by T. Lee Harris
Chances are most of us have heard that phrase, never give up, until it's so much meaningless noise.
It also happens to be the single most important thing I've learned about writing. In spite of all the social media we use today, writing is still a mostly solitary occupation. I can't speak for anyone else, but while sitting at my desk, staring at that blank page, everyday problems can loom large. Instead of a gripping storyline, the phrase "What the @#$%$%# am I doing?" pops into my head.
Life gets frustrating. Sometimes sitting down to write is a signal for the telephone to ring. There are inexplicable bad reviews and snarkier than necessary rejection letters. The sink can only be located by the cairn of dirty dishes . . . the upshot? Sometimes walking away is more attractive than pounding the keyboard.
That's where I was a few years back. Nothing was going right. Story submissions returned almost as fast as I sent them. The only thing keeping me in the game was the fact that my historical short story, "The Maltese Groundhog" had recently taken first place against some stiff competition in Mysterical-e's Bloody Groundhog Day contest. Surely that meant someone liked my work, right?
When Wildside Press put out a call for the anthology Cat Tales 2, I was interested, but leery. My submission for the first volume had earned a not-so-helpful rejection. Still, I had another Ancient Egyptian piece ready to go. All they could say was no. Shortly after I hit Send, the response landed in my inbox. Oooooooo! Too fast! I gritted my teeth and opened it, expecting another "Later Much". I read it. I read it again. I had my housemate read it to make sure I was reading it right. It was a rejection -- sort of. They loved my Egyptian scribe and his temple cat companion, but this story didn't fit. Did I have another?
To make a long story short (too late!), I sent another and got an acceptance faster than the previous rejection/request. Shortly after, I submitted a story to Untreed Reads for The Killer Wore Cranberry anthology. That was "Hanukkah Gelt" and it went on to be a best-selling short -- and got me accepted into ITW. It also gave me the confidence to finish and publish the paranormal thriller, Chicago Blues, the first novel in the Miller & Peale series.
Tell your story the way you want to -- the way it feels right. I'm not saying to ignore criticism. Pay attention to any comments you get back. Sometimes they're gold, sometimes they aren't, but any time someone sitting in that editor/publisher chair takes time to give you more than a ripped-off-the-pad "No thanks", PAY ATTENTION. It means someone out there gave your work more than a brief glance -- and if there's an invitation to send something else? Melt the wires getting it out! Most of all, keep swinging. You'll never regret it.
T. Lee Harris is a scribbler of the lowest order. Not only does she pen lies about people who don't exist, but she draws pictures of them as well. Harris is known to aid and abet others by putting their scribblings into book form -- even going so far as to devise covers for these publications. She claims she went to school to learn these things, but that shouldn't be held against anyone. There are suspicions that Harris is committing another novel or two, but this has yet to be confirmed.
|New York Nights, |
Book 2 of the Miller & Peale Series
Peale's unintentional intrusion into an illegal arms investigation in Chicago has gotten him drafted into Sentry International as a Special Agent and partnered with former football star, Galen Miller. It also brought him face-to-face with his vampiric sire, Francesco Borgia, for the first time in more than two hundred years. That arms case has come to a cataclysmic close, leaving one colleague dead and both Peale and Borgia injured. While grief and wounds are still raw, a series of brutal killings take place in New York City. The victims are all connected to Eddie Michalson, one of Borgia's top Lieutenants, prompting Sentry International to pack Special Agents Peale and Miller off to the Big Apple to liaise with NYPD to solve the murders. However, the assassinations are only a small part of the problems awaiting the team in the city. The killings have ignited a power struggle within Borgia's criminal empire, shaking it apart and endangering everything and everyone Miller and Peale care about.
Visit T. Lee Harris at http://www.tleeharris.com/