Let’s Try This One More Time

So here we are, a week and change into my Patreon campaign (which makes it sound like a limited time event, but for now I plan it to go as long as I can produce/ keep breathing, so hopefully, quite a while.) I have a couple of followers at the highest support level enjoying all I have to create and have run a poll asking what genre people want to read. It came up “fantasy,” so I brainstormed on a novel idea I had in the last year but never made time to explore. The next day, I started writing. I will hit seven thousand words tonight, eight if I’m lucky. It’s swimming along nicely, with my planning staying ahead of my writing enough to just keep writing when I get the chance.
In other writing news, I got paid for my second reprint ever! Woo! As soon as I get a link for the book, Fae Wings, I’ll post it on my bibliography page and update that with a couple other works. I also got a rejection today for a story I think it one of, if not the best short stories I’ve written. This was the fifth or six place I sent this story, but at least I got some advice that feels actionable as well as some nice words over all and an invitation to continue submitting. I’m going to look back over that one with the advice in mind and I have two more markets lined up for it before it becomes a Patreon exclusive read for a while and then goes to Amazon. For other writers, how many times do you send out a story before you give up on it?
Thanks for dropping by, don’t forget to check out my Patreon and FB pages!

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My So-Called Wrong Brain Experience

If these people are wrong, then I don’t want to be right, to borrow a well-worn saw. I had a gig yesterday, a craft fair slash art show of local creators with everything from stained glass and paintings to bone sculptures and a Mad-Maxian pauldron (since WordPress objects to the word, it bears defining. A pauldron is shoulder armor) made of license plates. A few people performed music slash “sound experiences” and there were lots of conversations. I got to see a few people from high school and old jobs whom I hadn’t seem in quite a while, in the former case, a couple of decades.
While monetarily I broke even, experience-wise and getting out there to spread my own creations in the form of a few anthologies, paintings and leather work, it was definitely a worthwhile experience. I can’t deny that there were quite a number of characters there, people who stood out in one way or another. It was a great opportunity for people watching. They will add spice to my work. There’s also nothing quite like spending a good day with good people and coming home drained.
For those of you not following my Facebook page, I had some success recently. One of the publishers whose projects I really enjoy, Mad Scientist Journal, periodically puts out anthologies separate from their weekly Monday offerings and the quarterly collections of said. This next one will be entitled “Fitting In” and will focus on the plights of supernatural creatures dealing with today’s society as outsiders. My story Snakedance will be present, following a day in the life of a shapeshifter in a South America affected by urban sprawl and forest destruction.
I’m working on a few pieces I feel very good about for other upcoming anthologies, some of which look to set the mood for entire subgenres as the founding works in the field. One was a kickstarter I recently linked on my Facebook page and another is being edited by a fellow contributor to Capes and Clockwork. They are fairly polar opposites, as one focuses on the positive, bright future we may find if we give up the poisonous practices that promote conflict, while the other is a horror story about miscreant gravekeepers. Sitting at the Wrong Brain Spring Bizaare[sic] letting the human tide ebb and flow around me gave me time to write about half of the latter story between chatting and sales. That in itself, practice writing in such a busy environment and getting words down, added to the experience. I’ve got to get out more.

This One Time, I Blogged…

But it was quite a while ago. Sorry about that. It’s been a busy busy year. The boy is up and walking, running, stringing words together and getting up and down stairs! We’ve found a house we love and look forward to signing on it at the end of the month. We lived in California for five months and that was a neat experience.
As to writing, there have been a few more successes I’ll add to the list as they come out (and a few that are out already, but I’m in need of a master list. Organization is not my primary skill, but if it was, that would be rather boring…) Aeolus and Chiron have had their world expanded with some more shorts, including introduction of more allies, more enemies, more weirdness and being drawn into a more complex tale to be told over the course of not just one, but a series of novels, the first two of which are in the process of being written. I’m especially looking forward to Capes and Clockwork 2, due out this summer, as well as Dr. Lillian Broadstreet finally making it into print with a couple of paranormal-hunting stories leading up to the steampunk novels with Aeolus and Chiron.
On the making front, we now have a 3D printer and have been making little doodads, experimenting with its capabilities every day. It’s interesting and I look forward to making physical representations of A&C and other figments.
For now, I’m off to work, but I promise to try to write again soon, in between a rare stab at horror, the steampunk novels and some SF poetry…

Another Day Older

I turned another page on the old calendar yesterday. It was a calm, warm, sticky day. I’ve always been one to hedge toward science and medicine swooping in before I hit old age and rescuing me from the ignoble fates the twilight years save for us. Now that I’m gathering grays at the temples, I wonder if I’ll be lucky enough to see the day when you can order up replacement parts, made to original factory specs or better, using my own DNA as a template to prevent rejection. Every day I think about how I’ve had enough of that, yet I still write, still subject small pieces of my soul to judgement by others who know only what I show in my work.

Last night I sent a piece to a fantasy contest. The tale was set in a world with which I’ve been working for almost two decades. In the process, I found a long-lost backup of my first completed novel, also set in that world. I can only hope that it passes muster and that I can apply my (hopefully) ever-increasing skills to it and see it out in the next few years. I’m hoping the outcome of that contest will aid in that endeavor. I was put off a bit, though, by the fact that my main beta reader/wife said the short was one of the best pieces of mine she’s read. I had sent her the wrong file, the original, not edited by current-me version first to get this reaction. Thus, the oldest thing she read of mine was superior to everything else I’ve foisted upon her, even with a good portion of that being published in the last year and a half.

At any rate, I’ll let you know how the contest goes for me and let you know as soon as I know about upcoming pieces. I’ll definitely be diving back into that old folder and the world of Somnuran in earnest over the course of the year.

A Journey of a Thousand Views

In the last year and a half, I’ve gotten off my butt and finally started finishing stories, editing them as best I could instead of a cursory read through, gotten feedback on many stories, and even begun publishing. I opened author’s pages on Facebook, Amazon,Amazon UK and Goodreads and started this blog which has just hit 1000 views. Not very auspicious, but not every story can begin with a bang, especially in real life. 2013 was admittedly better to me than 2014 has been so far, but that can be chalked up to missing some opportunities this year due to motivation, energy and time availability issues.

Still, the important thing is to tuck past failures away once you’ve learned from them and not look upon them again. Every moment is a chance to make a choice about time use as every word is an opportunity to improve a story, even if it’s by removing it. Not only have I put out shorts in anthologies, magazines and on websites, but I’ve met a lot of wonderful, creative people. I’ve helped edit work for people whose work has appeared next to mine in previous pubs as well as new writers, and soon I’ll be posting reviews of anthologies and stories and pointing to the work of some of those new friends.

The last year particularly has been a huge learning experience, not only in the arena of writing, but of parenthood as my firstborn, Ollie, came out to meet us last July. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already. He’s grown physically and capability-wise into an interactive little person, and I look forward to seeing (and helping) that progress continue. In the last year I also married a wonderful woman with whom I look forward to growing old (as much as one can look forward to growing old 😉 ).

Now I sit here, looking at my failure to appear as scheduled for blogging over the last months and tuck that away, focusing on how I can improve my availability in this venue and others, how I can carve out more time to do the work of writing as well as continue to meet new people in the field, make connections and possibly even get one of these books that have been clogging up my brain completed and into the world. I look forward to the next year and all the things I’ll learn.

I liked your story, but Courier? Oh My G…

In publishing, especially online, we find a great pool of practices and expectations. Tab this way, not that way. When one sent out publications in paper, the manner in which one indented ones paragraphs couldn’t be less important. Now, though, the vagaries of electronic formats, .doc, .docx, .rtf, sounds like some kind of military codebook, but as long as you get that one piece right, everything else is cake. Don’t like the margins? Slide the mouse over there. Boom! Don’t like the font face or size? That control there lets you put it into whatever size you want. Seconds of work, and yet some editors, perhaps weighed down by moveable type blocks, discard works at the drop of a hat for formatting. Formatting, for which, as I went on about in a post last year, there is only an illusion of a standard.

The real kicker, though is that after all this hoop-jumping and managing to produce your art in Times New Roman size 12 with one inch margins, using slider bars to set paragraph indents (not to mention the actual making of the art, the idea, brainstorming, outlining, drafting, editing and polishing)… it’s not their policy to contact you unless they want your piece. That is the equivalent of breaking out the good cologne, actually ironing your shirt and pants for once, digging out the suit coat you haven’t worn since that one friend got married, showing her the town on a whirlwind tour of your favorite nice restaurant, a walk in the park, dancing and drinks, and having her climb out the bathroom window instead of telling you it’s not working out for her.

Oh, hey, you’re still here, yeah, back to the writing thing. No response to a submitted piece is just downright rude and passive aggressive, not saving anyone’s feelings. If you don’t have the time to send me even a two line form letter, you don’t have time to run a publication. I have a hard time culling the list of publications to which I submit, but your door I will gladly never darken again.

In happier news, the quarterly compilation from Mad Scientist Journal with my story, Beginning Botanist’s Guide to Lair Defense, is up on Amazon and Amazon UK and Smashwords. I’ve also been tapped to write a pulp circus novelette which will appear later this year and the table of contents for Emby Press’ Dark Monocle, an anthology of steampunk monster hunting has been released. My story, Spirits of the Season, will appear there soon.

Capes & Clockwork anthology of Steampunk and Superheroes

This is just a quick post to alert reader to my latest publication. The eagerly awaited anthology, Capes & Clockwork, available both through Amazon and B&N, is now available! My story, Aeolus, Chiron and Medusa was partly an experiment in voice and a foray into steampunk. It is not my last, however, as I have a steampunk monster hunter tale coming out through Emby Press and I will be working on other pieces soon.

Currently, I’m trying to polish up a scifi adventure tale on a very different planet, with nary a human in sight, a tale about food and the circle of life, a threshold-crossing tale of terror beyond the veil, and a Queen fighting extraordinary odds to keep her civilization in tact, or at least allow it to survive. It’s a busy month, hopefully the start of a busy an successful year.

And a Happy New Year

Here we are at the start of 2014, and here I am with the obligatory New Years blog post.

2013 was a year of firsts for me, from my first fiction sale to my first pro sale to my first child. It was also the first year I lost NaNo, and while that hurt, it was worth it. I worked on my short fiction, worked for some quick money to keep the family afloat and took care of my son.

2014, I hope, will see more sales, including pro sales. I have some pieces already drafted, outlined, etc. I hope that they will be as well received as my earlier pieces and that I can make real progress on putting out a novel or two. I’ve also started taking my knowledge base more seriously, taking free online courses through a number of outlets. I hope that these will both improve my writing and my ability to make physical things. In that vein, I hope to build myself a home foundry and start casting aluminum pieces for gaming and other purposes.

I have a number of resolutions, from getting back into karate to laying off the Facebook games again (when I began focusing on writing, I gave up on that distraction, but caught up again near the end of last year.) and setting a certain rate of production for myself. Of course, these all come in second to teaching Oliver some basic sign language and keeping him fed and all.

My story “All the Pretty Colors” and a related interview came out in Crossed Genres last night and “Aeolus, Chiron and Medusa” my steampunk superhero story should be available in Capes and Clockwork any day now.

And so I set out, shining a light on new worlds and lives, including my own.
All the best to you an yours in 2014!

Happy Winter!

Happy Solstice, Christmas(time) etc to all of you out there in Internetland!

So it seems as though my will they/ won’t they crisis is averted with regards to Crossed Genres in the coming year. They have received enough new subscriptions that they have decided they can resume printing through June. My story comes out in January, so I look forward to that. I’m also working on a couple of submissions for future issues.

I’ve entered my first writing contest in years. Winners will be announced at the beginning of the month. I also expect some stories I sold earlier in the year to anthologies to be coming out very soon. I’ll you know ;).

For now, I must prepare for my son’s first Christmas, including a Christmas party with friends today and visits with family next week. I also have a stock stuffer for all of you. I’m working on a few winter-/ Christmas-themed short stories for release direct to the Internet next week. What is your platform of choice? Kindle? Nook? Let me know and I’ll try to make it happen.

State of the Stuff, Dec 3, 2013

On the writing front, I have made my ninth sale, putting me one away from my goal of ten for the year. I’ve also entered a contest, something I hadn’t done previously and am looking at writing an essay for the Ladies Home Journal essay contest. Either they’ll be reasonable and allow submissions from males or my submission will be protest against sexism. The rules don’t explicitly ban men from entering, though the descriptions in some places assume female writers.

While indie writing is up, with the advent of the ability to self publish without use of a vanity press, magazine subscriptions continue to fall. As someone hoping to sell stories to these magazines, I have a vested interest in their continuation. Thus, I request anyone who likes to read science fiction or fantasy to go out and subscribe to Crossed Genres magazine. While they will be running one of my stories in January, their survival through next year is put in jeopardy by a dearth of submissions. This would be a shame for not only are they a wonderful magazine, but they go out of their way to publish and interview new writers instead of always publishing old standbys.

This situation is exacerbated by the (relatively) recent news by the SFWA that their requirements for joining will be changing. In a move we haven’t seen in almost a decade, the minimum pay requirements for a market which counts toward ‘professional sales’ will be increased mid-2014 to six cents a word, up from five cents a word, effectively re-defining the ‘professional market’ range for all fiction. Read more on that here. To some, this may sound like a good deal, much like raising the minimum wage. Sadly, it just puts more demand on small publishers to pay more or be left out of the ‘professional’ category, relegating them to the kids’ table, or forcing them to pay more and thus raise the cost of their magazines which have likely already seen a drop in readership in recent years.

Back on a more personal note, life is busy. I’ve just failed NaNoWriMo for the first time ever, after ten consecutive wins. I’d always been able to ‘make time’ by putting other things on hold- not watching as much TV or playing games, etc, but this time around, it was not possible. I did start, and I did get to cheer on a group of friends, new and old in their endeavors, so I got some of the fun, but only a small fraction of a book in the end instead of about half. The next month will be interesting as I navigate even more holidays and try to get a few more pieces out there. As always, thanks to editors who can take the time to give useful feedback and thank you all for reading!