Tag Archives: stories

The James vs. Clarence Thing

I’m pleased that my new Sherlock Holmes Professor Moriarty story is finding readers. (If you haven’t read it yet, you can get it here—free to read if you have Kindle Unlimited, and just 99 cents otherwise.) I even received my first review, and it was 5 stars! But I did notice the reviewer wrote that, really, she gives it 4.5 stars because she was confused by the James/Clarence thing. So I thought I’d answer that question in case others also had it.

In Conan Doyle’s story “The Final Problem,” Watson writes:

My hand has been forced, however, by the recent letters in which Colonel James Moriarty defends the memory of his brother…

Colonel James Moriarty is not the criminal. You can be forgiven for thinking as much since there seems to be an ongoing use of James/Jim/Jamie for the character of the evil Moriarty in books, films, and television programs. But, going by the original source material, this isn’t true. James is just the professor’s brother. So I gave my version of Professor Moriarty the name Clarence. Which happens to be my father’s name. And before you think that says something about how I view my dad, you should probably read the story first. In any case, I’m sure my dad will be hugely amused when he reads it. (He and Mom are on a cruise at the moment, so…)

Anyway, that’s my reasoning. Sorry for any confusion. Hope you still enjoy the story!

WIP Wednesday

Now that my three previous Sherlock Holmes stories have been tidily collated into a single volume, I started writing a new story, though from a decidedly different POV:

Let me begin by saying I have no “domed head,” or however it was Dr. Watson described me. Nor am I particularly old—though older than Holmes, I daresay I haven’t more than half a decade on his biographer. I am a professor, but of chemistry rather than mathematics. Holmes knows this full well. I tutored him.

Having fun with it, seeing where it takes me. If all goes well, you’ll be able to come along for the ride when it’s finished.

My Sherlock Holmes Stories—now collected!

You may know that I got my start writing Sherlock Holmes stories. The first one was published in 2012, with a second not far behind it, and a third in 2015. They were originally sold separately, but we’ve now combined them all in one. THESE ARE NOT NEW STORIES. If you’ve already bought and read the others, don’t buy this too, because they’re the same. But if you’ve never read my Sherlock Holmes stories, now you can have all three in one book. The audiobook version of this collection should be out in another couple weeks, too. I’ll definitely post once it is!

Order

It probably doesn’t matter, but I get questions about this sometimes, so I’ll post an answer here. I’ve written three Sherlock Holmes stories, all available on Amazon Kindle. This is the order they were written/released in:

  1. “The Mystery of the Last Line”
  2. “The Adventure of Ichabod Reed”
  3. “The Monumental Horror”

But if you wanted to read them in the order the events take place, you’d go the other way:

  1. “The Monumental Horror”
  2. “The Adventure of Ichabod Reed”
  3. “The Mystery of the Last Line”

Not that it makes a difference. Each story stands on its own, though I have begun writing a direct sequel to “Last Line.” It seems many people feel they didn’t get closure with that one, so I’m working to fix that. I did once write a small epilogue of sorts to “Last Line,” which you can find here. It does not, however, give answers to the lingering questions, hence my plans to write something more explicit.

Half Way!

Time again to check in on those goals set at the beginning of the year! Goals in green have been achieved.

1. Finish the revision of Changers.
2. Find an agent or publisher for Changers.
3. With my co-writer, finish the Hard Reset script.
4. Write and release at least one more Sherlock Holmes story.
5. Attend at least one writing conference and/or do at least one reading or signing.
6. Find a home for “Aptera.”

I revised Changers and it has been accepted for publication by Evernight Teen. We’ve done two rounds of edits and I’m eagerly awaiting a cover and official release date (they projected July, which is, like, now).

Hard Reset is on the back burner due to extenuating circumstances. I am, however, working to land other scripts with producers and/or directors.

And I did also start writing a new Sherlock Holmes story, but with Changers being picked up, I’ve had to divert my attention to the sequels (it’s meant to be a trilogy). I’ve also been sidetracked by the siren call of a Regency romance novel—a very old project I picked up and dusted off and now find myself steeped in. But I’m enjoying it immensely!

As for writing conferences, I’ve got two booked: Writer’s Digest in New York in August (just an attendee), and InD’Scribe in Burbank in October, where I’ll be presenting and will also have an author table. I’m super excited to officially participate in my first conference as a guest author!

Finally, I’m glad to say “Aptera” found a home with Aurora Wolf. It was published there on June 1st.

Thus far, I’d say things are going well. (Knocking on wood and casting against the Evil Eye.) While 2016 has had its downs, I prefer for now to focus on all the ups—those that have happened and those still to come. Cheers!

The Stats

Another writing friend mentioned recently that for every 50 rejections he might then finally receive one acceptance. Now, this writer sends out both stories and manuscripts, so he’s juggling a lot of paper in all this. But it made me wonder what my own rejection/acceptance ratio might be.

I don’t write many short stories, my Sherlock Holmes stories notwithstanding. I self-publish those anyway, so I have no stats for rejections. Well, that’s not entirely true; early on I did send “Mystery of the Last Line” out to a few mystery magazines and the like. Maybe five? Then finally self-published it and never looked back.

That said, I did recently write a story called “Aptera.” It was written to spec for an anthology about Sirens, and though shortlisted did not make the final cut. (Tone too different from all the other stuff, which is a topic for another time.) Counting that rejection, “Aptera” was sent to 12 venues and rejected by 8 of them. I had not heard back from 3 others when Aurora Wolf accepted it. So, discarding the might-have-beens, my acceptance ratio for this story was 1/9.

Okay, what about novels? Which is more of what I do anyway. I queried The K-Pro just shy of 50 times before self-publishing it. So the ratio there is 0 for 50, more or less. The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller was my hardest sell. I queried that one exactly 100 times and had 2 acceptances. So my friend’s 1/50 estimate was spot on there. And Changers? I sent out 70 queries on that one. I received 2 acceptances and had not heard back from 4 at the time I accepted Evernight Teen’s offer. So if I subtract those 4, I get 2/66, or 1/33, which isn’t too bad.

And what about timing? I started sending out “Aptera” in January after receiving the boot from the anthology. It was accepted in May, so it took me 4 months to place it. I queried The K-Pro for a year before giving up and self-publishing. It took 15 months to place Peter, and 10 months to find a home for Changers. The reason for that is most likely there are more agents and publishers open to YA fantasy (Changers) than there are for adult upmarket espionage (Peter).

What all this adds up to is that querying and finding a home for your book or story is not, on average, a fast process. You’re going to hear “no thanks” a lot, and you should be prepared to stick things out for a year or more depending on your genre and how popular it is. There are more romance and fantasy publishers than, as I said, upmarket espionage publishers. So plan for a long-term siege. That way, if it happens sooner rather than later, you can be pleasantly surprised. But if it takes a while, you’ll be ready for that rather than disappointed and disheartened. It’s all a matter of perspective.