Happy 2018!

dsold01Hello. Please meet the reason I haven’t blogged in a while. His name is Wilson. He’s one heck of a scientist, he hates sports and spiders, and he can beat up a giant tree monster in under 3 minutes with a spear he crafted from junk he picked up in the woods. When  I went through my burnout a couple of years ago I decided I needed something that wasn’t book-related to occupy my time, something completely immersive, and so I bought a PlayStation. It works a little too well. I wake up in the morning and as I’m making my coffee, I worry Wilson and his magnificent hair will get violently murdered by a giant bird if I don’t make him another football helmet. Still, it’s giving me the balance I refused to give myself once upon a time.

And yet somehow I’m still producing things. I commented to a fellow writer recently that I’m so used to banging out books on a monthly basis that it’s hard to undo the manic conditioning that says I’m not doing anything, but I’ve actually done a bit in the last little while.

coldestThe Coldest December was released late last year from Quarter Castle Publishing. This fiction anthology was put together by Diane Tibert to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, which happened on December 6. Those who have read my story, Shadows May Fall, on Wattpad are already familiar with this event. The anthology includes my story “Big Ramblin Mike,” about a father trying to care for his children after the explosion and doing the right thing in the face of chaos. I’m really proud of this story and really happy it made it into this anthology. You can pick it up in all formats at Smashwords, and the paperback is available to order from Amazon.

howdarktheworldSpeaking of explosion literature, I’m still writing How Dark The World, which is a Shadows May Fall story from Robbie’s perspective. It was supposed to be a straight-up story spanning two years of Robbie’s perspective and much, much shorter – I even had someone lined up to read my supposed 4000 word story as an audio file, but for some reason I got another idea in my head and now it involves some flashback chapters told from the perspective of Daniel and Lillian. I don’t know why it turned out that way. I just felt like they had voices as well at some point and the need to show they weren’t always the hard cases you see in Shadows My Fall. There are about three chapters left to go before this wraps up as a novella.

companyoffoolsWhat’s old is new: my first novella, erotic romance The Company of Fools has been released back into the wild with the eventual closure of Loose Id. You can read it for free at Tablo. It’s been re-released as A.M. Hartnett to match up with my other adult works. My other book with Loose Id will be released sometime this year. If you like smutty writing, you can visit I Write Smutty Things to check out a ton of books and anthologies with my name between the pages.  I’ve got a couple of projects on the go for A.M. Hartnett (no new writing just yet) and eventually this one will be paired with Loose Ends for a print edition.

WhatTheyDeservedFinally, I’ve had another story featured on The No Sleep Podcast. What They Deserved appears on episode 8 of the current season. Absolutely brilliant voice-acting by Mary Murphy here as Christine, an old woman recounting her colourful (as in blood-red and brain matter-grey) past to the listener. Produced by Phil Michalski, this audio adaptation also features Dan Zappulla as Andrew, Jesse Cornett as Richie, Atticus Jackson as Clifford, Erika Sanderson as Mary, and David Cummings as Officer Haynes. Major round of applause to all involved, including Brandon Boone, whose soundtrack always becomes its own character.

Now, back to Wilson and his magnificent hair.

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New Story: Half Moon Island

nosleepI never planned to write a horror story, but here we are. On my travels this summer I started listening to The No Sleep Podcast during the drive instead of my usual playlists and became a fan. Long story short, Half Moon Island is one of the stories featured on the tenth season premiere of the show.

I’m very happy with how this turned out. The cast did an amazing job, especially Erika Sanderson: she had no lines but, oh man, that was worse than I imagined it in my head when I was writing it. You can check it out by visiting their website, or listen on iTunes (or your favourite podcast app.)

Better Late Than Never

It’s fall. I’m so happy. It was a long summer and I spent most of it driving around, listening to podcasts and waiting for the opportunity to close the windows. September and October was that crazy limbo between getting nothing done and getting something done.

And I got something done! Two somethings, actually. The first I’ll talk about a little later. The other is this:

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Yep, that’s the cover to the companion novella to my historical YA Shadows May Fall (which reached 10K reads in October.) My short story about Robbie turned into a novella. Initially it was supposed to solely focus on the last few chapters of SMF, but since I started motoring through it the story has equally focused on Robbie’s past before meeting Dorothy. It’s an interesting twist which has allowed me to explore relationships that were only scribbles in a notebook stashed away.

This has been a good exercise leading up to finishing the sequel to SMF. It’s let me reconnect with characters I’ve stepped away from and silenced over the past few months as I mess with other things. I won’t be putting the story up all at once like I did with SMF but instead I’ll be putting up two chapters at a time beginning on Monday, and that should take me through November and possibly December. I’m not even going to attempt to be ambitious enough to try Nanowrimo – I have a few other things I want to wrap up this month so I’m more about the words on the page than trying to write a novel from start to finish.

So that’s autumn so far. I love this time of year. I love the sweaters and the hot drinks and the creativity boost.

I Do This Every Year

Why do I do this every year? I know it’s coming. I anticipate it. I dread it. And yet, I still do it.

I’m referring to my complete disregard for my lack of writing productivity from mid-June to mid-September. I’m not a summer person in the slightest. The noise, the traffic, the heat — all those hallmarks of summer are brain-killers for me. I should know by now not to mess with this, to just sit back and chill out, but I’ve only ever half-learned my lesson. When I was writing for a publisher who gave me deadlines that crossed into summer, I’d bust my ass to get them out of the way by mid-June. “Fantastic! You’re so prompt!” the editor would say, and I’d keep it to myself that I had barely slept in an effort to make my deadline.

I’m not under contract for anything right now. My book is in a potential publisher’s TBR pile, and even if she came back tomorrow to tell me she was publishing my book and I needed to start working on it right away it wouldn’t be so bad, because editing isn’t writing. Editing requires me to be critical instead of creative.

I had hoped this year would be different. I have a nifty new writing space begging to be used. I made a to-do list of manageable bites. “Bring it on!” I said to myself, and then proceeded to hurl myself into that dark pit of failure. I crawl out, I play some video games, and then I go for another leap.

This is different from my failed attempt at writing a historical novel in 30 days. At least I wrote something that week. This is just a soul-sucker.

There are countless articles, books, and admonishing tweets about needing to make the time to write, how you can do it on top of a flaming pile of garbage if you were really serious. I’ll give an inch, a lot of writer’s block is just procrastination, but at the same time I challenge those people to listen to my DIY-loving neighbour drive his riding lawnmower up and down his lengthy driveway for three and a half hours while his four-year old screams in the background.

July 20th and I’m throwing in the towel. I’m going to read books and play video games for the next six weeks. I’ll end up doing it anyway, but at least this way I won’t have the crushing defeat of summer on my shoulders.

On Fire – Available Now

I honestly can’t remember the last Cleis anthology I was a part of. I think it may have been Love, Lust and Zombies, edited by Mitzi Szereto (my story in this is easily my favourite, by the way, so check it out.)

Today marks the release of the latest, this time from the desk of Rachel Kramer Bussel. On Fire features my story A Place As Beautiful As This as well as a roster that includes some of my favourite authors — Giselle Renarde, Tamsin Flowers, Jade A. Waters and Victoria Blisse to name a few. If you’re a fan of erotic romance, add this to your TBR.

Rachel has all the links posted at the book’s Tumblr. If you’re on Netgalley, you can request it there in exchange for an impartial review.

You can also check out my other stories by heading over to I Write Smutty Things, where you can find links to free reads at Tablo and also to my Amazon page. I’ve been in a lot of great anthologies put together by some fabulous editors, and many of those stories are now up at Tablo to read for free.

Tourist

Just coming off vacation, and if you’re not following me on Twitter or Instagram, here’s a little bit of what I got to see when I was off. I didn’t go far (I never do when on vacation) but I managed to knock a few Must See and Must Do things off my list.

First up was my annual June cottage stay on Prince Edward Island. I booked right in Cavendish this time and I only moved my car once the entire time I was there. If I wanted to buy something, I walked (it helped that I was a 2 minute walk to stores.) If I wanted to see something, I walked. Green Gables was a bit of a distance in the hot sun, and I have the burn to prove it, but I made it there after they’d closed up and all was quiet so I could take a bit of a walk on the grounds.

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It was a nice little getaway, and I broke my no-writing-on-vacation rule to get over a hump on one thing and also start something new.

Back in Nova Scotia, I had a couple of things I needed to see before the end of the week or else I’d never get off my ass and do it. First was the Collision in the Narrows exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. I’m not one for crowds at all, but I wanted to get a look at the 100th anniversary memorial quilt.  Totally worth the aggravation. Absolutely amazing job.

 

Another thing on the list — a WWI trench, which was set up inside a fortress. Talk about claustrophobic. Trying to squish by the other tourists, I couldn’t even imagine people living in there while on the front lines, or sleeping on hard chicken wire in a building that might collapse on your head? Eep.

 

I kept on breaking my no-writing rule and have a little something done. Well, a lot something, if you count what I did to my writing space. This room was initially supposed to be a laundry room, but after I changed my mind on the location I decided to make it into a computer room, and the computer room needed a fresh coat of paint.

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The old colour was the same shade as a grey sky. This new colour is … well, just look at it. I had a minor panic when the hardware store guy popped the top and showed me the colour, but once I got it on the walls I was madly in love. It looks amazing. Having previously written wherever I could get peace and quiet, this is an excellent spot. I’ve got some wallpaper on the way for a wall that’s just not salvageable, a poster, and some neat little bookends. Definitely looking forward to the finished product.

 

Old is new … ish

I have a bad habit. It used to be a great habit, but these days it’s as useful as smoking or a second cup of coffee or five-hours playing computer games.

That bad habit is writing.

Quite some time ago, I came to the realization that I was no longer enjoying the whole writing thing. No coincidence, it came as I was on the elevator at my old apartment with my first royalty statement from HarperCollins in hand. I wasn’t so much demoralized as I was pissed at myself for not seeing this coming, and I promptly locked myself in my apartment and sat down to write something new.

After ten years of writing erotica, a short story a week and promptly dropped into the inboxes of my favourite editors, it’s now like getting blood from a stone. I still successfully dabble in smut under another name, albeit in a different sub-genre, but the whole contemporary boy-meets-girl thing eludes me now. I know this, yet I still give it a go. All I really need to do is pick up my phone and check out what Alison Tyler has published on Patreon and I’m sucked in, determined to finish this story or that story, finally sink my teeth into something wicked, but it never works out. I’ve deleted more than I’ve written when those moods strike me.

One of these days I’m going to learn to just go do something else and stop torturing myself.

But I still hope that one day I can actually get some of those stories finished. Mind over matter, ass in the chair and all that. In the meantime, I have a trove of stuff from the past decade that I can put out there to be read. I’ve been loading this stuff on on Tablo, and I’m rediscovering stories I had completely forgotten I’d written. Nothing Important Happened Today, for example. I’d completely forgotten that story and I’d forgotten how much I loved writing that story. Then there’s Six Sides of Steel, which was the most surprising thing I’d written to date, and I still have a friend who asks if I’m ever going to turn that into a novella.

For now, you can find my A.M. Hartnett stuff on Tablo. Maybe one day there’ll be something new.