February’s Wrap-Up

While this post is far later than I would have wanted it to be, February was full of so many eventful things, I suppose it’s rightfully so. My (virtual) writing program has been back full force, I took a much needed vacation with y girlfriend over Valentine’s Day weekend to one of my favorite winter getaways in the mountains, and I successfully reached my 100th publication! During the shortest month of the year, I’d say that’s quite a lot.

As aforementioned, my writing program has been far more active over the last month. We began on Discord when the pandemic hit last year and managed to gain a dedicated group of writers worldwide. At the start, we had weekly meetings that ran almost five or six hours and a large participation in our monthly contests and prompts. As the uniqueness of the pandemic and quarantine began to fade, however, people started getting back with their lives. Jobs and schools slowly starting to reopen. We lost a lot of members who once were active, but kept in touch as best as we could. In September, while the group began to get semi-active again, we pulled the plug for a month long hiatus. Much of this was to clean up channels and weed out outstanding members that had joined but never said so much as “hello” months prior. On top of that, my vice-president had just switched shifts at his job, making it harder to manage everything alone. And, not to mention, I had been working hard on finalizing edits for my novel It Came Upon a Midnight Clear at the time — which took up the most of my attention. Needless to say, though, we’re back up and running at a much more regular pace now. Our first contest in months is due to close soon and we’re back to our weekly meetings. The first was discussing 100 word stories and their importance in honing in on the craft and learning some editing techniques, and I plan on sharing those tips and tricks here soon.

For anyone interested in a friendly and supportive writing community (of hobbyists and professionals alike), you may find us on Discord at: Seeds of Inkling. We would love to have you!

And, speaking of 100 word stories, they’ve been the forefront of my writing and submission process lately. As I will mention in my future post regarding them, they’re a wonderful way to practice and get ideas down and flowing. I’ve always told my students that the best way to be a writer aside from reading, is to write something every day. No matter how little. And 100 word stories are a good way to warm up.

Between my busy schedule and preparing for my move across country in April, I haven’t had as much time to focus on longer stories lately. I’ve also been working on finalizing edits on my sequel anthology Return to the Uncanny which is due to release in a few weeks. Therefore, the 100 word stories have been keeping me going and keeping me on track of my submission schedule. And thanks to my staying on top of it, I’ve managed to hit my 100th accepted piece. And, just as quickly, surpass it.

I’m at 23 accepted pieces already this year as March begins — breaking my total for 2020 as a whole. I’m beyond pleased that although it’s been a very busy year already, I’ve managed to still find time to dedicate to my writing career. And the most exciting part for me is that my 100th acceptance was with a publisher I’ve had my eye on for a few years now. You’ll be able to read it for yourself in Black Hare Press’s 666: Dark Drabbles anthology releasing this summer. And I have many more upcoming releases in the next few weeks, as well, that I can’t wait to share with you. It’s going to be a full year!

Aside from the writing stuff, though, February was busy in other regards. Starting off with a brief mention, my grandmother was admitted to the hospital for almost a week for complications that we’re sure not 100% sure of — before being transported to rehab where she’s still staying for recovery. It’s hard with the pandemic since we’re unable to be with her or see her, but she’s in good hands and seems to be doing well. We’re hoping that she’ll be able to come home soon.

And during all the insanity around that, I made my annual getaway to Lake George and Lake Placid, NY for the winter. My girlfriend Teresa and I chose to go Valentine’s Day weekend and we had a blast, even though some things were closed down due to the pandemic. But still, we had a wonderful time. We got to spend time in the gorgeous snowy mountains, went dog sledding, made candles, and had hot cocoa while we walked across the frozen lake. Our room came with a hot tub, so the bitter cold nights were spent in there with champagne and chocolates. We stocked up on wine from our favorite winery in the Adirondacks, and had a wonderful steak and lobster Valentine’s dinner at our private firepit overlooking the lake. In light of all going on in the world, it was a break that we both very much needed. And the towns were very on top of cleanliness and safety.

Going home sparked some issues, though, since Teresa had scheduled a car rental to drive some of my boxes back to Kansas City to our house I’ll be moving into in just a few weeks. She was told that in order to get a car (even though she had already paid for it), she needed a round trip airline ticket. Hours after traveling back and forth to different car rentals (which would only rent cars to NYS residents), she ended up having to fly home. While it cut back on some of the stuff we had been planning on sending ahead of my move, it did give us an extra day together since the flights were grounded due to an ice storm in NY. So even after all the stress, it still worked out. And I’m glad it did.

So, March… What does it have in store? Packing. Lots of packing. I have the majority of my belongings ready to go for my move, but there’s still a lot lying around. I also have a few writing deadlines that I want to meet — it’s just a matter of finding and making time to devote to them at this point. And St. Patrick’s Day is coming! I’m a sucker for corned beef and cabbage, and marathoning the Leprechaun movies all day. So, while I keep telling myself I have a lot of time this month, I really don’t. Now it’s down to just a matter of managing my time and making the most of it!

And, once again, preparing for the release of Return to the Uncanny. My proof copies arrived recently, so I’ve been avidly attempting to skim for errors and make sure that it’s ready to officially release from the press soon. More details to come!

I’ll be checking again with you all soon, likely with some updates as we reach the end of the month. I have some releases coming out that I can’t wait to post about — as well as some guides to 100 word stories and their importance. Until next time; stay happy, healthy, and blessed.

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