Friday, December 5, 2008

All In

Dear Sam,

Thanks for sending me "Craving Soul Food." I'm afraid it didn't work for me.


I apologize in advance for the breadth of this post...I was considering titling it "More Than You Ever Wanted to Know."

Above is the rejection letter I received for the story I'd mentioned in my previous post. I'd gotten rather used to rejection letters, but the last couple have cut unusually deep. I had a story at GUD for 130 days and was getting my hopes up too high. It'd been awhile since any good writing news, and I was starting to count on the acceptance.

-Radio edit - please excuse.

But the latest rejection sent me down the road of introspection. I mentioned my writing group before. It seems to me that any story they put their all into ends up rewarding them. For me, not so much. The logical conclusion is I suck. Nobody's ever accused me of being logical, though.

I've very seriously considered chucking the writing aspirations. I'm a decent husband and a very good father. I'm pretty good at my day job. I think without the constant distraction of writing, I could be great at all those things. And I'd be much less frustrated.

Just when I decided to take the leap, to quit cold turkey, I get a call from my dad. Over Thanksgiving, he'd watched my son for a day. Without prompting, Dad told me how Nick had boasted to him that "My dad's an author." While I dispute the claim somewhat, it's kind of a nice feeling to have your son bragging on you. The shoe's so often on the other foot, it caught me a little off-guard.

So. Now what?

I can't let my boy down, but I'm not going to go through the next few years on this emotional roller-coaster - affecting every aspect of my life when writing things don't go my way. But I can't look myself in the mirror without thinking "Damn, I'm a pretty man!" - Sorry bout that, I get distracted when I look in the mirror. I meant I can't look at myself and know I've tried my hardest.

I just don't feel I've really given writing a consistent, concentrated effort.

This post is me throwing down the gauntlet for (at?) myself. I'm all in until my next birthday on July 31 (cash is always a nice gift, btw). Perhaps things will be going well enough then that my goals can be modified, but something huge will have to occur.

What must happen before then:

My collection must come out, and the reviews better not completely suck. I don't need anymore justification of that logic thing I previously mentioned.

I must sell to a professional market.

I must finish my POS novel.

I have two interviews with established authors that I've promised to complete, and they must be completed.

Most importantly, if I look in the mirror that day, and after throwing myself the required kisses, know that I'm still not giving it the effort, then I quit. If I can't sustain a solid effort for eight months, it's time to turn my attention to other pursuits.

All in. Public humiliation is a great motivator.

Friday, November 28, 2008


As it's the day after the best day of the year, leftovers seem an appropriate subject.

First, for the billions following, sorry I've been a little lax in the blog updates. In my real life, there's this job thing and it thinks it's hot shit cuz it gives me money to support my family. Anywho - I have a certification test coming up on Friday that I've been studying for. Sorry to let you all down, but I won't let priorities get in my way again. Promise.

Next, I'd be remiss if I ignored the election...yes, it's been awhile since I've bloggy-blogged. I don't want to get all political, but thank god the right guy won. I supported Obama from the day he announced his candidacy, volunteered to be a delegate at the county level and even donated. You know that important lint brush they used before his half-hour infomercial...I paid for that.

But being in a marital union of mixed race, it meant something on a personal level. Few white guys, and I'm about as white as you get - even used to sport a mo-lit - can even begin to appreciate what this meant along racial lines. I don't claim any great fountain of wisdom, either. However, having kids with the same racial make-up as the president-elect, I believe I have an appreciation many others can't. I mean, there's not a lot of families that have to deal with a dinner conversation where an eight-year old spouts "You gotta problem with black people? We're sitting right here!" No matter what the racial make up of the family, that's just not a sentence you're prepared me.

Anyway, I have a point, and not just on the top of my head. I kept my boy up on November 4 so he could watch the speech. Personal interjection; Obama + speech = effin genius. So, the boy's watching the speech and spending the majority of the time playing with his transformer. Yeah, he's eight. But a couple of days later he's talking about it because they had a discussion at school. I asked him if he thought it was cool that a black man could be president? He answered, "I already knew that, Dad."

Maybe we're further along than we give us credit for. Until you read the increase in racially-motivated crimes since the election. I hate people.

Finally, writing-wise, two tidbits.

#1 Finished a story last week that I've submitted to a major anthology. I like the story quite a bit technically. I think it's layered and touched on many different themes that the anthology was asking for. But I don't like the story because it's a stereotypical horror ending...the anthology kind of dictated I do it that way, but I'm disappointed I went that route. If I don't get it in the anthology, I'll probably never submit it anywhere again. I'll elaborate more when I get an answer.

#2 Returned quite some time ago from The Lake House. Great weekend. Great to see the guys. Disappointed in no swimsuits, but Alabama was beautiful. And I ate enough fried crap and BBQ to raise my cholesterol 60 points. It was awesome!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Squeal like a pig, bee-atch!

My title is so inappropriate, I can't stand it, but it makes me laugh.

Tomorrow I leave for Alabama, home of college football greatness, kudzu, and my very good friend, John Mantooth. For future reference, refer to him only as "Mantooth." You're blessed with a name like that, you wear it like a badge of Mantoothyness.

But the purpose of the trip, besides killing brain cells, is to reunion-ize with my online writing group, "Snutch Labs." Yes, that Snutch Labs. I look forward to an intense weekend of writing, critiquing, crying, gawking (a lot) and laughing...lots and lots of laughing.

Snutch formed from the ashes of the Borderlands Boot Camp of August 06 (class of 06 rules!). We originally consisted of five members: myself (cuz we go in alphabetical order) Kurt "fuckin'" Dinan (the fearless leader), the aforementioned John Mantooth, Petra Miller and Erik Williams. We picked up a straggler along the way - the immensely talented and wonderfully chested Kim Despins - the mistress of the interwebs for the whole group, and soon to be Borderlands graduate. We like to think we graduated in 06, and Kim will in 09 (along with Erik, again), but we're sophomoric.

These people are family. I've been in their physical presence less than a week total, but due to shared experiences - Borderlands and WHC 2008 - and a shared devotion and understanding of the commitment it takes to write, I'm probably closer with them than many people I see everyday. Not my real family, of course, cuz Morgan could kick all their asses and then yell "that's disgusting!" And Nick is awesome, and Nichelle is hot enough to melt my keyboard- and puts up with me (there's a special place in heaven just for doing that). But I'm looking much forward to a weekend of debauchery, stimulating conversation and Petra and Kim in bathing suits - or out of bathing suits.

I'll report back soon - I've got plans for this blog thing. They're just lame.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fashionably Late

So, this is the blog-o-sphere?

Thanks for having me. Nice place you got here. Looks like lots of folks are ahead of me for the food line.

Quite the diverse crowd at that - a few really interesting people, but an awful lot of self-centered assholes. I should fit right in! And if any of the silver's missing afterward, don't blame me.

About myself? Well, I'm married - I can hear the virtual hearts breaking. Also got two of them rugrats - boy and a girl that are just too cute to kill. And I do quite a bit of that writing thing, too. Not as much as I'd like, but enough to keep me out of major trouble (so long as nobody looks in my trunk). Mostly macbre-type stuff, but I'm branching out into trying new things. Got a little mythos I'm working on that seems to be getting a little interest, but not a lot of success yet.

Published? Oh yes. Not enough that you've probably heard of me, but enough to feed the habit. I hear I have a book due shortly, but I've heard that for over a year now. I don't wish to jinx it, but it's apparently in the final editing stages. No, you can't get it at a bookstore, but I'll let you know when and how when it's available. Trust me, I'll let you know.

What's that? You gotta' mingle? Oh that's fine - I'll try to figure out how to work this crowd myself. I'll catch up with you, soon. I'm much more interesting after I relax a little, feel more at home. I'll have much more to say later. After all, I'm full of two things, and one's opinions. I'm sure I'll be back to share some of them before you really care, but share them I will.

Take care.