Friday, March 14, 2014

How I Spent My Winter Stay-cation

(reading from "The Moths")
What a difference a year and 150 miles make!  Winter in our new home realm North of the Notches redefined the season in late 2013, early '14.  Nights got cool late last August.  By early October, we had the house buttoned up and were running the heat.  By Thanksgiving, temperatures dipped well below zero, and pretty much that's where they have stayed.  On this very morning, we woke and glanced out the kitchen window at the thermometer bolted to the sill -- a frequent routine -- to see that, one week before the official start of spring, the day began at minus ten degrees below zero. It's been a long, cold six months.

And, I must say, a productive six months, too!

A friend in my amazing weekly writers' group (which will soon celebrate it's one-year anniversary) told me that up here, certain people have a tendency to spend the winter staying warm on idle gossip. Given some of the behavior I witnessed soon after landing in town last March, I don't refute the claim.  In fact, I was determined to do the opposite -- and to enjoy my winter producing copy, completing projects, and getting that all-important cleansing breath as a new year welcomed me and Muse to the potential contained within twelve whole fresh months of creativity.

(An early December snowstorm, through the sun porch windows)
The first significant snow fell here in November, signalling, in my mind, the start of winter. White blanketed distant Goose Eye Mountain, visible from several of our upstairs windows, covering up the big stone pattern from which it was named. In early November, I edited and formatted a collection of short fiction devoted to one of my favorite tropes -- Canopic Jars: Tales of Mummies and Mummification.  Soon after, the book debuted to wonderful reviews and reader reception, and was the star of the party at 2013's Anthocon. A week following the release, I put pen to page and began work on a hardboiled detective novel.  By December 22, it was done, edited, and submitted to my German publisher.  I've been told it's in 'serious consideration for publication' as of the last update.

On the first day of the new year, following a wonderful writers' group dinner soiree and reading at the home of one of our good new friends, Irene, I penned a little flash fiction story called "Terrarium" that has yet to go out the door, but soon will.  Another ten short stories and one novella have since gotten their first draft endings. I've had an equal number of stories bring home publishing contracts, including "Every Seven Years, Give or Take", a tale based upon a terrifying dream about several survivors in the Pacific Northwest locked inside a house, hiding from dangers outside.  The story is set to appear in May in the print anthology Enter at Your Own Risk: The End is the Beginning, which will also contain (in addition to a stellar lineup of contemporary talents) reprints by Poe, Lovecraft, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the Mary Shelley.  Talk about being in great company!

(the backyard blanketed in December white)
On January 12, I was asked to read from my combat science fiction short story, "The Moths", which appeared in the beautiful Live Free or Sci Fi, the third in a series of pulp fiction anthologies all set or centered around my home state. The reading, held in Littleton, New Hampshire at the lovely The Village Bookstore on a brisk, gray Sunday, was well- attended, and culminated with several members of my writers' group and I having dinner with the book's editor, Rick Broussard.  Rick also edits New Hampshire Magazine in addition to this series of beautiful books.

In late February, I attended a wonderful writers' retreat.  A week earlier, I was approached by a filmmaker who had seen the segment on my career last summer on TV's New Hampshire Chronicle. He then hired me to write a screenplay based upon his original idea and, in very short time, I'd completed a full draft of the script. Casting for this very creepy feature commenced earlier this very week, and filming is scheduled to begin in early May.  Given our excellent working relationship, there's talk of another script -- perhaps even a creature-feature-style anthology based upon a handful of my short stories, including "Mummy Chips", my tale from Canopic Jars, which has been discussed.

The days ahead will tell on that proposed idea, and others presently in the works.  I just hope there's considerably more warmth in the forecast.


  1. I am so proud to know you, Greg. You are such an upbeat guy.

    1. Thanks, fab Ms. Dale -- right back atcha (upbeat gal, though!)