You’re not a writer unless you write.

Part of being a writer is that I get to sit dreamily in front of a window with a laptop, tippy-tippy-tapping my imagination onto the page, sipping coffee and being lazy. But this is only a small portion of the work I do as a part-time writer. It’s been a busy year.

My fiction collection Lucid Screams released in February and has slowly been garnering reviews and ratings. Releasing the book during a pandemic really affected its launch. I had to cancel several in-person events—launch party, readings, conventions…  If you’ve read it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. (Amazon reviews help with sales.)

In the spring, I sent Lucid Screams to the Bram Stoker Award jury for consideration and it now sits on the recommended list for the 2020 awards. I’m trying not to get too excited because there are over 20 fiction collections on that list, including works by Kathe Koja, Jeffery Ford, and this other horror author that goes by the name Stephen King… And only 10 of us will make it to the preliminary ballot. And those ten need to have at least 5 recommendations by Horror Writer Association members. I have no delusions I’ll win a Stoker, but making it to the preliminary ballot would be a feat. And making the final ballot would kick ass and count as a major accomplishment. So I’ve been doing my best to keep Lucid Screams visible and I’m offering it for free (per Bram Stoker rules of etiquette) to HWA members who’d like to read it for consideration. My work promoting Lucid Screams is only a fraction of the work.

I’m working on another book. It’s a coming-of-age dark ghost story. I’ve also dusted off an old short story and plotted out a way to make it a longer work. Also, Twin Flame came out of the crypt. I wrote this novella two years ago and put it away because of some discouraging advice about storytelling. I thought it was garbage and needed a rewrite. Well, I read it the other day, and I think it’s fun! It’s kind of a supernatural thriller with some dark comedic elements—a bit of a genre-crosser. There are some things I need to do to tighten it up, and it needs a few betas, but I’m hoping to have it ready for querying within a month or two. Lots of book projects lined up, and that’s exciting for me.

Earlier this year, I was asked to be a staff writer for Crystal Lake Publishing’s Still Water Bay shared-world dark fiction series. Working on something so collaborative has been a learning process, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. My episode went live in September and I’ve already submitted another. Keep an eye out for a bound version of this series and eventually a podcast!

In addition to the publication and marketing of Lucid Screams, as well as working at different stages on three novellas, and writing for Still Water Bay, I’ve continue to write short stories for various anthology calls for submissions. Because of the work leading up to the release of Lucid Screams, I didn’t have as many short stories submitted this year, but some acceptances have recently started rolling in. Here are some that have been published already, or accepted for future publication:

 “Prospect Nowhere” was published in Dark Moon Digest, issue #38 by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. (January 2020)

“Never Have I Ever” was published in the If I Die Before I Wake, Vol. 2 anthology by Sinister Press. (April 2020)

“Black Feathered Fury” will appear in the If I Die Before I Wake, Vol. 3 anthology by Sinister Smile Press. (October 2020)

“Doll House” will appear in the We Are Wolves charity anthology by Burial Day Press, supporting victims of abuse. (November 2020)

“A Cold Day in Hell” will be published in the Shiver anthology, edited by Nico Bell. (January 2021)

“Blood Bogged” will be published in the Twisted Anatomy charity anthology by Sci-Fi & Scary, supporting The Domestic Abuse Hotline and The Pulmonary Hypertension Assocation. (February 2021)

Other short stories are out in the void being judged and likely rejected, but I have high hopes for some of them. So that’s what I’ve been up to, plugging away in front of the dream-screen, eyes burning…tippy-tippy-tapping through bleeding fingers and eyeballs. There’s a lot that still needs to happen between now and the end of the year. So Happy Halloween! Happy Holidays! Stay strong, stay healthy, stay safe. And let’s hope for a happier New Year in 2021!

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