The Little Black Dog Who Could

Well, guess who’s fallen back out of the habit of regular blogging, hmmm? There are a couple of new interviews up, one with Cats Luv Coffee (read it here) and one with Nina Soden (read it here). Also, I learned that my presence in the South Australian library system has increased; previously they held two copies of IOTWCS and nothing else, but now they have four copies of that and TEN copies of MITCOL. Wow. Humbled, #blessed, blah blah blah, but that’s actually really cool!

You know what else is really cool that I keep forgetting about because I’m such a Negative Nancy lately? I’ve been shortlisted for an Australian Shadows Award! That’s right — “Vision Thing”, from Black Dogs, Black Tales, is up for Best Short Story! And how do I keep forgetting that? Why, it’s because I submitted work for three categories and was only shortlisted for one! Typical writer mentality. I’ve been so focused on the disappointment of If Only Tonight We Could Sleep not making the Best Collection shortlist for the Shadows (and the Aurealis Awards) that I spare little to no time to feel good about the positives to come out of all this. (Here’s the full list of nominated works, and well done to everyone on it.) I’m not bitter toward anyone else, it’s just a reminder that nothing is promised, every victory is hard-won, and you need a thick skin to make it anywhere in the creative arts — a field distinguished by its preponderance of sensitive souls. Man, it’s a slaughterhouse out there. Believe it.

Anyhoo, I’ve accrued a couple of new reviews for Midnight in the Chapel of Love, and they’ve been instructive when it comes to understanding how other people view one’s work. For example, I was informed of Aurealis Magazine‘s review on my birthday, and it was quite a middling thing, written by someone who wasn’t drawn into the story and didn’t understand or invest in its depth; this was disappointing, as one hopes this opinion will not be held by the majority of one’s readers! On the other hand, a couple of weeks later The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviewer published a review that went far deeper and was much, much more appreciative of the novel’s themes, approach, language, and, well, everything — exactly the kind of review a writer wishes to see, one that engages with the work and understands what it is trying to say, or at least evoke. (And I only had to pay him a tenner to say all that, ha ha.) As a horror writer who’s about so much more than hack n’ slash, it’s really important to receive this kind of attention and praise. More, please!

No new announcements to make at the moment. I’m waiting on many responses and if I pull some of these off, I’ll be very happy indeed — but nothing to declare right now. I’ve been struggling to bring new ideas to fruition, in that I have great hooks and concepts and character beats but sometimes I just can’t see the whole plot, or I’m stymied by logic holes that open up elsewhere as soon as they’re closed. It’s a very frustrating feeling, especially as time runs out and you’re thinking to yourself, “Yeah, two weeks to write and edit a whole novella for a big open call is totally doable as long as you sort your shit out… oh, look at that, your shit is resolutely unsorted. And now it’s thirteen days and yet you’re rewatching Brooklyn Nine-Nine for some reason.” And while I can feel my next novel manuscript and know that it’s going to be well wicked once written, I’m not managing to nut out background issues, plot logic, character arcs and so on to my satisfaction. Ah, it doesn’t matter. I’m only going to start writing it next month, that’s plenty of time to stress out over not doing the work I feel I should be doing. Ha.

Yeah, so job uncertainty and craft issues are kind of getting me down. But I will persevere and excel, so worry ye not. More good news soon.

Be well. x

Listening: Alphaville, Imperial Triumphant — Check Your Head, Beastie Boys — We Live, Electric Wizard — Lost Themes III: Alive After Death, John Carpenter — Tonic Immobility, Tomahawk

Reading: Goblin, Josh Malerman — Beneath A Pale Sky, Philip Fracassi — All the Murmuring Bones, Angela Slatter — Shelter for the Damned, Mike Thorn — The Last House on Needless Street, Catriona Ward

Watching: Brooklyn Nine-NineVampyresDoctor Who Series Four — Pink Floyd: The Story of Wish You Were Here — Wonder Woman 1984

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