This is turning out to be an exciting year, and I haven’t had a chance to catch you up on all that’s going on lately. It seems like it’s all happening quickly, but for those of you who’ve been with me since the beginning, know that I have been working on becoming a writer for nearly a decade.

Starting the Writers Mastermind has changed the game for me. We meet for Zoom write-ins several times a week, where members from all over the world write together for an hour and then have a chat.

An hour here and there doesn’t seem like much, but consistency trumps the occasional 12-hour writing binge. I host these meetings for my members, but it turns out I need them more than they do!

Now I’ve begun to reap the benefits of committing to my writing no matter what is going on. There is something about working with a group that keeps you in line. I can invent a million excuses not to show up to write for myself, but I’m not going to let my friends down.

Our ranks are growing—representing Panama, USA, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Lebanon, Democratic Republic of Congo, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few … Thank you to all our members!

So here is the big news…

Chiral Mad 5

In case you missed it on social media, my story, Observer Dependent Universe, will be appearing in the upcoming Chiral Mad 5 anthology, edited by Michael Bailey from Written Backwards. This is an anthology of speculative fiction with all proceeds going to the Black Lives Matter movement.

It’s my first foray into sci-fi that I wrote for Richard Thomas‘s Advanced Creative Writing Workshop last year during my 8-month long exile in the US. At that time, I didn’t know when or if I’d ever get home, and I wrote it from the gut.

The story is about the pain of separation and the realization that it is an illusion. Thanks to Richard Thomas, everyone in ACWW, and Joseph Sale for helping me with that story.

Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas

Thanks again to Richard Thomas for alerting me to this call that was specifically for stories set in South America. After living in Panama and traveling South America for so many years, I jumped on this call with a new story called Blood Sisters. It gave me the chance to pay tribute to the implacable, choking beauty of the cloud forest through a tale of toxic friendship.

Are magical spells and curses mysterious hidden powers, understood and wielded by few? Or are they merely suggestions that our unconscious manifests for us? That is an essay for another time. This anthology is scheduled to come out in November from Hex Publishers (who are a delight to work with).

I believe artwork will accompany each story in both anthologies. So exciting!

Now a member of HWA!

Breaking into the professionally paid short story market has qualified me to join as an active member of the Horror Writers Association. HWA is an organization that includes the best authors in dark fiction and sponsors the annual Bram Stoker Awards.

Becoming a member is a huge milestone for a dark fiction writer. Suddenly, I’m among big names I’ve been admiring for years. I still don’t quite believe it.

What happened to Popsicle?

Popsicle is still on the way. Bloodshot Books was hit hard last year by COVID and other circumstances, but the show will go on, and I will keep you all posted on when it’s in the final stages of development.

Oblivion Black (The Sculptor Part 1) in final stages

Oblivion Black has been fully edited by Candace Johnson and proofread by my sister, Gina. I’m keeping my fingers crossed on a few agents and publishers (please wish me luck!). But if I don’t hear anything by the end of the year, I am prepared to move forward and self-publish. I actually like the idea of going it alone because I will have full control of the outcome. It is a book about the purity of art, and it would be fitting to present a work of art that is 100% my own.

The sequel is right behind!

The follow up to Oblivion Black is bursting from my fingertips. Now that Book 1 is in its final stages, I can incorporate the wise suggestions from my brilliant developmental editor, Joseph Sale. After so many years of avoiding this story, the deeper meaning is crystalizing.

It is the darkest book by far, and maybe that’s why I didn’t want to go back. But I’m ready to face it now and characters are revealing all their beautiful and depraved secrets. A hybrid of sensual urban gothic and a crime fiction, it navigates the murky areas between crime and society, death and self-destruction, physical and spiritual needs.

This used the be my least liked book in the series. Now, it’s becoming my favorite. It just goes to show you (writers), don’t ever throw anything away.

Thanks to you all for supporting my author journey

I can’t wait to share my new and new/old stories with you. Many of you have been beta readers and feedback partners, and I am so grateful for your help.

Now that I all the updates are out of the way, I plan to return this blog/newsletter to its original format when it began as My Sweet Delirium way back in 2014. Look forward to new essays, anecdotes, and art.