In the Mean Time -or- While My Novel Gently Waits.

I’m in the throes of the agent search for my novel RADIO, a historical urban fantasy set in 1928 Paris. It’s full of gods, telepathy, jazz, and mind control. A little telepathy would be real nice right about now.

For the uninitiated, the query process is a state of being in which you desperately try to distill your novel into the smallest, most interesting (the query letter), and most boring (the synopsis) forms in which it can exist. You send these documents out into the world and hope they work. Most of the time they don’t and you receive a rejection letter. Mostly these letters are form letters letting you know that they’re not interested but including nothing to tell you why. Every once in a while, you get a rejection like the one I got today that not only detailed what wasn’t working for them, but also included some tips on fixing it and sprinkled in some market info to boot. Don’t expect this, but know that it does happen from time to time.

Speaking of time, the query process is long. Eight weeks seem to be the industry standard. I’ve had response times from 60+ days and counting to three hours. No matter how you shake it. The theme of the query game is waiting. So, what does one do while they wait?

The first instinct usually involves stress, hand-wringing and obsessive email checking. Once you realize it’s futile, your mind starts looking for other projects to occupy your time. Short stories are an obvious choice, not only for the practice but for the potential addition of writing credits. You’ve got more than enough emotional fuel for some wicked sweet emo poetry but it’s not necessarily the healthiest choice. There’s also the option of diving into another novel. I’m in that boat. Aside from short stories, I’m trying to decide which project is the right project to start or restart as the case may be.

RADIO is a historical urban fantasy. I’ve got an idea for another in the same genre but to even call the idea embryonic would be a stretch. I only have a faint hint of what it could become. I’ve got a much more fleshed out concept for a modern urban fantasy. I like the idea but I’m not totally invested just yet. Starting into a new manuscript with a plan but no passion is a recipe for disaster.

I’ve got past projects too. My political sci-fi adventure novel THE STABLE was put on hiatus at 40,000 words. I’ve since decided to shift the narrative to become a trilogy rather than one self-contained story. That’s plenty of material to dive into but it’s in a very different genre than RADIO. It’s still under the SFF umbrella but, I’m not sure it’s the right way to follow-up a historical urban fantasy.

I could also return to the world of my first novel THE COALS. That book will be split in two with both parts expanded. In total, there will be four books about that world. It’s post apocalyptic which is yet another genre under the SFF umbrella but fairly distant from RADIO. So, would this be the right path?

The answer is… I don’t know. At least that’s my current answer. So, while I keep on pondering genre, I’ve got short stories to fill the gaps and query letters to write. RADIO is getting published one way or another. In the mean time, I’ve just got to get my waiting game straight.

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The Struggles of Writing Cross-Genre Fiction

After placing second in The Woolf’s short story competition, I was given the opportunity to write an article for the publication’s next edition. I chose to focus on cross-genre fiction because most of my stories are, to some degree, cross-genre and I wanted to speak to other authors about the process and struggle of getting their work out to an audience despite the difficulty inherent in shelving and marketing such work. You can read what these writers had to say here. Hopefully it’s helpful.

What if Your Book is the Child of Two Genres?

Use this for That: Old Phone Fireplace

I love fireplaces. Open wood fireplaces are the best but I love them all. Unfortunately, I’ve never in my adult life had the opportunity to live in a place with one. I decided to rectify that situation.

I’d been kicking around the idea of a tabletop faux-fireplace for a while and when my wife dug up her old phone, I sprang into action. A trip to the art section at the local hardware store was all it took to get me set for my craftstravaganza.

The housing is a repurposed wooden box purchased from the hardware store. I measured the screen of the phone and cut out a a hole in the center of a tray that had come with the box. I stained it all with black/brown stain from Ikea in order to match the furniture in my office. Next came the acrylic mosaic tiles to finish off the fireplace look. I used flexible superglue to keep them all in place. Mostly because I’m inpatient.

Inside the box is a sponge to press against the back of the phone and keep it in place. On what was the bottom of the box, now the rear, I cut out a hole for the usb power cable and a larger hole for extra sound. A big benefit of a mostly empty box is amplified crackles and pops from the speakers.

My reading nook is now so much nookier and I couldn’t be happier.