Category Archives: Alice on the Shelf
It’s 8:56 PM as I write these words. At this time next week, I will be tired after having gone to work for the first time since mid-June. I’m depressed. Now before you give me the Well, I work all year round, get two vacations, and have to work on weekends speech, please rest assured, I know this. I used to, too. My wife has to work like this, and she reminds me of this whenever I kvetch too much or too loudly.* As she should. But here’s the thing about teaching, the 7:30-3:00 day (which is really more like 7:15-3:15, or 4) isn’t the only thing required.
If I can, I try to get all my grading (I hate the term correcting, but I’m not a math teacher, either, so…) done during the school day so I don’t have to take anything home. Luckily, with what I teach, I can do this more often than not. It’s about time management and finding opportunities when they arise. Kind of like writing when you have a full-time job and a family. Still, I do occasionally have to bring work home. Hours of work.
Then there’s the planning. I haven’t been back to work since June. I will go in this week to get my room prepared and to get some supplies I need for my first day. Because I teach freshman, there is more stuff I have to do on Monday than many of my colleagues, who will be setting up their classrooms that day. I haven’t actually even opened any files that are work-related. To the untrained civilian eye, I have done nothing for my job since mid-June.
I’ve been thinking. See, teaching is an art, or a craft, like writing. My life as a writer as helped me be a teacher as much as being a parent has helped me be a teacher (maybe someday I’ll tell you how being a teacher has helped me be a parent). So when I’m sitting at my desk, or on the couch, or at the table, or in the car, and it looks like I’m doing nothing, my mind is going. Racing, really. Sometimes it’s in Writer Mode, thinking about the current draft of the novel (almost done! Ayiiiiii!) but more and more frequently I’m thinking about work. Lesson plans. Ideas. Ways to present the information. Ways to present myself. Two weeks ago, my two-mile walks were mainly me thinking about the book or stories I want to write between drafts 2 and 3. Last week, my two-mile walks were split between writing and teaching, with teaching taking up more and more of my thoughts.
I’m about to start my 8th year as a teacher, and I’m revising in my mind. By the end of the weekend, I’ll begin writing notes. By Wednesday, my third day (and the school’s 2nd day), I’ll have a bunch of handwritten lesson plan notes that will eventually be typed up and submitted to my boss when the time comes. Some may tsk-tsk. You should have your lesson plans before you step foot in the classroom, they say. I do. I have last year’s. My springboard. It’s how I work and it works for me, so back off.
I love teaching, no doubt about it. But I love writing more, and I worry that my writing might stall as the Day Job takes up the mental and physical energy required to do it. I’ve known teachers who didn’t give it their all, who made their jobs easy. I sat in with an English teacher once who actually sat at their desk the entire class, every class. The kids were bored. Sure they learned something, maybe, but they didn’t have to think. Everything was fed to them. Everything. I knew a different teacher who taught straight from books and slept at their desk. Can you imagine that? Neither are in the profession anymore and I’m glad, because their students were at a disadvantage with them. I can’t do what they did. I can’t go the easier route so that I have more energy, more time. So I give it my all, teach my lessons like Robin Williams did stand-up comedy, or like Bruce Springsteen puts on a rock concert, and come home to be Daddy, and then Honeybun, and then…Bill Gauthier, writer of such books as Alice on the Shelf and stories such as “The Growth of Alan Ashley.”
And that’s the thing. This summer, I was a stay-at-home dad. From the time I woke up until the time G went to bed, I was Daddy. When Pamela got home from work, I was Daddy and Honeybun. When she went to bed, I allotted two hours for myself. From 9-10, I was Bill Gauthier, writer. From 10-11, I read. Sometimes I fuck around online, but more often than not, I read. I’m a slow reader and need all the help I can get.
About a month ago I wrote about not breaking the chain. I haven’t. This blog can be my X for tonight, though I still fully intend on working on the novel, too. Here is what the chain looks like now:
I’ve been busy, and the goal wasn’t just to not break the chain but to also get myself into the habit of using 9-10 for writing. I still have to get my Master’s degree, so this is going to be especially important. I know that once school starts back up, the chain will break. My goal is to postpone that from happening as long as I can (that said, my money is on next Monday night, Tuesday maybe). I don’t know if I’ll succeed, but by now, even when I don’t want to write, I find I’m able to manage something.
So if you know a teacher who’s about to go back to school, or has already gone back to school, don’t give them a hard time about going back when they complain about it. There’s no need to remind them about their vacations or holidays. Remember, I didn’t even mention how the kids’ lives seep into ours as we grow concerned because this one has that issue and that one needed to be brought down to guidance and that other one is failing even though they’re brilliant. I didn’t mention the silly politics or the things that don’t work that should work, or….
You get the idea.
I’ve inadvertently written 1,152 words. My intent was to write 500 or so. Oops.
* I love my wife more than anything else in the world, and am not trying to make her sound like a nagging wife. She puts up with my shit but she does not take it, if you get what I mean. Her reminders when I start complaining about having to go back to work aren’t meant to belittle my feelings, but rather to remind me that it could be worse. Just so you know.
My feelings on revising my work are the same feelings I have for cooking: I hate the idea of it, leading up to it, and actually beginning it, but once I start it I love it. When it’s my night to cook I loathe the idea of it. I’ll be here at my desk, or on the couch reading, or doing somedamnthing or another and want to do just about anything but cook. That involves planning, and messes, and work. But once I’ve set up my mise en place, once I have the ingredients in my hands and I’ve begun, I have a real enjoyable time. And when my wife and I (or my wife, my daughter, and I) sit down to eat, the enjoyment that is had from my cooking is like a drug, addicting. (Don’t tell my wife any of the stuff I just wrote, she’ll want me to cook all the time).
Revising my writing is the same thing. The novel that I’ve been working on for four years now has taken four years because it took me nearly a year-and-a-half to begin the revising process. Now, that will probably make you believe I am not acting professionally, but I wasn’t just sitting around watching dust gather on my 158,300 word (763 ms pages, Courier New font) manuscript. I was also:
- Getting used to being a teacher.
- Having to relocate abruptly thanks to the economy.
- Working on the pre-publication revisions for Alice on the Shelf.
- Writing, revising, and working on the pre-publication revisions of Shadowed.
- Writing and revising the novella I wrote that was spawned on by Shadowed.
- Going through time-consuming classes to renew my teaching license.
You get the idea. Maybe those are excuses, but they don’t feel like it to me. That explains the (so far) four-year process on this novel. But about a year-and-a-half of it was…well…I’d rather work on a novella than revise that monster, or I’d rather (fill in the blank) than revise that big fuckin’ novel. But alas, the time came and I began and…well…I love working on it.
It’s a monumental task. I decided that a semi-major character was going to be edited out. I decided that two minor characters would pick up some of the slack. I decided that certain plot points were really lame and the new ideas that came from nowhere seemed so much better. It’s like discovering a new spice that really makes the food taste that much better.
So the work continues. I’ve got a 39,000 word second draft (140 pages, Times New Roman font) and growing. And that’s where I am at this moment.
Oh, and those links to Alice on the Shelf and Shadowed above? Both of those books are available and have links on their respective pages for where you can buy them. Those sales make the revisions so much sweeter.
Everybody’s doin’ ’em. I’m not. I’ve had ups, I’ve had downs. You’ve had ups, you’ve had downs. If you’re visiting this site, you that I had two novellas published this year: Alice on the Shelf by Bad Moon Books in January, and Shadowed by Delirium Books in March. You’ve bought them and read them and enjoyed them, that’s why you’re here.
Unless that’s not why you’re here.
Maybe you found me via WordPress or another link and you liked it here, in which case, I urge you to click on those links I just provided and pick up a copy of my books. They’re available in that old tree pulp stuff–whatsitcalled?–paper, or as ebooks. Further links are provided to places where you can give your hard-earned money to this working writer.
Either way, I’m glad you’re here and reading this. Instead of looking back and all that, I want to say thank you. Thank you for reading and for responding. It’s been a strange, wonderful, frustrating year.
2012 will hopefully bring you and I together even more. I submitted a novella yesterday and we’ll see where that goes. If the publisher decides it’s not a right fit, then I’ll go elsewhere. Word is that some of my past will be coming back to light this year, more on that when I know more and the ink is dried.
In terms of writing, I have the novel Echoes on the Pond to finally finish up and submit, as well as another that I started writing a few months ago to also work on. I have a few novella ideas, and one that needs to be overhauled that I hope to finally get to. I’d like to write some more short fiction that is actually good, since that’s been a while. My wife and I have been talking about doing a blog together for a while and I think we finally found the right way to do it, so stay tuned for that. I also have some ideas for some nonfiction I’d like to do, though we’ll see. Perhaps a screenplay or comic script might actually be done this year. I promise, if you’re reading this and looking for more work from me, I’m doing my best. I have a lot of work to do for the day job, but with your support the writing work has an easier time getting done.
I’m hoping to attend NECON this year and actually stay, not let my social anxiety get the better of me like it did last time. I may try to do more of that sort of thing in general, if possible.
So basically, that’s that. Happy New Year, and I’ll see you around.
In my last post, I talked about doing the radio show Spooky Southcoast and how much fun it was, etc. & so on, (haven’t seen the video yet? Check it out, or listen to the broadcast by searching my name on iTunes). What I forgot to mention was how dumb I felt toward the end of the show.
The show broadcasts from 10 PM to midnight, Eastern, and I was very tired before going in. Toward the end of the show, I began to truly feel tired and was losing my train of thought. So when host Tim Weisberg asked me if there was anyone new out there in the world of horror, I couldn’t think of anything. I mentioned Joe Hill, who is great, and then I mumbled something about how more people should read Harlan Ellison, a classic but a great, and that was about it. I had wanted to mention John R. Little.
John has supported me a lot and I even looked down at my to-be-read pile and saw his collection Little Things before leaving for the show and made a mental note to mention him. Unfortunately, the mental note got lost amongst the other stuff tumbling around my brain. So, that said, check out John R. Little, a writer who I admire.
I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting even now, but….
Okay, so now the bookselling news. Yesterday, Horror Mall announced that they are no longer selling Bad Moon Books publications. Both companies have posts concerning the abrupt end but I choose not to talk about it here. Both companies are responsible for my two current novellas, so it would behoove me to not say a damn thing. Besides, I’m not entirely sure what’s going on and, as long as the checks for both novellas keep coming, I’m good.
So, for people who may have ordered Alice on the Shelf through Horror Mall, know that those orders will be filled, no sweat. For those who haven’t ordered the novella but are planning to, or if you are planning on ordering Alice on the Shelf for a friend, or if you are simply referring the novella to people, this is the place where you should send them now.
The ebook for Alice on the Shelf is also available everywhere ebooks are sold, but is also available through Crossroad Press.
That’s it for now. I have a bunch of editing to do and intend to get into it. Later.
Spring is here and here in Southeastern Massachusetts, this past week has been a picture of the new season. Temperatures have been in the high 30s and low 40s, and we even had a small snowstorm. Glorious, really. But true sunshine and warmth came this week with the announcement that my novella Shadowed has been released in ebook. It’s available in formats for your Kindle, Nook, iPad, Sony Reader, and many other devices, including your computer. So if you haven’t ordered the signed, limited edition mini-hardcover, or if you’ve ordered the handsome collectible hardcover and don’t want to sully it by actually reading it (which is silly, because it’s, you know, a book and all), you have a nice digitized version to read.
Alice on the Shelf is still available in its trade paperback format as well as an ebook format. I strongly urge you to get the paperback because, truthfully, I think it’s a beautifully laid-out paperback, but if you’re into the book being easy to store and easy to carry, the ebook is fine, too.
So, last Saturday night I was sitting on the couch half-comatose. Read the rest of this entry
Things are so busy…
Word is out that Shadowed is shipping and has arrived in some places. I believe the official release of the book is next week, pre-orders have been available since January, so order yours now before it sells out. The ebook will be available around the same time.
Speaking of ebooks, Alice on the Shelf was released as an ebook from Bad Moon Books and Crossroad Press. It’s available at Crossroad Press, in several versions. You can also order it through Barnes & Noble for the Nook and Amazon.com for the Kindle and, and, and…
And speaking of Alice on the Shelf, two new reviews hit the internet this week. A review by Peter Schwotzer has appeared in several different places. Also, Colleen Wanglund wrote a review for The Horror Fiction Review, which is a little more than halfway down the page.
Aside from all that, I finished the novella I was working on and it’s been put aside to rest awhile before reading, editing, rewriting. Right now it weighs in at 28,800 words. Now I’m editing my novel Echoes on the Pond. I’m hoping to be able to begin rewriting within a month. Unfortunately, I’m taking a class right now for the day job, and there’ll only be more of that in the future. Still, work is getting done.
My wife and I had the pleasure of seeing Anthony Bourdain and Chef Eric Ripert in Boston last week. I am a big fan of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations on the Travel Channel as well as Bpurdain’s book Kitchen Confidential. I haven’t read his book Medium Raw yet, but mean to soon. We truly enjoyed the night.
So, folks, that’s about it right now. I’ll talk to you later.
…doesn’t mean vacation from work. I think I will be able to finish the novella that I wrote about in my last post this week. Aside from that, I have a bunch of other things to do in general. So it’s a vacation on paper only. Still, it’s much-needed.
All right, now to go along with Sheri White’s positive review of Alice on the Shelf, we have two more positive reviews. One is by Don D’Ammassa and the other is by Trevor Nordgren for Dark Discoveries. There has also been so kind words on a few message board scattered around the internet. Thanks to those who have shown Alice… some love and, please, keep the good word-of-mouth going.
And while I have you here, I wanted to gently remind you that Shadowed is due to be published in a few weeks by Delirium Books. This is a very different kind of story than Alice on the Shelf but I like the story quite a bit. Hopefully, you will, too. Click here to pre-order a copy while there are still some to order.
That’s it for now. Thanks for the continued support!
Man, I’m tired. Slept 12 hours the other day. I began a class last week. The day job has been hectic. There’s been more snow than there’s any right to be. And I’m tired. But you’re not here to listen to me kvetch, are you?
Of course not.
What you want to know is about what’s happening right now. Well, luckily, that’s what I’m here for, too. I want to thank those who ordered Alice on the Shelf and pre-ordered Shadowed. According to this post, both are bestsellers at Horror Mall. Still, I think we can do better. So if you’ve already ordered, recommend the books to friends who might like horror/dark fantasy books. If you haven’t ordered them yet, what are you waiting for?
Now that I’m done hawking my goods, let’s talk a bit, you ‘n me. I didn’t work my ass off on this website to only sell my writing but to also have a place to communicate to readers and other people who are interested, so that’s what I’m planning on doing Read the rest of this entry
I received word the other day that Alice on the Shelf should be back from the printer this coming week. I assume the books will begin shipping from there.
Also, there were only thirty-something copies of Shadowed to be spoken for on Thursday of this past week, so it’s heading on its way to selling out. Get your copy while you still can. Remember, Shadowed will be part of Delirium’s novella line, which you can get either by itself or as part of a book club subscription. Delirium’s books usually become sought-after collectibles and, at $25 dollars, this signed & numbered limited edition mini-hardcover is a steal. Speaking of it being signed, the signature sheets are on their way.
So that’s it for now. I’ll be posting soon about things other than these two books. Later.
If you click on the link above and go to Delirium’s Shadowed page, there will be a link for the Delirium Forums topic.
Shadowed will be shipping on March 15th.
Here is the link to Horror Mall’s order page.
The book is a trade paperback that costs $17.95. You can pre-order it at Horror Mall here, or you can pre-order the book directly from the publisher here for $16. Alice on the Shelf is due out this month.
Also, Sheri White reviewed the novella at The Bag & the Crow.
So that’s the news. If you’ve ordered (or pre-ordered) the book, drop me a line.
So today is officially one week until Delirium Books puts Shadowed up for pre-orders. The novella will be out in March in Delirium’s mini-hardcover format. But that’s not all, folks! Last night, Roy Robbins of Bad Moon Books officially announced my novella Alice on the Shelf!
Alice on the Shelf is a very dear story to me. It’s also quite different in terms of style and content than Shadowed. Imagine a kid who grew up watching Star Wars, playing with action figures, reading Stephen King and Harlan Ellison and Lewis Carroll, listening to classic nursery rhymes and fairy tales, watched the annual televised viewing of The Wizard of Oz and then read L. Frank Baum’s masterpiece as an adult. Imagine this kid as an adult delving into the muck that all these things left behind to write a story about unrequited love. The story that comes out is Alice on the Shelf.
You can pre-order the book here at Horror Mall, the Dark Literature Emporium.
Everyone who has read this story seems to love it. They also get a little upset. On more than one occasion I’ve heard, “I was just going to read a chapter or two and then go to bed, but I couldn’t put it down!” This isn’t just friends who have said this, either.
So, there are two novellas of mine being published within three months of each other. Neither are very long, both are with award-winning publishers, and both tell very different stories.
Now, I must go and work on a new novella.