At the beginning of this year, I teased some big things. I learned a lesson in teasers: It’s not a good idea unless the things you’re teasing are definite. Many of my hopes for 2016 haven’t quite panned out. I finished my second novel, but I’ve struggled to find a home for it. I’ve also finished some solid short stories, but it’s been a mix of rejection and taking a long time to hear back.
I get it. I’m shooting for the stars, and it takes a long time for even light to travel through interstellar space.
However, in the face of a disappointing 2016 (seriously, has anyone had a good 2016?), one of those things I teased (something big regarding Carrier) is definitely happening.
That’s an interior proof. But wait, wasn’t Carrier already published? Yes.
As I walked among the cosplayers dressed as slasher idols and evil deadites, the people wearing death metal or obscure B-horror t-shirts, one thought kept going through my mind: These are my people.
For all of the fascination with murder and the macabre and the gore make-up, I don’t know if I’ve ever been to a place where there was more kinship and acceptance, where it didn’t matter who or what you were, just that you shared similar passions. Everyone had come for a single, unified purpose: to have a great time.
It’s been almost a month since I put The King of Clayfield by Shane Gregory down, and it’s lingered with me all this time. I don’t attribute its staying power to any raw emotional experience I had with it, nor do I find its relentless grip in any particular shock or horror. The King of Clayfield sticks with me to this day because I’ve yet to be able to truly pin it down. Certain stories fall clearly within a genre, adhering to established guidelines and rules. The King of Clayfield is somewhat unique in that it flows naturally, as if it were grounded in reality instead of someone’s imagination.
Of course, The King of Clayfield has many imaginative and creative elements, but while it isn’t strictly an epistolary, it reads almost like a journal. Shane’s prose is no-nonsense, written in natural language. At times, it may be reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy. He steps out of the way and lets his character tell the story. What’s notable here is that, in my experience with first-person narratives, I’ve found many writers tend to overdo this. They adopt certain tendencies to attempt to force the voice through. Shane doesn’t. The difference is he seems to trust his story and his characters to be interesting rather than trying to make or contrive intrigue. The aspect that interests me the most, though, is that The King of Clayfield is almost formless in its presentation. It is anything but formulaic, but it isn’t without structure or deliberate momentum. It doesn’t lull, but it doesn’t force action. It doesn’t adhere to the typical “three rising actions, climax, resolution,” but it follows a logical pattern of building tension to a powerful and satisfying conclusion.
Amid personal distractions, big events, work, and other happenings, I didn’t get to read as much in 2014 as I would have liked. But I did read some really good books that I connected with in ways that either surprised me or continue to affect me. Please note, I read some really good stuff this year, and these are just the books that struck a personal nerve.
Without further ado, here are my favorite novels that I read in 2014.
In support of his novel, March The Damned, Jeremiah Israel is working on a short film. Here’s a trailer for the short film he’s calling “March.” It’s a neat little promo piece that gives you a some details about the novel. I’m looking forward to the full-length version. I’m also looking forward to the novel, which is in my to-read pile at home.
We weren’t sure that we were going to be able to make it available for preorder, but here it is, and I am absolutely terrified. For sure, the prospect of you and everyone else getting Carrier in your hands and its words funneling into your eyeports excites me, but with each moment it takes further from my grasp, I can’t help but feel more apprehensive.
I’m not a parent, but I imagine this must be something akin to what parents feel as they hug their children and send them off to school for the first time. I have loved this thing and put everything that I could into it, and now it has to go out and face the scrutiny of the world.
Just last week, Permuted Press announced a Kickstarter campaign for their first venture into film. The movie they want to make is called The OneStop Apocalypse Shop, based on the novel, The Apocalypse Shift, by Derek J. Goodman. It sounds awesome and exciting, but don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Derek has to say about the project:
Hi, my name is Derek J. Goodman, and I would like to talk about the Kickstarter for the movie The OneStop Apocalypse Shop, based on my novel The Apocalypse Shift.
A number of months ago (my consciousness doesn’t have time for time), Michael Wilson, president of Permuted Press, invited any authors in his stable to come down to Nashville for Wizard World Comic Con in September. He would later confess he expected only a handful of us. He got about twenty-five.
Nine and a half hours later (thanks, Indiana DOT, for all the lane closures), it’s 3 a.m., and I arrive at the hotel. I feel a bit like Tom Hanks in Castaway when he returns to civilization and can’t talk to people.
I received word from command that Carrier has officially been scheduled for a November 4 release. Of course, Permuted Press emphasizes that, although it’s not in the plan, the date is subject to change. I think you can pretty much bet on it, so come November 4th (that’s voting day), look for the print edition on Amazon or the e-reader edition on your platform of choice.
Also, keep your eye on my Carrier page for upcoming developments; you can head over there now for a synopsis.