What A Year!–Overdosing On Words

2013 is over. Where did the days go?

For me, 2013 was the year of the short story.

Different writers will focus on different projects at different times in their careers. Since I had a manuscript out on submission and took on an internship for a literary agent, I didn’t want to get pulled in several different directions. Instead of trying to write another manuscript without my full attention, I chose to focus on shorter projects. To be honest, this was the first year I took writing short stories seriously. I’m glad I did.

Ten. That’s the number of short stories I’ve written since June. Some were for blog anthologies, some were submitted to various magazines, and others were submitted for print anthologies. I’ve had some successes, a rejection or two, and a few stories are still under consideration. It comes with the territory.

The Sirens Call e-magazine is Labor of Love’s new home. It was the first short story I wrote and it was also the first published. Zombies rule!

Jolene and Kristen were kind enough to include Nothing But Net in their blog anthology, The Dark Carnival, over at Pen and Muse. Chynna-Blue challenged me to write in a genre I had never written in before with The Midnight Type’s, Santa Clash Project. My Christmas themed murder mystery, The Crimson Snow, can be found there.

While I’m still under consideration with a couple more short stories, I can share that I’ve been named as a finalist for Project REUTSway’s Grimm and Chilling Tales anthology. I’m one of thirty five other finalists who will either be featured in the anthology, or as part of their blog series. My story, The Dragon’s Tinder was a week one top look. I’m truly honored to be considered among the top thirty five best submissions. Thank you, to REUTS publications!

You can find the official announcement here: http://blog.reuts.com/introducing-project-reutsway-2013-finalists/

As I wait for word on various other projects, I’m grateful for all the opportunities my short fiction has afforded me. Creating short stories has kept my creative juices flowing at a time when I wasn’t sure which direction to move. Reading submissions for my internship took up much of my time. Writing shorter pieces made more sense. I’ve met some great new people as a result.

Even though I didn’t accomplish my initial goal of completing two additional manuscripts this year, I created a handful of short stories and submitted my ass off. I stayed busy, moving forward. Just because I didn’t meet my initial goals doesn’t mean this year was a failure. While it’s nice to have goals, we must sometimes be fluid. Things won’t always work out as we envisioned them. As long as we can continue to make progress, it shouldn’t matter how.

I learned plenty about not only the craft of writing in 2013, but also some of the business side. Working closely with a literary agent opened my eyes to many things. I learned why an interesting and engaging first chapter is essential if we want a chance at signing with a literary agent. Time is precious. If we can’t quickly capture their attention, and hold it, they’ll move along to a project that will. I also learned that a good first impression does matter. A cover page, properly formatting your submission, and overall neatness often stood out. Nine times out of ten, if a submission had formatting issues, the quality of the writing had issues as well. I also learned passing along my thoughts as to why certain submissions should be rejected made me feel like crap. Yet, I also learned how to turn those feelings off as I picked submissions apart. It’s a skill I’ve incorporated into how I receive critiques/feedback. Nothing should be taken personally.

There may be some more news. However, I can’t share anything with you just yet. Rest assured secret things are happening behind the scenes. As soon as I’m able, I’ll let everyone know. Believe me, keeping secrets is tough. Another skill I learned from my internship.

Remember, there’s no going back. We can’t turn back the hands of time to try and fix something. Be confident in not only your writing, but yourself. Nobody can tell the kind of stories you tell. Instead of wondering if you’re good enough, know that you are. Take every opportunity that you can. Nothing will fall from the sky and into your lap. It only takes one “Yes” to change everything. You’ll never get there if you freeze at the starting line, wondering if you’re going the right way. Don’t let others influence which step you take. Forge your own path. Whatever you decide to do, own it. Get your swag on.

And now for my song of the year. Sick Puppies released a new album earlier this year, titled Connect. The first single was There’s No Going Back. It’s about not letting the past define you. Learn from it. Push forward. Move on. If we spend all our time looking back, we’ll never see what’s before us. I can’t think of a better song to represent my 2013.

2014 won’t know what hit it! Let’s go get us some!

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