Submitting Stories and all of the Other Stuff I am Doing.

Although I have managed to keep my blog current, I haven’t spoken much to the actual pursuit of the craft, something I did much more of as I ramped up to the release of my first novel as well as the months that followed.

That’s because I have been busy writing the second novel, along with several other ongoing projects. I have gotten to the point where I am writing every day, working on something. This level of productivity is beyond anything I have experienced in the past and although I do ride up near the edge of exhaustion more often than not, I know that when you’re hot, you have to shoot the puck as much as possible.

The second novel is going well. I am about to hit the 45k mark, so I am halfway through the first draft. It’s very different than my first book (which will be a series in time, but it will take some time). It’s a horror novel, first and foremost.

Here’s the premise for your consideration:

Jesse Cruce wants to escape his past. As a struggling drug addict, he thought rehab was hell, but it turns out renovating his dead father’s house in St. Augustine is worse. When he accidentally opens a portal to the afterlife, he unleashes a demonic force capable of dragging the city’s souls into the abyss. Jesse might be able to stop it — but only if he can defeat the self-perpetuating monster of his addiction first.

So there’s character development, a plot, internal and external conflict – all the makings of a fine story (or so I have been told). I’m having a great time writing it and I am enjoying horror much more that I even thought. The writing is slow but steady. I can manage about 500-1000 words a day. Some of “why” of this is time (gainful employment be DAMNED) but I’m exploring some dark places and to be honest (and at the risk of sounding pretentious), it’s emotionally draining. Most days I go for a jog right after to clear my mind.

I expect to have the manuscript wrapped up by late spring. Then revisions. Then a content editor. Then more revisions. Then beta readers. Then the queries. Unlike the insanity of Leather, it won’t nearly be as hard to pitch. Yay for simplicity!

So this is the slow moving titan that is pulling me through 2014. However, I have several other projects going that are supporting my need to be stupid busy. Also, versatility must be practiced.

As an aspiring storyteller, it’s one of my goals to always be submitting, to have my work in consideration somewhere. Last year, I had my darkly humorous take on Santa Claus accepted and published in F*cked Up Fairy Tales, did some guest blogging, secured a short story in a horror anthology coming out in 2015 and sold a vampire poem — of all things.

This year, I have two stories that I am trying to find a home for. The first is a very straightforward werewolf tale (it may be too linear in structure, we’ll see) and I also have my attempt at metafiction/slipstream, a 2000 word shifting narrative that has gathered seven rejections to date. It might just be that the right editor hasn’t seen it yet or that it has a significant flaw or twelve that I have yet to identify. I also have three short stories in the planning stages: a sci-fi satire starring a gigantic gladiator by the name of Titanus, a dystopian tale of a world where having material possessions is punished, and a non-fiction piece about a terrible car accident I was in many years ago.

Although my novel would be finished much sooner without the side projects, I feel that it is critical for me to be putting smaller works out there and I think it’s something all aspiring authors NEED to do. For me, it’s about expanding my readership and exposure while challenging myself to work with stories and themes that are slightly out of my comfort zone. Seriously, I would never think to write a werewolf story, but I have one. For you, it may be a completely different reason but I can say that those small victories are what keep me motivated.

There is the rejection. Or should I say, there are the rejections. I have my fair share of them. The pursuit of writing demands it! I recently was asked how I deal with regular rejection and it’s not complicated. I give myself an hour to feel a bit bummed then I immediately target new places to submit. I’ll take another good look at the piece in question, perhaps revise a bit, and then it’s out the door to another editor. Unless you have been given specific feedback, you can never be sure why it was rejected, so there is no reason to get pissed off or depressed. If they gave you feedback, there’s even less of a reason for hard feelings. Hell, you just got feedback for free. Rejoice!

Fall off the horse seven times, get up eight.

I’m using a few different sites to find places to submit. I’ve been leaning on mostly as they list the kind of markets I am most interested in and they keep their info up to date. There’s Duotrope, of course. Writer’s Digest also has lots to offer if you are looking to submit, and I have had some luck with Writer’s Relief.

Between these four sources, I think I have it covered. I can’t write enough content fast enough to enter every competition or submit to every publication that interests me, but that’s why I keep everything I write. You never know when you’ll stumble upon the perfect place for that piece that has been sitting in the box – just waiting for its chance. Put me in coach, I know I can play.

I’m also collaborating with an old friend on a poetry collection. It’s a good time. It’s pushing me. I choose a topic and write a poem. I send it to her and she writes on the same topic, and also writes a second piece, with a new topic of her choosing. She sends both back to me and I duplicate the process. We’ve written 20 poems each over the past year and I am learning so much from it.

And if all of this wasn’t enough, I am doing quite a bit of copywriting as well as script writing (marketing and instructional videos) and contributing reviews to an Orlando-centric (what to do around town kind of thing) to a new website. You can check it out here.

To wrap it up with a pretty ribbon, since starting this blog I have only build momentum. The friends and readers I have gained from it – MIND BLOWN. Far beyond any expectations I had with that first post. I’d like to thank you all for putting the gas in my tank to pursue my goals and dreams. I am passing mile markets with increasing speed and I have a great feeling about 2014.

Lucas out.


8 thoughts on “Submitting Stories and all of the Other Stuff I am Doing.”

  1. And that, my wordpressians, is how it is done! Awesome update, Tom, so looking forward to the horror story. Wow man, what a deeply awesome and horrifying plot. I love it. It reminds me of something Neil Gaiman would write, plus all the horror (that is intended as a compliment – not sure how you feel about him as an author). Addiction can be so damn powerful – heavy for sure. Sick. Can’t wait to read it!

    Productivity seems off the charts. I am – not in the wrong way – jealous. My train has slowed in the new year. I’m lucky to write once a week, but picking up some steam (in fact, visiting your post was a procrastinating break from my scribbles – just the motivation I needed to get back to clanking keys). Yes, when you are hot you shoot the puck. when you’re not, well you pass it to Kopitar or dump it in deep and hop off for a change. Maybe I’m taking the analogy too far, but I’m probably delegated to the fourth line at the moment. Time to get chippy and climb up the ranks.

    Thanks, as always, for sharing. Being able to follow your progress on Leather really inspired me to push my first book to completion. Yea, it’s still on the shelf, but that’s okay. The second book is in the works, and something tells me you – and your blog – are going to be a factor in me receiving several wonderful rejection letters and one, praise the church of Big Red J, fat acceptance letter. This is going to be one helluva ride!


    1. Dom, my man.

      Hockey analogies are always acceptable and highly encouraged. My father was a baseball guy, and it was his religion. He could find a way to connect it to any aspect of life.

      Your reaction to my book premise has me stoked. I have been waiting to get it out there and test it at bit. My goal for this second book is to write something a bit more universal than Leather. I’m proud of that book and I think that at some point it will find its audience, but it’s hard for me to describe and I wrote the damn thing. Horror and drugs — people get that. I love the Gaiman reference. If I could have 5% of what he has…what a storyteller.

      Productivity — I’ve seen some great streaks from you. Perhaps you’re more of a player that scores in bunches. I find your writing to have great depth. Its thoughtful and speaks to many universal truths. Keep working on those books. Having two on the stove is a great thing indeed. If only we didn’t have these silly jobs to get in the way, what we could do with that time!

      Praise Red J — one day I believe we will sit down on a panel at some bigtime conference and discuss all of the encouragement we gave to one another in those early days. I’m looking forward to it.

      Go Kings…Quick deserved better this last week.

  2. Good luck Tom! And thanks for sharing your process. Lately, I’ve just gone down the list of literary magazines in Poets and Writers. I sent a short story to quite a few magazines and I’m working on another one. Maybe I’ll use the resources you’ve listed. Rejection, it’s part of the process 🙂

  3. Very inspiring post about not only the doing of it all but also the how to actually work as a writer. Thank you. Every little bit of encouragement and wisdom is very much appreciated. I especially like that you are trying around in different styles and genres and forms. I thought maybe I was spreading myself to thin at one point, working in different ways, but came to conclusion that all writing is good writing, and it is good to get strong in different ways. Thanks for reaffirming that with your experiences. Nice writing style too.

    1. Thank you much. I’ve tried to share my experience without sounding like too much of a blowhard. Good to get an affirmation now and again.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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