We Regret

rejection

rejection notice
just put it with the others
death by paper cuts


This is a fact of life if you’re submitting your work, especially at the beginning of the process. Knowing that intellectually and dealing with it emotionally are two different things. I have one rejection letter in my purse I keep forgetting about–clearly that one isn’t bothering me. The one I received this week, I had higher hopes for.

Here’s the thing–the story has to get to the right person, at a time when they have an opening for it, on a day when they’re receptive to it. That’s a lot of variables. There are two ways to increase your odds–improve your work, and submit it often. Tonight I’ll have a bourbon or two over the notice from this week, grieve just a tiny bit for something I wanted and didn’t get. Next week, I’ll get back to work.

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I’d Like to Thank My Editor, Without Whom This Would Be Amateurish Crap

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“Have you thought about this?”
Well, no. If I had,
I’d have written it that way
Instead of writing it bad.

In fact, if I’d had a thought,
I’d have done that first,
Instead of the total rewrite
With which I am cursed.

“And what about this ending?”
I guess I’m not attached.
Though it’s in the title,
That too can be scratched.

I’ll write a new ending,
And it will be better.
But I’ll mourn for the old—
Every beloved rejected letter.

“It just doesn’t work.”
I know…I mean, I knew,
But knowing is different
Than hearing it from you.

I’ll start it all over,
Or better, it’s shelved.
Thank god for my editor
Who saves me from myself.


I have two editors, one for my YA fantasy books and one for my horror stories. Both provide me with something I can’t provide myself—objectivity. They also do something that your friends and relatives are reluctant to do. They’ll tell you when something is bad. I have been told (twice, at least) that my endings need to be redone on short stories. I am sometimes heavy-handed and clumsy with The Point. I very rarely make a technical or continuity error, but I WANT TO KNOW when I have. Knowing where the errors are allows me to fix them.

I’m poking a little fun at the language they use, but I enjoy conversations with my editors, even when their suggestions feel enormous and make me grumpy. Occasionally, I decide not to apply a specific criticism for artistic reasons, but the vast majority of the time—the editor is right. Now, if you’ll excuse me while I redo the ending that ruined my latest short story.

Ps. I know that the fourth line is grammatically incorrect. No letters please. You know who you are.

Pps. That’s a version of the first chapter of my fantasy novel, The Tiny Giant. If you want to read the final version, you can get it in paperback or on Kindle here. If you want a signed copy, you can get it from my online store here.

The Mic May Not Be On, But I Don’t Let That Stop Me

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“Are you talking to me?” you asked.
Oh…um…I guess I am talking to me.
There was an argument to finish up
So I did it in soliloquy.

Then some inner dialogue
Needed desperately to be outer,
And when I reached a conclusion,
I presented it in the shower.

I asked me some interview questions
For my someday late night debut,
So…I’ve talked to myself all day–
I have nothing to say to you.


Sure, it’s not weird if you talk to your co-workers, but if I talk to mine (the candle, the dog, my chair, the pens), I’m “socially maladjusted.” I know I’m not alone in this. Well, technically, I am alone, but I mean you probably do this too, just not with anyone. Creatives have a lot going on in the brain and if you don’t open the valve a little, it explodes.

PS. That great poster in the background is available here for a mere $5: Dumb Runner Obstacles Poster

Throwing Out a Line

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No matter how many talks I’ve done,
Or how many books I’ve sold,
When I get to kid Q & A
Turns out, I’m ten years old.

They’re skeptical from the start.
It’s a boring talk on how to write?
But then I mention Minecraft
And let them quiz me about Fortnite.

Yes, I like to Imagine Dragons
Both in my ears and on my page.
I’m in Ravenclaw through every sort
Despite my extremely oldish age.

After establishing these credentials,
They lean forward and pay attention.
Instead of someone’s unextraordinary mom,
I become the Mother of Invention.


After I released The Tiny Giant, I did a number of school visits to 4th and 5th grade classrooms. I adore giving this talk, there is always one kid furiously taking notes and one who asks me how much I make. While fielding questions on video games probably takes away from my message a little–it also gives the kids a way to relate to me. You should see how they light up! When I said I’ve been listening to Imagine Dragons lately, the girls in one class actually cheered.

I wouldn’t say anything that wasn’t true, of course. Kids can smell pandering a mile away. It is, however, very helpful to be able to talk Minecraft with them and then hit them with your wisdom on proofreading.

PS. Want me to come talk to your kids in the Portland, OR metro and surrounding areas? Drop me a line here and I’ll be happy to discuss it with you.