Previously on 'Doug Lane Writes'...

 

1/5/16 - SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW


Many, many moons ago, before personal websites were a big deal (and if THAT boggles your mind, let me explain fanzines to you some day), I had two opinion columns I circulated on a periodic basis to an e-mail list. I doubt the circulation ever exceeded fifteen people, which is probably fourteen more than any of them ever deserved.

One of them was a basic ‘this is what’s stuck in my craw‘ column that existed as both NOTHING’S SACRED and (for reasons I can’t recall, though I suspect the notion was they were things that kept me up nights) THE 2 O’CLOCK FEEDING. It explored such scintillating topics of how crispy M&Ms were a crime against humanity and why ATM fees sucked. Seriously. Upon reflection, it appears that boredom kept me awake. But at least one reader thought enough of them to collect them and put them on a web page, which was a nice feeling.

The other was a film review column titled 24 FRAMES/SECOND, which lasted 32 installments (sometimes with multiple reviews) from 1997 to 2000, died, and came back for a brief (one mailing) Volume 2 in 2001. If I cared to go back to them, I’m sure I’d be embarrassed by the quality of the critique.

Nowadays, everyone is a critic. But at the same time, I find I want to keep myself tuned, the fingers on the keys, the sentences flowing onto the page. Content is king, after all. So the blog is going to contain the occasional review, beginning with the upload today--which harkens back to the glory days of 24 FRAMES/SECOND with a review of Quentin Tarantino’s THE HATEFUL EIGHT. Now available in the Blog.


***

The submissions go out, the submissions come back, and detective C.T. Robillard is, as I type, waiting for me to help him complete his surveillance of an import/export business in southwest Houston as the second Robillard novel, SEVEN FISHES, continues to unfold.  And it’s time to get back to it!

Happy New Year!


12/1/15 - Just In Time For Christmas

I believe it’s an obligation when your web site sits empty and gathering dust for more than a year, that when you update it, you UPDATE it. I’m not the same. Neither are you. Neither should it be.

New layout! New, easier-to-work-with templates! New single stop for my site and blogging needs! New ‘Work-In-Progress’ box to the right! NEW NEW NEW!

Meanwhile, while I’ve been away, there have been a few new things you may have missed:

+“Withering” (flash fiction, fantasy) appeared in Beyond Imagination Issue 13; magazine; only available for the Kindle, and the magazine shuttered with this issue, so there’s no telling when/if it will vanish. Link for the curious.

+“Fear #7” was accepted by Stupefying Stories. More info to come.

+“The Golem-Maker of Buchenwald” was accepted by Abyss & Apex; again, more info to come.

There are other things brewing -- the aging superheroes anthology WE WERE HEROES from Martinus (with “Dial ‘C’ For Consultant”) is still in the pipeline; and there’s ongoing effort on the new work front, including the second C.T. Robillard mystery (even as the first is in edits; there’s a plan afoot). But I’m going to try parceling in an effort to keep this from becoming my annual digital holiday card.

And no content promises, no claims of regular blogs or scheduled updates or anything like that. It’s like making New Year’s resolutions; or, as Mr. Scanlon used to say, looking at the snow in hopes it would stick would just turn it to blivets.  So watch this space, but not too intently. Glance at it. Maybe make a face.  Something might happen. Maybe.

11/4/14 - That Eight-Month Orbit

I never intend to go dark for months on end. The truth of the matter is one of balance: writing, editing and submitting existing in concert with home projects, travel and the day-to-day bits we all have. That said, there's a small flurry of activity upon which I can bring you up to date.

First and foremost: NEW STORY OUT NOW. There's a fabulous quarterly magazine published here in Houston, titled SUGAR & RICE. It's centric to Gulf Coast food and culture, but geography is no barrier to entry or enjoyment of the fabulous content this magazine has been putting out across its first three issues. This is a world-class publication, and I feel lucky to be included between its covers.

The story is "The Last Ride of the Hole in the Well Gang," a near-future fiction about extreme drought and a band of criminals operating therein. It's accompanied by some gorgeous, moody photos by Justin Calhoun. If you're interested, you can order it directly by clicking here.

In the meantime, the second complete (and largely rewritten) draft of the first C.T. Robillard mystery, MURDER HOUSE, rolled off the printer yesterday. Three hundred pages exactly in manuscript, a shade under 61,000 words, and waiting for a cover-to-cover read-through for coherency, narrative cohesion, dangling threads and participles alike. And then an editor and a couple of readers will get it for the process known as, "tearing it up to put it together."

And finally, rare as a Hawksbill turtle sighting, there's a new blog post today, the first in well over a year. It is, admittedly, a voting commercial for election day, that appeared in slightly different form as a Facebook update. But I'm trying to jump-start the blog into a feature I like to call "Fresh Blog Friday" to help build discipline, so why not? Of course, I haven't touched the site at all since March, so feel free to bet against Fresh Blog Friday becoming a thing. I won't be insulted, and maybe we'll all be pleasantly surprised. At the very least, we'll know on Friday.

3/29/14 - A Few New Reads

The first quarter of 2014 is just about in the books. I must be having fun, because time seems to be flying by. While I was busy not making regular site updates, there were a few things you might have missed:

- In December, the Washington City Paper selected "Bobby Boxster in Eight Measures" as one of the four stories presented in its annual Fiction Issue. The hard copy was available the first week of January in Washington DC, but it's still available online.

- In late January, The Midnight Diner issue 5.1 arrived with "Ark of the Revenant" - available exclusively for the Kindle, though there may be an anthology down the line.  

-Last week, Tales of the Unanticipated #31 landed. "Lorem Ipsum Donald" lives! Ping the magazine if you’re interested in a copy (unlike previous issues, this one isn’t available through the usual outlets.

Meanwhile, three more stories are out to editors, two are in final edit, a third is in first draft, and there's been another acceptance that I can't talk about yet. Which means the new morning routine is working.

There's been noodling with the novel as well. Maybe after the next three stories are out the door. Maybe.

12/5/13 - News of the World

I've been on a long orbit since the high heat of summer - multiple road trips for various reasons played a large part of it (and I'll spare you the slide show), but there's been a fair bit of legitimate word-craft in there as well. The long-awaited next issue of Tales of the Unanticipated is slated for January, with my fantasy story "Lorem Ipsum Donald" betwixt its covers. TOTU gave me my first sale, and this will be my third appearance in their pages. It's a great little magazine out of Minneapolis, and the Editor, Eric Heideman, puts together a broad selection of great stuff. I encourage you to pick up the issue when it comes out, and support a market for fantastic fiction that you want to survive.

Last week brought an acceptance from the magazine The Midnight Diner of my horror tale "Ark of the Revenant" for one of their 2014 issues. Nothing firmer than that, but as I receive more details, I'll pass them along.

Two other new stories went out to editors for consideration in November: the superhero-flavored "Dial "C" For Consultant" and the straight-up lit story "Bobby Boxster In Eight Measures." Watch this space for further developments.

And in the midst of all that, the first complete draft of the SF/mystery novel MURDER HOUSE is a 52,200 word reality as of 10/28. Set in a world not so far ahead of our own, detective C.T. Robillard grapples with an arsonist targeting organic buildings, a missing religious zealot, and a corporation that may have a secret worth killing for. Or at least that's how the first draft goes. All subplots, supporting characters, bits of dialogue and what-not are subject to change. And given how things work, at this point it's just as likely to go into a file as it is survive the second rewrite. But if I like how it comes together, and my editor doesn't tell me I'm just being silly when he reads it, Robillard has already dropped a few clues of his own about some other exploits he wants me to recount down the road. Right now? A first read, notes, and second draft are on the books starting next week.

And finally, the entire print run of my first chapbook, TWO IN LEFT FIELD, has sold out. I hope you got one if you wanted, because it's gone, baby, gone.

7/2/13 - Release Day

The reality of publishing is that today, a whole pile of things will go on sale to the public.

This doesn't negate the wonder of this being the day my first-ever book has arrived, officially, legitimately. As events go, it's important to a handful of people besides me - people for whom I'm grateful - and in the end, it's not going to be a date that matters in the grand scheme of world history.

But I'm not living world history. I'm living my history. And today is a pretty special day to me.

Many professional writers will tell you that anyone can start a story, write an opening line, doodle with pieces after that. The goal is to finish something - the draft, then the edit, then the submission. You keep swinging like your life depends on cutting down that tree with the butter knife you selected from the drawer. The measure of success is taking the project all the way to the finish line.

For TWO IN LEFT FIELD, the tape has been broken, the official time recorded, and the picture of the finish line is right here.

6/29/13 - Pre-Orders

Pre-orders for TWO IN LEFT FIELD began on Monday, ahead of this Tuesday's (July 2) official release. Six days, and already over 1/3 of the print run has been sold. Spent a good chunk of the afternoon signing copies and packaging orders received so far. If you haven't had the chance, I have no idea how long copies will hold out. Tuck over to the Midnight-To-Three website directly to order, as well as read a couple of excerpts.

Meanwhile, work continues on new material. Not much to say about that yet, but as with all things, soon.

Classy!

Come to Daddy...

THERE ARE NO MORE OLD POSTS.

THEY’VE ALL BEEN ARCHIVED.

STOP LIVING IN THE PAST!

2/7/16 - Post time


Last week brought a marvelous acceptance letter: my story “Every Hero An Hombre, Every Wolf A Clown” was accepted by The Saturday Evening Post.

If you’re of a younger generation, this may not be much of a rock against your window. But if you were born before 1970, grew up in an antiquing family, or have a head for the history of 20th century literature, then you may have an inkling of the place The Saturday Evening Post holds in the grand scheme of things.

The first issue of the magazine came off the press in 1821.  With the exception of a couple of years at the end of the sixties, the magazine has been in publication throughout. Its pages have been a who’s who of American writing: William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jack London, Sinclair Lewis, John Steinbeck, Dorothy Parker, Louis L’Amour, Sax Rohmer, Rex Stout, Carl Sandburg, J.D. Salinger. Two of the three writers whose work made me want to write--Ray Bradbury and Charles Beaumont--appeared within its covers.  

It went through several transitions, from its demise in 1969 and rebirth in 1970, to its time as a medical-centric publication in the early eighties,  and its current incarnation as a general interest publication. It appears in print six times a year; and as with any quality publisher in the 21st century, they have a robust web presence, melding their history and their future.  And it is on their website, as part of their New Fiction Friday feature, that “Every Hombre...” will appear on February 12.

It was my grandmother, Rosealma Moore, who first introduced me to the magazine. She was a fan of Norman Rockwell, whose cover illustrations for the magazine are legendary; she was also a collector of things. She passed away before I'd written much more than papers for my school classes. I don’t know that she’d ‘get’ a story about a Texas luchador, but I know she’d be very proud to see the fruits of her grandson’s labors published by a magazine with which she spent her entire life.

As soon as I have a direct link to the story, you’ll find it here!

2/26/16 - Go Forth And Read


"In a Texas town where luchadores and clowns just don’t mix, one father risks exposing his double life to grant his son’s birthday wish in this fun story by Doug Lane."

“Every Hero an Hombre, Every Wolf a Clown” is live right now at the website of The Saturday Evening Post!

Click here to read the story!

If you’re used to my stories where terrible things happen to people, where something absolutely horrific occurs, like a fatal roller coaster accident or a hellish child coming up through a trapdoor in the floor, this is much more embraceable and family-friendly. It’s probably only terrifying if you’re afraid of clowns. Or luchadores. Or trying to be a good parent. I hope you enjoy it!

The Shutterstock image used for the story.  Kinda wolfy!

I’d planned to put up some story notes in the blog, because there are a few interesting bits behind this one, and a few people like to ask questions about process, where ideas originate, and so on.  Unfortunately, the plan-to-execution gap is filled with real-world needs on our backyard renovation project, working on the first draft of the second C.T. Robillard mystery, and other bits and pieces. But if I can get up a full head of steam, I may knock that out and put it in the blog. this weekend.

In other news:

On Monday, 2/29, Martinus Publishing will release WE WERE HEROES, an anthology focused on the lives of superheroes in their golden years. It includes my tale, “Dial ‘C’ For Consultant” charting an event in the post-retirement life of the Iron Vanguard.  The purchase link for the anthology is below, BUT...

I will also be offering five very special copies through this website, signed and with an extra ultra-limited consideration for those of you who like limited editions. And I’m not talking about a $$$ uptick for Moroccan goat skin bindings and marbled endpapers, either. Who wants to spend more for decor?

What will it be? What insane things am I capable of? There’s a clue on this very page! And I might have mentioned it to Rick Keeney the other day. But tune in Monday to find out!

Check out WE WERE HEROES here.

 

3/17/16 - Days of iron
















WE WERE HEROES Cover

“Dial ‘C‘ For Consultant is in the wild, in the WE WERE HEROES anthology from Martinus Publishing. If superheroes are your thing, you can check it out here (print) or here (Kindle).

Plans for the previously-mentioned special packages I’ll be selling one time only through this site are being finalized. More information for those of you who go in for such things some time in the next seven days. Let me get a proof of the bonus in my hands first.

As that moves off my plate, the second C.T. Robillard novel continues through an interim revision designed to un-clunk the manuscript thus far. What exists clocks in at 41k words, and as I wield the hatchet and the mercurochrome, it rises and falls like a tide. The self-imposed May 30 deadline for a finished first draft is still in play. Would really like to get the ability to produce a viable draft under the one-year bar.

And there are more stories waiting for me to circle back to finish, to polish, to resubmit, along with the notion of a collection still lingering out there, somewhere, late this year. But we’ve entered what passes for Spring in Houston, which brings with it all the hands-on, house husband-y things that need to be done, so my muse is back to sharing with construction and renovating and other house projects.


5/26/16 - Updates and Freebies


A funny thing happened on the way to final edits on MURDER HOUSE: somewhere along the way, overlooked by me and caught by my editor (the sharp-eyed Bernie), the ever-shifting lines in the sand pushed the minimum word count that anyone will even look at these days for a first novel to 80,000. Which is fine—I’m sure there’s a business rationale there around page count versus sale price versus return on investment in a risk of a first-time novelist. But the upshot was that MURDER HOUSE was about 20k words shy of this threshold. Imagine building that street-legal hot rod by hand and finding out as you get ready to roll it out for people to see that it needs another three feet of length, and not just in the trunk, but spread throughout.

Daunting? Probably not as much as redesigning a submarine that’s already underwater. I had some bits for the overall mystery arc that were movable from the working draft of the second novel. Still, 23,000 new words in three weeks was a challenge. Those adds and edits are being keyed so the book can spin back to my editor for the nuts-and-bolts tightening, go out to a couple more eagle-eyes who enjoy a good proofread, and be ready for shopping.

Meanwhile the second novel needs a major restructuring, but the series itself feel right for all the changes wrought in the new version of the first one. Watch this space for further developments.

Meanwhile, over on the blog, you’ll find a freebie for what the kids call ‘Throwback Thursday’: a piece of flash fiction from a now out-of-print anthology, resurrected here for your amusement and the holy hit-count. You build an empire one brick at a time. Sometimes, the brick is a story about fishing. Or something equally obscure and Zen-esque. Either way, enjoy!



3/24/16 - ‘200% More Iron’ Bundles


To celebrate my story in WE WERE HEROES, I’m selling five special 200% PERCENT MORE IRON book bundles through this website.

Sounds fancy. What does it include?

There’s a copy of the anthology WE WERE HEROES signed by me, with my story “Dial ‘C’ For Consultant”; and there’s a copy of an exclusive, extremely limited 16 pg chapbook titled FROM THE CASE FILES OF THE IRON VANGUARD, containing four more tales from the hero’s career, plus an introduction and an appendix, also signed and numbered.



What’s so exclusive and limited about this chapbook?

There are five copies. Signed/numbered. That’s all he wrote.

Why would you do this?

Anthologies are a hard sell. You know one author out of 18; maybe you buy a copy, but a lot of the time, you might pass it up on the suspicion a writer will make it available elsewhere down the line. For the handful of people who I suspect might buy the anthology for my contribution, I thought a short chapbook was an appropriate additional bit to receive for their interest, and I make a teeny bit of coin in the deal. Plus, there are five of them. Ever.

I’ll bet this is going to get expensive.

Actually, when you don’t use Moroccan calf skin or 14k gold staples or hand-made paper, you’d be surprised how far the budget goes.

Okay, I’ll bite. What does one of these fancy-pants deals cost?

$20. That includes media mail postage. Considering the anthology retails for $13 plus postage, it’s actually a pretty good deal.

And these are for sale when?

Tomorrow, March 25. Check the blog around noon.

 

9/20/16 - A Funny Thing Happened on

the way to the future


On the plus side, I finally upgraded to a new MacBook with a stronger battery and more modern software.

On the minus side, the discontinuation of iWeb means finding yet another new software package within which to compose and maintain the web page on the new laptop, while the old one now has one job on this ship.

In the interim between hither and yon, a few things happened. In July, “The Golem-Maker of Buchenwald” appeared in ABYSS & APEX, a free read at their website: go here and read.

The first C.T. Robillard mystery, MURDER HOUSE, is down to final proofing, and I hope to get proofreaders packed for bear in the next week or so. The first draft of the second, working title SEVEN FISHES, is nearing completion. If I’m a gambling man, I’d say I’m 10k words from the finish line. Then it will rest a bit while I outline the third. And in between it all, the usual mix of story/submission/noodling.

And maybe, just maybe, I can get down to one machine for the entire works. Lord knows it would make that occasional blog post easier to load.


6/19/16 - Father’s Day Freebie


Three years ago, I put out a baseball-themed chapbook, TWO IN LEFT FIELD. The title piece was an essay about a trip to Yankee Stadium with my father when I was ten. I put the whole thing together to mark my father’s birthday the year after he passed away, published it, it sold out, and promptly fell out of print into the queue of ‘fun things to play with again later’. 

Sitting here, prepping photos for Father’s Day to post to social media, I decided to offer the essay as a free read on the website, in honor of Father’s Day.

Go forth and read free stuff.