It’s a New Year?

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Ok, so I guess the last couple years I’ve done an annual review and renew of annual goals set/met/failed. We’re already more than halfway through January and I haven’t written anything on my blog. Let’s see…

2018

OK let’s look at those 2018 goals:

  • Get agent/publisher – Nope. Still working on it.
  • Finish Bigfoot novel – Again, no. I did write a bit more on it, but I made remarkably little progress.
  • Write more short stories (at least five) – Yes! Though I wrote very little on my novel, I actually completed six short stories throughout the year, totaling over 20,900 words. Still not as much as previous years (if you count novels), but not a total failure, and a big win for the short fiction goal specifically.
  • Attend StokerCon 2018 – Yeah, but I already knew I was going to do that.

The following comments do not necessarily describe events in chronological order:

My #1 desire of 2018 was to find an agent to represent my coming-of-age horror novel about a small town boy vs. a nefarious hypnotist, Schafer; alternatively, to find a small press accepting unagented submissions who would want to publish it. Unfortunately, so far I have not done either, though not for lack of trying. There are still good publishers out there that I am continuing to submit to. Maybe I’ll have better results this year.

I attended StokerCon 2018 in Providence, RI. It was both my first time at StokerCon and my first time in Providence. I blogged briefly about it and put up a few pictures when I got back. It was a huge encouragement to meet so many other creators and workers in the industry, and I hope to be able to attend again soon.

Some of you remember I announced that I was working towards my Master of Arts in Teaching. I am still gathering the required prerequisite undergrad credits that I didn’t get when I double majored in camping and theology. Last year I finished an Introduction to Linguistics online class through Rio Salado College. I also passed the American Literature CLEP Exam (thanks in part to Modern States).

The West Virginia Writers didn’t have a volunteer representative for the region I now live in (Region 2 = Pocahontas, Pendleton, Randolph, and Webster counties), so I signed up for that. I did try to get together a little kids’ writing workshop for our region, but, sadly, I wasn’t able to generate enough interest. Perhaps I misjudged my marketing skills.

I didn’t do too badly in terms of short fiction publications. “The Unknown Thing” was published by Australian-based Things In the Well Publications in one of their themed anthologies called Beneath the Waves: Tales From the Deep, which is available in both hardcover and paperback on Amazon. In June, I made a repeat appearance in Hinnom Magazine with “The Station Agent’s Wife, 1927”. I was later contacted by Max Ablitzer who was interested in producing one of my short stories for his new Horror Tales Podcast. I happily sent along “The Unknown Thing” when the rights became available. Max did his thing with it, and the sound effects and narration made for a pretty great episode (see Episode 4). In October, I published the short ebook Antique Bed: A Horror Novelette, which you can buy now for Kindle at only $0.99. Even though the BookBub ad and the discount is long over, I continue to see noticeably better sales numbers per week compared to before the ad.

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If you think in terms of actual goals set and accomplished, it doesn’t look like a great year. However, some really cool things did happen to me last year, including a big boost in sales from a BookBub ad that helped qualify me for Active Member status in the HWA. In fact, gaining Active status was actually one of my 2017 goals, so I’ll count that win!

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And this isn’t related at all to my writing career, but Emily and I visited El Salvador in September, which was amazing, so I just wanted to mention that and share a few pictures.

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2019

I’m still going to be sending out Schafer to publishers as long as I can find good ones to send to. I haven’t totally lost hope on that front. This year could be the year. Despite my false starts with it, I really think it is a good book—it is one of my favorite things I’ve made—and I really want it to find a good home.

I really need to finish this Bigfoot book. Like, really. So there’s that. However, I also have more going on in my life, including online school, doing a bit of writing for the local paper, and a new job at a coffee shop. Oh yeah, that’s something that happened last year I forgot to mention—I am now a barista at the new TipTop in Elkins (pics below taken from their Facebook page)!

It is great to serve that community and have fun making amazing espresso drinks, but it leaves me less time to write. We’ll see if I can squeeze in enough words here and there to finish a novel in 2019.

I’m hoping to get something cool going in 2019 to help increase enthusiasm for literature around these here parts.

In terms of my education, I still need to get some Literature credits on the cheap, so I’m going to try to pass the English Lit CLEP Exam. I’m more nervous about this one than American Lit, partly because I didn’t know what I was getting into with the American exam, and partly because I feel less comfortable with and am less interested in English lit than American.

Still trying to figure out what events I’ll be attending this year. Three of my go-tos that I’m pretty confident I’ll be at again are the Lewisburg Literary Festival, West Virginia Book Festival, and WV Writers Summer Conference. I’m still on the fence about some others. I really would love to go to Necon, but I’m not so sure I can swing it this year (and I’m not even sure registration is still open). More doable is Scares That Care, but I haven’t figured out my budget for stuff like that yet. We’ll see!

Since I mentioned vacations before, I’ll just say that El Salvador was an amazing adventure, but this year we are planning something a little cheaper and closer to home lol.

Goals:

  • Finish the Bigfoot novel
  • Find a publisher for Schafer
  • Write at least five short stories
  • Plan a successful WV Writers literary event in my region
  • Pass the English Literature CLEP Exam
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Happy Halloween

I kind of already said this, but HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Here is the jack-o-lantern Emily and I carved this season:

 

October is the best month for a variety of reasons. You got beautiful fall colors, crisp, cool weather, and yeah, Halloween (see above). I got in some good mountain biking, had tons of fun at the annual West Virginia Book Festival, and got to meet up for coffee with an old friend at Taylor Books, which is a pretty great coffee shop/book store in downtown Charleston that I recommend.

 

Also, this month I released a new Kindle horror novelette, Antique Bed, which you can get on Amazon for only $0.99.

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And just in time for Halloween, Horror Tales Podcast released their fourth episode, which is my story “The Unknown Thing”, previously published in Beneath the Waves: Tales from the Deep. Click below to listen (it’s free):

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***EDIT: I was just notified that my story has been listened to over one thousand times already, in just a few days! Cool!

One experience I had that was not enjoyable this month was the Witch’s Brew drink at Starbucks. This purple monstrosity was so awful looking that I just had to try it. There is zero coffee in this drink (not that anyone expected it), and I could only take a few sips before tossing it in the trash.

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As I don’t live in a town where there is trick-or-treating (or a town of any kind, for that matter), sadly, my house is not stocked full of candy (also, I guess they don’t always do trick-or-treating on actual Halloween anymore?). However, Emily and I have some pretty fun plans involving our traditional viewing of Halloween is Grinch Night and some caramel apples that are sure to ruin our teeth but be wildly tasty (ironically enough, last night I had a dream in which two of my teeth fell out for no reason).

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So go enjoy the holiday, however you do that—consuming tons of sugar, watching movies, listening to Horror Tales Podcast, or reading one of my books (I guess somebody else’s book is fine, too). Remember that tomorrow candy will be dirt cheap.

New interview, new fiction! – Hinnom Magazine 007 now available

In association with Hinnom Magazine‘s new issue release, Gehenna & Hinnom Books has posted an interview with me up at their website. Go on and check it out!

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Hinnom Magazine Issue 007 is now available in both Kindle and paper formats. Get it now to read my new short story, “The Station Agent’s Wife, 1927” as well as other fiction by Sarah Gribble, Pete Rawlik, David Turton, and poetry by Adam Bolivar and Deborah L. Davitt.

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Back to School!

A little life update! I’ve finally decided to take the big step and apply for a graduate program through an online school called Western Governors University. I’m hoping to start classes toward their Master of Arts in Teaching, English Education (Secondary) that leads to state licensure so that I can become a high school English teacher. Before I do that, though, I have a number of prerequisite credits I need to get, since my undergrad degree was not focused on English. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, student loans only cover the master’s, not for the prerequisite classes. Gotta pay for those out of pocket.

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Finding affordable classes is so hard. But I don’t know any other way to do this so I guess even if it takes me longer than I thought, I do what I gotta do. I’m going to try to pass the CLEP exams for American Literature and English Literature, leaving me with only 3 lit credits remaining to get from somewhere. If you all know any super cheap online college literature classes, as well as Linguistics (3 credits) and Cultural Studies (3 credits), please help me out and show me where!!!

What this means for my writing: I’m still working on my Bigfoot novel, though progress may become even slower than it is now. I’m also still working toward trying to find an agent and/or publisher for Schafer. I’m also hoping to write one or two more short stories this year. But the priority is figuring out how to get these prerequisite credits and then start working toward becoming a teacher.

So feel free to send me some prayers, or good vibes if that’s your thing, advice …or money…

 

Stoked for StokerCon

#STOKED

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(Do people still say that anymore?)

Tomorrow I drive from Bartow, WV, all the way to Providence, RI (H. P. Lovecraft’s hometown), to attend StokerCon 2018™. This will be my first time attending the conference, as well my only chance for the foreseeable future. HUGE thanks to my good friends, the Friends (haha), for letting me sleep at their place, helping me save money in a big way and make this trip doable. Also, I’m as excited to see you guys as I am to go to this conference.

Tons of learning to do! So many panels and talks they cram into a day. It was hard to pick between conflicting events sometimes. Also looking forward to meeting other horror writers and industry peeps. This will also be my first ever chance to pitch an agent and an editor in person. Kind of nerve-wracking, but I’m very excited about that opportunity. I just keep reminding myself that I’m the only current expert on my own book, so I’m the best person to tell them about it, and they put their pants on one leg at a time (whereas I have been practicing my unique superskill of putting on pants with both legs at once…jk).

Anybody else going? Looking forward to meeting new people!

PS: Happy birthday to my beautiful, amazing wife, Emily! I love you! ❤ You are so old now!

 

 

Flash #Halloween #Kindle #giveaway

Happy Halloween everybody! A few things:

First, today only I’m running a giveaway where you can enter to win a free ebook version of each of my books, Little One and When the Watcher Shakes. This is how you enter: Follow me on Twitter (if you already do, you’re halfway there!), then retweet the tweet below:

I will randomly select a winner from all those who have retweeted before 12:00 AM on November 1st 2017, and then I will send that person a direct message via twitter to work out emailing the ebooks. If you are a nook reader instead of Kindle, don’t worry, I can send you an epub instead.

Second, a big thanks to all those who sponsored and attended the West Virginia Book Festival last weekend. I had a blast, met some great people, and got to see some favorite writers speak. I also managed to sell a book or two! I didn’t take a lot of pictures, since my phone was kind of busy being used as a credit card swiper, but here are some photos from the event:

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I forgot to bring my phone to Joe Hill’s talk/signing. I also forgot to bring my Joe Hill Special Issue of Cemetery Dance Magazine for him to sign. Kicking myself for both, but mostly the latter.

Anyways it was a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to the next one. Happy Halloween!

Oh and of course, here is this year’s Jack-O-Lantern from me and Emily to you!

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Happy Halloween!

See me in Williamsburg!

Hey, I’m back! In case you missed me, my wife and I spent most of September hiking the Allegheny Trail, a 330 mile route from the PA to the VA border of West Virginia. It was a challenging and unforgettable trip. Eventually Emily will put a trail report up on the internet, and I’ll link to it for anyone interested.

But now I’m having to readjust and get back to business. Coming soon (this Saturday!) is the Williamsburg Book Festival in Williamsburg, VA.

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It is October 7th from 10 am to 4 pm at The Stryker Center. And guess what—it’s free to attend!!! Come by my table and get your own personalized signed copies of Little One and When the Watcher Shakes.

Don’t miss it! Click the image below to view and download this year’s program.

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Keep up with news at the Williamsburg Book Festival Facebook Page