A Few Writing Updates

I haven’t blogged much about my writing lately, but it’s not because I haven’t been working on it. If anything, I’ve been afraid that by blogging about what I’m doing, I’ll jinx what’s been an otherwise productive few months. It seems like everytime I blog about a current project, I lose momentum on it… although that could also just be my paranoid writer self.

Anyway, I do have a few updates that I wanted to share:

1) I finished the rough draft of a new novel.

I’ve already posted this on Twitter and Facebook, so if you’ve already seen it there, I apologize for the repeat. But here I can actually go into a bit more detail. I started writing the rough draft of a new novel at the Rainforest Writers Retreat this year, and on June 15, I finished it. The draft is 70,180 words long, and was written in about three and a half months… which I’m pretty pleased with, considering I went through spells of multiple weeks where I didn’t work on it.

Of the three novel-length pieces I’ve finished, this is the one I’m happiest with, without a doubt. I’ll be workshopping Chapter 1 at the Cascade Writers Conference in July, and I’m looking forward to that. But in the meantime, I need to revise the rest of the novel, which brings me to the next item on the list.

2) I’ll be participating in the Clarion West Write-a-thon.

The Clarion West season is upon us, which means lots of author readings, writer socials, and of course the Write-a-thon, Clarion West’s big fundraiser and a good motivation to get some writing done. My goal will be to edit one full chapter a day, and a minimum of five per week. This is the summer, after all… have to save some room for hiking! (On that note, if you want to see photos from my hikes and various summer trips, check out my photoblog.)

But for the Write-a-thon, I’ll be trying to edit five chapters a week. The novel has 23 chapters, so it should take me just under five weeks to get through the whole thing. Any extra time, I’ll use for revision and cleanup of the overall work. People who’ve done a lot of editing might think I’m doing this backward, that I should do large-scale, overall edits and then go chapter-by-chapter… but I actually think the chapter-by-chapter process is going to work better for me personally. We’ll see how it goes. Despite the fact that this is my third novel-length piece that I’ve written, this is the first novel-length piece that I’ve edited, so I’ll be aiming to find the best process for me, and hopefully learning a lot in the process.

So with that said, please sponsor me! Clarion West is an awesome workshop for aspiring writers, and a great benefit to the writing community. But it’s expensive to run, and tuition isn’t cheap. It’d be nice to keep student costs down and increase the scholarship opportunities, and in that regard, every dollar helps. Think of it as a down payment toward the next generation of awesome science fiction & fantasy books.

3) I have a new short story coming out later in 2014.

Because of all the novel work I’ve been doing this year, my short stories have suffered. Nevertheless, I have written a couple– one of which I’m currently waiting to hear back from on its latest submission– but by and large I’m not writing or submitting short stories this year.

That said, it’s not entirely quiet on that front. I do have a short story, The Gatebuilders’ Daughter, which is due to appear in the magazine Stupefying Stories later this year. It may be a few months yet, but I’ll let you know when that appears.

So that’s about it for now, but I’ll let you know as more news comes. Between writing, photography, and hiking, it’s going to be a busy summer. I’m looking forward to it.

And on that note, Happy Solstice, everybody!

A Few Notes on Published Stories

Best Regards, Waylines Magazine

Waylines Magazine is holding a Reader’s Choice Poll for Best Story of the Year, and Best Regards, which was published earlier this month, is in the running. If you read my story and enjoyed it, please consider dropping by to cast your vote.

Natalie, Lakeside Circus

Issue One of Lakeside Circus is out, which contains my science fiction short story Natalie. The only way to read it at the moment is to subscribe, but over the next couple months the stories will gradually be released to the website one at a time. I don’t know yet when Natalie will be available on the web, but I’ll let you know when it’s up.

And that’s about it for now. Sometime soon I’ll post a more substantial blog entry; on Wednesday I’ll be heading back to the East Coast for a few weeks to see friends and family, and needless to say I am very much looking forward to that.

I hope everyone had a great and delicious Thanksgiving!

New Story Up at Waylines!

Issue 6 of Waylines Magazine is out, and I’m pleased to announce that I have a story in it! The title is Best Regards, and it’s more than a little bit inspired by the day job I’ve held the past couple of years. For anyone who’s ever worked in I.T. (particularly Support of any kind), this one’s for you.

There’s also an interview with me and the other Issue 6 authors, so check that out as well. The interview only contains about half of what they asked me; I believe the rest will be in the digital download edition, available November 30. But you can read the story and a good portion of the interview right now at the Waylines website. Check it out here.

Anthology Release Day!

The anthology After Death…, which contains my story Someone to Remember, is now available in print at Barnes & Noble (link) and Amazon (link). Huzzah!

On a personal note, it’s rather ironic my first story to be published since Mom passed away is in an anthology titled After Death…. When I wrote and submitted the story last summer I was in a much different position; Mom’s chemotherapy was on my mind, but it certainly hadn’t sunk in to me we’d be, well, here.

Would the story be different if I’d been through then what I’ve been through now? It’s tough to say. Almost certainly I would have wrote a different story, but that’s just a given. We are inevitably molded and changed by experience. But I’m very proud of the story I wrote, and even more proud that it’s the leadoff story in the anthology, sitting right at the top of the Table of Contents!

Being an anthology of dark fiction, it’s not the happiest story in the world, but nor is it the saddest. In that way, the protagonist’s experiences in the afterlife are much like those in life– it’s not so much what happens that determines your happiness, as how you deal with it.

If you do buy the book and enjoy it, please leave a review, or at least a rating, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Goodreads. Lots of reviews can have a big impact on the commercial success of a book, and even though I’m paid an upfront fee instead of royalties, I certainly hope Dark Moon Books and my editor, Eric J. Guignard, will be able to continue doing what they do. (This is Eric’s second anthology that I’ve been in, after Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations).

In the meantime, this story is dedicated to my Mom, though I hope if there is an afterlife, it is a more cheerful place than what’s portrayed here.

Story Acceptance for “After Death…”

I’ve known about this for a couple months, but at last I can announce it: I sold a short story to Eric J. Guignard’s anthology “After Death…”, which will be published by Dark Moon Books in Spring 2013! The full announcement can be read over at Eric’s blog.

What makes this even cooler is that each story will have an illustration done by Audra Phillips, an amazing artist of dark fantasy and horror. My story is titled Someone to Remember; I’ve seen the picture for it, and it’s awesome.

After Death… will probably be out around March or April of next year– needless to say, I’ll let you know when it’s available.

“Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations” Now Available

The anthology “Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations,” with my story The Talisman of Hatra, is now on sale at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s the first time one of my stories is available in a print book, so needless to say I’m rather excited.

Other authors in the anthology include Joe R. Lansdale, award-winning author of numerous novels and screenplays, as well as my friend and fellow Wordslinger Folly Blaine. I can’t wait to get my contributor’s copy so I can read everyone else’s stories, too.

*does a happy dance*

Of Stories Honorably Mentioned

This afternoon I received a notice that the story I submitted for the Q1 2011 Writers of the Future contest got an Honorable Mention. Yay! The story in question is titled Family Tree, and I documented my struggles writing it back in December, in a blog titled On Endings. So I’m pleased to see that it got some recognition. Obviously, I would have been even more pleased if it had won, but, baby steps, people… baby steps.

Now I can try to sell it to a magazine. I’m optimistic that this story may end up being my first professional sale, although said optimism will probably soon get buried under rejection notices. But for now, there is hope.

Meanwhile, I submitted another story to the Q2 Writers of the Future Contest, one which I’ve struggled with even more. So if struggle = success, this one will definitely be a semi-finalist, at least.

And thus the cycle continues. Time to start working on my Q3 entry.

Of Stories Edited and Published

Issue Nineteen of Jersey Devil Press is out, and I have a story in it! Woo hoo! Read the issue here.

For the past few weeks I’ve been struggling to overcome a case of Editor’s Block. I have three major projects going on right now, and they’re all in the editing stage. Normally I like editing, but for some reason I’ve had trouble getting up to the motivation to buckle down and work on them. This is bad, since one of those stories I’m planning to submit for the Writers of the Future contest at the end of the month. I’ve gotten some excellent feedback on it from beta readers, I just have to finish incorporating said feedback into the draft.

Meanwhile, on my novel, I’m trying to retroactively construct an outline from what I’ve written, since what I’ve written diverges quite a bit from my original outline (oops). Also, my original outline left out large chunks that I now realize are needed– hopefully by doing this, I’ll have a roadmap of what I need to finish the first draft, which I’d still like to do by the time the World Science Fiction Convention rolls around in August.

Time to get cracking.

Coming this April…

This evening I noticed that I had received an e-mail from Eirik Gumeny, the editor at Jersey Devil Press. Jersey Devil Press is a small independent publisher which publishes a monthly magazine of short stories, and a dead-tree anthology once a year. The e-mail was not unexpected; I had sent them one of my short stories, titled Armageddon’s Jester, a couple of weeks ago.

So when I saw the e-mail the first question that popped in my head was, “Hey, I got a response. I wonder if it’s a form rejection or a personalized rejection. Boy, I hope it’s personalized.” (Non-writers out there may never understand this mentality.)

So I opened the e-mail. “Thanks for the submission,” it started.

Meh, okay, sounds like a form rejection.

“We’d love to publish ‘Armageddon’s Jester’ in the April issue…”

Hey, I thought. This isn’t a rejection at all! It’s an acceptance! Woot! My first story acceptance!

To be honest, I hadn’t been too optimistic about finding a home for Armageddon’s Jester. It’s kind of an odd story which doesn’t really fit into a category. Luckily, on the “About Us” page, Jersey Devil Press says, We want the stories that don’t fit into the traditional definitions of speculative fiction or literature. We want funny and we want ‘What the fuck was that?’

So apparently Armageddon’s Jester was weird enough for them, which makes me happy. I’ll link to the story when it goes live on their website– probably around late March.