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.

• 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.

• 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.

Sale to Bards and Sages Quarterly: “Gifts Not Asked For”


Writing Stuff

New Words:
• 700 on The Stupid Novel.

The spreadsheet informs me that I’m around 800 words away from the ever-so-elusive 40K. It needs to be longer than that, since the story won’t be finished in 800 words—I’m thinking maybe another 10K—but 40K has been a huge ole wall that I haven’t been able to get past before. And I’m actually beginning to believe I will this time. Ooo.

• 3-day pass from PodCastle on a reprint with invite to submit again.
• 11-day cordial pass from Beneath Ceaseless Skies, ditto invite to submit again.
• 5-day sale of “Gifts Not Asked For” to Bards and Sages Quarterly.

They’re going to serialize it in five parts, starting with their April ’09 issue. I’ve never had a story serialized before (although I do have a two-parter slated for publication in a couple forthcoming and yet-to-be-announced issues of Cricket), and I hadn’t originally written this story to be a serial. But as I was perusing the B&SQ guidelines—which indicate that they’re only looking for fiction 1.5K words or less—I saw that they were also interested in serials, with each part around that 1.5K-word mark. And I remembered that “Gifts” is broken into four or five distinct scenes of about that length. Quick tweak to change the scene breaks to part breaks, and voila, five-part story ready to be serialized. Shiny serendipity.

“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!

Hamsters at the Gates

Yes, there has been a dearth of posts. The hamsters are at the gates, and they are bitey.

Dragon*Con is this week (GAH!), and the schedule changes—O the schedule changes. (Did I mention, “GAH!”?) Busy does not begin to describe it. I’ve let The Fix pretty much fall by the wayside this week and last. I’m hoping to publish a glut of reviews this week before the convention starts, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to squeeze in the time.

Various updates:

Hobkin is better, although he still has a bit of a limp. We’ve noticed that he limps less after walking around, so we’ve been trying to encourage him to move more—which is about as effective as one might expect. But he’s much better, which is a great relief.

dude_the flew in this weekend, and fosteronfilm immediately put him to work putting together bumpers, intros, and clips for the D*C Independent Film Festival. They were up all night and were still working when I woke up this morning (@5AM) trying to get aspect ratios to behave—and making various groaning and swearing noises. Poor Paul actually fell asleep wedged between two couch cushions with his laptop still encoding a clip.

Matthew’s birthday was last Friday. It was pretty low key. I made him a chocolate cream pie (his favorite) and got him a teragigabyte external hard drive, which he immediately put to film festival use.

I’ve got far fewer guest duties at Dragon*Con than last year, which is intentional; last year I was so busy and stressed out, I didn’t really enjoy the convention. I decided this year I wouldn’t over-schedule myself unto oblivion so I could try to have a little fun.

My schedule:
•Fri (8/29) Noon: Reprising my guest lecture for Ann Crispin’s Beginner Writers Workshop, “Marketing Short Fiction” Marietta (Hyatt).
•Sun (8/31) 5:30PM: “Writing for Small Presses and Magazines” with Mur Lafferty, Deborah Smith, and Lee Martindale, Manila/Singapore/Hong Kong (Hyatt).

And that’s it. Hallelujah! If anyone wants to swing by to say “hi,” I’ll likely be chained to my desk at Daily Dragon Headquarters. This year, we’ve moved to Chicago C-F (Exhibit Level) in the Hyatt.


Writing Stuff

New Words:
• Managed to get around 3K more words on Taijiya before I had to stop and devote myself to Dragon*Con prep, bringing my total count to 30.5K. Definitely not at zero draft, but at least I hit the 30K mark.

• 5-day Sale of “A Box of Spoons” to a new anthology project edited by Lee Harris (editor of Hub). Lee emailed me about a month ago inviting me to submit to one of two anthologies he’s editing that are coming out next year (in January and July). The publisher is a major one, although the specifics are still under wraps, and the pay is pro, so I’m verily stoked.
• Edits from Aeon of “Black Swan, White Swan” with a few requested tweaks. Last week. In the midst of Dragon*Con chaos. Somehow I managed to squeeze in the (very) minor rewrites and sent it off on Saturday. Very much looking forward to issue #15, which is due out any day now.

Writers for Relief 2, Daughter of Bótù, Caesar’s Ghost, Manny the Mailmobile

*REMINDER: We’re switching ISPs. My Comcast email address will be defunct as of tomorrow. Please use my or gmail addresses from now on!

Over the 4-day (!) Memorial Day weekend (yay 4×10!*), we resolved a couple hardware issues:
• Fixed the hibernation problem my laptop was having after I upgraded my RAM. A bit of research showed me that the glitch seemed to be a common one in XP machines with over 1GB of RAM. Just had to download and install XP Service Pack 3, and voilà, all good.
• Replaced the battery in my car. Y’know, I find it to be a very strange thing to discover that one’s car won’t start when the temperature’s above 70 degrees F. I’m accustomed to it happening in the subzero season in the Midwest, but I guess I don’t expect it here in Georgia in summer. Didn’t even leave the headlights on or the overhead or anything.

We took it to the Honda dealership on the off chance that it was the alternator and not just the battery. Just the battery, though, thank goodness; apparently one of the cells went bad.

They also wanted to hit us up for a 90-mile service and a routine maintenance/oil-change/check-up (since we’re overdue). The former would’ve included changing the timing belt, which braced fosteronfilm, at least, for a scary-shock estimate. But even so, the bottom line they trotted up made both of us go bug-eyed: $1500. $1K for the 90-mile-timing-belt-service and $500 for the routine maintenance, etc.

So yeah, we told them “no can do, just the battery, please.” We’ll take it to a lube-n-go place for the oil change, and I’m fully prepared to use the old timing belt until it dies, thank-you-very-much. The only thing I’m a little worried about is that my SRS (the airbag system) warning light has been on for a while, and I’d like to have the sensor checked. If it’s the seatbelt, both the check and fix would be covered under Honda’s warranty. But if it’s the SRS system, it’s not, and we’d have to eat the $190 appraisal as well as whatever it’d cost to get it fixed. It’s rather a lot to gamble on warranty vs. no warranty, but at the same time, the airbag wouldn’t deploy right now in an accident, which really makes me nervous.

I really don’t get along well with hardware stuff. It’s expensive, capricious, and baffling. Sigh.

*Another benefit from my new 4×10 workweek: In addition to not having to make the drive to the train station and back on my day off and thereby saving on my overall gasoline use, since I’m leaving earlier in the morning and coming back later in the evening, the traffic is better—much better in the morning and slightly better in the evening. I don’t have enough data points to know for sure exactly how much time I’m shaving off my daily commute, but I’d estimate right now that it’s something like half an hour. Sweet.


Writing Stuff

New Words:
• -250. Yes, that’s a negative number. There was a lot of cutting and tightening. But the fork’s in, and “Morozko,” retitled to “Beautiful Winter,” is done done done and sent off to market. Huzzah.

Uber thanks go to marshall-payne for the speedy and thorough crit.

• “Caesar’s Ghost” (audio reprint) in Pseudopod. catrambo read it, and I think she did a stellar job. Go listen! There are ferrets.

• Contrib. copies of the Aug. 2008 Realms of Fantasy with my story, “Daughter of Bótù,” in it. Shiny!
• 40-day SALE of “The Adventures of Manny the Mailmobile” (audio reprint) to the Clonepod podcast. Woot!
• A note from daveybeaucham that Writers for Relief 2 (with my story, “Running on Two Legs”) is now available for pre-order. This is the second in his charity anthology series, this one to benefit the Bay Area Food Bank (the first was to benefit the survivors of Hurricane Katrina). Other contributors include Todd McCaffrey, A.C. Crispin and Christie Golden, Elizabeth Blue, David Drake, Mur Lafferty, Tony Ruggiero, and many others. Great fiction for a great cause!

Comcast kicked to the curb

So we’re finally switching our ISP from Comcrap.

Between the appallingly bad customer service, the increasingly slow connection speeds, the frequent outages, and their throttling/blocking of peer-to-peer traffic, not to mention the premium rates they charge for this shoddy service, I’ve been ready to kick them to the curb for ages. But we’ve been holding off because 1. We wanted to ensure that the ISP we switch to will have broadband speeds comparable to what we’re getting now (easier and easier to achieve as our connection speeds continued to decay to near-dial-up slowness) 2. We were hoping to take advantage of a juicy “switch to us!” incentive deal and 3. It’s a ginormous pain to change email addresses, and we’ve wanted to gradually migrate away from our ISP email accounts.

The stars aligned, the cosmos gave its nod of approval, and lo, our new ISP destiny is now. Or rather, the end of this month.

Ergo, anyone who’s still using my old Comcast email address, it’s going to be deactivated in a week. Please update your address books accordingly and send all future emails to either my domain email or my gmail address.


Writing Stuff

I’m absolutely loving my new 4×10 work hours. Not only am I pleased as punch to have an extra day off each week, but I’m also tickled to have the extra hours per day at work. I can get so much more done! I’ve written more this week than I have since session ended, which means this is the most productive I’ve been all year.

New Words:
• It’s hard to say. There was a lot of cutting, furious typing, and then more cutting. But I’ve got a handle on the WiP (the Russian folktale) where before I was vaguely unsatisfied with it. It’s currently at 6,250 words, and I anticipate hitting zero draft today or tomorrow. Huzzah.

• Fan mail from school children in China (!) for “The Tax Collector’s Cow” in the June, 2006, Spider, forwarded along to me by the good folks of Carus Publishing. Utterly squee-some. I love getting fan mail, of course, but I especially love hearing from my young readers.
• Contrib. copy of The WisCon Chronicles, Vol. 2: Provocative essays on feminism, race, revolution, and the future. velourmane invited me to contribute my thoughts on dealing with racist and sexist material in writers workshops for this project last year, which of course I was delighted to do, and I’d completely forgotten about it. I also didn’t realize (or had totally forgotten) that it would be a gorgeous trade paperback and that I’d be getting a contrib. copy. Receiving an unexpected contrib. copy is like finding candy, a special surprise treat.
• Note from the folks at Aberrant Dreams asking me if they could buy audio rights for “Nobodies and Somebodies” (which they published in Summer, 2006, in issue #8) for a new audio venture they’re putting together. Of course I said “yes.” A sale out of the blue is even better than found candy!

Twiddling about this week

Still floating high about selling Returning My Sister’s Face to Norilana. Thanks for the deluge of congrats!

Things I’ve done this week:

• Sold my flash story “The Wiggly People” (audio reprint) to Drabblecast.
• Seen part 1 of my article, “Writing Multicultural Fiction for Children,” reprinted at Absolute Write.
• Decided that I will try out the new flexible work hours being implemented at work. Starting next week, I’m going 4×10 (10-hour days, 4-day weeks). I used to work 9×80 at my previous job (three-day weekend every other week), which was nice, but I’m wondering if a 10-hour workday might be a bit long.
• Received, signed, and sent back contracts from Norilana, the Triangulation: Taking Flight anthology, and Drabblecast and looked over galleys from the Killers anthology and Baen’s Universe.
• Broke then fixed the Daily Dragon website, giving myself a crash course in PHPMyAdmin in the process.
• Added 1 GB of RAM to my VAIO laptop, upgrading it from its original 512 MB to 1.5 GB. Very stressful, and in the end, I needed fosteronfilm to seat it properly for me; I don’t get along well with hardware. But my laptop is speedy-fast now…although the hibernation function keeps going wonky.
• Joined Facebook (friend me if you’ve got an account!).

Things I haven’t done this week:

• Write.

So yeah, not a productive week…

Norilana Books buys Returning My Sister’s Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice

Got the most incredible, fabulous, wonderful news! Norilana Books—founded and owned by the talented and lovely Vera Nazarian (norilana) is buying my short story collection, Returning My Sister’s Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice.

The collection will contain a selection of my Far Eastern fantasy stories originally published in venues including Realms of Fantasy, Paradox, and Baen’s Universe and will be released in both hard cover and trade paperback. The tentative hard cover release date is first quarter 2009 with the trade paperback to follow three months after.


A bit of blurbage to whet the appetite:

Enchantment, peril, and romance pervade the shadowy Far East, from the elegant throne room of the emperor’s palace to the humble tea house of a peasant village. These are stories of adventure and magic from the Orient: the maiden who encounters an oni demon in the forest, the bride who discovers her mother-in-law is a fox woman, the samurai who must appease his sister’s angry ghost. Where luck can be found in a jade locket, and dark and light are two sides of harmony, therein lies the stuff of legend.

Writing Season Opens

It’s been eerily quiet in the office. Many folks are gone for the week, escaping on a much-needed vacation now that session is over. I’m the only editor in residence in the editor’s room today*, although the senior editor is also here in her office. One of the attorneys came in to say “hi” and fell asleep on the couch for half an hour or so—it is, admittedly, quite a comfy couch. Everyone’s in serious depressurization mode.

Beginning to make forays into my to-do list. I’ve also opened up my writing files and have started putting (or rather, trying to put) words on the page.

*Edit: elemess came back after I posted this, so I’m no longer solitary editor in residence. Whew. …Although apparently he’s rusting…


Writing Stuff

I was utterly delighted by the wonderful things James Patrick Kelly said ’bout The Fix in his “On the Net: Son of Gallimaufry” article in the June Asimov’s:

“Luckily for fans of the short form, a new site, The Fix, has arrived on the scene. Andy Cox, of TTA Press, publisher of Interzone and Black Static, and Eugie Foster have created a site that is visually pleasing and intellectually stimulating […] The columns are quite astute—I can particularly recommend James Van Pelt’s The Day Job and Scott Danielson’s Audiobook Fix. The Fix is one of the most promising new sites of 2007.”


• 7-day (reprint) sale of my nonfiction article, “Writing Multicultural Fiction for Children” (Parts 1 and 2), to Absolute Write. Yay! They’re slated to go up the end of April and beginning of May, respectively.
• Payment from Aeon for “Black Swan, White Swan.” Me likie payment on acceptance.

New Words/Editing:
• An editing pass and 300 words on my pre-session WiP, “Morozko.”

Glargh. The words, they are are not coming easily. And the ones that do come, they suck. Was feeling pretty disheartened by the end of the writing session, so I took out one of my completed (and sold) stories to read—one that I’m particularly fond of—to remind me that I am indeed capable of putting together a reasonable sentence and crafting a readable tale. ‘Cause it sure doesn’t feel like it.

My writing muscle’s gone gimpy.
• 300 words on a new story, something light and silly that came about from a conversation fosteronfilm and I had in the car. Working title (and working title only!), “Cthulhu Editing.”

Session 2008 Day 40, T minus 4.25 hours: Sine Die and sale to PodCastle

Feel totally thrashed. This day has been uber grueling, and there’s still over four hours of it to go. But I got my bunny slippers on and am eating some non-sugary food*, and the pace has slowed way down. We’re mostly in waiting mode as the House and Senate bicker and wrangle their way through their remaining agenda items. And I think my second wind is rounding the bend.

*There’s been donuts, cookies, pie, and cake a-plenty to be had all day, but the only food o’substance was very meat-laden. However, one of the attorneys saw me gazing at the chock-o-meat pizzas with disappointment and felt sorry for me. She gave me a salad and then, over my protestations, made me a cheese sandwich and a big bowl of popcorn—have I mentioned recently that I really love working here with all the fabulous people in my office? I really love my job…even during session when it kicks my ass.

Anyhoo, I didn’t think I was particularly hungry, but after snarfing down the salad and sandwich (and I’m snacking on the popcorn now), the bleary haze in my head is beginning to clear.


Writing Stuff

• 55-day pleasant pass from PodCastle on a reprint and
• 255-day reprint sale of “The Tanuki-Kettle” to PodCastle. Woot! It’s been a great week for me for podcasts. Very much looking forward to hearing my story presented by the newest Escape Artists outfit.