Category Archives: paranormal

Musing 8/29/17– May I Have A Word, Literary Agents?

Wow!  Two Musings in two days, that’s a record!  First I want to say that I’m not trying to offend ANYONE with this post, certainly not people in the industry.  Either way this may or may not get me into a situation but I just need to get this out of my system.

Again, if you’ve been reading my Facebook page, I’ve been writing like crazy lately and am still feeling the mojo but sometimes, I hit a small roadblock when I think of how long I’ve been waiting to hear about past works that have been sent out.  It makes me wonder why I continue to do so when I seldom if ever receive a response. 

Somewhere on this blog, I mentioned how I’ve had a number of agents never respond to queries.  Many are agents who promise to respond to everything.  And this is after waiting for a long time and then nudging and I do mean a LONG time.

Right out I have two full works out to agents.  One I was ecstatic to receive a rewrite and resend request and the other the straight full request.  Now literary agents, believe it not, we writers do know how busy you are.  Not all of us expect an answer in a month or so.  I’ll usually wait for three before nudging and depending on what the agents lists as their response time.

However with these two, I have been waiting for the rewrite and resend it’s been a year from my sending in the R&R and for the other it’s been two years and two months.  I did recently nudge again on the first and re-query on the second but to be honest, I’m not expecting to hear. 

With these long waits I can’t decide if I should put the book aside or not.  I’m assuming there must have been something good about the work, otherwise why ask to see more?  And I have every confidence in this work, and I really don’t want to file it away or start anything different until I get a response one way or the other.  It causes quite a conundrum.

My questions are first, how long are we supposed to wait when you ask for a full manuscript before we assume it’s a no?  Is it really right to leave authors hanging when you’ve practically dangled their dream in front of them?  Agents, if you’re no longer interested after a partial, full or rewrite and resubmit (especially this) is sent then PLEASE do us the courtesy of letting us know.  A simple email with an, “I changed my mind.” will suffice.

I am not talking about the queries. We know some of you get thousands per week.  I am talking about taking an author to the next level and then putting them aside indefinitely.  I often see agents posting on social media about how, “they have lives too,” and authors need to respect that.  Believe it or not, most of us know that and we do.  You shouldn’t lump all writers in with the few who don’t know how to carry themselves.  But you are also running a business and since we writers are expected to behave a certain why, why can’t this professionalism be returned?  I’ve seen other writers ask these question.  I don’t know if they’ve ever gotten a response.  Lately, I’ve just felt the need to open up about how I feel.  I don’t need to tell anyone, writers, agents, publishers, editors, how hard this business is.  We all know.  And we know how long it takes but I don’t believe anyone is so busy that it takes two to three years (not months) to conduct their business.

A few weeks ago, I was trying to enter the Manuscript Wish List program that gave writers the opportunity to have a first page critiqued by a literary agent.  The agents they had chosen have already seen my work, so I emailed the moderator/agent, asking advice on  what I should do or if I should still apply.

I won’t print the actual email responses here because I don’t have permission, however I was advised that it might be too awkward between myself and the agent and it wouldn’t help get my work to the front of the line, which is not what I was trying to do.  I just wanted the same opportunity that they were presenting to other writers.  Then the moderator/agent stated, “Believe it or not, it now takes some agents three to six months to respond.”  I responded with pretty much the same thing I’ve said here, very polite and professional of course and thanked her for her time.  I’m also curious that if this is the norm, shouldn’t agents list these time frames on their pages, so authors won’t bother them with nudges?

This does not mean I plan on giving up, although there were times, I have thought of and actually said I plan to do so.  I’ve always said take the opportunity to wallow if you need to then get back to work.  I just hope someone sees my post and it creates a better understanding of what we writers are going through in this crazy little thing called the publishing industry.

Peace~

CJ

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Musing 08/28/17– Weird is the New Brilliant?

I’m a big fan of the Nostalgia Critic! Well it’s sort of an off and on relationship. I gave him up a few times but came back. Why mention this? Because there is a question I was pondering concerning stories that are not quite well — they’re different and they seem to be the type of stories magazine publishers want.

I hadn’t watched before but now since I was pondering, I thought I’d give it a shot.

In this video, the Critic postulates that there is so much weirdness going on nowadays in current media, is really brilliance in disguise? To get the full picture watch the video, then if you don’t mind finish reading my post please. I’ll wait.

All done? OK, as my peeps may know, I was currently hit with a massive dose of inspiration. Yes, yes, I know, humor me, OK? The Muse was at her best and brightest and I wrote or re-wrote ten stories and have them out into the world right now.

Now of course there have been a couple of rejections but as any writer knows that’s a given. But one particular one I received invited me to first read their magazine – which I’d already done and in fact subscribed to it so I could get the exact feel for what they would like.

I thought the story I sent would be perfect but apparently not, so I continued reading/researching to be certain. Now yesterday evening, I read a story that well – I couldn’t follow at all. Absurdly weird is what I would call it but apparently there was something that caught the editors eye and it was accepted. Now I am NOT saying the story wasn’t good but to me it simply had no logic. But then again, as I’ve mentioned in the past, my Army buddies once told me I was too logical for the military.

It’s not the first time I’ve seen stories like this. Some I have understood and enjoyed perfectly well but others…

So I thought, am I missing something? And that is when I recalled the Nostalgia Critic video, so I sat and watched. Now some of the shows he touched upon were Adventure Time and Steven Universe, both *former favorites of mine.

He goes onto say how other stories we are familiar with uses their weirdness to tell the reader/watcher about important the social issues. I’ve always gotten the message despite the weirdness or at least I did once I got a little older.
But when weird goes to far and it gets crude and disgusting then there is no message no matter what the writer/animator says, IMHO. Yes, they have a right to create whatever they want. Not everything has to have a message weird or not but at least let it have some purpose besides shock value again, IMHO.

I’ll do weird every so often but it is impossible for me to write weird without there being a purpose or message. Does that still make it weird? Well according to the Critic, it can.

So what to do? Make up something weird to hopefully sell a story?

Nope, sorry, can’t do it. I may just need to leave that market behind. I really don’t want to but hey, what are you gonna do?

So do you do weird or what do you think of it? What would you do in this situation? post away.

Peace~

CJ

*Sorry but, I got out of Steven because Peridot was annoying and as for AT, Finn who was always a reasonably smart boy suddenly pulls a totally messed-up stunt with Flame Princess. Hey, don’t judge me.

IMPORTANT PLEASE READ! CHANGES!

Not too long ago, on my FaceBook page, I left a cryptic message saying I had made the hardest decision of my life. Well here’s the skinny on that. On July 17th, I requested a reversion of rights from Liquid Silver Books for Illusion of Night, Memory in Shadow and Soul Fires. Illusion of Night and Memory in Shadow will revert back to me on August 31st and Soul Fires on December 31st, 2017. So, if you or someone you love – who loves male/male erotic fiction— wants to purchase them they have until those dates to do so.

I know I said I was going to complete the series and I apologize but the fact of the matter is, life has been pretty chaotic. Some of you may know I was recently separated from my 9 to 5 and will be filing suit. I’m not going to get into the particulars. The good thing is the change has kicked my Muse into overdrive and within the space of two months I’ve either written new stories or re-written old ones. So far, I’ve sent out about five and am working on a sixth. These I have sent them using my real name so I’ll be changing everything on my sites and social media to conform in the near future.

And I’m not going to stop writing erotica, I’ll go back to it in the future, however right now, it’s not feasible both time and finance-wise. Many of my fellow erotic authors are having the same issues with sales. They’ll tell you that it’s frustrating and disheartening to create tens, even hundreds of thousands of words only to have little if anything to show for it.

And I’m still working to get into mainstream. I’ve gotten a few full requests to agents for Tinderbox, so I’m waiting to hear on those but I’m also sending it out to publishers. And I want to keep at this momentum. I haven’t been here at a long time.

As stated, this wasn’t an easy choice but I believe it’s time for a change. And things as you may know have been changing quite a bit for me. Ten years at the same nine to five and suddenly I’m handed my walking papers for something I didn’t even do. Maybe this and my new found want to write are some kind of sign from the cosmos.

I’ll still be around though and will keep providing updates, likely on FaceBook and Twitter as those are the best places to find me. I’ll be temporarily closing my site after this, however this blog will remain open and active.

I don’t quite know what will happen in the near future. I tend to concentrate on the now but I know what I am doing is the right thing for me. And always your patience is appreciated.

Peace~

CJ

Musings 7/10/16: These are a Few of my Favorite…Authors!

I thought since my last Musings was about the scarier aspect of the business, I thought I’d do something in contrast.  So with this Musing I’m going to discuss one of the best things about this business — US!  Authors I mean.  Hell, there wouldn’t be a business without us, right?  Anyway, I thought maybe I’d just mention some of my favorite authors and their works.  This list will not only present fantasy authors, but romance and paranormal as well.  And feel free to comment with your own works.  Who knows, maybe I’ll discover a new favorite?

Charlotte’s WebEB White

This is, and always will be, my favorite book.  More contemporary fantasy, I read this so many times as a child I committed it to memory!

The Chronicles of Narnia CS Lewis

Yes, that’s right.  I have the entire series.  And now that I’ve looked him up, I remembered he has a science-fiction series as well and I plan on getting that as well.  Which is my favorite?  Do you even have to ask?  And it looks like a movie for The Silver Chair is in the works!

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz L Frank Baum

The book, not the movie — although the movie is fabulous as well as we all know.  The link goes to the movie site.  I’ve only read the one so far but I want the whole series.

Let’s jump ahead a little bit.

The Death of the Necromancer Martha Wells

I’ve read a few more of her books but this is my favorite.  And I seriously need to catch up.

The Tortall Universe Tamora Pierce

For some unexplainable reason, I got out of her series.  yes, I know technically it’s for young adults but, so?  I want to pick up where I left off, although I may need to start over again.

Poison Study Maria V Snyder

I have the first three books in this series but once again, I got out of them but that’s going to change soon.  I actually met Ms. Snyder several years ago at a book signing.  Very nice lady.

The Evenmere Chronicles – James Stoddard

I haven’t seen or heard anything of this author in years.  The last time I saw his site, which appears to be gone now or at least I get an error message, he said he was working on something new.  A third book was published by a small press in the UK.  I guess he should have gone on my other list.

The Anteros Series Allan Cole and Chris Bunch

Starting with The Far Kingdoms.  I also met Allan Cole at a signing and made a complete  idiot of myself by acting like some silly fan-girl.  I’m cringing with embarrassment now even as I recall it and write this.  Hopefully I’ve matured.  But hey, I love me some Amalric Emilie Antero.

The Chronicles of the Necromancer Series –  Gail Z Martin

Another author and series I need to get back into.  Also I have the first three books in the series and the fourth waiting in the wings.

The Sword of Change and The Chronicles of Josan – Patricia Bray

I interviewed her on my website WAY BACK in the day before CJ Black ever came into existence.

Elemental Blessings Series Sharon Shinn

I’ve read other works of hers but I’m on Troubled Waters now and this is going to become one of my top favorites.  I just wish she was on Twitter or Facebook!

The Mist-Torn Witches (Series)Barb Hendee

I’m waiting to start on the second book of the series which is sitting on my shelf.

Here are a list of romance authors who have written too many books to mention and I’ve pretty much read everything of theirs that I can get my hands on.  Some you’ll probably know even if you don’t read romance.

Beverly Jenkins:  I absolutely love her African-American Historical Romances!  And yes, I pretty much have them all and I believe one of her contemporaries as well.  Have to check the shelves.  Hey and I just checked her site and saw she’s written others since I purchased Night Hawk.  Time for a trip to B&N.

Sharon Sala: Excellent author and Facebook friend.  Need to look over her site to see what I’m missing.  AKA Dinah McCall.

Debbie Macomber:  I am really missing a lot of new works in the romance aisles.  I need to hop to it!  And she has a series on the Hallmark Channel!

Linda Howard

Nora Roberts: Need I say more?

Dorothy Garlock

JoAnn Ross

Wow!  I have a ridiculous amount of catching up to do with some of these authors.  Time really does fly doesn’t it?  There are likely more so I may make a part two of this list.

So what are some of your favorite authors and why?

 

Peace~

CJ

p.s. Maybe I’ll tackle video-games next.

 

Musings 05/30/15 ~ "Are you pondering what I’m pondering?"

Finally back to the local Barnes and Noble after — well I’m not sure, weeks?  And I’d like to take a moment to give a major props to Starbucks for all of their yummy foods and desserts!

OK, back to Musing.  On the shevles I actually found a mixture of epic fantasy and contemporary science-fiction, and a lot less, “women-in-a-leather-jumpsuit” paranormal.  Also B&N has made more room in the fantasy section.  Good news for books and the genre in general?  Possibly.

As for my purchases, I have Susan Murray’s, The Waterborne Blade.  A brand new epic fantasy, which is always good to see!  The Thorn of Dentonhill, by Marshall Ryan Maresca and Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence, who incidentally has a very well made site.

It’s still difficult for me to come here.  I see all of the new books coming out and I want to be there so badly.  It isn’t easy to keep going sometimes but I love writing and being an author.  I said to my Big Brother recently, “You know sometimes I wish I could get my hands on a time machine, go back to when I was fourteen and tell myself, don’t be a writer.  Be a ballerina or gymnast or something.”

But I suppose if I wanted to be either one of them I would have.

It’s just hard to figure out what I’m doing to stop it from happening.  I know I can write and I’ve sold e-books, some actually having a good run.  I’ve gotten requests for fulls and partials.  So what is it? One agent once told me, in her email that, “Although it [Tinderbox] had a good premise, I didn’t fall in love with the voice like I thought I would.”  I had no idea what that meant and others I asked didn’t seem to know as well.  I mentioned this to Paula Bernstein of The Writing Show fame during a LinkedIn conversation we were having, and here is what she said, “Voice is your writer’s personality, your style.  It’s a very individual thing.  It’s like meeting someone and them either liking the way you present yourself or not.Some voices are so strong that you either love them or hate them.  Some are mellower and more likely to appeal to a wider range of people.  Some are so boring they’re like dial tones.”

So the agent didn’t fall in love with my voice.  I just wish I knew why.  Was it too strong?  Mellow?  Boring?  What?  I have no idea what I need to change.  One thing I do know is that I’m so absolutely certain, that I have so much confidence in Tinderbox that I know if someone takes a chance they won’t be sorry.

Well, I’m still at it though.  I’ve pretty much finished my lesson for the week, so when I go home I’m going to work on a couple of things.  Tomorrow, my last day of stay-cation is for chilling only.

Peace~

CJ

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