This week I took a huge step along the way to becoming a published author: I released three pieces ‘into the wild’ so to speak, by submitting them a short story contest, my first in many years. It is exciting, and slightly nauseating at the same time, to let your writing go and be admired or rejected (or both). It feels somewhat like standing on a street corner naked. Some people will admire, some will jeer, and some won’t even notice you standing there because they are so caught up in their own lives.
But, it is done, and now the waiting begins.
I take comfort in the fact that all three pieces have passed the daughter proofing test–being read out loud to my youngest, a writer herself, and that the writing made her both laugh and cry. They are some of the finest writing I have produced. And, I take realistic stock in the fact that this particular publisher reads 40 000 pieces a year, and publishes approximately 40. Looking at these statistics, I am forced to believe that this release ‘into the wild’ will begin my collection of rejection slips. The statistics are sobering. Still, it is a big step simply to submit and let go.
In other news, I have started my work on the next novel, with a working title Under the Microscope. The sentence: Betrayed by her former husband and her government, a research microbiologist must discover a way to protect her daughter while preventing rival agencies from using her work to create global chaos.
I am 10K into the first section, the betrayal. It is fun to get into these characters heads. They are complex and interesting and different, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with all of you. Until next week, dear reader.
It is a new year, and the by-word of my year is space. Space to write, space to live, space to create. I have vowed: no more handwritten dusty manuscripts sitting hidden in a drawer, unseen by readers eyes, Too long have I hidden this gift under a concrete bunker of fear and circumstances, instead of letting this light shine for others to see, and share.
And so, though it is scary to let out the stories into the wild, I know I have to let go and let them become what they will be in the eyes of my readers.
This week, I started to create space in my mental drawers by finishing my edits on one of my longer short stories, ‘North Watch Keep’, and sending it off to my beta readers. My muse is pleased to share her toys, I think, and the story makes me smile.
I also finished writing the last two flash fiction pieces for my collection ‘Here be Dragons’. I have been working my way through Holly Lisle’s writing courses, one of which is a course on how to write Flash Fiction. It took me a while to get into the swing of the course, but I am very pleased to have gotten to the end of ten flash fiction pieces, all on the theme of dragons. Some of the pieces are modern, some fanciful, one is medieval (based on the novel I am taking through the process from How to revise your novel) and two feature characters in the novel I am starting in my How to Think Sideways course (a police detective story with a twist).
And, because, dear reader, my muse likes to share her toys, I thought I would share one with you:
The psychologist looked at the worried couple in front of her, and then glanced at the bright cheerful seven year old, dressed in lace and satin, with black shiny shoes, poking around her office. The mother wore pearls and a rough silk jacket of navy. The father wore a cashmere and wool overcoat, over a faultless navy suit. Her hair was neatly, stylishly cut; its simple elegance contrasted with the worried lines spreading across her carefully maintained beauty.
“We’re hoping you can help our daughter.” the father was saying. “Our daughter has always found things. But, last week, she found the body of a missing boy, and we are afraid it traumatized her.”
His wife shuddered delicately. “It was awful. She snuck out of the condo, and she was missing for four hours. And then, there were all the police and the dogs.” And the press, she thought, looking at her husband, always the press, with their cameras and their unflattering pictures, and their cynical words. The man nodded, and reached out a comforting arm, putting it around his wife’s delicate shoulders. “It has to stop. She can’t just keep wandering off like that, and we are at our wits end.”
The psychologist murmured assurances, and watched out of the corner of her eye as the little girl went over to her cherry desk and snagged a pencil from the holder, and then went back to poking under one of her book cases in the corner.
“Isabelle,” the man said, softly, and the girl stood up, smiling at her father. “Yes, papa?”
“We are going to be back in an hour or so. Be good while we’re gone, and no wandering off.” She looked at him with dark, smiling eyes, seeing the concern and shrugging it off. They loved her, she knew. They just didn’t understand the voices that called her, and she accepted that with the quiet faith of a child. “Yes, papa.” And he led his still trembling wife away from the office, leaving his precious daughter, their only child, in the care of the psychologist.
The girl stood up again, clutching something in her fingers. Her fancy dress was now rumpled, one sock already falling down, and one of her pony tails rested drunkenly, like a sigh. Softly, as though she had practiced for hours walking like an adult instead of a romping child, she walked over to the psychologist. “Here.” she said, opening her hands to reveal glitters. “You used to wear these when you were happy. You should make them happy again.” And she handed the shocked woman her missing diamond earrings, and the great emerald engagement ring. They were the glitters she had lost when she had thrown them at her ex-husband and former secretary in a fit of fury, after finding him on her secretary’s desk, his pants around his ankles, and his interest where is should never have been.
The girl picked up the pencil, and started doodling on the pad in the middle of the low coffee table as if nothing had happened.
When the couple returned, the psychologist was still fingering the earrings in her pocket. They would never understand their daughter, she knew, though they would always love her. The girl would never be able to turn it off her ability to hear those calling voices, but perhaps, with time and care, she would be able to know when she could follow them safely.
“You should get her a big dog to keep her company.” was the psychologist’s suggestion to the worried couple. “She is lonely. A mutt that is smart and careful with children, and that will stay with her if she wanders off again.” Because she would, the woman knew. She wouldn’t be able to stop hearing those calling voices.
If you are interested in following my writings, or joining my mailing list to let you know when new ones are going to be released in the wilds, leave a comment, and I will let you know when the subscriber list is up and working.
Until next week, dear reader.