Sunday, February 27, 2011

Please Send Photos of Your Muse for the New Web Magazine

Mr. Little At Work

We're still working on the new website at, and one of the features we'd like to add is a gallery of our reader's writing muse.  If you are willing to help with this project, please send along a photo of your muse (people are acceptable, according to Mr. Little) to and we'll post it up for you.

Mr. Little fills in with the Mary Shelley coffee cup when the White Cat isn't available.

And, we added a post on the contests section for the new website where we're looking for Flash Fiction.  Feel free to offer any design or structural suggestions.  Right now the goal is to have the first three podcast short stories up by the end of next week.  So drop by while it's being constructed.  Company is always appreciated.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Ravening, by Stewart Sternberg

Lots of preparation going on for the new magazine, but I'm taking time out from that effort to review and recommend this book.

It takes a lot for me to recommend zombie novels, but in the past year I have recommended one by Craig De Louie, another by William Jones, and now I'm going to add a third- Stewart Sternberg's "The Ravening."

"The Ravening" is a finely crafted story and well worth the read.  Here's why- it rises above theme, metaphor and all the other "herding" techniques that modern writers have come to depend on to sell their ideas to us and delivers a real story that allows his natural storytelling voice to come through and establish him as a trusted narrator. 

In novels by method writers like Stewart, their carefully controlled strategies eventually lose their grip on the reader, and it is at that moment we see their true mettle.  In "The Ravening," this event occurs very early on- on page 16 in  fact.  This is the point where Stewart the storyteller steps in to convincingly show us that he stands transcendent to the story, where we learn that he will be staying with us throughout this novel with a consistent point of view and a powerful message.

"The Smith and Wesson fired."

With that single line he defines himself as the force behind this novel.  Although the protagonist pulls the trigger, we have the very real sense that the gun fires itself.  With this sentence he defines the novel's entire metaphysical line of sight and it is both complex and convincing.  This construct is repeated in over and again throughout the novel, showing that, although the players are both present and participating in the unfolding events, the horrors of this post-apocalyptic world are the real actors. Stewart masterfully uses this nuance to define his characters by showing how they react to this terrifying new reality. The results are compelling reading. 

As the story progresses, Stewart moves beyond the stereotypes and tropes so common to zombie literature.  His characters shed their two dimensional skins (tough biker with a good heart, trembling school teacher toughening up to face an out of control world,etc., etc.) to become real people that we care about.  Oddly, the weakest character in this story is the villain.  He is carefully constructed to be the villain and I suspect that this is what diminishes his impact.  He becomes an object of oblique pity to the reader while the real villain rises up from Stewart's subconscious and begins to dominate the stage. 

That villain is the terror many authors personally face when they assume the role of all powerful creator.  It is the disconnect that the creator can sometimes feel for their created characters.  The disconnect for humanity that occurs whey they imagine themselves to be the center of the universe.  The disconnect that occurs when we imagine that we are in control of this world.

"The Smith and Wesson fired."

Stewart's own fear gives "The Ravening" its true villain.  That teachings and lectures and learning and encouraged diversity and tolerance and group values are ephemeral ghosts in a world where the weapons fire themselves, and where the dead won't stay dead.  His terrifying vision is this world where there is nothing to teach except survival, nothing to learn except not to be eaten. 

It will keep you awake at night.

Because of this, I highly recommend you buy and read "The Ravening."

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Monday, February 14, 2011

The Graphic Novel

Calling All Graphic Artists!

The first edition of The Writer and the White Cat Magazine will feature a graphic novel version of the novella "Pop-Up Killers," so we're looking for a graphic artist to do the job.  Anyone interested in taking on the task can email us at  The story is 22,000 words, so we'll be running weekly installments.

We're asking for references and samples of the artist's work.

Also of interest would be anyone with a graphic story that is already finished.  If that describes you, please contact us at the same email address!

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Guidelines

Getting Down to Business

First things first- the email address for submissions for the new Writer and the White Cat Web Magazine is  Even more clever, the address for the editor is  Submissions for the June magazine are open now.  The website will be open March 15 and will be, which is currently parked, but the emails are functional.

Submission guidelines for the first issue (which will premier June 1st, 2011) are as follows:

We are interested in receiving stories with a strong emphasis on mystery and suspense for the June edition.  Since the category of mystery and suspense cuts across all genres, we will be moving through each in turn, but for the first edition of The Writer and the White Cat Magazine we're asking for Steampunk submissions.  What, you've never heard of Steampunk?  Look it up- it's a hugely fun genre and full of creative opportunities.  We'll still accept all other genres, though, so if you have something with a strong mystery or suspense element you think we'd like, feel free to send it along.

Although we'd originally capped the word count at 2,500 we will extend this to 4,000 words for the first edition.  Should go without saying for those of you who've read this blog that we're not interested in excessive gore, violence or sex.  What we are interested in are the finest, most well written stories we can find.  Again, no matter what genre we're asking for, the element of mystery, suspense or surprise is important to us.  I've invited some well established editors to help with this project and it's an excellent chance for you to profile your work.

Payment is still 5 cents per word for fiction, $50 for movie reviews.  Reprints at 1/2 cents per word.  The first edition will have 5 stories, and 3 movie reviews.  And yes, you've guessed it, the movie reviews need to be sci-fi.  The price for interviews is negotiable.

Most of you know our stance on plagiarism, but to be clear- if you submit it, it better be yours.

If we select your story, here's what we'll get: First world serial rights, first world electronic rights, the option to bu non-exclusive world anthology rights (at 2 cents per word) and the right to a limited time exclusive period in which to podcast your work.  If we decide to podcast your work we'll pay a one time fee to you of 1 cent per word for that right.

We will edit for both precision and clarity, and will always err on the side of the reader.

The next posting will cover guidelines for artwork.

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