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NaNoWriMo Update

Got in a good 1,708 words, tonight.

That leaves me at about a day and a half behind (I had a slow start) but at least I didn't fall any further behind, tonight.

There's a write-in at Crane Coffee down on 76th and Cass st, where we usually meet every Saturday during the rest of the year, but I don't know if I'll go.  I'm spending more time walking to the write-ins than I am writing AT the write-ins.

*shrug*  Maybe I'll stay home and write, tomorrow.  MIght do me good.

As will getting some freakin' sleep.  I'm off to bed.

Happiness and joy to all!

Editor Looking for Review Writer!

Bart Leib - Co-Publisher of Crossed Genres Magazine - is looking for someone with experience writing reviews for genre fiction.

I'm sorry to say that I don't have any experience or I'd apply myself.  I can, however, testify that Mr. Leib is cool to work with.

The link for the announcement is here.

Good luck, folks!
I've been obsessed for weeks now with finishing a project.

About six months ago, I received an invitation to submit a short story for an anthology project.  (unfortunately, I'm not supposed to talk about it, so I can't give any details.) I was pretty happy about being invited, as it was an invitation only project, and only about 45 authors were invited, so I didn't want to disappoint the editor.

I'd been having some serious problems with my story, though. The biggest problem was that I got really sick, this Summer. I'm seriously beginning to think that sunlight is worse for me than I originally thought. I may be even more photosensitive than I ever admitted to.

Anyway, the first story idea I worked on, I couldn't finish because it was missing something. I couldn't tell what, but I even with numerous attempts at first-drafting, there seemed to be gaps in the idea that I couldn't pin down. It's unusual for me, but there you go.

The second idea had basically the opposite problem. I had a really clear idea of the central themes, but I had way too many good ideas. The main character was either a warden, the business manager at a lunatic asylum, or a special investigator from Scotland Yard. The main protagonist was a London soldier's wife, a Cherokee immigrant, an underground shaman, or a "lady of the evening." The main plot device was first a magical virus, then a shamanic spirit, then an ancient goddess. The setting was a steampunk version of London, then it was a sort of film noir thing. I couldn't nail down one set of ideas and stick with it. It was driving me freaking nuts.

Finally, with two weeks left to the submissions deadline, I decided to set that idea aside and find a new one. I was frustrated as hell, by that point, and beginning to panic, but I had to do something. A couple of days later, the editor made a blog post about some missing books that involved an image that inspired a new idea. "Recieved Without Content" was started that evening. 

I managed to submit my story with a couple of days to spare, thankfully - and with many thanks to my two chief proofreaders: my mother (a retired teacher) and my good friend Cara (studying to be a teacher.) It's off to the editor and I've been told to expect an answer by mid-November.

For two days, I was just relieved that it's done.

In the meantime, NaNoWriMo has begun.  I went to the local Kick-Off Party, last night, but I'll post all about NaNo later.  Now, I'm off to write.

Hello again!

Nope.  Not dead.  Just busy.

I've been spending most Saturday nights with my local writers' group.  We meet most Saturdays at a local coffee shop and chat or goof off online, or very occasionally write.  A whole gaggle of people lined up around a long line of tables tapping and clicking away at their laptops.  It's a beautiful (if noisy) sight.  I really look forward to my Saturday nights with these guys, which (given my Social Anxiety issues) is a major improvement for me.

For several months, I was also pretty busy on Sundays.  I was taking part in a weekly Dungeons & Dragons game, sharing DM'ing chores with a buddy from Saturday nights.  Everybody in that group - including the amazing family of four whose house we met in - was actually in the Saturday group, so I was really comfortable with them, and had a good time performing for them.  Alas, the time and effort it takes to get my campaign ready each time and to stay prepared sucked too much time away from writing.  At the moment, I've excused myself from Sunday gaming  to have more time for writing.  I'm still debating if I'll be going back at any point, which makes me a bit sad.

Now, you may remember that a few months ago, I sold my first short story to Crossed Genres Magazine.  "Conflicts" was published in Issue #19, and I thought I couldn't be happier until a couple of months ago when the editor e-mailed me to say that "Conflicts" had been chosen to represent Issue #19 in the annual "best of" anthology Crossed Genres: Year Two.  This anthology will be published December 7th and of course you can pre-order it at Crossed Genres.  I have been bouncy giggly about that for weeks.  It's really encouraging when the first time you submit a story it not only sells but gets anthologized.  :D

The last few months have actually been fairly rough in terms of writing.  Shortly after I sold "Conflicts" I was invited to submit a story for a private project, and I promised I would have something ready by October 31st.  So of course I've been really blocked on that.  It's annoying.  I've developed at least three solid ideas and each one has blocked really badly.  I do have a new idea that I'm working on now and I'm really comfortable with this one, but time is running out.  I've taken two days off work so I can have a four-day weekend to work on it.  I am not going to flake on this!

I have signed up to participate in National Novel Writing Month, and had a pretty cool idea to work on, but I was thinking about dropping out, earlier today.  Even after I finish the project I'm working on now, there are a bunch of other potential short story projects I could develop across November instead of working on NaNoWriMo.  Fortunately, I mused about potentially dropping out on Twitter, and Del Dryden posted to remind me that I could just write my shorts as my NaNoWriMo project.  :)  So, I'm participating after all, just working on a lot of little things.

Oh, and I'm back in the gym, but a different gym.  I'm now going to the gym across the street from my apartment, called Prairie Life Fitness Center.  They're really cool.  I'll post more about them later.  I did hop on the scale, recently, and found that I'm down to 250 pounds!  That's 90 pounds that I've lost since I started working out in 2003.  :)

That's all I can think of, for now.  I'm trying to post more often, but I apologize if I'm having trouble finding the time to read my Friends Page, these days.  I'm working steadily on my dream, but I'm trying to keep in touch, I really am!

Love to all of you!

Lazy Saturday Afternoon

I'm sitting at a window table at my local Borders, I'm writing on my netbook, sipping on a strawberry smoothie and listening to Eric Clapton and B.B. King play Three O'Clock Blues.  It's a nice lazy sunny day.

I'm working on a flash fiction story for Flash Fiction Online.  It's a little bit of a challenge, not just because it's flash, but because I'm only using dialogue.  Fun stuff.  I'm still working on the story for the Subversion anthology.  I have a better idea what I want to do, but it's going to take some work.  I'll be making more notes on it, later tonight. 

Life is good, at the moment.  I've sent in my entry for The Second Annual Crossed Genres Flash Fiction contest, but the ten finalists won't be announced until the 223rd.  I don't like having to be patient.  I want to know now!  heh.

I've never felt more like it really is possible for me to be a full-time writer.  I'm loving it.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Happy happy birthday to a_red_autumn !  

Miss you, babe!

Another Submission

Okay, so I've written and submitted another story.  :)

Crossed Genres, the same online magazine that published my story, this month, is doing their Second Annual Flash Fiction Contest.  They announced it on June 1st, and the deadline for entries is June 15th.  Not much time.  And, to make things really tough, the upper word limit is 500.  Not easy.

I was up for half the night on Wednesday, trying to think of a good idea for this, but couldn't think of a single thing that stuck in my head.  I gave up and went to bed just after Midnight.  So of course, I woke up an hour later with the perfect idea in my head.  Figures.  I knew if I went back to sleep I'd forget it in the morning, so I got up and worked on it for two hours.  Wound up being really tired all the next day at work.

But, the upshot is that it turned out to be a great story.  I finally got it paired down to 470 words and sent it off tonight.  The ten finalists (which will be voted on by the readers) will be announced June 23rd.

Crossing my fingers, and all that.

And no, I can't post the story here.  That would count as publishing it, and would disqualify me.  :P

My point...  I'm writing!  :)

Published!!

I've been meaning to post this for a month, now, but life has been really hectic.

Tomorrow, June 1st, my very first science fiction short story will be published! 

(okay, it's not my first story, but it IS my first professional sale.)

It's being published in Crossed Genres Magazine.  They've got a really cool gimmick going.  They publish science fiction and fantasy stories, and every month they have a different theme.  Previous themes have included "Eastern," "Antihero," "Steampunk," and "LGBTQ" to name just a few.  Submissions for short fiction must be both science fiction/fantasy AND match the current theme.  

The theme in April was "Gadgets & Artifacts." I wracked my brain for two months to find a good idea for that theme, but couldn't come up with anything that truly caught me, until the 26th.  I'd pretty much given up on the idea of submitting for this theme, and was sifting through some old files on my netbook when I found an old writing exercise I'd done six months ago and tossed aside.  It was basically me improvising, not making a lot of sense, just moving from paragraph to paragraph and knocking out a silly scene that featured a robot cat designed to look after a little girl.

It was perfect!  A few tweaks and it would be exactly what I needed.  Trouble was, the ABSOLUTE deadline for submissions was Friday the 30th, which gave me five days to write, edit, and submit.  It took me the rest of Monday to hammer out a fresh outline, Tuesday and Wednesday to write the first draft, and Thursday to edit it through three revised versions, then I sent it out to friends for quick critiques and proofreads, and I didn't get most of them back until Friday night, so I wound up with five hours to make final revisions, put it in an acceptable manuscript format, and fill out the online submissions form.  

I made it with one hour to spare, and that was only because the Borders where I was working on it was about to close.

I wasn't actually expecting it to get accepted.  I'd written the thing in only five days, after all.  I was just really happy that I'd finally gotten off my butt and submitted something professionally.  The best I was hoping for was a rejection letter with any sort of critique from the editor.

But it sold.  :D

It goes online tomorrow morning in issue #19.

I got the answer back in just three days, and a lot of the following week was spent making revisions and dreaming up an author's bio.  Since then, I've been making a few changes to my life.  Getting published was just the kick in the ass that I've needed.  I've been rearranging my life to center more around writing and getting published.  I started a new Twitter account to follow writing magazines and other writers, I reconstructed my facebook page, I've given up video games entirely (almost three weeks and counting...) and soda, and I'm working on keeping my apartment and my life more organized so that my brain works more creatively.  I went back and got a new subscription to Writers' Digest Magazine (the magazine that taught me everything I know about fiction writing when I was growing up) and researched the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America to learn how to qualify, and researched more than a dozen Science Fiction and Fantasy magazines where I can sell more work.

I've been busy.  :)

For a short time, I considered moving my blog from Livejournal to some other blogging service, but in the end decided to stay here.  I like this place.  I like the people here.  I'm going to be focusing much more on the original purpose, though - that of the professional writing life.

I'll be catching up on all my old friends really soon.  I'm going to be purging the list of groups that I follow to shorten my friends page reading.  Less time available, now.  :)

Updates soon.

Oh, and my new Twitter page is here, and my Facebook is here.

Talk to you all again, soon!

Quick Update

Dreamwidth was supposed to crosspost this, but it didn't, so I'll just cut and paste and figure it out, later:

I keep promising myself that I'm going to post here, and then keep forgetting. Problem is, I always remember during the walk to work in the morning, so how the hell is that going to help, right?

My life has been busy busy busy, lately. Last November, as many of you will recall, I made my second attempt at NaNoWriMo, and won. hooray, and all that. More importantly, I made even more friends as an even stronger core group formed out of it all. We have been meeting once a week at a local coffeeshop ever since. Most Saturdays, we meet at Crane Coffee - where the coffee sucks but the smoothies rule. Third Saturday of every month, we meet at Borders. Their new manager started out being a bit of a sexist pig to our leader, but he's getting better.

Sundays, I've been doing D&D with a bunch of the same people. Myself and one of the other players (Chris) switch off the DM's duties every other week, and the one not DM'ing that week does the cooking, usually. I've been using my Crock Pot a lot more, these days, but they love the food. (or they're just not complaining.)

So I now have a regular social schedule. It's really weird, frankly. I'm not used to it. My weekends are gloriously full. It actually stressed me out for a bit at first. My Social Anxiety freaked out something awful, but I managed to get it (mostly) under control. The constant creative challenge of keeping up with the game - coming up with new adventures and improvising as the game runs - has been keeping me on my toes, but it's been worth it.

Right now, I've got maybe an hour to get my shit together for today's game. I'm woefully unprepared, but I have discovered that I do well at improvising, thankfully. I'll have to catch up more tonight.

Hope everyone is doing well, and I'll catch up more, later.