This morning, I discovered why I've been swimming in my pants. The ones I'd been wearing were a size 42. I am now a waist size 37. Diet and exercise. Who'd a thunk it?
I've been a writing machine since returning from NECON. Two big projects, with another waiting in the wings. Right now, I've got a submission for Borderlands (which I still think might not be weird or scary enough, although I do find it somewhat disturbing) and yesterday, I wrote a 4000 word noir piece, inspired by a big-no-no anthology taking submissions. What's that? No-no anthology? Why's it a no-no? Well, because it is what is called a "royalties only" antho. What's that mean? Well, as a writer, I would only make money if the book sells. Several people at NECON (Nick Kaufman in particular) said that royalties only should be avoided. "Money should flow to the writer," the said. I have to wonder if the antho would be a nice spot to get exposure (which of course, is the desire this antho is playing off of), but it did make me chug out a filthy little noir piece. I felt dirty writing it, felt dirty reading through it, so it must be good! :)
Putting together a proposal for a novel. Got the inside skinny on a series Berkley Books is putting together, and it has potential. Ghost novels. The books'll be published under a House Name, so my byline will not appear, but it's still a publishing credit and it might be a foot in the door at a real publishing house. I don't think the Big Names will be going for it, since they seem to have luck under their own bylines, so maybe I'll just be competing with my own young writer types. I mean, if Tom Piccirilli submits, I'm sure I'll get blown out of the water, hell I won't even make it off the dock. But if it's peers, maybe I got a shot.
NECON, laws, NECON. So, let's see, what panels did I sit through?
Friday: Scaring the Pants Off Youngsters: Horror for the YA market, was pretty eye opening. Chris Golden (the little writer who could) moderated, and I piked up quite a bit of info. Trista was my notetaker that first day, since I forgot my notepad in the manse-dorm. After that, there was a panel about the efficacy of Ghosts, Vampires, and Werewolves. Not a lot of startling revelations, there. Mostly folks saying, "It's not the monsters, it's the humanity that makes things interesting!" Well, duh. However, the panelists were amusing, as they shamelessly plugged their own works. After that, was a panel of editors. Mondo interesting. Thumbs up. Weird Tales (and Weird Trails?), Leisure Books, Borderlands Press, Berkley Books and Razorline (a new ya imprint). The youngest editor (the ya editor, Liesa Abrams) cracked up and couldn't stop making statements that could be read in a wholly unwholesome way. Laws was it funny. Informative panel. Especially when they got on the paper/electronic submissions and the topic of simultaneous/multiple submissions. That evening was a presentation of art, with some gorgeous pieces of macabre paintings... It was humbling to be in the presence of such beauty and terror. Talk about humbling! After the artists presentation, there was a "Meet the Authors", where fanboys like me could have books signed and chit chat with my literary heroes, and make new literary friends.
Saturday: "Waking Up, Breaking In" was a panel of 'new' writers. Some had been publishing since the 90s, but whatever. Interesting advice, and it was cool to see who'd given up the day jobs and who still had them. Most of the folks I talked to still have day jobs as writers. This really sets my mind reeling. I know how tired I am after a long day, but to have another 8 hours of editing magazines, layouts, publishing, etc. Incredible. I mean, I suppose I have the same situation: I work at a Lab in the day, I work at the stories at night. I dunno, I was just impressed in the dedication. This was also the first time I discovered the advice about "Royalty Only Anthos". Following this were interesting overviews of Apocalyptic fiction (what attracts writers to this stuff, what attracts readers) and a piece surveying Religion in fiction (which was slanted in the direction of writers asking questions and challenging currently held notions. It could have used a Tim LeHaye perspective to provide contrast and argument. Ah well. Dealing with a fundamentalist LeHaye type would have been annoying the rest of the time, so I'm glad they didn't show up.)
Saturday featured interviews (first one-on-one between Hank Wagner and Douglas E. Winter, then a maxi interview with Gordon Linzner, Tom Piccirilli, Tamara Thorne, and Simon Clark). And a nice piece on collaboration. Peter Straub so eloquently invoked Stephen King (they collaborated on *Talisman* and *Black House*) that it felt the King was in the building. The summation of "Does collaboration work?" comes down to a selection of a good collaborating partner. It has to feel like play, Dallas Mayr (Jack Ketchum) said.
And Jack Ketchum's a definite ladies man. Flirty as all hell, and he initiated NONE of the flirtations. He's got those Boy Next Door (hee hee hee, yes that's a pun on one of his titles) good looks that really affects people. Boy was he shocked to shit when Trista gave him a backrub (at Friday signing) and then merrily went away. "You're gonna let her do that?" he asked me amazed, "She's your wife!" I shrugged, said yep, and surprised him a second time. He then decided I was a "Very confident guy!" I decided he was a total backrub slut. :)