Showing posts from October, 2006

Random Monday Ramblings

Being from the Pittsburgh area, even though I’m out in farm country, I’m in a funk this morning. Most of us are. Our beloved Steelers lost yet again. I mentioned over on Working Stiffs that I think Ben Roethlisberger needs to take a week off and come to me for some Restorative Yoga and I’m renewing my plea here and now. Dear Bill Cowher, Let Charlie Batch play and give me Ben for one afternoon. He’ll be so relaxed and refreshed after a few hours of restorative yoga poses that he’ll come back and win every game the rest of the season.

Maybe we could fill Ben’s helmet with bubble wrap, too. I mean, good grief, the guy bounced his face off a car this summer.

Okay, I realize most of you didn’t come here to hear me whine about my Steelers, so I’ve leave it at that.

On to the Word Watchers Challenge. Tomorrow is our self imposed deadline for our latest goals. Once again, I’m not going to meet mine. I have rewritten chapters two through eight. And I’ve finished Chapter Nine, although, I now rea…

Another Acceptance

I really need to pay closer attention to my incoming emails.

First, I mistook the acceptance notice from Mysterical-E for spam and nearly deleted it. Then, just two days ago, I glanced at another email with something about “Submissions” in the subject line and assumed it was something more to do with the previous acceptance.

Wrong. It was another acceptance of another short story by another magazine.

So in addition to having “A Signature in Blood” in Mysterical-E’s Winter issue, another of my short stories, “Sanctuary” will be in Spinetingler’s Winter issue.

This one is entered in their cozy-noir contest. “Sanctuary” is a quirky piece. Dark, but with an uplifting ending. Too dark for cozy, too uplifting for noir. So I’d had a hard time finding a home for it. When I heard about the contest, I remember thinking, “Hmm. Yeah. Cozy-noir. That’s what it is.”

In publishing everything has to fit in a category. I think I’ve found mine. At least for short stories.

Anyhow, I’m pretty excited about hav…

How NOT To Get Published

There are many paths to publication. That discussion could go on for days. And does. If you’ve been to any writing conference, you’ve witnessed it.

But there is only one surefire method to NOT get published. Very simply, don’t submit.

Many of us are terrified of having our work actually read. Many more of us are mortified at the prospect of rejection. Get over it. If you have dreams of publication, you are going to have few nightmares involving rejection. It is going to happen. Accept it and move on.

The next stumbling block is the fear of multiple rejections. Okay, you sent that short story out and it got an impersonal form rejection letter. Don’t run the story through the shredder while wailing and gnashing your teeth. Find another potential market and send it back out. If you get a rejection from that one, send it out again. In the meantime, write something new to send to the first market on your list.


We’ve got about a week left to our October Word Watchers C…

Some days are diamonds...

…some days are stones. So goes the song lyrics. And nothing is more true when describing the life of a writer. The ups and downs’ll getcha if you’re not careful.

As previously reported, my debut short story has been accepted for publication this winter. I emailed the good news to my agent, hoping to get some good news back from her. Alas, such is not the case. I’ve had three rejections and two houses apparently aren’t interested in even looking at my novel.

I confess, I was seriously bummed out for a day or two. I weighed my options. Do I continue working on the second in the series when the first one isn’t selling? Should I pull one of my other ideas off the back burner and flesh it out into a new proposal?

Quitting entirely was never one of the choices. I may be a little down, but I’m still determined.

Times like these are when having a writing community around is vital. I whined to my writing friends in person and by email and they all patted me on the back and offered shoulders to cry…

When Spam Isn't

Saturday, I was waiting for responses to several e-mails I had sent earlier in the day, so when my computer played that chord that indicates “I’ve got mail,” I pulled up my chair to check it out.

I didn’t recognize the address of the incoming mail. My first thought was “darned spam.” But with my finger hovering over the delete button, I read the body of the message. It stated that Mysterical-E magazine will be publishing my story “A Signature in Blood” in their Winter Issue due out in December.

My second thought was, “alright, who’s playing a demented joke on me?”

I grabbed my submissions folder and, sure enough, I had submitted that story to Mysterical-E and the editor’s name matched the name of the e-mail’s sender.

My third thought was, “Oh, my God! I’ve had a piece of fiction accepted for publication!”

Then I nearly broke my chair jumping up and down in it.

Yes, I have finally cracked the fiction market. I’ve only had non-fiction articles published previously, but my dream, my first love…

Fun With Words

One of my favorite resources for research (besides hanging out at the racetrack) is Yahoo. No, not their search engine, although that can be quite useful, too. But rather their Yahoo Groups. When I first needed answers to questions on Thoroughbred racing, I did a search for groups on the subject and joined several. The members have been more than helpful. Besides, chatting with them is fun. And this whole Yahoo Group membership thing can become quite addictive. But that’s a subject for another day.

My friend Nancy Martin, author of the Blackbird Sisters Mysteries, introduced me to a little game she plays involving finding words. She listens and reads and certain words pop out at her. Each day, she collects a certain number of them. I forget how many…six, ten…something like that. For me, I haven’t set a number, but I do keep a running list of intriguing words. They might be something new and trendy. Or they may be something I’ve heard of long ago and never thought of using. The point is…

Writing Through Polarized Glasses

I left my favorite sunglasses at a friend’s house this weekend and have been forced to resort to my back up pair. They’re polarized. Colors, when viewed through them, are more saturated. The blue sky is VERY blue. The orange and yellow and crimson leaves of autumn blaze brighter than normal. When I take them off, the world seems dull in comparison.

Of course, this makes me think of writing. Pretty much everything makes me think of writing. But my polarized sunglasses make a good point about writing with emotion.

We want emotion in our writing. But writing from the gut, pouring it all out on the page is HARD. It’s so easy to just rush through those emotional scenes, brushing the surface, but never getting deep enough to pull our readers in. I have a couple of theories on this.

Perhaps, we assume that since we are feeling the anger, the passion, the fear, our readers certainly must be feeling it as well. Guess again.

Perhaps, we’ve been told to keep a lid on our feelings. Bottle up our inte…

The Joy of Research

We all strive for accuracy in our stories. Unless we’re writing an autobiography, that generally means we must do research. Does the idea of researching the fine points of your stories send chills down your spine? Do you put off making those phone calls and asking those questions? Or do you look forward to an opportunity to learn something new?

For me, it’s a little of both.

I need to track down someone in the West Virginia State Police to answer some procedural questions. I have an index card that I keep adding questions to. But I haven’t made the call yet. Why? I have no idea. Well, maybe I’m afraid they’ll think I’m some sort of kook who’s planning some horrendous crime. I did talk to one trooper while researching my first mystery. At first, he wanted to know who gave me his name. I got the feeling they were in deep trouble. But eventually, he softened up and gave me some great stuff. Still, I’ll try to find someone else to answer my questions this time.

On the other hand, there’s my …

Here We Go Again

I must confess, I haven’t added one new word to my work in progress since the end of the Word Watchers Challenge. That’s not to say I haven’t been working on it. I’ve done a little editing and I’ve done a little plotting and I’ve done a LOT of research. But nothing new has been added in weeks and this must not continue.

Besides, I heard from a lot of you that you wanted to do another one before the holidays so here we go again.

Word Watchers Challenge TWO.

I am pledging to reach 175 pages (I’m at 128 now) by Halloween. PLUS I intend to get the first five chapters rewritten due to changes that need to be made for accuracy sake. So, while that’s only 50 or so new pages, there is a lot to be done by the end of the month.

Come on in and state your pledge under comments and check back. Like before, we can do an update every Monday (except when I don’t get to it until Tuesday) and we’ll do a little cheerleading and, hopefully, inspirational stuff later in the week.

The writers are in the gat…