To start, I’m pleased as punch to announce that I have an essay that will be appearing in the next volume of Thinking Horror, a journal of horror and philosophy with criticism and interviews in the field. I was a fan of the first volume and am honored to be in the ToC among many writers whom I admire. The essay explores the use of “haunted” video and their consumption in a number of recent works of horror fiction that I’ve enjoyed. Estimated release of October 2016. This will be my first printed work of nonfiction
Next, I’ve finally gotten my lazy ass to professional it up another notch by creating an Amazon page, with Goodreads to follow shortly.
I will possibly be dropping in on this year’s Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival, which is free and open to the public. It’s a bit farther away than last year and who knows what my real-life schedule will look like in October, but last year’s was quite nice and I’d like to make it again.
I’ve updated ye olde bibliographye pagey to reflect most recent placements and online articles, including this here review I did of Jeffrey Ford’s newest collection, “A Natural History of Hell.” I’m also in the midst of a longer piece for WFR on one of my favorite authors, which I would imagine will appear by year’s end.
As I battle this bastard of a case of writer’s block (regarding fiction, strangely, but not nonfiction), it occurs to me that I need to accumulate more rejections if I’m to keep improving. Whenever my self-confidence dips into the Marianas Trench (which is weird, because I simultaneously think I’m probably okay and know at least somewhat what I’m doing), I stop and note that I’ve only got a few rejections and everything I’ve had rejected has been accepted on a second submission elsewhere with the sole exception of ye olde novel from 2010. The stats so far: 3 rejections, 3 acceptances of submitted material, 2 solicitations of already-written work for audio production (1 compensated and 1 gratis). Apart from the fact that I already knew that self-promotion and vigorous attention to the business side of writing are not my strong suits, I recognize that if one’s acceptance/rejection rate looks like those numbers, it means I need to start aiming at some more competitive markets on occasion, and thankfully I already know some great places that are a logical next step (not that this is at all a dig on any of the outlets I’ve managed to sneak my way into–I’ve shared ToCs with award-winners and authors that I hugely respect, and they’re releases that I’d gladly buy as a reader). And I realize just now that a portion of my creativity block on the fiction side of things might be, in part, a product of that realization because I’m trying to impose gradually higher standards on myself, as one should.
In terms of reading, I’m currently working on “The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe” by Kij Johnson and Michael Wehunt’s Greener Pastures. One of the stories in Michael’s collection, “October Film Haunt: Under the House,” forms a component of the essay that will appear in Thinking Horror Vol. 2. I’ve greatly enjoyed everything I’ve read in Greener Pastures, though, even if I have been slow in completing it. While seeking to properly contextualize the Kij Johnson novella, I dove into the Lovecraft original, “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.” My thoughts on that, as pasted from elsewhere: “I’ve liked some Lovecraft I’ve read quite a bit, but I find At the Mountains of Madness and, at present, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, to be insufferably tedious exercises in cataloging-as-worldbuilding.” As a person who has been aware of Lovecraft from a young age but never got around to reading him until encountering “The Dunwich Horror” in the VanderMeer Weird anthology, it strikes me that I’d probably have liked the aforementioned works a lot more when I was younger and had a greater interest in world-building and immersion in elaborate settings. More on the Johnson novella forthcoming.