Today’s a big day for RADIO, my fantasy noir novel. My amazing graphic designer/wife completed the temporary cover that will be used for my ARC’s (advance reader’s copies). ARC-coverFor those unfamiliar with RADIO, here’s the elevator pitch. 

In 1928’s Paris, betrayal forces the god Marduk into the new, opium-riddled body of a jazz musician. Desperate, he must rely on the few friends he has left — and one terrifying enemy — to stop those like him from weaponizing the religious imagery they’ve milked for centuries by abusing a technology he created.

RADIO navigates the jazz, lights, and energy of the Lost Generation’s Paris to tell a dark, vivid tale of treachery and revenge, struggle and survival, love and loss. If you’re interested in RADIO and want to stay informed as we near its spring 2020 launch and beyond, you can follow me on Twitter, and Instagram both under @jushingwrites, or follow me here at jrushingwrites.com

If you’re an author or reviewer and are interested in receiving an ARC, please contact me at jrushingwrites@gmail.com

 

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.

I did a thing.

Just under two weeks ago, I completed the manuscript for RADIO, my latest novel.

That meant I got to break out the celebratory scotch, reserved for just this occasion, and share some with my wife. Woot!

Aside from an excuse to break out the good stuff and heave a massive sigh of relief, there’s a really important understanding that comes from finishing your work and I think it’s important to recognise and hold onto that feeling.

I’m talking about the the understanding that you are, indeed, a writer.

It’s insane how unwriterly I can feel while I’m in the act of writing. Imposter syndrome can be debilitating and there is no cure quite like finishing your work.

One of my favorite quotes on writing, credited most commonly to Dorothy Parker is “I hate writing, I love having written.” I relate to this way too much. Writing is hard, for a lazy guy like me, doubly so, but the satisfaction of staring that bastard of a manuscript in the face and saying, “Bam! I finished you. I beat you. I won!” That’s a good feeling.

It’s also important to remind yourself that finishing, at this point in the process, doesn’t mean perfecting. Perfection in writing doesn’t really exist anyway. It’s about having something to show for your efforts. Hundreds of pages filled with tens of thousands of words, all produced by you. That makes you a writer under any definition.  Quality is another question and that comes later. For now it’s important to sit back, have a sip, and enjoy having written.