All posts by Richard S. Crawford

Once Again, NaNoWriMo Looms Before Us!

As you probably know, having been a dutiful reader of my blog since the very beginning, National Novel Writing Month — NaNoWriMo for short — starts November 1. I used to participate every year, and had done so since 2001, before there was a website with a forum and graphics and all that. I skipped 2002, but did every year from 2003 through 2016. In 2017, I started to write And the Devil Will Drag You Under, but found myself blocked by characterization problems and plot problems, and just didn’t finish. Since then, I’ve started a couple of times, but haven’t gotten very far.

This year, though, I’m gonna do it! Yes indeed! I signed up, set up a project, and all that. The project is The Outer Darkness: Genesis, based on an idea for a role-playing game that three friends of mine and I developed back in the late 90s. I had originally signed up with the intent of writing the first draft of The X of Doom, my pirate novel, but the plot hasn’t really come together yet; I just don’t have a clear idea of how everything comes together. So I’m going to continue to plan for that one as well. Pirates! Yar! The Outer Darkness: Genesis has no pirates in it, despite how many suggestions I’ve been given to base it on a Dungeons and Dragons Spelljammer campaign.

Cover of The Heroine's Journey
A fine book to help authors plot character journeys

The Outer Darkness: Genesis is a space opera with horror elements. I’ve also been reading The Heroine’s Journey by Gail Carriger, which has really solidified some plot ideas for me. This is a great book which outlines for authors some tools to use for plotting out character arcs that aren’t so depending on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. I’ve known writers who swear by the Hero’s Journey but I’ve never been able to successfully pull it off. And it’s problematic in some ways. It’s not hard to find critiques of Joseph Campbell and the Hero’s Journey, so I won’t list them here.

In other words, if I can avoid getting distracted, this year I will, once again, win National Novel Writing Month by writing 50,000 words of The Outer Darkness: Genesis by November 30.


I wanted to talk here a little bit about creativity and emotional disorders. I’ve never made it a secret that I have bipolar type 2 and generalized anxiety disorder and that I take medications for them. I’ve been in therapy (although my therapist discharged me a few years ago, noting the progress I’d made in regulating my emotions), and I currently see a psychiatrist primarily to make sure I stay on track.

Recently, though, I’ve seen a couple of posts on Instagram and in various blogs stating that medications can dull creativity, or that suffering is necessary to produce great art. Both of these statements are demonstrably untrue. I am far more productive and creative and produce better fiction when I’m on my meds and feeling good about life in general. When my mood is cycling downward, I can’t concentrate on my writing and I’m just not productive.

So if you’re a writer and you’re worried that taking anti-depressants will dull your creative wit, I seriously suggest that you given them a try. Most people I know who take them swear that their creativity skyrockets when they’re feeling good.

That’s just my own experience and anecdotes, though. I am not a doctor, so you should consult with your own physician to make a decision.


In other news, because its a FAQ, I think I’m pretty much done with social media. I still use Facebook Messenger, and I still check my Facebook Memories every day, but I don’t really look at it beyond that. Nor do I post that often, except to post links to my blog updates. Same with Twitter. It’s not that I hate social media, it’s just that I found it was taking up a lot of time that I could have been writing or reading. This might all change in November, when distractions are plentiful and desired. I’ve deleted bookmarks and removed the apps from my phone, and it’s been a few months since I’ve really gone on to either site for more than a few minutes at a time. I get most of my social interaction online through the various Discord servers that I belong to.

I’m still reachable, though. You can reach me via Twitter Direct Messages, Facebook Messenger, email, phone, text, telepathy, or the contact form on my website.

Happy Friday everyone, and if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, may the odds be ever in your favor.

 

Old Enough to Drink

First of all, a revelation for you all: Soon (as in, I hope, before January), my short story “How the Old Ones Saved Christmas” will be published in the upcoming anthology LOLCraft: A Compendium of Eldritch Horror. No links to pre-order yet, but rest assured, I will let you know when it is available.


Album cover for Evil Dead the Musical
Album cover for a brilliant play!

My blog here is over twenty-two years old. Not as old as my wife’s or as John Scalzi’s, of course, but respectable. It’s old enough to vote and drink. I’m pleased with that. I started with a plain HTML template that I modified every time I wanted to post to a home-grown PHP script that I could plug entries into when I wanted, to WordPress version 1, to every version of WordPress since. Nowadays I don’t mess around with the formatting or the templates much, but once upon a time I had it set with seasonal themes: Halloween, Christmas, Easter, and so on. It was complicated to create and set up and maintain, so eventually I just modified a theme that came with WordPress, and that’s why my blog looks like a generic blog from 2014.


Last night, Jennifer and I and some friends of ours went to see Evil Dead: The Musical, which is exactly on brand for us and our friends who joined us. I love this play. I’m a geek for horror-comedy, as my friends and my writing will attest (for the most part). It helps to have seen the Evil Dead trilogy of movies in order to get all the jokes in the play, but it’s not necessary. But zombies! Demons! Ancient books! Mystical spells! Etc.! All singing and dancing and splashing fake blood on the audience! Seriously, there’s a “splash zone” in the audience, because the play gets awfully bloody. How can it not, when the ballad song at the end of Act One includes the lines “DIE DIE! DIE DIE!” while the actor playing Ash chops a head in half with a chainsaw?

As long-time readers of my blog know, I’m a fan of this sort of thing. I wrote previously about my exposure to a movie called Mad Monster Party at a very young age and how a kind usher helped me get over my fear of the film (sometimes I still think about that woman, and hope she’s living her best life somewhere). If I ever get the chance to act in this play, I’d love to play the character Ol’ Reliable Jake.

Halfway through dinner, unfortunately, my ventral hernia began to act up. When this happens, it feels like I’m being punched in the gut repeatedly. Jennifer gave me some Ibuprofen, but it didn’t really help. It got worse as the evening went on, and I had difficulty concentrating on the play and enjoying it. I still did enjoy it, though, but it took me another huge Ibuprofen pill and two hours in bed before I could finally get to sleep.

 


No blathering about writing or revising today, since I did that last week and nothing has really changed. As in, I’ve made no progress on the goals I set for myself last week. But since I have today off for Indigenous Peoples’ Day, I can work on revising things and outlining things as soon as I’m done procrastinating with this blog post. It’s only a matter of figuring out what to prioritize and what to work on first. Maybe I should make a list. Oooh, another way to procrastinate!

Be well, friends, and stay safe this spooky time of year.

I should blog.

A Manuscript, a Bunch of Pens, and a Spiral Notebook
All printed out and ready to revise!

Here it is, October 4, and I haven’t blogged since early September. Alas! Alack! Aghast! Etc.! I should really blog more often. I mean, I don’t have much to say, I suppose, but sometimes just because you don’t have much to say doesn’t mean you don’t have to say it. Or something.

Since last month, I finally finished the second first draft of And the Devil Will Drag You Under. I say “second first” draft because after feedback on the earlier version I decided to start over from the ground up, and I’m much happier with this version. I printed out the whole thing, grabbed pens of multiple colors, and a spiral notebook for writing down issues; you can see it all in the picture above. I’m all ready to go! My new deadline for completing these revisions is November 10. I should be able to complete that.

In September I submitted eight manuscripts and received four rejections. No acceptances; all those leftover submissions are still waiting for responses. My submission stats for the year so far:

SUBMISSIONS: 80

REJECTIONS: 67

ACCEPTANCES: 2

I’m planning on submitting another twenty manuscripts before the year is out for a total of 100. Just like last year. I had better get cracking on getting some new short stories written!

I didn’t do much editing in September, though I did some minor revisions on “Meep” before submitting it (no response yet), and completely revised “Gorgo’s Redemption Arc” (now entitled “An Ending Worthy of the Bards”) and submitted that as well (no response yet). I haven’t worked on my android rights story because I realized the premise itself could be deeply problematic and needs fixing. I’ll fix it.

And, of course, November is National Novel Writing Month! This year I’ll be writing the first draft of The X of Doom, the first in a planned trilogy of pirate novels tentatively entitled Oceanbound. I know the titles of the next two novels; I also know how the second novel ends. Beyond that, not much.

I have friends who are planning on blogging daily throughout October. I am not one of those souls. I do plan on blogging weekly from here on out. Let’s see if that happens.

Happy October, my friends! Excelsior!

 

Holy Cow, it’s September Already!

Why is my computer smoking?

September 2022, and I haven’t posted for nearly a full month. I mean, it’s not as though I have anything to say, but I still feel like I ought to say it. And, as always these days, it’s probably not very interesting, because it’s all about writing.

First, the novel. I had hoped to finish this draft of And the Devil Will Drag You Under by the end of August, but even though I’ve been averaging 500-800 words per day, I haven’t reached the end. I think I have another 5,000 words at least to go. This puts my plan to have the story ready for submission to my writers’ group in October in jeopardy. Ah well. Maybe in the new year. I’ve been working on this revision for over a year, and I’m looking forward to working on something else. I’ve still got pirates on the brain.

Second, the short stories. I’ve finished “Meep” and a flash fiction piece about a failed redemption arc in a fantasy setting, and am awaiting feedback on them. I’ve gotten plenty on the flash fiction piece, and may start revising and sending it out. I’ve also started a new science fiction piece, “Just a Little Bit Human”, which presented itself to me a few days ago as a full-fledged idea. It’s part Se7en, part Silence of the Lambs, and part Bladerunner. So I will need to do some research into police procedure (or, at least, crime scene investigation), and so on. One of the major characters in the story is trans, so I’ll need to hire a sensitivity reader as well. This is definitely a fun story to write, and addresses some deeper themes that I’ve been thinking about for some time.

Third, this blog. Well… you know. I haven’t been updating it as much as I’d like to.

In other news, it’s hot. Crazy hot. We’re in the midst of a heat wave in the valley, with temps hitting 107 at least, breaking a record set in 1988. The whole country has been, except for those parts of the country which are suffering from massive floods. I feel like we’re living in an episode of The Twilight Zone, “The Midnight Sun”, where the characters are dealing with the fact that the Earth has drifted out of its orbit and is headed directly at the sun. It’s a good episode — check it out if you can — and the twist is magnificent.

So anyway. Thank you climate change. And to all the politicians who ignored it and all the corporations who profited off of it and to everyone who dismisses the dangers of it, a hearty fuck you. Sort of like the covid-19 pandemic, I feel like we could have gotten a handle on it if people had just made some minor sacrifices and listened to the scientists. It’s a little late to address the covid-19 pandemic and turn it around, but we’ve still got time to address and possibly prevent the very worst of climate change. Katherine Hayhoe’s book Saving Us is a great one. I highly recommend it to everyone who is concerned but doesn’t quite know what to do about it.

Anyway, that’s what’s on my mind lately. How about you?

Writing Update Number… uh…

Writer with dragon
Me, writing, under close supervision from a dragon

I have no idea how many of these writing updates I’ve done on my blog, and I’m too lazy to count, and besides, I’ve probably embedded writing updates in other topics too, so… Well. You know.

But here’s a writing update!

Work on And the Devil Will Drag You Under continues apace. I hope to have this draft finished by September so I can do a quick polish for my writers group in October. We’ll see. I’ve been very optimistic about this draft — which is a complete, bottom-up rework of my previous draft — for some time.

I also wrote a couple of stories recently, one of which I’ve sent to a few different people for feedback, and one of which I’m letting simmer for a bit before revision. But I’m pretty happy with both of them. If you’re interested in reading them to provide feedback, please let me know!

So far, this year’s submission stats:

Stories submitted: 64

Rejections: 56

Acceptances: 2

One of the accepted stories, “Blank”, has already been published. The other one is still awaiting a contract, but once that’s signed and everything’s ready to go, I will definitely share here.


In other news, if you pay close attention to every page of my site, which I’m sure you do, always, you may have noticed that the link to my science blog, The Penguin Scientific, is gone. That’s because I’ve decided to discontinue it. I posted one last entry, a line from a Sublime song, and that’s it. I realized that my real interest in writing is in writing fiction, so I decided to focus on that instead. Maybe someday I’ll write more nonfiction pieces, but today is not today. I feel fine about this decision, and don’t regret it at all.


Also, my self-imposed exile from Twitter and Facebook continues. I’m noticing that Elon Musk and the Twitter investors are sort of playing Hot Potato with Twitter itself, indicating that no one really wants it, probably because no one’s figured out how to make money off it. If it dies, what will replace it? Personally, I pine for the days of LiveJournal, before it was bought by a Russian company; maybe an LJ clone will replace Twitter and bring back the glory days of the Internet, before it consisted of about four sites, each carrying little but screenshots of the other three (thank Cory Doctorow for that summation).

That’s what’s up for now. As always… How are you?

…And just for fun, here’s a video for “Closing Time”, that song by Sublime that I mentioned. If you lived through the 90s, you probably recognize it.

Time for Some Pop Culture Opinions!

These days, it’s very easy to have Opinions, and to express them online for all the world to see. But is it really wise to do so? And is it really possible and morally justifiable to NOT have an opinion on something that doesn’t impact you?

Why yes, it is. In fact, I think it makes more sense to NOT have opinions on things that don’t impact you, even when the world around you — well, Twitter and Facebook anyway — are telling you that you MUST have opinions on EVERYTHING! And you MUST EXPRESS your opinions LOUDLY!

There are lots of opinions I don’t have. Here are some of them.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU):

I’ve heard it said that the last couple of Marvel movies — in particular, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder — have not been up to snuff, or up to the other earlier films in the franchise. Me, I don’t know. I haven’t seen them, nor have I seen any MCU films beyond The Avengers and the first Iron Man. I saw the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but wasn’t invested enough to go on with it. I certainly haven’t seen any of the television shows, but that might be because I haven’t invested in Disney+.

The main reason is lack of interest. I have enjoyed a few superhero movies; I really liked the first two Sam Raimi Spiderman films with Tobey Maguire, for example, and I thought Iron Man was fun. But in general I don’t care all that much about superheroes. I didn’t even collect many superhero comics when I was a kid; the comics I collected were mostly Richie Rich and some horror comics. I also like the Sandman graphic novels by Neil Gaiman, as well as the over-the-top weirdness that was Garth Ennis’s Preacher. Beyond that, though, I just don’t have much interest.

I’m not trying to out myself as some sort of superior pop culture snob here. I have no problem with superhero movies. I’m glad they exist and that so many people take pleasure in them. They’re just not for me.

Twilight

Sure, the Twilight craze is over. The books are still in print and the movies are still streaming, but Stephanie Meyer’s heyday seems to have faded.

Still back in the day I was asked a few times what I thought of Twilight, and, especially, of the vampires in the series, probably because they showed up shortly after I’d finished running a long Vampire LARP with a lot of players. I had to reply honestly that I had no opinion, because I had not read the books, nor seen the movies.

“But the vampires sparkle!”

Vampires in lore throughout human history do all kinds of things, and as far as I know, there are no real vampires we can check to see what actual vampire behavior is. So… I didn’t care.

I also don’t like vampire fiction that much. I don’t know why, but whenever a vampire shows up on the page or the screen, my reaction is a yawn and a “Oh, another vampire. Yawn,” thought.

Again, I’m not putting it down or denigrating it. I will observe, though, that too often in our culture movies, books, television shows, and so on that are enjoyed by women (and particularly by young women or girls) are joked about, denigrated, and not taken seriously by the culture at large. This is the tragic and stupid thing.

Star Wars

I saw Star Wars before it was called A New Hope, when it opened in 1977 and I was 10 years old and easily impressed. I haven’t seen any of the movies, though, after Attack of the Clones, because I really did not like that movie and didn’t want to continue my experience. I hear tell that the subsequent movies are better, and all the TV series are good, but I am just not into Star Wars. It’s not my thing. Star Trek is more up my alley, though I wish Paramount were nicer to their fans.

That’s all the opinions I have.

For now. I also have Political Opinions, which I put out there in December. Not much has changed there, and I don’t need to repeat them here.

In other news…

I’m on a social media hiatus. I’ve deleted bookmarks to Twitter and Facebook, and removed the apps from my phone. It was getting me down with a constant barrage of bad news, of opinions masquerading as news, and so on. I’ve been looking at Google News for my news each morning, and that’s all I need. I’m still open to email, phone, Facebook Messenger, Twitter direct messages, and so on. Just not Facebook and Twitter themselves. I’m not sure when I’ll be back.

And that’s all. I’ll be breaking my social media hiatus to post a link to this blog post, but that’s it.

Have a fine day, all!

 

Various Dribs and Drabs

Not much to report right now.


WRITING

However, I need to let you all know that my creepy short story “Blank” is now up online at Dark Recesses, and you can read it on their webzine here. This represents my second acceptance of the year! I still haven’t signed a contract for the first, so I can’t yet reveal the market that accepted the story, which I also can’t reveal at this time.

In other news, I have been continuing to work on my novel And the Devil Will Drag You Under, adding approximately 500 words per day to this particular revision. This was one of those “tear down and rebuild from the ground up” revisions. I’m hoping future revisions won’t be so drastic, but I’ll have to wait until November when my critique group gets done with it to find out.

I’ve also been working on a new short story, “Meep”. It represents a couple of themes that I’ve been obsessed with for quite awhile. Someday you’ll get to read that one, but first I have to finish it.

And I continue to submit two manuscripts per week to various markets. I admit it’s sort of a buckshot approach, which I think lots of writers employ. Lots of misses, but a few hits.


CATS

Goodness, we’ve got a veritable sickhouse of kitties right now. Our poor resident cat Ruby has an autoimmune disorder which is attacking her red blood cells. Fortunately, this can be controlled with regular cortisone doses. Right now she’s getting a pill a day, but hopefully she’ll be able to get injections every few days soon. She’s a shy little thing, so catching her to pill her can be difficult.

We have a couple of sickly foster kittens right now as well, but they’re hanging in there.


THAT’S ALL

I’ll be at WesterCon in Tonopah, NV, in a couple of weeks. Will any of you be there as well?

 

Of Dice and Me

Polyhedral Dice
Many-sided dice for funsies

I’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons since before it was cool.

No, seriously. Back in the 80s, I was a member of my high school’s unofficial D&D club — just me and a few friends rolling dice, checking the results against numbers on character sheets, trying to figure out what we were doing, all in the back room of the library. Given that this was a Catholic high school, it’s kind of surprising that we were allowed to do this. This was the mid-80s, as I mentioned, at the height of the Satanic Panic, when any sign of deviation from cultural norms was seen as part of a vast Satanic conspiracy to… something. D&D, as a thing that was done with nerds and which involved people telling each other stories that involved magic, was targeted in that moral panic, and plenty of kids around the country saw their dice and books go up in flames.1

I didn’t get seriously into D&D, though, until I hit college. There, I met a guy whom I shall refer to only as M—, who had been playing serious D&D for years. I decided I wanted to be Dungeon Master, and M— taught me how to create compelling stories and create immersive worlds. I enjoyed playing in his games, and he enjoyed playing in mine, even if we did have differences of opinions in how kobolds should be portrayed. We fantasized about being professional Dungeon Masters, but at the time, there was no such thing. You couldn’t make a living at such a hobby, unless you were named Dave Arneson or Gary Gygax or Steve Jackson.

During college, I spent a lot of time playing Dungeons and Dragons. M— and I would dedicate hours to plotting out the games we ran, and we would run campaigns for our friends that lasted months, some even years. Why, when I learned I could take a quarter off from school without a gap in financial aid, I did so, and spent a majority of that time playing D&D games and running them.

Man, I had a blast those days.

Cover of AD&D Second Edition Dungeon Master Guide
You know I went right out and bought this

When the Second Edition of D&D came out, I was thrilled. I bought all the books (including the Dungeon Master Guide, aka, the DMG). I played more games. I ran more games. I had a core group of friends that I played with regularly. Even with M- left Davis, I stuck with that core group.

Over the years, friends came and went, my core group of players and DMs changed, but the games went on. I had girlfriends who were heavily into the game as well, and that certainly fed my passion, and girlfriends who weren’t very much into it.

D&D Second Edition Council of Wyrms Box Sex
Council of Wyrms. I so wanted to play this, but never got around to it.

That’s not to say I was averse to other role-playing games. For awhile, I ran a game of Vampire: The Masquerade and the interlinked games published by White Wolf Press (I honestly don’t know if they’re still around, and at the moment I’m too lazy to look them up). For three years, possibly more, I ran a Vampire Live Action Role Playing game (LARP), which consumed all my emotional, social, and creative energy.

When the 3rd edition of Dungeons and Dragons came out, I switched to that from second edition, then from 3rd to 3.5. But I never could get into 4th edition; to me, that edition minimized the role-playing aspect of the game, which was what had always thrilled me about it, and focused on the battle aspects. I’ve since heard that 4th edition really was good, but by then I had moved on to Pathfinder, a new RPG system that was, at first, essentially D&D version 3.75. Now, the 2nd edition of Pathfinder is out.

It’s been years since I’ve run a role-playing game2. The pandemic has put a pause on that aspect of my creative life.

Roll20 logo
Roll20. The future of gaming?

But now… Now I feel the old urge kicking in. A few months ago I started plotting out a new Pathfinder game, with (of course!) pirates. And since we’re still in a pandemic3 my six players and I are meeting virtually, through a Virtual Table Top (VTT) called Roll20. I’ve heard good things about this site, and while I’ve never GMed using it, I’ve played in a game that uses Fantasy Grounds, another VTT. So this will be an interesting experience, to say the least.

In all the years that I’ve run D&D campaigns, I’ve never once used a pre-created campaign setting; they’ve all been homebrew games with settings and mythologies and stories that I’ve created myself. I’m kind of proud of that. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with running a pre-created campaign, it’s just not my style.

Anyway. That’s a brief history of me and gaming. I’ve had so many creative joys, made so many great friendships through D&D and other role-playing games that it’s hard to imagine life without them. There was a time when I considered those days and months and years wasted, times when I thought I could have been writing instead, but fortunately saner heads prevailed and convinced me that none of that time was wasted.

So. How are you?

Just Some Random Ramblings of an Earthling

Cover of Carl Sagan's "Demon-Haunted World"
Should be an all-time bestseller, but isn’t.

Just for kicks, I’m re-reading Carl Sagan’s wonderful book, The Demon-Haunted World. I’m loving it, as I always have every time I’ve read it, which has been every couple of years or so.

One thing that struck me this time around is how much time and space he spends debunking alien abduction stories by putting them into a larger cultural/mythological context. I side with him on the issue: while hundreds of thousands people have reported being abducted by aliens, there is no physical, undeniable proof that it has actually happened. No mysterious “implants” have been analyzed by MIT or other reputable university and found to be made of alien metal, memory is fallible, and so on. But the alien abduction/UFO culture were tied up with conspiracy theories in the 90s involving the government; such conspiracy theories have fallen to the wayside in favor of modern antisemitism, racism, and the bonkers “Q” conspiracy theory, which encompasses them all. If Carl Sagan were around today, he’d be sickened, I’m sure, by what passes for the modern conservative movement.

Ahem.

So this year, for Earth Day, I committed myself to spending a year learning everything I can about this amazing, beautiful, endangered planet that we live on. I haven’t really started that yet because I’m still taking my MLIS degree seriously and thus taking classes for that, and it’s eating my time. But I am reading Sagan’s book, so I’m counting that as a step in the right direction. I’ll keep you all updated on what I learn, and I plan on updating my blog, The Penguin Scientific, with various facts and things.


In other news, my depression and anxiety have been kicking my butt recently, and have convinced me that I’m never going to get anywhere with my writing. I’ve talked back to it but it refuses to listen. Stupid brain. My brain and I are supposed to be on the same side, I don’t know why it won’t cooperate.

But I continue to persist with the writing and submitting anyway. I’m on track to submit 100 manuscripts for the second year in a row. Stats so far:

Submissions: 32

Rejections: 29

Waiting on: 8

I haven’t quite worked out how those numbers work out, but I’m not worrying about that.


That’s all for now. What are you learning?

More Piratical Talk

Blackbeard
Edward Teach, a.k.a., Blackbeard the Pirate. Looks friendly, doesn’t he?

A couple of years ago, I posted about the myth that pirates always said “Arr”. Today, I address another myth: that of walking the plank.

Many pirate adventures show us pirates forcing their prisoners to walk a plank out off the boat and into dangerous waters, presumably to drown or be eaten by sea anemones. We are always meant to understand that the plank came from the ship itself, leftover lumber that had gone into the building of the boat.

This cannot be true, though, since pirate ships were built from LOGS, not planks. It’s true! Examine any pirate ship from the Wydah to the Queen Anne’s Revenge to the Beauty (the one in my upcoming Pathfinder game), and you will see that the ship looks more like a log cabin than any naval or merchant vessel. I don’t know the specifics of how they kept these boats together in the oceans or prevented leaks, but the most important question is, Would I lie to you about this sort of thing? The answer is no.

Moving on.

After losing so much work on my writing last month, I decided to take a break from And the Devil Will Drag You Under, then decided not to take a break after consulting with Facebook and Twitter. Friends in both places pointed out to me that, given my frequent bouts of guilt surrounding my writing, I would regret not finishing that novel. And, so, I’m back at it. I’ve rewritten about half of what went missing, and am well on my way to recovering all of what I’d lost. I don’t know if I’ll finish the novel by my self-imposed May 12 deadline, but if I don’t, it won’t be for lack of trying.

I also started revising “Anamet”, a giant monster story, and I started pondering a new short story which does not yet have a title. Usually the title comes early on in the process of writing a story, but so far that hasn’t happened for this one.

Submissions Report:

As of today (April 4), I’ve submitted twenty-six stories in 2022, received twenty-two form rejections, and four personal rejections. Some of these rejections were for stories I’d submitted in 2021 that hadn’t gotten back to me before the new year, so I actually still have five pending submissions. In addition, I actually withdrew two submissions from markets that had held on to them for over three hundred days with no communication from them in spite of requests for updates.

Zero acceptances.

Ah well. Maybe someday.