I have signed with Bloodshot Books for my novel Schafer, to be released in 2021.
My three-year-old niece decided to “read” Little One to my sister, who sent me the video. She is very cute and has some funny things to say about the book. I am using this video with permission from my sister and my niece, but I am keeping their names out of YouTube and this website to protect their privacy. Watch the video below and give it some likes if you want!
Haven’t read Little One yet? My niece is cute, but I would take her words with a grain of salt. Click here for more information about the book and links to purchase.
This past Christmas, my brother- and sister-in-law got me the biography of George Orwell by Gordon Bowker that I had been wanting. Nineteen Eighty-Four has been one of my all-time favorite books since high school. It was the first assigned reading in High School that I remember actually liking. I devoured it then, and I have returned to it multiple times since. I considered George Orwell, whose actual name was Eric Blair, a favorite writer, though I had not read many of his works. Along with Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm was required reading in high school. Sadly, nothing else from Orwell was assigned, and I did not get around to reading more of his books until a few years ago, when Emily got me a two-in-one volume that includes Homage to Catalonia and Down and Out in Paris and London, plus a little booklet from Penguin that collects a few of his most famous essays. These works greatly confirmed my love for his writing, and created a greater desire to learn more about the writer.
I am very proud to tell you that I’ll have a new short story published in the upcoming anthology, Dim Shores Presents Vol. 2, due out sometime in the latter half of this year from Dim Shores.
“AV_NEST.CASEFILE” introduces a new character to Augustus Valley, an investigator who works for a top secret branch of the West Virginia state government who is tasked with reporting on mysterious goings-on around the state. It will appear alongside fiction from writers including C.M. Muller, Jennifer Loring, Mari Ness and a bunch of other winners!
Well, at the beginning of the year I mentioned a new novel idea that came to me recently that caused me to table the Bigfoot novel for a while. I’m pleased to say that I have continued to make progress on it, but I’m moving more slowly than previous novels. For my last two books, I averaged about five thousand words per week. Right now I’ve been averaging just a bit more than half that. However, at around 12,000 total words so far, I’ve already written more than I had over the course of two years working off-and-on with the Bigfoot book. So I’m feeling pretty good about it, overall. It is currently set in Elkins, WV, a town that I am getting to know and love a lot lately.
That’s really all I had to say about the book. I am hoping it turns out well and will love to be able to share it with you when I am able.
Other announcements should be coming soon. Stay tuned and don’t forget to sign up for email notifications so you don’t miss my next major releases.
Boy, 2019 was rough for me, for reasons which I will not detail in this post. But ever since I’ve started this blog, I’ve done one of these year-in-review/looking-ahead posts, so here goes. Please forgive my lack of pictures and GIFs—the internet connection where I live is exceedingly slow and unreliable, and I must avoid that kind of thing unless I’m at the library or coffee shop or some other place with high speed internet that won’t poop out on me in the middle of my work.
Last year I set some goals for 2019. I did not meet any of them (well, I sorta met one).
- Finish the Bigfoot novel – Nope.
- Find a publisher for Schafer – No. (but to be fair, this is not completely under my control)
- Write at least five stories – Yes…ish.
- Plan a successful WV Writers literary event in my region – No longer the Region 2 Rep.
- Pass the English Literature CLEP Exam – Haven’t taken it.
This Bigfoot story is becoming about as elusive as Ol’ Sassy himself (have I made that joke before? I feel like I’ve made that joke before). I did make some progress in the fall, after finishing a novella (more on that in a bit), but I ended up putting it off again. I came up with another book idea I was more excited about at the time. My wife and some other people also think it is a pretty good concept, so I decided to set aside Sasquatch in favor of this one while I have some enthusiasm and creative juices flowing (kind of a gross expression, right?). So, thanks especially to Emily and John Little for encouragement in making this decision and telling me there might be something special in my new idea. I’m already making quicker, steadier progress on that book than I had been on Bigfoot. I’m not totally scrapping that one, though. I have some really good writing already done for it, and if I can pull off the rest of the story well, I think it will be a good one. I’m just not ready to finish it, I guess. But I have a good feeling about the new book.
Still have not found a home for Schafer (a novel I wrote in 2017 about an evil hypnotist, though I have yet to hear back from a number of publishers, any of which I would be very happy to work with.
I had planned on writing at least five short stories in addition to finishing the Bigfoot book. This is the only sorta check-mark on the list. At the beginning of the year, I started on a short story that I just could not finish. While I wrote in fits and starts, and did not make quick progress on it, it continued to grow into something exceedingly strange, ungainly, and lovely. At last, in September, I wrote THE END on this little monster, which came out to 21,300 words. So, it’s the length of five short stories, even though it is a single novella.
This is actually kind of cool, as I have been interested in writing a novella sometime in the future—only I ended up actually doing it by accident. As my 2019 goals were otherwise unmet, I’m going to fudge this one and give myself the credit. A novella is cool, yo. I’m not sure yet when or how it will be made available to the public, but I have some ideas.
For a moment I was the Region 2 Representative for the West Virginia Writers, and had some plans for that which never panned out. Coincidentally, as of November, I don’t even live in Region 2 anymore.
English Lit CLEP exam hasn’t happened yet. Should be soon, though. Transportation issues are complicated at the moment.
I’m not going to get into all the reasons that 2019 was hard on me. One of them, however, was an unexpected job change for my wife and a move from Bartow to Parsons. Emily and I are glad we were able to stay in West Virginia (and we love being in Tucker County), but the last part of the year was extremely chaotic and stressful. I am surprised I don’t have any noticeable gray hair after all that happened (I did catch one or two strands during the ordeal, but they’re gone). We still don’t have it all figured out, but we’re getting used to our new situation, and are both extremely grateful to God for what we see as His quick provision in a very uncertain and desperate time. I try to use this website to focus on my fiction rather than religious commentary, but I feel I would be wrong if I did not briefly utter a quick word of thanksgiving here. Things could have looked much worse for us at the end of 2019. We are greatly relieved.
In fact, there were some very bright spots to 2019. I had a whole lot of fun at all the book events I attended. At the Lewisburg Literary Festival, I broke my total sales record for that event. Same at West Virginia Book Festival, where I should have brought more books—I sold out of Little One! I was honored to be guest at the Haunted Majestic this October, a haunted house boat floating on the Ohio River near Huntington.
And, like I said before, it felt good to write my first novella. It is a very weird story, though. Who knows what will happen with it.
I saw only one of my short stories in print for 2019, “The Puddle Girl of St. George” (ironically, my wife’s new job is located in St. George).
And while I only saw one story newly published, I received some really encouraging responses concerning other unpublished work about which I’m not ready to go into detail. Suffice it to say that I finished the year with greater confidence in my ability and the quality of my short fiction. I hope to have some more exciting, less vague-blogging news for you later this year.
Honestly, while I do have some writing goals to set forth, there is some practical, real-life stuff which is going to have to take precedence over my writing. But related to my continued pursuit of a profitable fiction writing career, I reckon the following are worthy targets:
- Finish the new novel (and maybe get a bit more done on the Bigfoot story)
- Get Schafer published
- Get the weird novella published
- Attend Camp Necon
Yeah, I already put down my deposit on Camp Necon. It will be my first time attending, and I’ve heard great things. This year, it will be held in Salem, MA, which is pretty cool, because I don’t think I’ve ever been to Salem.
Other than that? I feel like I’m forgetting stuff that should be in this post. But I gotta tell you, I’m too tired right now to care. Have a happy new year, everybody.
one more thing
PS — I haven’t drawn up a “Best of 2019” list yet, and I don’t know if I will—even less likely to do a “Best of the Decade” list. But I wanted to quickly recommend Michael Wehunt’s newest novella, Everything is Beautiful and Nothing Bad Can Ever Happen Here, published by Nightscape Press last September. You can click that link to buy it directly from the publisher, as a limited, numbered paperback, autographed by the man himself, Michael Wehunt, one of my favorite contemporary writers. Only 118 copies remain at the time of this writing.
OK that’s it. I gotta go make dinner. So long!
“The Puddle Girl of St. George” is a unique kind of ghost story set in the beautiful, haunting St. George, West Virginia. I’m very proud that it was selected for publication in the annual Anthology of Appalachian Writers.
Even though this volume (Vol. XI), featuring guest editor Karen Spears Zacharias, was technically published back in June, I’ve been waiting to post about it until there was a working link for ordering the book. For some reason there was a listing for it on the Shepherd University Online Bookstore for a while now, but it has been listed as Out of Stock until this month. Well, better late than never—you can order it now!
Happy Halloween everybody! Here’s a look at this year’s jack-o-lantern at the Huguenin house. Emily took the first photo (the better one), mine is the blurry dark one.
Don’t forget I’m going to be in Huntington, WV tomorrow from 6pm to 10pm with a table at the Haunted Majestic, a super-rad haunted house floating on the Ohio River. Admission is $17 for a really awesome event.
Tonight, I won’t be there, but if you want to go on actual Halloween night, graphic novel artist/writer Jason Pell will be there. He has some really cool stuff. Check out his work at Bug House Comics!
That’s all. Enjoy the holiday. See you tomorrow night (or Saturday).
#AmWriting in Autumn
The leaves have been fantastic around here the last few weeks. We’ve had some beautiful blue-sky days lately, though they have been a bit warmer for my tastes. Even though I’ve been going through some really hard stuff lately, I’m doing my best to get out and enjoy the greatest season in West Virginia. I even got me a brand new set of overalls. Continue reading