The cold weather is getting to me. I dream of moving to Indonesia, Bali, California, or Florida. The idea of a steaming sun-soaked place where I can pass my time in a t-shirt and ratty jeans, where I never have to bother with shoes much less a coat, feels like a dream. This winter has made it impossible to keep the cold out. Grade schools and universities have canceled their classes due to polar temperatures that barely lift above zero. In my office there are no air vents so even when the rest of the house is as warm as a blanket yanked from the dryer I work in a meat locker. I’ve done my best. Last week I cut the fingers out of a pair of wool gloves so that I could type without stopping to shove my hands back into my pockets long enough to get the sensation back in my fingers. As I write this now an ice storm pelts the ground outside in between snow showers. I’m Bob Crachit with no furnace, but I’m moving ahead.
Despite the cold, January started my year off on a high note. My short story collection Romance for Delinquents came out in addition to a great video trailer for it. I appreciate Foxhead Books for believing in my work, and all kindness of my fellow authors who took the time to offer blurbs. My book was the focus of Episode 52 of the Book Fight! podcast, and I also got word that it will be the May selection for The Next Best Book Club on Goodreads. I’m excited to discussing my work with readers when the sun comes back again.
This month I was interviewed by the Speaking of Marvels about my chapbook Bad Kids from Good Schools, and had a great time sharing my thoughts on composing a chapbook as well as my experience judging last year’s fiction and CNF/mixed-media contest for Winged City Press.
Lastly I was deeply honored to be nominated for an Individual Excellence Award by the Ohio Arts Council. While I won’t find out if my nomination goes through until April things look good, and I’m humbled to have my work chosen by the judges: Kristen Gentry, Michael Martone, and Anne Sanow. My entry for the grant was the second chapter to my YA novel The Dream Academy which is currently being shopped around. Keep your fingers crossed, frozen or otherwise, that it finds a home soon.
Now that February is here the majority of my time outside of family and teaching will be devoted to completing my new novel. If there’s a benefit to bad weather it’s that it narrows your options by cutting away any chance to be distracted by a warm summer day.
Other than working on the new novel I’ve got more interviews coming to support my story collection, a novella out this May from Artistically Declined Press, and readings to set up. I’m chilled in my basement room, but I can still hustle. Summer will come again.
Terrific blog, Mike. Even under these arctic conditions, your output of terrific work is fabulous. 2014 is starting out with a bang! Keep going, my friend. The grand thaw is coming.