This is a land of plagues and sickness. Be wary all who enter here, for your hopes may be dashed by the slightest of breaths. We are washed in the sickness. Made pure by the sickness. The Plague rebirths us into something new.
Welcome to Mean for the Holidays, 2020. I’ve been doing Mean for the Holidays for two or three years now give or take. Sometimes it’s a huge hit, other times it falls off a bit. Either way, I’m coming back to round out 2020 with this gift like I hope to do most years. Before I get into the meat of the season and break things down and convolute what will otherwise be a genuinely unpleasant experience for you all, I want to talk about the birth of Mean for the Holidays…
Back in 2016, while I was in the throes of rampaging through manuscript ideas I came up with one that was supremely divined above all of the others. This concept was to compile a short collection of lore relevant stories to release one year as a Christmas Gift to my friends. I’ll be the first one to say this, I do a lot of things that coincide with my personal/social life especially when it comes to writing. That is both a good thing and a bad thing. Often when I’ve taken a long hiatus from writing it is because I am overloaded on social aspects of life (or just plain depressed, take your pick.) and I find myself in these horrid drab lulls where words don’t come as easily or things don’t shine quite as bright. That was where I’d found myself when I’d first birthed the idea for Mean Shadows. (Name credit to He is Legend because they’re amazing.) So in the spring and summer of 2016 I penned these 24 short stories and crammed them into a book, each one dedicated to someone in my life be they friend or family (or foe), and self-published it for Christmas that year, it had rounded off a three-year stint I took hand-making their Christmas presents, but after release, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.
Sometimes it’s like that with me, I get this thing that gnaws in the back of my brain until I puke it out all over my computer screen and when I’m all done puking I feel better. Most creative types understand the feeling that I’m referring to. It’s less an itch to do something and more a tremendous weight bearing down on my soul until I put the appropriate time into a project and finish it. (At least, till editing. No weight to finish those projects I guess.) So I get rabid and drill words down until the book or books or blogs or what have you are complete, and then in a rabid frenzy (in the past) I send those books on their funeral march to the editing to-do list. Now, editing mistakes are all well and good. They happen, despite how much effort you put towards them NOT happening and you find yourself at the end of the road with a semi-publishable novel. (Rather, I find myself there. Professional editing was a thing of my dreams back in 2016, I barely had the money to buy the proof copy of the books.)
So I sat down at the end of a pretty long, and pretty good year to give these hand made stories to my friends with custom dedications at the beginning of each, I decided what the hell I’ll throw them up online and see if anyone buys them. So I did, and Christmas came, and eventually, I gave them these stories and all was well and good then.
Except for the gnawing. The small feeling at the back of my mind like my neck was tied to an anchor and I was about to be thrown overboard. The voice in my head promised me that I wasn’t nearly finished when I’d written Mean Shadows. I was in for a lifetime.
If you’ve followed the blog for any measurable length of time you’d know by now that my all-time dream, my absolute #1 goal in life is to become a professional author. So, you’d imagine my embarrassment when four years ago I gave an unfinished project to my friends and they began looking through it to understand all the secret codes and fancy mumbo jumbo I’d loaded into the back end was about. I bet you can imagine their utter confusion when I never touched the project again, filing it away as I grew more competent as an author and understanding my mind a bit more. See, that voice in my head never stopped bothering me about Mean Shadows and what I wanted Mean Shadows to be. It was not meant to be a one-off dedication to the people I loved. It was great that I did that, I am still proud of the way I handled it to some extent, but if my universe is a tree, Mean Shadows is the roots. It was the base of understanding and complete knowledge about the things any new reader would likely need to know if they wanted to dig deeper than the surface level of the story I am creating brick by brick down here in my shallow crypt.
I made Mean Shadows then, not realizing yet that it was a long-held idea for the length of Christmas time at large. So, in 2017 I began re-writing it. Then, to make it a better book, to fix the errors (One of them the unintentional mislabeling of one of my very best friend’s names. Sorry, PSC.) I wanted to make Mean Shadows more than it was. It was then, around 2017 that I began rewriting and reworking everything I’d thought about the world I was building, and the 4 stories evolved into hundreds upon hundreds, almost without my permission. Things just kept expanding and growing out of control until eventually I gave up a second time, and didn’t know what I wanted to do with it all. So I waited some more, grew, tried again in 2018, and then fudged it a bit. This cycle repeated each year until this one, where I’ve established Mean Shadows and what Mean Shadows really is…
It is my gift to everyone who follows, who watches, and consumes the content I’ve put out (however seldom that may have been this year.) With a focus on the stories, the fiction writing, and the world I am inviting all of you into. The voice in my head wouldn’t rest until it was all prepared and built and ready. It took me four years of deciphering lost languages, unraveling secrets of a sinister order, and listening to the tales of long-winded adventurers much like myself before I could unlock the secret that the Shadows held for me. So, with that long introduction out of the way I want to tell you about a new project I’m unveiling for the first time, today.
This page will begin with Mean for the Holidays 2020 and will continue into the upcoming years, and it is what Mean Shadows always was destined to become. A unified and collected place for writing, lore, and understanding that I hope you will visit regularly. This year, I will be posting several new pieces there for your enjoyment and I will likewise be returning to my traditional form and filling out the end of the year with new content on the blog. This has been a project that is a few years in the making, to be truthful, and I am excited to release and unveil it with all of you. This is in many ways the best gift I can offer to everyone who supports me and I hope that you enjoy consuming what I’ve left here as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it…
Now, for more specific matters, Mean for the Holidays 2020, for those who don’t know, has been a little hat trick I’ve tried to pull off every year since 2017. It is a 13 day period of content I release through various sources and open up to the public, short stories, extras blog posts, one year I did some YouTube shenanigans, and it is a love child of mine which I hope you will enjoy thoroughly. Below, you’ll find a (not so) simple image depicting the schedule for this year’s MftH content run. I can’t wait till you see what I’ve been cooking up this year.
It has been a long year, after all.
If you enjoyed today’s writing please share it on whatever social media outlet you enjoy the most. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out The Grimoire of Finality where you can read all of my incoming fiction writing. (It still has that new blog smell.)
I hope something I’ve said made a difference in your life, and please always remember…
Life is not meant to be awful.
Catch me on social media if you’d like to get more info/updates on what is soon to come!