Yesterday’s submission, a query to an agent, took longer than I had anticipated so I didn’t get around to blogging, but today’s is done with time to spare. It’s the second time out for this newer story, rejected once only by a pro-rate venue. A cheeky tale with a chilling ending, I’m quite fond of it – which often is a mark of doom for my stories because I have quirky, eclectic tastes, so the ones I don’t like as much often fare better. If I find them a little dry or ordinary, they tend to find a home quite quickly.
I’m working on a story, “Smiles All Around,” I hope to have finished by the end of the week. I’m writing it for a specific call. It is flowing nicely and ties in some of my work experiences. I also managed to squeeze in a bit of gardening, while the nice weather lasts. Frost will clear things out soon enough.
In the meantime, things keep growing and I keep picking.
I’ve been on a bit of a blog hiatus thanks to a series of events. Prepping for summer vacations has kept me busy and we’re in full-fledged gardening season (my garden looks lovely so far), which also takes me away from my computer. Add to that jugger and some heavier than normal editing demands and making time to blog is not all that easy. I’ve also been waiting on some ToC information to share that has yet to arrive. But I’ve decided I‘ve delayed long enough for that.
So on Sunday, for a couple of reasons, jugger didn’t happen (we played in light rain on Thursday), and gardening was a no go. My daughter’s class trip has come and gone, and while I have some edits to check over and some submissions I hope to make today, I have a few moments to spare.
I had mentioned about my efforts to network, and while my efforts continue, I’ve found at least one of the forums discouraging. I see people trying to contribute in a rather brash or blunt way(some of whom are social filter-challenged), other people taking offense, some harsh remarks (downright vicious at times) and some apologies, a little joking around, some lauding of new successes with a round of congratulations, arguing over rules and regulations, and writers who are also editors complaining about submissions they receive, but very little of anything productive or helpful. And I’m physically not in close proximity to the majority of the people on the forum, so any discussions of gatherings or meet-ups exclude me because of the distance involved. I feel very much like an outsider because of this and because I am new there.
I was hoping I might see more discussions of calls for submissions, tips and suggestions, problems and advice, encouraging talk and interesting stories – there are some, but I’d have to say more negative or neutral posts so far, a few of them accompanied by a sense of superiority from some writer who thinks he’s better than another. After observing several threads, I’m loathe to comment for fear of being pounced upon and attacked, or at least drawing a passive-aggressive snide remark or two. Even quite innocent comments seem to be vulnerable. The introvert in me is telling me to start avoiding the forum because it is putting me off writing, rather than motivating me.
As much as I was looking forward to participating and broadening my contacts and knowledge, it’s pretty pointless if it deters me from writing. So I might give it a little more time, in hope things improve, but if not I’m going to go back to just doing things on my own again. Maybe that’s how it’s meant to be.
I think that’s why I like gardening. The only things there that stings are the fire ants.
Another shot at a pro-rate venue and a couple of new venues leaves me with only a week left to go in my blitz. I’m scurrying to hunt out new submission calls as I get to the last of my unsubmitted stories. A busy weekend hasn’t left me with much time: gardening (which will hopefully grow as nicely as last year’s), a well-needed shopping trip, a teenage sleepover, a weekend fandom event and tax time have me somewhat occupied this weekend – and next week isn’t any less busy. I’m looking forward to May, just so I can have a brief breather.
That’s all I have the time for — more later.
I would happily take a handful of rejections over hayfever any day. Unfortunately, I’m afflicted by both right now. I haven’t received very many rejections yet, mostly from pro-rate or SF venues, and just the one acceptance as of yet, so it’s still a matter of waiting. I was a little disappointed that the “maybe” that had come back turned into a “no,” but at least they described my story as “high quality.”
As for the hayfever, that has proven to be a severe annoyance this year. I’ve only had to endure mild symptoms it the past but this year I swear these allergies are seriously out to get me. If the lack of sleep or oxygen deprivation hasn’t done me in before the end of the weekend, then I might survive gardening this year even if it means suffering to see it through.
I haven’t posted in quite some time, but that’s in part because I went on vacation for two weeks and decide to make it a true vacation in that I stopped any extraneous activities that felt like work to me – even regular posts on social media.
Blogging is definitely work. Like many writers I’m an introvert and aside from my stories, I’m not inclined to communicate. A relaxing day for me is writing, artwork, gardening, playing a few computer games or puzzles, reading or floating happily in the water at some beach. Note that these are all solitary activities. I like doing many of these activities side-by-side with my friends or family, but I don’t engage easily, sometimes to my husband’s irritation who I know expects more sharing. That is what a relationship is supposed to be about after all, but that’s just not me.
Even fun social activities, like parties, are uncomfortable for me. I used to enjoy them, but I don’t relate to old friends anymore. Many of them don’t have kids and certainly not autistic ones. Most of them don’t understand my obsession with writing. Most of them have more to their lives than work, family and writing. I end up talking about writing to the odd person who is interested, or maybe gardening to a few other hobby gardeners, but that’s about it. Otherwise I feel very much out of place at social gatherings. The typical extrovert just doesn’t get me.
I like the quiet…no, make that, I love the quiet, and after going offline, and tuning out, it’s difficult and even jarring to force myself to tune back in. I oftentimes wonder if it’s worth it, especially when considering I’m happier and less stressed if I just let things be, embracing who I am and enjoying that peace of mind. I don’t have a large following on my blog. I don’t receive much in the way of communication from folks who read my work. The effort necessary in order to reach out to people seems an awful lot for the size of the return.
But I have made commitments to people and as much as I prefer the quiet, I have to make the effort. I always try to make good on my promises, especially when someone has invested time, energy and/or money in me. So I’m jumping back into social media and I’ll be posting again.
BTW – I’m working on Chapter 16 of Endeavor and I received an acceptance for a fifth short story as the result of my submission blitz. My goal was 6, but I still have some pending a response, so I’ll keep my fingers-crossed that I’ll receive at least one more. I’m planning a second blitz in October.
I have to admit, I have a hard time staying disciplined when it comes to writing posts for blogs in the summertime. I much prefer going to the beach and gardening to sitting huddled in my stifling living room or descending to the musty but cool bowels of my basement to type up something other than Sam’s latest (and rapidly darkening) adventure. Or sometimes I’d just rather hang around watching bad movies with a cold beer in hand. Nevertheless, while not posting consistently, I am posting. That must count for something.
I’ve also been working overtime and trying to hustle to get extra work done before I go on vacation next month. I’m sure many of you working desk jobs know what that’s like. There’s no one to replace you when you’re gone. If you don’t clear away more than you would on an average couple of workweeks beforehand, the backlog you come back to after “relaxing” will often seem overwhelming.
When I’m feeling overworked, I often tend to write more (but do less of the promotional things…like blogging – I feel like I’m doing enough work already.) The truth is, writing helps me relax, and as long as I’m not stressed to my breaking point, I’m better able to write when I need that escape. I’m happier to lose myself in the plot and characters. I find solace in details and background story. The fiction becomes more real for me.
So chapter 13 is coming along nicely and I can see the end of Endeavor quite clearly in my mind’s eye from here. The characters have been playing with me and I’ve had to rewrite parts of the outline, but I think it’s for the better. I have discovered plot threads that will lead me into book 6, Dominion, and beyond. I’m also laying the groundwork for the end of the series, which culminates in book number 9.
My conclusion? Summer slacking’s not so bad, and with regards to Endeavor, it’s proving to be reasonably productive.
Things don’t always grow when and where you intend them too. I found that fact out in more ways than one. Take this year’s garden. We planted several types of seeds, and we had a second year’s growth from our asparagus – although we have to wait for year three in order to harvest that. We planted chard, beets, beans (three types), squash, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, peas, zucchini and pumpkin. The peas and yellow beans didn’t come up at all. The cucumbers made a go at it, but then died. The spaghetti squash met with a tragic accident, but everything else is doing at least okay.
And then there’s the rogue pumpkin.
We have a pumpkin growing in our bean row. We didn’t plant it there – in fact you could say that while we are responsible for it being there, we didn’t put the seed “in” the garden. It went into the compost used to fertilize the garden, the remains of Halloween, and it just happened to grow. Now it is bigger than anything we planted with intent, and has crowded out some of our bean plants.
I kind of feel that way about my Fervor series. I never planned to write it in the first place, but when frustration at failing to get any response from agents was getting to me (I still don’t have one BTW and stopped trying to get one long ago after some unpleasant experiences) I tried something a little different. I took a stab at an agent’s “theme wish-list”, picked one at random, wrote up an outline over a lunch hour and six weeks later had the first draft of Fervor in hand.
And, of course, after a couple of rounds of edits the agent in question wouldn’t even look at it.
I tossed it in my writer compost, throwing it out there with no expectation for it to grow, but a small press liked it and agreed to publish it, and several readers liked it too. It was only meant to be a one-off, but I got asked to write more and now I’m working on book number five in the series with plans on nine total before the end. It has grown like crazy… a seed that I didn’t plant and that I never intended to grow – but there it is.
I’ve planted plenty of seeds – I’ve completed twenty novels to date and only four have been in my Fervor series, but my Fervor novels are the ones doing the best. It’s nice in one way, but a little disappointing in another, just like with my garden. Sometimes, like it or not, that’s just the way it is. You can’t necessarily predict how things are going to work out. What will grow, will grow.
And at least I’m going to end up with a lot of pumpkins.