How Has Your Week Been?

Oakland University Campus
Oakland University Campus, Rochester Michigan

Last week was certainly an interesting one for me.

On Saturday, October 4, 2014, I attended the Rochester Writers’ Conference at Oakland University. Well-organized as always, the break-out sessions offered something for everyone.

Discussions ranged from establishing theme, to writing poetry, to using social media, querying agents … and a great many other things related to the craft of writing. The organizer, local travel writer Michael Wylie, does a terrific job of putting it all together.

I was surprised to learn I’d taken second place in the micro-fiction contest (a complete story in under 500 words) from last year’s conference. I was surprised a second time to discover I’d also won a prize in their flash fiction contest (a story in 100 words).

Both are extremely difficult exercises (try it sometime … here’s a challenge: write a complete story in exactly 100 words; no more, no less, and you must include the words onyx, circuitry and fermenting). When you try it you’ll know why winning felt pretty good. It’s hard to do.

Of course, I also had to read each winning selection to the entire conference audience, which can be a little unnerving if you’re not used to doing it. Fortunately, at my age, stage fright is not a problem. You have more trouble keeping me off the stage.

This year’s keynote speaker, Lev Raphael, was worth waiting to hear. The author of twenty-four books in genres from mystery to memoir, he teaches creative writing at Michigan State University, and his speech was both engaging and inspiring.

I’m already looking forward to attending the conferences Mike is organizing for 2015.

More Surprises
Then on Monday I returned to my orthopedic surgeon for a follow-up on the rotator cuff surgery I had in July. I’m making progress with my therapy, but it still hurts to move my arm and my range of motion hasn’t completely returned.

Doc reminded me that three of the four ligaments in my shoulder had to be repaired … one of the worst repairs he’s had to do (and shoulders are all he does). He warned me I probably have six more months of rehab to go.

Joy. Like I said before, it’s not exactly the way I wanted to enter the record books.

independence television logo100
On Wednesday, things were beginning to look up again when I was interviewed about my books by Independence Television, one of the small public television producers in this area.

Even though I’d been exposed to television production occasionally during my professional career, it was still both interesting and fun to be in front of the cameras for a change.

tv interview3 tv interview4
What things look like on-screen … and what it really looks like in the studio

While their broadcast reach is relatively small, I’ll be able to post an online link to the interview as soon as it’s available. It’s part of the “earned media” I’ve talked about here before … trying to generate word-of-mouth publicity.

I’ll be sure to let you know if the exposure does the kind of things I’m hoping for (I probably won’t be able to help myself).

Publishers Weekly
On Thursday, Publishers Weekly declined to review my latest book, ONE WAY STREET, but that’s OK. As their email pointed out:

“Our review process is highly competitive – both for self-published and traditionally published authors. We review a relatively small percentage of the books submitted … If your book is chosen, know that it truly stood out.”

They’re already looking at my novel, REICHOLD STREET. Based on their comment today, I take that as a very good thing … and I hope you’ll pardon me for tooting my own horn.

Friday the day was sunny and cool … a nice fall day. Therapy on my shoulder in the afternoon, and dinner with good friends in the evening. A pleasant end to the week.

I’m writing again and, as always … I hope you are, too.

Keep reading … keep writing … have fun.


You can find my books as eBooks or paperback on Amazon, or at Barnes & Noble. You’re also invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or like my Book of Face page. You can also follow my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.


Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.


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8 Responses to “How Has Your Week Been?”

  1. Lev Raphael Says:

    You asked about sci-fi. I’ve actually laid out some notes for a dystopian novel, but that’s all I have so far, along with a title, even though I’ve loved the genre for so long. My other books-in-progress are that historical I mentioned set in 1305 Flanders; a historical set in First Century Judaea which has the plot, characters and opening; another memoir that’s 40+ pp. along; a Regency satire that’s just started and has a pile of reading to do before I can continue–and I’ve probably forgotten something…..Oh, a W.W. II novel set in Occupied Poland. I have a shelf of books to read for that, a title, main character and opening line–but that’s also all. Will I finish all these books? Who knows? Who knows how much time any of us have? I never thought I’d publish 25…..


    • Ron Herron Says:

      I wrote a lot of early sci-fi stories myself. One of my best memories of submitting some of that stuff had to do with the old “Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine.”

      Decades ago, about the time it became a bi-monthly (I think it was about 1978) and while The Good Doctor was still with us, I submitted a short story to them (one of several over the years).

      I got a rejection letter from the editor at the time, George H. Scithers, which said all the polite “not suited for us at this time” baloney…but the reason I remember it so well was the little index card that was also inside the envelope.

      It was a hand-written note that said “Too much talk-talk in the ending.” It was signed I.A. I was ecstatic!

      “Asimov saw my story!” I remember shouting that to my wife, who could have cared less. She didn’t know who he was. I was too naieve to realize it was most likely a direction to re-write and re-submit, so it never got done.

      I’ve got the beginnings of a sci-fi horror story a la Dean Koontz, but the characters haven’t told me much yet. Also, a WWII story modelled after some notes my wife’s great aunt wrote about her experiences in Hungary during the war.

      I hope to finish those, but I doubt I’ll ever get to 25, though.


  2. Jeff Bushman Says:

    Congratulations on your writing contests. I can’t remember the last time I was in Rochester.

    I haven’t been writing as much as I should. Too many sticks in the fire right now. Even my reading has slacked off, although with hunting season now upon us I am rewarded with a few opportunities to sit high in a tree stand buried in a book. My archery season has started off with the book ‘Canada’ by Richard Ford.

    Bill is coming up from Florida for the annual pilgrimage to deer camp where we trek 4 miles deep into state land way up north. 10 days in the bush. No power, minimal heat and only the things we pack in with us. Looking forward to it.

    Speedy recovery on your injury. I hear those are the worst.


    • Ron Herron Says:

      Thanks, Jeff.

      You’re right. Rotator cuff injuries are awful for recovery. Had my other shoulder repaired 14 years ago, and thought that was enough. Didn’t have to repeat it.

      Oh well, at least now I’ll get the weather changes in stereo.

      Somehow, the idea of sitting four miles deep into the bush for 10 days with no heat, no power…even if I had a whole backpack full of books…just doesn’t seem to get my old adrenalin moving. But if it’s good for you, enjoy it.

      Be careful out there, and give your brother a big hug for me. 😉


  3. Lev Raphael Says:

    Congrats again on your prizes! Even when one’s not I’m glad you enjoyed my keynote. I work really hard on all my talks, whatever the venue. BTW, it’s actually 25 books, not 24. And this weekend I’m well into 26, an erotic vampire novella that opens in a bordello. 🙂


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