September 2019

Well! I guess you can tell how my July/August went, considering I completely missed the August post!

Part of the problem is just summer in North Dakota. Our good-weather-season is so short that you want to try and suck every bit of life out of it that you can. And with this being the first summer in our new house, we were really trying to get as many home projects done as possible.

Of course, this little guy helped, too. This is our new “thing of evil” (as SK calls his Molly). His name is Murphy. Having a pup in the house is like having a super-energetic, super-mobile baby who poops on your floor a lot and tries to chew all your table legs off. Some day we will be able to sleep through the night again. Someday.

And now, of course, school is back in session, so that’s going to be keeping me busy. Yes, it’s only one class, but OY! WHAT A CLASS! It’s “Introduction to Literary Criticism.” I knew I was in trouble as soon as I got the required texts list and saw that it included The Great Gatsby. My dislike for Gatsby is almost more legendary than Gatsby himself. Yuck. And Gatsby was chosen because it is the text the theory textbook uses as an example in every chapter. . .EVERY CHAPTER!

On top of that, the syllabus for the class includes (in addition to the readings of both Gatsby and the thick critical theory textbook) TEN mini-papers (a single page, single spaced each, which might as well be a two-page paper), three longer papers (5-7 pages each), and a group project. I think I’m going to have my hands full!

And this is all on top of already trying to find that balance between working full time, writing as much as I can, and having a life. Whee! You realize I’m probably NEVER going to get this website design changed (as I keep hoping and promising and dreaming of), right?

And speaking of writing. . .

It’s been a bit of a struggle, but I’m still holding my own.

I’m a little dismayed by the number of “dead market” resubs I have to do this go-around. I have four stories that were out at magazines/projects that have ghosted or folded. It’s certainly the nature of the publishing world today, but it’s still a bummer when it happens. Even famous Weird Tales has died several times, only to later be resurrected (as it currently is; I believe they will once again open for subs in 2020). I need to get these stories re-subbed to living breathing markets as soon as I can.

As far as new stories go, I have three left to write/finish before he end of the year to make this year’s writing goals. One is the story that is 90% already written but the anthology closed early so I tabled the story in favor of other pressing deadlines. Another will be a story I started for a looming deadline and then realized I wasn’t going to make it unless a miracle occurred or I gave up sleeping. That one is about 50% done. The last one will be the only one I have to start from scratch. I should be able to make the goal no problem, but next year, I’m setting my sights a little lower and more realistic.

On the reading front, I barely got started on The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism. I’ll probably try and continue on with it, reading it in tandem with the text for the class so I make sure I understand what’s going on, lol.

I finished Weird Tales: Seven Decades of Terror. I enjoyed ALL the stories from the 20s, which I guess says a lot about me as a writer as well as a reader (darn these new-fangled stories, get off my lawn). My favorite stories were:

“Rats in the Walls,” HP Lovecraft
A lush weird tale, classic Lovecraft;

“Bells of Oceana,” Arthur J. Burks;

“The Eighth Green Man,” GG Pendarves;

“The Crowd,” Ray Bradbury
Hmm, maybe *that* explains the ridiculous theory of ‘crisis actors’?;

“The Dead Man’s Hand,” Manly Wade Wellman
HA! What a name! I had to look him up, because I don’t remember running across his name before, though I surely have and just don’t remember since his Wiki states, “Wellman once estimated his output of stories and articles at about 500, of which about 80 were in the fantasy & science fiction genres.” He still sounds like a persona, given his biographical history includes that he became the adopted son of a powerful African chief;

“The Rhythm of the Rats,” Eric Frank Russell
Lest you think I just like stories about rats, there was another rat story in the anthology that I didn’t care for;

“Turn, Turn, Turn,” Nancy Springer
Everyone deals with grief in their own way, lol.

Next up on the reading list: The Best of the Best Horror of the Year.

Until next time, stay spooky!