I would be remiss not to start by letting Robert know that I am most grateful for him asking me to send something over for his website. Some of you may know I am a big fan of Robert's writing, so be sure to check out his body of work. Now that I've done that much, on to my post...
Last year, when I had grown wary of editing and rewriting the same stories over and over again, I asked my wife, "What am I going to do with all of these old tales?"
She looked at me as she always does, reassuring me I would figure out what to do.
And I did. I took them all, wrapped them up in a neat little cover, and declared an end to the first chapter of my writing career. Although I list Distressed Press (what once was to become my own small press until I decided I didn't have it in me) as the publisher, I do not hide the fact I have self-published this collection of short fiction. In fact, all of my children books are also self-published.
Why would I go and do a thing like that you might ask? That is a fair question and I suppose I do have some regrets about it. At the time, I was putting my best foot forward, taking an accumulation of what I knew and threading it together. I've since revisited the collection three times to tweak things and often dream of reworking the entire project. Yes, I am a bit neurotic in that way I guess.
It isn't that I feel I've failed, but that I know I can do better. But the primary reason behind THESE OLD TALES at that moment in time was that I needed hands-on experience. I had a thought that I could put my twenty plus years of graphic design experience to work and earn some additional money to keep daddy sitting in his chair, dreaming up stories. And I couldn't rightly experiment with someone else's work. That wouldn't be fair to them.
With FRESH CUT TALES I have a different agenda. It's predecessor did quite well and I was amazed by those who reached out to me, telling me which stories they enjoyed and why. I even had a few people I admire in the world of writing contact me, which humbles me. I'm eternally grateful for it all, believe me. So when a few people started asking when the next collection was coming, suggesting titles and ideas for the cover, I was stumped. I hadn't planned on another collection. That wasn't until a little while back now, when inspiration finally stuck again.
What changed? I suppose it has gotten to that point again, where I want to earmark another chapter. While some may consider me conceited for doing so, a swelled head has nothing to do with it. Simply put, I write stories so that they can be read and that could never happen if they were left lying around, somewhere underneath my virtual bed, my own personal "dust-catcher." No, that won't do at all. Also, truth be told, I really have nothing to hide.
What I wanted to achieve with this next chapter though, was to revisit several of my older tales that have appeared in various anthologies. I wanted to read them again (a thing I often dread and have avoided when I can). I wanted to see if I could breathe new life into these tales and allow myself another reprise from worrying about them. And yes, I am most certain a year from now I'll be glancing back yet again, fretting over the smallest of details.
That's how I work. What I might lack otherwise, I am determined and I stay at it night and day, often in my sleep. I obsess about writing, the craft, the grammar, the editing, all of the stages of a story and every other juicy tidbit. Why do I torment myself in this way? Because I love the art of telling a story, and the more effective I can become at achieving my goal, the happier readers will be in the end.
Currently, there is no official date set for FRESH CUT TALES. I can tell you this; it will likely be sometime in June, perhaps even July. I'm not going to rush this one, as these things take care and diligence. Along with eight "fresh cuts" of previously accepted stories, I've opted to include a half-dozen or so older tales I will also be revisiting (including the very first story I wrote when I decided to pursue writing) to sweeten the deal.
With that, I hope you will be on the look out for FRESH CUT TALES through my website, my Facebook page, or Amazon. As always, much thanks to you, dear readers. Pleasant nightmares.
Kenneth W. Cain writes dark fiction from his home in eastern Pennsylvania, where he lives with his wife and two children. He is the author of several novels and short fiction, including his acclaimed collection These Old Tales. His work has appeared alongside such notable authors as Hill, Barker, Ketchum, Braunbeck, Maberry and others.