Annual Writing Report

2018 has turned out to be a wonderfully productive year in my writing life, with two novels in press and a lot of activity on the short story front. More details below!

After some juggling of timelines, it looks like my first novel, Belle o' the Waters, will be available for pre-order from the publisher, Mascot Books, late in January, or early in February. The actual publication date will likely be May.

This means that my "debut novel," as they call them in the biz, will be "Fearless," scheduled for publication in March, 2019 by New Meridian Arts Literary Press. I'm anticipating a number of book launch and signing activities for both books this coming year, so stay tuned for details!

This was also a very good year for short stories. I set a goal back in January to write 10 new stories this year, and managed to finish 9 of them. The 10th is still in the works, but will be done soon, so I'm going to count this goal as having been achieved. I submitted all 9 of the finished stories, some to a number of places, and am thrilled that two of them have already been accepted and published. I hope to be able to report similar good news for the others before too long.

One thing I have learned about the short story business is that you need to submit A LOT to achieve even a little bit of success. This year, I set a goal to submit at least once a week, so was aiming for 52 submissions in 2018 - I am now at 74 submissions, so surpassed this goal by almost 50%. Of those 74 submissions, I had 4 pieces accepted (some were of stories I wrote in previous years that were still making the rounds). I withdrew 3 and have 10 still pending - so, if you do the math, you can see that I received 57 rejections! It isn't easy to get so much bad news in one's email, but it's really the way this business works, and I have had to learn to just let these things roll off my back - and keep submitting more stories.

My 2018 short stories, as well as the ones published in previous years, are listed on the tab entitled "Short Stories," most with links to the actual story, for those that were published online. One story, "Motherhood," is still in press at Good Works Review, but will be published shortly after the new year, with a publication date of 2018 - I will post information about it as soon as I have it and encourage you to take a look at the publication. This publisher donates ALL their proceeds to good causes and this particular issue will benefit the ACLU.

I've continued to do freelance science writing, largely for the American Institute of Physics and the American Institute for Cancer Research. Not only does this work keep me in touch with current research in various scientific fields, but I am glad to be able to contribute to the scientific enterprise this way. After a long career doing research on my own, teaching and, finally, administering research funding for the government, it's nice to be involved in this way, where I can combine my love of writing with my admittedly nerdy interests!

This year also found me exploring some new forms. One of my published pieces ("Dark Matter," published by Ruminate) is creative nonfiction, a genre I have not attempted much - other than on this blog! I have also taken a number of poetry classes over the last few years and when I realized I was enrolled in my 7th poetry class last month, I decided it was probably time to work up some courage and start submitting some of my poems. So, this will be a new endeavor for 2019 as I venture into a whole new type of writing and publishing. I've been inspired by other fiction writers who are also accomplished poets, notably Ursula Le Guin and Margaret Atwood, two of my own personal heroes.

As I move forward to the new year, I'm aware that I'm entering a whole new phase of my writing life -- as a soon-to-be-published author. This will mean all sorts of new activities, including readings, book signings, and other marketing endeavors. This is a necessary part of the writing life, if one wants readers (and I do!) but it isn't necessarily my favorite part. Like most writers, I am definitely an introvert and am happiest when I'm actually WRITING, so I'm mostly looking forward to doing more of that in the coming year. Onward!


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