A while ago I posted something on this blog I called (I think) “Get Out.” It was about the advantages for a writer of getting away from normal routine and surroundings and out into the world. The getting out could be for a specific purpose, as in researching a setting you have in mind for a story, one you may want to devote more to than online searches and a trip to the library. Or it could be that you’re simply looking for a change of scenery, a different frame of mind, some objective inspiration.
What I’m doing right now is the first version, in which I’ve traveled to New Mexico to clarify in my head and on note paper and through photos the setting and history for a novel I’ve begun working on. The trip has been more than worthwhile. I still have questions, but I also have answers, and information I didn’t even know I was looking for, and new sources for more information. And the setting–warm New Mexico desert, flowering New Mexico plants, big New Mexico sky–has been inspirational.
So that’s the new project.
My other project is a blend of old and new. In 1995 Albert Whitman published a collection of my short stories (mysterious, eerie, spooky). The collection was called Dark Starry Morning. After about ten years the book went out of print and I got the rights back. A few years ago, after e-books came on the scene in a significant way and self-publishing became (at least in a theory) easier and more practical, I decided to revitalize Dark Starry Morning.
I had the rights, but I didn’t have an electronic record (you have to think about when it was published), so I had to retype the whole thing. Which was a double-edged sword. A nuisance, yes, but the exercise also gave me a chance to revise and update. It also allowed me to add to the collection. Originally there were six stories. One of them I had already begun expanding to a novel, which I’m still working on. So that leaves five (I’m not just a writer, I’m a mathematician!). Over the course of a few years, in between rewriting the original stories and working on other projects, I wrote five new (mysterious, eerie, spooky, and in one case poetic and tall-tale-ish) stories to go in what would be the new collection.
So it’s getting close to ready. I’ve got it written and revised and edited and mostly formatted for the e-book universe (I hope), and my daughter Jaime, graphic and book designer extraordinaire (if I do say so myself), is working on the cover. We’re excited about it, and I’m excited to try something new while still keeping some of the old. With a nod to the Halloween season, we’re shooting for this month sometime. When I get a firm date, I’ll pass along the details.
The title? Uneasy Pickings