Saturday, December 31, 2005

Trattoria has been nominated!

My buddy Susan DiPlacido is on fire. Not only does she have a new novel on the bookshelves (Mutual Holdings), but her novel Trattoria has been nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award in the category of Best Small Press Romance! Good luck Susan!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Rejected By An Intern

"I've attached a short reader's report written by one of my interns."

I can take rejection, I really can. I can take criticism; in fact I want criticism. That is how your writing improves. My novel Into the Sunset has not only been read by people whose opinion I trust, but it has also been read by my former writing teacher, who gave me extensive notes on an early draft of the novel. I took this info and polished the book into a solid piece. I’ve worked damn hard to whip this thing into shape. Is it For Whom the Bell Tolls? Of course not. It is a comic novel with lots of sex (sex sells, don’t forget), toilet humor, and a unique, fun plot. It is a fast read. I always keep in mind one of Elmore Leonard’s ten rules—cut out the parts that readers tend to skip. I think it’s a page turner.

So it was disappointing when the latest agent—who requested a full manuscript—passed it off to an intern to read and comment on. Did the agent herself read it? I don’t know, but I did get the review of an intern probably fresh out of school who has probably never written or had a story published in his/her life. Some of the highlights: “...the author decided to add a few disturbing sexual encounters that I couldn’t quite accept.” Well, if you consider a thirty year-old man having sex with a sixty year-old woman disturbing, then yeah it was disturbing. Otherwise everything else was just normal sex, nothing freaky going on.

Here is another one: “The relationships he created in the story fall apart just as quickly as they were begun, and no one really learned anything.” This one made me laugh out loud. It is a comment straight out of a creative writing classroom. You know, the characters must learn something and be redeemed at the end. Tell it to Hannibal Lecter. Anyway, my characters do learn something about themselves at the end. So there.

Next stop on the Into the Sunset express? The Small Presses. See you in the bookstores.

Monday, December 19, 2005

This & That

The full manuscript for my novel Into the Sunset is still in the hands of an agent. Hopefully she’ll want to represent it, and my search will be over (I’ll post news as soon as I get it). Meanwhile, I submitted a short story of mine entitled In Bloom to an exciting and relatively new zine called TQR - Total Quality Reading. The concept of the website is that you can follow the journey of your story from submission to either acceptance or rejection. There is a messageboard where the editors hash it out, argue the merits of the story, decide whether it is good enough to be sent up to the editor at the next level, eventual publication, and a $50 pay day.

In Bloom caused a bit of a controversy, with one editor (LaFloor) showing strong support, and another (Guevara) thinking it was somewhat lacking, and should not proceed up the ladder. The gauntlet was thrown down, with a game of chess between the two to determine the fate of my story. The result? From TQR’s news page: “LaFloor won Dec 16th chess match due to Guevara's disqualification, meaning Don Capone's venture In Bloom continues its Cinderella run through the vetting hierarchy of TQR.” I’ll keep you updated as to its progress.

Thursday, December 08, 2005