Rejection

Rejection letters are par for the course in the writing game.  I can’t think of very many writers who never received one, but they still hurt.  This latest rejection letter has me in a conund…

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Rejection

Rejection letters are par for the course in the writing game.  I can’t think of very many writers who never received one, but they still hurt.  This latest rejection letter has me in a conundrum, though.

To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish?

I just received my first such letter for the Theodore Erickson book.  That makes me sad in and of itself, but it also told me that they will not publish anything that has a piece of something that has been published before.  The first chapter is the short story that was published, more or less.  So, what do I do?  I was looking around and it seems that is the case with most publishers.

This leaves me with a couple of options: to try to convince the Neoglyphics people to publish the larger series or to just do it myself through Book Baby or Amazon or something.  Have I explained how much the idea of self-publishing terrifies me?  If I self-published, I would be responsible for advertising my books, convincing people to sell them, etc- not to mention the costs up front of doing those things.  Forgive me as I try to dispel the icy bubble of terror that has solidified in my stomach.

I’ve had quite a bit more interest in the Theodore Erickson story than I could have ever anticipated, so I really want to get the first book out there, at least.  If I do that, I will publish the entire series because that is how I roll.  Still working on book #2, but it is pretty exciting stuff for me.  Fun to write- I very much have the opportunity to do whatever I want with great joy in these worlds.

If you all have any input, I would welcome it, because I just don’t know.  Self-publishing feels, more-or-less, like I would be creeping up to a publishing cliff and flinging myself off, desperately hoping that my jet pack works as well as I want it to.  Tweet me @S_A_Rohrbaugh or message me through the site.

Book Corner

Remember that book I was finishing last time?  I finished it (a while ago, honestly, but life has acquired a pace I could have never anticipated since).  Everyone needs to read this book, as soon as freaking possible.  What is it?  “The Parable of the Sower” by Octavia E. Butler.

This book is everything to me right now.  It is scarily realistic in its depiction of the very near future: huge inflation, a drug epidemic and neighborhoods forced to protect themselves because capitalism has eroded formerly public services…sound familiar?  The issues it deals with are so incredibly pertinent to what we are dealing with today.

However, at the core of the story are people who find a way to adapt no matter what.  They learn to trust each other despite everything going on around them.  It is a rather hopeful story in the midst of horrific circumstance.  Don’t get me wrong, it is as dystopian as it gets, so if that is not your thing, you might not be interested.  However, it is one of the best books I have read in a long time.

If you prefer lighter fare- I also finished a historical fiction/romance book that was pretty good- “Mistress Shakespeare” by Karen Harper.  It didn’t impact me the way that “The Parable of the Sower” did, but it blew my mind a little.  Did you know that William Shakespeare married two Annes?  Yeah, read that.  Very interesting.

There are really great female protagonists in both books, by the way.  They are real people in every sense of the word- hard to find books that do such a good job, so I recommend both, even if I have a slight preference for Ms. Butler’s work.

That’s All Folks

Well, I think that’s about everything reading and writing-wise for the moment.  I am working on Ava Hill, too, but I am dong about a million other things as well.  Never has my brain been pulled in so many different places at once.  I will try to get Ava up for you guys soon.

Remember to be kind to each other and keep reading.  Wishing you very well until the next time!

Mailed It!

So, last week I said I had figured out where I was going to send the larger Theodore Erickson manuscript.  Well, on Wednesday, I followed through.  I did it.  The crowd goes wild!  (Ahhhhhhhhh!  Woo-hoo!)  Send your prayers/thoughts into the universe for me.  You don’t know how much I want this book series to be published.

Not that sending it makes me any less nervous- I swear I am going to worry myself into an early grave.  Just printing it out made my stomach somersault.  Waiting three months is going to be painful.  It is always hard to hand your work off to complete strangers and ask them to judge you.  I have done it a few times and so far it isn’t any easier.  It is slightly less intimidating than letting my dad read my stuff- years of homework critique have psychologically impacted me.  Sorry, can’t help it.  Sending something off to editors is just a tad below that level of stress.

How Did You Celebrate Groundhog’s Day?

You read me right.  I celebrate Groundhog’s Day.  It is the greatest holiday possible to celebrate.  Who doesn’t want to celebrate a burrowing animal who comes out of the ground to tell us whether winter is actually going to end on time or not?  It has about as much point as most of the other holidays and it is more fun- because there is a Bill Murray movie.  Besides, who wouldn’t celebrate when they get to enjoy this cake-tastic masterpiece:

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Stop judging, you know you want some 🙂  And today is the Super Bowl which means Stromboli and meatballs and all sorts of deliciousness.  It’s been a good food week.

The Life and Times of Ava Hill

I have begun working on the short story I would like to post at the end of the month.  The first story is going to be about her as a young girl right after her father was executed by the state.  I am excited about it.

The series of stories will be called “The Life and Times of Ava Hill” and each individual story will have it’s own title.  Maybe at some point I can gather them up and put them into a book and sell those too.  It’s a long ways away from that (LONG WAY), but it will be fun to share something with you all, anyway.

Adieu

Well, I think that’s everything for now. I am reading a really good book- almost done, so I can’t quite talk about it this week as I don’t know how it ends.  I will definitely be reviewing that and telling everyone to read it next week.  Other than that, keep reading and have an awesome week!

Happy Winterfest!

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Okay, okay- no yelling. I know, it has been two weeks since Winterfest. Shame on me, but you know- Christmas, my girls and the stuff life is made of interferes with the blog sometimes. However, I found time now, so I am doing it. I couldn’t guarantee a Sunday post, so two weeks later felt appropriate.

Check out my sweet book signing table.  The display in the shadow box is the article that was written about me in the Whitman County Gazette.  I am a scrapbooking nut and had to scrapbook it.  Believe it or not, people actually read it at the table.  Jezebel (the hippo picture) came with me- she looks awesome ANYWHERE, but particularly at a book signing table, if I do say so myself.

So, how did it go?  The short answer is…it went very well.  Lots of people stopped to talk to me, which was great.  I signed and sold five books at the actual event (about five more than I expected to sell).  However, since then I have sold ten more!  Fifteen books!  I had to open my second box (twelve books come in a box).  I am simply blown away.  There is no way I was expecting to sell that many.  Advertising by word of mouth is a thing, guys.

So, now I will give you my annoying pitch: I have nine books left.  I am selling them at $12 a piece, which is pretty close to the presale price on Amazon.  If you live local I will personally deliver the book to you (signed and everything).  If you live outside of the Palouse I will have to mail it to you, so if you could include those extra shipping costs (something like $1 in the United States, for a grand total of $13) that would be great.  Of course, if I mail your book, I will sign it.  If you are interested, message me through the website, or tweet @S_A_Rohrbaugh and we can private message on Twitter.

And…you might be even more interested in purchasing the book now, because it has been nationally reviewed by US Review.  No, my story is not mentioned, but the entire book is talked about in a glowing fashion and I am tickled to death that something I am in has been reviewed by anyone.  So, maybe you don’t want to buy it any more than you did before, but it is pretty cool that it actually got a national review.  You should definitely read it and then buy a book from me 🙂

I think that’s everything I wanted to talk about for now.  I hope everyone has an opportunity to really enjoy this holiday season, whatever your beliefs or if you have any.  I leave you with a picture of me looking incredibly awkward at the end of the night two weeks earlier.  Happy Reading!

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Look What I Got in the Mail!

This has been a pretty amazing past few weeks for me.  “Threads: A Neoverse Anthology” seems to be doing pretty well, and…I got my books in the mail!  I have physically held the book that a story I wrote was published in, and I am not sure there are words to describe that feeling.

It is one thing to think, “I want to be published one day,” and quite another to hold said publication in your hands.  My stomach still fills with butterflies at the thought.  However, seeing the books wasn’t even the coolest things in the box.  Neoglyphic sent me an 8.5 x 11 inch print of my picture signed by the artist!  I am not going to lie, I got a little misty-eyed looking at Jezebel wearing Theodore Erickson’s hat.  It was such a nice gesture and something I think I will cherish for the rest of my life.

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Here she is in all her hippo glory, so fabulous that I had to go out and get her a cool, new, black frame. I really underestimated the impact of seeing a character, formerly entirely in my head, come to life on the page. The artist, Eve Skylar, did a really great job with everyone’s artwork, but I am very partial to mine.  Imagine that 🙂  I have put her in a place where I can see her when I am writing at my desk, as motivation for when the words don’t come out right.  She is something from my head made visual, proof that, in however small of a way, my dreams have been actualized and that if I work hard enough, more might be.

Things Keep Happening

In other exciting news, I was interviewed for the Bremerton Patriot (Washington State) last Tuesday. That article came out on Friday, September 30th.  My dad even texted me a picture of it from his Google newsfeed; that was pretty cool.  So, that makes for two newspaper interviews that I never expected to happen.  Funnily enough, I still haven’t decided how that makes me feel.  Mostly, it brings on extreme bouts of anxiety- “Holy smokes!  I don’t know how to answer ANY question without sounding like a moron!”  However, both the Whitman County Gazette article and the Patriot articles were lovely.  Crisis, so far, averted.  Whew!  (Trust me, if anyone knows how to put her foot in her mouth, it is me).

I am currently working on another short story for a local competition, so I will let you know how that all shakes out.  Malcolm Brooks, the author of “Painted Horses” is coming to the Palouse in November, and they are having a writing contest to celebrate (maybe, okay, probably not, but it sounded really good in my head).  However, the entries have to be 800 words or less, AND…the theme is “Sacred Places.”  There is nothing like trying to describe how a character’s soul is healed, let alone why it needed healing to begin with, in a page and a half double spaced.  However, that’s why I want to do it.  I didn’t think I could write a story in less than 5,000 words last year, so hope springs eternal.

I am still chugging away at the Writer’s Market book I checked out from the library. I am hoping that gives me a better idea of how to move forward with the larger Theodore Erickson book.  I finally reached the agent section, which made me break out in cold sweats, but I am determined to locate each one that might be an option for me in my future writing endeavors.  Then, I will attack the seemingly thousands of publishers, and so on until I conquer this behemoth book.

That’s All Folks!

Well, I think that about covers everything this week.  I hope you are all enjoying the beginning of fall.  I FINALLY got my Halloween decorations up, so my house feels less naked now.  Even better, October is the best month to read scary books.  If you have any suggestions, let me know- you can tweet me @S_A_Rohrbaugh or just message me through the website.  Happy reading!

 

The Anthology is Out!

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Well, the official release date is on the 15th, but I know several people who pre-ordered who have already received their copy.  I still haven’t seen a physical book, but that warm feeling in the pit of my stomach is taking over, regardless.  Something I wrote is in print somewhere!  I know it seems like a small accomplishment, but to me it is huge.

By the way, look at that cover art!  Many thanks go to NeoVerse for creating such an amazing looking book.  The picture for my story is pretty much on the center back cover (it’s the giant hippo with the fedora on its head).  If you would like to purchase this beautiful collection of stories, you can buy it at Threads: A Neoverse Anthology.

What Comes Next?

Now that it is actually released, I find myself analyzing what the next steps are.  The short story in the anthology is really just the first chapter in the first book in a five or six book series.  I have written that first book in its entirety, I just need to find a way to get that published now.  So, I will be submitting another manuscript.

You may be wondering how that works.  Honestly, I am still working it out.  There are a handful of publishing companies that accept manuscripts from unrepresented authors.  If those companies don’t work out, then I have to consider getting an agent in order to get other companies to look at anything I write.  Of course, self-publishing is always an option, but it is very expensive to do it correctly and you don’t have the advertising backing/experience that most publishing companies give you.

As I try to sell this book/series, I will keep on writing (I really can’t turn off my brain) and hope for the best.  I have always written because it is something that I just NEED to do.  It fulfills me in a way that most things don’t and because of that, any time I spend towards this is always worth it, no matter how things go in the future.

As I write, I will also continue to teach.  The school year has started at the pre-school program that I teach at again.  This year I get to teach the 2 and 3 year-olds, which is a lot of fun.  It’s hard to feel bad when you are surrounded by little ones that are so interested in everything that is going on around them.  Hopefully, class is as much fun for them as it is for me.

One thing is for sure, even as I continue to teach, being published in this anthology is not the last step for me, it is the first step of a journey- one that I hope you all can share with me.  With a lot of luck and some hard work, I think I at least have a shot of getting more published.  As always, happy reading!  I will see you all some Sunday soon!

Josh Groban, Leavenworth and the New School Year

Okay, okay.  So, I am a terrible blogger.  I got bronchitis and my good intentions fell through in maintaining this blog.  Then, I managed to get better just in time to go on my tenth anniversary trip and I ignored it once more.  The problem is, my life isn’t terribly interesting.

I have no real book news yet, although from what I have heard they are trying to coordinate some kind of release with the next writing competition, but more than that, I have no clue.  It could be released in December for all I know.

Josh Groban

So, I am left to tell you about my 10th Anniversary vacation.  We started by going to a Josh Groban concert in Woodinville, WA.  Sarah McLaughlin was supposed to open for him, but she wasn’t there.  My husband was very disappointed, as she was what he was looking forward to.  However, a guy named Foy Vance opened for Josh instead and was very good. I bought the CD- I recommend you check him out.  He has a very Celtic Rock vibe going on and his voice seems perfect for blues songs to me.  During the concert he came out and sang “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” with Josh and it was pretty freaking amazing. I hope to see a lot more from Mr. Vance.

Josh’s portion of the concert was incredibly relaxed and felt very intimate.  The last concert I saw was “In the Round” and the smaller venue definitely made a difference.  He sang a lot of songs from the Stages album and a few older songs.  Probably the most exciting part was when he sang a song from the Broadway musical he is going to be in.  If the song he performed is any indication, I might just have to find myself a way to get to New York.

The musical is called “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” and Josh will play Pierre.  The book nerd in me really loves that it is based off of a small section from Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” (even if I have yet to convince myself to read it- I guess now I have some motivation).  Really, though, the song Josh sang was great.  It looks like performances will start in October, but the opening date isn’t until November 14th.  If only I had money for that kind of birthday present. 🙂  Oh well.

Leavenworth

Have you ever been to Leavenworth?  I had, but not for many years- maybe I was in high school the last time I went.  My husband had never been, and so it seemed like an anniversary trip made in heaven, and it was a lot of fun.  I ate as much Hungarian and German food as I could stand and partook of much chocolate.

Mostly, though, it is just fun to walk around Leavenworth.  The town is adorable.  It is like walking into a Main Street in Disneyland where Gepetto and Pinocchio have taken over.  When that got boring (and it never really did), there was a park along the river where you could walk and learn about the history of the area before it was a tiny German-themed town in central Washington.  It was probably the most relaxing vacation I have ever taken.

Back to Life

However, we’re back home now.  School starts this week for my girls which I can hardly believe.  I’m still mentally in the beginning of July, but it is happening anyway.  Wish me luck.

The good news is that with school starting again I can go back to my writing schedule.  After a summer off my fingers are always itching for the keyboard.  Ideas seem to be continually bouncing around in the skull of mine and I have a manuscript to mail to a publisher now, so that will be something to do.

I am finishing a book about Joan of Arc that has me looking at the world a little differently from before.  She led a remarkable life for one so young.  I haven’t finished it yet, but it has made me think about a lot.  The book is by Kathryn Harrison.  It’s called “Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured.”  This is another one to read if you have any interest in history or women in patriarchal societies who rise to high places.  It is fascinating stuff.

That’s all for me, guys.  Happy reading.  May your life be less chaotic than the world right now.