Picking up the Ghost5_FINAL_(Feb-23-2011)

Illustration by Mara Sternberg
Design by Erik Mohr

Color me happy.
One step closer to being material.

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External Proof

In the top half of the last paragraph.

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Getting Published.

Picking Up the Ghost has been picked up by ChiZine Publications!
The paperwork’s in the works. Oh man, it’s a relief to know that I didn’t waste all that time writing it.
ChiZine is Canadian but I prefer to think of them as outdoorsy. I discovered them on an IO9 post, Independent Publishers Who Are Reinventing The Future, and was impressed by their eclectic line up, diverse formats and cover designs. Most of their books push the boundaries of sub-genera conventions, which is a trait I aspire to. Publishing in trade paperback, limited edition hardcover and eBook formats with beautiful covers by Eric Mohr, people really do judge books by their covers and I judge publisher by their graphic design.
Currently, I’m working with the editor, Helen Marshall, to iron out the weak points. Being so visually minded when I was trying to break into comics has become a liability. Sometimes I write narrative as if an artist was coming along to fill in the gaps or work intricate, but trivial, references into the details.
I’ll be rewriting for the next few weeks then in Helen’s hands until the release in the Fall of 2011. Fortunately, World Fantasy 2011 will be in San Diego just as Picking Up the Ghost is about to hit the shelves. In the meantime I plan on writing some short stories for a variety of markets, flooding the world under a tsunami of Tone.
Get your snorkels.

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I write like
Margaret Atwood

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

I gave it all of Picking Up the Ghost to process. I’m not sure this will make me finally read The Blind Assassin or avoid it forever.

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Ah well.

From the 2009 San Diego Book Awards

But I did walk away with two marked up manuscripts and I’m sure they spotted plenty of typos for me to fix and feedback for me to consider. One point that really surprised me, all three judges felt that for a young adult manuscript Picking Up the Ghost was long with too many characters.

Really? Because when I was in 5th grade I read all 700+ pages of The Chronicles of Narnia, with at least twice as many characters, eight times as many protagonists and whole mythical nations for settings and I know I’m not the only one raced though it in less than two weeks and loved every moment.

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External Validation

Picking Up the Ghost is a finalist in the San Diego Book Awards for Unpublished Young Adult Novel and I didn’t have to sleep with anyone this time. I just finished printing and proofing three copies of the 441 page manuscript. Counting 1323 pages was easier than I thought. And I learned something about MS Word; if you’re going to print a large document wait until the entire file is loaded into memory before giving the order to print. Trust me on this.

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Neil Gaiman’s in China which is weird to me. Because just about everything he’s written has had a ghost or spirit in it and as I understand it ghosts aren’t allowed in books or movies by the Communist government (which gave up on actual communism years ago) .

Why? Because they’ve been trying to suppress the Chinese superstition of ancestor worship and it’s easier to say “no ghosts across the board” than get into the ghost’s family tree.

This is been one of my success/power fantasies for the last couple of years; that Picking Up the Ghost is successful enough for my to afford to have it translated into a Mandarin ebook which I would distribute freely inside China.

I have politically charged fantasies.

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Sigh…

The inside poop that’s got me down: sub-genre saturation. Picking Up the Ghost started as a manifesto that started as a list of things I didn’t like about Harry Potter. But inverted or not it’s too close to it’s inspiration. “…it’s the misfit teenager who is secretly communicating with a ghost … I’ve seen it all and I’m seeing it often.” Ouch.

Well I’ll keep pushing it as long as I can but I’m also resigning that I might have to get my second novel published before I can get an agent to take a real look at my first. In the meantime I’m going to try writing short fiction pieces. Experiment with forms of speculative fiction. Maybe I’ll get lucky and grab the attention of an agent. I’ve been fleshing out some ideas I had for Alejandro’s Ocean, the time travel game of Lexicon that petered out. And I might try to convert the first issue of Seize Him! into prose.

When life gives you discouraging inside poop, make poop juice.

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Moving off of LiveJournal and onto tonemilazzo has made me more careful. Not only am I self-censoring for banality but also for criminality.

For Example, if I had downloaded and watched a certain mutant movie and I found it to be 120 minutes of nonsense. That it played out like someone had read 100 comics about this unspecified character and then wrote down everything they could remember as fast as they could, a steaming pile of crap that I’m glad I didn’t pay hypothetical money to see… Well I’m just glad that I didn’t do that.

In book news, there’s been some promising steps forward but it’d be gauche to put any details in print. Let’s just say that my query letter works.

So there you have it, I didn’t see a horrible movie and I sent letter. I’ll try to get beat-up by cops in the near future so I have something more interesting to blog about.

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The Final Stretch

The Guild of Literary Intent liked the new first chapter of Picking Up the Ghost so I just have a little work to do on the novel itself, finish the summery (currently 15 pages, it should be 10) and write a query letter and I’ll be ready to send it off to publishers and agents.

I really shouldn’t kid myself, there will be at least one more rewrite for the publisher and maybe one for the agent but for now let me sit back and dream.

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