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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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!

 

 

See us at Empire Books this Saturday

Happy Thanksgiving to you all in advance! I’m preparing a special traditional Thanksgiving dish that is a family recipe we call meat stuffing. My house smells like meat, potatoes, onions, and cloves. 🙂 Tomorrow I’ll take it with me to share with some friends my wife and I are staying with in Beckley.

Hey, if you’re in the Huntington area this weekend, stop by Empire Books & News on Saturday (Nov 25th). They are hosting their Annual Holiday Open House from 10 am to 10 pm as a part of Small Business Saturday. There will be a story time with Wonder Woman, music, tea, raffles, specials, and a bunch of West Virginia authors there to meet you and sign books! (So don’t spend all your money on Black Friday…) I’m scheduled to be there from 1pm to 4pm. Hope to see you there!

Click on the image below for more information on the event:

idvwjccl_400x400In other news, I’m preparing to write a Bigfoot novel, so if anyone out there has any sightings or stories, or knows of any Bigfoot expeditions coming up soon that I could join, email me: contact@tghuguenin.com.

Less than two weeks!

I hope everyone had a great July 4th celebration. Now that the commotion has died down a bit, I wanted to chime in to remind everyone that Little One will be available in thirteen days! (Lucky number, right?) Remember to check Amazon on the 18th. And if you have an ereader and want to get a head start, click here for a sneak peek (current mailing list subscribers should already have received the free preview. If you are on the mailing list but missed it, shoot me an email – contact@tghuguenin.com).

Little One ebook2

 

Coming up for fresh air and sunlight, and winning a #NGHW challenge

Well hello! Didn’t expect to see you standing there next to my hole! Wow, doesn’t the sun  hurt your eyes up here? So bright… I’ve been down there for so long, tunneling away…

I’ve been making good progress on my WIP. Today I passed the 50,000 word mark! And there is still plenty left in the story. I’m happy to be so sure that this will be my longest novel yet (When the Watcher Shakes is somewhere around 60,000 words, and Little One is around 55,000). At the beginning of this, I was really hoping that I would be able to make it to 80,000. Right now, I’m feeling that goal could become a reality in as little as a month! (And I still don’t have a good title! That’s okay, I usually don’t come up with one until after the story is finished anyways.)

But the real goal is not necessarily to reach a certain word count, but to tell a good story at a good pace.

In other news, I’m still competing in the Next Great Horror Writer Contest over at HorrorAddicts.net. I can’t say that I’m really doing great overall, at least so far, but I am glad to finally say that I won the most recent challenge, which was to create a short spoof radio commercial script for a fake horror-related product. The judges really liked mine. You can read the script here: https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/nghw-winner-of-commercial-spoof-timothy-huguenin/

If you want to read the top eight spoof commercials, here’s the link for that: https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/nghw-top-8-commercial-spoofs/

Alternatively, you can listen to their recent podcast episode, and hear my commercial acted out at the end!

Well, back to digging. I’ll see you again sometime soon, I hope.

 

A reminder to those interested: Little One will be released in July! You can mark your calendar and hope to remember—or you could just sign up for my email newsletter, and make sure you don’t miss it or any future publications!

Prologue to an unfinished work

I don’t know what will happen with this. I had been working on an idea for a novel set at the Moundsville prison, but this opening scene for a totally different story came to me the other day. I’m still keeping the prison novel in mind, but I think while this other idea has captured me I might follow it through and see where it leads. This is not part of my upcoming book, Little One, which I am currently finishing up and plan to publish in the summer. Soon I will share more of that. Until then, here’s the opening of—of what? A novella? Novel? I’m sure it will be longer than a short story. I don’t know where it will go and when it will end. Time will tell—or will it, if the watch is broken?

Continue reading

The Count of Monte Cristo is long

I’m getting close to the end of my current WIP’s first draft. I had hoped to have a 70,000 word manuscript to edit by the end of this month, but the story is starting to wind down already, and at this rate I’ll be happy to get to 60k (the final version of When the Watcher Shakes is somewhere around 60k words, in case you were wondering). That’s all right, since it’s still in the novel-range, but it’s still probably going to be on the short end, and I had hoped to bring something a little heftier to the table next summer for those of you that read through WTWS in one day.

I don’t want to give too much away this early, but a character in my new book (currently untitled) identifies a lot with her literary hero, Edmond Dantes. But it had been so long since I’d read The Count of Monte Cristo that I decided I needed to go back and reread Dumas’s famous and influential work again.

I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it is wayyyyy long. The copy I own is just over 1,200 pages (I’m currently looking down the home stretch at page 1,040). And the print is not very large. I remember loving this book and tearing through it when I first read it, I think the summer of ’08 or ’09. And I guess you wouldn’t say that I’m slouching in pace this time, either. But there is just so much going on in this book. I think it suffered from being written as a serialized piece; it’s like every three chapters he pulls yet another plot point out of thin air to work into the story, like a J. J. Abrams TV series stretched longer than its run should have lasted. I often find myself thinking, Oh come on, why didn’t Dumas just name this guy the Count of Deus Ex Machina? Also, the Count doesn’t really become a very likeable or identifiable character. If I didn’t feel like I needed such a thorough refresher, I probably would have given up by now.

On the other hand, this book is, of course, a classic, and there’s a reason it has stood the test of generations. Every night before I go to sleep, I reluctantly but faithfully return to this improbable tale, and somehow I still usually find myself stretching my bed time for “just ten twenty more pages.” Convoluted as the plot gets, Dumas does seem to keep track of most of it and tie it together completely as he goes, if not always believably. And there is some imagery in this book that just can’t be beat. Edmond’s escape from the Château d’If is one of my favorite scenes in all of literature (Yeah, sorry, no spoiler alert–it’s been 172 years, you’ve had time–besides, at that point you’re only like 2% into the book).

But it turns out that I might just finish The Count at the same time as, or maybe even prior to, the finishing of my rough draft. It would be pretty cool to finish on the same day. My main takeaway from this experience? I wish I could write as fast as I read.