Every December, Rod Stewart reminds us of the hideous existence of the “love songs that mention Santa Clause” musical genre.
I know it’s almost become a cliché in some quarters, but “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues will always have a special place in my heart. I first heard it in my formative years, in a context that resonates with me to this day. If you’ve never heard it, or haven’t heard it in a while, please do queue it up on iTunes or Spotify or what have you, or perhaps listen to it on this YouTube video of the official (and endearingly cheesy) video. You need to have the song freshly in your ears to fully appreciate what I’m about to say.
I want to highlight a particularly powerful section of the lyrics, sung as an exchange between the man (Shane MacGowan) and the woman (Kirsty MacColl) in the troubled story of the song:
Shane: I could have been someone
Kirsty: Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
Shane: I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can’t make it all alone
I’ve built my dreams around you
As you can see from the title of this post, I’m getting rid of my Facebook account, and that includes my author page. Consequently, after Friday, December 16, this website and my Twitter account will be the main ways to hear from me – not just about my fiction, but also about whatever subject happens to inspire me to write a blog post.
There are basically two automated ways to keep up with this website, if you don’t want to follow me on Twitter: (1) in the right margin is an option to “FOLLOW BLOG VIA EMAIL,” which allows you to get email notifications any time I post something new here; or (2) also in the right margin is an option to sign up for my “New Release Mailing List,” which only sends email notifications when I publish a new work of fiction.
In either case, I guarantee I will never share your email address or other info with any third parties (unless you ask me to, for whatever reason). Also, regarding the Follow option, I don’t intend to be a prolific blog poster, so you won’t be overwhelmed with email notifications if you go that route.
Here’s to a life free from the constant, lab-rat compulsion to check Facebook over and over again. If my decision to abandon that pharmaceutical-grade drug of a website makes me even marginally more productive with my writing, and more present from day to day, it will have been well worth it.
PS: I’m currently working on a new novel, which I’m incredibly excited about. More on that once I have a complete first draft.
I’m currently running a promotion on Kindle ebooks of my short stories “The Lottery,” “The Vigil,” “Wanted,” “The Oasis,” and “The Basement,” through Friday, December 18. You can find them at this link. Get ’em while they’re hot!
I’m now making revisions to my science fiction novel, Savant, for a (New & Improved!) second edition. The changes I have planned aren’t too major—mostly polishing prose and bringing it more in line with the style I’ve developed in the year since I first published Savant—but I also intend to add a few new plot and character developments that should make the story flow more smoothly and compellingly.
Once I have a solid second edition manuscript, I’ll republish both the ebook and paperback versions, then finally get to work on the sequel I’ve been planning for some time. I’ve put off writing the sequel for months now because I keep getting pulled into new ideas, such as the stories that make up my Troubles collection.
Speaking of new stories, I’ve begun writing one of them, and judging from how much fun I’m having with it so far, I think this one could be really great. I wish I could say more, but you’ll just have to find out when it’s done!
Till next time, all the best.
UPDATE: The second edition is done. I’m very proud of this improved version.
Troubles, my multi-genre collection of short stories, is now available in paperback or Kindle ebook formats. I’m very proud of this body of work.
[UPDATE: Enter to win a free paperback copy on Goodreads! The giveaway is open until February 15.]
Included in this collection are the following short stories:
“The Lottery” (science fiction)
Joseph Freeman, a low-wage airport worker, drives himself to the brink to support his family in an America that has long lost any trace of upward mobility for people like him.
Natalie could really use the two hundred dollars offered in the online wanted ad, but to get it she’ll have to cut her hair in front of a total stranger, in his home.
“The Oasis” (horror)
A young reporter discovers the shocking truth about a controversial assisted living facility, and the deeper he plunges into the facility’s dark secrets, the more he realizes the depths of his own capacity for evil.
“The Basement” (horror)
A nefarious force lurks in the basement of a party house rented by four college friends.
“The Vigil” (science fiction)
Emaciated and increasingly desperate, Sergeant Renee Burgess fears she may be one of the last human beings to survive nuclear armageddon.
Cover by Keri Knutson.
Check out the all-new, extended version of my science fiction short story, “The Vigil,” free through January 21. It is a much more complete story, three times as long as the original. One of my best.
Emaciated and increasingly desperate, Sergeant Renee Burgess fears she may be one of the last human beings to survive nuclear armageddon. For more than four years she has lived in an underground bunker, only occasionally ascending to the surface in her radiation suit to survey the vast, lifeless wasteland around her.
But salvation may be at hand. In the skies high above, an operational space station continues to orbit earth. Her only hope: make contact with the station so she can somehow find a way back to the remains of human civilization, if such a thing still exists.
Available on Amazon, for the Kindle. Also free for the next five days are “The Lottery” and “Wanted.”
Just about done with substantial revisions to two of my short stories, “The Vigil” and “The Basement.” Regarding “The Vigil,” as I mentioned before, I had wanted to write an extended, alternate ending—which I did, and I’m very pleased with the results. The revised versions of both stories will appear in a collection of short fiction I hope to release in the next month or two, in ebook and paperback formats.
With that out of the way, I’ll finally be able to turn to some long-form projects I’ve been putting off. Super excited.
I’m considering writing an alternate, extended ending for my new science fiction short story, “The Vigil.” I still love the story as it is—I had wanted to leave things dark and somewhat ambiguous at the end—but I’ve increasingly been imagining what could have happened to the characters afterward, in specific detail. Also, it might be good to have the story be a bit longer; as written, it stands on its own strength, but I know some readers prefer short stories to be longer than 3,000 words.
It’s just an idea, and the beauty of being an indie author is that I can explore that idea freely and see how readers respond to it immediately after its finished, without having to wait for a publisher’s approval, which may never come.
And that brings me to some other thoughts I’ve had recently. As an indie, of course I had heard all about author Hugh Howey and the breakthrough success he’s found in self publishing, primarily through his Wool series. His personal story has been an inspiration to me since I ever started on this self-publishing path myself, but it wasn’t until I finally read “Wool” Part I—the short story whose sudden popularity compelled him to extend the series into an omnibus—that I felt a truly visceral sense of possibility.