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Book Reviews Writing

Self-Review – The Polymer Beat

Review – The Polymer Beat

The Polymer Beat moves the Obolonk action toward not just the robots which have an overall story line – it also explores main character Peri Martin’s romance with spy Dave Shepherd.
The Polymer Beat
Just like that universe’s society is tripartite, so are the three novels. So the first one, The Obolonk Murders, is all about the aliens. And this, the second work, The Polymer Beat, is dedicated to the semi-sentient and more than semi-sentient robots. Hence the third is all about humans and is called The Badge of Humanity.

The second and third novels also have somewhat punny titles, with both playing off the police props of badges and walking a beat. The reference to polymer is because of robots. These books all have themes; this one is robots although I will admit it’s subtle.

Background

After I picked The Obolonk Murders back up again in 2014, I realized I had the makings of a trilogy on my hands. Hence The Polymer Beat became my 2014 NaNoWriMo project.

Plot

As Peri and Tommy work on the Obolonk cases, Peri and Dave Shepherd get closer. Peri knows this is a bad idea, but she goes along with it anyway. And, as she and Tommy continue to try to find the killers, she notices Tommy’s simplistic robotic feelings are taking a turn. Could Tommy become jealous?

Characters

The main character (as before) is Detective Sergeant Peri Martin. The scenes shift from the Boston Megalopolis to various places in the Solar System, including Ganymede. Other characters include Tommy, Dave, They Say This is the One, Sally Bowles AKA They Say This One Tiles Bathrooms Adequately, and lawyer Akanksha Kondapalli.

Memorable Quotes

“Were you programmed to be an optimist?”

He considered the question briefly. “I cannot tell.”

“That’s okay. You know I’m gonna have dinner with Shepherd tonight, right?”

“Yes,” he mumbled as she hoisted her bag onto the room’s sole bed.

Peri stopped what she was doing and came close to the robot. “What is it?”

“It is nothing.”

She looked at him closely. “If I didn’t know any better, Tom, I’d swear you were upset.” He stood there stoically, although she did see him scan once, briefly.

Peri returned to her bag and began unpacking it, stuffing most of her clothing into the top drawer of the room’s sole bureau. “I’m not even so sure why I’m going out with him, truth be told.”

“I do not understand.”

“Heh, I would explain it if I could. It’s not like my mini-phone’s been chiming all day with offers since Charlie died.”

“Is this,” the robot paused, maybe to select the proper words, “your first such offer since that event?”

“Event,” she echoed, taking a shimmering silver dress out of her bag, “that makes it sound as if there were engraved invitations, or something.”

“I did not intend that definition.”

“I know you didn’t. But you gotta understand, Tom, or at least just, just try to. I saw Charlie mortally wounded by a scrubbed hot gun. It happened right in front of me.”

“That is what your psychiatric evaluation said.”

Trembling, she looked daggers at him. “What else do you know about me that’s private?”

Rating

The book has a T rating. There are no really violent scenes but there is an explicit sex scene. Occasional bad language, but not much.

The Polymer Beat: Upshot

Middle books in trilogies tend to drag, and this one is no exception. I need to improve it! In addition, beta readers would be helpful – hello!

It would be great to get some developmental editing help with the dragging parts in the middle to last third.

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Writing

Writing Progress Report – First Quarter 2019

Progress Report –First Quarter 2019

So I spent first quarter 2019 finishing The Real Hope of the Universe. Then everything just sort of fell into place. And how awesome was that?

Posted Works

Adventures in Career Changing | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Quill | First Quarter 2019
First of all, I worked to finish The Real Hope of the Universe. But the book got really long! As in over 185,000 words! It is now the longest piece I have ever written.

Then there will be a lot of time was spent on editing it. Also, I worked on submitting to various magazines and anthologies. January seemed to be a month of rejections. Maybe people were back from vacation. February definitely was better. And March was an improvement on that.

Then on Wattpad I posted some fan fiction as I am not posting wholly original work there these days. That is, unless it’s for the WattNaNo profile. However, if some of the shorter pieces never find a home after 10 or so tries, some of them will be reworked. But others just might end up there. I am not sure.

Then on Fanfiction.net, you guessed it, I posted fan fiction, and I even wound down. So except for two incomplete stories, which I may never finish, everything is there. So, no more Fanfiction.net, except for stats!

Milestones

Also, I have written over two and a half million words (fan fiction and wholly original fiction combined). So right now my stats on Wattpad for wholly original works are as follows:

  • How to NaNoWriMo – 12,407+ reads, 137+ comments
  • My Favorite Things (like kibble) – 971 reads, 133 comments
  • Revved Up – 58,858+ reads, 526+ comments
  • Social Media Guide for Wattpad – 12,351+ reads, 587+ comments
  • The Canadian Caper – 455 reads, 37 comments
  • The Dish – 249 reads, 24 comments
  • There is a Road – 188 reads, 28 comments
  • WattNaNo’s Top Picks 2018 – 1,307+ reads, 43+ comments
  • What Now? – 149+reads, 6+ comments

More Published Works

Also, I am amassing quite the collection of published works!

Untrustworthy, my first published novel.

Surprises, a story in Book One of the 42 and Beyond Anthology set. So this one got to #3 in its Amazon category!

The Last Patient, a story in the Stardust, Always anthology.

The Interview, the featured story in the December 14, 2018 edition of Theme of Absence. So they even interviewed me!

Canaries, also to be published by Theme of Absence, on March 29, 2019.

This is My Child, to be published by Asymmetry on April 8, 2019.

Almost Shipwrecked, a story in the January 2019 edition of Empyreome.

The Resurrection of Ditte, a story in the Unrealpolitik anthology.

Complications, a story in the Queer Sci Fi Discovery anthology (so this book is only available from resellers).

Props, a story in the Longest Night Watch I anthology.

The Boy in the Band, a story in the Pride Park anthology.

Cynthia and Wilder Bloom, stories in the Longest Night Watch II anthology.

All My Aliens, a story in the 72 Hours of Insanity anthology (so this book is no longer available – anywhere!).

Three Minutes Back in Time, to be published by Mythic Magazine.

WIP Corner

So my current WIPs are as follows:

The Obolonk Murders Trilogy – so this one is all about a tripartite society where a Boston cop is investigating mass murders. But who’s killing the aliens? So how do humans and robots fit in?

The Enigman Cave – can we find life on another planet and not screw it up? You know, like we do everything else?

The Real Hub of the Universe Trilogy – so the aliens who live among us in the 1870s and 1880s are at war. But why? So how can a plucky Irish scullery maid, her closeted employer, and a secret society in Boston save the world?

Mettle – all about how society goes to hell in a hand basket when the metals of the periodic table start to disappear. Then what happens in near-future Boston?

So if you noticed the Boston trend everywhere, give yourself a cookie. Because it’s one of my Easter eggs.

Prep Work

So currently, I have been working on some writing prompts to keep me sharp and keep the words flowing. Yet my intention, for this year’s NaNoWriMo, is that I will probably start a new piece. So this may even be a series in the Obolonks universe. But I need a plot! So a lot of this year will be spent on that.

However right now I am still working on The Real Hope of the Universe so it is on the back burner for now.

Queries and Submissions

So here’s how that’s been going during first quarter 2019.

In Progress

As of first quarter 2019, the following are still in the running for publishing:

Publisher Title Result Last Applicable Date
Andromeda Spaceways Magazine None of This is Real In Progress 3/10/19
Bards and Sages Quarterly Dinosaurs In Progress 1/17/19
Future Visions Killing Us Softly In Progress 1/27/19
Gods Among Men podcast Blue Card In Progress 2/28/19
Hecate Gentrification In Progress 3/10/19
Leading Edge Magazine Side by Side In Progress 1/18/19
Luna Station Quarterly Nothing Good Ever Happens at 3 AM In Progress 1/24/19
Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing Newsletter Who Do We Blame for This? In progress 12/12/18
Polychrome Ink Darkness into Light In Progress 1/27/19
Wee Tales A Kitten In progress 8/14/18
Weekly Humorist Soul Rentals ‘R’ Us In progress 2/17/19

I had to resubmit some of the older ones and declare them ghosted. There’s a lot of mental energy that goes into submitting, I feel. So sometimes I need to work my way up to it. Aside from new submissions for some works which were rejected, no news can often feel like goodish news.

All Other Statuses

Also see the Stats section for some details on any query statuses for first quarter 2019 which were not in progress.

Stats

So in 2018, my querying stats were:

  • 68 submissions of 19 stories
  • Acceptances: 4, 5.88%
  • In Progress-Under Consideration: 3, 4.41%
  • In Progress: 10, 14.71%
  • Rejected-Personal: 14, 20.59%
  • Rejected-Form: 24, 35.29%
  • and Ghosted: 13, 19.12%

And in 2019, my querying stats so far are:

  • 18 submissions of 12 stories
  • Acceptances: 3, 11.11%
  • In Progress: 9, 50.00%
  • Rejected (any type): 6, 33.33%
  • Withdrew Voluntarily: 1, 5.56%

This Quarter’s Productivity Killers

Work, what else? So I am working on a ton of things. And since that is also writing, it can sometimes burn me out. Because first quarter 2019 will not be the end of that!

Hence keeping up with this blog remains difficult. But I’m trying! Thank you for hanging in there, and sticking with me, first quarter 2019 and beyond. <3

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Finally, you can find me on . But Google+ is closing! So you will not see me (or anyone else, for that matter) there for too much longer. Sigh.

Categories
Book Reviews Writing

Writing Progress Report – Fourth Quarter 2018

Progress Report – Fourth Quarter 2018

How superb was the fourth quarter 2018? Totally! It was another productive three-month period.

Finished Works

Adventures in Career Changing | Janet Gershen-Siegel | Quill | Fourth Quarter 2018
First of all, I posted some new short stories which had not yet made it to the group.

So here’s what I created and improved.

October

By design, I did no writing. Instead, this was a month to catch up on posting some older stuff. Plus, I got together the last of the outline for The Real Hope of the Universe. October was truly vital for getting my act in gear for NaNoWriMo.

November

I wrote well and regularly this month. It was great progress and I wrote a total of 64,335 words during the calendar month. And I ‘won’ NaNoWriMo on the twenty-second of the month.

December

By design, I continued to work on The Real Hope of the Universe. By the time the month was halfway over, I had written a total of over 91,000 words for Real Hope… So, that was just about 26,500 new words in December. This also means the book is longer than The Real Heart of the Universe, the middle book.

2018 me

And the truth is, that seems to be a regular pattern for me. The first book is long. Then the middle one is quicker. And finally the last of the three is long again. But that is also because I hate saying goodbye to characters!

Milestones

Also, I have written over two and three-quarter million words (fan fiction and wholly original fiction combined). That is over one million wholly original words and over 1.8 million for fan fiction.

So right now my stats on Wattpad for wholly original works are as follows:

  • How to NaNoWriMo – 12,183 reads**, 137 comments**
  • My Favorite Things (like kibble) – 969 reads, 133 comments
  • Revved Up – 58,729** reads, 526** comments
  • Social Media Guide for Wattpad – 12,309** reads, 587** comments
  • The Canadian Caper – 453 reads, 37 comments
  • The Dish – 249 reads, 24 comments
  • There is a Road – 188 reads, 28 comments
  • WattNaNo’s Top Picks 2018 – 1233** reads, 43** comments

A lot of the surging in stats on WattPad has been due to the upswing in popularity for the WattNaNo profile.

WIP Corner

The current WIPs are as follows.

The Obolonk Murders Trilogy is a futuristic crime story where our society is divided into three parts – humans, semi-sentient and sentient robots, and aliens. I may end up writing a sequel trilogy. I’m not sure, so stay tuned.

The Enigman Cave takes place about a half a millennium from now. And it imagines a first contact where the aliens are at the level of Australopithecus.

The Real Hub of the Universe Trilogy takes place about 140 years ago and covers an Earth overrun by warring alien factions during the Victorian Era.

Mettle takes place only a few years from now and is the story of how society crumbles when metals begin to disappear.

Prep Work

So currently, for this year’s NaNoWriMo, I will write the third novel in the Real Hub trilogy. But I need to get the outline in order!

Queries and Submissions

So here’s how that’s been going during fourth quarter 2018. The third quarter was full of disappointments. Except for the 42 and Beyond anthology, I got no bites.

But then the fourth quarter picked up! Hence the following happened:

  • Almost Shipwrecked – accepted for publication at Empyreome.
  • Killing Us Softly – currently under consideration at Jay Henge Publishing (Pioneers & Pathfinders).
  • Surprises – accepted for publication via Hydra Productions’ 42 and Beyond, Book 1.
  • The Interview – accepted for publication at Theme of Absence. Published on December 14, 2018.
  • The Resurrection of Ditte – accepted for publication at Jay Henge Publishing (Unrealpolitik on Amazon).
  • Three Minutes Back in Time – currently under consideration at Alternate Peace.

Stats

According to The Submission Grinder, here are my lifetime stats:

  • Pieces: 17
  • Submissions: 65
  • Rejections: 35 (53.85%)
  • Acceptances: 3 (4.62%)
  • Pending Submissions: 13 (20.00%)
  • Lifetime Earnings: $26.25

Note: this doesn’t include anything not submitted via the Grinder, such as Untrustworthy and Surprises. And of course the remaining percentage of the total is everything where I’m still waiting to hear. By my count, I’ve submitted to 58 different publishers (at least two aren’t included in the Grinder’s overall count).

And by the way, I consider an acceptance rate of over four and a half percent to be outstanding!

In Progress

Right now, The Real Hope of the Universe is a WIP.

All Other Statuses

I continue to wait on the potential for a number of submissions to finally go through and gain acceptance.

This Quarter’s Productivity Killers

Happy holidays from Adventures in Career Changing!
Happy holidays from Adventures in Career Changing!

So it was work, what else? I am working on a ton of things and since that is also writing, it can sometimes burn me out. Furthermore, as a manager, I have obligations that go far beyond my own job. The holidays got nuts, and my house is in renovation hell. So, what else is new?

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