Wednesday, 26 September 2012

"Roll of Honour" Still Going Strong

Last weekend I was contacted by Jean Parsons, the judge who earlier this year had awarded Roll of Honour first place in the Lest We Forget category of the Canadian Stories Contest. She was writing to inform me that her brother, John Scot (an editor of Flight Plan - a newsletter for the Aircrew Association of Ontario) had read my story and wished to publish it also. Seeing as how this association is made up of veterans of WWII, I thought that Flight Plan was the perfect niche. As of today, the story has been formally accepted.

This is quite an honour. Usually when a short story has been published, it's put on a shelf, no longer of any use in the contest circuit, but in this case my very genre-specific story will finally find the very specific audience that it was written for. I find that to be intensely gratifying.

Thursday, 13 September 2012


My photo just went up on the JKGLA website. It's a closeup of the one I sent them, and gives a far better facial expression. Trouble is, to my horror, my first impression is that I was sneering at the camera. Although gradually, I was able to calm down, and convince myself that it was a steely-eyed expression of confidence and determination - almost a la Clint Eastwood (you might have to use some imagination for that, though).

For those of you who are wondering: yes, it's the same picture that I'm using on this blog. I really should do something about that, but I've never been keen about photographs of myself. Sort of like writing about myself, it's not something that comes naturally. A work in progress, I suppose.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Four Years in a Row - Semi-finalist in the JKGLA

I just received an email from Jenny Phillips, of the John Kenneth Galbraith Literary Award ( informing me, and other writers, that our stories have advanced to the semi-finals. Apparently that includes writers from all across the country, from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador. At the bottom of her email Jenny wrote: "A special Congrats to Chuck Lovatt for both of his semi-final entries . . .Well Done Again Chuck! I" I thought that was awfully nice of her.

To explain: I had entered two stories this year. Both have advanced, which is another first for me in 2012.    Earlier, in Voices, two of my submissions had been accepted for that magazine's Fall issue, but this is the first time that two of my stories have advanced in a competition. *

Now we wait until sometime in October, prior to the 15th (Galbraith's birth date), to find out which three advance to the finals. Here's hoping.

By the way, this is the fourth year in a row that my work has progressed this far in the Galbraith Award. It has to be some kind of a record.

*11/09/2012: I just realized that that wasn't true. How could I forget the two short-listed stories in the April issue of Global Short Stories, from this Spring? Seriously, I must be losing it.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Working Behind the Scenes

Today I received this email from Paul, the PR guy at Wild Wolf, in response to my sending him Jodi Hanson's address as a preferred reviewer.

"Hi, Chuck,
That's great - all the help we can get in marketing your book does make all the difference.
I am starting to formulate a marketing plan for your title, so any suggestions like this one will be incorporated into it.
Cheers and welcome aboard,"

"I am starting to formulate a marketing plan for your title..." I think that sounds soooo cool, especially the "marketing plan" part. How best to convey just how awesomely cool that is?

Okay, let's try this: I finished the rough draft of Charlie Smithers in January, '08, and deemed it suitable to be sent off to publishers in February, '09. Since then it has been submitted fifteen times (including to Wild Wolf in May, 2011...which should give you an idea of how long the selection process takes, as well as the chances of its being accepted).

Now, if you are a layperson, the thing you need to understand about submitting a novel is that, initially, not all of it is sent - only the first two or three chapters. If the editors wish to read the entire manuscript, they will ask for it at a later date, but in spite of many hand-written notes of encouragement from various editors, insofar as this novel is concerned (and which I was informed by other writer's that these were 'gold'), they never did, until Sam contacted me a few months ago. That means that in all the intervening years, after all the painstaking effort - the research, re-writes and constantly, constantly, CONSTANTLY ironing out wrinkles, the number of people who have actually read the book in its entirety could be counted on the fingers of one hand...and still have enough left over to give a "Peace" sign, without ever needing to include the thumb.

In whatever form it takes, the paramount reason for the existence of the written word is for it to be read. Prior to this point, outside of my friend, Amber, and her daughter, Deb, (my two most loyal readers, and in Amber's case - most uncompromising critic) that simply hadn't happened.

But now that someone has finally considered it worthwhile to ask to see the other eighteen chapters (and ultimately found them to be "well-written and engaging"), it's full speed ahead. Currently, there is a team formulating a "marketing plan", another engaged in editing, and still yet another assessing the book design - in short, after such a long period of being fastidiously ignored, and time and time again being deemed as unworthy by others (in spite of the fact that, more often than not, they too found the sample sent to them "well-written and engaging"), at long last, it is being lauded with attention prior to being sent out into the world, where it will be given the chance to receive even more.

So yeah, I think that's very cool...and in my opinion, long overdue.

PS: BTW, thanks Jodi. Not for the review (that would be like counting chickens before they're hatched) but for offering to write it. Yet another selfless gesture, my friend.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Okay, NOW It's Official

Contract's signed and sent off. It's crazy how hugely relieved that makes me feel.

Much of yesterday was spent trying to answer a rather lengthy list of things Sam sent for me to consider: dedication and acknowledgements (that one was easy, you know who you are), a photograph of myself (seeing as how I look rather moth-eaten these days, I voted to defer), a blurb for the back cover (no idea: I can write a novel - no problem - but don't ask me to explain it), artwork for the front cover (again, no idea. I think a lot depends on what Paul, the PR man, has to say [an aside: Good lord! I actually have a PR guy! - end of aside]), author's biography (I voted to keep it simple and short).

I'm fairly sure that I've forgotten some things, but I wanted to give an indication of what these initial days are like - pure bliss, actually - but I'm sure that my skin will need to thicken considerably, when Wild Wolf's editor gets his/her talons on the manuscript...

[another aside: I'm quite sure that the editor will ultimately be revealed to be a very nice I'm equally sure that, regardless of what I feel, he/she will have long, razor-sharp, talons instead of fingers].

Stay tuned....

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Contract's Here

I received an email from Wild Wolf this morning, with the contract attached. Just have to sign it and send it off, probably Tuesday morning. It's several pages long, but I thought that the first paragraph was cool:

This AGREEMENT made between __CHUCK LOVATT_______, hereinafter referred to as the AUTHOR, and WILD WOLF PUBLISHING, with respect to the work entitled ____THE ADVENTURES OF CHARLIE SMITHERS_____, hereinafter referred to as the WORK.

Yeah, definitely cool.