Archive for the ‘Publishing’ Category


What the hell did I just do?

I have no idea what I’m doing. I am attempting to do two things. One, learn how to use and write in Scrivener. I’ve heard so many great things about it. It sounds wonderful. It’s probably really easy to use. But, I’m kind of an idiot when it comes to anything more complicated than your basic email. Okay, I’m a little better than that, but, geez, it’s painful. It takes me forever to get a handle on something. So, this is me entering in what I’ve got written so far for the second Stevenson book, and kind of/sort of using the synopsis cards and comments and whatnot, so I can look at and really verify the rest of my outline works. This I usually do with a pencil and paper, which works fine. But a pencil and paper doesn’t, in the end, give you a supposedly easily-compiled MS to simply turn into whatever e-publishing file you need for whatever platform you want. That was the real selling point for me. Using Scrivener, right now, is less about the writing and more about the end result once it’s ready to go out into the world. I guess I’m hoping it’ll be good for the writing, too. If I can figure out how it works, as I work it. (Yes, I went through the tutorial. My brain, though, is like a sieve.)

The second thing I’m trying to do is set things up in order to build an email list of potential readers, so I can, well, let them know I have stuff for them to read. I just spent a half-hour trying to figure out MailChimp and how to get that going on my WordPress site. I have failed. And I am not a fraction of an inch closer to having any idea as to how to do anything in terms of that particular goal. *sigh* These are the days I really wish I could conceptualize this kind of stuff, you know, easily, in my head, like some folks seem to be able to do. For me, it’s a huge effort that requires going over and over and over something until it eventually clicks in some small way, and then following that way, painstakingly slowly, until I get to the end. It’s like reading instructions in another language I have just a rudimentary understanding of. If you want an idea as to how hard it was for me to earn that goddamn MFA, just imagine what I just described spread over six years, 24-7. No wonder my thyroid exploded.

I’ll get it, though. Goddamn it.

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This was an actual break in writing.

I should probably not swear in blog titles, right? That’s a “don’t” in blogging, I think. Well…whatever…

About three months ago, just after my little episode, I wrote a 66k-page novel in just under 2 1/2 weeks. Despite being manic, pharmaceutically fucked up, and emotionally-driven to do it, the revision process (or, the editing-in-order-to-do-a-proper-revision process) revealed that it’s actually pretty decent. But I still need to actually do the revision. At this point, facing it seems too difficult, considering the conditions under which it was written. I just need some time away from it, but hopefully not too long. It’s practically finished. I know what the cover will look like. If I sucked it up and worked hard, I could put it out next month.

But I’m not going to do that. It’s just too hard, even if the story itself is probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever written.

But I do have a MS that is all ready to go. Here is something I’ve learned about myself: I really have no patience, and by that, I mean, I have no patience with the publishing submission process–certainly in terms of novels. Short stories–I would just sort of send it off and forget about it until the rejection/acceptance email. Not usually something I get bunched up about. Though, short stories aren’t really my thing, I realize. This I’ve learned. I write long. It takes a real effort on my part to keep short stories, well, short, and frankly, that cramps my style. Fucks up the flow. It just isn’t where I’m going when I sit down to write, and the end result, to me, always feels stilted. Sitting down and trying to tell the story I want to tell in the way I need to tell it, while trying to keep it 3k words or fewer–you know, if I ever want to see it published, which is sort of the end goal, really–it’s a pain in the ass. So…novels. Maybe novellas, I haven’t really tried that yet.

That’s not to say I write long novels. I don’t. As far as novels go, they’re fairly short, falling between 60k-70k words. That seems to be my sweet spot. And no, they’re not the 100k+ monstrosities some folks like to churn out, but despite my tendency to go on, I do also know when to edit myself. So, mine lean short. But they’re still work. They’re still often difficult to get out. I outline like a crazy person, so I cut down as much “writer’s block” as possible, but still. It’s work.

So, when an agent sits on it for 6+ months, or a press for even longer, with no word…I mean, what the fuck, folks? I know you’re busy and all. I do. But the MS I have right now, that’s all finished and ready to be read–I finished it more than three years ago. And I understand and am fine with rejection. But…tell me, right?

I’ve considered resubmitting it elsewhere. But I kind of know how these things work. We all do. It enters the slushpile and it sits there. And sits there. And sits there. And that’s sort of wasting my time. And here’s the thing, and this is going to sound egotistical, but since ego has been in such short supply for me these days, I’m just going to let it rip. The book is good. I read through it and even I–who is the very last person to give myself any credit for just about anything–even I have to say, hey, it’s good. It’s a good book. I did a damn good job with it. So, I’m not waiting for some gatekeeper to give their blessings. Especially with the industry as it is nowadays anyway.

There’s the self-publishing stigma, but really, who gives a shit? How can I possibly give a shit? Will published authors look down on me? Sure, but, you know what? I’m an editor. I’ve read some of their submitted, unpublished work, and guess what: A lot of it is crap. Not all, but a lot. There, I said it. And there are Stoker award winners I’ve started and just couldn’t get past the first fifteen pages because, Holy Christ, where was the editor? Who on earth accepted this for publication? (And yeah, it kind of makes me wonder what the fuck goes on there over at the Stokers). So, do I really need to be worried about what published authors will think of my self-published book? I’m leaning heavily toward “no.” All I guess I could say to them is, “read it.” Yeah, I’m actually that confident with this one.  “Read it and then come back and tell me it’s crap.” This one, at least. We’ll see what happens after it, but this one is good. It’s better than good.

And, I’m pushing 42 years old–I don’t really feel like waiting to find just the right publisher who thinks it fits their general marketing strategy, which, let’s face it, is never much to begin with. Again, I know. I edit. I publish. I do have a pretty fair idea how micro-small-to-medium presses function. And the way I see it, the only thing I have to gain with a publisher is “cred.” The rest of the work is up to me. I know what it takes to publish a book. I have enough experience in both traditional publishing and print-on-demand to not fuck this up too badly. So, basically, I can do what a publisher would do for me, work wise. Otherwise, the work is the same. If I published with someone else, I’d still be doing the bulk of the promotion and whatnot, if not all of it. I’m not bagging on presses…this is what it is when you either don’t have the budget, or you don’t know how to use your budget. Shit happens. Things are what they are. But I just don’t have the patience for the time it takes to deal with all that shit when the reward is so minuscule. The fact is that I could likely do just as well self-publishing, or better. Yes, it’s work, but it’s nothing I don’t do already anyway, so, again, it comes down to respectability and pub street cred.

So…fuck it. I’m no longer tying myself to this dying industry just because I’m a-scared of what anyone thinks–writers, editors, publishers, reviewers, etc. The times, they are a-changing, some douchebag once said. Other than myself. So, watch this space.


Here’s me in a sweet-ass Rush shirt being all like, “Fuck it.”

The novel in question is the Robert Louis Stevenson werewolf piece I blogged about here forever ago. Yes, it’s a historical mystery horror novel. Tough to categorize, but still not unusual. I’ll eventually get around to revising the one I crapped out a few months ago. That is a somewhat bizarro adventure/love story involving meth labs, dildos, and extreme social anxiety. And the WIP, thus far, seems to be indescribable (I need to work on that). But it’s about a group of people set in the factual town of my upbringing, Fairchance, Pa. The main throughline character is a black albino former mortician named Ludlow. There’s death and ghosts. There’s child molestation and burning buildings. There’s religious fanaticism and explosions. I’ve been working on it on and off since about 2008, but I’m coming up on finishing it, finally. Then revision, but that generally goes pretty quickly. I think it’s more literary in terms of the writing and maybe the subject matter, but, again, I’m shit with that sort of thing. I appreciate labels and genres–they’re obviously helpful. But I kind of write what I write and unless I make a real effort to fit a certain genre, it can really be anything. I gave an large chunk of it to a writer whom I respect greatly and he liked it a lot, so, I’m pretty confident about this one, too. But, in time. It’ll get done.

I’m looking to get these three books out before the end of the year. Maybe more. I do have some fairly lengthy outlines sitting around and being tinkered with. We’ll see. So, here we go…

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So…life has been complicated since I last posted. Our beloved Moggy had to be let go on June 24th, as his leukemia finally caught up with him. Almost six years was much longer than the 2-3 years vets gave him, so we can’t complain, although we miss him terribly.


That said, there is always a silver lining, or in this case, two linings, one black and one grey. The day we took Moggy to the vet’s, there were two cats that had been abandoned there the night before. We had to wait a month to make sure any bits left over from Mogg’s leukemia were indeed gone, but about a week ago, we brought home Aud the Deepminded (black) and Gudrun (grey). Good, strong viking women. They’re adjusting well, and so are we.

LadiesontheCouchIn addition to that, we’ve been having issues with our neighbors, with whom the township has sided, and now we are forced to enter into litigation. I won’t go into the details, but I assure you, it’s absolutely not how we want to spend our time and money, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

These things have been stressful and distracting, but I have, nonetheless, been productive. Been doing a lot of editing. Happily working on Stephen Graham Jones‘s ‘Sterling City’ for Nightscape Press.

Despumation Press Logo

But the most exciting news I have is that I’ve started a press. Here is our mission statement:

In fiction, Despumation Press seeks to champion writing that explores the diverse themes metal customarily addresses using language in such a way as to evoke the feeling of listening to the music. In nonfiction, Despumation Press seeks to produce books and essays on an assortment of unique and fascinating topics from within and around the metal ethos.

So, we’re open for submissions. Books in the works are a collection of nonfiction mosh pit stories along with a handful of essays on the pit, a collection of short fiction based on metal songs, and we’re on the look out for our first novel/novella. I have some other projects in mind, but this is a start and we’ll see where we go from here.

Please check us out, and share our links wherever you might find them (Facebook, Twitter). We’re listed on Duotrope, for those who like to go through there, but we need all the word of mouth we can get. That said, we’re expecting to be featured over at Decibel magazine’s Deciblog in ‘Tales from the Metalnomicon” at the end of the month, and that’s pretty dang cool.

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If you haven’t yet, please head on over the Evil Girlfriend Media‘s Roms, Bombs, and Zoms anthology Facebook page and ‘like’ it! My story, The Second Battle of Gettysburg, will be in it!


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crossroadsAnother missive here from the land of Not-A-Moment-To-Spare. I have done no writing, and have barely done any editing. It’s all about the garden. Which makes sense, and although it’s all-consuming this year, it will be much less so next year (I have to keep reminding myself). This year we had started from scratch, with no tools (literally, we have to keep finding ways to acquire what we need, as we need it, or just go out and buy them), and without proper space. All in all, despite being so busy with it, due to things that seemed beyond my control, we’re hardening off our plants late, although I expect to be transplanting more later today. So far, the Amish paste tomatoes are in, the corn, sunflowers, carrots, dill, and thyme are seeded and sprouting. The two types of cucumbers, summer squash, zukes, pumpkins, and cilantro have been seeded. And yesterday I transplanted five strawberry plants, what I believe are winter squash plants, and a few mystery bean plants that we got from a friend. He also gave us a lemon balm plant and one of chocolate mint, which are both incredible.

Since when did my editing blog turn into my gardening blog? Well, just today, I guess. There will be a point, I swear.

So, when I finished my novel, I got really excited about the prospect of self-publishing. Mainly because I like working on these sorts of projects, from beginning to end, so it makes sense that I’d do it with my own work. The thing about that, though, is that it is intensely time consuming. Publishing is hard work. It’s not for the faint of heart. It requires sleepless nights. Also, self-publishing speaks to the kind of person I am. I won’t get into that, but those to whom it also speaks probably know what I’m talking about without having to explain. For those to whom it doesn’t speak, you will just have to wonder.

And so here is my predicament: I have a lot of plans. I have things that I promised myself I would do, and hell, I ain’t getting any younger. We have just bought and settled into a home with 5.4 acres. I finally have the space and freedom to do some things that I’ve wanted to do. These things are as follows:

1) Write. This kind of goes without saying, but it’s necessary to state it on the list of Things I Must Do. I must write.

2) Edit. Despite the seemingly hefty rates an editor can insist upon, unless one has a pretty regular group of clients, the income from editing is sporadic. That being said, though, I like editing. I do enjoy editing. And therefore it goes on the list as Things I Must Do. I must make room for as much editing as I can fit.

3) Homestead. Not just the garden. The garden is just the first step—the garden is to feed us through the season and the (hopefully) massive amount of canning and freezing should get us through the winter until it’s time to eat fresh again. This thing—this farming—isn’t something I can ignore. It has been an inexplicable longing in my blood for a number of years now. Although I had never been a farmer, I am from a family of farmers. That is my explanation. I am now a farmer. And it’s only going to get worse. Top things we need to get done this summer: finish setting up the rain barrel system for next spring, construct a hoop house for massive amounts of seed starting, get the compost area composting, and, finally, refit a shed as a chicken coop and build the fenced in area to protect our future egg-layers from the fox, coyotes, and, apparently, bobcats in the area. If we can do these things this summer, next spring should, theoretically, go smoother than this spring. We’re hoping by the third year, we will have gotten most of this down. This stuff is not optional; these are Things I Must Do.

4) We have a brand new kiln sitting in our cellar. I realized about a year or so ago that I need real, hands-on creative work. Writing is one thing. Even editing requires a certain amount of creativity. But I need to get my hands dirty, literally. Many people don’t know this about me, but I am an artist. I spent my childhood assuming that it was what I would be when I grew up. And then, well, life happened. What I’m best at is illustration, but it’s not what I enjoy most. I needed something more tactile. About ten years ago, I used to make ceramic glazes for a tile company in Topanga Canyon, Ca. The company was terrible, but I really liked the work. So, I decided that ceramics it is. Beads, small items, with an emphasis on interesting, custom-made glazes. Again, this is a pull from the inside; this is absolutely a Thing I Must Do.

5) Learn to play the drums. I don’t play one single instrument, and that is unacceptable. We bought a cheap practice kit. It sits in my pantry, waiting for me to upset the neighbors more than we already have. To get this far in life and still not have learned to play an instrument is shameful. This is a Thing I Must Do.

6) Getting to a final draft of this novel and getting it published, one way or another.

Number Six is also a Must Do. What separates it from the other Must Do things, though, is that it’s the only thing on the list that I can pass off to someone else to do. No one else can do my writing for me, and no one else can do my editing for me. The homesteady things are things I do with my husband, so there’s help there. But no one else can make that glaze and no one can learn to play the drums for me. Someone else, however, can publish my book.

Now, if I really consider the list above, number one-through-five are incredibly time consuming. If that is my life, every day, every week, every month—writing, editing, farming/homesteading, ceramic-project-making, and drum-learning—can I realistically expect to throw self-publishing into the mix? See, it was easy to get all excited about self-publishing during the winter months, when things had been slow, projects had yet to be started. Now, however, the ball is rolling on everything, and I don’t foresee winter slowing things down much (no, I won’t be growing, harvesting, and preserving, but I will be—if everything goes as planned—spinning fiber (don’t ask) and learning how to finally use this sewing machine my mother gave me. These are also things on the ever-evolving list of Things I Must Do, and they’re things others can’t do for me).

And so, therein lies the crux (points for using the word “crux”). I do not have a problem letting someone publish my book. I understand that certain freedoms get lost, but, in the end, I need to weigh those losses. I can’t dictate what my book looks like vs. I don’t have time for the drums. I mean, honestly…fuck what my book looks like; I want to play the drums. Or write my next book. Or do some editing. Or grow and eat things. Or make something stupid out of clay.

So, what’s the big deal, eh? What’s all this pissing and moaning about? I guess it’s just that I really do want to self-publish. But I think that’s going to have to wait until I can clear out the space in my life for it. I mean, I could do it. Anyone could do it. But I want to do it right, and so, no, there is no time for it right now. And I don’t want to wait the years it will probably take in order for me to finally sit back and say, “Ah, yes, now I can get on getting that book out!” Hell, by that time, I’ll have six more manuscripts lined up for the same treatment.

I think I have to rearrange my priorities, suck it up, and admit that self-publishing isn’t feasible for me right now. Not if I want to do these other things, including continue to write. On one hand, that conclusion comes as a relief, because, boy, I have a lot to do. On the other hand, it’s a bummer, as I dig the publishing process. I suppose I’ll just have to feel better knowing that, eventually, someday, the time and space will open up in my life for me to take on that sort of project, and I don’t doubt that, when that time comes, I will have the right MS for it.

And there it is: I don’t think I can take the self-publishing route with this manuscript, and therefore I will continue to revise, get to a final draft, and submit it to a selection of awesome small presses. With that, who are your favorite small horror presses? I have a few of my own, but I’m always looking to expand that list, both for publishing and my own reading pleasure.

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April 10-15 201354It’s been pretty hectic here at Chez Everitt. April’s a busy month, preparing the garden, trying to get a jump on the lawn mowing, etc. Hence, fewer posts here. To get an idea of things, feel free to check out my other blog (that I can only manage to post to three times a week!), Heavy Metal Homesteader.

April 10-15 201355In terms of writing, though, I did happen to receive my contributor copies of Postscripts to Darkness Vol. 3, in which my story, The Obstruction, is published. (You can order a copy here.) This story was inspired by my friend and former MFA thesis adviser, Peter Oresick. Last year, we were all horrified (him most of all) to learn that he had a tumor in his brain. Luckily, it was successfully removed and he has been recovering ever since. He had mentioned that perhaps the episode could be fodder for one of my stories, and so, it was. And that is the story in PStD Vol. 3.

I’d like to take a moment, also, to plug Peter’s project, The Pittsburgh Novel: Western Pennsylvania in Fiction: 1792-2012. He’s just begun posting each entry and there are about 1,000 of them, so check back frequently to see the blog (and title list) grow. I’ve known he’d been working on this for sometime and had been really looking forward to it—now that it’s getting out there, I’m kind of ecstatic. My reading list is about to get ridiculous.

(Coincidentally, The Obstruction happens to be set in Pittsburgh.)

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I just deleted a 1500-word rant/defense of my own assholery.

It wasn’t that I didn’t stand behind what I’d written; it just seemed so icky, because it’s just an icky topic. See, I felt that I do, perhaps, bust too much on the publishing scene and I don’t say enough nice things about it. I think it’s because the “scene” is so varied that it’s true that what you can rightfully and truthfully say about one aspect of it cannot be applied to another.

The fact is that, when I hear about agents being downright appalled that writers can’t be bothered to learn their precious, precious names before begging for their acknowledgment and approval, it’s practically impossible for me to not throw up all over myself. However, then there are presses like Nightscape, whom I’ve so recently signed up with to edit. Since gaining a little insight into their group, the comradery and genuine interest they (editors and writers) take in one another and one another’s work is refreshing. And Raw Dog Screaming Press, that came to my attention through a friend who published with them—talk about teamwork.

While it’s true that I have no use for the Big Six, nor do I have any use for small, pretentious literary presses (my professional experience with them, though educational, ate up a piece of my soul that I don’t think will ever grow back), I can’t help but still carry that nostalgic torch for the small press scene, and presses like those mentioned above make it easy.

...is the right way.

…is the right way.

I’m self-publishing because it feels right. I’m from Pittsburgh: Zombie Capital of the World (don’t argue) and home of Night of the Living Dead, the ultimate in internationally successful DIY horror. I gave up on perusing a career in special effects when CGI got big, basically because I just couldn’t get my hands dirty with that. I am genetically pre-disposed and environmentally conditioned to do the work, to be up to my elbows in it. I need to do it this way. That said, I do love the small presses. I love that scene and I respect and enjoy the company of the people in it. I’m happy to be able to work with Nightscape for the opportunity to play within that scene, even though it’s not where I’m taking my writing (at the moment).

So, when I fall all over myself to point and laugh and scourge the sorts of stupid people and events happening in the publishing industry at large, please don’t mistake that for a foaming disdain of publishing in general. Couldn’t be further from the truth. I love publishing; I’m just very picky about the areas I love. And if you’re going to pick one or the other (traditional publishing or self publishing), Chuck Wendig said it best here in 2010.

And come on, this is just superior to this (seriously, were those bits of clothing flinging off and he flew through the air?). Let’s all thank The Howling III for this, though.

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