Fare Thee Well, 2018

Fare thee well, my one true love …

Well, I didn’t love 2018; but there was a lot to celebrate this past year. As we approach the end of another rotation of Planet Earth, I’m looking back and remembering everything I read and wrote.

This was a great year for reading. I read 73 books this year, much more than I did in 2017. I wanted to get back into my old reading habits, which took a stall when I was in the thick of writing Please Give. Reading, I found, was a way to both relax and to replenish the writing well.

I read many good books, and I met many great authors whose works I enjoyed. I want to give a special shout-out to the following works and their writers:

Sacrificial Lambs and Others by Sheri White, an excellent collection of flash horror and short stories

Breathe. Breathe. by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, a collection of short horror and dark poetry

Wish You Were Here by Loren Rhoads, a wonderful travel memoir detailing cemetery visits (read my interview with Loren Rhoads here)

Spin by Tiffany Michelle Brown, a time travel novelette about a man who tries to change his past by listening to a very special record (read my interview with Tiffany Michelle Brown here)

A Peculiar Curiosity by Melanie Cossey, a gothic/Victorian tale about two men driven to danger by their obsession with the possible discovery of a zombie (read my interview with Melanie Cossey here)

In between all of the books I read, I also found time to write. I completed my second novel, Without Condition. It was a much different experience than writing Please Give. One would think it’d be easier to sit down and write the second novel, but I found the words a little harder to come by and the doubts flickering in and out even more. There’s something to be said for putting pressure on yourself for what’s next. Still, I’m excited to share the final book with all of you on February 12, 2019. I hope you’ll pick up a copy!

2018 also saw my first acceptance. My short story, “Hearts are Just ‘Likes,'” was included in Camden Park Press’ Quoth the Raven. I also had works included in The Sirens Call and Mercurial Stories. You can see my latest works, including links to stories available online, on my Books page.

I also completed several short stories, both flash pieces and longer stories. I’ve completed enough to where I plan to release another collection by the end of 2019. Be on the lookout for Little Paranoias: Stories.

Thanks to all of you who’ve read my work, commented on my posts, and joined me on this writing journey. As always, I’m cautiously optimistic about what 2019 holds for my writing. Onward and forward.

Happy New Year!

 

Progress Report: Wrapping Things Up for the Holidays

2018’s winding down, and so are my writing projects for the year. Looking back, I got a lot done. I finished a novel, finished 14 short stores, and have 4 other short stories in progress.

It’s been a little hard to sit down and write since doing my final read-through of Without Condition, my next novel. But looking back at those numbers, I’m starting to think my muse is simply telling me to take a break for the holidays.

I’m still writing a bit, though. I got some more ideas for my next book, and I’m writing little pieces here and there. I’m also putting my focus on one work-in-progress that I’d like to finish before the year is over.

Winter is typically the time of year I write novels. The weather and early darkness make it much easier to pause, ponder, and write a longer story. This usually happens in January (my least favorite month) and February, though. I think the dazzle of Christmas — as well as everything there is to do — makes it a little harder to sit down and write a book.

Even when I’m not writing as much, though, I’m thinking about my stories and thinking about what to write next. I used to panic when I wasn’t writing, but over the past year, I’ve gotten better about taking on my projects one at a time and when they feel right; and trusting that things will get done when they’re supposed to.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

Donate Books This Holiday Season

(Note: this is not a paid or requested post — I’m writing this on my own accord)

I’ve been a little quiet on the blog because I don’t have much to report beyond the fact that I’m editing Without Condition. It’s going pretty well — I’m about 2/3 done, and I haven’t felt the urge to print it out and light it on fire, which I consider to be a success.

While this is a time of year where I’m typically editing, I’m also shopping; and I wanted to draw attention to one of my favorite annual charity drives. Each year between November and December, Barnes and Noble holds a book drive for a local school or library in need. They have a box of books that you can choose from to add to your purchase when you check out. They’re usually kids books, meaning you may be adding $5 – $12 to your bill — and sometimes less!

This drive means a lot to me because my love of reading and writing came from access to a variety of books at a young age. I had well-stocked school libraries and public libraries nearby, and friends and family who kept my bookshelf full. I’m grateful for that privilege, but access to good reading, especially for kids and teenagers, should be a right. Book drives like this one help get more books into more readers’ hands.

If you’re shopping at B&N this year, I’d like to ask that you add a book to donate when you check out. It’s for a good cause, and it’s an easy way to give. Thanks, and happy holidays!

Happy International Short Story Month!

It’s International Short Story Month! I honestly didn’t know there was a month dedicated to short stories until I saw #ShortStoryMonth on Twitter the other day. But now I know, and now I’m going to celebrate it. *throws confetti*

As you know from my writing, I’m a fan of short stories. A lot of my ideas begin as short stories, and a lot of them end up staying that way. While there have been a few times I’ve gone in with an intended length (heh), I prefer to start writing and see where it ends up. My gut has done a pretty good job of telling me when something needs to keep going and, most importantly, when something is finished.

I also enjoy reading short stories, though I don’t always gravitate to them as quickly as I do to novels. I’m more inclined to read a book of nonfiction essays than a collection of short stories. My biggest shortcoming here is the speed at which I read. I read quickly and I often find short stories to be over just as I’m starting to get pulled into them. I’ve had to train myself to not read through them too quickly, and I’m glad I did. Some of the stories that have stuck with me the most have been less than 5000 words.

I am celebrating Short Story Month on Twitter by recommending one short story a day in an ongoing thread. I’m also trying to find some short stories to read between the novels in my “To Read” queue and my work on my own novel (which, interestingly enough, began as an idea for a short story). If you have any recommendations, please share them with me in the comments!

I also hope you’ll read a few of my own short stories this month. My first collection, The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales, is available for Kindle and in paperback on Amazon. It features four stories and is perfect for a quick read.

Art by Doug Puller

Purchase The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales on:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

You can also read one of my stories for free: All the Pieces Coming Together, which was the first story I wrote for The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales; and also the first story I wrote in several years when I returned to writing in 2016.

Art by Doug Puller

Read “All the Pieces Coming Together” for Free

Happy reading, everyone!

Holiday Gift Idea: The Gift of Editing

Give the Gift if Editing from Open Boat Editing

When we think of what to get for writers in our life, we often think of things like books, a typewriter (if they’re old-fashioned), or maybe enrollment in classes or seminars. Another idea, though — especially for self-published writers — is to give them the gift of editing.

I will extol the merits of getting an editor — not just a beta reader or a proofreader, but a full-fledged copy-editor — until the end of time. A proper edit has done so much to bring my stories together into completion. All of my published and yet-to-be published work has been edited, and it’s been edited by the very talented Evelyn Duffy.

For the holiday season, or any special occasion, Evelyn is selling gift certificates for editing work. The certificates offer hourly increments of editing time — so, while not enough for a book-length manuscript, the gift will buy time to review the beginning of a short story, CVs, websites, and more. I highly recommend this as a gift for any writer you know, but especially one looking to get started on writing fiction more frequently and with plans to publish. It’s also a great way for writers who are nervous, unsure, or otherwise hesitant to reach out to a copy editor to not only see how not scary a round of edits is, but to see how great it is for one’s final piece.

More information from Open Boat Editing:

Give a practical gift this holiday season — give the gift of editing! Open Boat Editing gift certificates are useful for getting a loved one started on publishing that short story they’re always working on, giving a friend’s business website a thorough review, or lending a helping hand with a family member’s resume and cover letter.

Evelyn Duffy of Open Boat Editing and The Proofread Bride will apply her editing and critiquing skills to any small project in one-hour increments at a discounted rate.

Editing gift certificates are an especially thoughtful gift for the newly engaged or those writing their applications to grad school. Contact Evelyn to personalize your gift certificate today.

You can learn more, and purchase personalized gift certificates, at Open Boat Editing.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for an interview between Evelyn and myself. We talk writing, editing, publishing, and watching sitcoms; amongst other things.

Finally, a quick reminder that I will be publishing my debut novel, Please Give, next Tuesday, Dec. 19, on Kindle and Nook.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! I’ve always enjoyed this holiday. It’s the calmest of the Big Three this time of year, and I appreciate time being taken to express gratitude, be it with relatives or with friends adopted as family — or both.

I wish I had a Thanksgiving poem, or a story, or something to share beyond my holiday greetings. However, November has been a long month in my personal life. Things are getting better, and I for one am thankful for good medical care, loving family members, caring friends, and the encouragement received from all of those things.

Writing has been a small comfort during this time — usually fluff pieces, or writing a few paragraphs at a time of a bigger piece; but all comforts all the same. Even writing this entry has brought a bit of routine peace to a crazy few weeks. I hope that Thanksgiving dinner will do the same. I know the people I’ll share it with will.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone; and have a great week.

A Halloween Poem

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! I favor the macabre most days out of the year, but Halloween is when we can go all out (and when it’s acceptable for me to wear my skeleton jewelry to the office). Last year, I wrote a very short poem to commemorate my favorite holiday. I hope you all have a wonderful day, however you celebrate it.

**

A Halloween Poem

At last, it’s here!
The time of year
When all we fear
Is held so dear.

10.31.16

Psst — don’t forget that The Crow’s Gift and Other Tales is on sale for $1 — but only until midnight tonight!