Happy New Year and all that frothy and frothering high-spirited celebrate-a-thon go-forth-and-whatever whoo-hoo stuff! It’s a new day, a new year, a new … you! Right? Right! Are you writing? Well, I am. That is, I’m typing this editorial, right? Ha.
Of course, as I type this, it’s not even Christmas Day yet … but soon it will be, and then the first of the year, and another year bites the dust. With 2018 comes … who knows what, right? Especially for you, the writer, the poet, the artist. Remember: I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but I do think about something I’d like to accomplish in the coming year (sounds like a resolution, doesn’t it? Nope; not even close in the split-the-hair way). “And what is that?” I hear you all cry in crystal-clear perfect unison (not so easy since you’re not all in the same time zones!). Well, write more, of course! I said this last January as well. Um, that didn’t turn out that well, as it happens. I’m not sure why it didn’t. Oh, wait; was it because I didn’t try more? Hmm. Perhaps. Okay … but this time it will succeed because I will be … what? More in tune with the writing muse? More prone to ignore phone calls and meowing cats shredding the screen on my office door? More laser-beam focused? That would be nice.
So what are you doing as a writer for the new year? What plans are you making? More writing? More marketing? More submitting? Rah! Get that stuff out in the mail (so to speak)! You can’t sell if you don’t send the stuff to editors. Trust me on that!
In upcoming issues I’ll be running photos of folks’ working spaces. A few days ago, I suffered an E-mail program implosion of the kind that wipes everything away and makes me want to just wade out into the ocean, although that’s several hours away by car, and I guess, by the time I got down the shore, I’d feel more like looking for seashells than walking out into the cold Atlantic. But that’s sort of how I felt because of the loss of at least a quatrojillion E-mails that cannot be replaced. Sigh. What fun! But, in the meantime, I seem to have recovered some electronic messages through the intercession of Saint Isidore, patron saint of computers, users, programmers, and the Internet (I am not making this up; no, really; go look it up; I’ll wait)(are you back yet? Did you see what I see? Do you hear what I hear? Ack! Those Christmas songs have taken out my head! Stop the music!), and I think I might have all of those photos you folks sent over the past several months. I hope. I guess we’ll find out, right, when I start to organize them. I’ll let you know!
And while you are pondering writing and such, also be thinking of how you can help someone else—I’ve talked about this in the past, and I’ll just briefly mention it here. Go read to someone in a nursing home or rehab unit; play music for them; visit visit visit! Or go play with some kitties or dogs at a shelter. Make some blankets or toys for shelter animals. Prepare some sandwiches or buy gloves and socks and little treats and hand them out to the homeless. There’s a lot you can do … and it really doesn’t take that much effort. Please don’t do these good things just during the various holidays, either. There are a lot of lonely days for these patients and others to fill … I know they would love to have visitors.
After you’ve done something for other folks, please do something for yourself: If you do not have a carbon-monoxide detector where you live, please put one in. Now. This minute. I’ll wait while you put one up. And keep the batteries new. This could save your life. It WILL save your life. Eleven years ago, I had purchased one and put the batteries in, but didn’t get around to hanging it up in the basement (the effort! So little in retrospect, of course). However, I left it on the kitchen counter, not far from the basement door. Days later, I was awakened around dawn by the sound of an alarm and the alarm’s human voice saying there was carbon monoxide present—the chimney had collapsed inside, and the furnace came on, and the gases weren’t venting, and the basement filled up with carbon monoxide, and it reached the first floor, and it was only a matter of time before it reached the second floor where my bedroom is. That alarm saved my life; I know that without it I would have slept right on into oblivion. I would be dead. So please don’t screw around. There’s no excuse not to get a carbon-monoxide detector. If you can’t afford one, talk to someone about helping out; borrow money; sell something; talk to your local fire dept. Get one NOW!
So, on your way to visit folks at nursing homes and such, stop and get the alarm! And then on the rest of the drive, think about some of the stuff I’d like to see in the newsletter … stuff that YOU (gasp!) would write and send to me!
I’m also looking for art and photos for the “Sinister Slideshow” just above the editorial. However, I’ve decided I want these to be connected to a theme each month, and, so far, I haven’t thought of any future themes (but I will). I guess I will probably put out a call on the HWA Facebook page when I think of a theme or two. Got some ideas to toss my way?
Also, I’d LOVE (really!) to see what you as a writer (or artist or editor or whatever) do for marketing and promotion of your work. I want to run these useful bits in upcoming issues. The marketing tips and techniques (blog crawls? Tweets? Press releases? Radio interviews? Cookie-baking contests?) should be no longer than a page or two. Thanks.
And don’t forget: I am still interested in knowing where you work; it’s one of those things that fascinates me: where does a creative person create. Do you have a cozy shed out in the backyard where you can get away from it all? Do you spread out all your notebooks and pens and imported stationery across a wide-planked verandah as you catch those cooling evening breezes? Have you snagged an isolated spot in the quiet living room, the noisy laundry room, the cobweb-infested basement? Are you camping out in a garret (aka the attic)? Do you have an actual office set aside, filled with all the incredibly neat stuff that serious writers and artists need? Let me know where you work and include a photo or two and a line or two or three about the space.
And, as always, I’d like to see articles (or perhaps columns) on the following:
– YA horror (writing, marketing, etc.)
– unusual stuff out in the horror world
– comics and graphic novels
– writing plays
– writing films
– writing stuff we don’t know much about
– publicity and marketing
– media tie-ins and novelizations
– writing computer games
– collaborations (the good, the bad, and the ugly)
– horror subgenres (historical, sf, mystery, etc.)
– horror photography
– the ups and downs, ins and outs of self-publishing
– horror in other countries
– writer archives/library collections
– different kinds of horror/trends
– what happens when a writer dies (this is about the estate, not decomposition of the actual body)
– the late great giants of the field
– what folks in the field see for the future of the genre
– humor in horror
– horror and television
– horror and the stage
– horror and snacks (Just wanted to see if you were awake! Please pass the ladyfingers!)
– horror cosplay
– horror crafts
– horror field trips (places to visit: Lizzie Borden’s house, Poe’s grave, Cthulhu Caverns, The Editor’s Demonic Slope, etc.)
– religion in horror
– sex and the single horror writer, aka erotica and horror
– horror maps and geography and real and not-real places
– the horror writer and social media
– the history of horror
– an in-depth article or two about occult/paranormal detectives
– ghost hunters/paranormal investigation
– horror tropes—old and new
– how to write enticing, entertaining, engaging jacket copy without giving away twists and the ending
– decorating the horror home
– horror art, book covers, posters, etc.
– discussions with librarians, editors, etc.
– this and that … the list goes on.
Query me first at email@example.com, or you can send me a private message on Facebook. Do NOT query me in a post on my Facebook page or HWA’s page. Do NOT send opinion pieces or blog reprints (mostly—but it depends, of course, on the subject matter).
And don’t forget to send photos of your book signings and readings and seminars and dictionary bake-offs and other writerly events.
The deadline for each issue is ALWAYS the 15th of each month, so send your news/photos/whatever early—that is, BEFORE the 15th and not on that date or shortly after. This is FREE promotion for you and your work! FREE! FREE! FREE! Take advantage of that!
As always, I would like to thank my proofreaders: Naching Kassa, Sheri White, Marge Simon, Greg Faherty, Joel Jacobs, Morven Westfield, Ron Breznay, Anthony Ambrogio, Walt Jarvis, and Marty Young. And thanks to the sainted Donna K. Fitch for all her extremely hard work getting the newsletter put up at the Web!
The deadline for the FEBRUARY issue is Monday, January 15.
Have a happy and fun and safe (did you put that alarm up yet?) New Year!
Perhaps I should resolve to use fewer ellipses this year. Naww.