Happy Holidays!

Just a quick hello to you all. Whether you’re preparing for Christmas Eve, waiting for Kwanzaa, still fat off of latkes from Chanukkah, or in any other way celebrating, I hope your holidays are warm, bright, and safe. 2020 has been an… unfortunate episode for all of us. I know many are having to suspend long-held traditions; I hope you are able to find new ways to create a happy memory.

When the calendar flips to 2021 in a few days, no magical switch is going to fix all the ails that have plagued us (no pun intended). But there is some light at the end of the tunnel. For Americans, while the incoming Biden/Harris administration brings with it… well, lots of questions, it at least ends (ugh, for now) Trump’s stranglehold over the executive branch of government. The COVID vaccine is rolling out globally, and hopefully as we finally bring the pandemic under control, we can start a return to some economic normalcy. And who knows, maybe we can collectively learn some lessons on how the established capitalist structures failed us and figure out something new?

I’m not religious, but I do have kids, and that gives me a certain sense of charm when it comes to the holiday season. And dammit, I’m choosing to accept that, embrace it, and dare to have a tad bit of optimism going forward. The “hope for the best and prepare for the worst” mentality has let us down this year because, well, good luck having possibly prepared for half the bullshit we’ve collectively faced.

Right now, millions are suffering. If you’re not one of them, count your blessings, and then consider how to move forward and help them. Happy Holidays, and ‘til next time.

PS–I *swear* the second Poetic Narrative will be done soon!

Who Wants A Free Short Story?

“But JJ,” you say. “We are all waiting on the second Poetic Narrative you said would come out in Fall 2020.” You check the calendar you keep with you at all times. “And Fall ended a few weeks ago!”

Ok, ok, and I’m working on it–honestly! For a freebie, I still want it to be the best quality possible. Plus, this adventure of the Florida Four is a political satire, ergo it’s a bit of a trapeze walk. There’s one good result (people read it and find it funny) and a million bad results (people find it ham fisted or otherwise unfunny, people find it offensive and cancel me before I even get started, etc. etc.).

But in the meantime, I’m looking to beef up my email list. So here’s a special deal. I have a Chanukkah holiday horror flash ‘The Shamash’, and I’m going to send it out via my email list tomorrow at sunset (5:39pm EST) in honor of the holiday’s end. It should be worth noting that you also get a short comedy ‘The Candidate’ just for signing up, so it’s a two-for-one bonanza!

There’s no time to waste, the clock is ticking. Click here and get signed up now!

Am I A Real Boy Now?

It is imperative, critical, crucial, and all the other super-important adjectives that every writer participate in NaNoWriMo. If one doesn’t, then the title of ‘wannabe author’ is seized from them by force, and they may also have to forfeit a pint of blood.

Anyways, I didn’t participate in NaNoWriMo.

But I am participating in #PitMad! So that means something. I think. I made some hasty edits to my tweet-pitch and unleashed that sucker 9:30am EST. If nada, then I’ll make some more hasty edits and send again in 4 hours, rinse-and-repeat one last time after that. Wish me luck.

Also, I am indeed officially late for the second Poetic Narrative to hit the website, but fret not–it shall be soon. The Florida Men reunited for no less than a shot at the governor’s mansion, meaning there was the fun task of balancing the absolute horror shit-show that is Florida politics with some semblance of comedy, and I’d like to make sure I got it right. (Or close enough, anyways.)

If you want to follow along with a bumbling fool navigating #PitMad, give me a follow on the ol’ Twitter. Otherwise, don’t mind me, I’m just sitting here staring at my Twitter notifications tab.

Till next time y’all.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick post here to wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving, if you’re in the states. (If not, I wish you a great day anyways!)

I’ll have more here next week, hopefully including the next Poetic Narrative, since I did list it as coming out in fall, which technically ends… uh, Monday. But we all know how I do with deadlines and timeframes.

In the meantime, if you have a little time, I recommend checking out the first one here. Don’t forget to give me a follow on Twitter, and sign up for my mailing list for more free stories!

Wanna Hear Me Ramble, But In Audio?

As I mentioned on my Twitter account (why aren’t you following me?), last Saturday I had the pleasure of sitting down and joining ZZ Adam’s not-a-podcast series, alongside Jon Knight and Rowena Harding-Smith. We had a great time chatting about writing, our upcoming projects, and more. In fact, we all had such a fun time that we went on for two hours (no worries, the brainmeld that is ZZ Adams had the wisdom to split this up into two episodes).

Head on over to the link below and let my voice forever enter your brain-case!

https://anchor.fm/zz-adams/episodes/Fireside-Chat-Part-2B-emgaqn/a-a3rltek

I Started This In A Tropical Storm

So, not much has happened since the last time I posted here. Just a presidential election, a sitting president claiming said election was fraudulent, COVID hitting record numbers, and as I write this a tropical storm hitting the Tampa Bay area.

Not much at all.

Capitalist Bacon has been pitched to a few agents. Of course I found flaws with the query letter and appropriately re-drafted. I’m going with the method of sending to a few at a time to judge the strength of my pitch, so it might take a bit to find representation—assuming, of course, that I do.

Finding the will to write in the meantime was, well, lacking for a few days. Specifically the days I was sitting and biting my nails, wondering if we’d indeed managed to remove a dictator via vote. Granted, that’s not a set-in-stone thing even now, but I do have a sense of confidence that even Trumps’ temper tantrums won’t save him this time. And Biden isn’t exactly… uh, great either… but I was on-board with the fact that removing Trump from power was the critical, and only, step number one in turning this country around.

It sure will be nice when we get to vote for a president and not just against one, won’t it? I mean, surely that will happen. Someday. Maybe. Uh, moving on.

So remember me mentioning that I’m writing this in the middle of a tropical storm hitting? Yeah… we’ll see if power holds. Internet is already down, which will explain why this is posted *after* said storm.

Pretty sure when President AOC seizes power, there won’t be any more tropical storms or hurricanes, so at least we have that to look forward to.

Ok, I am so damn distracted with this storm. Totally sitting on a patio and watching. Had a few Tornado Warnings today, including one when I was in my yard securing things and heard a really weird, loud noise nearby. (It wasn’t a tornado, obviously, but still gets the ol’ sphincter puckered.)

Also, transformers make for the prettiest light shows when they blow.

ANYWAYS… as I was saying, the will to write was lacking for a bit, but I’m back at it now. Mostly just editing older shorts and trying to find homes for them. I submitted to Apex’s Holiday Horror contest and was summarily rejected (lol), so I think I’ll be sending that out in a newsletter soon. If you’re interested, be sure you’re signing up for that!

Wow, I didn’t know mango trees could bend sideways. Seems the wind is picking up.

Ok, this is a Sisyphean task. Till next time. Stay safe!

The End

Such satisfying words to write. Granted… this was an edit, and in fact the second one, so Capitalist Bacon had technically been written for some time. But this was the first time I let myself write those words on the last page.

I’m also giving it one final polish, just a quick search-and-kill for dumb words (that, just, etc.), as well as to review some side-notes I made to be sure the final story shines for the reader the way it does in my head. But that will be quick, not even worthy of being called an edit.

So now it’s time to start querying. First to lean on Writer’s Digest tools to help write a pitch, then to start blasting out emails by the absolute buttload.

It’s hard to keep expectations reasonable. This is the first novel I’ll have ever seriously submitted anywhere, and I am still waiting for that elusive first magazine short-story pub, so I should probably be drinking pessimism by the gallon.

But whatever. Today I’ll sit back and let myself feel accomplished, maybe peruse some websites to see what kind of private jet I’ll buy with the massive advance a future publisher will surely bestow upon me.

Its Friday everyone, and not only that, Florida finally got its first cold front of the year (we’re down to the high 70’s, hooray!). Wherever you are and whatever your plans are for today and this weekend, I hope you all stay safe and well.

To keep up with future updates on Capitalist Bacon, be sure to sign up for my newsletter! Otherwise, until next time, when we’ll return to our regularly scheduled ramblings of a wanna-be writer.

It Is Wednesday, My Dudes

(I hope that’s not technically copyrighted or something.)

Phew. I definitely got back on track—now at chapter 15 out of 25. Seems reasonable that I should complete Capitalist Bacon’s final edit by Saturday. Tomorrow will be a smaller bit of progress due to another commitment, but if I still manage to squeeze two more chapters out, it should be smooth sailing. Not only did I get myself back in the game with the editing, but I also accomplished my side-quests today. Woot!

I gotta be honest, pushing myself the way I did today has left me pretty tired, so there’s not much I have the energy to say here. In a bit, I’m going to treat myself to a dinner of grilled steak and carrots. (Florida is pretty miserable right now, so I’m not sure cooking outside in the humidity over an open fire is the best idea, but I tend to make bad decisions.)

Remember, check out the ‘Published Here’ section for the Poetic Narratives, a series of short-ish stories detailing just how bad things can go for a terrible writer and his friends who are trapped in Florida and are also destined to frequently save the world from threats nobody else ever seems to notice. The first one is up now, and the second one will be out sometime this fall. (It’s ready for edits now but you’ll forgive me if my editing bandwidth is already a bit taxed.)

So, until next time my dudes. Hope your hump day was as hump-rific as mine was.

Staggering Forward is Technically Progress

What in the blue hell just happened?

I was up at 6am, went and did 45 minutes of cardio, and came back home. It was somewhere around after that time that everything went to pot.

My goal was ten chapters. It was an intentionally lofty goal—eight or nine would have still been great, five would have been acceptable.

I did three.

Another side-goal of mine, since I can’t sit for hours on end staring at a computer screen, was to re-mulch the back area of my yard. (This is not a difficult project. It’s a small strip and I use oak leaves.)

I mean, I looked at the area.

The problem is, I can’t figure out for the life of me what happened.

I had one minor set-back; my FIL’s battery died at a nearby park, so I ran and gave him a ride home. But that accounts for, at best, thirty to forty minutes of my day. I went grocery shopping, but the list was small and I was in and out in record time. I got to see my toddler interact with her Early Steps counselor, which was a treat, but that was about one hour. So… I can account for roughly two hours out of a day where I got such little progress that it’s frightening.

It may only be Tuesday, but as I’m starting my new job on Monday (and it’s quite an intensive one, time and brainpower-wise) my aim is to have Capitalist Bacon ready to start querying by Saturday. Sitting partway on chapter nine, with sixteen to go, is not a great position to be in. (Not to mention a few other obligations this week, particularly on Thursday, aren’t going to allow ample opportunities for make-up time.)

About two months ago or so, I wrote a blog about how having a structured 9-5 in-office job had forced me to organize and prioritize my days, especially in terms of writing, and how I found a boost in productivity thanks to it. Looks like I’ll need to snatch that lightning in a bottle going forward. Because by Jove, I’m getting this novel ready to go by Saturday.

Wish me luck, y’all. And if you’re enjoying blog posts about a struggling wanna-be author, I suggest you check the top menu for ‘Published Here’. The Poetic Narrative awaits you, a tale of just how bad things can go for struggling creatives, both in terms of the story itself as well as the story’s quality. You were warned.

Till tomorrow!