Does anyone else feel like time starts to move at double speed in April? I guess it’s making up for how slow March usually feels. There’s so much to relay, but I’ll try to keep this brief.
First and foremost, I bought a house, and I’m spending most of my free time preparing to move in. I’m extremely excited to have my own office, which I’ll be referring to as my Sanctum Sanctorum because I’ve been reading a lot of Doctor Strange recently. When I move into the house in May, it will be the first time I’m not writing out of a bedroom.
I’m also busy on the publishing front. I’ve got four stories coming out in the next few months. The first is being released today (April 28th) in Hundred Word Horror: Beneath, and it’s called “The Hunger Within.” The tale follows a shady morgue worker making an unexpected finding. Be warned, the story is a little graphic. Next up is “Starship Thoughts” in Hundred Word Horror: Cosmos, slated for release on May 26th. While the title gives you a good idea of what the tale is about, I’m excited to see what people think of the story’s formatting.
My Kiss-inspired horror story “The Blood Inked Comic Book” will be appearing in Castle of Horror Anthology Volume 5: Thinly Veiled. I think “The Blood Inked Comic” is probably the most Jeremiah Dylan Cook story I’ve ever had published. Castle of Horror Anthology Volume 5 is currently open for pre-order and will be out on June 15th. The paperback isn’t available yet but will be closer to the release date.
Lastly, my fantasy story “The Wizard’s Duel” is in Like Sunshine After Rain, a charity anthology edited by Heidi Ruby Miller. Proceeds for Like Sunshine After Rain benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. If you haven’t already done so, please consider pre-ordering a copy for this fantastic cause. If you need extra incentive, my wife says “The Wizard’s Duel” is her favorite story that I’ve written to date.
Alright, I think that’s all the fun stuff I had to talk about. Now I must get back to sanding and painting my Sanctum Sanctorum. If only I could use magic…
Fans of pulp should love this story. While I’d never read a Two Hawks adventure before this novella, I was able to step right into this world and easily grasp what made the character and Farmer’s universe interesting. This is a testament to Heidi Ruby Miller’s prose. She details a wild aquatic world for Two Hawks to explore alongside his partner in crime, Dakota. Miller manages to make both her protagonists feel equally interesting, and Dakota never becomes a cliché damsel to be rescued. If you like pulp, Two Hawks, Philip Jose Farmer, or fun, I can’t recommend the book enough.
I think it’s important to celebrate the milestones. This past Saturday was an extremely eventful one for me as a writer. I delivered my first public reading. The video above captures the full recitation of my tale, Feeding Time, complete with an oddly noisy air-conditioner near the story’s climax.
Overall, it was a great experience, and I am honored that the Ligonier Valley Writers picked my flash fiction work as the winner. While at the event, I also got to meet and listen to the other talented writers who entered the contest. Each story contained its own uniquely fascinating elements.
Finally, I wanted to thank everyone who made the trip out to support me. There are a few people who deserve special mention. The first two are my father and step-mother, who recorded the video above. The next are two of my Seton Hill writing mentors, Jason Jack Miller and Heidi Ruby Miller, they even brought a very cool Seton Hill alum with them for the fun. Fourth is my fiancée’s best friend who tagged along with all the shenanigans this past weekend. Lastly, my wonderful fiancée herself. She never fails to support, and read, the crazy things I spew out of my brain onto a page.
These little residency recaps are getting harder to do the farther I get into Seton Hill’s Writing in Popular Fiction Program. All I want to do is tinker with my novel or craft a new short story. Speaking of, I have one that’s been accepted for publication in a small-press magazine. When it’s released, I will be sure to share access to the tale everywhere I can.
My fifth residency in the program is now over. It tore through my life like a tornado. By the end, I was thanking Cthulhu for my survival. Each residency has gone by faster than the last one. If you enter the program, you should prepare for that eventuality with the appropriate time dampening technology. It’s too late for me to salvage this past residency, but it’s not too late for you to salvage your future one.
That said, I managed to retain a few awesome lessons despite the residency’s speed. Most painfully, I learned that you should apply sunscreen when driving from Greensburg to Camp Hill. I arrived home in a sun-soaked delirium with cooked skin. Less painfully, I learned that the New Pulp genre is as cool as Old Pulp, where H.P. Lovecraft rose from. Heidi Ruby Miller taught a great class on the subject. I also learned, from Jason Jack Miller, that Folk remains a pretty great source for the creation of new fiction. On my third day of the Residency, I got a fantastic crash course on sending out novel queries from a real-life publishing agent, Ms. Rachel Ekstrom Courage. Lastly, I received a spookily good lesson on the Five Senses of Dread from Dr. Michael Arnzen. On top of those modules, I got to take part in a variety of workshops with dozens of talented writers of multiple genres. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned that I got to listen to two entertaining and enlightening talks from romance author Beverly Jenkins.
Now, with all that said, I didn’t just occupy my time learning while I attended classes. I also got to convey the lesson I spent the last part of my Teaching Popular Fiction class preparing. Thanks to fellow writer Dana Jackson, I even managed to do so with the inclusion of a YouTube clip I wanted to show (Seton Hill’s technology infrastructure is made for Macs, and I own a PC). My lesson on How to Write a Satisfying Ending came out fine, if a little fast due to my nerves. I still wish I could have delivered the lesson earlier in the residency, but the schedule disagreed with me. Either way, I made it through the class and the week. If I can finish editing one hundred and thirty-six pages and respond to my mentor’s feedback, I will be graduating during my next trip to Seton Hill in January. That’s something I wasn’t even sure would happen at the beginning of 2017. What a difference a year, combined with a huge amount of hard work, makes.