Obligatory 2014 Recap

new-years-day-2015Wow. What a year. Ups. Downs. Even some sideways curves thrown in. I’m not going to go through every, gritty little detail and bore you to death. Here are some highlights of the year for me!

  • The year started out with a bang as the government decided it wanted back taxes on my grandfather’s estate. I damn near blew a gasket as my dad had promised this wouldn’t happen again. The stress of this all damn near drove me to stroke-level blood pressure for a couple of months. In the end, we had to sell my grandparent’s house (the house I spent ages 12-19 living in) to pay the taxes and get some cash out of the deal.
  • While this ordeal was going on, I received the good news that Phobias: A Collection of True Stories had been released with one of my stories in it. It’s a non-fiction piece, but it’s a gripping tale of how my arm was mostly amputated in a car wreck, and what’s gone on with me (physically, mentally, and emotionally) since that dark night in 1988.
  • Then came April with the annual Pikes Peak Writers Conference. Yet another great conference was had by all, and I was extremely grateful to be able to meet and hang out with old friends and new friends alike. The highlights of my 2014 PPWC were meeting Chuck Wendig, Jim C. Hines, and Michelle Johnson. Michelle asked for my full manuscript while at conference, but ended up passing on it later in the year. More on that later.
  • The rest of the year passed as I cranked out short stories, submitted them to a variety of markets, and let the rejection slips pile up in my inbox. Such is the life of a writer. You keep at it. Write more. Become better. Submit stuff. Accept rejection. Rejoice in acceptance.
  • July found me at a new Day Job. I’m still doing software engineering duties, but simply for a different employer now.
  • August rolled around and another anthology I’m in was officially released. The road was long and arduous for this particular anthology, but it got pulled off and I’m quite happy to have a story in Carnival of the Damned.
  • September found me in Paris for ten days (including travel time) for work. It was nice to go back again (I went as part of a tour group when I was a teen), but able to go alone, do what I wanted, when I wanted, and all that good stuff. However, I did get sick right before the weekend. Horribly sick. I bounced back quick enough, though. I was still able to see some of the sights I wanted to visit, but not nearly as many. That’s ok. I guess I’ll save up some things to see for next time I make it there.
  • Then in October a few things hit nearly at the same time.
  • Early in the month a flash fiction piece I’d written called “Broken Violence” was featured on HorrorAddicts.net.
  • Then later in the month, MileHiCon rolled around. This is a near-local (just up in Denver) convention that’s very well-priced (less than 50 bucks) and is always a hoot to attend. Again, I got to meet up with old friends and make some new ones while I was at it. The convention was all-around great (again) even if the fire alarms went off a few times on Saturday night and forced us to move the midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show to another room.
  • When November rolled around, I received a very nice and thoughtful rejection letter from Michelle regarding Warmaiden. At this point, I’d been shopping the book around for an agent/editor for over five years. I decided it was time to move on from Laurin’s stories and write something fresh and new. The struggle to publish my first novel (and its sequels) was just becoming too much of a burden, and I needed to step away. It all, I trunked around 320,000 words from the trilogy. I still have them around, but they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
  • December rolled around, and I was writing more short stories, and decided to take a break from them to crank on a novel. I took two “short” (they’re short-to-novelette length tales) stories about the same character, merged them, added more material, amped up the grit and blood, and created (what I think is) a pretty decent urban fantasy tale. It’s a bit on the short side (about 44,000 words), so I’m going to run it past the critique group and get their input on places to improve/expand the story.
  • If you look to the right sidebar of my site, you’ll see that I came up one story short on my goal, and 10 submissions short of that particular goal. I’m okay with that. I now have one more publication from those submissions (Broken Violence), and eleven more stories to shop around once they get some polish on them.

I gotta say…. Except for the shitty start to the year, I’ve had a pretty good one so far.

Here’s to hoping 2014 was nice to you, and may 2015 bring you as much success as you can fit in your hot little hands!

PS: Resolution for 2015 will be posted tomorrow. I’m still mulling around a few ideas, and I’m not sure which one to jump on just yet.

First Rejection of 2011

It only took a week from the moment of query to the moment of rejection. *sigh*

While I’m bummed out as I really would love to work with this agent, I’m going to keep on keepin’ on and see what happens next. I think my next stop will be Barnes and Noble where I’ll pick up the 2011 Publishers Marketplace book and start digging through it for leads on agents to query.

Then again, the Pikes Peak Writers Conference registration opens up tomorrow. I’ll definitely check out the list of agents that will be there and see if I can land a pitch appointment or two.

Fastest (and Shortest) Rejection Thus Far

The query that I sent off on Christmas Day was rejected last night. That’s a four day turn around time. That’s fantastic for an agent where some of them (through no fault of their own due to their ever-increasing workload) are required to make writers wait weeks or months. I’m very happy for the quick response, but the rejection stings a little. They all do. No need for me to pick myself up off the floor, though. I’m ready to move on to other agents and continue querying.

Oh. The text of the rejection? Here it is:

Thank you for your submission.  At this time I am not interested.

Partial Rejected

I’ve neglected my web site for the past two months and it shows. I have news about the partial that was requested by the agent: rejection. I’m not sure why it was rejected because all I received was a form letter with a customized apology for not being interested. I wish I knew why it was turned down, but I guess I’ll never know. I’m fully aware that agents are way too busy for follow-up emails and advice to people (other than their clients) and such. I’m not going to pester the agent about her choice. I’ll just accept it and move on.

The rejection was almost two months ago, and I haven’t really written much since then. It’s not because of the rejection… that only bummed me out for a few days. It’s just that life caught up to me and I haven’t had the time I used to have to dedicate to writing. I know that’s a lame excuse, but I’m using it for the moment.

I do feel the itch to write coming back very strongly, so in the very near future, I’ll carve out some time for myself and get back to writing at the furious pace that I’m accustomed to.

Trifecta of Rejections

A few days ago I received a rejection notice (and one of the better ones!) from PseudoPod. I had submitted ZOMBIE C.L.O.W.N.S. to them and their very nice letter said the story was too humorous for their market, and the letter used the plural words “we” and “us.” This meant I made it past the slush pile and was, most likely, given serious consideration. I’m very pleased to have advanced even that far, and I hope to find new markets for the humorous/horror short story in the near future.

Why is this a trifecta? Well, this marks the third rejection from Escape Artists, Inc. My first rejection from them was for AUTOPULSE from EscapePod. The second rejection came for WHISPERING THROUGH THE VEIL from PodCastle (which was subsequently published in Static Movement a month later.) The third rejection of the trifecta is the one that I’m talking about from PseudoPod. I love the work that Stephen Eley started with EscapePod and that continues on with PseudoPod and PodCastle, and I still hope to someday join the ranks of a writer that has his work appear on one of those fine venues.

If you’re not sure what’s up with Escape Artists, then I’ll give you the quick blurb. They are one of the premier markets for free short fiction (though they do pay their authors via donations from the general public.) EscapePod handles the science fiction market. PseudoPod is the horror arena, and PodCastle, the newest of the three, takes care of the fantasy genre. If you’re interested in some of the best stories in the world in any of these three genres, I strongly urge you to follow the links above and check them out. I’ve been listening to them all (from episode #1) for a little over a year now. I’m completely caught up with PodCastle and PseudoPod, and I’m a little under a year behind on EscapePod because it had the longest lead on me than the other two. I can’t wait to catch up to the current-day stories to see how the future has changed.