Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How to avoid the rejection blues by Larry Ivkoviak

The Sixth Precept
by Larry Ivkovich

Genre – Urban Fantasy
Publisher – IFWG Publishing
Release Date – November, 2011  


The Sixth Precept In 16th century medieval Japan, Yoshima Mitsu, who is gifted with psychic powers, uses her prescient abilities to send her young attendant, Shioko, into the future. There, Mitsu believes Shioko will be safe from the purges of the maniacal warlord Omori Kadanamora, his warrior monks and his half-human, half-bestial Shadow-Trackers. In present-day Pittsburgh, police Lieutenant Kim Yoshima is attacked by a creature out of someone’s twisted nightmare. In the aftermath of that terrifying struggle, Kim finds a young Japanese girl named Shioko, lost, confused and calling Kim “Mitsu” and her monstrous attacker a “Shadow-Tracker.” Wayne Brewster dreams of the costumed hero, ArcNight. But more than that, he feels bizarrely connected to the fictional crime fighter as if ArcNight and his comic book world are real. And in all of his dreams, Brewster sees one constant, one face repeated over and over--the face of Kim Yoshima. Empowered by a mysterious book, The Five Precepts to Enlightenment, Kim realizes her destiny is in the past. Using her own burgeoning esper powers, Kim, accompanied by Shioko and Brewster, travel by means of a temporal rift to feudal Japan. There they must assume different personas to fight Omori and creatures of Japan’s mythological world to fulfill ancient prophesy and modern historical fact. If they fail, history will be altered and the world will change forever.


How to Avoid the Rejection Blues

Rejection is every writer’s greatest fear. Even after selling a story or two and thinking a Stephen King-like career is just around the corner, those depressing form letters or emails still keep arriving--“Sorry but we’re going to pass on your story,” “It’s just not right for our magazine,” etc. etc., ad nauseum.

But, just like death is a part of life, so too is rejection part of the writing journey. And it need not be the end of the world, by any means. The best piece of writing advice I ever got was to keep sending out my manuscripts no matter how many times it was rejected. Don’t take it personally. As clich├ęd as it sounds, perseverance does pay off!

When I first began to send out my stories to various short fiction genre markets, I was always crushed when they were rejected. I’d then wait weeks and sometimes months before sending something out again. I still know writers who feel this way. You have to have faith in your writing vision to overcome these negative feelings. Yes, it is easier said than done, but once you begin to realize that just because one or two markets don’t buy your work, that doesn’t mean it isn’t right for someone else. There are many short fiction and publishing markets in business. One of them will accept your work.

I keep an Excel spreadsheet with three tabs. The first tab is the pieces I have out to certain markets with the date I’ve sent them, the name of the market and the word count for each story. The second tab contains those pieces I’ve sold with the extra date field of when the work was sold. The third tab is what I still need to send out with rejection dates for each market.

This is my way of organizing my work so I remember where I’ve sent stories so I don’t send them out to the same market more than once. It also boosts my confidence to look at my “sold” tab--a sale, any sale, is a real shot-in-the-arm despite the amount of rejections you may have. I’ve sold several short stories and I know I can sell several more! Whenever I get a rejection email, I immediately look at my spreadsheet and decide where to send that story next. This also involves checking Ralan’s Webstravaganza and Duotrope, two really good online genre market listings. As long as my stories are “out there,” I know I’m working and making the best of what could be seen as a negative event.

Talk to fellow writers also. It’s good to get other takes and methods people use. As for me, the best way to avoid the “rejection blues” is to just keep working and striving to improve your art. 

Getting an acceptance is the best revenge!

Giveaway – 12 Signed printed copies

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Larry Ivkovich is an IT professional and the author of several science fiction, fantasy and horror short stories and novellas, published online and in various print publications and anthologies including M-Brane SF, Afterburn SF, Penumbra, Twisted Cat Tales, Abaculus III, Raw Terror, Triangulations, Shelter of Daylight and SQ Magazine. He has also been a finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest and was the 2010 recipient of the CZP/Rannu Fund Award for fiction. His debut urban fantasy novel, THE SIXTH PRECEPT, is now available from IFWG Publishing, and He is a member of two local writing/critique groups, the Pittsburgh Southwrites and the Pittsburgh Worldrights, and lives in Coraopolis, PA with his wife Martha and cats Trixie and Milo.  

Author Links –
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Pittsburgh, PA 2010

Kim heard the shot just as she was putting her briefcase into her car. She didn’t think twice, her instincts taking over. She pulled her Sig P228 and an extra clip from her backpack, threw the pack into the back seat and headed for the lot’s exit door.

The door had a special keyed locking system on the outside to keep possible intruders out. From within the parking lot, it was essentially an emergency exit. She looked up at the security camera stationed above the door and thought about contacting Joe, Lazo’s security head. No time, she decided. Besides, there was no need for two people to be in a possible line-of-fire. Once she took stock of the situation, she’d call for backup on her cell phone. She punched the button and as the door shussed open, exited the lot. 

The humidity was all over her; heavy, moist air settling on her skin like a hot towel. It had stopped raining but the streets steamed; the glow of the streetlights cast an eerie luminescence throughout the empty block. She blinked, creeping into the shadows at the side of the garage and then, quickly, opened the section of gating outside the emergency exit and jogged out into the street.

No sounds. Nothing. The street was devoid of life.

That was when she saw the figure walk out into the light.


It’s her. The Yomitsu. The Eminent Lord be praised!

The shadow-tracker felt a thrill of another kind as he saw his target, gun in hand, crouching across the street. Her scent, even at this distance, filled him to the bursting. 

I can take her, he thought, his head throbbing as he blinked the spots from his eyes. I can bring her back to the masters myself! The hell with their rules! The situation had become something entirely different. She was so close! Why shouldn’t he take advantage of this? The masters would know then, that despite his miscalculation on the three gang members, despite the wound he had incurred as a result, that he had still served his purpose.

Yes, he thought, rising to his feet. He would make his mark, no matter what. He walked out of the alley.


The silhouette was tall, lean, moving like a dancer, sinuous and mincing. The muted light revealed some kind of tight-fitting garment clinging to its body. Its hair was long, knotted into thin corn rows. Its eyes reflected the light as…yellow?

Something sharp glinted from the tips of its fingers.

What in heaven? Kim raised her gun. The figure stopped, its form backlit by a wavering glow from the alley behind it.

Trash fire? This one doesn’t look like your typical street person.

The figure began to move again, loping (yes, loping was the right word) toward her, its motion controlled and precise like a gymnast.

“Stop right there!” Kim cried. “Police officer!”

The figure entered a pool of streetlight, its face briefly illuminated. 

It was the face of an animal.

“Freeze!” Kim yelled, a chill running up her back. “Stop or I’ll shoot!”

The creature speeded up, suddenly charging like a sprinter on overdrive. Kim fired once over its head. No effect. It was only a few feet away now, its arms and legs moving in a whirlwind of motion. My God! Kim thought, her fear building. She aimed a kill-shot, straight at the creature’s head. 

The thing shifted to its right, dodging the bullet as if the deadly projectile was moving in slo-mo. It reached a clawed hand out toward Kim, its suddenly visible face stretched into a ghastly parody of a smile.

Kim threw her body sideways. She fell, rolling on her side, the pavement smacking her hard. She felt a crunching pain on her waist.

She pulled herself to her feet, breathing fast, holding her luger with both hands extended in front of her.

Her breath caught in her throat. The creature was down.
Kim blinked. The thing was fast, unnaturally fast. It should have had her. She was positive it had dodged her bullet.

Yet, it lay facedown on the street, struggling to get up. This close, Kim could see the blood on the side of its head.

And that face. Inhuman features glared up at Kim. Man? Dog? It looked a combination of both—exaggerated bone structure, sharp teeth, high cheekbones, sloping forehead, yellow eyes.

Kim fell back a step, a sudden, unreasoning fear taking control. What is it? Both her hands shook as she tried to hold the gun steady. What—?

The creature suddenly leaped to its feet and flung itself at her, arms wide, mouth open. Kim fired and fell back, flinging her arms up over her head.

What? Kim looked wildly around her. The thing was gone. Where had it vanished to?

Have to call for backup! she thought frantically. And surely Joe saw what happened on the security cams! She started back towards the garage, hoping the gate would open again as she fumbled at her belt for her cell phone, looking over her shoulder. The fear was like a burning fire running through her system.

A low moaning floated through the night air. Kim stopped and turned back towards the alley. Someone’s hurt, she thought, licking her lips. Probably by that dog-thing.

Taking a deep breath, she jogged back toward the alley and stopped at its entrance, the skin between her shoulder blades tingling. If this dead-ends, I’m trapped. And yet I just can’t leave someone in there if they’ve been injured.

The moaning increased, a desperate sound radiating pain and confusion. Kim got her cell phone off of her belt. Got to call Lazo, she thought. Have to get—Damn! She stared dumbly at the cracked  casing of the now-useless phone. That’s what I felt breaking when I hit the street. Cheap shit! The Captain’s going to hear about this!

She snorted. Listen to me. Come on, Yoshima, get your act together!

Darting another look back towards the street, Kim took a few tentative steps into the alley. “Who’s there?” she called, her mouth dry. “Are you hurt? I’m a police officer!”

A gurgling, wet sound answered her, a barely recognized imitation of speech. Gritting her teeth, Kim entered the alley.

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Larry Ivkovich said...

Thanks for hosting me on this tour, Patti!

Larry Ivkovich said...

I've been enjoying the tour very much! One of the things it's helped me with is focusing and organizing my thoughts on writing for the blog posts and interview question answers. A lot of my writing is done in what I refer to as an "alterted state" where I just let it flow. By thinking a little about the process, I've surprised myself with some of my observations!

Burt Morgret said...

Thank you for hosting Larry:)