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!

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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!

Long Time No See

Hello out there, book world.  It has been a long time since I posted, I know.  I am terrible at this blogging thing, but I have a hard time writing on here when there is nothing to update on.  However, good news!  I figured out who I am going to send the Theodore Erickson book to first!  (The crowd goes…eh?)

Now, I know that doesn’t FEEL like progress, but trust me, just as much of the writing world is figuring out what the heck you are going to do with your manuscript.  I am an incredibly indecisive person, so to have SO MANY options was pretty daunting.  So, basically, I narrowed my choices down and made an educated guess.

So, I will be printing out the story with this particular publisher’s formatting in mind and off it goes, probably tomorrow.  Then I get to cross my fingers and wait for three months for a response.  It feels like a long time, but it really isn’t.  A lot of publishers have you wait 8 months to a year, so I will wait patiently and hope.

Short Stories for the Blog

Last time I updated this thing, I asked if you guys wanted short stories related to the Theodore Erickson world, I got several responses (surprised the heck out of me to get them, really, but thank you very much for reading).  I did get some interest in Theodore Erickson, but I also got equal interest in furthering the short story I posted on here back in October- telling Eddie Hill’s daughter’s story.  I kind of liked that, since I had already posted his short story, I think that makes the most sense.  It will probably be a series of stories until she gets her life figured out (if I didn’t write, I swear I would be put into an insane asylum- they are real people to me).

When I have told her story as fully as I want to, I will move onto little jaunts into other worlds, dimensions and time travel for Theodore Erickson.  Fun stuff.  Looking forward to it.  I am thinking about making a specific Sunday of the month, Short Story Sunday.  It will depend on how fast I think I can crank them out as to when, so look for that.

Book Corner

I just finished an amazing book and EVERYONE needs to read it, especially if you live in America.  “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead is freaking amazing.  It follows the life of Cora, a slave on a Georgia plantation, and is absolutely breathtaking.  I do not think I fully appreciated the level of danger in using the Underground Railroad back when slavery was legal.  I knew it was dangerous, but this book really leaves you with your heart in your throat.

I will leave you with the quote that stuck out in my mind the most, but really you should just read it.  Amazing stuff.  “The great war had always been between the white and the black.  It always would be.”  Powerful themes resonate in this book concerning what it means to be free, what it means to be American and what forces still shape our race-relations today.  I highly recommend it.  If you’ve read  it, I would love to hear your thoughts- comment on the blog or tweet me @S_A_Rohrbaugh.

A Note About Our 45th President

So, back in November after Donald J. Trump was elected to the office of the presidency I cautioned that we needed to wait to see what he did before we passed any judgments.  Well, he’s been in office for about a week now and he has:

  1. Declared his intent to Repeal the Affordable Care Act
  2. Expedited Environmental Impact Reports thus Endangering the Environment at the Expense of Increased Business for Him and His Friends
  3. Declared his intent to Ensure the Dakota Access Pipeline is built
  4. Opened the Door Again to  the Keystone XL Oil Pipeline being built
  5. Instructed Congress to Appropriate Funds to Build a Wall Along the US/Mexico Border
  6. Targeted “Sanctuary Cities” and Undocumented Immigrants
  7. Halted Federal Regulations Until They Can Be Reviewed By the Administration
  8. Withdrawn from the Trans Pacific Partnership Officially (It was never ratified so not sure if this qualifies as doing something)
  9. Instituted a Government Hiring Freeze
  10. Placed a 90 Day Ban on People Coming from Muslim Countries He Doesn’t Have Business Ties to (Consequently, all the countries he did ban actually produced no terrorist attacks in America).
  11. Refused to extricate his family from his business
  12. Nominated People Who Range from Unqualified to Downright Dangerous for Cabinet Positions (Betsy DeVos, Rex Tillerson, Jeff Sessions and Steve Mnuchin spring immediate to mind, but almost all of them are the definition of terrible)
  13. (For Whatever I Forgot, I Am Sure There is Something)

What to make of all of this?  Honestly, it has me more than a little scared that America is going to cease to be the shining beacon it once was.  So, now he has done some things.  He only has so much power, though, so call your Representative, if you are moved to- protest (peacefully), but more than anything be kind.  Even to people you don’t agree with.

As Americans, we have a right to advocate for what we want from our government.  The representatives we elect stand for our interests not their own, and not the interests of big money.  We are possibly in for the most corrupt, discriminatory presidency in America’s recent history given the way Trump has behaved until now.  So stand up and fight if this is not the America you want to live in.  Perhaps even more importantly- vote the members of Congress out that don’t listen.  2018 is vital because in 2020, redistricting for the next ten years will happen.

This week has been incredibly overwhelming- for me and for millions across the country.  People are scared.  People are depressed.  I know.  I feel it, too.  However, the first amendment guarantees our right to free speech and our votes guarantee us the right to change the powers that be in two years and then four.  And remember, you have control over your own actions: be a force for good in your community and family life, take what control you have and use it.

Until Next Time

Alright, rant over.  I hope you all have a great week.  Keep reading!

Happy New Year!

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So, it has been forever since I have updated this, but you know- holidays and stuff.  I had a really nice Winter Break with the family and my house isn’t completely trashed.  Win-win.

Resolutions and Such

So, this is the time of year when many people are determined to do a thing (or many things): lose weight, time manage better, achieve a specific career or family goal, etc.  I am on that boat and not.  I started my health “resolution” on Christmas and so far have been successful.  Fingers crossed I keep that momentum.  I also encourage reading resolutions, whether it be to expand your genre selection or to read more books.  I tried for one a week last year and this year have upped it to 80 for the year, which is not quite two books a week.  We’ll see what happens.

Perhaps the larger resolution I have is to keep plugging away at this writing thing and see if I can make something come of itSo, there will be regular writing happening this year, but more importantly there will be a lot of efforts to send the Theodore Erickson book out to see if I can get it published.  It will be a lot of waiting and seeing, but fingers crossed I can get a book out for the overwhelming (to me) number of people who have personally messaged me or approached me in the street to ask about it.  I am excited to get chugging away at that and have great hope that I will be successful.  Who knows?  Self publishing is an option if all else fails.

Out of curiosity, how many people would be interested in short stories regarding the Theodore Erickson world being published on this website?  I feel bad making you all wait for the book.  In all likelihood, the short stories wouldn’t have much to do with the book that I am trying to sell, but would give more backstory to some characters.

Anyway, whatever your resolution is, I hope that you have great success this year.  However, I am a bigger fan of not making resolutions and just having specific goals to fulfill on your particular path in life.  Remember, it doesn’t need to be January 1st to try to be a better you, you can make that choice every day- every new moment.  You are only as stuck as you let you be.  (I think Oprah said something like that at one time and I have held onto it).

Neoverse Anthology News

In anthology news, I still have part of a box of books left at home, but I am going to have to mail it back really soon, so let me know if you want one.  $12 if I can hand it off to you personally, $13 if it needs to be mailed (comparable to the presale pricing of the book).  By the end of this month I will have to send whatever I have left back, so let me know ASAP.  You can message me through the blog OR you can private tweet me @S_A_Rohrbaugh.

Rogue One

Okay, now that part is over and I can talk about Star Wars.  My inner nerd is showing, sorry, but if you have not seen that movie you definitely should.  I ALMOST like it better than movies in the original trilogy.  Good stuff.  Certainly the best of the prequels and on par with “The Force Awakens” in my book.  It fills a lot of plot holes that bothered me about the initial trilogy and it makes the Rebellion look like a real organization.  It shows just how much they sacrificed.  It is actually one of the better movies I have seen all year.  Future Star Wars movies are going to have a lot to live up to.

Well, I think that’s all for now, folks.  I hope your 2017 is amazing.  Keep reading!

 

 

 

Come See Me!

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Long time, no write.  I hope nobody harmed their relatives this Thanksgiving.  Turkey and all the sides was the reason there hasn’t been a post in a while.  So sorry, but it had to be done.  Quality time with family and such.

So, the holiday season is upon us!  No matter what holiday you celebrate (or none at all) I hope the next month gives you great joy as we settle into the cold air and dark nights that winter brings.  Here’s to hot chocolate and warm fires.

…And My Book Signing

I am kicking off this holiday season with a bang by doing my VERY FIRST BOOK SIGNING.  The thing is still happening.  I received my two boxes of books in the mail yesterday and I will be ready to sell and sign with Santa.  Well, Santa will be taking pictures with the kids nearby, anyway.  I don’t have enough star power to sign with Santa.  That’s a whole other level.

I will be one of many vendors at Colfax, WA’s Winterfest this year.  It’s a fun thing to do, especially if you have kids.  There will be a Festival of Trees, crafts for kids set up and lots of local booths selling everything from art to jewelry.  Santa and I will be there from 3 to 5:30 (I might stick around until 6).  Be sure to bring checks or cash, as I don’t have the fancy card reader thing that attaches to the smart phones.

The Christmas parade and fireworks start at 6 pm.  It is lots of fun.  If you are in the area you should definitely head to the Whitman County Library and the Event Center next door.  Just in case you don’t live in Colfax and want to map it via your technology of choice, here is the library’s address:

102 S Main St., Colfax, WA 99111

From 6 to 6:30 pm Main Street will be closed to traffic because of the parade (and hopefully fireworks- usually there is fireworks).  I hope to see you all there!

Other Writing Related Things

I have now been asked several times now since my last post when the book about Theodore Erickson and his worlds is coming out.  Unfortunately, for that to happen I would have to find someone to publish the entire thing.  It is written.  I am working hard to find someone to publish it, hopefully soon.  So, it doesn’t look like it will be out there within the next year, but here’s hoping.  In the meantime, I am well into the second book in the would-be series.

As always, I am looking for writing competitions to enter, so if you find a good one, tweet me @S_A_Rohrbaugh or you can message me through the website.  Until next time, everyone, happy reading!

So…That Happened

Wow.  What a week, am I right?  Like many people out there, my world was rocked by this year’s election results, and not in a good way.  To those who voted for Mr. Trump, congratulations.  To everybody protesting already, I hear your fear and your anguish (indeed I feel it acutely).  However, the man isn’t even in office yet.

You can protest the fact that Donald Trump won the election by the Electoral College and not the popular vote.  That is your right. If you favor the popular vote, then you should make your voice heard. Please try to do it in a way that does not involve hurting people, damaging property or lighting effigies on fire. It undermines the message you are selling and give people who would deride that message a reason to name them riots instead.

Not to mention, I feel like it is probably a lost cause.  When Al Gore lost similarly back in 2000, it went all the way to the Supreme Court and they ruled in George W. Bush’s favor.  Why?  Because the Electoral College is how America chooses its President.  If you are interested in learning why, you should definitely watch this video on You Tube. I think it offers a little bit of perspective.

Please understand, I know that your anger and fear are real.  Donald Trump campaigned on fear and hatred against Latinos and Muslims at the very least.  He will probably install extremely conservative Supreme Court justices who could undo decades of progress for African-Americans, women and the LGBT community.

Why Did This Happen?

I doubt that these are the reasons that people voted for him.  Perhaps these are the reasons that the KKK and other white nationalist groups supported him, but by and large Trump voters are hurting economically and scared of the rising Islamic Terrorism around the world.  Like him or not, Trump came out with a message that said I understand that you have been hurt financially over the last many decades.  That message is a good one, even if he wasn’t always politically correct in the way he said it.  On top of that, he came out forcefully against Islamic Terrorism.

Let me say this right away: people who are afraid of what Islamic Terrorism will do to America are not racist.  They are scared.  When Democrats come out and call them racist for these justified fears, it only serves to make them angry and reinforces the idea that the Democrats are privileged and do not understand anything that is important.  At least, that’s how I understand it from talking to people who supported Trump.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some real issues in our society concerning race.  The criminal justice system springs immediately to mind.  This should be addressed, as should many other issues.  Here’s the thing- the President has NEVER been the change maker in this country.  They have signed the bills, often because it was politically expedient.

Where Barack Obama Went Wrong

Perhaps Democrats and others on the Left made the assumption that because Barack Obama was a black president that he would fight more, but he is merely a politician.  He did move on LGBT marriage rights, because the people made it clear that it was what they wanted, but on other things not so much.  Nobody on the Left really pushed him for expanded background checks after so many mass shootings, so he never fought for them.  He said some poignant words and then went back to what he thought was possible and helping his political donors (sorry, all politicians do it guys, honestly, I doubt Trump will be any different).

This is not unique behavior for American presidents.  This is the rule (LBJ would have never signed the Civil Rights Act if Martin Luther King Jr. and millions of others hadn’t pushed him).  For those of you who blame Republican obstructionism for Obama’s failures, you are only partially right.  He probably wouldn’t have been able to do everything he wanted.  However, could Barack Obama have fixed the lead pipes that still taint our national infrastructure?  I think so.  People care about lead poisoning in children when they are reminded of it on a regular basis.  It seems very likely that if he had continued to visit Flint, Chicago and other communities that have been affected by this that something might have been done by now.  Thus proving, we cannot count on ANY president to advocate on our behalf.

So, Get Off Your Butt and Do Something

Come January 20, 2017 Donald Trump will be your president.  My president.  America’s president.  We must hope that he will not govern in hate as he campaigned.  In his acceptance speech early Wednesday morning, he said he wants to rebuild American infrastructure and work to help the Veterans in America.  I think those are things I can get behind.  My recommendation is to support him in the things you agree are good.

I also think it is reasonable to plan for the event that he advocates for policies that would harm.  This is where you, the American citizen come in- whichever side of the political divide you land on.  Wear a safety pin so that those who feel unsafe in an environment where hate crimes are on the rise know at a glance that you will not judge them for what they look like or believe.  Volunteer and help raise awareness for the issues that are important to you- do as much good for your community and your family as you can.  And when Donald Trump is no longer President, no matter who succeeds him, do not stop.  Every president needs to hear the voice of the people and every community can benefit from your help.

Back to Writing

So, now I will get off my soapbox.  I had to get that off my chest.

I will be doing a book signing on December 1st  from 3:30 to 6:30 pm at the Whitman County Library in Colfax, WA.  Stop by and see me.  I might even be handing out bookmarks, I just need to design and order them.

Please remember, in these times of division and chaos to hold on to the things you can.  Love fiercely.  Communicate with those who have opposite views.  Maybe if we can understand each other’s points of view we can become a stronger nation through this.

Keep reading.  Until next time, peace be with you.

 

PSA: Get Out the Vote

No, this blog post isn’t about writing. Trust me, I am ever so slowly chugging away at that giant book I got from the library (I had to extend the due date, sigh). This post is about a right that far too many people take for granted in America- your right to vote. Sorry to any international viewers that may be out there (if you are out there- welcome, happy to have you). This post is entirely directed at the apathetic American public.

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Listen, I know how bad this election feels.  We are facing two of the most unpopular candidates America has had since polling began.  Everyday, we turn on the news and are assaulted by another terrible thing this person said or that person did.  I am not going to try to talk you into one over the other.  My life isn’t your life and your priorities should be different than mine- whoever you think is the better of the choices out there, that is what you should go for.

However, as the self-proclaimed democratic role model for the rest of the world, America needs to get its act together.  We trail most of the developed countries in the world when it comes to voter turnout.  The most recent statistics are slightly different from the above cartoon, but the point is still valid.  To read more about the intricacies about what it means to vote in America versus the rest of the world you should check out this Pew Research Center article.

But I Genuinely Despise Both Candidates for the Major Parties This Year!

For those of you out there who absolutely cannot choose (who are registered to vote), you have a fairly exciting option available to you.  Is there a third party platform that appeals to you on any level?  Vote for the candidates in that party.  If a third party can get 5% of the national vote, they will be given federal funds for the next election to help grow their national voice.  The two most well-known third parties are the Libertarian Party and the Green Party, but there are plenty more to choose from.  Maybe your preferred third party won’t get 5%, but just the chance of having more viable options in the future makes it worth the effort to try, especially if you feel like there is no real choice this year.

Even if you don’t vote for the office of the president at all, your vote can have a huge influence on your state and county’s politics.  Initiatives and office holders that will have an influence on your life will be on the ballot and you deserve to have your say.

It’s the Final Countdown!

In three days, this election will be in the history books and America will move forward from it.  (The crowd goes wild.  Ahhhhhh!  Woo-hoo!)  I know that so many people in this country feel powerless, voiceless to change circumstances that they feel like are beyond their control.  However, that is the beauty of the Republic we live in.

Even after the election is over, if particular issues are important to you there are ways to help those issues receive greater visibility.  Call your Representative and Senator concerning bills that are important to you, get involved in groups that are like-minded and will fight for the things that are important to you and write letters to the editor in your community.  If you are feeling really ambitious you can get involved in your local city council or school-board.  Volunteer at your local school or for non-profit organizations that provide services that you feel are important.

No matter what the political rancor is in Washington DC, remember that as an individual, your choices can be powerful and a force for good in the world, politically or otherwise.  I will see you on the other side.  Keep calm and keep reading.