Moving Forward, Part 2

Wow! A February to August leap in entries! What the hell happened?

Well, Stephen King’s “My Pretty Pony” pretty well sums up how I feel about it (and also serves as my lame excuse). We hit “normal time” in mid-life, and it chugs along at a good pace. I honestly can’t believe it’s already August—and not only August, but August 26th—but the good news is that the months since February have been productive ones, and there’s plenty in the pipeline, as far as writing goes.

First off, is officially no more. They upped the closing of their doors from September to June 30th, so all three of the books that were contracted with them are now back in my hands. Here’s what’s going to happen to them.

On the Edge of Twilight remains available on kindle, but under my direct ownership. My publisher at StoneGarden was kind enough to supply me with the file, so even though the Amazon listing isn’t attached to the paperback listing, it’s there to be found, and I’ve lowered the price to 99 cents. The reason is simple: I want it to be read. I will also be featuring several “free” download weekends for it, so please grab it, read it, and pass it on. Here you go!

Meanwhile, John York and I have decided to republish Scaring the Crows and On the Edge of Twilight as an omnibus edition in early October. We’re working on it now, and let me tell you, John’s new cover concept is fantastic. That will bring 43 tales under the same covers for a plump, 350-page collection. It may feature a new introduction (depending on whether I feel it’s necessary), and will be available in both paperback and kindle format. This will allow the stories to remain available and “in print” for the foreseeable future. Considering the nature of short story collection sales (always a bit difficult), I hope you agree that taking on the publishing process ourselves is a good one.

That leaves The Uncanny Valley and its in-progress prequel.

The prequel, Darkness in the Valley: An Uncanny Dossier, has now become a full-blown novel, and a complicated one, too. At the beginning of summer, the word count stood at 66,000. By the end, it exceeded 92,000, or roughly 425 pages. Parts 1 and 2 are both completed in rough form, which only leaves Part 3 (already well under way) and the Epilogue. Both are already fully plotted out, after a series of challenging brainstorming sessions; finally, just before the new school year began and my teaching schedule resumed, everything fell into place. Once finished, the novel will certainly exceed 100,000 words. Then the process of revision will begin!

Regarding both Uncanny books, I have several options for publication. At this point I’ve already been offered contracts for them by two small presses, and I could also publish them myself, but I’d like to hold out and try for a larger publisher this time around. The Uncanny Valley is my most successful book, and two of the story-chapters made Ellen Datlow’s “Best Horror of the Year” list. On top of that, I think (and hope) the prequel will also be great fun for readers, so I have high hopes for both. Thus, although things are moving steadily forward, I’m not willing to rush Darkness in the Valley into print before the time is right. I can only hope that when the time comes, you feel the wait was worth it.

In other news…

I enjoyed delving into some great new books this summer, the most satisfying of which were Stephen King’s Joyland, Joe Hill’s NOS4ATU, and Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane (which is achingly, heartbreakingly beautiful). Oh, and Nathaniel Philbrick’s riveting nonfiction book, Bunker Hill.

Speaking of Stephen King, Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, comes out in less than a month. King says, “If you’re looking for a return to balls-to-the-wall, keep-the-lights-on horror, get ready. And don’t say you weren’t warned.” Music to my ears. I haven’t been this excited about an upcoming novel in a long, long time.

Next time, some more details about Darkness in the Valley, an informal review or two, and my updated list of 31 movies to watch in October.

I can almost smell the burnt pumpkin and wood smoke.

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