCTOR.

Cheers,

And Happy Holidays!

Lawrence R. Dagstine

Lawrence Dagstine, Archives 2007… (Merry X-Mas)

sephiroth-kalite.jpg

And with this post, I would like to wish everyone who visits here a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, Happy New Year.  2008 is just around the corner, and unless there’s some kind of miracle in the air, I highly doubt I’ll score another acceptance or appearance until early January.  If it happens, eh, I’ll post it.  Otherwise, it can wait till the confetti settles. 

For your reading pleasure, I’ve added a story to the ‘Short Fiction Sample’ section.  The name of it: ‘Our Family Awaits’. I’ve also added a new page called About Me. Eventually, a much shorter author bio will go there and replace what’s in Bibliography now.  Then, bibliography will become a place for me to list publication dates and names of magazines & zines from May 1996 to the present.  Yep, the old switcheroo and chronological listing!

 

aksep07jpeg.jpg  escapevelocity1.jpg  ogs_issue9.jpg  nova_20.jpg

 cemetery-moon.jpg  thewillowsmagazine.jpg  martianwave.jpg purpleverse3.jpg

jupiter12.jpg  jupiter13.jpg  jupiter15.jpg  carrlihoe.jpg

theakers16.jpg  pablo_lennismarch07.jpg  sein-und-werden.jpg  tales3-1-cover.jpg

sinister3.jpg  wow14web.gif  whispering_spirits.jpg  writtenword.jpg

The above is just a shortened recap of the last six months of this blog.  Not a bad year.  In the last 15 months, I’ve gotten 85 acceptances to paying, print, and online venues.  People ask me why I do it.  Why write short stories? I have a better question.  Why not? All that matters in life is you do what you love.  Happiness makes the world go round… 

 The New & Improved MySpace:

www.myspace.com/lawrencedagstine

HAPPY HOLIDAYS…

 Other New Entries: “About Me & Short Fiction Sample”