Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Happy Havoc-days

So as this year draws to a close (or gets gradually nearer to doing so, at least; we must be oddly ahead of schedule in our household holiday preparations this year because I can't shake the feeling that Christmas Day is, like, this Friday) I wanted to take a moment to address a few disparate things that really do tie together. By way of picking a single entry point (and not burying the lede), I'll start off with an announcement: the publication this week of the crazy-go-nuts PulpWork Christmas Special 2014!

Inordinately devoted readers of the blog may recognize PulpWork Press as the publishers who brought the world the series of How the West Was Weird anthologies, volumes 2 and 3 of which contain, among other fantastic works, a story apiece written by me. And, much as that close association makes me an admitteedly biased fan of PulpWork anyway, such that I'd happily shill for their annual extravaganza of Christmas-themed adventure yarns, I am pleased and proud to admit that yet another one of my story efforts is part of the Christmas Special 2014 collection, as well. Pick one up as the perfect stocking stuffer for the weird loved ones in your life, you know, the ones who would dig the idea of Santa Claus as a seasonal demon-hunter and know what the heck a wendigo is.

So, to recap, How the West Was Weird v.3 was published this summer (approximately; the e-book edition was available in May and the paperback in August) and right about the time that it was going through layout finalization I resolved to get a bit more serious about my own fiction writing. I get a certain thrill out of seeing my own name in print and I've enjoyed the ride with the HTWWW series enough to seek to replicate it as much as possible in the future. One avenue that seemed like a no-brainer was the PulpWork Christmas Special, since I already had an in with the editor and many of the other authors. So it's gratifying to see that come to fruition this week, too. But it doesn't completely scratch the itch.

Thus I've done a lot of writing in the past, say, eight months. A lot of bearing down on ideas, not just rolling them around idly in the back of my head when I'm bored but actually engaging with them, eyes on screen and fingers on keyboard, until they're written out in their entirety. Some of them I've gone back and polished up and made into something vaguely audience-worthy, and I've submitted those stories to other potential publishers. I've gotten some curt and dismissive rejections, and some encouraging close-but-fell-just-short rejections, and one acceptance which should be officially available and linkable right before Christmas (to which of course I will devote yet another post when everything comes together). The additional anthology credit is cool, and the nice thing about all the rejections is that I can take another pass at those stories and try again submitting them somewhere else. Fortunately I'm not trying to make a living at this (at the moment), so it's fairly non-stressful, more like amusing myself trying to make a tricky basketball shot at the hoop in my driveway, sometimes frustrating and very occasionally satisfying. It costs me nothing but time.

Also, in the course of researching markets where my stories might find homes, I've come across a few open calls for stories on specific themes that have tickled my fancy, and I've reached out to those publishers (two separate ones on different occasions) with pitches for the anthologies, and gotten positive responses. So that accounts for another story that's currently in the editing process which should see the light of day some time in 2015, and one I'm still in the middle of writing which would also, hopefully, come out next year. That feels like a pretty good head start on making sure this is an ongoing thing, that I have as much work published in 2015 under my name as 2014, if not more.

So that's thread number one, hyping up the new collection, and thread number two, reporting on my increased fiction output and the continuing efforts to get as much of it in print as possible. And that also brings us to thread number three, which is the lackadaisical content upkeep around these blogparts of late. Presumably you can determine for yourself how all of these things are connected: original stories accumulating in my cloud storage account on the rise, regular posts on my blog in decline. I managed to keep things fairly balanced in the summer, and my outsized excitement for Halloween yielded a bumper of posts in October, but I've slacked off since then, blog-wise. Now you know a big reason why! I'm not saying that now that I've named the problem I can make it go away; there're only so many hours in a day, and I've done the best I can with them. And I will continue along those same lines, but if a week happens to go by with no new posts, it might be because I'm trying to push yet another story across the finish line, or I'm spending a lot of free time corresponding with an editor, or something like that.

Way, way back when I started this blog, one of motivators was the simple fact that I wasn't writing much of anything and felt the need to keep exercising those mental muscles regularly. It took a little longer than I expected, but I'm starting to see some itty-bitty hints of payoff. It's kind of like buying a treadmill because you hope to someday hike up Kilimanjaro; at some point you're going to have to get off the practice machine and actually get on the mountain. But that doesn't mean you throw away the treadmill, especially if it's still perfectly functional. It just means it might get a little dusty now and then.

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