Hopeful Ink: Writing in 2016

2015 was a big year for my writing, and I’m hoping to keep the trend going for 2016. Last year, I joined the amazing NYC writing group Altered Fluid, finished my first novel, wrote/started dozens of short stories, and continued to learn from and make friends in the world of publishing. With all that in my back pocket, I hope to make 2016 an even more stellar year by producing more work, stronger work, and pursuing it as far as I can. Below are some of the big projects that I hope to achieve this year, and if no one else reads this, at least I can look at it as a measure of motivation in the flagging days of writing.

Magnetic – This is the novel I wrote last year and is currently in its third draft. I’m revising it, and will be sending it out to my beta readers and writing group hopefully by the end of February. A story of mad science, grief, stand-up comedy, relationships, love, doubt, and faith in the family you’ve chosen, I’m hoping to start sending this to agents by the summer, so fingers crossed!

Empire’s Arrow – The first in an epic fantasy duology, EA is the story of a middle-aged women working for the postal service, feeling as though she’s wasted her life, having to work with her ex-husband  in order to stop a national conflict from igniting. Throw in some memory magic, stone swords, mad empresses, elemental golems, and a suppressed history between two broken people, and you get Empire’s Arrow. Outlining on this is going well, and I’m hoping to start a first draft by the time Magnetic is ready to be sent out to beta readers.

Seven Bullets – This is the codename for a story that I want to tell that is really important to me. It’s something I’ve been noodling for a while, and while I’ve been incredibly nervous to start it, I’ve spoken with enough writer-y friends and publishing friends that have shown me this story can have merit, and is worth pursuing. I’m very scared that I’ll get it all wrong, but it’s absolutely worth it to write it and see what vision emerges. What’s it about? Without getting too deep, it’s about how pain can be random, about  systemic violence against women and minorities, how to move on from trauma, if it’s even possible, and what that looks like. If it looks like I’m being vague, it’s because I am. But time will tell the shape of it all. Hoping to get to this this year.

Otherwise, I’m making two more promises for this year, ready?

1: Sell at least two short stories.

2: Review every book I read on this blog.

One of those is easier than the other.

Fingers crossed both can be achieved, yeah?

Stay tuned, viewers. This is going to be a big year, I think, and I’ll be here to catalog it the whole thing.

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PUBLISHED!

My first pro piece is now officially out in the world and it still has me swinging wildly between Terrified and Excited with the speed and verve of a metronome at the highest setting.

Looking at it now, my mind is frenzied, searching and picking apart what I wrote, constantly asking questions of, “Was that a good choice? Should I have changed the ending? Will they get it, understand it like I had hoped they would?”

I can think all of these things that I want, of course, but it doesn’t change the fact that I can’t, change it that is. As of this moment, the story is no longer mine and that’s, y’know, that’s okay. It shouldn’t be mine forever. Being published is being able to let your ideas out into the world to exist on their own, and hope that others can keep it afloat, alive.

But yeah, it’s out there and reception has been pretty good so far. Most folks are enjoying it, and being terribly creeped out, (which is absolutely fine since it is a horror story).

So to everyone who has given my work a chance, thank you. Like I said in the Author Spotlight, time is one thing readers have so little of, so thank you for giving me some of yours.

Big thank to everyone at Nightmare Magazine for helping this piece come together: John Joseph Adams for buying a story from a relatively new guy and giving him a shot. Wendy Wagner for helping to format and refine this story into something solid, with sharp edges. EC Myers for being an awesome interviewer and giving me the chance to express my love of Back To The Future in a public forum.

And as always a mighty thank you to Kat Howard, who has been my council and supporter and mentor through all this.

If you’d like to read the story, you can find it here: http://www.nightmare-magazine.com/fiction/never-fire/

If you’d like to read my Author Spotlight with E.C., you can find that here: http://www.nightmare-magazine.com/nonfiction/author-spotlight-martin-cahill/

And as always, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.