Thursday, March 3, 2011

Zombie Cowboys, Author Lincoln Crisler, and a Giveaway

One of the best parts about still being relatively new to the publishing game (I started writing for publication in 2006) is that I still get a rush out of experiences that are likely old hat to established authors. I had one such experience this past weekend.

I haven't written any new short stories since Fall of 2009, and I'm still shopping out two or three pieces from that time period. One of those pieces has been under consideration by a leading horror anthology publisher since last summer. I'm still waiting to hear back from the editor. This piece is 4200 words long and deals with tribal cannibalism and folklore. I'm quite proud of it, actually, and can't wait to unleash it on the world.

Last week the editor of a respected magazine/webzine emailed me asking about a story he had on his pile from a year ago. He wanted to publish it, and unfortunately I had to turn him down because the story was featured in MAGICK & MISERY and this publication only takes new material. The editor was slightly disappointed, but had figured as much, and indicated he was willing to look at more of my work. Of the unpublished pieces I had, the one that seemed best suited for this venue was the very same one still under consideration by the aforementioned anthology. Now, I had two problems, one of which actually solved the other, as you'll see in a moment.

The first problem was that the story was already under consideration, and these markets don't accept simultaneous submissions. I probably could have worked the issue due to my relationship with the anthology's editor, but would still have come up against the other problem: the second venue only accepted stories up to 1200 words in length and my piece, as said before, came in at 4200. After some thought, I decided to see if I could whittle the piece down to 1200 words, thereby meeting the webzine's requirements while avoiding the simultaneous submission issue with the anthology.

Chopping off three-quarters of a story was quite the interesting experience. My first effort was to comb through the entire piece, stripping out sentences here and there in the hopes of getting the story down to a more manageable length. This didn't work so well. I may have trimmed 500 words. My second was more successful. The story, in its original form, dealt with a pair of jealous girls, their falling-out with each other, one girl's lesson in the folklore of her people, the two girls' brutal plot to harness the power of magic for their own gain and finally, an abduction and bloody murder, followed by a game-changing plot twist. I cut the entire front end of the story away and began the new version with the abduction. This changed the entire story dramatically.

The original version of the story is still entertaining and the portions cut add a lot of backstory and explanation; I still think it'll be a great addition to the anthology, if accepted. The second version works for a different reason, though. You don't know why the protagonist has mixed feelings when she knocks on the door of her victim's hut. You don't know that someone is going to die, though it's not hard to figure out. It's impossible to figure out that someone's going to get eaten until it's happening, and without the girls' initial falling-out from the original version of the story, it's almost impossible to predict one girl's betrayal of the other at the end.

The entire process took me about an hour and a half, from initial attempt to submission of the reworked piece. When the dust cleared, I was left with two stories that really are different from one another. Like I said before, it was quite a rush. Even if both versions of the story are rejected, I still gained valuable experience. Not a bad way to kill an afternoon!

photo by Clark Fox

Lincoln Crisler's debut novella, WILD, is due in March from Damnation Books. He has also authored a pair of short story collections, Magick & Misery (2009, Black Bed Sheet) and Despairs & Delights (2008, Arctic Wolf). A United States Army combat veteran and non-commissioned officer, Lincoln lives in Augusta, Georgia with his wife and two of his three children.
You can visit his website at

Blurb for Wild:
When Colonel Albert Waters, a controversial Civil War veteran, and his thirteen-year-old son Henry disappear from their El Paso, Texas home, Deputy Sheriff Kurt Kearney calls upon Matthias Jacoby, a strange newcomer, to help with his investigation. Word is, Jacoby's handled a few cases like this before. Kearney and Jacoby form an uneasy alliance with Black Tom Catch, an infamous New Mexico rancher, cattle rustler and outlaw, and take off after the bandits they suspect kidnapped Waters.

Could the gunfighters have bitten off more than they can chew, however, when their search for the colonel reveals strong ties to black magic and blood sacrifice?

Want to win a copy of Wild?

Lincoln has offered to give away an ebook copy to one lucky reader

To enter leave a comment on this post

Winner TBA Next Wednesday


SandyG265 said...

I like westerns but haven't ever read one with zombies before.

laceyinthesky said...

I love Zombies and Cowboys. Can't go wrong with this one. :)


Justin said...

Pick me! :)

Estella said...

Have never read a western with zombies.

kissinoak at frontier dot com

Tore said...

Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book. I haven't read any western with zombies yet.