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-Frequently Asked Questions- 

1. You’re supposed to be a fiction writer.  Why can’t I find any stories on this website?

Because, aside from being a writer I’m also a greedy bastard and don’t want to risk losing any form of rights sales because the story has already appeared gratis here on the Tech-tastic Intro-Net.  Besides, any story I didn’t want to sell for publication, you wouldn’t want to read.  And then there’s always the fear that I’ll put up one story which will somehow be viewed by a reader as wholly representative of my style and capabilities, when in reality it’s just “that one story I wrote because I think lumber yards full of rabid dogs are scary.”

2.  Where do your ideas come from?

My brain, I’m pretty sure.  Last time I checked my stomach all I could find was food.  And those really big marbles I ate when I was five.

3.  Twelve?

Okay, that’s not a question.  You can’t just put a question mark at the end of something and call it a question.

4.  Coconut?

Again, not a question, but let me field this one… I’m pretty sure the answer is actually “Twelve.”  That’s eerie.

5.  If you were stranded on a desert island, what would be the five books/movies/albums you’d want to have with you?

Okay, I have to go under the assumption that this desert island is equipped with electricity and an entertainment system, so I will.  Oh, and let’s also assume that I already have a desert island survival guide so I don’t have to include that as one of my books.  Here goes:

Books- 1. American Tabloid/The Cold Six Thousand/Blood’s a Rover by James Ellroy

          2. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

          3. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King (and all attendant stories including the Straub collaborations)

          4. Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing

          5. Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh

 Movies- 1. Jaws

            2. LA Confidential

            3. Requiem for a Dream

            4. The Godfather I & II

            5. Sexy Beast

 Albums- 1. Frances the Mute/The Mars Volta

             2. Angel Dust/Faith No More

             3. Dummy/Portishead

             4. The Downward Spiral/NIN

             5. Endtroducing/DJ Shadow

This list is in no way comprehensive and subject to change on a whim.

7.  Can you edit this for me/help me get this published?

I wish I could, but I’m currently scrapping it out just like you are.  Once I’m free of cubicle-life and my writing is my sole occupation I will be able to spend more time helping other writers.  It’s my karmic debt to help; some incredible authors and artists have been very kind and encouraging to me.  The best thing I can do right now is encourage you to persevere and write every day.  Even Sunday.  They don’t stone you for that anymore.  And if there’s a writer’s workshop in your area, especially if you do short fiction, get in there. And if you’re going to write about vampires in New Orleans, don’t. 

8.  Are there any tricks you’ve learned as a writer?

What, like the Hemingway “standing up and writing naked with peanut butter smeared on your chest” thing?  No, not really.  I have a good luck buckeye that Alan Clark gave me and I keep it on my desk.  I tend to write at night, when I’m very tired.  I’ve been told this can create a hypnogogic state that allows the writing to “flow” more freely.  And I get my best ideas in the shower… on the nights I know I’m going to write I go in the shower before hand and think only about the themes of the story and how I want to tell it, and then I just zone out for a while and the answers or story elements I need start floating to the surface of my brain.  That’s really a pretty common technique.  And it helps me smell better.

9. Is Swallowdown Press currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts?

No, but thank you for your interest. We’ve got a full roster for the next few years, and we typically pursue new work from authors we already have interest in, rather than opening for subs.

10.  Shepples.

I don’t get it.  I mean, that’s even less of a question than “Twelve?” was.  If you can’t take this seriously, I’m out of here.

11.  No, don’t go.  I really have a question this time…

You better.

12.  I do.  I do.  It’s an important one.

Okay, shoot.

13.  Shepples.

You bastard.  That’s it.  I’m FAQ’d out.  Goodnight, frequent askers.