Apologies for my recent absence. I was hiding from 2020. And half of 2021, it seems.
The dumpster fire of last year brought some major life changes. Some good, some shit. I’ll babble about those below, if you care to know. But the thing I’m here to share, because I’m deeply excited about it: I’m back in the saddle and writing again!
Three new short stories are forthcoming. Additionally, the editors of Deep Magic, who previously honored my story “Hanging Trees” with a Pushcart nomination, recently flattered me once again by selecting it for their Best of Deep Magic anthology … which launched TODAY! Though it’s quieter than the fast-paced speculative fiction I typically write, it’s a good introduction to my short fiction. If you’ve read some of my other stories, this one is a nice change-up, stylistically. The anthology is now available on Amazon (free if you have Kindle Unlimited).
What I’m even more giddy about: I’m once again at work on my debut series, Hangman. Book I is complete, soon to go on submission, and without a doubt the best thing I’ve written. And that’s only if I don’t count Books II-IV, because they’re still growing from baby outlines to adult novels (no, not adult novels. Sorry.). Each installment is better than the last, and the saga as a whole is shaping up to be the story I always wanted to read, but never found. Probably because it is super weird! But hey, weird is a synonym for original, right? Right!? Yeah …
As for those life changes:
The Bad: A shitstorm of 2020-related stress, the exact details with which I won’t bore you because you probably had your own, but a consequence of which was a near-complete absence of my usual love of literature—reading and writing both. I suspect there may be something to that old hierarchy of needs after all.
The Good: Brooklyn, my incredibly patient saint of a partner, who was in large part responsible for getting me through the bad, convinced me to move with her to Hawaii mid-pandemic. Though we left beloved people, trees, and birds behind, we’ve already found much to treasure here. My love of literature is rivalled by my passion for trees, fruit trees in particular, and for that Hawaii truly is paradise. Here one can regularly feast on rare tropical fruits, many of them better than anything I could previously grow in Northern Nevada’s five frost-free months.
Putting the cherry on the cempedak, I started an exciting new job that satisfies my fruit obsession: I’m propagating, planting, and caring for fruit trees at a budding 60-acre rare fruit orchard and probable future arboretum (can we please call it an “arbor-eat-’em”?). I’m often consulted for tree recommendations for sites ranging from city parks and universities to small home gardens, and I almost always include at least some fruit trees. Far too often, my suggestions meet resistance from this idea that fruit trees are “too messy, and too much work.” Well, life is messy, and too much work. But it requires us to eat, so if we’re going to be planting and caring for trees anyway, we might as well select those that’ll reward us with delicious, healthy fruit, right? The answer at this “arbor-eat-’em” is an emphatic “OF COURSE!” and that’s as refreshing as white pineapple on a summer day. Plus, the office views ain’t bad:
To wrap up, I’ll try to convey the feeling that inspired me to check in after far too long (again, my embarrassed apologies), and to do so I’ll lean on the wisdom of a certain variety of lodgepole pine, which knows this: Only from the ashes can a forest grow anew.
Or, perhaps more fitting to this post: last year’s rotten compost is today’s delicious fruit.
To the fruits of a new year,