Vacation’s Over

August 20, 2017

Today is the last day of my vacation, and I’m feeling that sadness that always comes with it. My wife and I took some much needed time off this past week, but with a lack of money, couldn’t really go anywhere. (The best thing was, hands down, no mosquitoes!) We took a day trip to Cleveland on Friday, and the day before hit up my alma mater, Bowling Green (more on that in a minute), but mostly just stayed at home.

I smoked cigars, got to see one of my oldest and dearest friends (hi Noah!), drank a lot of beer, took walks, did yard and house work, and ate out a lot. It’s nice, but I think if we actually took a trip, we’d be dying to get home and get back to work. (I would have loved to have gone to Gencon or even Boston to share the love!) Instead, we’ve loafed about and realized how awesome life is without going to work.

Writing was on my plate, though, and I finished a story (yay!). More importantly, though, I made a list of necessary things to do for writing. Stories to finish, edit, prep for self-publish, things like that. I’m pretty happy, but now I just need to find the time to get it all done!

Going to Bowling Green was fun, but had its downsides as well. For starters, I wanted to eat at the student union but all of the cool little independent restaurants are gone! It’s all chains, and things I don’t like at that. So we went to a pizza place across the street from campus. It started raining right when we were done, which soon became pouring.

It wouldn’t stop. We were soaked, and couldn’t just enjoy walking the campus. Since it’s August in Ohio, all the buildings had the air conditioning cranked up, so we were freezing inside.

My biggest issue? I realized that since graduating 12.5 years ago, I haven’t had a major publication ever. I’m not poo-pooing the publishing credits I do have, but no books picked up by a publishing house, no stories in a professionally paying market, no major contests, no inclusion in big-time anthologies.

It’s okay. I’m surviving, of course. It just stings to go into East Hall and see the display case of alumni publications and even reading the blurbs in the semi-monthly college publication with so-and-so’s latest publication in whichever magazine.

I’m trying, though. Hopefully this new list of important can get me moving and working hard enough to get things where they need to be.

This doesn’t mean I have nothing, though. Good things are coming!

Last year, I was published in Bards & Sages Quarterly. At the beginning of the year, there was a poll to vote on best story of each particular issue, which will all then be collected into a special publication, Bardic Tales & Sage Advice. My story won for my issue! It should be out soon. REAL soon! As always, I’ll keep you informed of when it is released.

Also, and this has been out for a while, but Crimson Streets (also something I was published in last year) has collected the first 26 stories in a handsome paperback. I’ve read pretty much all the stories online as they came out, but reading through again, I’m reminded of how many great short pieces are out there. Seriously worth checking out, not only for great reading, but to support the small presses and show us that you want to see more!

Crimson Streets!

All in all, things are going well. I feel like with the closing weeks of summer, seeing kids going back to school and realizing that I haven’t had a single publication this year, I’m feeling a little depressed. But not to worry, I’ve got tons more, and no need to worry. My fingers have a lot of stories left in them, and I’ve got lots of time!

Stay awesome, my friends.

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No More Waiting

July 27, 2017

There are times when you have to say—no, SCREAM!—that enough is enough. You just can’t take it, you’re done, and any further attempts to get you seeing things from any other point of view simply won’t work anymore.

You probably think I’m referring to my attempts at getting published. I’m not, although there are several publications I wish would hurry up with any kind of contact. Nope, I’m talking about something that doesn’t affect me so much as an author as it does a reader, a fan, and a huge nerd.

George RR Martin. Specifically, his “A Song of Ice and Fire” series of books. More specifically than that, “The Winds of Winter,” the next book in the series.

This past weekend, Sand Diego ComicCon happened, once again overcrowded and full of all sorts of news. It was announced that Winds probably won’t hit until next year, 2018. Possibly even early 2019.

What the actual fuck?

I understand there are factors to consider here:

*It may have the seventh and final book alongside it (can’t remember the name, don’t feel like looking it up)

*He’s a busy man, contractually obligated to edit and write many, many other things.

*He’s got a history of lengthy waits between major projects.

I get it. I’ve been with him for a long time now. I first read A Game of Thrones back in 2002, and quickly devoured everything I could. But the wait for “Feast for Crows” and then “A Dance with Dragons” interfered with our enjoyment, but didn’t destroy it. For a long time, I was more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and accept that hey, he’s not perfect, and we might just have to wait.

But not anymore.

I’m done, and while that makes no difference to him or you or anyone, it’s awakened something in me I never really noticed before.

Yes, I’ve sat on projects. I’ve waited, gotten lazy, gotten sidetracked, and at times simply didn’t care. In fact, a novel I’m almost done with (and have been almost done with for several months now) has been collecting dust for quite a while. After numerous attempts to write it and stick with it, life happens.

But not anymore.

I’m making it clear to myself and everyone that no matter what, my projects will get done. I will write, edit, workshop, edit some more, and submit to the appropriate parties when I need to, and make sure it all gets done. No ifs ands or buts, my writing will be written, and (hopefully) read.

That’s my promise to you.

No projected dates of several years in the future, no “one of these days” bullshit promises, no nothing. Just a promise that if and when I start something, I’ll finish it.

My dad’s best advice to me was “Don’t talk about it, do it.” I’m living that advice right now and every day.

That’s my promise to you.

(And yes, I’m well aware of the TV series Game of Thrones. I don’t watch it and don’t want to. I’ve read those books at least three times each except for Dance, and the show deviates too much for me to enjoy it. Sorry, I know it bothers people that I made a decision that affects no one but me, but hey, there you go.)