Friday, August 31, 2012

Ghost Writing

I finished writing The Cherubim three years ago. At the time, I was like - okay, after this gets published, I'll start writing a sequel. Until then, I'll work on something else.

Then I got something like ten form rejection emails and I stopped trying.

In retrospect, that's admittedly ridiculous. But those ten rejection emails absolutely paralyzed me. It didn't stop me from writing other books, because writing is amazingly fun. I'm just hoarding manuscripts.

Which is okay. Because now I'm finally working on the sequel to The Cherubim that I started plotting out three years ago, which is also a quasi-sequel to Mrs. Shadow and Mindtrip. That sounds like a big mess, but I think it totally works. I'm doing a mass reread of all three books; the plan is that once I finish and come up with a rough outline for the last book, I'll re-edit the first three. I'm hoping to have the whole thing finished by early 2014.

I don't know what happens after that. It's just pretty nice to have some sort of plan. Is it still a rad thing to write fiction that no one reads? Is the act of creating enough? Sort of. But I still wish that I had a real way to share my books with everyone. A handful of people have copies of my books; everyone seems to really enjoy them, especially Mrs. Shadow. But... it seems like without any promotion, no one's going to read them.I'm no good at promotion.

Okay! Back to scraping the barrel. This story was written around a decade ago. It won a second-place prize in a literary journal.
That's more than a little heartbreaking.

Michael Bolton's War

"So you think you're tough," spat Michael Bolton. "Any of you punks want to bring it on, that's fine with me. I've tangled with the harshest men on the streets, downed shots of V8 like it was Kool-Aid, so none of you want to mess around."
The leader of the Monkeys, toughest street gang in St. Paul, Minnesota, looked appalled. "Man, Michael Bolton," he explained in a whine, "I didn't mean to diss on you. I just wanted to know if you wanted a shoe-shine."  
Michael Bolton pulled out a Kleenex and tossed it to the ground. "There's your answer, fool." He turned around and began walking off, sure that his answer was enough for the young hooligans to comprehend.  
Michael Bolton had once been a popular music artist. He was hailed as possibly the greatest singer of all time, and he had been someone. His later years brought on hair loss and the trial - he'd been found guilty of plagiarism and forced to pay thousands in royalties for the hit song "Love is a Wonderful Thing" - had taken its toll on the rock star. He now wandered the lands, living off his own toughness, having ninja battles, and loving like only the crooner known as Michael Bolton could.  
He stumbled over a rock as he walked away from the gang, then did a couple of dance steps so it would look like he'd MEANT to trip as an introduction to a musical number. He was sort of embarrassed by the whole thing and mumbled "oops" under his breath as he briskly walked, then jogged, and finally ran like a drunkard down the boulevard.  

Meanwhile, Mr. Bob Saget had heard that Michael Bolton was in town. "That punk!" he spat. "Why, I was busy starring in 'Full House' when that sucker was only beginning to write 'Said I Loved You (But I Lied.)' I ought to bust a cap!"    
 He immediately knew by either instinct or through a kind of osmosis that only one late 80s/early 90s star could live in Minnesota, and the other would have to be banished to Idaho. He liked where he lived: there was clean air and sometimes, when he walked down the block, someone would notice him and say "Dude! Jackalope ruled!" He never mentioned that the person was invariably thinking of Dave Coulier (who later made the Jackalope famous on 'America's Funniest People') - no, he'd been recognized, and the fame was good enough for him. Besides, he had been on 'America's Funniest Home Videos,' which was close to 'America's Funniest People,' so why ask for more?  
"That song... 'When a Man Loves a Woman'... I hated that song," he said, gnashing his teeth. "It is time to begin the war."   

Michael Bolton was walking briskly through the shopping mall when suddenly a shout made him turn his head. "BOOLLLTTOONNN!" screeched the voice.   
"What! Who's that!" shouted Michael. Then he turned around to see who it was.
When he saw, he gaped like a small child at a zoo.   "Oh My!" he cried. "Pat Sajak!" 
"That's Bob Saget," yelped Bob Saget, as he jumped down from a carousel. "And it is payback time, Michael Bolton. Now you will die!"  
"I don't want to die," cried Michael Bolton.  
"Then," said Bob Saget grimly, "we will thumb wrestle." 

"One, two, three, four," began Michael gamely, his hand in a lock with Bob Saget's, "I declare a thumb wa... hey, wait. I didn't finish yet. You can't start until I finish."    
"You talk too slowly," complained Bob Saget, but soon the contest was on. The two men fought with all their might, sweat trickling down their foreheads as their thumbs circled warily, ready to pin the other as soon as possible.    Michael Bolton's thumb feinted to the left, then right, quickly pinioning Saget's thumb. The thumb, slick with sweat, quickly moved out of the way of Bolton's thumb and, with a jagged motion, cut Bolton's thumb with its thumbnail.   "Ouch!" yelped Michael Bolton. "That hurt! That's no fair!"  
"You wanted fair?" sneered Bob Saget. "This is war, Bolton. All's fair in war." 
A left, then a right. An up, down motion. Michael Bolton's thumb was double jointed, but he wasn't sure how much it mattered in a contest like this. Bob Saget knew what he was doing, he'd thumb wrestled before, but Michael Bolton was no pushover.  
The two thumb-wrestled for hours. Finally, with a grunt of despair, Michael Bolton's thumb fell to Bob Saget's thumb. "One-two-three-four-I-win-thumb-war!" shouted Saget quickly.
"Hey," protested Michael Bolton, "that was too quick! No fair!"  
"No mercy!" shouted the crowd of hooligans that had gathered around the two. "Show him no mercy!"  
"This," explained Bob Saget in a roar, "is for 'Time, Love, and Tenderness!'" He proceeded to give Michael Bolton a wedgie and then ran around in a circle, hooting. His actions, though inexplicable, were a warning to Michael Bolton: he was to immediately leave town and go somewhere else.     
A tear ran down Michael Bolton's cheek, much in the manner of the Indian in those commercials about littering. He lifted his hefty briefcase to his shoulder and trudged off, looking for new adventures and hoping to find a town where no one remembered his hit "How Can We be Lovers."

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