Sunday, December 27, 2009

An Honest Lie events coming to New Orleans

Open Heart Publishing has hired a local promoter for the book. His blog is here: http://debrincase.com/edspace/. Stay tuned there -- and here -- for announcements about where to buy copies of An Honest Lie Vol. One locally as well as information about upcoming events, signings, and readings.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Interview

Check out this site for a new interview from me. I'm a little down the page, so you'll have to scroll.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Last weekend

This last weekend was my birthday weekend. Needless to say, I didn't get much work done. In fact, I can't recall writing even one word. It didn't help that on Sunday the power was out for most of the morning.

We had a great dinner Saturday night at Star Steak and Lobster on Decatur Street. I had... steak and lobster. It was great. Of course, no birthday could be complete without a trip to the Carousel Bar at the Monteleon Hotel. They have excellent bartenders, and the decor is to die for.

I'll be starting work on a fantasy short story soon. Not normally my cup of tea, but I think I can go with alternate reality route, and make it a sort of western.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Heavy Metal Horror Anthology is now available

Here's a fun little anthology for all you hard rockers out there. Every story has something to do with heavy metal; mine used Norse mythology and Norwegian black metal for its inspiration. Please download a copy. At only $2.99, it's totally worth it. http://rymfireebooks.com/HMHorror.html

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday and it's tongue time

Patrick bought a cow's tongue at Hong Kong Market last week, and he's boiling it today. So that's what I'll be having for dinner, however he decides to make it. Sounds like it might come out like boiled corned beef.

I sent off a sci fi story for an anthology today. Fingers crossed.

I also just got word that the "Heavy Metal" horror anthology will be coming out from Rymfire Books soon. I'm really looking forward to reading that, actually. It was a fun theme to write for.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Floors Won

And I'm not sure I'm cut out to write novels. Short stories, most definitely. Stringed together short stories, sure. Novellas of about 20,000 words, a push but okay. Novels. Hell no. Storm Summer, my planned NaNoWriMo work, finished at 26 K. Done, finito. When I go back to revise, I might get it to 30,000. Will it be in the Scholastic Book Club? Probably not. I might end up self or epublishing it, just to get it out there, but it needs work, and I've got other projects on my mind now.

So, in conclusion, NaNoWriMo, my hat is off to you. I have been well and thoroughly beaten.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sanding floors, NaNoWriMo, Thanksgiving

I'd planned to write three thousand words a day while on Thanksgiving break: 27,000 words left, nine days of break... easy-peasy. Problem is, not so much. My husband and I also decided to redo the floors in our 10o-year-old house; they are old pine and have never been sealed. They do, however, have an unfortunate layer of old carpet glue that gums up the sandpaper. It's slow going right now.

So working on that is keeping me a little behind in the writing.

We're also looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with friends next week. Maybe this year we will finally make it to the track. New Orleans Thanksgiving at the Fair Grounds Race Track is infamous, and we've never gone. Right now, I have no idea what to wear.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Not much to report...

My Saturday was spent taking the two social studies Praxis exams for fun; I wanted to see if i could add the high school social studies endorsement to my existing English certification. Guess what? I don't think I can. I'm pretty good at taking tests, and maybe I did okay on the multiple choice part, but the short answer... No way.

So anyway, and because of the rest of my day being spend walking around the French Quarter, buying Zaya rum (the BEST), and going to a house warming party, I've gotten no NaNoWriMo writing done at all.

I am deep into Leander Perez: Boss of the Delta though, which is a much better source for the area I'm writing about than Louisiana During World War Two was. This one is interesting. Leadner Perez is a bizarre, bigoted figure in Louisiana history, but understanding him and what he did in Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parishes goes a long way to understanding why the people who live there now think and act the way they do.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

"An Honest Lie" is for sale

If you are going to buy it, buy it here. Each purchase through this link counts as five hundred votes for me in the publishing deal contest. If I win, we could see either Storm Summer, or All Along the Pacific, or less likely, The Mechanical Ghost published.

With my begging out of the way, I'm back to work. I have 1700 words to get done today on the book, but I'd like to do 2500, which would put me at a solid one quarter of the word count. I might also take a little trip down Highway 23 to do some fact finding. First, we're going to buy a picnic at Steins on Magazine Street, I think. Pat is really looking forward to the tongue sandwiches; his grandfather used to make them for him. I think I'll go with corned beef, or maybe a bagel with salmon cream cheese. But I will definitely get some cheesecake to wash it all down.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Vote for me at An Honest Lie!

I have a story, "Gran's Prophesy," coming out in a few days in the anthology, An Honest Lie. The publisher has set up a Web site. If you visit it and leave a comment after my excerpt, I get one vote. In a couple days, if you buy the book through that portal, I get five hundred votes. The author with the most votes gets a publishing contract, so please help me out. Vote here and buy a copy of the book when it goes live later this week.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Thema submission accepted

Thema is a literary journal based out of Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans. The super concept of this mag is to give writers a strange theme for every issue.

The theme I wrote for was "The Dean's Cat." I composed a story, from the point of view of the cat, about some research assistants that build a Shrodinger's Box and, as a prank, put the dean's cat inside. It will be released in the upcoming issue of the journal. Please order a copy or, better yet, get a subscription to the journal.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Acceptance in a heavy metal horror anthology

A few months back, my friend Brett pointed me in the direction of some great Norwegian black metal. That led to a story which mixes new-Norse mythology, a drunk record store clerk, and a voodoo priestess: "The Curse of the Son of Fenrir." It will be coming out in an ebook anthology from Rymfire eBooks. I get into quite a few anthologies, but I'm really excited to see what the other writers did with this theme. I had a lot of fun writing the story.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Things We Are Not" now available

Please order your choice of version. So many to choose from! You'll find a file or hard copy to fit your needs.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

NaNoWriMo

I'm waiting nervously for November. Given my recent track record with writing while working, I doubt I'm going to be able to finish the entire 50,000 words in one month. I haven't even finished my background reading, let alone taken the trip out to see the old zeppelins' hangers out in Houma. Or taken the trip to check out the oyster boats along the coast. All of these things are intrinsic to my story, and I've only got about two weekends left before it's time to buckle down for the writing.

I suppose I could cheat. I could leave details deliberately vague, or even put wrong stuff in, and go back and check the veracity and flesh stuff out later, but I think that's cheating. It doesn't make me feel right...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sigh...

Yes, I have slacked. I have been slacking. I will slack. Christ, it's hard to write when I have to commute and work a full day. Plus, Saints' football takes up three of my Sunday work hours and will until the Superbowl this year (fingers crossed), and then at the end of this month the Hornets' preseason starts and there goes two or three more nights as week.

That being said, I did get proofs for the first edition of An Honest Lie, and they look super. I can't wait to get hard copies. Guess what everyone's getting for Christmas?

Monday, September 28, 2009

"Things We Are Not" preorder

If you'd like an edition of Things We Are Not, copies -- both pdf and print -- can be purchased at http://www.mbranesf3.blogspot.com/. Please support me and all the other great writers who are included in the book.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday update

Well, the Saints trounced the Eagles, didn't they? Unfortunately, Bell received a knee injury, and things didn't look too good for him by the end of the game. I hope we have better news tomorrow.

That at least puts a happy ending on a week that otherwise was mostly disappointing. I had two rejections this week, but I'm fairly certain, with a little work, I can revise the two stories to fit other markets. If not, I'll just go ahead and post them on my site or here.

I'm also partway through Jeremy Purvis Sanson's Louisiana During World War II, which is the research I'm reading for my NaNoWriMo novel. The start of that is only a few weeks away now, and I have a few other projects to clear from my plate before the first of November arrives.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Teaser...

Here's a teaser of my story "Henri's Last Days," which you can buy as an ebook at my site http://www.cbcalsing.com/buy-a-story.php for only a dollar. If you want to read the rest, please go pick up copy.

The story deals with the guilt of a Confederate veteran who committed atrocities during the 1868 presedential election. This election caused great disruption in the reconstruction of the United States. Voters' rights activists died in the South as they worked to bring the recently freed slaves to the poles to vote, and many blacks trying to vote were also killed. Louisiana saw a lot of bloody action during that time, but ultimately Ulysses S. Grant won the election.

* * * * *

Henri's time had come. Death stood above him as surely as the pine floor lay beneath his feet. But he had prepared himself long ago for this, and he'd lived a good life. He'd seen many things, and the world around him had changed so much that he barely recognized it any more. The Civil War, Reconstruction, motor cars, electric lights...women's suffrage. The last turned his guts even more than the end of slavery had.

His heirs did right by him, though, setting him up on the second floor of their French Quarter building. He could catch the breeze up there and avoid the stench of the streets. In the morning, his granddaughter rolled him out to the balcony in his wicker chair, and he could watch the business on Royal Street. His daughter-in-law came at lunch and fed him cold cucumber sandwiches and mint tea. And in the evening, his son Jean would bring up a dinner tray and sit on the balcony, smoke his Cuban cigars while Henri ate, and tell him about the labor situation in the city. Henri could think of no more pleasant a way to spend his final days on earth before going on to his just rewards. On occasion, his son even brought him a pint of rum with his dinner.

When Henri's health continued to fail, he became confined to his couch. His heirs moved it closer to the balcony windows so he could still look out. The daughter-in-law began bringing him rice porridge for lunch instead of sandwiches, and his son no longer smoked near him. His granddaughter read to him from the Bible in the afternoons.

One rainy day -- a day Henri knew was quite close to the end -- he sat staring out the windows. Dusk lay not far off, and the clouds above hung heavy and swollen. The rain obstructed the view of the street, but Henri could see a few people dashing from one overhang to the next, sodden Daily Picayunes held over their heads to ward off the downpour. As he watched, he became aware that someone watched him back. A single figure leaning against a balcony support half a block down and on the opposite side of the street. A black man, his hands in the pockets of his outdated clothes, eyes clearly and shockingly trained on the window out of which Henri now stared. The insolence, thought Henri, of that shiftless boy to stand there like that, glaring at the window of a respectable citizen.

"Sabine," Henri called for his daughter-in-law, who minded the store downstairs.

"Un moment, Papa," he heard from below. He wished she'd break that dirty habit of speaking French. Were she in school today, the nuns would beat it out of her, as they had Henri's granddaughter, who spoke nothing but perfect English.

Before long, he heard the heels of her boots on the stairs. He turned toward the door, where she appeared.

"There is a colored boy standing on the other side of the street, staring at my window," he told her. "Find someone to send over and move him along."

Sabine crossed the room to look out at the street. "Papa, il n'y a personne là."

He glared out the window, sure she somehow missed the loiterer; he saw no one there. "He must have left."

"Oui," Sabine said and moved to adjust the coverlet on his couch. "Pardonnez-moi." She headed back downstairs.

Henri watched the now-empty section of banquette where the man had leaned. Something niggled at the back of his mind, squirming like a buck moth caterpillar only half squished on the bricks. The lost memory seemed made of ice: slick, cold, resistant.

* * * * *

Please, read the rest of the story by buying a copy of the ebook.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Buy My Story!

How's this for self publishing? If you visit http://www.cbcalsing.com/buy-a-story.php, you can buy e-book editions of some of my unpublished works. Each story, as I add them, will cost only a little bit. The story I just posted, "Henri's Last Days" only costs a dollar! Help me afford my coffee addiction and buy a story today.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

"This Neighborhood" is up

Here is the link to read "This Neighborhood" at the Flashquake site. I already shared the story behind this piece in an earlier blog.

On Wednesday night last week, I attended the opening of the New Orleans Film Museum, which is housed within the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in the Riverwalk Mall near the
Convention Center. Right now, the movie portion consists of about 300 square feet of corridor, with posters and a timeline of what movies were made here and when. Eventually, however, the musuem will take up another one thousand square feet or more and contain a lot of artifacts from films. The organizer mentioned that films have been shot in Louisiana since 1896, though they haven't found definitive proof of that. I'm a fan of SoFAB Museum, so I'm glad that they're adding further attractions to bring in more sightseers. I can't wait for the expanded film section, which is scheduled to open in December.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Few Updates

Well, the first full week of classes with students is over, and oddly I don't feel so wiped out. I even got a little work done in the yard today. On top of that, I revised and submitted a speculative fiction piece today that's been sitting in a file for nearly three years, I think.

If you haven't already, please donate a little to get Things We Are Not off the ground. Here's the link again: http://mbranesf3.blogspot.com/2009/08/sponsorship-drive-still-needs-105.html

Despite the fact that I'm not too swamped with anything, I'm still not working, because there's a Saints game on, and I have to watch most of it. I know half time is over now and I'm off to see the Saints finish beating Oakland. Cheers!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Two Submissions Out This Week

Despite heading back to work, complete with students, this week, I managed to send out two stories. If one of them -- a flash paranormal piece -- doesn't get picked up, I'll post it on my Web site or blog.

Speaking of which, you should head on over to www.cbcalsing.com and check out my new site. I had been using Web Site Tonight, which gave me a free five-page site with my domain name, but I started using Yolasite.com instead, and I'm really impressed with how much better the interface and templates are, as well as how great the site looks compared to my old one.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"This Neighborhood"

My flash-fiction piece, "This Neighborhood," will be appearing in the fall edition of Flashquake. It goes live September 1.

I wrote this story one night after a similar incident at the neighborhood bar where I hang out. A girl, right in view of the security camera trained on the front door, had her purse stolen. People in the bar went after the perpetrator, but he was not caught. I wondered what would have happened if they had found him. That evening, the cops were called and a report filed, but I imagine nothing came of it in the long run. The New Orleans police are...difficult to work with at times, and things like purse snatching often fall by the wayside.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Another Slow Week

I started back to work this week. Summer coming to an end is always difficult, and now writing is on hold. I'm basically sitting around to hear on about thirteen stories that are still out on submission. I got two no-thanks this week, which definitely made the days pass more slowly. One was the third rejection on the same story. I guess I might be relying on a few old tropes to make it work, but I thought the ending worked. The other was a flash piece that I can definitely rewrite to submit to some other flash contest. The editors gave me some good comments with their rejection.

I have started planning for NaNoWriMo. I think I said I wasn't interested in writing novels, but this seems like a fun contest. I've recruited a few people into a support group of sorts. I know the outline and have started research, and I have plenty of time left to plan. I'm hoping I can actually pull it off.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Donate to help "Things We Are Not" get off the ground

My story "Seeker" will be in the upcoming anthology Things We Are Not. The editor/ publisher is taking donations to help with publication. If you feel like being a benefactor to some great writers, please donate here.

I go back to my full-time teaching job on Monday, so the writing will be a little slow. I intend to start researching and outlining for my novel which I'll write during the National Novel Writing Month in November. Normally, I stick to the short stories, but I had a good idea, there might be a market for it, and it's a contest with yourself to try to write 50,000 words in thirty days. Sounds like fun to me.

Other than that, this weekend I'll finish a space pirate story to send off to another anthology. That's my goal for tomorrow, along with taking some pictures for the Web Site to promote TWAN.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dream last night

I had this bizarre dream right before the alarm went off that I'd thought I'd share here before I turn it into a story.

I was one of the dog people -- like Jojo, with hypertichosis -- in the Barnum and Bailey sideshow; this was back during the great train days. Barnum had decided that I'd lived past my prime and the best thing to do was to put me down, and of couse sell tickets. I kept trying to explain that I was a person, not a dog, but he said the audience wants a show, so they're going to get it. Finally, I told him, "Listen, I'm only fifty-six in dog years. Why not kill me when I'm seventy-seven?" He thought about and decided that was okay. I could live three more people years. But what were we going to do about the crowd that had gathered? Then the alarm went off.

No stealing my idea now. I'm going to used this, okay?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

"Da Hessians" is up

Here is a direct link from The Copperfield Review to my voice, flash-fiction piece "Da Hessians."

Other than that, not a lot writing-wise went on this week. I finished an editing job instead and another big project that had been sitting around for too long.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Read an interview, a review, and a story

This has been up since the beginning of the month, but I just found it today as I did one of those lovely, ego-boosting Google searches of my own name. This is an interview I did for the editors of "An Honest Lie." That picture is of me in my grandparent's trailer when I was about two, I think.

And here's a review of "Mars-side" I hadn't known about either.

And finally, here is the On the Premise "First" second-place contest winner, "To Wade Alone." This story comes from my unpublished collection/ thesis All Along the Pacific (the title is a nod to Bob Dylan). It is loosely, loosely based on my great-great aunt who worked in the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey circus at the turn of the last century. Do a search for "Bertha Carnahan" and circus or midget and you'll find many mentions of her.

Now it's back to work!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Another publication

During my last semester at the University of New Orleans, my regular workshop leader was Joseph Boyden, who's not just a great writer, but a really nice guy to boot. His wife, Amanda Boyden also stepped in for a few classes. She has a keen eye and a great understanding of how publishing works. I learned a lot, even though I'd already completed most of the program.

During one of Amanda's classes, she gave us an exercise (one I'd done with Joseph the previous year). We got on a slip of paper a person in a scenario -- something totally outside our realm of experience -- and tried to write from that person's POV. Men got "pregnant woman in labor," young women got "old man watiting for social security check," that sort of thing (not actual examples from class; I just thought those up now).

The one I got was something to the effect of "ten-year-old boy witnesses parents' death." I wrote a voice piece, in my best Irish dialect, about an old man looking back into the events of his childhood in the 1780s. The Copperfield Review will publish it in the summer edition, which should be posted 31 July. It's less than one thousand words, so it should take no time to read.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Finding Beta Readers

Sometimes, I feel like such a burden to my friends and limited group of writing acquaintances. For instance, I managed, between Sunday last week and Friday, to submit seven stories. One was a reprint ("Turtles"), but the others were all new (three) or revisions(three) of old stories that I had not yet sent out. What I have to remember is that every one of those stories needs to be read by at least one other person, and preferably more, before I send them. Not having a beta reader (as I have so heartbreakingly realized) will pretty much result in a rejection.

My two beta readers -- and pretty much because they're the only people I'd ask -- are my husband, Patrick (he has hardly any web presence to speak of, so I can't link anything here), and my writing friend Zach, who attended workshop at UNO with me (I've mentioned him, and he was nice enough to post a comment below about my story). But eight stories is overload, I think. Also, while I know Zach is great at beta reading, Pat is my husband, and he knows he has to live with me after he gives he feedback, and he might be tempering his responses, even subconsciously.

So I joined this site called Reviewfuse. I saw it first on Duotrope, then on Craig's List. They have a free version and a pay version. Basically how it works is you load a story, and their software assigns three readers to review it. For the sake of reciprocity, you in turn review four stories from other writers using the site.

Now, so far it's a mixed blessing (and I've read through the forum, so I know I'm not the only person who feels this way). First, you are paired with reviewers who are rated as well as you as reviewers. When I give reviews, the writer can rate how helpful I was. I know I'm pretty darn helpful, but I don't stroke egos. I also don't make it personal. It's always about the story, what's there, what's not. Some people on this site have yet to separate their egos from their writing. If I give too much criticism, they rate me badly because I hurt their feelings. One should only get a bad rating for not giving constructive feedback on a story, not for being too honest. If my rating goes down, then I get paired with other "mean" reviewers (which could be okay) and the reviewers that leave one words reviews and don't take the time to give in-line feedback. Second, there is no age or ability level grouping as of yet. There are a lot of kids on this site, and so graphic sex, language, or violence is out. And they still have a lot to learn when it comes to writing. Finally -- and this isn't a bad thing, really, but it makes the work difficult -- there seem to be a lot of users from English speaking countries that have very different construction and convention rules from SAE.

So far, I put up one story, and got three reviews. One was good, giving the story high ratings and pointing out a few shortcomings. The second was awful, having nothing but mean things to say and offering no in-line feedback or specific examples of what needs fixing. The third was excellent, balancing what he/she liked with what needed work. I guess that probably gives me a good survey of my reading audience, too, so I think it will work in the long run. Of course, things should be better in the future; when you first join, you have no rating as an editor, so you get other newbies who, likewise, have no rating. Now that I have a "great" rating as an editor, I should get other "great" editors to review my work.

I have two stories to work on this week. First, a flash fiction fantasy piece for Flash Me magazine. This story involves a changeling. I should be able to pound it out in a day, but first I need to finish a love story for the Australian journal Etchings. I'm already two pages into that; it's set in a RV park in New Orleans. I didn't write about New Orleans hardly at all up until recently; now I suppose I'm setting everything here because I'm lazy, or because I don't get out of the 'hood very often.

As a last note, one of my "day job" coworkers and I are going to lunch this week at the Green Goddess (Neil Gaiman mentions it in one of his blog posts, which you can click on to the left). This is a recent addition to the French Quarter restaurant scene. I'm sort of excited because one of the chefs and owners is Poppy Z. Bright's husband (which is how it got mentioned on Mr. Gaiman's site). I've read Ms. Bright's work since I was in my late teens, when Stephen King got all psychological and cut most of the paranormal stuff from his writing. I particularly liked her contribution to the Crow franchise. I let y'all know how it is.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Turtles" is up

The story, link in the last post, is up to be read by one and all. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Free to read story up soon!

I sold a story today which should be up very soon at Susan Neely's website. Here is a direct link to the page my story will appear on. Ms. Neely is an architect with some amazing projects under her belt. I've checked out the gallery pictures of her past work and they are really amazing. She decided to dedicate a portion of her page to New Orleans arts and culture and doing a wonderful job helping out local artists by including their work on her site.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion

Today I finally finished up edits on "Gran's Prophecy" which will appear in An Honest Lie, due out in the fall. I'm definitely glad the process is over. I do have to say that it was quite thorough. Probably, due to the phone calls, emails, edits, and other correspondences, this has been the most professional publication process I've entered into.

This week, I have a post Apocolypse story to send out (due on Wednesday) and a rewrite of an old, old story about Lilith to submit to an anthology. My acceptance rate is down to 33 percent now, but I will keep working at it. Hopefully once the revisions on those are done, I'll be able to get started on something new.

In addition, if you are at all interested in having an entree to bring me up in conversation, I've created for you T-shirts on Cafe Press. Check out my store where you can buy cute "She is my favorite writer" shirts, with my Web site and blog site on the back. If you'd like to be a little cheeky, I've also made "I am my favorite writer" T's, but you will still have to put up with my addresses on the back. Ten percent of all proceeds I get from my Cafe Press store go to Habitat for Humanity, New Orleans, to help with our recovery.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Off My Game

This was a tough week for writing. I started it in Maine at a retreat for my “day job,” had a huge Fourth of July barbeque, and have since been cleaning and packing for my trip to the beach.

I also signed up as a slush pile reader (they call it editor/reviewer) with Sotto Voce. Work for free, you ask? Why yes, in this case I will. Basically, it keeps me in the know. What are other people writing? How good is it? Where do I need to grow? It's sort of like being back in workshop, where I can read a lot of stuff and be able to make a few comments about it, and learn from the process.

I did get a nice request from the editor of Polluto for a rewrite of a story I submitted. I completely changed it, hoping to nail it the second time. Other than that, I’m working on a first draft of a sci fi story for an upcoming themed anthology; two thousand words in and probably not halfway. I wonder when I became such a long-winded writer; I used to have a hard time getting to twelve hundred.

I also have a rewrite to do on an old, old story that might work for another anthology. I’ve got to bump the word count up by about a thousand on that one, though, but that shouldn’t be a problem. There’s lots of wiggle room.

It will be hard to hit my target of four stories submitted this month, but perhaps when I get back from the beach, I’ll manage it.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Submissions

According to his bio, Philip K. Dick once had seven short stories published in one month, June 1953. I managed to submit five stories this month. Of course, if Dick got seven published, one has to wonder what his rate of submission was. Back then, he obviously didn't have Duotrope to track his submissions; he typed everything, probably with carbon, and put it in the mail by hand. My acceptance ratio so far is 50%, which is higher than average. If his rate was as good as mine (granted, it was probably better), Dick could have been submitting 14 stories a month in order to get seven published, therefore, possibly, writing two a day. When did he revise? Did he have a crit partner?

Jesus.

There was a thread the other day on Absolute Writers Water Cooler where one author was asking others what their yearly goal was for submitting short fiction. Some people tried for six a year. It's sad, but I think that is what is going to be the dividing line between a writer who can call herself a writer, and one who just write as a hobby. You can't live on six stories a year. Some claimed to be working on novels; that's cool, but still... The payoff on a novel might be better in the long run, but short fiction will keep you active and engaged a lot more, not just in writing, but in the industry. Everything changes so fast these days, you've got to constantly monitor and submit and be be involved, get your name out there. If I ever decide to write a novel (which I am more and more shying away from) at least I'll have had X number of short stories published first. I'll have gotten my feet wet, and I'll have something of a following. That's what's important, after all.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Editing

As mentioned last week, my story "To Wade Alone" came in second place in the On the Premises "First" contest. Thursday of this week, I got the edits from the editor, Tarl Roger Kudrick. I'm not sure if he is the one who actually did the edits or not. They were spot on, though. As a writer who would like to someday do this as a living, I have adopted the philosophy that I will pretty much do whatever the editors ask of me, simply because, in a sesnse, they've bought the story, and I see no reason not to customize it for their market. They are going to know what their readers want, after all. They are the ones that will have to field the fan mail or hate mail when the issue comes out. And of course, for the most part, I want to work with the editors again, so it helps to create a sense of cooperation rather than one of opposition.

On the other hand, since I work as an editor too, I always grit my teeth when I open a file to see what's been done to one of my stories. I worry that The Chicago Manual of Style may not have such a prominent place on their desks as it does on mine. It's always a great relief to find a copy edited as competently, if not more so, as I could have done for someone else.

As for current work, I've had a stroke of inspiration for an upcoming anthology from Rymfire Books. They don't pay very well, but the themes they've come up with are quite inspiring. The first story I'm writing for one of their books is for the heavy metal horror anth. Thanks to Brett Schultz for his guidance in all things Scandinavian and metal.

I don't write much horror, not since "Behind the Yellow Wallpaper," really. And that only released in my copy of The Deconstruction Quarterly, which had a circulation of about five. I see this as quite an entertaining challenge, really, to try something new in a genre so populated with pat plot twists and archetypes.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Contest, On the Premises

I found out this morning that my story "To Wade Alone" placed second place in the "First" contest at On the Premises. After the editing process, it should be available on their Web site.

Also, in regards to the story that will be appearing in the inaugural edition of An Honest Lie, I received the artist agreement today, and things seem to be progressing easily along with that.

I'm not one of those authors to complain about theme issues of journals or sites; on the contrary, I love them. I love taking the theme and coming up with the most bizarre interpretation of it I can imagine, working in all kinds of different elements, but keeping it within the bounds of what I think an editor is going to want. That is a lot of fun.