Tuesday, February 20, 2007

collection and submission

I'm quite peaked today because Anvil Publishing sent over the contracts (6 copies as per standard) for "The Kite of Stars and Other Stories" for me to sign.

As my vision blurred over the fine print (but I really read it all, and I must say I'm delighted with Anvil's terms), I could not help but take a soft-focus memory walk. I remembered the time when one of my biggest dreams was to have my own book, a collection of my short stories. The biggest hindrance then was the paucity of stories - I had around 2 or 3. Then as the other stories slowly came, my priority was to see them published in magazines and journals first, leaving the notion of a collection a faraway fantasy.

When I finally had enough stories of a certain quality (which means to me "stories I wouldn't immediately disown"), I began to dream again. This was derailed by the publication of my novel (which was another impossible dream come unexpectedly true). But by then, I knew a couple of publishers and decided to try to see if my collection had legs.

I love Ateneo Press - after all, they took in Salamanca and have been wonderful to work with. But I also wanted to experience another publisher and see what it's like. I recall at last year's Philippines Free Press awards approaching Karina Bolasco of Anvil. I asked if I could submit my manuscripts and she said yes. Soon after that, they told me they'd publish my book.

In our last meeting at the launch of A la Carte, they asked me if I'd like to design the cover myself. I happily agreed (because I do have a design agency populated by talented creatives).

"How about illustrations per story?" they asked next.

"Yes!" I replied, already thinking about one of my favorite artists, Andrew Drilon. "Yes!"

I'm happy with the arrangement since - apart from the stories themselves - I'll have some creative input in terms of the cover, making the book even more personal. I can't believe I'll have a book out sometime this year... God is indeed good.

The lesson here, for me, is one I firmly believe in: Try.

Meanwhile, in my continuing struggle to write scifi I've officially thrown in the towel (but what about "Try", you ask . In time, grasshopper, in time) At least in the case of the magazine with the deadline. I called the editor, explained my difficulty and told him I completed two scifi pieces, neither of which I felt were particularly excellent.

I offered to send in a non-scifi piece (but still speculative fiction) that I was more comfortable with. He agreed and I sent him a story from my inventory "An Excerpt from “Princes of the Sultanate” (Ghazali: 1902); Annotated by Omar Jamad Maududi, MLS, HOL, JMS." (This situation is precisely why it pays to have an inventory of stories.)

If all goes well (fingers crossed) it'll see print in a couple of months. If not, then there's more writing to be done.

Now with my horrendous scifi pieces out of the way, I can whip myself to finish my LitCritter story (which will be quite hard because of American Idol and the fact that Nikki and I now have matching Gameboys). And the Palanca entries. And another mag. Argh.

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