Holy smokes – it’s been a while! I attempted to start blogging again regularly in January, but clearly failed. So here I am, trying again to keep you all informed about what I’m up to.
First, I’ve been involved with a group of writers online – the Wily Writers – for a while now. In early 2022, the group decided to publish some horror anthologies to help promote ourselves. Why? Well, writing is a tough, highly competitive business, and with the vast numbers of people taking up the quill these days it’s difficult to get noticed unless your family name is King, Sanderson, or Rowling.
Another part of the idea was for all of us to toss in stories we’ve had published previously. Since I’m more of a rookie than most other people in the group, I didn’t have that many previously published stories, so to keep up I wrote a couple new ones. A decision was also made to publish these stories via a big online retailer that rhymes with “scamazon”. I am not a fan of that firm’s business practices, but frankly they’re the biggest dog on the block, and it was simpler to get our books in front of more eyes that way.
The first book in the series is Tales of Dread, edited by Lisa Morton. My story there is the first fiction piece I had published in an anthology. With a little touch-up work, it was ready to go, and I’m pleased with the results. The story is titled “A Quiet House in the Country” and appeared previously in Haunted: Eleven Tales of Ghostly Horror (Monica Valentinelli, Ed.) by Flames Rising Press.
It’s also fantastic to share a Table of Contents with such illustrious names – a virtual who’s who of horror fiction!
Next came Tales of Nightmares, edited by Loren Rhoads. For this one I contributed an original story, based very loosely on a story I heard from my older brothers about a weird experience they had when they were teen-agers in the small town where we grew up. The story is titled simply “The House on River Road.”
This was an idea I’d had tumbling around in my brain for several years. I was able to write the story and polish it fairly quickly, and Loren had some great suggestions to help polish it further.
After that comes Tales of Evil, Edited by Angel Leigh McCoy and Alison J. McKenzie. This contains the only other reprint I had available, “In the Shadow of His Glory” previously published in Sidekicks (Sarah Hans, Ed.) by the late lamented publisher Alliteration Ink.
Last (so far) is Tales of Foreboding, Edited mostly by E.S. Magill with some help from yours truly. This was another original piece, titled “When to Let Go” which I wrote before I had ever heard of the TV series “The Last of Us” or the video game it’s based on. That’s a big hint as to the nature of my story! This was another I’d had kicking around in my head for several years.
I’ve also worked on some essays. A colleague of mine from the gaming industry started his own press, and wanted to publish loving essays about films. The series is titled “Everyone’s Gone to the Movies” in a nod to a song by Steely Dan, and so far each volume has been Kickstarted to fund its initial publication. The first volume, Transgressive Horror: Reflections on Scare Films That Broke the Rules contains my essay on the film Congo.
The second volume, Subversive Sci-Fi, includes my essay on Terry Giliam’s dystopian masterpiece Brazil. One of the stretch goals allows contributors to buy in and pick a film they’d like to see treated. One of those films was Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension which is a film I’m rather fond of, so I volunteered and wrote the treatment for that film too. There’s a third volume due out in a month of two, sub-titled “Fabulous Flops.” More on that one as it gets closer to publication.
In less wonderful news, T and I finally failed our dodging save; we both ended up with Covid. We both were put on Paxlovid/Paxlovid-like prescriptions immediately, and the results have been impressive. After three days I feel mostly back to normal, though I still have a few side effects – mostly from the drug. Still two days’ worth of doses left to go as of this writing, so we’ll see how I feel (and what the at-home test results show) after that’s run it’s full course.
There’s a bit more news, including a fun trip I took by train to Arizona last March, but that will have to wait until next time. Until then, stay safe, wash your hands, wear your mask in crowds and in stores whenever possible, and keep your chin up!