My plate o’hamsters is less overfloweth

Things aren’t yet to an even keel, but they’re getting there. I’ve had several nights in a row now where I’ve been able to get more than five hours of sleep (sometimes up to a full eight!), running The Fix is almost to the point of day-to-day routine (still a few outstanding items that need taking care of), this is the last week of the Worldbuilding for Writers workshop I’ve been conducting all month, and my November Writing for Young Readers column is mostly written.


I should have all my “t”s crossed and my “i”s dotted just in time for . . . the holidays . . . and then the legislative session begins. Glargh!

Stupid hamsters.


Writing Stuff

I saw on slushmaster‘s LJ from the 13th (yah, I’m way behind on my flist) that Shawna liked and will be buying my story, “Daughter of Bótù” for Realms of Fantasy. Woohoo!

This was the story (previously titled, “Fire Rabbit of the Clan of Bótù”) that I wrote for the Ellen Datlow/Terri Windling anthology but which ended up being too long (I’m in the middle of a new story to send to the Datlow/Windling dynamic duo), so I’m absolutely tickled that I was able to find it such a good home.

Congrats also to jimvanpelt, Euan Harvey, and vylar-kaftan (one of my fellow LaunchPadees!) who also made RoF sales from that slush batch!

New Words:
– 1500 on my Writing for Young Readers column, tentatively titled, “Worldbuilding in 2000 words or less.”

– Word from the editor that will be cutting back its publication schedule and going to a quarterly timetable at the open of 2008, which means that my Writing for Young Readers column gig will be coming to a close then. At Moira’s recommendation and urging, I queried another publication, asking whether they’d be interested in picking it up, but haven’t heard back. I’ll be sad if I have to lay this hamster aside, as I’ve liked wearing my columnist’s hat, but it’s probably for the best (I tell myself). It’s just not in my nature to put a hamster down, even if I am elbow-deep in the little nippers, so having one hie itself back to the wild is probably a good thing.
– Note from the Cricket folks that my story, “The Raven’s Brocade,” is slated for their December issue. Woot!
– My Magic in the Mirrorstone contrib. copies. Shiny hardcover goodness!

The Fix now live!!

Sorry for the prolonged radio silence. It’s been a hella busy and very intense couple of weeks. Much hard work and not much sleep. But I’m thrilled to announce that The Fix is now live!

Featuring over twenty new reviews of print ‘zines, e-zines, anthologies, and collections; the inaugural samplings of new columns: Jennifer Mercer’s Distillations: Speculative Poetry Review, John Dodd’s Podcasts in Review, and Matthew M. Foster’s Flickers on the Wall: Reflections on Short Film, as well as the continuation of James Van Pelt’s column on the writing life, The Day Job; and an exclusive interview, our virtual pages are chock full of wonderful content. Please spread the news!

I’m so proud of the dedication and hard work The Fix‘s team of contributors put in to make this launch a success. And I’m honored to be working with them on this exciting, new venture.

I’ve also been teaching an online workshop this month, “Worldbuilding for Writers,” in addition to gearing up for The Fix‘s relaunch. Then there’s that short story I’d like to finish, and I haven’t even started on my November Writing for Young Readers column (although I may end up cannibalizing some of my class write-ups for my it), and there’s still outstanding “to do” things for The Fix.

I think my hamsters have morphed into fluffy wolverines.


Writing Stuff

Had a reading on the 4th at Outwrite Books with mroctober and catherineldf. And, urg. It . . . did not go well. Steve and Catherine were great. Me, not so much. In addition to having a head cold to beat all head colds (courtesy my folks who picked up something in their travels) making me nasal and hoarse, the setup totally flummoxed me.

I’ve only ever had a table and/or podium to read from, so it didn’t occur to me that things might be different. My reading copy is loose leaf. That allows me to just move a page over when I’m nearing the bottom so I can continue onto the next page without having to pause to shuffle pages. But the reading setup at Outwrite is bar stools in front of a microphone–and I’m not so good with microphones in any case. No table. No podium. Tall bar stool so my feet couldn’t touch the ground. Also, I’ve never had to worry about time before, and we each only had 15 minutes to read. I didn’t have a watch, and all the clocks on the wall displayed different (wrong) times.

So yeah, much franticness as I nearly drop my pages repeatedly. I ran overtime. Massive stress and public speaking terror. End result, my reading verily sucked. I wanted to crawl into a hole afterward.

Sigh. Well, I’d been on a good roll, starting to get my confidence up and all. The cosmos decided I was overdue for a humbling fiasco. Duly noted. Public speaking bad. I get it.

– Got a note out of the blue by new, German podcast outfit, Podgeschichten. The editor heard the Escape Pod production of “The Life and Times of Penguin” and wants to translate it into German and produce it for his publication. And they’re a paying market! Of course I said “yes.” Received the contract . . . which was in German, albeit with an English translation, and after having terracinque confirm the translation, we’re all good.

I haven’t been translated into German before. That’ll make it my fifth foreign language. I LOVE having editors solicit work from me.
– Also received word from mroctober that Magic in the Mirrorstone contrib. copies are going out. A pleasant surprise, that. The anthology is slated for a February ’08 release, so I assumed I wouldn’t be seeing it until next year. Sweet.

– In all the hubbub, I didn’t realize that Hub had published “The Music Company” in issue #26 until I got their PayPal payment. Hee!

They email each issue to me, but I’d been too busy to do anything but forward them on to reviewers. So I totally missed it! Hmm, wonder what else I’ve missed in the chaotic frenzy of the last few weeks . . . probably best not to dwell on that.

Parental visit on the horizon

My folks are coming to visit this week from China. They’re doing a coast-to-coast swing-by of the U.S., visiting my stepdad’s sons in California, spending several days in Pittsburg at the 2007 IEEE Holm Conference on Electrical Contacts–wherein my stepdad is being presented the “Ragnar Holm Scientific Achievement Award”–and then spending a few days in Atlanta before heading to the Midwest and the East Coast.

The “Ragnar Holm Scientific Achievement Award” is awarded to the “living scientist or engineer who has made significant contributions to the theory or practice of electrical contacts.” In addition to receiving the award, my stepdad’s presenting a paper on the effect of particle contamination on electrical contact failure. It’s a great honor and an impressive accomplishment, and I’m extremely proud of him.

I also find myself wondering, though, why is it I always get along better with or find it easier to establish a rapport with my male relatives? I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen my stepdad, and I feel like I’ve got more in common with him than I ever had with my mom, the woman I grew up with.

Meh. My familial relationships and my associated emotions thereof have always been, are, and will always be a messy, confounding mystery. I accept that.


Writing Stuff

– 124-day SALE to Interzone of my story “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast.” Woohoo!! Much happy dancing, ye verily. Not only have I been jonsing for a juicy sale, but I’ve also been longing to break into IZ for, like, ever.

This is a science-fantasy tale, my first foray into writing a dystopia piece, which I’d been wanting to do for a while.
– Contract from Shiny for “Close to Death.”
– Contract from Hub for “The Music Company.”

And catching up on R’s received during the chaotic period of Dragon*Con prep and recovery:
– 57-day form nope from Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine (a long shot, but it was for a cross-genre piece that I’m having a hard time figuring out where it fits: horror, dark fantasy, or crime).
– 39-day cordial pass from Ann VanderMeer of Weird Tales with invite to submit again.
– 133-day YFoP from Realms of Fantasy.

New Words/Editing:
– A slew of editing passes–lost count of how many–and a smattering of wordage on “Requiem Duet” over the weekend. Jabbed it tentatively with my fork and fired it off to mroctober.

I’m honestly not sure how I feel about it. I hit the point of going over that story so much that I couldn’t evaluate it anymore–y’know how if you stare at a word for too long, it just doesn’t look right, even if it is. Like that, but with the whole manuscript. Normally, if I hit that point in a story’s development, I step away from it for a week or so to get some perspective back, but I’ve been rather pokey on this one, and I didn’t want to hold things up any longer.

Friday spacegirl

This weekend was for catching up on my sleep. I’ve been struggling with insomnia this whole week, and I don’t want to get sick before (or during) my trip to Wyoming.

Friday we did my Volunteer Vixens spacegirl photo shoot. The setting was the Fernbank Science Center, which I’d never been to before. It was a fantastic backdrop! Some sneak peeks:

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Photo shoot and Launch Pad squeeage

Got a photo shoot this Saturday for the Dragon*Con breast cancer research charity calendar. We’ll be doing the group bikini/swimsuit shot and the cover shot. Have to admit to being rather anxious about the bikini one. Under most circumstances, I’m pretty comfy in front of a camera, but I’ve gained a few pounds (and a few years) since the last time I’ve shown quite so much skin on film, and I have to admit being somewhat insecure about it.

Yes, I’m vain. Glargh.

Okay, moving right along. Our marvelous photographer, Dean Ansley, has been scouting for locations for my August, “Pulp SF Space Girl,” shoot. Think we might be able to use the Fernbank Science Center/Planetarium. I hope so. From the sample shots he showed me, it looks like it’ll be perfect. So I got out my space girl costume last night and tried it on. I’m thinking I’d like to put a few stitches here and there to make the lay of it smoother in a couple places. And I wish I had silver go-go boots now; I think they’d look better than black ones. But then, when would I ever wear silver boots again?

And finally, the calendar now has a website, although there’s nothing on it currently except for a flash slide show of some of the promo shots:


Writing Stuff

The organizers of the Launch Pad workshop put together an email list so all the attendees can communicate and introduce each other beforehand. I was delighted to learn that Josepha Sherman, who I’ve met and been on panels with at Dragon*Con, will be one of my workshop-mates. I lubs Josepha and am looking forward to getting to hang with her in Wyoming. And I had a major fangirl moment when I discovered that Vonda N. McIntyre will also be a fellow Launchpadee. I’m debating whether I should bring my copy of Dreamsnake to Wyoming and ask her to sign it, or if that would just be too squeeing fangirl. Hee!

– 126-day SALE of “The Music Company” to Hub. I subbed the story to them when they were still a print ‘zine and still paying £25/1K words. With the greatly decreased pay, I waffled a bit before giving them the go ahead. But, I figure they did right by me with “Wanting to Want” in issue #1, not to mention it feels unnatural to turn down a sale.
– 3-day reprint SALE of my article, “When the Guidelines Say ‘7-12′”, to Absolute Write. I think it’ll be in their June 20 issue.
– Contract for “Li T’ien and the Dragon Nian” for the Black Dragon, White Dragon anthology. And a sneak peek of the cover art. It’s puuurty:

– My Absolute Write interview is now up.

New Words:
– 1400 on my July Writing for Young Readers column. Still working on the title, but it’s about writing humor, with highlights from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Club 100 for Writers: 19

Movie and 3M Sticky Bears

fosteronfilm and I have a date tonight. We’re going to an advance screening of Knocked Up (not either of our first choice of movies, but free passes are free passes). And I overextended myself on the time commitment front (again!), so I’ve been a bit hectic these last couple days.

Therefore, here’s linkie goodness of the “what were they thinking??” variety, with attribution to dude_the for forwarding it: 3M’s Sticky Bear is VERY Pleased to See You.

It’s mostly work safe if your co-workers and boss have a sense of humor and/or whimsy.


Writing Stuff

A freelance editing gig sort of plopped in my lap. Even though I don’t really have the time for it, I took it on, ’cause, I mean, freelance editing jobs are pretty rare. But it’s taking a bit more time than I expected, and as such, I didn’t get any writing done. Argh. I should be able to finish it by today, at least.

– 40-day reprint SALE of “Wanting to Want” to Pseudopod. I lubs these folks. This’ll be my third sale to Pseudopod and my sixth to the Escape Artists Inc. podcast mags. Hurray! I love hearing my stories read aloud.
– 2-day SALE of “The Conviction of Praxis” to Spacesuits & Sixguns. This and my recent sale to Shiny does greatly mitigate the near miss ouches from two weeks ago. And also, it further reinforces the principle that when an editor says “please try us again,” to TRY THEM AGAIN.

Happy Anniversary to Us!

It’s fosteronfilm and my 15th wedding anniversary. Matthew’s picking me up after work, and we’re heading over to Atlantic Station to have dinner and catch an advance screening of Next.

Our lives have changed a lot in this past decade and a half, and throughout, there’s been laughter, tears, and above all, love. My husband is my rock, my best friend, and my true love. He’s the strength I didn’t think I had and the support I can always count on to catch me when I fall.

Happy Anniversary to us.


Writing Stuff

– 3-day sale of “Close to Death” to new Aussie YA ‘zine, Shiny. Woohoo! It’s slated for publication the second half of this year.

I’m running an online workshop in June, Worldbuilding for Writers: Transporting Readers Beyond the Ordinary. Register HERE. (Deadline, May 27.)

New Words:
– 350 words on my May Writing for Young Readers column, “Writing for Children’s Magazines.” Hoping to have the rest of it cranked out today so I can do a couple editing passes before sending it off to my editor tomorrow (or maybe Friday).

And I think it’s time to start Club 100 For Writers up again: 2

Session ’07, Day 35

Chug-a-chug-a. I think I can I think I can…

Actually, whether I think I can or not, I will. Only five more days left. People are getting a little white-eyed around the office. Myself included, undoubtedly. But word on the street is that Georgia’s 2007 legislative session will most likely adjourn sine die next Friday (the 20th). Although there’s also speculation that a special session will be called immediately upon adjournment.


Hoping that’s just a scary rumor.


Writing Stuff

I hit my 100th sale today!

It’s an occasion for cake and drunken revelry, but I don’t have the time for such indulgence, alas. I’m also thinking I might wait until I’ve amassed five more sales until I ring in the “official” 100th sale milestone. According to my spreadsheet, five of the sales were for nonfiction: four articles and an interview. (I’m not counting my Writing for Young Readers columns, as those aren’t “sales” so much as an ongoing gig–which reminds me I really need to start working on my May column.)

– 36-day sale of “The End of the Universe” to the new U.K. ezine, Darker Matter. The editor sent payment immediately (pro rates+, even!). I actually received it before the contract, which followed on its heels. Such lightning-fast payment (for fiction, at least) is a first, and I’m muchly impressed.
– Confirmation & contract from Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine that they want to reprint “Body and Soul Art” in their Best of Horror anthology.

New Words/Editing:
fosteronfilm first readered my Persian fairy tale re-telling. He liked it, which is a little unusual, as he’s normally not a fan of fairy tales. So does that mean I did something right, or something wrong with this one? Normally, he’s an excellent bellwether of my fiction, able to predict which stories will get the best reception and which ones might need more work, with the exception of my fairy and folktales, which he tends not to be enamored with in general and which tend to sell well regardless.

So I did a couple editing passes, and now I’m dithering as to what to do with it. Send it out for critique? Send it out to market? Or sit on it for a week–to give myself the same distance I would’ve if I’d offered it up for crits–and give it another couple editing passes before sending it out to market. Or some other as-of-yet undetermined option.

Blah. Insecurity, doubt, and indecision is me.

Hobkin’s 5th Birthday

It’s Hobkin’s birthday! The fuzzwit is five years old today. According to American Domestic Skunk Association skunk show standards, five years qualifies as a senior skunk. So far, Hobkin doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Thankfully.

We’re baking a cherry pie for him to celebrate his birthday. He’ll get a small slice. I anticipate sticky paws . . . and nose and fur.

Big smile for the camera!

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Session ’07, Day 33

I haven’t seen fosteronfilm and dude_the at all this week. They went to an advance screening of a movie last night, leaving me to come home to, once again, a humanless house. *humph* Fine. Me and the skunk don’t need that pair of slackers anyway.

I’ve got a photo shoot tomorrow for the Girls of Dragon*Con Charity Calendar project at one of Atlanta’s cemeteries. I think I’m going to have to drag both of them along.


Writing Stuff

– Payment from Helix for “Addy in My Mind.” Not pro rates, but the amount exceeded my expectations. Very nice.
– 1-day sale of “The Center of the Universe” to Helix. Publication date/issue TBD. This is the story that was orphaned when the Lesbian Sleuth anthology folded, so I’m well pleased that it was able to find a new home.