2015 Goals: February Status Report


1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

After spending a few weeks researching prospective agents, I finally got brave enough to send out two query packages. This is the first round of queries I’ve sent out since hiring an editor for my manuscript. It’s also the first run of a revised query letter.

I wish I could say all the revisions paid off instantly, but nothing involved with writing is instant! I’ve already received a rejection letter, which was actually very polite and even nice! While rejection sucks, receiving any sort of response is a win. This one in particular didn’t leave me feeling like a failure because it told me to keep trying, (this agent just didn’t feel like the right fit for my work).

While I wait for the second agency to respond, I’m busy working on the next round of queries I’ll be sending out in March.

2. Start writing Lineage.

On the shelf at the moment, as per my plan!

3. Submit poetry.

February turned out to be a pretty great month for poetry!

Back in January I submitted three haikus to local haiku competition and they ended up getting ranked as Outstanding (a status given to only 45 out of more than 600 entries). My haikus were put on display at a cultural festival and were also published in an ebook. All the details can be found in my recent post, A Haiku Victory!

In other haiku news, I quietly completed National Haiku Writing Month via NaHaiWriMo’s Facebook Page. The daily prompts were incredibly challenging (for example, the word “nuclear” was a prompt), but I loved every minute of it. I ended up writing more than 50 haikus by month’s end. Stay tuned as I’ll be posting selections soon.

In addition to NaHaiWriMo, I continued my involvement in the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest. I didn’t miss a single Wednesday Poetry Prompt.

As for my black out poetry submission, I’m still waiting on the results to this challenge: WD Poetic Forms Challenge: Erasure Poetry. Regardless of how this one turns out, I’m still very inspired by this form. A new collection is already in the works!

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

When it came to poetry and queries, I’d say I was pretty darn focused this month!

5. Be flexible.

As always, I’m staying open to opportunities and inspiration wherever they may be hiding.

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And let’s not forget the word of the year:


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How are you doing with your 2015 goals?

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c.b.w. 2015

Rejection Isn’t All That Bad


The results for the 2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge are in and I can honestly say the best poets were selected. The winner wrote some great poems all month long as did the four runners-up. In fact, two of the top five were among my favorite throughout the challenge. I am so happy to see them get the recognition they deserve!

My name was not among the winners list, but I’m still really proud of what I accomplished. Not only did I complete the challenge, but I discovered a true passion for the haiku form. For me, finding this passion is better than winning a competition.

Despite ending up in the slush pile, I am proudly adding this experience to my rejection file. While it’s instinctive to wallow (rejection is not exactly a pleasant feeling), the ninja writer in me is just motivated to push even harder and try again. In this case, my word of the year – persistence – is definitely flexing it’s muscle!

To celebrate both my newfound passion and another rejection, I’ll be constructing a chapbook for the haiku collection I created for the challenge. My muse and I are busing working on design and layout elements, so stay tuned!

The haikus continue to flow, along with senryu (haiku-ish poems dealing with human nature). The Wednesday Poetry Prompt on Poetic Asides keeps me inspired and my journal full. To close things out, here’s my most recent attempt at senryu:

scuffed with age
her wedding band sits beside
a cold cup of tea


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c.b.w. 2015

Sticking It To Rejection


The list of writers who made to the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award was posted yesterday and alas my name was not on the list. How tempting it is to pout and unmute my inner critic (who is most certainly shouting, “You suck!”). How easy it would be to give up. How simple it would be to shelve the whole project. However, I’m not doing any of those things for a couple of reasons.

First, any rejection I get is added to the stack and treated like a badge of honor.  Every rejection, silent or otherwise, brings me one step closer to the agent who will say “yes.” Regardless of what my inner critic would have me believe, The Muse does not suck and neither do I.  The Muse is a kick-butt novel that deserves a shot at publication.

Second, my readers gave me a precious gift. When I posted a short story for the first time in more than a year, you all showed up to hit that “like” button and write amazing comments. None of my previously posted short stories got that kind of attention and I’m beyond thrilled that Blink evoked such a strong reaction.

Part of the reason I held off on doing anything with Blink was because I thought it was too weird and no one would get it. Obviously, I was wrong. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my odd little story.

As an added bonus, here’s the image that inspired Blink. I’ve used it before for a series entitled Sundays in London, but it’s an image I come back too often for inspiration.

A side-street in London, near Trafalgar Square
Photo by: c.b.w. 2005

All I have to say to rejection is, “bring it.” As soon as I knew I hadn’t made to the second round of the competition, I immediately started Googling “young adult fantasy literary agents.” I’ve already got a new list of agents started and they will all soon be receiving a query package from me. Get ready guys, The Muse is coming to find you.

How’s that for sticking it to rejection?

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c.b.w. 2014

2014 Goals: January Status Report


January was a rather quiet month on the writing front, but a few surprises still landed on my doorstep in terms of my goals for this year.

1. Pitch The Muse.

Four months after sending my first batch of query letters, another actual rejection letter arrived in my inbox. I was pretty excited to receive it as any response is better than dead silence. Despite rejecting The Muse, the letter was actually quite positive.  My novel was rejected simply because it wasn’t the right fit for the agency.  Even better, the last line of the letter told me to keep trying. Don’t worry, I will!

2. Outline and start writing The Muse: Lineage.

At the moment, my day job is taking up most of my time. Instead of outlining, I am planning lessons for AP Art History.  If anything, researching different styles of art is going to help me as my main character Ian has a hand in inspiring some famous artwork. I may not be able to outline at the moment, but I’ll be thinking of Ian as I head into planning a unit on Impressionism.

3. Submit writing.

My last submission was my chapbook entry to the Writer’s Digest November Poem A Day Chapbook Challenge. No word yet on who won.

4. Continue to build author platform.

I have a feeling my playtime on Pinterest is contributing to my Twitter feed more than anything else, but I can learn to live with that! Over on Facebook, I haven’t been around as much as I’d like. It’s blocked at work, so that makes it hard to post! Regardless, both have grown this month in terms of followers:

Facebook Likes grew from 350 to 357

Twitter followers grew from 542 to 544

Thank you so much for the follows and the likes!

5. Inspire others.

As always, I hope I am a positive presence!

Let’s not forget the sixth “invisible” goal:

6. Be Flexible.

Keeping an open mind has already paid off. This month I was contacted by an author who wants to use two of my photographs in her book. Not only am I honored to have my photographs featured, but it feels great to have my work acknowledged with a photo credit.  As soon as I have more information about when the book is being released, I’ll be sure to pass it along.

I wonder what February will bring . . .

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c.b.w. 2014

The Evolution of My Pen Name


When I created my pen name, it was all about cloaking my true identity while also creating an entirely new one for the writer I hoped to become, (see The Anatomy of My Pen Name).  It’s been almost four years since I adopted C.B. Wentworth and I’m amazed at how much I’ve grown into my pseudonym and embraced the role of a writer.

The first time I typed out my pen name and put it on the cover of my novel’s first draft it was like I had a little secret.  I hadn’t told anyone about it and I was even a little hesitant about telling my inner circle.  Why would a girl with a perfectly good name go and change it?  It was hard to explain why I needed to give my writing persona her own name, but then I realized I‘ve got a great support system that would still have my back if I had decided to go by Bertha Schlotzky.

As I grew more comfortable with the idea of other people reading my work, I decided to establish a presence for my pen name on the internet.  I started by setting up an e-mail account that was completely separate from my “real” e-mail. Then, I created a profile on facebook with details that only related to my pen name.  At first it was an odd experience to see this “stranger” every time I signed in, but I very quickly got accustomed to seeing my alter ego on the screen.  She was becoming more and more real.

After launching my blog, the name C.B. Wentworth started to take on a much deeper meaning. My readership grew far quicker than I thought and turned a obscure pen name into something that was recognized publicly.  C.B. Wentworth was a writer and I wasn’t the only one who knew her purpose.  It was suddenly so much easier to believe in the possibility of publication when the numbers kept going up each day, comments continued rolling in, and e-mails started showing up in her inbox.  Then, of course, was the day I spotted my pen name in one of those coveted Freshly Pressed squares.  Hey, maybe this whole writing thing really  can happen!

It’s one thing to self-publish my self-made moniker, but quite another to see it in print thanks to the decision of an editor.  While it was only a little square in a newspaper, (see A Little Victory), it still gave C.B. Wentworth some credit for getting a little closer to the ultimate goal of publishing a novel.  I do, however, have to admit I loved seeing my little creation in black in white . . . that name was meant to be in print and I’m starting to feel much less crazy about believing in such a thing.

The journey of an aspiring writer is a long one fraught with fear, doubt, and failure.  My pen name and I have gone through some devastating lows and exhilarating highs.  The yo-yo effect wreaks havoc on the whole concept self-belief.  There have been days where I’m ready to delete everything I’ve ever written from my hard drive.  And days when I wonder why I’m putting so much effort into something that seems so out of reach.  After my last rejection, (see The Bright Side of Losing), I bounced back quicker than usual thanks to a raging case of optimism and a very thoughtful gift I received for Christmas.  One of my oldest friends had my pen name printed in the most meaningful way I could ever imagine:

Thank you, M.

With this plaque hanging on the wall above my writing desk, I can’t help but believe in myself as much as my friend believes in me.  C.B. Wentworth, Author  has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

c.b. 2012