Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Lag Time

It’s been a while. Since my last post I have had two more Outpatient surgeries with a Carbon Scar Laser to breakdown the thicker scar tissue on my legs limiting my mobility. With that came two weeks of intense recovery, which included pain as well as exhaustion and mental fatigue from the anesthesia.

It made writing practically impossible. That was severely frustrating, coming after two years of trying desperately to regain my form, discipline, and momentum.

Then the day came where I found myself with no submissions out for publication consideration. No one was reading my work. And I panicked.

It’s hard enough, while in recovery, not to feel useless every time I have to set a story aside to be finished later, or let go of a submission deadline I could meet if I only didn’t do any of the self-care I need to do. It feels like failure.

If I want any kind of longevity my self-care has to come first. I know this. It doesn’t mean I don’t push at the edges of what that means to see how much more I can do as I heal.

So I spent two weeks in a half-haze discerning which submission calls were realistic to attempt time-wise. I sent a few out and then had to stop. The quality was lagging. I didn’t want to compromise my writing out of fear. But now there are subs still out, still being considered. Every day that goes by without a rejection is a blessed day.

And I’m starting to have the energy again to work.

Stories are forming from the warming days. Characters are climbing out of the birdsong and their histories poke through the cold earth. There will be time to recover and time to write.

Friday, December 1, 2017

NaNoWriMo & Me & 52,000 words

I finished. I reached 50,000 words. But I'm not done yet.

It was easy to flesh out my coma memories. It was also easy to slip into them. I haven't tried to bring them to the surface since I wrote down my outline after my discharge. The more I wrote the more I remembered.

NaNoWriMo became more of my recovery therapy than I anticipated. I spent my mornings pulling posts from social media during my time in the coma. I split posts up into groups and months. I fleshed out the spaces between. And I fell into my own rabbit hole and wrote down that journey.

All the little shadowed nooks and crannies in my mind got turned upside down and inside out. My coma journey was like my own shamanic-underworld-experience. While I do not endorse the method to anyone I am considering it a gift from this accident and riding it.

As far as the work of writing, I maintained my speed and reached the goal. I will spend the winter finishing the coma experiences and then work on the night terrors over the spring. I am hoping to add in the recovery posts and weed the important ones out of them over the summer. By fall I mean to have a read-worthy draft ready.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

NaNoWriMo & Me

This year for National Novel Writing Month I am writing out a manuscript of my coma experiences and subsequent night terrors from my accident.

I am just on track. It is day 15 and I am at 25,600 words. But I am just on track. I need two good days of nothing but writing this week to get a jump ahead.

Writing in recovery is hard. And it's been hard to keep up with it when I keep falling asleep with my hand on the mouse. The want is there but the physical ability is not.

I'm not upset about it. I expected it. The goal is not 50,000 words. It's working on it every day. It's chasing the finish line. But I'm not where I thought I'd be, even after cutting myself some slack.

I feel worse off than last year.

And my wife reminds me that I have been undergoing surgeries this year, which is different from last year.

So there's that.

But I am on the track and plugging along. I hope that by putting these stories to paper, so to speak, they will release some of the hold they have on my every day. I appreciate the tool nanowrimo has been for me in my recovery.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

My Latest Story is in the Anthology On Fire


Capable of creation and destruction, fire burns within us.
Behind the thick, black smoke of our lives, we blaze with our own unique flame.
While love compels some, others feed greed and lust into their hearths.
A tool for the deft hand, used with magic or as a weapon, but irresponsibility leaves deep burns and promises dreadful consequences.

ON FIRE brings to light twenty-six tales that explore this unpredictable yet beautiful element.
Handle with care.

Coming out 12.01.17!

Contact Information
Newsletter sign up: http://eepurl.com/bYiL2r

Editors’ Bios:

Alisha Costanzo is from a Syracuse suburb. She earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she currently teaches English. She’s the author of BLOOD PHOENIX: REBIRTH, BLOOD PHOENIX: CLAIMED, LOVING RED, and BLOOD PHOENIX: IMPRINTED and is co-editor of DISTORTED, UNDERWATER, and AFTER THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. LUCIFER’S DAUGHTER, her new novel, is its creation for a hopeful 2018 release. In the meantime, she will continue to corrupt young minds, rant about the government, and daydream about her all around nasty creatures.
Having relocated from Northwest Florida’s lonesome roads and haunted swamps, Anthony S. Buoni now prowls the gas lamp lit streets of New Orleans, playing moonlight hide and seek in the Crescent City’s above ground cemeteries. Anthony is the author of Conversation Party, Bad Apple Bolero, as well as the editor to the Between There anthologies.  His stories and articles have been featured in North Florida Noir and Waterfront Living. When not prowling, Anthony keeps it scary, writing dark fiction, editing, and watching horror movies.  In his spare time, he DJs, plays music, and conjures other worldly creatures with tarot cards and dreams.

Visit our author pages to learn more about the contributors here.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Book Cover Reveal & What It Means to Me

Not the book cover; just a meaningful image.
This Halloween is the cover reveal date for the anthology my latest short story will appear in! I hope it always feels this exciting. It's an anthology of short speculative fiction stories called On Fire, published with Transmundane Press.


On Fire.

If you know my personal story, you understand why I clarified that they were works of fiction. And lest you don't find it funny, I assure you that gallow's humor is the bread and butter of recovering serious pain and moments of facing one's serious mortality.

October 31 will also be the second anniversary of my being on fire. Of when I was on fire. I never quite know how to put it. Words seem to fail the experience.

I'm not big on anniversaries as a rule, but the fact that this accident fell on a holiday makes it a bit more difficult to distance it from the upcoming calendar date. It's not like I'll be like, oh last Tuesday was the anniversary. I forgot. Not ever. But it's a day. It's just a day. It will pass. And someday it will pass and fire will not be the first thing I think about.

And this year there is a happy note to the day. The story in this anthology is the first story I finished after my accident, while I was early in recovery. My latest work, "The Last Seven Tribes of Ketchari", contains a thread related to my journey, the thread of finding courage in a hopeless situation and rising above it to become something more than you imagined possible.

In an original, fantastical world, it's about how we adapt to survive.

Friday, August 11, 2017

And Lo, the Pinkie, It Doth Straighten!

This is my right hand after a skin grafting and almost two years of healing. The thick ridging is mostly smoother out. My new skin is thickening, though it is still thin enough to act as a barometer, changing color in hot or cold. But I want you to look at my crooked little pinkie. I had contraction bands on the underside, which didn't allow me to straighten it at all.

Considering that I almost died, that I almost lost my legs (I didn't), and the months it took me to walk independently again, a crooked little, fire-eaten pinkie seemed a small sacrifice. The most trouble it gave me was that any time I tried to type an apostrophe, a semi-colon came out. My pinkie simply couldn't stretch enough to reach it. That's what 'find and replace' is for.

I can still remember waking in the ICU to my hands bandaged up in tight balls, wondering if I would ever write with my hands again. ::shudder::

My surgeon, Dr. Joan Dolinak, is a miracle worker. Upstate Hospital in Syracuse has a new scar laser for burn treatments. She said she could break up the contraction bands and some of the thicker scar tissue. I just had my first treatment-slash-surgery on Thursday. After all my skin graft surgeries I was nervous about going under again. Dr. Dolinak promised me that I would be able to take the bandages off today and shower.

She was right.

I won't even go into the transformation in my legs except to say it was more than I hoped for and I wept. I sobbed. It was amazing. And when I took the wrap off my hand, my pinkie straightened IMMEDIATELY!!! It pulls from being immobile and I have some physical therapy work to do with it to get it to flex up again. But it is the most beautiful fire-eaten straight-ass pinkie I have ever seen.

My hands are my craft. My hand speak works my lips cannot put form to and for a while I was scared that their ability would be compromised. And it was. But I am doing my work, as well as my Work.

The rewards come. My semi-colons are apostrophes again. I even had to correct the over-reach I had unknowingly adopted because, for an hour tonight, all my lower-case Ls were apostrophes.

Look at that beautiful pinkie finger. Fire doesn't just have to be an ending. It can also clear the way for new beginnings. Imagine all the stories my hands have yet to write.

Can you? I can.

Monday, July 31, 2017

A Post-Accident Milestone

Last week I sent out five stories to answer submission calls. Now I just have to wait and see if they intrigue the editors enough to want to buy them. It's a writing and waiting game.

And sometimes you win.

I just sold the first story I wrote after my accident!

That makes me happy on many levels. It means the work I've been doing to get my hands back in shape and regain discipline around writing every day has begun to harvest results.

I'll post more information about the sale after I sign the contract.


I always mean to write on the blog more but I spend all of my free time writing my stories.

Whatever it is you dream of doing, just start doing it. May it consume all of your time until it becomes your vocation.