If She Floats…

A small row boat floats on calm water with a colorful sunset in the background
Photo by Nuno Obey

Please indulge me in some personal blogging.

A friend once told me writing a book is like building a boat, and sometimes, you just have to put it on water and see if it floats.

I’m reflecting on that today. For almost four years, I’ve been working on a boat, and I know every wooden plank, every nut and bolt, every ounce of sealant, every length of canvas. I’ve plugged every hole, smoothed every edge, finished every surface. I’ve obsessed over the details that will never matter in its sea-worthiness, that no one will ever care about, but I will. I’ve neglected my relationships, my career, my well-being. I’ve learned and grown through my dedication to the craft alongside others who were similarly consumed by the idea that they had to make something because there was a voice within them screaming that this thing, this vessel, has to exist. I’ve watched other ships set sail and wept with joy for their buoyancy, and I’ve hoped that one day, the tide might come in, raise my ship from its stand, and carry her out to sea where she just might mingle with all of the others.

My next novel, currently titled American Spirits, is going out to agents now, and if this one sinks, I’ll at least know I did everything I could so that she might sail on the glittering calm waters and ride the swelling waves.

But, oh, if she floats…

Traditional publishing is an intricate apparatus, some processes resembling a Rube Goldberg machine, others reminiscent of a grotesque Clive Barker nightmare, chains and hooks, but alas the gatekeepers are there and serve many purposes. I could digress into a discussion of the values of traditional, indie, and self publishing, but my aim with this one is deliberate. Spend four years on anything, and no one should suggest you’re being frivolous.

Anyway, it’s likely to be a long time before I hear any news regarding an interested agent and then an interested publishing company, if ever. Even if this book gets to that stage, traditional publishing companies have a very long pipeline, so I’m expecting years before knowing if this one floats or sinks. It seems strange to ask anyone to stay tuned because I’m likely to be quiet for a while yet.

In the meantime, there are other stories to tell. I’ll be around. Keep in touch.

Holiday 2019 Update

My first semester in an MFA program has come to an end. I wrote a lot and liked some of it. I read a lot and liked some of that, too. I tutored a bunch of students and think I even helped some of them. I did some work in selections and layout for a literary magazine. I found every writer in this program is brilliant, and I think some of them even like me.

It’s been good, is what I’m saying.

Creatively, I came to George Mason University wanting to push myself into trying new things, and not only do I feel I accomplished that, but I think the teachers and other writers helped open doors I wouldn’t have been able to open on my own. The first semester was difficult but a success, and even though I’m off for winter break now (a prospect that still seems bizarre to me), I’m eager to keep pushing forward.

But first, happy holidays, everyone! I hope your celebrations are merry.

Short Story to Gamut


A couple weeks ago, in my summer update, I wrote about how 2016 hadn’t really panned out the way I’d hoped. It hasn’t been a bad year at all. In fact, production-wise, I feel like I’ve written some of the best fiction of my life. And while I haven’t had much to announce this year, some of that production is paying off.

I’m thrilled to announce Gamut, a new literary magazine, has accepted a short story of mine. I can’t stress the previous sentence’s verb enough.

An acceptance from any market is a great thing. It’s acknowledgement for hard work and dedication, not to mention passion for a piece. It says you did something right, but more than that, it says someone else believes in the story as much as you do. And now the story has an avenue to reach other readers.

But contributing to Gamut is a whole different accomplishment. Not only is Gamut an amazing project (and I’ll get to that in a moment) that is the brainchild of some people I hold in high regard, but it’s also a professional market.

Continue reading “Short Story to Gamut”

Summer 2016 Update

At the beginning of this year, I teased some big things. I learned a lesson in teasers: It’s not a good idea unless the things you’re teasing are definite. Many of my hopes for 2016 haven’t quite panned out. I finished my second novel, but I’ve struggled to find a home for it. I’ve also finished some solid short stories, but it’s been a mix of rejection and taking a long time to hear back.

I get it. I’m shooting for the stars, and it takes a long time for even light to travel through interstellar space.

However, in the face of a disappointing 2016 (seriously, has anyone had a good 2016?), one of those things I teased (something big regarding Carrier) is definitely happening.


That’s an interior proof. But wait, wasn’t Carrier already published? Yes.

Continue reading “Summer 2016 Update”

The ‘Holy-Crap-We’re-A-Month-Into-2016-Already’ Update

Commodus reads my stuff.
Commodus reads my stuff. And he is impatient.

It’s a bit ironic, but I don’t think it’s atypical that a writer falls off of his blog writing activity, so I don’t feel too bad about neglecting you. Still, I do feel bad. Like, pretty bad. On a scale of 1 to bad, I give myself a C – in feelings.

Just so we’re clear about that.

So how have you been? I’ve been well. Unfortunately, the reason I’ve been so silent is I’m in between projects right now. That doesn’t mean 2016 will be as uneventful as 2015. On the contrary.

Continue reading “The ‘Holy-Crap-We’re-A-Month-Into-2016-Already’ Update”

Just an Update

I know what you’ve been thinking. You’ve been wondering what happened to me over the last few months. It’s pretty understandable. I haven’t called in a while, and for that, I apologize.

I’ve been running silent (which provides me a nice interstitial segue to a review to Craig DiLouie’s Crash Dive that I just posted; come on back afterward) these last few months. I’ve been writing and reading and watching and waiting, biding my time for the moment to strike.

Continue reading “Just an Update”