I’ve always been embarrassed by even the thought of “celebrating” my own writing. A couple of years ago I was in a writing group where a guy busted my chops because he’d found out from someone else that I’d been a finalist in the Colorado Gold contest… eight months after we’d met. I’d just never really mentioned it to anyone… or at least not that many.
When he called me on it, I shuffled my feet and mumbled something about there not being many submissions in that category, and hell, I was just a finalist. It’s not like I won or anything.
I suspect I may always feel that way about my writing. I love doing it, and I like to think I’m not a complete hack, but there are so many talented writers you can spend your time with, that I find it nearly impossible to talk about my own stuff when I know what’s out there.
This Wednesday is a good example, but I’m trying to step out of my own particular little box with this post. We’re having a book signing for the latest in the PDT series. The signing has been presented and promoted as a celebration of Penny Dread Tales IV – Perfidious and Paranormal Punkery of Steam. And more importantly, it’s a celebration of all the contributors (including the cover artist) who made it one of the best Penny Dreads to date.
Coincidentally (there I go again), I’m also debuting Out Through the Attic, my first short story collection. In all honesty, if it was just that short story collection coming out, I probably wouldn’t have had a signing. It would have felt wayyy too weird doing it for that book all by itself.
I think this condition is fairly common amongst writers. People think writing is easy, but it’s not. And one of the hardest things writers do is deal with the fear of both doubt and ignominy. It’s especially hard with writers who are just crossing the threshold of having more and more people reading their stuff.
Sure, I’ve posted about the book release for both PDT IV and Out Through the Attic, but I did want to take a moment to focus on the latter. I really like the stories that are in it, and I’ve heard from those who have read it that they really like them too. I still read these stories, and some still make me cry or laugh or ponder the implications of whatever the tale might be about. But actually telling people that it’s worth their time and money? That’s hard. This really sank in at Denver Comic Con this weekend.
We had literally thousands of people walking by, and hundreds walking into our booth. So there I was, standing face to face with another human, and being obligated, essentially, to tell them that my stories are worth the investment they would make in order to read them. I had to steady my nerves with each and every person.
So, let me just say this: Out Through the Attic has some really good stories in it. I delve into an underwater take on the Underground Railroad. I explore new life within the solar system and what the future might be like with Santa clones. I give a gritty, noir rendition of one of the seven dwarves as well as a steampunk take on gunslingers. There are demons and pirates and mechs. I dig into the end of humanity and present a reckoning for the Grand Dragon of the KKK in 1925. There’s adventure and romance—victories and defeats. And from a genre perspective, it’s all over the board… but the stories themselves are worth reading.
So, here’s a shout-out for Out Through the Attic from 7DS books, and I hope we see you at the book signing this Wednesday night.