Mostly writing

Had a follow-up with my Rheumatologist today. Same ole same ole. Amazingly enough, traffic was actually not terrible.

Writing Stuff:

– Mailed my A-OK note off to my Cricket editor as well as a requested author’s note to suffix the story. 186 more words at a quarter a word is another $46.50. I love these folks!
– Sent a query off to Carina and heard back from her that, while she had plucked my second story from the last batch of slush out for further consideration, she decided it really wasn’t a RoF story. BFoD is on the way. Oh well, it still means I’ve got two pieces on Shawna’s desk.
– Did a major overhaul on the story that languished at The Strand for a year and a half, and in the process lopped off 1.8K words! Woof. I hadn’t looked at it since I sent it to them and I found a lot of good cuts. Out it goes again, hopefully sleeker, smoother, and more attractive to editors.
– And ooo! I heard on the Rumor Mill that Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine issue #14 with my story “Body and Soul Art” is out! Can’t wait to see my contrib. copy (and get paid)!

Hungry Hobkin, Dragon*Con, and Cricket SALE!

My wing stubs didn’t hurt today! Hurray!

But this morning was rough on the sleeping front, due in large part to an insistent fuzz beast whose internal clock claimed adamantly it was breakfast time a good two hours before it actually was, and for that matter, before I needed to wake up. I can’t count the number of times Hobkin clambered up beside me, pawed at my head (thereby waking me), and then hopped down to pace in front of his food tray . . . loudly. Oof. Bloodshot eyes and frayed nerves, that’s me.

Updated the Daily Dragon website and wrote up staff handouts, as well as schedule change request and announcement request forms. Definitely getting in gear for Dragon*Con.

Practiced my opening talk for Ann’s Workshop. Needs some work yet, but I’m getting there.

Writing Stuff:

I SOLD my folk tale “Li T’ien and the Demon Nian” to Cricket! Woohoo! Got me my sales fix!

And to deflate my sails, also in the mailbox:
– A 9-day “there’s nice writing here but . . . ” from JJA of F&SF. Sigh. I remember once upon a time getting alases from GVG. Out it goes again.
– A form “no” from The Strand after 535 days, without even an apology for the long wait. Grrr.
– 30-day personalized “not quite right for us” from Stanley Schmidt of Analog with invite to send more.

But, to end on a “yay” note, I also got a lovely fan email from an aspiring writer who discovered my blog. They said they were inspired by my ramblings to join Critters and to start submitting their stories to markets. They also bought a copy of Ascendancy of Blood. It really made my day.

In other news:
– The new issue of came out sans my “Subgenre Spotlight on Cyberpunk” article. No word from the editor on whether they liked it yet. *fret fret fret*
– Carina’s back from her vacation and I still have yet to receive a BFoD from my second story that was in the previous RoF batch. Might I *gasp* actually have had two stories forwarded to Shawna from that batch, bringing my total waiting on her desk for her attention to three? Oh my. I shall, of course, query Carina, because she is the coolest, nicest slush reader evar.

Monday doldrums

Monday again. Yuck. Major motivation issues, even with a large pot of green tea as encouragement. I seem to be having some general initiative issues of late. Must engage ass in gear . . . wingstubs ache too, which isn’t remotely helpful.

Writing Stuff:

Story Station paid me for “Second Daughter”, yay!
– My review of “The Tang Dynasty Underwater Pyramid” by Walter Jon Williams is up at Tangent.
– The critiques of “Caught Between” continue to trickle in. Started on my rewrite. Hope to have it out the door by Thursday. Maybe Friday.
– Completed my synopsis for Nathan of Scrybe Press and sent it off.
– Wrote a couple critiques for
– Replied to Ann Crispin about guest speaking at her workshop. Still get the jitters thinking about it, so I’m encouraging a personal state of denial until I need to plan out what I’m going to say. And sent her a market-listing handout for her students.

LJ, wingstubs, and writing

LJ continues acting wonky with its comment emails. I assumed when I started getting LJ replies from entries in July at the beginning of the week they were doing some sort of system upgrade and the kinks would get worked out. But I’m still getting them. Oh well. No harm, I guess.

Wing stubs still hurting. Took a clonazepam at bedtime last night. Woke up decidedly woozy. Careened off the bathroom door lintel and went through the morning in something of a daze. Hobkin gave me a “What’s wrong with you, woman?” look when I kept interrupting his breakfast preparation to go do one thing or another that I’d forgotten about in my post-sedated haze. I believe the error was in taking the full dose. I think from here on in, I’ll be chopping my tablets in half.

Writing Stuff:

– Forgot that my “Caught Between a Twofold Way” story was due up at Critters this week. Coolness. I suspect it won’t get as much lovin’ as others of my works due to its length. We’ll see.
– Did a final pass over the IROSF cyberpunk article and booted it out. Hope it meets with approval.
– Completed my review of this week’s Sci-Fiction story and launched it at ye olde editor.
– Received a request from Leading Edge to do some more tweaking on “Of Two Minds in Lanais.” There’s positive references (*gasp*) to drug use in my story that they asked me to “tone down” so as not to offend their sponsors. Well, it is Brigham-Young’s publication, after all. I was a bit perplexed as to how to do as they requested since the drug in question is a pivotal feature of the story. But I did my best. Erm.

Vet visit, weekend fun

Took Hobkin to the vet for his shots. He growled at everyone (except me, whom he clung to with every fuzzy fiber of his being), and huffed whenever anyone touched him. Poor little guy really doesn’t like vet visits. Fortunately, Debbie, Hobkin’s godmother, was there to assist (she works at our vet’s). He likes her and will tolerate great indignities if she’s holding him.

He’s lost a little weight–hurray! But the vet said he could stand to loose more–boo! But aside from that, he got a clean bill of health. Hurray!

Going to head over to dire_epiphany and astralfire‘s place to hang after lunch. Good company and relaxed atmosphere sounds like heaven.

Writing Stuff:

Received the contract from Leading Edge and learned that “Of Two Minds in Lanais” is slated for issue #48, October 2004. That’s the very next one. Yay!

Also swung by the library and picked up some cannon cyberpunk books to read. Going to Netflix some of the few cannon cyberpunk movies I haven’t seen yet. Had an interesting experience at the library. Their online system said they had a book I wanted–an anthology–but when we went to the stacks, we couldn’t find it. Engaged a helpful librarian in the hunt, with limited success. She wondered, since it was a collection of short stories, if it had been filed in the 800s in non-fiction (non-fiction??), since apparently that’s where short stories go. But then Matthew had the epiphany to look in the wrong place for it. And yup, there it was, filed not under editor, but under title. Yikes. If Matthew hadn’t been the clever thing he is, that book would have been lost in the stacks forever.

Voracious reading to commence.

Morpheus is a bastard

Woke up early this morning from a very vivid dream that I had overslept and was late. I hate those. I seem to be having some major issues with my sleep patterns of late. Doesn’t make me a happy camper.

When I got to work, my network drive connections went totally wonky, so all the files I needed to view I couldn’t get to for half the morning. And then I acquired a killer sinus headache. Mondays suck.

Watched Hopscotch yesterday–a spy movie where no one gets hurt, and the hero is the hyper-intelligent, aging, saggy-pants guy. Very refreshing, although the d├ęcor was definitely dated. Faux wood paneled offices, yuck.

Writing Stuff:

Saw on the Here & Now website that issue #4 has finally gone to the printers. I’ve got stories stated for issue #5, #7, and #8. At this rate, I wonder when, if ever, I’ll see those in print . . .

Received an email from the editor of Abyss & Apex. Apparently my story hadn’t been assigned to a reader, so it was a very good thing I queried. It’s now being read, and I’m assured a reply ASAP.

It’s getting to be time that I queried the editor or publisher of the Asylum antho. series to see why I have seen zero in royalties, yet cannot sell the damn story to reprint markets because of how “widely distributed” the anthology has been. I saw on the editor’s website that Prime books has cancelled the Asylum anthology series and won’t be publishing book #4. I didn’t have anything under consideration there, but it’s a surprising development. I wonder what that says about sales of #3?

Sent the new version of “Caught Between a Twofold Way” up the Critters queue. Why is it my underscores always get mangled in the conversion? Also received an email from a long-time regular critter and friend of mine that he’s dropping out of Critters (our mutual friend, britzkrieg) but that he’d still be happy to do crits of my stuff. I’m quite sad to see him leaving. A bit worried about him too.

I was bouncing story concepts off Matthew yesterday, and it comes around that he thinks I should write more science fiction, as he thinks I do it really well. His favorite piece of mine is “All in My Mind,” the cyberpunk story that won the Phobos Award in ’02. (I think my best work is “Running on Two Legs,” the story that recently sold to The Third Alternative, but “All in My Mind” is up there on my top five list.)

Science fiction is harder for me to write as it takes more work to get my brain chugging along those conduits. Hell, even when I write it, it’s pretty soft. My “science” tends to be in the behavioral sciences–not that surprising considering my background–rather than the hard sciences. Plus with the editorial feedback I’m getting, it’s not exactly spurring me on to follow any SF leanings I might have. I.e. sold works broken down by genre (excluding flash pieces, reprints, or excerpts):
Science Fiction – 4
Horror – 11
Fantasy – 14

The fantasy numbers are even higher if I include flash, reprints, and excerpts. And there’s some wobbliness in the lines between my fantasy and my horror. I could easily call some of the horror I’ve sold “dark fantasy.” Hell, most of the SF pieces I’ve sold (and written) could be classified as science fantasy.

I do still come up with SF ideas and concepts, but I tend to back burner them in favor of fantasy pieces. A part of me wonders if I’m taking the easy way out by not stretching myself to write more SF. SF is more demanding. The world laws have to follow some basics of science and can’t be fobbed off on magic. But there’s still a scientist in me that has an awe of the universe that I’d like to express and share. On the other hand, my first literary love is fantasy, in all its myriad incarnations.

I dunno. Guess I shouldn’t dwell on what I should or shouldn’t write, but rather on what I am writing. Or, as the case may be, what I’m not writing, dammit.

Bend It

Slept well, despite some strange dreams. Took some Rooibos Lemon Twist to work, herbal tea instead of green. Feeling much better today. I’m such a creature of habit.

Watched Bend It Like Beckham courtesy of Netflix last night. Enjoyable, but nothing to rave about. I liked listening to the commentary. Gave me more insight into Indian family culture.

Writing Stuff:

“Second Daughter” is now up at Story Station. Hurray! I quite like this little folk tale. I’m glad it’s been so positively received by so many editors. And as soon as the Story Station folks pay me, it’ll have earned $.03/word, total. Not too shabby.

Write a review for Tangent of the new Sci-Fiction story “Jumpers” by Mary Rosenblum and sent it to my editor.

Queried Abyss & Apex on a story of mine they’ve had for two months now. Normally I’d wait longer, but their response times are usually so quick, plus they’ve been having email issues, so I wanted to make sure a reply hadn’t gotten lost into the virtual ether.

Also sent a reprint story for consideration to 9, my first submission to them. They’re the biggest Greek language paper, a weekly, and they print one SF story in each issue. They translate English language stories to Greek and are receptive to reprints, although they buy all rights to their translation. And so I stick a tentative toe into the non-English language publication pool. Hope the water’s nice.

And, holy moly, I saw on the Wildside Press bulletin Board that H.P. Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror is in the process of getting a new distribution deal which will put an extra 15,000 copies out on the newsstands starting with issue #2. Now I’m getting all excited about when “Within Your Soul I Sightless See” will appear in it! That’s some nice circulation figures.

Wild skunk and Sale to Third Alternative

Matthew told me an amusing story he read on the skunkchat community. Apparently a neighbor of the president of the ADSA (American Domestic Skunk Association) was sitting on his porch when a skunk meandered up and started rubbing against his leg. Knowing that his neighbor kept skunks, he reached down and pet it for a while, and then called her up, letting her know that one of her black and white babies had gotten loose and was on his porch.

Her reply: All of her skunks were accounted for, and besides, she didn’t have any black and whites.

Turns out he’d been petting a wild, fully-loaded skunk for the last ten minutes or so. Hee!

All skunks are lap skunks:

Writing Stuff:

Opened up my email this morning to a wonderful note from Andy Cox, editor of The Third Alternative (as well as Interzone). He thought my novelette “Running on Two Legs” was “superb,” and wants it for TTA!

I’m so very, very pleased. I love “Running on Two Legs.” I think it’s one of my best stories, and I’m emotionally attached to it. I was getting a bit disheartened for a while there, despite Ann Crispin, Victoria Strauss, and Kathleen O’Malley giving it wonderful comments when I sent it through Ann’s Advanced Workshop at Dragon*Con in ’02. It also won an Honorable Mention in the WotF contest, but still no buyers, although I was racking up some very nice editorial comments.

Then I found out that Andy Cox had taken over Interzone and was reading all subs for both IZ and TTA. I’d already sent “Running” to TTA via their American first reader (cheaper postage) a year or so ago, but had been shot down. Since then, the American reader has been let go. I really thought it was a TTA story and not an IZ one, but since I couldn’t re-sub to TTA (even though I highly suspected Andy had never seen it), I sent it to IZ. And voila, serendipity!

I’m tickled! TTA is a beautiful publication with a fabulous reputation. And Andy said I could send subsequent submissions to him via email, which is extremely considerate of him. Also, it ensures I’ll be sending a lot more subs his way, as I’ve been holding off on overseas submissions of late because of that whole expensive postage thing.

Delighted squeeing to commence.

Sale to Leading Edge!

Slept like crap, neck still hurts, and I had disturbing dreams involving maggots. But I’m happy!!

Writing Stuff:

Sold “Of Two Minds to Lanais” to Brigham-Young’s Leading Edge! It’s my second sale to these folks. Very pleased because this is both a longer high fantasy work, and I was beginning to despair at finding it a home, despite that gut feeling that really it was a good story, dammit!

They asked me to lengthen the denouement as they thought it too short and abrupt, so I’m off to do that now.