Writing Is My Passion

My short story, “Inside,” was published in the Hardboiled magazine in 2004. Another short story, “Scars on Brown Earth,” was selected as one of the finalists in the Glimmer Train’s Fall 2007 Short Story Contest for New Writer. My travel vignette, “Cats Among the Ruins,” was published in the 3 February 2009 issue of The Christian Science Monitor. And my short story, “The Other Side of War,” was published in the Spring 2013 edition of The Northern Virginia Review. I am currently working on a novel, a story about a war correspondent in World War II Italy.

My Published Stories

Inside

J Almon Polk - Inside

Ian Pierce, an NCIS special agent, is on a hunt for a murderer aboard the USS Kitty Hawk. He tracks the killer down but ends up with an experience that changes him forever.

The Other Side of War

J Almon Polk - Other Side of War

On her last day in Naples, Italy, Ashley Mildred, a U.S. navy doctor, reflects on her life with her lover, Marcello Pasquale, an Italian Carabinieri officer, who died in the Afghan war.

The Cat King of Rome

J Almon Polk - The Cat King

In Rome, Italy, I go on a search for Nelson, a one-eyed cat king of a children’s book. Instead, in an archaeological site, I find a world full of cats and cat-loving people.  

My Current Projects & Goals

My First Novel

I’m writing my first novel. Several years ago, I finished my draft of 130,000-plus words and submitted it to a Hollywood story consultant (a writer’s friend’s friend). He suggested several major changes. It turned out to be near complete rewrite. The original story unfolded through three third-person points of view. I eliminated one POV. Pushed that POV into the background, restructuring the story through two points of view. In March 2020, I finished my rewrite. It turned out a massive 230,000 words. Ridiculous. What agent or publisher will consider such a colossal work from a first-time novelist. So, I started another rewrite, whittling my first novel into a comfortable 90,000 to 100,000 words.  

The story premise is built on a following theme. 

How important is it to keep a promise, especially when you made that promise to a man you hardly knew, but a man who saved your life and died, and how difficult is it to keep that promise, especially if it stands in the way of your life’s ambition?

The book is a mainstream fiction, a cross genre of Historical-Adventure-Romance. I wish to complete my manuscript by the end of 2020 (perhaps, a too ambitious goal).

My Writing Goals for 2020

Reflecting back on my 2019 writing activities, I’m struck with a shameful realization—a year of zero success. My novel had stagnated, stuck in the quagmire of rewrites. The several short stories I had submitted, either for publication or contest, all failed. All rejected. One received some kind words from a publisher, that she had seriously considered it for publication. Encouraging, yes, but a rejection is a rejection.

There’s nothing I can do to fix the time past. So I look onward to my 2020 writing activities.

In 2020, I wish to finish my first novel (it’s about time). I also wish to write more short stories and flash fictions. The key here, I tell myself, is “never give up.” Perseverance. Keep on writing knowing that the joy of writing is in the writing.

But looking onward into the unknown of the time to come, I can’t help wondering: Does 2020  hold for me any success? Where would I be on my writing path at the end of 2020? Could I take another year of failure?

I don’t know. And in not knowing, all I can do is to keep on writing and let the time take its course.

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