David Accurso: Kansas City Artist

David Accurso

Meet David Accurso, a local artist in Kansas City quickly gaining a name for himself for his precise and detailed stippling creations.

Stippling is a technique in which the artist strategically places thousands of dots that blend with one another to create a desired image, much like pointillism, a style made famous by George Seurat and Paul Signac in the late nineteenth century.

The difference between stippling and pointillism is the medium used. Stippling is created with ink while pointillism is created with paint.

David, how did you become interested in being a visual artist?
David Accurso—For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in art and drawing in particular. However, it was not until my freshman year at the University of Kansas that I decided I wanted to pursue a career as a visual artist.

What creative mediums do you prefer?
David Accurso—I enjoy working with pencil, colored pencil, and pen and ink. Of these three mediums, I prefer pen and ink.

Portrait of Steve Palermo by Accurso.

What are some of your greatest successes?
David Accurso—Although I have been working professionally for just a couple of years, I have been fortunate enough to find success as an artist. I am most proud of:

  • Displaying my artwork in Grant Park, Chicago, IL at the Gold Coast Art Fair this past
  • My commissioned portrait of Steve Palermo, the renowned Major League Baseball
    umpire who passed away last year. The portrait was created as a tribute to the
    widely known and respected umpire, and it was commissioned as a gift for
    Palermo’s wife. A reproduction of the piece currently resides at Kauffman Stadium in
    the office of Dayton Moore, the general manager of the Kansas City Royals.
  • Being commissioned to draw my fraternity house (Sigma Phi Epsilon) at the
    University of Kansas, along with being commissioned to paint a famous quote by
    James Naismith, founder of KU SigEp, in the entry way of our chapter house.

What do you find challenging with being an artist?
David Accurso—As an artist, I find that gaining exposure and attracting attention to my work can be very challenging. The world is full of great artists, so distinguishing myself amongst others and creating unique artwork is a continual challenge that I embrace.

What is your creative process like? Do you create when you can or do you have rituals?
David Accurso—Whether I am away at college or at home during the summer, I create whenever I get the chance. I work in a style of art called stippling, a technique in which I use a fine point pen to place thousands of tiny dots to create a desired image. This is a very time-consuming process (some of my projects have taken up to one hundred hours), so naturally I get the bulk of my creative work done while I am away from school and can dedicate myself to my artwork full-time.

What goals do you have for yourself? Where would you like to be in five years?
David Accurso—My primary goal is to be a full-time professional artist. I am studying business at the University of Kansas, so being an artist is only a part-time job for me at the moment. In five years I would like to be a well-known artist in the Kansas City area and to be able to support myself as a full-time artist.

What advice would you give to new artists just starting out?
David Accurso—My advice to every new artist is to create as much great artwork as you can and to put yourself out there at any opportunity you find. Gaining exposure is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your career. My last piece of advice, which could be advice to people in general, is to never give up on your passion!

Where can we find you and your art?
David Accurso—You can find all of my artwork, along with more information about me, on my website davidaccurso.com. I also have an Etsy shop (ArtbyAccurso) where all of my art is available for purchase. You can find me on Instagram and Facebook as well.
Instagram: @DavidAccurso
Facebook: @ArtistDavidAccurso

David Accurso at an art walk event in downtown Kansas City this past month.

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Fiction Friday: Creepypasta



“Mom, check it out.” Noah angled his bowl of alphabet pasta to his mother. Along the edge of his bowl he had placed sauce covered letters to form the words creepypasta. His mother looked up from her laptop, gave him a brief smile and went back to paying bills.

“That’s great. I’m glad I pay for all that school so you can tell me your dinner is creepy. You’re the one who asked for Alpha-ghetti.”

“It doesn’t mean my dinner is creepy. It’s a joke… it’s literally a creepypasta.” She stuffed a check into an envelope and sealed it without looking back up at him.

“What makes your pasta creepy?” she asked.

“The pasta isn’t creepy. It’s just funny ‘cuz I spelled the word “creepypasta” from pasta. Do you even know what a creepypasta is?” His mom had started filling out t he electric bill and she just shook her head.

“A creepypasta is a scary story you find online—like Slenderman, Bunny Man or Jeff the Killer. No one knows if they’re true or not, but then real murders happen and you read about those so you know they’re true. Probably.” Noah paused to scoop up a spoonful of pasta.

“Jeff the Killer? Bunny Man? Where are you hearing stories like that? You need to think about bringing your grades up, not scary stories.”

“Slenderman is my favorite,” said Noah. “He’s taller than normal people, super thin and he wears a black suit. He’s like ten feet tall.” Noah’s mom stopped tapping at the calculator on her phone and looked up at Noah.

“How weird. I saw a man like that today in the park when I drove past. There was a kids party, and he was standing at the edge of it—a really tall, skinny guy in a black suit. I mean really tall, like he was on stilts. I thought he was kind of spooky for a kid party.” Noah dropped his spoon into his bowl. Flecks of orange pasta sauce splashed across his knuckles.

“Mom, that’s not funny. When did you see this and where?”

“I’m not saying it to be funny. I’m serious. It was right before I got here, like a half hour ago. There was a guy dressed up like your Slenderman at a little kids party around the corner. I didn’t know it was an internet character as I drove past. They should have just gotten a clown.” Noah searched his mom’s face for any sign of a joke.

“What did his face look like?”

“I’m not sure. It just looked white, like he had one of those spandex hoods over it. I didn’t get a good look at him. I was just driving by.”

“Mom! Slenderman doesn’t have a face. You already knew about him and are trying to scare me.” Noah pushed his bowl away and wiped the splashed sauce off his hand. “Slenderman goes after kids. Why would you joke about that?” His mom looked serious.

“Noah, I’m not joking. I really did see a guy dressed up like that at a kids party today. He was on stilts. It was just a guy in a costume.”

“I don’t believe you!” Noah smacked his hand down on the table. His spoon jumped in his bowl, knocking some of his pasta letters back into the sauce. Startled, his mom closed her laptop with a snap.

“Noah, calm down. Do you think you’re the only one who knows about this character?” She stood up, threw her phone into her purse and grabbed her keys. “C’mon, I’ll show you. It hasn’t been that long. I’m sure the party is still there.” Noah shook his head.

“No way, I don’t want him to see me. He’s real. No one would be stupid enough to dress like him at a kid party.” His mom came over and hugged him, stroking his hair.

“I’m not trying to scare you buddy. Slenderman isn’t real.” She knelt down and looked him in the eye. “I’ll tell you what. I will prove to you it’s just an entertainer. If I’m right, you have to buy me a cone. If you’re right, we drive away real fast and I buy you a cone. Deal?” Noah’s Alpha-bets looked cold and unappetizing now, bloated white letters sinking into pumpkin colored mess. A soft serve cone sounded tempting.

“Can I get it dipped? And get fries?” Noah was already reaching for his coat. “And we don’t have to get out of the car.” His mom picked his bowl up off the counter and put it in the sink.


      Five minutes later they had pulled up next to the park. It was empty. Some paper plates, weighed down with mangled slices of cake, scattered around the trash can. A baby blue balloon bobbed listlessly across the grass, going nowhere.

“I guess the party’s over. The creepy costume scared them all away,” said Noah’s mom. “Can’t say I blame them.” She frowned, studying Noah’s profile as he squinted into the trees.

“I seriously didn’t mean to scare you, bud,” she said. She reached over and squeezed his shoulder. “I swear, bored people with no lives just make these stories up.” He turned back to look at her, pale and nervous. “How about we go get dinner wherever you want.” Noah’s eyebrows shot up and his mood changed in an instant.

“Even at the arcade?” His mom sighed.

“Okay, even at the arcade—but no more than ten dollars for tokens.”  Noah whooped.

“Deal! What is a Slenderman anyways?” Noah shrugged and rolled his eyes. “Never heard of him.”

“Awesome,” said his mom. She started the car up and they turned back onto the road. Behind them, the shadows lengthened as the sun began to set, stretching across the park as if reaching for the retreating car.

As they turned the corner, Noah glanced into the passenger-side mirror to see one of the shadows detach itself from the treeline, impossibly tall and thin. A face, devoid of feature, turned towards the car. With a yelp, he twisted in his seat to look back at the park, but nothing was there.

As the park vanished behind them, he watched a shadow cross over the blue balloon. It popped, collapsing onto the grass. Then they had turned the corner and it was out of sight. With a shudder, Noah turned back around in his seat.

“I think it probably was just a costume you saw,” he said. “Slenderman can’t be real.”

His mom just nodded, keeping her eyes on the road.

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“Where the Stars Rise” Made Alberta Award Shortlist

Remember Where the Stars Rise, the anthology of Asian speculative fiction that accepted my short story Vanilla Rice? Laksa Media, the publisher behind that anthology is on the short list for the 2018 Alberta Book Publishing Award (Speculative Fiction of the Year) for Where the Stars Rise. It’s an honor to have a story in that collection.

They have a second nomination in the same category with The Sum of Us, another anthology. Between the two books, Laksa Media is half of the speculative fiction shortlist.

Each year, publishers are selected through a peer jury process in up to 14 award categories. This much-anticipated event draws industry, government and media attention to the world-class excellence of Alberta’s publishing industry.

The winners of the 2018 Alberta Book Publishing Awards will be announced at a gala reception at the Hotel Arts in Calgary on September 14, 2018. The gala is open to the public and tickets are available on Eventbrite.

You can find both Where the Stars Rise and The Sum of Us on Amazon.

Where the Stars Rise on Amazon

The Sum of Us on Amazon

***Find out how to win $25—100 in an Amazon gift card 
by entering the Bitter Suite Reviews contest.***

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Exquisite Corpse…It Begins Again!

Open the coffin and raid the mausoleum—it’s time to create another Exquisite Corpse! A line has already been submitted.

I’ve fallen in love with this collaborative, ‘village-writes-a-poem’ creation. Now… who’s ready to Corpse again? NO RULES. Let’s see what crazy masterpiece we make together.

Please send me your line via email—angelayurikosmith@gmail.com with EXQUISITE CORPSE in the subject line. Please add your line and your name to the body of the email. Deadline is August 15.

I’ll publish the resulting poem here on August 17 with the names of contributors in order of contribution. I’d also like to include the results of our poem in my next poetry collection, Altars and Oubliettes.

And the prize? I’ll pick one name at random and send them a copy of my favorite poster from the Imaginary Foundation. Chelsea Hunter won last month’s poster.

In case you don’t know, an Exquisite Corpse is a collectively assembled poem. You can read more about them here.

Past Corpse posts:

#1 Exquisite Corpse: Collaborative Poem

Exquisite Corpse #2: The Daunting Riddle

Exquisite Corpse #3 for July: ‘Toxicated

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Ladies of Horror for July

The month is already over and it’s time to post the rest of the Ladies of Horror flash fictions going up over at Nina D’Arcangela’s Spreading the Writer’s Word blog. Earlier this month I posted the first seven here.

Here is the rest of July’s posts…

Against the Clock
by Melissa R. Mendelson

The Beast
by Kathleen McCluskey

by Lydia Prime

Just in Time
by Angela Yuriko Smith

Time to Kill
by Kim Richards

Mother’s Song
by Ela Lourenco

by Lori R. Lopez

The Heart Fades
by Naching T. Kassa

Grandpa’s Old Clock
by Terrie Leigh Relf

The Risen
by Elizabeth H. Smith

Shattered Youth
by Nina D’Arcangela

A Proud Papa
by Bailey Hunter

by Selah Janel

Season of Silence
by Gina Johnstone

Little Brother
by Nina D’Arcangela

Lantern Light
by Stacey Turner

Darkest Planet in the Universe
by Christina Sng

by Asena Lourenco

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Made the Marquee!

It’s always a nice surprise to find yourself as an author… especially when that find is on the Horror Writer Association’s book marquee!

I happened by the site today looking for details on the upcoming HWA Poetry Showcase and I spied Bitter Suites scrolling by alongside some of the best books in the genre.  You can visit the site yourself at Horror.org. Be sure to check out the great line up they have.

From their website: THE HORROR WRITERS ASSOCIATION (HWA) is a nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it. HWA was formed in the late 1980’s with the help of many of the field’s greats, including Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, and Joe Lansdale. Today——with over 1250 members in countries such as Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Germany, Honduras, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Russia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad, United Kingdom and the United States——it is the oldest and most respected professional organization for the much-loved writers who have brought you the most enjoyable sleepless nights of your life.

One of HWA’s missions is to encourage public interest in and foster an appreciation of good Horror and Dark Fantasy literature. To that end, we offer the public areas of this web site, we sponsor or take part in occasional public readings and lectures, we publish a blog and produce other materials for booksellers and librarians, we facilitate readings and signings by horror writers, and we maintain an official presence at the major fan-based horror and fantasy conventions, such as the World Fantasy Convention and the World Horror Convention.

HWA is also dedicated to recognizing and promoting diversity in the horror genre, and practices a strict anti-harassment policy at all of its events.

As part of our core mission, we sponsor the annual Bram Stoker Awards® for superior achievement in horror literature. Named in honor of the author of the seminal horror novel Dracula, the Bram Stoker Awards® are presented for superior writing in eleven categories including traditional fiction of various lengths, poetry, screenwriting, graphic novels, young adult, and non-fiction. In addition, HWA presents an annual Lifetime Achievement Award to a living person who has made significant contributions to the writing of Horror and Dark Fantasy over the course of a lifetime.

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From Soraya: The Melancholy of Haruo Satō

Haruo Satō

Today I have another guest post from my Spanish speaking friend, Soraya Murillo Hernandez. Today she shares the translation of her article on the work of Haruo Satō.

Sato was a Japanese novelist and poet active during the Taishō and Shōwa periods of Japan. His works are known for their explorations of melancholy. Thank you Soraya for introducing me to this new writer. You can find many of his works on Amazon here.

From Soraya Murillo Hernandez:

Haruo Satō was one of the most influential writers of Japanese literature in the second quarter of the 20th century. It is the first time that they translate their works into Spanish.

In the first pages of the book you can read a biography of the author. This anthology gathers five stories from his first years written between 1917 and 1929. The House of the Spanish Dog, the work that launched the career of Satō, will be the first story we read.

Before following the review, I want to make a small paragraph. Japanese literature always has a character of moral teaching, so in these stories we will find that background. The Tao is the way, there is no goal or anything like that, just choose the path. The protagonist wanders a path chosen by his dog, and is happy and open to explore anything that life brings him. That road will lead to a house which will no longer belong to this world. A story full of magic.

The second story is entitled “A Beautiful City.” A painter will tell us the story of a Utopian city that should be built in Tokyo, but to live there future inhabitants must meet certain conditions. An old architect, the painter and his millionaire friend will be the protagonists. Dreams that are sometimes the engine that drives people to continue living.

That very Japanese background of submission and acceptance, with a certain lesson that sometimes morality should be ignored for the greater good. It’s wrong to lie, but if it works for good, is it still wrong?

We will arrive at the third one that gives title to the book “The Demonic Bird.” More than a story, it has the form of a legend. Whoever narrates it to us will be a Japanese traveler who one day explored the interior a wild land. We will enter the world of superstition, and in a way reminds us of the trials that were made in the West to witches.

For the Japanese, an animal inhabited by a spirit is usually a demon that takes that form, but they fear more to who can dominate them than to the bird itself; after all, it is the power of the entity and not the physical attributes that can cause damage. A cursed bird, but in the end it is always the people who caused the sadness. The child finds beauty in the natural world, but when people get involved, the pain continues. Our need to own and dominate creates misfortune.

I make a break in these wonderful stories. How can we be guided through the diffuse world of the Eastern tradition? The oriental culture is rich in symbolism. Each color, relationship and object in a story, a message in itself.

On the other hand, it is a fundamental pillar in the Japanese mentality, one of its moral bases, the cult of the ancestors that unite them to their land. For them, Japan is not just the islands, the territory where they live and feed and do business or whatever it is like the rest in our countries: it is the land linked to the ancestors, where the ashes that have joined that land remain and they are part of it.

That is why they are connected to the past, honoring the ancestors, and have a belief in a more unified spiritual energy that encompasses all those we know in the West as distinct. In this rich culture nothing is always bad or good, only our reactions and responses determine it.

Fourth story “The Mystery of the Fan.” In Taiwan, in a city that little by little was moving away from the sea, people tell the old story of an exotic house in ruins and the misfortune of its inhabitants. A story so many times told that in the end it ended up being a myth.

The author narrates it to us as if it were a typical tale of Chinese ghosts, but as always, reality overcomes fiction and in itself hides a sad tragedy. The author has chosen to use the idea of ​​a ghost as a provocation, but the true story is very different … And we will close the book with “Crónica de Nonchalant.”

The inhabitants of the lower substrates of a dystopian vertical metropolis of the XXIX century have the opportunity to feel the sun for the first time in their lives. But what should be an event of great joy will end up becoming something sinister and painful.

We finish this wonderful anthology of stories that for the first time you can read in Spanish. Where its author left everything written with a very melancholic prose. He did not write for us to identify with some of the protagonists, he did it to make us think about what he told us. It is a book that every self-respecting reader should have in their library.

In a way, Satō Haruo turns us into lovers without knowing or having physical contact. When a reader connects with a book so profoundly as to feel marked, the writer knew how to achieve his purpose—reach our soul.

Soraya Murillo Hernandez

From  Soraya Murillo Hernandez: I am an early reader, I started reading very soon and I was interested in terror, I liked to look for monsters and ghosts in the stories. Then I knew that the greatest terror came from humans. I am a book reviewer in Spain, I do it free to help its authors to know their works.

Soy una lectora precoz, comencé muy pronto a leer y me interese por el terror, me gustaba buscar monstruos y fantasmas en las historias. Luego supe que el mayor terror venia de los humanos . Soy reseñadora de libros en España, lo hago gratis para ayudar a sus autores a conocer sus obras.

***Find out how to win $25—100 in an Amazon gift card 
by entering the Bitter Suite Reviews contest.***

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Why Wait?

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Now on Kindle: Bitter Suites

Bitter Suites is now available in two formats—ebook and paperback. Visit here for a chance to win a free copy… and don’t forget to leave a review for a chance to win an Amazon gift card. Details at the bottom of this post.

A few of the reviews so far:

“Angela invites a reader into a strange world where controlled death and resuscitation give characters a fresh outlook on life… Bitter Suites is a fun and fast read full of complex and dynamic characters. I’m ready for the sequel!”
Robin Wiesneth author of TAILS OF IMAGINATION

“After reading this novel I’m eager to pack my change of clothing and check myself in to the Bitter Suites! Wonderfully written and uniquely conceptual! ” —Lady L

“This book will definitely make you think about what you value in your life. Sometimes creepy, sometimes touching, sometimes funny, always thought provoking.”

***Find out how to win $25—100 in an Amazon gift card 
by entering the Bitter Suite Reviews contest.***

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Dreaming America: Voices of Undocumented Youth

Poetry, at its highest form, gives a voice to the mute. Scribbled on a scrap of paper, it can become a flag to stand behind. It can become a beacon for the lost to follow. The poetry in Dreaming America is in its highest form and accomplishes all of these things.

Besides shedding light on a hidden minority—children facing prolonged detention and/or deportation—this collection gives insight into the resilience of these children who have lost all. Written in Spanish and English, the poems display anger, hopelessness and acceptance. They keep their past alive while knitting together the foundation for a future.

The intensity of the words spring from the darkest of places and prove the worth of true words well written. A gorgeous collection that will have you thanking your stars and shaking your fist in anger at the same moment. Profits from sales of this book will be donated directly to a legal defense fund for these children.

You can order your copy of Dreaming America at Settlement House Books. Seth Michelson, editor of Dreaming America, recently discussed this project on ABC. You can watch that here.

From the website:
Dreaming America: Voices of Undocumented Youth in Maximum-Security Detention is a bi-lingual anthology of poetry, selected by the poet Seth Michelson from writing workshops he has conducted in the most restrictive detention center for undocumented, unaccompanied youth in the U.S. Because they are deemed “stateless people,” by federal law these children are not entitled to legal representation. In an effort to secure their legal defense, profits from sales of the book will be donated directly to a legal defense fund for them.

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