chapter 16 blog
It has been a really crazy week - I went on an impromptu road trip, recorded an episode of a gaming show, and got a bunch of free books. With all of the excitement I didn't get to share some exciting news with you guys.
My writing.com anthology finally came in!
For those of you who are new to the blog, I found out last year that I had one of my WdC pieces accepted into this anthology, and have been waiting for my copy to arrive since late last year. There were some surprises in here now that I've actually gotten to read the collection.
The first is that the story I have featured is The Dragon of Westmont, which I didn't know until I came across it. I was led to believe that the piece of mine they had selected was Sole Survivor. That means that I've been officially recognized under my own name for both fantasy and horror, which is pretty neat.
The second cool surprise was that my story was up near the front, since it was apparently an editor's pick. I have to admit, that made me feel pretty good about the story, although I don't normally think of it as one of my best.
Anyway, it was really cool to see my name in print. Even if the book isn't a huge deal (and I'm not getting paid for it) all of my previous publications have been independent and or online. I was very honored to have been chosen for the anthology and it was great to see my name alongside so many talented writers - many of whom I'm lucky enough to consider friends.
That's what has been going on with me lately - and my cool writing news for the month. Other than that it's been a lot of writing in hotel rooms and scratching reviews on the back of fast food receipts.
With any luck, I will have some more cool updates on projects and work stuff soon, but in the meantime, thank you to everyone reading this. I appreciate you guys checking in, and it feels really good to know that people are actually looking for updates on my work now.
All the best,
.Hello readers (and potentially listeners)!
Episode #137 of the Horror Addicts Podcast was released today - and I'm in it. It's for the Next Great Horror Writer contest, which I'm participating in. I have a 100 word horror story in the episode and I have some sound clips in there - you guys can hear me try to answer questions about horror while I'm all doped up on cold medication. That's fun. (Actually I recorded all of my answers AND bumpers for this season of the podcast while on cold medication, so you guys potentially have several weeks of that to look forward to.) For anyone wanting to check that out, here is the link.
Horror Addicts Podcast Episode #137
I also got called the resident goth for this year's competition, which I thought was cute. Nobody has called me a resident goth or any other kind of goth since I was nine or ten, so it definitely brought back some fond memories. As long as there are no goths listening who are going to be offended by my overly bright hair or my Blink 182 tattoo or my occasional splatterpunk fiction, I am happy to claim that title.
Listening to this was quite the revelation for me. Hearing the talent from the other competitors and getting to experience their work being read by such great hosts, it made me feel incredibly lucky to be participating alongside such wonderful writers.
I am working on the next challenge, trying to balance it with my regular submission schedule and it has been difficult, but I think I'm starting to get into the swing of it. Now if I can get this nasty cough to go away so I can spend a little less time in bed, things are going to be great.
Thank you guys for reading and extra thanks to those of you who follow the link.
So when I signed on to do this NGHW contest, I knew the first challenge was going to be incredibly hard on me, but man did I screw it up. I'm not even 100% sure my entry qualifies - so there's a very good chance I'll be starting the competition off with a 0 point round. Which is pretty much par for the course in my writing career thus far.
The issue was mostly just bad luck in scheduling, which I knew was going to be an issue when they first told me I was being considered. My trip up North had just been moved forward and I knew I was going to be on the road for a few days in the middle of the two weeks I had for the challenge. In the days before I knew I had a lot of packing to do (and a lot of things to squeeze into the time I had remaining with my boyfriend.) In the days after I knew that I was going to have a lot of unpacking and job-hunting to do. I almost backed out of the contest when I realized that - but I figured I could handle missing or doing poorly on one challenge out of thirteen - even if it put me at a disadvantage.
Unfortunately with my anxiety issues, that's easier said than done.
On top of the scheduling conflict, there was the fact that the challenge incorporated two aspects of horror writing that I consider two of my greatest weaknesses - and when I got the challenge information I was almost entirely convinced I wasn't going to be able to turn in anything at all. When I got within a couple days of the deadline and got my first chance to actually work on it properly, I was almost positive I'd be getting a zero.
Running on almost no sleep I typed up the entry I had scratched in my journal in the hotel room lobby last week and got it edited down - having to rewrite it over and over to even out the structure and make my word count goal. After about a million drafts I finally got a version that (while I was not particularly happy with) I thought should qualify, and I formatted it and sent it in. Then I realized that I misunderstood the challenge completely.
This isn't me. I mean, procrastinating is 100% me - but I'm always very, very careful with contest information and usually with contest entries. I quadruple check the challenge prompts with my outline, send the rough draft out to test readers with whatever information I have, and then spend days editing and polishing my piece. Something like this has never, ever happened to me where I just remembered something wrong and then didn't catch it.
I knew this challenge was going to be rough. I knew I didn't have time to get this first entry up to my usual standard, and I knew that there were going to be setbacks. I just thought I'd be able to do better, and it hurts deeply that I was wrong. The stress I felt initially when I realized I messed up brought on one of the worst anxiety attacks I've had in awhile, and my initial instinct was to quit. I wanted so badly to send in an email, explain that between the sleep deprivation (seriously, I haven't slept more than a couple hours at a time in about a month at this point) and stress of moving cross country I had royally fucked up, and I don't think I can handle being a part of this.
I didn't do that.
I wanted to, and maybe I should have, but I didn't. I knew this challenge was going to be the worst one on me, and even though I messed up - I knew that was probably going to happen going in. Even though it's making me anxious to the point of feeling physically ill, I feel like I can push through it. When I lose points, or have my entry for this round disqualified completely - it's going to hurt. I'm probably going to be a mess that day and feel like a failure. But I'm going to get back on my feet and tackle the next challenge to the best of my ability, because going into this that's what I said I was going to do.
I came here to vent some of my anxieties about this and to remind myself that there's a reason I'm doing this. I don't want it to seem like I'm making excuses for myself - because I do know that I could have done better. It just helps me to document my side of the story, and to have a record of why I messed up, what I have to overcome, and how I plan to grow from the experience.
For the record, I do plan to learn from this, and I'm not going to let it stop me from trying my best in every single challenge that comes up from this point on - and with any luck I'll get a little better with each one. With even more luck, I'll go into the next challenge better rested and in lack of that, at least I'll know what to look out for.
So that's sort of where I'm at today. It's not the best place honestly, but it's not the worst place either. I've been in places so much worse than this.
Thank you guys for reading, those of you who did, I know you're probably not hear to listen to me whine, and I'll be done with that for awhile. It did feel really good to get this off my chest though, and now I'm going to go relax, and prepare myself for the next steps in my writing misadventures. I hope you are all doing well, and that I'm not coming across as overly incompetent - even though it often feels that way.
I just wanted to let everyone know that I am once more settled down, and no longer on the road. I am back up North staying with my family as opposed to staying in Sweet Home Alabama (which is neither sweet nor my home.)
This is some bittersweet news for me. I get to be around my cats again, but I miss my snake. I get to rejoin my gaming group, but no longer have access to the gaming computer or PS4. I'm in a more open political environment, but am freezing to death. There are more bookstores up here, but there's no beach.I have a bit more of a social life, but it will be months before I can see my boyfriend again - and I already miss him dearly.
But, enough of that. I'm here now and because I'm no longer in the car, I'm going to start up work again.
Since it's the first of the month, I'll also be sharing my work plans with you guys so you know what sort of writing things I'll be up to this month.
The first thing I'll be working on is my NGHW challenge entry. I am almost done with it, but am cutting the deadline pretty close. (It figures I finally get into an awesome contest and have to move in the two weeks my first challenge is due.) Once I get that in (and probably the next one in since we'll be receiving the challenge information very closely after I submit the first challenge) my top priorities this month will be blogging and submissions.
The blog of course is just my horror things. Although I haven't been able to keep up with my online writing obligations the best on the road, I have been stockpiling article ideas, taking notes for upcoming reviews, and have even reached out to a couple authors for interviews. I think once I get that up and running the momentum will be pretty good - like it was that first week, but hopefully even better.
As for the submissions, these are the things I'll be working on this April:
And of course, there's my plague manuscript which I am now entirely devoted to finishing.
These are all projects which are not exactly pro-government - but I swear that they're all being written to fill certain guidelines in anthologies - it's not just my own political bitterness showing through (though political bitterness is one thing that I do have an abundance of as of late.)
Anyway, I am off to go write some microfiction. I will hopefully be getting back on this blog soon to show you guys some cool stuff about the NGHW contest that I missed sharing with you because of my trip. In the meantime, thank you for reading and know that I'll be wishing you all the best.