Dream Foundry Finalist

The most shocking and amazing thing has happened.

No, not that.

I have been selected as one of ten finalists in the Dream Foundry writing contest! It’s astonishing! I can’t believe I’m one of ten finalists from a pool of over 300…

It was a struggle to not title this post “Clerical Error.” Instead it just reinforced how strong the impostor syndrome is with me! I had no idea.

I almost didn’t submit. That’s how this works. I wasn’t really happy with my story, I wanted to do another round of edits. I had finished a small rewrite, but wanted to read through it again and clean up the rough edges. I was pushing up against the deadline for the contest but I was exhausted and knew I couldn’t force myself to stay up any longer, and even if I did, that I wouldn’t be doing good work.

I reminded myself of one of my favorite pieces of writing advice: Don’t self reject. You never know if you’ll get into an anthology or a contest, or if an agent will like your pitch, if you don’t ever send it out.

So I sent it.

I was totally blown away to be selected as a finalist. Keeping it to myself was so very hard! Now that it’s out there, I’ve had a wonderful time sharing my joy with others.

Congratulations to everyone who participated, and especially to my fellow finalists. Personally, I think we should all be friends now. hehe

It will be another couple weeks before we know the winners, but quite frankly, I’m so thrilled to be a finalist, and have my work in front of judges I respect, is a prize in and of itself.

Vulnerability

Being a creative person and blogging, both require a certain amount of openness and vulnerability. If you ask any of the people I have dated in the past, you would quickly find out that those are not things that come easily to me.

I struggle.

There’s a fine line between being truly one’s self with whole and open recklessness, and being a genuine and honest person. I am comfortable saying I am an honest person. I know I mean what I say, and I take others at their word.

I am terrified of being vulnerable. I have been hurt so much, that openness feels like asking to be traumatized. And I’m full up on trauma tyvm.

What happens then, is that something will happen, I’ll take time to process it and withdraw. Then something else happens and I’m already withdrawn. Which means I’m hurting again, but now I’m also very much alone.

In my life, the escalation is fast, and dramatic.

After the fourth or fifth trauma, I’m devastated, alone, out of options, and putting any energy into artistic things – stuff that makes life worth living – is impossible. More than impossible. It’s a distant joke.

Creating is one of the most important things in my life. When I can’t focus on it, when my thoughts are a desperate handful of soggy crackers, it’s like I’ve lost myself. I don’t know how to get back from here, but I know I will. I always do.

I will always carry these burdens. This most recent trauma, will be with me forever. A very deep scar across my heart. It has taken my faith in inherant goodness, a piece of my identity, a part of my fragile joy, and a slice of my light. I’m still working through how I move forward from it.

I need to create. Even when my well is dry. Because it’s usually barren.

Progress is progress

I had two short story anthologies I was working on this past month.

The first one, I totally blew. I thought I would have an easier time working on it than I did and the whole thing sort of fell apart. That’s okay, I realized it wasn’t working for me early on and moved to the second.

That one took off splendidly. I was drawn in quickly and my MC asserted her voice in that way that lets me know we’ll make it through. That isn’t to say it still wasn’t hard – it was. I think I’m still so rusty, that everything is difficult.

I put in the work though and we’re on the second round of edits. I’m feeling pretty good about it and plan to start shopping around once I’m finished.

It’s good to have something that feels like a complete thought. Even when I’m also certain that it’s terrible. Oh hell, it’s terrible, isn’t it? Crap. Well, I’ll keep working on it.

-R

The Publishing Cycle

Last week I wrote a little piece over on the TI blog about the sad news regarding Less Than Three Press. The loss of this publisher has been felt deeply by myself, and many of my friends.

LT3 filled an important role in romance publishing. They actively supported marginalized voices, and treated their writers well. It was wonderful to have a mid sized publisher like them around, especially for new and emerging writers.

I have one title with LT3. It’s old enough now that I’m not entirely sure that I’ll re-release it. I haven’t decided. I photographed my own cover for the novella, so I’d still have that! The perfectionist in me wants to go back over the story and polish things up. I feel so much more confident about my writing these days, and I’m sure the piece could use some work.

At least two other authors I know have opted to not re-release their work that was with LT3, primarily for the same reason. They’re older works and perhaps not as reflective of their author’s current work. I get it.

There are a few uncomfortable realities that go along with this. The first is that as of now, both publishers I’ve worked with have closed. It’s a worrying pattern within small and mid range publishers. What will we have when none of these can survive? Will it only be the big publishers and self pub, with nothing in between? That’s quite worrisome.

The other is simply that it reminds me how long its been since I’ve published anything. It’s been years. I’m not a fan. I’ve spoken with a few friends and my current goal is to have another novel finished by the end of the year so I can start shopping it around to publishers.

Another FbF up on TI

The group blog I participate in has a new post up from me. Hooray!

It’s another Feedback Friday up on the Tickled Ink blog. (See, that’s what all those abbreviations mean!) This time, the word prompt was “Widdershins” and the author really knocked it out of the park. The piece is so fun, I highly recommend you go check it out.

Widdershins on TickledInkBlog

Meanwhile, in community action

I’ve been working with the same writing group for the past 5 years. It’s been an amazing experience and I’m supremely grateful to all of them. They’re my Ride or Die Bitches.

It’s a good thing.

We have been putting together a community for writers and ourselves online to supplement our meat space community. Not everyone can come to Minneapolis to sit in with us every week.

Slackers.

But yeah, I’m blogging over on our site Tickled Ink and it’s been a lot of fun! My most recent post went up today and it’s about the joy of failure. Or being okay with being terrible. Something like that anyway. Check it out!

Pegasus Debt – Wendig challenge

Pegasus Debt

By S Rain Lawrence

(The Chuck Wendig flash fiction challenge)

 

 

Dr. Emma Torrez trimmed the edges of the electrical tape meticulously and closed the access panel with a defeated sigh. It would hold for now. She double checked the hatch door and was relieved to find it was working again.

A soft edged explosion shook the corridor of the space station. Warning claxons blared and the few functioning emergency lights that remained in the corridor flashed red.

A string of curses preceded her colleague, Dr. Jack Hardy as he came barreling towards her.

“What happened now?” Emma asked.

“We asked for insulation!” Hardy screamed. He screeched to a halt in front of her, grabbed her by the shoulders and shouted “INSULATION! What the fuck am I supposed to do with more damn pipe fittings?”

“Yeah, I was there,” Emma sighed. “I’m asking what the explosion was.”

“Hardy! Torrez! What’s going on?”

“Landon! I’m so glad you’re here,” Hardy exclaimed as he clutched at her arm. “We’ve got to get out of here.”

Hardy had become increasingly more unhinged over the past few months and Emma was hesitant to take anything he said seriously. His tangle of brown hair was tied back from his face and his beard grew unchecked. Dr. Gina Landon folded her arms across her chest and pursed her lips. Her coveralls were worn and pieces were patched with the same tape that Emma held in her hand.

“Is this an actual emergency?” Landon asked. “I’m trying to finish decommissioning section five before it snaps off the station entirely and kills us all.”

“We have to abandon the station!” Hardy said emphatically, his eyes wide. “NOW!”

“Pretty sure we don’t get paid if don’t finish fixing this place up,” Landon said.

Emma peered down the corridor. Was that smoke?

“Hardy, what happened in the research section?” Emma asked hesitantly.

“I keep telling you! It finally happened! I was rewiring the containment apparatus so it would pressurize properly. But they didn’t send us insulation AGAIN on the last shipment. How many times have we asked for insulation? How many times did we tell them we need properly insulated wiring? But no, the last three shipments we get random shit that isn’t anything like what we asked for!”

“Hardy! Focus!” Landon shouted.

Hardy stopped and blinked vacantly at them.

“Electrical fire,” he said. “Something got into the uninsulated wiring. The whole thing is in flames.”

“Oh shit…” Emma whispered.

“Shit won’t save us now!” Hardy said with a cackle.

Emma glanced down the corridor again as it began to fill with smoke.

“Escape pod! Escape pod!” Landon chanted.

Emma turned and ran, leading the way through the twists of the space station past crumbling debris and half-finished repairs. Only a few more meters. Emma had never been so relieved to see a functioning LED panel. She scanned the readings quickly, making sure the pod was ready to go. She pulled the air lock hatch and opened the door to the escape pod.

The scientists piled into the pod and Emma sealed the hatch closed behind them.

“Do we even know how this thing works, Torrez?” Landon asked over Emma’s shoulder.

“If you give me some space, maybe I can figure it out!”

Emma scrolled through the operation screen inside the pod as it flickered under her shaking fingers. She found the launch sequence and tapped through it as quickly as possible.

The pod burst free of the space station and shot towards the moon base. Emma looked back at the station to see the entirety of the main section crumple with the flames. The pegasus logo next to neatly etched name of the space station melted before her eyes.

“What a fucking joke,” Hardy said.

“What are you talking about?” Landon asked.

“They just stuck us on there for months and expect us to fix the place with no support? The technical debt was an abomination. What were we supposed to do? Patch the holes with our PhDs?”

The pod began to shake and warning klaxons fired.

“Whose job was it to maintain the escape pod?” Emma asked.

Hardy cackled hysterically.

Halloween Anthology 2015

I’m super thrilled to announce that a short story of mine, Houdini’s Masquerade has been picked up for inclusion in Torquere Press’s Haunted Hotties anthology. It’s so exciting! As a card carrying quasi goth, Halloween is close to my heart. When I heard about this anthology call, I knew I had to participate. This is the third story to be picked up for publication this year. More information to come as it is available!

Always room for more

As of today, I have turned in the first round of edits on both stories I have coming out later this year. While it is an absolute relief to have them off my plate (for now) there is still a residual anxiety hovering around. I’ve never been very good at relaxing and it’s quite pronounced today! Once I finished sending off my draft, I very nearly ran out of the Starbucks to get some air!

I’m exceedingly grateful to my writing group friends for tolerating me during the sea of editing crises. Editing my own work is very challenging, even with the assistance of a professional editor. Every time I receive feedback from an editor, I learn something. This time through, the insights were especially helpful. I was even able to apply what I learned from one editor to the change I made on the next piece!

The challenge now is… what to work on next? I’ve done nothing but edit for just over an entire month. I’m itching to do something entirely different, but I hear the call from a mostly finished short story in my documents folder. Only a few changes I could submit it!

I’m also thinking about looking for a few more anthology calls. I’ve found writing for anthologies to be a lot of fun lately!

Of course, what I should do is relax! Maybe just for a few minutes!

Writing is hard, editing is hard

As I’m going through the process of working with an editor, I am reminded that editing blows. As anyone who has ever tried to string together a few coherant sentences can tell you: writing is HARD. Then, to add insult to injury, you must edit your manuscript. It seems rather unfair.

Right now, I’m going through my MS and removing ever time I used the word, “just.” Why in the world did I use that word so much?? What was I thinking? And most embarassingly, how did I not notice it myself before I sent it off to my publisher? I’m tempted to go back to my original draft and find out just how many times it was, but that might be cruel.

It’s tempting to assert that writing is hard, but editing is harder. I don’t believe that to be true. Pulling the words from nothing and putting them on the page is hard. It’s an exercise in dedication and creativity. Taking the words you’ve amassed and shaping them into a more refined whole is hard. It’s an exercise in perserverance and attention to detail. At this point in my life, I’m still working on how to do both of these things effectively.

Hopefully, I’ll find other things to work on as I become more confident in the larger aspects in the process of writing. I will never stop learning. I work hard to make that happen.

In the end it’s like running and biking. (What, doesn’t everyone do those things??) They’re both physically exhausting if you do them long enough but they work different muscles. They’re similar in some ways, but getting back on my bike in the spring after only running all winter is a pretty rude awakening. My thighs mock me with all the miles I ran on that first bike ride. The trick is that I have to do them both.

I’m okay with that.