Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Appalachian Folk Tales, Ghost Stories, and Blood Creek

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 12, 2018

The first fantasy stories I can remember were stories told to me by my father, Jim Murphy, when I was living in West Virginia. I don’t talk about him much, because he and my mom split up when I was only five years old, and I rarely saw him after that. But one week, he decided to tell me bedtime stories, and he repeated what I later discovered to be old folk tales.

The stories he told me were about a guy named Jack. He wove them into a single narrative, although they were originally completely separate stories. But in my mind, he was Jack Seven-in-a-Whack. Jack Seven-in-a-Whack took on bandits, giants, and witches who could turn into cats and poison a stew by sopping their paw in it. I loved those stories, even though my father only told them to me once. It’s strange how little I remember of that time period in my life – just flashes – but I remember loving those stories that I heard once.

Fast forward many years later: I married and was living in Utah, the home of the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. The two evening events they did at the time were “Ghost Stories” and “Laughin’ Night.” My wife and I loved the ghost stories night, although very few of the professional storytellers they brought in felt confident telling spooky stories. But there were a few who were just amazing, and told some great folk tales from all over the world… including stories from Appalachia, Louisiana, and the Ozarks that at least felt somewhat familiar to me.

The genesis of the whole idea that became Blood Creek coming from a discussion in the car on the way home from a particularly powerful Ghost Stories night. I was thinking about the Jack tales from my childhood, and the great stories that had presented that night, some of the urban legends my wife had been researching (since she’s also a storyteller), and some recent TV shows. Things began to gel in my head.

I did some more research on the Jack tales, and discovered a lot of new ones, learning that many of them originated in Europe, but had changed when they came to North America. One of the few ones people remember is “Jack and the Beanstalk.” But Jack (in all his incarnations) had quite the number of adventures here in the U.S., particularly in the southeast through the 1700s and 1800s. He once captured Death in a bag. He went to magical kingdoms through magic portals (sometimes hidden under a bed). He battled giants, wild boars, evil dwarves, witches, and even a unicorn. Sometimes he married a princess. Sometimes he was a good-hearted idiot who only knew enough to follow the advice of old crones or the king’s daughter. Sometimes he was pretty clever on his own. But he always had gumption.

Then there were other regional tales, lacking Jack but still full of fascinating monsters, legends, and creepy stuff. There’s an incredible (if disjoint) mythology that fused stories the colonists brought with them from their own cultures, the native American tales, and many new legends and cryptids that appeared on their own. It’s a seriously ripe setting for story!

Blood Creek Witch takes place in a tiny little community not unlike the one from my childhood, deep in the hills and hollers of West Virginia. Like the old Jack tales, there are elements of coming-of-age adventures. And of course, there’s got to be plenty of fantasy… magic, monsters, mayhem, much of it inspired by classic ghost stories and Jack tales. Of course, I write lots of pulpy adventure stories, so that’s an unavoidable but happy part of the mix.

The book comes out tomorrow – you can find it at Amazon and other sites, in both eBook and paperback versions. I hope you find it unique yet familiar, and most of all fun to read!

Blood Creek Witch at Amazon

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Blood Creek Witch: First Review (that I know of)

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 9, 2018

This came out a couple of weeks ago, from Guildmaster Gaming:

Blood Creek Witch Book Review

Of COURSE you want to read the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt:

“The style is light, even in covering darker subjects and provides a point of distance to the events which allows the story to be told without being overly detailed. Barnson uses his knowledge of the area to great effect to create a setting that is believable, with enough fantastical element to bring the story off the page and into the imagination. As a reader I was brought along with the characters and not just reading/watching what they were going through.”

Blood Creek Witch releases on Tuesday, March 13th!

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Lessons learned as a pro writer (or any indie…)

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 8, 2018

This was a series of tweets by Alexander J. A. Cortes, unrolled into a single post. There is some fantastic advice here. It’s geared towards independent writers, but most of it applies equally well to art, game development, music, etc.

The Lessons of Making $$ from Writing

It’s a pretty solid list, all told.

If I were to try and sum it up and generalize it (maybe not the best idea, but I think about these things), it comes down to this:

  1. Master your craft. You’ll probably suck when you start out, and you’ll definitely suck way more than you think.
  2. Master your trade. This is the business side of things. Marketing, sales, management.
  3. Be passionate about it. If you don’t love it, why do you expect anyone else to love it?
  4. Be prolific. It’s important both for practice, and for getting yourself out there.
  5. Be visible. Do all kinds of things to get noticed *that provide value to others.*

Gee, that’s it? Every one of those could be a full-time, life-long proposition all by itself. Well, maybe #3 can come naturally. But you have to do ’em all at once. There’s a reason so few succeed, or even try.

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A Week with Happy Fun Cold.

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 5, 2018

Day 0: Hmm, I’m tired. I’m sneezing a bit. I hope I don’t have a cold. Probably just allergies.

Day 1: Not allergies. My nose is running. Not fun. I guess I’m contagious and I should stay home! I’m still feeling generally okay so I can get a lot of things done!

Day 1, part 2: Bleah. I slept how long? Definitely not getting a lot of things done.

Day 2: *cough* *cough* I guess there’s still hope that this can be a mild cold…

Day 3: *Hack* *Sneeze* *Gronk* So much for that idea.

Day 4: Technically feeling better from yesterday. In the way that the bloodiest part of the battle might be over and it looks like my side is winning. I’m probably not super-contagious now, and I must get work done. If I can quit staring at the screen and zoning out. Is it safe to counter the effects of the medication with caffeine?

Day 5: Why did I even bother with yesterday? Yesterday was a bad idea. Today might be better. *Zone at the screen* *cough* *wheeze* *sneeze*

Day 6: Okay, I still don’t feel human, but I think I can see a light at the end of the tunnel…


It varies, but right now I’m on day 4.

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Build an RPG in a Week! Mini-RPG Game Jam

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 1, 2018

It can be done, and it should be done.

A Computer RPG week-long game jam…

It starts tomorrow evening, and goes for one week. Make an RPG. It is a competition, but I don’t think there are any prizes except bragging rights. You probably won’t be making the game of your dreams in a single week, but you’ll hopefully have something COOL.


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Blood Creek Witch Releases in Two Weeks

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 27, 2018

Blood Creek Witch, my new novel from Immortal Works Press, is releasing in two weeks, on March 13. I’m naturally pretty excited. One day, perhaps, I will be jaded to having a new book release, but today is not that day. And my enthusiasm will only grow between now and March 13th.

Cooler still, the Kindle eBook is available NOW for pre-order on Amazon!

Blood Creek Witch by Jay Barnson

Deep in the Appalachian Mountains, a monstrous evil rises, and the only one who can stand against it is a teen-aged witch who doesn’t believe in magic.

Grieving and lost after the deaths of her parents, Jenny Morgan comes to Maple Bend, West Virginia, to live with an aunt she has never met. Once there, Jenny is confronted with an unbelievable family heritage of witchcraft and magic – which she at first dismisses as old-fashioned superstitions. However, once her new home is threatened by horrors of myth and folklore, her aunt’s stories become impossible to ignore.

Now Jenny and three companions–each with dark secrets of their own–may be the only ones capable of stopping the growing evil, but only if Jenny will embrace her arcane heritage. But by wielding her power, she may attract the attention of something very sinister–the immortal entity her parents died protecting her from.

I hope you enjoy the new novel.

You can also check out my author page on Amazon:

Jay Barnson’s Author Page


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What’s up with “VR Experiences?”

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 23, 2018

I’m a gamer. I’ve been a gamer for a long time. I had a career making video games. When I first started getting interested in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (two elements of “cyberpunk” that actually sounded desirable), it was the early 1990s, and there was very little of either technology to be found outside of university labs. Being a gamer, the obvious and most important application for this technology (whenever it would arrive… which I optimistically expected within just a few years) was gaming. I wanted to play VR games. The upcoming crop of 3D games (without hardware acceleration, back in those days…) would be so improved with faster computers and VR.

Now we’re here. Gaming is still important to me. But I’m still finding, even now that I’m getting a tiny bit jaded, that what I want out of the technology isn’t just gaming. It’s experiences. Gaming is a category of experience. I’ve noticed that it doesn’t just seem to be me. I’ve noticed the word “experiences” being slung around a lot in relation to VR. Me from a few years ago sneers at the term, but the me who uses VR almost daily has come to embrace it.

The thing is, VR is so immersive that many gaming conventions actually break it. There were only half-joking comments among the developers about how Skyrim VR would take players twice as long to play because it is just so cool to stand around and look at things. It really is a thing. What’s up with that?

There’s a theory  that “fun” is the brain’s reward for learning or mastering survival techniques, a hardwired reaction. Now, the deep lizard brain in charge of this stuff is still pretty primitive, but adaptable. What excites it and makes it believe we’re improving our chances of survival is a little fuzzy, and is a little different for all of us. In general, however, the closer we get to to basic survival in the physical world, the more likely it is to release a chemical hit of fun. Memorizing our multiplication tables in elementary school is probably a bit further removed from that basic experience to give most of us much of a thrill. Hitting things with other things in a first-person shooter, or identifying patterns and “gathering” or removing pieces from a board in video game, match real-life analogs of primitive survival skills for hunting and gathering, and more easily feel like “fun.”

VR is exponentially more convincing and “real” to that primitive part of the brain, which doesn’t listen to well when the cognitive and reasoning part of the brain tries to tell it, “Hey, this is just an illusion.” I have learned the hard way that it can be dangerous to try out a brand new VR experience right before bed. If I do, I may be tossing and turning for a couple of hours, even if I went to bed dog-tired. That deep part of my brain is too busy trying to process what I just experienced, convinced that it just went to a new place, and is frantically trying to come to grips with what to do and how to adapt.

But that just makes the VR “experiences” so much more compelling for me. Something like Apollo 11 VR – which would be mildly interesting to boring played on even a big-screen monitor – becomes something magical and epic. The attention to detail paid off in spades, and I couldn’t help but spend time just exploring the tiny, cramped cabins and looking over the dizzying array of instruments on the consoles. More than anything else, I came out of that one with a renewed appreciation of what an in incredible feat the moon landing had been.

My friends laugh when I say that sometimes I just like to sit in a virtual theater in BigScreen Beta and watch a show on Netflix. What’s the point? I have a big monitor with much better picture quality than I get in my Vive headset.  I’ve confirmed with other regular VR users that it’s not just me. The experience feels like a much bigger mental “break” than just watching the show by itself on my computer. Maybe it’s the novelty factor. Granted, going upstairs and watching something with my family on our very nice HD flat-screen from the comfort of the couch is even better, so everything is relative. Real reality still trumps virtual reality. I’m more than okay with that. 🙂

Unfortunately, some developers (especially indies) have taken this as a cue to produce pretty low-content “experiences” that aren’t worth the $0.99 they sell these things for.  They are just phoning it in and trying to cash in. That sucks. Usually. There are a couple of surprise gems in there, but a crap experience is just crap.

As a gamer, I still want my games in VR, but they aren’t just an evolutionary step in gaming technology stretching back to the old arcade systems. Virtual Reality is really kind of its own thing, now, along with its cousin, Augmented Reality. We’re barely exploring the surface of the potential of the technology. I’m pretty excited to be able to (finally) do that.

Bring on the cool experiences.


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The Book of Secrets by Melissa McShane

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 21, 2018

Melissa McShane has a new urban fantasy series coming out, “The Last Oracle,” starting with this brand new release from Curiosity Quills, The Book of Secrets.

The teaser (short version):

“Helena Davies just wants a job that will get her out of her parents’ basement. Abernathy’s Bookstore is disorganized, out of the way, and smells funny, but it pays well and promises to at least be interesting. She has no idea how interesting her life will become. By the end of the first day, Helena has a dead boss in the basement, an unexpected promotion, and the news that she is now a part of an endless war against creatures from another reality.”

Nope, I haven’t read it yet. I’m reading another of McShane’s books right now (Which is a lot of fun). But I will, soon.

You can get the digital version of The Book of Secrets at this link. The paper version should be available soon.

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LTUE 2018 Report

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 20, 2018

Okay, it’s been a little crazy ’round these parts. Mostly crazy in a good way. That’s my introduction and apology for being slow on the blogging front.

Of course, the novel is moving forward. The Advance Reader Copies have gone out, and we’re releasing Blood Creek Witch on March 13th. I’ll have a couple of launch events thereafter.

The day job is awesome, but it’s taking a lot out of me. While the stuff I’m working on is not strictly VR-related, the VR side of things is heating up. I love it, but it does mean I end up spending long hours in the office. It’s definitely cool stuff.

I did get to take a couple of days off and go to Life, the Universe, and Everything 2018. I got to be a panelist on a couple of panels – one focused on Virtual Reality – and a moderator for another. Fun stuff. As an attendee, I hit as many subject-matter panels as I did professional writing / game development panels. The panels discussed topics like powered armor, the history and development of combat aircraft, and what makes a space ship spaceworthy. Some were more down-to-earth like how black and gray markets develop. While there wasn’t much new information, I thoroughly enjoyed a class on the Ultima, Wizardry, and Might & Magic game series.

I got to meet authors Sarah Hoyt and Todd McCaffrey on a panel I moderated, which was kind of awesome.  I also made and renewed quite a few connections locally. I received lots of reminders of what I should be doing. Sometimes we need that. I also picked up a few old classic books and some new ones by new authors.

Anyway – it was exhausting, but good. Lots of fun.

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Bound for Life, The Universe, and Everything 2018!

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 9, 2018

This time next week, I’ll be at LTUE in Provo, Utah – “Life, the Universe, and Everything.” It’s a symposium for writers, artists, filmmakers, game designers, academics, and students all about science fiction and fantasy. The panels and discussions range from nuts-and-bolts craft and technique to specialty subjects like logistics of how you keep an army supplied and fed, or presentation of papers like “Dead Dad, Bad Dad, No Dad, Real Sad: Perpetuation of ‘Mother-Madonna, Father-Devil’ in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.”

I will be on three panels this time around. On Friday the 16th at Noon, I’ll be on a gaming panel on “Emergent Narrative.” I’ll definitely be approaching it from a video game perspective, but it’s bound to be a fun discussion on how you structure a game to interactively develop a story with the players (or encourage players to come up with their own narrative). FUN!   At 5:00 Friday evening, I’ll be on “The Future of Virtual Reality” which should be a very lively discussion about a technology near and dear to my heart, which I now get to play with professionally. 🙂  The following hour, I’ll be moderating the “SF/F – Were they ever the same?” panel. I’m really excited about this one. It will include Scott Tarbet, Sarah Hoyt, and Todd McCaffrey. I’m assuming the answer will not be an unqualified “no” from each of them, or it’ll be a really short panel.

Following that, there’ll be a mass book-signing which I’ll be participating in, along with a whole lot of others. It’ll be fun. Two years ago I participated and mainly signed copies of Sibyl’s Scriptorium. Last year I just bummed around and talked to other authors. My novel isn’t out yet, but I’ll have copies of at least StoryHack #1, Mirages & Speculations, and whatever other anthologies / magazines I can scrounge up.

During the rest of the symposium, I’ll be around: Usually in panels and classes, but also at the Xchyler / Local Utah Authors table in the dealer’s room, hanging with my daughter–artist Rowan North, or just talking to people in the halls. Come and say hi if you are there!

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The SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 7, 2018

Apparently, I’m just as much a sucker for awesome PR stunts as anybody else. I wasn’t paying too much attention beforehand to the Falcon Heavy launch by SpaceX. But I caught the tail end of the launch itself, and… wow. Just wow.

The Apollo-era launch pad. “Don’t Panic.” David Bowie. A sports car in orbit… now speeding off in an orbit around the sun that will not only get it to Mars (well, in the same orbital range as Mars), but actually out to the asteroid belt. And it will stay circling that sun in an orbit taking it from Earth to the belt for a billion years. I guess that’s one way to create a monument.

The only thing that was missing was them playing Riggs’ “Radar Rider” during live video feed while it was in orbit around the Earth. But then, that might be a pretty obscure reference for most people.

For me, the coolest part by far was the landing of the two side boosters. This was right out of a science fiction movie. My first impression was, “The CGI is too perfect here, it doesn’t look real.” Amazing stuff. This is the stuff I used to read about in science fiction novels as a kid, or watch in the cheesy old B-grade Sci-Fi films. And now it’s just going to be how it is done. So fricking awesome. Sure, it’s been awesome before, but seeing two of them doing it at the same time kind of blew my mind.

Seriously, I watched this part live, and I felt like I was a little kid again, watching the footage of the first Space Shuttle launch. My mouth was hanging open in awe. I didn’t realize that could actually happen, at least not to me. I thought that was more of an affectation used by actors. But apparently, it’s a thing that can happen. I now know this.

And the whole launch surprised me by how much it impacted me. Yes, a lot of it is Elon Musk and Space X deliberately pulling PR stunts to get people excited about space travel (and willing to put money into it). I guess I’m a sucker for it. I felt inspired. Hopeful. A friend of mine mentioned how happy she was that her social media feed was, for a change, filled with talk about rockets and space travel.

We turned a frickin’ Tesla Roadster into a space ship that will fly to Mars – and beyond.  We’re landing rockets tail-first on pillars of flame. This really is beyond cool.

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The CRPG Book Project – COMPLETE!

Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 6, 2018

Technically, I guess this counts as another release. 🙂  I’m really excited to read this one… at least what I haven’t read already.

The CRPG Book project is now complete.

Over 500 pages of retro-reviews of classic computer role-playing games, and essays about them. It took four years and a whole lotta people. Felipe Pepe kept at it, through a major relocation and changes in his own life, and the result looks pretty good. There may still be tweaks to fix typos and so forth, but this is otherwise the “final” version.

“The goal of this book is not only to gather, preserve and share the history of CRPGs, but also to help people find hidden gems or experience classic titles for the first time.” Games should be played, and even the older, difficult-to-play gems of yesteryear may be a lot of fun, though it might take a little bit of effort to get it to run and to allow yourself to enjoy something with clunkier graphics and interface. Not to mention, old-school designs. But if you have never enjoyed Ultima 7: The Black Gate, or the first “real” D&D CRPG, The Pool of Radiance and its sequels, dug into the original Fallout or Fallout 2, clashed lightsabers in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, charged forward to the cry of “Go for the eyes, Boo!” in the Baldur’s Gate series, or experienced some of the fantastic moments in any number of other RPGs… this book may help you learn what you are missing, and provide a gateway to some great, classic fun!

Contributors include game journalists, academics, game designers, writers,  bloggers, and many more. My own contributions include an essay (a cleaned-up blog post from a few years back, explaining how I don’t know what I’m talking about when I talk about “old school” RPGs), and a review of one of my favorite CRPG series… Ultima Underworld. It’s a tough one to play nowadays, because it offered a real “3D” first-person-perspective adventure at the same time as Wolfenstein 3D came out (with far more limited – but faster – 3D).

I’m also very pleased that the book contains a review of my game, Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon. I rated!

The best part about this book release? It is absolutely free.

Anyway, the book is out. It’s in PDF format. It’s free. Grab it if you haven’t already. If you are at all interested in computer role-playing games, you owe it to yourself to browse through and revisit some old favorites as well as discover some gems you may never have heard of. I consider myself something of an enthusiast, especially for older RPGs, yet there are a handful that were new to me in this tome. You can find it here:

The CRPG Book Project


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Blood Creek Witch – Cover Reveal!

Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 30, 2018

This is exciting news for me, personally, and I’m thrilled to finally share more details.

My upcoming novel, Blood Creek Witch, is scheduled for release on March 13th by Immortal Works Press. It’s a modern-day fantasy set (mostly) deep in the ancient Appalachian mountains of West Virginia. We’ll release more details soon, but here’s the cover:


I can’t wait for you to get the chance to read it!

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Cirsova 2018 Spring / Summer Mini-Subscription Pre-Order – Last Chance!

Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 29, 2018

Hey folks. I do not have a story in either of these issues, but Cirsova is a great magazine emphasizing “pulp style” heroic science fiction & fantasy short stories. Yeah, there are a few of these now… StoryHack, Astounding Frontiers, Broadswords & Blasters, and others… all with different takes on “pulp,” but each is collecting stories that emphasize entertainment, excitement, and adventure. I’m just thrilled to see these venues appear, and I want to see them succeed.

I’m familiar with several of these authors, and they write great stuff. Adrian Cole is an old-school SF veteran, and many of the others are fresh, up-and-coming authors with exciting new ideas. I look forward to reading these.

You only have a couple of days left to pre-order Cirsova #7 and 8. At $0.50 an issue if you go digital, it’s kind of a ridiculous offer, but they are doing that to expand their audience. Take advantage of it!


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Writing: Dealing with Rejection

Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 23, 2018

If you create anything, you are going to have to deal with people who don’t like what you create. At best, they are uninterested. In some cases, you’ll get some people who derive joy from trying to destroy what you created, and tear you down. Sadly, the only other option is never to share anything you’ve created with the public.  And that would be a shame.

While as indies, we may create directly for the public, which gives us more of an aggregate response. We may submit to competitions. We may submit to publishers. We may submit our work for reviews. And that comes with the possibility probability likelihood of rejection or negative feedback. And that HURTS. I read somewhere that one negative review has the same emotional weight as twenty positive reviews. That means you could receive thirty-five stellar reviews, but then read two negative reviews and decide that “everybody” hates your work, and not only start doubting your skill, but your own self-worth. Science fiction legend (and ultra-prolific writer) Isaac Asimov once said, “Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil-but there is no way around them.” It comes with the turf. It’s a tough gig out there, creating stuff.

I wish I remembered the source of the best pieces of advice I found about how to develop thick skin for rejection. It was probably some science fiction pulp writer (maybe even Asimov). It went something like this:

The best way to develop thick skin towards rejection of your manuscripts is to be so prolific that by the time you receive the rejection notice, you have trouble remembering exactly what they rejected.

I thought that was kind of crazy. At least in the world of short stories, I discovered by accident it was possible a little over a year ago. I had three or four stories out on submission at the time, so when I first got the email, I wasn’t sure which story it was talking about. That really did take the sting off. (Having an acceptance around the same time period probably helped, in spite of the 1:20 rule). Incidentally, I had to double-check to find out what story had been accepted, too. I was pretty busy that month.

It works. Keep going, keep pushing, keep submitting, and keep creating. It’s the only way.

I had a story that had been rejected around five times. It had been accepted for an anthology once, but the anthology had been canceled. I had received a personal message from the editor of another anthology who told me that my story was good and had made it all the way to the final round, but ultimately it didn’t fit in. I hadn’t resubmitted it in a while. I didn’t know what to do with it. I thought it was no good. That many rejections must means it’s not really that good, right? (Note – I thought this in spite of my knowing it had made a final round, and the acceptance that had later fallen through).

My good friend, award-winning author Julie Frost, helped me overcome this self doubt through her usual style of soft, gentle encouragement. Or not. Actually, I think she may have called me an idiot. She was right. She mocked me over the five rejections, and proceeded to tell me how many rejections some of her stories had received before being published. We’re talking over a couple dozen rejections. She was flabbergasted when I told her I had received the encouraging note from one editor, and that it had actually been accepted for an anthology that had fallen through.  She may have called me an idiot a second time at that point. And a piker. And something worse.

After she was done yelling at me, I dusted off the short-story, and did what I shouldn’t do and made some revisions to it–it was an older story, and I’ve improved since then. I “pulped it up” a bit. And I submitted it again. It was accepted, bought, and published. Yeah, it’s not quite Harry Potter (rejected twelve times… how would you like to have been an editor who passed on THAT?), but it’s a personal story and hopefully closer to home.

Rejection hurts, and it feels like a failure–even when the reasons for rejection may have nothing to do with the quality of your work. I think it gets easier over time, especially with that bit of advice about being prolific. However, I don’t think it ever gets easy. To quote Asimov again, “You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you are working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success–but only if you persist.”

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Recovery: Continued

Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 17, 2018

I’m somewhat amused by how I’ve gone from thinking “Hey, I’m feeling much better than I expected a day after surgery” to, “Hey, it’s been almost two weeks since the surgery! Why am I not fully recovered yet?” It’s annoying because while it was not that major of a surgery (these days…), it’s kind of dominated my lifestyle for the last two weeks. It doesn’t help that I have an paranoid imagination convinced that every time I sneeze or stretch my guts are going to burst out through ripped seams.

On the plus side, I’m at the stage where I’m supposed to be taking long walks. While the weather in Utah hasn’t been that bad so far this winter, I’m still turning it into Doctors Orders to hit the treadmill at the local gym. So hey, it’s forced me to start the year out with hitting the gym on a regular basis. I just have to keep that habit going once I’m allowed to lift weights again.

Then I came back to work and found us back in something of a crunch because of a new opportunity that’s opened up. The day job can be unrelenting sometimes. In addition, I’ve had some deadlines on the writing side I’ve been struggling to meet. Huzzah, I seem to have met them. My publisher is getting eARCs of my upcoming novel done right now to send out to advance readers, and I hope the cover reveal will be soon. I also finished a short story submission for StoryHack (deadline Saturday, so there’s still time!!!). As a reminder, issue #1 is still the most recent, and contains my story, “Retrieving Abe.”

So… yeah. My 2018 has pretty much bolted out of the gate with Stuff Happening. Not bad stuff… not always good stuff… just lots of stuff.

If nothing else, it won’t be a boring year.

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