The Birds Sing at Dawn; I Weep at Dusk: A Short Story Collection–My First Manuscript Sent Out to a Traditional Publishing Company! Wish Me Luck!

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This 423-paged tome consumed the entire month of September for me. The first week of September, I opened up one of the many e-mails of writing advertisements I receive daily and found an ad from a traditional publishing company looking for short-story anthologies. The deadline was a little tight, September 30th, but I made it just under the wire.

Since I began writing full-time in 2016, I’ve written over fifty short-stories ranging in several genres: romance/erotica, speculative fiction, horror/thriller/suspense, mainstream fiction, non-fiction, and more. I decided to grab my best twenty-eight pieces and formatted, edited, re-wrote and re-mastered them completely to what is now known as my eighth completed piece, The Birds Sing at Dawn; I Weep at Dusk. I am so very proud of this finished piece for many reasons. I realized as I spent the entire month of September structuring this manuscript, how much I have grown as an author. My vocabulary’s ever-growing, my editing skills improving vastly, my knowledge of avoiding passive tense and other flubs I’m notoriously guilty of in my formal writing. I feel myself evolving and changing as an author. I also am proud to finally have the confidence to submit my work to a traditional publishing company. I’m not expecting to be chosen, but I’m still very proud of myself for having the courage to send this out. I was terrified every step of the way, but I did it and it feels so empowering.

2019 started off horribly in the worst most wretched way imaginable and I honestly didn’t think I was going to come out of this year alive. But whenever there’s darkness, only light can follow. I remember when I graduated high school my guidance counselor wrote this throw-away line in my yearbook, “You are destined for greatness.” I knew the line was bullshit and I knew he never liked me much, but I clung to those words as fire clings to kindling. I would not give up. With every story I’ve submitted for contests, I’d always received generic rejection e-mails. They’ve become so commonplace, I barely even read past the “you have not been chosen” part, but one rejection e-mail struck a chord, in the best possible way. This particular organization wrote, “If this fellowship continues for another year, we encourage you to wave at us again if you’re still feeling submerged. Notice we didn’t say, ‘if you’re still writing.’ Because if your application conveyed anything, it was that this life means too much to give up on now.” I read that sobbing to myself, not from the rejection, but because they filled me with hope. Granted, this may very well be a copy and pasted reply as well, but it was effective and it’s what I needed to get me through the remaining few months of 2019, the year that would symbolize the moments after the phoenix has arisen from the ashes; all of the accomplishments you don’t see when the phoenix flies off to claim her victory. I gripped onto something my ex said so tightly that it’s become a mantra of mine to help keep me motivated. He told me once, “The currency of sanity is the dreams of a better place.” I cling to this so, so tightly. It is all that keeps me moving forward.

I remember the times my mother told me about her favorite author and how she started off as a writer renting an old typewriter and how difficult it was for her to branch out as a writer and I use that as an encouragement to keep me motivated and focused despite all of the nonsense around me. My mom has read pretty much every piece that I’ve self-published and she’s an honest critic. Sometimes she’ll really like my work and sometimes she’ll honestly tell me, “You know, this isn’t a masterpiece, but I want you to keep going.” That’s exactly what I do. I keep going. Not many people understand the sheer will, determination, and fight it takes to be an author. I have the passion, the grit, the intensity, and the fire it takes to succeed and if one piece isn’t a masterpiece, I will fight damn hard to make sure the next piece just might be.

I’m not sure The Birds Sing at Dawn; I Weep at Dusk is a masterpiece, but I do know that I’ve never fought harder for anything in my entire life. I see the growth, the perseverance, and the willpower it took to spend hour after hour on my laptop powering through word upon word.

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I especially thank my mom and younger brother for helping me get this manuscript printed off and mailed out to the publishing company. My poor younger brother even had nightmares about the printing process, afraid to make a mistake! LOL! The nightmare aspect is terrible, but I feel so touched to have them care enough. Passion is contagious. My passion became theirs and these past few weeks have been magical!

 This may not be my masterpiece yet, but I’m still so proud of the work I’ve done and the potential I feel to be incredible someday. In the meantime, I’ll keep writing and keep trying for that masterpiece and I know that I’ll never, ever give up fighting. It really does take a village to raise an author and I’m so happy for my tribe who believes in me and pushes me to be the very best version of me I could hope for. I am nothing without my family.

I follow Maria Shriver on social media and she said it the absolute best a few nights ago in one of her posts. She is so inspirational to me! She said, “…and in my experience, when women are on a mission and have a mission, buckle your seatbelt because there’s no stopping them.” #womenonamission

Onwards to my next WIP!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

If anyone is interested, John of Art is now available as an audiobook through Audible, Amazon, and iTunes! John of Art’s audiobook is narrated by the incomparable Chris Kenworthy! She’s done a phenomenal job narrating both John of Art and A Wynter’s Tale. You can purchase both here, if interested! Thanks again, everyone!