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This is the sixtieth post I’ve made to this blog since I started it back in November of 2011, just after We Shadows Have Offended was first published. Since then, I’ve done series on National Novel Writing Month, writing and yoga, steampunk, and general writing advice. I’ve had six new short stories published (with another in press), I released three chapbook collections of short stories (some new, some old), and I secured a publisher for my first full-length novel, The Red Eye. I also began pursuing my MFA at Seton Hill University, through which I’ve met some amazing writers among both the students and faculty.
But 2011 isn’t when I became a writer, of course. At the signing/reading events for SIDEKICKS!, that was a common question: When do you begin writing? I struggled with my response. I began writing with the goal of pursuing publication as long ago as 1998 or so, and I started getting far more serious about that in 2002, the first time I did NaNoWriMo. But I’ve always written stories, going back to elementary school when I wasted stacks of paper printing out lavish epics which I would occasionally also illustrate. (I sincerely hope these never leave the confines of my parents’ garage.) I’ve also always been a reader, curled up on my butterfly-festooned bedspread devouring things ordered from the newsprint sheets of Scholastic Books. In high school, my stack of schoolbooks always had a novel teetering on top, and I’d sneak chapters of The Stand in between Crime and Punishment and Great Expectations during study hall.
To my students, I’m Methuselah, but for an author I’m still young. The career of a writer can be blessedly long and often blossoms—if it is to blossom at all—in one’s thirties. You’re no longer so young as to have nothing to say, but you still have enough optimism that you’re willing to try something so ridiculous and financially unrewarding.
Perhaps this is also why the protagonist of The Red Eye is in his mid-thirties. At the time I started that book, I was weary of YA coming-of-age stories and wanted to see what would happen when someone discovers his “chosen one” status during that oh-so-fun decade when you’re just as likely to have pimples as wrinkles. I made my protagonist a dreaded “man-child,” irresponsible and hard-drinking, but I also gave him a failed marriage, a professional full-time job, and a grown-up love story, because that’s the kind of POV I wanted to see and could relate to. I can certainly understand and appreciate the struggles of twentysomethings from observing them at work, but I’m delighted to be done with high school and wasn’t interested in revisiting it in my fiction.
Then again, maybe I’m particularly well-suited to consider writing “new adult,” that liminal stage of moving from one’s early- to mid-twenties, when you are indeed on the precipice of change but you may have already gotten a mortgage, as I see these folks every day, trying to balance school and work and sometimes even families. I’m excited to see where that genre goes in the next few years, just as I’m excited to embark on this next phase of my writing career.
Here’s to sixty more blog posts and a whole lot more fun stuff to write about.
Just a few odds and ends of news for those of you who may not follow me on Twitter or Facebook. My urban fantasy novel The Red Eye will be published later this year by Alliteration Ink. More details on that soon. Alliteration Ink is an ENnie Award-nominated publisher of fiction and non-fiction. If you haven’t already done so, pick up a copy of Sidekicks!, the anthology they released earlier this year; my short story “Doomed” is in it, as well as a bunch of other amazing stuff you should be reading.
The Red Eye was a labor of love for me, and I’m super stoked that it’ll be my first full-length novel to see print. More to come as we get closer to release.
My short story “Method Writing” will be showing up in the new Static Movement anthology Night Hunters, publication date TBD. My short story “The Found Girl” appeared in Wordhaus on July 24.
Working on reviving the Dayton-based literary reading event, possibly at a new venue. Stay tuned for news!
In other project news, I’m working away at The Curiosity Killers (SF), The Wraithmaker (UF), and other super cool books. My short story collection Grinning Cracks is still available, so get your meaty little hands on it!
Recently I participated in a reading and signing of copies of Sidekicks!, the new anthology that includes my short story “Doomed.” The event went spectacularly and was very well attended. Another one is coming up on June 8th in Columbus (Facebook event and details here).
This is going to be a great time, if the previous reading in Centerville was any indication, and even though I’m in this collection, I have to say this book is wonderful. It’s getting some decent reviews and each story is really well-plotted and brings something new to the theme. Pick up a copy!
Last weekend, I went to Pandoracon, a new multi-fandom convention with a steampunk bent to it. I’ve been to probably four different “brands” of science fiction/gaming/fandom conventions at this point, but I’m only just now getting kind of into the steampunk scene, as it were. As a recovered goth, I must say I find the neo-Victorian elements the most appealing part of the cosplay and literature, and I do enjoy the optimism and dedication to research that steampunk engenders in its fans. I would also hasten to say that my multi-part story series The Curiosity Killers (which I hope to turn into a composite novel) is something I’d definitely call “steampunk inspired.” Over the next month, I’ll be shining a spotlight on both steampunk in general and how my story both differs and adheres to various steampunk elements. For now, I’d love to hear about people’s favorite steampunk-inspired television, film, literature, music, and artworks. What do dedicated steampunks think are seminal works that one should become acquainted with in order to fully appreciate the genre?
In other news, if you’re local to the Dayton, Ohio area, please come to Ghostlight Coffee this Sunday, October 7th at 7:30 pm for the next installment of GHOSTLIGHT LIT. Ten authors will be reading horror stories in anticipation of the Halloween season getting into full swing. I’ll be serving as M.C. once more and debuting a little flash piece that hasn’t even been published yet. We’ve got a great line-up of poets and fiction authors, so grab a warm latté and settle in for some scares!
It’s been a busy time lately. On July 1, I hosted another edition of Ghostlight LIT, featuring 8 Dayton, Ohio-based authors and poets in a relaxed coffeehouse setting. Like our April version of this event, this one was well-attended and a big hit. The next outing for this series will be in October and will feature a Halloween/horror theme.
My short story “Found Girl” will be appearing in a women’s fiction holiday anthology from Twenty or Less Press. More information that when I have it!
I’m writing up a storm lately, with many stories and novels in various stages of completion. I’m also very close to the release of my first full-length short story collection, Grinning Cracks. Unlike my chapbooks, this collection will be available in both print and ebook editions, for both Kindle and Nook. Look for more information on that soon!
I’m still working on editing Virginia Bower’s novel The World’s Your Jail, hopefully still coming out sometime in 2012 from Dioscuri Books, but I’ve lately had some very serious computer issues that may delay this slightly. The good news is I’m probably going to get a big system upgrade and learn the importance of making many, many backups in multiple places. The bad news is this may all take a while to get up and running, so bear with me. Let’s all take a moment of silence for my MacBook Pro, which the folks at my local repair shop kindly determined was “vintage.”
I’m the Featured Artist this week at WeeklyArtist.com! This is quite the honor, and I’m excited to see my profile up there.
The Ghostlight LIT event on April 1 went fabulously. We had a total of nine readers, myself included, who read a variety of mostly genre-based stories and a few poems. Steampunk, zombies, performance pieces, ghosts, you name it. A fun time was had by all, and there was actually a huge crowd respective to the venue size. I hope to host another one of these soon.
My short story “She Lets Her Ladder Down” has been published by Twenty Or Less Press and has been released in multiple ebook formats, all only $1.49.
Sisterhood is hard. Letting go is harder. Caretaking is easy for Karen, except when it comes to Becca. For Becca, leaning on her older sister is a last resort in a life filled with struggles. In a moment of crisis, what do our decisions say about us? Does it take more strength to say “no”…or “yes”?
In other news, I’m hosting the inaugural GHOSTLIGHT LIT event at Ghostlight Coffee in Dayton, Ohio on Sunday, April 1. I’ll be reading one of my stories and playing M.C. as nine other local authors share their own fiction and poetry. You can find a little more info about the event here if you’re local, including all the other talented authors who will be appearing. No time for a signing, but you can meet everybody, chat, and have some fine caffeinated beverages.