Friday, April 29, 2011

Peeling Back the Curtain

If you can't beat 'em join em.  I'm excited to say that I get to explore another aapect of getting published--reading submissions.  Today, I read my first set of submissions for Quiddity magazine.  It was pretty cool to read a cover letter from a prospective writer and see what THEY see when they read my letters.  I'm hoping this helps me refine my writing a bit.

--Reached the halfway point in The Indwelling!  At least, I think it's the halfway point.  I'm at a crucial spot in the novel, guess it's the turning point.  The protagonist has changed and the rest of the novel is laid out. 

--cut 200 more words from Honor Thy Mother!  Looking forward to finishing my cutting so I can get to editing one of my horror short stories.  It's been awhile since I read "Tom Ford, the Girl, and Rejection."  I'm disappointed with the word count >5000, which could make it a hard place.  I'm sure I've rambled on with my words.  It'll be interesting to take a look at it after a couple of months.  I thought it was hot shit back then.  It's probably cold shit now, the kind of doodie that a dog lets then it turns white out in your yard after a while.

--this week, writing is good.

Monday, April 25, 2011


You know what I really hate?  Steak & Shake commercials with the talking hat AND, especially, when you waste time researching a magazine to submit to, write a specific cover letter to them, then submit to them, per their super-special qualifications, only to send it electronically and have a delivery failure--on their end.  Nice.  I'm expected to notify you if something I've submitted elsewhere and at your magazine but you're not responsible for noting that your magazine is dead?  Loo, there's too many mags out there to be wasting my time with yours if you can't be responsible.  Thanks magazine _________ for wasting my time this evening.  The worst to you in the future.

As seen and heard by others...

--Why is it that you can sit at a table at lunch when others are busy reading newspaper, books, etc. and sit there quietly and uninterrupted. Pull out that laptop however and begin writing and everyone wants to talk to you? Seriously, as I type this, I’m being talked to. I’m still typing. He’s still talking. Seriously? I’m getting about 5% of the story. Now my phone is ringing. Just got off the phone and here he goes again! Now I’m hearing about the calories in McDonald’s food.

--Really? Got a rejection letter from an agent who liked my query and had requested fifty pages. The return letter, although not a form letter, said that she liked it. But it’s not for her. Said she enjoyed it. But it’s not a good fit. Really? Tonight, I submit.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rejection, then Acceptance, of a sort

Yesterday morning I awoke to a rejection for Honor Thy Mother.  Good Morning!  I told myself, as I normally do, that this is nothing to be alarmed with.  But this one bothered me.  A lot.  I had met with the them two weeks before, gotten on well--seemed like a good pairing.  But in the end the writing wasn't good enough.  Apparently.  It rattled me bad to get rejected.  I never believed they would publish me though, not really.  I simply wanted to set a framework for the future, make connections, feel like a writer.  And for two days at the conference I did.  It's more the nature of the rejection that hit me--the typical form letter.  I had felt...something above this I guess.  Consider it a lesson learned.  1. this is a reminder that it's a business based on skill, luck, timing, and personal preference.  I stand by my novel. That being said, I've decided to continue cutting the novel down.  By lunch, I decided to continue writing on The Indwelling.  By bedtime I received some fruit of my labor when I received an invite to be on the masthead of a local lit magazine called "Quiddity".  Ironically, they'd turned down a story of mine that was later published by another mag.  And now I'm reading for them.  My day was like a decent little story.  It started in the middle of something and looped back to the beginning. 

I'm past the 99000 word mark on HTM and over the 25000 word mark on Indwelling.  Have an idea for a meta-fiction short story, my last meta was published as referenced above, and have my settled on what my next novel will be--the revamping of my first book ever written but hidden away for years called, over- dramatically enough, Forevermore.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The sobering effect of Facebook

You get on Facebook....everyone wants to be your friend.  You find yourself getting friend requests day and night--do these potential frineds ever sleep--you are the new kid at school.  Everyone is intrigued by your likes and dislikes, what your doing these days.  That lasts about 2 weeks and then, suddenly, it slows.  Like a night of partying at an end, everything ceases to be fun and you just want to quit this party.  Facebook sobers you.  All those folks you were curious about, turns out they're life is about as uninteresting as your own.  Sure, some have dreams like you.  When it all boils down, however, everybody is mainly into themselves.  What witty comment can be made?  What funny video can one take credit for posting?  Will someone "like" something I've posted?  How many?  Ah, this long standing denouncement of Facebook has come at an end.  BUT only because it was strongly urged again and again and again by agents and fellwo writers at a conference.  Well, I'm on and sobered.  I'd feel a bit concerened mocking Facebook, but I'm gonna risk it.  I'm banking on the fact that no one actually reads this.  Actually, I've been considering journaling my bowel movements.  You know, just to see.

Anyhow, I've cut Honor Thy Mother down past the 100,000 words!

As a reward, I'm spending lunch tomorrow working on The Indwelling.  Got to get to work on the page bank.  I'd like to watch "Black Swan" this weekend.  I've been trying to watch it for weeks now.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

yesterday, i cried

Okay, just kidding.  I never cry except when Ryan Franklin closes, or tries to close out a game.  Yesterday, though, I hated writing.  I'd spent hours trying to type some quality pages only to delete them hatefully the next day.  Then I talked to my nephew who said he was going to be a writer.  We talked about his stories and the book he was going to write.  He's in the sixth grade and spoke with an excitement I'd lost.  I then went back to my book and pounded out 6 pages to meet my weekly quota.  I feel they were good.  BUT THEN I finally figured out the through line and complete rest of The Indwelling.  If I didn't have to be sharp for work the next day I'd damn near type the rest of the thing.  Okay, who am I kidding, that's never happen.  So... yesterday, i cried...almost.  Today, I was happy then cried after Ryan Franklin blew another save.   

Friday, April 15, 2011

Like a Vampire

Is it some misguided etiquette that a Vampire needs to be invited in your home before it can get at you?  I was just curious because that's how I feel with this blog.  I have it, was told I needed to have it by agents.  Now what to do with it.  I find myself ridicuously opening up during conversation with these sly hints or landmines that the other person is supposed to spring, thus thrusting our conversation to my blog.  I'm then to speak all about it and they're supposed to get curious, find it, and follow it.  Doesn't happen.  So, excluding the possibility of a glimmer (I don't think that's traditional lore), I'd be the skinniest vampire around.  But that seems vogue of late.  Skinny and pale and brooding and teenaged.  I'm none of these, ergo...I am not a vampire.  So...I need to be more boldly inviting myself inside.  I guess I'll get on that blood tastes like shit.

--Page bank.  Unless I get off this damned blog tonight, I'm going to be facing a full 6 quality pages tonight.  Today, last night, it was unavoidable and life got in the way.  No new work on The Indwelling, no slicing and dicing of Honor Thy Mother

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Congratulations goes out to Sandra Carrington-Smith for being the only follower on my blog that didn't grow up with me!  This includes myself and my best friend since the 6th grade.  Look out, this blog is going places now!

--Submitted to On Tap magazibe today!

--the page bank....uh oh.  I might be "bouncing pages" this weekend.  Way busy today.  If I don't complete my six pages this weekend, which will be a busy one, I'll owe the balance next week.  IT's hard to stay ahead and on Schedule for my August 13 finish date. 

--cut 273 words from Honor Thy Mother between today and yesterday.  Instead of picturing it as a dying WWI soldier, me the surgeon wielding a bloodied, dulled knife, (I just finished hacking off the legs last night) I've changed it up.  Now it's a contestant on that shitty show "The Biggest Loser."  I"m that loud mouthed hater that yells at the contestants (my words and overdescriptions) and tells them to get off their asses and move!  Will submit first 30 pages to The Nelson Agency this weekend!  Editing through on page 71.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cursed Submissions?

Last year a story of mine entitled "Dementia"  (never published) was received well.  I can't remember the magazine.  That was B.S--before spreadsheet.  The ed. said it moved her, said it was one of the best stories she'd ever read about ageing.  She had some minor problems with the ending dialogue and wanted me tag the speakers a bit better.  I was happy and immediaetly fixed it up per her request.  She had mentioned she was going into the hospital but to contact her in the fall, by Oct, for the winter issue.

And then she died.

I got an email that without her the mag was no more.  OF COURSE her death is sad.  But let's be honest...I was devestated for other reasons.  I'd waited with bated breath for October and sent it to her.  In December I got the news.  Merry X-mas for me.  Right?  I know that sounds bad, but it's the truth.

Today I get an email from Sweet Gum Press.  First line I can see in my gmail inbox reads, "We like your book."  (I'd sent pages)  Unfortunately, it went on, "We are shutting down production. ... Good luck to you."  Ok, sorry for them.  More sorry for me!

--Today I cut more on Honor Thy Mother.  With all the precision of a WWI trench surgeon, I excised another 200 words.  So if me book were the protagonist in Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun, my novel just lost both legs.  

--Submitted to Blank Slate Press last night.  After meeting with the BSP team, I'm hopeful they like what they see.  Seem like a good, down to earth, crowd.  Seem like they'd be great to work with.  Hopefully my submissions don't bring with them a curse.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Publication History


The Illinois Times Vol. 26

The Illinois Times Vol. 28

The Elm City Blues

The Ruptured Seed


The Next Stop: The Best Short Stories of Skive 2003-2004

The Alchemist Review2008

The Alchemist Review2010

The Binnacle 2010

Penitence (2005)

Missouri Writer's Guild conference- Flash Fiction prize (2011)

Missouri Writer's Guild conference- Short Story prize (2011)

Saturday Writers Supernatural or Horror prize (2011)

IV: A New Hope

For those savvy in geekdom, I've titled my 4th post in honor of Episode IV:  A New Hope (Star Wars).  I don;t really know why.  It's not even an anniversary of any type.

Anyhow, cut 200 words in Honor Thy Mother taking it down to 100,633--I'm getting to my goal.  I think it reads better.  Today was the first day I checked out my agent urged Facebook page.  i guess I can see how it's addictive.  I can stop.  i can.  okay, i'm not addicted and I also just determined i'm going to stop capping "i".  if i get published i'll start being official when referencing myself. for now i'm just a little i. 


Created some writing rules for myself which will apply to The Indwelling.  I am calling it my writing bank.  I have to maintain a positive balance.  Here's how it works.  I read once that Stephen King writes 10 pages a day.  When you're writing 10 pages of crap a day this can be easy.  I'm not trying to use 2 pages to describe a leaf.  I only have time to commit to writing of any length on the weekend nights when my family is in bed.  My goal is to write 6 quality pages a week.  Sometimes through week I might find a half hour of spare time.  Maybe I write a page--this counts towards my account.  The following weekend I'd still owe 5 pages.  If I meet my 6 pages through the week I can, in theory, take the weekend off.  I don't know why this works, but it does.  Week one I wrote 10 pages throughout the week leaving me with a +4 excess for the weekend.  This was the weekend I went to the conference.  I still wrote, on other projects though.  This is week 2 of my bank program.  I'll have to see if this little mental holds through another week.  i hope so.  A writer with a family and bust schedule always needs a prod, even when it feels like the spare quiet time could be best spent watching The Apprentice.  I hate that show but watched instead of writing once before simply because it was on and i was tired. 

No rejections received today!  A good day!  Better would be an acceptance or request for pages.  Oh well.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Well, those were angry. Now weren't they?

That was two years ago.  At the time, my initial thought was to blog and keep a diary on my quest to get published.  I still haven't hit the big timne yet, but I'm still trying.  I think I'll keep this as a sort of diary towards this quest.  It probably won't interest anyone much but, hey, I've had this for two years and have exactly two followers.  Of course, I havn't touched this thing for two years either.  Joining Facebook finally and adding a Twitter account should help get the word out. 

Recently, I did the best thing ever to forward my writing career by attending the Missouri Writer's Guild annual conference.  While there, I attended several seminars and networked.  Did a little bit of writing and drank a little beer.  I felt inspired the weeks leading up to the conference and this wave hasn't even finished cresting yet.  I'm doing all these things agents talked about all weekend:  tightening up my novel, Facebooking, Tweeting, blogging.  Networking.  I may begin reading submissions for a local literary magazine called Quiddity as the founding editor and I discussed this.  She said she'd love to have me on.  I'll just wait and see now.  I hope this will work out.

I've ceased work momentarily on my second novel, The Indwelling, while I tighten up the first novel.  I'm extremely excited about The Indwelling, just focusing on immediate needs.  So far I've cut my first novel, Honor Thy Mother by about 2000 words.  My goal is to get it down from 102,000 to 80,000 words.  But I'll settle for 90.  So I'll be updating my blog on that progress as well.

Things i need to be doing:

tightening novel 1
finishing novel 2
submitting more short stories
using all my internet tools
reading more