Completions and New Beginnings

I have a problem. (Ok, I have a lot of them.) For sure, one is the inability to stick within a genre and build a career writing within that. The other is that I have lots of ideas, and not enough time to work on them all.

Aside from my recent decision to, once started, work on a project every single day (even if just by a sentence) until completion, I’ve also decided to start tackling my copious amounts of notes and ideas and unfinished projects. It all began by organizing my laptop folder containing various Word docs and notepad… notes (yikes), and then organizing my Google Drive (YIKES), which led to me discovering the inkling of a story I a.) quite liked and b.) had forgotten I’d even created.

So I finished said story (it was a flash fiction piece so not super time-consuming) and with the help of a few intrepid writer friends who can stomach my first drafts, tidied it up and have it ready to submit as soon as my ideal first market is open. I then opened another short story first draft I’d completed 2 years ago and got to work re-drafting it, and just completed the second version.

I thought to myself, ‘self, we’re doing well catching up on old ideas and drafts here. Onto the next one. But oh gosh, what happens if I suddenly find myself in territory I’ve yet to experience–a realm where I’ve run out of ideas?’

As if in answer from the ADHD cosmos, whilst sitting on the toilet I had a new idea, complete with what I think will be a killer opening sequence and a thematic idea that’s close to my heart. It’ll sit on the shelf for a while (metaphorically speaking, as its actually in my Google Drive) as I continue to address other unfinished works and go through the ringer trying to get more polished pieces out to magazines and such, but it did give me hope for the inevitable: an eventual death with piles of unfinished works.

What, too dark? I mean, come on, gotta live in the world you live in and all.

Speaking of completions, the short story I was working on with the Z.Z. Adams team is finished! Got a killer cover and everything. We’ll see it released eventually, as chronologically Pscyhlone needs to come out first, which we’re banging away at. I’m super excited with the direction of this series on the whole.

Anyways, that’s my update for now. Y’all stay safe out there and what not, til next time.

Oh, Hello

You’re still here?

Why?

No, wait, please don’t leave. Not sure if I’m on schedule or behind schedule for blogging, but, uh, here we go regardless.

If I am behind, in my defense it wasn’t that long ago we thought a hurricane was coming to destroy the Tampa Bay area, and prepping for that was a bit of effort. While I’m grateful to say we locally felt nothing more than a strong tropical storm (not a big deal for a native Floridian), I’m also feeling lingering guilt that it *didn’t* hit us and instead destroyed lives in the Fort Myers area to our south. For those of us who have lived here for a few decades, this is a familiar feeling.

We are quite lucky in this area, having not faced a true direct hit in over 100 years. (Hurricane Irma did strike us about 5 years ago, but it was coming up the state rather than directly off the gulf, and the eye didn’t directly pass over us.) Local superstition holds that the Tocobaga Mounds in Safety Harbor are protecting us. If you’re not aware, the Tocobaga were the primary indigenous culture of the Tampa Bay area before the Europeans came. They ultimately faced the same fate as almost every other native nation in the Americas. (Happy belated Indigenous People’s Day, by the way.) Today, none remain.

This of course raises two questions regarding the rumored protective power of their mounds. One: that hurricane that hit us 100+ years ago? The eye made landfall in Safety Harbor, the town where these mounds reside. So, uh, what gives there? Secondly, there’s the whole question of: ‘why on earth would the people who were exterminated and their lands stolen turn around and bless the now occupied lands so that nature–which said occupiers have been destroying ever since–leaves it alone?’.

I’m thinking there’s another explanation for why Tampa Bay is typically spared.

On the writing front, I’m almost done with a final edit (from my end anyways) of one of my recent horror stories, a 25K novella. Going to try and add a little spice to the beginning, then wrestle with the perfect title. Normally titles come to me fairly easily, but this one is proving elusive. I think on a break from real-job stuff today I’ll take a notepad and jot some ideas down while playing with my sugar gliders.

Halloween is almost here. It’s my favorite time of year–extra horror movies on the streaming apps, fun for the kids, haunted houses, and the miserable heat is finally dying! (Never mind, I died of heatstroke while typing that.) We have just your basic in terms of special traditions here. I decorate the house inside-and-out on October 1st, read fun-spooky bedtime stories to the little one, we go trick-or-treating, all that. Oh, and I also forcefully… uh, force my family every year to sit down so we can all watch Ernest Scared Stupid, a cinematic masterpiece of unrivalled artistic prowess. What about y’all, any special Halloween traditions for you and/or your family?

Til next time, stay safe out there. As an aside, if you are one of the many donating to Hurricane Ian relief funds, as a Floridian I say thank you. Please, however, do not forget our people in Puerto Rico, many of whom are still without power from Hurricane Fiona, which hit almost a full ass month ago. I could go on a huge tirade about how the American government seemingly enjoys screwing over the territory and people there, particularly during storm season, but I’ll digress for now.

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

Phew buddy*, writing has been a challenge as of late.
* Buddy in the singular since only one person reads this**
** Hi Mom***
*** “Oh G-d he’s still on the obnoxious footnotes thing”

Time crunch is an issue to be sure, but the fact of the matter is I’m struggling with this WIP. As I mentioned before, its a story that’s had the start of a first draft exist in various stages over the years, and I’m damn determined to finish it this go-around.

Truth be told the themes, plot twists, likely plot holes, etc. are dogging me. All while I’m trying to make a horror story actually, ya know, horrifying. Writing is easy and fun!

I’m definitely at two stages with this story, neither of which are ideal: the ‘I know where I’m going but I don’t know how to get there’ stage, and the ‘I’m damn sick and tired of this WIP and I want to hurry up and finish it but then that means the ending will be rushed garbage’ stage.

I’ve also been seeing a side WIP. I know, I’m such a dog. The short story I wrote for the His Storm Blows Out the Light series got some great feedback from the Z.Z. Adams team, and I’ve either been actively applying it, or coming up with ways to apply it. That’s about all I will say on that dalliance, because a gentleman doesn’t edit and tell (I’ll have some better updates likely by the next post).

Regardless of all this, I have been dedicating myself to working on the horror story once a day. Whether that means a single sentence, five pages, or going through a series of ideas to break out of the latest block I’ve got on it, it’s an exercise in discipline I’m dedicated to uphold until this draft is done. It’ll require quite a bit of work afterwards, but I’ll address that later. You can edit bad writing but you can’t edit a blank page, and all that. Considering how long I’ve sat on this story, and yet through the years always finding myself coming back to it, it deserves to at least get a completed first draft this time around.

I do find this 24-7-365 ‘touch the story no matter what’ plan helps keep me in the story, even if I sometimes still stare at my screen and yearn for literally anything else to do. Going forward, as I work on future pieces, it’s an idea I plan on always implementing.

Anyways, that’s the latest from my end. How’s you guys? Let me know either in the comments or HMU**** on Twitter.
**** Do the kids still say ‘hit me up’?*****
***** And if they do, do they still abbreviate it ‘HMU’?

Till next time my friends, everyone stay safe out there.

AMBUSH BLOG POST

So, back in the days* of my youthful** ambition*** I intended to keep a schedule of bi-weekly blog posts, and I still have a calendar reminder in my phone as of such. It went off today, and despite having scaled back to monthly**** posts, I decided why not.
*it’s only been, like, a year or so
**I was already old then
***’Ambition’ is a strong word
****So is ‘monthly’

I’ve been struggling with my latest WIP. It’s actually a story I first conceived of and started at least a decade ago, and have re-started a few times. The concept has always struck me as interesting so I keep coming back to it, and this time I’m determined***** to actually finish a full draft.
*****As determined as I am to stop putting in footnotes in this post.

It’s another horror story, BTW. Not sure why I’m on a horror kick? As some of you know from reading my ‘About Me’ section******, I have a real problem with bouncing around genres, which surely dooms my attempts at a full-time writing career*******. Maybe it’s because I’m so thoroughly sick and tired of this miserable Florida summer (which will be the coldest for the rest of my life!) that I’m full-on yearning for Fall to come already, and with it, my favoritest of all holidays. (Yeah, you sweat your ass off in Florida on Halloween too, but we try to pretend we’re dying a little less that day.)********
******None of you have read my ‘About Me’ section, and none of you will.
*******That’s just one of a great many reasons my full-time writing career is doomed.
********I apparently wasn’t that determined to stop the footnotes.

Re-writing a story started so long ago, using scraps and starts of drafts and notes, is a real process. A slog, to be more accurate. I’m curious to see if this actually helps hone my editing skills when I’m working on other drafts. Either way, this time’s the charm–hell or high water, it’ll get done. Whether it ever sees the light of day or not is a different story.

What about you guys, anyone else feeling the urge to hurry up with summer and get to fall already? Or is that an exclusively Florida thing? Feel free to yell at me if you’d rather change places and live in G-d’s swampy taint while I have to shovel snow for six months out of the year.

Oh, quick His Storm Blows Out the Light update. Last I blogged, I mentioned that I wasn’t sure the theme/tone/content of the latest short story I drafted would fly through the ZZ Adams radar. Lo and behold, so far so good! Edits are underway on it now but the big news is there’s agreement it fits the general storyline thus far.

Anyways, that’ll do it for this ambush blog post. Til next time.*********
*********And stay safe, y’all.

Another Blog Post

Not sure how to start this, so I’m going to type ‘not sure how to start this’ and then move along.

I’ve been fairly productive in the writing department recently, despite a myriad of distractions. I finished the edits on the horror novella I discussed in the last post and it’s currently being reviewed in my writing group The Inkubator. Of course, for a story I meticulously edited, a few plot holes–including a rather gaping one–have been found. Le sigh. (Easy fixes, fortunately.) And that’s all I’m going to say about that story. You’ll have to wait to read it should it find publication.

I also completed work on a short story set in the His Storm Blows Out the Light series, regarding a character I’ve found quite interesting and set between the upcoming Psychlone and the planned third in the trilogy, Supercell. HOWEVER! I don’t know that this story will see the light of day. Why, you ask? Well–the series is a YA one. And while dark themes and moral quandaries are a (rightfully so) mainstay of that genre, this story ended up quite… dark. So I shall be trusting the mind-meld that is Z.Z. Adams to make the call on this one. We shall see! I won’t be upset if at least the current version is a tad ‘too much’; in fact, I won’t even be upset if the whole concept is scrapped altogether. Sometimes that’s just the way of it.

As I mentioned, there’s been lots going on in the peripheries. While I’ve been able to overcome that recently, it’s probably going to slow down the writing in the near future. Started a new job, got some sugar glider drama I’m dealing with, a new goldfish has entered the chat… and then all the other crazy bouts of distractions that always exist. I’ll do my best to post here again next month, even if that post is just “…” and nothing else.

Till next time my friends, stay safe.

Am I Pretty Yet

Ok! Phew. Cleaned up some of the website. Still gotta work on the whole ‘Published Here‘ area, but I’ll get to that later. (Not like my attempts to promote that have worked anyways, so what’s the rush?) Also, yes, this website looks like an amateur did it for free, because, well… plot twist! An amateur (me) did it for free.

I also have news! As of Friday I completed the second draft of Psychlone, the second book in the YA Sci-Fi trilogy His Storm Blows Out the Light, a partnership with the Z.Z. Adams brain-meld. I’m also working on a pair of short stories in that series, and have drafted the outline for the third installment, Supercell. (The outline got pretty beefy, there is a chance it could end up being a 2 parter, but that will be clearer once I’ve actually written the first draft.) I’m quite pleased with this second iteration of Psychlone and am excited to see where Z.Z. Adams takes it in the editing process.

After I complete a first draft of one of the short stories in the HSBOtL series, I’ll probably get to work on editing a horror novella I drafted a few months ago. Breathers between projects, where I focus on something different, seems to keep my mind fresh. (It’s probably the ADHD.) We’ll see how that draft ends up.

Otherwise, not a whole lot new here. It’s hot, very hot, here in Florida. But at least the Tampa Bay area has finally begun to get some rain. Not sure where the myth that Florida is constantly getting drenched comes from; there’s lots of areas, especially along the coast, that have practically desert-like droughts for significant periods of time. It can be quite fun going from six or more weeks of no rain and blistering heat to getting 2-3 inches of rain a week. Very frustrating when you’re an avid gardener like myself (split tomatoes everywhere). And the water bills in those dry spells don’t help, considering the already exorbitant power bills (A/C’s run 24-7 during these months).

Anyhoo, that’ll do for now. Stay safe my friends, ’til next time.

It’s A Mess

So, I’ve officially shut down the paid version of this website, and it’s been technically re-launched for free. Just a quick blurb–in case you haven’t noticed, it’s a mess.

I’ll be cleaning it up here soon. Unfortunately wifey and I have been running through a second bout of COVID. And while overly trusting in anecdotal evidence over empirical evidence is one of the reasons that Donald Trump became more of a renowned medical expert than, say, actual medical experts for a significant portion of the US; my anecdotal evidence is that those saying these latter strains are less severe than the first ones are full of shit.

Anyhoo. As if my juggling of full plates wasn’t comical enough, I do intend to put cleaning this clownshow of a website up near the top of the list. Hopefully next week it’ll be less of a garbage compactor. Still amateur as hell, but, you know.

That’s all for now. Stay sanitary, my friends, til next time. *cough*

The Ads Are Coming Back

We’re near yet another anniversary of this blog, and alas, I cannot afford to continue paying for it to not have popups and such. I sincerely apologize to my faithful readers (hi Mom!).

It’s been a few years for me on this writing journey. Sometimes I get a bit down when thinking about it, how there really hasn’t been a ton of success. It can be frustrating, having put a lot of work in, as well as more than a few dollars here and there. While it’s good to try and remain positive, and focus on the good news–and there has been some!–I also give myself the occasional permission to sit and mope.

Even when moping, I’ll still come back to the daydream of being a professional author. As in, it’s my job, my only job; my primary responsibility (aside from familial duties of course) being to sit and craft and create, to suffer through re-writes and edits, to pitch and deal with the annoying side of it all.

It’s a dream for sure, in the sense that it’s nice to have it and dwell on it for a minute, but it’s one afforded to very few. There’s no small amount of renowned authors who also have full-time jobs, and out of necessity rather than want. So I come back and ground myself, and remember that I do still get to sit and craft and create, I do suffer through the re-writes and edits, and I occasionally even pitch.

And that’s good enough.

I’ve got a few shorts out to magazines, I’m going through a first edit of Psychlone, and I’ve begun pitching my sci-fi novella Appizer Cares!. I recently finished a first draft of a horror novella. There’s countless shorts and novellas that require editing eventually, and a partially completed novella that I should return to soon. Not to mention the pile of story ideas and outlines that I simply hope to live long enough to work on.

So who knows, maybe that elusive happy blog post will be coming soon. But it’ll have popups on it. Sorry again.

Til next time my friends. Y’all stay safe out there.

Insert Clever Title Here

Haven’t half a clue what to blog about, and less than that as to what to title it.

It’s been a bit stressful and hectic around the J.J. Segwis household as of late. When it rains it pours, and in Florida, that can mean hurricanes. I’m not going to delve into specifics here as a lot of its quite personal, but in the interest of the purpose of this blog* and website**, suffice to say it’s caused a drain on my writing. Both in terms of taking away the precious time allotted for it, and in draining my creativity when I do sit down and attempt to put words to screen.

Even now I sit and stare at the screen. There’s stuff to share: I’ve submitted a fantasy short to Uncanny, I’m beginning the process of pitching a sci-fi novella, things are moving–albeit slower than they should be (from my end)–on the upcoming ZZ Adams novel in the His Storm Blows out the Light YA trilogy. I’m almost done with a first draft on a horror novella. But I gotta be honest, even putting that list down wore me out a bit.

So I’ll just make this monthly blog post nothing more than a checkmark on the calendar. Sorry there isn’t more. Still would love to find a way to promote my free stories that I’ll be publishing here… The Colonial, alas, has yet to get any views. Feel free to check it out if you’re into historical fiction.

Til next time my friends, I hope you are keeping the ennui at bay.

*There is no purpose for this blog.***
**The purpose of this website is ‘aspiring authors should have websites’.***
***I feel like neither of these statements are a shock to anyone.

Exhaustion

Per both QueryTracker.net and Manuscript Wish List, I have exhausted all possible literary agents for Capitalist Bacon. Per myself, I’m also exhausted with the whole querying process. Which isn’t new, considering I took a several month break from it at one point. But seeing the bottom of a second database’s last page inspires a new level to that weariness.

This leaves me at a bit of a crossroads. Of course, there are other resources for finding an agent out there. How many unique names I’ll find is a question, of course, but I’m sure there are many. And I truly believe in this story. I’m not saying its perfect–it’s as perfect as I can currently make it, yet I remain open to the fact that should it ever find an agent, there will be suggestions I can implement that would make it stronger. But the core of the story is one I truly know would resonate to many, and I remain firm in my belief that should it get out there, it will have readers and fans.

All the same, it may be coming time to shelve it, at least for a while. I’ve got a few novellas I’ve not put any real effort into querying as the process is arduous, time consuming, and frankly annoying (I’ve mentioned before my distaste for the entire query letter process so I won’t harp on it again); yet they deserve the effort no less than Capitalist Bacon. Plus, I’m now beginning to finally take action with my plan to bring some of my short stories here to the website. They also deserve to see the light of day. And hey, one’s up now! Check out the historical fiction The Colonial, which won an Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition. (I’ll probably do another post next week more about this piece. This is a soft opening for the stories-here-format.)

So, barring an unexpected acceptance from this last batch of queries, this will probably be the last post in quite a while where you hear about Capitalist Bacon. Again, I’ve not ‘given up’ on it, not at all. But it’s going to be set aside for quite some time. Who knows, perhaps an acceptance of another story will open the door for representation (admittedly unlikely as Capitalist Bacon is upmarket/contemporary, and my novellas that are ready for querying are all spec-lit).

But the writing doesn’t stop. It never stop. It can’t stop, even if it should.

Til next time my friends!