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SEPTEMBER 28, 2001:
October should be very interesting, as I have a handful of stories scheduled to make appearances during the month. October, of course, is a time of long nights and Halloween, pumpkins and shadows. Since "they" are making me into a horror writer, it's only natural that I should be most visible when the leaves change.

Though I have managed to get a few projects done, I'm disappointed in my productivity so far this year. I have two screenplays to market, but I've neglected a novel rewrite in favor of the current work in progress. And though I've recently finished some short stories and articles, I had hoped to already be working on my next novel by now. Ah well, I'm working steadily, and if it doesn't get done, it will have to wait its turn.

I just received my membership papers from the Mystery Writers of America. I'm not sure what I'm doing in there, but it makes about as much sense as belonging to the Horror Writers Association.

SEPTEMBER 20, 2001:
I'm evolving this weird writing style that is very dense. I'm interested in how editors and readers respond. Hopefully, it's not too "artistic." I see it instead as telling the stories as simply and straightforwardly as possible.

The novel "Deadscape" broke through and is now heading downhill. Should get the first draft finished by November. I'm also preparing for a writing workshop I'm conducting at a local college. The title is "What Happens Next?" and will focus primarily on story-building, one of my favorite topics.

SEPTEMBER 13, 2001:
This has been a weird week for everyone, a turning point, fraught with complications and worries and a time for reflection. Our little problems seem so insignificant now, our complaints about the daily grind nearly laughable. Cherish the people in your life. Build instead of destroy. And keep living.

The first draft of the "Creep" screenplay is complete. The screenplay "An Appalachian Haunting" is at Scriptshark where it will be reviewed by an industry reader and perhaps recommended, perhaps not.

Sold the story "In the Family" to the mystery magazine Over My Dead Body! Brainbox, originally released as an e-book containing my story "Narrow Is The Way," has now been published in trade paperback. Just finished an article on spec for the next Writers of the Future anthology entitled "On Becoming A Writer of the Present."

What I'm reading: "Burglars Can't Be Choosers" by Lawrence Block.

SEPTEMBER 8, 2001:
You know what's great about September? The first blush of red in the leaves, the soft sweetness of decay as the tree sugar breaks down, the turning of green to the vastly wider array of colors that van Gogh knew all about-- yellow, brown, and the deep dark blue of the late sky.

Brown is usually synonymous with "plain," but more shades of brown exist in the world than of any other color. Brown is beautiful.

What I'm reading: "The Walking" by Bentley Little; "Zombie" by Joyce Carol Oates; "The Songcatcher" by Sharyn McCrumb; "Fantastic Voyage: Microcosm" by Kevin J. Anderson.

SEPTEMBER 3, 2001:
Just returned from DragonCon in Atlanta, a broad collection of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and tech junkies from around the world. Everything from gothic princesses to Klingons to Star Wars storm troopers to the occasional naked person. I got to talk to writer John Shirley while we sat together at a signing, heard Harlan Ellison speak, met writers Craig Spector, Mehitobel Wilson, and my friends D.G.K. Goldberg and Robin Spriggs, Fred Grimm who directed the Fantasm party, and saw glimpses of other celebrities such as Elvira and the guy who played C3PO. (He charged $25 for autographs, whatever his name is, so I guess there's a lesson in here for all who are seeking career guidance. The writers still have to beg people to accept their signatures.)

I met a really great writer online a couple of weeks ago, Harry Shannon. We are represented by the same agency and he's also in the first stages of building a career. This should be a busy week as I have an article to write for the next Writers of the Future anthology, my next Virgin in the Church column, a couple of stories for anthologies I hope to be in, and wrapping up the first draft of the "Creep" screenplay. Oh, yes, and there's the day job, too.

AUGUST 22, 2001:
Today I sent off publicity packets to Kensington Books. I talked to my editor last week and learned a little about the timeline for the book. The cover should be done by December, with orders being solicited from bookstores in February. That means those three months will be a time of heavy work mailing promo material to bookstores. Oh joy!

My agent feels my second novel "Creep" is "do-able." I have a really good agent, most importantly because when I talk to him, I never feel like he's got more important things to do or bigger fish to fry. I think it's going to be a good long-term relationship. All I have to do is keep writing and sending him stuff to sell.

I'm now confirmed as a guest for DragonCon, with my room reservations in place. So if you're in Atlanta between August 31st and September 3rd, drop by the South's weirdest annual fan convention at the downtown Marriott. Scotty is the guest of Honor, and 20,000 people will be running around in Spock ears, fig leaves, and vampire chic (though hopefully not all at once).

My first publication in French will be out in November, in Tenebres, France's only professional horror magazine. My story collection will also be reviewed, which is weird, since the book is in English only.

AUGUST 15, 2001:
Got a cover blurb for "The Red Church" from author Sharyn McCrumb, quite elegantly and beautifully put:

“In a literary and a geographic sense, Scott Nicholson explores the dark legends of the southern end of the Appalachian mountain chain, a nightmare country that ends in Stephen King’s yard. A wonderful storyteller, he is at the top of his game in The Red Church.”

However, the editor needs something shorter to fit it on the front cover, so we must chop unmercifully. Axes and knives are drawn.

The first draft of the "Creep" screenplay is nearly done. Unfortunately, it looks like a couple of major things need to be changed to keep the action moving. What looked good on paper doesn't play so well when it has to keep an audience's eyes glued to the screen. That's okay; it's not like my life has anything else in it but the rewrites.

AUGUST 7, 2001:
Still awaiting word on the book contract for "The Red Church" and hoping the delay will not push back next June's publication date. It seems that Kensington's staff all take their vacations in July, and that's not good when lining up publicity material for book signings. Though I'll be doing most of the promotion myself, it's always nice to have some support a phone call away.

Deadscape is bumbling forward, a far different experience from my other novels, where I breezed through and then took a long look back. I hope the slow progression will pay off by making it my best novel yet. I don't know, it's still hard to get a bead on it when it's so close to me every day. In the meantime, I've been thinking a lot about my next two projects, which will hopefully limit my mistakes on those.

I still haven't been confirmed as a guest for DragonCon, and now I'm thinking I should skip it and use the money to go to Memphis for the Southeastern Booksellers Association convention. If I have enough material on "The Red Church," I can corner a whole lot of bookstore owners and distributors at the same event and do some personal promotion. Ah, the limits imposed by having a budget.

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