Suddenly, a flood

For the longest time, things on the writing front seems to go quiet for me.

Oh sure, I still attended writing-related meetings with the Writers’ Community of Durham Region (WCDR) and Simcoe County (WCSC), but even the WCDR meetings fell off in the last couple of months, as I just couldn’t get to them, and I’ve missed a ton of meetings at the York Region (WCYR) chapter as well.

And I still get requests and calls for Vanishing Hope, the little book that could.  It’s sold so much better than I ever thought it would.  And it also gave me a lot more confidence, but more on that as we go along.

I even got interviewed by Pat over at Nine Day Wonder that you can read here if you so desire.

I’m also registered for the Ontario Writers’ Conference May 5.

And of course, I’m still pounding away at my 500 words a day.

So what have I been up to and what does this have to do with the flood mentioned in the title?

First, we go back to October.  The aforementioned WCDR ran a short story contest called Whispered Words.  I’m not much of a contest guy, but I thought, what the heck?  Let’s give it a shot.  I had two ideas floating around that would both work within the confines of the contest rules (1 – no more than 1000 words; 2 – someone has to whisper).  I wrote both stories, one called Scooter’s Last Run and the other, Stealing Corey.

While I had high hopes for both of them, I found the 1000-word limit awfully restricting forScooter.

At the end of Jan this year, I found out Stealing Corey had made it to the semi-finals.  In the words of Yoda, excited I was.

But then I didn’t make it past there, still top 20-ish of more than 220 entries?  I’ll take that.  Didn’t hurt that the person that took the grand prize is my fellow board member in the WCSC, Deepam Wadds.  And good for her, it’s well-deserved.

Then, earlier this week, I found out Stealing Corey was selected to appear in the Whispered Words anthology to be released sometime in late May or early June.

So that’s Good News Number One.

Now let’s go back to January.  Just a little into 2012, I got an email out of the blue from the crazy, yet somehow lovable Ed Kurtz.  He was starting a new series of novellas featuring a character of his own making, Sam Truman, a PI working on the fringes of legality and reality in a New York-like setting circa 1960.  But Sam doesn’t get the normal cases.  A simple robbery puts him in the middle of reanimated corpses.  A missing persons case somehow involves aliens.

Anyway, Ed asked me if I’d like to create a Sam Truman Mystery for Abattoir Press.  Well duh.  That was a no-brainer.  Not telling Ed that I’d tried to write a mystery before and completely crashed and burned, not hinting that the thought of attacking another one terrified me, completely bamboozling him into thinking I was a competent writer (something made a lot more easy when he lives in Texas and I’m hiding in Ontario), I jumped in and came up with my own twisted spin on Sam.  And, incidentally, Ed’s also been the only one that asked me to tone it down a bit.  If you read his novel Bleed then imagine the guy telling me to tone it down, that’s saying something.

Okay, full disclosure, the tone down was due to the 1960s timeframe, not because I managed to gross him out.  I question whether that’s even possible with Ed.

So, what’s all this leading up to?  Well, the first novella in the series, Catch My Killer! written by Ed Kurtz himself, is available in ebook right friggin’ now!  Go here, order a copy and devour it in all it’s pulpy goodness.  Come on, can you really go wrong for a buck ninety-nine?

The second entry into the series, Brandon Zuern‘s The Last Invasion drops May 15 and it’s as goofy, pulpy and fun as Ed’s.

Then, aptly enough, on Canada Day (that’s July 1 for the rest of the world) my little entry is birthed into the world.  Called Soft Kiss, Hard Death, I’m not going to give much away about it except to say that my son, the oft-mention Boy of this blog, happened upon me as I was Google searching a particular plot point.  He looked at me, scrunched up his face, and said, “Dad, you’re friggin’ sick!”  Now, it think that was from the images he saw, but when I tried to dig myself out by explaining what I was writing and why I needed this info, his face moved from scrunch to outright horror.

It’s should also be stated that, in writing a particular scene in the story, I squirmed through the entire session.

Mission accomplished.  I think you’ll like it. Or you may never talk to me again.  One of the two.

Other entries into the Sam Truman series will proceed along every six weeks and, sometime in early 2013, I understand Ed will compile a few of the stories into hard copy books.  So, you know, I can have all that sickness sitting right on my bookshelf for all to see.

By the way, you can read a great interview with Ed Kurtz on all things Sam Truman, Abattoir and his other cool books and ventures here.

So that’s Good News Number Two.

And yes, I’m well aware of what “number two” can also be taken to mean.

Also in July–and to be honest, I’m still a little freaked out about this–I’ll be, for the first time, participating in the Muskoka Novel Marathon.

Now this sucker’s interesting.  Basically, 32 writers get tossed into a room to write.


For 72 solid hours.

It runs from 8pm Friday, July 13 (yes, Friday the 13th) to 8pm Monday, July 16.  The challenge is to produce a novel, novella, whatever, in that time.

If I’m lucky I may get a blog post out of it.

The bigger thing however, and the one I don’t want to make light of, is that this is a fundraising event to support adult literacy and employment programs at YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, a worthy cause.

Now, take just a second, right now, and consider…what would your life be like if you could not read?  If you faced something like this blog post and couldn’t make sense of it?  Just think on that for a second.

The YMCA is looking to raise $10000 and trust me, it goes to a phenomenally good cause.  Now, no one despises the act of asking for donations more than me.  I hate it.  Every time someone puts a hand out in my direction, my first reaction is, I have my causes, I have my charities that I support.  Please don’t ask me to give any more.

I get that.  And that’s why I’ll say, if this doesn’t work for you, fine.  But if there’s any way you can spare some money, anything, even the cost of a coffee, would you consider throwing it in the pot to sponsor me?

If you want to, they’ve made it easy by creating an online donation site that you can reach here.  If you’re not comfortable with that, contact me through the comments below or at lefttowrite (at) sympatico (dot) com and we’ll work something out.

So yeah, mid-July?  Fingers worn down to nubs.

So that’s Good News Number Three…I think.

The next item occurred due to an innocuous little statement by Lydia Peever on Facebook.  She mentioned something about looking for an editor.  I happened to be in the right place at the right time reading the right post and I mentioned that I was looking for someone to edit.

One thing led to another and now I not only have the pleasure of editing Lydia’s works, I also get to read them.  Believe me, she kicks ass and deserves to see a lot of success from her writing.

And she even wrote a blog about me editing her.  You can read it here.

Good News Number Four!

Then I got more good news from WCDR.  They’ve approved one of my workshops, so in September, I’ll be talking about how to work emotion in your writing, whether it’s in dialogue, narrative, description…it’s gonna be a blast.

Of course, the WCDR have never really seen me in action…don’t be afraid, be very afraid.

So that’s Good News Number Five.

And then, of course, early in 2013, No Hope, the follow up to Vanishing Hope, and this time a full novel-length work, will be released through Burning Effigy Press.  I’m editing the heck out of it right now to make sure it stands up to, and preferably exceed, the standard set in that first story.

I’m excited as hell for this one, and also a little scared.

While you’re waiting, hit up the website and order up some of BE’s other works.  They’re all amazing.

Still, even though it’s the oldest item on this list, No Hope is still Good News Number Six.

It’s gonna be a crazy year, people.


5 thoughts on “Suddenly, a flood

  1. Stealing Corey is a really good story, Tobin. And I did not see the end coming. As someone who does a heck of a lot of reading in my professional life, that is a wonderful thing that you accomplished. I’m so pleased that we are able to include it in the upcoming anthology of WHISPERED WORDS. And Write On! for all the rest of your news.

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