Oct 12

Award Time!

Place of Fear has won first place for unpublished thriller/suspense novel in the 2012 Royal Palm Literary Awards, hosted by the Florida Writers Association.

Funny thing about awards ceremonies. I’m cool as a cucumber during the dinner, and through most of the ceremony, like Nicholson at the Oscars. But as they get closer and closer to my category, my hands get clammy and my heart starts thumping. It’s hard not to get that rush of nerves, I guess. A few of the awards recipients burst out in joy and ran to collect their prizes. Me, I saunter up like it’s no big deal, when in actuality I’m concentrating on not doing a face-plant. I’d hate for them to change their minds on account of some obscure clumsiness clause. Hey, It could happen.

The emcee announces me as "Ken Pendle." Oh well. I grab the award and run before anybody named Pendle can object.

My advice to aspiring writers: join writers groups and get out there. They're great for networking and honing your craft. And submit your work to competitions; you can't win if you don't.

Oct 12

Short Fiction Frights for Halloween...

I love a little spookiness in my October literary diet, but short stories seem to get overlooked in lists of good scary reads. Never fear; submitted for your approval, a few classics to amuse you.

“They Bite,” by Anthony Boucher, 1943.  I first came across this story in an Alfred Hitchcock anthology, 14 of My Favorites in Suspense (no, Alfie didn’t anthologize only mysteries). Good stuff. The title gives you a hint of what “they” do.

“A Rose for Emily,” by William Faulkner, 1930.  Who says literary fiction can’t be creepy? Faulkner penned this multi-layered story that completely defines the term “Southern Gothic.” This is not a story to be read once; it begs multiple readings and rewards more with each successive reading.

“Pickman’s Model,” by H.P. Lovecraft, 1927. Don’t hate, Lovecraft fans, but I speak now the truth: Lovecraft was not a great writer. He did, however, have a gift for true atmospheric creepiness, and this was among his best.