Good riddance, 2020! For sure, this year has not been the all-around best of times. However, writing-wise, I’ve actually been doing pretty good this year. According to my annual custom, I will review last year’s achievements, then make a few goals to shoot for going forward.
Today, I have a fun surprise to share with you… A Halloween book giveaway!
I’ve teamed up with 50 fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of Dark Mysteries, Thrillers, and Horror novels to 2 lucky winners!
Oh, and did I mention the Grand Prize winner gets a BRAND NEW eReader? 😁
You can win my novel When the Watcher Shakes, plus books from authors like A.K. Alexander and J.T. Ellison.
Enter the giveaway by clicking here 👉 bit.ly/HalloweenHorror-Oct2020
The winner could be you! But it definitely won’t be if you don’t click that link. So sign up!
It’s already here, just in time for Halloween, believe it or not. My weird horror novella, Unknowing, I Sink, is available now on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats! Click the cover below to buy it on Amazon today. Don’t forget to help me out and leave a review on Amazon after you read it!
#weirdfiction #horror #independentlegions #dread #kindle #amazon #indiepub #smallpress #octoberreads #halloweenreads #novella #publishingnews #newrelease #booklaunch
Little One, my ghost thriller set in Canaan Valley, West Virginia, has been featured this October in the Publishers Weekly Indie Spotlight. Check it out and see what other books they are highlighting this month!
#octoberreads #publishersweekly #horror #indieauthors #indiehorror #indiepub #ghoststories #spooktober
I am excited to announce I have just signed a contract with Independent Legions Publishing for my weird novella, Unknowing, I Sink. They plan to release it this year!
Independent Legions is an awesome press based out of Italy (don’t worry, my book will be in English). The recipient of the Horror Writers Association Specialty Press Award in 2017, they have tons of amazing writers in their catalog, including Cody Goodfellow, Nicole Cushing, Owl Goingback, Philip Fracassi, Poppy Z. Brite, and Ramsey Campbell. Too many more phenomenal writers to list here. Go to independentlegions.com to see more.
This book is probably one of my weirdest pieces, and it’s very dear to me. I can’t wait to share this one with you, and I’m extremely grateful to Independent Legions for helping me do it. As always, if you want to be absolutely sure that you don’t miss the release, sign up for my email updates (I’ll even send you a free copy of Antique Bed).
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.
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!
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.