Search

Leo X. Robertson

News of my latest publications, events, and episodes of the Losing the Plot podcast!

Tag

must read

New Losing the Plot, with Scott Hadley!

Scott Manley Hadley is an author, blogger, book reviewer—and Losing the Plot alumnus! We talk about poetry, happiness and Pierce Brosnan.

His debut poetry collection, “Bad Boy Poet”, is available for preorder now.

We talk about his blog post on turning 30, which you can find here.

His blog here.
YouTube channel here.
Find his book reviews on Open Pen here.

Check out his first Losing the Plot episode here.

As always, if you’re a reader, writer, creative type, someone with something to say, you can always get in touch with me using losingtheplotpodcast [at] gmail [dot] com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Marshall, who provided Losing the Plot’s intro music, has a new album out! Check out “MARS HALL” at Captain Crook Records!

All of the news!

As is so common in the writing world, nothing happens for a long time and then loads happens at once.

Here’s what I’ve been up to of late:

  • I was on the Horror with Marchese & Buller podcast
  • I woke up at 04:30 this morning to appear on the Deadman’s Tome podcast. Which explains why we talked about moon Jedis, Scandinavian hallucinogenic mushrooms and washing feet, among other things!
  • (On both these podcasts, we discuss my upcoming release, Jesus of Scumburg [Hindered Souls Press, Dec 25th 2018])
  • Steve Pool interviewed me on my own podcast, Losing the Plot! It was his much-appreciated suggestion, and we had an interesting chat thanks to his efforts and well-considered questions.
  • Kendall Reviews will feature an interview with me some time this week (no sign yet, but I’ll post about it when there is. Do check out the site in the meantime!)
  • Unnerving and Deadman’s Tome had sales recently, which I’ve tweeted about etc. before, though I think they’ve ended now. Still, as good a time as any to check out the content from these great publishers!
  • The Anti-Austerity anthology, which I had a piece in with many other talented writers, reached #4 on Amazon for fiction anthologies. And Penguin-published author Kit de Waal bought a copy too.

I’m somewhat keen to reassure the writers reading this that news comes and goes in waves, and that I’ve been quietly writing and submitting and chatting to folk for months nay years to make this kinda stuff transpire. But the main point of the post is, 1) Check out all this great stuff and support these cool people, and 2) This is far from the last you’ll hear of me 😀

A quality checklist for writers

I’ve read a lot of fiction, written a lot of it too, and I’ve also given/conducted podcast interviews.

As a result of these endeavours, I came up with a checklist to identify areas in which I can improve. I thought you’d find it useful too!

  1. Is this entertaining/interesting? If not, what purpose does it serve? (I don’t know if there is another valid purpose, but I doubt it!)
  2. Am I expressing what I truly believe or is it rather what I want to be read/heard stating that I believe? (Often different.)
  3. And to that end, if I find myself giving impassioned exhortations about global/social issues, how much of a personal stake do I have in these debates? Have I any real-world examples of when this issue affected me, or am I just setting up straw men—in someone else’s battleground?

Here’s an example: look at most of that Count Dankula guy’s videos.

He became embroiled in a free speech argument that’s super important—but as for his content, so much of it is riding trends rather than original opinions. In which case, what does he add to any of these conversations but their regurgitation in a Scottish accent? Is that really how he’s supposed to use his time? Is that the best he can do?

Or look at this video by (conservative vlogger?) Theryn Meyer, where she has realised the consequences, for her soul and that of others, of bandwagon-riding.

The point is: What is bothering YOU, not someone else? What is closest to home?

The idea, of formulating your own opinions and observing your environment (starting locally) with scrutiny, is daunting—but exactly how else would you describe your task?

  1. Am I outright stating something I read elsewhere? In which case I should cite the reference, unless I have added something to it or rephrased it in a way that I would express. If you don’t have your own way of adding to a particular conversation, that’s okay—life is so big, and we’re all learning always—as long as you admit it. In other words: Whereof I cannot speak, thereof am I silent? (Wittgenstein 😉 )
  2. To that end, on occasions when I am implored to offer a comment on a particular issue, do I find myself resorting to the same arguments from a small number of books I read/things I heard too long ago? These are then the most pressing areas of weakness to work on next (if they are also areas of interest.)
  3. Am I capable of writing as if no one is reading/ speaking as if no one is listening? In other words, can I face/present pure ME?!

If this seems odd, or even scary, here’s the caveat: The inherent bias here, if you can call it that, is my interest in you and your work—not in what anyone else wants you/your work to be. Not even what I would want it to be, but what it actually IS.

I unashamedly hope you develop in yourself sensors that pick up when any of these questions are relevant. Ask them and rectify any instance wherever the answer doesn’t satisfy you.

I hope the benefit to your immortal soul is so great that it trumps your desire to satisfy the demands of a large audience or market forces.

Here’s an example of that:

Charlie Kaufman is an unabashed favourite of mine.

(Before I continue, we can use this admission as an example of how to comply to the checklist: “How does this standard white guy choice represent YOU, Leo? Aren’t you violating your own rules?”

To that I would answer: I will risk being seen as cliché because I’m assured of how his work relates to me personally—therefore maybe it doesn’t outwardly appear a non-cliched choice but it meets my own criteria, so I’m satisfied and that’s fine. Plus, he’s part of a healthy artistic diet of others, a mix from a sufficiently large pool, which looks like no one else’s.

That’s all I’m asking you to think about with this checklist. Maybe you won’t end up changing anything about your speech/writing etc. You probably won’t in most instances—even so, an internal quality check will make you/your work/your assertions stronger.)

Anyway, his last film, “Anomalisa”, didn’t make its money back—which doesn’t surprise me too much, unfortunately. By most standards, it’s weird and dark and perhaps too depressing. Even so, what you can say about that film and few others is, “I’ve never experienced that before and now I can’t get it out my head.”

Off the top of my head, here are some other writers who, appear to fulfil these criteria: Sheila Heti, Clarice Lispector, Philip Roth, Vladimir Nabokov. I could go on and on and on! But whatever you might want to say about them, what they all have in common is that I know their names and they were at the forefront of my brain when pressed for the names of originals.

And that’s what I want for you—because that’s what you’re supposed to be.

I’ve said this before: if your goal as a writer, as a human being, is to be the next Stephen King, get in line. Your ticket is #20345. (With ticket #1? Stephen King himself. He’s still the current Stephen King. With ticket #2 is his son, and both of them combined are far more than enough for most.)

If it’s to be the next Stephen King meets—I don’t know, Tom Clancy: congratulations! Your place is now #1023.

If you want to be the first you, your ticket number is #1. Thank God you’re here! We’ve been waiting for you! Right this way. I hope you weren’t too difficult to find…

Write in your own vein. EXIST in your own vein. Strip away anxiety and futility as you push yourself towards uniqueness, towards a place of zero competition.

Good luck!!

New Losing the Plot, with Greg F. Gifune!

Greg F. Gifune is the author of numerous short stories, several novels and two short story collections.

His latest books are:

  • “Dangerous Boys” out with Down & Out Books. It tells the story of a group of young punks, living in Bedford, Massachusetts, with nothing left to lose, and:
  • “A Winter Sleep”, out with Independent Legions Publishing. It’s a work of surreal dark fiction about haunted hotel on the outskirts of a forgotten town, where a bizarre group of tenants guard a horrible secret.

Be on the lookout also for the 15th anniversary edition of “The Bleeding Season” now out with Journalstone.

We talk about Massachusetts, the difficulty of writing and shiny happy people!

Dangerous Boys

A Winter Sleep

The Bleeding Season 15th Anniversary Edition

Twitter

Goodreads

Amazon

As always, if you’re a reader, writer, creative type, someone with something to say, you can always get in touch with me using losingtheplotpodcast [at] gmail [dot] com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Marshall, who provided Losing the Plot’s intro music, has a new album out! Check out “MARS HALL” at Captain Crook Records!

Madeleine Swann and Gary Buller return for new Losing the Plot!

In a Losing the Plot first, two guests return for a triple-chat catch up! We talk YouTube drama, markets for submissions, BizarroCon and more!

Madeleine Swann’s “Fortune Box” will be out with Eraserhead Press on the 1st of June. Info on her website here.

Gary Buller’s latest stories can be found here and here, and his website is here.

As always, if you’re a reader, writer, creative type, someone with something to say, you can always get in touch with me using losingtheplotpodcast [at] gmail [dot] com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Intro music provided by Marshall Riley. Check out his latest album, “Bummer”, at Captain Crook Records!

captaincrookrecords.bandcamp.com/album/bummer

New Losing the Plot, with A.A. Medina!

A.A. Medina is the author of the novella “Siphon”, a “vampire story without the vampire”, out now with Hindered Souls Press; and also the short story collection “ITCH.” He and Dustin Schyler Yoak are the co-owners of Aphotic Realm, a literary magazine for strange and sinister stories. Issue 3, “Classified”, comes out in March. He also designs and develops tabletop games for MoonMarketGames.

Amongst many other things, we talk about punk, loss, and celebrating the success of others! (And if you listen to the very end, his punk band Kama-Mara play us out with their song, “Antipathy”! It’s super cool!!)

Find “Siphon” here:

https://www.amazon.com/Siphon-Medina/dp/0692980210/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1518968695&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=siphon+medina

“ITCH” here:

https://www.amazon.com/ITCH-Collection-Short-Stories-Medina-ebook/dp/B0793LVYL1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518968728&sr=8-1&keywords=itch++medina

“Aphotic Realm” here:

http://aphoticrealm.com/

Check out his website here:

https://uglyandhorrible.wordpress.com/

As always, if you’re a reader, writer, creative type, someone with something to say, you can always get in touch with me using losingtheplotpodcast [at] gmail [dot] com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Intro music provided by Marshall Riley. Check out his latest album, “Bummer”, at Captain Crook Records!

captaincrookrecords.bandcamp.com/album/bummer

New Losing the Plot, with Joe Ponepinto!

Joe Ponepinto is the founding publisher and fiction editor of Tahoma Literary Review, a nationally recognized literary journal that has had selections reproduced in Best American Poetry, Best American Essays, Best Small Fictions, and other notable anthologies. He is the winner of the Tiferet: Literature, Art & the Creative Spirit 2016 fiction contest, and has had stories published in dozens of literary journals in the U.S. and abroad. A New Yorker by birth, he has lived in a variety of locations around the country, and now resides in Washington State with his wife, Dona, and Henry the coffee-drinking dog.

We talk about his comedic political satire novel, “Mr Neutron” (out in March from 7.13 Books), literary magazines, and sugardaddy courses for creative writers.

Find “Mr Neutron” here:
www.amazon.com/Mr-Neutron-Joe-Po…nto/dp/0998409243

Check out his website here:
joeponepinto.com/

As always, if you’re a reader, writer, creative type, someone with something to say, you can always get in touch with me using losingtheplotpodcast [at] gmail [dot] com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Intro music provided by Marshall Riley. Check out his latest album, “Bummer”, at Captain Crook Records!
captaincrookrecords.bandcamp.com/album/bummer

New Losing the Plot, with Vincent Chu!

Vincent Chu was born in Oakland, California. His fiction has appeared in PANK Magazine, East Bay Review and Pithead Chapel, among others. We discuss his fantastic debut collection, “Like A Champion”, the many paths of writers, and the cultural significance of worldstarhiphop.com!

Preorder “Like A Champion” here:

https://www.amazon.com/Like-Champion-Vincent-Chu/dp/099840926X

Follow Vincent on Twitter @herrchu

Check out his blog here:

http://vincentchufiction.tumblr.com/

As always, if you’re a reader, writer, creative type, someone with something to say, you can always get in touch with me using losingtheplotpodcast [at] gmail [dot] com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Intro music provided by Marshall Riley. Check out his latest album, “Bummer”, at Captain Crook Records!

https://captaincrookrecords.bandcamp.com/album/bummer

New Losing the Plot, with Douglas Light!

We’re back with a corker of a first guest for 2018!

Douglas Light is a highly accomplished author. His latest novel, Where Night Stops, comes out February 13th with Rare Bird Books. He cowrote The Trouble with Bliss, the screen adaptation of his debut novel, East Fifth Bliss, and he is also the author of the story collection Blood Stories and Girls in Trouble, which received the 2010 AWP Grace Paley Prize. His writing has appeared in the O. Henry Prize Stories and Best American Nonrequired Reading anthologies.

We discuss his latest novel, compartmentalising chaos with words, and whether or not he ever killed a guy (spoiler alert: No!)

Where Night Stops is currently available for preorder here.

You can check out Doug’s website here.

Follow Doug on Twitter here!

As always, if you’re a reader, writer, creative type, someone with something to say, you can always get in touch with me using losingtheplotpodcast [at] gmail [dot] com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑