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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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!

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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.

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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2018 Youth Writing Workshop

A bit of news that I managed to forget sharing with you (I think I’ve forgotten—now I forget if I forgot!) is that I am the new Region 2 Representative for West Virginia Writers, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to promoting literary interests and writing activities as well as giving voice to the West Virginia people. I’m honored and proud to serve our region (Pocahontas, Webster, Pendleton, and Randolph counties) and support writing and literary efforts here.

One of my duties each year as a regional rep is to organize a local event. After a bunch of emails back and forth about schedules and venue availability, I’m finally pleased to publicly announce the upcoming Youth Writing Workshop for middle and high school students!

The 2018 Youth Writing Workshop will be held at Camp Hidden Meadows in Bartow, WV and will consist of two FREE classes for each age group: one class hour focused on writing fiction, the other class hour focused on writing poetry. Students may attend only one of the hours, but attending both is strongly recommended! Fiction classes will be taught by Eric Fritzius (of Lewisburg, WV), and Poetry by Doug Van Gundy (of Elkins, WV). For more details and to sign up, please visit https://youthwritingworkshop.wordpress.com/. Register soon! It is free! Can’t wait to see you!

We do need to know how many to expect, so please don’t put off registration if you plan to attend 🙂

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Signing @ Counter Culture Concepts in Elkins, WV on January 27th

I’m stoked to announce that I’ll be at Counter Culture Concepts in Elkins, WV (114 3rd St) for a book signing! Come out on Saturday, January 27th around 4:00 pm to meet me and purchase a signed copy of Little One. For info on the address/location, click here.

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A huge thanks to owner Ben Simmons for helping me set this up. If any of you guys are near Elkins and don’t know about his shop, check it out. This is the place to go around here for enthusiasts of Magic: The Gathering, comic books, and other kinds of trading cards, and Ben is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.