The Gonzo Journals
April 3rd, 2023
Man, what a wonderful weekend to work for a steam train railroad! I spent all Sunday morning firing that locomotive like it was nobody’s business. Of course, as per my destined luck, this old man – aka the keeper of the keys aka the person who decides who gets to do such things aka the railroad elder – hopped on behind me to see if I was worthy enough to be “certified”. The train suddenly started treating me like the bitch I am, and I failed miserably. I get to try again in two weeks. Moving on.
I’ve never been keen on living my life via the terms of others, but this is one of those situations in which I have no choice. If I want to continue to be a part of the railroad and achieve my dream of being a steam engine locomotive engineer, I must take these steps. The one thing I can control in this life is my literary career, and I’m about to make some substantial changes.
After fifteen years of pecking away at this keyboard and hoping for a little attention, I have finally been approached by a group of professionals who think I’m incredibly talented. Monetization was discussed prior to beginning the project and it’s not in the territory of a few cents per word. It’s much bigger. This is a REAL writing job that I managed to land regardless of the hell I was dragged through by the super turd soccer moms of the Splatterpunk community with all that Starving Zoe nonsense. Also, unlike working for the newspaper, I don’t have to have sex with my editor to remain relevant. Ack!
In fact, the videogame I’m writing is a pseudo sequel to Starving Zoe. The idea began as a novel and it’s mostly written, but I’ve decided to alter the story line to fit something people would want to play. It’s nearly complete and it’s amazing. I send weekly updates to the company and they love every word of it.
This all happened when I decided not to stay down on myself for the past two years. I basically said “Fuck the business of it all. Just create”. This is how I did it in the old days before publishers, critics, and cliques. I just wrote and didn’t care who did and didn’t like it.
My trip to last year’s “Oscars of the indie horror community” was the nail in the coffin. I had made arrangements to film most of the weekend and edit it into a documentary film, giving the world a better look into an often-overlooked sub-genre. I loaded up the back seat of my truck with ALL my studio equipment, set it up in my hotel room – damn place looked like a porn setup – and spent my time there being more of a videographer than an author. I captured some awesome footage which would’ve been informative in a film. I was optimistic.
I made the mistake of posting one of the videos to social media and I was immediately targeted. I was told I never had permission to film the event (which is a blatant fucking lie) and that I had to delete it all immediately. I wasted an entire weekend and a lot of money on a “you’ll never be a part of our cool kid’s club” mentality. Pissed, I deleted ALL of it. Again, moving on.
My publisher, who I was already on a bit of the out’s with in the first place, changed hands, lost one of my manuscripts, and keeps beating around the bush regarding an audiobook which I feel will never happen. I’m tired of the lies, the exaggerations, the narcissism, and the cliques. I was doing so much better years ago when I was just on my own. No one really knew who I was outside of my own circle, and I was content with it. No delusions of grandeur and no appeasing the self-proclaimed gods who watchfully monitor the front doors.
This past weekend was one of the biggest literary horror gatherings in the country and I didn’t even consider going. Scares That Care is a charity event held in Williamsburg, Virginia and everybody who is anybody shows up. Social media was plagued with photos of smiling authors meeting their indie icons for the first time and I couldn’t help but think how it was all a farce. I’ve met most of these people, endured their fake smiles and hidden agendas, and refuse to be in the same room with them anymore. Yes, there are some legitimately good people in this genre, but the masterminds behind it all have rubbed me the wrong way for the last time. I’m done.
I’m done with cliques, I’m done with small press, and I’m done with cons.
Literary cliques were something that read great on paper but turned out to resemble the high school lunchroom from days gone by. On the surface (which is what everyone chooses to see), I am a heterosexual middle-aged white male. There is nothing special about me at all in the literary world and, in this country, I have suddenly become the enemy. Thanks, you rich, white, racist politician bastards! You ruined it for all of us! Underneath, I have Native American heritage, I’m Autistic, and I’m an Army Veteran. Unfortunately, none of those descriptors warrant their own “designated” celebration month like “Women in Horror” or “(random non-white racial heritage) month. I’ve never played well with others, and I don’t spend my day in a publicly depressed funk to gather social media sympathy.
Small Press? I can do anything they do. We all can. It all flows off your fan base. I can write, edit, format, design, and release my own books thanks to modern technology and keep a larger chunk of my royalties in the process. I don’t have to worry about pleasing anyone, tiptoeing around their warped political and personal beliefs, and I control EVERYTHING. I never have to lie to myself. It’s perfect.
Cons? I was ruined by my appearance at Texas Frightmare Weekend a few years ago and nothing has compared to that since. I think that event is at the top of the food chain. Everything since? They’ve been nothing but a dog and pony competition to see who can kiss the most ass. I can sit and watch other authors line up to blow the same five people for free on Facebook rather than spend money and time on a hotel, a table, book stock, etc. Yes, I know you just can’t beat the camaraderie which ensues at such gatherings, and I’ve met some genuinely cool people while attending such things, but the gatekeepers have shown me their true colors. It’s been swell, but the swelling has gone down.
I have one last con to attend and then I’m done. I helped organize Texas Author Con 2023, but I’m having to convince myself not to give my table away. As it stands right now, when I finish this videogame, I’m going to re-release Extinguished under my own brand, author the final novel in the Taste of Home trilogy and be done. I’ve accomplished what I set out to do all those years ago when I began subjecting the masses to my bizarre writing. Now, every inch further I dig into the nightmarish chasm of the indie literary world, it leads me to believe I’m not meant for such cutthroat popularity contests. I’ve done what I’ve done. Hooray if you like it, meh if you don’t.
If I’m not being true to myself, then I can never be real with all of you. That’s a fair assumption, isn’t it? Who knows? Perhaps this videogame project will open future doors to bigger things. I mean, this is the most fun I’ve had as a writer since the very beginning! I’ll always be a writer, and nothing will change that, but I think the days of C. Derick Miller are ending. Chad Cloud-Miller has turned into a likable guy who enjoys life to the fullest. Perhaps I’ll retire from attention whoring permanently and just continue to write behind the scenes. Time will tell.
To be honest, I’ve written over 200,000 combined words since the beginning of 2023 and NONE of you have read most of them. If you have, you didn’t know it was me. Anonymity is the blessing of the internet. Just ask any middle aged, Mom’s basement, Minecraft dweller jerking off to your filtered photographs on dating apps. They’ll agree wholeheartedly!
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