Rejection? I’ve Got Your Rejection, Right Here

Rejection at any level sucks, right?

You see someone you’re attracted to and ask them out, and you get the thanks but no thanks response. You interview for your dream job, and they go with someone else. You raise your hand to give a high five and you’re left hanging. All of it sucks. But the kind of rejection I’m talking about has to do with writing.

Your writing.

Your creation.

Your soul.

We, as writers, are an odd flock. I mean, surely you’ve realized that by now. And if you haven’t, you will. There is no denying it. No other vocation requires people to spend hour upon hour in solitary confinement locked away inside their heads, their own worlds, talking with people who don’t exist anywhere else but on paper.

Dutifully, we pound out words and sentences to bring these people, places, and things alive. We agonize with our characters, don’t we? We feel them at the worst and champion them at their best. At times, we will them to make decisions, but once fully evolved, they have minds of their own, becoming unwieldy bits of bothersome fodder to our tale. (It is magic, by the way, when that happens)

For some writers, it is enough to begin writing.

For others, it is enough to finish the first short story.

And others still it is enough to finish their first novel.

But for others, there is a need to be published, to let the world judge their work.

And it’s to the last group, I’m speaking. Writing is incredibly personal. Why? Because it’s flecks of ourselves, our pain, love, hopes, dreams sprinkled across the page for everyone to see. It’s a glimpse into our innermost secrets, the locked inner chambers of our minds and hearts.

And that’s why it hurts in a very personal way when we have our writing criticized and rejected. It matters not if it comes from our fellow contemporaries, our writers in arms, the ones who are supposed to be helping us improve and grow as writers. It hurts, even more, when our writing is rejected by the insurmountable wall of the publishing industry.

It is important to realize how brave we are as writers. It took a lot to bleed on the page for the sake of our art, to agonize over the wording, the tone, and mastering the proper voice. It took even more courage to submit a story to a publication with the hope we would earn the right to appear in print.

Some writers might say, “Oh, that’s such a shame.”

Others might say, “Tough tittie, deal with it.”

I’m kind of in the middle. I’ve been on the receiving end of brutal rejections, which stung for quite a while. I have amassed quite an impressive array of rejection letters from magazines, journals, anthologies, agents, and publishers alike. If you’ve been wading through the trenches of fiction publishing, I’m sure you have too
The important lesson learned–and it’s a hard one to swallow–is rejection is part of the writer’s growth. It truly is.

Think of the rejection as the publication saying right now, at this point in time, with this story, in this shape, the answer is no. It doesn’t mean you can’t write. It doesn’t mean the story sucks. It means, right now, it’s a no. So, leave the story to simmer, go back over it with a fine-toothed comb and submit it again.

The first rejection is always the hardest. For me, it took me about a week to get back to it. The writing I mean. Submitting again took me a little longer. But it became a rallying point. Other writers get rejected. Everyone does. It’s part of the game.

I’m incredibly stubborn. Ask anyone who knows me. I have Scottish, Irish, and German blood running through my veins. The only person more stubborn than me is my mother, the daughter of a U.S. Army Colonel. I didn’t let it deter me. When the rejection came in, I took it to heart and buckled down. It drove me to write better and to come up with better ideas. I began to read books on writing and incorporate things to improve. I read about how to better focus my query letter and how to word it so they would have a hard time saying no.

I began to submit more pieces, and although I received even more rejections, they didn’t sting as much, and I started to wear each one as a rite of passage.

Don’t let rejections get in the way of what you love.

So, join me. Wear your scars proudly and keep writing and keep submitting. The acceptances will start coming.

Never stop.

And always remember to write ON!

When Are You Finally A Writer?

It’s a weird question, isn’t it? If you ask ten writers, you’ll probably get ten different answers. And who’s to say who’s right? Maybe they all are. If you’re a writer you probably have your own opinion about it.

Thinking about it, there are definite qualifiers. Is it the first time you finish a short story? What about the first time you finish a novel? What about the first publishing credit? Is it the first PAID publishing credit? (There is a difference as we all know, lol) Is it the first time someone other than a family member reads a manuscript and likes it? Is it the first time anyone via social media comments on a story you’ve written? Is it the first time someone comes to a book signing and loses there mind watching you sign your name in the dedication?

All of those are great milestones and are important for writers to grow and to gain confidence but I don’t think any of those qualify you as a writer.

Now calm down. I’m not saying those DISqualify you from calling yourself a writer. All I’m saying is those things don’t make you a writer.

No, my friend, you’re a writer far before that.

Calm me stupid, and many people do so join the club, but you became a writer the moment you put pen to paper and began to write. Creating wonderful characters and well crafted narratives out of the infinite white of the blank page is when it happens. Sure, the other stuff is great to experience but the writer, the one who chews on stories late at night, banging out words on a crappy manual typewriter or the truly hardcore, old-school enthusiasts who use actual paper and pens (yes, I’m talking to you freaks who do it the hard way lol)

All of you are writers.

TypewriterLampWriting and calling yourself a writer begins from word one, day one. And don’t worry about the publishing credits, they’ll come soon enough. Worry about writing.

So, stop reading this post and start writing, you idiots.

Write ON!

 

Being a writer isn’t about trying to win

Being a writer isn’t about trying to win.

So why do so many writers act like it is, guarding their experiences, both good and bad, like they are state secrets? Or worse yet, piling on unwarranted criticism on fledgling writers trying to find their ‘writer legs’.

Whether I’m editing a piece for a client or a friend, I’m always encouraging. Writing is a very solitary volition, hours invested in discovering the proper voice for the piece, getting the dialog to crackle, and bringing the setting alive with engaging characters. All of us, no matter how vast our publishing history is, need some kind of validation, whether from a friend’s comments after giving it a read or a family member. But nothing compares to those comments from contemporaries, the other solitary souls wringing out their fears and dreams within the pages of their manuscript just like we are.

Think about it.

When you were growing up and your mom and dad said you’d done well on a test or in a game, it didn’t mean the same as hearing those things from a teacher, a student or a fellow teammate or coach. Those people toiling with you day in and day out knew what it took to produce on the field and in the classroom. They were there with you in the trenches.

It’s the same for writers.

Hearing your mom say what you’ve written is the greatest thing ever, is not the same as a fellow writer saying those same words, particularly if they have some publishing credits to their name.

All of us, who take up the pen to pour ourselves on the page, should help each other. There is nothing more rewarding then helping a fellow author by leaving a review, editing a piece, or providing encouragement.

Doesn’t take much.

A few words.

A few minutes.

It can mean the world to a struggling author.

 

 

 

Mad Maggie Dupree – Cover Art

CleanReads sent me the cover art yesterday for my middle-grade thriller Mad Maggie Dupree. I’m so excited!

I love the detail of gates and the facade of the Stillwater Psychiatric Hospital. The colors are beautiful too. Maggie sitting on the suitcases (which proves to be an important part to the mystery) is perfect.

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The official release date is June 26th and I can’t wait to get my promotional copies in the coming weeks!

The second book will be out before Christmas this year. Keep an eye out for it!

This series features twelve-year-old Mad Maggie Dupree as she tries to adjust to her new surroundings while living on the Stillwater Psychiatric Hospital with her family. Becoming friends with the boy next door, he lets her in on a discover he’s made with the suitcases left behind from patients who were discharged. It takes her on a journey through patient dorms, forgotten lower level tunnels, a rundown greenhouse, her parents fighting, an annoying little brother, bullies and baseball

Fast paced and exciting, Mad Maggie is an endearing character complete with bruises, a big heart and the flaws we all have.

Weirdbook #38 – Flat is Flat and That is That

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My piece entitled ‘Flat is Flat and That is That’ appears in Weirdbook #38. It follows two rail riders in the early 1930’s looking for work. An older man, named Billings takes a young man, trying to support his family, under his wing to show him the ropes. It’s anything but a peaceful journey. They are both nearly killed by railway officers and other rail riders. Scared and worried he’ll never see his family again, the young man begins to come unraveled. To settle him down, Billings makes a promise that’ll he’ll make sure he gets home. That promise takes on an entirely different meaning later in life.

Dragon Sky

My current novel is a dark fantasy piece following a teenage girl named Lydia. A lowly stable worker in the fabled North Wesley Dragon Stables, she dreams of the day when women will be allowed to ride dragons.

When hunters bring an injured dragon named Scree to her stables, things begin to change for her. Not included in the training regiment and marked to be put down, Lydia has to face the elders and fight for Scree’s life. It’s only the beginning however as she unknowingly unravels a secret that shakes the very core of North Wesley.

It will forever change her and the world around her.

I’m just over 4k with this piece and feel the world growing around what I’ve already written. Love the feeling when something new opens up and blossoms with each word I type. I’ll keep you all posted as I progress with Lydia’s adventures.

 

Darke County

Working through the latest round of edits on Darke County before sending it back to my agent Kirsten Schuder of Apex Literary Management. This is my paranormal mystery series following Robbie, Lyle and Angie as they sift their way through the half-forgotten legends of Darke County. A real county in Ohio, it’s nestled along the western border of the state.

I have family that live in Darke County, so I’ve been privy to the numerous legends swirling through its history. I’ve included quite a few of them in the series along with fictionalized adventures.

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Perhaps the most famous person to be born in Darke County, sharpshooter Annie Oakley grew up in Willowdell which is about five miles from North Star, Ohio.Annie Oakley Historical Marker 72dpi.jpg

 

I have the first four books in the series complete.

– Darke County
– Darke County – Deadfall
– Darke County – Stillwater
– Darke County – Legend and Lore

I’ll keep posting my progress!

 

The After

Still wading through the aftermath of the holidays can be as daunting as getting the house ready before the holidays. Cleaning, putting decorations away, all while trying to get back into the normal flow of the day to day can be hard.

It’s also hard to get back into the swing of things, isn’t it?

Out of town family have gone back to their respective homes and the crazy intensity of the  holidays has once again abated. It was and always is exhausting and enjoyable at the same time.

It was tough with family demands and holiday celebrations taking their bites out of my writing time. I’m not complaining, family is incredibly important to me and I wouldn’t give up a chance to roller skate with my nieces and nephews over writing any day. But because of all the time away from the laptop, my output suffered. Typically putting down over 2k words a day, I only averaged half that over the last few weeks.

That being said, I’m happy to have made the progress I did, pushing ‘The After’ above the 60k word mark.

The book is moving well, the characters writing it for me, whispering things I never knew and showing me their secrets. Love when my projects are at this stage. I’m hoping to have it finished in the next few weeks, but we’ll see if life has other ideas.

Keep writing!