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Authors. Authors Everywhere.

So I’m thinking of all the various memes I’d seen for the film Toy Story, where Buzz Lightyear is telling Woody that he’ll soon be sitting around a campfire with Andy making delicious hot shmoes. The Internet now has ‘everywhere’ memes for this image as though Buzz is telling Woody what is everywhere. Idiots. Idiots everywhere. Opportunity, My Friend. Opportunity Everywhere. Jealous Bitches. Jealous Bitches Everywhere.

You get the idea.

What came to mind over the last couple of weeks is: Authors. Authors everywhere. And it’s over the last two weeks that I’ve experienced more of that. So let me give you some background.

One of the good things, for me, at least, in being an HWA member is that, if you opt in, other authors will approach you with their published work for you to read – and hopefully nominate for a Stoker award. For those who may not know, a Bram Stoker award is an award within the HWA for a work of horror/dark fiction. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a short story, novella, novel, anthology, etc. – if it’s horror/dark fiction, it’s fair game. Members aren’t obliged to receive this work, and can opt in or out as they see fit. I chose to opt in, simply to experience something new. Even if I wasn’t writing, there’d be no way to read everything. I’ve read a couple to date, and will still cite Lee Markham’s “The Knife” as one of the more impressive works I’ve read to date. Period. Of course, there’s more to read: I’ve not yet gotten around to Frazer Lee, but the likes of The Leper Window looks intriguing.

There’s been close engagement with authors of late, especially in the wake of the Burning Willow Press “Crossroads In The Dark” anthology of morality. The virtual release party was on Saturday 31st October 2015 – yes, Halloween – and was even scheduled at a time that all 23 authors on both sides of the water could attend. The fact that I’m only updating the journal now should give you an indication of just how busy this scribe has been. Back to the matter.

The release party was a good opportunity to connect with other authors, as well as Burning Willow Press, led by Edd and Kindra Sowder. From the acceptances of the stories that made the antho, they made it clear from the get-go that this would be a family affair, and that they would cultivate this new family of creative types. Which is humbling and cool. In addition, they also extended an invitation to write for their next Crossroads In The Dark anthology, which will centre on urban legends. Fortuitous for me, I already had a story in mind based on an urban legend. As much as I’m looking forward to writing this story, my guess is it’ll come in at around maybe 20,000 words, which is double the limit on what Burning Willow Press is asking for. First and foremost, of course, is to write and submit the story that both author and publisher can agree to. Plenty of other stories in me, too.

I also feel the need to give a shout out to Carl Alves, one of the fellow authors in the first Crossroads In The Dark antho for taking a time out to do a Q&A with a number of authors, myself included. I already thanked him at the time, but November has proven a busy month for me all round. He also offered to do a mutual beta. So Carl, this one’s for you: thanks very much for the assist and the insight so far: truly appreciated, and yeah, I’ll have to bless you with a couple of betas at least. For the level of savvy you bring to your game, I’ll have to peruse your work at some point, too… as soon as I get some breathing space.

Which brings me into the nature of the busy. How busy have I been? So busy that I’ve not even had a chance to read Crossroads In The Dark yet. What have I been busy with? Here it is:

  1. First and foremost, working on a ~50,000 word beta of a novella for author Kelly Metz, my heavy hitter. And while the lady assures me she’s in no rush for it, she knows it’s likely she’ll get back a detailed beta by the end of the month. Why? Because I said I would. That and the fact I like to clear projects off my deck ASAP (which opens me up to new work).

  2. An edit of an existing festive-themed short, which I’m aiming to submit by the end of this week. This is currently sat with one of my MVCs, Terri.

  3. A beta of a short, which I’m expecting from the same Terri any day now.

  4. A novella edit so I can submit to Grey Matter Press: another publisher I like the look of, from their product to their vision.

  5. A possible short to knock out now and submit well ahead of the deadline, which is over a month away.

All of this I want to clear by month end – so that when December hits, I can start work on a brand new (urban legend) story for Burning Willow Press. Nothing like knocking out new product.

And I’m currently reading “Goners” by I.O. Neil; a young adult ghost story. Another author who’s been on hand to assist. Right now, it took long enough to write this entry. But I’m grateful that I get to engage with more and more authors; each one with their own individual flavour (and at some point, I'll get to more of the 'Crossroads' crew). All good. And you the readers get more choice. We’re spoiling you.

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