Things I’d Tell My Year Ago Self

I’ve had some really good luck this year in getting stories published. More than a couple of friends have said they want to write more, and asked me what I’d tell myself a year ago when I decided that I was going to start submitting my work.

Shunn Format. Period.

Every rough draft I go through and cross out any “It seemed” or “I felt” and replace it with something that demonstrates the feeling or mood I was describing. I’ve learned that “I felt sad about it” just bores the shit out of people.

Beautiful prose isn’t about big words. Beautiful prose can be a whole bunch of small words strung together. It’s about the voice.

Not to be afraid to be too dark, too vulgar, too clean, too anything.

There’s a whole bunch of quotes about writing but this one sticks with me. “Write you know.”

But you write fantasy and horror and sci-fi, right? Shit that isn’t even real?

You might have noticed a lot of my main characters are female, who were ignored or neglected or abandoned during their formative years. They are usually “too something” for the world they live in. Too outspoken, too angry, too bitter, too smart.

So I am writing what I know. I’ve been told I’m too political, opinionated, outspoken, too loud, my humor is vulgar, my sarcasm is too sharp, that I’m too blunt, too direct, too intimidating.  I mean, the list goes on and on.

It took me thirty years to stop giving a fuck if I was any of those things. Another five where I was ready to write down the things I had to say and not care that my scars, internal, external, might bleed through, that people might see me in my work.

Write what you know. Don’t be scared of judgment. Nobody can tell my stories the way I do, or yours the way you do.

Let’s dream big together.


Upcoming works!

The autumn issue of Vastarien edited by Jon Padgett is available for pre-order! My story “The Nightmare Man” will appear. “Layla 8” will appear at Daily Science Fiction. “Shiver Soft Feathers” will be available in an anthology later this year edited by the one and only B Morris Allen. Currently, I have six other stories in various states of submissions-two long listed and one that may be accepted shortly after a few revisions.

I’m currently working on a really dark fantasy piece that was supposed to be a short story but has turned into a novelette, and am preparing to revise a novella about haunted islands.

I hope today finds you well and inspired. Dream on!

The second round…

I made it to the second round of Daily Science Fiction with “Layla 8”!

Then I checked my submission over at Clarkesworld-it said ‘under review-second round’, meaning it was in the top three percent!

I received a form rejection shortly after-but holy hell, that was a good run, right?

The thing is, now I’m wondering if I hallucinated it. It seems possible.

I’m rereading Layla 8 and finding all kinds of things I wish I changed-still hoping against hope it makes the cut.

While I dissected myself and my rejections, someone said, “you really think it’s going to happen for you, huh?”

Nope. I think I’m going to make it happen. Not because I’m the best. But I am a stubborn heart and I can take a thousand rejections. A million. Infinite rejections.

I’ve sold two stories in two months. Published a few free.

“Artificial Love” will be available July 18th at Literally Stories. “All the Colors I Cannot See” has been sold to Metaphorosis Magazine.

To everyone else getting rejections today-if you’ve got something to say, keep writing. It matters. I’ve read stories on small, indie websites that have imprinted themselves on my heart.

Write and read on!