Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Almost Done....

Only a few days left in October Madness (October Insanity? October "for the love of God, somebody publish my stories"?) I've gotten two rejections in the last two weeks, one on teh 23 and one on the 28. Those stories have gone back to the end of the queue.

I've submitted a story to The Book Smugglers, because they're doing short stories now and holy shit was the first one amazing. Go read it now, it's called "Hunting Monsters" and is by S. L. Huang.

I've sent stories to Fantasy Scroll Magazine, The Stoneslide Corrective (where my friend Libby has some stories published, and just recently won a contest), Lakeside Circus, Daily Science Fiction, and The Virginia Quarterly Review.

I've edited, finished, and written from scratch a number of stories this month (two of my submissions were 100 word flash for Janet Reid contests). I'll have a more full report next week, after it's all over and after NaNoWriMo has begun. I feel like I've done quite a nice job keeping myself from overthinking my NaNoWriMo project (though man, Space keeps intruding. I need to write a space novel soon. But not this month. I don't think. Maybe it'll ambush me anyway.)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Digital Vatican

You may or may not be aware, the Vatican is digitizing its collections.

Think about this a moment.

There are things in the Vatican collections which are entirely unique. Hundreds of years old. Fascinating and beautiful and even, dare I say, education and/or informational. And they're digitizing it. I cannot begin to describe my joy. 4000 manuscripts. It's too much to ever get to, I'm sure, but it's there and I'm happy. It's one of those things I think about sometimes; the Vatican contains so much history, which hardly anybody is able to scratch the surface of. Access is limited (though I confess I don't know the full details of this. I'm sure scholars are permitted to do research there. I'm sure showing up at the Vatican and saying "let me in, I'm Catholic!" though true, would not just let me in.)

The Oxford library (the Bodlein Library specifically) has also made some of its super old manuscripts available online, for free.

Another fantastically amazing religious book which is available to view online now is the Gigas Codex, which translates to "Giant Book", but is also referred to colloquially as the Devil's Bible. It's the "real" Bible, as it were, in Latin [of varying dialects], but also contains a big huge picture of the devil, and then other non-Christian-Bible style documents. Oh yeah, and legend has it that it was written by a monk who traded his soul to the Devil so the book would be finished in one night, like some kind of fucked up Christmas Carol. National Geographic did a neat documentary on it, and it really is a huge book. Like, coffee table sized.

Pope Francis actually puts quite a lot of emphasis on the Devil, mentioning him in speeches fairly frequently. I confess I haven't really paid attention to prior popes' speeches, so I'm not familiar with all of the content. It could be that secular media are just blown away that we Catholics still believe in such things, I don't know. This year in May was the 9th annual Exorcism and Prayer for Liberation conference in Rome, and Pope Francis has only been pope since 2013, so clearly the Devil has still been in mind.

Though I don't think you need me to tell you I think Pope Francis is a rock star. Calling out a Bishop for spending millions on his official residence? Not picking up the red leather shoes the former Pope Benedict had made for him? Auctioning his own Harley (and leather jacket) for charity?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Don't be that creeper

Not too long ago, I mentioned in a post about submissions and rejections that a writer is never to engage. Don't reply to the rejection. Don't reply to your reviews (should you be lucky enough to have reviews). Don't do it.

No idea what this is from. I lazy and found it here in an image search

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lazy Link Roundup™ October 20 2014

So I haven't had any rejections in a few days. It's kind of weird. I've submitted to Spacesuits and Sixguns, Betwix, Tin House, and Asimov's Science Fiction since last I reported. A couple of days I've subbed two in one day, but overall I have 26 submissions planned just now, even if they don't match properly to the days. This week's Chuck Wending flash prompt is only 500 words instead of 1000, so I may dash that out to bring the current total to 27. Another couple stories are almost done, but I know better than to try too hard with shorts.

In novel prep news, a couple of links I've perused lately. Not all of these are novel prep, but some are. It's almost always justifiable.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Obligatory NaNoWriMo 2014 post

As you well know, NaNoWriMo approacheth. I think this year's theme, Your Boundless Novel, is really pretty neat. They also are having a pre-sale of the winner shirt, and I really like that too. Though I'm confident in reaching 50k, I'll stick with my tradition and order the shirt when I've won.

I've tentatively titled my project The Twelve Apostles. I'm expanding on a short story I wrote in college; it was so nice of me to leave all this expandable material laying around, wouldn't you say? I've begun to think I should do some kind of an outline this week, of the high points at least. It's the novel I thought about writing last year and did not. I know how it begins, and I'm pretty sure I know how it ends, which is a leg up on some of the things I've written (or half written, as the case may be).

It's interesting, coming to NaNoWriMo after a month of submissions. Especially since I re-read, edited, and wrote so much material in October as well (no, I didn't keep track of word count). I have a distinct sense of what my particular writing's flavor is, or what I perceive it to be. There are themes across my short stories I didn't necessarily decide, consciously, to include. There's a certain act structure I frequently follow. I also know how to delete giant swathes from an MS, which is frequently necessary. First drafts are first drafts, and as I've taken to saying, National Novel Writing Month sounds better than National First Draft Writing Month. If you reach 50k, that's awesome. If you write anything at all, that's awesome. But don't pretend it's ready for professional consumption, because unless you're Marilynne Robinson (who reportedly does not edit a whole lot, but probably does not also speed draft), you've got a long road ahead of you. Getting it on the page is the first monumental step when you're making a novel happen.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rewriting (my) old stories

Doing this October Madness thing (which apparently is a sports term? Stupid college sports taking terms. Whatever) I've had to delve into my backlog of existing material and read it over to see what was worth sending out. What adjustments had to be made, what could be added, what could be cut. I haven't yet finished any of my tail-end stories, or the ones which were just a sentence and a title, but I did some serious work on stories I wrote in college when I was very full of myself.

Friday, October 10, 2014

October Madness update, 10/10

Well, I'm slowly starting to run out of stories. I think I only have 6 left which are "done" and/or "ready". Have to spit-shine the others, which at one time I thought were ready. Funny how opinions change.

Let's see, on October 8, I sent a story to Apex. October 8 is also the day I received my first rejection of the month, from Fantastic Stories of the Imagination. That story will go out again before the end of the month.

On October 9, I sent a story to Urban Fantasy Magazine, and then jumped the gun (went to bed before midnight) to send a story to Buzzy Mag.

We've got people visiting this weekend, so I've already sent Saturday's sub to Shock Totem.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Honorable Mention

Almost every time Janet Reid has a 100 word flash contest on her blog, I enter. Most of the time I get nary a mention, which is fine. There's tough competition over there, and a lot of talented, thoughtful writers. But twice (!) now, I've gotten into "special recognition" categories. The first time was for "not quite a story but man oh man", and now in this most recent nod, the category was "Special recognition for entries that weren't quite stories, but if they were the start of novels, I'd want to read on". It's hard to write a beginning-middle-end in 100 words.

But, for your perusal, here is my entry in the "We Are Not Good People" giveaway flash contest (it's by Jeff Somers, and is the sequel to Trickster. I haven't read it yet, but I loved Trickster. So you should check 'em out.) The words to include were "cat, blood, spirits, magic, pants"

I was careful to set things up just so: salt circle, folded-pants with their customary dusting of cat hair, with an old fashioned dial phone resting on top. Music was always optional; the spirits didn't guide me one way or another, so I slipped a record on the turntable.

The witching hour. I pricked my finger and flicked my blood into the flame of a balsam candle. The record cut out and I waited in the silence. The magic's tidal pull rolled around me, and finally, the phone rang. I reached across the circle to pick it up.

"Hi Dad."  

Who knows, maybe there's a novel in that and maybe I'll send it to Janet Reid when it's finished. That's personalizing a query for ya! 

(for October Madness, I send a story to Shimmer yesterday, and to Apex regular submissions today.)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Writer Goals

Ava Jae posted a Writer Bucket List Challenge over on Writability last week (go check out her list). Frankly, I'd never heard the term "bucket list" until that Morgan Freeman/Jack Nicholson movie came out, and I really don't like the term. I'm unable to face my own mortality with so cavalier a phrase as "kicked the bucket" (which is what I'm assuming it's derived from. I haven't seen it).

But, goals are good and goal setting can be very motivating. Besides, blog advice posts always tell you people love list posts. And it's interesting to lay out your goals sometimes, take stock, so I figured what the hell.

(here's some Elka, for further motivation or atmosphere or something.)

Friday, October 3, 2014

My October Subs so far

So far so good for the October Submission Game (title pending)!

On October 1 I submitted a story to Strange Horizons. They're following me on Twitter now, and I can only assume it's because I have, in my Twitter history, shared stories from their site, retweeted some things, and mentioned how I always love their stories which is why I sub to them. But it's hard not to read into, y'know? I tried to tell myself I wasn't that kind of writer. But we all are, if even a little. Ugh.

On October 2 I submitted a story to the Apex magazine Stealing the Spotlight microfiction contest (you have 'til the 15 to submit, in fact). 250 words or less, on five beasties they don't feel get enough spotlight. Super cool! I wrote a hellhound story. I feel like they fit into my Urban Fantasy "mythos" pretty well, and I can revisit the notions.

On October 3 (today!) I submitted a story to One Story magazine. I've gotten personalized rejections from them in the past, so maybe this one's the one! (heh, get it? The one? One story? I'll just let myself out....)

I also still have two pending submissions from prior to the game's start. I daresay if I get an acceptance (!) on one of them, I'll give myself a day of grace. Time to get some more pieces ready to submit, as right now it looks like I've got thirteen or fourteen or fifteen I'm "sure" of (sure is an iffy state of mind), and obviously that's just about half. I could write four more stories for the Apex thing (you can enter up to five, one for each beastie) and that could be fun.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October Submission Challenge (I'm not sure what else to call it)

Well, I sent in my first story submission for the October Submission Challenge. The story is one of my newer shorts, and I sent it to Strange Horizons.

Taking part in this....challenge? Game? Madness? has a couple of purposes for me. One, I'll put endings on some stories I've beein githering about for YEARS. Will they be the right endings? I guess I'll find out. But all these half finished stories laying about are kind of like having half finished coffee cups laying about. Nobody will consume them in their current state.

(ew. that was a terrible metaphor. Ah well.)

Anyway. It'll also keep my mind off the approach of NaNoWriMo. Or keep my mind in just the right stage to approach NaNoWriMo, which is to say I'll be thinking about my novel, but not obsessing it into the ground so I can't actually write it in November. I'm pretty sure I have my idea. One of the shorts I'm finishing has to do with it in a satellite fashion, which is interesting.

And, thirdly, if I submit prolifically, it will increase my chances of publication. Casting a wide net is much better than just dangling a couple of hooks, and I haven't lowered my submission standard. I will send only to magazines whose work I've enjoyed, who will pay me (the Submission Grinder helps immeasurably with this).