It is my pleasure to share a guest post by author Jack Hillman, who shares...
ELF: What was the most difficult thing to overcome on your path to becoming a published author and how did you conquer it?
JH: It has been my experience that the hardest thing to deal with as a writer, especially as you start out, is rejection.
Most people, by the time they reach an age when they choose to write for publication, have lived a life full of accomplishments. Maybe not huge accomplishments but still most of the time they achieve their goals and keep on going.
They write that first piece and maybe get it accepted and then keep moving on. In the not too distant future they will receive a rejection. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good writers. Any editor will tell you, the reasons they don’t accept a piece are myriad. Anything from they just accepted a piece too similar to what you wrote, to maybe it doesn’t quite fit the theme they’re trying to bring out in their magazine or anthology, to maybe the editor got up on the wrong side of the city that morning and is feeling less than accepting of your typo’s. It could be anything and it’s usually not your writing that is the reason.
So how do you deal with it?
I guess I had an advantage starting out as a writer. Failure was a big part of my life growing up. I’m handicapped and if there’s one thing handicapped people understand it’s not being able to do something they want to do. So what do you do? You have several choices. You can quit, which doesn’t get you anywhere in life, or anywhere else for that matter. Or you can try again, with different parameters.
In the immortal words of James Tiberius Kirk: I don’t like to lose. So I adapted the rules.
Writers are much the same. You can keep trying, making appropriate changes as you go along, or you can crawl in a hole and just write for yourself. The key for most writers is persistence.
Myamoto Musashi once said: From one thing learn a thousand things. Writers can accomplish this as well if they just keep trying. Few authors publish their first story or their first book. The more you write the more you learn, the better you get. Highway Discards, in the Running Wild Anthology, is my Fifty-sixth short fiction sale in my professional career.
Persistence may not get you everything. But it will get you improvement, and eventually sales. Hang in there and keep on swinging.
Jack Hillman is a journalist, playwright and a medical underwriter. His fiction has been published in Brutarian, Abyss & Apex, Sorcerous Signals, Amazon Shorts, GateWay SF Magazine, Jackhammer, Aberrations, Eternity Online, Starblade, Nuketown, and the Ruins Extraterrestrial anthology. His young adult fantasy trilogy, beginning with There Are Giants In This Valley, was released beginning in April 2012. His newest book- Magic Forgotten is scheduled for release by Running Wild Press in Fall, 2017.
On the non-fiction side, Jack has served as a stringer on local newspapers- winning a Keystone Press Award for his investigative reporting- and has worked on a wire service covering the insurance industry as well as serving as a contributing editor to a life underwriting journal for eleven years. He has worked in the insurance industry for over thirty years and has a wide medical background due to his position as a medical underwriter. In addition, Jack is an avid martial artist, a collector of edged weapons and a confirmed bibliophile.
By Various Authors: Sarah Smith Ducksworth, Elaine Crauder, Luanne Smith, Keith R. Fentonmiller, Lisa Montagne, Ann Stolinsky, A.J. O’Connell, Aimee LaBrie, Kristan Campbell, Jack Hillman, Bill Scruggs, Joshua Hedges and Gary Zenker
GENRE: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry (narrative)
This gripping collection of stories - fiction, nonfiction, and narrative poem - will make your imagination run wild! Featuring stories by Sarah Smith Ducksworth, Elaine Crauder, Luanne Smith, Keith R. Fentonmiller, Lisa Montagne, Ann Stolinsky, A.J. O’Connell, Aimee LaBrie, Kristan Campbell, Jack Hillman, Bill Scruggs, Joshua Hedges, Gary Zenker. You will travel alternative planets, run away away like teens in search of adventure, solve a murderous mystery, come to grips with your fears, and much more.
“She was right there when I turned from the garlic bin. I gagged on my half-chewed Tums and choked down the chalky shards. A leather headband restrained her mane of jet-black hair, while her spaghetti strap dress exposed so much neck and shoulder I thought I was back home on Brighton Beach. What really razzed my berries was her scent. Roses. Not just one rose or a bouquet, but thousands, millions! Every rose that had ever grown or would be grown. The entire essence of roses condensed into a single whiff. It transported me back to Ebbets Field, 1941. I was ten at the time and couldn’t tear my eyes from this girl selling peanuts, as though she had a magnet behind her face and my eyeballs had turned to iron. First, I smelled roses. Then, her denim overalls brushed my naked knee. “Nuts?” she’d asked. I was struck dumb. I gazed into her leather headband and sniffed like a hypnotized moron with a runny nose. “Did you hear me?” asked the woman, yanking me back to 1957.”
From Keith Fentonmiller’s “Exodus”
From Keith Fentonmiller’s “Exodus”
THE E-BOOK IS $0.99 DURING THE TOUR
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Elaine Crauder’s fiction is also in Cooweescoowee, The Boston Literary Magazine, The Eastern Iowa Review , and Penumbra. Another story received the Westmoreland Short Story Award. Eleven of her short stories have been finalists or semi-finalists in contests, including finalists in the Tobias Wolff and Mark Twain House contests. ”The Price Of A Pony,” under the title”Christmas the Hard Way,” was a semi-finalist for both Ruminate Magazine’s short story prize and for the Salem College Center for Women Writers Reynolds Price short fiction award.
Richard D. “Ky” Owen is a lawyer with Goodwin & Goodwin, LLP, in Charleston, West Virginia. He earned a B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University in 1981 and a J.D. from Hamline University in 1984. Coming from a family of writers, he considers himself a “writer by birth.” He is the author of
None Call Me Dad and he blogs about parenting and Michigan State sports on his website, www.nonecallmedad.com.
Keith R. Fentonmiller is a consumer protection attorney for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. Before graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, he toured with a professional comedy troupe, writing and performing sketch comedy at colleges in the Mid-Atlantic States. His Pushcart-nominated short story was recently published in the Stonecoast Review. His debut novel, Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat, will be published March 20, 2017 by Curiosity Quills Press.
Based in Southern California, Dr. Lisa Montagne currently divides her time between writing poetry and prose, teaching writing to (mostly) willing college students, and overseeing educational technology projects and support at Fullerton College. She is also a Swing, Blues, and Argentine Tango dancer, host, DJ, and instructor. She likes to drink Champagne in as many places as she can, including Europe; to read poetry aloud to anybody who will listen; to cook for anybody who is willing to sit down long enough to enjoy her food; to dabble in drawing, painting, and photography; and to read anything plopped in front of her, ranging from D.H. Lawrence to Vogue magazine. She also likes to watch television and movies, and to imagine how much better she would have produced them herself. She lived in Las Vegas at one time, so she likes to tell people that she was a stripper there. She was really just a graduate student and high school teacher, but it’s more fun to let people wonder. Although rumored to be a direct descendent of Oompa Loompas, Lisa is actually the offspring of a college professor and a circus dwarf. You can find some more of her writing at archive405.com and lisamontagne.com, and see evidence of her adventures @lisamlore on Instagram.
Ann Stolinsky is a Pennsylvania-based word and game expert. She is the founder and owner of Gontza Games, an independent board and card game company, and three of her games are currently in the marketplace:
“MINDFIELD, The Game of United States Military Trivia”; “Pass the Grogger!”; and “Christmas Cards.”
Check out her website at www.gontzagames.com. She is also a partner in Gemini Wordsmiths, a full-service copyediting and content creating company. Visit www.geminiwordsmiths.com for more information and testimonials. Ann reviews books for Amazing Stories Magazine, an online sci-fi magazine which can be found at www.amazingstoriesmag.com, and is an Assistant Editor for Red Sun Magazine, www.redsunmagazine.com. Her most recent publishing credit is a poem in the Fall 2015 issue of Space and Time Magazine. She is a graduate of the Bram Stoker award-winning author Jonathan Maberry’s short story writing class.
Lisa Diane Kastner is a former correspondent for the Philadelphia Theatre Review and Features Editor for the Picolata Review, her short stories have appeared in magazines and journals such as StraightJackets Magazine and HESA Inprint. In 2007 Kastner was featured in the Fresh Lines @ Fresh Nine, a public reading hosted by Gross McCleaf Art Gallery. She founded Running Wild Writers and is the former president of Pennwriters, Inc. (www.pennwriters.com). She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University, her MBA from Pennsylvania State and her BS from Drexel University (She’s definitely full of it). Her novel THE KEEPER OF LOST THINGS was shortlisted in the fiction category of the William Faulkner Words and Wisdom Award and her memoir BREATHE was a semi-finalist in the nonfiction category of the same award. Born and raised in Camden, New Jersey she migrated to Philadelphia in her twenties and eventually transported to Los Angeles, California with her partner-in-crime and ever-talented husband. They nurture two felonious felines who anxiously engage in little sparks of anarchy.
Aimee LaBrie works as a communications director at Rutgers University. She earned her MFA in fiction from Penn State, and her MLA from University of Pennsylvania. Her short story collection, Wonderful Girl, was awarded the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction and published by the University of North Texas Press in 2007. Her second collection of stories, A Good Thing, placed as a finalist in the BOA Short Fiction Contest. Her short stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in Pleiades, Minnesota Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Permafrost, and other literary journals. In 2012, she won first place in Zoetrope’s All-Story Fiction contest. You can read her blog at www.butcallmebetsy.blogspot.com.
Kristan Campbell is a short story writer born in Washington, D.C. but has only visited her grandmother there during some of the summers of her childhood. She’s more familiar with Philadelphia, New York City, and Paris than her native city and aims to weave her experiences in those places into tales based on places and people that are out of the ordinary. She studied Journalism at Temple University (what seemed like a practical approach to writing at the time) and Comparative Literature at Hunter College (which seemed like a fun idea at the time) before accepting that she should have been an English major all along. Kristan completed her B.A. in English at Temple University in 2010 and an MFA in Fiction at Fairfield
University in 2016. She’s currently attempting to eke out a living doing freelance editing with the help of her cat, Fishy, who manages her desktop printer with enthusiasm.
Bill Ed Scruggs spent his younger years meeting the Southern mountain countryside and exploring the people, taking time out as needed for work in various occupations. He lives (temporarily) in Connecticut and has one child, a psychiatrist. Presently he is reconstructing his memories and imaginings in a series of novels and short stories (Facebook page Foothills Fiction - Bill Ed Scruggs) Warrensburg is a fictional photo of a country village in the illumination of fireflies.
Joshua Hedges is a debut Science Fiction writer from Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Computer Science. When he’s not writing stories or code, he ventures outdoors with his wife and three-year-old son to hunt dragons in the forest.
Gary Zenker is a marketing professional whose days are filled with creating business and marketing plans, and writing ad copy and media content. By night, he applies his imagination to flash fiction tales that cross genre and focus on revealing various facets of human nature. He is the author of Meetup Leader, a book on running successful groups; is editor and publisher of 19 books in the rock & roll Archives series; and co-author of Says Seth, a humorous collection written with his then six-year-old son. His work has earned a dozen marketing awards and placed in four writers’ contests, including a first place recognition from Oxford University Press. He founded and continues to lead two writers groups in southeastern PA, assisting others to develop their skills and achieve their writing goals. www.zenkermarketing.com
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