Publishing Updates And Other Insanity

Life has been crazy hectic this summer. I’ve been juggling monkeys and herding cats, and unfortunately, the time it takes to do this (trying to get a monkey to behave or a cat to stop ignoring you and obey are both very labor intensive chores) has greatly diminished my writing time.

And I’ll be honest here and confess that I get insanely cranky when I’m writing and get interrupted, and will usually just ignore whatever the interruption is until it goes away. But that wasn’t going to work this time. So, instead of creating new material with what scant time I’ve manage to squirrel away, I’ve spent those far and few between moments excavating old, forgotten about short stories from my file explorer, brushing them up, and submitting them for publication.

I’m thrilled to announce that my story, Here I Am, will appear in the fall 2021 issue of 34 Orchard, due out November 11th. Described as ‘a literary journal that takes you dark places,’ it was a perfect home for this piece, which, as the editor describes it, “is infused with a pervasive sense of sadness and regret that’s hard to escape; visceral work that illustrates the dark reality of our world; those internal things we cannot talk about, but we all know exist.”

I wrote Here I Am about 2 years ago. It’s definitely a departure from my normal mysteries, and I was reluctant to find out how it would be received. This acceptance was a lesson in ‘no risk, no reward’!

My story, Last Stop Of The Night, has been accepted for the next issue of Pulp Modern, themed 1981, which was, according to editor Alec Cizak, “a fantastic year for genre literature and cinema,” specifically in terms of horror. Which makes this piece . . . you guessed it! A horror story.

I wrote Last Stop Of The Night 6-8 years ago. Loosely based on a real life experience followed by a dream I had after, I felt this piece was a little too retro horror to appeal to a modern publisher. This acceptance proves that if you write it, there is a market and an audience who will appreciate it!

I’m also happy to share that my story, Money Talks, has been acquired by Murderous Ink Press for a new project they’re working on called It’s Always Raining in Noir City. A publisher of “crime fiction in most of its many and varied guises,” they’re an ideal publisher for this piece!

Money Talks, in it’s current form, was completed early last year. However, I’d been kicking around the core idea for this one for the better part of a decade, and had many false starts. I wanted to develop this idea into something serious and hard hitting. Once I let go of what I wanted to force it to be, the words flowed and I finally managed to complete the story. This acceptance proves that sometimes the story knows best – even better than the author!

I’m looking forward to life slowing down and more time opening up to write, but until then, I’ll keep making the most of it. I like reading through my old work (even when it makes me cringe) and applying what I’ve learned since into strengthening old pieces until they’re ready to see the light of day (or the page)!

For all you other writers out there, keep at it! Find a way to use what time you have wisely, and don’t be afraid to submit – there’s someone out there who wants to read it!

Thursday’s Thoughts On Writing: Creating Suspense

I have a love/hate relationship with books that keep me up most of the night reading: I love when a story is so good that I can’t put it down! I hate the gritty, tired eye feeling in the morning (even if it’s worth it!).

And I know I’m not alone here. I know there are other readers out there pulling late nights with a good book. But what is it that makes us sacrifice sleep?

For me, it’s not the bam-bam-bam of action that keeps me reading. It’s the tension of needing to find out what happens next. The slow burn as the flame travels up the wick, getting closer to the stick of the dynamite, keeping me in suspense.

And here’s the thing – it’s not just thrillers that need that steady draw. Don’t all writers want to keep their book clutched in a reader’s hand? This applies to all genres.

Here are some helpful articles to help you develop suspense in your writing:

Just Writerly Things: How To Create Suspense In Your Story

The Write Practice: 7 Steps To Creating Suspense by Joe Bunting

Writer’s Digest: 6 Secrets To Creating And Sustaining Suspense by Steven James

Keep your readers hooked! Happy Writing!

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