I deleted the previous published draft of this post, but decided it wasn’t too bad. So the one or two who’ve already read this may recognize much of the following.
I released my second collection in late January. Despite plenty of ambivalence about the book itself, that failed to diminish my respect for the kindness of those authors who provided blurbs, shared it on social media, and mentioned the title as something worth reading in 2020. Nobody owed me anything, I don’t know any of them in real life, and few had even heard of my writing. I’m grateful they took the time to comment, shout out, and generally support a small press writer whose anonymity is assured. I’m relieved a handful found something of interest in the collection. I’m way outside of the loop and don’t know any writers or publishers personally. My general impression is that the writing community isn’t particularly inviting, if any meaningful community even exists. Having said that, I emphatically thank those who supported my book in various selfless ways.
First, and most importantly, many, many thanks to Kristine Ong Muslim. Having a writer as accomplished as her contribute 3,000 words give or take was an absolute highlight in the last 12 months. At the risk of sounding like a fawning fan, she’s simply the best writer around. Finding her slim volume Age of Blight while reading up on speculative fiction from the Philippines was a revelatory experience as potent as my first discovering Octavia Butler, Thomas Ligotti, or Ervin Krause. Her intro’ for my book is a pearl in a literary compost heap. It’s the best thing in the collection.
And with equal importance I thank Jon Padgett for publishing a writer with no track record to justify making such a gamble on. You’ve my utmost gratitude. I wish the book had a wider readership; Grimscribe Press deserves to be recognized for the phenomenal work under its banner. The other authors involved with Padgett’s press, as well as Jon’s writing itself, will surely eclipse anything I had to offer. I can only hope my book isn’t a black eye.
Thank you so very much to William L. Rukeyser and the estate of his mother, Muriel Rukeyser. And thanks to Dan Dzula for authorizing the use of Elizabeth Eaton Converse song lyrics, even though I ultimately decided not to incorporate them.
My profound thanks to Adam Nevill, Daniel Mills, Clint Smith, T.E. Grau, Steve Rasnic Tem, John Langan, Brian Evenson, Philip Fracassi, S.P. Miskowski, Kurt Fawver, Simon Strantzas, Jose Angel De Dios García, David Peak, John Claude Smith, Scott Dwyer, Seb Doubinsky, Paula McAuliffe, Chesya Burke, Edward Morris, Jeffrey Thomas, s.j. Bagley, Weye’s Blood, Scott R. Jones, Matt Cowan, Justin Steele, Aaron Besson, Steve Berman, Dejan Ognjanović, Perry Ruhland, Justin Burnett, Cody Goodfellow, Joshua Dysart, Christopher Ropes, Rowan Fortune, Orion Zangara, Nick Cato, Paul StJohn Mackintosh, Sibylle Baier, Timothy Jarvis, Michael Cisco, Mike Griffin, Tim Waggoner, John Boden, S.C. Hickman, Daniel del Valle, Matt Cardin, Jonathan Raab, Thomas Ligotti, Acep Hale, Matthew Bartlett, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, John Palisano, Des Lewis, Craig Laurance Gidney, Kathe Koja, Nick Mamatas, Angela Slatter, Michael Kelly, Jeffrey Ford, Ramsey Campbell, Paul Tremblay, and Sam Edwards.
Suffice it to say all have been supportive and/or inspirations in some capacity, in varying degrees, whether they realize it or not. Most likely have no idea.
And thank you to Annie, Roman, August, and Bowie. They put up with a lot of bullshit as I tried to make this writing dream work. I missed the net, but they’ve all been there to catch me. Love you all. I’m sorry I wasted the last 9 years.
I’m working on the introduction to David Peak’s debut collection, Eyes in the Dust and Other Stories. It’s a remarkable book. I’ve two stories awaiting release in 2021: “beautiful animal” in a Fulci tribute titled Beyond the Book of Eibon, and “Fearful is the Ancient Evil of Their Faces” in Cody Goodfellow and the late Joe Pulver’s New Maps of Dream. Both anthologies look solid, and I’m proud to have been invited to send something for them. Hopefully the Spanish edition of The Immeasurable Corpse of Nature will be released in 2021, as will the Polish edition of Alectryomancer and Other Weird Tales. Unfortunately, the German publication of The Immeasurable‘ fell through, so that was another disappointment. I can look back at these events and feel I’ve accomplished a handful of worth in the micro-press writing world. I gave it a shot.
No interviews or such this year. Maybe I shouldn’t have said no to those rare review and podcast requests, or maybe I should’ve gone out of my way to pursue those interviews and podcast requests—it’s not like too many rolled my way. I normally don’t do them, but I did say yes to two of the better known horror podcasts when they asked me in late 2019 and early 2020. But they never followed up. I don’t know how these things work. Maybe I should’ve participated in writerly stuff like conventions and whatnot over the years, though the pandemic put a bullet in the head of that possibility in 2020. I made plenty of mistakes this year. All I am certain of is that if I do continue to write it is of the utmost importance to focus on reliable, professional publishers. I turned down a few projects this year; too much of the indie publishing world is less than stellar. Be choosy. Quality over quantity.
Some readers have contacted me over the months to let me know they think both Alectryomancer and Other Weird Tales and The Immeasurable Corpse of Nature deserve to exist. I thank them for reaching out.
It was a disappointing year. It really took the last 12 months to sour me on the whole publishing thing. Sure, there’ve been plenty of setbacks over the last decade, but nothing that really nailed home the futility of this as 2020 managed to do.
That’s an appropriate note to end on.