Insomnia; Megstout.com; The Fleas They Carried Anthology; Misc. WiP Progress

Insomnia hit last night. Hates it we do. But in my random surfing while waiting for the sleepies to alight (which they didn’t), I discovered that Microsoft has finally issued a download patch that allows users of their pre-2007 office suite applications (e.g., Word) to open and edit the new formats (e.g., .docx). I’m not a fan of Microsoft, but by necessity I use their products, and the number of times I’ve had to send a file back to folks with a “please can you downgrade the version so I can open it?” request was reeeallly aggravating me.

In other, totally non sequiturious news, Meg Stout commissioned me to overhaul her website, and the shiny, new megstout.com is now live. Hurray!

   


Writing Stuff

New Words:
• 1.2K words on “Mortal Clay, Metal Heart.” And I’m officially at the maximum word length with one scene and two bridges still to go. Why does everything I write these days want to be a novelette?? Gah!

Writenowcutlater writenowcutlater…ohhhmm…

Published:
• “Running on Two Legs” (reprint) is now out in the anthology The Fleas They Carried: Animal Aid Anthology, the charity anthology edited by J.K.Richárd (neutronjockey) to benefit animal shelters and rescue groups that have been hit hardest by environmental disasters:

neutronjockey will be matching (out of his own pocket) dollar-for-dollar funds to go to the ongoing efforts involved with the 600 dogs that were rescued from several puppy mills earlier this year.

Other contributors to the anthology include Jetse de Vries, Jennifer Brozek, Michael Merriam, Michael Stone, Diane Payne, and Michael Jasper.

neutronjockey is also going to produce “Running on Two Legs” as an audio release, which absolutely delights me.

The Reign of the Wintergod up at Pseudopod

Audio reprint of “The Reign of the Wintergod” is now up at Pseudopod. Written in reaction to the Andrea Yates case, it’s extremely graphic. Duly warned, yo.

Interesting turn of the cosmos that two of my most explicit and squeesome horror pieces—the other being “Within Your Soul I Sightless See” in issue #5 of HPL’s Magazine of Horror—were published so close to each other.

“Within Your Soul I Sightless See” in H.P. Lovecraft’s Mag. of Horror #5

Rah! “Within Your Soul I Sightless See” is now out in issue #5 of H.P. Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror. And I’m sharing a ToC with Tanith Lee!

This publication has been a looooong time coming. As in years. And it looks to be the last issue of HPL’s, which is a shame but understandable, considering Wildside also publishes Weird Tales.

This issue is available for free download. The contents:

“The Outsider: Buried Alive” by Marvin Kaye (editorial)
“A Bit of Life” by Alexandra Elizabeth Honigsberg & David M. Honigsberg
“Cherrystones and Shards of Ice” by Ekaterina Sedia
“Bags” by Mike Allen (poem)
“Descant” by Terry Bramlett
“The Thing’s the Play” by Andrew J. Wilson
“Going After Timmy” by Parke Godwin
“Ichthys” by Arrin Dembo
“Boxing Day” by Leah Bobet
“Ostraca” by Jane Alice Kelly
“Cryptic Life” by Jill Baumann (poem)
“The Piper’s Chair” by Terry McGarry
“Formidable Terrain” by Elizabeth Bear
“Within Your Soul I Sightless See” by Eugie Foster
“The Monster in the Living Room” by Marc Bilgrey
“Between Ourselves” by Tanith Lee & Rosemary Hawley Jarman

First Story Acceptance and Publication for 2009; Killers Nominated for Black Quill Award

The first Dragon*Con director’s meeting was tonight. It always seems to be right before the legislative session convenes, right when I’m frantically trying to get as much taken care of before everything gets put on hold. Guess that’s what laptops are for. Multitasking is me.

   


Writing Stuff

The Killers anthology, edited by Colin Harvey, with my story “Beautiful Summer,” is a finalist in the 2nd Annual Black Quill Awards in the category of “Best Dark Genre Fiction Collection.” Go vote, y’all!

New Words:
• 2.6K on The Stupid Novel. Didn’t manage to get it to zero draft, but damn, I’m so close.

Received:
• Not technically a “sale,” but my first story acceptance of 2009. Reprint of “Running on Two Legs” will be in the Pet Rescue/Humane Society Relief Anthology charity project. This anthology will benefit companion animals in need due to Hurricane Ike. Animal welfare is near and dear to my heart, and I’m delighted to be able to do something to help out.

Published:
• To go with my first story acceptance of the year, also saw my first published story of 2009: “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” in issue #220 of Interzone. Yay! Shiny cover:


Cover by Adam Tredowski.

“The Tanuki-Kettle” now up at PodCastle and “Daughter of Botu” forthcoming

Received a note from velourmane that my story, “The Tanuki-Kettle,” is now up at Podcastle.

Go listen, yo! mkhobson provides a fabu and funny introduction, and it’s read by the mellifluous tinaconnolly. All hail Podcastle!

Rachel also said that she’d like to buy “Daughter of Bótù” for more podcasting goodness. Happy squeeage all around!

Dragon*Con 2008

Dragon*Con happened. My voice is stripped (again), I seem to have left a passel of brain cells at the Hyatt, I’m still in a sleep deprived fugue state, and I’m trying not to think too hard about everything on my “to do” list. But it was good.

Things that stick out of the blur:

• My talk for Ann: I’ve done better; I’ve done worse. I think I went too fast, but I don’t remember seeing too many glazed-over/bored faces. And I sold out of the books I’d brought with me afterwards, yay!

• My Sunday panel wasn’t what I expected. The panel was publisher-heavy, which tended to veer the discussion more towards marketing, post-publication, and less towards selling to markets (pre-publication). As such, I had less meaningful to say on the topic but found it interesting to listen to the discussion of my fellow panelists.

• I got to meet and powwow with Stephen Segal (Weird Tales‘s Editorial/creative director) over lunch—which he also very graciously treated me to—meet Edmund R. Schubert, at long last—my IGMS editor—and catch up with Josepha Sherman, who I haven’t seen since Launch Pad last year.

• My Daily Dragon staff was fabulous. I decided this year to recruit some editorial assistance. In past years, I’ve focused on getting reporters and therefore looked for folks with writing skills. This year, I actively sought some editorial experience, too (which included recruiting my co-editor at the OLC, full_fathom5), so I could delegate more of my editing responsibilities. That worked out GREAT. I should have done it years ago.

Also, we got a new copier which didn’t jam and which cranked out the print copy in half the time the old one used to, so I could let my graveyard shift leave early, and every morning by the time I came down to the DD room, the print edition was already on delivery rounds. Very nice.

• Got to hang out and spend large chunks of time with several of my DC2K writers group—especially canadiansuzanne, reddherring1955, and Debbie—who were on my staff.

I think I’ll need another week to recover and get caught up (possibly a couple weeks), but all-in-all, I’m pretty pleased with this year’s D*C. Much better than last year’s which was too chaotic and stressful.

   


Writing Stuff

Newly published:
“The Adventures of Manny the Mailmobile” (audio reprint) in Clonepod.

Skunk still limping and Triangulation: Taking Flight

Thanks to everyone who expressed concern and well-wishes about Hobkin. He’s still limping, but both fosteronfilm and I think he’s better today than he was on Tuesday. We didn’t end up taking him to the vet, as what they’d probably want to do is take an x-ray, and I’m pretty sure it’s a soft tissue injury, and the x-ray procedure (the whole vet experience, actually) would undoubtedly agitate him which would risk aggrevating his injury. But we did call his godmother—the person he stays with when we’re out of town or at Dragon*Con—and got some suggestions for treatment.

It seems that a lot of domesticated skunks suffer from hip dysplasia, which is not surprising considering that most of them are from a single place which is undoubtedly causing some inbreeding issues. Although Hobkin is notably not from there, so I’m hoping that this isn’t hip dysplasia manifesting.

I do think it’s likely that this might be a sign of arthritis—although I don’t believe it’s the sole culprit, here. Hobkin is six years old, officially classified as a “senior” skunk, and I’ve noticed particularly with this season’s coat blowing* that there’s a lot more white around his muzzle and paws than a couple years ago. It sort of freaks me out thinking of our little guy as being “old.” I’m clinging to the hope that he’ll be one of the pet skunks who live a couple decades, but I know that’s unlikely. I also know that it’s inevitable that one day he will break my heart—the unavoidable consequence of loving someone who has a significantly shorter life expectancy than we do. It’s something I try not to dwell upon much, but this (baffling) injury has sort of brought that to the forefront of my mind.

Going to continue trying not to dwell upon that now . . .


*My GAWD there’s skunk fur everywhere! My car is coated in skunk fur, and that was only from one back and forth to his godmother’s last week. I’m worried that our vacuum cleaner is going to belly up from choking on skunk fur!

   


Writing Stuff

New Words:
• around 200 on Taijiya. Did some clean-up, a bit of bridging, and some culling of words, so was a bit more productive than that count shows. Total words: 27.1K.

Club 100 for Writers: 4

Received:
• Contrib. copies of Triangulation: Taking Flight with my (reprint) story, “The Life and Times of Penguin.”
Shiny cover:

“What generation are you?” poll and “The Wiggly People” at Drabblecast.

Doing research for a new story which was inspired in part by some articles and studies on Generation X (born approximately between 1965-1980), Generation Y/the Millennials (born ~1981-1997), the Baby Boomers (born ~1946-1964), and Generation Jones—a sort of between generation wedged between late Boomers and early Xers containing folks born ~1954-1964 who share a lot of sociocultural traits with Gen X but who fall within the demographic of Boomers and who also share some cultural influences and hallmarks with them.

The perception is that bloggers and folks who read blogs tend to be Gen Yers/Millennials, “digital natives” who’ve had the benefits of and been around digital technology and the Internet for their whole lives. It made me curious to see where y’all fell.

So herein my completely unscientific poll:

   


Writing Stuff

I realized that I’ve dropped all my writing hamsters, and they’ve scampered to parts unknown. The only fiction I’ve completed this year is the story I started last year for Russian Winters, and I suspect the only reason I managed to wring “the end” out of it is because I had a deadline—which was extended three months, to boot. Session ended two months ago; I’ve wasted a lot of time when I should have been writing angsting about not writing. So I’m taking a leaf from my own book to remind myself that One Hamster is Still Juggling, and I’m starting up Club 100 for Writers again:
Ergo: 3

New Words:
• 800 on new SF story, working title “NANI.” It’s been a while since I did science fiction; I was pretty exclusively focused on fantasy last year. It feels good to stretch my science-geek writerly muscles, although I’m chagrined at how weak and flabby they are. This story will be grounded in social and developmental psychology, which very much plays to my academic background, but I’m finding I have to look up some really basic stuff ’cause I can only remember shadowy concepts and vague theories, and I’m needing specifics. It’s a bit distressing to realize how much information I used to have readily available for speedy retrieval and how little remains accessible without some massive joggling. My brain needs a better indexing system.

Received:
• Fan mail from a couple Cricket readers (forwarded to me by the fabu folks of Carus Publishing) for “When Shakko Did Not Lie” and “The Tanuki-Kettle.”

The first, from a 10-year-old girl, said:
“I have been getting this magazine for two years. I think it is the best magazine ever!!!!…My favorite story was ‘The Tanuki Kettle’ (July 2007). I also liked ‘When Shakko Did Not Lie’…I really like stories about nature and animals.”

And the second, from a boy (no age specified), said:
“I think you mag is better than any T.V. show or magazine I’ve ever heard of. Also in the January 2008 issue the story ‘When Shakko Did Not Lie’ is an excellent choice for Cricket. I would like it if you put more of that kind of story in your mag.”

I think I melted into a big pile of “awww!” after reading those. And to top it off, the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Cricket, Marianne Carus, scribbled a line at the bottom of the second letter: “Those were great stories! My favorites, too.”

*squee!*

Published:
• “The Wiggly People” (audio reprint) in Drabblecast. Well, it’s not up yet, actually, but Norm Sherman, the editor/publisher dropped me a note on Monday saying it would go up today, so I’ve been hanging around the site, hitting F5 compulsively.

[Edit: It’s up now! Go listen!]