Happy Friday, friends! How did everyone enjoy their Halloween season?
October was an absolute whirlwind for me. My now-7-year-old daughter, Cadence, and now-3-year-old son, Grayson, both had their birthdays, which we celebrated on the day with a few friends and fun activity; and we also threw a shared party for the family to attend, so they only had to drive down here once.
I also tried my best to shop around and really make it feel like fall at home, but I essentially failed. Halloween and celebrating fall are becoming more popular in Croatia, but it dramatically pales in comparison to the love found in the States—so there just aren’t as many options for baking, decorations, costumes, and the like.
All in all, we had a great time. We focused more on Halloween movies, candy, and long fall walks before it gets too cold, and that was really fun on its own.
That all being said, later in the month, I felt my mental health slipping. I was agitated, stressed, less productive than usual (which didn’t help the first two), and overall just sort of slow and low low down, as Eric Carle would say (or, write, in my kids’ favorite book of his, My Many Colored Days, which is incredibly poetically-written, even for adults). So I didn’t get nearly as much done as I would have liked, and while I’m struggling with that, I’m trying to show myself some grace.
Sidenote: consider this my newsletter going forward! I’m not huge on a lot of “bells and whistles,” so I don’t want to ask my audience to subscribe to my blog and a newsletter. I’d rather keep my blog subscribers happy than ask them to enroll in something else. I’ll be creating a post like this each week to check-in and to keep you all caught up on what I’m doing. If you want to see these newsletters, regular blog posts, book reviews, and my Poem of the Day feature, just subscribe!
Where Is WHAT WE FIND IN THE DARK?
As I said above, I didn’t get nearly as much done in October as I wanted to—and that, unfortunately, included finishing the writing and editing of What We Find in the Dark. I was able to bully myself through the work I have for my clients, but after putting energy into doing their work well, I didn’t have any energy left for me.
I’ve debated when the new release date should be… I’ve thought about Thanksgiving, because there is a story in here that plays on the concept of gratefulness, but from a horror perspective. But there are also a couple of stories here that are horror tales around Christmastime (nothing to do with the Manger), so I’ve thought about December 15th, too.
But whether it’s for Black Friday or December 15th, What We Find in the Dark will be here soon—possibly with more stories than originally promised after keeping you wonderful readers waiting.
Favorite Reads This Week:
With everything I mentioned above, reading has been slow, and I’m still reading Stephen King’s The Institute, which I’m enjoying immensely. I still think it has some excellent IT and 11/22/63 vibes, but also throw in some other genres, too: the X-Mansion, The Darkest Minds series, etc.
But also this weekend, I’m going to be throwing myself into fall cleaning and completing my chapter contribution of the second book on Gender, Supernatural Beings, and the Liminality of Death. I’m writing about vampires specifically from Australian lore—which also includes this really awful blob being that would even make the Lost Boys run in fear? I can’t wait to share that publication day with you! So that means I’m going to be devouring and revisiting some last-minute Australian horror fiction, yay!
(Speaking of fall cleaning, would anyone be interested in more content about self-care for writers? I’m personally really interested in doing some work in that direction.)
Book Reviews This Week:
I have some really fun book review news! Because of writing my review about Jean Hanff Korelitz’ The Plot, I was contacted by Curio Book Club to sit in on their virtual book club throughout the month of November. Their book club pick is The Plot, and I’ll be able to interact with Korelitz herself! I’m fangirling a bit and am so excited to accept Curio’s invitation. I’ll be sure to report back about the experience and how I feel about paying for the monthly membership.
Because I was invited to get in on the fun at Curio, I want to remind you all one more time how good and suspenseful Jean Hanff Korelitz’ The Plot was: “Gone Girl Meets Little Fires Everywhere in Jean Hanff Korelitz’ The Plot.” Read it on Medium.
As for book reviews, I did a mixture of new reviews and throwback/revisited reviews on Medium in the past few weeks. Here there are to peruse!
My Favorite Book of All Time and “The Art of Writing Grief: Reading Kristin Bair O’Keefe’s The Art of Floating”
This throwback review, now on Medium: “Poetic Advice from a Mother to Mother-to-Be: Reading Molly Sutton Kiefer’s Nestuary“
A really lovely parenting book for children who love all things pink: “Transforming Her Power, Her Beauty, Her Image: Reading Rebecca Hains’ The Princess Problem“
This Week on Medium:
Before I started feeling less like myself, I took on a Medium challenge called “80 in 80”: an article per day for the rest of 2021 (which was, at its start, 80 days away, go figure).
I’ve fallen slightly behind since I started, but I love the work I’ve been putting out about self-care, mental health, parenting, writing tips, and entertainment. Here are a few of my favorites, in the form of motivational self-talk:
Did you hear about the guy who built a life-sized skeleton coming out of his house? Yeah, it was inspiring.
Speaking of inspiration, it’s time to go after that thing you want.
If you’re feeling stuck, that’s okay, just do your best to keep writing.
Watch out for procrastination, because sometimes it’s sneaky.
Clear your mind. Clear your workspace if that will help you.
And remember to keep moving. You have more muscles than just your brain, you know.
Haven’t Read THE DUPLEX Yet?
Life is crazy-busy, and I totally get it. You can still download it as a PDF for free—and because it’s received so much love, I’m going to leave it available, at least until the end of the year.
I’ve been positively overwhelmed with all the love THE DUPLEX has received. There have been messages, phone calls, in-person chats… people who don’t typically like horror who loved this slow-creep… requests for me to answer questions in a book club setting… requests to translate it into Spanish and Croatian (which I’m working on)… It’s been incredible, honestly.
THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who has already supported me: reading, sending me messages, sharing it with other people, downloading it, etc., etc., etc. It’s been SUCH an exciting welcome, and I love you all.
“The Duplex” will be available for free download from now through the end of 2021.
Sprawled out across cornfields and a man-made lake the kids say plummets forever, the small town of Cresentstance feels isolated, a little ominous, and anything but small. But with tragedy just behind them and nothing to look forward to, Sonya decides this move to the town will be a good thing. Sonya and her daughter, Maddie, move into an old farmhouse renovated into a duplex, and when she discovers the other half of the house is occupied by another single mother and her son, who is the same age as Maddie, the situation feels like fate.
But when Maddie starts to physically change and her new friend exhibits some dark behaviors, Sonya decides staying as far away from their new housemates as possible would be best. That’s until Maddie goes missing in the middle of the night, leading Sonya down dark hallways on the other side of the house where there’s laughing and screaming in the walls, and secrets the rest of the town would rather stay far, far away from.
A perfect short story to read to get ready for the full collection, What We Find in the Dark, which will drop soon!
Have a cozy weekend, my friends.
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