I learned in graduate school that I had gotten by for years in school without ever attempting a second draft. My modus operandus was to write one, perfect first draft. Something complete and ready for submission. This isn't how it should work, but it's how I managed to survive through school and undergraduate college.Read More
I've been dying to talk about this, and now I finally think I can! For the past two months, I've been working on several short stories, each destined for different anthologies: "Melt," "Xinsheng," and "At the Intersection of Blake and Irving." "Melt" went on to be published in Now Playing in Theater B in mid-February. And now "Xinsheng" and "At the Intersection of Blake and Irving" will appear in the newest anthology by Purple Ink Writers called Dark and Dangerous Things III.
My short stories will appear beside those of a small group of very talented writers, so I'm very excited about this anthology. I'll make sure to post when Dark and Dangerous Things III is available for purchase. Final edits are being completed as I'm writing this, so I expect the anthology will be out this March.
Now that the shorts are done and gone, I'm continuing work on Mister Kiefer, a novel about a fictional and controversial author from Laneehackee, Oklahoma, being interviewed by a young journalist. Hijinks ensue. It's so far been a great deal of fun to write. I'm also beginning work on a serial that has resparked my interest: Stormborn. I started it as a novel for NaNoWriMo, but the story didn't appear to work well in novel format. An episodic format, I found, will work better. Stormborn will be a serial based around the character of Theo Tamsin, a young musician who is caught up in a prophecy that predicts that he will stop the end of the world.
If it sounds cliché, that's because I'm not very good at one-sentence synopses. It's a flaw that I think is funny in my circle of friends.
Stormborn: Unnamed Episode I should be available this year, assuming I accomplish all my stated goals. So far, I'm being consistent in my one-chapter-a-week plan. I hope I have extra time to post some stuff here—to whet appetites, as it were—but I can't promise that.
As one final note, I made a lot of changes to the Publications page on this site, so check that out to see the books my work is featured in, including the anthology for which I served as editor, Broken Worlds.
You can find more information about it on my Publications page. This is the blurb, which I'm also proud of having written:
Evil Dead. Grindhouse. Brain Damage. Motel Hell. Night of the Comet. There are no conventions that the vanguard writers of these films wouldn't eschew. There are no rules that they wouldn't break. These maestros of the macabre took everything we know about horror and set it on its head, all for fancy's thrill. For them, there is no caprice too bizarre to indulge. No limits. No precautions. Just you, a story, and the wind rushing past you with the ground fast approaching. Oh, and your bungie cord isn't attached to your harness. Your evil hand must have loosened it.
Maybe the voice living in the zit on the left side of your nose can help. Why don't you ask her? Oh, yes—your zit is a chick. The incarnate ghost of your dead great-aunt.
Theater B is a collection of short stories written in the same vein as the classic B movies that we fell in love with for their utter lack of shame. They are orgasms of creativity, sluicing imagination from every orifice. They are monuments to the raw idea, bereft of filter, spawned to electrify, to terrify, and to nauseate.
Two new short stories I wrote will be released in Dark and Dangerous Things III, which is slated to come out some time soon. I'll pass on the information as I have it.
When you read "Melt" and all the other short stories in Now Playing in Theater B, I hope you'll leave a review. Those things are amazing not only for drawing in new readers, but for letting authors know how to improve. Five stars are welcome only when they are deserved.
In other news, now that I'm done with short-story-writing for a bit, I'm ready to take on a slightly bigger project. I've been working on political satire modernizing the well-known classic Don Quixote. It's a bit experimental for me, but I'm finding it a lot of fun. As I get closer to actually completing it, I might sneak some peeks out at you.
Right after work, I came back home and poured out a short story for an anthology that should be coming out some time early next year. Is it excellent? Probably not. But this is NaNoWriMo, and the story was 1,888 words long. So not only did I make my goal for today, but I manage to create a pretty cool piece of supernatural gay erotica.
I want to share it so badly because I'm proud of the twist in the story. Part of me wonders whether I should use a different pen name for erotica. Then I remembered that I wrote a splatterpunk short story that is part of an anthology that I have promoted on this website. Overall, the latter story is significantly more horrifying to myself—as a person—than the former. If I'll put my name on a piece of splatterpunk, why wouldn't I put my name on a piece of gay erotica?
There's no good reason. That's my choice. I'm a writer. Moreover, I like to think of myself as the sort of person that can explore genres that make not only others uncomfortable, but that make me uncomfortable. And I choose to stand behind that work because I believe that art, literature, and expression in general should not be subject to the caprices of society. In fact, expression itself is designed to challenge what we believe to be good and just.
Pieces that challenge that which we know to be good challenge our moral worldview. They ask us to explore the good in us, the evil, and expose the extent to which we are willing to forgive those who do awful things. I think I capture this more extensively in the recent short story I wrote, “Xinsheng,” where the main character asks us to consider her terrible actions in the face of impossible odds. They force us to look at evil in context and to re-examine what we believe to be good.
I think it's good to be challenged. And I think it does a disservice to humanity if we fail to place ourselves in positions where we can be fairly criticized. So my name will go onto my gay erotica story, and it'll be promoted on this site without shame or fear.
A little trepidation, sure, because I think that a lot of people find the inherent complexity in human behavior to be frightening. And I'm ever-so-slightly concerned about being judged. But who isn't, really?
Okay. It's only on Kindle for now, but that's still amazing. Beyond the Nightlight is the first book published by Adrean Messmer, although all we Crows had a part in editing the pieces that were submitted. It's our first official publication with authors other than ourselves. We had so many submissions, and many of them were so great that we decided we had to keep them--and move them to other anthologies that are still upcoming.
I don't know when it comes out on paperback, but the paperback versions usually get a little delayed. When it does come out in paperback, I'll post a link to it on my Publications page. Shannon and I both have stories in this anthology: this time only one each. Mine is called "The In-Between Places," so look for it and feel free to tell me what you think.
Thanks to all the contributors and to my fellow Crows for making this all happen. There's tons more coming up soon, so keep your eyes open for new news!