Howdy! It’s been more than a year since my last blog post. I hope to get back to blogging on a more regular basis now – perhaps not quite weekly, but two to three times a month if all goes well.
It would seem we have some catching up to do! Since last time, I’ve had a few projects published. Most recently, I had an essay in Transgressive Horror: Reflections on Scare Films that Broke the Rules. My essay covers the film Congo. Click the link below the image for more information or to order a print or PDF copy:
This book is also available in an epub version: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/382685/EPUB-Version-Transgressive-Horror-Reflections-on-Scare-Films-that-Broke-the-Rules
Along those same lines, volume two is Kickstarting as we speak. This one covers Subversive Sci-Fi, and the film I talk about in my essay is Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. There’s a chance I may write another essay: one of the higher tier pledges allows the backer to pick a film for us to cover, and that backer has picked The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension, a film near and dear to my heart. If the kickstarter campaign succeeds, I’ll be writing that one up as well. Even if you don’t care to chip in on the campaign please, please share the link over whichever social media forum you prefer. We need all the help we can get to fund this project.
What else have I been up to? Submitting fiction and getting rejected. It’s been discouraging, and is making me question whether continuing to turn my hand to fiction is worth my time. I fully realize that I am far from alone in this; there are thousands of wanna-be authors like me out there, and most of them are even less successful than I. I’ve written several stories recently that I’m very proud of; I’ve grown a fair bit as an author over the last few years, but I still can’t seem to get over the hump. I’ve taken up with a group called the Wily Writers, and we’re putting out collections of our own horror short stories to help promote ourselves. The first (of five) has just been released; you can pick up a copy through Amazon here.
I haven’t worked on much gaming material lately. To be honest, the pay rate in the gaming industry is quite low, and while I do occasionally throw in on a project that piques my interest, usually it just isn’t worth my time. The gaming industry has also been shamed into being better about opportunities for people of color, and in that context it’s understandable that an old white guy of middling talent might not be as in-demand as I once was. My digital gaming and fiction work is still available, and every month it earns me roughly the equivalent of a gallon or two of gasoline.
At the start of the pandemic, I pitched in with dear friend and Steampunk personality Madame Askew to launch a monthly virtual steampunk book club. In June we’ll be discussing Nisi Shawl’s Everfair. In July we’ll be talking about Robyn Bennis’s The Guns Above. The group has a page on Facebook – a central gathering place, if you will – and each month Madame posts a page for that month’s book to the group page. We meet on the third Sunday of every month (except this June, when we moved it a week later to avoid conflicting with Father’s Day AND Juneteenth) and things get rolling at 7:30 Eastern/4:30 Pacific time (US). It’s not important to have read the book to join us! https://www.facebook.com/groups/565219680824876
So why have I not blogged in such a long time? First and foremost, the realization that half of the people in the United States would rather see me die than wear a fucking mask to mitigate the spread of our current pandemic has been demoralizing. I’m vaxxed and boosted once (so far), and I still mask up when going into shops, restaurants, and other indoor public spaces, but I appear to be one of the very few. Second, the blog started as a way to promote myself and my writing projects. As there have been precious few things to talk about lately, it just didn’t seem like I should bother. That’s finally changing, and I intend to keep pushing to get my work out there. I’m strongly considering self-publising a short story collection; it wouldn’t have to sell a ton of copies to be successful- as long as it brings in more money than my costs to produce it, it’ll be worth it. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes…
Nice to see a new blog post!
I feel your pain, and your frustration about the publishing game, my good Billiam. It’s shouting into the void on the best of days, and on the worst days it feels like not only did the void swallow you, but it also shat you back out and left you for dead while it moved on to the next unworthy and ungrateful flavor-of-the-day. So many stories. So many writers. And the corruption at the top of the publishing world is enough to give many people fits. It always feels like nothing we do is ever good enough, yet I stop reading most of the books I start because they’re not that good, so I have to wonder why they’re getting published by the Big Five. It doesn’t make sense. It’s just infuriating most days.
If you want help or advice in going the solo route for that short story collection, hit me up. My costs are almost nil, save for some time and effort. My sales are almost nil, though. So it evens out.
I feel your mask related woes as well. (I know it doesn’t help much, but you’re not alone.)