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Update – End of October 2015

Not much new on the submission front. A couple more rejections came in the last few days, including my first from The New Yorker. Very cool, right? Here is the update:

Submissions: 7
Acceptances: 1
Rejections: 32

I am falling behind on my submissions. I haven’t had a chance to send out the stories that have come back. Need to do that soon. But it looks like I may hit 40 by Dec. 31, so that’s pretty good. I knew I wouldn’t come anywhere close to 100 for the year, but hey, if you’re going to aim – aim high.

One thing that concerns me is that we are moving into the holidays. It’s that time of year when everyone is taking vacation. Things tend to slow down and some publications aren’t open to submissions.

Also, me the writer needs to take a much deserved break too. Always take time to be with your loved ones. You never know how many times you’ll get to be with them.

So now is the time of hibernation for a lot of publications. Ah well, I can be patient and wait for the right place for my stories. I’m not a big fan of sending stories to anyone or anywhere. I am much more precise with my submissions. I don’t want to waste the editors time or my own sending something inappropriate. Why would that work? I don’t think it would and I think it makes you look unprofessional. (Just my opinion, of course.)

Good luck to those that are dong NaNoWrimo this year. I thought about it, but since I am already deep into my novella, I decided not to go for it. I’d rather finish the projects I’m already working on. They should have a month dedicated to that. A month for finishing stories, but I guess you’re supposed to do that every month anyways.

Anyway, happy writing!

Thoughts on Reading

I know I’m preaching to the choir here…

We all know the importance, the joy, and benefits of reading. But still there are people who don’t do it. I remember learning (from some source I can’t recall) that most people only read one book a year. My aunt, who is a professor, says that her students don’t read. Not the news, not books, not even magazines.

I guess I am lucky I come from a family of readers. I remember my mom having a tower of books next to her and my father’s bed. My dad was a comic book lover and still has a bunch of Conan comics somewhere in their house. Also, for years my parents were faithful subscribers to the Washington Post. Even now, they will still buy a Sunday paper and read on a lazy afternoon.

My grandmother was also a professor (psychology) and a big reader. After her death, my mother and I combed through her bookshelves taking many of the books she collected over the years. There wasn’t any pattern to her collection, only things she had bought because she liked them. My mom told me my grandmother had a knack for leaving her paperbacks at the bus station after she had read them. She wanted to give books away to anyone who would want them.

During that clean out, I was to lucky recipient of a fabulous gift. My grandmother had gotten Gwendolyn Brooks to sign her chapbook.

My mom: “You should have it.”
Me: “Really?”
My mom: “Yes. You’re the writer. I think it is best that you take it.”

The rest of the family agreed and now it is one of my favorite literature pieces. One day I will have to properly frame it.

Brooks Pic

So you see how weird it is to me that there are some who don’t read.

But I think there is hope. The emergence of cheap (or even free) e-books is a blessing. I don’t buy what those reports say about e-book sales slowing. There are a lot of writers who are putting out books with no ISBN numbers and they don’t get counted. Plus, what about people like me who frequent used bookstores? I don’t buy a lot of new books, preferring instead to read a lot of older books that I missed. I read maybe 5-6 new books a year out of the twenty or so that I read. So far I’ve only read 2 (in the middle of my 3rd right now.)

Plus, I live in a good area for reading. There are lots of indie and chain bookstores, a large literate public who celebrate books, and demand from that community. I’m sure there are other places that aren’t as nice (but they can be).

So cheap books and a good environment do go a long way towards getting more people to read. Sure there are some who will never do it. For them music or movies are what get them excited. I’ve known a few people who see all the indie movies and don’t understand why more people don’t watch those instead of the latest superhero flick. Or that friend who detests the radio and listens to obscure bands with gusto.

But those who are like me, someone who likes movies, TV, and music, but connects best with books, reading will always be important. The stories connects over the decades and the story you love may be a story your kids love too. My aunt (in her sixties) and I love Sanderson and were gushing over Shadow of Self yesterday. These connections are so precious.

I wish more people understood that about reading. It’s not a chore, or punishment to read. Not all books are boring or long winded. Maybe you’ll never love the classics, but hey that latest mystery has got your name all over it.

Here’s my reading pile. I can’t wait to dive in.

Atwood & Galbraith

Creativity, Publishing, and Turning My Hair Blue

A few weeks ago, I had a snafu with my hair. Every 4-6 weeks I color it to cover the white(I don’t go gray. I go white.) and this time I picked a shade that ended up turning my hair blue. I thought it would be that dark, inky black that had a blue sheen. But that only works if your hair is black to begin with. If you are looking to cover a lighter shade than black, well, it turns your hair blue. I realized about halfway through putting the color on, but what was I going to do? My hair turned out okay. And the color is not too obvious. Frankly, I kinda like it. It’s a nice change from my typical dark brown/soft black shade. It’s already growing out a little and in a few weeks it will get covered up with the new color.

So sometimes a big mistake can end up being a nice change of pace. Sometimes it’s good to shake up your routine. Try something different and learn something new. Lately I’ve been watching some Youtube videos on creativity and entrepreneurship. That’s the new thing now, being creative and having business smarts. I’ll admit that learning about the publishing business is a bit boring at times, but I find myself getting more comfortable to more I watch. There is a lot of good info out there and I am grateful to the people that give it away for free.

In grad school, this was almost never mentioned. Not until the my last class, and even then it was near impossible to touch on everything. And I get it, most of my time needed to be spent learning my craft. That is important. After all, if you can’t write publishable material, you don’t need to worry about the business.

But what happens after that point. Maybe that is why so many people quit writing a year or so after they graduate. The business is too overwhelming? Or maybe they just don’t want to deal with it.

I don’t know…

It helps that a know a few who graduated before me that are continuing to write, submit, and get published. It helps that I still want to write, submit, and get published. I don’t feel burnt out, nor do I feel overwhelmed by the business aspect of publishing. Plenty of people are doing it. I heard someone say that publishing is simple, but not easy. Very true.

What else? We had our first really cold night and that means it’s time to break out the winter teas! Yum! Fuel for the early morning (or late night) writing.



Update Mid-October 2015 – Finish by Christmas

Here we are in fall and I’m still hanging in there with my challenge.

Tally so far...

Tally so far…

Submissions: 9
Acceptances: 1
Rejections: 30

I wish I could predict when I will get answers, but they are all over the place. Still, I’m happy to be hearing back something. The worst is no answer at all. Then you are just left in limbo. Some of these stories will eventually make their way back out into the world, but for now they are resting. Some of these rejections came in the past few days and I haven’t had a chance to find a new place for them.

Finished my edits and signed my contract for the new forthcoming story. SO EXCITING! As soon as I know a pub date and have an image, I’ll talk about it more.

You know, I wonder if I will ever get cynical about this process. I’m not sitting around obsessing over it, but it does give me a thrill. One more story out in the world for people to enjoy.

Other things:

I signed up for a quick 2 day class for fantasy writing. My first with the genre, but I figured it would be a good experience.

Almost forgot to write this post. I am firmly in the grip of the new Mistborn novel Shadow of Self. I have about 60 more pages to go.

Make-up guru give themselves challenges all the time to “hit pan” or “finish five by – ” on their products. I want to finish this novella by Christmas. That’s about two months. If I do that, I’ll be very happy.

That’s all for now. See you in the next post!