My last post was on June 30th, and three days later my father died, just short of his birthday. He would have been 67. I tried making it out to Illinois every year, but because of the pandemic, I had yet to make it in 2020. My brother and my mother were with him when he died, and I find some solace in that. Turns out, the last time I would ever see my father was the morning of August 6th, 2019. The last picture I took of him was in 2018. He was playing with a dog at an animal shelter. He loved dogs.
Well, there’s been a bit of fooling around, if I’m being honest. Which I am. There’s been birthdays (mine, included) and cake and presents and those are all lovely things. There hasn’t been much disco, though, that part is true. There’s been loads of work, though, that’s for sure.
Fun, however, that’s the real important shit. And, sometimes, fun is delicious.
I’m not one to normally share correspondence, but I received back-to-back inquiries that are closely related, and in the spirit of artistic transparency, I decided to turn both of my answers, slightly edited from their original form, into a post. This type of thing keeps me accountable to not only my work, but the work of others. And there’s the likely event that others, especially indie press publishers, feel the same way that I do, and I believe a little solidarity goes a long way.
So, to the first question(s) I received: “How are you? How’s the biz?”
I keep making my handwritten notes, and I have a stack of books to read for research, and in a few weeks time I will “officially” begin working on my next manuscript:
THE BODY IS A MACHINE THAT MAKES GHOSTS.
I recently posted about GRIND YOUR BONES TO DUST selling quite a few copies since its debut (500+, as of this writing, which is not too shabby for a newbie micro-press and a debut novel), and I have had more than one person ask me for “tips or tricks or secrets” that I might be able to share, so… here I am, sharing.
A writer is the work, finished or not, published or not. It’s always the work, I think. If you’re lucky, after you die someone will read the work and in those moments you will exist.
Fun fact: my first published short story was released in a 2009 issue of Morpheus Tales. And now, here I am, ten years later, looking at seeing the publication of my first full-length novel. And that’s not to say I never worked on a novel before. No, no, no… I worked on a handful of books and they were all terrible piles of shit.
Grind Your Bones to Dust is just about finished. How terrifying, for me. I’ve written quite a bit but never something approaching the length of this book. Have I abandoned novels in the past? Sure, welcome to Writer Town! Lotta folks in these parts. The sewers are filled with unfinished books. Some of ’em are huge. Unfinished books are practically their own subset of cryptid. You hear about them but you rarely see them. They become legend. But not Grind Your Bones to Dust. Oh, no, this beast is scrambling into reality. We’re past crowning, now, and to the primal scream. And I got the receipts:
And, per the above screenshot, this fourth and final part focuses on the character of Ruth Loving. She is mentioned throughout the book, but only makes a brief appearance at the end of the third part. However, part four is her show. She owns the narrative from here to the end, figuratively and literally.
Today is the first day of May. It is very, very nice outside. All the green is returning and flowers are blooming and the days are getting warmer. And, on top of all that, I’m receiving emails asking about the film/TV rights for my new collection, Nobody Gets Hurt and Other Lies. And from a very reputable company, to boot. Chances are, you’ve seen their handiwork.
This is exciting, while also not being that exciting. Let’s discuss!
Well, here it is, almost May, and I have yet to finish Grind Your Bones To Dust. I had originally hoped to be done with the manuscript by the beginning of January. The book, alas, had other ideas. Suppose I cannot complain too much since the delay has been nothing but good news for the book. Grind Your Bones To Dust may be the best work I’ve ever committed to the page. And as the title will be my first full-length novel, I’d call that a win. Still, I’ll be happy as a clam when the damned thing is over with. These murderous men and flesh-eating donkeys have consumed most of the last eight months of my mental real estate. Other projects are waiting patiently for this rental to open up. As is, I’d wager I am less than 10K words out from calling it a wrap. That’s hardly more than a short story’s worth of material left to jot down, so the end is certainly nigh.
In the meantime, cover and interior art (courtesy of Daniele Serra) is finished. I will probably hold off on sharing the interior art until a later date, but I will gladly drop the cover art in here for you, because it is simply gorgeous: