Monthly Archives: May 2011

Keep Your Chin Up and Submit, Submit, Submit!

Instead of the usual Monday morning check-in, I decided I would visit a topic that I struggle with on a regular basis. The submission process.

When I decided to take the plunge and submit some writing for publication, I really had no clue what to do, how to do it, or what to expect.  But like any good hacker — I mucked along and read submission guidelines, then crossed my fingers and hit the send button.  After I  got my first rejection (and yes my first reply was indeed a rejection) I thought — Okay, this has got to be the hardest part of the process.

I was so wrong.

The hardest thing for me to deal with has been the wait between sending my babies in for consideration and hearing back on whether or not these children were acceptable for the general reading public. As anyone who submits work for publication can attest, this reply can take anywhere from a few days (my shortest turn around time was six days – from Pill Hill Press) to a third of a calendar year (as I am seeing with one of my current submissions – 120 days and counting). After a while, you just learn that it is what it is, and part of the “work” of being a writer is having the patience to wait for your response — good or bad.

Recently, I had subbed in a story for an anthology. While many sites taking electronic submissions now offer a auto reply stating they received your story, so many more do not. This particular site, did/does not. I sent in my story prior to the deadline and settled myself in for the long wait to come. It wasn’t until others i knew sent submissions started to hear back that I thought something must be up. Where was my letter? My acceptance or rejection. I dropped an email to the submissions address to query them regarding my submission.

I found out yesterday, it was indeed lost in the Internet nether world and had not been received, but since the deadline had passed, that they would unfortunately have to pass. I did receive the standard — but please submit again in the future.

Suffice to say, for about 24 hours – I was devastated. My confidence screamed at me that the story is good enough to be included and if they had received and read it, I would have gotten an acceptance like some of my friends had. But all that didn’t get my story read or published. Only I could do that.

So here I am today – fresh story in hand and looking for a home. And that, ladies and gentlemen, brings me to my point for today.

If you are a writer, there will be setbacks. There will be disappointments and there will be rejections. Have faith in yourself and your stories. Persistence and confidence in yourself will be the keys to your success. The publication that missed out on my story — well, they missed out.

Like every good story, eventually it will find the right home. As it is my baby, it is my job to find out where that home is. And the only way I know to do that is…

SUBMIT SUBMIT SUBMIT… If that doesn’t work — SUBMIT again!

Thursday Humor

Just a little giggle to get you through your Thursday. Enjoy!

Thanks to for the giggles!

Book Review: The Blood That Bonds by Christopher Buecheler

The Blood That BondsThe Blood That Bonds by Christopher Buecheler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I checked this one out, I did so mostly because it had a cool looking cover and I was into reading some horror type works. I didnt know going in what sort of tale I was getting into. Once I realized it was a vampire story, I was a bit worried, as they are not usually my kind of thing.

But I have to say that I really and thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters, especially the MC, Two were vibrant and the writing active and engaging. I even feel in love with the male leead and otehr prominent characters in this one.

The beginning of the book really drew me in and got my sympathy for Two going right off the bat. Heroin addict and prostitute in a bad situation — easy to root for an underdog like that.

As the story progresses, we get a more detailed look at the vampire family that Two has been brought into — Her Master (maker) Thereon is easy to fall for, as are the other siblings in the clan.

There were parts of this one that actually made me cry (so not going to spoil anything) and I haven’t read a book that could do that in a long time.

Will definitely be checking out the next in this series. I believe it is called Blood Hunt.

I highly recommend this one if you enjoy vamp tales. However, I would say this is NOTHING like the Twighlight vamps — so if that is what you are looking for — th is may not be the book for you.

View all my reviews

My Mother’s Day Present: Shelby Glasses – Part 2

As my regular blog followers can attest, I have a rather unique 10year old daughter named Shelby. For Mother’s Day this year, she didn’t make me a homemade card like she usually does. Instead, she found a song to send me for Mother’s Day. According to Shelby — this is what I mean to her. (I can tell you right now — the below video is classic Shelby).


Book Review: MARKED by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Marked (House of Night, #1)Marked by P.C. Cast

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to admit that I set this book aside in the first chapter and told myself I couldn’t read it–that it was too YA to be something I would really get into and enjoy. However, my sixteen year old daughter had read the first three books in this series and was set on having a novel we could discuss and both enjoy. So at her prodding and questioning, I picked it back up.

I am glad I did. Once I got past a chapter of “K-babble” I was really able to submerge in the story and found it impossible not to root for the MC, Zoey.

Thoroughly enjoyed the read and I plan to get started on Book #2: Betrayed, this week.

View all my reviews

NOW AVAILABLE: Cutlass and Musket, Tales of Piratical Skullduggery

This collection of pirate adventures is now available in paperback (e-book formats coming soon). The anthology features one of my short stories,  titled Lost Hope. I have not yet received my contributor copy, so havent read the other included stories, but I am really looking forward to it.


Arrgh, you scallywags. Rip open these pages to find yerself lost in the world of pirates and their misdeeds. Join them as they travel to misty islands of fortune, sail the seven seas for mysterious items, kill those that betrayed them, and lay siege to monasteries. This collection of new work brings you 18 short stories and a new novella by M.S. Gardner. But beware…if ye escape Davy Jones’ Locker, ye may still face the plank.

Here is a small excerpt from my story, LOST HOPE:

Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean — August 1649

     Sailors shouted to each other, their feet scuffling across the deck as their swords clashed in battle. The air in the lady hole reeked of gunpowder and death. Thankfully, the cannonballs, which had been smashing into the ship’s hull with regular, deafening precision, had stopped. A young couple huddled together in the dark. The man wrapped his arms around the woman, who feverishly rocked a swaddled bundle. She cast a wide-eyed glance at her husband as the infant wailed its dismay at the top of her lungs.

     “If you don’t hush her, Margaret, they’ll find us,” the man said.

     The woman rocked faster. “I’m trying.”

     The door to the tiny compartment screeched open. The couple squinted toward the portal. A tall shadow filled the doorway, backlit by bright sunlight. Green eyes glowed from the dark form, its thick voice echoed through the tiny closet.

     “What do we have here? Looks like a family of bilge rats.”

     Untangling himself from his wife, the man stepped out first, blocking access to his family. “Please, sir. I’m a man of means. Allow me to pay safe passage for my family.

     The woman released a startled scream as her husband dropped to the deck with a sickening thud. Blood gushed from the wide slice across his throat; his unseeing eyes stared at the azure sky.

     Rough hands pulled the hysterical woman from her hiding spot, and dragged her, kicking, onto the deck. Tears streaked down her pale cheeks. She closed her eyes and rocked the crying child, her voice cracking as she whispered repeatedly, “though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill.”

     One of the deckhand stepped forward and placed a hand on his captain’s arm. “Cap’n, let me and Joe take the baby back to The Albatross. Elsa’s been waitin’ a long time for a child of ‘er own. ‘Sides, the wee one shouldn’t be witness ta this.”

     Nicor’s eyes narrowed as his gaze fell to the hand on his sleeve. Catching the look, Matthews quickly released the Captain’s arm.

     Nicor’s lips curled into a dark smile. He nodded. “Aye, Pops, take the baby to her new mother while I get acquainted with this lovely prize.” The captain’s gaze swept back to the woman huddled on the deck.

     The sailor squatted and tried to pull the crying bundle from the rocking woman. At his touch, the woman jerked away, locking her bleak eyes on him. “Please, keep her safe for me.”

     Pops nodded. “Aye, miss, ye have me word.”

     The woman let out a sigh and released her hold.

     Pops rose, nodded to his captain, and took the whimpering child away. As he crossed the deck with the baby, the woman drew a hidden dagger from beneath her skirts and plunged it into Nicor’s heartless chest.

     The pirate captain’s rich laughter filled the air as he pulled the useless weapon from his body. He glared at the wide-eyed woman. “Ah, biscuit, you are really going to wish you hadn’t done that.”

     Pops nodded to his brother, who held a rope at the rail. Cradling the child close to his heart, he took the rope and swung across the space between the two ships. Pops Matthews landed deftly on the deck of The Albatross as the strangled cries of the woman’s tortured death filled the salt-kissed air.

How to Purchase this Anthology:

Pill Hill Press Affiliate Book Shop

Barnes and Noble

Staying The Course

In my relatively short time as a “serious writer” I have learned a few things, forgotten some others, and mucked my way through numerous rejections and a few golden acceptances. Each step in the writing process has been educational and exciting. But I am a year in at this point, and I have found myself in a bit of a rut.

As summer approaches, so does the busy time of year for me– the time when both my daughters start softball for the summer, get ready for summer camp adventures, SAT’s (for my older daughter), open up the seasonal campsite, mow the lawn, do my gardening *takes a deep breath*  This is just the stuff I know about as it is on my schedule. Incidentals — well I just squeeze em in when and wherever I can.

I have managed to schedule myself fairly well with respect to my blogging on a regular schedule and staying up to date on social networking efforts. I have also made a concerted effort to read more. (As a single parent trying to find time to write, adding this one has been particularly difficult — who has the time?)

What has fallen off for me over the past month or so, is my writing time. Each day that goes by that I haven’t taken the laptop out to write some words is a day that I go to bed feeling I have wasted. I need my FT job, but it too gets in the way of my writing — the thing I want to be doing with myself.

When I get this way, there are a few tried and true methods I have used to get past them.

1. Take a walk — I realize time walking is not time writing. However I get some of my best ideas while walking and thinking.

2. Listen to music — The greatest of inspirers (is that even a word) for me. Both of my recent acceptances have been stories conjured during a session of tunage (and family stresses tuneout).

3. Read a book — Now I know I mentioned above that I barely had time for this.  However, I have noticed that in doing this, even for an hour a day, I have opened up some creative veins I had thought long dry. I guess I am one that is inspired by others. Either that or I read stuff and realize that I can do just as well.  Either way, it helps spark the synapses enough to get me itching to write something.

What are some of the things you all do to get the creative juices flowing? Do you have a set writing routine that gets you “in the mood”?

Tuesday Humor: I Couldn’t Resist (Happy Tuesday)

A friend of mine sent this to me by email this morning and it really tickled my funny bone.  Thought I would share.

Take that Mr. Trump.

Book Review: Sinisterotica (Pill HIll Press, 2010)

Sinisterotica: A Collection of Erotic HorrorSinisterotica: A Collection of Erotic Horror by Stella Berkley, Lila Shaw, R. Brennan (and 21 others)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For adult audiences only please 🙂

View all my reviews