So, basically, they like to play with genres…and elicit story from those who do not always feel comfortable or at home in the genre being explored. The upcoming ALLUCINOR anthology (the second anthology from ID PRESS) is all about ROMANCE. And, yes, I have a short story in this antho. I’m very proud to have a story in this book. Why? Because it was hella hard to write it. I kept giving up and returning to the drawing board, actually. Then, at the 11th hour, I said, “ENOUGH!” I knew if I wanted a story in this book, I needed to step completely outside my comfort zone…but also NOT THINK ABOUT WHAT I WAS DOING. I kept thinking, ‘I can’t write romance, I can’t write romance” without even thinking about the goal. It was a block for me. So just before figurative (and almost literal) midnight on the submission date, I let all the baggage of genre slip away and I got down to writing. I’m so happy I persevered. Today, as I look at the beautiful cover for this anthology, I’m so pleased to be a small part of it.
On the heels of another short story acceptance from ID Press, I recently reflected on how difficult it is to write in a genre that is new to me and outside my zone of comfort. The whole idea of this boutique/micro press is to explore genre…and have submissions from writers who are exploring genres which are new to them. They get their contributors to break down walls and push at the barriers of their genres of choice. I believe ID is perchance making me a better writer.
But I have been kicking and screaming every step of the way. Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light has become Do not go gentle into that new you, Old genres should burn and rave at close of page; Rage, rage against the leaving of the safe. Or something like that.
ID Press’s first anthology was all about HORROR…and the stories in it were written by those who don’t normally write it. I was thrilled to have a short story in PURGATORIUM. I waited to hear what ID Press would come up with next. And then it was announced. ROMANCE.
My first thought was, ‘Well, that’s a HORROR!”
We all have a genre or two of choice, both as readers and as writers. Some shy away from certain genres because they think they’re feeble, or silly, or too incomprehensible, or too complicated or shallow or fantastical for them. There’s really no explanation for taste. We read what we like because we like it. We write what we write because we like it. It’s pretty much as simple as that.
It’s when we are pushed beyond these boxes which we put ourselves into that the fun begins. Or horror. Or fear. Or personal expectations of failure.
I was given the genre and a deadline. And boy howdy, did I write! One thing after another. Full stories, partial stories, first lines, last lines, tidbits, thoughts, ideas, etc, etc, etc. I wrote so much. And then I gave up. My hope to finish a story by the submission deadline evaporated. There were a couple of days left and I still had nothing. Everything I attempted missed the mark. And not just missed it…I knew each time from the first word on that what I was writing was not going to be enough.
I gave up.
And then I kept thinking of those ‘sis-boom-bah’ emails I was receiving along the way, from Tobin Elliott of ID PRESS. They were little reminders of the looming deadline that served as little jagged knife wounds to the frustrated writer in me. JAB JAB JAB—2 months to deadline! POKE POKE POKE—Just 1 month left to go!
Once I gave up I began to see those emails as something softer than the harsh pokes and jabs I had originally taken them to be. I felt like they may have been badges of honour, instead. ID PRESS wanted me. I was on their radar and they invited me to submit a short story to them. How often does that happen? How often does a writer have that kind of an opportunity?
There was a day or two left to go. What could it hurt to give it one last go? I enjoyed my previous experience with this press. I wanted in. I tried to ignore my 32 previous goes at the genre. I tried not to say, I HATE ROMANCE! I mean, seriously, who can hate romance?
I released all expectation to the wind. And I hopped on a bus with a sketchpad and sat behind a girl. It was a cross-town bus.
My short story, originally over-titled as The Half-Drawn Girl on the Crosstown Bus, but which has now become The Half-Drawn Girl, will appear in ID PRESS‘s 2nd anthology of short stories—Allucinor – An Element of Romance.
What I struggled with for months came sliding onto the page almost the moment I stopped trying, worrying, second-guessing, over-thinking, questioning, fighting, genre-bashing, genre-shaming, panicking, etc.
If you write short stories, do yourself a favour. Give a new-to-you genre a spin. Just close your eyes and jump into it. Don’t overthink it. Don’t fight against the chosen genre because of your past experiences with it, or because you have biases against it. Change is growth, even in genre-writing.
This is a thank you note of sorts, because I love that I was pushed to the brink of I CANNOT DO THIS! by Tobin Elliott and the rest of the folks at ID PRESS. They helped me to grow as a writer…to push beyond my perceived abilities and look beyond genre. I look forward to seeing this anthology in the flesh. All the little worlds it will hold…a new one with each and every short story contained within its covers. Anthologies are magical that way, aren’t they. So many different trails to wander.
Thank you, ID PRESS. I needed the push onto that bus.
If you happened to miss ID PRESS PUBLISHING’S book launch this past Sunday for the horror anthology PURGATORIUM, you can still pick up a copy at AMAZON and KOBO!
It was standing room only at Copper Branch in Brooklin, Ontario on Sunday, January 21st, for the launch of Purgatorium. Several of the contributors, myself included, read excerpts from our anthologized Purgatorium stories. I think it’s safe to say that fun was had by all. Many books were sold and signed, many lively conversations took place, announcements were made…things are coming up roses for ID PRESS. I’m thrilled to have been included in their inaugural anthology and look forward to their future projects!
As far as the venue goes, I eagerly anticipated Copper Branch for quite a while now…after seeing several of my friends Instagram and Facebook their Copper Branch meals. I was NOT disappointed. What a fabulous place. I LOVED their General Copper Power Bowl so much, I’d make the trip back to Brooklin just to have it again. Whether or not you’re vegetarian, you will LOVE this dish. I couldn’t believe it wasn’t chicken…I don’t know how they did it. Such a great meal! And try the shakes…also delicious.
They were lovely hosts for the book launch. You’d be surprised how unruly a handful of horror writers and their entourage can get! The restaurant staff took it all in stride. They were most gracious hosts for the wonderful event. I would recommend them to anyone.
Here’s where you can pick up your own copy of PURGATORIUM, should you wish to do so:
And if you choose to do so, I’m sure the folks at ID PRESS would appreciate a review of their anthology on GOODREADS. The very best way to thank an author is to post a review of their work.
NOW, WHAT’S THIS ABOUT 100 DAYS?
That is the amount of days left to the countdown to my SELF-GUIDED NOVEL WRITING MARATHON in BRUSSELS, BELGIUM. I’m trying something different this year. Instead of participating in the 72-hour Muskoka Novel Marathon in Huntsville, Ontario in July, I’m attempting a one-week novel marathon in Brussels ALL BY MYSELF in May. Yes, I will check out some of the attractions the city has to offer. And, yes, I will be taking a one-day walking tour of BRUGES. But I am determined to marathon at least one full novel, and hopefully complete one or two of the ones I currently have as works in progress. We shall see how diligent I can be in a foreign country. BIC (Bum In Chair) is the goal, as it always is at novel writing marathons. I will try to find a balance between touring the city and locking myself away for hours at a time to write. When I set my mind to something, I usually find a way to reach my goal. I am determined to make this work. I can’t wait for May to come, now! Only 100 more days to go…tick, tick, tick…
I will definitely miss the MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON come July, but I felt I needed a bit of out-of-the-box thinking this year, and maybe some soul-searching where my writing life is concerned. I feel like this is an important investment to make in my writing career at this juncture—TIME—with the added creative spark of being in a new place. I wish the 2017 MNM marathoners luck in their writing and luck in their fundraising. In 2016, we raised $36,000.00…which is quite an amazing feat! All funds go to the literacy programs of YMCA Simcoe County/Muskoka. Such a noble cause. Everybody deserves to be able to read. Please consider sponsoring one of the marathoners this coming year…I know I will!
The Horror Anthology Purgatorium will officially launch on Sunday January 22nd, 2017! And ALL are invited to attend. The launch will take place at COPPER BRANCH in Brooklin, Ontario…just northeast of Toronto.
A few of the contributors to the horror collection, myself included, will be on hand at the launch to read from our short stories. You can pick up signed copies of the book and meet the authors. And while you’re there, you can pick up something to eat! I’ve heard some pretty amazing things about Copper Branch and I’m excited to try their menu.
Come out to Copper Branch on Sunday January 22nd from 2:00pm to 4:00pm to listen to some chilling words, pick up a collection of chilling words and treat yourself to a healthy meal in the process. Sounds like a great afternoon to me!