Eight Authors, One Question – Summer of Zombies Blog Tour 2013

For my turn in the Zombie Blog Tour, what I really wanted to know was, “Of all the writings composed by this talented group of writers, which are their favorites? And why?”  I couldn’t resist the opportunity to pick their brains and see how they would respond.  And it would give me a good jumping off point for me and my reader(s) to start reading their works if they are still unfamiliar with them.  And I’m nosy like that.  So shoot me.

And here are their answers, straight from the horses’ mouths, so to speak.  Not that I think any of them are horsey looking or anything like that.  In fact, I believe them to be a particularly good-looking group of hooligans.  Not that I know for sure they are actually hooligans, but I’m guessing if you got them into a room together, hooliganesque things would happen.  Especially with that Rosamilia guy.  He looks like trouble.

Okay, I’ll shut up now.

Kirk Allmand

Kirk Allmand

This is a much harder question that it would seem.  I wouldn’t put out a book I didn’t love, but I think that the 4th book in the What Zombies Fear series “Fracture” is my favorite.  In Fracture, I got to move away from my comfort zone a little, and move into something that was really challenging to write.  Fracture still has its share of zombies, flesh eating and infection, but also the added storyline exploring the depths of human depravity over the course of the apocalypse.

I believe that after the apocalypse there will be two kinds of people.  Those who believe that our strength is in the people around us, and those that believe the people around us are objects to be controlled, pawns to be used, and then easily discarded when they have outlived their usefulness.

Overall, I think we as survivors will be forced to take a much more narrow view of right and wrong.  Without a judicial system in place, justice will be swift and final.  You can’t banish someone from your compound only to have them return with weapons and a horde of zombies behind them.

Fracture explores just how terrible people could get when there is no accountability for your actions and you have all the power.  And of course, Victor and his friends get in over their heads as they come to oppose a force that mirrors their abilities AND outnumbers them.

Todd Brown

Todd Brown

Of all my works, the DEAD series is my favorite. With twelve books planned, it allows me to really expand on my story lines. Also, I have a large cast of characters which requires me to stay on my toes. And with the Vignettes chapters, I can actually play with shorter story themes and fold them into the series. Even better, if the vignette takes on a life of its own, I get to expand on the story without being constrained by a word count because it is episodic and  that offers a lot of freedom.

About Todd:

Todd (TW) Brown is the author of the DEAD series and the Zomblog series. He is also the editor for May December Publications with numerous anthologies to his credit as well as the full length works of authors such as Mark Tufo, John O’ Brien, Chantal Boudreau, Robert Dean, and Bennie Newsome.

You can begin your search of his available titles here:  http://www.amazon.com/TW-Brown/e/B00363NQI6 or get even more in tune by visiting his blog: http://twbrown.blogspot.com/
James Cook

James Cook

Obviously, I’m fond of all my books, but the one I enjoyed writing the most was This Shattered Land. I knew what I wanted the story to be before I sat down and typed the first paragraph. It was well over a hundred-thousand words, but I managed to knock it out in just seven months. If seven months sounds like a long time, keep in mind I was working a full-time job and had a baby in the house. Under those conditions, seven months is pretty damn good.

Logistics aside, This Shattered Land was just a fun story to tell. For me, the most enjoyable parts of zombie novels are the journey sequences. People moving from one place to another across a ruined post-apocalyptic landscape and the trouble they get into along the way. The things they scavenge. The problems they solve. The other survivors they run into. And of course, the fight scenes. That’s what This Shattered Land was for me. Building the characters, building their relationships, and then sending them out into the world to fend for themselves.

My third novel, Warrior Within is probably the most well-written of the three books in the Surviving the Dead series (so far), but This Shattered Land is the kind of zombie novel I had always wanted to read, and it has been, for the most part, very well received. I’m happy that I decided to write it.

Joe McKinney

Joe McKinney

My favorite of my own novels is Quarantined.  It’s not a zombie story, but it had a difficult birthing process that changed me as a writer.  Stephen King has a great quote that goes something like this: For every writer, and hopefully it comes early in the writer’s career, there is a book that forces you to write above what you thought you were capable of.  For me, that book was Quarantined.  I had written Dead City, about a young cop trying to make his way home on the first night of the zombie apocalypse, and seeing as I was a young cop at the time, my characters didn’t have to fall very far from the tree.  Quarantined could have been much the same situation.  It was an apocalyptic story with the heart of a police procedural, and doing it from the point of view of a male detective would have been a snap.  But I wanted the story to be about more than apocalyptic fear.  I wanted it have heart.  I wanted it be about family, and holding it all together no matter the dangers to come.  So it seemed to me the biggest challenge, and the biggest reward, would come from using a female detective as the story’s narrative voice.  I have a number of friends who are female police officers, and over the years I have watched them deal with discrimination and abuse from the public and from their fellow officers.  I wanted to tell a story that spoke to their effort to join one of the last boy’s clubs in the American job market.  But getting from page one to the end was a rough ride, one that forced me to engage my craft with every sentence in order to convincingly stay within a female’s voice.  And though it was a rough ride, it was worth it, because it taught me lessons about writing I might have never learned by continuing to play it safe.  That’s why Quarantined is my favorite of my own works.

John OBrien

John OBrien

First of all, thanks for having me, Lisa.

I don’t know that I really have a particular favorite in the series. My favorites are mostly scenes within each book. I really enjoyed writing the scene where Jack infiltrates the CDC. I guess Taken is a scene unto itself and I really enjoyed writing that one. If I had to choose, I would say that was my favorite and it flowed in such a way that I was able to finish it in about three weeks. The scene with Jack and Greg in the prison during Awakening was also a fun one to write.

This last book, Takedown was also a fun one with several scenes I enjoyed – Jack finding the feral group of kids and stalking up the path and then him infiltrating the hospital in search of Lynn.

The action scenes, for me, are the fun aspects but these stand out in my mind greater than the others. I live the moment along with the characters. My heart pounds as I write them and I feel the same adrenaline course through me. I don’t have the scenes entrenched in my mind and write it as I go. The story unfolds the moment I’m typing it with twists and turns that I don’t even suspect are coming. I look at some aspects and say, “Really? That just happened? Now what am I going to do?”

I want to send a sincere thanks to all of my readers and fans. Your support, encouragement, and threats of lynchings are amazing. Thank You!!!!!

Takedown Large

John O’Brien is a former Air Force fighter instructor pilot who transitioned to Special Operations for the latter part of his career gathering his campaign ribbon for Desert Storm. Immediately following his military service, John became a firefighter/EMT with a local department. Along with becoming a firefighter, he fell into the Information Technology industry starting two large casinos in Washington as the Information Technology Manager and becoming the Network Manager for the Washington State Legislature, the Northwest Information Technology Manager for the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Network Systems Manager for Hollywood Video.

Currently, John is writing full-time on the series, A New World. As a former marathon runner, John lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and can now be found kayaking out in the waters of Puget Sound, mountain biking in the Capital Forest, hiking in the Olympic Peninsula, or pedaling his road bike along the many scenic roads.

John O’Brien
Author of A New World: Chaos, A New World: Return, A New World: Sanctuary, A New World: Taken, A New World: Awakening, A New World: Dissension, and A New World: Takedown
Armand Rosamillia

Armand Rosamilia

Highway To Hell, because I proved (to myself) I could write a zombie story and make it extreme without the story suffering, and it wasn’t a cliche tale set in a building with stereotypical characters trapped… plus, it was my first time really just relaxing and writing some good sex scenes. 
highway
Facebook:  Armand Rosamilia
Twitter:  @ArmandAuthor
Juianne Snow

Juianne Snow

That’s a very difficult question to answer! When I consider the breadth of all of my work, it’s hard to single only one out of the pack to push forward. That being said, I’m extremely fond of my serial Days with the Undead. It started as a book, something I wrote in 29 days. I never thought it would go anywhere, mainly because it was the first thing I had written in a very, very long time. Instead of going the self-publishing route and trying to make money from what I created, I decided to serialize it on a blog. For 29 days I posted. In the beginning, no one read it – except for maybe my mother.

Then it began to gain a little notice, nothing over the top, but the comments were favourable. People were really enjoying the story and they wanted to know more. It helped to fuel the drive it took to edit and rewrite each of those chapters every day when I got home from work. In its infancy, I never thought it would go anywhere. I figured a few people would read it and then it would fall off into obscurity.

I was wrong. I received a great number of emails telling me how much they loved the story and how much they wanted it to continue. They had fallen in love with my characters and needed to know if they survived. I simply had to answer those questions for people.

In the end, the schedule was too much to keep up. I couldn’t sustain the demand of writing, editing, proofreading and then posting during my evenings and still have time for family, laundry and the rest of things we do to relax. That moment brought the thought of publishing it as a book back to the forefront. Once I had made that decision, the rest is history. I took the bones of the story, added to it and then published it. The first book is currently available with the second to release this year. I’m hoping to get the third out as well, but don’t make any bets on that just yet.

So if I had to pick a favourite, it would be Days with the Undead. I love the world and the characters I’ve created within them. The style is very different than anything out there at the moment, though admittedly I have discovered similarities in other works since publishing it. If you’re looking for an interesting read that will suck you in from the very first words, think about giving it a try.

It was while watching Romero’s Night of the Living Dead at the tender age of 6 which solidified Julianne’s respect for the Undead. Since that day, she has been preparing herself for the (inevitable) Zombie Apocalypse. While classically trained in all of the ways to defend herself, she took up writing in order to process the desire she now covets; to bestow a second and final death upon the Undead. As the only girl growing up in a family with four children in the Canadian countryside, Julianne needed some form of escape. Her choice was the imaginations of others which only fostered the vibrancy of her own.

Days with the Undead: Book One is her first full-length book, the basis of which can be found in her popular web serial of the same name. Along with many zombie shorts published on her blog, she has a story in Women of the Living Dead as well as two zombie pieces; a standalone short and a collection releasing the summer of 2013. Julianne’s second novel in her Days with the Undead series will also be released in 2013. Stay tuned!

DwtU Cover

Social Media Links:

Twitter: @CdnZmbiRytr

Facebook: Julianne Snow

FB Fan Page: Days with the Undead

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/cdnzmbirytr/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/110149434437717424445/posts

Goodreads: Julianne Snow

Amazon Author Page: Julianne Snow

Blogs: Days with the Undead & The FlipSide of Julianne & The Randomness of Julianne

Mark Tufo

Mark Tufo

Hi Lisa, first off thank you for allowing me the time to be on your blog, it is very much appreciated! Here is a quick bio, shameless self plug and then on to the question.

Hi my name is Mark Tufo and this is my small bio slash zombie homage. First off trying to boil your life down to a few paragraphs is like trying to get out of the house with a newborn in under 5 minutes. Those of you with kids will understand the reference. Speaking of which I have three, thankfully they are mostly grown at this point which has allowed me to pursue a writing career. I grew up a blue collar man in a blue collar family, after a stint in the Marines and then the more dangerous Post Office, I decided to educate myself and get one of those cushy white collar jobs. Well I got a few, damned thing was though I couldn’t hold on to them. Kept getting laid off. It was during these down times that I began to write, it was a way to cope with the stress of having a family that was becoming more and more difficult to support.

My wife and I put out the first Zombie Fallout book in February of 09, there was huge fan-fare, ticker tape parades and maybe even some hyperventilating from the one fan that bought the book that month. Didn’t matter much that wasn’t why I had written it in the first place. I wrote a zombie book because I’ve always been fascinated with the genre. Ever since I was 7 years old and my cousin who was babysitting thought watching Night of the Living Dead would be a good way to while away the time. I’d never been so scared and enthralled at the same time in my entire life. I devoured all things zombies, movies, books, comics. Didn’t matter much. And then during one of my lay-off periods, my wife dared me to write one. (Mostly so I’d leave her alone) And I haven’t looked back.

The Zombie Fallout series is 6 novels and 1 novella long, with Zombie Fallout 7 due in October. I have the Timothy series which is written through the eyes of a zombie (not for the faint of heart – and don’t eat and read it – you’ve been warned). And there is also the continuing saga of The Book of Riley, a zombie tale told through the eyes of Riley an American Bulldog. I don’t always write about the quasi-dead, but they’re never far from my brain! (Horrible pun but fitting – Thank you for taking a few moments to learn a little about me)

Please go and check me out at marktufo.com or on fb. My books are on sale pretty much anywhere but here is the amazon link http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Tufo/e/B002I7PJ68/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Armand Rosamilia is going to kill me for this, he said keep everything zombie related. And don’t get me wrong I’m very proud of my three zombie series, Zombie Fallout, Timothy and The Book of Riley (see how I snuck that in). But my story entitled Indian Hill is my favorite. I started the story back in college and pretty much left it alone for 15 years before I picked it back up and completed it. To me it is akin to a first love, sure you move on but you never forget and that’s Indian Hill. It’s a sci-fi story set in modern times. I finished the first Indian Hill book back in 2009 and shopped it to every publishing house we could think of, we may have even made up one or two. When we realized it was not going to be traditionally published, me and the missus figured ‘What the hell’ let’s self-pub. Honestly never expected that anyone not related would ever buy it, and for the first year that was pretty much the truth.

Then I got laid off and from that sprung the first Zombie Fallout story, I have to give this book an honorable mention for without this series I would not have been able to walk away from corporate America on my own terms. It hasn’t been all tea and roses, this road we’ve decided to walk down but its sure been a hell of an adventure.

Thank you for allowing me time on your blog.

There you have it, folks.  A whole bunch of books to add to your summer reading list.  The hardest part is deciding where to begin!

The Adverb: Bastard Child of the English Language?

Since when did the adverb become so demonized in the writing world?  Even the grand master pooh bah , Stephen King, has written an article on why we should not use them.  And I understand that in a lot of of instances, his advice is right on and makes for tighter, cleaner writing.

However, before we completely disregard the poor adverb, we should realize that there are times when nothing but an adverb will do.  Take for example, the sentence, “He spoke softly.”  One would argue that, “He whispered.” is a stronger and more concise way of stating the same thing.  However, what if whoever this theoretical person was trying to whisper to was across the room instead of right beside him.  Then he might have to “whisper loudly” in order for the person to hear him.

In his article, King uses the sentence “He closed the door firmly.” and argues that the same idea can be accurately conveyed with the more precise sentence, “He slammed the door.”  However anybody who has ever lived with a butt load of kids in a house with a no slamming rule knows that there really is a difference between slamming a door and closing it firmly.  Slamming a door will get your xbox privileges revoked, whereas closing it firmly will simply get you a warning that you are walking a thin line.  You can’t always tell from context.  My kids can be straight up ticked off, but they will not slam that door.  Not if they want to live.  They will want to, but they won’t do it.

So, basically, what my aimless rambling comes down to is this:  Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.  Sure you can go overboard with adverbs (and honestly I feel the same way about adjectives as well), but we don’t have to completely banish them to writer’s exile on the basis that they are always redundant.  Sometimes an adverb is just the thing to convey exactly what is going on in your story.

Rediscovering my inspiration.

The poor adverb isn’t all bad.

Dying Days 3

ARMAND ROSAMILIA

I cannot believe Dying Days originally came out in March of 2011, and then Dying Days 2 not until a year later, in March 2012… the goal was (obviously) to have Dying Days 3come out in March 2013. That didn’t happen… but I hope the wait was worth it, because it is finally here!

Flagler Beach Florida is a wasteland of ruin and gore, looted and picked clean of supplies… and now, Darlene Bobich and the other survivors have an even bigger problem…

What could be worse than a mindless zombie horde? They are about to find out. 

Continuing the zombie series, “Dying Days”… extreme situations, extreme violence, extreme undead

Dying Days 3 Cover

eBook versions are available!

Amazon (only $2.99)

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DD3 Print Cover

AND… the Print version is only $7.99!

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No Writing Today

I can’t write today.  At least, I can’t write about writing.  As a born and bred Okie, the devastating tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma yesterday still has me shook up.  We always live with the realization that this kind of tragedy can hit us at any time.  It is just our way of life and we tend to grow fairly jaded when tornado weather bears down upon our towns and neighborhoods.  I am guilty of being one of those that run out to see the tornado when the sirens sound the alarm.  But then, something like this happens and we realize just how deadly these storms can be.

Elementary schools are having a hard year so far and I didn’t want to send my children to school today.  Instead, I wanted to fully encircle them in bubble wrap and not let them out of the house for fear of never seeing them again after they leave.  I held each of them close today before they left because you just never know what could happen during the course of the day.  Yesterday was a horrible reminder of this fact.

So today, I am going to enjoy my kids who will soon be home (this will involve more than a little bit of torment for them, I’m sure) and pray for the people of Moore, Oklahoma.  Especially those who unknowingly said their final good-byes to their children or other loved ones yesterday morning.

This writing thing can wait one more day.

God Bless Oklahoma.

Starting Over

Over the last five months, I have found myself focusing more on short stories and have put my book on the back shelve so to speak, only writing on it intermittently when I had a little time between my other WIPs.  Unfortunately, now that I want to go back and focus on it, I find that I have, in a way, disconnected from that story.  I feel removed from the characters that were once as familiar to me as old friends and have a hard time remembering the timeline that the story has followed so far.  Is it currently Sunday or Monday?  I can’t remember.

So I have decided to edit the book even though I am only about a third of the way through the actual plot as a way to reconnect with my story and characters.  This is contrary to the advice I have received from most writers, which is “Write, write, write.  Edit when you’re done”.  This advice has word exceedingly well for me and got me up to approximately 30,000 words.  But in straying from the tried and true, and by going back and starting from the beginning, I have rediscovered why I started writing in the first place.  This was the story that was banging around in my brain begging to be written.  It has been freeing and it refreshed my need to write instead of my obligation to write in order to meet someone else’s deadline or my own word count goals.

Therefore, I am now throwing word counts out the window until I work through this and rediscover the joy that I used to derive from putting my story on paper.  Or screen.  You know, whatever.  And I think I will share more snippets from my novel on my blog, probably once a week, in order to work on that tougher skin.

I am wondering though, all of you who have eleventy billion WIPs going at once….how do you keep them all straight in your mind?  I don’t know how you do it.  Kudos!

Rediscovering my inspiration.

Rediscovering my inspiration.

Not So Tough and a Sneak Peek

So, that tough skin I’ve been working on…..yeah, not so tough yet.  The table of contents for the anthology from which I received my first rejection recently posted and I’ve got to admit that it stung more than just a tiny bit. I’ve spent the better part of the week (okay, the whole week) indulging in junk food and season finale TV (Supernatural, anybody?) and basically licking my wounds.  But, now I am done pouting (maybe) and I’m going to put on my big girl pants and carry on (hopefully).

So, it is time to go back to work and get some writing done.  I am shifting my focus from short stories to concentrate on the novel I’ve been working on for over a year, an as yet untitled book about a vampire and ultimate revenge.  I’ve decided to share the prologue here in the interest of developing that thick skin and getting used to sharing my writing with others.  I hope you enjoy it.

Prologue

Lub-dub.  Lub-dub.  Lub…dub..

Jo lie in the overgrown grass behind the bushes that lined the running trail and listened to her heartbeat as it slowed.  Personally, she thought it sounded more like a tha-thump than a lub-dub, but her best friend Alisa was a doctor and assured her it was called “lub-dub”.  Lub-dub.  Lub-dub.  Lub…dub.  Lub…..dub.  She looked up at the sky and figured that this would probably be the last thing she would see before she died. All things considered, not the worst view, she thought, looking at the stars, thankful for the crisp and clear night. Lub……dub. She wanted to raise her hands to her throat and attempt to stop the blood which had slowed from its initial, spurting gush to a trickle from the gaping wound the knife had left in her neck, but she was exhausted. It was too hard, too much trouble, her breathing too shallow to sustain her for long. She was weak and way too damned tired. Lub………..dub. She was puzzled by the lack of pain she experienced as her life faded away, even though her body was broken and battered in more places than she could count. And her lack of concern now had her, well, concerned. But, at the same time, Jo was overcome with a sense of numbness and peace. Lub…………dub.

But suddenly, Jo was worried as she realized the most likely outcome of this peacefulness. She didn’t want to go out like this; discarded like a piece of trash on the ground in the shadows of the hedges. Nobody dies before their thirtieth birthday. Well, of course some people do, though she never dreamed in a million years that she would be included amongst their ranks. Lub-dub.  Lub-dub. Lub-dub. Her heart rate accelerated, struggling to respond to the flood of fresh adrenalin that had been released by her newly returned fear, but it just couldn’t maintain the effort. It was too late. Jo listened as it beat again; slower this time as if weakened further from its recent exertion brought on by her fright. Lub……….dub. She allowed the peace to return, welcoming it and releasing her fear for what she supposed would be the very last time. Once again, Jo looked at the stars in the sky and wondered if she was going to finally see them close up; if her soul would soar past them on its way out of its earthly realm. Lub………..dub.

Lub…………… With a final thump, Jo’s heart ceased pumping and her chest stilled. Her eyes continued to gaze upon the sky, but they had ceased to see the stars glimmering there. A single tear slid from the corner of one sightless eye.

Slightly Delusional? Maybe more.

I’ll never know if King, Koontz or Patterson ever actually sat down one day and wondered what the hell they were doing before they made it big, but I know that I do it on a fairly regular basis.  Why do I continue this activity that more often irritates me to no end and so often ends in rejection and heartbreak?  I look at my own writing sometimes and think that I am more than slightly delusional to think that I can do this regardless of what I’ve been told by professors and other writers.

And I’m not talking about even being published.  I just want to finish my damned novel before I die and cross that off of the old bucket list.  The prospect doesn’t look that promising at the moment actually.  Summer vacation is looming near and that will mean kids all over the house twenty-four seven for the next three months.  I have failed to meet my weekly goal every week since I set it.  Now I’m just thinking I’ll set a goal for the number of weeks to not reach a goal just so I can achieve one of my goals. Wait. What? Did that even make sense?  Do you see what I’m working with here?!

Do you have those moments when you just think you are banging your head against a wall and going nowhere?  Where do you come up with the motivation to keep chugging along during those times?

Muse or Inspiration?

Whatever you call it….it is elusive and fleeting.  Maddeningly so, even.  It can’t be forced, at least I can’t force it, though I know a few writers (and you know who you are) that seem to never, ever run dry of ideas.  Makes me want to punch them in the throat, if we are being completely honest.

And once it does strike, you better hope you are close to a pen, a crayon, a tube of lipstick, anything.  Because I’ve had more than a couple of incidents where by the time I located a writing implement to get it down, the idea was long gone.  Now I don’t know if that’s normal, or if I am particularly absent-minded because I have seven kids.  That’s just how it works for me.

Inspiration, for me, usually comes from something around me.  A scene that  witnessed while grocery shopping gave me the idea for a young adult short story.  A documentary about a series of particularly brutal crimes and how the man charged with the crime had been playing the justice system for years, was the impetus for my vengeful vampire story.  Occasionally, I do just get something from thin air.  It has happened more than once, but isn’t how I commonly come up with ideas.

So where do you get your ideas from?  The people and places around you?  Dreams?  The voices in your head?

I wish I just had a Muse.  Seems like it would be so much simpler.

muse1

Wanted:  One Muse

Opening a Vein? Not So Much.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the writing process lately.  Mainly because I feel like my brain is mush and writing a coherent sentence seem barely within my grasp recently.  Some say that writing is like opening a vein and bleeding onto the page for all the world to see.

I think that is more than a little dramatic.  I also think writing is harder than that.  I would liken it to trying to get blood from a stone.  Or birth a nine pound baby.  Now that stuff is hard. Opening a vein would be relatively easy compared to those things.  Blood exists.  It is right there flowing under the thin surface of your skin, easily accessible.  Writing consists of constructing something from nothing which I believe may be one of the hardest things that I’ve ever attempted.  (Apart from that nine pound baby.  Maybe.)

How people sit at a computer for hours, pounding out thousands of words in a day…well, I am jealous and confounded.  I struggle mightily to get even my paltry 1,000 words per day out and have yet to reach my goal of 7,000 words in a week.  I’m a little discouraged because what if I just really, really suck and haven’t figured it out yet?  Until now.

Don’t answer that.  I don’t want to know.  Maybe.  Definitely.

Queen of Denial? Maybe.

Queen of Denial? Maybe.

That’s Going to Leave a Mark

I believe Garth Brooks may have said it best in his song, “Papa Loved Mama”, when he sang, “It was bound to happen and one night it did.”  Except it didn’t happen at night.  It happened on a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon.  One that just happened to follow two days of weird spring snow.  If I have never suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder previously, I sure felt like I did at this point.  It felt as if spring was never going to arrive.  So, I was feeling low and emotionally vulnerable anyway.  Exactly the opposite of what you hope to be experiencing the day you receive IT.

Your very first rejection letter.

To be honest, I was kind of expecting it.  I mean, the idea of have your first two stories accepted for publication back to back is a little too much to hope for.  I also knew that the competition for this particular anthology was quite steep.

However, actually receiving the letter was kick in the proverbial gut no matter how much I expected it.  Nothing can shake your self-confidence that actually being informed, to your face, that this time your best just wasn’t good enough.  I’ve been told that you have to have a thick skin to survive in this business and now I know how thick my skin is, which is not very.  Not yet.

But it will get thicker.  Like soft, unworked hands that suddenly undertake days of manual labor, my “skin” will blister, peel and then callous over, leaving it less vulnerable to the inevitable unpleasantries I will encounter in this new world of which I have chosen to be a part.  And, the next one will hurt a little less.  And the next one, even less.  And so on…

I have spent the weekend licking my wounds and feeling sorry for myself.  I can continue on this path because, let’s just be honest, it’s a lot easier to sit around pouting than to face that blinking cursor and create something out of nothing yet again.  Or I can dust myself off and hope this experience will make me a better writer and a more humble person.

I think I will chose the latter.  Or maybe not just yet.  Perhaps a coin toss is in order?

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