Rocket City Is Here & The Next Collection

Image credit: Suzanne Flynn.

The Downtown Writers Group publishes a collection of short stories every year. Every collection has a theme. This past one was “Rocket City” in honor of the city we call home (and the 200th anniversary of Alabama becoming a state). Rocket City is available in book and e-reader format here. All proceeds benefit the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library system.

The collection has stories ranging from horror to literary fiction to nonfiction. I hope people have as much fun reading it as I had reading the other stories in it. They’re a treat.

As always, we plan ahead for our next project. This upcoming collection will feature stories written with the same opening line:

“Shadows like this are impossible.”

I’m looking forward to this next one.


Image courtesy of Stockvault.

I’ve been making some headway with my fiction projects this past week. One is short fiction, the other is a novel. Both are horror.

I got some good feedback from my writing group regarding my short story. The draft is finished, and I’m going to put in most of the changes they recommended. Unfortunately, the aliens will have to remain slug-like.

The horror novel has required some major work to continue. I realized that some of my supporting characters needed extra work. They can’t just exist as props, the equivalent of a macguffin. Otherwise, nobody will care why the main character wants to save them.

There’s enough now that I think I can continue with the story. Everything is in place. At least, until I hit the next major roadblock.

Ten Things To Do (Or Not Do) While Waiting For Rejection

Image courtesy of Stockvault.

I’m working on a short story and a novel, but I’ve got a short story out for submission at the moment. Waiting is the hardest part of the submissions process. Publishers, editors, and agents who pay for rights get a ton of stuff to wade through. So it takes a while to get word on acceptance or rejection. Here’s some of the things I do while I wait.

1. Continue to write – It’s easy to forget this one. But really, different stories means different work. It also means I can’t dwell on any mistakes in the manuscript I might have submitted.

2. DO NOT reopen the manuscript you submitted – You will find a simple typo that should have been caught. There will be nothing you can do about it. Unless you have a time machine. But if you have a time machine, you should be using it for cooler things.

3. Read something on your to-read pile – My pile of books I want to read only gets larger no matter how many pages I get through. Focusing on someone else’s good prose can help me forget my own.

4. DO NOT begin a drinking habit – The exception here is for water. Everyone should drink more water. I know I’m not drinking enough water. Alcohol is not water. I mean it has water in it. But it’s not water.

5. Talk to your friends and family – The good news is that they might miss you and wonder where you went. Try to avoid talking about the project, though. They’ll tell you to be positive.

6. Remember to be positive – This isn’t the same thing as avoiding other people telling you to be positive. Find the silver lining. Think of all the things you’ve written but deleted. Submitting something is a big deal in and of itself.

7. Learn a new craft or hobby – I suggest something useful for when the zombie apocalypse is upon us.

8. DO NOT be THAT person – Everyone knows who I’m talking about. THAT person. No, the other one. Yes, THAT one. Don’t be THAT one.

9. Take a Netflix Vacation – It works for other streaming services, too. Just settle into a good TV show, binge watch the crap out of it, and forget there’s an outside world.

10. Leave your story alone – Leave it the hell alone. Don’t touch it. Don’t. Touch. It. Get a response before you look at it again.

I hope this list helps anyone who is having to wait for word on a submission. Some of it could even work for waiting in general. Additions to the list are welcome, as long as they’re fairly funny.

Happy 2020

Image courtesy of Stockvault.

It’s the start of a new year, and a new decade. I’ve lived through a few now. I remember the 80’s, the 90’s, the 00’s, and now the 20-teens are in the history books. As years fade into history, the decades they occupy take on certain mythic properties. First, by the people that lived them. Then, by the people who follow after.

Put this in perspective. A hundred years ago, the decade was called “The Roaring Twenties” here in the US. It was a time of celebration by people who survived the Great War (World War II hadn’t happened yet). By the end, the world’s perspective went from one of hope to one of despair after the Great Depression began. Further back, the 1820’s had all sorts of things going on. I wonder how they felt about it as it happened. For example, in 1826, photography was invented. How would the inventor feel about digital pictures?

I wonder what sort of things people will say about the decades that I’ve lived in. Perhaps it’s a sign of additional age. Or maybe it’s a sign of youth that refuses to give up its perspective. Regardless, this year is the birth of a new decade. What it will be is determined by everyone who lives it.

Let’s make it something legendary.