Reviewing 2015

There are still a couple more days. More could happen. But here’s my 2015 so far:

72 rejections*
1 script optioned (that then lapsed)
1 book contract
1 new Sherlock Holmes story released
1 film premiere
1 shortlisted story
1 R&R (revise and resubmit) from an agent
1 potential agent who hasn’t signed me yet

I could also add that I’m co-writing a script with a couple guys, though that seems to have fallen by the wayside in past months. I’ll check in with them again after the new year. Aside from that project, though, I’ve more or less stepped away from screenwriting and am focusing on my prose projects.

I also attended a couple writing conferences. One local and then the DFW Con, which was amazing. I would definitely recommend that conference to other writers.

Sufficient to say 2015 was a good year. A lot of progress. And the rejections, well, those just come with being a writer.

2016 promises to be interesting, too. Peter will be released on January 15 (go pre-order on the Shop page! the Kindle version is discounted until release day!), which seems like a fine way to start the year. Hopefully it will set the tone for even more progress as the year goes on.

My goals for 2016 are pretty simple:

1. Finish the revision on Changers
2. Find an agent or publisher for Changers
3. Get “Aptera” accepted somewhere (it’s the story that has been shortlisted for an anthology)
4. Write at least one more Sherlock Holmes story
5. Help Peter find an audience

I put Peter last not because it’s least important—far from it—but because it’s the most difficult of the goals to quantify. The other four can easily be checked off, but the Peter thing is about marketing and just trying to get the book out there. Which I’m working my tail off to do, but . . . It’s harder to say if/when one has been successful at something like that. Maybe once Peter has some reviews or has been featured on some blogs?

I’d like to do a signing at the very least. But first I have to convince the publisher to do a print version of the book.

I’d also like to attend at least one conference this year, maybe two. It would be even more amazing if I were to be a guest at a conference, but I don’t know if I’m at that level quite yet.

Finally, increased meditation is a bit of a goal for me this year as well. Keeping up with my exercise routine but also making time and space for . . . quiet. Listening to myself, getting in touch with my intuition. Tuning in. I was recently guided to do this, and I think it’s important.

Also, to improve my posture.

I guess there’s a lot I want to do in 2016! I’m actually quite looking forward to this year.

*The rejections are combined book (Peter and Changers) and script rejections.

Putting 2015 in Rear View

These were my goals for 2015. I achieved two out of three, plus I did get to go back to London, if only for a weekend. Also, Adverse Possession did, in fact, premiere at a film festival. And the rom-com was optioned, though that option lapsed without the film moving toward production.

I’ve decided to put screenwriting on hold, so I won’t be actively looking to get Hunting Victor Frankenstein picked up, or 20 August, or really any of my scripts. Instead I plan to focus on my prose. So here are my burgeoning goals for 2016:

1. Get an agent or publisher for Changers.

I have a couple of each already interested, and I’m currently revising to make the manuscript even stronger.

2. Write and publish another Sherlock Holmes story.

These are still my bread and butter. I should put out at least one a year, and ideally more like one every 4–6 months. Alas, I’m not always feeling it.

3. Get a start on sequels to Peter and Changers.

I won’t get so ambitious as to say I’ll finish either manuscript, but I should at least get started on them.

Finally, I’d like to do at least one book signing for Peter when it comes out [in print]. Ideally more than one. I’d really like to see this book do well, and I’m going to put as much of my energy behind that as possible. Of course, I can only do so much, and don’t really have complete control over how well the book does or doesn’t do. But I’ll try to get the word out at least.

These goals are subject to change, of course. The ebb and flow of life may cause some boats to rise and others to fall. I try to remain fluid and flexible, adaptable. Turn my sails to the wind. Here’s hoping 2016 has favorable ones.

2015 Summary

We’re staring down the barrel of the end of the year, and while there’s still plenty of time for things to happen, I’m feeling a tad retrospective. So here’s a summary of my year (so far).

After more than a year of sending out queries, I found a publisher for The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller. That was exciting! The e-book is out in January with print to follow in late spring.

The romantic comedy I co-wrote was optioned . . . and then the option lapsed, so now it’s on the market again.

The short film Adverse Possession, based on my 15-minute play “Warm Bodies,” premiered at the San Diego Fall Film Festival.

I published another Sherlock Holmes story.

I recorded my first ever podcast interview (I was the guest). It should be available early next year, I believe. (Look for She Wrote a Book, launching December 7. I believe I’m episode 7 as well. Links to come.)

I also had a flash fiction piece selected for a podcast which will air in February (that one is called No Extra Words).

I traveled to London to see Hamlet at the Barbican. Also got to see Buckingham Palace. Turns out they have amazing pastries.

I went to the DFW Writers Conference and got to meet—and really converse with—Kevin J. Anderson. He lived in Livermore! ::fangirling!::

Lots and lots of rejection. I’m feeling pretty beat down by that at the moment, but there are still a few agents and publishers interested in Changers, so I’m trying to focus on that rather than the rejections.

And I have vacation starting tomorrow, and my birthday to look forward to, and another little trip to Carmel just prior to Christmas. So there’s still plenty of time and room for good things to happen. At the same time, I fear getting my hopes up too high.

What you, dear readers, can look forward to is the Giftmas Blog Tour coming up on this and other sites. Keep your eyes peeled because there will be giveaways! Including an ARC of Peter and a copy of The K-Pro. Stay tuned!

Roster of Projects Redux

My priorities continue to shuffle.

1. Finish screenplay for indie director.
2. New Sherlock Holmes story.
3. Changers sequel.
4. Peter sequel.

I also am in the middle of doing advance publicity for Peter‘s release in January, and I’m querying agents and publishers on Changers.

Then there’s that other screenplay I’m co-writing, but I haven’t heard from my partners in crime on that one recently, and the ball is in their court at the moment. If/when they come back to me on it, I’ll probably have to insert it in this list somewhere.

Well, it’s good to have projects. Back to the grind.

T-Minus 3 Months

Okay, so at the start of the year I had three goals for 2015:

1. Get an agent for The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller.

2. Finish Changers.

3. Get Hunting Victor Frankenstein picked up.

And here is where I stand with those.

1. No agent, but I did get a publisher (Tirgearr) and the book is slated for a January release. Just waiting on notes from my editor, and then it can go up for pre-order.

2. Draft is done, surely needs revisions and editing, but the main goal is met. I have one agent who has told me she’s interested in seeing it, so I want to polish it up to a bright shine before I send it.

3. Alas, nothing on this front. I knew it was a long shot. Seems my screenwriting has dipped in favor of my prose just lately. I do still have a number of screenwriting projects, but . . . It’s much more difficult to get a movie or television show made. Or even a stage play. So many more moving parts than a book. Requires so many more people and a lot more money. So I suppose I can’t kick myself for not making this goal. I did at least receive great, encouraging feedback on the script. Was told it’s “worthy of network consideration.” If only I knew how to get it to a network!

In all, it’s been a pretty decent year. Goals for the coming year include finding an agent/publisher for Changers and . . . Well, that’s the main one. I’ll be marketing Peter, too, so I think between the two, that will take up a fair amount of my time. That and actual writing, of course. Though I need to look at my list of projects and figure out what to prioritize . . .

Welcome to September

And with the return of school comes the return of my daily walks, which means I can go back to boring you with my playlists. Seriously though, I’ll only post the ones that seem significant in some way. Like this one from yesterday, which was bizarrely dark.

1. “Dear Joan” by Tabitha’s Secret
2. “Every Breath You Take” by The Police
3. “It Ends Tonight” by All-American Rejects
4. “Impossible” by Anberlin
5. “Harder to Breathe” by Maroon 5
6. “I Can’t Let You Go” by Matchbox Twenty

It was a short walk, but if you know any of these songs . . . I mean, even though “Impossible” and “Harder to Breathe” are upbeat in tempo, they’re dark in content.

“Dear Joan,” btw, is a hauntingly beautiful ballad about abuse. Yay?

And then we get the stalker anthem by The Police and the clingy plea by Matchbox Twenty.

Hmm. What is my iPod trying to say? Maybe it just really missed my company over the summer?

I’m starting slowly with the walks, building myself back up. For one thing, it’s still pretty hot here. For another, I haven’t been walking that much. And the final straw: my oldest brought home a cold from school the first week and I have, of course, caught it. Ugh.

In other news, just finished a draft of a story and sent that off to my critique group. And am working on a screenplay I’ve been commissioned to write. Good things happening, despite my iPod’s dark mood and my stuffy nose.

To-Do List

  1. Finish my WIP.
  2. Write the script I’ve been commissioned to write.

. . .

After that it’s all a muddle. There’s another script I’m co-writing that’s sort of floating around. There’s the optioned script that I don’t even know what’s going on with it and I’m afraid to find out. Peter has an editing deadline of November 10, but I haven’t heard from my editor, so . . . ??? And I should probably put another Sherlock Holmes story on my slate as well.

Life has been very interesting lately, and I do believe things happen for a reason, so I’m curious to see which way the currents take me.

Adverse Possession

So in 2011, as I was getting back into writing, one of my friends suggested I try a short stage play. The result was “Warm Bodies,” which premiered in February 2012 as part Valley Rep’s (now Exit 7) play contest. “Warm Bodies” then went on to be featured in Source Festival’s theatre program that June. And was then picked up by a production company in San Diego and made into a short film they retitled Adverse Possession (because Warm Bodies was already taken).

I say “a production company” because it seems their name is in flux at the moment.

But in any case, they’ve given me permission to share the final result, which you can see here.

The film has been submitted to a couple festivals; we’re waiting to hear if it gets in anywhere. I wasn’t involved at all in the production itself (most screenwriters aren’t, I don’t believe). I did get periodic updates, which I very much appreciated.

The big difference, I think, between having your play staged and having it made into a movie—and if you read this site with any regularity, you may have heard me say this before—is that plays are fluid. They change from production to production, and sometimes from one night to the next in the same production. But once it’s committed to film, it’s static. I don’t have a preference, mind. I just find it an interesting distinction.

In any case, I’m very grateful for the beginner’s luck that landed me all these marvelous opportunities. I hope to continue to be lucky! I do have another script optioned, and two more in the oven. Plus that book of mine coming out in January. So I guess I can’t complain. (Well, okay, but I’ve yet to get another play staged. Humph. Still, I prefer to count my blessings.)

Halfway Point

So 2015 is half over, which makes it a fine time to check in with those goals I’d set at the start of the year.

1. Get an agent for The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller.

Okay, so I didn’t land an agent (though there was lots of great feedback, yet somehow I kept being told, “but I just don’t feel strongly enough . . .”), but I did get a publisher for it, and so far they’ve been great to work with. So I’ll count this one as accomplished, and I’m super excited about it being published by Tirgearr in January!

2. Finish Changers.

Actually, now I’m going to be querying Changers and hoping to get an agent for it.

3. Get Hunting Victor Frankenstein picked up.

This one seems far-fetched, I’ll admit, and I haven’t even been actively pitching it. But I do still hope at some point to find an interested party. Feedback has been encouraging, though one agent told me that because FOX has a Frankenstein TV project, mine would be harder to sell. Sigh.

As for my wish to return to London this year, I’m going in late September to see Hamlet at the Barbican. Won’t be in town very long, but I’ll take what I can get.

The rom-com has been optioned but remains in flux as the production company that optioned it looks for others to come on board. I’m also co-writing a sci-fi feature that has a producer already attached and looks hopeful to actually go somewhere. Adverse Possession has been sent off to at least one film festival, though I think we won’t even know if it gets in until October.

All told, though, I’m pretty happy with the direction of 2015. There has been definite progress, and I’ve got some great trips coming up: DFW Con at the end of this month, the Alaskan cruise at the start of August, and that trip to London in September. Much to be pleased with in looking back, and much more to look forward to.

If You’re Gone

I’d been doing really well there with my posts for a while. But suddenly I’m busy again . . . A good thing for a writer.

I’ll be attending DFW Writers Conference in July, which has spurred me to try and finish the draft of Changers before then. If I write a minimum of 300 words per day, I’ll be done on July 19. Just enough time to eke in one small edit. BUT. If I can finish it even a little bit earlier, my writing group might have time to give me feedback so I can do a much bigger tidying up. Here’s hoping.

Meanwhile, I also have this screenplay I’m co-writing. That needs to get done sooner rather than later as well.

I do hope to be able to continue “Hamlette,” too. I’ve received a lot of enthusiastic feedback for it.

This afternoon, having hit a snag in Changers, I went for a walk:

1. “Sleep ‘Til the War is Over” by Rob Thomas
2. “Kyrie” by Mr. Mister
3. “Pompeii” by Bastille
4. “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons
5. “Feel Again” by OneRepublic
6. “It’s All Been Done” by Barenaked Ladies
7. “California 37” by Train
8. “When We Dance” by Sting
9. “Just Say Yes” by Snow Patrol

Wow. Heavy, and yet I loved this playlist. It might be overstating things to say there’s a sense of destiny in it, and yearning. Good, strong emotions, which I needed because I’m writing an emotional scene. It doesn’t seem like 300 words per day would be much to ask, but when you’re stuck, it’s like trying to drive through deep mud. Luckily, I have 4WD.