Photo shoot and Launch Pad squeeage

Got a photo shoot this Saturday for the Dragon*Con breast cancer research charity calendar. We’ll be doing the group bikini/swimsuit shot and the cover shot. Have to admit to being rather anxious about the bikini one. Under most circumstances, I’m pretty comfy in front of a camera, but I’ve gained a few pounds (and a few years) since the last time I’ve shown quite so much skin on film, and I have to admit being somewhat insecure about it.

Yes, I’m vain. Glargh.

Okay, moving right along. Our marvelous photographer, Dean Ansley, has been scouting for locations for my August, “Pulp SF Space Girl,” shoot. Think we might be able to use the Fernbank Science Center/Planetarium. I hope so. From the sample shots he showed me, it looks like it’ll be perfect. So I got out my space girl costume last night and tried it on. I’m thinking I’d like to put a few stitches here and there to make the lay of it smoother in a couple places. And I wish I had silver go-go boots now; I think they’d look better than black ones. But then, when would I ever wear silver boots again?

And finally, the calendar now has a website, although there’s nothing on it currently except for a flash slide show of some of the promo shots:

   


Writing Stuff

The organizers of the Launch Pad workshop put together an email list so all the attendees can communicate and introduce each other beforehand. I was delighted to learn that Josepha Sherman, who I’ve met and been on panels with at Dragon*Con, will be one of my workshop-mates. I lubs Josepha and am looking forward to getting to hang with her in Wyoming. And I had a major fangirl moment when I discovered that Vonda N. McIntyre will also be a fellow Launchpadee. I’m debating whether I should bring my copy of Dreamsnake to Wyoming and ask her to sign it, or if that would just be too squeeing fangirl. Hee!

Received:
- 126-day SALE of “The Music Company” to Hub. I subbed the story to them when they were still a print ‘zine and still paying £25/1K words. With the greatly decreased pay, I waffled a bit before giving them the go ahead. But, I figure they did right by me with “Wanting to Want” in issue #1, not to mention it feels unnatural to turn down a sale.
- 3-day reprint SALE of my article, “When the Guidelines Say ’7-12′”, to Absolute Write. I think it’ll be in their June 20 issue.
- Contract for “Li T’ien and the Dragon Nian” for the Black Dragon, White Dragon anthology. And a sneak peek of the cover art. It’s puuurty:

Published:
- My Absolute Write interview is now up.

New Words:
- 1400 on my July Writing for Young Readers column. Still working on the title, but it’s about writing humor, with highlights from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


Club 100 for Writers: 19

Mobicon part II

Mobicon rawked! I see now why jackzodiac always raves about it. These folks put on a first rate event. I’m low on sleep, and the neurons are verily sluggish, so this will be a cursory convention-in-review. Apologies to all the wonderful folks I will undoubtedly forget to mention.

I was a judge for the costume contest with the lovely, talented, and charming Chase Masterson; her sweetie and director, James Kerwin; and, of course, jackzodiac.

After the contest, before the winners were announced, they had a “7-Minute Costume Contest” whereupon contestants get a bag with a length of material, a roll of duct tape, aluminum foil, and scissors and have to create a costume in seven minutes. They asked if Chase, Davey, and I would like to join the fray. Who in their right mind would refuse the prospect of such silliness? So we had seven minutes to do Davey up as a “Klingon Robin Hood.”


Chase (who is, of course, the Klingon expert) decided that he needed breasts. . . and lipstick. Isn’t Davey pretty?

I was a wee bit trepidatious about the Slave Auction, although I was assured that my participation was optional. The auctioneer, Joe-Bob (Joe-Bill?), was a riot–bawdy and lighthearted–perfect for the event. And he knew how to show off his wares to their best effect. There was topless dancing . . . from the men, including a pair of marines (a matched set!), who demonstrated their physical fitness to the cheering crowd by dropping and doing 20 push-ups, and an enthusiastic young man who exhibited his lap dancing prowess with a lovely volunteer–all to benefit the Bay Area Food Bank. Chase and James also stepped up to the auction block and, after some heated bidding, went for a jaw-dropping $600. And, when Wayne asked me pretty-please to offer myself up for bidding, how could I refuse? A big “thank you!” to Bill, the very generous “master” who “purchased” me for $400(!).

After the auction was the Boobie Brigade’s Dead Debutante Ball. Dancing, drinking, and making merry in the name of charity! Got to chat and catch up a bit with yakdog (of Fantasm/Frolicon) and other convention peeps. I was formally inaugurated into the illustrious Boobie Brigade ranks by the end of the dance.

We did some wandering to room parties afterward, but my feet were hurting so much, the one with the couch seemed the most alluring. Crashed back in our room at around 3AM and set two alarms as fosteronfilm and I both had 10AM panels on Sunday. Oog. But I felt surprisingly well rested by the next morning. Not so much today, though . . .

Major snaps and kudos to Cathy Chandler, the Entertainment Chairperson of Mobicon, for her prowess in herding cats and for making sure all our needs were catered to; Don Schermerhorn and Wayne Hergenroder, for being darlings and inviting us to play at their convention, and the rest of the Directors, Governors, and staff of Mobicon for working so hard to make sure folks had a great time.

More pix: clickie

Session ’07, Day 35

Chug-a-chug-a. I think I can I think I can…

Actually, whether I think I can or not, I will. Only five more days left. People are getting a little white-eyed around the office. Myself included, undoubtedly. But word on the street is that Georgia’s 2007 legislative session will most likely adjourn sine die next Friday (the 20th). Although there’s also speculation that a special session will be called immediately upon adjournment.

Gulp.

Hoping that’s just a scary rumor.

   


Writing Stuff

I hit my 100th sale today!

It’s an occasion for cake and drunken revelry, but I don’t have the time for such indulgence, alas. I’m also thinking I might wait until I’ve amassed five more sales until I ring in the “official” 100th sale milestone. According to my spreadsheet, five of the sales were for nonfiction: four articles and an interview. (I’m not counting my Writing for Young Readers columns, as those aren’t “sales” so much as an ongoing gig–which reminds me I really need to start working on my May column.)

Received:
- 36-day sale of “The End of the Universe” to the new U.K. ezine, Darker Matter. The editor sent payment immediately (pro rates+, even!). I actually received it before the contract, which followed on its heels. Such lightning-fast payment (for fiction, at least) is a first, and I’m muchly impressed.
- Confirmation & contract from Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine that they want to reprint “Body and Soul Art” in their Best of Horror anthology.

New Words/Editing:
- fosteronfilm first readered my Persian fairy tale re-telling. He liked it, which is a little unusual, as he’s normally not a fan of fairy tales. So does that mean I did something right, or something wrong with this one? Normally, he’s an excellent bellwether of my fiction, able to predict which stories will get the best reception and which ones might need more work, with the exception of my fairy and folktales, which he tends not to be enamored with in general and which tend to sell well regardless.

So I did a couple editing passes, and now I’m dithering as to what to do with it. Send it out for critique? Send it out to market? Or sit on it for a week–to give myself the same distance I would’ve if I’d offered it up for crits–and give it another couple editing passes before sending it out to market. Or some other as-of-yet undetermined option.

Blah. Insecurity, doubt, and indecision is me.

Six Flags Stabbity

So Six Flags was holding a promo freebie today: free admission between the hours of 6AM to 9AM. Well, apparently every child and their cousin was trying to get in on it *grumble fume*, resulting in heaps o’ chaos and the gates closing at 6, as well as a holy muckup of traffic which impacted my commute to the MARTA station, even though I’m going southbound and Six Flags is west of the perimeter. Huge stretches of 400 whereupon I sat at a complete stop, waiting to creep forward.

Stabbity

   


Writing Stuff

My “Pick Six” interview with ambasadora is now up. Go read, yo!

Received:
- 97-day “beautifully written but . . .” with invite to submit again from Sheila Williams of Asimov’s. Sigh. At least I’m getting personal “no”s from her again.
- 35-day pass, praise, & invite to try again from Dark Recesses with suggestions for other markets to try.
- Contract from Helix for “The Center of the Universe.”

New Words:
- 1300 on a Persian fairy tale re-telling.

Yah, I tabled “Better a Heart of Fire.” I’ve got the writing bug now, but it’s been so long since I was producing things regularly ’cause of the legislative session, I’m rusty on the word cranking routine. Couldn’t seem to muster up the discipline to put words on the page and finish the thing when my momentum flagged. Not an auspicious sign for my post-session novel aspirations.

Also feeling like my prose craft is particularly raw from disuse. To bolster my morale and get back into the fairy tale rhythm, I went back and read over some of the other re-tellings I’ve written. And y’know, they were pretty good. Then I read over my current WiP . . . and it wasn’t.

Morale not so much bolstered as knocked down and kicked in the dirt.


Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1,300 / 2,000
(65.0%)

Oakland Cemetery

The photo shoot at Oakland Cemetery went well. I’ve never been there before, and I was agog at the beauty of it. There were sculptures and a fountain and stained glass windows, bronze urns bigger than me, and beautiful mausoleums fit to make a goth cry.

And the flora! *swoon* There were these huge oak, magnolia, and dogwood trees shading the pathways, and flowers sprouting everywhere perfuming the air. There was also a small, wrought iron gazebo with climbing roses abuzz with bumblebees. Not yellow jackets or wasps, but actual bumblebees–the kind that are as big as my thumb and utterly non-aggressive. We did a few shots in the gazebo and a stray wind knocked one of the bees into my leg; didn’t faze the bee or me. He flew off, I smiled for the camera, unstung.

I’m particularly fond of those kinds of bees, actually. They’re large and fuzzy enough to trigger my “aww, cute!” proclivities. I’ve also got an admittedly cavalier attitude about bees and wasps, which occasionally freaks fosteronfilm out, because I’ve never been stung by one. Pollen collectors and I get along, unlike their blood-drinking brethren, which I kill on sight, as I appear to have a big, blinking neon sign for them which says “Bite Me, I’m YUMMY.” Plus, I’m hypersensitive to their various anticoagulants and venoms. ‘Course, I have no idea whether I’m allergic to bee and wasp stings . . .

Nevertheless, it’s a truism, if I’m outside for long enough, something that I’m allergic to will brush against me, or some blood-thirsty insect will zoom in on me. And, ye verily, I’ve got the red welt on my calf to prove it. The last shot of the day for me was when we were posing around the base of a magnolia tree with lovely ivy creeping around the ground and trunk, and something bit me. I also somehow managed to get a touch of sunburn on the back of my neck, as did dude_the.* But while I understand how dude_the got sunstruck, as his hair is short and off his neck, I’m a bit perplexed as to how I managed the feat, since my hair is well past my shoulders and I’d brought a parasol. And as much as I could, when I was in direct sunlight, I had the thing up. Weird.

Dean, the photographer, is still sorting through the pix, but got me this one as a sneak peek:


Photo by Dean Ansley

Can’t wait to see the rest of them!


* It should go without saying, considering how photosensitive I am, that the parts of me that I could reasonably expect to be exposed to sunlight were liberally coated in industrial-strength, 45 SPF, broad spectrum sunscreen.

   


Writing Stuff

Received:
- Contract from Tekno Books for the electronic rights to “Honor is a Game Mortals Play” (forthcoming in the DAW Books anthology, Heroes In Training). They’re setting up a deal with Sony to sell electronic short fiction online from their website for Sony’s new e-reader device. Tekno also mentioned they’d be willing to consider other stories, which I took as an amazing serendipity, since I was just dwelling upon making some of my previously published fiction available electronically and pondering how to do that. So I fired off an email to the editor/director person listing some of my stories and their publication history to see if he’d be interested in considering including them. He is, with the caveat that Sony has final approval over content. So I’m sending them along and crossing my fingers.

Session ’07, Still in Recess

It’s been quieter here at the capitol this last week, and I’ve been getting home earlier. Ironically, fosteronfilm went to an IMAGE salon and an advance screening of The Host this week, and as a result, we haven’t seen much more of each other. Sigh.

   


Writing Stuff

This temporary lull has provided my muse with some slack in the choke hold rein I’ve had clamped on her. I figured that during session, I simply wouldn’t have the time (or energy) to crank out fiction, so I’ve been trying to table all the ideas and suppress the must-write compulsion until I had the leisure to write again.

Well, that didn’t work. A story has been hammering and hammering at me all week. I finally gave in and started it. Gah!

I expect I’ve got this weekend to finish it. Word around the office is that the legislators are scheduled for beaucoup meetings all next week, which probably means beaucoup work for us editors and no time for writing. And they reconvene the week after that, which throws us back into busy-busy-busy-die mode.

How stupid am I to have started a new story? Argh!

Received:
- Contract from Mirrorstone Books for “Princess Bufo marinus, I Call Her Amy.”
- A note from someone who’s read my chapbook vampire stories: “Ascendancy of Blood,” “Inspirations End,” and “Still My Beating Heart” and wanted to read “The Few, the Proud, the Leech Corps.” Yay! Except “Leech Corps” was published in an issue of Oceans of the Mind, which has ceased publication, and that story hasn’t been reprinted in anything (yet). So I said I’d email him a PDF of the story for $1. He agreed and paid, I sent him the PDF, and woohoo, everyone’s happy.

Although it felt a little weird selling my fiction directly to a reader rather than to an editor or publisher. But it got me thinking that I might want to make more of my out-of-print works available like this. I wouldn’t sell anything which is currently in print, as I sure as heck wouldn’t want to compete with the wonderful editors and publishers who’ve bought my stuff. But the out-of-print stuff is another matter, assuming there’s actually a market for it and this wasn’t a one-and-only occurrence–which it may very well be.

New Words:
- Got the interview answers back from the Highlights for Children editor for my Writing for Young Readers column, formatted it, and sent it off to ye olde editor. Huzzah!
- 900 words on the new story, tentatively titled, “Princess Fireheart.” I’m aiming for no more than 3K on this one, and I might be able to keep it at 2Kish. Assuming I have the time to finish it, that is. Stupid muse.

Session ’07, Day 26

Busy. Very.

Weekend: photo shoot at Grant Park to get some promo shots for the Girls of Dragon*Con Breast Cancer Charity Calendar. Fun, but cold. Very, very cold. Will post pix as I can.

Not enough sleep. Haven’t seen husband or skunk for more than a few minutes all week. Coffee habit resumed. And it appears that the General Assembly is indeed going to adjourn for two weeks in March to hammer out the PeachCare for Kids financial mess, meaning that the session will be extended through the middle of April.

Urg. I die now, please.

   


Writing Stuff

I saw the other day on Ralan that Cicada was glutted and closed to submissions. Urk. I sent them something about ten days ago. Hope it manages to slip under the wire.

Received Hurray:
- An email from the editor of Best New Romantic Fantasy (previously titled Best New Paranormal Romance) that she wants to reprint “The Wizard of Eternal Watch” for it. *Squee!*
- An email from Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine to inform me that “Body and Soul Art” has been shortlisted for reprinting in their ASIM Best of Horror anthology, and was it available? I think that means they want it . . . or at least they’re seriously thinking about wanting it. *Squee?* Um, I emailed the editor a “yes.”
- Note from jackzodiac letting me know that he’s found a publisher, Dragon Moon Press, for Writers for Relief 2, the sequel charity anthology to the first edition.
- Note from slushmaster letting me know that my current RoF submission was received safe and sound and will be en route to Shawna when the next batch gets exchanged.
- Email from jimhines to tell me that Heroes In Training is now available for preorder at Amazon. My very first appearance in a mass market paperback!
- Galley proofs from mroctober for “Year of the Fox” in So Fey and my check from Haworth Press.
- Contract and check from Strange Horizons for the interview I did with mroctober.
- Note from a listener in Australia who heard the Pseudopod podcast of “Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me,” loved it, and wanted to know whether she could get a print copy of it. I pointed her to the Best of Apex Digest anthology. I love getting fan mail. It makes me feel all warm and glowy.

Received Wah:
- 35-day “really intriguing and refreshing” but . . . from Strange Horizons. Sigh. Despairing that my fiction will ever break in there.
- 73-day form “no” from InterGalactic Medicine Show, something of an especial ouch after selling “Beauty’s Folly” to them.
- 4-day thanks-but-no from Heliotrope.
- Note from lynnejamneck letting me know that they’ve decided to cancel the Supernatural Sleuth anthology due to an insufficient number of strong enough submissions. That’s another story orphaned, my second this year.

Legislative Session. Eek. And free advance screening tix to Pan’s Labyrinth

For all you Atlanta locals: fosteronfilm is giving away advance screening tickets to Pan’s Labyrinth for next Wednesday (the 17th). Check out his website for details.

And the session begineth. So far . . . on day three . . . it’s not that bad. It’s very hopping; I worked from noon ’til 6ish on Sunday and have stayed late every night this week (and expect to stay late every night until the session ends), but I haven’t felt overwhelmed or unduly stressed. Although I did make a blunder yesterday that required six bills to be re-done. The Georgia legislature has some spelling peculiarities, and I didn’t realize that we spell “statewide” with a hyphen: “state-wide.” And those six bills were all drafted using the same template I’d edited. Doh!

Won’t be forgetting that one anytime soon.

I got home last night just in time to get ready for bed, but it wasn’t that troubling. fosteronfilm was at an IMAGE salon, so he wasn’t home anyway. Although, poor Hobkin. He was a little anxious at the change in routine. I startled him when I came home–he’s not a brave beastie–and he bolted for the hutch. Unfortunately, he was in such a hurry, his aim was off. He bonked right into the hutch leg, missing the opening completely. Didn’t phase him, though. He bounced off and then scampered under it. Silly fuzzwit. I’m worried that one day he’ll concuss himself doing that.

Had some qualms about what the MARTA would be like late at night, both on the long waits front as well as the scariness one, but as it turns out, I haven’t had to wait longer than ten minutes for a nighttime train, and the stations are well lit and still pretty populated at the times I’ve been riding.

   


Writing Stuff

No writing accomplished. No surprise there.

Published:
- My January Writing for Young Readers column, “A Writer’s Resolution: I Will Submit.” (With thanks to n_decisive for the inspiration on the subject matter.)

Received:
- Personal pass plus invite to try again from Escape Pod on a reprint. Snartleblast.
- Contract from Aberrant Dreams for “Living With a Shoulder Monster.” Signed and sent back.
- Payment from Hub for “Wanting to Want.” And I’m delighted the American dollar is so weak against the pound right now. I got a very favorable exchange rate.

Cold cold cold cold cold

Yesterday, on my way to work, as I was walking out of the Twin Towers–the building catercorner to the Capitol and where the MARTA station is–I was hit by a frigid wind that knocked my breath away and clamped my lungs shut. Of late, my fingers turn blue every time I go outside (and sometimes even when I’m inside)–my Raynaud’s syndrome coming out of its southern climate-induced dormancy–and my skin feels so dry I think it should crackle when I smile.

I remember all of these sensations in icky, vivid clarity. It’s what winters are like in the Midwest: freezing, arid, and painful. It’s not how winters are supposed to be in the South! Wah!

At least it’s not snowing. But this weather makes me utterly miserable.

On the non-griping-about-weather front, dire_epiphany swung by on Sunday and taught me the rudiments of Adobe’s InDesign. So much better than MS Publisher. I’ll be using it to lay out the Daily Dragon from here on. And now I have the urge to engage in gratuitous desktop publishing.

   


Writing Stuff

I’m way distressed at email right now. In addition to getting undeliverable error messages when I try to send to aol.com accounts, it seems some of my emails to other, non-aol accounts aren’t getting through, and I’m not getting any sort of bounce message.

The editor of Writing-World sent me a query about the status of my Writing For Young Readers December column, the one I emailed to her over a week ago. I emailed her my column again and asked for a receipt confirmation (from a couple accounts) and haven’t heard back. Ack!

While the bounce messages are annoying, at least they told me when something I sent didn’t make it. This no error thing is freaking me out, wondering what emails I’ve sent that might’ve gotten lost in transit, and what ones I’m not receiving that the sender hasn’t realized didn’t make it to me. So much of the nuts and bolts of my writing career dealings are dependent upon reliable electronic communications. This is so not good. Also, WTF?

Received:
87-day audio reprint sale+contract of “Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me” to the fine folks of Pseudopod. Not sure when this podcast will go live, but the editors indicated that it might be soon–as in the next couple weeks. Happy dancing and wooting galore!

New Words/Editing:
- Maybe 200 on “By Oak, Bramble, and Metro” and an editing pass to clean up some flotsam. I’m gear-spinny on this one, trying to figure out where I want to take it. I thought I knew, but upon reflection, I think my original idea was too big for the story, when what I really want is to encapsulate a single concept. Pondering.

Published:
- Aegri Somnia is now out! Just in time for the holidays. Makes a great gift for all the dark fantasy/horror fans on your shopping list:

Contents:
“YY” by Jennifer Pelland
“The League of Last Girls” by Christopher Rowe
“All Praise to the Dreamer” by Nancy Fulda
“Nothing of Me” by Eugie Foster
“Heal Thyself” by Scott Nicholson
“On the Shoulders of Giants” by Bryn Sparks
“Dream Takers” by Rhonda Eudaly
“Letters From Weirdside” by Lavie Tidhar
“Wishbones” by Cherie Priest
“All Becomes as Wormwood” by Angeline Hawkes
“Well of the Waters” by Mari Adkins
“Mens Rea” by Steven Savile

Addicted to uppers/Late life lesson

There was much sleeping over the weekend. My caffeine addiction appears to have re-established itself too excess without me noticing it. My occasional “extra boost” cup of coffee has become part of my daily routine, an essential ingredient in my staying-functional cocktail, and I’ve begun to add onto that a second cup of java and/or a diet cola.

That suggests to me that my tolerance to the Adderall is ramping up, even with me taking weekend holidays from it. And on weekends, when I’m not on Adderall and not having my usual first-thing-in-the-AM coffee, I’m useless–either dead-to-the-world asleep or slumped logy and apathetic on the couch. I obviously needed to catch up on some sleep this weekend, but I was also free-floating grumpy at fosteronfilm and headachy, both symptoms of withdrawal.

While on the one hand I’m glad I’ve got a workaround; I keep pumping in the uppers, and I can function like a proper human. But on the other, it’s just not healthy. And at this rate, I’m going to have to ask my doctor to increase my Adderall dosage, and I would really prefer not to be on more than I’m currently taking.

This is all so annoying, dammit. I’m going to have to wean myself off caffeine again . . . but not until after I meet the next couple hamster deadlines. Still, even while I’m fuming at the shortcomings of my human suit, I’m also somewhat awed by how chipper I remain (barring, of course, the occasional husband-oriented grumpiness). My emotional equilibrium remains pretty stable, unfazed by sundry physiological nuisances.

It’s the job. Day-to-day job satisfaction is giving me a buffer I never had before. Makes me marvel that I languished for so long at my previous day job, and makes me wish I’d had the courage to switch careers a long, LONG time ago.

Ah, well. A late life lesson is oodles better than one never learned.

   


Writing Stuff

Received:
- Crits continue to flow in for the Japanese fantasy up at Critters. It’s being well received (yay). I did get one crit which made me go “gah!” but not ’cause the critter didn’t like the story. On the contrary, she enjoyed it, and she singled out the title to praise–yes, the same title I’m wracking my brain over to come up with a suitable replacement. Sigh.
- 8-day glowing reject on a reprint with invite to submit again from Blood, Blade & Thruster. They loved the story, but thought its publication history made it too well known for them to reprint. Can’t argue with a rejection like that. But, but snartleblast!
- Contract from Hub for “Wanting to Want.” Signed and sent back.

New Words:
- 500 words on the MARTA-inspired urban fantasy, tentatively titled “By Oak, Bramble, and Metro.” An odd phenomenon happening with this one. I seem to need to write it on the train. I sit and stare at the file at my desk, no words, no ideas, zip, but as soon as I get on the MARTA, the words come. #$%(*!@ Stupid muse.


Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
2,000 / 5,000
(40.0%)