Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Year in Review

If 2012 was a fantastic year for me on the short fiction front, 2013 was... a decent year. Frankly, I'm honestly tempted to classify it as a very good year solely on the basis of my sale of a story to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Getting a story into one of the big print digest magazines has long been one of my personal goals, so that was a Big Deal. The "problem" (such as it is) is that when you leave that single sale aside, the year was only so-so. I didn't sell to any other notable new markets, I sold fewer stories than in 2012, etc.

Overall, I made a total of 299 non-reprint submissions in 2013. I received 275 responses, some of which were for submissions sent in 2012. (Conversely, some of my 2013 submissions did not receive responses during the calendar year.) For those submission responses:
  • Six submissions received no reply.
  • Three submissions were withdrawn.
  • I had 16 acceptances. (I also had a paying reprint acceptance and four non-paying reprint acceptances.)
  • And I had 249 rejections.
Of the 17 paying acceptances:
  • Six were to pro-rate SFWA/MWA-qualifying markets. (Including the EQMM story here.)
  • One was to a pro-rate market not on the SFWA list.
  • Five were to semi-pro markets.
  • Five were to markets which pay, but either have a per-word rate below semi-pro rates or which pay a flat rate which generally falls below semi-pro, including the reprint sale.
So, the good news is that the decrease in sales came from the semi-pro and token rate markets.

I sold 17 different stories in 2012:
  • Five of those were flash length (1,000 words or fewer)
  • Eight were between 1,001 and 3,000 words.
  • Four were over 3,000 words.
  • Eight were fantasy stories.
  • Five were science fiction stories.
  • Two were mystery stories.
  • Two were horror stories.
The genre breakdowns were pretty similar to 2012. Probably the most notably item in the above is that the percentage of stories which I sold at flash length decreased significantly from 50% to a bit over 25%.

So, the net is fewer sales but a higher percentage to pro-rate markets and a higher percentage of greater than flash fiction length. I'll call it a good year, yes. But I hope to have an even better one in 2014.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October News Update

Again, it's been a while. And for once I'm not feeling particularly prolix, so I'll just give various bits and pieces of news and then be back upon my way.
  • A couple of my stories have been released in the past month. "Embers", a crime story, is in the second volume of short stories published by Plan B. And "Editorial Discretion" was published by Perihelion SF. There doesn't appear to be a way to directly link to the story on Perihelion's site but as of today, it's available on their "Shorter Stories" page.
  • In addition to my ongoing work at Kazka Press, where I edit the monthly flash fiction contests, I am also now on staff at Goldfish Grimm's Spicy Fiction Sushi as co-Editor with Kelly Stiles. The first issue which she and I edited has come out and we've got some cool stories lined up for future months. We're not currently open to submissions, but will be sometime in November. At the moment, we're looking for first reader applications through the end of October, to ensure that we have a good number of people on staff for quick turnaround on submissions.
  • I've had a couple of story sales in the past month or so. "Bedtime Stories" has sold to Lakeside Circus and will be in their inaugural issue and "Lakeside Memories" has sold to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. I'm especially excited to be appearing, for the first time, in one of the major digest fiction magazines.
  • I appeared at Context last month and will be at Philcon in the Philadelphia area in early November. If you're going to be at Philcon, make sure to say hello! I'm not on programming at Philcon, since I wasn't sure I would be going until a few weeks back, so I should have plenty of time to socialize.
It seems that there should be more to say, but nothing else in particular is coming to mind. I continue to write and submit and I hope that before long I'll have more good news to share.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Checking In

I've been away from the blog for a while so I figured it would be good to stop by and put up an update.

There's not a whole lot particularly new to report. The biggest thing, by far, would be the release of Kwik Krimes last week. I'm still thrilled to have a story of mine in an anthology edited by Otto Penzler and on top of that, the book itself is in stock at our local Barnes & Noble. I haven't stopped by yet to visit "my" book in person, but I plan to do so and I might even have the opportunity to do an author event next month. If anything develops on that front, I'll be sure to let everyone know here.

I've been continuing to work on writing and submitting though the writing part of it dropped off pretty dramatically in July and August. So much that I've decided to reinstate my daily 500 word (or 45 minutes of revisions) goal for the month of September. I got off to a good start last night, writing a story for the weekly Liberty Hall flash contest. It's rough, but I think it's got potential once I put some more work into it.

In convention news, I'll be attending Context 26 later this month and will be doing a reading and a couple of panels. If you're going to be at the convention and want to meet up, let me know. Also, I was very excited by the news that Detroit's bid won for the 2014 NASFiC (North American Science Fiction Convention, held when Worldcon is outside North America). That's going to be a must-attend for me next year. And there's an odd touch of synchronicity for me, personally here. I've actually been to one NASFiC before, when I was but a wee lad and my parents went to the 1979 one in Louisville. I even have a program book from it somewhere. The Guest of Honor at that convention was Frederik Pohl who, word came out today, died over the weekend. I'd just recently picked up a collection of his and C. M. Kornbluth's short fiction and I plan to read a couple of stories from it tonight.

I haven't been good about setting (or keeping) monthly goals the past two months. My single goal for September will be to stick to the daily writing routine as described above. My intention is to get back to more detailed goal-setting come October.

Finally, a bit of Kazka Press news. Our new issue will be coming out any day now with three stories and we're open for submissions on the theme of "Outsiders." We recently tweaked our word limits, so the acceptable range is now 500-1000 words. Also, we have a new submissions email address. We'll still be checking the old address for submissions for the time being, but it would be best to send them to the new address. All the guidelines, including that new submissions email address, are here.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Watching Citizen Kane in A Movie Palace

I'd never seen the movie "Citizen Kane" before this month.

Somehow the idea had gotten into my head that the first time I saw Kane should be not on video but in a theater. And somehow I stuck to that idea from whenever it first came to me, probably in college, up to the present. I think I'd had a few chances to see Kane on a big screen which hadn't worked out in the intervening years. Finally, I set aside time to go see it at the Ohio Theatre as part of CAPA's Summer Movie Series. Not even car trouble kept me from finally getting to go see Orson Welles' famous movie.

Before the movie, at intermission, and after the movie there was live organ music. The Ohio Theatre's organ is bright white (bright enough to make taking a photo of it with my phone difficult) and it raises and lowers into the orchestra pit. I remember, as a child, finding that fascinating and disturbing. (Even the phrase "orchestra pit" suggested something that was more suited for Indiana Jones than musicians to my young mind.)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Nominations Open for the 2013 Million Writers Award

The 2013 Million Writers Award nomination period has opened. This award is for stories over 1000 words in length which had their first-ever publication in an online venue with an editorial process during the year 2012. (Full rules are here.)

Editors of online publications can nominate three stories. Everyone else can nominate a single story. The nomination form is here.

Here are my stories from 2012 which are eligible for the award. I'd certainly be thrilled if you were to see fit to use your nomination for one of these stories:

Being Unintentionally Offensive is Bad Writing

Carrie Cuinn put up a blog post today reviewing the last three months' of flash fictions from Nature Magazine's Futures feature. My story "An Alien Named Tim" was one of the stories reviewed. Carrie gave it a rating of 3 out of 5, saying it was "funny" and that she "Would have rated it higher except for the space hookers."
[Edited 7/9/13 to add] Carrie wrote to me on twitter saying: "By quoting only part of that sentence, you put the focus on 'women' instead of 'aliens', when it was the alien part I objected to. Either you didn't understand what I was saying, or misrepresented it--but the issues wasn't women, or even hookers in space. It was the specific trope of 'alien space hookers'/the racism of classic examples; your 'look I've learned' statement ignores that." I had not intended to misrepresent and apologize for doing so. The full sentence from the review was:
"Would have rated it higher except for the space hookers; suggesting one catches diseases from sex with alien women is based on the classic SF method of hiding racism by attaching negative stereotypes to 'aliens' instead."
The reference in question came near the beginning of the story in what was essentially a throwaway joke as the reference isn't in any way relevant to the rest of the action.
"We weren't armed; the trade routes had been peaceful for decades. The biggest risk to cargo haulers was catching something from one of the alien women at the waystations. A raygun wasn't much good against that sort of trouble."
I'm a bit embarrassed to say that my initial reaction was "But I didn't saaaaaaay they were hookers!" Which, if I'd been foolish enough to actually say that should've earned me a "not impressed" look and a "Really?" 'Cause... Yeah... That was pretty clearly the inference I was going for there. Fortunately, I didn't stop at that first reaction, and I also didn't linger around "But I didn't mean for it to be offensive" either.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

"What Fates Impose" from Alliteration Ink

Alliteration Ink, the publisher of the Sidekicks! anthology which includes my story "Learning the Game", has a Kickstarter running through July 14th at 9 PM Eastern US time for their anthology "What Fates Impose: Tales of Divination". I've been looking forward to reading this anthology since the Table of Contents was released and have backed it on Kickstarter. There are a lot of fantastic short fiction writers in this book and it should be a lot of fun to read.

Since I've worked with Alliteration Ink before, I was given the opportunity to have a sneak peak of several of the stories from the book. If anything, I'm even more excited about holding the anthology in my hands now than I was previously.
  • Keffy R. M. Kehrli's "Gazing Into the Carnauba Wax Eyes of the Future" is a bit sad, a bit hilarious, and a bit crazy. Which, when you realize it's about trying to predict the future via marshmallow Peeps, seems just about right.
  • Ferrett Steinmetz's "Black Swan Oracle" is a science-fiction story through-and-through even if the main character's name is "The Oracle." Again, a bit funny. And this time quite a bit sad.
  • And then there's Beth Wodzinski's "One Tiny Misstep (In Bed)." Holy. Shit. I don't know what else to say about this tale of a marriage gone stale and fortune cookies and the alley outside a Chinese restaurant and... Oh my. Imaginative, realistic in its characterization, and absolutely crushing.
Yeah. This book? Go help it get released into the wild. Go Kickstart it!

Mid-Year Goal Status and June/July Goals

June has ended up being my best writing month in a long time. Like I said in my mid-month goal check, I'm not quite sure what changed, but I'm very happy and it seems to be continuing.

So, here's how I did for June:
  1. Make 20 non-reprint submissions of short stories. - KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK! I more than doubled my goal by making 44 non-reprint submissions of short stories. Along the way, I reached a new personal best for number of stories out for non-reprint submission -- 43.
  2. Submit one backlog story for each full week in June. - KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK! I more than doubled my goal here, getting not just four backlog stories out for the first time but nine! On top of that I got three new stories out the door from late-May and June which don't really count as backlog, but brought my total for stories which went out the door for their first time for the month to TWELVE!
  3. Write at least one story. - KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PART! Two stories (one flash, one about 2000 words) were written this month and also went out for their first submissions. I also completed two more stories (again, one flash and one about 2000 words) which will likely get submitted for the first time in July.
  4. Read at least 30 short stories. - DONE! I count 41 short stories read this month.
  5. Reply to all Kazka Press submissions by June 23rd. - NOT QUITE. I didn't get all my responses in to the publisher until a couple of days after that self-imposed deadline but as far as I know, everything got to him with plenty of time to be ready to roll with the July issue.
A very satisfying month. Now to see where I stand for the year as a whole and set some goals for July.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"Learning Curve" is Live at Metro Moms

My science fiction short story "Learning Curve" is up on the Metro Moms website. I'm pleased to have placed a story at that site and am hoping that some people who haven't come across my other stories will read it there and possibly check out the rest of what I've written.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mid-June Goal Check

Umm... Okay. So, this is a bit of a surprise.

After having been in the doldrums much of the year to date, I've hit my stride this month and have made serious progress on not just my June goals but my yearly goals as well!
  1. Make 20 non-reprint submissions of short stories. - DONE! I've gotten 22 non-reprint submissions out the door.
  2. Submit one backlog story for each full week in June. - On track, 2-for-2! Not only that, but I've gotten FIVE backlog stories total out the door so far. So even if I didn't meet my defined goal (by failing to submit a backlog story this week or next week) I'd still have met the big picture goal.
  3. Write at least one story. - DONE! In fact, I've gotten two new stories written this month. They're both flash and one of them isn't quite submission-ready yet, but I'm still pleased with this. I've also put a couple thousand words on a longer story that I don't feel like I quite have my hands around yet.
  4. Read at least 30 short stories. - On track! At 19 for the month so far.
  5. Reply to all Kazka Press submissions by June 23rd. - On track! I've read all the submissions which had come in as of last weekend and will be doing more reading early this week.
I also got the "A Fatal Error" ebook designed and published this week and did a handful of reprint submissions. I'm not quite sure what flipped my "getting stuff out the door" switch to ON but I'll take it!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Fatal Error Released on Amazon

It's been almost a year since I published "Write Every Day" and during that time I haven't released anything new for the Kindle. As of yesterday, that changed with the release of the first of my Chip Rawley baseball mysteries, "A Fatal Error." This is a novelette, just under 9000 words or about 30 pages if you prefer to think of lengths in those terms.

Chip Rawley is a former professional baseball player who never quite made it to the big leagues. Staying close to the game, he became a trusted confidant of Branson Waters, the owner of a major league team. In "A Fatal Error" Rawley investigates the death of Mark Feist, whose botched catch kept his team out of the World Series.

If you read "A Fatal Error", I hope that you enjoy it!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Columbus-Area Folks: June 8, 2013 Sidekicks! Reading at Whetstone Library

This Saturday (June 8th, 2013) I'll be reading my story "Learning the Game" from the Sidekicks! anthology at the Whetstone Library in Columbus, Ohio. There will also be readings by Stephen Lickman, Matt Betts, and K. W. Taylor. And the anthology's editor, Sarah Hans, will be in attendance along with its publisher Steven Saus. All in all, it will be quite the sidekick-y hootenanny.

The event is from 5-7 PM. The library will be closed to new entrants at 6 PM, so if you want to come, arrive before that time. The readings will probably be mostly done by 6 PM, as the second hour is intended to be mostly Q&A time with the audience and the authors/editor/publisher.

The event is free to attend and if you bring your copy of Sidekicks! I'll be happy to sign it for you (as would be the others involved). However, we can't sell the books at the event, so if you don't already have a copy you could either order it right now off Amazon or contact me and we'll work something out.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Kazka Press June Issue Released

The June issue of Kazka Press has been released. My editorial introducing the stories (and introducing our themes for the upcoming months) is included below.

May Goal-Check and June Goal-Setting

The year is almost half-over. Toward the end of this month I'll look at my progress on my 2013 goals overall. (Spoiler Alert: It's not gonna be pretty.)

For now, though, I'm going to focus on the month that just ended and the month that's beginning.

Here were my May goals:
  1. Make 15 non-reprint submissions of short stories. - Got it. In fact, I surpassed it with a total of 20 submissions.
  2. Write at least one story of more than 1000 words. - Done.
  3. Submit at least one story for the first time. - Done.
  4. Reply to all Kazka Press submissions by May 25th. - I came up a bit short... err... long on this. I made all my first-round decisions by the 25th but didn't make final cuts until the 27th. Since we try to put issues out on the 1st, that really put the publisher in a time crunch. So I'm going to aim to be better about this in June.
Speaking of June. Let's have some goals!
  1. Make 20 non-reprint submissions of short stories.
  2. Submit one backlog story for each full week in June. - If I do this, I'll get four of the stories out of my "backlog" of drafted-but-not-finished stories out the door.
  3. Write at least one story. - Writing new fiction isn't going to be my main objective this month, but I do want to meet my Write 1/Sub 1 monthly goal.
  4. Read at least 30 short stories.
  5. Reply to all Kazka Press submissions by June 23rd.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

French Translation of "Twenty-Seven Rules for Coping"

Those who read French might be interested in the newly-released edition of the long-standing dark fantasy anthology Ténèbres which contains a translation of my story "Twenty-Seven Rules for Coping." Thanks to the fine folks at Goldfish Grimm's Spicy Fiction Sushi for giving the story its initial publication and to Dreampress for selecting it for this year's Ténèbres.

I received my contributor's copy today and was quite pleased to hold this, my first foreign-language translation, in my hands. Even if I can't read my own story!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"An Alien Named Tim" Live at Nature

My science fiction short story "An Alien Named Tim" is live now at Nature. This is my second time appearing in Nature. I originally wrote this story for one of Liberty Hall's weekly flash fiction competitions; it's my first sale from the stories I've written there.

If you read "Private Memories" earlier this week and want something a bit lighter, this should fit the bill.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Goal Check-In for "Mid"-May and Submission Stats

May's about 2/3 over now, but that's still vaguely "mid"-month. So, here's a real quick goal check-in.
  1. Make 15 non-reprint submissions of short stories. - Just achieved that one tonight.
  2. Write at least one story of more than 1000 words. - I have one in progress that will be well over 1000 words. The question is, will it be complete by month-end?
  3. Submit at least one story for the first time. - Also achieved as of tonight.
  4. Reply to all Kazka Press submissions by May 25th. - Still got a lot of work to do on this, but I don't anticipate it being a problem.
So, for my relatively-unambitious (for me) goals, I'm doing fairly well.

In the big picture, I'm still WAY behind on my for-the-year goals. My short story reading has slacked off this month and my new-story submission rate has been abysmal. A direct consequence of that latter item is that I have very few upcoming publications at this point. That's partly due to some quick turnarounds on recent sales, but it's also a reflection of the fact that I haven't been as on top of getting new things out as I have in the past and there have been times when I haven't been great about getting older stories back out the door after a rejection.

How big of a difference has that made? Well, here are my stats for January 1st through May 21st from 2012 and 2013.

YearSubmission ResponesAcceptancesRejections
2013706 (3 pro) [8.57% overall, 4.29% pro]64
201216114 (2 pro) [8.69% overall, 1.24% pro]147

I've got to admit that I wouldn't have guessed that my actual acceptance rate was higher, even fractionally, during that time frame in 2012. But you can see where the big difference is. We're 141 days into this year (and we were 142 days into last year, now that I think of it...) and I've averaged basically half a response per day. Last year I was averaging over a response per day. (In fact, I'd averaged over a REJECTION per day...)

I'm not sure I'll ever get back to early-2012's pace. There was a point there where I had over 40 short stories circulating and I've been in the mid-20s most of the last six to nine months. Which is still quite a few!

And I'm not sure there's any huge point to any of this musing, other than for my own benefit. But if you find it useful or inspirational or interesting, that's cool, too.

Monday, May 20, 2013

"Private Memories" is Today's Daily Science Fiction Email Story

Just a quick note to let folks know that if you get Daily Science Fiction's email stories, today's is my short story "Private Memories."

If you do not get the emailed stories, then you can still read my story a week from today when it goes live on the Daily Science Fiction website.

Also, as a heads-up, I'll have a (very, very different from "Private Memories") story in Nature this week: "An Alien Named Tim."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

"Three Times a Killer" Available Free at Plan B Magazine

My crime story "Three Times a Killer" is live at Plan B Magazine and available to be read for free. This story features the same main character, South African criminal Lawrence Thomas, as my Amazon/Kindle eBook short story "Levels of Trust."

Here's a little preview of the story which is up at Plan B:
I was sitting at a bar, drinking another Black Label, when the man came up to me. I should have known he was bad news, a fellow like that with his nice suit, in a low-rent bar like the one I was in that day. Maybe it was the beer, maybe it was that I was still basically a kid, only twenty years old, but I didn’t twig to it.

“I hear you’re looking for work, Lawrence,” he said, lowering himself gently onto the stool next to mine.

I took another swallow, cool-like, before answering. “If the pay’s right, sure.”

The suit nodded and pulled an envelope from his pocket. “I’ve got a problem, see. Girl trouble.”

He grinned at me like we understood each other. I would have just as soon punched that smarmy grin off his face, but I needed money and there wasn’t no use biting the hand. I grinned back at him.
And, for the heck of it, a little preview of "Levels of Trust."

"There's some stuff you should know before you go in there," Ian said, meeting me at the nondescript front door of the complex. I came inside, leaving the heat, stench and noise of the slum streets behind. My eyes were slow to adjust from the noontime sun to the comparative dark indoors.

"Hit me," I told him.

Ian had arranged things so he'd be the one letting me into the complex. I was on unfriendly ground, and any intelligence I could get would raise my odds of success.

"One, no weapons. If you're packing, turn it over to the guy at the door. They'll still pat you down, but this is gonna go a lot easier for you if they don't find anything when they do. Get me?" I nodded.

"Two." He pressed a button and waited briefly until he heard the click of a latch opening. We passed through a door. "Inside, the man you meet will appear to be in charge. But he won't be the person deciding what happens next."

"So who will be?"

Ian's mouth twitched. "I shouldn't answer that."

"You shouldn't be telling me what you've told me already, should you?"

"Just remember, everyone's got to answer to someone. Three, and this is most important, whatever answer you're given will be final. There's no appeal, no debate." He stopped me, put a hand on my arm. "You hear me?"


"No, Lawrence. Not 'fine.' I'm serious, do not try to get cute. You'll get a yes or a no. You say thank you. You leave." He caught my eye and repeated "You hear me?"

Me and Ian, we go back. Having bumped into him a few months ago, not long after I arrived in Johannesburg, had seemed like just a happy accident. With recent developments, that chance encounter might be a lifesaver. I'd saved Ian's ass a couple of times years back, now I was cashing in all that goodwill. So I didn't deck him for grabbing me.

But I still yanked my arm away hard.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Changing My Blog's Title

So, "Michael Haynes - A Writing Blog" seemed to be becoming progressively more inaccurate of a name as I talk much less about the actual mechanics of writing than I did when I started out on this road a little under two years ago.

So, I've changed the title to "Michael Haynes - Science Fiction & Fantasy Writer." A bit more descriptive of what I've really been posting about in recent months. And also indicative of the fact that I don't think I'm apt to go back to writing a lot "about writing" in the future. At the same time, I think I may do some more personal postings here alongside my usual goals and announcements posts.

Speaking of goals, it hasn't escaped me that I haven't set any for May. This is going to be kind of a crazy month, so I'm going to keep my goals really basic.
  1. Make 15 non-reprint submissions of short stories.
  2. Write at least one story of more than 1000 words.
  3. Submit at least one story for the first time.
  4. Reply to all Kazka Press submissions by May 25th.
And that's it for this month!

Monday, April 29, 2013

April 29, 2013 Goal Check-In

There's still a little over a day left in April, so I'm not going to call this final just yet.
  1. Submit three stories for the first time. - I got one out the door, which is better than zero.
  2. Read seven short stories each Monday to Sunday week. - Four-for-four. I think this format is better for me, though I may up this to 10 per week to try to move me closer to my year-goal.
  3. Reply to all Kazka Press flash fiction submissions by the 24th. - Got it.
  4. Make twenty submissions of non-reprint stories. - Also got it.
  5. Outline and get at least 4000 words written on a novelette for general submission. - This one isn't happening.
  6. Write one non-flash story which is NOT inspired by any pre-existing prompt/theme/etc. - I've got an idea outlined for a story which will probably come in at 1500-2500 words. I'm intending to get started on composing it yet tonight.
  7. Blog every Monday about my goal progress. -  Two weeks out of four. Could be worse.
I'll pop in later in the week to set up my May goals and close out April in terms of goals 1 and 6.

Friday, April 26, 2013

"Small Creatures and Large" in IGMS #33

My fantasy story "Small Creatures and Large" is live at InterGalactic Medicine Show in their issue #33, released today. You can read a preview of the story here for free; reading the whole story requires a subscription to IGMS.

The subscriptions are $15 for six bi-monthly issues and with a subscription you will also have access to the complete back issues of IGMS, including my previous story with them, "The Flower of Memory" from issue #29.

The current issue also includes a very amusing story by Alex Shvartsman titled "Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma." (It's as funny as the title suggests it would be!) There's also a story titled "Thirteen Words" by J. Deery Wray whose "The Butcher of Londinium" was just announced as the winner of the InterGalactic Award based on a poll of IGMS readers.

So, I hope you'll check out the whole preview and maybe buy a subscription; I think it's worth the money. To whet your appetite, here's a preview of the preview, the first three paragraphs of "Small Creatures and Large."

Murzah thinks I don't know what he does at night when the rest of us are asleep. But I'm quiet and I've followed him before, gone to the dirty unused room in our orphanage that he sneaks to when the lights are out. I've watched him cobble together the bits and pieces of his creations. He thinks no one has seen the things he makes but I have and I love him for it.

He almost gets caught tonight going through the halls. An older boy, one of Mother Sharna's guards with his wisps of beard coming in, steps through a doorway which Murzah has just passed by. The guard will notice Murzah in just a moment. I run my fingernails along the wall to make a skittering sound, like a rat or some other vermin making its way through the night. The guard turns at the noise, looks my way. I am deep in the shadows and have crouched down small. He takes a step toward me. I hold my breath as he peers down the hall.

Finally, he shrugs and lets out a low whistle. Amirala, older than Murzah and I but younger by a couple of years than the guard, passes through the same door he had come out. He reaches out, strokes her cheek and runs his hand down her neck, her chest, to her waist. She smiles at him, leans in and kisses him, but she is looking my way and I see the smile is not in her eyes.

Monday, April 22, 2013

April Goal Status


April has not gone to plan. But then, how often do things go to plan?
  1. Submit three stories for the first time. - I am once again failing to get any traction on this goal. I won't say that I've already blown my chances at hitting my goal for 2013 in terms of getting new stories out the door, but it's going to require much more focus than I've given to the goal so far. There's at least some chance I'll still make this goal with a little over a week left in April.
  2. Read seven short stories each Monday to Sunday week. - Having a weekly goal here has helped quite a bit with keeping me from getting off track. I've hit the mark three weeks in a row.
  3. Reply to all Kazka Press flash fiction submissions by the 24th. - I'm on target for this.
  4. Make twenty submissions of non-reprint stories. - I'm at ten so far for the month. A good chance I'll hit twenty.
  5. Outline and get at least 4000 words written on a novelette for general submission. - As much as I'd like to do this, I think it needs to have lower precedence than getting stories already drafted finished up and out the door.
  6. Write one non-flash story which is NOT inspired by any pre-existing prompt/theme/etc. - I like the idea behind this goal, but ultimately it's as much an "ego" goal as anything else. If I end up having an idea I love and writing it this month, fantastic. If not, I won't be too upset.
  7. Blog every Monday about my goal progress. -  This is the one I'm most disappointed in myself for not following through on so far in April because it's so incredibly easy. It only takes maybe ten minutes and it gives me an opportunity to mentally check how I'm doing. Maybe if I'd done this some of the other Mondays this month I would have made more progress on the goals I'm not on track to meet. Maybe not, of course. Nevertheless, I want to include something similar in my May goals and make sure I follow through.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

"The Barber and the Count" at Beneath Ceaseless Skies

A quick pop-in to let everyone know that "The Barber and the Count" is available to be read for free on the Beneath Ceaseless Skies website. An audio version is also available on their site.

Also, I thought I'd mention that Tori MacAllister has some very nice things to say about my non-fiction eBook "Write Every Day." I've gotten a bit off the horse myself in terms of keeping to a daily writing routine; my intention is to work at improving at this going forward.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Goals - March and April 2013

I got lazy in March. I really don't know any other way to put it. I let myself be way too lax on productivity and though I did a halfway decent job of keeping stories out on submission, that's really about the only aspect of my writing that I kept on top of.

I said a while back that if I got bad about staying productive when I moved away from the Daily Writing Chain that I would feel a need to re-institute it. (I wrote about the Daily Writing Chain extensively in "Write Every Day.") I'm putting myself on notice. A rough April and the Chain is coming back. That's not a threat to myself or a means of punishing myself. It would be a way of recognizing that without it I wasn't sticking to the discipline I need to have if I want to build a successful writing career.

So, with all of that in mind, let's see how things looked for March. My goals were:
  1. Submit three stories for the first time. - I did this.
  2. Read thirty short stories. - I didn't just fail at this, I bombed it. In impressive fashion. 6/30.
  3. Reply to all Kazka Press flash fiction submissions by the 25th. - This one went fine.
  4. Make fifteen submissions of non-reprint stories. - I succeeded at this, though just.
  5. Outline and get at least 4000 words written on a novelette for general submission. - I haven't gotten off to a good start on this goal. I need to put some thinking time in on it because I'd like to at least get an outline put together before the end of the month. 
So, anything that had to do with submissions -- either making or processing them -- went fine. Everything else? Not so much...

But March is over and it's time to move on to April. So here are some new goals:
  1. Submit three stories for the first time. - This is so I can keep moving forward on my goal for stories submitted for the year.
  2. Read seven short stories each Monday to Sunday week. - When I got behind last month, I think I felt "heck with it." This way I get a fresh start every week. We'll see if that helps.
  3. Reply to all Kazka Press flash fiction submissions by the 24th. - I'm keeping this as pretty much a standing goal. It gives about a week for turnaround on the back end with contracts, etc. before publication.
  4. Make twenty submissions of non-reprint stories. - Keeping the stories out the door is important for getting them accepted and published.
  5. Outline and get at least 4000 words written on a novelette for general submission. - Yes, this is back again. I really want to stretch out some and the only way I'll accomplish that is by putting forth the effort.
  6. Write one non-flash story which is NOT inspired by any pre-existing prompt/theme/etc. - Maybe this one is a bit unnecessary, but I feel like an awful lot of my recent writing has been driven by external prompts and themes. I'd like to make sure I'm writing the things that are important to me and while I basically think I've done fine with that while working a lot with prompts and themes, I'd like to encourage myself to do some self-starting as well this month.
  7. Blog every Monday about my goal progress. -  I think I'm missing some of the accountability I set up for myself with more frequent check-ins last month. I hope this will help me out.
That's a lot of goals for the month, but -- as always -- I am hopeful that I will be successful with them.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Publication Updates: Two Stories Released & Two Editing Projects

I've been remiss in my blogging lately, so I'm going to hit you all with a bunch of updates over the next few days. Tonight I'm going to cover various short fiction releases and related news.

First off, I've had two stories come out recently. My horror story "Welcome to Blackrock" is in the current issue of Black Treacle, a Canadian online publication. This is also the first time I've mentioned this particular story sale on my blog. I was pleased with the turnaround time from submission to publication with this new site.

Next, I've got a crime story "Three Times a Killer" in the first Plan B anthology. If you have read my self-published story "Levels of Trust", you might want to check out this one since it features the same main character, much earlier in his criminal career.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Guest Post: 5 Marketing Ideas That Gather In Readers by Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

If you've ever tried gathering weeds without a bucket or flowers without a basket, you'll know that keeping all of the goods in your hands until you get to the final destination is a difficult feat.

The same is true with marketing.

You can put the feelers out, gather in all of these wonderful ideas, and yet, if you forget to house them, keep them in a place as you gather them from place to place you may find your ideas misplaced, or worse, lost.

When I began writing Marketing Your Book on a Budget 2012 (we're now at the 2013 edition) I began to gather ideas from websites and to try them out. The best ones I copied on sheets of paper. These sheets began to pile up on my desk until I had to do something with them.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Short Story Sale: "Live from Arcona" to Azure Keep Quarterly

Earlier today I received word that my fantasy short story "Live from Arcona" has been accepted for publication by a new publication, Azure Keep Quarterly. It's slated to be in their first issue, release date not yet specified.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Quick March Goals Update

It's still basically mid-month and I have time to keep working on my goals for March. So, with that in mind, here's a quick status check...
  1. Submit three stories for the first time. - DONE!
  2. Read thirty short stories. - I am way behind the pace on this one. I hope I can still get a decent number read before the end of the month, but 30 is unlikely.
  3. Reply to all Kazka Press flash fiction submissions by the 25th. - Barring an absolute flood of submissions in the next couple of days, I should be able to do this without a problem.
  4. Make fifteen submissions of non-reprint stories. - On pace for this.
  5. Outline and get at least 4000 words written on a novelette for general submission. - I haven't gotten off to a good start on this goal. I need to put some thinking time in on it because I'd like to at least get an outline put together before the end of the month.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Two Short Story Sales & Two Anthology Releases

I got a double shot of good news a couple of days ago with short story sales to both Nature ("An Alien Named Tim") and InterGalactic Medicine Show ("Small Creatures and Large"). I'm looking forward to the release of both of these stories later this year.

Also, this month, two anthologies in which I have stories have been released.

First was the Sidekicks! anthology, edited by Sarah Hans and featuring, among others, Alex Bledsoe. My fantasy con-artist story "Learning the Game" appears in this anthology. There's also a print edition of this book and if you'd like a copy signed by me, hit me up on my contact form and we'll get it worked out.

Second is The California Cantata anthology, released by Kazka Press. My fantasy story "Counting it Up" was accepted for this anthology before I came on as editor of the monthly flash fiction contests for Kazka. So this may well end up being my last story released by the press, and I'm glad it's available for purchase now alongside stories by other writers such as Beth Cato.

Monday, March 11, 2013

"Getting By" is Live at Roar and Thunder

My dystopian science fiction short story "Getting By" is live today at Roar and Thunder.
"Martha watches out the window as she cleans the dishes. It’s half past moonset. Craig will be coming home soon.

She hears the young ones, the twins, arguing as they play in the back room. It’s the bickering kind of arguing, not the harsher kind that escalates into shoves and kicks. She lets it go, thinking of the times she and her sister Stacy fought as children. Thinking, too, that it’s been over a year since she and Stacy talked. Communicating between the colonies and home isn’t cheap.

Craig is coming down the path towards their homestead. His shoulders are hunched, his suit is coated in grime. But when he comes through the door, he has a smile for her."
(read the rest at Roar and Thunder)
There's a little interesting nugget of information relating to this story. It was the last story I wrote in 2011 and, very specifically, it was written on New Year's Eve. This fact may take on additional relevance after you have read the story.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

March Issue of Kazka Press is Live

The March issue from Kazka Press is available now. I selected one story for this month's issue on the theme of Spring Training.

With a new month having started, that means I'm also reading for the April issue. The theme for this month's submissions, appropriately enough, is "Changing Seasons." Please submit stories along those lines for my consideration on or before March 20th.

While I'm here, since I've put a bunch of posts up in recent days, here are links back to some recent news from me:

Friday, March 1, 2013

February Goal Results and March Goals

Here were my February goals and how I did with them.

  1. Submit three stories for the first time. - I made zero progress on this. Got to get better at this..
  2. Read twenty-five short stories. - Done.
  3. Develop a convention schedule for the year. - Basically done in February. I had to wrap a few things up on it tonight. But it's done now.
  4. Reply to all Kazka Press flash fiction submissions by the 24th. - Done.
  5. Make twenty submissions of non-reprint stories. - Done.
So, other than not getting new stories out the door (which is, I need to acknowledge, a big part of what I should be doing writing-wise) this was a good month. Now, as for March...

  1. Submit three stories for the first time. - I probably should set this at four since I'm zero-for-two-months, but one of the issues I'm running into is not having enough markets to submit to for some types of stories, so I'm going to leave this at three for now and make accomplishing this a very high priority. 
  2. Read thirty short stories. - Bumping this up to a slightly higher number, since I hit 25 last month.
  3. Reply to all Kazka Press flash fiction submissions by the 25th. - Pretty straight forward, get responses out quickly allowing time for contracts to be signed, etc.
  4. Make fifteen submissions of non-reprint stories. - Bumping this down a bit since I've got most of my stories out at the moment and if replies don't come in quickly enough it might be hard to get to twenty again in March.
  5. Outline and get at least 4000 words written on a novelette for general submission. - This ties in to my goal for the year to get four novelettes and/or novellas submitted.

My 2013 Convention Schedule

Note: I almost got this convention schedule put together in February like I had planned. All I had to do was finalize one bit of information, but I got sidetracked while I was in the middle of this and never really got back to it. But I'm keeping the stuff about having gotten this done in February just because...
One of my goals for February was to create a 2013 Convention Schedule for myself. Since I'm in the middle of a hyper-productive Tuesday morning (Yes, that's actually a serious statement, no sarcasm at all!) I figured that I should check off another thing from my list and publish said schedule.

So... Here's where I plan to be in 2013. Note that with multiple kids, potential for weekend work hours, etc. any of this could change unless I've noted that I'm committed to be a panelist in which case I'll be there at least for my panels barring a major life issue.
  • Millennicon 27 (March 15-17, Cincinnati): Very tentative. If I go, it will most likely only be for one day and to participate in a release event related to the Sidekicks! anthology in which my story "Learning the Game" appears.
  • Marcon 48 (March 29-31, Columbus): Definite. I am going to be a panelist at Marcon; currently I am signed up for two Saturday afternoon panels. If you're in the area, I hope you'll come by!
  • Confluence (July 19-21, Pittsburgh). Fairly likely. This is a weekend where my current work schedule looks like it wouldn't cause a conflict and it's a fairly short drive. If I can't make this one, I might try to get to something like DucKon or Libertycon.
  • Pulpfest (July 25-28, Columbus): Very likely. This is one I'll be attending more likely than not, though as an attendee, not as a panelist/presenter.
  • Context 26 (September 27-29, Columbus): Very likely. It's here in my hometown, it's a great convention, and a ton of people I know will be there. If I miss this convention, I'll be very disappointed. I intend to sign up to be a panelist here.
  • Philcon 2013 (November 8-10, Philadelphia): Fairly likely. I went to Philcon in 2012 and had a very good time. I'd like to have a chance to catch up with folks like Alex Shvartsman, Anatoly Belilovsky, and Fran Wilde in person. If I can manage the cost and time of a trip that far, I will want to go.

Short Story Sale: "Private Memories" to Daily Science Fiction

I received word a couple of days ago that my short story "Private Memories" has sold to Daily Science Fiction. I am very pleased by this sale; it will be my second story to run with Daily Science Fiction and it represents my first pro-rate sale for 2013. I don't know yet when it will run, but most likely sometime in the May-June timeframe. I'll post the link here, as always, when the story is available.

Monday, February 25, 2013

First Sale of 2013: "Three Times a Killer" to Plan B Magazine

I got word today that my short story "Three Times a Killer" has been accepted for publication by Plan B Magazine. Plan B is a new crime/mystery semi-pro ezine. As I've discussed before, there's a real dearth of good markets for mystery short fiction and I hope to see Plan B have a long and healthy lifetime. I'm very pleased to have had a story selected for publication by them.

This story relates to another story of mine. The protagonist of both this and "Levels of Trust" is Lawrence Thomas; the two stories are set at very different points of the man's life. "Three Times a Killer" is from when Lawrence was just barely an adult while "Levels of Trust" is set when he is a widower with a young child. I like the character and suspect I'll write a few more stories about him over time.

I've been a bit less-than-industrious about having stories circulating the past few months which has led to a slowdown in sales. I've been trying to be better about that this month and I'm quite happy that it paid off with the sale of "Three Times a Killer."

I'll be sure to let everyone know as soon as it's available to read.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Quick February Goal Update

I'm still on hiatus.

If anything, my hiatus has gotten even more hiatus-y. On top of the previously-existing issues I've been navigating, my father-in-law had a medical issue and my wife has been away helping tend to his and her mother's needs.

But I'm still plugging away with things, though still slower than I would like. Here are my goal statuses for February with about 1/4 of the month remaining.
  1. Submit three stories for the first time. - 0 for 3. Really? Yes. Really.
  2. Read twenty-five short stories. - Nicely on the way to this goal. I'm at 20 for the month. Yay!
  3. Develop a convention schedule for the year. - Not done yet. If this slips to March, I won't be too upset.
  4. Reply to all Kazka Press flash fiction submissions by the 24th. - Well on my way to having this done. Will get it done barring a true surprise in my schedule.
  5. Make twenty submissions of non-reprint stories. - I'll either make this or come close. I'm at 15 right now and should be able to get to 20.
So, other than the struggle to actually get new stories out the door, I feel good about how the month has been going. As always, onward!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

February Issue of Kazka Press is Live

The February issue of flash fiction presented by Kazka Press -- three short stories on the theme of "An Undelivered Valentine" -- is now live on the Kazka site.

This is the first issue since I came on board as the editor for these monthly Kazka Press features and I'm very pleased with the three stories which we were able to present to our readers. I hope that you'll check out the stories and that you enjoy reading them.

If you're interested in submitting a story for consideration in March's issue, the theme is "Spring Training" and the deadline is February 20th. Submission guidelines are here. I intend to interpret the theme broadly, so don't feel limited to the first-thought baseball connotations of that phrase.

Monday, February 4, 2013

"Back to School" in Plasma Frequency Issue #4

When 2012 ended, I had quite a few stories which had sold but not yet seen publication. So far I haven't sold a story yet in 2013, but as a result of having those pending stories out there from 2012, I've had five short stories released so far in the first 35 days of this year. I'm not going to keep up that story-publication-a-week thing for long, but it's been fun to share while it's lasted.

Today, Plasma Frequency Magazine released their fourth issue and it includes my short story "Back to School." This was one of the first stories I wrote in 2011, when I got back into writing, and it was originally an attempt at sort of a Garrison Keillor vibe with zombie teachers. Yep. Zombie Teachers.

The story got edited a bit here and there along the way, and I don't know if much of the GK sensibility remains, but I'm fond of this little story and glad that it found a home. I hope that you enjoy reading it.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

"Taking Chances" Out in Issue #5 of Kzine and Blog Semi-Hiatus

Within the last week or so, issue #5 of Kzine was released. Kzine is a tri-annual publication for the Kindle with science fiction, fantasy, and mystery short fiction originating from the United Kingdom. My mystery story "Taking Chances" is included in this issue along with stories by seven other authors including M. Bennardo.

Also, I'm in the process of trying to get caught up on a variety of things. So, for the month of February, I'll be blogging on an irregular schedule. Basically, if I have news, I'll blog about it. I'll blog mid-month about my February goal progress and I'll blog toward the end of the month to finalize February goals and start March goals. And if I have something I feel like saying, then I'll blog about that, too. But posting will probably be fairly infrequent this month.

I am keeping up with regularly writing and doing other legitimately writing-related work. I'm just trying to get everything properly balanced and it's not always as easy as it sounds.

Best of luck to everyone else working on writing or other goals during February!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January and February Goals


I think January is going to have been one of my least successful goal-meeting months since I got back into writing. On the one hand, I've had an impressive amount of first/second draft productivity having gotten initial versions of seven short stories written this month. On the other hand, I haven't directed nearly as much energy toward my stated goals for the month as I should have. I could give explanations and make excuses, but the bottom line is this: I've gotten some good work done but I haven't gone in the direction I intended to go.

January Results
  1. Submit four stories for the first time. - A complete whiff. This isn't good since my goal for the year is to get 36 stories out for the first time. On the bright side, I've still got 11 months in which to do that work. But I can't afford many more months like this one if I'm going to meet that goal.
  2. Read fifty short stories. - I'm sitting at 26 right now with a few days left in the month. If I can manage it, I'd like to get that up to 30 before January is out. We'll see.
  3. Submit programming interest form for Marcon. - Completed.
  4. Publish a revised blog strategy. - Completed.
  5. Reply to all Kazka Press flash fiction submissions by the 25th. - I was on good track for this but then ended up not getting the last of the responses out until the 28th. I basically am okay with this, since the pattern of stories coming in this month seemed to be very different from when I guest-edited -- in brief, about 2/3 of the stories which came in arrived within a day or two of the deadline on 1/20. Still, next month is a short month. So this was my month to learn and next month will be my month to meet the goal.
  6. Have some point during the month where all of my stories which I consider to be on submission are out the door to a market. - Not even close.
February Goals

For a variety of reasons, I'm going to take it a bit easy in February. Some of the things which ate up time in January will continue to eat up time in the beginning of February, it's a short month, etc.
  1. Submit three stories for the first time.
  2. Read twenty-five short stories.
  3. Develop a convention schedule for the year.
  4. Reply to all Kazka Press flash fiction submissions by the 24th.
  5. Make twenty submissions of non-reprint stories. - I still want, some month, to do the "get everything out the door" goal. But having a purely numeric count might be easier for February. We'll see.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

ARCANE II and More of The Next Big Thing

Mondays and blogging just aren't working out this month. Apologies for the belated post.

Speaking of Monday posts, they're generally going to be goal-oriented but I really don't have a lot of goal-related news so I'm going to just present a few bits of news here and then skedaddle.

First off, This is apparently the month in which my stories appearing in horror anthologies get released. On the heels of last week's DEEP CUTS release comes the release this week of ARCANE II. In this volume (available for Kindle, Nook, and on Smashwords) my flash-length story "In the Paint" appears.

Also, related to my The Next Big Thing blog post from last week, here are two other writers' Next Big Thing posts. Both of them, as it turns out, are related to the upcoming release of another anthology in which I have a story, Sidekicks!
Seeing as how I originally got into the Next Big Thing blog hop through Sarah Hans' post and she is the editor of Sidekicks! I am sensing a definite theme here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

300th Post: The Next Big Thing

First of all, this is going to be my 300th published post on this blog. Wow! When I started blogging some of my thoughts about writing I had no idea where it was all going to take me and I can only say that it's been a great ride!

There's a blog hop going around called The Next Big Thing where writers talk about their current projects. It appears to have originated mostly with novelists, but there's nothing that says that other folks can't play, too. Sarah Hans, a member of my local writing workshop and the editor of Sidekicks! (in which I have a story) released her own The Next Big Thing blog post last week (focused on, wouldn't you know, Sidekicks!) and as part of it she tagged me to be one of the next people for the hop.

So, I present to you... The Next Big Thing

FYI: I have adjusted the original questions somewhat since my projects are all short fiction and, as usual, I have multiple ones in flight. I chose a story I feel particularly fond of which is still a work in progress for this post.

1: What is the working title of one of your current stories?

"Written on the Skin". I suspect it will end up being a 1,750-3,000 word long story after I take it through further drafts.

2: Where did the idea come from for the story?

There's a writers' site called Liberty Hall that runs a weekly contest where people are provided two prompts and then have ninety minutes to write a story based on one or both of the prompts. One week recently there was an image of a fingernail painted with music notes. I looked at that and thought for a bit and had the idea of a woman with music tattooed over much of her body. Then I had to figure out why.

3: What genre does "Written on the Skin" fall under?

Post-apocalyptic science fiction.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I've been fond of Jennifer Lawrence since I saw her in "Winter's Bone." I think she'd be a good fit for the main character in "Written on the Skin" though I doubt her agent would want her showing up in another post-apocalyptic thing on the heels of The Hunger Games.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your story?

A young woman whose parents and siblings have all died and is about to become a mother herself works to keep alive the memory of the family members she has lost.

6: Will your story be self-published or represented by an agency?

Short fiction is almost never represented by an agency. There are, to be sure, some exceptions but generally speaking authors are "on their own" to market their short fiction. Once I have a final draft of this in hand, I'll start it out to the periodicals and/or anthologies which seem like a good fit for it.

7: How long has the editing taken you?

I wrote the first draft in 90 minutes. The basic story arc is there but there are some aspects which probably require expansion and at least one element I think I need to change.

8: What other stories would you compare "Written on the Skin" to within your genre?

I'm struggling to think of a specific story that I would compare it to. What I will say is that I hope it will -- like many of the stories I have most enjoyed reading -- depict a person working to navigate the often-difficult paths of relationships with their fellow humans.

9: Who or What inspired you to write this story?

The person who provided the prompt described above.

10: What else about your story might pique the reader’s interest?

I hope that it ends up in a publication which readers know they can rely on for consistently high-quality fiction. That, to me, is the best way for a new SF/F short fiction writer to interest potential readers.

Thanks for reading! Now for the people I am tagging as part of the blog hop; many of them are primarily short fiction writers as well. I made an attempt to check that they hadn't participated in the hop yet, but if I missed their post, I'll update this to reflect their previous Next Big Thing posting.

Alex Shvartsman – Alex is the editor of Unidentified Funny Objects and he has had dozens of short stories published in recent years. He's also been a great mentor to me in the world of writing and I am happy to call him a friend.

Alexis A. Hunter  – Alexis and I have talked some online and met briefly during the Context convention here in Columbus last fall. She's young and, like Alex, has had dozens of short stories published in recent years.

Robert Lowell Russell – Robert is in the same writing group that Sarah Hans and I are in; in fact, he's the person who recommended I look into the group. He's written a number of stories that I've felt have a really solid emotional core and which I expect I'll see published in the not-too-distant future. He also has the ability to write humorous stories and was one of only a handful of recipients of a three-star rating (the highest rating awarded) for 2012 short stories by Tangent Online in their Recommended Reading List for his very funny story "The Flittiest Catch" in an issue of Intergalactic Medicine Show.

Beth Cato – Beth is the only one on this list I haven't met. She lives in Arizona and I live in Ohio. Amusingly, though, she lives in Buckeye, Arizona and Ohio is The Buckeye State. She's had numerous short stories published in recent years and also is an avid writer of poetry. Additionally, she enjoys baking and blogging her recipes; around Christmas I made a batch of her snickerdoodles which turned out wonderfully!

All four of these authors are ones I can imagine doing great things in the years and decades to come. I hope that all of them can be... The Next Big Thing!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Awaiting the Captain's Ghost" in DEEP CUTS & Goal Updates

The horror anthology "Deep Cuts" is live now on Amazon.com. This book includes 19 short stories including my own Civil War-era tale "Awaiting the Captain's Ghost." I've been working occasionally on writing stories which are inspired to one degree or another by English and Scottish ballads such as those collected by Francis James Child. [SPOILER LINK WARNING: Clicking the link in the next sentence and reading about the related ballad will give hints as to where the story is going, in part.] "Awaiting the Captain's Ghost" explicitly references one such ballad, "The Knight's Ghost."

I'm very happy with how this story turned out and looking forward to reading the other stories in the collection. I hope that if you purchase this book (or if you already have it on its way via their Kickstarter effort from last year) that you enjoy the book and my story.

And now, for goal updates! Here's where things stand for January as a whole.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2012 Writing Stats and Reflections

What a difference a year makes.

At the onset of 2012 I had a total of four fiction publication credits in the 21st Century for which I had earned a total of less than $15. I had made 70 short fiction submissions in 2011, garnering 67 rejections and 3 acceptances. (That's actually a fairly-decent ratio, though one of those was a twitter-length fiction and the other two sales were a pair of flash stories to the same market.) Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine that in 2012 I would make over a half-dozen pro-paying sales, become eligible to be a full Active member of SFWA, and have a story of mine selected for reprint in an anthology being edited by mystery and crime editing legend Otto Penzler.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Updated Blog Schedule

One of my January goals is to adjust my blogging schedule/strategy to something which I feel better fits my current big-picture goals.

I've actually slightly implemented the strategy starting yesterday by NOT having published a Sunday Links post. My new blogging schedule will be as follows:
  • Mondays: Goal-related Posts
  • Thursdays: Everything Else (could be writing tips, comments on news in the world of fiction, links I want to draw attention to, etc.)
  • As Needed: Announcements of story sales, etc.
So, stop back Thursday and I'll have an "Everything Else" post of one flavor or another. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Two Story Sales and More Goal Updates

I ended 2012 with two more short story sales. My story "Act of Penance" was accepted for the December 2012 Kazka Press Flash Fiction contest. I'm very pleased to have had one more story accepted there before I take over the editorial reins for the monthly contests. This story should go live today or in the very near future.

Also, "Back to School", my zombie teacher story, has been accepted for publication by Plasma Frequency. It will be in the fourth issue of that publication, due in early February.

Now to close out December's goals and declare goals for January.

For December...