Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cybernocturnalism VII: The Dark at the End of the Tunnel
 Created and compiled by Anthony Servante

Welcome, readers, to our seventh visit with authors who sell their books online. We usually reserve this column for writers of horror fiction, thus the name Cybernocturnalism (for cyper-space and darkness), but we now include all e-authors with an opinion about publishing on the internet. Today our topic covers the subject of writers who have done all the right things to find success but who continue to wait and strive. We have four such authors who volunteered to share their thoughts with us: Richard Schiver, Joseph Rubas, Lori R. Lopez, and Andrew Blacet. Plus a surprise e-author. 

Let's hear what they have to say. 

We begin with Richard Schiver. 

1.Introduce yourself and tell us about your e-publishing history.

I’m Richard Schiver and I’ve been writing seriously since 1991 when I made the decision to pursue my writing dreams against the misguided advice of family and friends. By 1997 I had gained the attention of an editor with Del-Rey books, a division of Random House and after nearly two years of going back and forth it all came to an end when the editor I was dealing with left Del-Rey to take a position with a non-fiction publisher killing the project. In 2000 I decided to try self-publishing through iUniverse, big mistake, and was in the process of working out a way to set up the sale of PDF’s of my work online when my computer crashed taking everything I’d written over the past 10 years with it..

In 2008, after losing a very well paying job that I was miserable in, I returned to my first love, writing, and worked to recreate what I had lost and to explore new avenues. I spent the first two years of that time writing screenplays before I ventured back into fiction with the release my first novel Shadows of the Past in both print and e-book.
Since then I’ve released two novellas as e books only, a second novel and a collection of short stories both available in print and e book.

2. Do you think that appearing in self-published anthologies for free or for copies of the book (others’ anthologies) is a wise investment of your time?

No. In most cases the only sales are to the writers and their family and friends. There is no real distribution to speak of so there is no real exposure.

3. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was in high school.

4. What have you done since then to become a writer?

I’ve read widely, inside and out of my preferred genre. I’ve written more than ten novels, over fifty short stories, and six feature length screenplays. All of which were lost when my computer crashed. Since my return I’ve written two feature length screenplays, neither of which has been picked up, two novels, two novellas, and a collection of short stories. It is said one must write a million words to before they understand what they are doing. I believe I’ve passed that mark, and I’ve laid the groundwork that has led to the discovery of my writing voice.

5. What have been the obstacles to success?

Right now my biggest obstacle is money. To be successful in self-publishing one must be prepared to spend some money, after all it takes money to make money. While I do save to pay for editing of my work, that is about the extent of what I can afford at this time. I’m aware that some of my covers are weak and could do with some professional help. I’ve designed all my own covers. I also lack the funds to properly advertise my work.

I do have a full time job and in January of 2012 my plan was to spend $100.00 per month on promoting my work. Such as good covers and advertising, unfortunately in February of that same year the transmission went out on my truck.

My wife stepped up and paid for the repairs with her credit card and I’ve been paying her back at the rate of $100.00 per month since then. When she lost her job in April of this year I committed myself to helping her pay her bills in addition to my own. So right now I’m living paycheck to paycheck. I’m not looking for sympathy, as there are other people out there worse off than me, just stating some facts.

6. Can you honestly say you have what it takes to be an author?


7. Give us an inventory of your writing skills and talents.

First and foremost I have uncovered my writing voice, that inner dialogue every writer has that establishes the cadence and flow of the words on the page.

My eye for detail, coupled with the understanding to not overuse it and bore the reader.

Trust in my readers to figure some things out for themselves.

Patience and persistence which go hand in hand, I know the world is not going to beat a path to my door just because I’ve written a couple of books. I’ve long since accepted the fact that building an audience should be treated as a marathon, not a sprint. At the age of 54 I feel I’ve got another 30 to 40 years of writing ahead of me. I just don’t know how to give up.

A willingness to explore outside the boundaries of the genre I’ve chosen to write in. To experiment, but most importantly the willingness to fail at trying something new and pick myself back up again.

A thick skin. I know fiction is subjective, what one reader looks upon as gold, another will view as garbage. One short story I have on Amazon has garnered 56 reviews to date. 20 five stars, 9 four stars, 12 three stars, 7 two stars, and 8 one star reviews. I enjoy reading the one stars as much as I do the five stars.

My biggest weakness is my sense of modesty.

8. Talk a bit about your audience. Who are they?

While I’ve done no real research from what I can gather from reviews and interactions with those readers who have reached out to me via social media my audience is predominantly middle aged, well read, males and females about evenly split between professional and unskilled laborers.

9. What have you done to reach that audience?

I’ve written some articles I’ve been trying to get published in some larger magazines and blogs, my lack of an advertising budget has kept me from reaching out via paid spots. I’ve been experimenting with pricing and search terms on Amazon and have found that dropping your price to 0.99 can garner a good many downloads but I have to wonder if anyone is reading what they’ve picked up at that price.

I’ve recently discovered after a good bit of feeling my way through the dark, if you will pardon the pun, that my blog posts on my journey as a writer receive more attention than anything else so I’m in the process of redirecting the focus of my blog. I’ve always been modest about my writing, embarrassed even when reviewers compare my work to other well-known writers, so it’s difficult to talk about that process of discovery that leads to creating a good story.

10. In general figures, what has been the audience response to your outreach?

Not as well as I’d hoped, but better than some. Up to July of this year I’ve had 326 paid downloads and 12,043 free downloads. I’ve earned $218.88 up to that point. Nothing to write home about. But I’ll continue to write, adding more to my inventory, and maybe one day I’ll make enough to write full time. If I don’t and I spend the rest of my life just one steps away, at least I can go to my grave knowing that I gave it my best shot.

11. Here’s your chance to talk to my readers and make them your readers. Sell yourself, sell your stories.

Which is also the most difficult aspect of self-publishing for me, the self promotion. Were you to meet me in person you’d discover a friendly, somewhat reserved, old guy who likes having a good time with family and friends.

Reviewers have compared my writing to some of the biggest names in horror, but I say check it out for yourself and make your own decision. Some of you will like it, some won’t, and that’s a simple fact of life. But even if you don’t like my writing I can see no reason not to be friends.

To get a taste of my work hop on over to my blog, don’t mind the mess I’m in the process of changing a few things around, and sample the first ten chapters of my latest release, White Walker. This is not a Game of Thrones spin off or fan fiction.

I’ll be adding more sample chapters from my other work as time progresses so check back often.

We now turn to Joseph Rubas. 

  1. Introduce yourself and tell us about your e-publishing history.

My name is Joseph Rubas, and I am the author of over 200 short stories, five novels, a nonfiction book, countless articles, and a number of regrettable poems. My first story appeared online at in May of 2010, and my second appeared in the July/Aug/Sept issue of The Storyteller, a literary magazines for emerging writers. Since then, I’ve published two collections (Pocketful of Fear, 2012, and After Midnight, 2014), edited an anthology (2012) and more short stories than you can shake a stick at.

  1. What was your goal when you first self-published?

My goal in the beginning is the same as it is now: Write good horror fiction that someone, anyone, would want to read. People tell me they like what I have, so I think I’ve succeeded.

  1. Do you think that appearing in self-published anthologies for free or for copies of the book (others’ anthologies) is a wise investment of your time?

Yes. In the beginning, you have to give a few stories for free, to get your name out there. These days, I submit to 4thaluv anthos only when I like the concept and they’re giving out contributor copies. Hey, free book!

  1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Funny story, that. I knew in 2003, when I was twelve. I read Stephen King’s The Stand and fell in love with it. But even before that, the idea of writing books attracted me.

  1. What have you done since then to become a writer?

Read and write. They say practice makes perfect, and they’re right. Never give up and never stop. Read everything you can lay your hands on, and write, write, write.

  1. What have been the obstacles to success?

Myself. I’ve never been one to waste time actually submitting stories. I’d rather write or edit. But I do go through spurts when I sub, sub, sub.

  1. Can you honestly say you have what it takes to be an author?

I have passion. I have dedication. I have obsession. I have what it takes. Maybe not to become the next Stephen King, but to do okay? You bet.

  1. Give us an inventory of your writing skills and talents.

I’m a damn fine editor. In fact, I do my best work when I’m editing. Once I actually have the finished product before me, I’m able to see exactly where it is and where it needs to go. I’m fairly good at dialogue. I’m tops when it comes to setting. And I do a bang up job at characterization. Or so I’ve been told.

  1. Talk a bit about your audience. Who are they?

I write for a fairly educated crowd, typically older. A lot of my stuff is set in the seventies and eighties, so people who lived through that get me more than, say, the fifteen-year-old punk hanging out at the McDonald’s on the corner.

  1. What have you done to reach that audience?

Man, I’ve done everything. Well, everything short of spending money. I just don’t have it. I post, I Twitter, I post...yeah.

  1. In general figures, what has been the audience response to your outreach?

Good. Not great, but good.

  1. Here’s your chance to talk to my readers and make them your readers. Sell yourself, sell your stories.

I’ve been compared to Stephen King, I’ve been compared to H.P. Lovecraft, I’ve been compared to Edgar Allen Poe. Can you believe that? I know! It’s B.S. Here’s an idea. Buy something of mine (I’m all over Amazon), read it for yourself, and when I don’t stack up, leave a review letting me know how greatly I failed you.

Next up we have LORI R. LOPEZ.

  1. Introduce yourself and tell us about your e-publishing history.

Hi, I’m Lori R. Lopez, author of thirty-four E-books and ten print books going on twelve.  I had typed worst-selling author, but then I found that my Author Ranking in the Horror category has fluctuated between eight hundred and thirty-nine hundred over the past year or so.  That’s better than the “All Books” ranking I’ve been viewing, which bounces between fifty thousand and close to three hundred thousand.

Saleswise, it’s another story.  A horror story!  My E-books mostly range from one million to nearly two million, with only a few higher.  My first E-book was released in October 2011, a little horror sampler of six stories and a poem called CHOCOLATE-COVERED EYES.  I thought E-books were going to do better than the first three print books I self-published between 2008 and 2010.  Nobody was reading those.  I tried to spread the word as much as possible and gave copies of my first E-book to bloggers, while starting to release individual stories for ninety-nine cents.  I had a couple that were selling off and on . . . till they were hit by one-star sock-puppet reviews.  The sales halted.

I had been leery of Kindle Select and waited too long, thinking it would be best to have books on more sites.  The Select program worked for some people.  Then everyone was giving books away for free.  That and changes at Amazon in the algorithms (or so I heard) caused the low double-digit sales I was building to plummet in the summer of 2012.  It never recovered, apart from the occasional five to ten sales when I release something (maybe).

I kept writing, doing my own artwork, and continued to release E-books, as well as some print titles.  I now have a pretty sizable list of E-books, all very low in ranking.  It can be frustrating to see books ignored, overlooked, that you’ve poured your heart into, all of your talent and energies.  I’ve received awards for a couple and some very positive reviews for a number of them.  I’ve had stories and poems accepted in anthologies, published in E-zines.  I’ve done whatever I could to spread the word, invested whatever I could in attending events.  I always sell books in person, but have yet to break even.  For the past two years, my only regular activity on Amazon (or any site) is downloads of stories that are always free.  Even those have slowed.  Admittedly, artistically, I tend to announce things and move on to the next project because I have so many.  There’s a surplus of spam online and I’m reluctant to contribute.  But being polite and considerate hasn’t worked too well for me as a business person.

  1. What was your goal when you first self-published?

I wanted to be read after decades of watching my work gather dust on a shelf, collecting rejections when I found time to submit, waiting horrendously long periods for replies.  Learning that I could self-publish for free was an awakening, a renewal of hope.  When your writing is different, and you want to publish it your way, edit it your way, going indie is the best (if not only) route.  I also wanted to succeed, obviously.  But I will write regardless of the outcome.

  1. Do you think that appearing in self-published anthologies for free or for copies of the book (others’ anthologies) is a wise investment of your time?

At first it was a proving ground.  Self-publishing, you kind of need that unless you hit the jackpot and win an immediate overwhelming wave of interest, support, enthusiasm.  You have to prove yourself, demonstrate that others think you’re good enough to be published.  It lends credibility.  And I’ve met some wonderful authors, sharing pages with writers I respect.  But I thought it wasn’t very helpful.  I changed my mind this year, devoting months toward writing and submitting stories again.  Not for much money, or any money in most cases.  I am, however, meeting more authors and gaining respect.  I think it can be good exposure.  Some recent ones I’ve been accepted or invited into include BONES II,  WE ARE DUST AND SHADOW, TERROR TRAIN, DEAD HARVEST, JOURNALS OF HORROR, and CURSED CURIOSITIES.  There are a couple others I can’t announce yet.  These are all high-quality books with such awe-inspiring talents involved.  Since last year I’ve been publishing regularly in THE SIRENS CALL E-zine too, which is always fabulous and free.  Submissions take time from my projects, which is why I haven’t done a lot of it, but I can eventually publish the stories and poems in my own collections.  And it is probably the best way to build a reputation.

  1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Since I learned to write.  I was already drawing, and I loved books.  But at fifteen (the year I learned to type) I knew I wanted to write novels, among other things.  Before that I was scrawling poems, stories, and plays by hand.  Along with artwork.  I was always busy.  I guess nothing has changed.  I’m still dreaming, still busy.  These things were never a hobby.  I was serious and ambitious about my talents from an early age.  It just took a long time to be able to present my abilities to the world.

  1. What have you done since then to become a writer?

I’ve spent forty years developing a style, my own particular voice.  Correction, make that fifty years.  I homeschooled my sons, put them first for a long time.  I kept writing and reading a lot.  In Ninety-Eight I realized time was passing (a lot of it), so I set up a tiny office and started to focus on a career.  That was seventeen years ago.  I’ve made a great deal of progress, much of it thanks to the self-publishing revolution and the Internet.

I really don’t promote my work enough.  And I haven’t done much subbing to paying magazines and such.  Maybe I’ll try it, but again these things take time.  I don’t know how others can do so much of it and release books.  I was rejected by publishers, producers, and a magazine when I did try in the past.  That’s to be expected.  I kept going.  Over the years I accumulated projects.  A couple of children’s books from two decades ago, for example.  They’re not selling, but they’re finally published.  Novels, including my award-winning Young Adult tale THE FAIRY FLY.  It has barely sold.  An epic-fantasy book series.  The first hasn’t been selling, like all of my titles, and I haven’t been encouraged to work on subsequent books.  I wrote drafts of the next two a dozen years ago.  I had a movie deal for the first book at one point.  I turned that down because I had written it for my sons.  They’re creative and talented too.  We’re a team.  We formed a company together, Fairy Fly Entertainment, to pursue various common goals such as music and film.

After publishing two print books, I started doing a poetry column called POETIC REFLECTIONS at our website, intending to make it a book series.  I had written a number of songs through the years and included lyrics from those in Volume One, KEEP THE HEART OF A CHILD.  This year I’m releasing second and third volumes, THE QUEEN OF HATS (already out) and BLOOD ON THE MOON.  I hope people will read them.  I consider both books like treasure chests of my heart and soul.  They’re dark and moody, yet very funny and whimsical at times.

I’ve been illustrating print editions of books, which I consider the finished versions.  They have the precise fonts I chose; the formatting I did myself page by page, line by line.  They are the versions I want to present.  And they are illustrated by the author, which is another form of communicating my vision.

  1. What have been the obstacles to success?

Lack of funds for many years.  We couldn’t do much.  We’re starting to do more, but it has mainly been an investment.  Then, shortly after we formed our company, my oldest son became ill for close to three years.  He was bedridden from Depression and Anxiety, conditions I’ve suffered from as well to a degree.  It was difficult.  My youngest son and I did what we could.  Rafael took care of his brother so I could write.  He did the shopping.  I stayed home since someone had to be there at all times.

I’ve had other obstacles, including a bad childhood, a turbulent marriage that ended in divorce.  I nearly had a breakdown myself.  In the past I had gone through effects from abuse and trauma.  We’re recovering, my sons and I, healing and doing things together.  We’re happier these days.  And in many ways there has been progress, little by little.  Just not in actual sales of books.  I remain a failure in terms of success and fame.  We’re going to be branching out, pursuing other interests.  We’ll see how that goes.  I worry I’ll have less time to write soon.  I’m not a fast writer, which is a huge obstacle.  I’ve been trying to “catch up”, working constantly.  I can’t find much chance to read these days.  I can’t be as supportive of other writers as I have at times.  I can’t always keep up with friendships.  I’m pretty bad at keeping up with things in general.

  1. Can you honestly say you have what it takes to be an author?

Yes I can.  I’ve always known I do.  And I feel that others have confirmed it.  My parents didn’t encourage me.  Teachers did; a librarian in my hometown; friends.  Sometimes I wonder, of course.  That’s natural, especially when I get bad reviews or check my sales.  I hear that other writers in my circle have steady sales, a lot of reviews, a lot of interest.  I feel ignored and wonder what’s wrong with me.  And then there’s the fact that I do things so differently from “the majority”.  We tend to compare each other.  I do a lot of things “wrong”, it seems, but I feel it’s right for me.

  1. Give us an inventory of your writing skills and talents.

I’m different in many ways.  Abby Normal.  I keep being described as unique.  I write dark, humorous, and serious verse.  I write short stories and novels.  I write columns.  I’ve composed the lyrics and music (on guitar) to songs.  I believe in myself as an editor and do not rely on others for that or proofreading or beta reading.  I don’t receive complaints about the editing; I have received both praise and criticism regarding my vocabulary.  I love words and feel that writers should know them, lots of them, and use them — liberally, yet wisely.  I possess my own belief system when it comes to punctuation, grammar, language, all of that.  I care about the flow of each sentence and take poetic license when necessary.  I obsess over not being redundant and edit as I write as well as after.  I know many authors have editors, proofreaders, and even multiple stages of beta readers.  They heed lists of Dos and Don’ts.  I just don’t.  It’s my work, my ideas, my voice, my vision.  That’s why I put Author’s Draft on my books.

I do my own covers.  I even offer illustrated books for teens and adults.  I remember being told as a kid that I had to start reading books without pictures.  I was shocked.  Most of my print titles are illustrated.  I also format and layout my print editions, as meticulously as Walt Whitman or Tolkien about the way I want it.  My sons help with some of the tech details, and the E-book formatting.  Otherwise, I’m like a one-woman band in some ways.  Which requires even more of my time.

  1. Talk a bit about your audience. Who are they?

I’ve gained some wonderful friends who started out as readers and became fans, then became closer.  One of them, a sweet lady named Jennifer Thomas, started a fan group of friends on Facebook for me that has more than a hundred members.  It amazes me since I don’t feel I have a lot of readers.  It’s very nice to have that kind of support.

The audience in general consists of people who follow my poetry or prose or both.  Some are most impressed with my artwork, or my hat collection.  Some of them are other writers, poets, artists.  Some are readers.  I marvel that I have an audience at all, compared to five or six years ago, even four years ago.  But it is a small audience.  I don’t have much word-of-mouth yet.  Few are anxiously awaiting my next releases.  Yet it feels good.  I have come a long way in the past several years.

  1. What have you done to reach that audience?

A number of interviews.  Networking and joining groups on Facebook, although it’s a challenge to be active there most of the time.  My column seems to have acquired a modest amount of interest, for which I’m very grateful.  I don’t blog.  I get behind with the column when trying to release books.  But I enjoy doing it.  I loved putting together the second volume of verse, incorporating thirteen columns to frame chapters then writing a quantity of new poems, finally adding a variety of artwork.  It’s my own very odd version of a poetry collection.  It’s also my third illustrated title besides the two children’s storybooks.  I’ll be releasing an exciting new horror story collection this year along with the third volume of verse.

  1. In general figures, what has been the audience response to your outreach?

I’ve been blessed with some very favorable responses.  There have been negative responses too.  But years ago I had silence.  Whenever I’m read, even if it wasn’t what they like, it is a chance to enrich someone’s life.  To become part of their world.  I like to make them think.  I like to make them hear my voice, pause and appreciate the words, not just hurl through the story or poem.  Then I feel satisfied.  I know I can’t please everyone.  My writing is diverse, varying in tone and style and theme.  I believe most people could find something they would like within my pages.  I keep hoping for a hit, for something that reaches out and spreads like a virus.  I’m usually not mainstream, but sometimes “different” catches on.

  1. Here’s your chance to talk to my readers and make them your readers. Sell yourself, sell your stories.

Thanks, Anthony.  Okay, folks.  If you enjoy quirkiness, humor, heartbreakingly serious themes, darkness . . . it’s all there and more.  You might not like one thing, but don’t give up so easily.  Start with a collection and poke around.  You’ll find something that makes you grin or shudder or weep.  I know you will.  If nothing else, look at the pretty pictures!  Well, they’re usually not that pretty.  They might be cute.  Or comical.  Or creepy.  Not pretty.  I don’t do pretty.  I have my own way of describing and capturing life.  Don’t expect the usual.  Still not convinced?  Try my trio of zombie shorts, “3-Z”.  It’s free on Amazon, Barnes, and Smashwords, and it has quite a range of styles from gripping to weird to funny.  It might not be the best example of my writing or artwork, but it’s downloaded everyday.  That’s something! :)

And here to wrap up the interviews, we have our future Poet Laureate Andrew D. Blacet. 

  1. Introduce yourself and tell us about your e-publishing history.
My name is Andrew Douglas Blacet. The surname we still pronounce in the French style; I am tired of explaining and only three strangers in my life got it right the first time. Just remember that a Chevrolet is American. But it is not and never will be a Chevrolette. Still, I prefer to see A.D. Blacet on the cover of my books rather than Andy or Andrew because this is not Mayberry. I believe I am entitled to a certain portion of self-importance.

  1. What was your goal when you first self-published?
Obviously not money. I found someone who believed in me and that is why I self-published. All anyone really wants is to be appreciated, acknowledged, respected. I am no salesman. My art is me and I am my art. I would like some part of me to live after I die.

  1. Do you think that appearing in self-published anthologies for free or for copies of the book (others’ anthologies) is a wise investment of your time?
Yes. It is publicity. I told you I was no salesman, but I understand the concepts.

  1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I suppose it was fourth or fifth grade. I caught the bug after discovering Edgar Rice Burroughs. As I heard Ray Bradbury say in the early nineties at a book signing on Stanford campus, ERB was not a great writer but he was a great romanticist. Turns out I like me some romance.

  1. What have you done since then to become a writer?
Just kept writing. And reading. And working. Got to pay the bills.

  1. What have been the obstacles to success?
I am a weekend warrior when it comes to writing. My day job exhausts me physically and emotionally. Human relationships and standard plotting are tough for me. I prefer to emphasize atmosphere and imagery, often bizarre, and everything I write is meant to be read aloud. I never labor over strict rhyming or meter, nor do I write stream of consciousness though my frequent absence of formatting suggests otherwise. I do not care about picking blackberries or describing my grandfather’s hands. I tend to use symbols for their own sake, without allegory. I don’t like stories that masquerade as fantasy which are really just lessons or current events wearing stupid looking masks. I prefer the weird, the cosmic, the strange and uncanny. Most people don’t.

  1. Talk a bit about your audience. Who are they?
The people who like my answer to question 6.

  1. What have you done to reach that audience?
Not a damn thing. Just written some stuff. You know.

  1. In general figures, what has been the audience response to your outreach?
At least a nibble, if not a bite…

  1. Here’s your chance to talk to my readers and make them your readers. Sell yourself, sell your stories.
Please refer to the previous questions. As I said before, I am not much of a salesman. Thank you, Anthony, for giving me this opportunity.


And as a surprise addition, I will answer my own questions. Here we go.

Anthony Servante

  1. Introduce yourself and tell us about your e-publishing history.
I am Anthony Servante, retired professor of English literature. I received a Master's in Grotesque Literature in the Romantic Age (that covers Frankenstein to Dracula) and a Doctorate in Public Administration (so you can see I gave up my writing hat during my career for an administrative seat). In 1999, after I left the Grant-writing world, I began writing critiques of Romantic Literature and started a quest to create a class in "Horror Literature". I am published in East Coast university journals under my real name and title, mostly writing about the German Romantics of Horror Literature. But I count myself as a Cybernock in that I published my first ebook as Anthony Servante and continue to publish via online sites and magazines. You can find my books and articles here.

  1. What was your goal when you first self-published?
To earn lots of money. It seemed so easy at the time. 

  1. Do you think that appearing in self-published anthologies for free or for copies of the book (others’ anthologies) is a wise investment of your time?
No. I don't buy the argument that "exposure" via these anthologies will increase your sales. There's this "siren's call" about one's future success being tied to this kind of exposure. I believe that's the exception, not the rule. If you like your name in an anthology, good for you. There's enough of them out there that would have one of your stories for free. I've taken Michael H. Hanson's words to heart: GET PAID!

  1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
As a elementary school student reading my first Richard Matheson book SHOCK. 

  1. What have you done since then to become a writer?
I've read everything in sight, from philosophy books to cereal boxes, and I've written about a half-dozen books by long-hand (I have these notebooks with complete novels sitting in a box in the closet). These six books or so are the books I'm trying to find time for to transfer them to MS Word and try to sell them. 

  1. What have been the obstacles to success?
Ignorance of the new publishing world. At times it seems like an old-boy network; at other times it seems like an open door to opportunity, but once inside, there's always a catch, the main one being that they only pay in copies. There are so many publishers that it's hard to distinguish the legit from the opportunistic. Sadly.

  1. Can you honestly say you have what it takes to be an author?
Damn right. As a university critic I have to be able to distinguish a good book from bad and prove it in an academic paper. It reminds me of my old university students who turn in their term paper and tell me they hope they get a good grade. Shit. If you can't tell what grade you've got after you've written it, then writing isn't for you. I can write an A paper with my eyes closed. When I'm in a hurry and I rush-write a paper, I even know it's a "B" paper. If you can tell the difference between good and bad, you should be able to recognize the level of your own writing. None of this "I hope I wrote a good book". What's scary is how many "bad" books I see out there being published, which brings us back to that mysterious criteria from the publishers today to be published by them. 

  1. Give us an inventory of your writing skills and talents.
I've written academic critiques for university journals for over twenty years, I've published poetry and short stories in high-end magazines in the 80s and 90s before turning my attention to writing horror, my first love. 

  1. Talk a bit about your audience. Who are they?
My audience are intelligent readers who understand basics like foreshadowing, plot structure, character development, metonymy, metaphors, similes, etc. 

  1. What have you done to reach that audience?
Write my stories to their level of reading. It's getting them to actually read my books that is the hard part.

  1. In general figures, what has been the audience response to your outreach?
The readers who have read my books have responded with great praise for my works. But how can you gauge the responses of people who haven't read your books yet. So, on the other side of the coin, we have the looky-loos, those people who buy the book but don't read it. And early on in my ebook career, I used to give away books, and I never got one review or comment from those readers. I later realized that we have a phenomenon called ebook hoarders. But you'd have to read about that in Cybernocturnalism V, if memory serves. 

  1. Here’s your chance to talk to my readers and make them your readers. Sell yourself, sell your stories. 
I'd like to say that I'd give you your money back if you don't like any of my books, but damn, I'm not a used car salesman. I'm a retired university professor who's too busy introducing writers (poets and authors) to the academic world. All I ask is you read my books and share them with your friends. Besides writing my horror and noir stories, I plan to continue to expound in my critiques the virtues of today's writers, those authors I recognize as the future of academic study. As I said, when I read Keats or Yeats, I recognize greatness, and I can tell you that there are authors in horror whose books I've reviewed (Franklin E. Wales, Eric A Shelman and Hank Schwaeble, to name three) and poets (Jaye Tomas, Kim Acrylic, Andrew Blacet, William Cook, and Vincenzo Bilof, to name a few wordsmiths of strong note) that will be remembered long after the Servante of Darkness has bitten the dust. I have one distinct advantage in shaping the future of academic reading: I am still considered a Professor of English Literature, so my voice is still listened to by my colleagues across the campuses of the West Coast to the East Coast and across The Pond. It's just that this Anthony Servante blogger guy has limited reach in that academic world, but that doesn't mean I won't do my damnedest to reach my blog readers with the same level of great writing in horror and poetry. It can just be a task sometimes. You may have noticed that even though I'm always on the cusp of giving up, I still strive on. If you believe that I can spot talent worthy of tomorrow, then you should believe that I have written books that will also survive the libraries of time. The first step toward that destiny is for you to read my books. The second step is to read my critiques and get to know these writers blazing the way toward the literature of tomorrow. 


But enough about me. I'd like to hear from you readers about your experiences as ebook authors. Do you think you will be read in 10, 20, 30 years or more from now? What goals have you set for yourself? You heard from five ebook authors here today. Let them know what you think. Hell, we're all in this together. There are the great writers of tomorrow who no one's heard of today, and there are the great writers of today whose fame will burn out by the end of Halloween. And then there are those in between. Which are you? Comment and let us know. Or try to answer some of the questions I posed for Cybernocks VII and see how your responses turn out. 

As usual, thank you, readers, for joining us today for our latest look at the Cybernocks of today. Maybe you'll be the e-author we talk to for Cybernocturnalism VIII? 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Poetry Today 15: Trends & Traditions
Compiled by Anthony Servante

Welcome poetry aficionados to the September column, our fifteenth venture into the prose of the Twenty-Tens. This month we asked our guest poets to select works by their favorite classic poets to follow their works. Don Falcone picked John Ashbery, Andrew Blacet decided on Wilfred Owen, Kim Acrylic went with Jim Morrison (of The Doors), D.S. Scott chose Edgar Allan Poe, and Jaye Tomas selected Wallace Stevens and William Blake. So, we have yesterday's renowned wordsmiths accompanying today's prose maestros.

We begin with Don Falcone, our guest celebrity, leader of the band Spirits Burning. And we welcome Karen Anderson who adds her creative graphics to Don's poetry

Don Falcone


Don Falcone is an American musician and producer. Originally a poet-performer in Pennsylvania, he relocated to San Francisco at the beginning of the 1980s. He was a member of Thessalonians and the original Melting Euphoria, had a solo project called Spaceship Eyes, and since 1996 has led the Spirits Burning space rock collective with Bridget Wishart. He is also the co-founder of Noh Poetry Records, a California-based independent record label specializing in electronic music, experimental music, space rock and psychedelic music (Wiki).

The Poems:

"St. Aidan's Journey" by Karen Anderson

One Block From Poetry
(dedicated to Marino Falcone)
(by Don Falcone, completed August, 2014, 25 years after the event on which it is based)

i see poets simmer on the corner 
sipping whiskey from a paper bag 
with their backs to the store 
they mumble beneath the flicker 
paint chipping in the weight 
of a tempting night 

  my father 
  my father from a small town 
  investigates my city  
  he is staying in a hotel 
  one block from poetry 

and when the sun gets its turn 
he wraps the dreamy stares 
these voices wake for money 
these stomachs wake for food 

i see poets stand with schoolbook hands 
tint with treasure, they barely touch 
i see poets, eyes slide in sockets 
searching for a home
in footsteps that pass 

so much good lip to go around 
you can hear the skin and bone 

 my father 
 my father from a small town 
 puts on socks, and then buttons his story 
 he is heading for the talk 
 — (at) the heart of poetry 

   “let me not be condescending” 
   he says so from the start, 
   and he goes into his pocket 
   he pulls out what he knows 

i see poets simmer on the corner 
sipping whiskey from a paper bag
slight of hand drawing 
one crouches, one leans 
and for my father, now gone
they still reek of poetry     

"Stigmatica" by Karen Anderson

For Protection (Graffiti Mix)
(by Don Falcone, conceived in the 1980s, and weaved into the Spaceship Eyes song “OCR” for the 2000 CD “Of Cosmic Repercussions”)

low riders
casual riders
street racers
riders rule
don’t                    kill my bruth
                                                          low riders
casual riders
                                                          street racers
don’t                    kill my bruth
er                                                       disco

                             lowri asual street erru
                             lowri asual el lobo
                             lowri asual street erru

kill my low diab
el diab kill my
pover my dog so sigh
my lobo el diab

el pover el tea
kill my low diab
el diab
kill my
pover my dog
my knee

a thor el lobo
a questi own diab
kill my a thor el lobo
kill my low el diab kill my
                                                          low riders
casual riders
                                                          street racers
                             riders rule

                             lowri asual street erru
                             lowri asual el lobo
                             lowri asual street erru

"Fatima" by Karen Anderson

This Year’s Alchemy
(by Don Falcone, updated August, 2014)

the poet drinks
drinks the poet
drinks the gasoline revenue
it belongs the gasoline belongs it belongs
to the patron the poet drinks
the gasoline it belongs
to the patron the poet feeds
the poet feeds on matchstick scraps
they come from matchstick scraps they come
from vending machines the poet drinks
the gasoline revenue it belongs
to the patron the poet feeds
on matchstick scraps they come
from vending machines the poet waits
until the poet feeds
the poet waits to become far from thieves
they turn the poet
turn the stone fragments
to gold the poet drinks
the poet feels the gold
feels the poet furnace
stir the leaves
the furnace leaves
it leaves a cold steel frame
the poet waits to become far from thieves
turn the stone fragments
to gold the poet feels the furnace
frame the poet
who drinks

Don's Classic: John Ashbery  


John Lawrence Ashbery is an American poet. He has published more than twenty volumes of poetry and won nearly every major American award for poetry, including a Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his collection Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror.

And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name
You can’t say it that way any more.   
Bothered about beauty you have to   
Come out into the open, into a clearing,
And rest. Certainly whatever funny happens to you
Is OK. To demand more than this would be strange
Of you, you who have so many lovers,   
People who look up to you and are willing   
To do things for you, but you think
It’s not right, that if they really knew you . . .
So much for self-analysis. Now,
About what to put in your poem-painting:   
Flowers are always nice, particularly delphinium.   
Names of boys you once knew and their sleds,   
Skyrockets are good—do they still exist?
There are a lot of other things of the same quality   
As those I’ve mentioned. Now one must
Find a few important words, and a lot of low-keyed,
Dull-sounding ones. She approached me
About buying her desk. Suddenly the street was   
Bananas and the clangor of Japanese instruments.   
Humdrum testaments were scattered around. His head
Locked into mine. We were a seesaw. Something   
Ought to be written about how this affects   
You when you write poetry:
The extreme austerity of an almost empty mind
Colliding with the lush, Rousseau-like foliage of its desire to communicate   
Something between breaths, if only for the sake   
Of others and their desire to understand you and desert you
For other centers of communication, so that understanding
May begin, and in doing so be undone.
John Ashbery, “And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name” from Houseboat Days. Copyright ©
1987, 1979 by John Ashbery.

The Instruction Manual
As I sit looking out of a window of the building
I wish I did not have to write the instruction manual on the uses of a new metal.
I look down into the street and see people, each walking with an inner peace,   
And envy them—they are so far away from me!
Not one of them has to worry about getting out this manual on schedule.   
And, as my way is, I begin to dream, resting my elbows on the desk and leaning out of the window a little,
Of dim Guadalajara! City of rose-colored flowers!
City I wanted most to see, and most did not see, in Mexico!
But I fancy I see, under the press of having to write the instruction manual,   
Your public square, city, with its elaborate little bandstand!
The band is playing Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov.
Around stand the flower girls, handing out rose- and lemon-colored flowers,   
Each attractive in her rose-and-blue striped dress (Oh! such shades of rose and blue),
And nearby is the little white booth where women in green serve you green and yellow fruit.
The couples are parading; everyone is in a holiday mood.
First, leading the parade, is a dapper fellow
Clothed in deep blue. On his head sits a white hat
And he wears a mustache, which has been trimmed for the occasion.
His dear one, his wife, is young and pretty; her shawl is rose, pink, and white.   
Her slippers are patent leather, in the American fashion,
And she carries a fan, for she is modest, and does not want the crowd to see her face too often.
But everybody is so busy with his wife or loved one
I doubt they would notice the mustachioed man’s wife.
Here come the boys! They are skipping and throwing little things on the sidewalk
Which is made of gray tile. One of them, a little older, has a toothpick in his teeth.
He is silenter than the rest, and affects not to notice the pretty young girls in white.
But his friends notice them, and shout their jeers at the laughing girls.   
Yet soon all this will cease, with the deepening of their years,
And love bring each to the parade grounds for another reason.
But I have lost sight of the young fellow with the toothpick.
Wait—there he is—on the other side of the bandstand,
Secluded from his friends, in earnest talk with a young girl
Of fourteen or fifteen. I try to hear what they are saying
But it seems they are just mumbling something—shy words of love, probably.
She is slightly taller than he, and looks quietly down into his sincere eyes.   
She is wearing white. The breeze ruffles her long fine black hair against her olive cheek.
Obviously she is in love. The boy, the young boy with the toothpick, he is in love too;
His eyes show it. Turning from this couple,
I see there is an intermission in the concert.
The paraders are resting and sipping drinks through straws
(The drinks are dispensed from a large glass crock by a lady in dark blue),   
And the musicians mingle among them, in their creamy white uniforms, and talk
About the weather, perhaps, or how their kids are doing at school.

Let us take this opportunity to tiptoe into one of the side streets.   
Here you may see one of those white houses with green trim   
That are so popular here. Look—I told you!
It is cool and dim inside, but the patio is sunny.
An old woman in gray sits there, fanning herself with a palm leaf fan.   
She welcomes us to her patio, and offers us a cooling drink.   
“My son is in Mexico City,” she says. “He would welcome you too   
If he were here. But his job is with a bank there.
Look, here is a photograph of him.”
And a dark-skinned lad with pearly teeth grins out at us from the worn leather frame.
We thank her for her hospitality, for it is getting late
And we must catch a view of the city, before we leave, from a good high place.
That church tower will do—the faded pink one, there against the fierce blue of the sky. Slowly we enter.
The caretaker, an old man dressed in brown and gray, asks us how long we have been in the city, and how we like it here.
His daughter is scrubbing the steps—she nods to us as we pass into the tower.
Soon we have reached the top, and the whole network of the city extends before us.
There is the rich quarter, with its houses of pink and white, and its crumbling, leafy terraces.
There is the poorer quarter, its homes a deep blue.
There is the market, where men are selling hats and swatting flies
And there is the public library, painted several shades of pale green and beige.
Look! There is the square we just came from, with the promenaders.   
There are fewer of them, now that the heat of the day has increased,   
But the young boy and girl still lurk in the shadows of the bandstand.   
And there is the home of the little old lady—
She is still sitting in the patio, fanning herself.
How limited, but how complete withal, has been our experience of Guadalajara!
We have seen young love, married love, and the love of an aged mother for her son.
We have heard the music, tasted the drinks, and looked at colored houses.   
What more is there to do, except stay? And that we cannot do.
And as a last breeze freshens the top of the weathered old tower, I turn my
Back to the instruction manual which has made me dream of Guadalajara.

John Ashbery, “The Instruction Manual” from Some Trees. Copyright © 1956 by John Ashbery.


Andrew Blacet


Andrew D. Blacet lives with his family in San Jose, California, where he is now gainfully employed in the Health Care field, having managed to survive the major shakeouts of economic boom-and-bust that have so far defined the new century in America. In his spare time Andrew continues to produce a substantial output of poetry and stories of the surreal, the strange and the grotesque, and is currently working on a novel of ecological horror. Over the years he has worked patiently to refine his skills and find his voice among the echoes of a fractured and increasingly divided and irrational world. He is apt to believe skepticism is a virtue, and pessimism a positive driving force. Don’t ask him about unicorns. You can purchase his new book of poetry, "Occupant of the Ditch And Other Poems" by AD Blacet by clicking here.

The Poetry:


The mirror, shattered, erupted into chaos; a bedlam of glass and foil, together we watched in awe our pieces swimming, the delicate
skins of dragons tunneling swollen seas. The sun’s longest rays smashed through earthen panes, fossil light leaping like fresh blood,
our bodies entwined in a black sand beach, both our wrecks divulged by storm, seashells spat from sand to be discovered. Our
precious coins, tested by teeth, show the dents that prove our worth.

Blogger Note: There is something about Mr. Blacet's poetry that makes me want to stand up and cheer, but it is an elusive "something", a Thing worth looking for in his works. The above poem is stream of consciousness writing by Andrew Blacet. As you can see, he thinks in poetry. It captures him as he captures it. When asked about line breaks for this work, Andrew and I had the following conversation about poetry:

  • Andrew D. Blacet

    Frankly I don't need line breaks. I like as is.
  • Anthony Servante

    You got it. Thanks.
  • Andrew D. Blacet

    Thank you!

    I just find that I don't really understand formatting, so I just spill over from line to line. Suits me fine for free verse.
  • Anthony Servante

    I like short line breaks. But that's me. I have lines with one word in them. Personal aesthetics. Free verse prose works for you. I have to make sure I keep that spirit when I transfer it to the blog. You wouldn't believe how many poets tell me to insert the breaks as I see fit. It's not my poem, mon.
  • Andrew D. Blacet

    I'm just one long ass run on sentence!

    Really, I found that I spent way more time formatting than writing and that is what I reject. My time is valuable, and I just print it as I think it.
  • Anthony Servante

    That's Romantic poetry for you. Content over structure. Think William Carlos Williams versus William Wordsworth.
  • Andrew D. Blacet

    Interesting..that's why I am no professor!

    Have you read Wilfred Owen? WWI poet of renown. His entire corpus was built during a six month period. Than he died. He is great!

  • And here we transition to Wilfred Owen, of course.

Andrew's Classic: Wilfred Owen


Wilfred Edward Salter Owen MC (18 March 1893 – 4 November 1918) was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War. His shocking, realistic war poetry on the horrors of trenches and gas warfare was heavily influenced by his friend and mentor Siegfried Sassoon, and stood in stark contrast both to the public perception of war at the time (Wiki).

"Youth Marching to their Death"

Mental Cases
Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight?
Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows,
Drooping tongues from jays that slob their relish,
Baring teeth that leer like skulls' teeth wicked?
Stroke on stroke of pain,- but what slow panic,
Gouged these chasms round their fretted sockets?
Ever from their hair and through their hands' palms
Misery swelters. Surely we have perished
Sleeping, and walk hell; but who these hellish?

-These are men whose minds the Dead have ravished.
Memory fingers in their hair of murders,
Multitudinous murders they once witnessed.
Wading sloughs of flesh these helpless wander,
Treading blood from lungs that had loved laughter.
Always they must see these things and hear them,
Batter of guns and shatter of flying muscles,
Carnage incomparable, and human squander
Rucked too thick for these men's extrication.

Therefore still their eyeballs shrink tormented
Back into their brains, because on their sense
Sunlight seems a blood-smear; night comes blood-black;
Dawn breaks open like a wound that bleeds afresh.
-Thus their heads wear this hilarious, hideous,
Awful falseness of set-smiling corpses.
-Thus their hands are plucking at each other;
Picking at the rope-knouts of their scourging;
Snatching after us who smote them, brother,
Pawing us who dealt them war and madness. 
Wilfred Owen

"Wilfred Owen's Regiment"

Strange Meeting

It seemed that out of the battle I escaped
Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
Through granites which Titanic wars had groined.
Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
Lifting distressful hands as if to bless.
And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall;
By his dead smile I knew we stood in Hell.
With a thousand fears that vision's face was grained;
Yet no blood reached there from the upper ground,
And no guns thumped, or down the flues made moan.
'Strange, friend,' I said, 'Here is no cause to mourn.'
'None,' said the other, 'Save the undone years,
The hopelessness. Whatever hope is yours,
Was my life also; I went hunting wild
After the wildest beauty in the world,
Which lies not calm in eyes, or braided hair,
But mocks the steady running of the hour,
And if it grieves, grieves richlier than here.
For by my glee might many men have laughed,
And of my weeping something has been left,
Which must die now. I mean the truth untold,
The pity of war, the pity war distilled.
Now men will go content with what we spoiled.
Or, discontent, boil bloody, and be spilled.
They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress,
None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress.
Courage was mine, and I had mystery;
Wisdom was mine, and I had mastery;
To miss the march of this retreating world
Into vain citadels that are not walled.
Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels
I would go up and wash them from sweet wells,
Even with truths that lie too deep for taint.
I would have poured my spirit without stint
But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.
Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.
I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark; for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now ... 


Kim Acrylic


Kim Acrylic, from Seattle Washington is a Poet/ Recording Artist/indie Music Journalist, who dedicated her life to poetry at age 15. Since then she has published four volumes of poetry and finally an anthology of everything she has written in the book "The Myth Behind All Truth" She has worked for several online music and poetry magazines including Punk Globe, The Battered Suitcase and the Reviewer Magazine.She has been published in several anthologies and Blogs including Little Episode's first volume of poetry "Back In 5 Minutes" Along side the likes of Sadie Frost, Clint Catalyst , Lucy Barat, Charlie Sheen and Michael Madsen. She also collaborated post-death with Andy Warhol for the New Britain Museum Of Modern Art by writing a poem inspired by his painting of Manray for the book "Visions, Voices, and verses" As of to date, Kim has two CDs out "Fan Fare Melt Down" and an E.P "Techno Eyes" She continues to collaborate to this day with artists all over the world and has finished her first Novella "Rock 'N' Roll Melancholy"

The Poem:

"Fallen Darling"

Fallen darling of left over love frolics in mysterious skin.

I will forever be the same, as soon as yesterday forgives.

Death in a sultry summer afternoon, ended life as we know it.

I'm left to choke on rotten vomit, and be teased in my slumbering thoughts of you.

Blessed be the man who sees your magic, and echoes your truths.

Complex girlfriend with fearsome eyes, awakens your resurrection in prose.

Lost yet found, I play tug of war with imaginary friends that scar my knowledge.

Engaged in my plastic delights, I'm worn and jaded.

In lust with a ghostly being, I kiss you in ecstasy with nightmares full of of lies.

Parallel with my life, I end all truth and affairs.

There is only one who knows just how much I truly fall in love.

I've given you my soul's soulless abyss.

When will we dance to loudly played silent music under the stars?

Paper cuts from love letters sent to your after world bleed out my sorrows.

I sing in the wind you send my way each night , but do you want me when I'm not sure?

My lovely rock n roll romance, you'll find me whenever you're ready.

Kim's Classic: Jim Morrison


James Douglas "Jim" Morrison (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971) was an American singer-songwriter and poet, thelead singer of Los Angeles rock band The Doors and one of the 1960's most famous stars in pop/rock music.[1] From a young age, Morrison became infatuated with the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Rimbaud, Jack Kerouac, and William Blake, often incorporating their work into his lyrics. In his later life, Morrison developed an alcohol dependency which led to his death at the age of 27 in Paris (Wiki).

An American Prayer

Do you know the warm progress
under the stars?
Do you know we exist?

Have you forgotten the keys
to the kingdom
Have you been borne yet
& are you alive?

Let's reinvent the gods, all teh myths
of the ages
Celebrate symbols from deep elder forests
[Have you forgotten the lessons
of the ancient war]

We need great golden copulations
The fathers are cackling in trees
of the forest
Our mother is dead in the sea

Do you know we are being led to
slaughters by placid admirals

& that fat slow generals are getting
obscene on young blood
Do you know we are ruled by T.V.
The moon is dry blood beast

Guerrilla bands are rolling numbers
in the next block of green vine
amassing for warfare on innocent
herdsman who are just dying .

O great creator of being
grant us one more hour to
perform our art
and perfect our lives

The moths and atheists are doubly divine
and dying
We live, we die
and death not ends it
Journey we more into the
Cling to life

Our passion'd flower
Cling to cunts and cocks
of despair
We got our final vision
by clap

Columbus' groin got
filled with green death
(I touched her thigh
and death smiled)

We have assembled inside this ancient
and insane theatre
To propogate our lust for life
and flee the swarming wisdom
of the streets

The barns are stormed
The windows kept
And only one of all the rest
To dance and save us
With divine mockery
of words

Music inflames temperament
(When the true King's murderers
are allowed to run free
a thousand Magicians arise
in the land)

Where are the feasts we were promised
Where is the wine
The New Wine
(dying on the vine)- Jim Morrison


D.S. Scott


When D. S. Scott was fourteen, a friend suggested he write a short story. He began writing and immediately took an interest in it. A couple weeks later he finished and was surprised to find how much he enjoyed writing it. In the years since, Scott has written in several genres but has found a particular interest in horror and suspense. He enjoys writing poetry, short stories and has started on a novel. Finding writing to be a creative outlet, he kept with it and followed his goal to publish.
He currently lives in North Carolina with his dog, Bandit

The Poems: 

Not Quite Dead
By D. S. Scott

Deep within me I have this feeling
I want my brains to kiss the ceiling
Why don’t I just blow off my head?
Wouldn’t I be better off dead?
Curl right up in such a tight ball
Say “fuck you” to one and all
Put the gun under my chin
Please let me do this one last sin
Feel no pain
Nothing to gain
So I choose
Nothing to lose
Against God’s law
Pieces of jaw
Bits of teeth
Lie beneath
Capillaries, bones and veins
Body’s gone, soul remains
Just what is this that I have done?
I cannot hide, I cannot run
What is this I have become?
My plan backfired, I am not numb
After all of this that I’ve said
Still alive, not quite dead

We Are …
By D. S. Scott

We are the ones who paint things red
We are the ones who want you dead
We are the ones trapped in your mind
We are the ones you can’t leave behind
We are the ones you want to leave
We are the ones who will deceive
We are the ones who don’t exist
We are the ones the doctors missed
We are the ones who you hate
We are the ones who you debate
We are the ones who always fight
We are the ones out of sight
We are the ones in your mind’s view
We are the ones who are not few
We are the ones you damn to hell
We are the ones who like to yell
We are the ones who give you pain
We are the ones who leave a stain
We are the ones who cause you harm
We are the ones who raise alarm
We are the ones who you fear
We are the ones with no cure
We are the ones who make you want to die
We are the ones who make you ask why
We are the ones you don’t want to live for
We are the ones who shake you to the core
We are the ones you hate yourself because of
We are the ones who make you doubt the one above
We are the ones who know your secret
We are the ones who will never keep it
We are the ones who say you have no worth
We are the ones not of this earth
We are the ones the devil sent
We are the ones who came but never went
We are the ones who will always stay
We are the ones you try to keep at bay
We are the ones only you know
We are the ones who won’t ever go
We are the ones who put the gun in your hand
We are the ones … and …
We are the bastards who killed you
We are the monsters who took your soul too
We are the liars who have always said
We are only voices in your head

Death, Will You Come?
By D. S. Scott

Death, will you come?
Please just end my pain
I feel so damn numb
It’s driving me insane

Death, won’t you take me?
I need to get away
Can you not see?
My feelings do not sway

Death, why not?
This is what I choose
This is what I’ve sought
I have nothing to lose

Death, will you visit?
Come see me please
It’s a joke now is it?
Please no longer tease

Death, take my life
Cast it away
Gun or knife
I have nothing else to say

Death, won’t you listen?
Do you not understand?
The reasons, must I list them?
Just a touch of your hand

Death, you do ignore
You won’t listen to my plea
My throat grows sore
Screaming and begging is not the key

Death, I do pray
I pray you are pleased
Because on this day
I have become diseased

Death, you are cruel
You lead me on
You think me a fool
And you con

Death, you can’t win
I won’t live forever
A pleasure it’s been
You’ve played so clever

Death, you lose
Today I died
I’m sure you’ve heard the news
I tried to hide

Death, I feared
And I lied
The pain may have seared
But in the end I cried

Death, you finally called my bluff
I think that I am done
I’ve had plenty enough
Death, it’s been fun

D.S. Scott's Classic: Edgar Allan Poe


Edgar Allan Poe (born Edgar Poe; January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American author, poet, editor, and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story, and is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

The Raven
Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels name Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

"Monk by the Sea" by Caspar David Friedrich 

To --
Edgar Allan Poe

I heed not that my earthly lot
Hath--little of Earth in it --
That years of love have been forgot
In the hatred of a minute:--
I mourn not that desolate
Are happier, sweet, than I,
But that you sorrow for my fate
Who am a passer-by

Blogger Note:  D.S. Scott, like the classic poet he chose, Edgar Allan Poe, had a fascination with DEATH. He personifies it, defies it, even flirts with it, but ultimately accepts it by living a life to it. Most people think of death as an ending; for Scott, it is his reason for writing, and his poetry reflects that. I added the painting "Monk by the Sea" by Caspar David Friedrich to echo Scott's morbid sentiment. In the painting, a lone tiny figure is nearly invisible against the massive sea, sky, and shore. Yet the monk walks on. In D.S. Scott's work, he, too, walks on, and I look forward to the next steps he takes in his poetic evolution. 


Jaye Tomas


Jaye Tomas has been a "scribbler" all of her life, but the Internet provided a way to more easily share it. Creating Chimera Poetry (blog & facebook page) has been an incredible experience. The fact that anyone reads what she writes is a constant source of amazement and gratitude to her. Her biggest obsession is books, and her reading tastes are eclectic to say the least: Tolkien, Lovecraft, Gaiman, Plath, Ellison, Christie, Aaronovitch, Yeats, Blake, King, Barker, Straub, Lopez, Maugham, Poznansky name a very few. Originally from the windy suburbs of Chicago she now resides in the UK. Lately she has been casting her eyes in the direction of Italy, but hasn't completely settled on that.....yet. It may be back to the USA, it may be Edinburgh, it may be Gallifrey..... the beauty of the story is in the journey, not the arrival. (blog) (Jaye Tomas on facebook) (Chimera Poetry on facebook)

The Poems: 

The Approach of Night ~

It’s not a warm hand to hold or

a mortal mans kiss I crave

I seek the deep unseen

the darkness

under my skin I have made a place where the blood and yearning can embrace

and I raise my arms wide and offer up into the night

my plea

my offer

to whoever


may hear me and come

drawn by the beating life

the salt and fat and sweetness of me

to fill that empty space

I wait for the approach of the night

the cold intoxication of oblivion

I long for icesharp lips against mine

and the spreading of the frost into thewinedark river of my veins

take me as I wait willingly

a priestess of midnight with ardent heart chilled and quiescent

ready to abandon the light

take me

I am here

© jayetomas2014

*inspired by the artwork of Lente Scura *


Jezebel ~

I see the sideways glances

the curling lip as it twitches into a knowing smirk which makes you feel pure and above

all the depravity you see in my swaying hips

but the bottom of your feet and mine share the same packed dirt

and your man

yes yours

knows exactly where to find me

I have long memorized the list of vices the nuns railed against with slaps and exhortations to heaven

and I wear them like plumage

like an artists pose

I lie and I cheat and I steal and laugh with the serpent

I will wear any costume and paint any face upon mine

and kiss their fears away with a stolen lipstick

while you speak of judgement and of pride and the fallen

reserve your scorn for one who can still be touched

I have taken what even your nightmares couldn’t and lived

not to tell

for my tales are all my own and kept in a deep place your surface digs could never reach

however cold and crowded my secret self may be

it softens nothing

only fuels the fire I need to move among the living and use what I can

what is so freely given

draining the cup so dry even the gilt fades

tossed into the corner when I take my leave

bound again for a new name and new city

with new parts to play even if the lines are always the same

another audience to assemble with customers who will pay the highest price

for the lowest lies

almost too easy a dance

with wiles and smiles and trailing fingertips and a crimson apple to match my lips

for the ones who mutter harshly on the street at noon with your kind on their starched and proper arm

are the same who will knock softly


at midnight.

© jayetomas2014


Fall Just A Little ~

The bride and groom looked at each other
and her voice broke when she said the words
and she fell just a little
against him
because the do us part was already so near
already in the high grass stalking
gathering force
there is no way to stop a hurricane once it starts
and all the lilac flowers and cake and cards and golden bubbles cannot hold the destruction back
promises made in the dark sometimes only bloom there
a kiss to seal the promise
a promise for all time
but time itself is a thief and steals the moment
steals the roses from her cheeks
leaving lines carved in a face the color of dirty dishwater
and when a fist and cry is raised to heaven
there is only the startling of the birds as reply
and we fall just a little
against each other
and try to gather the crusts and crumbs of the wedding feast
roll them up in linen coverings with spilled champagne and sad confetti birds nests
to bring out as tribute
as a shield proffered to carry out this broken doll
her strings snipped
too soon we cry
but the abhorred shears flashed
and the strings fell
just a little
against each other


Jaye's Classics: Wallace Stevens & William Blake


Wallace Stevens was an American Modernist poet. He was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, educated at Harvard and then New York Law School, and he spent most of his life working as an executive for an insurance company in Hartford, Connecticut (Wiki).

The Emperor of Ice Cream

by Wallace Stevens ~

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month’s newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.


William Blake was an English painter, poet and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age (Wiki).

Auguries of Innocence by William Blake
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
A Robin Red breast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage
A Dove house filld with Doves & Pigeons
Shudders Hell thr’ all its regions
A dog starvd at his Masters Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State
A Horse misusd upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood
Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fibre from the Brain does tear
A Skylark wounded in the wing
A Cherubim does cease to sing
The Game Cock clipd & armd for fight
Does the Rising Sun affright
Every Wolfs & Lions howl
Raises from Hell a Human Soul
The wild deer, wandring here & there
Keeps the Human Soul from Care
The Lamb misusd breeds Public Strife
And yet forgives the Butchers knife
The Bat that flits at close of Eve
Has left the Brain that wont Believe
The Owl that calls upon the Night
Speaks the Unbelievers fright
He who shall hurt the little Wren
Shall never be belovd by Men
He who the Ox to wrath has movd
Shall never be by Woman lovd
The wanton Boy that kills the Fly
Shall feel the Spiders enmity
He who torments the Chafers Sprite
Weaves a Bower in endless Night
The Catterpiller on the Leaf
Repeats to thee thy Mothers grief
Kill not the Moth nor Butterfly
For the Last Judgment draweth nigh
He who shall train the Horse to War
Shall never pass the Polar Bar
The Beggars Dog & Widows Cat
Feed them & thou wilt grow fat
The Gnat that sings his Summers Song
Poison gets from Slanders tongue
The poison of the Snake & Newt
Is the sweat of Envys Foot
The poison of the Honey Bee
Is the Artists Jealousy
The Princes Robes & Beggars Rags
Are Toadstools on the Misers Bags
A Truth thats told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent
It is right it should be so
Man was made for Joy & Woe
And when this we rightly know
Thro the World we safely go
Joy & Woe are woven fine
A Clothing for the soul divine
Under every grief & pine
Runs a joy with silken twine
The Babe is more than swadling Bands
Throughout all these Human Lands
Tools were made & Born were hands
Every Farmer Understands
Every Tear from Every Eye
Becomes a Babe in Eternity
This is caught by Females bright
And returnd to its own delight
The Bleat the Bark Bellow & Roar
Are Waves that Beat on Heavens Shore
The Babe that weeps the Rod beneath
Writes Revenge in realms of Death
The Beggars Rags fluttering in Air
Does to Rags the Heavens tear
The Soldier armd with Sword & Gun
Palsied strikes the Summers Sun
The poor Mans Farthing is worth more
Than all the Gold on Africs Shore
One Mite wrung from the Labrers hands
Shall buy & sell the Misers Lands
Or if protected from on high
Does that whole Nation sell & buy
He who mocks the Infants Faith
Shall be mockd in Age & Death
He who shall teach the Child to Doubt
The rotting Grave shall neer get out
He who respects the Infants faith
Triumphs over Hell & Death
The Childs Toys & the Old Mans Reasons
Are the Fruits of the Two seasons
The Questioner who sits so sly
Shall never know how to Reply
He who replies to words of Doubt
Doth put the Light of Knowledge out
The Strongest Poison ever known
Came from Caesars Laurel Crown
Nought can Deform the Human Race
Like to the Armours iron brace
When Gold & Gems adorn the Plow
To peaceful Arts shall Envy Bow
A Riddle or the Crickets Cry
Is to Doubt a fit Reply
The Emmets Inch & Eagles Mile
Make Lame Philosophy to smile
He who Doubts from what he sees
Will neer Believe do what you Please
If the Sun & Moon should Doubt
Theyd immediately Go out
To be in a Passion you Good may Do
But no Good if a Passion is in you
The Whore & Gambler by the State
Licencd build that Nations Fate
The Harlots cry from Street to Street
Shall weave Old Englands winding Sheet
The Winners Shout the Losers Curse
Dance before dead Englands Hearse
Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born
Every Morn and every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight
Some are Born to sweet delight
Some are Born to Endless Night
We are led to Believe a Lie
When we see not Thro the Eye
Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light
God Appears & God is Light
To those poor Souls who dwell in Night
But does a Human Form Display
To those who Dwell in Realms of day.


Thank you, poets and readers, for joining us today and everyday you visit. We had a little new and a little old, and, as usual, we brought you the trends and traditions of poetry at its darkest by some of today's brightest talents. We'll return in October, when we'll be hosting the poetry of Horror. If you would like to submit a poem or two, graphics, or pictures for our Halloween column, send me some Horror themed poetry or some scary artwork or photography. I can be reached at Mention "Halloween Submissions" in the subject line. This has been your host, Anthony Servante. See you in the Darkness next month.

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Description: Here are poems for those who prefer to linger among the ruins, to listen for ghosts in leaning doorways or the driplines of caves; for those who appreciate the incipient dread of long shadows, the dark flourish of root and branch, the reflections of stars in wet sand. These are poems for the reader who does not require every puzzle to be solved, every monster to be dragged from its well and thrust into withering light. For those seeking reassurance from the familiar or mundane, look elsewhere. These are the thud of moist earth on the lid of a casket, the suggestion of half-formed faces budding in the boulders of a cliff – these are the occupants of the ditch.


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