Out with the Old, In with the New

I’ve been sporadic (to put it mildly) about blogging. It’s a new year, but I’m going to skip the good intentions and promises to do better this year. However, it’s traditional to look back and look ahead when the calendar turns over, so in an effort to prove I can do traditional, here goes.

Night view outside the Adam and Eve, reputed to be the oldest pub in Norwich, England.

In 2018, I wrote some new short stories and submitted stories both new and old. Rejection occurred (of course), but two were accepted (more on that later). Definitely one for the win column.

I left one job and found another. Big win. In between, I worked three days at a Dairy Queen, but that’s a story for another time. A time with alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol.

I went to Europe twice. Norwich remains a favorite city, and I’ve added Düsseldorf to the list. How can this be anything but a win?

The publisher of my two novels, The Ceiling Man and Ghosts in Glass Houses (by my much nicer alter ego, Kay Charles) stopped accepting and publishing new books. However, they didn’t completely close-up shop, and both books are still available. This makes me much luckier than the many authors whose books lost their homes in the shuttering of too many publishers last year. (Note: The Kindle version of Ghosts is on sale in the US for 99¢ through Wednesday, January 9th.) Not a win, but not a total loss either.

In Düsseldorf bin ich als die Katzenfrau von Maya bekannt.

Tantor Media offered me a contract for the audio rights to The Ceiling Man, and I gladly took it. A win.

I remembered to get my flu shot. Another win.

There were a few more ups and downs but overall, despite horrible happenings in the world, my little corner of the universe wasn’t so bad. I’ll take it. And I am grateful to all who helped make it a good year.

Looking forward to this year, I’m excited.

Tantor’s audio edition of The Ceiling Man is scheduled for release on January 29th. (As I write this, the cover image at that link is a placeholder.) It should be available through Audible, Amazon, iTunes, and all the other usual audiobook outlets. It may even show up in Overdrive or Hoopla—check your local library.

A restaurant window in Cologne. Yes, we ate there.

On February 22nd, C.M. Muller’s new anthology Twice-Told: A Collection of Doubles will be released. It includes my story, “Zwillingslied.” I’ve read the proofs on this one folks, and it’s not to be missed. Twenty-two original takes on the doppelgänger theme and all of them wonderful. (Well, at least 21 are. Not so sure about that “Zwillingslied.”)

Sometime in 2019, date to be announced, “That’s What Friends Are For” will appear in David Longhorn’s Supernatural Tales. This weird little haunted house story has netted me the best rejection letters ever. The kind you read to make yourself feel better when the writing isn’t going well. (Yes, that sort of rejection letter does exist!) I am so glad it’s found a home and a wonderful home at that.

The first thing I did in 2019 was pull out a piece of knitting I started on June 8, 2015 and put away a month later in frustration over what turned out to be an error in the pattern.

You could point out all the errors (mine—the pattern’s been corrected) and half-assed fixes, but please don’t.

I intended to unravel it and use the wool for something else. Instead, I decided to finish it. It was complicated enough that I couldn’t listen to an audiobook or watch a movie or otherwise multitask while working. Which made it a contemplative experience. Which is not necessarily good thing for a pathological over-thinker. (Okay, I will make a New Year’s resolution: No more introspection for the next 365 days.)

Somewhere along the line, with all the unknitting, ripping out, and reknitting, the mistakes I tried to fix and those I decided to ignore, and the hole that appeared while I was neglecting and avoiding it, the thing became a metaphor for my entire life.

After three and a half years, I finished it.

And I’m going to wear the hell out of it, badly applied patch and all.

Happy New Year all.

Beer, Two New Indie Books You Should Read, and a Really, Really Big Sloth

I’m a bad little blogger and haven’t been around much. I have no excuse other than, well, life. It happens and sometimes gets in the way.

And sometimes, it’s good. I spent March traveling and may or may not have consumed six months worth of beer in three weeks. But it was pretty. Here’s a picture taken outside the Adam and Eve, reputed to be the oldest pub in Norwich, England.

The Adnams Southwold Bitter is lovely.

All the traveling gave me lots of time to read. What else do you do when trapped on an airplane? Amongst others, I read two recent indie releases. One was released shortly before I left, the other shortly before my return. Sometimes, the universe is kind. I love me some Gothic Horror and highly recommend both books.


Read on the flight to Norwich:

High Lonesome Sound is a new direction for author Jaye Wells (The Prospero’s War series), and one I hope she continues to explore.

“In the sleepy mountain town of Moon Hollow, Virginia, there is a church with a crooked steeple. No one will say for sure how it got that way, but it’s the reason the whole town gathers every Decoration Day to honor the dead.

This year, there are two fresh graves up on Cemetery Hill, a stranger’s come to town, and the mountain’s song is filled with dark warnings.

The good people of Moon Hollow are about to learn that some secrets are too painful to bear, and some spirits are too restless to stay buried.”—from the Amazon description

This is a story that will leave you shivering in the dead of summer.—Cherie Priest, author of The Family Plot

Find it here: AmazonB&N | Kobo | iBooks | GooglePlay  | Indiebound 


Read on the flight home:

From Scott A. Johnson (the Stanley Cooper Chronicles) comes Shy Grove: A Ghost Story. Texas Gothic, and right up my alley!

“When Gary’s crazy aunt Ester dies, he inherits her house in the forgotten town of Shy Grove. Along with his wife and son, he moves into the house to catalogue her belongings, as well as try to work on their relationships. But from the first night, strange things happen in the house. Whispers in empty rooms, shadows in corridors, and changes in Gary’s personality hint that there is something wrong.

And not just with the house…

Shy Grove: A Ghost Story is southern gothic horror that builds a sense of creeping dread.”—from the Amazon description

Scott A. Johnson doesn’t just see the world differently… He sees an entirely different world.— Gary Braunbeck, author of In Silent Graves

Borrow for free with Kindle Unlimited or purchase it at Amazon


Neither of the above are affiliate links and I get nothing (other than the enjoyment of reading and a severe case of envy because I really want to write a gothic ghost story myself) out of them. I just think you should read the books. However, in the self-interest category, the Kindle edition of my novel The Ceiling Man happens to currently be on sale for 99¢ in the US and Canada. And, as always, it’s free to borrow on Kindle Unlimited.

A supernatural creature arrives in the small, fictional town of Port Massasauga and sets his sights on Abby, a girl with psychic powers similar to his own, in Lillie’s gripping debut…Lillie sidesteps horror clichés and presents characters who don’t make eye-rolling decisions…horror fans should expect an entertaining novel that’s tough to put down.—Publishers Weekly/Booklife

Get it at Amazon


Seems like I’m forgetting something…oh, yeah! I promised you a giant sloth. Here you go. a photo of a Megatherium americanum taken at the Natural History Museum, London. I left that big boy behind, but I did come home with Darwin socks.

 

New Cozies from V.M. Burns!

Alter-ego Kay Charles has been blogging. She’s not only nicer, but much better at time management than I am!

Kay Charles

My friend and fellow Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction alumna V.M.Burns has two brand new cozy mysteries up for pre-order!

Having been lucky enough to read an early draft of The Plot is Murder and the first half of the first draft of Read Herring Hunt (can’t wait to find out who dunnit), I can tell you they have everything a cozy fan could want. A spunky heroine. A team of hilarious sleuthing seniors. A wonderful small town. A delightful bookstore. Scones. Poodles with yummy names. And best of all, not one but two mysteries—one set in present day North Harbor, Michigan and one set in a 1930’s British country manor.

Don’t trust me? Here’s what others are saying about V.M. Burns and The Plot Is Murder:
“You’ll love this delightful debut mystery with its charming and wacky cast of characters and a mystery within a mystery just…

View original post 532 more words