Still Writing, Still Dreaming

All, I’m going to take a little break from updates on my writing. I will still be here and writing, but will take a step back from updating you EVERY BIT OF THE WAY on my works in progress. But, rest assured, I’m going to continue writing fiction. In order to do THAT, I’m going to have to continue to make these posts short and telegraphic. And maybe focus on larger issues in writing and life…but, you know, in a concise way.

So to recap, here’s a quick review of where things stand:

1. I’ve submitted a number of works and will submit more. (You can find out more on my Works in Progress page). These pieces include Pacha-Mama, The Number Thief and others.

2. I’m writing this weekend. (And hopefully not looking like poor Tom here.)


That’s all I’ve got. Nothing more to say. I’ll catch you  guys next time, hopefully with something a bit more substantive. Until then.

Keep Reading, Keep Writing,



Keeping the Writing Going

[Part of a continuing series on where my fiction writing is at.]

Just a quick post today on where my writing is at.  P

“P” –This is a short story that’s become a bit long. It’s a fantasy story set in South America in the present day and it’s now up to 7,200 words. I have yet to write the last couple of scenes. After that’s done I think I will cut, cut, cut to get a solid, gripping read of about 5,000 words. A great length for selling to magazines.

I’m pleased with PARTS of the piece so far. Especially, the main character. I’m not as pleased with certain scenes and transitions. So, those will either have to be massaged or cut entirely. But that can wait until I have a final first draft.

I hope to wrap it up in the coming weeks.

3 other finished works—These works, which you can find on my Works in Progress  page, are still being submitted to magazines. I’ve learned one very important fact from submitting them: unlike speculative fiction magazines, “literary” fiction magazines tend to accept simultaneous submissions. This means you can send a piece out to as many venues as you like and wait to hear back. The DOWN side is that “literary” journals tend to take longer to get back to you. So, in a sense, you don’t really gain anything since you still have to wait a LONG time to hear back. Ah, the travails of the writer…

Finally, I did take a few minutes to update my Works in Progress page, so take a few moments to check it out.

OK. Enough from me, I’ve got to get back to work and back to writing fiction.

See you next time!


Works in Progress—A Bite on the Line

An update on my works in progress.

AFTA—An editor wrote back in response to a query letter I sent, saying he would like to see the full manuscript of this comedy-horror novella. That’s the first time I’ve Fishinghad a positive response to a query letter. Ever. That’s good because there is a lot of advice out there on how to write a good query letter and I’m not sure I had exactly rang the bell with this one. The fact that at least one editor’s interest was piqued is a good sign.

Now all I have to do is wait. I’ll let you know what happens.

TMWSE—Last time I updated you guys, I had finished a first draft of this horror story. I was sick last week, so I just did some prewriting on my writing Sunday, instead of finishing off the 2nd draft. I didn’t want to do serious work without being at my best. The good news is that I’m about 2/3 done with the 2nd draft, counting my work over the previous week as well.

The upshot? I should have this done soon—taking into account a little break for the Holidays—and then it’s off to my four Beta readers. I’ll give them a chance to get back to me and then head into the 3rd (usually final) draft. I will do a reveal of the title of this short story when I send it off to the Beta readers.

Breakpoint—Status quo here: three rejections so far and it’s still with the same magazine. No word from them yet. It’s getting a bit above the average response time for this particular magazine according to Duotrope. I’m hoping the magazine’s staff is just taking the Holidays off and will dive back into the slush pile come the new year. They have a 90-day limit before sending a query and I’m nowhere near that. So, time to wait and see…

Stay tuned. In the coming weeks I will have a look back at my 2014 in writing and a look forward to what I’d like to do in 2015.

See you next time,


Works in Progress–2 Strikes

Here’s a little update on where my writing projects are at. We start off with two recent rejections and new piece I’m working on.

Breakpoint—My science fiction short story, “Breakpoint” got its second rejection. So, what did I do? I went out with my friend David and had some good MalRed_Sox_Yankees_Game_Boston_July_2012bec (Zuccardi, for the wine people out there) and some Brazilian churrascaria. The copious amounts of red meat and wine seemed to do the trick. As did being able to share the disappointment with David. He is a biologist so he has submitted to plenty of scientific journals and got some stuff accepted and some stuff rejected. His advice? Just move on to the next magazine. Know what? He’s right.

I’ll be selecting a new magazine and resubmitting this one soon.

AFTA – Got my 2nd rejection for this comedy-horror novella. That one hurt more than the Breakpoint rejection. I figured that Breakpoint would get rejected, but I was a bit more surprised by the AFTA rejection.

The good news, though, is that I got on the Dark Markets website earlier today and I already found a new, great market that’s looking for horror novellas. I plan to resubmit it this weekend.

X — Here’s the really good news. Last weekend I banged out about 1,800 words on a new horror story:

It was great to start writing a first draft again. I’ve been editing, editing, editing for so long it was great to just start writing from a blank page. Of course, after not writing for a month, I was a bit rusty. But toward the end of the writing session, it all “started clicking” and it felt good. The most important thing that it reinforced: whenever you sit down to write a SHORT story, always plot it out first. A novel is a different beast, you can let it roam. But a short story, man, you have to know where it’s going before you start. And the good news is—at least with this piece—now I know exactly where I want this to go.

See you next time,


Works in Progress—Stories and Novella

In following with a plan laid out in an earlier post, this week’s post will just be a little update on where my writing is at. Here we go:

The Ghul of Yazd
This story should be published in the next two weeks by Strangelet Journal. I will likely do a separate post here when it goes live. I can’t wait for this horror/undead/suspense thriller to come out. In the meantime, Strangelet has already revealed the cover art (right) and you can pre-order “Issue 0” now on their website. Strangelet_FrontCover

B” – a science fiction story.
This is set in the year 2070 after a series of conflicts known as “The Great Wars.” It was influence by Dante, a song by Ellie Goulding and T.E. Lawrence. I just finished the 2nd draft and this weekend I plan to wrap up the 3rd draft. After that, it should be pretty close to done and ready to submit. It will be nice to have something done (knock on wood) before the Ghul gets published.

AFTA” – a comic-horror novella.
Man, does it take a long time for a novella to get reviewed and accepted/rejected…After submitting a couple of query letters to some horror publishing imprints, I’m still waiting to hear back. I guess it’s just getting used to novella/novel submission time frames vs. short story submission time. I will keep you posted on what happens.

That’s all for now. Tune in next week when I write the next BIG post on the craft of writing or come back two weeks from now for another update on my works in progress. It’s up to you. I hope this new blog schedule works for everyone. It’s definitely making things easier for me.

Works in Progress–Breaking through the Iron Ring

[This is part of a new series on my works in progress.]

Sometimes it seems the whole point—the raison d’être—of the publishing industry is to reject new writers. I often imagine an office full of editors receiving new manuscripts, scanning the contact information (just in case it’s an established author) and then filling in the template rejection letter, hitting send and breaking for lunch.


Of course, I’m never worked in publishing and I have no idea how this all goes down. I base this solely on the one relevant piece of data I have: My record submitting pieces to magazines. I’m 0 for 9: Nine submittals, seven rejections, two responses pending.

Title of Work

Rejections Received

Pending Submittals

The Hatchlings



Wonders of the Invisible World



The Man Who  Ran from God






I equate getting published the first time as the equivalent of breaking through the Iron Ring, one of the defensive fortifications from the past (Hadrian’s Wall, the Great Wall of China, The Maginot Line, Bilbao’s Iron Ring). For what I’m sure are sensible reasons, it seems that NO ONE wants to give an unpublished writer a break. Some of these may include the sheer volume of submissions, the need to pay/compensate staff readers, the benefits of staying with a proven winner. A new writer, like myself, can try and try again and meet nothing but a stiff wall of resistance.

But just like the Iron Rings of the past, the publishing industry’s model is looking worn and outdated. Instead of the traditional frontal assault, there’s a new back entrance that no one anticipated: e-publishing.

File:Maginot line 1.jpg

As a writer, it would be very nice (very nice, indeed) to have the third party recognition and the increased readership that publishing via a magazine or publisher brings. But e-books are changing the equation for writers, too. Think about it. Should I delay a piece and submit and resubmit and resubmit it while my Amazon Kindle publishing updates languish? (It’s been almost a year since I published my last book). And should I wait, while other e-publishing Indie writers keep pumping out new novels every few months? Or should I just go ahead and get something out there and build readership myself? Each day a completed manuscript languishes in a drawer or publisher’s inbox is another day my forward momentum stalls for no good reason.

So, should I self-publish or continue to submit pieces? For me, the answer is clear: both.

That’s right, both. As soon as I get my next rejection of my historical novella I’m going to put it on Kindle for all of you. It’s called “The Man Who Ran from God.” I will fill in the details as we get closer to the publishing date. As for the next rejection of my sci-fi horror story (“The Hatchlings”), I plan to resubmit it (if rejected by who it’s with now) to two more magazines where I think it has a good chance. If not, expect it on Kindle soon. I can’t wait forever to keep building my readership.

But I promise to keep taking it to the Iron Ring with new pieces. One day, I’m going to break through.

Well, that’s enough of that.

In other “works in progress,” I finished a first draft of my horror story which I wrote about in detail earlier. I will do the reveal on the title once I have a tight, proofed manuscript in hand. For now, let’s call it “GoY.” I will edit the draft this weekend and hope to have a final manuscript soon. 

I also finally posted the pic of the birdhouse for the same post, “Measure Twice, Cut Once.” It’s a flawed masterpiece. Actually, let’s drop the “masterpiece” bit and just call the birdhouse “flawed.”

Before I sign off, I want to mention two things. Both really encouraged me to keep going and were a gift from fans. One is an unknown blog reader from Vietnam. This person logged on, read my blog and visited five pages. It’s always great to see someone from a country half a world away discover my stuff. Second, thanks to Jake Needham for following me on Twitter.  He’s an established writer with several books under his belt and it’s always humbling to get followed by someone like that.

So, thank you Vietnam reader and thank you, Jake. It’s fans like you that keep me going.

Until next time,