Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Schtick

Schtick (n.) Yiddish slang meaning "gimmick" that has come to mean "someone's signature behavior." - Urban Dictionary

I can clearly remember wanting to write since I was seven: comics, sci-fi, fantasy, and what have you. I've always thought of myself as an aspiring writer of Speculative Fiction. It never occurred to me that I'd turn into a "Louisiana Writer" but apparently I have.

The mystery story that I recently sold, "Rougarou," is set in the contemporary, albeit fictional, town of Whatley, LA (which I imagine to be somewhere in the Florida Parishes) and makes use of the Cajun werewolf myth.

The Steampunk Story that I just mailed off today takes place on the grounds of Knockwood Plantation, which I put somewhere on the Mississippi upriver from New Orleans but not as far as Donaldsonville. "Knockwood" was cobbled together from my vague recollections of visiting Nottoway and Rosedown on various school field trips, and of other old houses along the Mississippi that I've been to.

And just yesterday, while I was tightening the final screws in Knockwood's army of robots, I came across a story call for Urban Fantasy set in the Roaring Twenties. Naturally, my mind went straight back to New Orleans and the burgeoning Jazz scene. I'm committed to the story now, but I don't know if I'll send it to that particular call or do something else with it.

For one thing, the anthology they're putting together will only be published in Australia. For another, I've got this skinny little kid in the back of my head named Cleveland Cooper, and he's trying to talk me into making his story a full-length novel, not a short. See, he's stolen an angel's trumpet (Gabriel was getting hammered on Bourbon St.) and, being Cleveland, he wants the biggest venue possible. I've only known the kid for 24 hours, but I already know that he doesn't think small.

Status Update:For the first quarter of 2010, my story-a-month pledge has held. My Venus Story is currently in the running at the Writers of the Future contest, my two shorts "The Merlin House" and "Witch's Cross" were ready in time for Flash Fiction Night at the Hoover Library (they were so short, they only count as one story for the purpose of my goal), and my Steampunk Story got finished just in time for its March 31 deadline.

On tap for the next three months: an expanded version of "The Merlin House" that I'd like to shop around, the Oil Rig Story, and my Jazz Story that may or may not turn into a novel. I also need to find 15,000 more words for my first novel, Nightfall in Majadan (now The Blood Prayer) and finish the 4th draft on the sequel so I can let more people read it.

That other flash story I mentioned, "Witch's Cross", was written specifically for Flash Fiction Night. It's actually a scene from a novel that never got very far past Chapter One the first twelve times I tried to write it. I changed the context of the story so that it would stand by itself, and though I really like it I don't think it has any kind of future out in the publishing world so I'm posting it here for free:

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