Saturday, December 4, 2010

Market Square

I hope this post finds everyone still more or less sane with the holidays fast approaching. Personally, things haven't slowed down much on the writing, editing, and marketing front, but I wanted to take a moment and throw up a few quick links you might want to check out.

First, you'll notice that I stuck the new trailer for Umbral Visions at the top of the blog. It's nice and creepy, just like the book, so I hope you'll take a minute to give it a watch. If you'd like to help me out with my guerrilla marketing for the book, then post the link from YouTube wherever you find fans of dark fiction:

Second, my friend and frequent collaborator Ahimsa Kerp did an interview with me about Umbral Visions, my band Wheel House, and writing and general. It's quite a good interview, if I'm allowed to say so, and you can find it at his blog, Be Obscure Clearly. Beyond my interview, Ahi's blog is a great site to visit for fans of fantasy and horror fiction in general. I highly recommend it.

That's all for now. Back to writing and editing. Cheers!

-Garrett Calcaterra

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Buried in Books!

It's been a busy last several weeks. I announced the release of the e-book version of Umbral Visions in my last post. Now, I'm happy to announce that the paperback edition of Umbral Visions is also available for purchase. The book—in both paperback and e-book formats—is available directly from the publisher and most major on-line retailers, including Amazon. It's a great book, if I do say so myself, and I hope you'll find it worthy to part with a few of your hard-earned dollars. Click on the book cover to the right to find purchasing info.

In addition to the release of Umbral Visions, I've gotten some news from a big agent on my novel Dreamwielder. The agent particularly liked the first half, but had some issues with the second half and requested revisions. While it's not exactly what I was hoping to hear (I was hoping to hear that the book was perfect, of course), it's nonetheless encouraging news, and I begrudgingly have to agree that the agent's critiques are pretty spot on. My goal is to make the changes in the next month and send the manuscript back to him.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Umbral Visions is here!

I'm happy to announce that the e-book version of Umbral Visions is here. You can purchase the book for Kindle, iPad, your home computer, or any other e-book reader, for a paltry $4.99 (less than a stiff drink at your local watering hole!). The PDF is available directly from the publisher, the Kindle format is available from Amazon, or you can find an assortment of formats from

For those of you who prefer traditional books, hold tight--the trade paper back should be available in the next week or two.

As always, thanks so much for everyone's support and encouragement. If you'd like to further help out with the success of this book, please rate and review the book at

-Garrett Calcaterra

Purchase Umbral Visions now:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Work, work, work. Work, work, work.

Between working on freelance book editing projects and the start of school, I've been damn busy this last month. In addition to the four creative writing high school classes I teach, I'm teaching two creative non-fiction courses at Chapman University this semester. I've got a great batch of students at both schools, and besides having gobs of papers to grade, I can't complain.

Despite this busyness, I've actually had a productive month on the writing front as well. Two stories I've been shopping around for a while found a home this month and both are available free on-line. The first, “Robbie,” is a sci-fi/horror flash fiction story. You can check it out on The New Flesh.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sailing the Black Seas

On July 27th, I got a call asking if I was available to head out for thirty days to the Gulf of Mexico and perform air testing associated with the BP oil spill cleanup effort. I used to do air sampling work full-time, and still work with my old company on occasion doing odd jobs and technical writing work, so it wasn't a matter of qualification that gave me pause. Neither was it the opportunity to see the oil spill first hand. Rather, it was the prospect of packing up and leaving my life as I know it for thirty days to go live on a barge that made the decision very difficult. After consulting with my girlfriend, family, and house mates—and getting plenty of assurance from them all that they could maintain things without me for a month—I decided it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

All Work and No Play...

Yikes, it's been nearly two months since my last post. Between finishing up the semester of teaching, getting grades in, sneaking in a quick vacation (3 days is all), and getting to work on a freelance book editing project, I've sort of lost track of time. Hopefully, I haven't forgotten how to write.
Not much has happened on the writing front since my last post. I managed to write one flash fiction piece for an anthology, and tried my hand at sports journalism—that's it. The flash piece came out fine, I suppose, and the sports article came out good {I think), but I definitely learned that I'm not cut out for journalism. News publications expect quick turn around times and a lot of articles. I'm a bit too deliberate and slow in my writing, it turns out, and with all my other commitments, I just couldn't keep up. For what it's worth, here's the link to the one article I wrote: RON ARTEST THE ONLY PLAYER SACRAMENTO KINGS FANS CAN ROOT FOR IN FINALS? It's a bit dated now and geared towards Kings fans, so take it or leave it.
That's it on the writing front. No new bites from agents on Dreamwielder, the agent for This Book is Sh*t! hasn't had any luck either, and I've done nothing for the last month except do editing work on someone else's book. It's sort of depressing really, and it's gotten me thinking about how I make money (it's not with my own writing, let me tell you! [at least, not yet]). Teaching is my bread and butter during the school year, and I supplement that with freelance writing and editing work, and some random handyman gigs here and there. Then, in the summer, it's whatever I can scrape up. None of it pays well and I'm usually scraping by one paycheck or invoice to the next, but the bigger problem is that teaching writing and doing writing/editing work for other people sort of burns out my writing fuse. I love writing, but after spending ten hours on the computer copy editing, I certainly don't want to spend another few hours working on my own stuff.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On the Cusp...

It's been an exciting month. As I mentioned in my last post, I've been hunting for agents for both Dreamwielder and This Book is Sh*t! After an initial quick response and request for sample chapters from one of my top agent picks for Dreamwielder, all's been quiet on that front. However, I did find an agent to shop the This Book is Sh*t! proposal to book publishers in New York, and even more exciting, the Baldairn Motte book I worked on with Craig Comer and Ahimsa Kerp has been picked up by L&L Dreamspell. The three of us just inked the contract, and if all goes according to schedule, The Roads to Baldairn Motte will be coming out as a trade paperback and multi-format e-book in the second quarter of 2011!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Taking Care of Business

Well, it's been well over a month and a half since my last post, but I can honestly say I've not been idle. After finishing the first draft of Dreamwielder, I needed to take some time away from it for two purposes: 1) to give my peer reviewers a chance to read the damn thing, and 2) to give myself some distance so I could come back and look at the book with more objectivity.

So during that time I banged out the book proposal for This Book is Sh*t!, sent out the first batch of query letters to agents for This Book is Sh*t!, drew my map for Dreamwielder, and drafted my query letter for Dreamwielder. By then, the feedback was in from my reviewers and I turned my attention to revisions. There weren't any catastrophic problems with the first draft, and I actually enjoy the revision phase, so it went pretty fast. Most of the revision work consisted of fleshing out character motivation, ironing out some dialogue, and adding in scenes that were previously only summarized. All in all, I added about 3,500 new words to the book (knocking it up to 86,500 words), and the resulting product is 100X better. I'd like to officially thank my reviewers: Ahimsa Kerp, Eric Tryon, Mandy Burke, Craig Comer, my Aunt Linda, and my mother, Shirley Phillips. The critiques and suggestions they offered were critical in taking the book to the next level.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Up Yours, Chapter 32!

I am finally, finally done with the first draft of Dreamwielder. The climatic chapter was a beast to write. I spent damn near 20 hours on the single chapter alone, including one grueling 13-hour stint Saturday night where I nearly made it to the end, but fizzled out.

I make a habit of emailing myself the novel manuscript every time I add to it or make significant changes (just to make sure I have a back-up copy), and here's the transcript of my e-mail to myself when I finally crapped out early Sunday morning:


from Garrett Calcaterra
to gcalcaterra
date Sun, Feb 7, 2010 at 5:46 AM
subject Dreamwielder


Fuck. 32... alolst


Attch: Dreamwielder.doc 995K

Monday, February 1, 2010

I'm Somebody!

It's official: "The Key Ring" was voted Best Horror Short Story of 2009 in the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll! Thanks to everyone who voted and passed on the word to others. I have to say, this is way better than just being in the phone book.

Anyhow, I'm hoping to get "The Key Ring" published in a stand alone book with another novella I wrote a while back, "The Shadow." The book is tentatively titled Umbral Visions, and I'm sending out query letters as we speak. I'll be sure to make it known if I get any bites.

In the meantime, I'm finishing up work on Dreamwielder and am still taking submission for This Book is Sh*t! I have accepted about six non-fiction pieces for the poop anthology so far and will begin searching for a publisher as soon as I wrap up Dreamwielder (hopefully by the end of next weekend).

That's all for now. I'm off to send out those query letters and prep for my awesome Zombies in Film & Literature class I teach this afternoon.

Thanks again and cheers!

-Garrett Calcaterra

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mutterings at 3 AM after ten days straight of writing...

Well, I gave it one hell of an effort (as far as these things are quantifiable). I had hoped to finish the first draft of my novel, Dreamwielder, during this week off from teaching, but it turns out my novel is going to be a good deal longer than I anticipated. I wrote every day, including three excessively long binge sessions (two of which were matched minute for minute by my buddy Eric Tryon), and cranked out an impressive 36,000 words in ten days. It's not quite Stephen King numbers, but pretty good for me. Especially considering the novel was only sitting at 39,193 words when I picked it up last Friday. It's even more impressive considering I only wrote forty some thousand words of new original material in all of last year combined. The current running total for my novel is 75,091 words, and I have two more chapter to write... I think.

To be perfectly honest, I think the last few chapter are rushed, and I will probably go back to the beginning of the novel to run through the entirety of it before writing the finale. It's a little disappointing to not be finished, but I can't be sad. I'm close, and there was always much work to be done in the revision phase anyhow.

So, that's that. I'll have more news soon, but I'm a bit too delirious at the moment. I'll just say that it looks as if everyone's votes have put my story "The Key Ring" into first place for the Preditors & Editors reader's poll for best horror short story, and also put my story "The Missionary" in contention for print publication in Golden Visions. Thank you all so much for your support and votes. I'll let you know more soon enough when I hear the official voting results, and I will also update everyone on the This Book is Sh*t! project.

Until then... here's me passing out.

-Garrett Calcaterra

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I need your votes!

I'm not usually such a big cheerleader for myself, but my novella "The Key Ring" is in the running for the Preditors & Editors award for best horror short story. It's a reader's poll, so that means readers decide by voting.

So give me a V! Give me an O! Give me a T! Give me an E! Vote, vote, vote! I'm looking to package "The Key Ring" with my novella "The Shadow" as a stand alone book, and winning this award would certainly make publishers take more notice, so spread the word. Pwetty pwease?

You can vote here (scroll down to "K" for "Key Ring"):

And incidentally, Arkham Tales, the publisher, just got bought out by Leucrota Press, so the story has moved to a new website. You can find "The Key Ring" in Issue #2, downloadable here:


-Garrett Calcaterra

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2009: Totally Uninspiring

Here's my 2009 Writing Totals

New short stories, non-fiction articles, and screenplay shorts written: 7
New Chapters for Dreamwielder written: 9
Total word count of new writing: 45,500
Short story and non-fiction article submissions sent out: 105
Acceptances: 6 (2 print, 4 on-line)
Number of hair-brain ideas scrapped before coming to fruition: 4,359 (estimated)
Dollars spent on liquor and beer: I don't want to know

All in all, a sub par year. I blew by my self-imposed deadline for finishing Dreamwielder and have failed to keep up pace with a highly successful 2008 in which I wrote, submitted, and published way more.

I bid you good day, 2009! Here's to a better 2010 for everyone.

-Garrett Calcaterra