Desperate, damned, and disturbing: July’s fiction update

Books on shelves reaching up towards the sky

Last month’s freelance update served as a little bit of a reintroduction to who I am and what I do. In the future, I’ll talk about the work I’m doing for various clients, as well as reading I’m doing and other relevant items.

Another monthly feature I’m introducing is an update of various fiction projects and related work. During slower months in which I haven’t published anything and I’m not ready to talk about some ongoing project, I’ll probably use the space to talk writing in general. Fortunately, this month I have lots of new developments to talk about on the fiction side of business!

First: some Q&A

Q: If you’re looking for freelance clients, why are you talking about fiction?

A: As I talked about in my last post, I want clients who are a great fit. You don’t have to like what I write! Only understand that it’s a big part of what I do. Just as my trade journalism and marketing make for shorter, tighter fiction, my fiction makes for more creative approaches to articles and marketing pieces. My ideal clients will find that appealing, if not intriguing.

Q: I just want website / brochure / technical content, and I don’t want it to be too flowery. Can you write content that doesn’t read like a story?

A: Of course I can! Not everything has to — or should — be plotted, paced, or described like a story. Website and brochure content should be straightforward and to the point. So should technical content, which should strive to explain complex topics to a level that anyone can understand.

Having said that, corporate content often suffers from a lack of creativity. After awhile, it all starts to sound the same. Unless your differentiators are truly amazing, you need to look at your content itself as a differentiator — because content that doesn’t stand out implies that your company and products don’t stand out, either.

At that point, your content can only benefit from a creative approach! Of course, content isn’t unilateral — it’s a collaboration, contingent on your approval.

Q: Is your fiction any good?

A: Much as we authors like to talk about our impostor syndrome and our absolute conviction that we’re terrible, my fiction has been accepted and published by editors at multiple print and online magazines — as well as anthologies. Sure, I’m not Dennis Lehane or Madeleine L’Engle. But other people like my stuff. That’s good enough for me, especially as I work to improve.

On to the updates!

I’ve had two pieces published in the last couple of months! As any author will tell you, this is not as frequent an occurrence as we’d like it to be — but that makes it all the sweeter when it does happen.

My short story, “When Autumn Leaves Start to Fall,” appears in a print anthology titled The Desperate and the Damned, a book of “14 stories that look at both sides of crime… each character is living on the edge of their existence, forced to extreme measures to right wrongs or survive.” In my story, the crimes are related to environmental lobbying, with a supernatural twist as retired lobbyists Debra and David are called to account for this misdeeds. You can order it on Amazon here.

A second piece of short fiction, “Too Many Shadows, Whispering Voices,” made it into Underbelly Magazine. This story had trouble finding a home, in part because it deals with subject matter — child abuse — that a lot of magazines consider taboo. With Underbelly seeking “[d]ark, twisted, and disturbing stories that push the envelope and explore the far reaching limits of the unnerving side of humanity,” I thought the story had a good shot there, and I was right. “It blended hauntings and madness beautifully,” the editors told me. Yay! To read it, find the story linked from this blog post.

What’s upcoming from me

Part of the reason my publishing is so infrequent is that most of my attention has been on ongoing projects. At the start of this year I was focused on the third installment of my novella series. “The Queen of Sheba” — along with a second, standalone novelette, “Resurrection Blues” — will be published in the Running Wild Novella Anthology Vol. 3 later this year.

At the same time, I signed a contract with Running Wild Press to publish the entire series in its own collection — plus a fourth novella. To make that deadline, once I finished “Queen” I started working on the final installment, “A Road in the Wilderness.” The collection will keep the title of the first novella, Sodom and Gomorrah on a Saturday Night, and will arrive sometime next year.

Finally, I’ve been at work building out the website and Patreon for my children’s series, Living Wild Side by Side. I’ve sent a contract off to my illustrator for the second in that series, Raccoon Retreat, and I’d like to get started soon on the third book — that is, once I make a little more headway on some exciting pieces of dark fiction that keep clawing at my brain.

What kinds of fiction do you enjoy — or do you prefer nonfiction? Let’s talk about it in comments!

Image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay

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