How “Cornelius” Came to Be

A big piece of the writing biz is networking, which is ironic since most writers tend to be introverts stuck  indoors and chained to their desks.  But the truth is that you just never know where your next opportunity might come from.

So, one morning I’m at my day job when a FB message pops up.  It’s from a guy I’d never heard of, Anton T. Russell, and he says he found me through a friend of a friend on FB.  We exchange a few phrases, and it turns out he’s not only a writer but involved with a small publishing enterprise that has designs on taking over the world.

Later that day we chat at length about what they’re doing and what I do.  Turns out that there’s some quid-pro-quo to be had.  He puts me in contact with the owner/editor of 7DS BooksMichelle Anderson-Picarella and she asks to read some of my stuff.  I was delighted to find out that she really enjoyed it.  We get to talking about their previous projects and some that are coming up, and she asks if I’d be interested in writing a ghost story for one of their upcoming anthologies.  I’m a writer, so I say, “Hell YES.”

About a week later, I get a message from Michelle.  She’s in trouble and needs a hero.  Not one to turn down a damsel in distress, I ask her what she needs.  She needs a 7k story and she needs it fast.  I gulp.  I’m thinking she needs it in a couple of days.

“How long do I have?” I ask.

“Two weeks.”  I can feel the trepidation in the text.  Yes, this was a FB chat.

“Easy peasy,” I reply.  “What’s the theme?”

“The seven dwarfs from ‘you know where,’ featuring that happy-g0-lucky brunette, without mentioning that they’re from ‘you know where.’  And you need to get into the seedy origins of the dwarf I give you.”

I’m in, I think.

TheBeginningOfMyLife-SmallerVersion“Sounds like a blast!”  So I got the details and decided to go a little noir, a little “LA Confidential” and a whole lotta drugs.  Thus was “Cornelius” born.  This was the first time I’d had such a tight deadline on such an unusual theme, but I’m happy to say I think the story turned out pretty well.  Thankfully, Michelle thought so too, and it ended up in the anthology without any back-and-forth revisions.

As of this post, I haven’t read the anthology yet–or even my own story in it’s final form–but it’s on my list of things I need to do.  I’ll get to it, probably this weekend.  I’m hoping you do to.  You can find the anthology in digital format on Amazon, and we’re promoting the  hell out of it.  Last I heard, we were moving rather quickly up the rankings at Amazon, and I’m pretty pleased with the results so far.

The moral of this little tale is that if you’re writing, you need to connect and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves.  You never know which bit of prose might get you struck by lightening, and the more bits you have stuck out there, the greater the likelihood is that lightning will strike.


P.S.  I still get to write the ghost story, and for that one I’m working out a Chicago-style Steampunk Irish Detective story.  I can’t wait to crank that one out.


One thought on “How “Cornelius” Came to Be

  1. You did come in with full cape and tights- at least, this is how I picture it. I will admit, I was a nail-biting wreck. It was pathetic. Then, I started reading this story; This story that I gulped as I opened the document because, realistically, it was a very odd request. Like pixie dust, I was hooked. THIS! This was it. A completely masterful twisted tale to fit the missing piece of this collection. I have a rather cheesy smile as I even type this comment because I was like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory learning all of these dwarfs. I have never wanted to be in a bar full of dwarfs so much in my life. I cannot wait for the ghost story. Thank you. It is an honor to have you in the 7DS family. May the networking force be with you.

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