Here’s Some News

Three months ago, I submitted the first fifty pages of The Secret War to The James Jones First Novel Fellowship contest.  ($10,000!)  I’d actually intended to mail them the first fifty pages of my second novel, but since I was only on page 22 or so back then, I had to make a little last minute substitution.

They e-mailed me this morning to say the book’s in their finalist round, which makes me happy.  It’s always terrific to make somebody’s cut, and this one is particularly gratifying because the award is intended to “honor the spirit of unblinking honesty, determination, and insight into modern culture exemplified by the late James Jones. . . .”  I also happen to love Deborah Kerr (okay, Burt Lancaster figures in there too),  who was so magnificent in From Here to Eternity.

I don’t know if you’ve been following the saga of my short stories — the ones that keep getting dinged by one fine literary journal after the other — but I think it was about time for a little good news around now, don’t you?


33 thoughts on “Here’s Some News

  1. Oh yes. Long past time! I told you they would come to their senses! 🙂 Most sincere congratulations, Jacques.

  2. Bloglily,

    Sweet! You have a fan pulling for you in San Jose.

    Donna Reed (he says, casually dropping a name), who won an Oscar for her role in “From Here to Eternity,” was my aunt–my mother’s older sister. May the spirit of James Jones be as good to you as it was to her!


  3. Ben, No! Except really I should have guessed. You have those same good, kind Iowa genes. I’ll bet your mother is a grand woman, just like her sister.

    Hello Dear Charlotte — have a wonderful time on your Berlin writing weekend. I’m thinking that novel of yours is going so beautifully, and I can’t wait to see more of it.

    RR — Exactly that. Inspired to get through all the edits I have to do, and I keep thinking about how it’s good to get a lot of things out there, and keep going on the writing.

    Thanks Rhian! But remember to uncross those fingers when you’re watering your garden, okay?

    Genie, that would be fun! I can think of any number of east bay watering holes where that would be possible.

    Hello elizabeth — and welcome!

    Jacques — I’m listening to you, dude, from now on. About everything. (Do you think i wear too much black?)

    Why Debbie, thank you. (And you go too, you know. This Book is Leaking is going to be such a big hit, I know it.)

    Dear Marie, I haven’t used that word “tremendous” in a very long time and I’ve decided to reintroduce it into my vocabulary. This is what poets do, among other things, you know — they give us words back so we can recirculate them.

    Dear Lisa, Thank you for the good wishes. I’ll be sure to let you know what happens.

  4. Now, that is terrific news. I’m keeping my fingers AND toes crossed for you. Let’s hope I don’t trip and fall on my nose…

    Go Lily Go!

  5. Congrats, Lily! I just discovered your blog, and you’ve been an inspiration to me as I revise my first novel and send out my stories. I wish you continued success.

  6. Hi Annette, and welcome. I’d love to hear about your novel and stories. And thank you for the good wishes!

    Dear Dorothy — one of my boys asked me this morning if I’m ever going to earn enough money as a writer to buy him a drum set. So, you can see, there’s a lot riding on the James Jones Fellowship! I figure if I don’t win, that’s okay, because I have a good excuse to say no to the drum set and if I do win I can buy a really good pair of noise cancelling headphones. Win/Win, don’t you think?

    Ms. Mum — It’s true, I am pretty thrilled. I like most things about the submissions process — well, I am not actually a big fan of the rejection part — but I’m learning to deal with that without too much self-pity. But one thing I love is knowing that people I don’t know are reading stuff I’ve written and they’re not totally gagging and throwing the book down and running out of the room.

    Dear Ingrid, Yes indeed. It is determination that gives talent a push. That combination of determination and talent is, for example, how your films are getting made and your scripts are getting written. That and good cafes in which to write and dream. I’ll bet it’s lovely in London right now — I wish I was there, going to a movie!

    Thank you, Cam. If luck comes it will be entirely through good wishes like yours, and I’m grateful to you for supplying them. xoxo, L

    Pauline, and I’m looking forward to hearing about YOUR good news, long in gestation, but soon arriving.

    Litlove, I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that if there is any rich and famous thing happening it probably won’t be me! But I’ll settle for occasionally compensated and not notorious. Someday there will also be parties, don’t you think? Where blog people get together in someone’s salon and drink Pimms and lemonade and eat massive slices of chocolate cake.

    Edwin, it’s true, isn’t it? The whole thing takes a long, long time to even begin to get going. And you, sir, have been around for most of that time. For which I thank you and send you my love, L

    Mari, you are a sweetheart. Thank you. The finger and toe thing? Very helpful. xo, L

  7. Congratulations! on your much deserved success! I have very much enjoyed your short story saga by the way…well not the part about rejection, but the part where you keep on keepin’ on. What a bunch of oafs, those editors and publishers are, to be so blind to your bright lights. This’ll show ’em! Bravo! And crossing everything on your behalf.

  8. Hang in there BL. I was reading some of Jane Austen’s rejection letters recently, thought of you. You will be published, and soon, and all the editors who so cavalierly rejected your beautiful work will have some splainin’ to do–xxoo

  9. Well, I’m late to the party as always, but congratulations! I’m waiting and waiting and waiting, very impatiently, to be able to walk into a bookstore and buy you (well, not you, but you know what I mean, a piece of you. Oh hell, I’d better shut up while I’m waiting).

  10. LK — Tea tip to you too, baby!

    Emily, Oh I’d like to meet you in that bookstore and talk books and buy books and then go sit and read books. Someday….

    Mary– ‘splaining, indeed.

    BF — Plugging away, that is what I’m all about.

    Sandi, I’m looking forward to that toast. (And your new book cover is very fun — I’m going over there to say that in a minute….)

    Archie, I do, in fact, aspire to wicked. Wicked anything, really. Wicked plugging away at present is my mode of operation.

    Hey Ms. Sofa Dweller — Frabjous — I’m working that into conversation today, written or spoken, it does not matter. Thank you for the good wishes.

    Courtney — It’s seeming to me that there’s an awful lot of diligent, good writing going on out there. How great is that? I mean, look at you, going to town on your novel, and others doing the same. It’s very inspiring.

    Dear Fiona, I never thought it would be okay to not only be rejected to so often, but to publicly chronicle the whole thing. I think the reason it’s okay is because I’ve realized that the people I really like (which includes everyone who comments here) don’t think you’re a dweeb because of it. We all put ourselves out there and we all of us are shot down, so I don’t think I’m all alone in this. (And please, don’t tell me if I am!)

    W — Eyes! hey, you need those to whip those books you work on into shape. Uncross them, missy! Fingers & toes, though are A-OK.

    Pete — Thumbs? Thank you! I’m sure that, along with the other toes, fingers, eyes, and other things being crossed will just about do the trick. And if it doesn’t, well, that’s my own fault, don’t you think?

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