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Archives: Spring 1999

Here we are, older and wiser and a little bit more ornery. In my last update, I was talking about all the great things happening in my writing life. At this juncture on the highway to bestsellerdom, I've pulled over to the side of the road to change a flat.

Don't get me wrong. I'm working steadily, though not quite at the fever pitch that I like. I got a raise and additional responsibility at the day job, and now I have a convenient excuse to write less. And that scares me more than anything in the world, so much that I almost said "Not interested" to the boss, who is a wonderful guy and would completely understand. But money is money and excuses are excuses.

In the bad news, I'm in a dry spell for story acceptances, though I feel some of my best work is out there circulating. A year or two ago, I had 20 to 30 stories out at a time, so I got a rejection every other day. Since then, I've sold some, pulled some embarrassing stuff that wasn't worth postage, and concentrated more on finishing my new novel, THE RED CHURCH. I'm already starting to send out queries for it, and I'm hoping this will be the one. Of course, I said that three novel manuscripts ago!

In other dismalities, I got my first bad review, for one of the first stories I wrote. I won't say which or by whom, but if you derive glee from others' misery, you can probably track it down. The worst part is I agree with this critic. And guess what: I burned for three seconds, then smiled. I had hobbled through another gauntlet, had been laid open on the altar before the Muses, had suffered a bloody rite of passage. Then the review was behind me, and it made me stronger and more determined than ever.

Okay, with me wallowing so joyfully in my self-pity, I almost forgot all the good news. I met with Parkway Publishers and we have a handshake deal on releasing my story collection next year, either in summer or Christmas 2000. It is tentatively entitled THANK YOU FOR THE FLOWERS, and the publisher is letting me choose the cover design. I've met a new artist whose work I admire, and a guy at work is going to help me with layout and design. More details as they come.

I also got a couple of award thingies. I placed as First Runner-Up for the Darrell Award, which is given for the best Mid-South short story. The story is "Haunted" in MORE MONSTERS FROM MEMPHIS. The same story also received an Honorable Mention for Ellen Datlow's YEAR'S BEST FANTASY & HORROR, which is a major feather in the cap. That story got several glowing reviews, and has drawn so many different reactions that I must have done something right, even if I had no idea what I was doing.

Tune in for the next Scottstuff, when I will have an article entitled "Awards, Reviews, And Other Things That Don't Matter." Also, if you want to sign up for the Scottstuff newsletter, drop me an e-mail. It will be going out every three to six months, with articles by my writer friends, interviews, and of course, more about what I'm up to and how wonderful I am, that sort of thing. I promise not to pass along your eddress, this isn't a spam deal. Just something to give away so that I have another excuse to stare at my computer.
Until next time, be faithful to the things that require faith.

-Copyright 1999 by Scott Nicholson

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