A Fitting End to the Year
Holy shit another year is over. And, while my own was filled with ups and downs, hopefully 2022 was at least okay for you. I was talking about it with a few friends a week or so ago, and we all agreed that this past year was absent of any middle grounds--the ups were dramatically high and the lows were scraping the bedrock of a subterranean cavern. But hey, guess that makes for one hell of a roller coaster. Long as we don't get stuck in the cave without flashlights or a torch, right?
Well, a bright light in the dark is that it has definitely been a good year for writing. Not only did I get to guest edit Kingdoms of Wrath and Ice, a fantasy anthology from Tourmaline & Quartz Publishing, and have some really interesting freelance projects, but I've also had four of my own short stories published. The most recent of which, "A Common Wealth of Tragedy" is featured in Issue 2 of Portrait of New England, a regional-based literary magazine featuring writers with ties to New England. You can read the issue by clicking here. A gentle word of caution, "A Common Wealth of Tragedy" is about the after effects of a mass shooting; I would place no blame on any reader who skips this one.
So, with another year behind us, let's look toward 2023 with a little bit of confidence that it will be a good year. And hey, if that confidence simmers on the garbage fire that is the entire world, then at least there's marshmallows around here somewhere. From the depths, my friends, thanks for reading. Be safe, be kind, and be well. Until next time, cheers.
It's Been a Minute
Six months? Seven? Someone recently told me that the days are long but the years are short so figure out what you like and hold on. Well, what I can tell you is that I like writing. Telling stories. Being creative. So that's what I've been focusing on and it's what'll serve as a partial excuse for my extended absence from social media and the web. It's been beneficial if I'm being honest. Not only have I read more this year, I've written far more than I have in a long time. But, the proof is in the publications, right?
Following that with a question - what's your definition of a power couple? Say... the maiden of spring and death himself? Well, that's at least where my brain went with it. 'When Death Met the May Queen', featured in Funemployment's Summer Issue, is a speculative short story on the brutal aftermath of when want and responsibility collide. And it's a love story. Because come on, all the best ones are. This one was special.
And, because who doesn't love a good haunted house story (if you currently live in New England and are not, in fact, intrigued by haunted houses... well, you are free to leave. Joking of course (maybe) especially seeing as the haunted house in 'Gardens for the Dead' my short story that was just accepted in Sley House Publishing's forthcoming Tales of Sley House 2022 is actually in upstate New York. But, I mean really, New England should just annex New York and be done with it.
Alright, that's enough rambling and enough time spent online. Words and stories beckon. Be well friends.
10 Years On
Before I jump into a bout of nostalgia and reflection of the last ten years, I'd like to take a second to recognize the atrocious, pointless invasion that is occurring on the other side of the world right now. I recognize that it's one thing to observe tragedy from a distance, and another to live through it. There are numerous ways to show support if you are able and wish to. From fundraisers, to the Red Cross, to booking stays and tours through organizations like AirBnB to get direct support into the hands of those living through this... for lack of better words: complete and utter bullshit.
Right... So... Ten years ago I was sitting in my undergraduate capstone class, trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life (FYI - still no clue, but just chilling sounds pretty good at this point) when my phone buzzed with an email. My first acceptance for a piece of writing... ever. The piece, a short horror story that took place in a hospital (go figure) was accepted into an anthology. Unfortunately, like so many small presses, the group that put the anthology into the world is no longer active, and since it was three laptops and several email addresses ago, my only copy of the story is a contributor's ARC sitting on my shelf - but ALAS! That acceptance for Snow & Cognac was technically the start of my writing endeavors.
And now it's been ten years... Ten. Years. When you're standing at the front end of a decade, it seems like an immense amount of time that will take beyond forever to navigate through. Looking back though? Probably common sense to a lot of people but, stars above it goes by so fast.
One thing I wish I did, but whether for ego purposes or something else, I did not, was keep track of how many rejections I've gotten since then. I know it's well over three hundred. Well over. But, I couldn't tell you a hard and fast number. What I can tell you, is that in ten years I've scored some wins:
All of them are catalogued here if you're interested at what ridiculous titles I came up with. And, while acceptances are a great, tangible way to track my writing over the past decade (I still can't believe it's been that long) the major thing I want to highlight from the last ten years are the people I've met and subsequently become close with. Editors, booksellers, fellow writers - especially the ones who put up with me every two weeks during our writing group - it's been so much fun working/playing/and just genuinely having fun talking about books, publishing, and words on the page. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Ten years is enough time to thoroughly experience peaks and valleys. And while the pluses definitely outweigh the minuses, sometimes getting through those low points is, well, it's fucking tough. Whether it's rejection, a sour contract, imposter syndrome, lack of inspiration/motivation, or a general why am I investing so much time to just be handed rejections again? Those stretches can wear on you.
But in the end, the wins are worth it. Whether they come fast and furious for a little while or are stretched out over years with the next one shimmering in the distance like an oasis, leaving you to wonder if you'll ever reach it. You will. Just keep writing and you will.
So, if you're a friend or family member who's been along for the ride with me since that first email - thanks for sticking with me. And for anyone who's ever picked up a story or piece of writing with my byline on it, thank you for reading. In a world with so much going on, I'm immensely grateful that you chose to spend a few minutes with something I've put out there.
Stay safe - see you in another decade
It's cold. It's dark. It's February... And the tundra goes on forever. Well, only in my dreams and places farther north than I've had the chance to go... yet. The arctic circle is inching higher on the list, coming soon. But, that's another story. Right now? The first month of 2022 is over, a lot has happened, and a lot is in the works. But first? The January reads.
One month and five books, only one of which was eh. I'll consider that a win. But that begs the question - which was the best? I had no intention of rereading Station Eleven this year, but after only one episode of the new HBO show, I knew I had to dive back into this world (and all the subsequent ones *cough* The Glass Hotel). And Jesus am I glad I did (also, side note, see below for another Jesus reference).
If you haven't read Station Eleven and you can stomach a book about a pandemic, I implore you to pick this one up and read it. Through gorgeous, gorgeous prose, Shakespeare references, and a cast of characters that everyone will relate to in some way, Mandel will repeatedly show you why survival is insufficient.
Now, Station Eleven reread aside, if I had to not cheat and pick a book that wasn't already one of my favorites of all time, I'd have to give the best January read to The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard. Told from a unique perspective (first-person plural), the POV will either work for you or it will grate your very senses. Luckily, I was in the former of those two camps.
So... what else is happening you ask? And no, we're not at the other Jesus reference yet, hold tight. I promise it's coming.
Announced a few weeks ago, I've been working behind the scenes to assist fellow author and friend Liz Delton as the guest editor for Tourmaline & Quartz's first short story anthology Kingdoms of Wrath and Ice. To get a better sense of what we're looking for and hear a little bit more about me and what got me started writing - hint, fan fiction of some kind... check out an interview I did with Liz here.
And get those stories ready!
Well, till next time friends... oh wait, the Jesus thing. Apparently, according to what I've heard from Carla Marie & Anthony (You Look Great by the way) the 33rd year of your life is where you're reborn in some way, shedding something from your past and starting fresh. Or, if you're anything like that guy from the religious texts, it's the year you'll start a revolution and wind up nailed to a cross, reborn as a spiritual figure that's the focus of many, many years to come.
I'll settle for a glass of Macallan 12 year.
Here's to another year around the sun. Let's make it a good one, friends. Cheers.
There are three types of people in the world right now:
Little Fish follows a young couple (Olivia Cook, Jack O'Connell) as they navigate the world while a memory loss virus is spreading through society, threatening their relationship and the history they share with one another.
Overall, Little Fish, was a great movie. While there were some scenes and sequences that didn't jive with me, these were far and few between. Both Cook and O'Connell showed vivid emotion in their character portrayals and the relationship between them was what really hit home - though I'm a sucker for tears and slow burn tragedy. Give me millennial heartbreak and we'll be best friends.
While the story may have begun as an examination of Alzheimers or dementia, being released in 2020/2021, the content takes on another layer for those in the audience. While watching, it isn't difficult to see the parallels with the current state of the global health crisis, however I think it's important to note that memory loss is a real plague on families and loved ones, and I think Little Fish does a great job of respectfully illustrating that struggle. If you can stomach pandemic-esque media, I definitely recommend giving this one a watch. As of this post, it's available to stream on Hulu.
Cheers and be safe out there!