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Real Neat Blog

22 Feb


The creator of a wonderful blog I follow, Dear Kitty, has kindly nominated my blog, S. E. Wigget, for the Real Neat Blog Award. Thanks for doing this! You’re a lot more tech savvy than I am and have a more prolific blog, accessible here:

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

  1. Put the award logo on your blog.
  2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
  4. Nominate any number of bloggers  you like, linking to their blogs.
  5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

The questions are:

  1. How do you advertise your blog to others?

I share links to it on Facebook and Twitter, and I share the link when I’m querying literary agents.

  1. How long do you spend blogging per week?

It varies drastically. Sometimes I spend several hours in one day adding numerous blog posts and back-dating some of them. Sometimes I spend about one hour blogging and do so several days in one week. Other weeks, I don’t blog at all, which could be a good sign, if it means I’m more focused on my fiction writing.

  1. How many posts do you post per week, on average?

Between one and four.

  1. Which of your posts is your favorite so far?

I’m partial to my dream descriptions in general, or posts in which I’m writing about the process of writing.

  1. Why did you choose to create the blog you did?

When I was studying publishing in grad school seven years ago, I learned about blogs as a tool for promoting your writing, so I decided to create a blog for that purpose. Basically, I read that authors are expected to have blogs nowadays, so I went ahead and created this one.

  1. Are pictures or words more important to you? Or are they equally important?

The words are more important on my blog. On Instagram, it’s the reverse.


My nominees are:

  1. Dear Kitty. Some blog
  2. Ebony Astor, Carolyn Petit, and Anita Sarkeesian: Feminist Frequency
  3. Thought Catalog,
  4. Siggy, The Asexual Agenda
  5. Shannon Bolithoe: A Writing Life
  6. Krista and Dawlyn, Little Blind Book Finds
  7. Equal Justice Society,
  8. Everyday Feminism,
  9. Sewcialists,
  10. Simply Syd: A Guide to Black Girl Magic,

The Accidental Parrot’s Writing Style

18 Feb

I began mentally composing something to blog that sounded a bit too much in the style of Phoebe Robinson, author of You Can’t Touch my Hair, a hilarious essay collection I just read. Of course, I don’t mean to imply that I’m as skilled at writing humor as she is or that many people understand my humor; it’s simply that I caught myself mentally writing something subconsciously similar.

I’ve occasionally noticed an odd tendency of mine: if I’ve been reading something by Oscar Wilde, I can write a bit like Oscar Wilde and tend to have witty thoughts that sound like something he would have said or written. And then there was the time I wrote a gothic novel after and during reading gothic novels, and I accidentally wrote the first draft in a style much like that of the eighteenth-century novelist Anne Radcliffe, something few modern readers would appreciate. (I’m typing these words in Baskerville Old Face, which was fashionable in Anne Radcliffe’s day.)


4 Feb

Yesterday I came across rejection letters for my dark fantasy novel, The Vanquished and the Surviving. I opened the Word document “Submissions for Vanquished” and updated it. For this one novel, I’ve queried thirty-two literary agents, and all have either sent rejection letters (some only form letters) or not responded (which is often a rejection).

Counting so many rejections, I sank into self-doubt and melancholy. Maybe no agent or publisher will ever accept this novel. Maybe it’s not as wonderful as I thought.

When I created the world of Vanquished (in which other novels and short stories are set) back in the late 1990s, all the characters were white. It’s set in a slightly different (and very supernatural) early nineteenth-century England, with mostly aristocratic characters. I call this reality “Margot’s universe,” after one of the most major characters.

Originally, I wished to take a break from neurotic and slightly autobiographical, brooding literary short stories and write something fun and escapist. These stories are often somewhat brooding, but they’re fun and escapist nonetheless and with characters who bear no resemblance to me or to people I know in this reality.

I suspect one of the causes for this novel’s rejections is that, because of current demand, I’ve queried agents who take Young Adult Fantasy but not Adult Fantasy, and for them I’ve labeled it YA. Although the protagonist is a teenager in this novel, I’ve otherwise written about him in his twenties (ditto his cousins, Margot and Roland). I just read a series of YA Regency comparable titles written in simpler and more modern language, and I’ve realized that Vanquished is more complex and mature than YA fiction. I see adults reading it more than teens.

As for the language: the first draft of another novel set in Margot’s universe was accidentally written in a style reminiscent of Anne Radcliffe, who wrote gothic novels in the 1790s. That reflects what I’d been reading when I started that draft; it was not a deliberate or conscious decision—it just…happened. I have since revised it, but like in Vanquished, I’ve retained period language in all the dialog. It’s possible that this turns off agents—some, anyway—especially if they want YA fantasy.

There’s no glut of fantasy fiction set in the Regency era or the early nineteenth century, so that can’t be causing rejection. If it were high fantasy in a medieval or semi-medieval setting, that would make sense.

Vanquished is full of action and conflict and never a dull moment, which the synopsis indicates, so that’s no cause for rejecting it.

Perhaps agents perceive this novel as not having enough diversity. Most characters in Vanquished are white, British, and aristocratic. While revising Vanquished, I incorporated working-class characters, including two Romani young women and, very briefly, a black woman. The Romani characters have scenes from their perspectives, and I’d like to write a story about at least one of them. Vanquished (and the stories and novels generally) does have a variety of sexual orientations, including an asexual protagonist but not any transgender characters (although there’s one in the sequel).

It’s possible I’m delusional and have fooled myself into believing I have writing talent. However, the frenemy who made that accusation was a manipulative narcissist who made sure I had absolutely no self-esteem. In contrast, real friends, instructors, and critique partners who are good and reliable people have given me very positive feedback and think I do have writing talent. It’s obvious whose opinions are worth minding.

Perhaps after The Vanquished and the Surviving has received fifty rejection letters, I’ll temporarily stop querying for it. A “front burner” fantasy novel set in an Asian country requires much research, mulling, and revising, but it’s possible an agent/publisher might accept it before Vanquished. If that happens, Vanquished and the gothic novel that chronologically follows it may seem like abandoned children.

Skeleton from the Closet on Kindle

14 Oct

My magical realism novel Skeleton from the Closet is now available on Kindle!

The trade paperback edition will be coming soon.


Bohemian and feminist Kezia moves into the charming Craftsman house her uncle left her…in Kansas, where she moves and finds herself surrounded by conservatives, including toxic relatives. Aunt Edith seemed so kind and loving when she was a kid, but now she’s scathingly contemptuous toward Kezia, who begins redecorating and meets a walking and talking Skeleton, more than willing to tell her dark family secrets.

Skeleton from the Closet Ebook Available!

12 Oct

BookCoverPreview (1)

The ebook version of my magical realism novel, Skeleton from the Closet, is available beginning this Saturday! It’s only available on Kindle, for $3.99.

The print paperback should be available sometime next week…depending on when I receive the second proof and whether I make changes. I’m doing this a second time just to make absolutely sure the book looks good before it’s official. The first time I self-published a book, my dad went into hospice care and passed away when I was supposed to be proofreading, so I barely looked at the proof. This time, I want to get it right.

Self-Publishing Progress

10 Oct

In the small hours of the morning, I finished proofreading the interior for my magical realism novel, Skeleton from the Closet. Today I uploaded the latest version of the interior, made a few minor corrections, and uploaded it again. Next I took another look at the cover and made a slight alteration in the back cover copy; the final version of the cover is below.

Now that CreateSpace is reviewing the cover and interior of my novel Skeleton from the Closet, and I have to wait 24 hours, it’s time to get back to work on the other novel I’m self-publishing this month, Rowanwick Witches, Lesson 1: Spells and Enchantments. Fortunately, it’s a middle grade novel and is a lot shorter.

In about twenty-four hours, I’ll be able to finalize Skeleton on CreateSpace, and it’ll be available to purchase on by Saturday. Also in twenty-four hours, I’ll set up the Kindle version of the book.

Adventures in Self-Publishing

20 Sep


I’m currently waiting for the printed proof of Skeleton from the Closet, a magical realism novel that I wrote years ago and recently decided to self-publish. Meanwhile, I got to work on uploading my middle grade novel, Rowanwick Witches, Lesson 1: Spells and Enchantments onto the CreateSpace page, and I’m working on its cover.

For the back cover copy of Rowanwick Witches:

Susan E. Wigget is obsessed with the supernatural and with old houses, especially if they’re haunted. She lives with five cats, four of whom are black. She wrote the ebook novella Witch’s Familiar and the magical realism novel Skeleton from the Closet.



Now the proof for Skeleton from the Closet has been shipped, and I finished up and ordered the proof for Spells and Enchantments.

I’m antsy to receive the proofs and review them. CreateSpace has the option of doing it online rather than in printed form, but I like visual aids: having a version of the book in my hand and writing in it and using sticky notes. The cover is a particular concern, even though I can also see that online; I want to see just how the images turn out. The printed version is exactly what the book looks like unless you make changes (which I’m sure to do).