And the answer is…

The results are in. While it appears that my manuscript may have spent a little longer than some on the discussion table, ultimately Hallmark decided it was not suited to their needs.

Now, to be fair, I realized when I wrote it that a) maybe I just couldn’t write an excellent manuscript in that short a time and b) I had approached this from a direction that Hallmark doesn’t usually take. Which, honestly speaking, may have been my ace-in-the-hole excuse for if they didn’t accept it. We writers can be sneaky, even to ourselves.

Nonetheless, like any other writer, I was disappointed.

Strangely enough, I picked up the email during a meeting of one of the writing groups I attend. My son and my friend who leads the group noticed the less-than-pleased look on my face, so I had to share the news, and wound up telling the group at large. Their support was a big help. I’ve also fallen back on the promise I made to myself to simply market it elsewhere, so that is in the game plan. I’ll go over it first, a little more slowly, to see if I can spot something it needs. Then I’ll send it out again.

It’s one of the hardest things a writer can do, brand new or seasoned, keeping a book circulating until it finds a publishing home. I’m not counting those writers with such a following that they seem to have self-perpetuating contracts. After all, I want to hate those people. For most of writers, every new book is an adventure not only in writing but in marketing as well. Like our children, we don’t know where our books will end up. We do our best and just hope they’ll end up someplace good for both of us.

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Speaking  of not knowing where a book will end up…

A niece of  mine contributed one of my books to the ship library aboard a Princess cruise. My college roommate is planning on leaving a copy of another in the common room of the place they’ll be staying when they visit Ireland.  A third posted on Facebook  about reading boating mysteries at the waterfront, with a copy of my book in the picture. And another niece consistently passes along my posts and tweets, along with her own compliments of my books, because she likes them. There’s nothing like the support of family and friends. Special thanks to the ones who keep faithfully encouraging friends to read my work. It really helps.

 

inthelibraryPrincesscruise2018

Screenshot-2018-6-20 Robin Minnick - Robin Minnick shared a post

 

 

 

 

a ‘How do I get myself into these things’ update?

Okay. I was tempted to call this a Busy Person’s Update, but I could just hear someone saying out loud, “We’re all busy these days!” And they’d be right, But there’s phenomena at work here, at least for me, and it’s something I think we’ve all seen.

How the busy person, despite vows to the contrary, gets busier, no matter what.

I had come off a full year of ‘stuff’ in my life. Getting two books up on Amazon, some personal and family illness, house reno, doing my part on a group anthology, escaping a hurricane and recovering from its aftermath, prepping for Christmas, Christmas with all the family in…. and then I go and decide to attempt the Hallmark project.

Why do I do these things? I was already set to focus on just 2 of my books, two I plan to market for traditional publication. The anthology was behind me (although our group is eagerly taking on another one). In the back of my mind I was prepping for returning to the  home reno I’d  had to temporarily  (see that word, kids? temporarily) abandon. But, as mentioned previously in this blog, the opportunity was too good to pass up. I did finish the book, complete with proper revisions, and submitted it in time. 82,000+ words. No word back yet.

Still, even with that in submission limbo, I was left with 2 books with major tangly problems to work on, and a house and yard  begging for attention. You’d think that was enough. No, I had to get the bug to write an article about a local meadery – I have developed a taste for mead, or honey wine, as some refer to it. I want to share what I’ve learned. So, I’ve gone and pitched an article for that.

WHY do we do this to ourselves? Is it because we can’t stand being idle? Does it hearken back to school days where every teacher loaded you up saying you needed to do all these assignments in order to pass/succeed? Is it because we feel a responsibility to ‘step up’ and take on something we’re asked to do, even if it’s ourselves doing the asking?

Is it the ‘shiny new thing’ distraction? We just have to do the new thing?

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Today we seem to be caught between the idea of slow-down-stop-to-smell-the-roses-appreciate-life approach and the drive-to-succeed-I-can-do-everything-bring-it-on mentality. How do we handle that?

I think a few people thrive at either end of the spectrum. Some of us cycle between the two approaches – although personally I could use a little longer on the smelling the roses bit. Unlike a true bell curve, I think only a few strike a balance.  I envy them, I think…although  a little bit of mania in life can be a good thing. We should feel free to enjoy the rush while it feels good.

Maybe that’s the thing: doing what works for you. People are different; what works for one can be killing to another. Find your own working process. Find your story. And then thrive.

Press Release: New Anthology

RJ MINNICK, December 15       MTbookCvr

I am pleased to announce that THE MAYOR’S TALES: Stories from the Kyleighburn Archives is now available at Amazon.com as well as from its participating authors.

I have been lucky enough to participate in a project with a terrific local writing group called Off the Page. At the formation of the group, we were taken with the idea of building a world and populating it with characters whose stories we would tell in an anthology.

As Editor, I was thrilled with how our writers drew on their skills to not only craft solid stories, but to grow their talents. Several of us worked outside our comfort zones. However, the stories, diverse as they are with romance, mystery, science fiction, and fantasy and from similarly diverse authors, build a picture of a small community in North Carolina that undergoes a mysterious event that permanently affects its future.

from the cover:

Welcome to Kyleighburn, North Carolina, (population 3,000). A labyrinthine cavern has suddenly opened up beneath sleepy little hamlet and what it reveals to the startled residents will affect the town and its residents forever. The huge complex is filled with weird glowing flowers and vines tended by a swarm of over-large bees. Where did this come from, and who will it affect? The answers are in the stories.Dip into the archives and read the stories of Kyleighburn, NC and its good citizens. There’s the mayor, Marino Esposito, a very unbureaucratic civil servant who seems perpetually at odds with The Mayor (always with a capital T.M.) who happens to be a canine. Tattooed and pierced and amnesiac, Joe the bartender doesn’t remember his past, and perhaps that why he seems so cheerful about his present. The town’s bubbling, vivacious librarian can’t follow her own rules, and a quiet handyman flutters the ladies’ hearts and confuses everyone with his lack of history.Each story from the archive casts Kyleighburn in fresh light, with tales from the ancient past to the bustling present, stories about love and family and war and cruelty, all tied in some way to the event that changes things forever.In what began as an exercise to see what they could do, writers from Off The Page built a world to share and people to live there. The authors then contributed unique stories, each from their own preferred genres. The result was more than they expected. In this book you will find science fiction, romance, history, comic humor, and mystery, all written in straight-forward fashion. The Mayor’s Tales: Stories from the Kyleighburn Archives is an achievement of dedication, talent, and enthusiasm. Everyone should be so lucky to have a Kyleighburn.

 

The Mayor’s Tales: Stories from the Kyleighburn Archives

An Off the Page Anthology

  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (December 15, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1790966183
  • ISBN-13: 978-1790966189
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches

 

A little expansion…

Aside

Just dropping a note to say that I’m adding posts under the Remainder page. The first gives a little background on the writing of the book and also a peek into its plot.

I’ll follow up with more, especially if you have questions. Feel free to comment, and I hope you’ll  enjoy my book.

Never promise what you can’t deliver…

… a brief monologue on the ways that can backfire on you

 

Besides being a means of offering my excuses for missing deadline once again, this short list enumerates various ways promising something can get you into trouble.

  1.  Most obvious and pertinent: Never put in writing the date your book will be available unless it is on its way to the printer. And not even then. Those of you who are alert will  note the ‘update’ of launch info for FLYING PURPLE  PEOPLE SEATER. I won’t bother you with excuses; there are some. It will be out soon.
  2. Never promise you will  never do something. A certain editor I know vowed she would never go so far as to cross borders to see a performance she admired; guess where she will be next month? (correct if you said not in her home country)
  3. Never promise to house-sit or pet-sit when you don’t really know your own plans. (Was that the weekend you scheduled for minor surgery on Friday and were told you’ll be out of it from the pain meds for three days?)
  4. Never promise you will be there for the birth of a child (except your own, and then not if it is your spouse who is delivering). Do I really need to mention that babies are unpredictable?
  5. Never promise payback –  whether it’s a favor, a visit, a loan, or revenge. Life is also  unpredictable.
  6. Never promise to write an article from a certain slant. You  never know when you will discover information – even during an interview with the subject – that will change everything you’re going to write.
  7. Never promise a friend or a family member that you will name a character after them or, worse, ‘put them in your book’.
  8. Following from #7 is, never promise (or brag) that you’re going to kill off your mother-in-law (or anyone real in your life) in your book. — We all do it; just don’t say so.
  9. Never put so many people or things in the plot of your novel that you can’t keep track of them. You’ll have things like boats with gunmen on them vanishing  into thin air when they would have been in a position to turn the tide of battle, but you can’t have them there because that’s not how the fight turns out. (yes, that was a thing)
  10. And never, never, as the saying goes, put a gun on a mantelpiece in a scene unless someone is going to get shot.

That’s a saying that was taught to me by my screenwriting son. It refers to economy and purpose in writing.  When you put an object or person into a scene, there’s a reason they are there. There has to be, particularly in any short writing, but even in novels.

Mysteries may be notorious for red herrings and misdirection, but that’s not what you’re doing if you are introducing stuff into scenes and not doing something with them.  Ie, there is no reason for a gun on the mantelpiece in a young woman’s apartment, unless there it is going to be used. Maybe it’s self-defense, because she feels stalked. Maybe it’s  self-defense, because she feels under siege by law enforcement. Maybe it’s self-defense, because she feels stalked and under siege by an ex-boyfriend. Maybe it just goes off and the bullet strikes her baby. Maybe she’s going to sell it, turn it in, clean it, or use it on the damn cat, but that gun needs to be used somehow. Or it needs to not be  there.

Even 600-page novels have a finite number of ideas to convey, in a finite number of words. If you can’t deliver follow-up why something is on the page, if its being there doesn’t serve a purpose later on, don’t promise the reader that it does. Take it out.

Now I’ll go finish my book. No, that was not a promise, but I will.

Thoughts….

REMAINDER (my newly-published novel) has as its background the firsremainderFrtcvrt year of war following the events of 9/11. It was the year when we tried to assimilate the shock, realized we were in a whole new world, and attempted to pull  together to cope, even as emotions tore at the fringes to rend us apart. It is one of the reasons, I think, that agents and publishers didn’t quite know what to do with it and so rejected it.

But I was intrigued by what we were going through, even as we went through it. We are a large family, and all the kids were in some form of school in 2001. We had a lot of holding and talking and loving and strategizing to do. At the same time, as any parent – particularly a mom – knows, despite everything, when the sun rises the next day (and it does), the laundry will need to be done, groceries will need to be bought, the car will need to be fixed, and (eventually) we will all need to go to school or to work. After all, they say a return to normalcy is the best way to get past a traumatic event. Maybe so, but there must be time for grief and adjustment, as well.

The people of Remainder have made their initial adjustments, and now they are learning that life does go on, and we must engage in it and cope with it. For people farther away from ground zero than New York or Washington, DC, the war could seem remote. Everyone had to decide for themselves how they regarded the war. Everyone had to decide how to incorporate the surreal with the real as they took up their live again apace.

REMAINDER is about what it’s like to face personal pain and local community trial while still reeling from blows dealt by a world gone mad. It’s about the path each of us finds through the mess we have to conquer in our own lives.

runyouthsil

 

I started writing REMAINDER some time ago, and I left it alone for a while before the final edits. I was surprised to find I’d done a little foreshadowing of reality as I was writing. While I missed where it landed our country, I picked up on the the distrust, the suspicions, the diminishing of others in our midst. I failed to see how far it would take us. Maybe just as well, because I don’t know that I wanted to write that book. But my hope is that we will come back together to be a different, a better people. That is something the people in Remainder could show us how to do.

 

LAUNCH DAY!

REMAINDER is now available at Amazon.com, and will soon be available through other channels, such as barnesandnoble.com’

 

WHOOPEE!

 

I  have loved writing this book, but I am so glad it is finished. I hope you buy it, but what I really hope is that whether you buy it or borrow it, you read it and enjoy it. If you do, please share it with others. Because that’s what books are all about, sharing thoughts, feelings, and ideas. I love to tell stories, but mostly I love to know that people enjoy them.

So please, enjoy! 

at amazon.com

List Price: $17.95
360 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1545210727  
ISBN-10: 1545210721