I’d really hoped the last short story would wow the judges, but no such fortune. It’s a bit discouraging to have stories rejected 4 years in a row, but I refuse to give up. It’s challenging, though, to work through the emotions. Creating a story and having it critiqued takes time and hard work. The silver lining is that the few writers who’ve seen it, enjoyed the story. So, what’s next for this one? It’s earned a spot in an anthology of my stories. Another short story or two should be enough to round off that 50K word project.
Back in my May 2022 post, I said I’d announce my next release “in a few months.” Well, the time is now. I will be dipping my toes into Kindle Vella with the first part of my Cop & Vampire story. I had a cover made, and the blurb is in review. Since Vella is a serial release platform, I need to divide the story into sections that will keep you coming back for more. I’m super excited about this venture. Cover release coming soon.
With a tendency toward working on multiple projects at the same time, I applied edits to another NaNoWriMo 2021 story–Demon Spawned–while I continued improving part two of my Cop & Vampire story. How do I manage this? Basically, I submitted Cop & Vampire 2 to a South Jersey Writers Group (SJWG) critique group while my podcast buddies read through Demon Spawned. Now that the Do What’s Write Writer’s Group is done with Demon Spawned, SJWG will be its next stop. Details regarding these stories will be forthcoming in future posts.
Getting Back to Authorship
Editing may not be an author’s favorite part of writing, but doing so relaxes me, relieves the stress of the week. After quite a lengthy hiatus, I started delving into corrections on part two of my “Cop and Vampire” story (Yes, you read that correctly, and no, part one hasn’t been published yet). I totally enjoyed the process: replacing words, moving sentences around, removing phrases that take away for the impact I intend to portray.
My next step is to continue editing the stories I wrote during NaNoWriMo 2021. With 50,000 words to critique, this effort is bound to take the rest of 2022. I’ll have a better idea in a few months what my next release will be. Enjoy the spring season!
Cover Reveal for “Just Between Us”
Single mom Tosha has made a home with Chaz, her fiancé, and their toddler, Emily. She’d hoped that Chaz would have given her a wedding band after Emily’s birth, but he keeps dragging things out. During a visit to her friends’, Karida and Tevin, house, Tosha discovers she’s pregnant with Chaz’s second child. She figures he’d rush to the altar now. That is until she walks in on Chaz doing the nasty with another woman.
Young bachelor Zach is ready to commit to the right woman, but after the latest breakup, he’s grown hopeless that he’d find his match. His friends, Karida and Tevin, convince him to go on a blind date with a woman they are sure he’ll adore. Zach experiences an immediate connection to Tosha and takes her to visit a crystal statue of intertwined swans. She wins his heart when she gets the significance of the swan dance.
Tosha is amazed at how much she’s into Zach. The only problem: she bids him goodnight without telling him about her daughter and the baby on the way. He calls after the date as promised, but guilt over her secret prevents her from answering. Tosha’s not sure she’s ready to trust another man with her still healing heart.
A Romance novel
by Cassandra Ulrich
Also visit Cassandra’s Journey (cassandraulrich.blogspot.com)
No Ordinary Contest
Although I’ve entered many writing contests before, this is the first time I’ve ventured into writing a story in the horror genre. After my recent trip to Maine, I felt inspired to give it a go. Not that Maine was scary. Quite the opposite. However, I did encounter certain situations that helped me understand why I enjoy Stephen King novels so much. The quirkiest things happened: someone staring at me for longer than a minute, a person seemingly vanishing from a car when light illuminated the front seat, being caught in a thunderstorm near a small dirt path. You get the idea. Lots of fodder for future stories. I can hardly wait to see how this story does.
Why do I write?
Because I must.
I’ve gotten this question many times, either during a presentation or as an ice breaker at a writers’ group, and that is the simplest answer I can give. After being handed the silence rhetoric as the youngest of four children and bullied into a quiet corner by school children without a clue of how to be a proper human being, writing has and continues to be my go-to for expressing what I really want to say, what I want people to hear.
I’ve written long letters to mean neighbors, accomplished publishers, religious leaders, government workers, and parents. Whoever acted as if their speaking words meant more than the ones coming from my lips, I sat down and crafted a document which possessed all the passion I could muster. Amazing things happen when I write.
Although I write poems and fiction stories, they convey ideas in a much better fashion than me droning on about this or that. Action attracts attention. And I’m getting better at depicting movement in my writing. Imagine the happiness I felt when Chicken Soup for the Soul accepted two of my stories and published one of them in I’m Speaking Now on June 1st.
In fact, the very act of writing disperses the stress of the day, the week, the month, and even the year. How could I stop doing the very thing that adds health to my bones?
I write because I must.
Why do you write?
Chicken Soup for the Soup: I’m Speaking Now
Click on the cover for the buy link and the video to meet some of the authors.
The Importance of Not Being a Loner Writer
Writing is usually seen as a loner profession, but writers who improve over time rarely pursue their craft alone. Ideas for stories usually come from spending time with others, asking questions, or listening to stories. After the first draft is written and the self-editing has taken a writer only so far, having someone else read the manuscript to provide well-meaning and constructive critiques is a gold mine. The writer is unable to see what will confuse others because the writer has created a world about which others have yet to discover.
Because of this, I’ve joined three writers’ groups, attended critique groups, and have asked fellow authors to read my stories prior to submission. The feedback I’ve received is priceless. Finding an accomplished editor is also a must for those pesky plot holes typically missed or out of sync character development.
I’m grateful for all that I’ve learned over the years and am willing to help others as well. Find your writer circle.
Part of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Family
I am pleased to announce that Chicken Soup for the Soul is including my story in the upcoming release of I’m Speaking Now on June 1st. I am so happy about sharing this achievement with others who are sharing stories from the heart of struggle and triumph.