A not-so-quick update on my work for those interested. Bigfoot, Poe, vampires, mill stones, hypnotists, and Christmas trees all referenced below.
One of my New Year’s goals was to write one and a half novels this year. While I did finish one manuscript, I have yet to put down any words on another. I think I am close: I have some ideas and characters rolling around in my head, and even have some character sketches written up. I think I will soon be ready to start typing on the first chapter, though I’m still researching some things. This is the Bigfoot novel I’ve mentioned in another post recently. I doubt I’ll get halfway through it before January, but I’m hopeful to at least have started it by then. So, not quite a goal accomplished, but not so bad either. But starting this Bigfoot story has been tough. Somehow, every time I finish a book, I forget how to start one. I also get terrified of working hard on a book and finding out halfway through that it’s no good, and that freezes me up so that I can hardly put anything down.
As to the manuscript I have finished: I am exceedingly proud of this book, though I know it will go through more revision before it is published. In this story are elements of a classic vampire novel, except there is no literal vampire. It was originally inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains”, and was heavily influenced by his other short works, “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” and “Mesmeric Revelation”. The working title right now is Schafer, but I’m not at the moment highly satisfied with that name.
Some have asked me when to expect Schafer‘s publication. The truth is, I don’t know. If I were planning on self-publishing this book, I could have said to expect it Summer 2018. However, I’ve decided to query some agents with this MS with the hopes of getting my name out there in the traditional publishing world. For those of you who may not know, querying agents is a long and painful process of sending out emails and writing samples and waiting. Then if an agent does like your query, he/she will ask for a full manuscript. Then you wait and wait again. So far, I have had some full MS requests, but past this I have little experience. However, from what I’ve read, if an agent does offer to rep you, then you have to rewrite and rewrite, then the agent sends proposals to editors, and then you wait and wait again. And if an editor likes it, then you wait more, and then if you get a publishing deal, then you wait some more. The traditional publishing route is a long slow grindstone. However, for now I want to see how far I can get the wheel to turn without crushing me too much in the process. If the agent-querying thing doesn’t turn up anything after a while, I may make the rounds with some smaller presses I like. I do enjoy the freedom that self-publishing brings, but I see how I would benefit with some more people helping me find new readers.
Back to the Bigfoot thing. A fun fact: in my research, I have discovered that Pocahontas County (where I live now) is one of the highest reporting counties in West Virginia for Bigfoot sightings. See Russ Jones’s Tracking the Stone Man: West Virginia’s Bigfoot for more information on Bigfoot in West Virginia (from a believer’s perspective). Personally, I am skeptical of Bigfoots, but I don’t rule them out 100%. Jones’s book gave some thought-provoking rebuttals to some of my main arguments against Sasquatch’s existence. And while there are many obvious hoaxes out there, some of the recorded sightings are harder to dismiss out of hand than I had originally imagined. However, I am not well-read on the subject, and I don’t intend to devote the rest of my life to proving or disproving Bigfoot (though I really want to go on an expedition one of these days—how cool would that be!). Personally, I don’t care that much whether there is some kind of undiscovered ape living out in the woods. It wouldn’t change my life very much one way or another. But I do mean to take the idea seriously enough that my book will please both the casual and serious Bigfoot enthusiast.
Also reading The Shadowkiller by Matthew Scott Hansen, which is a Bigfoot novel set in the Pacific Northwest (which is where most Bigfoots supposedly live, I think). I haven’t really gotten to far into it, so I couldn’t tell you if it’s any good.
I am also researching how to raise sheep, since as of right now my main characters run a sheep farm. I love the taste of lamb, so I figure a Bigfoot could develop a taste for it as well if given the opportunity.
Ah, what else… as always, I have a handful of short stories submitted to various publications. In fact, just this morning I got an acceptance from an editor for one of them. More info on that after the contract is signed and publication is more certain. I’m always hesitant of divulging info like that, as that kind of thing has sometimes fallen through in the past for me.
I’m looking forward to attending StokerCon 2018, my first StokerCon! Other than that, writing-related traveling is finally done for a little while. I’m relieved.
PS If anyone reading this is going to StokerCon, let me know! I would love to meet up if I have the time. Also, I do have tentative housing arrangements, but I’d always like to have backup plans unless those fall through. I can’t afford a hotel room for that length of time.
As for the day job, I should be receiving paperwork soon so I can become qualified to substitute teach in Pocahontas County public schools. I’ve avoided going through this for a while as I was so focused on finishing Schafer, but now that I’m done with that (and now that we have a car payment), I reckon it’s long past time to take care of that.
Merry Christmas to everyone! Snow is falling now, and Emily and I will soon be cutting a tree from Cheat Mountain to put in our living room 🙂