What’s Up Thursday: Rejection

What’s up, guys. It’s Thursday.

I know I’m a day late this week. That’s because yesterday kind of sucked.

Before I get into that, let me tell you about the week that led up to yesterday.

First off, I missed Flash Fiction Friday yet again. I have no real excuse, other than the fact that y back was still hurting a bit, but that’s not really an excuse, it was down to a dull throb at that point. The fact of the matter is, I just got lazy. I didn’t really have the energy to do much of anything. Injury can really wear you out.

Over the weekend, Shannon and I almost got caught up on Doctor Who. we still have three episodes to go, but should be able to knock those out this weekend. Hopefully we’ll also have time to binge at least part of AHS Roanoke as well.

Monday,  I actually felt mostly better. Well, at least I could walk. I still felt as if someone was sticking a knife in my lower back and twisting it, but it was the kind of hurt that tells you you’re on the mend. I felt so much better in fact, that after I got off work, while waiting for the celestial festivities, I decided to catch up on the housework I hadn’t been able to do for the previous month. This proved to be a mistake. By the time I finished, my back was screaming. But hey, at least the house was semi-clean. I then went outside and read while I waited to watch the eclipse through my trusty welding mask.

Tuesday, I attended the August meeting of the Black Hills Writer’s Group. We spent most of the meeting discussing the future of the group. I think we made some positive steps. If you happen to be a writer in the black hills area, Check us out at http://blackhillswritersgroup.org

And that brings us to Wednesday. I suppose I should start at the beginning. I got off work ready for my physical therapy appointment which would hopefully help me fix my back for good. On the way there, I took a wrong turn and found myself in suburban hell. It really was a nice looking residential area. The only problem was, for the life of me, I could not find my way out of it. I kept expecting to come out onto a main road, but it took quite awhile to find my out of it. What’s worse, it seemed like every street went uphill at a fairly sharp grade. I can’t imagine how much winters must suck. Anyway, from the constant climbing and the fact that it’s been a while since I’ve checked my coolant levels, my suv started to overheat.

I finally found my way out of my private hell and found the PT office without overheating. I filled out my paperwork and sat down to wait. While I waited, I decided to check my e-mail. When I opened the app, I was excited to see a response for two of the stories I had submitted for publication. As you might have guessed, they were both rejections. Now I know getting rejected is part of the process, but it still felt like, well, rejection.

As I was still processing this information, I was taken back into an exam room and told the doctor would be in shortly. I waited patiently, and after a few minutes, the door opens, but it isn’t the doctor. It’s one of the receptionists to tell me that my insurance won’t cover the two to three hundred dollar bill for my visit. They would however put the cost toward my deductible. Translation, unless something major happens to me in the next couple of months, I would have to pay for it myself. Instead, I chose to walk out and find the exact same stretches and exercises on YouTube.

Needless to say, by the time I got home, I was pretty angry and disheartened and just didn’t have it in me to write a blog. I hope you can forgive me. Hopefully next week will go smoother. Now, I have to find new markets to send my orphaned stories to. Hopefully I’ll see you on Friday.

Remember to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

And, of course, please buy my debut short story, Blood Moon

 

What’s Up Wednesday: Working Through The Pain

Well, I’m back.

I wish I could say that everything was back to normal, but I’d be lying.

For those of you who don’t know, I threw out my back once again. It seems like I do it at least once every summer. This time I did it while moving a refrigerator. The worst part is, that was only a minor strain. Unfortunately, as I was trying to stretch it out, I managed to pinch my sciatic nerve. After that, I could barely walk. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to take time off, and to be honest, I was going to be miserable either way, so I decided to get paid for being miserable. That being said, I spent more than one night in tears from the pain.

My back still hurts. I can’t sleep because I can’t find a position that doesn’t hurt. If I’m on my feet for more than a couple of minutes, my leg starts to cramp.

Still, the pain has lessened to the point where I can actually think when I’m sitting in front of my computer, something that was utterly impossible last week, so thank god for small miracles as they say.

Unfortunately, I missed most of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally this year. Other than Halloween, it’s probably my favorite event of the year. If you don’t know what Sturgis is, imagine a sleepy little South Dakota town being suddenly overrun with hundreds-of-thousands of bikers from all over the world. That happens the first full week of August every year and it’s a great party. I usually spend as much time as possible up there. Sadly, this year I spent most of the week flat on my back wishing the pain away. At least I finally made it up there on Saturday.

Video Evidence That I Was There

 

Okay, enough bellyaching. Now that I can actually think straight, it’s back to writing. I’m hoping to have a few things ready to publish very soon. Not that I’m in it strictly for the money, but I have a certain monthly amount that I would like my writing to bring in that would make my life much easier and I think I’d be much more productive.

Anyway, that’s your update on me for the week. I’m already working on my piece for Friday, so be sure to check in for that.

As always, I’d love to answer your questions. I’d prefer they be on writing, but I can take a shot at any life questions you might have. Just don’t blame me for the outcome.

Remember to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

And, of course, please buy my debut short story, Blood Moon

Sorry. No Posts This Week

Hey guys. I’m really sorry about this, but I’ve already missed What’s Up Wednesday. There won’t be a Flash Fiction Friday either. I have a pinched nerve in my back and I’m having trouble concentrating on anything but the pain. Hopefully I’ll be back to work next week. Send your healing energy my way. I really need it.

Flash Fiction Friday Number 13: Lucky Day

Hey guys. Sorry for being a day late this week. This being the thirteenth installment of Flash Fitction Friday, I wanted to do something on the theme of luck. Of course the first thing I thought of when I thought of luck was gambling. Unfortunately, I haven’t spent much time in casinos, so this one took a little more research than usual. Anyway, I call this one…

Lucky Day

“Let it Ride!” He shouted once again, earning him cheers from the crowd gathered around to watch and an eye roll from the boxman.

Jake couldn’t believe his luck. Not that he didn’t believe in it. He’d had more than his fair share. It was just that in his case, it was usually bad.

Jake shook the dice and let them roll from his fingers. He didn’t even bother to look as they bounced along the green felt.

“Seven.” Called the stickman, almost sounding bored.

He hadn’t thought much of it when he’d put a dollar in the old lady’s cup that morning. Just trying to do what he could to help. He’d even tried to wave away the crumpled little card she’d handed him in return, but something in her eyes had made him take the well-used fortune card. ‘It’s your lucky day.’ The faded ink promised.

“Yeah, thanks.” He’d said hollowly. Jake hadn’t had a truly lucky day in his entire life.

Jake made no move to retrieve his growing pile of chips. The stickman sighed and pushed the dice back to him. He was just about to throw them when the pit boss grabbed his arm. Jake smiled as they weighed and measured the dice yet again. He laughed as one of the Casino goons patted him down looking for any sort of cheating device. Of course, he found none.

Even after verifying the dice were legit, the pit boss produced a fresh set and slapped them into Jake’s hand with a wicked smile as the crowd jeered. Jake returned it with his own heartfelt one as he turned his back to the table and tossed the fresh dice over his shoulder.

“Eleven.” The stickman yelled.

The pit boss turned visibly red. Jake knew he was pressing his luck. Not so much with the dice, he knew his luck was solid there. The casino’s patience, however, was probably running out. Looking at his towering stack of chips, Jake knew he must be close to breaking the bank.

“Come on, Jake. Don’t you think you’ve won enough?” His friend Eddie asked, looking nervously at the pit boss who was now accompanied by three goons.

“Just a couple more rolls, then I’ll stop. I promise. It’s just nice to know what it’s like to be lucky for once.”

“I really think…” Eddie started.

“Okay, fine. Just one more, then I’m done.” He raised his voice so the crowd could hear. “Okay folks, last roll. All or nothing.”

The crowd cheered. Jake did a final little dance with the dice, spun around and threw them. He smiled as they came to a rest, sure of his victory.

“Snakeeyes. Craps!” Shouted the stickman.

Jake stood in stunned silence, trying to process what was happening as the stickman began raking in Jake’s towering pile of chips and the crowd melted away, including the gorgeous blonde who had been at his shoulder all night. He took the card out of his pocket and looked at it. ‘Not all that glitters is gold.’ It now read. He grabbed Eddie by the shoulder.

“What time is it?” Jake demanded.

Eddie fumbled with his phone for a moment.

“Just past midnight.”

Jake couldn’t help but laugh. Lady luck was sure as hell punctual.

“I guess that’s why they don’t have clocks in casinos.” Jake chuckled.

“Man Jake. All that money, just gone like that. You could have been rich. I mean, I guess technically you were rich for a little while. Now it’s all gone.”

“Eddie, I’m unlucky, not an idiot.” Jake said, reaching into his pocket and producing a handful of orange chips, each worth a thousand dollars. He flipped one to Eddie. “Come on. Let’s go cash out.”

.     .     .

So that’s it for this week. I wish it weren’t the case, but I can definitely relate to our protagonist.

I’ll see you again next Wednesday with another edition of What’s Up Wednesday. I still want to start answering your questions, so please send them to me at any of these places.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

And, of course, please buy my debut short story, Blood Moon .

What’s Up Wednesday: Gremlin Attack!!!

Hey guys.

You might have noticed that I didn’t post anything last week. That’s because, to be perfectly honest, it’s been one hell of  a week.

Like most of the country, we’ve been suffering from a killer heat wave. I think today was the first day below ninety in weeks and we’ve had several hundred plus days.

This is where the gremlins come in.

I thought my whiskey decanter was getting a little low.

So far this summer, I’ve already had to fix my refrigerator. Then my water heater broke. I called a plumber to fix it, but I just didn’t have the money to have him fix it properly, so he did what he could to get it working again with the caveat that his fix might not last.

Then, on one of the hottest days of the summer, our beloved air conditioner broke. Technically, it still worked. It would just blow a breaker every time the compressor tried to come on. Now, to be fair, after a little research, I discovered that the unit was made in either ’83 or ’84. (About the time the Gremlins movie came out, actually. Coincidence?) Still, it came at the worst possible time. We were hoping it would last us through the summer so that we could install central air next spring.

Unfortunately, our dreams of sinful central air were dashed by the demise of our wall unit. We decided we couldn’t go the rest of the summer without air conditioning, so we scrambled to find a suitable replacement.

While we waited for the new air conditioner to arrive, guess what. That’s right, our water heater went out again. Luckily, I have the internet. With the help of Google and YouTube, I figured out how to install a new pilot light assembly and found one for thirty dollars as opposed the the hundred and fifty the plumber wanted to charge me just for the part.

Unfortunately, this too had to be ordered.

What with the house being a sweltering oven, and not being able to get properly clean, I just couldn’t keep my mind on creating stories. Not to mention, I was concentrating on researching home repairs. A wise man once said, if you’re going to own a home, either make enough money to hire a handyman or learn to be one yourself. (I’m not sure if that man was me or someone I heard it from.)

The new air conditioner arrived last Thursday and with the help of my younger, much stronger cousin, we got it in without too much trouble, so the weekend was nice and cool in our home.

Then on Saturday, I got to move two refrigerators. My father-in-law’s fridge has been broken for a while. We have been looking for a decent used one that we could afford and finally found one, but the clock was ticking to get it before someone else claimed it. We got the old one out of the house and put the new one in fairly easily. It was only when I was lifting the old one into the truck that I felt a twinge in my back.

The part for the water heater arrived on Monday, but I was too sore and broken to put it in until Tuesday. Luckily, once I finally got to it, it was a fairly easy install. Getting up off the floor when I was done was actually the hardest part. So now we have hot water again and my back is thanking my mom for installing a whirlpool bath when she owned the house.

So that’s been my week. We have cool air and hot water again and I’m praying the gremlins leave us alone for a while. I knew when we bought the house that things were going to break on occasion. I just didn’t expect everything to break at once. I wonder if you can get a house sized gremlin bell.

So that’s about it for this week. Provided nothing else breaks, I’ll post a new story on Friday.

As always, check me out online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

And, of course, please buy my debut short story, Blood Moon .

More is coming soon, as long as things quit breaking.

What’s Up Wednesday: Big Changes

Hey guys.

First off, welcome. What do you think of the new digs? I know it’s a little bland so far, but I’d love your input on how I should decorate the place. Let me know in the comments.

Migrating the blog to my own site isn’t the only change I’ve made in the last week.

I’ve finally overcome a major stumbling block I’ve had for years.

First, I have something to confess. Even though I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, I’ve only ever submitted one piece for publication. To my credit, I aimed big and sent it to the New Yorker. Unfortunately, at the time, my work was nowhere near up to their standards. To be honest, I’m not sure it is even now. Of course, my submission was rejected. That was almost twenty years ago and I haven’t submitted anything since. Why not?

In a word, fear. I think George McFly summed it up best.

Even though the New Yorker rejection didn’t hurt so bad because I knew I was reaching, (probably why I chose that market in the first place) I was still terrified I’d get rejected by even small markets.

All those years, there was something I was missing. When it comes right down to it, the worst thing that could have happened had I been submitting pieces all this time is for everything I submitted to have been rejected. While that’s an unlikely outcome, it’s effectively what happened from being too afraid to submit anything at all. I’m still, as yet, unpublished by a professional publication.

Having realized this, I’m proud to say that in the past week, I’ve submitted two stories to anthologies. I’m also much more confident in my work so I’m very hopeful that at least one of them gets selected. I’ve decided to only submit to professional paying markets, so the competition is fierce, but I feel like accepting anything less would be shortchanging myself, and I’ve done that long enough. At least all that time where I wasn’t submitting was spent working on my craft.

I’m also preparing other stories to send to magazines and other anthologies so hopefully I’ll have good news to report soon. If nothing else, eventually I’ll have enough stories to publish a collection on my own.

Also, by popular demand, I’m trying to figure out a way to sell autographed copies of my books from my site. Of course, all I have to offer at this point are these.

But hopefully I’ll have more to offer very very soon.

So, other than the fact that we’re roasting out here and praying the gods show us some mercy soon, that’s about all I have to tell you this week.

I’ll see you on Friday with another flash piece. Until then, try to keep cool and face your fears.

Please like this post and follow this blog. I’m not sure if the migration process brought over all my followers so you may have to re-follow.

Don’t forget to stalk me.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr