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Diving into the unknown

October 9, 2017

Definition of unknown; unfamiliar, not identified.

Or my definition; sending off query letters and sweating it out for a reply.

It’s that way with almost anything we do these days. Waiting, hoping and then finding out maybe you are accepted or not. It is a crap shoot but it is one that is worth the time. For me anyway. I think being a writer is the worse. Some might disagree but in the writing field, waiting and hoping and getting rejection after rejection is what makes them give it up.

I have received a lot of rejections. At one time I had a desk drawer fill of them. That was back in the days when hard copies were the only submissions magazines took. Some where very helpful. The editor telling you what you did wrong and telling you to try them again. I call this a foot in the door. They are interested but you need to work on tweaking your manuscripts.

They see something in your writing. A promise that in time, you might just make the grade. Some writers don’t listen. Take recently, I sent a story to Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine. in a couple of weeks I got an email from them rejecting the story but the editor told me he felt it started in the wrong place. I took his advice and reread the tale and sure enough, he was right. I corrected it and am still tweaking it for the next submission.

Some are helpful. Others just send a standard rejection. Thanks for submitting but the story just isn’t right for our magazine. I can understand this type of rejection because they receive thousands of stories a month. Some good, some horrid. Still, if they see the spark, even then they will give you a hint of what is wrong. Listen to those who do respond. Take their advice and soon you will get in published.

As of late, I have started my second Jake Jacks book even though I am still trying to get an agent to sell the first. The first Jacks novel is about a ex-cop, ex-drunkard turned private eye who does business out of a strip club. The setting is in a half factious, half real city on the north side of town. It is mob ran, the cops only coming when there is a murder or when they are made to patrol the streets.

Even then they do only a drive through, log in they’ve been there and head back up town. The story involves a terrorist group, an Interpol agent and the FBI. I just hope an agent will see the potential of the book. If not, then there is always self publishing as I did with my first three books. They are available on Kindle under the pen name Ike Keen.

Here is a little sample of  Trace, one of my published novel. A body has been found in the river by two lovers taking a dip to cool off.


The night was hot, especially by the river. The temperature hadn’t dropped much, hovering between the upper eighties and lower nineties and the humidity was thick, almost like breathing the river itself. Doc Pace was giving her the once over when we got there, him and his assistant having laid her on a rubber tarp. The only reason you could tell she was a female was shoes she still had on, ankle strapped and open toed high heels, the rope having covered them and keeping the fishes from nibbling at them.
Pat was over talking to the two kids who had found her, both wrapped in blankets and barely dressed. I figured they were having a midnight swim among other things and this midnight swim would be with them for a long time.
“Not much to go on,” Pace said standing and stripping the rubber gloves from his hands, “Just the shoes, the rest of her is pretty much gone ID wise so unless I can get some prints or she had dental work done here in the city…”
“Any idea how long she has been there?” I asked him. Doc shook his head.
“Hard to tell, maybe two, three weeks from the way the fish have been at her,” he said. Most of the flesh had been stripped off her face and she was bloated, bits of flesh hanging loose and her eyes were gone.
“Those two the ones who found her?” I asked.
“Couple of lovers, they decided to have a little midnight swim in the buff and lover boy dove under to surprise his true love and got a surprise himself,” Doc said.
I bit back a crude remark pertaining to surprises and pulled a cigar out of my shirt pocket, lighting up and watching Doc’s assistant wrap the body up, his face pale and his gag reflex weak. Pat came wandering over after taking with the two youngsters, shaking his head and chuckling.
“What’s funny?” I asked as he stepped up beside me.
“Those two,” he said making one last entry in his notebook and then stowing it in his coat pocket, “When I asked the guy about what he saw under the water he told me it sure wasn’t what he expected to see.”
“What about the girl?”
“She said she didn’t see anything, she was too busy dragging her boyfriend to the bank to keep him from drowning. She said he was screaming like a girl and thrashing around as she pulled him in. That was when the argument started; I don’t think he’ll be seeing her again.”
I chuckled and looked out at the river, the moonlight shining on it and making it look like black glass it was so still. There were no night sounds, just a deep quiet, or should I say a dead quiet. Yeah, a dead quiet, the crickets and frogs and other night creatures knowing what had happened and were silent. I shivered and walked to where Pat was talking to Doc, Doc telling him he would do what he could to ID the body but couldn’t guarantee anything.
As the wagon pulled away, I spotted the two reporters from the diner running toward us, Pat groaning and shaking his head. I stepped back as they skidded to a halt in front of Pat, both babbling questions a mile a minute and Pat listening, his only answer being “no comment”. I chuckled and walked back toward Pat’s car, looking back over his shoulder and getting a dirty look from Pat as I leaned against and waited for the two reporters to run out of steam and give it up.
Some might say it is a little too graphic in my description of the body but crime is not pretty folks so for them, live with it. I also like to write the occasional supernatural tale. Lovecraft is my favorite read along with Robert E. Howard and various other writers of the macabre. As far as detective stories, I like the ones written in the thirties and forties. The ones that appeared in the pulp magazines that were the poor man’s read.

I do have a few of them but they are beginning to crumble with age so I read them carefully, lol. I love to write and read as you can see. Maybe in time, I will make the grade. All one can do is keep on pounding the keyboard and hoping.






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