July Writerly Update

With scant hours left before July 2021 is history, here’s my brief update.


July was a busy month for me. One of my short stories was published, I hired an editor for my novel, I wrote and re-wrote a few more short stories, and faced an avalanche of rejection. I also learned that writing takes patience and time. August promises to be equal parts grueling and rewarding. My butt is in a chair in front of a keyboard more than I’d like it to be instead of hiking in the woods this summer. Still, it’s all for the words, right?

BananThology is Released Into the Wild! My story “A Monkey’s Uncle” appears in BananThology, an anthology of stories where messages are secretly passed via bananas. Yes, that’s the anthology’s theme. Besides me, there are banana-message tales from Shebat Legion, Joe Ficklin, Bennett Barouch, Charles Barouch, Carrie Sessarego, Lore Hera, Mara Eastly, and Ann Stolinsky.

“A Monkey’s Uncle” pays tribute to pulp adventures of yesteryear, where hyper-intelligent talking gorilla Professor Ulysses must work as an operative on a secret mission in Brazil that involves a banana plantation, Nazi spies, and certain movie stars.

I Hired an Editor! For months, I’ve been in a funk about my manuscript. I couldn’t make it work and was receiving rejections left and right. Thanks to a suggestion from my wonderful beta reader, I found an editor who is fixing my broken prose. Editors are the absolute best, and can spin your shit into gold. They really work magic when it comes to piecing together your story structure and fleshing out your characters in ways you don’t anticipate. I recommend every writer once they’ve finished with their manuscripts hire an editor. It’s probably the most important step in writing next to, well, actually writing.

Fiction Dam is Bursting! Yeah, I wrote and re-wrote a few short stories in the last month. Horror, science fiction, science fiction comedy, fantasy. I’m all over the place in themes and styles. Fortunately, my beta reader keeps me honest and focused and for that I’m grateful. I’m fortunate I have the time for my inane scribblings. Hopefully, they’ll be polished enough for publication. Fingers crossed.

#SFFpit was Huge Success! For other writers, that is. For me, the sound of crickets and rolling tumbleweeds filled my inbox as no agent or publisher showed any interest in my pitches. Twitter pitch events are weirdly chaotic. You never know how they’re going to go, but the general mood out there on July 28 was angst filled with yawns. I pitched six times throughout the day and while I didn’t garner any interest from agents for my urban fantasy, I did attract interest from potential readers and other writers. I also picked up a few followers after retweeting their pitches.
Some of these comments surprised me:
“A mortician protagonist is something I didn’t realize I needed in my life until now.”
“This book sounds AMAZING.”
“Love those comps!! Best of luck to you!”
“Hell yes, I need this!”
“This seems like a book that needs to go in my TBR pile!”
“Ooh! This one! This one!”
“A solidly fun read.”
“Armenian mythology”
To those who took time to comment, thank you. Your words mean so much to me. I hope my story piques your interest enough so that you’ll follow my publishing adventures.

Rejection’s Merciless Sting! While I submitted stories in July, I also received my share of rejections. Sometimes the rejection emails cane back-to-back for that extra gut punch. Did you ever write a story for a market you think would be perfect for your words, only to discover that your story wasn’t up to snuff? On the plus side, my rejections have never looked better. While form rejections still plague me, personalized rejections with encouraging tones have snuck into my inbox. Most of these soften the blow of rejection, but it’s nice to get something other than a standard form rejection email.

That’s all for now. Take care and I’ll see you in August!

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