“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
~~ Ernest Hemingway
I worried for a bit about this one. I didn’t want to make my blog a commercial endeavor. But darnit! I am so grateful for my new book, and for lots of reasons.
First, I’m grateful that I have the gift of writing! Storytellers have been revered since cavemen sat around a fire. Those tales entertained and taught lessons and tried to make sense of the world and why it worked–why the sun rose, why the earth trembled, why the sky flashed with lightning and rumbled with thunder. They even tried to explain the nature of “god.”
Storytellers have never lost their importance. From Aesop’s fables to the stories of gods and goddesses to Shakespeare to glittery vampires. Stories are important. And I’m a part of that wonderful magick!
And I’m so grateful that I have these stories within me to tell!
“Do you ever wonder if you’ll run out of ideas?” people ask me.
Ha! It’s the last thing I worry about! I have so many ideas, so many characters begging me to tell their stories. I’m fine on that account!
And I am so blessed to have readers. People genially interested in my stories, my books, my novels. I’m living a dream. And yes, it doesn’t hurt to get paid for doing what I love to do. Who doesn’t want a job that doesn’t seem like a job? It is certainly work, but work that is so rewarding on so many levels. Work that I love. And thankfully, there are publishers that want my stories. And if my tales weren’t selling, they wouldn’t keep buying!
And of course there is Dreamspinner Press, that I have already talked about (and probably will again). They believe in me. My new book is proof of that!
Because I goofed. I goofed big time. I got lazy. I did something…ah…so not good. I didn’t pay attention to the guidelines on a Call for Submissions.
Every year DSP publishes an “Advent Calendar.” 30/31 stories released one a day through the month of December. There is always a theme, but it is easy (for me at least) to write almost anything I want and it “fits” into that theme. I love love love writing holiday stories and people like them. I believe in magick, I believe in holiday magick, and that pours out of my stories. They make people feel good.
Now the lazy part…. I didn’t pay attention to DSP’s guidelines last year. OMGosh! They wanted holiday stories from around the world. I didn’t notice!
I get this email back with this sort of *cough*cough* — Ah, Ben…. Ah… This story isn’t set in another country. We would consider publishing it if you could move it to another country.
OMGosh! What had I done? I knew better! I can’t tell you the frustration I suffered last year when editing my first anthology, A Taste of Honey, all about bears. I got close to a hundred submissions and dozens of them weren’t about bears! I would read a long story thinking, Okay… Where is the bear? And then the bear would never show up! One story even had a character say, “I’m a bear!” But he wasn’t! He was smooth and big and muscular (yes, I know there are muscle bears), but the only thing “bearish” about him was a bear tattoo. Well, a tat does not a bear make (it was a pretty darned good story though).
“Just wait until you get your first heterosexual love story,” several editors said, commiserating with me,
So how could I turn around and do the same thing??
I briefly considered “fixing” it and trying to re-tell my story so that it took place someplace else. A Canadian friend and one from England–both amazing writers–offered to help. The problem? My story couldn’t be set more in the United States, and Kansas City in particular. The famous J. C. Nichols Country Club Plaza and the Kaufman Center for Performing Arts play a significant role in the story of my rent boy named Leslie “Red” Parks and his client Kirk Toliver. There was just no way. It wasn’t the work involved. It was the locations were very important to the atmosphere of my book!
The thing is? They loved the story so much they bought it anyway and released it as a New Year’s tale, which is just what it is. It is amazing to have that kind of belief behind me and supporting me.
So yes, darnit! I am grateful that I have a new book out today! Grateful beyond words!
And grateful to know that I can keep telling my stories, and publishers and readers will be interested in my words.
Thank you all!