It's a good thing we don't burn heretics, these days.

At least not usually, and not in North America, as far as I know. ANYHOW.

So, in the course of writing this new thing involving a Roman and a Gaul, I needed to know if there were any deities particularly associated with things like 'putting up with well-meaning relatives' or 'finally telling someone that you're not getting married to the miller's daughter no matter how much of a dowry she comes with'.

The short answer is 'not really'. There's Mars (courage), and possibly Hermaphroditus ([bi]sexuality; only problem is that Hermaphroditus is Greek, not Roman, and may only be a fringe sort of God/dess that may not have been known in my story's relatively small town.). 

So while I was perusing the lists of ROman Gods and Goddesses, I realized that there were a LOT of them for all kinds of things. Things like, "children leaving the home of their parents for the first time"; door handles, hinges, and thresholds; "children as they learned to eat solid foods".

The list looks an awful lot like the Giant List Of Saints, who are dedicated to everything from Aachen (Germany) to Zutphen (Nederlands). It's just that the names and rituals have changed a little.

Dearest Publishers…

I know, I keep writing you the same letter, over and over again. I do it because I want to love you, and you're making it really hard for me to do that. 

See, your submission guidelines? They are your cover letter to me, the author. When you put up guidelines that are poorly written, contain misspellings or grammatical errors, or make certain statements (which I will cover in the next section), I do not feel that you would take my writing seriously. 

When your guidelines contain statements like, oh, this:

We do not send rejections. If you don't hear from us, then we didn't accept your story.

or

Due to the volume of submissions … it is difficult for us to reply to everyone. … We can only do as much as time allows.

I decide that you are probably rude and inconsiderate, and I count myself lucky that I discovered this before I sent you anything. 

Unfair? Oh, yes, quite. Inaccurate? Possibly. And that is precisely my point, dearest publishers. I form my opinions and decide to send you my work, based solely on your cover letter–your guidelines–just as you would judge me. 

There is absolutely no reason in the world that you cannot respond to each submission. There is no law stating that you must give a thoughtful, thorough, reasoned critique of each piece that comes into your possession — it's a nice thing to do, should you take that time and effort, but any writer worth their salt doesn't expect one. (I certainly don't, and when I get one, I'm always surprised and grateful.)

Please, take a good hard look at your guidelines and your response policies. Get someone else to look at them, too. Clarify them. Create templates and spreadsheets. Your potential authors do; you can, too.

Sincerely,

I remain,

wanting desperately to love you.  

Is it just me?

It's entirely possible that I'm alone on this, because God knows I'm bizarre. My question is this: Am I really the only person who expects a happy-ever-after/happy-for-now ending out of anything promising a love story?

My question stems from reading a call for submissions in which the editor enthusiastically (and repeatedly) stated that the stories MUST have either a HFN or a HEA ending. I can understand that not everyone wants to read that kind of thing, but that's what the general-category Literature section is for, right?

When I sit down to read smut, particularly smut with a love story attached, I'm not going into it looking for disaster and drama and No-one Gets Out Alive sorts of tales. If I want to be depressed, I'll turn on the news or go read the Southern Poverty Law Center's site or something, not read a filthy love story.

Isn't there enough Misery Lit in the world already? Do people really feel the need to add to it?

Wow, I haven’t done that for a while…

Just sent off two stories, to two separate places. Once again, they’re both Benny and Phil stories; fortunately, they’re not the same story.

Waiting to hear back on these two is going to be even more difficult than usual. I’m trying really, really hard not to expect rejection based on the use of Phil’s POV, even though I can understand completely why they would.

After all, I didn’t think Max and Trev would ever find an audience outside of their biggest fan, and I’ve sold more Max and Trev stories than anyone else. Who’s to say that my dyslexic gangster and his bookworm baby won’t find one, too?

Continuity: Not Just For Movies.

I just discovered that I had a character refer to two small children as boys, at the beginning of a scene. Twenty-five lines later? One of the boys has morphed into a little girl.

So much for me! At least I'm still in the writing/figuring out what's going on stage, rather than discovering this lovely little booboo after the story had escaped into the wild.

Ah! The Cover Letter, My Mortal Enemy.

And for once I’m not having a fit because I have no idea what the editor wants in the letter. No, this time, I’m waffling because I really want to say something about Phil and his speech patterns.

I know that, generally speaking, it’s considered a really bad sign to talk about the story in the cover letter except in the most basic of terms. (Unless the guidelines say otherwise, natch.) And with the exception of Amby, I haven’t done that — and I don’t even know if Amby counts, since all I did was include the URL for the research I did.

I love Benny and Phil, and I know that using Phil’s POV can work against me. However, it’s not as if the use of a protagonist who is intelligent but not polished/a product of an education system and whose English skills would (in this day and age) lead to a Slingerland screening test does not have literary precedent. I’m not claiming that I’m on par with Mark Twain, but I am saying that Tom Sawyer’s not exactly an Oxford grad student.

Ugh, I should know better than to try writing cover letters late at night… I just need to hurry up and figure out what (if anything) I’m going to say so I can get my stories sent off before the deadlines!

Shh… Enjoy The Silence.

…Okay, so Depeche Mode is probably not a staple of the story's universe, but I couldn't resist. (I'll try harder, next time.) ANYhow.

Tomorrow is THE day — the release of The Balance Of Silence, written by two great authors (neither of whom are me). The story is by turns gritty, funny, and sweet, and I love the ending. Go! Buy it, read it, and tell your friends. Reesa and Michelle deserve the love.

As much fun as it is to get stuff done…

I'd really rather be healthy. I'm much, much better than I was, but still wheezing and coughing like a 3-pack-a-day man.

Anyhow, in much more pleasant news: I have two stories ready to go (one of which is brand new!), just as soon as I settle on a title for one of them. I've got a few new things in the works, but I'm not sure if I like them; I need to get back to work on some of my older stuff.

Also: I love Benny and Phil. I really would like to get their story into something resembling proper shape. I'm debating looking for a collaborator, since I'm less-than-great at plots outside of will-they-or-won't-they, which is almost no plot at all.

That's all the excitement that is exciting around here, anyhow.