Good news! I did reach my Camp NaNo goal! Which led me to realize that even though it was fun to write, it's not really a very solid novel idea. I may go back to it when I'm bored just for fun, but I can't imagine when I'll have that kind of free time. It has a really interesting relationship dynamic--the protagonist and her rommate, and the protagonist and her not-so-love interest--so I may reuse elements of that at some point. But as a whole, it was mostly a rehashing of my time working at Wal-Mart turned into paranormal romance. I don't feel like anyone but me would enjoy it, so I'm shelving it for now to purse other projects that I feel have more potential.
So last month I started submitting short stories again, using Duotrope to find markets and track. I hadn't actively tried to get any short stories published for over a year, but in a flurry of cover letters and email queries, I sent out fourteen of my strongest short stories.
Then I sat back and waited. And got some rejections. And sent those stories back out. And finally, Jack said hey, there is this collection I think would be a good fit for one of your stories. So I submitted. And then, after about a month, my story got accepted.
A story I wrote for the Cafe, called "The Heart of Stone Monsters," will be in Wolfsinger's Misunderstood anthology that comes out on October 31 of this year. They are going to pay me five whole dollars. Woohoo!
I am excited about this. They've been extremely pleasant to work with so far. And as much as I love Halloween already, I have an even greater reason to be excited about it this year!
But. That is the only acceptance I've had so far. I still have about ten submissions out at the moment, but I'm getting rather discouraged. I've been through almost all of my stories once already. It's been a nice distraction, but I need to focus on more fruitful things. Writing short stories is a lot of fun, and I've gotten many a story idea for novels later down the line writing for the Cafe every month, so I don't plan on stopping writing them. But trying to get them published in magazines isn't really the best use of my time these days. It would be nice if I could recoup my Duotrope subscription costs, but even if I don't, that's been worth it to get my writing friends submitting, as well.
I think between Jack and Rachel, I've been talked into putting together a short story collection. Having written a short story a month for the Cafe this year, and all of my previous work, I'll have a pretty substantial amount of stories to collect. So I'm thinking about that. Brainstorming titles, trying to figure out who would edit it, how much I'd be willing to pay for a cover, stuff like that. I've been toying with this idea for about a month now, and I still haven't come down firmly on one side or the other as far as putting it out there. I think I'd probably aim for early 2016. Before Conquest, for sure, so I would have something to sell at the Bottle Cap Publishing table (if we get one).
I also really need to focus my energies back on the novel. Monsters of Lawrence is really close to done--A few weeks of intensive edits should make it ready for submission--but it's been in limbo since it came back from beta readers. I'm not sure if it's fear of failure or fear of success that has me stalled out at the moment. I'm also going through a phase of not feeling like my work is all that good, so what is the point of working on anything. I'd like to try to get back into it before the next book edit from Rachel. I have about a month at this point. Plenty of time. I just need to get my butt in gear and do it whether I'm in the mood or not. I've been putting it off for too long.
If anything, all of this short story submission has been a good warm-up for when I start submitting my novel. Helps thicken my skin and realize that there is a market for everything.
So that's me this month. Next month I will be in crazy last-minute wedding planning mode, and then Jack and I head to California for our honeymoon. We're hoping to do a bit of writing for the first half (since we were supposed to be at the Haunted Mansion retreat that got cancelled), and then drink a lot the second half in Napa. I'm looking forward to the time away. I'm sure I'll post update before our wedding, which is in early October.
October is shaping up to be a pretty awesome month for me. I just need to survive the rest of August and the first few weeks of September to get there!