Fairy portals sprouting in Michigan

dean13 sent along this link from NPR on wee fairy doors popping up in Ann Arbor, MI. I want one! Although I’m inclined to think there’s already one under Hobkin’s hutch . . .

[Edit: dean13 found the artist’s website: urban-fairies.com (*squee!*)]

   


Writing Stuff

New Words/Editing:
- 1000 on the middle-grade novel –> Picture book effort. Only halfway into the story and my word count limit’s just about up. Urp. Must cut and tighten. Daunted has become intimidated.

Received:
- Payment for my “When the Guidelines Say for Children 7 to 12″ article. The editor said it’ll probably be published in June.
- Acceptance and contract for my “10 Myths About Writing for Kids” article from Writing-World.com.

And now I’m thinking I need to start seriously considering doing lots more nonfiction. Dwelling on trying my hand at writing nonfiction for kids. I think I’d be decent at it. And this whole query/pitch->green light->pay thing, where I know I’ll get paid before I write something, there’s definite appeal there.

Club 100 For Writers
      15

500/day
      29

Empathizing with Sisyphus

My wingstubs ache, my to-do list scares me when I look at it, and my circadian rhythms seem to have fallen into a bizarre pattern: I fall sleep for three hours after dinner, wake and work through the wee hours of the night, tip over at around 4-5AM, wake again a few hours later, and then go upstairs and work until dinner.

This has been going on for the last several days. It’s productive, but also disorienting. And there’s a surreal, Sisyphus-ian feel to everything. I’m whipping things off my plate as fast as I can, but more keeps piling up. And now stuff is starting to overflow. (yukinooruoni, I know I owe you a very overdue email). Urf. I need another plate.

   


Writing Stuff

Saw that a sneak peak of the June cover of Spider with “The Tax Collector’s Cow” in it is up on the “Coming Attractions” page of the Cricket Magazine Group website. The theme looks to be “cows.” Hee! Moo.

Got a note from Jason Sizemore that there’s going to be an Apex celebration/signing/promo event at Destinations Booksellers in New Albany, Indiana this summer. He asked if there was any chance I could make it. Sigh. There are decided disadvantages to living the glamorous (*snort*) life of a freelance writer. Being poor is one of them. I don’t see how there’s any way I can pull it off, but I hope they’ll raise a glass to me in absentia.

Also saw the cover art for Aegri Somnia. Quelle disturbing:

New Words/Editing:
- Started outlining the salient plot points of my middle-grade novel as prep for my rewrite. Finding myself rather daunted by this undertaking. Meep. Meep a lot. I was, however, reminded of how much I love this story.
- 200 words on the Swan Lake tale, interrupted when I got wind of another freelance gig, at which point I lost my momentum and switched gears.
- 1600-words on the second article for Writing-World.com. Revised, polished, and sent off.

Club 100 For Writers
      14

500/day
      28

Busy busy busy

I was going to pen this rambling, meditative post on “reinventing oneself” but as it turns out, I’m too busy to give the topic the attention it needs. In a nutshell, I’ve been lurching and flailing through some fairly meaningless self-indulgent introspection and dwelling on what to do about it. Maybe I can go more in-depth into the subject tomorrow.

Anyone who knows me personally, it’s nothing to fret or freak about. No major life changes or anything, and mostly to do with my writing. And undoubtedly nothing major there either. Just your everyday angst and agitation.

   


Writing Stuff

Received:
- 8-hours to a SALE of my nonfiction article “When the guidelines say ‘for children 7 to 12′: An overview of children’s developmental reading stages from a writerly perspective” to Writing-World.com.

This was the article I queried, pitched, and subsequently wrote over the weekend. Plus the editor wants to see the other article I pitched to her, and she pays on acceptance! So yeah-for-sure the contract’s going out in the mail tomorrow. After all the research I did for that mongo freelance gig a few weeks back, I was pretty primed to write this. Using my Psych. degree makes for a happy Eugie. A huge thanks go out to basletum for bringing this publication to my attention!

- Email from the editor of GrendelSong that “The Goddess Queen’s Battlefield” is going to be in issue #2 not #3. Sooner publication, rah.

- 175-days YFOP from RoF, alas.

- At long last, the notes from the editor asking me to turn my middle-grade novel into a picture book. *gulp* Much sleeve rolling up to commence.

New Words/Editing:
- 500 on “When the guidelines say ‘for children 7 to 12′” and several editing passes and reference checks. Obviously, the fork’s stuck quivering up to the hilt in this one.

Club 100 For Writers
      13

500/day
      27

Pride & Prejudice: Keira Knightly

Less hard of a crash yesterday than I expected. After a day of working in the library, I came down at the reasonable hour of 5PM, baked chocolate chip cookies and had dinner with fosteronfilm. Then we watched the Keira Knightly Pride & Prejudice, which I think pretty much wraps up my Jane Austen kick, and I flopped over with a skunk at the respectable bedtime of 10ish. And now I’m back to regular working hours. Well, almost regular working hours. I woke up this morning at 6ish, but that’s only a little early for me.

Pride & Prejudice was enjoyable, mostly because of Keira Knightly. The other actors, while adequate, didn’t particularly stand out, except for perhaps Judi Dench, who did a nice coldly intimidating and controlling Lady Catherine de Bourg. I was underwhelmed by Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy; Colin Firth he ain’t. While Firth’s Mr. Darcy pulled off sexy with aplomb, building his appeal from the character’s arrogance and pride, I couldn’t bring myself to go ga-ga over Macfadyen’s portrayal. His Mr. Darcy just came off as unlikable and awkward, which pretty much kills the romance aspect.

Still, Keira Knightly is adorable.

   


Writing Stuff

Published:
- The May Apex Online is now live with my featured writer interview and “Only Springtime When She’s Gone” for reading perusal/pleasure.

New Words/Editing:
- Did a final editing pass on the freelance project and sent it off.
- 1000 on a nonfiction article I pitched to an editor. I’m querying and pitching. Big, grown-up freelance writer me.

Received:
- Payment for my last freelance gig. Huzzah! That was nicely speedy.

Club 100 For Writers
      12

500/day
      26

Not the sharpest screwdriver in the toolshed

Was feeling logy yesterday so took an additional 10mg of Adderall at around 2PM on top of my normal early-morning 20mg. Yep, that was an exceptionally ill-advised thing to do. Proceeded to stay up until 5AM in an enforced state of fervid wakefulness. But at least it was a productive insomnia. Got much work done including an overdue update on my Children’s Market Listing. But then, after I fell asleep, a small, fuzzy beastie woke me at 7:30 demanding breakfast.

So yeah, I’m not taking any Adderall today, and I expect there will be a hard crash later this afternoon.

   


Writing Stuff

I committed a major writerly blunder yesterday–possibly due to the Adderall-induced wired brainstate I was in. I accidentally submitted a story to a market that had previously rejected it. Doh!

I do keep meticulous records, and this is the first (and I hope last) time I’ve ever done this. It was a question of not scrolling quite high enough on my spreadsheet before deciding on the next market. Fortunately, I caught the error before the editor did, and it was an electronic submission, so once I realized my boo-boo, I fired off a contrite “oops, sorrysorry, please ignore my submission” email and have since received editorial confirmation. But I still feel quite the dimmy.

New Words:
- 600 on freelance work. Finished up my current gig pending a final editing pass.

Received:
- Invite from Jason Sizemore to be a guest blogger on Apex Digest‘s “A Writer’s Vanity” Wednesday the 17th. Don’t know what to blog about yet, and I’ll be following in the footsteps of wicked_wish who’s doing a guest stint this Wednesday–ye verily a daunting act to follow. Ponder ponder ponder.
- 84-day pass from On Spec. Damn you Canadians with your beady eyes and flapping heads! *ducks and runs from wistling and canadiansuzanne*
- Sneak peek of the artwork done by Aaron Siddall for “A Patch of Jewels in the Sky” forthcoming in June’s Dragonfly Spirit:

Isn’t it shiny? This is another one for my library office wall.

Club 100 For Writers
      11

500/day
      25

Cheesecake and Beefcake

Cheesecake cravings assuaged. glenn5 swung by on Tuesday to reprise our dinner/movie/pie nights, and he brought a key lime cheesecake. Mmm. I made Pad Thai, but didn’t quite get the proportions right–too many noodles and not enough kick to the sauce–but glenn5 very graciously said “yum” anyway.

We watched The Lavender Hill Mob and Tomorrow Never Dies, which makes me quite curious about the new James Bond. While it’s not possible for them to come up with a nummier Bond than Pierce Brosnan, I’m willing to give Daniel Craig a shot.

   


Writing Stuff

Having a bit of a clash with my inner “you suck” demons these last few days. I’ve been wondering if I’ve become a complacent writer, laurel-reclining as result of the string of sales I’ve had. Have I stopped challenging myself, taking risks, and experimenting outside my comfort zone? Am I writing to capitalize on what I’ve sold rather than trying my hand at more venturesome projects? And am I ever going to break into the “Big 3″??

Contrarily, am I over-thinking my technique, bogging down my prose and losing the story in the process? And then there’s my seeming inability to get to work on, much less finish, a novel.

Yes, I know, I know. Quit wallowing in angst and just put words on the page. Meep.

Received:
- 34-day sale of “The Goddess Queen’s Battlefield” to GrendelSong, my second to these fine folks. It’s slated for publication in their Autumn Equinox 2007 issue. The story was inspired by Suzanne Vega’s “The Queen & The Soldier,” a song that britzkrieg introduced me to. Thanks for the muse food, sweetie!

New Words/Editing:
- 600 on the collab. piece I’m doing with mtrimm1. *lob*
- 400: the start of the Swan Lake story that David Niven and Vincent Price want me to write. Spent some time last night/early this morning (as in 1AM early) researching all the myriad incarnations and interpretations of Swan Lake there have been, including the Mercedes Lackey retelling, The Black Swan.
- 300 on a new freelance gig. I’m going to take all of y’all’s advice and count those in my “words written”/Club 100 tally. Haven’t decided yet if they’ll have the same weight as fiction, but they ought to count.
- Poked and prodded a story I’ve been sitting on that wanted a time out plus final spit-polish before being shoved unto the breach. I like the story very much, but I’m having a hard time classifying it. In the end, I screwed my courage to the sticking place, chucked my “is this a good fit?” wafflings out the window, and sent it to Cicada. While I’m an advocate of the “don’t self-reject” school of submission, I still have this thing going on, particularly with the editors/markets that I’ve had repeat sales at, wherein I’m all anxious about disappointing them, so I find myself hesitating to take risks, submission-wise. Because, of course, seeing the same ole same ole from a writer never gets stale (*snort*).

Ah, rejectomancy at its finest. Or actually, would this be acceptomancy?

Writers are insane. If we didn’t start that way, the biz turns us into twitching, neurotic wrecks.

Club 100 For Writers
      9

500/day
      23

Cheese and Another Restless Night

fosteronfilm‘s email circle–a society of which dude_the and dean13 are members of–has engaged in a long-ranging debate on the merits of various types of cheese lo these last few days, with topics ranging from Roquefort v. Gorgonzola to the politics of the cheese oligarchy to the best place to buy and consume cheese locally and abroad. I, an innocent bystander, have been agog at the heated and impassioned discourse, and the one time I tried to enter into the fray, I was quite roundly dismissed as being a mere cheese aficionado-wannabe. Fine, I sez. I’m going home and taking my brie with me. But I’m now craving cheesecake.

Had another restless night last night. Even disabled the motion detector–we’re going through a bit of windy weather, and the holly tree beside it has grown unruly such that its branches are close enough to trigger it if stirred by a strong breeze. This is a slightly different sort of insomnia than I’ve had before. While I seem to be able to get to sleep, I can’t manage to stay that way for more than an hour or two at a stretch. I’m wondering if this bout of sleep dysfunction might be due to the green/black tea blend I’ve been imbibing recently to boost the Adderall. Switching back to herbal as of today.

Eventually, I headed into the bedroom while Matthew was still working in the living room, hoping a more comfortable napping place would help, and then I got hit by the “it’s-dark-I’m-alone-can’t-sleep-clown’ll-eat-me” jitters. So I called Matthew in to keep me company, and he reassured me that no clowns or other baddies would dare set foot in our house because it’s guarded by fairy-types, courtesy our own fey beastie, Hobkin. (Who, while not big on the guard critter front himself, does put in a good word on our behalf.) He then went on to assure me that any boogles or goblins who came visiting would surely only be looking for a cookie, or perhaps a beer, so I needn’t fret. I was all safe and secure.

And y’know? That did it. The willies went away, and I was able to get another couple hours of much-needed sleep. I love my husband.

   


Writing Stuff

Received:
- An email from Christopher Cevasco, the editor of Paradox, alerting me of the domain and email addy change of his ‘zine. I’ve had a story under consideration with him for almost five and a half months (167-days), so I took the opportunity to query about it. And, it seems I beat him to the draw. He informed me that he wants to publish “The Archer of the Sun and the Lady of the Moon” in the forthcoming June issue (#9), and the contract will be going out later this week.

*squee!* This is my second sale to Paradox, and I’m delighted to be able to make an encore appearance between those fine pages.

- 54-day “There’s a sense of maturity and authenticity in your portrayal of these imperfect people and tangled relationships, and the ending brought tears to my eyes . . . but” rejection from Strange Horizons with an invite to submit again. Sigh. Evoking tears just ain’t enough anymore, dangit.

“I know that I’m right, ‘cuz I hear it in the night”

The other night while I slept, fosteronfilm watched a couple vintage horror movies: Diary of a Madman and Eye of the Devil–and I could swear Vincent Price was in both of them, although IMDB assures me it was David Niven in the latter. Snippets of dialogue filtered into my half-dreaming consciousness, and my submerged mind fused both films together. My sleep-self became convinced that Matthew was watching some sort ’60s re-imagining of “Swan Lake” that incorporated Guy de Maupassant’s invisible Horla monster. Being a fan of retold fairy tales, and the ballet was one of my favorites as a little girl, I tacked up a mental “make sure we ask Matthew about this movie later” post-it note because I might actually want to see this genius creation of Hollywood.

Of course, after I woke up, I proceeded to baffle my husband by demanding a synopsis (“Swan Lake? Wha?”), and then we went to work unraveling the knotted snarl of Eugie’s brain space.

It seems that Diary of a Madman is indeed a retelling of “Le Horla,” and there’s a character in it named Odette. (Odette is the heroine’s name in Swan Lake.) Eye of the Devil, apparently a film with a similar theme as the better-done The Wicker Man, has a character in it named Odile–the anti-heroine’s name in Swan Lake. Amusing fluke, but there were no swans and no lakes. Alas.

Now my mind is percolating with ideas for doing a retelling of Swan Lake. Vincent Price and David Niven have reached out beyond the grave and galvanized my idiot muse, who apparently has a predilection for ’60s-era schlock horror flicks.

“When you close your eyes and go to sleep
And it’s down to the sound of a heartbeat
I can hear the things that you’re dreaming about
When you open up your heart and the truth comes out”

–The Romantics, “Talking in Your Sleep”

   


Writing Stuff

Received:
- Feedback from the client on my freelance work. They thought my research was “excellent and exactly what they are looking for.” Happy back-petting to commence.
- The next installment of the collaboration story I’m working on with mtrimm1. Ball’s in my court. Now where did I put my hockey stick?
- Word from the editor of Modern Magic that the anthology is now available. Yay! But also that I’d have to wait until the 10th to get my contrib. copy. They’ve only got the initial print-on-demand ones currently on hand–for filling orders through Ingram–while they wait for the traditional offset printed ones to get to them. I could’ve opted for one of the POD ones, but I’d rather wait to get one from the print run–whining, instant-gratification monster notwithstanding.
- 8-day reprint “sale” of my horror story*, “The Reign of the Wintergod” to the Maniac Press anthology Blood, Guts, & Psychopaths.

Note the quotes around “sale.” This is a royalty-paying, trade paperback, POD anthology. To date, my payout from sales to those sorts of publications has amounted to a big, fat zero.

The business model of such projects tends not to be conducive to writers getting money. The editors/publishers can typically “buy” as many stories as they want (although this one has a stated target of 20 in the GLs) without any risk, since they don’t have to pay the writers upfront. They also usually stipulate in the contract that you don’t get paid until your royalties hit a certain threshold . . . which becomes more and more unlikely the more authors there are since the amount is split between them. And being POD, there’s no incentive for the editors/publishers to promote their titles. And finally, (although this is more to do with small, start-up editors/publishers who then disappear or lose interest, and not the business model itself), royalty statements tend to stop coming (if they ever manifest) as time passes.**

Normally I don’t submit to these on principle, and I will never again surrender first publication rights to them, being a devout follower of Yog’s Law. But this story is one of the darkest and squickiest I’ve ever written. It was originally published in The Asylum 3: Tales from the Quiet Ward, another POD, royalty-”paying” anthology (from when I was less worldly and less cynical about the nature of POD anthologies, and actually labored under the starry-eyed belief I’d get some money from that “sale”), which has since been dropped by its publisher (Prime Books) and is therefore out of print. I’ve had little success at finding a paying reprint market for it; it is a pretty hardcore little piece. But I still think the story is a good one; it was a top-ten finisher in the 2003 Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll in the Best Horror Short Story category. So when I saw this open call for submissions, I figured, hey, if these guys accept it, at least it’ll be back in print, I’ll get another pretty trade paperback out of the deal, and, if that most unlikeliest of unlikelies happens and I actually see money, it’s cake.


*I’ve noticed my horror output has flatlined since I stopped having a day job to go to. Huh. Funny coincidence that.
**Which reminds me that I haven’t received a royalty statement from Scrybe Press in over a year, although I’m supposed to get them semi-annually. Well, at least those chapbooks did earn me something initially. Sigh.

Remington Steele and Apex Digest Best of 2005 anthology

Completed five and a half out of seven sections of my research/writing freelance gig, and the 1.5 sections left are all applied, so I can lay off the theory, note taking, and brain scrunching.

Therefore, with a whole week left until my deadline, I took a little time to breathe this weekend . . . which still translated to 10-hour days working on the project. But having a few hours free in the evening felt pretty decadent to me.

Because Pierce Brosnan is teh hotness, I watched the first four episodes of season one of Remington Steele with fosteronfilm, courtesy Netflix. I didn’t see it when it first aired, but I’ve been curious about it, because, well, Pierce Brosnan and all. It was fun, not terribly well written, but not atrociously so either, but definitely somewhat time-branded. However, it did exactly what I wanted it to do, which is show lotso yummy Pierce–looking very young–albeit in three-piece suits.

So yeah, the second season one disk is going into our Netflix queue.

   


Writing Stuff

This whole writing for pay thing, I like it. It’s nice having the certainty of a paycheck as I’m working on something. It’s almost like having a job. Almost.

Published:
- “Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me” in the Apex Digest Best of 2005: Volume II anthology.

Table of Contents:
“Layers” by Mike Simon
“Big Sister/Little Sister” by Jennifer Pelland (jenwrites)
“An Odd Day in I-Forgot” by Athena Workman
“Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me” by Eugie Foster

This sweet little chapbook is only $2.50, and if you buy it with Volume I, both of are only $4.00.

You know you want it. Buuuuy it . . .

Received:
- In a conjunction of timely serendipity, an email from Matthew Tait, editor/reviewer for HorrorScope, letting me know he’d reviewed “Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me” in Apex #4.

Blurbage:
“It’s a well-rounded tale with appealing characters, and brushes on incestuous erotica as Sabin – the war vet – tries to veil his feelings for his twin sister who greets him upon returning. An important plot twist involves their servant, with a finale that will not be easy to deduce and is shocking in its shrewdness.”
–Matthew Tait, HorrorScope

And issue 4 of Apex is sold out, so if you want to read the story, you have to buy the anthology.

Beastie updates

Went out to feed the cat this morning, and I saw the teeniest, tiniest, adorablest snail latched onto the edge of her food dish, undoubtedly brought out by the deluge we had last night:


That’s my thumb on the left for size comparison.

I think the kitty knows I’m trying to get closer to her. She’s been visiting and chowing down on the food I set out during the wee hours of the night when I’m unlikely to be peering out the window. Getting a little anxious; I’m running out of leftover ferret food.

In other beastie-related news, Hobkin hasn’t sicked up in over a week, which makes me very, very happy.

   


Writing Stuff

I’ve hit the Eugie-overwhelmed, brain-useless-now stage of my research project, so I switched from poring over theory to writing up the applied sections. Making good progress. I’ve got three out of seven sections completed–give or take a citation or two. Hoping to have a couple more squared away by the end of this weekend.

Received:
- Preliminary sketch from Dragonfly Spirit for “A Patch of Jewels in the Sky.” I know it’s not industry practice to involve the writer in the art selection or development, so I don’t expect to be consulted, but I always really appreciate it when I am. Also, *squee!* I think it’s going to turn out to be quite spectacular.
- 91-day form “no” from Polphony. Sigh.