Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What better way to spend a long weekend

...than reading! It's been quite awhile, but I finally managed most of three days of downtime to read. This wasn't for lack of other things I should have been doing, but fate decided to smack me upside the sinuses with a major cold, thereby giving me a valid pass to hang out on the couch. And hang out I did. I can't remember the last time I sat in one place for so long.

My congested head required lite reading, so I went for my usual (lately, it seems) romance-related fare. In three days I devoured Sherrilyn Kenyon's Born of Fire and Bad Moon Rising. Got to love a writer that really knows how to put her characters through hell, literally and figuratively.

That's over 1000 pages between critiquing a short for a friend, spending half a day moving the last of our stuff from the garage and shed of our previous home, and several hours at two home improvement stores ordering everything we need for the deck that needs to be built in order to finish out our building permit.

Good thing I had to go that other stuff or I probably wouldn't have picked up my head from a third book long enough to spend time with the rest of my sick (we all got the cold) family. I was even a good little citizen and attended our local memorial day parade...because I had to transport my son there to play in the school band. Several people I've run into since have commented on seeing me there, but not stopping over to say hi "because it looked like you were really into reading your book." I did put it down once the parade started, honest. I was doing them a favor, warding them away from my cold germs.  

Now, with my sci-fi and were-creature fixes sated, I can get back to trying to figure out this short I've been fighting with. Yes, that means I still don't have that darn thing finished and I'm running out of time.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

No Thanks

I seem to be a slump lately, which may seem odd being that I've been announcing published stories for the last few months. Most of those were also sold months ago. In fact, one was sold over a year ago that has yet to actually make it into print. This slump means that I'll have nothing lined up to announce for a while and that's a bit depressing given how well things were going.

Not that rejections are a bad thing. It just means I haven't found the right market for the story yet. The  five shorts currently in my submission juggling routine are good. Not that I'm trying to sound over confident, but I do believe in them. They're good stories. I've pulled a couple others that I feel were rejected with merit and need some further tweaking before they return to submissions. They'll return soon.

Sitting here in my slump, it seems fitting that I revisit a few thoughts on rejection.

Don't take them personally. Yes, they can be depressing. Someone didn't find your baby as cute as you think it is. Writing is subjective and there are a lot of markets out there. As long as you still believe in your story, keep looking for the right one. 

Some of rejections are a long time coming. Don't spend your time watching your inbox for a response. Spend your time writing your next story. And then submit that. And write something else. It's not uncommon for responses to take three months and playing that 'I made it to the three month mark' doesn't mean a darn thing. I've found that submissions that significantly go over the expected response date are more often than not for a reason and it's not good. It's either A - the submission has been lost or B - the market died. And yes, that last one happens more often that I expected, so it's not a bad idea to check up on the market and to send out an email to check the status of the submission, especially if it's not a sim sub market. No need to have your story sitting out there in the cold doing nothing.

Find sim sub markets when possible so your story can be multitasking while it's out there in the big wide world. If none of those are a good fit, look for markets with good turn around times, such as weeks rather than months. If my story isn't a good fit, I'd much rather know sooner than later. 

Don't over think the form rejection. It's a form rejection. It's not a secret code. It's simply a no thanks. Send the story somewhere else. 

Appreciate personal rejections but don't fixate on them. Remember, this is all subjective. Like any critique, read it, digest it and apply the tweaks your gut agrees with. 

Most importantly: a rejection will only become an acceptance when you find the right market. Keep submitting. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

This week's goal

Now that A to Z is over and I've taken a little time to catch my blogging breath, it's time to get back into the weekly routine. Weekly should be easier to manage that daily, right? Right. In theory.

Let's start with where things are in my writing world... because that's what I need to cover for some self accountability this week.

Waiting on developmental edits on A Broken Race. Meeting on these has been pushed to early June, which works for me because I still have to...

Finish The Unmaking of Dennis Gilroy for an anthology submission that is due by the end of May. I'd meant to have it done two weeks ago, but time keeps slipping through my fingers. And I'm not even talking about procrastinating or having fun rather than writing. I'm talking days like yesterday when I worked from 8:30am to 10pm with breaks for running kids to appointments and to school. At least I got to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones before collapsing into bed.

I spent what little writing time I did have last week editing Sipper down from 5,900 words to 5,000 words for another anthology that asked for a tighter version to fit their word limit. The first 600 words weren't that bad, but the second pass to find those last 300 was tough. Talk about making the remaining words work hard to hold everything together. Whew! We'll see how the story works at the shorter length when that fateful email comes in.

Goal for this week: Finish the Dennis story.
Extra credit: Edit and submit it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Pretty things

Never have I considered myself a girly girl, but I do enjoy a few pretty things. Sometime around my late twenties I gave up my love for wild earrings, sparkly necklaces and multiple bracelets. That sometime probably coincided with having kids. Since then, you can find me wearing the same necklace for months in a row and the same earrings for years. Bracelets are an on occasion only because they really get in the way for typing and working. The one things that truly remains constant are my rings.

I've always been a little hard on rings, but I love them, and through children, gardening, messy jobs and all life throws at me, I refuse to give them up. I've worn this collection for the past seventeen or so years. Then, within a month, this all happened: 
Not only did building a house take it's toll on my legs and back, my rings suffered. Other than when I was working with mortar or grout, which was really messy stuff, I wore my usual rings. As of this morning, I'm down to two undamaged rings and both of those are simple bands, though, one is hematite -which I've shattered several of in the past- and I wouldn't put it past this one to shatter at any moment. 

I wore a hole in my pearl. I smashed my hand loading heavy stock onto equipment for work and ripped the sapphire out of the second ring. (My hand is fine, thanks for asking, and I found the stone.) I smashed my hand arranging tables in my new work space and lost the diamond from my wedding ring. Searches have not turned up the diamond. Please join me in a rousing chorus of "Doh!"  The last one I caught on a table while setting up for my hopefully last ever annual garage sale and bent it so far out of shape that it now looks like a potato chip. 

Someone has to keep the jewelry repair people busy.

If it's heavy, awkward or large, I'll lift it and I'll move it. I'll do it myself thank you very much. I hate asking for help and even more, I hate waiting for help. 

And this is why I have a hard time writing female characters of the gentle, soft, and proper persuasion. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

A to Z in review

Another year of April A to Z has come and gone. I'm happy to report that I'm still as sane as I was when the month began. Take that for what you will.

First off, I'd like to thank devoted word donors, Nick, David and Hillary. You left me lots of challenges to work with, and I appreciate the time you took to pop over from your own busy blogs to do so.

I'd also like to thank every one of you who dropped by throughout the month with word donations. Having such an array of words to work from each day made this challenge fun, even on my long and hectic days and inevitable Sunday catch up sessions.

Some days yielded a paragraph or two, others grew longer as I traveled where your words took me. Three of my favorites this month were:

D - became a short I titled Water.
R - was a popular post (according to visits) about roses
M - made me laugh, and I always enjoy when I can make myself laugh. It was a silly, exhausted laughter, but it still counts. Enjoy the many multiple M words in the Muffin Loving Moose

If you donated words, I have added each day's story start to the bottom of the post for that day. Please drop in and enjoy. Sometimes a story took a direction where that wasn't possible, but I did try to use them all when I could.

So what's next? Usually, I'd be jumping into A Story a Day In May, but I'm waiting on edits for A Broken Race, which should be in mid-month, and I have a short and a novella I'm in the middle of so I'm set on projects for the moment. And then, of course, there's all those story starts from April if, by some miracle, I happen to have some spare time and need something to work on.

Now that April is over, what will you be working on?