Don’t measure success using someone else’s yardstick

Four years is not such a long time when you think about it. On the other hand, in such a short time a lot can happen. Leaders change, geniuses die, Kate Bush stubbornly does not come out with a new album.

Did you know that in the last four years you’ve traveled 3.76 billion kilometers at approximately 8,800 km per hour? That’s how far the Earth has traveled around the sun in four years. And yet, give or take a few thousand kilometers, here we are, back where we were then.

Cover of The UnwantedWhat’s my point, you ask? (Bless you for assuming I have one.) This: it’s been four years almost to the day since my last novel, The Unwanted, was published. Time flies, right? And just like the example above, more often than not I feel as if I’m right back where I started.

What’s the source of this perception? My lack of a third published book. The way I saw it, after my first book took eight years to write and my second took four, I figured book number three was maybe two years away.

How wrong I was.

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Friday Flash Fiction: A Room with a View

For this week’s installment of Friday Flash Fics, we’re back to the story that I revisited most recently in the post titled An Unlikely Suspect.

Anyway, the photo prompt is certainly… interesting.

Photo of a small dining table in a glass-walled room at the bottom of a pool or pit.

Granted, I don’t mean “interesting” in the same way as (ahem) some other photo prompts (if you scroll through the previous posts you’ll see what I mean). But it’s definitely an odd one, huh? It got me thinking about the character we met in the last installment, who was also kind of odd. Without further ado…

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A Breakthrough Over Lunch

photo of a lightbulb with soft focus lights in background
They call breakthroughs “lightbulb moments” for a reason, don’t they? (Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash)

I had lunch recently with a friend of mine, Karen. In addition to mutual appreciation of many things (wine is high up on the list), we also have a deep and abiding love of pasta, grilled cheese sandwiches of infinite variety, and pizza. So, as we caught up over a plate of spaghetti and a margherita pizza, she also asked me, “So what happened to the sequel to The Unwanted?”

[It occurs to me that perhaps I should insert a spoiler alert right here, in case you haven’t read The Unwanted (And you can solve that by buying the book! This is a subtle hint, right?), but also a spoiler alert for this unnamed, set-aside sequel that likely never will see the light of day. If you’d rather not, just skip down to the part that says “[end spoiler alert]”. So…


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Friday Flash Fiction: An Unlikely Suspect

Again, this week’s Friday Flash Fiction entry is a continuation of last week’s story. And it’s getting to the stage where I’ll probably have to pause and figure out where it’s going before I continue. This is a common occurrence in my writing process: I write for a while with no particular idea of where a given story is going. Then, once I find it maintains my interest, I pause and map it out.

Anyway, here’s this week’s photo prompt:

Photo of a shirtless, bearded man sitting at a chest press machine in a dark gym.

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My Goal for 2018: Focus

Image of a man's hand holding a camera lens in front of a landscape, through which the scene can be seen in focus
Photo by Paul Skorupskas on Unsplash

For the past couple years, I’ve tried to come up with one word or phrase that could capture my focus for the coming year. In 2016, it was “completion.” I wanted to complete the draft of the novel I was working on. And I did that, although in 2017 I ended up setting it aside when it was no longer working. That is somewhat related to my goal for 2017, which was “embrace rejection.” By that, I meant I wanted to submit my work frequently and broadly, with the full knowledge that it would be rejected more often than it was accepted. As it turned out, I could have done a better job of that, but I did my best.

Last year came with its fair share of opportunities and challenges, chief among the latter being depression and time, or rather the lack thereof when it came to time. (I had plenty of depression, thanks very much.) As I may or may not have mentioned, after a couple years of freelancing and living very hand to mouth, I took a full-time job last year. While that came with a lot of benefits—health insurance, steady income, less of a persistent fear that I was going to starve or die—it also meant that from eight thirty to five fifteen every weekday, my time was not my own (and continues to not be my own). I’ve been trying to get a handle on the hours outside of that window, and figuring out how to maximize as much of that time as possible in the service of my writing. This is an ongoing process.

I didn’t make a lot of progress on my major projects last year: a novel, a raft of short stories, a community-based writing project that I’d really like to kickstart. Given all that, the keyword for 2018 was obvious:


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Friday Flash Fiction: The Librarian

Another Friday, another flash fiction piece! As mentioned previously, I’m in a Facebook group called Friday Flash Fics. We’re given a photo as a writing prompt, with our flash fiction responses (500 words or less) to the photo posted every Friday.

This one’s a little tamer than most—which may be a good thing. Facebook actually flagged me for the one that went with “Santa Baby.” Prudes. Hopefully this one won’t raise anyone’s ire:

image of a muscular man in a t-shirt that says "Librarian—the hardest part of my job is being nice to people who think they know how to do my job."
(Image credit unknown; if you know, please pass it along so I can give attribution. Thank you!)

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