Sunday, December 23, 2007

Darkened Horizons Review up on Lulu

I've posted my review of Darkened Horizons Issue 3 on Lulu. It's an abbreviated version of the review because Lulu limits the number of characters one can post.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Darkened Horizons Editor's Humor

Jordan Bobe, the editor of Darkened Horizons Issue 3, has some humorous things to say in his "note" at the end of the issue. I don't think he intended them to be funny, but I couldn't resist sharing them:

"I also attribute a good deal of the problem to the greed associated with writing. Authors are people and as the prices of gas and utilities goes up, so does the need for the story writers to be paid for their contributions."
I'm confused about the message here. Greed is bad,'s OK for writers to want to be paid. Huh? With logic like this, I can see why Mr. Bobe might like Nicky's writing.

"Editors of other publications have become greedy with their desire to sell copies. The result of this is that they refuse to publish previously unpublished authors. … publishing firms refuse to give the new guy a chance."
I read this complaint most often from frustrated writers who have received a few too many rejections. Instead of looking at the quality of their own writing, they bitch about how no one will give "new" writers a chance. Um, no. The truth is that serious publishers are loath to give bad or weak writers a chance.

"To the critics that attempted to stifle the voice of one of my more controversial contributor’s: No respectable market would turn down a well written submission just because of a man’s reputation."
At first I thought he was talking about Nicky, then he mentioned a well-written submission.

Cross-posted to my Xanga account.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I Have a Copy...

of Nicky's "Damnation Observes", and last night I struggled through reading it. It is just as awful as the rest of his writing. A few examples of Nicky-isms:

"Observers all of us are, or were, in our time and the madness that wanders from an illness no one can see or understand."

"She didn't have a name but her sincerity stood in the eyes of those who knew this darkness, but yet has no understanding how an illness of the mind ticks away."

"The nihilism within the eyes of those who dwell in the wide awake nightmare draws the individual who doesn't understand into a world that takes years to understand even their own sickness."

Full review to come soon.

Cross-posted to my Xanga account.

Monday, September 3, 2007

So Wrong, Yet So Funny

Courtesy of the fine folks at TODP:

Damn, I can't make it dance... Check out this link for the whole show.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Temperature is Rising...

over at this Lulu thread. Nicky is on the verge of losing it. Let's take a look at some of his latest delusions (his first post on the page). Warning...beverage alert!

"I know your history in ruining someone's publishing company... "

I've never ruined anyone's publishing company. Your paranoia is giving me far more credit than I deserve.

"...and you don't like Conservatives"

Actually, Nicky, my folks are conservatives, and so are a bunch of my relatives. I love them all very much. I wish you would stop calling yourself a conservative because you are giving the real conservatives a bad name.

"I would rather publish with Publish America than publish with Kaolin Fire."

Nicky, you know perfectly well that GUD Magazine thinks your writing sucks. They've rejected you how many times? I wish you would submit to PA. The fireworks would be awesome, and the libel lawsuits might just close PA for good.

"What you're doing by hijacking this thread is amoral and unethical."

Pointing out your faults is amoral? unethical?

"This is coming from a person who flat out steals my characters to make fuin of me with them. "

No, I was making fun of you, not "fuin".

"I am beginning to think you were the one that tipped off Preditors and Editors"

Sorry, I only tipped off Ralan. It must have been your boorish behavior on the Absolute Write forums that did you in. You do realize that Dave Kuzminski, the owner of P&E, is a regular poster there, don't you?

"...put you right there with wanting to ruin my name for a number of years."

Since we only "met" last December, your sense of timing is out o' whack.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nicky "Blacklists" Me

I've had a brief conversation with Nicky in a thread over on the Lulu forums. The funniest part? Here is Nicky responding to another poster:

"I will not publish Jenny because of a number of reasons -- one of them she bragged about ruining different publications I did on here. ... I blacklisted her because of the things she's done on other forums. "

He "blacklisted" me? *snort* Nicky "blacklisting" me is like my local men's rugby team blacklisting me. Although I would try out for a men's rugby team long before I would ever let Nicky near any of my writing.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What Happens on the 'Net Remains on the 'Net

Nicky is foaming at the mouth because someone is threatening to post an old address of his. While I don't approve of posting private information, that address hasn't been private in quite some time. Nicky posted it himself. Scroll down...

Nothing ever truly vanishes from the 'Net.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"More Frightening Than Fiction" -- Review

(More Frightening Than Fiction can be found at Lulu).

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the temptation here is almost overwhelming. Let’s look at the back cover for example. Run-on sentences? Check. Grammar errors? Check. Paranoid ramblings about e-piracy? Check. With prose this bad on the outside, what should we expect from the inside?

According to the rambling and grammatically-challenged introduction written by Nicky, this anthology contains seven true stories. It also says “Horror doesn't always consist of thinking zombies or oversexed vampires,…” and that the stories “are either designed to entertain or scare the reader who ever reads them because nothing is more frightening than a true story.” The editor’s private issues with other writers? Check. More grammatical problems? Check. Typical Nicky. No surprises here.

The overall layout of this book is poor. The line spacing changed multiple times within each story. The headers on the pages consist of the title of the book on the left page and “Edited by Nickolaus A. Pacione” on the facing page. Most anthologies have either the author’s name and title of the story or the name of the anthology and the title of the story as headers. The lack of experience and/or ego of the editor has gotten in the way of readability of the book.

On to the actual stories…

“Reflex Arc” by Aaron Gudmunson was the best story in the anthology. The narrator has an encounter with a bat when he is very young and develops an irrational fear of bats that has humorous consequences. There is some good description, particularly in the beginning when the narrator is writing about his childhood in Belize, and wonderful turns of phrase in this story, and the narrator has a sense of humor that comes through in the telling of his various adult encounters with bats. I wouldn’t call this a horror story, but I enjoyed it.

My only complaint is that the prose is sometimes overwritten (more on that below, because other stories are far worse.) For example, one sentence reads, “Obviously, laundry was a necessity and since attempts at persuading my roommates to undertake the task in my stead proved unsuccessful, I was forced to execute it myself.” The editor in me wants to clean that up to, “Obviously, laundry was a necessity and since attempts at persuading my roommates to do it for me proved unsuccessful, I was forced to do it myself.” Clean, simple, straightforward. And far more in keeping with the tone of the story.

I think this story has potential to be published commercially, with a little editing help to fix the fancy-when-simple-will-do writing. It’s a shame that it got sucked into the black hole of publishing, AKA Nickolaus Pacione.

Two other stories clearly described the sequence of events, but unlike, “Reflex Arc”, lacked a voice that made the story stand out. In “4410” by David Probert, the narrator and his girlfriend encounter a hostile ghost in a motel room. The sequence of events is straightforward, and I understand how something like that would be scary, but the writing doesn’t pique my interest. “Face Your Fears” by J. Daniel Steffens relates the narrator’s interactions with a ghost in his childhood home. The story is okay, slightly overwritten, but ultimately dry. It consists of simple recitation of the events with little or no emotion expressed by the narrator. Both of these stories have potential but I didn’t get a sense of the narrator at all. These stories could have been written by my next-door neighbor or the UPS man.

The rest of the stories had more serious problems. Two of the stories fell flat because they are about people doing stupid things that endanger their health and the hallucinations/actions that follow. In “The Second World” by Larry Sells, several of the narrator’s friends take the narrator out drinking to celebrate his twenty-fifth birthday. The narrator, apparently lacking even a modicum of self-control, drinks enough to land in the hospital with alcohol poisoning, and there he has a hallucination about hunting vampires and werewolves. Not scary at all. This story is also overwritten. Large and/or pretentious words and complex sentence structures are used when more simple, direct language would have been more appropriate.

“Pernicious Guiles” by Alterra Von Feuers also involves narrator stupidity. In this story, after the narrator is struck in the leg by flying debris while mowing the lawn, she behaves like the patient from hell at the hospital, insults a doctor by calling him a “fag”, and deliberately overdoses on pain medication. Hallucinations follow, and the cliff-hanger ending hints at a very nasty fate for the narrator’s leg. This story also could have used some serious editing. Misspelled and incorrect words, such as “stint” instead of “stent”, abound. Of course, since the editor of this anthology is functionally illiterate, this story didn’t even have a chance.

“My Family History” by Shanna K. Dines does not involve narrator stupidity, but the writing is extremely weak. This story also reads more like fiction than non-fiction. One of the characters meets a gruesome fate that I don’t believe could really happen, either scientifically or medically. The time line of the story is confusing. At one point early in the story, a little girl bearing a pie goes to visit her neighbor. Further action takes place, but about 2000 words later, the story returns to the little girl with the pie. Huh? Apparently the rest of the action was all back story with no transition from the present to the past. The POV is often muddled, with awkward jumps within a scene. Not an easy or engaging read.

And that brings us to the worst of the bunch – “Apt #2W” by Nicky. This story is just awful. In addition to numerous grammatical errors, a rambling time line, repetitive statements, and repeated comparisons of events to TV shows and Nicky to famous horror writers, this story just plain isn’t scary. The occupants of the apartment, including Nicky, freak out when a light bulb explodes. Later Nicky claims, just as he was falling asleep around five a.m., to have heard a voice telling his roommate to wake up. He thinks it was an EVP, or electronic voice phenomenon. Why he thinks it was an EVP and not a real person, he never explains. And that’s all that happens in 2200 words. The rest is rehash and more rehash.

Overall score: Thumbs down. One engaging story out of seven is too few for me to be able to recommend this book.

This review has been posted to my Xanga account and at Lulu.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Nicky Pacione Drinking Game

(I've been reading too much of Nicky's dreck lately, and the following seemed funny after a glass of wine or two. *heh* Oh, everybody wave to Nicky. I've got Illinois footprints all over the blog and three more Paypal invoices. Guess what I did with those...)

My poison of choice is scotch, but this works just as well with other beverages. Drink safely! I may add to this as inspiration strikes.

His Writing

Writes a Gary Stu -- 1 sip
Writes a story based on a dream -- 1 sip
Writes a story with a plot -- 5 sips
Uses the word "literary" when he means "literally" -- 1 sip
Uses a word like "horror" or "blood" or "eerie" more than 10 times in story -- 1 sip
More than 20 times -- 3 sips
More than 30 times -- 10 sips
Uses a comma splice -- 1 sip
Writes one grammatically correct sentence -- 1 sip
Writes two grammatically correct sentences in a row -- 5 sips

Changes POV mid-scene -- 1 sip
Changes POV mid-paragraph -- 4 sips
Twice in one paragraph -- 8 sips
Changes verb tense mid-paragraph -- 1 sip
Mid-sentence -- 1 sip
Says something can't be described -- 1 sip
Tells you the same item of information less than five times in one story -- 1 sip
Tells you the same item of information more than five times in one story -- 3 sip

Tells you what the character is thinking...then has the character say almost the same thing -- 1 sip
Then has the character say EXACTLY the same thing -- 5 sips
Says the situation is like being in a short story -- 1 sip
Mentions Rod Serling -- 1 sip
Mentions H.P. Lovecraft -- 1 sip
Mentions Edgar Allen Poe -- 2 sip
Mentions Poe, Lovecraft, and Serling in one story -- 8 sips
Say the situation is like being in a movie -- 1 sip
Mentions the Twilight Zone -- 1 sip
Mentions the Outer Limits -- 1 sip
Mentions Night Gallery -- 2 sips
Mentions Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, and Night Gallery in one story -- 10 sips

Mispells a word on the cover of a book -- 1 sip
The word is in the title -- 8 sips
Mispells his own name on the cover of a book -- 20 sips

His Posts

Calls someone a faggot --1 sip
Calls someone a bitch --1 sip
Calls someone a sow -- 1 sip
Calls someone a cunt -- 1 sip
Calls someone a bitch, cow, and cunt all in one post -- 3 sips
Uses motherfucker properly (as a single word) -- 10 sips

Mentions e-piracy -- 1 sip
Compares e-piracy to stealing MP3 songs -- 2 sips
Claims to be straight -- 1 sip
Threatens to fight someone -- 1 sip
Actually shows up to fight someone -- 1000 sips

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Nicky Flees to Blogger

So Nicky (aka Nickolaus Pacione for the Googlebots) has come over to Blogger. His latest post has a lot of BS in it. Let's take a look:

"Since Xanga decided to delete my blog because I went and
told someone to latently to fuck off."
Actually, Nicky sent me a death threat. Not exactly the same thing.

"I am sure some of you who want to blame someone for closing down my Xanga Blog it was because of an obsessive anti-fan bitch named HorrorGal."
Nah, Nicky, they're thanking me. And I'm thanking Xanga security for moving so quickly.

" HorrorGal out there who are going to constantly shoplift someone's works...My works got pirated repeatedly by fucks like HorrorGal and her crowd."
Here's what Nicky calls shoplifting. He accidentally sets two of his works to free downloads at Lulu. I see this and download them (screent shots in this post). Nicky claims he never intended to set them to free, has since changed the settings, and claims because he made a mistake, I stole from him. How's that for "it's time to up the dosage"?

"...what makes it worst in the case of HorrorGal is that she is a mother of two."
Nicky, you don't read any better than you write. The only bio of me that you've read says I'm a "mom to two dogs". Two canines. Get it? It's meant to be funny.

More funnies can be found here.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

"Quakes and Storms" Reviewed

Disclaimer: JENNY is me (Horrogal) Todd Hollins is used under the fair use provisions of U.S. copyright law. For the search engines, Nicky is Nickolaus Pacione. Todd's goat is a running joke that started here and continued here.

JENNY: So here we are again, Todd. Another review. I’m glad you could join me. Why don’t you introduce yourself for any new readers.

Todd: My name is Todd Hollins. I was one of the main characters in Nicky’s "House of Spiders" as well as House of Spiders 3. I am extremely happy that Nicky is done writing about me. I was getting sick of the horrible dialogue and being made to do things for no reason – or for reasons that make me look callous.

JENNY: I know you’re not callous. I enjoy having you here.

Todd: Thanks.

JENNY: Today we are discussing Nicky’s anthology Quakes and Storms. Nicky didn’t include a title page with publication info in the book, but based on the introduction, I’m guessing that this book came out in 2005.

Todd: You mean the rambling, incoherent, ungrammatical introduction?

JENNY: Heh. Yes, that one. The back cover copy is even worse. It has lines like, "Do not photocopy...the contents of this publication unless given kind permission is given by the authors or editors involed with the project" and, "Proceeds of this anthology goes..."

Todd: Nicky never was very good at subject-verb agreement.

JENNY: The first version of this cover also used a copyrighted image of a tornado. Nicky didn't check out the source of his photo—

Todd: An amateur publishing error

JENNY: – and has since blamed everyone but himself for the mistake.

Todd: Typical Nicky. But let’s talk about the stories.

JENNY: There is quite a range of quality, but by far the worst "story" -- and I use that term loosely -- is "Utica, Illinois", written by Nicky himself.

Todd: Rambling, incoherent, and ungrammatical?

JENNY: Yeah. All of Nicky’s typical writing problems show up here. The story lacks in any semblance of a plot. He also writes about "horrors" without actually describing them and makes references to what movie the situation is like.

Todd: Doing reviews of his stories has actually become quite easy. We could just cut and paste our last two comments and be done. And just for fun, we could also say that the stories have homoerotic content. Watching Nicky throw tantrums and try to deny that he is gay is pretty entertaining…and I need some entertainment since I gave up Larry.

JENNY: Larry?

Todd: My goat. He’s screwing female goats now, not…well…

JENNY: TMI, Todd. "Any Port in a Storm" was also a very poorly written story. The story takes place on a cruise ship at a never-specified time in a never-specified place. It’s a story without any background or context.

Todd: And without any characterization. Lovecraft would roll over in his grave if he knew that people were writing such bad stuff and calling it a Cthulhu Mythos story.

JENNY: I thought three stood out as better than the rest -- "Half the Storm", "Just Passing Through" and "Peas in a Pod".

Todd: Well just like Publishamerica, Nicky can scrape up a few good submissions. I liked “Peas in a Pod” the best. In that story, a father and son battle a drought that has all but destroyed their farm, while the son tries to reconnect with his father.

JENNY: In “Half the Storm”, two girls explore the bounds of their friendship before, during, and after a hurricane – with tragic consequences. I thought that the author did a good job capturing the fickleness of kids’ friendships. The only major flaw in this story – and it was almost enough for me to not include it in the top three – is that the girls were described as being nine years old, which was about three years too young for the thoughts and actions ascribed to them.

Todd: And “Just Passing Through” had a nice twist at the end and clean writing.

JENNY: But that’s it for the stories that I thought were successful. Other stories had major problems.

Todd: You mean maybe they could have used some editing?

JENNY: Three of the stories fall victim to bad science. In "Element of Surprise", an asteroid strikes the Eastern Seaboard with almost no warning. "The Way Things Were" has both the unexpected eruption of an active volcano AND an unexpected tidal wave hitting -- again -- the Eastern Seaboard. While these events make for good drama, an asteroid can't sneak up on the Earth with our modern capability to monitor the space around us. Likewise, we have systems in place to watch for tsunamis, and active volcanoes tend to have geologists running all over them.

Todd: You know there’s a difference between making stuff up and getting stuff wrong.

JENNY: Exactly. The bad science that occurs in "The Avalanche of St. Aspin" is of a different kind. The author clearly has some knowledge of what makes snow conditions ripe for an avalanche, but she doesn't know what the FCC does, and she seems to have a limited knowledge of airplanes. She also mentions a victim who had third-degree burns over 95% of her body, but who was given a "good chance of survival". Third-degree burns of that extent would be fatal, probably within hours.

Todd: That story would also have benefited from editing. There were a number of misspelled words and grammatical problems, but the author still has a better has a better grasp of English than Nicky.

JENNY: Yes, Nicky is completely ineffective as an editor. You and I could put together a better anthology.

Todd: Now there’s an idea…

JENNY: Many of the stories, however, fell into that middle ground where the writing is neither good nor horrible, but where there are crucial plot problems or the writing just doesn’t grab one’s attention.

Todd: “Feline Intuition” is a good example of that. During a series of earthquakes, a reporter goes to talk to a man who tells him that because all of the cats have left the city, “the big one is coming.” OK, but if the man knows the big one is coming, WHY is he still sitting in his apartment right in the middle of the action? Why isn’t he five hundred miles down the road to safety?

JENNY: Another story in this category is “Earthquake Forces”. In that story, a massive earthquake hits Vancouver and within 30 minutes, the main character can turn on the TV and learn that Vancouver Island is breaking to bits, that the estimated number of dead was 30,000 and climbing, etc. In thirty minutes.

Todd: The non-fiction confused me the most. Nicky says in the intro that there are three non-fiction pieces. However, only one story is labeled – in the sub-title – as non-fiction. That was Macy Wuesthoff’s “As Lost as a Northwest Alabamian in a Snowstorm”. We’re left to guess about the others.

JENNY: I know that Nicky’s “Flood Memoir” is also non-fiction because he’s said elsewhere that it’s true.

Todd: Truly horrible, you mean.

JENNY: Yep. For a review, see our comments above. I think that two other stories are also non-fiction – “Surviving the Palm Sunday Tornado” and “Fire”.

Todd; So Nicky can’t count.

JENNY: Most likely. And I have to say I liked Macy’s story. It was a bit over-written, but I like her sense of humor, and that kept me reading.

Todd: Agreed.

JENNY: So let’s have some final thoughts on the anthology.

Todd: Nicky’s writing and lack of editing bring down the overall quality of anthology. Larry would have done a better job. Maybe Larry and I should co-edit an anthology. Put the submission call up on Ralan and see what happens.

JENNY: Let me know if you do. Unfortunately, I have a hard time recommending this anthology. The few good stories don’t make up for the weaker ones. Most of these authors – Nicky not included – may have potential, but they need time and practice for their writing to mature to the level where the average reader will feel satisfied paying to read their work. Nicky’s writing just plain sucks big hairy donkey balls.

Todd: Don’t say that. You’re getting me hot…

Coming soon to Lulu: A slightly different version of this review -- one without the dialogue.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

House of Spiders - Review

(All quotes used under the "fair use" provisions of U.S. copyright law.)

I thought I would take a stab at another Pacione classic – House of Spiders – the story that spawned two sequels. And what do you know…it was posted at AuthorsDen. How convenient.

The infamous story starts when Joanna Hollins, a 21-year-old college student working on her thesis, gets a telephone call from a reality show. We are told that,

“…it was a calm winter morning within her GrundyCounty home.”

Personally, I’d be a little upset if winter were INSIDE my house. I’d be frantically closing doors and windows and hoping my pipes weren’t frozen, but Joanna just answers the phone. She learns that she has been selected to appear in a reality television program which will be filmed at an abandoned asylum where a doctor killed himself and nurses “became violently ill.” This exact phrase “became/becoming violently ill/sick” is used no fewer than eight times in the story.

The caller won’t give Joanna much in the way of details and tells her that taping will take eight months. What does Joanna do? Ask for more information? Tell the caller that she can’t possibly put her life on hold for eight months for a show about…something? Of course not. Then there wouldn’t be a story. She decides to chuck school, her thesis, work, and her life, and says, “What the hell. I’ll get my husband to do it, too.” Husband Todd writes gothic novels. It’s Marty Sue time again.

OK, so now two people are out of a job for eight months. Think that house will still be there when they get back? Banks (or landlords) and utility companies are kinda funny about getting their payments regularly.

That night, Joanna talks to Todd and…well, the line reads,

“A conversation between her and Todd, and a degree in film making and her husband was a writer of gothic novels.”

So she talked to Todd and a piece of paper? Anyway… Todd repeats what he knows of the asylum, which is pretty much exactly what the caller told Joanna. Yeah, I got the details the first time. Oh wait…then I get the same details a third time as Joanna muses about what she has heard. And I’m only 1200 words into the story.

Jump to a few weeks later. Joanna is packing to leave for the show and narrating a “video journal” in a horribly stilted manner typical of all dialogue in this story. She starts by saying,

“…I don’t know the details of this show that I was selected for but I was told that it would be a documentary type of format.”

It’s weeks later, she’s leaving for eight months, and she still doesn’t know the details? Joanna is now designated TSTL as a horror story heroine, and it will take a lot to redeem her. She wonders how the show got her number, despite the fact that the caller from the show told her that. Joanna has a bad memory as well as bad decision-making skills. She also says she has an “allegory” to bees and that she,

“…cannot begin to describe this though it is something that scares the hell out of [her]…”

I’m not sure what “this” is, but there’s a lot of “can’t describe” in this story. What that really means is that the Nicky can’t describe it – and that is weak writing. Or a cop out. Or both.

Joanna and Todd go to the train station where they are met by employees from the show. The employees, the producer and a cameraman, are in a SUV, however, not on the train. They drive Todd and Joanna to the asylum in the SUV. Now most people go to a train station to catch a TRAIN not an SUV. Why couldn’t the show pick Todd and Joanna up at their house? As Joanna and Todd are driven to the asylum, one of the employees gives yet another summary of the creepy happenings – doctor suicide, nurses ill, etc. That makes four times now; I’m counting.

When they get to the asylum, Todd briefly narrates his own video journal entry. True to Nicky form, Todd says,

“…I don’t even know what I can say of this place but all I can say it has a feel that is all of its own.”

Yep, real descriptive. I bet Todd is a really good author. Not.

When Todd is done narrating, the story resumes,

“…; for the next five months they were going to call the place home. Though the narrative given will be of the first few days, but by the time the entire project was done, no one can begin to find the words to describe what they saw in the place.”

OK, are they going to be there for five months or eight months? And why so long if the show was only going to cover the first few days? Someone ought tell Nicky that saying something defies description DOES NOT make is scary; it just makes it vague.

Joanna has nightmares her first night at the asylum. She dreams about spiders coming out of the walls and attacking her room mates and the “nurses who became violently ill.” The POV ping-pongs from Joanna to a cameraman who “wakes” her. He talks to her in more stilted language, and she sees his hand is bloated from a spider bite. Then, after the word horror/horrified occurs five times in three paragraphs, Joanna wakes for real.

She checks on her husband (he’s OK) and then on her room mate, who is dead and “bloated and puss filled” with puncture wounds on her arm. Being a sensible girl, Joanna doesn’t do anything silly like…oh…call the show producers or EMTs or the police. No, she picks up her camera and makes another video journal entry.

She has apparently become psychic overnight because she knows that the spiders were,

“…what appeared to be the resemblance of vampires,... These were spiders that lived for hundreds of years.”

She runs to get her husband, trailed by the show’s cameraman. I’m not sure where he came from; he just appears. He can’t be bothered to call emergency services either. They reach Todd’s room and find another spider sucking on Todd’s room mate. I’m a little unclear about the spiders – because they are never described beyond “spiders” – but how scary can one spider be? How much blood could a spider suck if a spider could suck blood?

Todd wakes, sees the spider and camera, and says…

“…I cannot believe they caught that on tape; I wonder if they are actually going to air this…”

then lectures Joanna about what he knows about the spiders (Todd has apparently turned psychic also). That’s it? No “what the hell is that?” No expression of outrage, shock, disgust, any other normal human reaction? Maybe it’s a tiny little spider.

He tells Joanna they need to get out of there and to go get everything she came in with. More WTF? Todd’s got serious priority issues. The spiders are presented as scary, and if scary blood-sucking spiders were looking at me as dinner, I sure as hell wouldn’t worry about a few personal items. I’d be out the front door faster than the wind in one of Nicky’s unnamed, Category 6 storms. If the spiders are small – and thus NOT scary -- then why not just squish them?

Todd also tells Joanna that he saw the nurse (one of the room mates) in a web somewhere, so they have to rescue her before they leave. Huh? Just when was he going to tell the others the nurse was in trouble? They just woke Todd from a sound sleep, so he must have seen the nurse before he fell asleep. And he didn’t tell anyone before bedding down for the night? I’m lost. Either Todd’s a callous ass or a psychic.

So they go get the nurse. The cameraman continues to film instead of helping out in a LIFE OR DEATH situation, the doctor’s ghost makes a deux ex machina appearance, some other stupid stuff happens, and they finally get out of the building. The show producer meets them, and it finally occurs to Todd to call for an ambulance. They drive off, not waiting for the ambulance or to see if anyone else makes it out. I’m back to voting for callous ass.

Todd imparts some final words of wisdom, cementing this as a Marty Sue.

Arachnophobia, this is not.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Spectral Exile - Review

The original post title was "Spectral Exile AKA A Marty Sue). If you read the opening 800 words or so of Spectral Exile, you'll see what I mean when I call it a Marty Sue. (I can't really call it a Mary Sue for obvious gender reasons.) I've since learned the correct term is Gary Stu.

Some random thoughts on the worst story I've read in a long, long, long, long, long, long time:

Just for fun I did a count of certain words that Nicky likes to use: gruesome - 5 occurrences, observer - 7 occurrences, blood - 15 occurrences (yikes!), horror - 20 occurrences (double yikes!). Someone buy Nicky a thesaurus. Oh, wait. That might make his writing even more incoherent.

Number of different POV's in one story: Um...I lost count.

Largest number of different POV's in one paragraph: Two

Most redundant sentence: ""What the hell is happening,” one of the patrons watched, wondering what the hell was going on." And I'm not even going to mention the incorrect punctuation of the dialogue. This would have been even funnier if it had read: ""What the hell is happening,” one of the patrons watched, wondering what the hell was happening."

Best example of how using several words where one would do just makes Nicky look stupid: "...but they said she was sick from extreme cold exposure." -- Say it with me: hy-po-ther-mi-a

Best example of "huh?": "The cameraman was covered in blood from ducking the projectile mug" -- They were throwing cups of blood? (actually they weren't, so this makes no sense)

Best example of the schmuck not knowing how things are done in the real world: "...[the EMT] screams, “try to find a phone so we can call dispatch." Sheesh, Nicky seems to have ridden in enough ambulances to know that first responders -- including EMT's, paramedics, etc -- carry radios.

Best example of a completely fucked up sentence: The EMT was wrapping her head would and carried her over to the stretcher then told her to go lay down. 1) For verbs, we have "was wrapping", "carried", and "told". Not exactly parallel construction. 2) Spell check fails Nicky again. This is why you have to know enough to spell check your stories yourself, Nicky, rather than relying on the computer. And don't even get me started on how useless Word's grammar checker is. 3) Why did the EMT bother to lay her down in one place if he wanted her to lay elsewhere? Why not just put her elsewhere?

Examples of Nicky's idea of noun/pronoun agreement (there were MANY more examples of this):

"I guess it is always true that when a horror writer steps out, they’ve become an observer of the strange and haunting."

"I started to see them freak out even more when they noticed one of the patrons had their hand chopped off as the door closed on them."

And Nicky thinks he doesn't need Strunk & White...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Schmuck Named Pacione

A while back, I ran into this illiterate schmuck named Nickolaus Pacione on a web site for horror writing. Nick thinks he's hot stuff, and you are damned a thousand vulgar ways if you try to tell him any differently -- which I did. I also told him that just because some random person with a Lulu account thinks Nick's stories are good enough to publish, that doesn't mean that I think they are good enough to publish.

Now Nick's a little pissed. He says in his most recent Xanga blog entry:

"I am dealing with a new shithead on the board that published one of my stories, and this twat thinks that she is above all the small press operations. ... One of those cunts goes by the name of horrorgal on the site. She seems to have a habit of ruining it for people who enjoy the story, and picked up a new friend in some of my dipshit enemies."

Nick's got a serious reading comprehension problem.

Here's what Nick had to say (in part) in a PM to me on the horror writing site:

"...I started a small press because of and got some strong authors on board, so you got a lot of gall to think the small press is below you. What the hell are you some kind of mass market snob? The hell with that elements of style book, I got my horror education from the H.P. Lovecraft, and you need to really look at writers who don't even look at a crappy book like that."

My response (in part):

"I never said small press was bad. Don't put words in my mouth. Small press can be good or bad, depending on the editor. And a small press run by an editor who doesn't recognize spelling and grammar mistakes and poor storytelling is not a small press whose products I will buy. Ever. Unfortunately, that now includes anything put out by you. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is."

His responses went downhill from there. To show just how much I value his opinion, here is his response - disemvoweled (a procedure originating on Making Light and used for generally offensive comments that add nothing to the discussion):

"Wht thrty y hv t sy sck thn, why dn't y pt n f yr strs n th chppng blck y cwrdly btch?

I bt y rd frml hcks lk Brn Kn nd Mry Sngvnn. m rtd n th thrs tht prdt Stphn Kng, y gnrnt cw. Kn scks nd Sngvnn hts nyn wh wll tll hr tht sh dsn't hv hr hrt n th gnr whch m thnkng th sm abt y. Hw d knw tht y'r jst nthr n-nm hck wh hsn't md t yt? 'v nlzd th gnr lng ngh t sy knw th fck wll m dng, dn't nd stck p sshl t s tht, nd y rng nw r stck p btch.

f y r syng nd t stdy ths tw, thn n thnk y. stdd Chr Prst's wrk t, nd rd sm thrs wh r t f my gnrtn nd wrkd wth gd nmbr f thm s pblshr. S bfr y g blstng n m s pblshr, tk lk t sm f th thrs n rstrs. Thy r sm f th bst n th bsnss. Y hv n vsn fr hrrr, nd y dn't knw shr crtvty whn y s t."

My favorite highly-appropriate mispelling in the above text is the line, "I've analized the genre long enough..." I'm sure he meant analyzed, but...