Forsaken by the caffeine god

Slept nearly twelve hours straight last night. Good lord, I’m sleeping my life away. Been trying to cut down on the caffeine, but not at that price. Probably on a related note, I’m in a less-than-ecstatic state of mind, today. No reason, just brain blues. I thought a caffeine OD would be just what I needed to shake off the blahs, but I couldn’t seem to get enough in my system to have any sort of effect. I had a whole pot of green tea and two cups of coffee, and nothing. The caffeine god hath forsaken me! Wah!

Writing Stuff:

Finished my review of this week’s Sci-Fiction story and emailed it off to my editor.

Slogging through all the critiques of “The Tanuki-Kettle” and trying to write thank-you notes to everyone. I ended up with over fifty critiques. Zounds. Also did a couple critiques for various writers groups (including one for your offering at Critters this week, britzkrieg. It should be on its way if you haven’t gotten it yet.)

The fantasy story continues to develop. Did an overhaul on the opening and then managed about six-hundred more words. Not exactly an awe-inspiring accomplishment, but it’s progress.

And I’m reading my contrib copy of issue #14 of ASIM. My God, them Aussies can jam in a lot of fiction between those covers! So far, that’s been the highlight of my day.

(edit: I got my contracts from Realms of Fantasy in the mail. I’ve got a new highlight, especially as it appears that they’re paying me more than I had initially thought. I’m not quite sure what calculation they’re using, but I’m getting closer to $.06/word than $.05/word. Wooo!)

Language barriers and writing

One of Matthew’s college buddies is staying with us overnight. He’s driving in from Kansas. His in-laws are flying in from China to the Atlanta airport tomorrow, and he needed a place to crash. The in-laws don’t speak any English, and he doesn’t speak Chinese–although I assume he’s picked up some in the years since he married his wife. His wife couldn’t come because they just had a baby.

I suspect there will be language acquisition happening during the drive back to Kansas. Or a lot of awkward silence.

Hobkin appeared to be repentant about last night’s behavior. He cuddled with me all night only waking up for his midnight snack, and then coming right back. Or maybe it’s the colder nights we’ve been having and he just wanted to get under the covers.

Writing Stuff:

Up to forty critiques. Gleep. And the butchery job continues. I’ve now hacked it down to a bit less than 2.8K words. I think it’s beginning to get threadbare. Going to wait for the last critiques to come in tomorrow, put the last tweaks on it, and then set it aside until there’s an opening in the submissions-to-Cricket queue.

Received my contrib copy of issue #14 of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine with my novelette “Body and Soul Art” in it. The USPS was unkind. It’s whole, but decidedly battered around the corners. Sigh.

My review of Sci-Fiction novella, “Left of the Dial” by Paul Witcover, is up at Tangent. Hurray. But I’m back down to #5 on the Fantasy Bestseller list at Fictionwise. Fooie. Going the wrong way.

Skunks are not considerate bedfellows

Hobkin was disinclined to sleep early this AM. And he was disinclined to let me sleep either. There was much walking over me, hopping up beside me and then immediately wanting down, and then when I didn’t move over for him, much pawing at my head. Not the best way to start off the week.

Writing Stuff:

Up to Thirty-two critiques on “The Tanuki-Kettle.” Yow. And it’s only Monday. Two more days to go. At this rate, I might top forty again. Can’t really run stats on that many so I’m rewriting as I go through the critiques. I’ve managed to hack it down to 2900 words, which is still 900 more than Cricket’s GL maximum. I’ve sold a story just shy of 2.5K to them before, so I hope they’ll cut me some slack, but I do realize it’s a lot of slack I’m asking for.

The next WotF quarter begins next month. With my two RoF sales, plus “Running on Two Legs” coming out in the next issue of The Third Alternative, I don’t think I can send anything to them anymore. *sniffle* The end of an era and a milestone. If I don’t win with the two entries they’ve currently got (for this quarter and last), it looks like that’s a feather I’ll never get to wear in my hat. Not holding my breath on either of the stories, so I’m pretty much resigning myself to the cold, hard fact that I don’t seem to write stories that are winners with them. They’ll throw me quarter- and semi-finalist bones, but I’m destined never to make the money round. Foo.

And my eBook of Ascendancy of Blood is now the #4 Fantasy Bestseller at Fictionwise! It’s preceded by two Terry Brooks eBooks, and one by Keith R.A. DeCandido! Yippee skipee!

Sky Captain, eye exam, and Cyberpunk article

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: (this should be spoiler-free) There’s much good to be said about this. It was pretty, Jude Law has the sexiest voice, and I really liked the EFX. Unfortunately, I think Hollywood has given up on the concept of scriptwriters. I think their screenplays are written using wordplay refrigerator magnets. They toss them onto the ‘fridge, then however they splay out, they transpose to script–the monkey-with-typewriters path to Shakespeare.

Sky Captain was vacuous. I had major issues liking “Polly Perkins,” Gwyneth Paltrow’s character. Aside from her stereotypical “anything for the story” personality, I found her dishonest, which doesn’t work as “main romantic interest” for me. She was also a total wuss with anything that wasn’t reporter-related. On the other hand, I really liked Angelina Jolie’s character, “Franky”–strong and sexy. And I thought her eye patch was utterly hot. I also liked Bai Ling as the “mysterious woman,” but then I’ve liked her since I saw her in an episode of Angel. She didn’t have any lines, though. That’s probably just as well.

Despite the glaring faults of Sky Captain, I had fun. I had a lot of fun. It’s a beautiful movie, with seamless blue/green screen EFX. The iron men are wondrous to behold, as are the ornithopters. I’d definitely recommend it as an eye-candy, action-rific time with the caveat that it’s probably best to immerse totally in the scenery and not spend too much time paying attention to the script.

Went to the optometrist yesterday. $400 for the exam, a new supply of soft contact lenses, and new glasses. Ouch. There goes the money I’ll be getting for “The Storyteller’s Wife” from Realms of Fantasy.

My eyes are fine. Dry, but healthy. But they’ve gotten worse–which I’m not surprised by since I’ve stopped wearing my gas permeable lenses, and without them to stabilize my eyes, they’re reverting to their natural horrible state. She also dilated my eyes, which made it an interesting drive home. While I didn’t have any problems focusing on distant objects, I couldn’t read the clock on my dashboard. And even with my sunglasses on, I found it to be painfully bright outside. At least I really like my optometrist. She’s knowledgeable and informative, a good combination in a health professional. And the lenses she gave me to go home with let me see clearly again. I’ve been so frustrated at my blurry vision. It’s such a relief to be able to see well.

Writing Stuff:

After a query, I got a note from the editor of IROSF, John Frost. He wants me to do some rewriting/chopping on my Sub-Genre Spotlight on Cyberpunk article, but he wants it! Hurray!

Worked on the rewrite request last night. Got a few more tweaks to make, and then I’ll send it off.
(Edit: tweaks done, and emailed.)

I also queried LCRW, but still haven’t heard anything back.

Early start to the weekend

Took off early from work today to see a matinee of Sky Captain. Whee! Hope it’s good.

Writing Stuff:

My excerpt “My Courtship by Lord Magus: A Diary” is up at the Eggplant Literary Productions Library. Click on the book to read:

Up to sixteen crits on “The Tanuki-Kettle” and it’s not even the weekend. At this rate, I’m going to have a massively unwieldy number to deal with by the time the week is over. Hmm.

I do see a shortcoming of my “don’t comment on the intended audience in the notes” ploy. I’m getting suggestions from folks who think I should lengthen the story to elaborate on the characters and background. I need to cut, not add! Blerg.

Ivan, Hobkin, writing

The fringes of Ivan are being felt here. It’s very dark outside, and there’s a deluge of rain. I checked the forecasts and it looks like they’re now predicting that the eye won’t even go through Georgia, so I suspect all we’ll get is a few thunderstorms over the weekend, but then that’s pretty much what we expected anyway.

Finally heard from Patrick. He weathered Ivan at a friend’s parent’s house that’s on the west of the Louisiana bay area, above sea level. I checked the storm maps and it looks like the area he’s in was downgraded to “tropical storm” from “hurricane.” At least he’s above sea level.

Hobkin displayed that he has a wee brain last night. Matthew startled him as he was eating his midnight snack. We’re not sure what happened next. As best as we can figure it, Hobkin bit his own tongue or his mouth–like people occasionally do and it both hurts like the dickens and makes you feel inordinately stupid. We theorized that he didn’t understand or know how to deal with the pain, and blamed the veggies he was eating for the hurt in his mouth. He began to systematically “kill” his midnight snack–pawing and scratching veggies apart, and in the process getting vegetable guts everywhere. After mauling them quiescent, he would try to take a bite of the resultant mush, but apparently his little mouth still hurt, so he would go back to killing them again.

I was concerned he’d cut his mouth or chipped a tooth or something, so I picked him up and tried to peer in. He made to snap at me, but when I touched the side of his mouth, he flinched away, which really worried me at first. I ended up using a piece of bread to lure his mouth open so I could see in. All teeth intact, no blood or visible wounds. Silly beastie.

By morning, of course, he was fine and ate an extra-hearty breakfast. Even begged shamelessly for more. His brain is small. It’s a good thing he’s so cute.

Writing Stuff:

Ooo! My Ascendancy of Blood eBook is now #5 on the Fantasy bestsellers list at Fictionwise!

And, holy Jeebus! I checked the current bid on my chapbook at the ebay charity auction, and it’s at $22.50! This book retails for $3.49. Wow. And the auction doesn’t even end until the 18th. Wow.

So far, ten crits from Critters on “The Tanuki-Kettle,” and it’s going over well. A couple folks have commented that they think it would be appropriate for both a younger audience and an older one, which pleases me. And I actually managed to lop off nearly two hundred words, bringing it under 3K. I’m worried that I may have butchered it, though.

In any case, I have plenty of time to mull it over. When I do get it to “final draft” stage, it’ll still have to languish in my “to send to Cricket” queue for a minimum of two months . . . unless the Cricket Group rejects one of the submissions I have with them. Or buys something with uncharacteristic swiftness.


And Ivan whirls ever closer. Or friend, Patrick, lives in New Orleans. Haven’t heard from him about his evacuation plans. I hope he’s not planning on trying to sit it out. His city is below sea level, for godsakes. I’ve emailed him to let him know that our home is open to him as a storm refuge. Anxiously waiting to hear back. I hope he’s already left. I hope I hope I hope.

It’s been quite a year for storms. (Am I wallowing in understatements or what?)

Writing Stuff:

Heard from Nathan, my Scrybe Press editor, that the eBook of Ascendancy of Blood is #15 on the Fantasy bestsellers list at, ranking it above George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords. Oooo.

Got an email from the editor of the Carnifex Press Revenants anthology that they’re holding my submission for the next round. Coolness. And, as a counterbalance, I received a 124-day reject from the Borderlands 6 anthology.

Also wrote my review of the three-part Sci-Fiction novella and sent it to my editor at Tangent.

And Andrew deems me a pro! My story “The Tanuki-Kettle” got bumped up the Critters queue to this week’s offerings. Neato.

I didn’t put any author’s notes on it regarding what audience age I’d intended this for. Curious to see if people will notice and comment that it seems written for youngsters. After some consideration, I really do think it’s more appropriate for Cricket rather than Cicada. I’m going to try to lop off a couple hundred words (oof), and bring it down to 3K, then send it to my Cricket editor and hope. The worst she could do is say “too long! No.” Now the trick is to get it down to 3K . . .

Charity eBay Auction

Heard from Nathan, my editor at Scrybe Press, that a signed copy of my Ascendancy of Blood chapbook is being auctioned on eBay to benefit Matthew’s Miles, an organization started by author John Passarella whose son has an inoperable brain tumor. Proceeds of this auction go to support brain cancer research of the American Brain Tumor Association.

Buying this counts as a charitable donation! The auction ends on 9/18. There are a bunch of other great things to bid on for this cause. Please take a look! And if you could pass this info on to bring awareness to the cause, that’d be great! Clicky click!

Eugie’s amazing weekend continues

Writing Stuff:

Received today:
70-day encouraging personal reject from Futurismic after making the second round (with invite to send more).


87-day SALE to the Modern Magic: Dark Tales of Fantasy anthology, published by Fantasist Enterprises. Woohoo!

Also got a lovely email from Laird Barron praising my Tangent review of his story “Bulldozer” in Sci-Fiction.

This weekend just keeps getting better and better.