Along with publishing short stories and novellas, Dale Eldon is kind enough to give his time and blog space over to other writers of horror and dark fiction. His interviewees have included Tom Galvin, Jason Brannon, and Gary Brandner of The Howling fame. I caught up with him this weekend and he was very kind to sit in the interview chair for Dark Markets.
DM: Tell us a little more about your writing style and the kinds of stories you publish (Or, just what is an anthologist, anyway?)
My style is ever changing. One of the many things I go for, is fresh. As I write I tend to get drawn into habits from previous stories, and that’s not good. Each story needs to stand on it’s own. I always love the weird and the unbelievable in a realistic setting. I’m very far off from where I want to be as a writer, but each story I write, I get a little closer.
I grew up on Stephen King, some Dean Koontz, and a lot of horror and sci-fi movies. So you can see some of that in my various stories. When I write, I want to grab the reader by the throat, and not let go until the very last page. I give myself some very high goals.
Right now, I’m writing some zombie stuff, which I really love writing, but here soon I want to leave the zombie stories in the dust and move on to other forms of horror. Zombies, forgive the pun, have been done to death. But I have a few that need to be written.
So far I have one story out in print and Kindle called, THE POTATO MAN, which appears in the anthology, Grindhouse, through Crowded Quarantine. This story is kinda like the wild and crazy slasher movies. I have the undead maniac with a chainsaw, but there is more creepiness that ensues.
When Knightwatch finishes up the finishing touches on the horror Civil War anthology, The Blue, The Grey, and The Scarlet, I will have a short called, PLACE OF REFUGE. A good old fashion monster story in which a mother and her child are the main protagonists, set during the American Civil War. This one when the rights go back to me, I hope to expand it into a novella. Coming out in he next month or two with Rainstorm Press is my short, DAUGHTER’S PREY, in the anthology, I’ll Never Go Away Vol 2. Which is about a young woman who is stalked by a serial killer who murdered her mother when she was just a baby. My short, MR. CUDDLES, is a story about a man who has demonic force inside of him that comes out at night as a psychotic, flesh eating clown. This creepy tale will be released in the anthology, Carnival of the Damned. Also I will be writing some more novellas, and a novel within the next year.
An anthologist is a writer who appears in a series of anthologies. He/she is not a one hit wonder in the antho-world. I have to say, if it wasn’t for writing for these anthologies I wouldn’t be doing as well as I am now. I’m far from rich, but my writing has improved, and I have some great connections. With the anthology, Carnival of the Damned, that one is through Evil Jester Press (EJP), the small press that has republished Gary Brandner’s Cameron’s Closet. Along with author, Joe McKinney, and several other legends. This is not something I would have had if I didn’t write submission calls for anthologies.
DM: What was it like working with Crowded Quarantine Publications, et al?
With Crowded Quarantine Publications, I have had it great! Adam Millard runs it along with his awesome wife, Zoe, and together they treat the authors they publish like royalty. Not to mention it’s impossible to not befriend them. I’m in good company. I already mentioned the anthology I’m in through CQ, but I also have a novella through CQ coming out the beginning of next year called, Smell of the Dead, a zombie story on Mount Everest.
With Knightwatch, I haven’t had the chance to see my short in print yet, but they have been great. I’m friends with several of the fellow authors, many of which publish through CQ as well. David Shires who is the head honcho of KW does a lot of the cover art for books.
With Rainstorm, I haven’t known the press long, but they have been great! Very prompt in their communications. And again, many of my fellow scribes are published through them. Even Barbie Wilde, who played a Cenobite on Hellraiser Two, published through Rainstorm.
DM: What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring writers?
My first piece of advice, this one is tricky; stop calling yourselves “aspiring.” The word means wishful. Do not wish to be a writer. Be a writer. A writer writes. They read and learn everything they can. It’s cool to aspire to be published, but as long as you keep writing, keep learning, befriend other writers who have done well in the field, you will become published. Aspire to be a bestseller? Okay, that one makes a little more sense.
You have to be willing to suck at it. The first draft is about getting your story down, not writing the great American Novel. Write it out. Finish it. Then when you’re ready, edit the crap out of it. Have beta readers, maybe some awesome editing minded friends look it over. But with writing, you have to write. You have to read. And repeat. How do you think athletes in the Olympics get their metals? Or even come close to entering? They don’t aspire, they do. They work at it, and work it. Writing isn’t a sprint, it’s marathon that doesn’t stop until our hearts give out for good. We bleed ink, and make stories out of word-sauce from our deranged imaginations. And a lot of us have an healthy obsession with coffee.
Some things in the writer-verse have improved in our favor, but many things have made it harder. Not everyone can write crap and make millions. Some can. But even if we could, we should push ourselves to the limits and beyond to write the best stuff we can squirt out of our minds. Stay focused.
Or as they say on Star Wars, “Stay on target.”