My second child August is the reason I started submitting my stories to publishers. I have him to blame for all the time and effort spent on what is essentially a futile act with sporadic blips of success which are really trivial in the grand scheme of publishing.

August turns 7 in a couple of days (June 28th), and his birth in 2010 is why I started this whole messy exercise. I also turned 40 that year, and that churned up some angst over having never pursued a writing career. I knew I was too old and had no insight into the literary world—didn’t mingle with or even know any authors; no desire to go onto podcasts and talk about my work; no interest in attending conventions much less schmoozing with other writers and publishers at said conventions. Never heard of Clarion or workshops until recently. I don’t talk about my personal life. My career. My education. My interests beyond the obvious. I just write and submit.

Rinse. Repeat.

That’s all I can do.

I wrote, and actually started e-mailing stories in Spring of 2011. A few found a home. My first two stories were received at professional and semi-professional rates, though they didn’t inspire any agent to contact me or a barrage of fan mail. So I kept writing. Submitting,

Rinse. Repeat.

My collection Alectryomancer and Other Weird Tales was released in July of 2015. It’s nearly two-years old—ancient history in the small press world. But I’m proud of what little attention it received, as well as its ability to intrigue new readers. Still no agent or barrage of fan mail, but every couple of months I receive an e-mail or PM asking me details about characters in various tales, whether this story was a reference to that idea, how that story impacted this reader’s life, and how this story eerily mirrored that reader’s life. I’ve been told the stories were scary, unforgetttable, challenging. Indispensable.

2017 saw (or will see) more of my stories in the wild than any other year: “Engines of the Ocean” in Shadows & Tall Trees v. 7; the Dim Shores chapbook “Palladium at Night”; “SPARAGMOS” in Looming Low; “The Bruised Veil” in Phantasm/Chimera; “The Anthroparian Integration Technique” in Walk on the Weird Side; and “The World is Waiting for the Sunrise” in Would But Time Await: An Anthology of New England Folk Horror. There may be a few more this year, but some stories are stuck in limbo. It has been a good year as far as publishing goes (terrible in all other aspects, but that’s another essay).

Six years in on this writing adventure and I’ve not made much of an impact, but I’ve picked up a lot of cynicism and diminished expectations along the way. At the risk of sounding pretentious, I do think my writing is difficult, and not always as entertaining or escapist as many horror readers want their fiction to be. Yeah, that sounds pretentious, but I’ll stand by it.

That’s all I can do.

No, the big names in the small indie fiction world aren’t whispering my name with reverence—hell, I’d be amazed if the Laird Barrons, or the likes of Gemma Files, or Paul Tremblay have even heard of me, much less read anything of mine. But that was never the goal here, if goal there ever was. I just try to write each story a bit better than the previous one and hope publishers will like it so fresh eyes can experience my work. I’ve been extremely fortunate, for the immensely talented authors and gracious readers who’ve offered feedback on my stories have done so with so much passion, intelligence, and enthusiasm I’m forever grateful.

So happy birthday August. I love you more than life itself.

That’s all I can do.

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