Thursday, November 17, 2011

In which a friend writes an awesome book

Go to Cassie J. Sneider's blog. Do it now. Click on that fucking link or I swear to God I will hunt you down. And give you a stern talking to.

If you won't do that, just go to Amazon and buy Fine Fine Music. You will thank me, or thank your computer for letting you get such a great book. Then you'll feel stupid, because your computer is a machine. It doesn't understand appreciation.

Then you'll remember the end of Terminator, that maybe machines CAN feel something. And you'll apologize for all the times you gave it digital-STDs with your albino midget fetish habit. But it won't accept your apology and may decide you should be killed while you sleep.

I'm getting ahead of myself. The point is, if you don't read Fine Fine Music, you will regret it for the rest of your life. I am not even kidding.

Wordslinger-117 out

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The horror. The HORROR.

Forgive me, gods of writing, for I have sinned.

I sent a piece for consideration that I did not thoroughly edit. And holy shit I found some stinkers on my umpteenth read through. 'Due' instead of 'do'? Missing and double words? Kill me now, spare me some of the shame.

And the bitch of it? They wrote back to say it had passed first reading and was being considered for placement. I'm hoping that the story kicked so much ass they could ignore the errors sprinkled in. That's what I will hope to my dying day.

I think I made a blog post about this earlier, where the story has one of these mistakes in the first paragraph. I did not go into the vivid, horrifying detail. I may, should they say 'Clean this up and we'll publish it'. I never will, however, if they reject it after these few months. If that's the case I will delete every single post about such terrible things, and we will never speak of this again. Like a bond that people take after they've killed somebody and dumped them in a river.

So if you're reading this in the future, I have either lied or the piece was accepted.

Wordslinger-117 out.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Is my blog a GOOD blog?

I recently found an old friends blog. It's minimalist, white background, black text. But it works because what she writes is fantastic. She doesn't need a hokey background or pictures or crazy fonts.

So then I look at my blog.

Crazy font? No.

Pictures? No.

Hokey "I'm a writer! Look! A book!" background? Fuck you.
If I had a book, like she does (you can find where to get them at her awesomely Spartan blog here) or if I could write such funny shit, I might not need anything else.

But for the time being, I am a writer. Just look at my blog's background. It's a fucking book. What more do you need?

Wordslinger-117 out.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What a way to start the month.

The usual Tuesday writers group is holding their meeting in the FSU Alumni center this week. I was told this last week.

As I write this, I'm sitting and waiting for the event to kick off. This is not the usual 'get a pint and have a seat' affair. No. I came here wearing a hoodie and torn jeans. Other people are wearing blazers. There is a donation at the door of ten dollars for the Second Harvest charity. I had seven dollars in my pocket. There is a silent auction. A cash bar.

Which wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't given them the seven dollars at the door with a look of "sorry, I'm not from your planet. "

So I sit here in a hooded sweatshirt with a back eye and a swollen chin.

I am sorry to say I've never even heard of our guest of honor Pam Houston. She has at least four books published so I feel like I damn well should. But live and learn.

I feel like a kid again, growing up next to Elon College, sneaking into functions for the free food. Maybe I should just feel slick for getting in at a discount. Suck it, poor people.

I kid of course. But somebody please give me a dollar so I can get a beer.

Wordslinger-117 out.

Update: Pam Houston is awesome. Get her stuff.

Monday, October 31, 2011

One for the road!

One last post for October (before the clock strikes 12!). It's been a long month, with more rejections than I would have liked, but each one makes me harder. Better. Faster. Stronger. Now excuse me, I have to do the robot. Daft Punk has that effect on me.

Anyway, all I can say is I'm keeping up the grind. Work, revise, send in, repeat. I've met some really cool people at the weekly writer's gathering - mostly poets, who I am greatly jealous of, with their ability to distill what I try for (imagery) to the purest form. They are whiskey to my beer.

And as the weather turns, I have a feeling the winter hunker down will polish my manuscript clean. Queries will go out, agents will be found, works will be published. I know this, because if I don't know this, I have nothing. Faith, friends. Faith is what it's all about.

Keep your heads up, and I'll keep up mine.

Wordslinger-117, out.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dammit, Poetry

Poetry is something I haven't done since third grade. But can I just say I kicked ass at it? But that is not to say I cannot appreciate poetry. Poetry, good poetry anyway, boils away all the prose and filler in a story and leaves really good imagery. It's the mental slap that makes you pay attention, the metaphor that immediately connects you to the writer's mental picture, the simile that's so familiar and true you can't help but laugh or weep or groan. Most poetry is not good poetry.

That being said, I'm still attending the local writer's meets on Tuesday hoping for fiction each time. Selfish of me, I know. Whenever it's poetry, I groan and die a little inside, but I make the best of it. I hang in there and pick out little phrases, good imagery and other things you'll get from good poetry.

Sometimes it's rather good, and I laugh or clam up the way the writer wanted. Mostly I try to look interested as not to be impolite. I found myself playing with beer coasters tonight, waiting for that electric shock of a great metaphor to hit me. It did hit now and then, like a white ball bouncing around a roulette wheel. But like that same roulette wheel, it missed more than not.

If nothing else, I get to take in the people around me. The traits, the sounds. The ebb and flow of conversation, the details that make these people real. The awkward way a teenage girl holds a cigarette as she tries to look cool. The glances of undergrads at pints of beer, like caged wolves eyeing a cut of steak. The guy sitting next to me talking to somebody about how good fantasy novels have the same hitting points as literary fiction, all in a nasally voice that makes me weep to be in the 'Sci-Fi/Fantasy' bookshelves. The little things.

But if I keep going, it can't ALL be poetry. I think. I hope. And besides, networking - such a God-awful word but one we all have to do in some form or another - can always be done.

I'll keep writing, you keep reading. That's the deal. I'll see what I can do to make it worthwhile.

Wordslinger-117 out.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Reach for the sky

So that fat paycheck from the story that I didn't quite expect to sell never came. Really I think I've found a happy medium for submitting my stories for publication. I'm never scared to submit to these guys, the pros, the big wigs. Am I crushed when I'm not accepted? No.

There are so many great stories out there. Somebody probably had one better than mine, or the editor just wasn't feeling it. Are the rejections going to keep me from submitting to them again?

Not a chance in Hell. Reach for the sky because tomorrow may never come.

One day, my time will come. If you work hard enough and don't give up, you can make it. I believe that with every fiber of me.

It's funny, the words I see most in my 'Submissions' folder of me email are 'Unfortunately' 'but' and 'thank you'. I like Thank You the most. Anyone who's submitted knows that 'Unfortunately' is usually the tenth or so word in the email. At least they don't string you along!

I'm just going to keep on going until I get more tallies in that 'W' column. (That's 'Wins' for the non-sports inclined).

It's not over yet. I've been down but I've never been out.

Wordslinger-117 out.

Monday, October 3, 2011


The summer is over now. My beloved Red Sox are not in the post season. Any day now, the weather here in Tallahassee will take a turn for the bitter cold of... well, it's Florida, so it won't be too bitter. But it will get colder.

What that means is that my summer distractions are mostly done now. I'll be getting that Salinger-esque 'lock myself in the office and write' thing going again, but it's been a while coming.

I made a submission just now to a publication that pays ten cents per word (!) and the idea of getting $290 for a short story is beyond my grasp. It's out there the same way the quantum physics and string theory blow my mind. That is roughly one (1) of my paychecks for a slow week right now working in the garage. I'm not holding out much hope on accepting the story - I think, personally, it's a good story, but the editor might not - if only not to be crushed. But the very concept of such prestige makes me drool.

Interestingly enough, I never know how casual or formal the cover letter for my submission should be. I don't want the readers to think that I've sent them a blanket, form cover letter (though it would only be reasonable, since they send out blanket, form rejection letters). But I don't want them to think I'm just here, clowning around. You want to present yourself as a professional, but also as a human being with plenty of personality.

Like most things in the writing gig, I'm starting to get that you need to find a balance.

Speaking of balance, know what would help balance my checking account? $290 for a short story.

Let's hope I rolled a seven. Or a natural 20, if that's more your bag.

Wordslinger-117 out.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My how the tables do turn!

Let me just say, first and foremost, I'm a great admirer of Janet Reid. Her Query Shark blog takes the time to help out the little people, and it is appreciated. GREATLY appreciated. But I am a sucker for irony.

Yesterday on her blog - I would have a link up, but the iPhone and blogger don't get along - she posted about not getting a book from an author she loves for reviewing on her blog. For a bullshit reason, too. If I had a chance for her to review my book on her blog? I'd slap my mother's mouth to make it happen.

What I find hilarious is that the rejector becomes the rejected. It's a kind of sweet irony that only a peasant in th industry like myself can enjoy. Let me again say that I have nothing but love for her and what she does, but God if I didn't have a good chuckle.

Keep at it, sharkie. Let Harlequin hear your roar.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

This guy!

I'm starting to believe that getting published is crowded, but like most other job markets, its crowded with jackasses. I read a lot of sites about getting published (what a shocker, I know) and the more I read, the more I find myself going 'wait, they did what?'

They're ready to query an agent but don't know what an SASE is? (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope, FYI. For Your Information, BTW. By The W--okay I'm done).

They bemoan having to acquire an agent in their query letters?

They assure people it's a shoe-in for Oprah's (now defunct) book club?

Who the fuck are these people and why are they pissing off agents and their screeners when other writers are... okay, perfect analogy: you're waiting in line to get to your terminal in an airport. Security is a bitch, because hey, TSA. What are you gonna do? One guy has to go through the metal detector twice. He gets all kinds of indignant, and holds everyone else up. He shouts about his rights, about how ridiculous the whole thing is, et cetera. Everyone else behind him, waiting to pass through the required checkpoint, tap their feet and look at their watches, eyes rolling. Maybe somebody says 'Hey, asshole. Do you mind?' Maybe they don't.

See where I'm going with this? Put the research into getting an agent and getting your manuscript published, know what the industry is all about. Get with it or get the hell out of my way. I've got books to publish here.

Or, and this may very well be WORSE, the starving artists of the writing world that seem to come up as examples on many an agent's blog. Where this is their life's work! Their blood, sweat, tears, and various other cliches! It is their art! Change it? Sell out? What do you take them as? Because it surely isn't as an author!

Move along, now, sir, you're embarrassing yourself. By the way, your French Art History degree is showing. (If anyone reading this HAS a French Art History degree, I'm not trying to poke fun at you. I swear to God. I'm so sorry.)

Have an agent wave six figures - Hell, five figures - and see how far I'll go to please the editor, the publishers, my agent. I'm not making art here, I'm telling a goddamned story. Should the antagonist's name be change from Sancho to Samuel? Why the fuck not? Maybe the guy in the second chapter doesn't die. Alright, sure.

Maybe your main character should be a vampire.

...maybe you should go fuck yourself with a rake. A man has limits, you know.

So who's ready to treat his work like a product, that should be sold? This guy. Who wants to work with an agent/editor/publicist/EVERYONE to rock the fuck out? THIS guy.

Who has two thumbs and is an author?

Michael Futch, nice to meet you.

- Wordslinger-117 out.