Once again, it’s been awhile. I apologize for being incommunicado. I’d promise it won’t happen again, but that would probably be a lie.
The second half of 2022 was something of a whirlwind. A lot happened.
On the sad side, my father-in-law passed away in June. He wasn’t well, so it wasn’t a huge surprise, but he seemed to be the kind of man who would live forever. So it was still a little shocking. I think maybe death always is, in some ways.
I also completed my Master’s in Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. I am extremely happy about this. I graduated in September with a 4.0 and received my Certificate in Online Teaching of Writing as well. The seminar in teaching online was a great experience and I really enjoyed it. I look forward to doing more teaching in the future.
As part of my degree program, we had a write a novel of 50,000 to 80,000 words. My WIP (work-in-progress) is entitled Burned (for now, I’m not married to this name) and clocks in at 77,000 words. It’s an urban fantasy and the first in a series. Or it will be, if I ever figure out the sequel. I finished it in time for graduation and now it is with my beta readers. Once they get through with it, I will be doing another rewrite based on their notes. And then I begin…. DUN DUN DUN…. querying agents!
That’s a big, scary step for me, so I’ve been preparing over the last few months, trying to perfect my damn synopsis and the like. I’ve got a list of short list of agents to submit to, and a base query letter which I can personalize for each one. My synopsis is okay, but not great and that’s frustrating to me, but I’m nearly there. I also want to come up with a snappy logline, but I’m usually terrible at those. A logline is a short sentence or maybe two that sums up your work. Like “A Nightmare on Elm Street meets Girl, Interrupted” (I have a story that this fits) or, like in the case of my short work Big Teeth: a dark fairytale, “Who’s afraid?” It’s just a quick little snippet of something to whet the reader’s (or agent’s) appetite and start getting them hooked on your story.
I need one of those.
This kind of goes along with comp titles. In the writing business, a comp title is short for comparable title, or a book similar to yours. A lot of agents ask for comp titles in your query, so they can get an idea where you see your book fitting. The best advice I got on comp titles in school was don’t go too big. It’s probably wise not to declare your work “The next Harry Potter!” That’s not to say you shouldn’t have confidence in your work, but think humbly.
Comp titles also need to be fairly recent, unless they’re classics. (Don’t forget the think humbly bit.)
I love Burned. The story is very close to my heart. It’s hard for me to think of it in such a business-minded way. So I’ve been struggling with that. Up to this point, the only thing I’ve been able to come up with is, “What if Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden was a female shapeshifter who’d sold her soul and was bound to do her Demon Lord’s bidding? What happens when one of the souls he’s owed disappears?” And, while that’s not terrible, it’s not fabulous either. I’d like something really punchy.
Working on Burned isn’t ALL I’ve been doing however.
As some of you may know, about a year ago, the small press that published my two M/M novellas, A Single Heartbeat and A Kiss of Brimstone, along with my first M/M paranormal romance novel, Protecting His Pack, closed. While I understood why they made the choice they did–this is a really difficult, time-consuming, and costly business–I was very bummed that my works would no longer be available.
In that regard, for the last couple of months I’ve rewritten and re-edited all three stories. I’ve added over 15,000 words to Protecting His Pack. I also have been working with someone to get the all three formatted correctly and got brand new covers done.
All this is in preparation of re-publishing them myself.
So, coming soon to an Amazon site near you, you’ll once again be able to purchase A Single Heartbeat, A Kiss of Brimstone, and Protecting His Pack. This time in both ebook AND PRINT! I’m very excited. And nervous. This is my first time really attempting to self-publish. I put out my two short stories, but nothing on this scale before.
I’m just waiting to have all the finished files together and I can start uploading. Yikes! But also, Yay!
In preparation, I’ve made up the teaser below. If you’d like to share this blog post, or the image, to let your friends and family and fellow readers know A Single Heartbeat is coming soon, I’d really appreciate it.
I also have a short story being published in the upcoming issue of Three Crows Magazine. They’re pretty cool. You should check out their site and do some reading. The story they chose of mine is one of my favorites I’ve ever written. It’s a weird little tale about what it means to be human, called “A Few Dead Monkeys”. Stay tuned to this station for more info about when that’s coming out (sometime next month I believe).
Image included just for funsies.
Speaking of which, that’s pretty much all I’ve got. I’ll try to be around more but I doubt I’ll overload you with content. But it’s nice to keep in touch. How was the end of 2022 for you? How’s 2023 been so far? I want to know. I am trying to be kinder and take better care of myself this year. Did you make any resolutions?
And lastly, because I told Kim I was going to… here is a picture of the penis rock on the other side of Mount Rushmore.