goals, publication, Rejection, Writing


And I’m a Finalist in Writers of the Future Q2, but not a Winner. Which is sad, but not heart-wrenching. I mean, I never expected to make it to Finalist (Woo-hoo!), but somehow my story did.

And yet, it would’ve been nice…

There is still a glimmering of hope, however. I’ve agreed to hold my story for possible inclusion as a “Published Finalist.” Which means that if they need more words to fill the anthology, my story can still be considered for it. So, actually, it’s not quite all over for me.

Good luck to the three Winners from this quarter! And to all the other Winners from the other quarters of Volume #33, as well as to the others vying for Published Finalist. It’s been an awesome ride with you all to this point.

Reading, Rejection, Writing, Year in Review

My Writing 2015: A Review

OK, so here we go at last–my year’s writing in review. I really like these posts, because whenever I start the research for this, I’m pretty glum, thinking that I haven’t really done “all that much” or “all that well” for the year. I mean, I could’ve done so much more if it hadn’t been for x or y, and I expected to get so much more accomplished on project z. I usually feel pretty much like an abysmal failure.

And then, I run the numbers, and begin to cheer up. You can’t argue with the stats (well, you can, but you’d look pretty foolish).

In 2015, I made about 51 submissions. From those, I garnered:

  • 5 acceptances, including my first reprint! (wheeeeee!)
  • 1 “no response” (boo! market closed)
  • 1 withdrawal
  • 3 still pending
  • 12 personal rejections (a couple very complimentary)

Then I looked back at last year’s stats and saw “54 rejections, 23 personal, 6 acceptances, 4 pending.” Hmm, less writing than last year? That’s not good, right?

But it is good. Because this year I also finished the first draft of the novel I didn’t finish the year before, and began figuring out what was broken on it and how to fix it (a major chore, since it’s my first really completed novel). On top of that, I planned and wrote a novella and have detailed outlines for the next two in the series, which I hope to self-publish in 2016. So in effect, I’ve finished 2 novels this year, and planned a couple more, in addition to all those short stories submitted. See, this is looking pretty impressive now, isn’t it? 🙂

My 2015 goals were to:

  • finish the novel (check)
  • revise novel via outline (check)
  • write at least 12 new stories to submission stage (check)
  • do concept ideation and outlines for novella series (and double-check, since I exceeded this by writing the first draft and started editing it before the year was out! Go me!)

See why all this is cheering? I didn’t do badly at all, did I? I really love the stories I wrote, and the markets I was published in. I came pretty darn close to a couple more sales at really awesome markets, and am gratified and amazed by that (especially when I see the quality of the stories that did get accepted!), and I continue to be supported by the conviviality and community of both the Codex Writers’ Group and my VP 17 cohort, as well as some lovely people here on this blog. Having good peeps to see you through the tough times=gold.

Thus I come to the end of this posting, cheered and fortified to continue onwards in my writing, and questing towards publication “glory.” (Um, yeah, whatever. I just want to keep improving, keep trying new things, and maybe see some tangible signs of success here and there.)

For the new year (which, yes, is already getting a bit long in the tooth, I know), may all your nouns and verbs agree, and may none of your participles dangle! Happy reading and writing and carrying on with good living!


Links, Rejection, Writing

The Lost Week

Wow, last week was completely lost. It’s utterly gone, and I have nothing to show for it other than a vague sense of guilt–both for the personal reasons that made it “lost,” and for the lost writing/editing time. Ugh.

But it’s Tuesday now, a whole new week–a glorious week full of words and wonder. Yippee! I am happily world-building on the novel once more, and am thrilled that new things keep surfacing from the slurry of my subconscious to become vital parts of this awesome world. I have a few short story ideas batting around my skull, too, and I’m hoping to commit time to at least one of those later this week. As well, while last week may have been lost to me, it wasn’t lost for others, so a few rejections came in, and I’ve just now dealt with those–either by editing and re-subbing or simply re-subbing. Ah, it feels pretty good today, despite the threat of snow this evening 😦

Let me give you a couple links here, both for fundraisers for spec-fic writing markets. First and dearest to my heart (of course!) is the one for Fantasy Scroll Magazine over at Kickstarter. Fantasy Scroll is a new online magazine which is providing another venue for great spec-fic stories. (I’ve linked to them before but here it is again. And in the interest of full disclosure, I’m an unpaid slush reader for this mag.) There are rewards at various levels, as is standard. Let me draw your attention to the $60 level, which I think is kinda awesome. For this level, you’ll get a critique of your own short story by either the Fantasy Scroll editorial staff (no, not from me! silly!), or from author Hank Quense. If you’re looking for some professional feedback, this may be just the thing!

The next is over at Indiegogo, and this one is for Niteblade. Rhonda Parrish has been publishing this little online ‘zine since 2007. There are lots of fun rewards-levels here, as well, so check it out. Also, don’t forget to check out the Niteblade publication itself.

That’s about it for now. I hope the weather continues to trend toward the warmth of springtime, and that we might someday see flowers again… Until them, I’m going to huddle in my office and write.

Personal Life, Rejection, Writing

Return of the Writer

Let me share something with you. Something not joyous, or glad: for the past couple months, I’ve been struggling to find the joy in writing. I’ve been feeling tapped out, and tired. Since returning from Viable Paradise, my life’s been a three ring circus, with illness, travel, recuperation, holidays, holiday-related chaos, more illness, more travel, and more holidays. My writing time took a nose-dive, but I’d planned on that happening, so it didn’t scare me. What bothered me was that, when I had a moment to breath, or time to actually write, I couldn’t come up with any ideas. None. Zip. My well seemed truly dry and empty. And that scared me.

So it was with trepidation that I faced the new year, and life’s return to “normal” scheduling. Where would the ideas come from? Would they come, or was I done? I fretted while trying not to think about it.

The day came when I returned to my desk, my computer, and my writing schedule. For a couple days, I edited the last story I’d finished, getting back into the flow of words. Then, I turned to a new Scrivener file and stared at the blank screen. No ideas. The old ones in my Ideas folder just didn’t hold my attention. The in-progress story I’d left to finish now bored me to tears. Clammy fingers crawled into my stomach and twirled. Gods, no! Not this, not now.

I remembered seeing a  post on another author’s blog with a writing prompt that had, a couple weeks ago, sounded interesting. I went there and re-read the old (2 years?) prompt. It was multi-faceted, combining 5 separate elements. An idea clicked, and another meshed with it. The rest fell away, but it didn’t matter. I had an idea, and I started writing. After two days, it was done. I was happy. Relieved, and happy.

What’s more, the post contained other prompts that niggled at my brain. I went back and wrote them down. Immediately a story jumped out at me. I worked it out a bit, then waited for the new file to open, etc., and yet another idea leapt at me from a part that I’d left out of the first one. Ack, no! Not two at once. No! I rushed to capture that idea blob, unformed as it was. Every idea is precious! It fills the dry well, primes the pump.

This was on Wednesday, and I had signed up for a flash-fiction writing contest over the weekend, so I knew I’d be writing something (however terrible) between Friday evening and Sunday night. Suddenly my time was at a premium. I did write that story, and it didn’t suck. I felt giddy. Excited. And a story and a half were waiting for my return.

Yesterday the weather was mild–warm, even. After a weekend tucked behind my computer, I decided to take a walk. I turned all thoughts away from writing. The Novel That Isn’t has been consuming me, making me uneasy. It scares me, quite honestly. All that time committed to this project that will, most likely, sit on my computer forever. And I don’t even have a solid grip on it, yet–ACK!! It’s what I’d been fretting over during the “holiday break.”

Finally, I decided to consider one small aspect of it: POV. What POV should it be? Well, that depends on the story itself, of course. Oh, this was like trying to say where a circle begins and ends! Argh. Fine, then. What books that I’ve like recently used what POVs? I enumerated those. This got me thinking about multiple POVs in a novel, which I haven’t done yet. It seemed a nice challenge. But of course, you’d need the right story for it. Back to this again.

And then, I slipped into that thinking without planning state. Considering, questing, trying. And I came up with a barest-bones skeleton of a plot upon which depend (and vice-versa, I can’t say which came first, really) two entangled characters, and a novel which must be told in their alternating POVs.

OMG, did I really just say that? Yes. I did. On the way out of the forest, after I’d wrestled this monster up from the depths of my subconscious and put a bit of meat on its bones, I turned away again, to enjoy the scenery, such as it was. And another little tickle turned into a character, and her antithesis: the beginning of a short story. I don’t know where it will go, but it’s interesting.

As I walked across the sunny field to my car, I almost ducked down, away from the ideas  buffeting about my head like moths around a lantern’s glass. I smiled. And I’m still smiling. My well is primed again. I’m feeling refilled, re-energized, and ready to write.

If you’re struggling, hang in there. Give yourself time, and space. Permission to try, to fail, and to continue anyway. I always suggest taking a walk; it works for me. If you have any great resources or suggestions for overcoming fear, block, or whatever, leave a comment.

And have a Happy New Year, indeed. 🙂

Personal Life, Reading, Rejection, Viable Paradise

Summer Reading, Happy Rejection, and Heat Waves

summerreadingJust started my pre-VP summer reading, and after a “quick” trip to the library, I have five novels by VP instructors, plus another that I already owned (and am currently reading). Four others are on order from other branches of the library. And this is the “first wave.” Short stories aren’t included in this list, since so many are available online now, but I’ll be reading those, too. This will be no “light” summer reading, but a “heavy” reading load. But I’m diving in, eager for the challenge. And the fun! (Books I have to read? YAY! “Sorry I can’t do those dishes now, I have to read…”)

Over the weekend, I got an email rejection. Well, yeah, no surprise there. But … this rejection came from a pro-paying market. And it was personal!!! Very personal, in that my little story had made it to the final round of consideration before falling to the wayside. I’d be on the roof dancing like a maniac if the story had made it into this publication, but I’m still pretty ecstatic that I got (let me say it again) a personal rejection from a pro market! I had to try to explain to a non-writing friend why I was so happy with a rejection (waves at friend, who reads this blog). I guess some things are mysteries to non-writers, and always will be, the way the workings of my microwave will remain to me. (Yes, I could go read up on it, but really, I just want my butter melted. Fast.)

And then there was the weekend. A lovely, long weekend away, filled with too much fun and good food. But travel makes one fractious, so I was looking forward to being home and taking a nap after we landed Sunday morning in Newark Int’l. The temperature there was between 97 and 99°F. When we got home, we discovered that, sometime during our absence, the AC had broken. Inside it was 84…85…86°F. We called the maintenance supervisor and left for a late lunch and a trip to the (blissfully air-conditioned) bookstore and mall. Whew. So much for that nice cool nap. Still, there is such a thing as “loaner” window AC units at our complex, and those things brought out apartment (which topped out around 88°F) back to bearable by bedtime. The repairman came today, and lo!–the outside temps plummet, and now it’s raining. Still and all, I’m glad to have the AC back in working order. It facilitates my reading 🙂  Speaking of which, gotta run. Books to read, you know.

Rejection, Writing

Rain and Rejection

Three days ago I “released” Mother Nature from my superstition that rain should bring me acceptances, the way cool animal sightings seem to foretell rejection. Well, yesterday it sprinkled in the evening. Today it poured. And I got a rejection.

Some days, it feels like I just can’t win. :-/

Nevertheless, writing is proceeding (don’t you just love legally using passive when you can?). It’s a “writing” week, like I said, so I sat down yesterday and opened an ideas folder, found a theme that looked likely, and said to myself, “Well, go on. Write!”

I plopped a line down. Another followed. My opening volley, as it were. Now, what comes next?

For the next hour, I puzzled out this character, this strange world. I wrote, and lo and behold — it did not stink! Today I wrestled more with the furtherance of the story by nailing the story itself. What is happening, and why? What are potential endings here? The conflict is what, exactly?

And the story taking shape is interesting. The character is someone I’m coming to like, can relate to. I feel drawn to her story. Now I feel like half of me is smirking at the other half. See? I told you, didn’t I? If you just write, the story will come.

But I still hate it when the smug half wins.

Nature, Rejection

Spring is Green and Gray and Mud-Brown

Yes, Spring is here–in the form of rains and low clouds and mud, mud, mud. Flowers, too, but in the rain, well, it’s hard to get outside to appreciate them. Sigh. But that means it’s a good day for writing. No distractions out the windows.

ugly fox In “Great Animal Sighting” news:  A while back, hubby and I traveled to Island Beach State Park. As we drove in the long, straight and mostly deserted road, a distant car  drew near. A dark shape shot out from the sandy scrub and dunes surrounding us, close to the oncoming car. Oh, no, I thought, they lost their dog. Or someone lost their dog. Because obviously, this creature was heading for that car, for their doors.

The car slowed, and so did the dog. But it was an odd-looking dog. After a moment, hubby and I both realized that was no dog, it was a fox. And, it was begging for handouts from passing cars!

The other car drove on, and the fox turned towards us. Driving slowly, we crept alongside the fox. It looked directly at the driver’s side window (which was securely rolled up! No fox is leaping inside with me, I’ll have you know) before sidling back and behind us. A few yards further along came this sign:

fox sign

Perfect timing, I tell you!

“And did this sighting come with a rejection?” I hear you asking. Well, of course it did. Great walloping ones. But if I’m being superstitious about cool animal sightings bringing rejection, shouldn’t there be a benefit in there, too? I think so. So from now on, I think rain should bring good news. It seems to rain here rather a lot. I hope to have lots and lots of good news to share 🙂  And if I do, well, you’ll know to come up with your own handy superstitions. Yup. That and lots and lots of writing.

Nature, publication, Rejection

Acceptance, Rejection and Otters! Oh My!

Well, awhile back I had “mystery” news. Now I can share it:  my story “The Gloaming” has been accepted at Cast of Wonders and will be made into a podcast!

If you’re not familiar with them, Cast of Wonders is a site for YA spec-fic audio podcasts, and they do a really fantastic job! I can’t wait to hear my story being read aloud (by someone else, mind you–my reading voice is, shall we say, less than wonderful). I get shivers just thinking about it. I’ll relay the date of my story’s release once I know it.

Until then, I encourage you to head over to their site and listen to the other works. Donate, too! Cast of Wonders runs entirely on donations. Finally, send some “young adults” over–get them engaged in speculative fiction in short, non-threatening bursts of wonder.

In the natural-world side of things, I took a short walk this morning and stumbled upon a young river otter sliding off a rock and into the water. I’ve never seen one before, so I thought this was a good omen…but we all know the strange way Mom Nature has of pre-saging my rejections with wondrous sights. Still, I was glad to see this guy (or girl) sliding through the water.

In a reversal of normal events (I hope, at least), I got a rejection yesterday. No great news there, but… this one held comments! They can be summed up in the first line:  “It’s ingenious, but it needs a little work.”

I don’t know about you, but despite that being a rejection, I’m pretty thrilled. My work was called “ingenious!” Of course, I’m also putting that story back into the “editing” pile, and revisiting those things the editor mentioned. Then maybe with the next market it’ll find a home?

So, while I’d been hoping to report I had six stories out again, I’m back down to five. And I haven’t finished a second story for the month yet, even though I’m actively writing on two! Which means…enough blogging, I’ve got to get back to work!