13 February 2013

And then the asteroid hits...

Not a good week to be me, so be glad you are you. Unless, of course, you've been following my dusty trail all these years and thus have taken on most of the worst traits I offer to the world. Then you might well be more me than me. Only you can judge how pleasant the experience has been.

The highlights:

First, my entry in the Harper Voyager program (my painfully sincere sci-fi/romance/pyscho-thriller THE DREAM LAND) was kicked unceremoniously down the road.

Thank you very much for providing us with the chance to read your novel. We are sorry to say that at this time we don’t feel it is right for the Harper Voyager list. Due to the volume of submissions we were fortunate enough to receive, we are unable to provide personal feedback, however, please be assured that your work received thorough and fair consideration. We wish you the best of luck with your writing career, and thank you again for thinking of us.

Of course, it's not right for you. It's something new and fresh, something not formulaic or trite, something that mashes several genres so as to please everyone and bring together the reading masses in textual harmony!

You can buy the ebook here.  (And read a few chapters via "Look Inside".)

Second, my entry in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition (my literary anti-romance set on a small college campus, where opposites attract then try to kill each other, A BEAUTIFUL CHILL) has also gone down in flames. For the second try I did not get past the pitch stage (a 300-word blurb meant to entice judges to want to read the 5000-word excerpt). Although I completely rewrote the pitch, it did not improve my odds. Or, what the blurb said might merely have indicated to judges what kind of story it was and that kind of story was not the kind of story that particular judge wanted to read. Who can ever know for certain?

Here's the awful pitch that made some readers sick:

Just get home safely, thinks Eric as rain pummels his car. When he offers a ride to a rainsoaked girl, he discovers she’s the art student he met a month earlier at an exhibit. Tonight, however, everything changes.
Iris is a refugee from an abusive youth in otherwise idyllic Iceland, and further abused on the streets of Toronto—until she sees her art talent as a way to escape. Now with a scholarship, she drifts from depression to nightmare to Wiccan rituals to the next exhibit. There’s a lot she must forget to succeed in a life she refuses to take responsibility for.
Eric is still settling in at Fairmont College, starting a new life after being twice betrayed and left heartbroken. Divorced and hitting forty, he has a lot to prove—to his father, his academic colleagues, and mostly to himself. The last thing he needs is a distraction—and there’s nothing more distracting than Iris.
With the campus a battlefield of gender politics and Eric’s colleague charged with sexual harassment, these wounded souls find comfort together. In the light of day, however, Iris returns to her student life, ready to forget him, while Eric becomes obsessed. Just as Eric gives up, he finds Iris in his class the next semester with secrets to share.
Realizing they are trapped by fate, Eric persuades Iris they should become a couple. Yet as Eric tries to tame her, Iris pushes him to be more outrageous. The tug-of-war escalates until, on a spring break trip, their relationship explodes into a cruel mind game that could destroy both of them.
A BEAUTIFUL CHILL (117,000 words), a postmodern cross between Pygmalion and Lolita, deconstructs an impossible relationship and cruelly crushes campus love story memes as it charges to its stunning conclusion.

You can read the first chapter here.

Now comes the whole Valentine Lovefest, where the luckies get lucky and the unluckies have microwave mac & cheese and watch DVDs of Silver Linings Playbook, finished off with a box of chocolates from last year's presumptions. And that all began because some priest was marrying people in secret!

And then, because there is no such thing as a dull week on the planet Earth, we have the wonderful Asteroid 2021 DA14 coming on February 15 to tickle our chins with a razoresque pass-by. We hope it does not draw blood. Yet if it does, many of the problems of mankind and me could be solved in one fell swoop. You read it here first. And perhaps last.

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The ebook of AFTER ILIUM, a contemporary tale of seduction and betrayal in Turkey is available here.
(C) Copyright 2010-2013 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.

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