Monday, December 27, 2010

Back in Black (and White)

I have a new drawing up at A TWIST OF NOIR today:

Matchstick Man

Tried a method I saw Andrew Loomis use, black pen with inkwash around the figure. The ink, a Speedball acrylic/pigment, was very thin and grey. I had to paint several layers to get it dark enough (also tossed in acrylic paint and Sharpies to see what would happen), then went high-contrast after I scanned it. Lost a touch of the subtlety and detail of the original. I'm trying to figure out the best way to do greyscale crime comics and illustrations. By hand. Colored pencils look good on paper, but don't scan well.

I've transitioned from writing prose to using art as a storytelling medium or combining scripts with illustrations. Although I have been writing straight fiction and poetry all my life, I also used to draw cartoons and have been yearning to get back into comics lately. It's more satifying for me to have more than one thing going at once--I'd rather sing and play music at the same time than just play, etc. You can achieve a more sophisticated effect when combining disciplines (imagine what the right score does for a piece of otherwise silent cinematography). The creative process is different for me, as well, broadier and dreamier than when I exclusively use words. It's a looser focus. Meditative. Time flies by at a startling rate.

If anybody wants an illustration, let me know. I'm open to whatever you have in mind. * *

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Have a new piece of flash, "Over the Hill," in Episode #7 of IN BETWEEN ALTERED STATES. I'm pretty sure this is the only brand new short story I've written to completion since July (about 2/3 of the way through another novel at the moment, adapting a short story as a web comic and fooling around with Manga-style portraits). Interesting project. Nice work all around....

Read "Over the Hill"

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


New story, "Amanda," by Rizzy Rodham, at Paul Brazill's YOU WOULD SAY THAT, WOULDN'T YOU. Went up Halloween night. Based on some poetry I had published in print and online over the past year or so (through Oustider Writers, Shoots and Vines, Full of Crow)....


I may just have to hand my keyboard over to her at some point.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Up today, a little horror story of mine called "Touch" at FLASHES IN THE DARK: Horror Flash Fiction in Daily Doses:


There's a permanent link to the story in the sidebar.

On Halloween, Rizzy Rodham's short story "Amanda," based on some poetry and prose-poetry I published over the last year, is scheduled to go up at Paul D. Brazill's YOU WOULD SAY THAT, WOULDN'T YOU?

Monday, October 25, 2010


The following poem, "the witch," appeared in a print anthology of New England poetry last year. I think. I got an acceptance letter, but no contributor's copy. The life of a writer. Anyway, Happy Halloween....

the witch

our neighbor
the widow mcdowell

--whose husband
worked hard for
sixty-odd years
was kind and quiet and
steady as they come
then spent his
running naked from the
groton town police—

used to set
baskets full of apples
from her own backyard
over the wall
into ours

my brother and i
would both yell
and run
into the house

looking back
i felt terrible
until i remembered
how she’d smile
when we ran
light right up
maybe even laugh

i realized
she wasn’t just
trying to be nice
but also
trying to
scare us to death

she did a
pretty good job
that witch
in a way
makes me
feel good too



I'll have a short story published online tomorrow, another in December.

This morning, I hit page 87 on the adult Horror novel, NOW AND THEN. Itching to finish so I can revise the YA Horror novel I just wrote.

As for drawing, I'm about to do some serious work on negative space. I started an album called ART? at my facebook account to track my progress.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Just posted an interview with Katashi Katsu, by Juliette "Rizzy" Rodham, at disenthralled:


I'm on page 68 of the new book, NOW AND THEN. I've only been shooting for 5-10 pages a day on this, because (1) it's a more sophisticated novel than the last one I wrote and (2) I want to devote as much time as possible to learning how to draw. I turn out a decent sketch from time to time, but have never gotten serious about art. It's time I did. My goal is to be able to illustrate my own comics or cartoons. (I have always wanted to do a daily, horror comic strip. I did have one running online, about six or seven years ago, with an artist who manipulated photos of live models. It's where I first used the title BACK AGAIN AND GONE. Ramsey Campbell gave me permission to use the name of one of his early characters--Render of the Veils, from a Lovecraftian short story--as the name of my own sinister antagonist. It's tough coordinating with an artist for an ongoing project, especially when it's published strictly for fun. Perhaps being able to illustrate one myself will open some doors for me.)

I don't have much coming out this fall, since I haven't been submitting, but I may send out a horror story or two this week.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I have a little rhyme called "ED" in issue #40 of Danse Macabre, one of the ezines I appear in somewhat regularly:



This morning, I tried to choose what type of book I'd write next. It's a toss-up between a crime novel (for which I have @ 70 pages of raw material) and an adult Horror novel with the working title NOW AND THEN. I'm leaning towards NOW AND THEN. Wrote a couple pages. The idea feels like it's ready to go. NOW AND THEN is a ghost story, told in the past and present simultaneously, with a vicious little twist at the end.

Britt and I may go out to a local diner for breakfast to celebrate the completion of my YA novel, THE CALL.


Yesterday, I submitted a new short story, "Over the Hill," to a site I haven't published at yet. Should know before too long if it's what they're after....

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


This morning, I completed the Young Adult Horror novel I’ve been working on. It’s the first in a series I had in mind based on the Cthulhu Mythos tales of H.P. Lovecraft.

I started it 8/20/10. The major difference between writing this and the other novels I’ve written this year was the pace. I recently changed schedules at work. Instead of banging out 3-5 pages a day, every day, like usual, I wrote 20 pages a day, Mon-Thu. Weekends off. It took about a month and a half to write.

I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable this set-up was. The book came in at 348 double-spaced pages—59,717 words. At this rate, writing a novel is far less daunting for me. I can keep the momentum up. The ending is always in sight—meaning that I don’t have that feeling of not knowing how long the project will go on. Plus, committing myself to write 20 pages a day FORCES invention, which is one of the key ingredients to making a long work interesting.

I kicked it off like this:

“You believe in that stuff?” Michael asked.

And then ran with it. I had the main character and basic framework of the novel in mind, but none of the other details. I just let it come. It’s great to be surprised yourself as you’re writing and some of the plot turns and revelations really caught me off-guard. As a rule, I don’t plot out much. Almost all of my poems and short stories begin with a simple line that pops into my head; I plunge in with no idea how things will turn out. If you trust yourself this way, I find, say what you mean and stay true to the rhythm and mood of the piece, the rest will take care of itself.

The first thing I noticed, upon completing it, was that I didn’t have the bittersweet, manic postpartum let-down that tends to accompany writing a book. I was happy to type THE END, extremely satisfied with how it went.

So what’s next?

I’m going to write one more book right away. I’ll figure out over the next couple days what kind of novel it will be. I have two or three ideas stirring. Then I’ll clean up the first three chapters of this one and pitch it, along with an outline of the series and the next installment.

This has been a good time for me. I’m in a creative free-flow like I haven’t experienced in quite a while. The painting. Photography. Music. Writing. Fashion madness. Everything is working and working together, with no one activity cutting into the others. 2010 has been the worst year of my life in many ways, but the love of those around me and the almighty power of Creative Expression have pulled me through. Here’s to even more of it as I head into 2011.

Walter Conley
Louisa, VA

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Some new work out...

THE STRAY BRANCH, Vol. 3 Issue #6: Fall/Winter 2010, contains my poem "this house is haunted," along with plenty of other poetry, art, fiction and photography. $9.00 via Createspace:


Quite a delay between acceptance and publication, but worth the wait. There's a recording of Quin Browne reading this poem that I would like to hear before I die.

COME AND BECOME, the novel based on my recent trip to New Orleans, had to be put on hold.

After setting it aside, however, I began the first in a series of Young Adult novels based on the work of H.P. Lovecraft. It's tentatively entitled THE CALL. Unlike my previous attempts at YA, this one hasn't turned so dark that I've had to abandon it (my son has been begging me to complete a vampire novel, written primarily for my children, that got out of hand by the end of the second chapter). I'm only writing four days a week now, due to a change in schedule. I wrote ten pages a day for the first week or two, then decided to push myself a little; I am now averaging twenty pages a day. This morning I hit page 224. Once it's finished, I'll write three chapters and an outline for the second novel, WITCHHOUSE, along with a series overview, tidy up the opening of THE CALL and see if I can get anyone to bite.

I still have this spring's crime novel, SUMMERLAND, to revise, but don't feel the urge just yet.

Not sure what I'll write while I'm waiting to hear on the Lovecraft project. Maybe a dark contemporary fantasy, as Rizzy Rodham. If someone's interested in the YA series, though, I'll probably just focus on that for now.

I've been dabbling with a paintbrush lately; there a few pics on my facebook page. My first poem in over a month is up there, too. Banging on my new drum set every day. I also have a phonebook-thick stack of poetry I need to submit, if I can make time....

Saturday, August 7, 2010


More about the new book.

I started it on July 28. It's a horror novel entitled COME AND BECOME, based on my recent roadtrip to New Orleans. The first thirty pages read more like a mainstream novel, but I have planted several things that will come into play later on.

As of this morning, I am @7400 words in.


Major differences between C&B and the novel I wrote before my trip to New Orleans, SOMEWHERE ELSE (aka SUMMERLAND):

I had a feature-length screenplay and several short pieces to work with for SE, so the framework was already there. For the new book, I am just running with it. Deliberately. No notes. An idea but no set structure.

SE was stripped to the bone.

C&B is much more descriptive. Atmospheric. Broad. I'm allowing myself to write, rather than report. Reeling in invention. And one of the two main characters has become the most fully-realized I have ever created.

For SE, I wrote three pages a day.

C&B has no daily goal, but I am averaging more. More densely-written pages. SE was probably 3/4 dialogue.

I had a completion date in mind for SE and hit it on the head. I have no idea when I'll be done with C&B and don't care, but it probably won't go more than three months, at this rate.


Once I complete the first draft of COME AND BECOME:

I will rewrite and shop SE, then come back and revise C&B--possibly sending it out as soon as the rewrites begin. And once C&B had been revised, I will begin another.

Questions? Want to talk shop? That's why I'm writing this post, so comment if you have something on your mind.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I didn't take a single photo on the trip. I was too busy looking at things.

On July 28 I started the new book, tentatively entitled COME AND BECOME. 2800 words in. It's surprising how easily I've slipped back into longform writing.

I'm contemplating a short story collection for electronic publication, something like Kindle. No idea how that works. Need to check into it soon.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Two days until Lynn and I depart.

Ahead of schedule on the book. Halfway through the final scene. I should finish it tomorrow and have my desk cleared for the trip (not counting obligations awaiting my return).

I'll be taking B&W photos for one of the editing projects I have lined up. Print. Poetry/Flash on New Orleans. More on that later.

Disenthralled will resume in August.

I will most likely be out of touch from Wednesday until the end of the month. I now have a cellphone but couldn't tell you the number offhand. I may be able to check Faceplant from time to time, so you can reach me there if necessary.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Five days until we leave for New Orleans.

I submitted two poems this week. Couldn't help myself. One of them went to the best litmag online--I suppose I shouldn't name them, since I work with so many people. But they are. The other went to an anthology, for a group I admire and would like to begin publishing with.

Hit page 199 on the book this morning. Two key scenes and one transitional scene remaining. I'm halfway through the first of the two major scenes. It'll be close. I will probably have only the final chapter to complete when I head out Wednesday night. I plan to finish it on the road, either longhand or on Quin's laptop, if I can sneak it away from her.

I have a thing for black pencils with #3 lead. Keep that in mind when Christmas rolls around.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


This is what I've been doing for the past two months.

When I was out in CA, a while back, I wrote a feature-length screenplay. A director expressed an interest in it, but couldn't get the project organized. I shelved it. The story has been nagging at me, though, with re-vamped scenes appearing in short stories over the past year or so.

In mid-May, I decided to adapt it as a novel. The title may no longer be available (a TV series with the same name appeared shortly after I passed the screenplay around), so I've been using the working title SOMEWHERE ELSE. It's a crime story. Noir as noir gets. "Everybody smokes, everybody dies," as I explained to my daughter.

The writing itself has been a lot of fun. The novel quickly took on a life of its own. It's not just a matter of filling in the blanks: although the basic plot remains, the pacing is different and so many new scenes have been added that the middle section bears little resemblance to the original work.

As of this morning, I'm 173 pages in. Writing a novel is largely a matter of commitment and endurance. I average 3 pages a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the momentum and how much time I have available. At 3 pages a day, however, the book should be finished by or around the end of this month, when I depart for New Orleans.

As soon as it's done, I'm going to write another--a horror novel that is taking shape--then come back for a revision.

Meanwhile, I've stopped writing poetry and short fiction. Sporadic pieces happen and I try to meet reasonable submission requests, but I haven't set out to deliberately write any short-form work since May 15. Too often things get put aside because I attempt too much at once. I'm determined to finish this book without interruption.


Over at disenthralled:

I have a new issue of Paul D. Brazill's WARSAW MOON ready to go up today and several others awaiting photography. Hopefully I'll be caught up by August or September and can decide what's next for the site.


Saturday, July 3, 2010


145 pages into the crime novel. While I finish this, I am going to immerse myself in classic horror, then use my road trip to New Orleans as the basis for a horror novel. Currently reading THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU by H.G. Wells (a nice Berkley paperback edition from 1968 with a hellish cover).

I have no desire to write short stories or poetry at the moment, but do have a strange long-form momentum going.

I won't be driving down to N.O. alone, after all. I'll be taking a friend, which will make the journey every bit as special as the vacation itself. Roughly three weeks until we set out.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Waiting on material to finalize issues of disenthralled.

103 pages into the novelistic adaptation of an original screenplay. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to have characters grow in a work of this length, catch you off-guard, do things you hadn't expected that spin the plot in new directions. Begun in mid-May. At this pace, it might be finished by the time I head to New Orleans, the morning of July 22.

I have a stack of unsubmitted poetry to get out, but am not sure this will be next on the agenda. I may write a horror novel, as soon as I end the present one, to give myself a little distance before I undertake the rewrite. Set on the road. Inspired by the work of the Lovecraft Circle, Arthur Machen. E.T.A. Hoffman also seems like he'll figure in, although I can't imagine know how just yet. I will not push the idea. Not even a single note. When it comes, I'll start banging the keys. I want this book to really move in the writing as well as the reading.

As for the trip, I will be driving to Slidell, Louisiana on my own, possibly stopping a few hours out the night before I'm to meet the friend who is graciously putting me up (having family put me up, that is). Three days in and around New Orleans. I've done my share of rambling, but have never visited the southeastern corner of the U.S. No fixed schedule, as usual. Lots of hanging out. Having coffee. Wandering through the city. Perhaps a stop at the legendary Myrtles Plantation or a similar location for some impromptu ghost hunting. I should have a cellphone by that time--my first ever, I'm finally caving in--to provide updates on the trip at facebook or twitter.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Thanks to those who have been stopping by and leaving comments.

There is a new special up at disenthralled, featuring the artwork of IRA JOEL HABER and writing of PETRA WHITELEY:


Subs will CLOSE May 31, 2010 at dis, so I can catch up on posting what I've received.

* * *

I have a poem called "leach" in the March edition and another called "the back again" in the April edition of Graffiti Kolkata Broadside. They are currently going over the manuscript for my chapbook, OUR SECRET END, which should be out soon.

I'm taking a break from submitting new work to focus on a longer project and clear my desk for the summer.

This July, I have a road trip to New Orleans planned with a friend. While there, we intend to stare at greasy birds, smoke like smokers, drink coffee with chicory and hang with writers, artists, photographers and musicians we know online.

If you live nearby or will be in the area, let me know:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Up now at disenthralled....

Part Three of Paul D. Brazill's WARSAW MOON; photo by Daniel Bell:


Issue #7. Poetry and prose by Karen Baker, J.S MacLean, Carrie Clevenger, Kilian Conor, Paula Ray, William Doreski, Roberta Lawson, Tyson Bley, Jelena Vencl Ohlrogge. Photography by Jill Auville:


* * *

I have a poem called "sunset city" in issue #4 of 1000th Monkey available in print or download through the Outsider Writers Collective.

And to follow what's been going on at The House Where Nothing Happens, read the latest chapter at 6s/Ning.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


WordPress is experiencing problems this weekend. The last network they were fixing controlled image data. I'm unable to finish the issues which are otherwise ready to post until they get this squared away. WP Support is apparently unavailable until May 3. Apologies to contributors who were looking forward to having photos and stories published.


Friday, April 23, 2010


I have a new poem up at Gloom Cupboard, for my LAdyfriend...

our little easy

Thanks to Doorla Moorehouse for the opportunity. I don't know what she sees in me. Maybe she's had too much pie.

* * *

This weekend, I'll be going through the current subs for disenthralled. This is how I do it. I print them out. Spread them all over the floor of the office. Stand over them and rearrange them and walk among them. Once I have a workable issue, I'll sit down and read through it as a whole, fine-tuning the order. Then I post it in a draft and find photos to tie it all together. I look through art and photo galleries every day; by the time I have the written material organized, I usually have a pretty good idea of what images to use. If not, I'll hunt them like a madman--which is something I enjoy doing quite a bit.

Now you know. Didn't want to know? Easy to fix. Look down the staircase in the photo, upper-right. Start counting. Out loud. By the time you hit four, you'll forget what you're doing here.


Saturday, April 17, 2010


Part Two of Paul D. Brazill's badass serial WARSAW MOON is now up at disenthralled. Photography by Michal Giedrojc:


* * *

I'm currently reading Julie Buffaloe-Yoder's chapbook, PRICE REDUCED AGAIN, from Backpack Press. Astonishing, like everything Julie does. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Part Two of Paul D Brazill's WARSAW MOON is coming this weekend at:


I'm quickly losing track of my own publications. Just sent off the manuscript for OUR SECRET END, a collection of original poetry, due out in early summer.

WHERE WE ARE NOT, another chapbook of original poetry, should be published soon by Crystal Folz's Backpack Press.

Tons of things in the works at disenthralled.

MiCrow #3 approaches.

I'm collaborating on a live-photography webcomic. Horror. Or something like it. I'll leave it up to you to decide, once it's posted....

Friday, April 2, 2010


The MARY MILLS/JENNY MAY PETERSON Special is up at disenthralled:

Mary Mills & Jenny May Peterson

We now have a real url:

We are OPEN again for submissions. The site has been updated. We also have a new submission email address:

Monday, March 22, 2010


disenthralled #6 is now up. This one starts the whoosh of gasoline being ignited and ends with the roar of a chainsaw:


Several new photographers, the first installment of Paul D. Brazill's WARSAW MOON and the debut of Punk Rock Mama Janeen Chabot.

Updated everything Sunday morning.

Next are the MARY MILLS and THEATER issues, followed by a surprise or two....

Monday, February 22, 2010


"Novocalien," my first piece for Dogzplot, is up. I wrote it in the car, waiting for my daughter to get out of school.


Submitted a new poem today, although my fingers were so cold I had to re-type half the words. I'm six feet away from an electric radiator, in the warmest room of the house. Above average temps outside. I don't get it.

I have all the poems ready for my chapbook, but am out of paper. Naturally. Middle of the night Wal-Mart run after work.

Quin Browne will be taking over disenthralled when she returns from the UK this weekend. More on that later.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


MiCrow Winter 2010 is now up at Full of Crow! 22 writers. 5 artists/photographers. Lynn Alexander and I compiled the material; she did a terrific job on the layout. I am very happy and excited (yes, this is really me) to be working with Lynn and the staff at FOC now....


* * *

disenthralled #5 came out a few days ago. Top-notch Horror across the spectrum. Roberta Lawson's "His Real Doll" is the scariest thing I've read in years. Brilliant photography, as well, with work by some people new to us....

disenthralled #5


I'm also putting together a chapbook of original poetry, working on a YA book, and will have a short story called "Novocalien" up soon at Dogzplot.

This is how I slow down.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


It began with a short story, a group of poems. A passing glance. Gentle brush of fabric in the stairwell. Over the holidays, then, an impromptu celebration, out-of-the-way cloakroom, awkward but well-intentioned fumbling in the dark. I awoke a Contributing Editor at Full of Crow:



First up will be Winter 2010 MiCrow Flash. I worked with Lynn Alexander, compiling and organizing material, seeking permission to use photographs. It should be out within the next week or so. For this one, I hopped on the merry-go-round as it was already spinning.

I will most likely be handling the Summer 2010 edition. I've also been kicking suspicious packages into the other departments and have initiated one new project, with ideas for several more.

I have asked a dear, dear woman to helm disenthralled for me, beginning in late spring. I will still be involved. Details are to be worked out as we come to them. Those of you who know me also know that I don't plan out much of anything; a deadline appears and I meet it, as best I can.

This move will free me up as both a writer and editor.

That's why.


Next up for me, a short at Dogzplot and poem at the Bloody Bridge Review. I've also been talking to Crystal Folz about doing a full poetry chapbook for Backpack Press--which will be my first sizeable collection ever.

Friday, February 5, 2010


I have a new poem called "miss vengen at the social" up today at DANSE MACABRE:



I'm putting together the next issue of disenthralled this weekend.


And I'm taking applications for someone who can talk me out of what I really want.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I have a little bit of roadside flash called "Miss October" in the February issue of Negative Suck and highly recommend that you read the piece which follows mine, by Lynn Kinsey:

MISS OCTOBER @ Jeffrey S. Callico's Negative Suck.

I also recommend the following story by Richard Godwin:

LUNCH WITH BELLA @ Word Catalyst Magazine.


There is no Special this week at disenthralled, although there are two (or more) presently in the works. The next regular issue is scheduled for February 15. The tentative rundown: Issue #5, Collaborative Fiction Special, Theater Special, Noir Special. The last mentioned will also introduce a monthly serial by Paul D. Brazill. I may sneak another poetry issue in there if I can, as well. The regular issues will most likely resume after the Noir Special in April.

MiCrow Winter 2010: All of the pieces are in the box and await careful assembly. Won't be long. Something a little different for me. I'm already eager to begin work on the summer edition.

I have a few more pieces to get for my Full of Crow/disenthralled e-book. Flash, nano and photography.

I think that's it for now. Probably not, but it makes me feel good to say it....

Friday, January 22, 2010


PRINCES, my first piece for A Twist of Noir since last June, went up today:


For the badass Miss Alister, whose writing knocks me out.

Monday, January 18, 2010


My first piece for Blink-Ink, "The End of Seven," is up:



Sarah Bloom, of disenthralled/Special #3, needs your votes. Click on the fifth star:


Friday, January 15, 2010


disenthralled #4 is up. Makes me want to get arrested in a border town, maybe whacked in the head with a metal flashlight.

This one features Michael J. Solender, Mark Joseph Kiewlak, Townsend Walker, Nora Ibsen, offbeatjim, Brittany Wallace, Robert Crisman, Michael D. Brown, AJ Dresser, Mary Mills, Richard Godwin.

And photography by Kristin Fouquet.

Read it HERE.


I have a story called "On the Way to Merry Mills" in the new Clarity of Night contest....


And a muted little horror story at 6S called "Walkawhile." Miles Davis on "Blackbird" muted....


Thursday, January 7, 2010


I have a little poem called MOUNTAIN in Gloom Cupboard #114

Read it HERE.

Kimo Temperance and I have stories up in the new Pulp Metal Magazine. Mine's the highway sketch I was playing with a month or two ago. It's the first time we've appeared together since the early comic book days (and always an honor for me)...



Starting to put together disenthralled/Issue #4, collecting material for Issue #5 and the Noir special. Maybe more, in between, if I can work it out.

Monday, January 4, 2010


disenthralled/Special #3: "The Salvation Skits" is up. Story by Miss Alister. Photography by Sarah R. Bloom.

Read it HERE.


I have my first piece for the Noir issue. Goosebumps already....


"Miss Morningside," by Rizzy Rodham is up @ Gloom Cupboard #113.

Read it HERE.