Right now, I'm sat here on a Tuesday morning, Tuesday 30th August 2016. The day before I fly out to Toronto for the summer - my annual summer trip to Toronto. A break from the usual staples like heavy lifting, cooking and such. Not writing. Not writing? Really? Yeah, really. I guess I'm one of those people who never really switches off. As is, I only got back to work yesterday evening, after a time out with my honey. And time with her is great, but there's work that needs to be done. Let's not forget that the muse keeps to her own schedule, and I need to fall in line with it - not the other way around. This I learned years back, when the ideas I had for story outlines (read: elevator pitches) went as quick as they came, especially since I never wrote them down at first. But back to the matter. The fact that I'm updating the journal now at month end should give some indication how just how busy the busy got. My main business was of late was two-fold: one, promote the debut issue of Turn To Ash (in which my "So Dreamy Inside" appears), actually out now(!) and two, wrap the first draft and basic edits on the latest novella, "Downwind, Alice." I say basic edits because while I write at a fair pace, I don't stop to correct typos - my first concern is to get the draft down, no matter how rough it is. As a result, my first draft is littered with that shit like a landfill. So I then do a run-through to correct basic typos. Admit it, if you read a story full of typos, it'd put you off. Hell, I've read a number of stories that are clean on punctuation and grammar, and they put me off some other how. So, I hit up a couple of the betas beforehand to enlist the assist on this draft. What this means is that while they work through the manuscript with a fine-toothed comb, I get to take time away from the manuscript, so that when I return to it, I do so with fresh eyes. See? All part of the plan.
Do also keep eyes open for the upcoming Crossroads In The Dark anthology from Burning Willow Press. Where the first anthology dealt with morality, this one will deal with urban legends. Truth told, I had the idea in mind for my contribution a good while back. Originally supposed to be a novella, the story came in that much shorter at around 10,000 words, which was fine by me. As long as the story is told right and told well, the word count is secondary (at best). By sheer stroke of luck, the Jazz Cafe temporarily closed its doors earlier this year. I didn't know this beforehand, but when you read "Forfeit Tissue", you might wonder just how real a coincidence is. Anyhow, I love what they've done with the place.
So yeah, a busy month on the author front, along with submissions and supporting the beta team. I've been lining up more expos and conventions too. So as much as I'm on holiday and flying out to Toronto tomorrow, there'll be an element of business involved. FanExpo doesn't just see me picking up comics for the Spidey collection (I've not even unbagged the comics I bought at FanExpo over the last two years), but also networking. Rue Morgue no longer represents at FanExpo now, but there are still those who represent horror/dark fiction/sci-fi/fantasy/etc. I tell vampire aficionado Brad Middleton that we need to have a fang-off. He tells me okay, and that some like-minded heads from the HWA's local chapter are looking to link for a meet and greet nearby. All sounds good. I'd hoped to bring my author copies of Turn To Ash, Volume 1 - which have yet to arrive. I know the Stateside contributors already have theirs. I have a sneaking suspicion that mine will turn up after I fly out - which'd be a shame, since it could open up some possibilities to take a few copies with me. I'd hoped to meet Andrew Wilmot, whose clown tale in Turn To Ash is probably my favourite fiction piece in there - a well-crafted work of darkly humourous genius. Sadly, Andrew is now out of town - gone before I even touch down. Still, I should get to meet one Pat Hollett, one of my long time heavy hitters: the beta readers who:
. were down since I started to run with this writing thing . gave the most timely and thorough feedback . turned out top-notch work and keen insight to short timescale who . put up with my shit So yeah. Work to do.
That's just the one expo. There's also FantasyCon By The Sea at month end in Scarborough. Lots of good people I'm looking to link with, like Phil Sloman (who I met at Edge-Lit last month or so), Jim Mcleod from back in the days of Brian Keene's FUKU when the Gingernuts Of Horror was but a twinkle in the Gingefather's eye. Maybe even Erik Hofstatter - who's proving elusive like a needle in two haystacks. Maybe we get to clink a horn of mead and a JD and Coke. Still, I know the man's been keeping busy (as we do) with the likes of Rare Breeds. Anyhow. It's a little over 24 hours before I head to the airport tomorrow, and there's still much to do. Time to get into it.