Previously on DOUG LANE WRITES…

1/10/18 - NEW YEAR, NEW WORK 


Working on novels and collections is a time-consuming process. In performing a year-end review, while I produced 73k of second Robillard mystery novel, and got a LOT of the front-end heavy lifting done for SHADY ACRES AND DARKER PLACES, my short story submission numbers were anemic - 8 subs in 12 months, two of which are still sitting in slush piles as of this morning. Then I went back a year (the year I spent drafting some stories, but largely knocking out the first Robillard novel) and saw one story, subbed and rejected twice. Hmm. If we’re talking Publish or Perish, I’m dyin’ here.


So I dumped a LOT of coal into the boiler - not so much a resolution (because why resolve to do something when you can cut to the chase?) as a good old fashioned Nike-style ‘Just do it‘ - and turned the final screws on a bunch of stuff I’ve been working on for the past 12 months, and BAM, eight stories went out the door in three days. So the first nine days of the year, submission-wise, have already matched the raw numbers for 2017. Two more, and I’ll have matched the last two years. While probably not a sustainable pace given upcoming non-writing real-world projects (the back room isn’t going to renovate itself, and the bus with the home improvement gnomes doesn’t seem to stop nearby), a new story every couple of weeks to join the rotation would be something to aim for. Meanwhile, SEVEN FISHES (Robillard 2) continues to cool like a pie on the window sill before I go back and find all the warts; HONEY LOVE (Robillard 3) has been fully outlined and the flow of the plots and subplots broken out so they can be woven together in a proper pace(no start date for the first draft yet); and the first layout proofing pass of SHADY ACRES began in December (aaaaaall the nonstandard formatting was swallowed by my antique version of InDesign) and resumes later this month; and another half-dozen stories are stewing.  So maybe I’ll have more to update the three people and two-dozen bots who read this site about as the year unspools.   Not a resolution. More of a wish-list item.

12/12/17 - ‘TIS THE SEASON


In what I intend to be a holiday tradition (much like the trials of St. Charles Brown, patron saint of blockheads), my gift to you is a new, free piece of seasonal fiction. It’s live now in the blog, and it’s on the gentler side of near-future fantasy than ancient evils, sinking ships, and general darkness. It might even be fun. I hope you read, enjoy, and share if you’re so moved, “The Girl Who Plugged In Christmas”. But don’t tarry - on the 12th Day of Christmas, it’ll disappear in favor of the Valentines Day candy.

As the year winds down, work continues on multiple fronts. In the midst of holiday prep, I’m working on some cover concepts for SHADY ACRES (yeah; I’m going to trouble your eyes with my finger painting. Hell, that’ll probably be more unnerving than anything in the book) and bashing out drafts of other things. The idea is to keep the pipeline full. I hope I’m better at it than the Keystone people.  No matter how you celebrate, I hope you have a marvelous holiday season. 


2017 is never going to go down as a gem in my book. Broad strokes behind the scenes include multiple losses in the family, being ground zero for Hurricane Harvey’s Houston visit, a cat on medication for several months, and a variety of other bits and pieces. 


That said, it’s been a productive year while I was running silent. The second C.T. Robillard mystery novel, SEVEN FISHES, has finally been whipped into shape and forwarded to my editor, while half of the proofreaders’ notes have been received for the first, MURDER HOUSE.  The third--working title HONEY LOVE--has been outlined and will probably kick off in the new year, unless the iron gets hot. Meanwhile, my story collection SHADY ACRES AND DARKER PLACES moves ahead. While nothing is final, it’s shaping up to include 23 stories, one previously unpublished, and should be available in hardcover, trade paperback, and ebook. As with anything forthcoming, all details subject to change, but as its release gets closer, you’ll probably be wishing I’d shut up about it.


In the meantime, I’m looking forward to subbing and finishing off stories in the current ‘to do’ pile--things like “The Finca Vigía Banned Book Cockfight”, “A Souvenir of Your Visit to World War III”, “How To Speak To Monkey”, “The Great Unknown”, and a few others. Long-form is fun, but there’s something exciting about the targeted narrative strike and the short, sharp shock. 




Someday soon, he said, there will be a more proper news update on things like the status of the second C.T. Robillard mystery, SEVEN FISHES; and the progress so far on the SHADY ACRES collection. But for right now, there a HALLOWEEN FREEBIE in the offing for your reading pleasure, a shortish (about 1,800 words) excursion in a hearse titled “Headcount” that you can find in the blog. But if you want to read it, read it soon - the story will only be online for a few days. Aaaaaand it’s gone. But there might be a stocking-stuffer in December. Please check back soon! 





Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I’ve been quiet: the tumult of the election season; laying low and working on projects both writing and not; holiday revels; and a small five day romp through Paris. And suddenly, it’s a scant handful of days from the new year, so let’s close out some old business: + My horror flash “Fear #7” appeared just in time for Halloween, over at Stupefying Stories Showcase. It’s still there  and a free read, so go here if you want a chill or two. + I’ve added to the blog an essay originally published on my Doug Lane Writes account on Facebook in November concerning Donald Trump and the casual notions of violence against reporters among some of his supporters. Revised slightly from its original appearance, “ROPE. TREE. JOURNALIST.” can be found  in the blog . + AND FINALLY - NEW STORY! FREE TO READ NOW! Earlier this year, sometime between the death of David Bowie and the death of Prince, I sat down with the notion of how we traditionally depict the old and new years as, respectively, a withered old man and a shiny new baby, and began mulling the notion of a malevolent old year refusing to step aside as it worked its own agenda year upon year. What’s emerged as 2016 has unfolded has been cathartic to lay down, weaving Roman mythology with (thanks to Robert Burns) a wee Scottish twist. Though it’s still a work in progress, with this especially rotten week that’s seen the loss of Carrie Fisher and George Michael and Richard Adams and now Debbie Reynolds, all tumbling like hellish dominoes, I wanted to put the story to the ether. Perhaps an invocation for better days, perhaps an offering to eldritch forces, perhaps a toast to kicking ass on a year that’s overstayed its time -- like the holidays, it’s here for a limited time. Happy New Year! [Sorry... you missed it. DJL]


On the plus side, I finally upgraded to a new MacBook with a stronger battery and more modern software. On the minus side, the discontinuation of iWeb means finding yet another new software package within which to compose and maintain the web page on the new laptop, while the old one now has one job on this ship.  In the interim between hither and yon, a few things happened. In July, “The Golem-Maker of Buchenwald” appeared in ABYSS & APEX, a free read at their website. The first C.T. Robillard mystery, MURDER HOUSE, is down to final proofing, and I hope to get proofreaders packed for bear in the next week or so. The first draft of the second, working title SEVEN FISHES, is nearing completion. If I’m a gambling man, I’d say I’m 10k words from the finish line. Then it will rest a bit while I outline the third. And in between it all, the usual mix of story/submission/noodling.  And maybe, just maybe, I can get down to one machine for the entire works. Lord knows it would make that occasional blog post easier to load.