Hold Your Fire is available for purchase in hardcover, paperback, and eBook formats.
I have two stories in this anthology, “Hyde Park” and “White Feather.” They’re both stories that arrived on the page pretty much fully formed and while they’re very different in tone, I think they fit the theme of the anthology very well.
Creativity comes from many places, but often the initial spark of inspiration can be traced to something or someone who challenged us to first put pen to paper or brush to canvas, to pick up a camera, to look at the world with new eyes. Maybe it was the lyrics of a favorite album. Maybe it was the encouragement from a beloved teacher. Maybe it was seeing a wonder of the natural world.
Maybe it was just a feeling deep down inside that demanded to be set free, a voice ready to be heard, a story begging to be told.
Hold Your Fire is a collection of nineteen short stories celebrating the power and influence of inspiration in all its forms—art, literature, music, astronomy, science, inventions, epiphanies.
Here you will find stories of people being inspired as well as stories of people inspiring someone else. Stories not only of artistic inspiration but of scientific discoveries. The “Eureka!” moments that change the whole world and the small moments when someone dares to fight one more day.
From a romance about a teenager’s attempts to win over his first crush with poetry to musicians and artists harnessing the inspiration of unexpected muses to a fairy tale princess seeking for happiness, every story in this anthology shines brightly. And since every fire casts a shadow, there are also a few horror stories that thrive in the dark.
We also received some exciting early reviews and press about the anthology which you can check out in my last post here.
I blinked and somehow it’s Christmas. Christmas in the weirdest of all years, but Christmas just the same.
I also blinked and it’s been over a month since I updated my blog and I have a couple things to share! Well, more than a couple things, but we’ll see how many posts I get to over the next few weeks.
Starting first with the most important! Some time back I announced I will have two stories in an anthology coming out next year, Hold Your Fire. Recently, there were two pieces of good news for the anthology I am extremely belated in sharing with you all.
The first is that Hold Your Fire was reviewed by Publishers Weekly, which is super cool! You can check out their review here. As the review says, “Readers looking for short bursts of inspiration will be pleased.”
Hold Your Fire also received an advanced review from Kaye Lynn Booth at Writing to be Read. She mentioned one of my stories, “White Feather” in her post! You can read her review here.
Hold Your Fire will feature my stories “White Feather” and “Hyde Park.” The latter also appeared in Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem which came out this summer. Hold Your Fire is a charity anthology to benefit scholarships for Superstars Writing Seminars. The next seminar will be held in 2022.
It’s been a minute since I’ve done a writing update. Not because I’ve had nothing to report, but because I’ve been basking in the magic of starting something new.
Last fall, I had an idea for a short story that I started, but didn’t finish until spring of this year. I loved the seed of that little idea so much, but it was a tough one to get going, to turn it into all I felt it could bee. I finally had a spark of another idea to help me this spring and finished my little short story. I loved it immensely and was tremendously proud of it. I remember thinking, “This is the best thing I’ve ever written.”
I took it out to a couple of my beta readers. The three of them have been reading early drafts for me for years. And they loved it too – enough to set me in the direction of taking my little short story, a germ of an idea that took half a year to incubate enough to get it to roughly 6,000 words, and encouraged me to do more.
In the midst of a hellish year where the truth is stranger than anything fiction could devise, that little short story got a revamp and is now the entry point to a new novel.
Fast-forward a few months and I’m now coming up on 45,000 words into the draft of a book I never intended to write. And I still love it with all my heart. It’s lovely and odd in all the right ways. Dark, but also punctuated with moments of hope and beauty. A tribute to both a world that no longer exists and one that never existed at all. It’s the book that only 2020 could write, but also just a step past where I was headed all along.
There’s something very strange about creating inside a year that’s haunted by darkness. Anyone who’s started something new this year, made a positive life change, gotten engaged, married, had a baby, bought a house, I think understands the friction that exists when you set your personal happiness alongside a year that continues to staunchly declare itself itself the worst year of our lives. Many creators have stopped creating entirely, unable to make art or create beauty out of the ether.
It’s also why those of us who HAVE found a way to create, to carve happiness in small fits and starts, who are experiencing some of the most profound joys of the human experience even against a backdrop of darkness, find these moments taste a little bit sweeter, as if to compensate for the bitter taste of life that is the year 2020.
I’m so excited to finish this draft, to get all the pieces down so I can really shape it into something I think is special. Even if it’s special to no one else, but me in the end, I think there will be something unmatched about a creation that sprung unbidden out of the wasteland and that for its creator, presents an ever-refilling well of ecstasy, light, and hope.
This is getting a bit longer than intended and I do have some other things I wanted to drop into this update since it’s been a while so let’s shift gears!
-I’m still continuing to query Shadow of the Magician. Doing that during a year like 2020 is about as soul-crushing and wearying as you’d expect. Nothing much to report here.
-In happier news, an older short story of mine, “Winter’s Cry” was reprinted in The Magazine of History and Fiction this spring. You can read it here.
-My recent short story, “Hyde Park,” received a mention in this awesome review on The Nerd Blitz for the Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem anthology. You can check it out here.
-I wrote a new short story this fall and am continuing to shop around a short story from earlier this year that I received a nice, personalized, and very encouraging rejection for from a publication I really admire. Fingers crossed it finds a home somewhere soon!
-And in non-writing news, we officially have a date and venue for our wedding!
Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem is officially available today! This anthology features 23 new stories celebrating monsters and the movies. I’m honored to have my story, “Hyde Park” included in the stellar lineup. Edited by Kevin J. Anderson and published by WordFire Press, this is an awesome anthology you won’t want to miss. Available in paperback and ebook.
Sometimes you go to the movies. And sometimes, the movies—and their monsters—come to you. At any moment, without notice, monsters once relegated to the screen become a reality. Aliens and demons, dragons and ghosts, werewolves, vampires, zombies, and seemingly ordinary people who are just plain evil.
Join award-winning authors Jonathan Maberry, Fran Wilde, David Gerrold, Rick Wilber and others for 23 all-new tales of haunted theaters, video gods, formidable demons, alien pizza, and delirious actors. Each story takes you to the silver screen with monstrous results.
Funny or grim, unsettling or cozy… You’ll laugh! You’ll sigh! You’ll scream!
Grab popcorn—and good running shoes—and enjoy the show.
Featuring stories from: Jonathan Maberry, Rick Wilber, Brendan Mallory, Ryan F. Healey, Hailey Piper, Julie Frost, Karina Fabian, Charles Maclay, Jesse Sprague, Kevin Pettway, Luciano Marano, Linda Adams, Cindy Hung, David Boop, Phyllis Irene Radford, Andrew Hearn, B.D. Prince, David Gerrold, Ben Monroe, Shannon Fox, Steve Rasnic Tem, Fran Wilde, and Sam Knight
The current pandemic has me working a lot and reading a lot (expect more reviews as soon as I have time to get them up!), but I’m popping in briefly to share that the upcoming anthology I have a story in, Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly!
In the midst of all this Coronavirus craziness, I haven’t had time to update my blog at all – and definitely not with the bright spot of news I recently received!
My short story, “Winter’s Cry,” is being republished by The Magazine of History and Fiction in May! It was previously published by The Copperfield Review in 2012.
“Winter’s Cry” is a short story set in the mountains of Colorado in the winter of 1890. Short on cash to fund his upcoming wedding, a young man accepts a position as a ranch hand. But as an unusually harsh winter descends, his friendship with the owner’s young daughter is put to the test when wolves close in on the ranch.
In other writing news, I’ve finished two new short stories since the beginning of the year. I have one more I’m working on then I’ll start writing my next book. Looking forward to starting a new big project!
And in personal news, I have an announcement…I got engaged in February!
My fiancee surprised me at home after we went downtown to celebrate a late Valentine’s Day! We are planning on a wedding in 2021.
Before Christmas I shared that the story I’d submitted to the Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem Anthology had been accepted! Today I’m excited to share the cover of the anthology which will be released this summer!
The anthology was developed for the Publishing MA at Western Colorado University and is being published by WordFire Press. Edited by Kevin J. Anderson, it includes new stories from Jonathan Maberry, Fran Wilde, Rick Wilber, David Gerrold, Steve Rasnic Tem, and others…including me! The anthology is expected to be out in July 2020. I am looking forward to the release and am delighted that my short story, “Hyde Park,” will be included!
In my last writing update, I mentioned I wrote and finished a short story two days before the Halloween deadline for an anthology. Well that story, “Hyde Park,” is now sold!
Apparently there were over four hundred entries for the Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem anthology and just twenty-two made the final cut! I’m honored to have made it all the way to the end with my story and can’t wait to check out all the other pieces in the finished anthology.
Here’s my original pitch for the story:
Doctor Faustus meets The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde in “Hyde Park”, a story about a young writer-director who’s keeping a monstrous secret about his overnight Hollywood success.
Executive edited by Kevin J. Anderson with an editorial team provided by Western Colorado University’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Publishing MA students, the anthology will be published by WordFire Press. Expected publication for Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem is July 2020.
I’ve needed to do something about my book shelf situation at home for about two years Problem was, I really liked the bookshelf I had, really liked my living room set up, and didn’t want to just get rid of a perfectly good bookshelf (or perfectly good books). So I kept piling all the new books on the floor near the book shelf, telling myself I’d figure this out once I got a little time. Except that never happened and months became years.
We recently hired someone to come clean our house every three weeks (it’s every bit as worth it as everyone tells you it is) and I realized that I really had to figure out this problem because there’s a whole corner of the house that was super dusty and full of cobwebs that she couldn’t clean because of the precarious book stacks. Not to mention our cats love to sit in the window since the shade broke and they had to jump over the books to get there.
I polled a few friends with all the ideas I’d been kicking around, but it was the Boyfriend who sealed the deal when he suggested we just move the existing book shelf into his room. I loved that idea because it handled my conflicted feelings of getting rid of something that was still great and usable by repurposing it to a different area of the house.
Last weekend, the long-awaited project finally got under way. I forgot to take a true “before” picture, but the books that are on the floor in front of the shelf, are actually the overflow books that have been sitting on the floor forever. So you can kind of imagine how bad this situation had gotten. I had books on those two shelves as well as along the top.
Keep scrolling to see the final product!
Before I started the project, I’d a found a picture of a rainbow book shelf and showed it to my friend, fellow writer, and book worm, Kristin Luna. She suggested I go for it since I was redoing everything anyway. I’ve always loved the look of a rainbow book shelf and wanted to do one “someday.” But I hadn’t thought seriously about doing it this time around. Again, I polled some friends and then asked the Boyfriend if he minded that I created a giant rainbow in our living room. Bless him, he said he didn’t care at all.
I am absolutely in love with how the finished product came out. I want to tweak a few things about the decor, but I love this effect and it makes my heart so happy seeing it every day.
Now on to the writing updates! Cursed Collectibles is now available as an audio book! You can buy it here from Amazon or if you do an Audible trial, it’s actually free! If you want a little preview of the collection, when you join my email list, you get a free download of the recording of my story, “The Garden Party.”
I finished another short story around Halloween for a themed anthology two days before the deadline and sent it in because you miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take. Also YOLO. I heard there were over four hundred submissions to this anthology so I’m not hoping for much as I literally stayed up to midnight writing it, but I’m pretty proud of myself for getting two stories written and submitted to things with actual deadlines this fall.
This month, I haven’t written anything as I’ve been busy with client projects and prepping them for the holiday season/end of the year. I have an outline for one more short story I want to write before I start writing my new book and I’m actually more excited about this short story than the other two I finished. Overall, I’ve been super, super antsy to get back to writing so hopefully I’ll manage to carve out some time in the middle of the holiday madness to get that done.
After last month’s writing update, I officially started the process of querying agents. And I forgot how much the querying process SUCKS. You basically send out a letter to decide the fate of your baby to someone you’ve never met and then spend literally weeks and months waiting around for the response to drop like a thunderbolt from the sky to either ruin or make your day. Not fun.
So far I have one rejection with the other agents yet to reply. To quote Jack Johnson, just sitting, waiting, wishing.
This will probably be the end of the updates about Shadow for a long while as everything will move glacially from here on out. So to tide you over I put the playlist of songs I wrote the book to up on Spotify. Enjoy!
As I mentioned in this post, Cursed Collectibles: An Anthology is out now! The paperback and Kindle versions are available, with the audio book to come. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, click here to buy. Also if you’d like me to sign a copy for you, I would love that! You may even get cute pictures like these with your request:
One of my barn buddies asked me to sign some copies for her to give as gifts so of course I had to get Pia and Escobar in on the action. As you can see, Escobar thought about eating the book and Pia was completely unenthused. And in the name of authenticity on the internet, I hope you appreciate the raw, realness of these pictures. No makeup, hair in disarray, one leg inexplicably dirtier than the other. Definitely not an IG riding model posting my #ROTD.
I also officially have an Amazon author page! Feelin’ legit now. Click here to check it out in all its glory.
This month I wrote and submitted a new short story to a contest. Fingers crossed on that one. I challenged myself a little bit with the writing so I’m hoping it pays off.
I also found a few more places to shop around a story I’ve been trying to find a home for so I’m waiting to hear back on that, too. So much sitting, waiting, wishing going on around here!
Finally, if you haven’t signed up for my email list, you’ll want to do that here! I have a surprise I’ll be sending out in the next month or so to all of my subscribers!