August 25th, 2010


I haven't posted to this poor neglected journal in nearly two months. Why? Because I'm trying to meet a book deadline. It's an extremely difficult project - a second edition of my 2003 book The Halloween Encyclopedia - and it's required nearly all of my focus. It hasn't helped that business has exploded at my day job, and I frequently stagger home after eight hours so exhausted that I can barely get up the stairs, let alone sit down with a 19th century folklore book and try to dredge up one more Halloween factoid I may have missed. Being a second edition, I can't just add those new bits arbitrarily; I have to check the first edition to see if I already had the info (which is usually the case), and if not, then I have to add it in, trying to make it fit the existing entry as naturally as possible.

I've let a lot of things slide over the last two months as I've struggled through this. I owe a lot of people short stories, reads of their work, and (in the case of my work as HWA's Treasurer) bookkeeping updates.

But one of the worst parts of all this has been dealing with family. Most of my friends seem to have some comprehension by now of the fact that I will rarely (er...never) be available to go out to movies or parties.

But my folks aren't always quite so understanding. I know they aren't getting any younger, and I'm frequently torn between spending more time with them or trying to advance my career. I turned down one family reunion this summer, because I couldn't afford it in terms of either money or time. When I can manage to pull myself away for a half-an-hour and call, I of course get the not-so-subtle, "I haven't heard from you in ages...I was worried" (and for some reason it never seems to occur to them to pick up the phone and call me).

The good news is that the book should be completed and handed in next week, and then I can hopefully return to just being exhausted by one job.

How do other writers handle family? Mine isn't even that large - just a pop in Northern California and a mom here in SoCal - but of course because I don't have siblings, I guess I do get the extra burden of guilt when I'm not constantly in touch.

And now...back to the book. After all, I'm taking a few days off this week to attend KillerCon in Vegas, so I've already spent too long on this blog!