First I would like to thank Ms. Jadah McCoy, aka The Query Faerie, for including me in this. Check out her blog for all you need to know about writing strong query letters. I’ll also happily tell you to check out her novel if she ever finishes it. She’s really good. You can follow her on Twitter as well.
NOTE: This is not a writing blog, it is a blog dedicated to general stupidity. I promise to follow the theme and make this generally stupid.
1) What am I working on?
I’m currently putting the finishing touches on my novella, On the Trail of the Beast, which is a sort of oral history of a supernatural encounter in rural Middle Tennessee. I’m hoping to make it available for Kindle this summer. I’m also a little over halfway through with the second draft of my first novel, The Leaf, which tells the story of four friends from Petal, Mississippi who build a raft and set out for the Gulf of Mexico. Things go horribly wrong when the party runs afoul of the river’s oldest traveler. I also have five or six or seven short stories in various stages, including a series I’m writing under the theme “This Zombie Apocalypse is Tough on Everybody,” which features various off-beat survivors in the era of Mortuus Sapiens. For example, the last rough draft I’ve finished is the tale of a werewolf worried what might happen to him if he eats a zombie when he changes. It’s very deep and philosophical. Not really, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think, and others have said this, that my stories all have a strong southern flair. I was born and grew up in South Mississippi, just across the state line from Louisiana and about forty-five minutes from New Orleans, and I’ve spent my share of time in Alabama and Florida as well before moving way, way up north to…Nashville. My Deep South credentials are unassailable. One thing that bothers me is when people from up north (really up north) try to write about the South. Even Stephen King, arguably the greatest horror author of all time, has used “y’all” as a singular pronoun. Please. So if you’re from north of the Mason-Dixon and haven’t spent a significant amount of time down here, I’ll make you a deal: you don’t write about “y’all,” boiled peanuts, sweet tea, grits, alligators and other things you can’t know much about, like college football, and I won’t write about ice fishing.
3) Why do I write what I write?
Short answer: because it makes me happy. “Malevolent glee” is how I would describe the feeling I get when things are going horribly wrong for the characters on the page. Long answer: I would probably need to be psychoanalyzed to figure out why it appeals to me the way it does. I want people to read my work and cover their mouth while going, “Oh my God!” But I want them to keep reading to the bitter, bloody end as well. Why? I DON’T KNOW! Because it makes me happy.
4) How does your writing process work?”
If only I had a writing process. When I first got tagged for this, I told Jadah my writing process was: 1. Booze, 2. Brilliance!, 3. Regret and self-doubt. I come up with story ideas, usually when I should be sleeping, and I try to make a note, often just a text to myself, before falling back asleep or getting back to work at my paying job. Then while I should be thinking about other things, my mind goes to work polishing that little nugget until something like a story outline, or at least a vague plot arc, shines through the dirt. I’m a terrible outliner, by the way. I know people who keep journals and write down details and have story boards on their walls. That’s awesome. I have notes at the bottom of the story I’m writing of things I want to happen. That’s as far as my outline goes. The rest is running that little lump of coal through the mill until out comes a polished, shining blood diamond. (I’m also not great with metaphors.) So at least when I sit down at the computer, preferably accompanied by some iced beverage for proper lubrication, I have an idea where I’m going with it. Also, loud music helps. Some people make playlists, but I keep my iTunes on shuffle. I like the randomness, and sometimes the wrong song at the right time can pull a story into an entirely different direction. Then it’s edit, rinse, repeat, and share it with some friends who like to point out flaws. And once I come to terms with the fact that I will never, ever, be completely happy with what I’ve written…then it’s finished.
And now I’m supposed to tag three other authors with blogs. The problem is I don’t know three other authors with blogs well enough, at least not three that haven’t already done this. And I forgot to ask Kim Justice if he would even want to do this, but I’m tagging him anyway. Kim is the finest science fiction writer I know, and a bit of a perfectionist. He has a story in here with me. A much better story than mine, which is just a lot of f-bombs and chicanery. If anybody has a blog and wants to be tagged, I can always update this later.