Back to School

December 7, 2018

So often a story gets published in an anthology and maybe a few reviews come in and maybe your story is mentioned in a review…and that’s it. But I’ve had the recent pleasure of actually being ‘graded’ on a story! What is very strange about it is this was the third short story I ever wrote. My writing has evolved a fair bit since then. Hopefully my letter grade on my newer stories would be the same!

“Seed” was published in Cemetery Dance’s special Joe Hill double issue, and then ‘exhumed’ by K. Edwin Fritz for the CD website. Here’s the link:

https://www.cemeterydance.com/extras/exhumed-end-of-the-line-and-seed/

And here’s what he said about “Seed.”

THE NEW: “Seed”

AUTHOR: Erinn L. Kemper

APPEARANCE: Cemetery Dance #74/75: October, 2016(Story #6 of 11)

A BRIEF PLOT SUMMARY (with spoilers!): As a child psychologist for the police, Pauline’s toughest case is Thomas Walden, a 12-year-old boy who had killed a school bully. In her first interview with him, he’d told her “My family can’t help me,” and he was right. The Waldens were mysteriously dismissive: they refused to discuss Thomas and had even sent him into foster care. Stranger still, Pauline’s research revealed the Waldens had five additional children, and Thomas wasn’t even the strangest story among them. The third child, Chloe, had been put up for adoption. Why two of the Walden children had ultimately been cut adrift while the other four remained part of the family made no sense at all.

Five years later, Pauline visits Thomas on the morning of his release but is shocked to learn that for the first time a family member had come to visit him the day before. The security guard tells her it was Chloe and that the girl had a notable hunchback and limp. But when Pauline confronts Thomas about his sister, he still won’t open up. “Stay away from my family,” he says. “For my sake… for your sake.”

Pauline becomes convinced that finding Chloe is the only way to help Thomas. She eventually finds the girl living at a pillared mansion where dozens of other children are living, each with various, grotesque deformities. She also sees an adult chauffeur with a strange, scalded burn mark on the back of his neck.

Unlike Thomas, Chloe is friendly and easy to talk to. She explains that her “Daddy” knows where her real parents are and that her real parents know where she is as well. She tells Pauline that her new family is always growing stronger but that they need her help to bring Thomas to them.

Pauline then meets “Daddy,” a withered, skeletal man near death who can no longer speak but whose eyes are nonetheless fierce and commanding. Pauline is then suddenly held in place by an unseen force—it is coming from Jared, a skeletal boy who resembles Daddy.

“Jared is Daddy’s seed,” Chloe explains. “His mind is so powerful, but his physical state deteriorates. My babies will be strong, with Thomas as the father. Our parents were Daddy’s seed too. They were not special. Thomas and I, we are special. Our seed will be the strongest yet.”

Pauline is then branded in the same manner as the chauffeur. She feels tentacles unravel from the burn site and worm their way up and into her brain. Chloe then asks Pauline if she’ll help get Thomas.

Pauline realizes Thomas has spent his entire life trying to avoid his true self and his place within this horrid family. But she is helpless to resist. “I will,” she says, and in her mind she hears Daddy’s voice:Welcome.

MY GRADE: A+

MY REVIEW: As a writer myself, I just love and respect a well-turned phrase. Ms. Kemper has several in her tale, but I’ll just share two to prove my point.

The first comes in the very beginning of the story, which is great because it establishes the tone and her talent immediately. Here it is…

Later, in her drafty little flat with the kitchen table tight to the ticking radiator, Pauline updated her case notes. Papers spread across the Arborite, which glowed in the afternoon sunlight like skim milk.

There are two gems in this passage. I’ll start with the less obvious one:

The phrase “the kitchen table tight to the ticking radiator” conveys so much in just eight simple words. First, it reveals that Pauline lives a meager life. We know this because A) her kitchen is so small that the table needs to be pushed up against one wall, and B) her heating is old—neither central a/c nor floorboards. Second, the word “ticking” gives us such realism… anyone who has ever lived in a home with a radiator knows and relates well to that sound. Lastly, this early phrase helps to establish our emotional connection to Pauline. We both like and pity her. Here she is, trying to hard to help some poor kid, and she doesn’t even have the luxury of living in a nice place. Overall, this a short but poignant turn of phrase that matches Pauline’s environment to her persona: She is both honest and humble, just like her small kitchen.

The more obvious gem, though, is the following simile:

… the Arborite, which glowed in the afternoon sunlight like skim milk.

I’ve mentioned in past posts about the power and beauty of a great simile, but I haven’t done so in a while and it bears repeating. So if you’ll pardon me putting my teacher’s hat on for a moment, I’ll explain why…

Simply put, the simile (or metaphor) is one of the last places a modern author has left to be trulycreative. The goal of a simile is to elucidate a detail (I’ll call it Object A) from the work at hand by comparing it to something (Object B) which the reader has likely experienced or can easily imagine from real life. In doing so, we take our experience of Object B and instantly better appreciate Object A from the story. When done right, this happens instantly with no real thought or study. We just know it’s good. This is why a great simile is so fulfilling to the reader.

But how do you write a great simile?

How is it we know so quickly and without thought that something feels so right?

I’m glad you asked.

A great simile will do three things simultaneously:

  • Show a physical connection between the two items/ ideas.
  • Show an emotional connection between the two items/ ideas.
  • The comparison of these two items/ ideas is unique—ideally, nobody in the history of the world has ever before realized they even have a connection.

In my classroom, I like to have my students grade similes on a 30-point scale, 10 points for each of the above. The simile “He roared like a lion” might score a seven or eight on the physical, and perhaps even an eight or nine on the emotional, but fail miserably on the uniqueness… which is why we are so turned off by clichés.

Meanwhile, a variety of humorous examples have made the rounds online specifically because the writer absolutely nailed the physical and the uniqueness, but botched (oftentimes, purposely so) the emotional. My favorite example is this:

The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

Now that’s funny right there. And it’s funny because that physical connection is so damned perfect. (Plus it genuinely surprises us, which means it’s unique too.) But emotionally, the writer has destroyed the beauty of the ballerina by connecting it to a dog… and not just a dog, but a pissing dog at that.

To really nail a great simile takes work. Lots of work.

While a normal mid-story sentence might take a few seconds to write and a minute or so to revise, a truly great simile takes several minutes to write and approximaley 8,523 hours to perfect. So it’s not so surprising to realize that not every writer puts forth the effort needed to do so.

Kemper’s simile isn’t the best I’ve ever seen, but it’s good. Better than you might realize at first blush, I’ll wager.

Arborite, in case you didn’t know, is a plastic laminate, and we’ve all seen how wide, flat, plastic surfaces shine in various lights. But Kemper specifies that it glows not in just any sunlight but afternoon sunlight. Afternoon sunlight is getting close to dusk and has a somber, darker tone to it compared to high noon or pre-noon sunlight. Additionally, she specifies not just any milk but skim milk, which of course is both thinner and less substantive than regular whole milk.

Why care about such details? Because these are better physical and emotional matches than, say, regular morning sunlight or an overhead kitchen light… better than regular whole milk or spilled orange juice. Physically, afternoon light is glorious but would reflect only some of its beauty in the thinness of skim milk. Emotionally, afternoon sunlight reminds us that we’d better hurry up before time is up, and skim milk is perceived as healthy yet less “real” or “natural” than regular milk. Pauline is an honest and hard-working child psychologist, but she is suffering both in finances and in the difficulty of this case. She wants to help Thomas, yet has failed to do so for five full years. In other words, she is the thinly-reflected, watered-down skim milk of child psychologists. She means well, and means well to her very core, but she just can’t quite pull off feeling like the real thing when it matters.

I mentioned above that I would share just two well-turned phrases. Here is the second:

Then Thomas ran past her office in his prison sweats, sneakers squeaking like desperate mice.

Yes, it’s another simile, and an even better one than the first, I think. But in the interest of saving space for one further note about Kemper’s story, I’ll leave it to you to figure out why. (Feel free to agree/ disagree with me in the comments… honest. I won’t even bite if you think I’m wrong.)

I’ve given Erinn Kemper’s story an A+. In the 28 previous stories I’ve reviewed for Exhumed, this has only happened four other times, so clearly I save this distinction for only the best of the best.

For your curiosity, those stories are:

  • “The Inconsolable” by Michael Wehunt (Exhumed #1)
  • “The Departing of Debbie” by Anke Kriske (Exhumed #4)
  • “Vicious Cycle” by Barry Hoffman (Exhumed #6)
  • “Save the Last Dance for Me” by Norman Partridge (Exhumed #9)

So what makes “Seed” stand out above the likes of Bentley Little, Roman Ranieri, Ronald Kelly, Steve Vernon, William Relling Jr., and others I’ve reviewed thus far? In a word: It’s cringeworthy.

I’ve also mentioned in previous posts how I value when a story surprises me, and I won’t belabor your time now to rehash why. Suffice it to say that Kemper did take her tale in a direction I wasn’t expecting more than once. And that’s part of the A+ grading.

But what really stands out is just how messed up this story is. Here are some cringeworthy highlights, presented chronologically:

  • Children murdering children
  • Rejection of a mother’s and father’s love
  • Mutations
  • Super powers (used for evil)
  • Incest
  • Mind control (used to create a martyr)

That’s… a lot… to squeeze into a single short story. And it’s hard to decide which among them is the worst of the lot. The incest screams right to the top, of course. But as revolting as it is, this is ultimately but a single act happening a few times at most whereas being rejected by one’s parents has a far more lasting affect during one’s more vulnerable years. Of course, effectively taking the life of a kind and good-hearted child psychologist—a person who has selflessly dedicated her life to helping children—and using her to commit the above atrocities is arguably even worse, at least in a symbolic perspective anyway.

The part of the tale which caught me by surprise wasn’t the shocking reveal of the incest (it was shocking, sure, but not exactly surprising… I’ve been reading Cemetery Dance for years, after all), nor was it Daddy’s diabolical use of Pauline’s body as a host for his sick plans. Believe it or not, it was the simple detail that some of Daddy’s “seeds” had supernatural abilities.

This surprised me because Kemper did such a good job setting the story up to be one that appeared to be rooted in reality, and yet when the moment came this addition of these powers were not only interesting, but actually relevant to the story. You see, Daddy’s ultimate plans hinge on breeding more supernatural mutants. And it’s quite clear that Pauline would never help him without the worm-like brand burrowing its way into her brain.

Waiting until late in the story to drop a bomb like this could so easily be seen as a cheap trick or a lazy answer to a problem the author inadvertantly created. But what Ms. Kemper did is set us up, lead us on, and stab us in the heart just exactly when she wants to. This is all true becuase the magical/ fantasy element in this story is absolutely necessary in the story’s plotline. It explains why Thomas works so hard to avoid his family, why Mr. and Mrs. Walden so easily abandon both Thomas and Chloe, and why the realism of Pauline’s life hits us so hard when she’s so easily turned to the dark side.

Kemper has effectively sucker-punched us by first giving us a real tale of real humans (Thomas’ troubled mind, Pauline and her run-down apartment, the Walden’s atrocious dismissive nature) and then reminding us that while it is true that sometimes good horror simply reflects reality, it can be emphasized when we add the element of the supernatural.

Advertisements

On writing my first novel

October 27, 2016

We return to Costa Rica in less than two weeks! Once I get home, work on novel number two goes into high gear. This is a thriller set in the little village I live in near Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. The seed was planted in my head by David Morrell (yes, THE David Morrell). He asked what I do in Costa Rica and then asked “have you ever written about that?” He suggested a protagonist, and we brainstormed details that would add pizzazz to the story. After our chat I couldn’t wait to get going on it, and have already got an outline, and a title…LOW SEASON. Of course, things may change. (and it has…the book is now called BENEATH PARADISE).

As I embark on writing this second novel, I’m looking back on how I wrote my first one. My ‘system’ is still evolving, for sure. Here is what I did–

1. OUTLINE: A scene by scene outline, with plot points that needed to be in the scene to move the story forward. My outline was more like a ‘beat sheet’, with all the essential scenes in point form, and I added to it as I went along. I didn’t start writing the book until I had the ending decided.

A note about the ending. I was stuck on what it would be. One of my writing mentors said “Think about how you want the reader to feel at the end of your book. Then, write an ending that makes them feel that.”

SO I thought and thought and thought. I wanted the reader to feel wonder, awe, shock, sadness…and possibly hold their breath, maybe gasp. An image struck me while I sipped my rum drink in my hammock, and I promptly bubbled with elation and then burst into tears. I had it. The perfect ending.

2. BUTT TO CHAIR: Yup. I am one of those who isn’t a strong believer in writer’s block as such…unless you define writer’s block as life intruding on your writing time, procrastination, and just not sitting down and writing. So the second thing I did to get ‘er done was sit down every day and write. As I wrote I made notes about research I would need to do…later, after the writing was done. As I neared the end I was writing 6 – 8 hours a day. I nearly blinded myself, but I got the first draft done in under 4 months, so it was worth it!!!

I really do think it’s that simple. Sit down. Write.

3. SURPRISE: I had an outline, and I worked from it…some of the time. In my outline the death count was 2, maybe 3 people…I actually can’t remember. As I wrote I discovered new characters, people essential to the story who had been lurking in the shadows. I killed most of those.

The outline was totally essential for me, but the story has a life of its own, and needs. Those juicy surprises keep things fresh and fun. Discovering something, or someone, in the story and bringing it/them to life was one of the delights I found in the novel writing. Short stories offer some chances for surprising me as a writer, though usually it’s in a moment, an image, a revelation for the character or the reader. Not entire scenes where I get to send a character walking naked through the streets of Manhattan singing a fabulous opera ditty to the delight of onlookers so that he can put off going home and dismembering his children.

4. EDITING: This is the part I am still struggling with. How to be most efficient/effective at the editing phase. And so I will write a whole ‘nother post about this most important and most difficult (for me) process!!!

I loved every moment of spinning my first mega-yarn! Can’t wait to do it again!! LOW SEASON here I come.

Reviews and Recommended!

April 9, 2016

“Gramma Tells a Story”, in Black Static #49 has received some great reviews:

http://www.dreadcentral.com/reviews/146837/146837/

Given a hard act to follow, Erinn L. Kemper’s Gramma Tells a Story comes up next, with something sufficiently lighter in imagery to clear the gruesome flavour of Hargadon’s effort from your mouth. Here, a young woman called Nissi is spending some time living in a rented casita in Costa Rica. Unfortunately, the casita appears to be haunted at this time every year by the grandmother of the owner’s family. Fortunately, she’s friendly.

Opting to stay in the hut throughout, Nissi finds herself rapt in conversation with the wizened old ghost (whose phantasmal appearance is wonderfully realised in Kemper’s prose) as the tragic reasons behind her Costa Rican jaunt come to the fore – giving her the opportunity to make peace with what she left behind, her own mistakes included.

Gramma Tells a Story isn’t a frightening, nor even particularly unsettling, piece of work – it feels distinctly bereft of malevolence – but it hits hard on a human level. Kemper drip-feeds Nissi’s history and motivations as the story unfolds, building to an emotional gut-punch that is simultaneously tragic, upsetting and uplifting; an otherworldly revelation of undying love and forgiveness in even the worst of circumstances.”

https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2015/11/27/black-static-49/

(unable to copy here, but here is a taste) “I have not come across a passage as powerful about being a ghost among other ghosts as this one: “It’s a strange feeling being dead, a spirit roaming around, fueled by anger and vengeance. When they crawled up in me, joining their ghost flesh to mine, I was almost solid.” That will likely stay with me forever.

http://www.sfrevu.com/php/Review-id.php?id=16557

“Nissi is living in a little house in Costa Rica and is visited by the owner’s grandmother. Gramma tells Nissi her life story and helps her come to terms with hers. Poignant and touching.”

 

Being reviewed is a very new and interesting experience. I’ve also received two lovely notes regarding this story. One from a reader who said he wasn’t ashamed to admit the story brought a tear to his eye.

Thank you!

 

I am also thrilled that my story, “The Claim”, wh8ch appeared in A Darke Phantastique, edited by Jason V Brock, made the long list for Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year Volume 7.

Here is the full recommended reading list:  http://ellendatlow.com/full-rec-list-best-horror-of-the-year-volume-seven-a-l/

 

 

 

Time flies…

December 20, 2015

untitled.pngStarting the New Year’s resolution early.

Thrilled that my story set in Costa Rica, “Gramma Tells a Story” is in issue #49 of Black Static Magazine.

This is particularly exciting for me because the first ever rejection letter I received was from Andy Cox at Black Static. A lovely and very encouraging letter…and two years later I’m in!

Other new news in writing: Chiral Mad 3 is coming early 2016, with my story, “A Flash of Red”, alongside an amazing TOC of writings including Stephen King, Gene O’ Neill, Ramsey Campbell, Jack Ketchum and Gary A. Braunbeck.

Also, 2016 will see a story of mine published in Cemetery Dance Magazine, and possibly some more fun surprises!

I’ve finished the second draft of my first novel, “The Patrons.” Can’t wait to get it polished up and out to my beta readers. It was so much fun to write!

And now for some pretty pictures…

Check out this fantastic art for Chiral Mad 3 and Black Static!

untitled (15).png

RELEASED!

November 22, 2014

FINAL_Cover_600_DARKE__75890.1405382115.380.500A Darke Phantastique is out! With new writing from Ray Bradbury, William F. Nolan, Greg Bear, Ray Garton, Dennis Etchison, Gary Braunbeck…so many favorites. Thrilled my short story “The Claim” is nestled in these gorgeous pages.
http://www.jasunnistore.com/darke-phantastique-trade-edition-only/

With stories coming in The Library of the Dead, Cemetery Dance Magazine, Our World of Horror and a still to be disclosed but super awesome magazine, 2015 is going to be a good one!

Both Kathy Ptacek and Eunice Magill sent these questions to me. I am late answering. Bad Girl.

1) What am I working on?

 

 

I am at the editing stage with a weird western and two dark fantasy stories. Getting them ready to send to beta readers. I’m working on a couple of stories, “Gummi Bears”, “The Experiment” and “The Sound Proof Room”. I’m also plotting the novelisation of my short story “Seed” that will be in Cemetery Dance Magazine later this year. But this is all being shoved aside for a novella about a weird underworld that I want to write for a particular market. I’m hoping it turns out well. I wrote another story for the same market, but it ended up at the 4,500 word mark…not nearly enough.

 

 

 

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

 

 I write stories that draw on my own fears, regrets, mistakes. I know a lot of writers do that, so that’s not different. I really like a lot of old-school horror/classic literature, and write more in that direction, rather than being experimental in structure or style. Also not different. The only thing I can think of that’s ‘different’ is my own perspective. I write about the things I care about, that concern me, anger me, freak me out. I try to come at them from a different perspective than my own. I don’t try to write like anyone. When people ask ‘who do you think your writing resembles?’ I don’t have an answer. I also try to push myself. No matter how weird an idea, I try it. In fact the weirder the better.

 

  

3) Why do I write what I do?

  

I write horror because it’s so personal, intense, emotional. Sometimes there a blend of some fantasy or scifi, just to mix it up, but ultimately I like to ransack the darkest corners of my brain, drag out the worst scenario lurking there and run with it. A lot of the stories end up sad more than scary. A couple are even funny. My goal is to write stories that resonate and entertain. If they are scary too…bonus! 

 

4) How does my writing process work?

 

 

I am trying to write a bit every day. 2 hours minimum. But it’s never enough. Writing time gets eaten up by managing submissions, editing. But my process can be summarized as:

  • I get an idea, either from a dream, a ‘what if’ scenario, a character or situation that tickles me, or some memory that tweaks, and then I want to write that more than anything, so other projects get pushed aside. I have a whole slew of stories near completion that have been relegated to the back burner because they weren’t as fascinating as the NEW IDEA. I pick those up again usually when I find some new angle that makes them too exciting to ignore anymore.
  • I don’t really outline too much. I write down a list of scenes that I feel the story needs. Really minimal. Sometimes I brainstorm ideas for the direction of a story. This often helps me step away from the ‘logical’ direction of a story into funky new territory. I go back and look at these lists of ideas and add things, circle things I like, transfer ‘keeper’ ideas over to new lists when things start looking messy. I usually have a final scene in mind, but that can change.
  • I try not to edit as I go. When I’m writing a scene, if I can’t figure out where to go with it, I call that scene done and move on. During the editing phase, when I look back, I usually realize that scene was done, cut the last sentence or two, and that’s that.
  • I try to wait a week (or two) before editing. That’s a tough one for me. I’m pretty excited about a story when it’s done and not ready to leave those characters. I often experience a mourning period where I can’t move on to a new story easily because I want to live with those characters a bit longer.
  • Then I edit edit edit…send to beta readers…edit a bit more. I read the stories out loud. I look at paragraphs, sentences, the page, the words.
  • Finally I agonize over the title. Sometimes it’s an easy choice…something with “The” like “The Claim” or “The Garden”, other times I have noooo idea.

So Many Updates…

May 25, 2014

It’s been quite a while since I posted. Things to catch up on:

1. New stories coming out.

2. By-line changes.

3. World Horror Convention 2014 in Portland, Oregon!

4. The Mary Shelley Scholarship from the HWA!!!

 

First: New Stories Coming Out

So far this year I have 3, maybe 4 stories that will be published.

The first is “The Claim”, which will appear in A Darke Phantastique from editor Jason V Brock and Cycatrix Press. I’m delighted to be included in this anthology. Many of my favorites are in here too: Gene O’Neill, Gary A. Braunbeck, Lucy Snyder, Ray Garton, William F. Nolan, Dennis Etchison…it’s an amazing lineup. But the olive in the vodka for me is the introduction by the great Ray Bradbury. I’m serious. A never-before-published essay by Mr. Bradbury. It’s going to be a gorgeous book.

My most recent acceptance is for the scifi/horror anthology Qualia Nous. Michael Bailey and Written Backwards are putting together another amazing book (Chiral Mad 2 came out in December with my story “Versions” huddled in amongst some great chiral-y yarns). I wrote “Night Guard” with this anthology in mind. It is the most ‘horrible’ story I’ve written so far. And for the third time I’ll be in the same table of contents as Gene, Gary, and Lucy.

Then I’m not sure which will come out next. [Nameless] Digest with my story, which is either titled “The Garden” or “The Space Between”, or Cemetery Dance Magazine with the third story I ever wrote, “Seed”.

Jason Brock pulls together some amazing talent and publishes some of the highest quality books on the market. I’m so thrilled to be in two of his upcoming releases.

And Cemetery Dance. Come on. I thought I’d be chasing that market for years.

I’m thrilled and numb and can’t wait to share the next round of news. There is something on the horizon… just you wait.

 

And the By-line changes:

Yes, I’m going by Erinn L. Kemper now. No more hiding from The Man. No more pen names and being all shy. This is it. I’m writing what I am meant to be writing.

Thank you to Gene and John L. and Jason B. for kicking my butt and telling me what’s what.

 

I’ll write on the WHC and the scholarship update in short order!!! It’s Happy Hour here in the Jungle, dammit!

Embarked

November 4, 2013

We are over a month into building our new house in Costa Rica. There have been the usual issues. It’s been tough to get an internet account, but the process is well under way. The flow of construction materials hasn’t been totally smooth, but we’re well used to all that and taking it in stride.

Soon the house will be done and the first renters will come. Then my real reason for all this hassle and fuss will get going. I’ll be writing for at least four hours a day. I’ve been able to keep a writing schedule off and on over the past couple of years, but only for a month or two months, then life erupts and other things take over. But this time I won’t let that happen. This whole endeavor is designed around getting me at my desk and on to a routine. 

What better way to begin than by making a hugely important sale!!! The fourth story I ever wrote has sold! I sent it to Cemetery Dance Magazine about eight months ago when they had an open call. Time passed and I waited for the rejection letter I was sure would come. And it did. A form rejection that came as no surprise at all to me, after all, this is one of the top markets in the genre. Then a few hours later another email came with an apology for the glitch in their system and an acceptance! I cried fat happy tears and called my mom. 

I’m beyond thrilled about this sale. Soon I hope to be announcing another sale that has me sooo excited. When I think about it I get a tingling all over. It’s an amazing one that I’m honored to be a part of. I know. Brutal tease. Sorry. 

So with all this time that I’m going to spend writing, I can really only manage one blog…and this one’s it. I have another old blog festering out there in the inter-world…if anyone wants to have a look back at our previous struggles with building in sunny Costa Rica it’s at eanddincr.wordpress.com

Off now to do some more writing and compulsive email checking. Got a story on the short list that I can’t wait to hear about. More soon…

 

Gettin’ to it!

August 1, 2013

Couch surfing is the best kind.

Two months until the move south. I have much to do. Get the dog injected and ready to fly. Meet with the tax man to make sure we have our affairs done right (by which I meant get the t’s crossed and i’s dotted with our accountant as we finalized our affairs!). Visit with all my loved ones at least once. It’s grueling.

But all I want to do is write.

Since my first writer’s conference, The World Horror Convention in New Orleans (come on! could it get any better?) I’ve been jazzed up, on fire, rockin’ the keys. Ready to Rumble.

I’ve sold five stories now, and am waiting on a few short lists as we speak. I’m feeling some momentum.

Taking the Leap

May 29, 2013

It’s time.

I’ve been struggling with my schedule, with finances, with my mental state. Life is giving me lemons and I’ve been letting them rot and chucking them in the compost.

So we are very reluctantly selling our house and moving to Costa Rica, where if I sell a short story it will feed us for two weeks, where I’ll have plenty of hours every day to focus on writing (not 3 hours a week), where I’m never cold, never lonely, don’t have TV—just the beach, the toucans, and all the coconut water I can drink, straight from my trees.

It’s time to see this writing thing through.

I have two more stories coming out and it has got me all jazzed. Many of my goals have been realized. I’ve got a mentor, and he’s wonderful. I’m going to the WHC in New Orleans and will meet so many people that I’ve been corresponding with. I’ve got a writing group that words beautifully for me. Now I just need to sit and write. That’s all.

It’s time.