Rituals, Nightcrawlers, and Dead Gargoyles

To the three people who stumble across this blog, greetings! It’s been a while since my last update, and things definitely happened this winter. The Spring Equinox brings a new season of challenges and celebrations, so let’s get to it:

The Black Cloak

My short story, “The Black Cloak” appears in Quill & Crow Publishing’s anthology Rituals & Grimoires: Gothic Tales of Dark Magic & Wizardry. I first wrote “The Black Cloak” in 2019 as part of a grad school assignment for my Writing Genre Fiction class, and it suffered through several rejections and revisions since then before finally finding its home. Besides my story, Rituals & Grimoires contains gothic horror tales by Stefanie Contreras, Evan A. Davis, Colin Harker, Nicola Kapron, A.R.C. Mitra, Teagan Olivia Sturmer, and R. Thursday.

Sharp-eyed readers might discover “The Black Cloak” is a sequel to my 2018 story “The Confession of Irving Endicott”. We finally learn Endicott’s fate, and get a glimpse of the mythos established in the earlier tale.

Here’s a blurb:

It’s 1977 and reporter Thea Miller is the executrix to her uncle’s estate. While sifting through arcane items from a lifetime of occult study, she finds a mysterious black cloak. As she plunges deep into her research, Thea discovers the startling truth about the Hag of Rutland, a witch from the wilderness whose indelible presence haunted her family for generations.

Muskrat, Hunter

In January, another one of my short stories, “Muskrat, Hunter” was released in Conspiracies and Cryptids, Vol. 1. “Muskrat, Hunter” is a prequel to my novel Accursed Son, revealing the backstory of Muskrat, a lovable doofus during his first months as member of Legion of the Lamb, a monster-slaying biker gang.

One of the things I tried doing with this story was reveal more about the characters from Accursed Son, namely Legion members Hank, Wanda, and Reece. We see a more vulnerable side of Muskrat as he wrestles with his nickname and his cruel past. We also learn how Hank injured himself (he uses a walker and limps around in Accursed Son) and just how Wanda’s medical background became a quirky asset to monster hunters.

Besides my story, Conspiracies and Cryptids contains stories by B.J. Thrower, Marcy Arlin, Robert Dawson, Holly Schofield, James Ryan, Charles Barouch, Greg Cox, and Ef Deal.

Here’s a blurb:

Ridiculed by his Legion of the Lamb brethren and running from his past, Darren “Muskrat” Tepper must prove himself by hunting the Fresno Nightcrawler, California’s most elusive cryptid.

Gargoyles & Absinthe Goes Out of Print

Not everything in publishing is happy, and might feel like you’re going in circles and not making any progress. Sometimes bad shit happens. Aurelia Leo, publisher of my novella Gargoyles & Absinthe, told me they’re pulling the book out of print early. My original contract was due to expire next year, but citing weak sales the publisher decided to yank the book out of circulation now. The audiobook will also be pulled, along with the paperback and ebook.

The book’s rights will be reversed back to me. I should receive that by the end of March.

While this confidence-shaking news isn’t good, I accept it. Gargoyles & Absinthe suffered from the weight of my amateurish writing. I wrote the book in 2018 while I was still learning how to write fiction in grad school. Getting a book contract when you’re still a student was a huge ego boost, and Gargoyles & Absinthe was where my professional writing career began. When the novella was published in 2020, it was the fulfillment of a dream I had for years. But after many months of no sales, and a few awful Goodreads reviews, it became clear the book failed to meet expectations.

I’d like to discuss failure. Writers don’t like it when readers ignore their work. When the publisher told me they were pulling Gargoyles & Absinthe from print, it made me feel worthless as a writer and a human being. Then I came to my senes and thought about what I actually accomplished. I didn’t fail with this book. I wrote a thing, a publisher published a thing, and readers read the thing. I overcame so many obstacles to get to this point. What are the odds that my first book would also have an audiobook?

I hope everyone who bought Gargoyles & Absinthe enjoyed Nanette and Gaston’s story in an alternate steampunk Paris.

As much as it hurts having a book that didn’t connect, I’m moving on. I don’t write like I did in 2018. Hell, I don’t write like I did last year. My writing style is constantly evolving; I’m experimenting with new styles, genres, characters. I’m growing and improving and pushing boundaries in myself. Playing it safe with a YA steampunk book isn’t who I am now.

Now I’m a little bit dangerous and wilder and weirder.

My stories have a darker edge, sarcasm, and empathy.

We’ll see where this journey unfolds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: