I am taking a few weeks away from the blog to devote my writing hours exclusively to my novel. The projected publishing date of said children’s work remains unknown. I surmise from various writing self-help pieces, that the chances of publishing before 2050 significantly increase if I don’t leave the manuscript almost finished yet unattended for consecutive months. If possible, I am keen to affect a nearer outcome. Ideally, I would be doing a little County Road 21 writing, a little of the novel, and a few other projects. However, extenuating circumstances of late have squished my writing time into a space too small for very much diversity.
Not terribly optimistic, but nevertheless determined, I sally forth on the chance that concerted, focused effort might find my novel in association with a printing press sometime this decade. If all goes well, I’ll be back in two or three weeks. If all does not go well, I will host a bonfire of all manuscripts I have ever attempted and roast all the chickens that aren’t laying any more over it.
As crazy as it sounds, I’ll honestly miss you. Strange given your rather invisible nature as my readers. I picture you all as a whole, but also as people in living rooms holding cups of coffee. Somewhere in the imagining it feels like we make each other real. I’m telling myself that the nature of this reader/writer relationship (which we’ve engaged in without any kind of formal contract about mutual expectations – perhaps this is part of the appeal?) can bear some temporary changes. That is the hope anyway.
Blessings on you all. Having made the decision to take time away, I was of course hit with an idea in the night that it pained me not to get up and write about. Luckily, I can no longer remember it. If it returns, I’ll put it on a list and tell you about it when I return.
Wish me well, my friends. And see you in a few weeks –
I have been trying to get my young adult novel, “Saints and Bones,” published for a little while now without much success. A friend suggested I submit the manuscript to a Catholic publishing contest, and as I had nothing to lose, I submitted. To promote their contest, the publishing house (Tuscany Press) has been posting excerpts from contestants in the different contest categories for months now. Recently, I learned that an excerpt of my novel is going to be featured on Thursday, July 31. (That’s tomorrow!) It doesn’t mean that I’m necessarily even close to being considered, but at least the manuscript hasn’t been rejected outright.
Tuscany is posting excerpts in three locations (Tuscany Press and two Facebook sites) and encouraging authors to get people who appreciate their work to comment, or “like,” the excerpt. Tomorrow I will re-post links to the three places you can see my excerpt. If anyone has time and would be interested in posting a comment, or hitting the “like” button on the facebook pages, I would be really grateful. A strong showing of support isn’t guaranteed to help one’s entry, but then again, it doesn’t hurt either. Additionally, Tuscany offers publishing contract to some who don’t place in the contest.
Please note: although it is a “Catholic,” writing contest, you don’t need to be Catholic or anything else to share your thoughts. In fact, given the wonderful people of all stripes who have loved me so kindly over the years, I’d kind of like it if three quarters of the people who weigh in aren’t quite sure how a genuflect works.
The links are below if you’re curious ahead of time, but again, my excerpt isn’t scheduled to be there until tomorrow.
p.s. If you read the excerpt and really like it, start calling your friends.
FYI 1: If you are a publisher of middle grade fiction, God is telling you to call me TODAY.
FYI 2: If you are in a positive relationship with a literary agent or publisher of the same, God is telling you to contact them and then call me. (Or vice versa)
54 days ago I submitted my children’s novel to yet another venue. The pattern is optimism followed by a submission, followed by fleeting confidence that This. Is. The. One. After a week or less, everything mellows to faint hopes which trickle dutifully until the rejections arrive.
This time a friend of a friend sent in a word for me, so this manuscript had at least a guarantee that someone would read it. “It may take up to six to eight weeks to get back to you,” said the woman who wrote me. She probably meant, “don’t expect a quick answer.” She probably didn’t intend a guarantee. But eight weeks is what she said.
Accordingly, I am scheduled for rejection or acceptance within 48 hours. (Any comments telling me it doesn’t work that way will be deleted. ) Rejection would fit in better during Holy week. Acceptance would go well with Easter. I’ve got decades of experience that say God doesn’t agree with my sense of rhythm. I mentioned it to Him anyway.
One of my struggling lads was stomping in gym class recently.
“I refuse. I quit. I hate it.” Etc.
I tried talking.
“I’ll be mad forever. I’m not playing,” he snapped.
“You’re going to be mad at me forever?” I asked.
“I’m not mad at you. I’m not mad at anyone. I’m mad at me. I’m no good.”
I was teaching a sport new to the class. New rules. New skills. No one was brilliant; it was hardly time to label lost causes.
“It’s just a game,” I said. “I think you’ll get it. But even if you never do, even if you turn out to be the worst setter in the history of volleyball, ever in the world, it doesn’t change anything about you. About who you are, or your value as a person. How you learn to move the ball is just fingers and leather and air. It’s not you.”
Currently, I am two people. One, certain that a publisher’s yes or no will answer important questions about me. The other, a student of underage teachers, observing their confusions and mine. The sun and the laundry mound will rise daily. Packing up tattered winter coats will feel good. And I will be me, regardless the fate of my book.
FYI 3: If you are God, I told gym class lad he was a worthy fellow with or without sports credentials, but I still helped him with his volleyball.