First of all, I’m still riding the high from winning the Golden Pen Award for Writers of the Future. Every time I walk through our living room and see the trophies I get a charge–and reading Amazon or Goodreads reviews of the anthology and seeing that my story seems to be connecting with people is an incredible delight. I hope I NEVER get tired of it. Here’s my favorite thing ever, from a Facebook post about my award-winning story, “Acquisition”, by author Philip Fracassi:
Jake’s story is tightly-written true horror with a pulsing vein of emotion running throughout, accompanied by a unique voice that’s quite dark when it puts its mind to it. We’ll be hearing much more from Mr. Marley in the future.
You know what’s really weird? How even the less positive (and downright negative) reviews about my story only delight me. It’s the reactions, one way or another, that I’m enjoying. I’m not writing in a bubble. My stories are being read. It’s a trip.
I’ve had a few more articles up on This Is Horror since my last State of Jake, as well as a few more book reviews. I went to StokerCon and had an INCREDIBLE TIME! (Read about it HERE). And RESIST AND REFUSE #1 is still available for pre-order:
My SECOND PUBLISHED SHORT STORY (YAY!) “The Fifth Chamber” will be in this one, and I couldn’t be prouder. The main purpose of the ‘zine is to raise money for non-profits to support the people who’ve been spectacularly and horrifically screwed over the past few months. It’s the very least I can do, and if it sounds like something you want to support, give it a read!
My biggest news is probably that I’m only two scenes away from finishing the first draft of a novel set in the same world as “Acquisition.” It’s been a whole lot of fun, and though I’ve written novels in the past, this is the first one where I’ve come to it armed with the insight and information given to me by the judges and past winners of Writers of the Future. I learned SO MUCH from that experience (and I’m writing about it here now and then) that actually putting it into practice is a daily delight.
Here’s the most important thing this experience has taught me: Writing doesn’t have to be a struggle. What if we only think writing is hard because we were TAUGHT to think writing is hard? I’ve given myself permission to write a bad first draft. I’m not allowed to fall into my old bad habits or writing traps, not allowed to go back and rework the first few chapters two, three, a dozen times. I started at Chapter One and I’m going until I type THE END.
Here’s some fun facts: I’m not writing every chapter linearly. At least six or seven chapters, so far, have been written out of order. If I really, really want to write the kidnapping scene but I’m way back there at the funeral, then I end up starting new chapters, writing a sentence or paragraph as place holders, just to keep the thread of the story, then I jump to the next chapter. I do this again and again until the chapter grabs me and I write the whole thing. When the new stuff isn’t calling to me, I go back and see if I can fill out those skipped chapters (which is actually easier now that I can foreshadow events in upcoming chapters!) It’s madness, but I love it.
Only two scenes left! As a reward for finishing up early, I’ll be starting a LitReactor class with one of my favorite writers, Gemma Files, all about tipping horror tropes on their heads and creating new monsters! How cool is THAT?! If you’re curious about it, here’s a LINK!
I’ll be at NecronomiCon Providence in August! I’m going to hang with my Weird Fiction pals and meet some of the brilliant and inspiring East Coast authors I’ve been reading over the past few years. This community is full of amazing talent, and amazing heart, and they’ve been so welcoming to me, not only as a reader but as a growing writer. I’ve only met a few of them in person so far, but I look forward to meeting many more!
Plus, this year NecronomiCon Providence has some BAD ASS GUESTS OF HONOR! I’ve been lucky enough to meet three of the GoH already this year (Ellen Datlow, Nnedi Okorafor, and Stephen Graham Jones) and I was able to tell all three of them how important their work has been to me. I’m going to shamelessly tell them again in August, too!
As always, you can contact me about whatever pretty much any time of day. I’m on Facebook, and Twitter ( @JakeofEarth2 ) or you can comment below. Questions or curiosities, hit me with whatever!
Love to you all!