I’m not one to ever make New Year’s resolutions but I did a thing on New Year’s Day that kind of counts as one–I submitted the short story collection I’d been working on for over a year to a publisher. Then, last week, like a bolt from the blue, I got an email from the wonderful people at Potter’s Grove Press, telling me they had accepted it and would be publishing Feasting Upon The Bones this year! I was so excited that I started to cry when I showed Ken the email. But the best part is that Potter’s Grove is super-efficient and have already created a cover mock-up which I’m excited to share. And they were also lovely enough to allow my daughter Katelyn’s original cover concept to be used as artwork for one of the section divider pages. So here’s the cover mock-up and the synopsis for my first short story collection–I think it’s gorgeous and I hope you do too.
“Step into the world of the unexpected, where things aren’t always as they seem. From disturbing jigsaw puzzles and portentous stones to mysterious notebooks and ghostly encounters, Feasting Upon The Bones is a collection of twenty-seven short stories that delve into the themes of love and loss, revenge and retribution, and mortality and immortality. Told with imaginative flair, and the occasional touch of dark humour, this intriguing series of twisted tales has something for everyone. Time’s a-ticking, as Mr. Death would say, so open the cover and wander around.”
Well, I haven’t won yet, but I found out early this week that my flash fiction story ‘Resurrection’ has been nominated for Spillwords Press Publication of the Year (Non-Poetic). It previously won Publication of the Month, thanks to all your support, so if you would like to vote for it again for Publication of the Year (you have until January 31st), here’s the link: https://spillwords.com/vote/
And if you haven’t read ‘Resurrection’ yet, but want to, click here. I hope you enjoy it!
*If you do vote for me and let me know, I’ll name a character in a future short story after you, although I can’t guarantee you’ll have a happy ending–a lot of my stories are pretty dark (rubs hands together and laughs maniacally).
*Also, I know it’s not Wednesday but I forgot to do this yesterday because I spent all day yesterday thinking it was Thursday. I’m not even sure what day today is.
I know I mentioned my newest novel, The Seventh Devil, back in October with a couple of cover mock-ups, but last week I finally signed the contract with my publisher, Bookland Press. They had a different idea for the cover, so we agreed to a compromise. The best part is that the book is available for pre-order on Amazon, Chapters/Indigo, and a lot of other places, with a release date of June 15, 2021. I like the new cover, but I really loved the original concept that my daughter had designed, so I’ll be using that one for the short story collection I’m putting together, which is why I haven’t been submitting to any journals lately—they all want first electronic rights and I’m trying to keep the number of previously published pieces to a minimum.
So my new challenge for 2021 is to find a publisher interested in a collection of 30-35 spooky, weird short stories/flash fiction complete with its own cover (see below for the mock-up). I don’t know about ‘twisted tales’, so if you have a better idea, let me know:
I haven’t posted anything for Creative Wednesdays for a while because I’m working on a short story collection that I’m hoping to get published some day, and does anybody know if publishers will take collections where some of the pieces have been published in online journals? Anyway, I love writing poetry even though I’m not particularly good at it and it’s my birthday dammit, so today, I’ve decided to share a poem with you that I wrote recently. It’s called Defying Gravity and it’s about love and hope.
We spoke of death and life,
Me and you, my child
(More precious to me than a single perfect seashell
Or the vast ocean contained within it)
And you asked, Why carry on?
I remember that you etched futility into the earth
With clenched fists
Fall the petals, fall the leaves,
Fall the tears, fall the knees.
And I replied
But the flowers still turn their faces to the sun,
The trees still strive for the moon,
Winter is the prelude to spring.
Dry your eyes,
Lock your knees; defy gravity.
I scuffed the earth clean
With an open palm
And etched both our hearts into it
So deeply that they couldn’t be erased
By neither you, my child, nor me.
Neuro Logical Magazine is a new on-line poetry journal. They had tweeted out “if you have a poem you don’t think fits anywhere, send it to us. I’d been working on this piece for a little while and thought, “I have no idea where it fits” so I sent it to them and they very graciously gave it a home. You can read “The Singular Discrepancy Between Poet And Object here.
If you have a poem that you really like and you don’t know where it “fits”, I highly recommend sending it to them. You can find them on Twitter as well @LogicNeuro. And here is a random puppy picture for you, just because.
“Lobster” is a very personal piece of Creative Non-Fiction, published by the wonderful Anti-Heroin Chic. Before you read it, there are a few things you might need to know:
1) Is it true? Yes.
2) Who’s Jimmy? That’s Ken. It’s OK for you to know it, because you kind of know him, but I didn’t want the world to know it too, and I’ve always liked the name Jimmy. It seems comforting somehow.
3) Are you OK? Yes. It’s been a long time and I’m over it. But a few weeks ago, I was going through a closet and found a box with a bunch of things from my teens and early twenties. Most of it was nice, nostalgic, but there was that envelope of photographs. I hadn’t seen them in years; I don’t know why I’d never thrown them away. You may, if you follow me on social media, have seen a couple of pictures from my teen ‘modelling days’ but those were taken by a boy at my high school who was the yearbook photographer and had fashion aspirations. When I found the envelope that I talk about in Lobster, that same fury came rushing back. If I was the person I was then that I am today, things would have gone much differently, but I learned a long time ago not to beat myself up for things I did when I didn’t have the advantage of years of knowledge and a stronger sense of self.
4) Where is he now? Long dead, I imagine, and lucky for him because, as my dad said to me late last night after he read the piece (before I could write this and provide some context), “He’s lucky he’s dead or he would have gone to his grave without any teeth.” Both my parents are wonderful people and I wish I’d been able to tell them about it at the time.
Anyway, now you have some context. Writing this was very cathartic for me and I feel honoured that Anti-Heroin Chic published it. You can read Lobster here.
I know it’s late but it’s still technically Wednesday and I’m kind of excited about this. A couple of weeks ago, I posted a poem here for Creative Wednesday. I’d never done that before, being kind of a closet poet and not very confident about my skill in that area. Your response was so wonderful and supportive that I thought, Why not? So I submitted a couple of pieces, and the wonderful people at Mineral Lit Mag accepted one of them. It’s called ‘Dryad’ and you can read it here.
I couldn’t have done it without all of you. You’re better than Chardonnay. But since you’re not at my house, I’m drinking the Chardonnay.
I normally don’t post mid-week, but I thought I might start doing it once in a while. You all know I write this weird-ass blog, and that I write novels. I’ve posted some of the short stories I’ve had published in the past in different literary mags, but what you might not know is that I also write poetry. It’s not very good poetry, and I don’t submit it anywhere because it’s not really what the lit mags are looking for, I don’t think, but I like doing it anyway. So today, I’m posting this piece I wrote over the last couple of weeks. I hope you enjoy it. I showed it to Ken and he said, “…Interesting” and then I showed it to Kate and she thought it was about fish migrating. IT’S NOT. Anyway, take from it what you will.
We speed along the black river
The wires on shore buzzing
And cutting into our flesh
Across the distance
Full of secrets.
We hide on the water
Tight to the bank
Where the towers can’t see us.
You tell me to slow down
“The faster we go
The more noticeable we are.”
We race along the black road
Through pine and spruce
And hard rock
Whispering our names.
The tar sticks to our tires
Melting the treads.
Up ahead the wires spit
And crackle out a signal.
You tell me to veer left
“This way is safe.
Drive until dawn.”
We sift through the black sand
Not on a beach
But in a desert
Hidden under an ocean of stuttering stars.
With desperate hands
We pull conch shells from its depths
And then bones.
They are our bones
The bones of our parents
And the bones of our children.
You tell me to gather them up in my arms
And fill my pockets.