Premium Care Published in Strange Economics

My story, Premium Care, about a militaristic medical insurance future, is now available in the Strange Economics anthology. Find it here: Strange Economics

Hazard of Lake Erie Published

I am pleased to announce that my story, “The Hazard of Lake Erie,” has been accepted for publication by Aurora Wolf, and is live on their website. You can read the story here:

The Hazard of Lake Erie

Premium Care Accepted for Publication

I am pleased to announce that my story about a militaristic medical insurance future, Premium Care, has been accepted for publication by the Strange Economics anthology. You can find information about this upcoming anthology at the Strange Economics Kickstarter page.

Dark Fiends of the Jungle Published

My story, “Dark Fiends of the Jungle”, has been published at Aurora Wolf. Find it here: Dark Fiends of the Jungle

Death for the Living

I am pleased to announce that my story, Death for the Living, is now available in Bete Noire Issue #25. Find it here: Death for the Living

To NaNoWriMo or Not to NaNoWriMo

With November almost upon us, I wanted to broach the subject of National Novel Writing Month. Quite simply, this is a short outline of the prospective positives and negatives of participating in NaNoWriMo. By their own description, NaNoWriMo “…is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writingOn November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.” Quite a novel concept, right?

So, should you participate in this challenge or not? There are many reasons to do so, and I’m going to touch on a few of them. If you’re someone who has a ton of ideas, and who is constantly outlining, researching, and conceptualizing them without actually writing much, if at all, this might be for you. If you’ve written lots of short stories, but aren’t sure if you’re ready to step up to writing novels, NaNoWriMo can be a nice exercise to see if it’s something for you. I mean, if you can manage the daily word count necessary to complete it, you can handle a nice, steady word count to work on longer novels. That leads me to time. If you’ve been wanting to write a novel, and you have time on your hands in November, well, this is a great use of your time and the perfect opportunity to try.

You don’t have to be a beginner to make good use of NaNoWriMo, either. For writers who have fallen out of the habit of working on their WIP (work-in-progress), it can be a nice, structured method of pushing yourself to work on it. There’s no rule against merely continuing a WIP, either. If you’re seeking a spark to get you started on a new project, this might be for you, too.

That said, NaNoWriMo isn’t for every writer every year. I’ll give you the reasons I won’t be taking part this year. I participated in it a while back, and while it was perfect for me then, it would be a terrible idea for me now. Why? I’m plugging along and making great headway with my WIP, and have an established process for it. Changing my process and forcing myself to increase my word count per day would take me out of my rhythm. I also don’t want to stop my WIP to write a short novel project this November. And, with the types of genres I’m writing, it would be difficult to market an extremely short, stand-alone novel; writing more books to go along with it would further delay my WIP, and I don’t want another novel that probably won’t sell. I may do NaNoWriMo again in the future, but not this year.

These are just a few of the reasons why it might not make sense to participate in NaNoWriMo. I could come up with more, just as I could come up with more positives to doing so. In the end, as a writer, you must weigh the pros and cons of NaNoWriMo and decide if it’s right for you. Having the organization and the concept out there, along with all the support it provides, can be nothing but positive, because it gives us writers creative options.

Lady Donegal’s Fuel

I am pleased to announce that my story “Lady Donegal’s Fuel” has just gone live on Space Squid. Find it here:

Lady Donegal’s Fuel

Cheese in Your Coffee

“And here’s the donation jar. It pays for cheese, to put in the coffee.” This was the explanation my new boss gave me in my dream last night. Sound strange? It’s perfectly normal, even on the blasé side, for me.

Everyone dreams. Many people have weird dreams from time to time. A large number of those only remember them for a short period in the morning before those dreams fade away. For the lucky few of us, however, certain dreams stick. And they can provide a gold mine of inspiration for writers.

Take last night’s dream, for instance. I had just been hired to work in a garage (which is strange enough by itself), and my boss was showing me around the shop. Turns out you’re only allowed to put twenties into the aforementioned donation jar, for some reason. The good news is that the fridge was full of gourmet cheeses and coffees–no k-cup nonsense in that garage! And…that’s it. A short, weird dream with some absurdities that made me smile.

Although I currently have no plans to turn last night’s dream into a story or book, I’ve done so before. The last story I had published, Josiah Luck, Plumber (of Oddities) in the Strangely Funny IV anthology, came from a pointed dream. The first thing I remembered upon awakening was a character and theme, which I wrote down immediately: supernatural midget (which later became little person) plumber. As the morning wore on, more details from the dream came into focus. Floating ghosts with huge, corporeal teeth, a gaping hell mouth in a bathroom, a plumber with a giant box of invented weaponry and tools. I incorporated all of these and more into the story.

So, writers, keep a note pad next to your bed. Or be ready to sprint to a tablet or computer once you wake up. Ideas are the building blocks of our craft. You never know what concepts your dreams might inspire in you. Sometimes cheese in your coffee is just what you need.

Josiah Luck, Plumber (of Oddities) Published

My short story, Josiah Luck, Plumber (of Oddities) has been published in the anthology Strangely Funny IV.

Confidence, Imposter Syndrome, Rejection

Today, I don’t think I’m a good writer; I know I am. I’ve worked on my craft for many moons now. My strengths range from tight prose to realistic characters to strong voice. And I know it. I developed my skills through short fiction, and have moved on to writing strong novels. And I know it. My ability to create professional-level short stories has taken off. And I know it.

I did go through a period–a years-long period–of imposter syndrome. I swear it! I despaired that my short fiction would be anything but formulaic. While completing my first polished novel, which I am now submitting, I fretted that it would never be finished, let alone any good. Perhaps, without all the elbow grease and concentration and time investment, that imposter syndrome phase would have remained relevant. Yet I put in the work, developed my craft, and became a good writer. I know I did. So why in the hell am I still getting rejected all the time?

During the holiday season, I had three short story acceptances and a request for the first fifty pages of my novel, all in the span of a seven-day period. One week, one glorious week, that told me that 2017 was going to be my year. My breakout year, wherein all that hard work would be vindicated, and I would join the ranks of professional writers. My novel would sell, I’d have another one in the pipe, and would be working on a third. I’d churn out sort stories and flip them to e-zines and anthologies at least once a month.

Well, fast forward to June, and I’ve had exactly zero short story sales, few nibbles, and zero full requests on my book. Needless to say, the rest of my novel wasn’t even requested, let alone bought. I’m being told my 55,000 word fantasy novel is not only too short, but too hard to sell based on content. What gives?

Success in this industry can be slow, no matter how talented a writer you are. Stephen King has some poignant tales to tell on the topic, as well as on imposter syndrome. Time and again, I’ve been advised to be patient and to keep at it. No worries there, as I doubt it’s possible for me to give up. I came into this ready for rejection and, though it’s getting rough right now, I’m still plugging away. Sure, I’m getting incredibly tired of reading those incredibly kind and complimentary rejection emails–but at least I’m getting those. I remember a time when a kind rejection would have been a thrilling occasion. So there’s progress, however slow.

The point is, just because you reach a high level of confidence as a writer doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to succeed. Defeating imposter syndrome is an exciting achievement for a writer, but it doesn’t equal sales. You’ll continue to be rejected, even if and when you become successful. The battle against reverting to imposter syndrome and allowing yourself to become dejected is constant. The struggle is real. If you know you’re a good writer, just keep banging out words. Maybe you’ll get there. Maybe you’ll never achieve success, whatever your metric for success may be. Either way, you have stories to tell, so tell them.