Abraham Road

It’s time to generate some more new content. Given that my new mission is to always have something out there waiting to be rejected, I feel like I want some new stuff to send around.

To that end, I’ve embarked on a mission to write twelve short stories in twelve months. Started with a story called “Sprachlos,” which I wrote and edited in January. It’s about a literary forensics guy investigating a pseudonym that perhaps would be best left alone. It’s cute, amusing — I like it and have started to send it around. It’s already been rejected by Nightmare Magazine, and now it’s waiting its turn in the queue over at Cemetery Dance. 

February’s story is also now well on its way to first-draft-dom. It’s about a day in the early summer for a family of three living on a lake. They have a bad day. I hope to have the story drafted by the end of this weekend while Winter Storm Nemo does its thing to the northeast.

In other news, I sent a query to Random House’s new horror ebook line Hydra to see if they wanted to help me put out an improved version of Abraham Road. They liked the sample chapter and requested the full manuscript, and I’m waiting to hear back. It’s been over two months, so I expect to hear any day now. If they do end up turning it down, I’m probably going to spend a few weeks turning it into an audiobook.

As for those novels still waiting in the wings, progress is slower. I guess the problem is that, before I go down another long road with a full-length project, I’d like to have some validation that I’m getting the knack of this story-writing business. This year, it’s all about getting that first real acceptance letter for a horror story.


Abraham Road Cover Art

Abraham Road Cover Art

John Mandler: So you said you weren’t going to self-publish again, and then you did anyway.

Kristopher Kelly: Exactly.

JM: Feel good about that?

KK: Nope.

JM: Why did you do it?

KK: I thought it would make a good Kindle Single. I thought they’d accept it. I’d read a lot of Singles. Thought this was definitely on par, if not better. Shows what I know.

JM: And so?

KK: Just got word back. Another one for the rejection pile.

JM: That’s a shame.

KK: I know.

JM: I’m not even real, am I?

KK: Afraid not. This is another self-interview on a mostly-ignored blog about a self-published book that’s going nowhere.

JM: Oh yeah, how are sales?

KK: Inconsequential.

JM: Are you quite done with self-publishing, then?

KK: Who can say. Probably. Maybe. I think so. I don’t know.

JM: You submit a piece to McSweeney’s again this week?

KK: Sure did.

JM: Good luck with that. You gonna be all right, hoss?

KK: More or less. What’s that the reality competition people always say? “You ain’t seen the last of me!”

JM: So we’ve not seen the last of you?

KK: I dunno. I hope not. But this one hurts.

JM: Smarts.

KK: Stings.

JM: Burns.

KK: Kick to the groin.

JM: Slap to the face.

KK: Stick in the eye.

JM: A muddy one.

KK: I thought it was a great story. I thought it would connect.

JM: Yeah. Writers always think that. Not always true, is it?

KK: No, indeed.

JM: Will you start submitting to real places, please?

KK: Yes. I guess.

JM: Will you quit fucking around and focus on editing those novels?

KK: Yes.

JM: Good. Now get out of here, chump. I’m sick of talking about you.

Abraham Road Cover Art

Abraham Road Cover Art

Well, folks — it looks like I drank too much whiskey last night and hit the publish button on my new novella, Abraham Road. It’s now available exclusively on Amazon and will probably remain so for the next ninety days.

I think it’s great. I was trying to hold off and get it published in a real magazine somewhere, but … I couldn’t wait. It’s October. It’s scary story season.

Also, I love this book, and I couldn’t wait for people to read it. I keep saying it’s like what would happen if H. P. Lovecraft rewrote Of Mice and Men. 

Abraham Road cover art

Abraham Road … coming later ….

The good news is that Abraham Road is in great shape. I am the worst judge of my own work, but early reader reaction suggests this short little book could be one of the coolest stories I’ve written.

I know I like it a lot. I’ve had some ups and downs with it over the last few months, but right now I’m pleased every time I go back to it.

The bad news is that I’ve decided to try and actually see what would happen if I submitted this story a few places. I’d love it if I could place it somewhere an editor might give it a look and fix it up. I’m sure there are ways it could be improved that I’m not seeing. No doubt, a writer is always too close to the work to see it best.

I have three places in mind (the market being rather limited for a piece which right now clocks in at 24,400 words). Combined rejection time for all of them: probably roughly four months.

And here I was, hovering over the ‘save and publish’ button on this past Sunday night. I talked myself out of it, and it was a good decision (found some typos in the morning! yeah!), but it hurts me and really tests the limits of my patience to have a real winner of a story ready to go that I can’t let anyone see.

Thinking about the long four months ahead of gathering enough rejection letters to justify self-publishing again … just makes me sad. It’s why I gave up submitting pieces to begin with — I don’t like having to wait for someone to tell me they don’t like what I wrote. Disappointment shouldn’t be so boring and time-consuming.

That’s why I love McSweeney’s and The Atlantic so much: one week response time! Got another rejection from McSweeney’s this week, in fact. Always makes my day.

Anyway, I believe this choice is the right one.

We’ll see if I can actually go through with it, though, or if I spaz out halfway through October and hit that damnable publish button.