Gary Hurtubise

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Category: agent

My Fantasy Novel is a Finalist for the OZMA Awards!

You know when you’re out shopping and you come across the perfect gift for a loved one… but it’s no where close to their birthday, and Christmas is still many months away?  So what do you do?  Well, you buy it, and store it away for that special day.  And then promptly forget about it.

 

Or how about when you take time to book a winter vacation to some balmy, tropical paradise months in advance, briefly imagining the fun and the sun and the <hic>… well, whatever else you imagine might happen as your finger hovers over the ‘Purchase’ button (wincing slightly at what your VISA statement will look like next month)?  Then the cruel weight of the real world descends back onto your shoulders and the warm, gentle glow infusing you from having planned your winter getaway evaporates faster than you can say “I-don’t-want-to-work-I-just-want-to-be-a-famous-full-time-writer!!

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…and then finally, seemingly out of nowhere, the departure date for your tropical vacation arrives.  And you’re like: …oh, yeah.  Oh, YEAH!!!

Yesterday, I was perusing what I call my “Tracker” – a spreadsheet I maintain to track where and when I’ve submitted all my (written) work.  The latest entry for my novel Darksea was: “Sept 2016: submitted to Ozma Awards“.

“Oh,” I thought to myself.  “Forgot all about that one.”

I clicked over to the Ozma Awards website, to find that they had already announced the finalists for the contest.

“Ah well,” I thought, preparing to move on.  Obviously, if I’d been a finalist, I would have heard, right?  Something stopped me, though, and just out of morbid and masochistic curiosity, I scrolled down to see the list.

This is what I saw:

 

…what what what?!?!?!

Could it be?  The novel that I’d essentially forgotten about, having nearly given up on sending it out to agents, has been chosen as a finalist for the 2016 Chanticleer Book Review OZMA Awards?!?!

In all honesty, I had been having difficulty maintaining my confidence and my productivity with my fiction writing up until about Christmas; now, however, with two short stories published and this latest news about my novel Darksea, I’m feeling the muse reawakening inside of me.

Time to (really!) start writing again!

Stay tuned to see if Darksea makes it to the next round of judging for the OZMA award!

 

 

Picking the Right Market for Your Fiction

There’s this new feeling to writing that I get nowadays.  I haven’t done anything different, but different things are happening.

No.  Agents aren’t breaking down my door to represent me (yet).  Nor are all of my short story ideas suddenly Nebula or Hugo Award-worthy (…yet?).  But I do feel more confident with my writing – I know it’s of a higher calibre than it was a year, or even six months ago.  Plus, more people are taking notice of my work.  I’m getting more personalized feedback (to go along with my rejections!), and in some cases, I’m being given specific suggestions from editors, followed by requests to re-submit with changes made.

I’m trying to be more selective of where I submit my work too.  Many of my short stories are hybrid-genres.  They aren’t just science fiction, or fantasy.  I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve spent all this time submitting to ‘traditional’ markets, when I should have been looking for some of those magazines or journals who feature alternative writing.  I believe that’s why I was successful with “Flesh” last month (having it accepted for publication in Kzine).  And so, I’m trying that again with my story “Solace for the Soul-less”…

Sci Phi Journal

I came across Sci Phi Journal the other day, an online science fiction and philosophy magazine.  In it, they publish “stories that explore questions of life, the universe and everything and articles that delve into the deep philosophical waters of science fiction universes” (from their About page).  “Solace” is set in the future, but isn’t about robots or space battles.  Rather, it raises questions about identity and immortality.  Hey!  That’s exactly what Sci Phi Journal is looking for!  So I’ve actually withdrawn “Solace” from consideration at another magazine, in order to try my chances with a venue that might generate not only some interest in my writing, but some dialogue about it too.

Next on my list of things to do: another batch of agent queries!  On this note, here’s a good bit of advice written by Kathryn Craft, of ‘Writers in the Storm’, a writing blog that I follow.

No New Year’s resolution… just ‘be’ a writer!

The holidays went well for me this year.  I ate less that I’d feared, and wrote more than I’d hoped, so all in all: a success!

think_like_a_writer       I thought like a writer over the holidays too: not once did I worry about my day job (the one that still pays the bills).  Instead, I planned what short stories I’d write in the coming months, picked which agents I’d send my next queries to, added up my freelance writing earnings for the past year (peanuts, at this stage, but growing!), and saw story ideas everywhere I went over that two week period.

In retrospect, I can’t believe how good I had it for those 14 days (helped by the fact that the in-laws were occupying the kids, which granted me that time to just… think – thanks guys!).

New Year’s eve came and went (we were playing a game of Quelf with friends as the clock struck midnight), and I purposely didn’t make any resolutions.  Instead, I decided (subtly, though – not really admitting it, even to myself) to simply continue the habit of ‘being’ a writer, for the rest of the year.

So far, my (non)-resolution has been easy… After all, I want to be a writer!  …

The secret to New Years' resolutions!

(…wait a sec – did I just crack the secret to New Year’s resolutions!?!)

Top 5 Writing Goals for 2016

With this new habit of ‘being’ a writer, what would I like to accomplish this year?

1.  Get Published

       Specifically, get a short story published (or recognized somehow – contest or otherwise).  Currently, my bio is conspicuously free of any writing credits, which means any and all queries I send out – either for my novel, or my short stories – show me as an unpublished rube.  It’s not helping my success rate… or my confidence!

2.  Get Representation

       (ie: agent representation)  Yep.  My career as a novelist is basically hinging on this step right now.  But I’m up to my 4th batch of agent queries, bringing my total to just about 30.  My agent is out there.  Hopefully in this time frame, spatial dimension, and planet.

3.  Get More Freelance Writing Work

       So far, my fiction writing has not paid many bills (precise number of bills paid: zero).  But freelancing does!  I’m a regular contributor to Gay Parent Magazine (gayparentmag.com), and I’m looking to expand that significantly, as 2016 progresses.  Key word: self-marketing.

4.  Get More Readership

       To paraphrase Julia Roberts, social media is like yelling into the wind.  Sure.  Sorta.  Just make sure you’re facing the right way when you do so.  And listen to others who are doing the same thing.  I need to spend more time seeking out like-minded individuals, and join their secret leagues.

5.  Get More Writing Done

       As I ‘think’ more like a writer, I think up more little tasks that need doing – many of which do not include writing.  I can’t forget that the whole point of this endeavour is to write more.  And so I really need to focus a part of each and every day just for plain, unadulterated  w r i t i n g.

       Should be easy, right?

used_to_hate_writing

 

 

 

 

Contacted by my first Agent

Four days after sending in my first batch of queries to agents, I received a request from one of them for a partial submission!  Very exciting, and a great boost to my confidence.  This coincided with one of my short stories coming up for critique through critters.org (for which I received a good 1/2-dozen descent ‘reviews’ of my work, which I can now put to good use in my next draft of it, before submitting it for publication), as well as the 24 hour writing contest through writersweekly.com this past Saturday, and a request to write two more articles for Gay Parent Magazine, to which I’ve been contributing for the past several years.

All told, a great week for writing.  It’s been keeping me so busy that I could almost mistake myself for a full-time writer!  (Soon, soon!)

This is my very first submission to the 24 hour writing competition, that I did back in early 2013.  It’s a fable about the four seasons, personified.  Hope you enjoy it, and don’t forget to check out some of my other fiction here.

 

Seven agents down… but how many to go?

I am on the other side of history!

It’s nothing at that significant, of course; what I mean is, I’m looking back at having started my agent search, having dreaded the whole process for literally years!

Up until Friday 11th September 2015, I hadn’t really told many people about my novel: my husband, a close friend, and a handful of people on critters.org, who have absolutely no idea who I was anyways.  But now, I’ve sent my story out into the world, to professionals, who’s job it is to take seriously what I do in my spare time.  Which just feels weird to me, since I’m not quite sure I’ve been taking it seriously yet.

It was a bit surreal, when I hit <send> on that first e-mail query.  I couldn’t quite believe that I’d done it.  This is getting serious, I realized, though.  They’re going to laugh at me.

Oops.

Did I just think that?

They’re going to laugh at me?

Yeah.  I did just think that.  I can’t believe that I might actually make a living as a science fiction / fantasy writer.  I can’t believe that I might, one day, be an author.  That’s crazy talk.  That’s just a dream.  It’s just a joke.

…or is it?

Seven queries sent every two weeks, until further notice.  That’s the goal.  Let’s see if this dream can turn into… something much greater.

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