Friday, December 16, 2011

Summer Gothic: Let's Do This Thing

Okay, now I'm worried. Yesterday was the deadline for submissions to Summer Gothic, the anthology of Alabama ghost stories that I'm editing. The stories are in, and on the whole they're good. This thing that so far has been nothing but a daydream in the back of my head is really going to happen.

Nervous? You bet'cha.

Of course, there's a lot still to come: Cover art, interior design, contracts, deciding for sure on which P.O.D. service to use - but most importantly, sending each story back to the author with notes for revision. The best experiences I've had with my own short stories is when editors have returned them with comments and requested another draft. Since Summer Gothic is as much a teaching exercise for the various writers' groups I'm involved with as it is an opportunity for publication, I'm going to "pay it forward" and do the same for this collection. I've had a committee looking at each story that came in (anonymous for now, I think of them as Ryan, Randy, Paula, and Simon) and I'm going to condense all their praise and criticism into a packet for each contributor who makes it to the next round. The story call website will shortly switch to a production blog so everyone can keep track of our progress.

So that's where things stand in the exciting country of "What the Hell Have I Gotten Myself Into?" If all goes swimmingly, this thing should see print in the spring of 2012.

And every one of you will buy a copy. Right?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 - One for the Books

My gods, is it over? Can I come out now? May I actually watch TV without feeling guilty about it? Gee, whiz.

This was actually a pretty productive month. I didn't struggle as much to keep my head above water as I did last year, but I never got very far ahead on my daily word count either. At least the universe didn't conspire against me more than normal this time. Final word count: 52,135. This was a continuation of the novel I began last year, so I just pasted my new work onto the end of my previous installment, which brings draft 1 of The Ghost Cauldron (formerly The Wolves of Majadan) up to 103,926 words... and counting. I can comfort myself with the knowledge that I don't have another 50K to go until this thing is done - but there might be as much as 40K left to the end. After that, I can leave Majadan behind for a while and get on with something new.

My first year as Birmingham's Nano ML was exciting. We had a huge turnout for our kick-off party and a lively crowd for our write-ins, at least at the beginning at the month. Attendance at these things always dies off as November moves along, people develop plans, and the majority of writers fall gasping by the wayside. Nevertheless, Birmingham writers produced over 7.3 million words of fiction this year, which is quite an achievement.

Next November: (see, I'm thinking ahead) The Whisper - the love child of Clark Kent and Hunter S. Thompson meets a Fifties beatnik version of the Shadow to thwart the plans of a dastardly time-travel cartel to destroy the world for fun and profit.

Meanwhile the deadline is fast approaching for Summer Gothic submissions. Stories have been trickling in, but I've heard promises of many more to come in the next few weeks. Get those in by December 15!

Also, if you're in the Birmingham area this weekend, drop by the Birmingham Public Library for our annual Local Authors Expo. I'll be selling and signing copies of Dreams of Steam vol. 1 & 2 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.