Monday, March 17, 2014

The Writing Place

"This.. is you."
Those words Laurie spoke when she walked into the finished room. For weeks she was wondering what I was doing in there. Now she knows. And she liked it.
It's the first time I had a space totally mine, from top to bottom.
It used to be Shaun's room but living in Minneapolis, now with his fiance Hannah (Yay, Hannah!), he's not going to need it anymore. It's mine now. [evil diabolical laughter]
Now how about a short tour.

 the entry, welcome to my world, don't be scared, I already am

 from the door, note the mirror I trimmed with little 1" tall monsters painted gold, above that is an autographed photo of The Supremes I got as a kid at The Heart of Illinois Fair in Peoria

 my desk, that's as clean as you'll ever see it, the cardboard tubes are my wire management system

 the shelves are made from spindles of a chair I found on the side of the street, the shelving boards are leftover discards that were being thrown out and given to me by my carpenter son-in-law Justin

 the crowning glory, my desks faces an entire wall covered with chalkboard paint, at the top is an inspirational quote "You have your dream office, now make your dreams live." by me to me.

Now excuse me, I have to get busy.

As always, thanks for reading me. Keep it up.

Ramses and Bernie vs Ninja Leprechauns!

Hello, everyone. I'm still at it. I know, it's been way too long. But all that changes now.
The second story in The Wrong Side of the Rainbow series, "Death Bites", is live and featured today in Showcase #17 at StupefyingStories.com. Originally slated for a part in the anthology Noir: High Crimes and Lowlifes the publisher pulled it to be featured in the Showcase today. I'll let him tell you why.
I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to release SHOWCASE #17 on March 17th, and I definitely could not let St. Patrick’s Day go by without publishing “Death Bites” by Bill Bibo, Jr.. If you’ve read “The Wrong Side of the Rainbow” in the October 2012 issue of Stupefying Stories you’ve already met Ramses and Bernie, the oddest odd couple buddy-cop pair on the entire MCSI squad. If you haven’t—well, picture this: ninja leprechauns.
And that’s all the warning you’re going to get.
I think he likes it.
And I hope you will too. If you did, please pass it on and tell your friends, heck, TELL THE WORLD!

Now the work on the novel continues.

If you missed episode One, you can find the October 2012 issue on sale at Amazon for Kindle at $1.99. Just click the cover.


Also available for the Barnes & Noble Nook and in the Apple iTunes Store.

As always thanks for reading me. And stay tuned it gets better from here on out.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

When Editors Overreach

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends
We're so glad you could attend
Come inside! Come inside!
           From Karn Evil 9 by Emerson Lake and Palmer

Well I’m back. How have you been? I’ve been busy. We rebuilt our patio and I rebuilt the fence. We also have a new puppy, EMD Watson. But that, as they say, is a tail for another day.

What brings me here today is that I’ve recently had the dust shaken from my gilded view point of the publishing community. I had to do something last weekend that it never occurred to me that I would ever do. I asked a publisher to pull my story from publication in their anthology.

I’ve worked with many publishers, so far all very small press unfortunately, and everyone has been courteous, kind, and reasonably intelligent. Once you receive the coveted acceptance email from the publisher the next item you will receive is the contract. In it there is usually a line that states “The Publisher reserves the right to make minor edits to the body of text, which will then be presented to the Author for approval prior to Publication.” The key words in this sentence are “minor edits”. Herein lies the problem.

I received a copy edited by the publisher. The email attached implied that the edits were very minor and few except for removing all of the interview portions from my story. Immediately I was on guard. The interview portions were transition segments I was using to let the reader know more about MIS Disposal and the man who created it. I liked these sections and felt they made an interesting switch between scenes, not unlike a relevant quotation before a chapter which you see in many books.

I opened the file not without some trepidation. I wasn’t prepared for what I found.

The first few pages contained many revisions I felt were a bit arbitrary.
Example: revising a minor character from saying “A minute only” to now become “Only a minute”. Okay, fine, not what I wanted, but no big deal. I liked the more formality of the voice of the first one feeling that is the way I thought the character would speak. But in the end, no big deal. I could let him have this one.

In the next paragraph he began to change verb tense and to actually make the action more passive. Example: I wrote “The army pulled in.” He changed it to “The army had been pulled in.” Now why do this? First, it took an action that was happening right at that moment and made it happen in the past. Second, the addition of “had been” also made the action more passive. It didn’t fit with the rest of the paragraph.

So far not too bad. Then I went a few pages on. That is where the editing stopped and the rewrite began.

It started with a paragraph scratched out entirely and replaced with nearly the same wording but different order. Another “have been” was added in along with a “that was”. Much of what was done did not affect the writing for the better. On the contrary it weakened it.

The next page was worse. The entire page was red, the entire next three pages were red. He had rewritten everything and even added in imagery that did not exist in my original story. “A line of soldier moved in tandem like a monstrous centipede.” Huh? No, that’s awful. There was an entire new paragraph about the monster attacking a hospital. What? Nothing even close to this was in my story. WTF?

After 9 pages I stopped writing comments and gave up. It was no longer my story. He had changed the voice of the story, taking me away and putting in himself in my place. I looked ahead a few pages. Page after page had been crossed out and redone. He was making himself co-author and what’s worse, making it a really schlocky story as well.

I saved what I had done and sent the editor an email saying I’d be happy to look at edits to my story but what was sent to me was a rewrite. In the past an editor might say, make this part more exciting or this sentence is missing some color. Then they would allow me the opportunity to revise it. Not take it upon themselves to do it. I told him that if this is the story he wanted to publish I couldn’t allow it and asked it be withdrawn.

He replied stating that due to time constraints on the publication he was sorry but would pull my story. He was totally surprised that I had reacted in such a way. No one else had done so. Many of his comments had come from suggestions by a number of “beta readers”. No wonder it sounded so disjointed now. It had been rewritten by a committee.

Obviously there are authors out there that will let someone else totally rewrite their story and still feel fine with putting their name on it. There are a couple dozen in that anthology it seems. I’m not one of those. For $11 and a free copy it just wasn’t worth it. I want to be able to point to a story, say this is my work, and be proud of it where ever it is published.

I never thought I would do this, it never occurred to me I would ever want to do this, but it’s done. The story has been pulled. I never want to do this again.

Did I do right? Did I overreact? Does this make me a prima donna?
Let me know in the comments.

Don’t forget I still have 3 more stories being published this Fall. I’ll keep you posted.
And as always, thanks for reading me.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

What's "The Binnacle"?

"What is a Binnacle?"

If you're a sailor you'd know that a binnacle is a waist-high case or stand on the deck of a ship, generally mounted in front of the helmsman, in which navigational instruments are placed for easy and quick reference as well as to protect the delicate instruments. Its traditional purpose was to hold the ship's magnetic compass, mounted in gimbals to keep it level while the ship pitched and rolled. (thanks Wikipedia)

"Okay, that's pretty cool ," you say, "but really why should I care?"

It is also The Literary and Arts Journal of Coastal Maine at The University of Maine at Machias.

"Okay, cool again, but... where's Machais?"

Machais is on the northern coast of Maine. Go a step farther and you're in Canada. Now will you stop a minute and let me tell you my news?

"Oh, sorry. Go right ahead."

Thank you.

Every year UMM holds a writing contest for the Fall edition. 150 words, any theme, any topic. I seem to be pretty good at flash fiction (see the Best of 2011 and 2012 anthologies at NECON ebooks) so I entered a story. It is called "What Scares Him" and you'll have to wait to read it because out of 925 entries it was selected as an Honorable Mention. So I didn't hit the money, but my little story will be published in their anthology as a print edition and ebook.

It will also be made into an audio file available on the website. That happened with my short story "Charlie Decker and the Last Zombie" as part of the zombie humor anthology "Zombies Ain't Funny". It's pretty fun to hear your words being read aloud by someone else, someone you've never met.

"I remember reading that. Very funny. And I see that I could just click on the picture of the zombie jester on the right if I needed a copy."

True, and thanks for the plug.

But that's not it. They will also enter my story along with the others selected into an awesome literary lottery. They are sending them all to Garrison Keillor for possible inclusion in his daily radio feature The Writer's Almanac. Now that would be too exciting to even consider as being real. But I am, at least for a few days.

It's a good little story, sad, but moving. It turned out to be a bit too prophetic, but that then is a story for another day.

To view the list of finalists and winners in the UMM 2013 Ultra-Short Competition, visit the UMM website at http://www.umm.maine.edu/binnacle or their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/TheBinnacle on July 1 and follow the Update or Ultra-Short links. Or just watch for it here. I'll keep you posted.

As always, thanks for reading me.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Back in Action With Good News

Howdy.

I know, a lot of time has passed and a lot of things have happened, and not all for the good. But we don't need to go into all of that. I'm back and will attempt to keep this up and loaded on a regular basis. Life is crazy and I think I may be getting a little crazier. So let's go onto the good news.

+ "Pacific Rim" opens this summer. Have you seen the trailer yet? If not head over here: http://www.pacificrimmovie.net/. It looks fantastic. A great summer movie to keep me excited for the main event NEXT summer, the release of "Godzilla".

+ Have you ever wondered what happens after the giant monster has been defeated? My short story "Clean Up On Seventh Avenue" tells you exactly what happens. And soon you'll be able to read it all as part of a new anthology by Grinning Skull Press. http://www.grinningskullpress.com/default.html More news to follow soon.

+ Do you need some fun summer reading? Some already has. I just received my first royalties deposit for my ebook, "Doctor Zombie Lives Next Door." Try it this weekend. Let's build up my retirement fund!


+ Bernie Clayberg, the golem detective in my Wrong Side of the Rainbow stories, now in Stupefying Stories, has his own twitter account. Follow him @BernieClayberg or #RamsesBernie. Their second adventure is soon to be published. You can also read their first adventure here:



That's it for today, kiddies. But stay tuned for more fun and insightful musings here on Bibo Madness.
Thanks for reading me.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Another winner at NECON Ebooks - Horror Haiku

This just in! My entry into NECON Ebooks Horror Haiku contest was picked as a winner this month! Go to http://www.neconebooks.com/flash.htm to read my entry "Just Another Kaiju Sunday" and others. This make the third haiku contest I've won, one other for NECON last year and then for Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Have you ever written a haiku? Try it. It's all in the syllable count. Five in the first line, seven in the second, five in the last. Try it. Leave yours in the comments.

Be sure to check out my earlier post with my short story "The League of Intergalactic Grandpas" and my plea for other interested grandpas to help me make The League a reality.

As always, thanks for reading me.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Calling All Intergalactic Grandpas!

Are you a grandpa? Do you have an insane knowledge or interest in something that you'd like to share? Have you ever wanted to be part of a blog? Read on....

As you probably know, if you read any of these posts, I enjoy writing some odd and occasionally published fiction. Last Saturday night I hit "Send" on my entry into the NYC Midnight's 2013 Short Story Competition. I had entered with them before. A few years ago I took 8th place out of nearly 500 entrants, fortunately still placing in the money.

I really enjoy the concept for their contests. It's an elimination format. In the first round everyone is divided into 25 groups. Each group then gets a different genre, subject, and character. The judges review the entries and then the top 5 from each group advance to the next round. There are three rounds in this contest with the top 4 receiving from $1500 to $100. You never know what parameters you will receive. That's the fun part. It stretches you as a writer by drop kicking you out of you comfort zone.

My requirements for round 1 were an action/adventure, an alter ego, a grandfather. When I told my wife she just started laughing. Then I did to. I guess that's why I took a chance and decided to do something light-hearted, something fun.

So here's what I came up with?


The League of Intergalactic Grandpas
A trio of grandfatherly pop culture specialists attempt to defuse the theft of a prize artifact, prevent the explosive death of hundreds of innocents, and still not miss dinner. Well, two out of three is still pretty good.


Crazy, right? We'll see how the judges feel about it on April 9th, decision day. Round 2 starts April 10.
You can read my story in the previous post for this blog. 

My story got me thinking. What if I actually created "The League of Intergalactic Grandpas"? What if the blog featured in the story became real?

Grandpas, I need your help

A regular blog is a vast complicated time consuming monster. You can see how regularly I post here. Sure, my intentions are great but... well, you know how it is. I am looking for other Grandpas to write a fun family oriented pop culture/ activity/ just about anything under the sun blog for grandfathers and their grandkids. We'll talk about anything and everything, movies, books, fun things to do or see, you help me come up with it, we'll write it.

To make it work, I mean really really work well I need a Divide and Conquer strategy. I'll never do it myself. I'm looking for other Grandpas to write articles for it with me.

Are you interested in sci fi? fantasy? horror? movies? books? the outdoors? fun activities to do and make? Do you want to make sure your grandchild turns into a nerd or a geek just like you? 

Join me. Let's give our grandchildren the best of our fun, crazy, ridiculous knowledge. Leave me a post, drop me a line. If you aren't a grandpa, pass it on to one you know. That is the only requirement to be a part of "The League of Intergalactic Grandpas".

Let's do this thing.