This is an alert from the emergency blogcast system.
The Monkey is NOT missing.
We repeat, Fallen Monkey is NOT missing.
We are pleased to report that after weeks of travel,
the Primate has returned safely to its zoo.
Recent cage renovations, however, have driven its resident ape-sh*t,
blocking up any good poop to be thrown.
Until it can return to its “regular” schedule,
this blog is currently on hiatus.
Please stay tuned for when the “Mystic Monkey” series returns in its original format.
Gah! If you follow this blog and just received an utterly random post from me, my sincerest simian sorry. That was an ages-old post that somehow made its way from Rubbish to Published as I conduct a little blog maintenance, and I did not mean to toss it into your inboxes again. I’m not even quite sure what it says and am a little scared to look.
But, apparently, I’m not the only sock monkey with issues:
Greetings, my fellow Simians.
Perhaps I’ve been binge-watching too much Homeland lately, but today, I am compelled to once again brief you on my current state of affairs as your faithful Primate President, as well as a Reader, Writer, and Editor.
First, I’d like to make a motion that we conduct our US zoological elections more like they do in the UK, with primary–I mean, primate–election campaigning limited to four months instead of an absurd two years. It’s enough that they’ve entrusted our species with the great responsibility of protecting their limited freedoms within our limited abilities (we’re all in cages, after all, so there’s only so much we can do, am I right?). But from the lion’s den to the penguin sanctuary, animals zoo-wide are crying (or roaring, or squawking, or squeaking, or spitting–looking at you, lamas) for us to waste less time throwing our feces and bribing each other with bananas and spend more on addressing the primate–I mean, primary–issues we all face. For instance, zoo opening hours have been extended to far too late, and really? Stringing up the zoo with fairy lights in winter means we can’t get the holidays off now, either? Humans have become too handsy with our habitats as well, reaching between our bars, fingerprinting our plexiglass, and throwing too much inedible waste our way. We must also battle against the discrimination still plaguing our gift shops and wall murals, in which the same animals are represented over and over again. We monkeys have had more than our fair share of the limelight, and the tigers, elephants, giraffes, and flamingos have grown increasingly vocal in their frustration, too, with the paparazzi attention such exposure continually wreaks upon them. But we must acknowledge the joys, too, in what we have taken for granted, so I want the more obscure species among us to exalt in that recognition as well someday. The crowned lemurs, the Inca terns, the Sichuan takins–they, oh yes, they will have their day to shine. Maybe even literally, if they can get onto one of those glow-stick thingies the shops are selling now, you know, with the LED lights and thingamabobs sticking out and spinning around for no other purpose than looking really cool in the dark and getting kids to stop crying. All this and more lies before us as achievable realities, not mere cow-pie-in-the-sky fancies.
In other current events, as of this week I have the honor of beta-reading the English translation of author Ellen Dunne‘s manuscript. Ellen was one of my very first blog buddies when The Fallen Monkey was instituted in 2010, and it’s been amazing to follow each others’ writing journeys, celebrating successes and persevering through challenges. She has since published two novels (both in German but hopefully translated soon!) and the English-language short story “Cigarette Break,” which I’ve read and highly recommend. In the pipeline are two more novel-length manuscripts (also translated), one of which I’ve got loaded on my Kindle, ready to go! I also recently read an ARC of Shani Struther’s The Return (book three in The Runaway Series, though it works well as a standalone), which was released today and also comes with my recommendations.
As for my own schtuff, I am not as prolific as the talented and creative Ellen and Shani, but I’m of course thrilled to have a debut novel and novelette see the light of day in the past year. And after much (much, much) revision and querying, Manuscript #1 is finally finding acceptance out there. So in the coming weeks, I’ll be weighing my options. Meanwhile, I’m querying a novelette-length urban fantasy, too, and am writing my next novel-length romance of sorts.
On the editing front, I’ve reached a blessed standstill. After a year of reviewing roughly fifty manuscripts in an acquisitions capacity, I’m now back to concentrating on developmental editing—but at a pace that I can better balance with my writing and other life obligations. Last year was very intense for both personal and professional reasons, so 2015 finds me in a state closer to equilibrium. Here’s to a brighter year for you, too. 🙂
*waves and steps down from behind the exhibit information plaque serving as podium*
Sad but true, I had to opt out. Again. And it’s killin’ me. But editing duty calls, and I am fully realizing the curse that is the otherwise-blessing of being both a writer and editor. Were I still in finance, shifting from numbers to writing after the workday would’ve been an easy enough if not hugely therapeutic way to decompress (I wish I did write back then). Were I still a teacher, I would admittedly still struggle to balance writing with the day-job like I do now since that’s an occupation where the work never ends, even after that last-period bell has rung. But I still dappled in freewriting and such back then as, again, a therapeutic way to shift gears and do what I love.
But as an editor…I spend all day every day troubleshooting story issues and thinking through different ways to rephrase sentences for other people’s manuscripts, so it’s not exactly a welcome relief to then jump into troubleshooting and thinking through mine. I need a break. I need to get away from the computer. I need to not brainstorm story ideas and sort out developmental stumbling blocks. Often, I don’t even want to read an already-published book because the activity is still too similar to what I do all day—and as it is, what I curl up with at night is usually just another raw manuscript that I’m reading on the Kindle and taking notes on so I can brainstorm its future plan of attack. Yes, that, after working on another story at the computer all day. So the most writing I do these days is in my head while I’m doing something else. It’s just kinda how it has to be, at least for now when I’m up against dueling deadlines.
Anyway. I didn’t mean to make this whole post a primate pity party. I’m so, so lucky to have the work that I do and to still have the ideas and drive to write my own stuff. And if I haven’t been writing anything new, I’ve actually been making good progress revising my original Manuscript #1 this month. And editing other people’s work is always a great way to hedge against mine sucking. I can still live vicariously through other writers’ talent. 🙂
If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year, huzzah! Bravo! Keep it up! Don’t lose steam! You’re over halfway there, and crossing the finish line is so sweet. Good job, and write on.
Hey there, Woodchuck Chuckers! It’s the Monk-monk Monkey, reporting back to duty after a loooong spell. I’ve actually been the opposite of inactive lately. First of all, due to the impending release of my debut novel, my social media energies have been focused on building my pen name’s brand.
But because I was such a slackass over at that blog, too, I decided to hop on board the April 2014 A to Z Challenge to build some momentum. So if you’d like to join me over there, Rumer’s been ruminating all month over the A to Zs of 1920s slang:
Aside from that, things have finally gotten rolling on the editing front. Due to scheduling conflicts, my original editor had to reassign my manuscript to someone else, whom I’m just as pleased to have help me strengthen and polish my story. If all goes to plan, we should see the final result in August this year.
And where editing other authors’ work goes, it’s still been full-steam ahead. Piping hot steam, in fact, as I keep chug-a-chuggin’ through a stream of submissions. In the next month or two, I’ll be answering questions over at Nicki Elson’s Not-So-Deep Thoughts blog for her next “Ask an Editor” installment, so I’ll keep you posted. And if you have any additional questions not answered there, I’m more than glad to field them here.
Meanwhile, I’ve been saying it for a long time, but I’m still thinking about returning to my writing prompt roots at this blog since a lot of my writing experience will be logged over at Rumer Has It instead. I really need the kick in the primate pants to write some fresh fiction, much as I did when I created this blog in the first place. So we’ll see if I hold myself to that…
To be mid-thirties and still getting toys for Christmas…magic.
(Thanks, Mom! :))
And that video is what I’m feeling like in these young months of 2013. In a good way. Slappy…but happy.
I know it’s been a looong time, and if you’re still with me, I love you for your loyalty. Thanks for havin’ a monkey’s back. And now I hate to inundate you with a laundry list of all I’ve been up to, but we’ve got some catching up to do since my last post.
First of all, I discontinued my writing services as a web content writer. This isn’t to say I wouldn’t take on new projects, just that I’m done with the old and not presently soliciting new. Should any fall in my lap with no douchebag-SEO-guy strings attached and the content requested sounds meaningful and fun, awesome.
Second of all, I’ve since then thrown myself into my editing work and recommenced my querying process—for my first manuscript, yes, but also some short stories I’ve had lying around and collecting dust on my hard-drive. It’s been a much more pleasant process since my discovery of Duotrope. Why in hell has it taken me this long to know about it? If I’m at least still one step ahead of you, allow me to expound my new-found knowledge: the site allows you to filter through a comprehensive listing of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry markets (~4,500 of ’em) based on your criteria (e.g., genre, word count, etc.).
In any case, it’s been a lovely time getting reacquainted with my shorter pieces of fiction, but, alas, I haven’t been doing much new writing lately. For shame, I know, but I’ve been editing multiple manuscripts back-to-back. My workload in this respect has significantly increased since agreeing to assist with editorial direction on fresh acceptances as well, which is much quicker turnaround apiece but still a crapload of reading, analyzing, and plan writing.
I don’t know, maybe I kill myself too much over them, but I care, gol’ damn it. I know it’s not my name that’ll be attached to a book in the end and that it’s usually very different from my own writing, but I strike up lovely little synergies with these authors, and, in the end, a lil’ piece of me is in that book. I’m there in spirit, existing in the syntax and idea development. I might be the reason a description really enhances a setting or character, or that POV is third-person limited and not omniscient. I might be why that villain exhibits vulnerability rather than a caricature of evil intent. I might be the one blasting a hose of cold water on the fiery libidos of two love interests, asking them to please keep it in their pants until at least the next chapter. Or I might be why lush summer gardens fade to blustery winter landscapes when the original time frame doesn’t sync. And perhaps I’ll be why an adult paranormal novel becomes new-adult contemporary, as I reduce characters’ ages to something commensurate with their behavior and situations…and save the world from one merman story at a time.
And I will always be why a writer feels good about his or her work in the end. Because for as much grunt work as I can take credit for, it ultimately has to stay in keeping with the author’s vision and style. They are the ones who provide the clay to work with. As two of them recently emailed me:
“[T]hank you so much for the kind words. As someone with the fragile writer’s ego, I appreciate them!”
“Just wanted to thank you for all the wonderfully encouraging comments and smiley faces. As a writer […] there have been many moments when I reread my own stuff and thought, ‘this is terrible.’ I can’t tell you how gratifying and inspiring it is to view the parts you particularly enjoyed as I revise.”
It’s such a special collaboration to be a part of, and I look forward to (hope for) the opportunity to experience this process from the other side someday.
As for someone who already has walked that wild side of publication for her second time now, I’d be remiss not to close on the very happy news of my sister’s latest book! Divine Temptation—a paranormal romance and Nicki Elson‘s second novel—is fresh off the presses as of last week:
Maggie Brock has everything under control…until an angel shows up in her bedroom.
This blog first and foremost exists as an outlet for my ramblings on writing and editing and very, very rarely for promotion. I do, however, like to give shout-outs now and then to my writer friends and their achievements—especially when I find they’re friends in need. And today, that friend is one who I affectionately and very offensively know as Jaundice, just as he endearingly calls me White Devil.
Friends and former coworkers from a past life in financial consulting, both of us eventually pulled a 180 in our careers—as I left our company to become an English teacher, he left to join an independent film company. One night back in our Chicago days, we were sipping (tossing back) whiskey somewhere on Lincoln Ave. and discussing story ideas. I told him about one I’d thought of but never developed for a grad class. He liked it, and I gave him my full blessing to take the concept and flesh it out into a film script. Which he did. And went on to win the Tribeca Film Festival award for best screenplay. He had kept my original title, and I’d even let this dude read my high school diary as insight for the protagonist. I received the journal back filled with Post-It notes. Clearly, he’d been thorough. Clearly, I have zero pride left.
Anyway, my dear Jaundice is presently reddening that yellowish pallor of his in super excitement over a prospective webseries he’s written and which has drawn known talent. The remaining issue at hand, unfortunately—which must oh-so often be the case in that biz—is funding. I’ll paste his message below to tell you the rest:
The National Film Society are these guys I know that have a deal with PBS and they came to me with a great idea for a webseries called Awesome Asian Bad Guys. It’s a take on all those Asian Bad Guys from 80s and 90s films to bring them together. I wrote the script and am also producing it.
And we actually have a bunch of those Asian actors including Al Leong (Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Bill & Ted’s), Yuji Okumoto (Karate Kid 2), Tamlyn Tomita (Karate Kid 2 and Joy Luck Club). We also have Randall Park who has a stint on The Office this season:
… and Aaron Takahashi who’s in a bunch of commercials.
We’ve started a Kickstarter to raise $50,000. This is a lot of money, but it’s for 5 episodes so we can do a complete series with real production values, plus there is the cost of the Kickstarter rewards (which are pretty cool).
Thanks to over 400 backers, we’ve raised almost $32,000 so far. However, we still need about $18k to reach the $50K goal by October 11th. If we don’t hit it in time, no one’s credit card will be charged, and we won’t get any of the money.
Raising $18K in the next 3 days might sound impossible, but most Kickstarter projects actually raise most of their funds within the last week. YouTube, Tribeca, Ain’t It Cool News and IndieWire have promoted us, and other people have done the same.
I was just profiled in Angry Asian Man (which is appropriate — and I talked about my Mom):
And if you can share the link on your Facebook and/or Twitter, that would be great.
Thanks! We’re looking forward to making this in January and would love for you to be a part of this.
So, if anyone’s keen to give a dollar to help fuel a fellow writer’s goals, check out the Kickstarter site and/or share it with others you think would like to help an Asian brutha’ out. [cue heartrending Sarah McClachlan music in background] With your sponsorship, one less Awesome Asian Bad Guy in the world has to senselessly die too soon in an action movie.