Rejected again, drank a beer, went to bed, and then the sun rose

image“Of course, I won’t give up,” I replied to the New York agent who dropped me a note saying she had read The Murder Plague manuscript, found it wanting, and took a pass.

“I would encourage you to submit elsewhere,” she had concluded.

What else can we do?

I mean, after drinking the beer, enduring the troubled sleep and witnessing that universal sign of hope, another sunrise, it feels like a time to get over it.

Every rejection letter from an agent hurts a little bit. But most of those rejections are based on a query letter, maybe a synopsis and maybe a few pages. When they ask for the full manuscript, and you send it off, and you enter that oh-my-God-oh-my-God anticipation, and you don’t get the phone call, but rather an e-mail, the hurt goes deep. Doesn’t it?

“Unfortunately…” Any sentence that starts with that word might as well have brass knuckles on it. “Despite my initial interest, I will be passing … ” she continued.

Here’s where her e-mail really got troubling: she offered constructive criticism. She told me WHY she felt the need to write the word “unfortunately.” Her observations were gracious, thoughtful, unnecessarily honest and potentially enormously helpful.

But what do I do? That’s where the dilemma begins.

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A time to write, a time to read

I believe in biorhythms; not from some mystical, California-lifestyle point of view, but from personal awareness and observation.

Sometimes I’m purely in the mood to write. Sometimes I’m purely in the mood to read. I haven’t written a damn word in a month. But I’ve gone through several books.

That can’t be a good pattern for anyone serious about writing novels. Everyone says, you’ve got to write, write, write, regardless of the weather, the life distractions or the psycho-physiological cycles.

Bull shit, I say.

Sometimes, I’m just not in the mood and I’ve found that at times like that when I do write, it turns out to be garbage. So I don’t beat myself up over it. I just ride it out. I’ve been through these cycles too many times before.

At any rate, I’m going to launch into a full-out effort to rewrite and improve my unpublished novel, Eve’s Swath. It’s a great story that I’ve neglected since I launched into my full-out effort on The Murder Plague a year or so ago.

Watch for more about Eve’s Swath here soon.

Entering The Murder Plague in a writing contest

I’ve always had mixed feelings about writing contests. On the one hand, there’s that fantasy about winning, with almost all the validation you’d ever want. On the other, there’s the reality of not winning, which leaves you grumbling that the judges are stupid because your work surely is prize-worthy.

In my day job there are a lot of awards contests for which my day-job writing is eligible. But I haven’t entered any of those contests in many years. Once you get a long losing streak, you start worrying about breaking records for losing.

But a novel is different. A novel you love like a child. It is perfect, worthy of accolades, right?

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Got a bite – agent e-mails asking for my full manuscript


Sometimes you can assume too much. Months go by and you get used to NOT hearing from any agents, or when you do you get those too-damned pleasant-sounding rejection letters until you actually like them.

And then.

I got a bite yesterday – an agent whom I queried dropped me a note asking for my full manuscript. I won’t jinx it by saying who.

After I finished my cartwheels and sent it to her, the first thought of curiosity crossed my mind.


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Full version of book trailer for my The Murder Plague novel

H ere it is, the full-length version of The Murder Plague book trailer, now available on YouTube, and here.

These trailers were created by Orlando-based (though Texan) video producer and photographer Casey J. Porter over the past few weeks. We hired four actors to read lines from the novel manuscript, playing the roles of characters Dr. Mike Andrusek, Kanetha Wilson, Guy Phillips and Det. Marty Francisco.

Porter, working from a script I worked up, edited the actors’ performances,developed the video and still images and sound effects, and then put it all together.

I’m still looking for an agent. Hello agents?

For more on the story, check The Murder Plague link on this blog.

Meanwhile, please watch the video here, and on YouTube.

Then let me know what you think of the trailer. Comment on this post, or on the YouTube post, or on my Facebook post, or send me an e-mail. Thanks.

World premier of The Murder Plague book trailer (short version) take 2

It’s done. Video producer Casey J. Porter has created two book trailers for my novel, The Murder Plague, and I am posting the short version here for a first look.

As background: the story is about a genetically-altered virus outbreak in Orlando that causes infected people to go into psychotic, homicidal rages.

I need everyone who knows me to check it out. I’m going to try to embed it here, but also am providing the YouTube Link, here, because it didn’t work the first time I tried to embed it.

I’m asking everyone who knows me to check it out and comment. In fact, if you don’t mind, check it and comment both on the blog and on the YouTube channel. Thanks.

Please let me know what you think of this short version. The long-version book trailer video will go up later today.

Knowing your town and making her a character

ImageOne of the unsung characters of The Murder Plague is the city of Orlando, setting for most of the narrative and action, and video producer Casey Porter has made it a star in the upcoming book trailer.

Orlando is like a troubled actress, who puts on Cinderella’s makeup, wig and gown during the day and then goes home at night to a life of scraping by and making it work. The glittery, family-friendly city the world sees is all an act, and she’s very good at it.

Casey decided to add some images of Orlando to the video, including this one of the Orange County Courthouse looking just a little creepier than normal, with the soft darkness of late dusk. The images work perfectly in what I wanted the video to say.