So you can read my books

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


In other words, have your windows ever refused to open?  Microsoft Windows that is?

That's the fate I have been flailing against these past days!  Thank you, D.G. Hudson, for being the only one to inquire if all was well with me.

It is. 

My computer is just one of the living dead.

My Jedi Cyber-Knight and co-worker, Nicholas Savant, has pulled it from its cyber grave ... but it still grumbles.

He will have to work on it more over the next few days.

HARPERCOLLINS VOYAGER editors are sending out their ocean of rejections:

Thank you very much for providing us with the chance to read your novel. We are sorry to say that at this time we don’t feel it is right for the Harper Voyager list.

Due to the volume of submissions we were fortunate enough to receive, we are unable to provide personal feedback, however, please be assured that your work received thorough and fair consideration.

We wish you the best of luck with your writing career, and thank you again for thinking of us.

If like me, you have received such a rejection, pause and reflect, before caving in to dejection from the rejection and giving up hope of ever becoming a writer.

We must fight not to surrender to the mind-set Shakespeare himself wrote of: "having our art tongue-tied by authority."

Self-doubt will hobble our prose.  We must, like Bruce Wayne in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, cast off the comforting rope of playing it safe.  We must leap into the dark unknown with each sentence if we are to craft the best novel of which we are capable.

We may never be published, but if we do not doubt ourselves, we will produce the best of which we are capable.

Now, to those


I. Heartbeat One -

   Understand the nature of your prose challenge -

       a.) We write to entertain and hence be published.

       b.) The publisher's reader reads solely to get through the pile of slush as quickly as she can.

    The reader is eager to find the first reason to dismiss the manuscript in hand so as to get to the next hundred or so.

       a.) The reader is the lowest rung in the ladder.

       b.) The reader aims to be an editor herself - hence she will not lightly recommend a manuscript only to ruin her chances of advancing.

II. Heartbeat Two -

    Understand you have five heartbeats to impress.

       a.) Not making grammatical mistakes is not impressing.

       b.) Writing a re-hash of what is popular is not impressing.

    If within those 5 Heartbeats, you have not WOWED the reader sufficently to over-ride her

    inertia and reluctance to irritate her superior, she will toss your manuscript into the reject pile.

III. Heartbeat Three -

     The reader doesn't want to be entertained, and she is not reading for entertainment.

        a.) She is looking for that DA VINCI CODE break-through book that will be her ticket out of
              slush pile Hell.

        b.) She is looking at your prose through the filter of you being an unknown.

        c.) SIDE-JOBS by Jim Butcher is a collection of his short stories.

                 Download the free sample chapter and see.

               1.) The first story was written while he was still in college and quickly rejected.

               2.) It is just as enjoyable as those that follow, starring Henry Dreden even.

               3.) He was not famous.  The other stories were solicited from him due to his fame.

IV. Heartbeat Four -

     HERO is an adverb and PLOT is a verb.

       a.) You're not Stephen King, the first sentence must rivet the reader:
                        "He was born with the gift of laughter and the knowledge that the world is mad."

                        "The worst thing about suicide is when you open your eyes and realize you didn't understand death any better than you did life."

       b.) You paint in broad, stirring strokes a picture so evocative the reader just has to get a 
             closer look.

       c.) You give a glimpse of the world right before it explodes for your hero in an inciting incident.

       d.)  You make the reader root for your hero by making him/her relatable.

V. Heartbeat Five -

     Great Prose is a STRIPTEASE -

       a.) Suspense wins attention -

       b.) Suspense is made up of a crucial question and the delay in answering that question.

       c.) Great strippers all have mystique and confidence and the art to intrique the imagination.

       d.) They veer away from the spotlight at times
                      as imagination is sparked by teasing, fliriting, and delay.

       e.) At the heart of a great striptease looms the big question:
                       What is going to happen next?

     You make the reader ask that question by flipping her weary, jaded expectations on their ear.

        a.) The usual ending is your beginning.

        b.) You start with what happens to a suicide AFTER the person dies.

     You want to see how it is done?

        a.) Go to Amazon and download the free sample to Dean Koontz's THE GOOD GUY.

        b.) Trust me.  You will BUY the book to see what happens next.



  1. I'm so sorry to hear that your computer is having issues! I feel for you, I know how horrible that is first hand. I once had a computer crash and lose an entire novel. That wasn't backed up. Lesson learned on my part. Ugh! Hmm, rejection time, double ugh. I'm sorry. They truly don't know what they're missing with you!

  2. Heather:
    Or care what they are missing.

    Thanks for the kind words. It helps. I am going to send what I have written of LOVE IN THE TIME OF THE UNDEAD to my Kindle ... if I can just remember how!@ LOL!

    I hate that you lost an ENTIRE novel! Ouch! Great sales for you this New Year!

  3. Rejections can hurt. So can a broken computer.

    I've been meaning to mention this; but I get a "malicious software blocked" message every time I load up your site. Don't know if its you or me. Could be a part of your computer problems.

    Hope you get your windows back soon.


  4. That is the coolest image ever!

    Hope you get your computer problems solved soon.

  5. You were on my list to email this morning as I'd noticed your absence! (Sorry, was having technology issues myself yesterday. Won't try to explain, but a lack of brain power was involved.)
    Really sorry about Harper Collins. Do NOT let it stop you!

  6. Donna:
    Yes, rejections smart some but they are part of a writer's life. I've asked Nicholas to look into your malicious flagging for me when he resumes operating on my poor computer.

    Donna Hodsie:
    Isn't that image neat? I cannot wait to get my computer up to full speed once again!!

    I hate that you were having tech problems as well. Thanks for the words about HaperCollins. I have come to believe that I am destined to write just for my own amusement. There are worse fates. :-)

  7. sorry about the butt of technology getting you... you know i was coming for the avengers group... it was your fly to the spider.

    may the rest of the day... get better!

  8. Great post, especially after hearing from Harper Voyager. I agree - they're the ones losing out.

    Re-the computer - Blogger wouldn't let me load any more pix from my computer, I had to install Picasa or I cannot add from my own stock of pix. After I did this, I had trouble booting up and still have connecting. I didn't see any notice of this by Blogger, but I'm getting annoyed with Blogger, too. (The only message I've received when opening your site is whether I want to stop a long running script.)

    'Skynet' is starting to bug me.
    Good luck with the computer, Roland. It's good I had your email to check and make sure none of the undead in your books had gotten to you!

  9. Rejection and Windows malfunction at the same time? Life is ganging up on you. Totally unfair.

    Enjoyed your post.

  10. Hey, Roland,

    I just thought you were on one of you eight day deals!

    Computer problems suck big time! I hope you are up and running perfectly soon.

    Rejections, unfortunately are part of our REAL world. We get to lose ourselves in our imaginations, but sadly we can't publish that way.

    I am building up the stone walls for my round. I sent out six queries this week. Ready, aim, FIRE!

  11. Rejections suck, and an unfortunate part of this whirlwind business. But you mustn't let it drag you down.

    Now, as for your computer problems, I really feel your pain. Three years ago lightening struck near our home, frying our computer hard drive, a/c unit and fridge. It was a freakish thing, and I'm not even sure I believe it's what caused everything to crash. HP couldn't recover anything. It was all gone.

    Keep your chin up and your fingers tapping, Roland. :)

  12. Thump...thump...thump, went the heart. Seems that everyone is facing these issues these days....Sometimes I just feel like staying under the covers. Then I laugh and figure, how boring whould that be? My thoughts are with you my friend.