Sunday, July 31, 2011

All Due Respect #14: Patricia Abbott

After thirteen months of contributions from scoundrels and reprobates, All Due Respect finally gets some freakin' class as Patricia Abbott offers The Perfect Day.  We should all have thoughtful fathers like the father in "The Perfect Day."  Stop by and read the story and let Patricia know what you think.

FYI -- For anyone sending submissions to All Due Respect, Chris is reading them so feel free to address him and pretend like I don't even exist.

Pulp Modern Update: In need of an illustrator

Issue one is looking good as far as the stories go.  Unfortunately, I am having a hell of a time finding an artist to provide some drawings for the interior as well as cover art.  I have been in contact with several artists but they seem to drift off into oblivion before I receive any work from them.  I went to a tattoo shop and asked one of the 'artists' there if he or anyone else was interested in drawing for a pulp fiction journal and he said "Pup fiction?  What's pup fiction?"  Even after I explained what it was, after I suggested it was similar to the art in the old E.C. comic books, he continued to look at me as though I had just asked him to cut his parents up and serve them as dinner at a local gathering of the American Communist and Witchcraft  Society... If anyone knows of any artists who would be interested in this, please send them my way.  Otherwise, I'm going to have to use my own photography of old toys and other antiques to 'illustrate' the journal in a manner most post-modern, but not necessarily pulp modern.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pulp Modern Update

Still looking for horror and science fiction and anything that might fall into the category of fantasy and adventure.  If you're writing crime and nothing but, the deadline for issue number two is December 1, so if you send a crime story and it's great I will probably hold it over for issue number two.  Also, the western folder could use a little more weight.  I know there's at least one story on the way.  Another two or three wouldn't hurt.

Finally, I've been getting emails from writers whose stories I have rejected claiming they aren't going to submit any more stories to Pulp Modern.  When the kind women at AHMM and EQ seal up my SASE and send it to me with their charming rejection form in it, I get pissed, and then I immediately figure out what I'm going to send them next.  I'm going to keep sending them my stories until they publish one just to get me off their backs!  Tenacity is the fuel of success, is it not?  If you've sent a story to Pulp Modern and I've passed on it, send another, and another, until I have no choice but to print your work!

Monday, July 18, 2011


Still need horror and science fiction.  The whole adventure/fantasy thing doesn't seem to be happening, so it looks like this literary amusement park, for now, will consist of four sections (unless I don't get any good science fiction, in which case it will only be three).

Crime, I can tell you, is pretty much taken care of for issue one.  Six of the ten stories I've accepted are crime stories.  My holding tank for stories I am still considering is crammed with crime stories.  Anybody out there who knows good science fiction and/or horror writers, please direct them to the guidelines.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pulp Modern Update; Some tips for newer writers

So I've gotten a lot of submissions for Pulp Modern, many good, some ok, quite a few in need of some advice.  If you're relatively new to writing and submitting your writing for publication, let me give you a few tips that I wish I had gotten twenty years ago--

1. See that copy of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style?  Pick it up.  Read it.  Learn it.  Study it.  Worship it.  Make the rules in that book your religion when it comes to writing.  Do you dig Stephen King?  His book On Writing is a very entertaining guide to good, crisp writing.  I can tell you, however, the golden rule to take away from King's book:  Drop your unnecessary modifiers.  Don't tell me he "ran quickly," it sounds silly.  Don't talk about the femme fatale's "forced smile," describe what that smile looks like, what does it do to her pretty blue eyes?  How do the muscles in her cheeks stretch when she 'forces' that smile?  Big Steve King says adverbs are your enemy.  So are adjectives that would do better to be fleshed out and described.  It's the best lesson I've learned over the last few years and I believe it has improved my writing, ah, drastically...

2. Get to the story.  If you need two pages of back story before the actual story begins, take another look.  How important is all that information?  Can you sprinkle it in throughout the actual story?  I do my best, as an editor, to read an entire story sent to me.  It becomes difficult when I'm on page four and still can't figure out what the story is about, who should I be paying attention to, etc.  Most editors are not nearly so patient.  If you don't grab the reader's attention right away, you're in trouble.

3. Control your point-of-view.  Decide in your prewriting whether your story will be first person, third person limited, or third person omniscient (second person in fiction-- not a good idea).  First person, of course, means a narrator tells us the story from his or her point of view.  Third person limited means we see the story through one of the character's eyes (this means we do not know what other characters are 'thinking').  Third person omniscient means we know what every character is thinking.  This point of view is best reserved for novels.  Also, I don't want to raise any controversy, but if you are going to write a piece of fiction in the present tense, it had better knock the reader's socks off, literally.  It's almost painful to read in the first place and when it's done poorly, it's torture.

4. When submitting fiction to a print journal, use twelve-point type, double-spaced, normal paragraph formatting.  I'm getting a lot of submissions that are formatted for Internet publication.  If I accept a story formatted that way, I have to go through and re-format it when I put the journal together.  That makes me grumpy.  I think about that when I'm reading the submission.

5. This is specific to Pulp Modern-- If you submit a horror story, make sure it's a story that scared the crap out of you while you were writing it.  If it didn't scare you, chances are, it won't scare anybody else.

Thank you for your time and patience.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mr. Cizak's Annoying, Random Thoughts

So I went to the dollar theater last Sunday to give my brain a rest.  Of course, the moment you tell the brain to take some time off, the old noodle decides that's the moment he's going to start really rotating the cogs and come up with thoughts and ideas that seem, at the time, important.  They showed the teaser trailer for Transformers 3.  It's the one that starts out like it's a movie about Apollo 11.  Then it looks like it's going to be a movie about aliens on the moon.  Then you realize it's a Transformers movie and sink in your seat (the first time you see it) and say, "Aw, shucks."  There's a line in the trailer, however, that really stood out.  The narrator refers to the moon landing-- appropriately, I think-- as 'a generation's greatest achievement.'  I got to thinking, what the hell is my generation's greatest achievement?  Have we done anything that has truly advanced the state of human being?  Mostly what we've done is let technology wrap its cold, dead hands around us and turn us into slaves to electricity and other forms of artificial power.  The other thing we've done is allow the government and the media to be completely taken over by corporations and the self-centered interests of a very small number of filthy rich people.  So, I realized, what my generation needs to do, or at least start to do, is take back the government and the media.  The government is not my department.  I could care less who's democrat and who's republican.  They all take money from the same corporations to vote against my interests so I have absolutely no need for politics or politicians.  The media, on the other hand, does involve me.  As a writer, as a(n allegedly) retired filmmaker, taking the media back from the corporations seems like a perfect goal.  If it sounds outrageous, remember what folks probably said when Kennedy announced he wanted people on the moon by the end of the decade-- "Oh man, that's impossible!"

Let's go people.  This is our mission.  This is what we need to leave the generations that follow:

Media that doesn't suck corporate balls...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Some Alec Cizak News and Links

First of all, the DVD commentary for my short story "Katie Too" can be experienced at Patti Abbott's blog.

Also, I just received my contributor's copy of The Incredible Shrinking Story, from Fast Forward Press.  It contains my short story "Presently Tense" which, you might guess, is about fiction written in the present tense.  You may purchase this slim, well-produced volume here or here.

Also, I have done two more edits on my first and only novel (it should really be called a novella), Manifesto Destination.  I am publishing it as a print edition and selling it relatively cheap (eight bucks).  The saving grace of this novella is that the message is more important today than it was ten years ago when I wrote it.  The new volume is polished and can be read on an airplane or in a bathroom with equal delight.  It should be available within the next few days, at which time I will post links here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What are you waiting for?

Need some summer reading?  Everywhere you look there's good reading!

First stop:  Beat to a Pulp.  Garnett Elliott picks up the Rip Through Time series with Chaos in the Stream.  Make sure you read the first two installments by Chris F. Holm and Charles A. Gramlich.  By the time you're done with all that, it should be getting close to autumn...

If you're a fast reader, though, and you like the new e-books all the kiddies are puttin' out, make sure you check out Black Heart Magazine's noir issue edited by Jimmy Callaway.  While you're at it, don't forget to pick up SpeedLoader for your kindle.  It features stories by ADR contributors Matthew C. Funk and Nigel Bird.

And in case you missed it, Copper Smith's Mutiny on the Pimp Wagon is still booking passengers for a hell of a ride on the open sea.

Nastiness and violence the whole family can enjoy!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th; Pulp Modern Update

Happy 4th of July.  Let's remember the whole purpose of this experiment called the U.S.A was to form "a more perfect union."  That means, to me, a country where everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has an equal chance at improving his or her life.

Now, on to the more 'important' stuff:

As I have stated, I'm getting lots of crime submissions for Pulp Modern.  I've gotten a fair number of westerns as well.  The science fiction, horror, and adventure/fantasy submissions have been few and not many have made the first cut. 

I think I am picky when it comes to science fiction and adventure because I don't read too much in those genres.  In order to help any writers interested in submitting, let me offer some hints as to what I like when I do read science ficiton-- I'm a fan of Phil K. Dick.  If you send me a story that messes with reality, I'll probably be interested.  I think the most important book (of any genre) of the last century was 1984 and the most important book of the century before that was Frankenstein.  I guess what I'm getting at is that sociological science fiction stands a much better chance.  Since the journal is called Pulp Modern, however, I would not mind seeing some technical science fiction provided THE WRITING IS GOOD.

Ah, time for me to digress:  A lot of genre writers feel, as Stephen King does, that story is the most important thing.  I even wrote a review of Ed Grainger's western collection in which I echoed that sentiment.  It's true, story is important.  But if the writing isn't very good to begin with, it's going to be difficult to get into the story.  Science fiction, to me, has always suffered a problem where the writing was concerned.  I'm not going to mention names, but some very popular science fiction authors turn me off because, while their ideas are great, they have no writing style to speak of.

So, PLEASE send me some science fiction that is written in a readable style.


What is horror?  Horror is actually my favorite genre because when it's done properly, it evokes the purest, most primal emotions.  I remember when I was a small child and my father read "The Tell-Tale Heart" to me just before I went to sleep.  Well, I don't need to tell you that I didn't go to sleep.  Everything about Poe's story fascinated me.  I remember seeing an old Hammer film, Frankenstein Created Woman, on television and not being able to sleep for several nights.  I remember the first time I saw Halloween.  I couldn't sleep in a room by myself for weeks.  That's what I'm looking for from the horror submissions-- stories that will crawl inside the mind and make the reader cold with fear.  I don't write a lot of horror myself because I know how difficult it is.  If I'm not scared while I'm writing the story, how can I expect the reader to be scared?

Adventure/Fantasy-- Just send me what you got.  I've gotten the least amount of submissions in this catagory.  Anything pirates, Johnny Quest, even James Bond-like, falls into this category.  If you're writing fantasy, make it good because that's another genre I'm very critical of if the writing doesn't jump off the page.

I know I sound like a pompous jerk making all these demands but keep in mind that I want (and any writer involved should feel the same) this to be the best goddamn journal EVER.  There is a strong group of writers on the Internet that I want the world to know about and the only way to make that happen is to make sure we get the best stories out there so people who don't normally read online fiction take notice.

Friday, July 1, 2011


The Man from Minnesota brings his unique voice to All Due Respect with a perfect summer story about a not-so-perfect cruise-- It's called Mutiny on the Pimp Wagon.  Head on over and enjoy some vacation violence!