The frustrations of writing fiction. Why is rejection still a part of my life?

train wreckHi, friends and readers:

I began writing fiction in 2004, a few years after I retired from practicing law. I had my first short story published in 2007 when I won an award at the writers’ conference. I had my second story published by a commercial press in 2008, and my first novel, Josef Jaeger, was published in 2009. Josef Jaeger won multiple awards; a copy is now on the shelves at the Library of Congress.

My second novel, Tyler Buckspan, was selected by the American Library Association for inclusion in its 2014 Rainbow List as recommended reading for young adult, LGBT readers. Tyler Buckspan is now on the shelves of many public libraries throughout the U.S. and Canada.

amazed #3My third novel, Becoming Andy Hunsinger has received excellent reviews. It was released in late December 2014.

So, one would think that by now my writing would be respected by publishers. After all, I’ve been at this for over ten years and I know how to write good quality fiction. But this morning I received a standard rejection e-mail from a publisher I submitted my latest novel to, back in April. This is a large book, over 140,000 words. And I think it’s a very good book. But I guess the publisher thought otherwise.

It’s days like this when I wonder whether I’m making a mistake by pursuing fiction writing as a second career. I mean, how much more do I have to do in order to earn respect from the publishing world?

As I guess you can tell, I’m feeling terribly frustrated right now, but I will persevere and I will have my book published elsewhere. Now, it’s back to the keyboard ….

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A beautiful footbridge; I’m convalescing ….

footbridgeHi, friends and readers:

I came across this photo not long ago and just looking at it inspired me. At this time of year it is so stinking hot and humid in Florida. How I’d love to spend a little time someplace where there are snow and evergreens and the air smells fresh.

I’ve been home from the hospital for about ten days now. My double knee replacement surgeries went about as well as they possibly could have, and now I am convalescing. This involves lots of rest along with a series of physical therapy exercises I must perform twice daily.

My surgery was performed May 11th. I had not been a hospital patient since I was twelve years old. (That was a while ago.) I can’t say my experience was pleasant, although the hospital staff did their best to be helpful and upbeat. The worst part was all the narcotics they pumped into me following surgery. For three days I didn’t know where I was, even.

Recovering from total knee replacement (TKR) surgery is a slow process. The surgery is very invasive, involving the sawing of bones and placement of implants in both knees. It has been three weeks since the surgery and I am still in a good deal of pain much of the day. I know in the end I will be a happier person when I am able to run, hike and otherwise be physically active without pain. I just have to get through this part of this process.

Wish me luck, friends.

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The beauty of old Berlin; I’m in the hospital ….

BerlinHi, friends and readers:

Between  the years 2005-2009, I spent four summers living in a apartment in the city’s center. I have lived in Kreuzberg, Wilmersdorf, Scoeneberg, and Wedding.

I love everything about  Berlin: the architecture, the many parks, the cultural offering, and most of all the city’s friendly resident who are welcoming. The carving in the photo above is a part of the facade in a school of fine arts  Isn’t it beautiful/

When I am living in Berlin, I to walk the streets of the city, just soaking up the ambiance. You can also find any sort of cuisine you want, from traditional German, to Turkish and Chinese. If you ever get a chance to visit Berlin, you simply should.

On another note, I an dd writing this post from a hospital bed in St. Petersburg, FL. Yesterday I underwent surgery to replace my old knees that were beat to a pulp from 40 years of distance running. Everything went smoothly, and I’ve already  begun the rehab process. I should be out the hospital tomorrow or Thursday, Much of the rehab activites I can do at home. Wish me luck, friends.

 

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An interesting drawing a reader sent me ….

scoutHi, friends and readers:

A few days ago I received a message via this website from a person who had recently read my historical novel, Josef Jaeger. The message was accompanied by the drawing to the left. The reader said:

“I enjoyed your novel very much, as I especially like historical fiction. I found Josef’s story fascinating. Will you write a sequel?”

“I purchased an 1955 French magazine called Scout at a Paris antiques shop many years ago, simply because I liked the cover art so much. I had it framed and the drawing hangs in my home office. When I read Josef Jaeger I was reminded of this drawing and I thought I would share it with you. I hope you like it.”

Well, I have sent my thanks for the drawing, and I do like it very much. I like its stylized quality; it’s not intended to be an exact likeness. But it’s a wonderful piece of art. I thought I should share it with all of you. I wonder if the young man who posed for the drawing is still alive today?

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Che Guevara, a Twentieth Century hero ….

che guevaraHi, friends and readers:

The man you see to the left is Che Guevara. Here’s a short bio from Wikipedia:

ErnestoCheGuevara (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtʃe ɣeˈβaɾa];[5] June 14,[1] 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia in popular culture.[6]

As a young medical student, Guevara traveled throughout South America and was radicalized by the poverty, hunger, and disease he witnessed.[7] His burgeoning desire to help overturn what he saw as the capitalist exploitation of Latin America by the United States prompted his involvement in Guatemala‘s social reforms under President Jacobo Árbenz, whose eventual CIA-assisted overthrow at the behest of the United Fruit Company solidified Guevara’s political ideology.[7] Later, in Mexico City, he met Raúl and Fidel Castro, joined their 26th of July Movement, and sailed to Cuba aboard the yacht, Granma, with the intention of overthrowing U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.[8] Guevara soon rose to prominence among the insurgents, was promoted to second-in-command, and played a pivotal role in the victorious two-year guerrilla campaign that deposed the Batista regime.[9]

Okay, I am not a Marxist. And I don’t agree with everything the Castro regime has done since it deposed Batista, but I admire Che Guevara very much. He came from an upper-middle class family. He was a medical student, and could have chosen a very comfortable life in Argentina. Instead he fought for the rights of the working class and the poor, at great sacrifice to himself.

If you have never seen the film The Motorcycle Diaries then you should. It’s all about Che’s social and political awakening, plus it’s a great movie. You can check it out here:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0318462/

 

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“Josef Jaeger” is in the Library of Congress. Really?

Josef Jaeger final cover art #2Hi, friends and readers:

I just received word my Young Adult novel, Josef Jaeger, is now on the shelves at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. It’s also at the libraries at University of Virginia and University of Southern Mississippi. I’m not kidding.

This blows me away; it really does. I’m not sure who is on the acquisitions committee at the LOC, but I never dreamed they’d pick Josef Jaeger for inclusion in their collection.

Okay, I am noticing a trend regarding both Josef Jaeger and Tyler Buckspan. Public libraries all over the country are picking up my books. So I guess public librarians have decided they need to acquire books that appeal to LGBTQ YA readers. And I say it’s about damned time. When I was in high school they never had books with GLBTQ main characters, but they should have.

Anway, here’s the link where you can see the listing for Josef Jaeger on the LOC’s collection:

http://catalog.loc.gov/vwebv/search?searchCode=STNO&searchType=1&recCount=25&searchArg=9781603706858

Pretty amazing, eh?

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The beauty of Chassahowitzka Wildife Refuge and the joy of old friendships ….

Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition: Everglades Headwaters to Gulf Islands #Glades2Gulf ?Expedition Day 10 - Rest Day 2. ?"The Swamp" owned by Pat & Marly McMillan ?This mission of the Florida Wildlife Corridor is to protect a functional ecological corridor throughout Florida for the health of people, wildlife and watersheds. Learn more at FloridaWildlifeCorridor.org.   Photo by Carlton Ward Jr / CarltonWard.com As Florida?s human population has expanded, conservation lands have become increasingly isolated from one another, causing problems for numerous species of wildlife. The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition shows that a statewide wildlife corridor is still possible and important for the future of people and wildlife.  The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition team includes executive director Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, conservation photographer and project founder Carlton Ward Jr. and biologist Joe Guthrie whose Central Florida black bear research was the inspiration for the campaign. Beginning January 10, 2015, the team embarked on 925-mile trek to highlight a wildlife corridor from Central Florida to the Gulf Coast, through the Big Bend, and across the Panhandle all the way to Alabama.  The original Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition was a 1000-mile trek through peninsular Florida, from the Everglades on South Florida to the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia.Hi, friends and readers:

Every year at this time, on the second weekend in April, seven friends and I gather for a long weekend in the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Refuge on Florida’s Gulf coast, about 75 miles north of Tampa. One of my friends owns a private island in the refuge, passed down from his grandfather. It’s located in a very remote area; you must travel six miles by boat to get there, and it’s beautiful. This past weekend, I spent four days up there with my friends, most of whom I have known since grade school. We drink beer, cook great food, and fish from boats. It’s a great way to get in touch with nature and to stay in touch with my oldest friends.

The photo I’ve posted here depicts one of many creeks that flow through the Refuge. The place is beautiful and unspoiled, a part of Florida most tourists never see. As always, I had a wonderful time, even though I collected a dozen bug bites and my nose is sunburned. Those are a small price to pay to spend four days in paradise.

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Nice book review on “Becoming Andy Hunsinger” ….

happinessHi, friends and readers:

I just learned of a very complimentary book review of my new novel Becoming Andy Hunsinger appearing the Boys on the Brink book review site. Here’s wait the reviewer had to say about my book:

“This was my first foray into the work of Jere’ M. Fishback, but I’m sure it won’t be my last. What a compelling read this turned out to be, part coming-of-age tale, part romance. I also completely fell in love with the protagonist. Despite his flaws, his tendency to sleep around and give his heart away too easily, Andy won me over from the outset. He stands up for his ideals with a strength even he didn’t realize he possessed, and this, coupled with a genuine kindness, had me rooting for him to find the happiness he deserved.

“In Florida, 1975, homosexuality is frowned upon both by the law and society in general. College student Andy Hunsinger, therefore, has no desire to announce his sexuality to the world. He has so far kept it from his family and friends, fearful of earning their disappointment, or worse, their disgust. This all changes when Anita Bryant brings her homophobic “Save Our Children” campaign to Tallahassee. Talked into joining a demonstration along with some fellow LGBT students, Andy gives an interview to a television reporter, outing himself in the most public manner possible.

“With his secret out in the open, Andy discovers the freedom that comes from being true to himself and his sexuality. Of course, there are some who condemn his lifestyle, but he encounters just as many who are willing to embrace it, who admire him for his courage. For all Andy’s comfort in his own skin, however, the one thing he longs for most remains elusive. Love. After a string of hookups, he finds himself falling hard for his close friend Travis. Yet, with Travis struggling to reconcile being gay with his religious beliefs, Andy could be destined for more heartache.

Becoming Andy Hunsinger is an unusual book, one of the quirkiest I’ve picked up in a while. The plot has a fluidity about it, with no definite structure, no big climax at the end. Surprisingly though, this makes it no less captivating. In fact, the meandering style of the narrative, the way one event flows into the next, is reminiscent of real life, so that the story read as much like an autobiography as a fictional account, and I was entranced from start to finish.”

Well ….

It’s always nice for a writer to see his work appreciated by readers, and I couldn’t resist sharing this review with all of you.

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The beauty of the Ocala National Forest ….

Lake GeorgeHi, friends and readers:

This past Saturday I loaded up my Honda Element, and then I drove northward to a friend’s home, about fifteen miles east of Ocala, and very close to the Ocala National Forest, a huge federal park with many hiking trails and natural attractions. Sunday afternoon, we hiked three trails in the park, and my favorite was definitely the Lake George Trail at the Silver Glen Springs recreation area. There’s a beautiful spring near the trail head, and then you walk eastward under towering live oaks draped in Spanish moss and long leaf pines that have to be two hundred years old.

Lake George is Florida’s second largest lake; it’s five miles wide and eighteen miles long. I’ve posted a photo of the lake taken at the end of the trail, so you’ll have some idea of what we saw yesterday. If you ever get a chance, visit this place. And you can swim in the spring, too. It’s wonderful.

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St. Patrick’s Day sale at Torquere/Prizm Books: 40% off ….

skateboarderHi, friends and readers:

If you’ve been thinking about buying one my books published by Prizm Books, then today is a good day to buy one. For today only, you can get 40% off the usual retail price for Josef Jaeger, Tyler Buckspan, and Becoming Andy Hunsinger, The coupon code is: Lucky2015. Go ahead, it’s always nice to have a new book to read while you’re lying on the beach during Spring Break.

Happy reading, everyone.

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