Amid the concerns over contact with others, I've managed to reread most of what I've written in fifteen years (about 12 novels, too many novellas, approximately 90 short stories, and enough poetry for another collection).
Last spring and summer, I sent out twelve submissions and received nine rejections--some anonymously machine and others personal. The three acceptances surprised me. Last year, I published a book review with The Delmarva Review, but I had given up on submitting years ago after too many rejections. This year, they accepted two of my sonnets written during the height of anxiety due to COVID19. My father's visits were so real in those early days, and now they live on the pages of the anthology.
A story I have been honing since 1983 when Ted was born, and I dove into science fiction during a summer of new mother loneliness was accepted by The Bay to Ocean Anthology. In "Celia's Audience with a Madman," the reader meets Celia Maycomb, my favorite brand of gusty, smart woman who faces a machine that can outthink her.
Finally attempting ekphrastic poetry for the Here l Not Here art exhibition by SU Galleries, one of my poems was chosen for an anthology of artwork and poetry and a meditative reading in September. The photograph I chose enjambed a beautiful shade of blue and the shambling rot of an old shed. "Overgrown" unlocked as I wrote for that scene and dove into the story of a woman who escaped, returned, was thwarted, and fled. Sometimes there are entire novels wrapped up in poetry.
There is the joy in quarantine.
I also finished my novel Confessions in Birdsong (which might have been lost in that cyberattack, but that is sorrow and not my subject.) Another novella jumped out of the past and threw itself onto the page as an exorcism from the seriousness of Confessions. Charlie's Heart is a romp into romance with all of its grumpy strangers, self-sacrificing urges, and twisting turns.
Embarking on the task to write book reviews, I want to be fair but kind. I read through the edits of "Celia" when I was returned to me. Something I have been honing for all those years had so many flaws. In a review, I am focusing on good storytelling, good formatting, and fine writing. I'm no expert, but I am a reader. So there's joy in reading and reviewing for Greyhound Books' authors.
J D Cooper
Writer and Reviewer