Super cute video of my niece reading LITTLE ONE

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.

Happy New Year: 2019 in review, and 2020 #amwriting goals

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.

2019

Last year I set some goals for 2019. I did not meet any of them (well, I sorta met one).

2019 goals:

  • 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.

2020

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!

NEW SHORT FICTION: Read “The Puddle Girl of St. George” in the Anthology of Appalachian Writers

“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!


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End of Summer Kindle sale coming soon

It’s already getting very cool in the Allegheny mountains. Autumn is coming.
As the summer wraps up, I’m going to be doing a 99 cent sale on the Kindle versions of my novels (sale price will apply to the US and UK amazon markets only). When the Watcher Shakes will go on sale first for a week, followed by Little One for another week. Stay tuned.
Email list subscribers will be notified first.

Click here to make sure you get the notification.

New edition of When the Watcher Shakes on Amazon

It’s time for a little update to my first book, When the Watcher Shakes. Behold this gorgeous cover from none other than Ben Baldwin, who also designed my covers for Little One and Antique Bed, and whose art has appeared in publications like Black Static, Stephen King & Richard Chizmar’s Gwendy’s Button Box, and too many others of note to name here.
WTWS ebook
Please note that this is not a sequel. This is a new edition with some superficial changes to the text. Nothing has changed in regard to plot or characters, and no scenes have been added or removed. So if you already own a copy of the first edition, congrats! You don’t need to get the new one, unless you are, like me, a sucker for awesome artwork and need to have a copy just for the new cover. But now may be a good time to think if you have any friends that need a copy. 🙂

WTWS 3d book

Click here to buy When the Watcher Shakes on Amazon!

Give thanks for #BuckSeason – 99c ebooks!

I’m putting my eBooks on sale. Why now, you ask? Well, because that’s when BookBub said to, that’s why!
Unwilling to brave the Black Friday Thursday Thanksgiving Week horde? I have the perfect thing. Pay only 99 cents for either of my books, Little One and When the Watcher Shakes, and never leave your house. That’s right, it’s a #BuckSeason Sale — hunt ebooks for under a buck!  This deal is limited, so act now. This will be good in the US and UK Amazon stores*, until November 26th. (Clicking on the images below will the US product display pages on Amazon.com).
 
Little One CoverWatcher Cover
Happy Thanksgiving!
 
*This deal is also good in Amazon AU and Amazon CA, but for Little One only!

Go to the West Virginia Book Festival this weekend in Charleston, WV

Hi everyone, this weekend is the West Virginia Book Festival at the Charleston Civic Center. Please come and support books and writers and West Virginia. It’s free!
2010_Bookfest_Logo
Of course I will be selling autographed copies of my novels in the Festival Marketplace. I look forward to meeting you there. Marketplace hours are Friday the 26th from 11:30 AM to 6:30 PM and Saturday the 27th from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Big Deal Authors presenting include John Scalzi, Dennis Lehane, and Meredith Sue Willis. Cool Things To Do include writing workshops, buying books, guest lectures, and buying books. The highlight of the year! See the schedule here.

#Amazon #Top10 in One-Hour Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense

I just got back from mountain biking, all sweaty and muddy, and before my shower had to check the Amazon rankings… Number 8 in the Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Short reads!
short8
Pretty great! I have to stop obsessing over it though, so I’m done checking for the evening (I hope). Hopefully it will stay up there for a while and people might notice.

Need a quick, cheap thrill? Click Here to buy my new Kindle novelette, “Antique Bed” for just $0.99