Jonathan Pinnock - Writer of Stuff


Month: September 2009 (page 1 of 2)

Men Behaving Badly Again

Another plagiarism scandal broke last night, and – rather excitingly – those of us on Twitter were able to watch it unfold in real time. I was immediately instructed to blog about it for the VWC by our beloved chairman, so I sat down and produced this. I must admit to being totally baffled by this latest case – how did he hope to get away with it? I guess the unpalatable answer is that he clearly did get away with it for quite some time. Git.

What Today’s Well-Dressed Mind Parasite is Wearing

fifty-two_stitchesSnappy title, huh? My second piece in Fifty-Two Stitches is now up. And of course it’s in the anthology as well – but you’ve already bought that, haven’t you? This was yet another piece that emerged from the Café Doom Weekly Flash Challenge.

Tweet the Meat

steak_biggerAfter three unsuccessful attempts, I’ve finally sold a story to Tweet the Meat. Yes, I said “sold”, as I did indeed get paid $1 for it. Story? Can a piece under 140 characters really qualify as a story? Of course it can. If you’re on Twitter (and if not, why not?) I seriously recommend following @tweetthemeat. There’s some impressive stuff there, and you’ll be in the company of (at the last count) 4782 others.

Which is one of my bigger audiences, come to think of it.

Mid-Life Crisis

… is now up at the excellent Boston Literary Magazine. Don’t think the direct link works, so you’ll have to scroll about halfway down the page. This one arose out of a SlingInk monthly poetry challenge, where as far as I remember, it did pretty poorly. Which only goes to show that tastes do vary (especially in poetry) – and that’s obviously a good thing.

Unforgettable Fire: THE STIRRED POeT

My copy of this excellent anthology, containing the highest-scoring entries from a TWI competition held earlier on this year, arrived today. I’d put up a picture of it (‘cos once again the cover designer has excelled himself), but Lulu refuses to let me capture a JPEG. You can, however, take a look here. And whilst you’re there, why not buy a copy or two – more excellent Christmas (or holiday of your choice) presents for your loved ones?

My sole contribution to it is a rather daft piece of satirical verses entitled “This is How We  Deal with Illegal Aliens in Alaska”, describing Sarah Palin’s encounter with an extra-terrestrial. I am slightly proud of this couplet:

So I’ve milked the moose and walked the huskies,

and kept an eye on those pesky Russkies.

Love and Loss, Swedish Style

… is now up at Ink, Sweat and Tears. No prizes for guessing which furniture superstore inspired it. But here’s a clue, in case you need one:

“What good are ghosts if they don’t haunt you?” is possibly my favourite line of all time.

By the Way …

… something important happened a couple of weeks ago that I really should have mentioned, in that I seem to have acquired myself an agent in the shape of the redoubtable Kate Nash. For some reason she seems to think that the current WiP has what I believe are referred to as “legs”, and has taken it upon herself to convince the market that this is indeed the case. As you may imagine, I am rather excited about this. The only problem is that the flipside of the deal is that I have to finish the bloody thing.

In other news, I’d like to reassure the many thousands of you who have been scanning the new fall edition of the Boston Literary Magazine in order to read my poem “Mid-Life Crisis” that its absence is due to a temporary glitch on their part and will be rectified shortly.

The Terror of Miskatonic Falls

Back in the mists of time (around April if I remember correctly), the following remarkably detailed call for submissions was reprinted on the Café Doom forum:

Submissions Call for Shroud Publishing Poetry Anthology – The Terror of Miskatonic Falls 

When the snows fell hard this past year, the entire Northeast buckled down for a long, cold winter. Among the states affected most was Massachusetts, and one of the places hit worst was a town located in its northeast region – a small hamlet named Miskatonic Falls. Situated inside the Miskatonic Valley Region, there’s only one way in and out. Both were blocked off by heavy snows. 

With few connections to neighboring towns – all of which are ten miles away in either direction – with power and telephone lines down, Miskatonic Falls had been cut off from the outside world for more than a month when the Miskatonic County Police Department received a garbled call from a pay phone at the town’s only diner. The call consisted of bursts of static, whistles, unearthly cries, and one whispered phrase “…itum insania…ventum.” Scholars at nearby Miskatonic University identified it as Latin, roughly translated as: “…the walking madness…has come.” 

Investigators arrive to find an empty town. There are signs of violence, mayhem, bloodshed…even perversion and sadism….but everyone has vanished, without a trace. The mystery deepens when repeated references to the “long man” appear, in abandoned diaries, recovered emails and cell-phone texts, and in graffiti on walls that read: “BEHOLD! THE LONG MAN COMETH!” 

What has happened to the people of Miskatonic Falls? What menace has wiped them off the Earth? Who is the “long man”, and what does “…the walking madness” mean? The world may never know. There are no answers, only questions…and this anthology. 

What are we looking for? Poetry, between 8 – 34 lines. Any style is acceptable, HOWEVER: consider the poem’s rhythm and clarity. Avoid “word play.” The poem must make sense and have narrative qualities. Also, with rhyming poems: structure always makes it better. Think sonnets. 

Subject: the town’s dissolution into madness and disappearance, but as it relates to its townspeople. Husbands, wives. Lovers, co-workers. Fellow students, shopkeepers, priests and constables. As the end approached, what did they think? Feel? Experience? Fear? Hate? Think “Spoon River Anthology”, by Edward Lee Masters. However, don’t mimic its style – written in the ’30s as a collection of tombstone epitaphs. Absorb its essence – people speaking beyond the grave – and apply it the anthology’s situation. 

We don’t want answers or conclusions. Vague references are fine, but we only want to know what their lives were like as the end drew near. That having been said, for further clarification, the anthology will be split into three “cantos” (sections, chapters), submissions depending: 

Canto I: Ventum Veni, The Madness Comes 
Canto II: Ventum Dilato, The Madness Spreads 
Canto III: Ventum Voro Nos, The Madness Consumes 

Important things: We want first print rights to your poem. After publication, the rights revert to you. No reprints. New poems only, please. Multiple submissions are allowed, but only up to three at any one time. The Terror of Miskatonic Falls will be published as a trade paperback. 

What you get: 1 cent a word and a contributor’s copy. The paperback copy of the book will be sent to you upon or shortly after the book’s official release date. Payment is based on final word count from the final edited copy of the poem, so once your poem is ready for print, payment will be sent to you via either check or Paypal. 

What to send to us: Please send your poem(s) in standard manuscript format: Courier 12pt, double-spaced, with any italicized words underlined. Also include your name and contact information on the first page as well as your name in the upper right corner of any subsequent pages. Don’t forget to also number your pages. Please follow these guidelines to the letter. Submissions that don’t will be automatically rejected. 

Where to send it: send all submissions as .doc or .rtf files via email to with the words “Terror of Miskatonic Falls Submission” in the subject line. 

When to send it by: Reading period starts right away and ends when full. You will be notified within two months of your submission regarding acceptance, possibly sooner.

Which sounded massively cool to me. So I wrote something, called it “The Beast in the Cellar” and sent it off to them. A month or so later I received a provisional acceptance, and today it was made formal, with the piece now re-titled “Cellar Beast”. I’m really pleased about this, partly because The Shroud is a prestigious publication, but mainly because it’s clearly a labour of love on the part of the editor, Kevin Lucia. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Another One at Ink, Sweat and Tears

Sent my poem “Love and Loss, Swedish Style” to IS&T last night and received an acceptance this morning, Charles Christian being as quick as ever to respond. I do like IS&T.

Fifty-Two Stitches Now Available

51NuvmbEHiL._SL500_AA240_The excellent Fifty-Two Stitches anthology is now available on Amazon (only on for the moment, as far as I can tell). Loads of good stuff in there by loads of good people. Oh, and me. But I’d recommend it even if I wasn’t in it.

I would, you know.

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