Category Archives: publishing

Poetry news

Well, Ive had two poems published recently which means that someone other than the folks at my writing workshop has actually approved of what I’ve written. For me, this is a big deal, because these journals didn’t know me, and they still took a chance on what I wrote. The first appeared in the September issue of Chantwood, a general literary journal that does not publish online. Therefore, if you want to read it, I will publish it again here in a short while. It’s called “Lizard Skin,” and was one of the first poems I wrote once I took up this pastime.

The second poem has just appeared in the last week, and it is called “New Day.” If you would like to read it, you can find it here. It has been published by the group at the University of Maine at Farmington that prints an annual version, The Sandy River Review, and publishes an ongoing stream of literary endeavors in The River. It is in the latter that my work appears. Items are chosen from The River to be published in the print version, but I will have to wait to hear if I’ve made that more select group!

I wrote this poem at a writing retreat put on by my workshop (free!) in October. This was the most marvelous writing experience I’ve had in my life. It was run by the eminent poet Baron Wormser, and if you haven’t read his work, I commend it to you strongly. I’ve been reading one of his newer books, Unidentified Sighing Objects, and I can’t say enough good things about it. His writing instruction spoke to me as I have never felt before and I owe everything in this poem to his tutelage. This is one of the joys in belonging to a writers workshop (also free) that supports writers so excellently.

I am now in the publishing rat race, as I like to call it. I submit poems to journals that I discover through Duotrope, a wonderful service that lists over 6,000 journals with links to their websites and statistics regarding their publication practices. As the most disorganized person on the face of the earth (you should see my desk–I haven’t, for many weeks), it is nice to have a reputable third party to keep track of my scribblings and where I’ve sent them. The cost is $5 a month, much less than a house cleaning, and well worth the peace of mind it gives me. I have poems that are waiting review at some journals that I haven’t even looked at in six months, as newer poems get sent out to new journals. It’s a form of timeline of my writing, something it never occurred to me I might like.

I hope to be able to report further forays into the world of published writers in the future, but I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you. Please remember that for me, hope springs eternal, and I will keep at it, at least a little longer.

A Twisted Path to Poetry

I thought I was a novelist, mainly because stories came to me in big chunks. I wrote until I was finished, and would find a novel-length story had materialized. Then I was told by my helpful friends, that I wrote in shorthand, and needed to expand the descriptions in my stories, and they became series. This was not a welcome piece of news, because, well, when I finished writing one of these behemoths, I was done.

I took a creative writing course to see if I could understand my problem. The professor was a poet, so I learned more than I ever cared to about poetry. One of our assignments was to find a poetry form on the Poetry Foundation website, and compose a poem in that form. I found the form of the double dactyl and became notorious in my writers workshop for my skill at making fun of people. For a second assignment I found the pantoum, and used it to good effect on more serious subjects.

A funny thing happened on the way to the election. Donald Trump’s  pussy-grabbing statement raised all sorts of horrors from my past and made me a very uncomfortable person to be around. I snapped at people for no reason, yelled at other drivers and gave them the finger (not nearly so dangerous here in Vermont as some other places), and otherwise engaged in self-destructive behavior. Then one night, I started writing poems. They were helpful in getting some of the anger out of me and onto paper. I relived some terrible moments of my past, and turned them, for better or worse, into poetry.

I have now submitted poetry to a journal, recommended to me by a friend. It’s only one journal, it’s only 6 poems stretched over a couple of weeks, but it’s a start. And fiction finds a small home in my poetry, but not the sort I was writing and not the sort I would want to write a full story about.

In January, a local poet will be teaching a three session poetry craft workshop at my writers workshop. If I’m going to keep doing this, I’m going to have to figure out the rules. But who knows? I may get some burning hunger to write fiction again. Or maybe just get the right offer.

 

 

The Formatter

Oh, dear, the end is in sight. Tomorrow I send Ascension of Peary to the book formatter. He will build the ebook and the CreateSpace book for me, I will review them. If they work, I can upload the ebook immediately. The CreateSpace book will have to wait for the cover artist to format it for the number of pages in the print book. In any event, they won’t be available for sale until 9/18, although once they’re accepted, they will be available for pre-sale. I’m very nervous and edgy, though I suppose this is reasonably normal.

There is some good news on another front. I have started two other books in the world I created for Ascension of Peary. One is moving better than the other, and I presented the first chapter to my writers workshop this past Wednesday. I was stunned by the number of positive reviews I got, with some raves, and most saying they wanted to read more. Some said it was the best I’ve written yet, which suggests that Stephen King is correct when he says you have to write a million words before you can call yourself a writer. I figure that’s about where I am now in my fiction writing.

Goodness knows, I’ve written plenty of words in a legal context over the course of my career. I may have to subtract all the legal words from the fiction words to get the true number of how many words I’ve written. All that legal stuff was anti-writing.

The Book is at the Beta-Reader

The book is done, first edited, off to the beta-reader, and ready to go the real editor in a week to 10 days. I’m giving her a month but the target date of September 18 is looking more and more plausible. I haven’t heard if my young fan is still enthralled, but I do have a confession to make. As I was writing the last twenty pages or so, I had to resolve an issue. I did so in the only way that made sense to me. And I cried. Editing it, I cried again. Maybe I’m just a wuss, but I look forward to my beta-reader’s take on the scene. If it passes that test, then it stays and I’ll get to find out out if others feel the way I do.

There’s part of me that wonders if this happens to other writers, that you write a scene with characters you have some feeling for, and find it is difficult to take. I am a pantser, as I have said numerous times on this blog. I write the story the characters tell me. It is, to my way of thinking, their truth, not mine. One of my pantser friends says, “Surprise the writer, surprise the reader.” If this is true, then I won’t worry about it.

The book will in all likelihood be available on Kindle and Amazon on September 18. it is called Ascension of Peary, and it is aimed at young to mid teens. I’m still trying to figure out what that group is called. YA?

Change in plans progress

As I told you some time ago, I was placing my first book on the “resting” pile because of my dissatisfaction with my writing of it. Instead I turned to a book I had started during a prior rest of the first, and found that it was much closer to completion than I thought. Aha! The first part has been beta read with hopeful reviews. The second part will be sent out this week, closely follwoed by the third part. The editor should have it by the end of July or beginning of August, and she has proved very efficient!

Dare I hope that there will be a publication in the fall? I have been the boy who cried wolf for the last year. This product is much superior to the one I was hoping for last year. Why? Because, funny thing, the more one writes, the better one gets. Some authors say that you need to write a million words before you can call yourself a novelist. I’m not close to that. I’m probably checking in somewhere between 300,000  and 500,000, many of them on this blog. There are some in what will be the third and fourth book of the series that arises from the poor first book that was sitting on my home page for six months or more. They won’t see the light of day unless I can rescue my poor Fantastical Trips.

The new one has a working title of Wandering Ways, but I’m hoping my beta and I can work out something a little more exciting. The story does include a lot of wandering but that is neither necessary nor sufficient to include it in the title.  I think that Peary Does Magic is too infantile. As I am writing this at 5 am after no sleep, I doubt I can trust my imagination to throw up something palatable or even sane.

Before I get too silly, I ought to bring this to a close. But the future is looking a little brighter, if not enough to break out the shades.

Apartments and me

The apartment saga has just gotten silly. The only apartments left to rent cost in the area of $1100+ and are way outside my means. The difficulty in renting is, of course, my four cats. People say two are okay, but four is too many. How do they know that? The worst I can say about having four (other than the expense) is that four cats  chasing one fly are funnier than only two.

But I got some strangely positive news this past week, and not something I ever expected. I am now sufficiently poor that I qualify for subsidized senior housing. Unfortunately, there’s an 18-36 month wait, depending on which facility I want to enter. There are some that are fantastic, but they’re of course the longer wait. And I can’t find it in me to hope that the older persons fail enough to need to go into higher care facilities. So I sit and wait.

Of course, the problem with being this poor is that any success if and when I ever publish may make me ineligible for the subsidized housing. Every silver lining has a touch of gray! Publication of anything is off until the end of the summer at the earliest. I am currently finishing an unrelated book to the one I’ve been touting, but I am also (don’t faint) actually starting to rewrite Fantastical Times. So who knows? I may publish next fall, and I may not.

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Well, not to get too complacent about things, I have decided to merge the first two books into one. The reason is simply that otherwise, the first would probably only qualify as a novella. I want my readers to get as much of the story as possible as soon as possible, and this clears the decks for the two sequels that I know will follow reasonably quickly. And then the two after that are still planned and half written. I know, I know, you’ve heard it before. But it is back in my hands and I will now be making my decisions as I originally planned to do.

I am very near to the point where I can have a friend proofread it, at the same time that another friend does the beta read. Between two (or possibly three) sets of additional eyes, I hope we find all the typos. My typing has gotten a little sloppy as my fingers can’t keep up with the words flowing from my noggin. I am happy the words are flowing again, however, and will not object to a downside that is only sloppy typing. Poor grammar might bother me but sloppy, arthritic fingers are one of the costs of getting on in years.  And Word has the nasty habit of auto-correcting ( I know that I can turn it off) which does not teach my fingers the right places to go. On the other hand, it avoids a number of embarrassing mistakes, such as forgetting the space between “pen” and “is.” Of course then, it’s usually  a grammar mistake.

So please bear with me, as I muddle my way to the finish line. I still think you’ll like it. I hope you give it a try.