Wednesday, June 1, 2016

May 2016 goals roundup (And another acceptance!)

I'm very happy to say, I've had another story acceptance! My short story, currently titled "Sugar and Spice", will be in the Summer 2016 issue of Sockdolager magazine. This is my second story acceptance this year, and I don't think it will ever stop being thrilling.

I got a couple of very nice personalized rejections for my short stories this month. One of them has prompted me to get a few more sets of eyes on that particular story, and I'm chewing on the comments now. The other personal rejection was more "we really really liked this story, it just didn't fit with our magazine, please keep us in mind for something else." And while yes, that still means "no", it's the best possible "no" one can receive.

I wrote one short story in May, keeping me on track with my New Year's resolution. That makes 8 stories written this year. I don't intend to stop at 12, if I reach 12 before the end of December; even if I double up in a month, I still want to write new words every month. And it's nice to see my "packet" of stories grow. Some of the stories I've submitted, and still submit, were originally written in college. Regardless of their current states, as they've been edited and rewritten and what have you, I've put in a lot more writing time since college, and do think (hope?) that my writing, and sense of story, has improved since then. Hence, the need for new words, not just retreading old ground.

I do need to consider what I want to write in July, for Camp NaNoWriMo. My library writing workshop has June off, and will return in July for "camp". I don't hold them to writing a book, not least because everybody's goal is not to write a book, but I think some manner of goal setting dimension should come into play for July specifically (suggestions welcome).

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Just Writer Things: Reading

So this week, I was invited to do my first reading under the auspices of being a Published Author. My local arts council has a writer's salon once monthly, with an open mic first, and a published author to round it out. This month's published author became ill and had to cancel, and they called me!

It was an interesting experience, and a positive one. The crowd was somewhat small, and seemed very receptive, overall. I read the entirety of "The Lion and the Dragonslayer" (published in Mosaics 2). I'm not sure how long it took me, but it was long enough that I could feel when I was rushing myself and try to slow it down. I stumbled over words sometimes, but so did everybody else, so whatever. I was also, once again, reminded of the value of reading one's work out loud as an editing tool. Mostly, there are a few words I would've cut just because of redundancy or clumsiness, and I left some of those words out in the writing.

I also really understand the value of WATER. About halfway through I became acutely aware of my thirst, but I had not previously grabbed a bottle of water and didn't want to interrupt myself so I soldiered on. The podium was also somewhat small, and I was already somewhat leaning on it (not the best approach) and also resting my paperback copy on it (this worked out better, but I really need to get contact lenses again. I kept having to reposition my glasses, and I know that little gestures like that when one is on stage seem like terrible fidgets).

There was a little Q&A afterwards (which I took a bottle of water for), which was interesting. I was able to confirm I have had more "The Lion" stories planned, actually. I'd only ever finished one other, but I should read it back ove and edit it, and finish others. Definitely something to look towards for information, as time goes on.

All in all, I was very happy to be invited to read, and very happy to do the reading. I thought it went well, and that everybody stayed engaged throughout my little adventure story.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

April 2016 Goals Roundup

Mosaics 2 has launched! Technically, today (May 1) is the Kindle release date (smarturl.it/Mosaics2), but the Paperback became available on April 23.



 
Also, for right now (until Monday, May 2?) volume 1 of Mosaics is on Kindle sale for 99 cents (smarturl.it/Mosaics1 ). All proceeds from both Mosaics and Mosaics 2 will go to the Pixel project to end violence against women. 

There's even a promo trailer!

There are already 5 reviews on Amazon, and one of them specifically mentions my story (and some others), "The Lion and the Dragonslayer", as a "be sure not to miss!" and says "all names worth keeping an eye out for the future!" I know there's some rule about not reading the reviews or whatever, but apparently I can't not. I will not REPLY to reviews; that's the golden rule.

and finally, here is the art for my particular story! That's right, each piece has art!


 There is a Facebook Launch Party today, but we have a bbq thing and then Dungeons and Dragons, so I will not be hosting, just  (I hope) occasionally popping in to comment.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Mosaics 2 now available!

I announced my acceptance into Mosaics 2: a Collection of Independent Women back in February, and the time has finally come. It's here, it's here!

The Kindle date still appears to be May 1, but if you want to order the paperback, you could have it by Wednesday! Isn't it lovely, sometimes, to be living in The World of Tomorrow?



My included story is "The Lion and the Dragonslayer": when the village of Orford asked for help with a dragon, they didn't expect the king to send a woman, no matter how big her sword is.

(I was particularly pleased with my little story blurb there; I typically struggle quite a lot with producing an interesting summary of literally anything, much less what I've written.)

In conjunction with this publication, I've created a Goodreads author profile . I hope to see titles of other anthologies, and my own books, attached to it pretty soon!

Obviously, I encourage you to get the Kindle or paperback of Mosaics 2 (or get it from your local library! And request that your library orders it; mine is, as volume 1, anyway, was available through the book distributor Ingram) and I also encourage (entreat?) you to review it on Goodreads and/or Amazon. Every time you review a book, an author gets its wings. Or something.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

My Personal Self Publishing Debate

So I saw this well timed blog post, Real Writers Don't Self-Publish, as I was trying to marshal my own thoughts on self publishing. Why I haven't, why I may not, why I might, etc.

I read this interview with Hugh Howey, which caused me to tweet about it, which caused a friend to ask me if I'd blogged about it. I have, occasionally. Nothing fully connected or cogent, I don't think. Maybe I can't promise what follows is going to be cogent. But I'll try. I'm trying!


Sunday, April 3, 2016

March 2016 goals roundup

As of this writing, I'm up to 6 completed first drafts in 2016. I finished two more stories in March (one on the very last day of March), and have submitted one of  my January stories. There's at least one other I think may be close to ready for its first foray into the world. Or I should let it sit longer, read it again, work on it a little more. I think I'm in the habit of jumping the gun.

I've received a query rejection and two short story rejections last month. I have a number of short stories out (11? I think it's 11) and the wait is starting to really grind on me. It does that; I agree with Tom Petty, waiting is the hardest part. Same with queries. I haven't sent out any new ones in awhile, and I'll  probably work on revision pretty soon. Not now, though.

I've completed all my edits (I think) for the Mosaics 2 anthology. I've written my author bio and my story blurb, and even got an author photo I don't hate with my lovely coworker's help. 

I've begun my "Untitled April 2016" #CampNaNoWriMo project. It's something to do with the Westward Expansion in America, sequoia trees, mysticism, and dragons. I'm aiming for novella-ish length, 25k words, and from there I can either pare down to acceptable lengths for magazines, or expand into a more substantial novel length. I've actually  made a gesture at outlining, which really was more of a list of "this happens. Why?" "this character. What do they want?" Which is a kind of goal-oriented focus I don't always have when writing a story.

I will probably also be working on at least one short story this month, because it seems like I always need at least one alternate project to give my "main" project breathing room. The writing workshop at the library tends to give me a lot of story stubs which can be polished and expanded, and it will likely be one of those that I complete. Or maybe not. I've got some ideas floating, some with a few sentences written. Overall, I feel like my writing is in a pretty good place. I'm glad I've set this "at least one story a month" goal.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Thoughts on submission fees

I thought I've talked about submission fees before, but a cursory search didn't turn that up here. Whatever. I've talked about how I only submit to paying markets, and that hasn't changed.

I've been thinking about submission fees lately. Ploughshares charges a fee ($3) to non-subscribers, and apparently Glimmer Train now charges a $2 processing fee.  This is not a "reading fee", but rather intended to defray the cost of using Submittable, I assume, and run the website, etc.

I'm not against magazines being able to make some money; I really want them to be making lots of money, actually, so they stay open and they keep paying contributors. So in theory, I'm not even really against paying a submission fee. I've paid a contest submission fee, certainly (which, I believe, is intended to go to paying the judge, paying the contest award, etc.), and those range from $5 to $25, depending. But that feels like a one-off, and also like what could be a lucrative gamble. It is also worth mentioning that if you submit to, say, the Plougshares Emerging Writers contest, the submission fee also gets you a one year subscription. And, arguably, you should be reading the markets you submit to, so you're not wasting your time and theirs with what they don't want.

But if it isn't a contest, even an acceptance from a market that pays pro rates wouldn't necessarily defray the cost of all those submissions it took to reach "yes". Take my two acceptances for example; "Adventuring" actually got accepted at its first time out, so my payment for that would purely have been profit with no submission fees paid out. "The Lion and the Dragonslayer", which will be in the Mosaics 2 anthology (Kindle preorder for Mosaics 2 here, Mosaics available both in paperback and on Kindle.), was rejected 11 times. So I could conceivably have reached $33 before getting to "yes", which isn't a lot of money, but it adds up, right?

So, ultimately, I don't know how I feel. Ploughshares and Glimmer Train aren't markets I submit to a whole lot anyway; it seems more of a "literary" thing, these submission fees. F&SF doesn't charge, nor Strange Horizons, nor Asimov's, etc. etc. and my stories more often line up with what those markets are looking for. I'll just decide on a case by case basis, and the world will move on.