FULL BLEED: COUGHED OUT OF THE SEA
Yeah, this thing is still on. Just been busy.
Finished the first draft of MY DROWNING CHORUS, that being the second in the continuing series of HAZELAND books, following librarian and forger Cait MacReady through the LA of the recent past haunted by things with and without name. Pretty happy with how it turned out, even if I had to shed a bunch of stuff that I'd wanted to include but maybe wasn't that important to begin with.
I was going to go through a little breakdown of the process behind the book, but I'm wondering if that's even necessary at this point. Not a lot of demand for that sort of thing, honestly. People don't want to hear about the struggles behind it (there weren't that many anyways, aside from having the plague show up about 2/3 of the way through and really reinforce some things) they want advice as to how to succeed, how to get readers, that sort of thing.
Hell, I'd love some of that myself. Anyone got any ideas? Giving away content doesn't work. It just gets people accustomed to getting stuff for free so that when you even ask for a tip in the tip jar, they get shirty about it. Hey, I get it. Times are tight. But all the same, I'm not in this for my health. If I were, I'd have gotten a job that has insurance of some kind.
Seriously. Nobody's doing this to get rich. Maybe there was a time that happened, but with the Chicxulub-size meteor heading towards, uh, everything right now. Oh, you think it's already hit. Yeah, nope. What we're seeing right now is an anticipatory cratering. Nobody knows how bad it's gonna be until it is. But it'll be far worse than it is now.
Enough gloom and doom. We're in it and the only way out will be to climb once the dust settles. Gotta wonder if people will even have the patience for horror afterwards, after seeing it on the news for now and as long as it'll follow, and honestly that we've been in for years.
I know that I burned out on horror some time back. This isn't me burning bridges or anything, but it is a reconsideration of what I'm taking in, I suppose. Sure, I'll still watch Romero or pop in the HELLRAISER films or stuff like that. Even the fun and messed up stuff from the 80s and 90s, and even today when I can find it (though that's harder these days.) Even the elevated stuff, I look at askance. Not to open the can of worms as to the value of the term "elevate" in relation to horror (which I think is as valuable a term as "guilty pleasure" which is to say of no value whatsoever.) I guess I just want to have some fun with it, and fun is anathema to a lot of horror now. Gotta be serious, stern, refined and blah blah blah. If it works for you, great.
But I burned out on feel-bad. Gotta have some victories in your life and your art, and the easy path to horror for some is just the relentless downer, the sort of forced helplessness that comes with so much of the serious stuff. I know. I'm just soft. Sure. Guilty as charged. You won. Carcosa ain't gotta be horrible. Without some elation or lightness, your horror is about as fun as most homemade sourdough bread and you managed to skip the salt (not that I would ever make such a tragic culinary mistake.)
So, yeah. MY DROWNING CHORUS is something that I'll probably call horror in interviews because it's easier to say that than to talk about how it orbits around horror but doesn't fall in the gravity well. There's magic and weird nameless things and things that are much bigger and older than humanity and a universe full of rules apparently broken in interesting ways. But it's not horror. 'Cause horror is all about that destination, where you get to at the end, and I've eaten up enough bummer trips. I'm all about that moment in DAWN OF THE DEAD where Peter turns from putting a gun to his head to climbing out onto the roof and catching the helicopter to an uncertain life somewhere else, but it's at least a life.
I suppose I should stay more on-brand and reinforce you and your choices, particularly in the genre content you wish to consume. But I can't really do that. All I can do is write what I write. You want to talk about that stuff honestly, well, great. But don't look to me as product or brand. What I write is the brand, and that's gonna change as times change, because otherwise you're dead inside, yeah? I'm not interested in the survival of any particular genre/subgenre/mode/whatever. I've always liked stuff on the outside and that's not about to change.
Okay, well yeah, that's me not talking process. Whoops. I really did intend this to be a much more product-reinforcing post. I've got to work on this some.
As for MY DROWNING CHORUS and what it's about? It's about climbing out of the hole, and how the hole that you dug might have been one you made yourself in the first place. It's about time and water, eating your way through Los Angeles, teenage mixtapes and what you need when you hit rock bottom then keep digging.
Gotta keep working, right? Next book up is GLASS WOLVES, which is the third in the HAZELAND series, and will again center on Cait MacReady. It's about the borders between wilderness and civilization, time as a slow liquid and predator/prey.
After that is my gothic space fantasy VOIDMAW, which is a big departure from everything else I've ever written and I wonder if I can make my voice work with that. Should be interesting.