Sunday, December 31, 2017

The (Writing) year in Review

It's New Year's Eve, I should probably do this right?

I once again met, and exceeded, my goal of completing a piece of writing each month, which makes me think maybe I should add to my writing resolutions in some way. Maybe go for two? (and give myself a pass on that in NaNoWriMo months?)

I completed 22 things this year. Two of them were book two and three in the trilogy that Learn to Howl begins, so now I just need to go through Learn to Howl (at least) once more with feeling™, and then make it publication ready. I've made a significant change in the setting, from Somewhere in North Carolina to, instead, Somewhere in the Pine Barrens. Story wise, it still fits/works/makes sense, and from an author standpoint it makes sense because, y'know, I'm from New Jersey. I'm not from the Pine Barrens, but *spoilers* there's only so long the characters stay there. So I'm looking forward to that.

Some of the stories I've counted as completed this year are pretty comprehensive rewrites of stories I wrote prior to this year, and it's given them good new life, so I've got high hopes for their submissions success in the coming days.

Some people on Twitter are talking about like, their total wordcounts and stuff, but I don't typically worry about that unless it comes to submissions (whether a story is too short or too long) or novels (where there is a generally accepted length for a genre). So I'm not going to go open all 22 of those files and tally it up because, well, I don't want to. It's a lot. It's at least 150k because of three months of NaNoWriMo, and then the other additional stories.

Which brings us to my submissions (and rejections) and publications!

I had three stories accepted this year. First was Daddy's Girl in Syntax & Salt, which is also on the Nebula Reading List (the actual Nebula Ballot will be released I'm not sure when, and the actual voting is from March 1-March 30). The second story was "Aground, Upon the Sand", also in Syntax & Salt, winning their Fall Flash Fiction contest!

And hey you should go read Syntax & Salt, who in the coming years have a plan to do things like improve the rates they pay their authors, have an editor dedicated to making sure their authors stories are nominated for awards, that kind of awesome thing.

My third story acceptance is "A Thing With Feathers", coming out literally tomorrow (January 1!) in issue 4.3 of Mythic Delirium. The whole issue is available for Kindle here for $2.99, but if you don't want to do that, my particular story will be on their website in February.

In total, I submitted 173 pieces in 2017. Of those, there are still 19 submissions I'm still waiting on (even though 1 of them will probably not reply, if other writers' experiences are anything to go on). I received 106 form rejections and 53 personal rejections, which is almost three times the amount of personals I've received in prior years.

So next year, I hope to get more acceptances, publish my werewolf trilogy, and write at least as much as I did this year! I might also get that Patreon started (though I guess with the recent Patreon drama I'm glad I held off on that a bit?) If you'd be interested in being one of my patrons and maybe have any kind of specific "gee I'd really love it if Jen did X and I'd totally pay a dollar or whatever a month for it" let me know!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Awards Eligibility 2017

I had two stories published this year, both at the lovely Syntax & Salt. They're great people to work with, and I've been so thrilled with the response both of these stories have gotten. It makes me happy when my stories make people....well, not happy, I guess, they aren't happy stories, but they reach people, anyway.

First up was Daddy's Girl, which was published in June 21 2017. Maria Haskins reviewed it on her blog back in June (thank you, Maria!)  and it is on the SFWA Nebula Reading List 

The other story was published on October 31 2017, "Aground, Upon the Sand", and was their Fall Flash Fiction contest winner.

Monday, October 30, 2017

My story came in first place at Syntax & Salt!

My latest short story "Aground, Upon the Sand" took first place in Syntax & Salt's Fall Flash Fiction contest. 

It's a story that, once it formed in my mind, didn't take very long to write. I didn't have a false start, but I did have a false ending, that I went back and rewrote. Originally, it didn't quite strike the right tone for me. Now it does. and it strikes that tone for others as well; as some of my twitter buddies have said, in the way of the internet, that it has given them Feels. So I hope you enjoy it as well.

Syntax & Salt has been very good to me indeed. My previous story with them, "Daddy's Girl", is on the Nebula Reading List. Nominations for the Nebulas start November 15 and run through February 15, so if you know any SFWA members, tell them to vote for me!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

September happened, I know it did

September went both very quickly and very slowly. Which is just how time works, I suppose. It's always just a matter of perspective.

Are you ready for my Super! Special! September! News?

It's not another story acceptance, and I haven't finished my third werewolf book yet (though I did make it my official project for NaNoWriMo this afternoon. My handle over there is GingerGunlock  if you want to buddy up). I haven't even done the rewrites on books 1 and 2 yet.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Writing in August, Hurricane Harvey, and Patreon

Well, no new story acceptances to announce from August, unfortunately. I did, however, write two new stories in August. It's kind of funny, I'd had a discussion with my Author Friend Tori pretty recently about how my short stories are indeed very short. Sometimes under two thousand words, mostly under five thousand. Well, in an interesting departure, one of my August stories topped 8000 words in its first draft! I've trimmed some in rewrites, tightening sentences up, but it's interesting to look at the outliers in my collection of stories to submit.

And wouldn't you know, the second September happened, it got COLD and RAINY. Like, calm down nature, I really like it when fall is kind of long and warm.

But now I'm gonna shut my mouth about the weather because holy shit Hurricane Harvey. I'm from the beach, but have never had to endure the hardships and losses of a hurricane (they mostly blew out to sea when I was a kid, and I was living in New York by the time Sandy happened).

I hear tell the Red Cross actually isn't the best place to donate to in the case of disasters, and so here are some places to look into if you have some cash to give:

Here's a list of Texas food banks  Feeding Texas is another organization.

The Houston Humane Society website is here, and they also have a Hurricane Harvey fund that can be directly donated to.

The North Texas chapter of the Society for Children's Books Writers and Illustrators is having a silent auction.

The Texas Diaper Bank helps with supplies for children, but also seniors and people with disabilities. AARP also has a Harvey Relief fund (apparently they've already met their initial matched goal of $1.5 million!) and Portlight Strategies dedicates itself to aiding people with disabilities.

(I don't have a relationship with any of these organizations and don't have detailed info on them, I just poked around a few places to see what people were talking about)

And while we're on the topic of donations, Strange Horizons is having their annual fund drive! I've read them for years and years, and have been submitting stories to them for a long time, and they regularly publish stories and poems that I love to read.

A thing I've been considering is a Patreon. It's how a lot of creative folks are getting stories and poems and a wide variety of other things directly to fans; some people make a few dollars a month, some people make a few thousand dollars a month (*cough*AmandaPalmer*cough*). Occasionally when I've had an acceptance, and acquaintances have read the stories, they've then asked where else they could find my writing, so it could be useful in that regard. I could use it to release exclusive short stories which have not been picked up by other markets (I actually, in conversation with one of these acquaintances, was like "ohhh so this is why Patreon can be a big deal for some people" and they were like "yes, Jen. Yes.")

Additionally, I could use it for teaser content leading up to the release of the werewolf trilogy (which could then help defray the costs of self publishing), that kind of thing. So if you have any experience with Patreon and have thoughts on the matter, I'd absolutely love to hear them!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

July 2017 goals roundup and Another Story Acceptance!

First thing's first: I got another story acceptance!  My short story "A Thing With Feathers" will be published in Mythic Delirum. I don't know when/what issue yet, so I'll keep you posted, but (obviously) I am super excited about this. A lot of amazing writers have been in their pages, including their most recent issue, which features JANE YOLEN, Mari Ness, Sandra Odell, Jennifer Crow (and many more).

I still have 14 other stories on submission (Well, 13, one is simultaneously submitted) and getting an acceptance has of course given me renewed hopes for those. Though I've said this before on Twitter (and maybe here too, I can't remember), I have to assume each time I send a story out that the answer will be yes. Otherwise, I would get far too discouraged and not send any out at all. So that's 14 potential "yeses" (well 13, as flattering as it would be to have two markets fight over one of my stories I think it would be very bad form on my part). I don't even know what I'd do if everything came back 'yes'. Fly apart with joy, I guess? With how many submissions I've sent out this year, and how I've been perpetually submitting in such volume, I probably won't separately do a month of "submit a story every day" in October as I have for the past couple of years. Part of the goal of that was to consistently be getting my stories into slush piles, and especially this year, I haven't slacked off on that.

But July, July was an interesting writing month. I rewrote not one but two short stories in July. And yes, I did in fact finish editing down The Last Song, fulfilling my CampNaNoWriMo goal. Now I need to write it back up again! And THEN I can query with it anew.

Friday, June 30, 2017

June 2017 Goals roundup

So June was pretty great!

My short story "Daddy's Girl" was published in Syntax & Salt and a lot of people have shared it across Twitter and said very nice things about it, which I really appreciate and which thrills me to no end. I try to share short stories when I've really liked them, and follow the authors on Twitter, and in this instance that story is mine and that author is me and it's a lovely feeling. Additionally, the Syntax & Salt folks were very nice and easy to work with, and I'd like the stories they'd run previously, which is why I submitted mine.

Oh, so have you tried out Inspirobot? You should. It's an AI built to generate inspirational phrases, and slaps them onto images. It's....interesting. Sometimes perfect, sometimes hilarious. Sometimes both! I may inflict some of them on my writing group as writing prompts. We'll see.

Interestingly, so far, every story I have had accepted was either 1. accepted its first time submitted or 2. the first time I'd submitted a piece to that particular market. Obviously, this trend has to break at some point, as I have more stories and am constantly sending them out. Though I guess I need to take a break on that pretty soon, if I'm going to be doing October Madness again this year. Though the point of October Madness is to get myself submitting stories, without having lapses, and clearly that is no longer a problem for me. So we'll see.

There are any number of short stories I have (still, forever and always) that I have started and that need to be finished. Some which have been rejected enough that they've received large overhauls and rewrites, some slated to receive such a treatment. I've got one story that was not originally speculative but is now and (I think) works pretty well that way. We'll see what the rejection letters (or acceptance letters?) have to say about that.

In June I indeed wrote a new short story, a cyberpunk-ish sort of thing concerning biotech and limb/body part replacement and personal security. It was also a romance, very technically, and written to a prompt from my friend Tori (the author of Eelgrass), who was trying to prevent me from jumping the gun and submitting May's short story too early. Because I don't really write romance, it was an interesting challenge, and she gave me these stipulations: "1 kiss, one loving description of a butt, flowers exchanged, and a meet cure. I also want one witty banter, a shooting range, and an assassination attempt."  It is to my credit that I did not in fact just cheat and write a Shadowrun story using one of my characters. I did also write a couple of Shadowrun stories, a pair of which were very fun indeed because they were the same scene/situation from two perspectives.

I have decided for July's Camp NaNoWriMo that I'll be rewriting/revising The Last Song. I've made a new and improved playlist, I have the most current draft printed out, I've been circling the characters in my head and looking at Detroit things again. I've also had the thought that maybe I shouldn't write it from the perspective of my rock star Orpheus, but I think writing it from my modern day Eurydice's point of view isn't actually the best plan. It's possible, certainly, and though she needs to be represented far more strongly than my current text does, I don't think that's the correct frame. So we'll see what happens.

Monday, June 19, 2017

PUBLICATION DAY: "Daddy's Girl" is LIVE at Syntax & Salt

Greetings readers!

My latest published short story, "Daddy's Girl" has gone live at Syntax & Salt.

It is near(ish) future science fiction, and the tag line (lead line? Or is it lede? I'm all publication0-joy-frenzy over here, excuse me) is "Nobody needs to read drone instructions anyway: they always worked right out of the box."

It's a story I worked on carefully; the title has gone through several iterations, though the story itself has remained largely the same as the first draftings.

Go! Read and enjoy!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Story acceptance! (and May 2017 Goals Roundup)

Happy June!

May seemed to take forever. It was an interminable month. Like, it has always been May and it will be May for the rest of our lives. But, that has passed, and it's starting to be warmer more consistently. Oh yeah and we keep getting freak thunderstorms with hail.


But! I had a story accepted! It will be in the Summer issue of Syntax & Salt , which will go live June 21. Don't worry, I'll remind you.

So in May (you know where this is going) I wrote the first draft of a short story. It's both a mess and not a a mess, a complete story and not a complete story. I may need to shuffle the paragraphs like a deck of cards. I may need to tease apart some of the paragraphs, expanding them into precisely what I meant to say in the first place. I may need to chop words, sentences. I definitely need a title. So really, the normal state of things when I've finished a first draft.

I also began to rewrite a story I'd written back in college. It was a surprisingly large short story, 7500 words, and by "rewrite" I mean "I read the old one again to inform this new story that I'm writing from scratch" rather than "I'm keeping some words/phrases/paragraphs as I shift things around and make this fresh and better than I could have made it 13 years ago" (holy shit did I graduate college 13 years ago?). Arguably, 7500 words is a lot to abandon. But, considering I intend to rewrite my very very first NaNoWriMo novel as a short story (maybe novella? novelette?), in the face of that it's just a warmup act. Stretches.

And speaking of NaNoWriMo, July will again be Camp NaNoWriMo. Theoretically, I should devote at least some of June to thinking about what I'll do. Book 3 of the werewolf trilogy? Revising and rewriting The Last Song? Something entirely new? We shall see.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Looking back on January 2017: how'd I do?

White rabbits!

It's February already!

January went well. I wrote a story, currently titled "The Mountain's Wife", and really it might just stay that way. It's not quite ready to be sent out yet...there's something it needs, and I'm not sure what. So it waits.

I also got over my "reader's block" a bit and read three books! I've added the pages "Readings 2017", and I'm keeping track not only of the books I've read, but also the short stories, poems, and longer articles. I realized that for one, even when I'm not finishing books it doesn't mean I'm entirely not reading and two, it'd be nice to keep track of those great stories, etc. that I read for if/when I want to refer back to them.

The book I read most recently was Eelgrass, by Tori Curtis , who blogs here and tweets here and is in my writing group, so I did kind of cheat by being able to read/hear some of the novel before it was published. Also, I did a livetweet as I read, which I've collected via Storify.

So, if you like fantasy, and selkies, and the ocean, and #ownvoices novels, definitely have a look at Eelgrass (currently available in paperback and on Kindle).