Juggling Fiction and Non-Fiction

As of this week, I’ve had interest from more than one university press for my non-fiction book proposal.

My book manuscript is a study of 19th-century American fiction, tentatively titled Gears and God: Technocratic Fiction, Faith, and Empire in Mark Twain’s America. It covers proto-science fiction dime novels like the Frank Reade, Jr. series, along several of Twain’s novels, the “hollow Earth” manuscript written by Twain’s brother, and other technocratic novels by Albert Bigelow Paine, Anna Adolph, Pauline Hopkins and others.

I started 2016 with three–count ’em, three–short stories in the “nearly finished” mode. One needs line edits; another needs a better ending.  The longest one had detailed, handwritten notes ready for final revision, but the printed copy was lost when my car was broken into and my backpack was stolen–easy to replicate, but requires time nonetheless.  I also received a revise/resubmit on a story that I really love and spent a chunk of February editing it into a better, stronger story thanks to some good editorial advice.

Now, however, the non-fiction writing takes precedence.   My proposal stated that the manuscript would be done at the end of April–and now that there are presses interested, that deadline is very firm.

It’s a good problem to have, but one that will leave those three short stories unsubmitted for the time being.  And starting a new short is out of the question, though the ideas keep popping up as usual.

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