The Writing Life: Publications, Rejections, Submissions, & Unsolicited Writing Advice!

Welcome to The Writing Life! This column is dedicated to the art and craft of writing.

My name is Tylor James. I’m a writer of dark fiction. My intention with The Writing Life is to inform and entertain — all the while allowing readers and aspiring writers a peak into my creative life.

First, the good news. ACCURSED: A Horror Anthology features my first paid publication, The Typewriter. This excellent volume of short stories about cursed items (everything from typewriters, to Christmas ornaments, to tattoo ink!) was published in paperback and ebook earlier this December.

I’ve been published in previous anthology books before, yet never paid for my work — until now. As you can imagine, I was pretty excited when the book arrived in the mail. Take a look at the wonderful cover artwork done by Eloise J. Knapp:

Accursed

Working with editor Jonathan Lambert was a great experience. He was very courteous to me and helped fashion The Typewriter into the very best story it could be. For that, I’m thankful. I recommend fellow writers of horror to submit their work to Jolly Horror Press for their future anthology releases, so long as they think they’ve whipped up a good tale.

Honestly, ACCURSED is a great collection of stories, all of them written by a talented writers. Therefore, I highly recommend fans of the genre to check it out!

One other positive news item: My fifty word story BLUE CHRISTMAS, was accepted and published by Fifty Word Stories, an ezine. Although Fifty Word Stories does not pay for stories, they do have a drawing for “best story” at the end of every month, which can win a writer $10. For those interested in reading my flash-fiction piece: Click Here.

I GOT THEM REJECTION BLUES

And now, it is time to mention some of my most recent rejections!

For writers, rejection is a constant game of, “Oh? Rejected again? Well, TAKE THIS!” and the writer submits his work to yet another publisher for consideration. It’s like Newton’s third law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Wolfpak Publishing and 18thWall Productions reject my creature-feature horror novel, They Dwell Beneath. This novel is currently be considered by eight other presses, and I’m hoping to hear a ‘yes’ back from any one of them.

Aggregate and Tell-Tale Press rejects by short story, The Ultimate Torture of Charles Nevermore. This is a futurist tale about a literary outlaw and a subversive, underground movement of readers and writers.

TDotSpec rejects my shot story, The Eyes of the Lake — and yet provided very helpful advice in regards to re-crafting the story.

The Dark rejects my short zombie story, No Way Out.

Monster Porn Podcast rejects by short story, Bad Brains — and yet editors Bret and Matt were impeccably kind, lending advice regarding the betterment of the story.

Have you had work rejected lately? If so, just remember it’s only part of the business. Keep submitting, and keep writing. 

In Other News

This is the last column of The Writing Life for 2019. Looking back on some of the things I wrote in January and February of this year, I notice how far I’ve come in my ability to craft effective prose.

A lot of things I’ve written this year, in fact most of what I’ve written, has not been good enough to publish. But, I’ve also written plenty of damn good stories too.

So, for the record, here’s the tally for 2019:

I’ve written approximately 265,000 words.

I’ve never written so much in my life as I have this year.

And yet, when comparing it to some of the early 30’s and 40’s pulp fiction writers, it isn’t all that impressive. Those guys (Erle Stanley Gardner, for example) had an output of nearly a million words per year!

It’s hard to believe those writers were even human. In fact, I have my suspicions . . .

Yet, I am proud of the work I’ve done this year. I’ve come a long way as a writer, and have a long way to go still. I suspect there will never come a time in my life when I have finished learning how to write serviceable prose.

Writing is an art with a depth that is truly infinite.

Of the 265, 000 words I’ve written, I’ve created one short novel (They Dwell Beneath) and forty-five short stories. Plus several blog posts, The Writing Life Column, dozens of poems, songs, and essays. Not a bad year at all!

And thank you, fellow readers and writers, for putting up with my bragging.

UNSOLICITED WRITING ADVICE

This is advice about the craft of writing. Advice you never asked for, and which perhaps could hinder or outright destroy your aspirations as a writer. Without further ado, and as non-glamorous as this week’s advice is, behold:

Keep writing! 

When a story is looking ugly, don’t stop writing. Either finish it, or start a new story, poem, essay, whatever it is. But do not get up and walk away from your art. Sit down and write. Even if it is just one page.

You had an intention to write. Now it is not going as well as planned. That’s okay. All the same, you must continue to write. That is how we improve our work.

Practice.

Thank you to fellow readers and writers for their interest in The Writing Life. I hope you’ve found this column to be serviceable and entertaining. A very happy new year to you! May it be filled with love and art.

your friend,

Tylor James.

The Life of a Writer — Dec. 1st (STANGE FISH, LOWSY LUDDITES, & ENDURANCE)

Greetings, friends. It’s just another day in . . . The Life of a Writer. 

Lots of good stories underway, let me tell you.

STORY NEWS

I’ve got a science-fiction story, Crash Landing, about a man who crash lands on an unknown alien planet. It’s your typical “lost world” genre story — except this particular yarn explores the absurdity of being a total luddite in a technological world.

Note: I was not aware of the word “luddite” until earlier this year. I came across it in a Kurt Vonnegut story. For those readers whom might not know, it means: a person opposed to new technology or ways of working. 

Imagine being a luddite AND a member of a planetary exploration crew AND your space ship crashes AND you have no understanding or meaningful relation to the technology that could potentially save your life — should you know how to use it.

Crash Landing is in its second draft stage at the moment, but will be a third and final draft next week and ready for submission to the magazines.

Then there’s Fish Out of Water, even better! It’s about a gang member who gets dropped in the lake wearing cement shoes because he’s killed somebody he shouldn’t have and pissed off a lot of dangerous people. He drowns, then awakens at the bottom of the lake with slimy gills on either sides of his neck. He’s grown webbing between his fingers. He’s got scales growing on his body. And he’s hatching a plan for revenge.

Fish Out of Water is a cross-genre piece, mixing hard-boiled pulp style prose with Kafkaesque twists of fate and, oddly enough, some mysterious Christian imagery having to do with the ressurrection of Christ.

Strange fiction? You bet.

I also got a poem out last night (Ode to Caffeine), a love song written for piano (dedicated to my fiance, Tessandra), plus some blog stuff.

As for today? I’ll be focusing on some editing and re-writing. And after that, if I feel up to it, writing some new stuff.

***

REJECTED!

DOWN-TURNED STORY NEWS (oh, boy, oh, boy, my favorite segment of The Writing Life!)

Silver Pen rejects my story, “Love From Another Place”, a ghost tale of love and loss. The editor, however, was so very kind in her rejection. I always appreciate when I am not handed the standard rejection form.

Crone Girls Press rejects my story, “The Voice”, about a man who commits hit-and-run on a trick-or-treater on Halloween night. The story was intended for an upcoming horror anthology. This is my second story I’ve submitted for this anthology, and so far no luck. Perhaps you, dear reader, if you dabble in dark fiction, will give them a try and have better luck.

STAY TUNED for future rejections. They are always upcoming.

***

ACCEPTED

My first professional publication is my story, The Typewriter. It was accepted by Jolly Horror Press two months ago and will be released in a marvelous book entitled, ACCURSED: A Horror Anthology, to be released this December 10th! JHP editor Jonathan Lambert is a wonderful guy to work with, and I highly recommend fellow writers to consider submitting to JHP for future anthologies.

***

In Other News

I work in a haunted factory these days. It’s an abandoned facility located in a snowy mid-west town where the people are cracked with an abundance of alcohol, opioids, and social gaucherie. But the facility (formerly a cheese factory) is relatively quiet, except for the clanging of the overhead pipes, the pterodactyl-whine of the boiler and the rattle of the radiator.

I sit in a break room with two security monitors. I glance at them from time to time, but mostly I write. And read. And look at what deranged things my fellow bloggers are up to.

This concludes today’s edition of The Writing Life. Questions? Comments? Hurled prejoratives? Please post them in the comments section below.

Lastly, a bit of advice for fellow writers seeking to master their craft:

The key to your success as a writer is endurance. And practice, of course.

The amount of effort you put in, and how long you can keep it up. These simple things largely determine what sort of writer you will become. To keep on top of practice, some folks aim to hit a particular word count every day, or every week.

As for me? I subscribe to the Ray Bradbury Regimen. That means, simply, focus on writing ONE short story a week. After fifty two weeks, you’ll have fifty-two stories, and hell, they can’t all be bad, can they?

As the colloquial saying goes, “Hold my beer . . .”

 

Until next time,

Your constant writer,

Tylor James.