Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A #Retrospective on #Blogging, Or Why All These #Literary #Rejections Are Important

Something occurred to me this morning: totes random, for sure, but still worth sharing. For years on this blog, smart alecks from all corner of the InterWebs told me that I should stop blogging (read: complaining, moaning, bitching, and whining) and get back to writing my opus. The sentiment behind the dig was: "Why do you spend ALL this time blogging when you COULD BE writing."  I consistently rebuffed the implied insult by saying, "I spend plenty of time writing, thank you." And in truth, I am always writing to deadline for my paid consulting gig as a medical writer, and in my spare time I am always writing as fast as I can on my own creative projects. How else would I have a published a book of short stories (okay, granted: when I was a mere child of 28) and then a published novel (okay, so I'm slow: nearly twenty years later when I was 47) not to mention the collection of linked stories coming out in the fall?  I barely even dare to mention the unpublished book of essays no one wants, the nonfiction travel book at a silent retreat and spiritual journey that I can't get any traction on, and the book about being disinherited that is kicking my ass: I'm on version 5 and I STILL don't like it (That's right: version five; tone is everything in this book, and I'm getting closer, I think.) So, yeah, I write plenty. I happen to be fast at it, even though the publishing has come slowly.  And also, here's something I learned recently, all those years of so-called "wasted blogging hours" (that someone was always pointing out to shame me) WERE contributing absolutely to the ultimate success of my so-called literary career. I mean, people LOVE a literary genius (if you happen to be one, which I am not) but they don't come looking for you, and they surely don't let you sit around and be brilliant without dusting off the old dog-and-pony show and taking it on the road virtually and IRL.  So, in essence, though maybe the whole enterprise is pretty insignificant in the world of the written word, I don't regret a single minute I spent on this blog. Especially because--this is important--it is hard to find community and comfort and consolation as a writer, or just a regular person, in this culture. And I found that here with all the patchy, scratchy, and sometimes illustrious mice who came around to complain or boast or start a fire.  I really needed you guys on my darkest days, and on most of my light days, too. So, thanks, you all, for being part of LROD. Even the trolls who used to drive me crazy and don't come around any more.  I miss the days when blogs were relevant, and maybe they still are. Surely, I still come around to write a word or two here, even if you can find literary rejections and iterations of this dumb idea all over the floor of the Internet. I guess, you could say my work here is done in the initial sense of pulling publishing out of the closet and into the light a bit.  Or whatever the hell this is.  That's all for now.  Keep writing and plugging away and sending your work out and believing in yourself (even when you don't...and especially then) because before long you will look back and see that it amounted to something very important: your life. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Little #Book #Trailer, #Anyone?

Wait...why does it look so sucky when I use the blogger video feature?  You can see what it really looks like here.


Someone told me no one does them anymore and no one watches them. Guess I'm always 10 minutes behind the literary fashion.  Typical.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Hundreds of #Literary #Rejections Later, Yet All Is Not Lost #Pretend I'm Your Friend

How far we've come from the days when the stories in my ill-fated (until now) collection were roundly rejected by everyone in publishing town!  Remember?  Do your mammalian minds reach back as far as 2007? I sent those stories out individually, and as a collection, and then as two collections, and still nobody wanted them.
"Publish a novel," they said. "Then someone might care about your collection."
"But these stories are special," I said. "They're linked!"
"Who cares about rejection?"
It didn't matter, though, because those were the days of rejections, so many of them, adding up to years. Now I can look back at them fondly because they are in the past. At the time, though, as you know, I wailed and lgnashed my teeth and pulled my hair.

Finally I published the novel in 2014. And, guess what, mice: they were right! As you can see above I now have advanced reading copies of the linked story collection, which my publisher calls "entwined."

The advanced reading copies arrived on Saturday to my front porch. I took the above picture as proof that there can be a pay-off to hanging in there and being persistent.  Like a cockroach, a literary cockroach.

There are worse things. Never say die, right?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Little Advanced Praise? #PretendI'mYourFriend @elizmccracken

It may be true that I've lost my LROD edge due to the very act of having to promote another book, as I've been so accused just this morning, but here I am again.  Call me soft, but this blurb from my all-time favorite story writer, made me cry big cartoony tear drops:
"There are, I suppose, stories full of brilliance, hilarity, and longing—the stories in MB Caschetta's terrific Pretend You're My Friend are full of all these things—but I can't remember when I've read a collection so full of life. Actual life: the bad jokes, the astounding velocity, the sweetness and darkness. You will love the characters here the way you love your own family: complicatedly, with tenderness, understanding, and consternation. The only difference may be how willing—and eager—you are to introduce them to friends. Good heavens, this book is good." --Elizabeth McCracken
Elizabeth McCracken!!! Dang, Mice. That doesn't happen every lifetime now, does it?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Originality & Impact: When Other #Blogs Rip You Off Without Knowing It #thievingblogs

You know you are a Sarah-Palin-style maverick when everyone blogs your content without giving you any credit. This is particularly amusing because the same originality is what makes it impossible (nearly) to get published these days. You anonymice all remember back in the day (2007) when we started this blog, yes? No one thought it was a good idea to post, let alone discuss, rejection letters. They called us names; they sent threatening legal notices; they wanted to shut us down. It was unseemly for an artist to air her dirty laundry.  Now, not so much any more.  It is fun, expected, and entertaining--almost everywhere you look.  I suppose that is progress....or something.

Check out all of these:

Huffington Post
Mental Floss
Click Hole
Flavor Wire
The Atlantic
Thought Catalog
Business Insider
Buzz Feed
The New Yorker
Go Think Big
Open Culture

Plus, so many, many more....

I don't even really blame these dudes for not giving credit where credit is originally due. Who can go back that far when everything is an iteration of an iteration of an iteration of an iteration? There's a huge hunger for content on the World Wide Web, so much so that it's just like manufacturing cheeseburgers. People like to know exactly what they're getting, something they know pretty well already.  

Friday, January 22, 2016

From me, A New Book Out This Fall 2016 #PretendI'mYourFriend, #Fiction, #Shortstories, #EngineBooks

Remember all my moaning and groaning about not being able to get my second short-story collection published? Remember how everyone in the publishing world said, "Write a novel first. No one cares about a second collection unless you've written a novel"?  Well, guess what, Mice? Those bastards were right! Coming this fall to a book store near you is my second collection of short stories entitled PRETEND I'M YOUR FRIEND.  Yes, sirree.  I wrote and published those suckers individually when I was a mere third-gendered lad/lass of 30, for the entire decade of the illustrious 1990s. (Some even won some fiction prizes, and all ended up in sweet literary journals...good ones).  Alas, I am now a lot older than I was in my 30s, so when I go back to edit the stories (which are linked by character cycles), I am rather surprised at what my mind was like back then. Mostly it was filled with sex. The stories are very obsessed with the topic, but I guess that makes sense on certain biological and social levels. Well, so, hold onto your hats for a new book from me this coming fall.  By the way, it is also fantastic to have this book come out at long last. The stories are pretty good.  Also, mice, it is the same publisher who put out my novel, Engine Books.  So I am a lucky, lucky literary ducky. What do you think of the awesome, retro cover design? I'm kind of excited, myself

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Pay-To-Enter #Literary #Book #Prizes: What's Your Beef, Bro?

It's always cool to win a prize, especially when its a book prize. The USA Best Book Awards are mainly for independent books, though I noticed some of the winners this year were from mainstream publishing houses, which is to say, maybe everyone with any kind of cash leftover in the promotional budget enters into what some people like to call "vanity award" contests. It's not an inexpensive proposal: $199.00 to enter a book in a specific category. Still, someone, or some panel, reads the books and picks a winner, so it's not entirely vanity.  ( I mean, if I paid and automatically became a winner, or if I picked my book as a winner, that would be vanity.) So, criticize all you want. I'm never going to win a National Book Award. So I am delighted that Miracle Girls won a USA Best Book Award. And I'm especially happy that it won in the Literary Fiction category. That just makes me happy. What can I say?