Tag Archives: publishing

Writing amid Household Problems

25 Jul

July 22:

Well… last night I read yet another rejection letter for a gothic novel that I consider my best novel so far. Guess it doesn’t matter how much I revise and edit it. Anyway, I meant to query magazines/ journals today… and discovered that my WiFi decided to say, “Fuck you! So what if you pay Comcast way too much? You don’t get to have WiFi!” Restarting my laptop… unplugging and unplugging my modem… pushing the button on top of my modem… nothing worked. The instructions on my computer screen mentioned connecting the modem and the laptop with an Ethernet cable–but I don’t have a spare.

Did I not pay my overpriced Comcast/Xfinity bill? Maybe I need to dig through snail mail and check…. And maybe I need to take a look at the surge protector somewhere under my tv cabinet.

And then there’s the bathtub full of dirty water. Well, about three inches, that is. It has something to do with my hair clogging the drain. The plunger has brought up a lot but not solved the problem. So my last shower was in the back bathroom (which requires stepping on a stool to climb in). I do pull Cousin It out of the drain from time to time, but apparently Cousin It finally succeeded in committing suicide.

I need to call a plumber… but first I’m gradually cleaning and tidying rooms that the plumber would see. That’s the living room, the hallway, and the bathroom. (I can close doors down the hallway.)

I say gradually because I’m doing this at cooler times, when I’m less likely to pour with sweat. I intend to do a bunch this evening, or basically… night.

Nice thing about all this craziness–plus my obsessive “This is what fascism looks like” news reading/watching, I’m scarcely brooding about toxic people. Barely, though it slips in from time to time.

Reading Mexican Gothic has inspired me to steep “Theater Patron” in more gothic atmosphere. It admittedly increases the word count, but it’s all for the best. Something to keep in mind in many of the Margot/Roland/Vincent stories. (“Theater Patron” is one of many, and I’ve been revising it for publication.)

July 23:

My main focus today is house cleaning (yuck) because I intend to call both the plumber and Comcast tomorrow.

The standing water has mostly drained, but there’s still some–and that’s after days, maybe a week. I’ve lost track.

The WiFi is still nonexistent—pretending as though my network doesn’t exist—it isn’t even a choice. No, I’m not trying to use a neighbor’s WiFi–I want my own back! It’s frustrating. I wanted to submit stories to magazines/journals yesterday, but I couldn’t use the internet on my laptop. The only internet is on my phone.

Brooding about certain toxic people… I think one narcissist showering me with verbal abuse, projecting, and pathetically trying to gaslight me right before Oregon began officially socially distancing… is triggering in part because of a certain narcissistic sociopath who used all the same techniques… but was far more skilled at manipulation. That’s a motivation to resume working on the novel inspired by said narcissistic sociopath. It’s better to do that earlier in the day, not in the evening. I don’t wish to go to bed in a rage.

I took a break from housecleaning. I had dinner while streaming Trevor Noah and resumed working on a fun, humorous fantasy novel—changing the novel from past tense to present tense. This has been a gradual process, of course, since it’s over 92,000 words.

I still need to take some things out to the trash and recycling and sweep the floor of the living room, hallway, and bathroom. The bathroom floor might also need some scrubbing.

It’s pathetic that all this is happening at once—the clogged bathtub drain, the shower curtain rod falling down repeatedly, the WiFi not working. Plus I still need to get on with putting up that curtain rod in the library and making library curtains and cleaning the mildew from the wall in the back apartment and painting over that with anti-mold primer…..

Meanwhile, I have memories of a narcissistic sociopath in my head, accusing me of being incapable of functioning—a variation on how my narcissist mother made me feel incompetent starting when I was four years old and helped paint the living room. The accusation of incompetence is tied in with my need for respect and acceptance.

July 24:

I’m revising an old story to submit online and have several internet folders open to magazines/literary journals. I’d like to submit more than one story today, but I’m compelled to edit/revise stories before submitting them, especially if it’s been a while since I worked on them.

I called about the WiFi, and it’s working: Comcast needed to reset the modem. How random. I called the plumbing company, and they have someone coming Monday afternoon. Such a relief to have all that taken care of—also a relief that I have two bathtubs.

Collecting Books by George Sand

22 Apr

Several of my books by George Sand (Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin) were published in the 1970s, a decade when second wave feminists wished to read George Sand and found it frustrating that they could read about her but couldn’t find her books. (People found her life scandalous, and misogynists insist on pretending that women are nothing but sexual objects–even a woman as brilliant as George Sand). Maybe Joanna Russ, author of How to Suppress Women’s Writing, sought books by George Sand. The main publishers of her work in English in North America were Shameless Hussy Press and Cassandra Press.

To this day, if you wish to find books by George Sand, you can’t find them in bookstores that only sell new books. Unless you shop on Amazon.com, you can only find them in libraries and used bookstores, even though she was a prolific author and wrote books that are still relevant to today’s society.

Circa 2000, I started searching for books by George Sand. I went to the public library and used interlibrary loan. I fell in love with her epic, historic, and romantic novel Consuelo and wanted my own copy. Since then, I’ve been collecting books by George Sand; some are antiques, and I found the majority at Powell’s City of Books. On Amazon.com, I eventually found print-on-demand (POD) copies of Consuelo and its sequel, The Countess of Rudelstadt, but I kept my antique copy of Consuelo.

Dismissiveness toward women’s experiences and perspectives of course are tied to dismissiveness toward women’s writing. This dismissiveness is, of course, a result of systemic misogyny.

Quandary about Querying

22 Feb

I should have gone back over Hauntings of Claverton Castle and The Vanquished and the Surviving and drastically cut down the word count after only about ten literary agent rejections, rather than after about thirty such rejections. Looking at information about literary agents, I find that they’ve already rejected one or both of those manuscripts, or at least that someone from their agency has, which is close enough (because if one agent of a specific agency rejects a manuscript, it’s normal for them to pass it on to other agents in the same office).

I had fooled myself that surely since some books, such as Twilight, were published despite their long word count, surely it was okay for each of these novels to be over 110,000 words. But no, I finally decided (while reading a book by a literary agent that reminded me of word count limits) that I should play it safe and cut down these two books. Each has at least one less chapter and quite a few removed scenes. I suspect that the word count was why some agents rejected them.

Today, after only a few hours of researching agents, I’m considering putting aside those two novels and waiting until an agent accepts another novel before I make another stab at Claverton Castle and Vanquished. After all, if you already have an agent, naturally that agent will be interested in some of your other work. True, if you jump around different genres like I do, you might need more than one agent…but that’s not an immediate issue for me. What’s immediate in my situation is this: do I go ahead and continue searching for agents for these two novels, or one of them, or do I set them aside for now and instead wait to contact an agent after my critique group has gone over the entirety of the WIP that I’m sharing with them? Or do I revise a certain novel I wrote during National Novel Writing Month that I think has a lot of publishing potential, and query agents about that novel (although I’d better share it with my critique group before I do that).

I think I’ll do this: continue revising a couple of WIPs, including the one I’m currently sharing with my critique group…and continue researching literary agents and pick out agents whom I haven’t queried yet about Claverton Castle or Vanquished, because surely there are still a few agents out there I haven’t queried but who are into supernatural and gothic historic fantasy. Or queer and supernatural gothic fiction. Surely I haven’t queried every such agent yet.

Adventures in Querying Agents

1 Sep
Jeff Hermann’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents (Oxford comma added by me) features this question for literary agents:
“How would you describe ‘the writer from hell’?”
One agent, Gordon Warnock of Fuse Literary, answered:
“Hunched, moaning, pungent, with an incessant hunger for brains (p. 323).”
 
I can certainly reassure myself with the knowledge that I don’t fit that description.
It took me three hours just to query two agents. Sometimes that’s normal; some of the agents I’ve researched aren’t currently taking queries. Some just don’t sound like a good fit for this particular novel, after I’ve looked more thoroughly over their website.
Reading the descriptions of what some agents wish for, I sometimes find myself thinking, “I should hurry up and finish writing/revising (such and such novel)!” It can be inspiring but also a little frustrating, since I’m looking for agents for two novels I’ve completed, shared with my critique group, and revised and proofread many times.

Rowanwick Witches series

5 Aug

Since I self-published Rowanwick Witches, Lesson 1: Spells and Enchantments in October 2017, I intend to self-publish the next two volumes this October. They are:

Rowanwick Witches, Lesson 2: Gingerbread

Rowanwick Witches, Lesson 3: Violet and Steampunk Boy

I decided to go ahead and publish both the same year, because I wrote Violet and Steampunk Boy first. It would have been the second book, except I thought there should be at least one more adventure before Aunt Amaryllis allows Violet to fly off on an adventure without her.

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Dreams about Publishing and Education

29 Jul

I had a dream in which I was speaking with someone who was passing me a package that was probably a manuscript. That person said, “We want to publish _Barbaric Invasion _.”

After waking, I was aware that I’ve barely begun that novel. Also, that’s a working title that I’ll probably replace with something better.

*

I dreamed I was a college student and had some confusion during a class. An instructor announced a special project we would be doing that afternoon. If sounded interesting but daunting.

Later, I was running around getting errands done and realized that I was running late for the class that involved that project. I wasn’t even sure where we were meeting.

I think that was the same dream involving a somewhat dark and huge room containing gothic revival furniture. Benches with red velvet padding and dark wood that formed arches. There were much smaller, similar pieces of furniture that were alters, I knew, and one of them contained dollhouse miniatures, including a bed.

Middle Grade Fantasy Issues

21 Apr

I stumbled upon this journal entry from March of 2014:

My latest rejection letter concerning the Rowanwick Witches hit a discouraging note. The editor claimed that they’ve published and have been receiving submissions of too many novels in which a relative teaches a young person witchcraft. This got me suspecting that if this one publisher is getting that many manuscripts with the same premise, then presumably this is common in the publishing industry in general right now. (The irony is that I wrote the original version back when I was a teenager in the 1980s, and the novel would have stood out.)

I confided in a friend, who suggested I alter the Rowanwick Witches so that someone other than a relative is the teacher. Perhaps, for instance, a tree could be the teacher—something different and unusual. I don’t want to do anything like that with the Rowanwick Witches, which has been near and dear since I was a teenager, but I got to thinking I could come up with a different Middle Grade series (or one at least one novel) of that ilk and attempt to get it published traditionally (as opposed to self-publishing).

Since writing the above, I haven’t written that other Middle Grade novel or series (though I have a cunning, if somewhat vague, plan for one). Getting published is very hard, and the publishing industry doesn’t care how attached you happen to be to certain fictional characters and how much time and effort you’ve devoted to them. The focus of agents and publishers is what will sell, what readers wish to read and on what they’re willing to spend money. It makes perfect sense intellectually.

However, because I felt compelled to get Rowanwick Witches published, I went ahead and self-published the first book on CreateSpace, the publishing platform for Amazon.com. The first book, available on Amazon, is Rowanwick Witches, Lesson 1: Spells and Enchantments. I’m currently working on the next two books in the series.

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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 Amazon.com by Saturday. Also in twenty-four hours, I’ll set up the Kindle version of the book.