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A Novel Idea And A Game-Changer

Halfway into the year and all feels pretty good. The last submission was a short, titled "Skin Is Delicious", which I knocked out for an anthology. This is another one of those instances where said publisher is so overwhelmed by the level of work coming their way, as things stand at the moment, they're going with at least a couple of volumes to publish the work rather than turn it away. One of my guys asked me a while back if publishers would do more than one volume to accommodate more of those works. From experience, this is only the second time I've seen it happen so it may be more of a trend here.

I'm thinking back on a question I was asked a few months back. A guy asks me how the writing is going. I say it's going pretty well. The output is slow and steady and even if my work is rejected, more often than not it meets with praise rather than criticism. A nice position to be in but regardless, I'm on the lookout to elevate my game. When I tell said guy this, he mentions novels. To which I reply I've written a couple of novels and a couple of novellas but the works that are published right now are shorts in anthologies.

He then says how do I know people are fiending for my work if I appear with a bunch of other authors?

Okay, he didn't use the word 'fiending', but you get the idea.

And I say he has a point.

So let me back track a little to the basics. I'm an author. My game is to write. Period. Up until now, the muse is a sexy little mover who keeps the creativity coming faster than I can write it, which I appreciate is a nice position to be in. Even with my first foray into the game, I had some vague awareness to build up a small body of work to market myself. At some point, publisher DarkFuse caught my eye - and by then, it was clear to me to get some work out to the paying public. So I caught on to the advantages of short fiction:

it's faster to write

it's faster to edit

it's faster to submit and get a 'yay' or 'nay' decision on.

For me, it also gets very addictive to get yet another story published. But then, if they're in anthologies, just how do you know that the audience is fiending for your work? Besides, would every story you write really be a short one? Not for me.

The longest work I've written over the last year was actually about a year ago - and it's a novella sequel to a short I already have published. For the current list of works I currently have out, the ending of one particular short will probably give away that there's a sequel. I wrote that novella in 3 weeks last summer: the better part of 30,000 words before I flew out to lounge in Toronto, and spent a week editing it at breakneck speed when I got back to submit to Samhain Publishing for a horror anthology. The upshot of this was a response from editor Don D'Auria to say he liked it but unfortunately would reject it. The more I look back on that story, the more it moves me. I don't say that often about any story, regardless of who wrote it.


As an HWA member, one of the joys is getting to read other author material when the Bram Stoker Awards roll near. One piece that blew me away is by Lee Markham, called "The Knife", which I had the good fortune to read a few months back. Did I vote for that work? I'll let you guess. Did I try to message the author and tell him personally? I'll let you guess. Did I spread the word that people buy that book? I'll let you guess. The story just hooked me. It's harsh, dark and well-crafted work. Dare I say, a 'game-changer.' I can think of books that have hooked me on some level for one reason or another: Michael Crichton's "Jurassic Park", "V - East Coast Crisis", Alan Dean Foster's "The Thing"... Game-changers in their own way.

I've not written a novel for a few years now. But I'm looking to adapt and elevate my game, and yes, I already have a number of ideas for novels. Remember, the muse has been sweet to me so far. So all going well, this weekend is where I'll start outlining a new one. If and when it gets into print, I'll know if the audience love it or hate it, so it's all on me. Who knows? Maybe one of y'all will read it and see it as a game-changer.

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