Meanwhile, back at the fort….

It has been a while since I have posted an update of any kind. My apologies. About six weeks ago, at the end of April, I went in to surgery to repair two tears in the lateral meniscus of my right knee. I had originally injured the joint some years ago, but had recently (November 2015) damaged it beyond use during training. After months of physical therapy and rehab, it wasn’t getting any better. Oh, there wasn’t much pain; only I could not physically do what I had been used to doing. And so, my martial arts teacher recommended an orthopaedic specialist to me, and I saw him to have my knee done.

Since the surgery, my knee has been much better. I still cannot squat ass to the floor, but I can get down into a high horse stance, and I can go up and down stairs. I still have to be careful, because when I push too hard, the joint aches. Indeed, I often have to ice it after training sessions. But, according to Hanshi, I am making good progress. I simply need to remember to take it slowly, and to stop when there’s pain.

It’s all my own fault, really. I’m 6’1” and 300lbs, and yet I still do martial arts. At that weight, if you make a mistake, you can hurt yourself quite badly. Still, I enjoy training; if it weren’t for the martial arts, I’d probably weight 400lbs.

Perhaps in another post, I shall talk about my martial arts ‘career,’ such as it is. I have known some world class fighters, and some interesting characters.

In other news, I have placed MEDOUSA with a service called “Books Go Social.” It is a website and a service that helps with getting one’s books noticed by the reading community at large. A kind of marketing assistance service. There is an interview posted here– And my book has a page here—

Here’s hoping I can enjoy a modicum of success. While I don’t expect to become a best-seller, I do hope I can start earning an extra few dollars each month on the regular.

I still do have some misgivings about having published on my own, despite the good reviews I have already gotten thus far ( I still can’t shake the feeling that if my work had been good enough, it would have been picked up on its own merits. Of course, that may be unfair; after all, there are many worse books than mine that have managed to get published (and, yes; many better books). I actually brought up this point to a friend, and he said something very interesting that I had not considered. He said that it may simply have been a problem in marketing.

It was pointed out to me that although my book is a fantasy novel, it draws from ancient Greek myth; so it isn’t exactly Fantasy. And although my protagonist is herself a lesbian, it really isn’t an LGBTG novel; it doesn’t explore themes of sexuality in society. It’s merely a part of who Medousa is. The writing style, I am told, is literary; but it’s not a literary work of fiction. It’s not ‘Chick Lit,’ despite the majority of the characters being female; it’s just that these are the people about whom the story is written. In some places it passes the Bechdel Test, and in some places, not so much.

What it all might come down to is the fact that I did not take care to place my novel firmly into one genre, making it difficult to sell. It may be that without an appropriate niche, agents just weren’t sure what to do with it. –And, honestly, the length might have been a problem. Although it is rather long, at 150k words, I was told by my editor that the story does work best when I give it time to unfold at a more laconic pace (This is when I was considering breaking MEDOUSA up into two, or even three smaller novellas).

I still have a lot to learn as a writer.

In the meantime—if you enjoy myth-based Fantasy—go buy my book, eh? I promise you won’t be completely disappointed.





About Michael Butchin

I was born, according to the official records, in the Year of the Ram, under the Element of Fire, when Johnson ruled the land with a heavy heart; in the Cradle of Liberty, to a family of bohemians. I studied Chinese language and literature at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. I spent some years in Taiwan teaching kindergarten during the day, and ESOL during the evenings. I currently work as a high school ESOL teacher, and am an unlikely martial artist. I have spent much of my life amongst actors, singers, movie stars, beautiful cultists, Taoist immortals, renegade monks, and at least one martial arts tzaddik. I currently reside in Beijing's Dongcheng district
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