Saturday, January 31, 2009

January round-up

We are already 1/12 of the way through 2009, which is just ridiculous. I don't feel like I accomplished anything, either.

I wrote one full-length story (on hold for the Dead Bait anthology) and one flash story (subbed to EDF).

I got one acceptance (from New Fables) and two rejections (including the 3-day novel fail).

I revised one novella and wrote a big chunk of Blood and Taxes--not sure how many words all told, but at least 25,000 and probably much more than that.

I sent out four submissions, including said novella, plus one agent query. Got a request for partial on that query a few days later, too!

I have still not heard from the agent who requested a full at the end of last August. I also haven't heard from Mundania. I killed one publisher (Trunk Novels) and haven't heard anything more about Fictitious Force, which I seem to have killed last November although it may just be a coma--their website says hiatus.

I need to write more stories, because I want to save up for an ereader. Go February!

Friday, January 30, 2009

My podcast is up!

Beneath Ceaseless Skies has posted the podcast of my story "Sand-Skin Man," which appeared in issue #5! I didn't realize it went up yesterday or I'd have already listened to it. I can't listen to it at work, obviously, so I can but trust that it is unbridled awesome.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hardback hateyness

I love Naomi Novik's Temeraire series and practically inhaled the first four in the series as fast as I could grab them. Then the fifth was released as a hardback. I haven't read it. I'm waiting for the paperback.

Same with Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson series, the fourth book of which will be released next week. In hardback. I won't buy it unless I can snag a cheap used copy. I'm waiting for the paperback.

I used to prefer hardbacks, but that was back when I worked for a big used book store and could choose the best copy of any book I wanted. Now I prefer paperbacks because they take up so little shelf and moving-box space. Plus all but the doorstopper epic fantasies (which I loathe anyway) fit in my purse or jacket pocket. And they're a lot cheaper.

Frankly, as a reader I'm annoyed when I have to wait another year or so for a paperback version of a book that's already been released. I know the publisher's just hoping I'll break down and buy the hardback for lots of extra money. I'm much more likely to buy a copy used and then not buy the paperback at all. Which doesn't benefit anyone: not the publisher, not the author, and not even me, because I've still got a big fat hardback taking up shelf space.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Title woes redux

I renamed Hilda. She's now Coral, which is so much better for her character. Also, she doesn't come across as an instant frump.

I can't figure out the title, though. Thanks to everyone who made suggestions, particularly the suggestion that maybe not everyone will instantly figure out that by "drake" I mean "little dragon." Yeah. Like, maybe most people think "duck."

I'm tempted to just go with Justice as the title, but that's not terribly descriptive, so then I think (inevitably) that maybe Blue Justice might be better, which it really, really isn't. It sounds like a Tick episode, actually. So then I think, well, maybe I should try one of those newfangled poetic quotations, which requires a trip to Barlett's Familiar Quotations, which is downstairs, ...and I end up with such miseries as Wild Justice and Virtue of the Soul. And after flipping idly through the book, I am now ready to go right back to Justice. Or just call it The Mighty Novella, which at least amuses me.

UPDATE: The Price of Justice. Yay!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Help me rename this novella

I know, I'm the worst titler ever. The working title for my formerly 3-day-novel-contest entry is Hilda and Justice, and it's the worst bad title I've ever come up with. So I ask you, my gifted friends, to help me come up with a less bad title.

Here's the (probably also woefully bad) query I've just written, which might help give you some ideas. Also, if the query stinks please let me know. I thought maybe Justice and Revenge would work as a title, but then I realized it was almost as bad as the title I've got. I'm really bad at this. Also, I probably need to change Hilda's name to something that isn't quite so offputting.

"Hilda Black spent her healing apprenticeship working in the drake fighting pits, but she left it all behind years before. She doesn't want anything to do with drake fighting and the bad memories it brings back. But Grant Mickelson is in town again with his troop of drakes. If Hilda's going to get revenge on him for what he did to her years before, she needs to get into the trainer's section of the arena. And that means she needs a drake of her own to enter in the upcoming tournament.

"She finds Justice, a young drake who's just fought in his first junior match. He's flashy, enthusiastic, and intensely loyal to her. Hilda only planned on entering Justice in one match, but she can't just discard him once the match is over. And, she discovers, he was trained by Grant. With Justice's knowledge of the man, Hilda plans a more subtle revenge on Grant than her original idea of blackmail.

"But revenge is harder than Hilda expects. It means having to accept Grant's job offer and work for him as a drake healer, even though being near him terrifies and confuses her. And she has Justice depending on her for friendship and training too--even though the drake is keeping a secret from everyone."

Yes, I know. It sucks enormously. Oh well, thanks very much for any suggestions!

Two contest results

Okay, let's try this again...Blogger ate my original attempt.

I woke up this morning to a partial request from an agent, which was a great start to the day. Then I saw that my entry to Lisa Shearin's "name the bordello" contest was the winner! I'll receive acknowledgement of my mad skillz in her next book. This may be the coolest thing that's ever happened to me, although that's not hard. I mean, I may not have much else going for me, but by gum I can name a fictional bordello in someone else's world!

Then I got the results from another contest, the 3-day Novel Contest, and I did not win. Alas, my 23,000 word craptastic written-in-about-20-hours novella did not even make the honorable mention cut. But that means I can A) re-read the damn thing, which I haven't since I wrote it and I'm itching to revise it, and B) market after revisions, even if it is a novella and therefore by default unpublishable, and C) play around with other stories in that same world, which I built just for this contest. So it's all good, although dammit, I would have really liked to win. Oh well, I bet the actual winner would have been a total failure at naming Lisa Shearin's bordello.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

STOP THAT! No more characters!

Because I don't have enough to read already, I picked up Patrice Sarath's Gordath Wood today at B&N. It has horses in it.

The viewpoint character started out as Lynn. Then a few pages in, it switched to some guy named Crae. Then at the beginning of Chapter 2, Joe became the viewpoint character. Then it was Kate. Now, on page 30, it's a new guy named Colar.

Enough already! The book is in the pile now to go to the used book store. Am I the only person who gets flat out furious when an author keeps switching between tight-third points of view? Two characters I can handle. Three, maybe. More than three and I stop reading. If you need more than three viewpoint characters to tell your story, A) it's probably an epic fantasy, and B) you should be writing in omniscient.

By giving me-the-reader five fricking viewpoint characters in thirty pages, Sarath has asked me to throw in my lot with five people who may or may not be important ultimately, and who aren't given enough page time for me to get to like and trust. Plus I don't know how many more viewpoint characters will pop up in the next thirty pages. I see why she's doing it--she's giving the reader the story in broken pieces of mirror, which when all put together will reveal the plot. But I don't care about the plot, I want to know about the character. One character, not five.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

thoughts on Inkheart

I saw Inkheart today. It was okay. It had lots of intriguing ideas which weren't explored at all, and there were almost a dozen similarly interesting characters whose stories weren't explored either, and the special effects were good and the writing was decent and it was all okay. Just not all that great when taken as a whole. I'm sure the book, which has the room to explore everything that was glossed over in the movie, is much better. Maybe I'll pick up a copy one of these days.

After the movie, I got to thinking about the main idea, that certain people can make book characters come into the real world out of the book's world. Now, I can instantly see a million ways to abuse this, and I'm not just talking about the bad guy's desire for henchmen and gold, although I certainly wouldn't turn my back on that either. I mean, think about it. You can find anything in books, and not just the public domain ones from the movie, too. And let's not even think about erotica, although I bet you did.

In the movie, the characters visited the author of the book Inkheart--I mean the fictional author of the fictional Inkheart, not the real author of the real Inkheart that the movie is made from. It's confusing, I know. And the author was delighted to meet one of his characters in person. Now, I don't know about you all, but if some of my characters came to life, they would so totally beat the shit out of me for making their lives hell.

I'm not sure I'd want to meet them anyway. Because even if they didn't know I was their creator, they probably wouldn't like me very much. I don't write about people like me because I'm boring, so me and my characters don't have a lot in common. My characters would not want to hang out with me.

And what if I was able to go and live in a world I'd created? Would I? I don't know.

Well, yes, actually, I would. Especially if I could take a bunch of those henchmen and all that gold with me too.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Nothing to brag about

I sometimes enter the Writers of the Future contest (although not recently), so I get their spam. Today they emailed to tell me all about their new website that has, like, writing tips or whatever on it, and in the body of the email they talked about L. Ron Hubbard. And this is what they had to say about him:

"L. Ron Hubbard made a name for himself during the Golden Age of Science Fiction becoming one of the most publishable names in pulp fiction, with a ninety percent placement rate of first-draft manuscripts."

Wait, what? Am I reading this right? He was sending out first-draft manuscripts? No wonder his reputation sucks so bad--that and Scientology.

Remember last year, when Anonymous turned their attention to Scientology? And then apparently lost interest and went back to making lolcats? Feeling wistful here for bygone glories.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

January is awards time

The Ursa Major Awards are now accepting nominations for anthropomorphic works published in 2008. Yeah, it's furry stuff. Look, I'm sorry, I have a story eligible. Some people hope for a Nebula or Hugo, I just want my weredeer story nominated for a furry award.

You have to enroll (i.e. give your email so they can send you a key code) and then you have to give your name when you go to nominate, but that's just so people can't ballot stuff. They're taking nominations until the end of February. Voting starts in mid-March. You can see the list of recommended titles to make your choices from, but you don't have to go by that list. You also don't have to nominate in every category. I usually just nominate for movies, books, stories, and magazines, and usually only a few per category (you're allowed to choose up to five).

So make your voice heard! No one will know you had anything to do with this, I swear. You can wash your hands afterwards.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Your Amazon order has shipped... are now broke.

I've ordered five books this time:
Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (that's the one I'm really excited about--I keep hearing good reviews of it)
The Princes of the Golden Cage by Nathalie Mallet
Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley
Storm Born by Richelle Mead
The Accidental Demon Slayer
by Angie Fox

Now, about this name Angie Fox. Pseudonym or real name, what do you think? I say pseudonym, but then she probably is saddled with the real name of Angie Fordalinni or something like that, plus I'm fond of messing with my own name so I don't blame anyone else for doing it too. But Aaron Polson suggested I try and sell Weaver's Shroud under a pseudonym since it's so different from my current style. And making up pseudonyms is fun!

Anyway, the alternative is spending the rest of my lunch break eating inadequate chili and reading other people's internets.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

no novel for you

I got an email from Trunk Novels this morning. They have closed. I know you're bummed that you don't get to read Weaver's Shroud now, but on the other hand, at least I'll shut up about it.

Nothing else to report, except it snowed half an inch unexpectedly overnight and all the schools closed and the college where I work opened two hours late. Ah, Tennessee.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The snow must have slowed down those editors

It snowed a little bit today, enough to be pretty although it's pretty much all melted by now. It never did even cover the grass. With luck we'll get more snow in the next few weeks, although I don't plan to hold my breath.

I have the day off for Martin Luther King Day, so it feels like Sunday still. I'm making beef stew because it's cold out, and I've been alternately reading and writing. I'm over 50,000 words into Blood and Taxes and I think I've pretty much got it all worked out now. I'm also at a fun scene to write--Ana's at the blood parlor, which gives me lots of opportunities for creepy-but-sexy vampire interactions. No wonder so many writers write about vampires. They make awesome characters! Mine don't even angst, either.

Still no word from Mundania or the agent. The agent has until the end of January before I start querying other agents. She didn't ask for an exclusive, and giving her an exclusive five months to respond to a requested full seems more than a little generous on my part. As for Mundania, I've been waiting 415 days. No comment. And the 3-day novel contest winners won't be announced for probably a few more weeks too. Heavy sighs all around.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The bitter dregs of sequelitude

I just finished reading Kushner's The Privilege of the Sword, which I read sort of by accident--I didn't mean to start it at all the other night, and I certainly didn't intend to finish it tonight. I wish I hadn't done either. I wish Kushner hadn't written it. To say I'm disappointed is a sad understatement.

In the first place, the lush and elegant writing from Swordspoint isn't there. It's not badly written, but it's not lyrical. Swordspoint made me ache, it was so beautiful. Sometimes I read paragraphs over several times just to savor them. I expect to reread the whole book in a few weeks. But The Privilege of the Sword just didn't have it.

Plus I didn't like the main character, Katherine, even though that's my name too. She was supposed to be 15 or 16 but she acted about ten some of the time and about thirty the rest of the time, according to the needs of the plot. The only really interesting character was the duke, who didn't get much page time in comparison.

Oh, and Katherine? Didn't actually do anything. She reacted. Since this book is essentially a YA coming-of-age story with half of another book stuck to it, that's a particular crime. I read a lot of YA and used to write a lot of it too, and the one thing you don't do in a YA story is make the main character passive. Katherine didn't even have anything to do with the story's climax.

I feel cheated, sadly cheated. But thank gawd I didn't read this book before Swordspoint, and I might easily have--I almost ordered it from Amazon several months ago without realizing it was a sequel.

Oh, and three word review: Not enough swordfighting.

Friday, January 16, 2009

blank Wednesday

My list-making for Blood and Taxes continues apace, and it's starting to resemble (slightly) an outline. To me, anyway. For instance, here's what I'm going by in order to get all the important events in the right order for the next week of in-book events; I copy this verbatim from my spiral notebook:

Fri night - party
Sat am - donation, clinic opens
Sat pm - Elemental
Sun - talk to Charmer and Than, Tuck's mtg/blood, haunting
Mon (Aug 1) - taxes, Bowers, regen.
Tues - Devin's party, Evander
Wed -
Thurs - Sinnet's party, Gerzell, Than found
Fri - Ash and angry Vincent
(V will tell king after this)

Okay, that all makes perfect sense to me, and if it makes perfect sense to you I don't want to hear about it. The biggest issue I have is with Wednesday. See that blank space? I can't decide what goes on Wednesday or if I need to pull all the action up a day, or if I need to dispose of Wednesday with one transition paragraph. At the moment Wednesday is empty, because I suspect I'll be adding some action there.

Also, what is with all the parties?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bad Guys shouldn't be all bad

I just heard from the editor, and my story "Sand-Skin Man," that appeared in issue #7 of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, is going to be podcast pretty soon! My first podcast!

I spent a couple of hours last night making notes for Blood and Taxes--not an outline exactly, although it'll probably morph into one. I've bogged down on the writing; I don't know what's happening next. Or rather, I have an awful lot I want to include, but I'm not sure where everything goes and I haven't figured out who exactly the bad guys are.

Figuring out who the bad guys are is important, because I like to keep it a secret and throw the reader off. These books are like mysteries that way. More importantly, I like to make the reader care about the bad guy--because he/she's a person too, not just the Bad Guy. But if you label who the bad guy is right off, it's harder to make the reader care. Readers are smart. Readers know the bad guy is probably going to die. I want the reader to be confused and upset when the bad guy dies, not "YEAH! He died! Stupid bad guy deserved it."

So anyway, my note-taking consisted mostly of lists. First I made a list of interactions between the main character Ana and various of the other main characters; "Ana and Ash," for instance, is a bulleted list of when and where Ana meets Ash until the climax of the action, with a few jotted notes about what they talk about or do. Now I need to mesh all these lists together into one master list, which will be an outline. Maybe I should have just written an outline to start with, huh?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

All that and children's books too!

In a fit of miserable boredom, I just googled myself. And what should pop up but a link to Trunk Novels' blog, where they posted the interview with me on Jan. 1. I suspect it was one of those preset auto-post things. Their website hasn't been updated since mid-December, so who knows what's going on with them? I took Weaver's Shroud and Trunk Novels off my website for now.

Last night I spend the evening alternately reading Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner and rhapsodising about it to my mom, who was trying to read her own book and kept giving me ironic looks from under her eyebrows until finally she said, "The aliens are attacking. Do you mind?" This morning before I left for work she said she was going to the used book store, and did I want her to pick up more books by that author I like? I said yes and wrote down the author's name, at which point Mom said, "Ellen Kushner? Do you know who she is? 'Sound and Spirit'!"

Well, damn! I love "Sound and Spirit"! And I love Swordspoint, which I'm trying to read slowly because it's so amazingly beautifully written! I didn't recognize the author's name because of course I always think of her as Ellen-Kushner-Sound-and-Spirit. She is one talented woman, that's for sure. Also, Mom says she writes children's books.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Three word review

Okay, here's my three-word review of Poison Study, which I read this weekend:

Not enough poisoning.

I'm reading Swordspoint right now--can't remember the author and the book's not nearby so I can't check. I am enthralled. Love it so far.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

(Rambling, incoherent) update

I got an email from Mundania today, saying that they're still doing final readings of manuscripts still under consideration and that they should be making their decisions shortly. It was very nice of them to let me know, although I must say I about had a heart attack when I saw the email.

The shadowy Other Books also under consideration are now my enemies. We battle! I am imagining something out of Kung Fu Panda, but with paper. Of course The Weredeer is the awesomest, but obviously no one has recognized that yet or I would have already received an acceptance. If they only knew that I have the amazing power of attracting furries, and the magical ability of dragging their little paws away from their fantastic grip on Sofawolf's catalog!

On the other hand, this might not be considered a talent. So because I really don't want to have a heart attack the next email I get from Mundania, I'll now write their rejection to me myself and spare my nerves.

Dear K.C. Shaw (if that is your real name):
Thank you for your submission of The Weredeer. We liked it, but we have decided it's not right for our catalog at this time. Because it's about a weredeer, which is just silly. While we did take into consideration
your self-admitted superpower of attracting furries to your writing, even when the main character's name is not Kitty, we know full well that there are only actually about 400 furries in the world and half of them are incapable of reading a story that isn't accompanied by pictures. Thank you for thinking of Mundania, and we regret to have informed you of our decision six weeks after Double Dragon closed for submissions.
Sincerely, etc.

Now the real thing won't sting, eh?

I suspect this post is going to read like I just drank a bottle of cough syrup. It's been a long day.

P.S. I actually think furries are cute, with their little whiskery noses and cute little paws. Oh wait, I'm thinking of mice.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

very short

I actually wrote a story today, out of the blue. It's only about 350 words, but it's still a story! I've sent it to EDF.

Work on Blood and Taxes has slowed to a crawl. I really like it and I'm still having lots of fun with it, but I can tell I need some time to recharge the novel-writing batteries. I'm cool with that. I am working on short stories, so it's not like I'm being lazy.

Still no word from Mundania or the agent. I'm really hoping I hear from both by the end of the month, because this is just ridiculous.

Friday, January 9, 2009

More punch! Fewer words!

I sure was whiny yesterday. Sorry about that. You all know how I am when I'm short of sleep, or worried that I'm going to be short of sleep. *rolls eyes*

I finished Melusine finally. It was good, but it would have been infinitely better--I mean, truly, infinitely better--if someone had held a gun to Sarah Monette's head and made her cut about 40,000 words out of the book. Honestly. And no, I'm not reading the sequels. I don't have that many hours in my life.

I got a rejection today for "Never Be Alone," which was actually a relief. Now I don't have to dread the first rejection of the year. "Never Be Alone" was a semi-finalist in the WotF contest at the end of 2007, but not only is it a ridiculously long 13,000 words, I've never been happy with the main character. She has no personality. I'm very tempted to tear the good ideas out of the story--the speecher, the godholders--and rework them into a much different, much more interesting story that's fantasy instead of SF. It might even hold up enough to carry a whole novel, who knows?

But for now, I am short on sleep. And that makes me cranky. So good night.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

And I have to get up in seven hours, too

I just got an email that my undead shark story has been shortlisted for the Dead Bait anthology. So at least I know they like it well enough not to reject it out of hand, but now I have to wait. And you all know how patient I am.

Actually, I am patient, but I complain a lot.

I'm reading Sarah Monette's Melusine, which I started almost two weeks ago but put down for a while since, after seeing "Slumdog Millionaire" on New Year's Day (an amazing but agonizing movie), I just couldn't face anything else grim for a while. It's beautifully written, and I don't even have to read it in a permanent flinch, because Monette starts off with absolutely no-holds-barred awfulness happening to one of the main characters. After that, I know she's one of those authors who detail wretchedness in loving detail, so every bad thing that I half-expect to happen is going to happen, at length. So I don't have to dread that something awful might happen, because it will happen. Does that make sense? Unfortunately, something that doesn't seem to be happening is a plot. Monette does a lot of walking in place, which is why the book is 500 damn pages long.

Anyway, I'm on page 176 now and only just met the character of Magnus in the last section or so. I have a character named Magnus in The Taste of Magic--not a big deal, except that I also have a character named Felix. No one will ever believe that it's a coincidence and not some half-assed attempt at an homage or whatever, so since I really can't change Magnus's name, my poor Felix will have to get renamed. That's a pity, since I love the name Felix. I already had to change another character's name, and I think that may have been a mistake--he was named Alexander, which was just perfect, but I already had two characters whose names begin with A and two characters whose names end with an "er" sound, so Alexander had to go. I renamed him Dominic. I don't know what I'll rename Felix.

I'm only yammering like this because I don't feel good. I hope it's something I ate and not a stomach virus. Every time I lie down I have to get back up, so now I'm just sitting here with Bunny the laptop, feeling grim and tired and unhappy. So I guess I should go back to reading Melusine.

Book blogger convention?

The folks at Fantasy Debut, which is an awesome blog anyway, have come up with an idea for an annual convention of book bloggers to get together and talk about books. Which sounds like the best weekend I can think of, frankly. They're just in the idea stage now, but looking for people to help out. It'll probably be held in the southeast (much to my delight), with Atlanta as one of the possible cities.

Anyway, hop on over there and post or email if you're interested in attending and/or helping out, or if you have any thoughts.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Why I never throw writing notebooks away

Actually, I do throw writing notebooks away. One's in the trash right now. But I looked through it very carefully first.

Because the other day, I was flipping through an old writing notebook--one of those el cheapo spiral notebooks they sell at Walmart for a dime each around August--and I discovered part of a story that I hadn't yet typed. I typed it up and went through the rest of the notebook, and found two key scenes from a WIP novel that had likewise never made it from the page to the computer screen. And this notebook was from early October! If I'd thrown it away, those scenes would have been lost forever.

Still no word from any editors, good or bad. Hey, it's supposed to snow overnight! Maybe a whole inch!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I read a book!

I just finished Jim C. Hines's newest book, The Stepsister Scheme. It was much better than I expected, although I'd been looking forward to it. It also wasn't at all the story I'd expected.

One of the things I like and admire about Hines's books is his ability to blend light and dark. You go in thinking you're reading a fun romp about three princesses who go to rescue a prince, and by the end you've explored the strange dark places of the human heart, the appalling details of old fairy tales, and the myriad violences and passions of mother and child. And it still manages to be a fun romp, too.

It's been raining hard for two solid days here, and my work week has managed to be 100% completely crappy and it's only Tuesday, and my feet are cold, and tomorrow I have to convince the idiots at the water commission that I moved out of that house six weeks ago and paid my final bill so I don't need to be receiving past-due and shut-off notices. Life is really just a series of annoyances, isn't it?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Seven things about *yawn* me

Catherine J. Gardner tagged me, little knowing that I have no interesting facts about myself at all. You have been warned!

Share seven facts about yourself in the post. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.

1. My hobby is spinning wool (and other fibers) into yarn. I've been doing it for over a decade now. At the moment I'm spinning some of the neighbor's dog's fluff into yarn for him, after which my uncle wants me to spin his dog's fur into yarn too. Apparently I've found a little niche here with my spinning.

2. I had a turkey sandwich and cranberry juice for lunch. FASCINATING.

3. I have a strange addiction to buying things to put things in. I must own about a million bags of various kinds, from cute little handbags to great big canvas bags just perfect for carrying a pile of library books in. And yet I didn't start carrying a purse until a few years ago!

4. I drive a Toyota Yaris (2007). My first car was a VW Rabbit (1984). So you see my car size has not changed appreciably. If I could afford it, I'd buy a blue convertible MiniCooper. They only started selling Minis here a few years ago, and my brother has one. I envy.

5. I used to keep sheep. Jacob sheep, specifically, the spotted ones with four horns. When I have a little farm one day I want to keep Shetlands and angora goats.

6. When I was a kid, I decided my Secret Name was Jagger Aragon. It does actually kind of weird me out a little to let everyone on the internets know my Secret Name. Don't misuse it!

7. I read Orwell's 1984 in the year 1984. For the hell of it.

Instead of making an ordinary tag list now, I will tag seven (or more!) people MENTALLY. If you just thought, "I wonder if she tagged me?" the answer is YES! Also you are psychic, so you can put that as one of your interesting things.

Sale to New Fables!

My story "Bearskin" will appear in the third issue of New Fables, out this summer. That's a nice surprise! So far for 2009 I have zero rejections and one acceptance, although I'm sure that will change very soon.

Mundania has had The Weredeer for 401 days according to Duotrope's count. That's not the longest I've waited to hear back about a book, but it's getting there.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Undead shark story finished

I'm done with my story about the undead sharks, although since there's only one shark, it's just an undead shark story. The working title was "Bad Sushi" but I've changed it to "Red Teeth, Red Sails." The story takes place on a sailfishing trip.

I suspect it's horrible and completely unscary. The character stuff I included feels forced. The ending wobbles around before just stopping. I made up almost every single fact I used, except for a quick browse through some sailfishing charter trip websites. But then, that's how I write all my stories.

I haven't sent the story off to the Dead Bait anthology yet--I'm hoping that sitting on it a day or two will help me pinpoint and fix (if possible) the story's myriad flaws. Unfortunately, the main flaw is that I'm just not a horror writer. Hanging out with all you horror guys and gals makes me feel like I'm running with the big dogs, but after this story it seems pretty obvious that I should probably stay on the porch writing about, you know, elves.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Short story day

Tomorrow will be the Day of the Short Story. I'm going to write that undead sharks story if it kills me, since I have it more or less plotted out. I'd like to write a flash story too, if I can come up with a decent idea, because I haven't sent anything to EDF in forever. And I'd like to work on a story I started ages ago called "Shades of Gray" (I kind of like the title), because I have it plotted out too. It's a shame to waste a perfectly good plot.

Besides, one of my resolutions this year is to write six short stories. I might as well get started.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Nonononono, not fair!

Renard's Menagerie is closing.

I should have subscribed. This is all my fault.

It's ridiculous how proud I am of the story they published this time last year, "The King's Messenger" in issue #5 (copies still available, I understand). That was the first time Kristof of The Weredeer (*stares meaningfully at Mundania and drums fingers*) made it into print. I was looking forward to ultimately getting more stories into RM's pages.

Stupid recession.

Looking forward to...

Lots of things to look forward to in January.

I should hear back from Mundania Press any day now about The Weredeer, which they have had since Dec. 1, 2006 and which was still under consideration as of a few weeks ago. I just hope the internets didn't eat their final response or anything.

Around mid-January the 3-day novel contest results should be out, and I will find out how Hilda and Justice did. If I don't win, at least I'll have a new novella to shop around--although novellas are teh piss to sell. Any suggestions for good small presses that accept fantasy novellas?

Hopefully I'll hear back from New Fables, which has had my story "Bearskin" for several months and confirmed (back in November) that I'd made the next cut and should hear back in December. Hopefully they didn't mean December of 2009. I don't mind waiting a little longer, though, since that's a long story.

Hopefully I'll hear back from the agent who requested a full of Evil Outfitters Ltd. at the end of August. I just hope she actually got the email--so many spam filters swallow attachments whole. Once I hear back from her (and I am of course assuming a rejection), I'll start querying agents with The Taste of Magic.

Hopefully I'll hear from Alienskin, which has had "Realer Than Real" for a little over two months now and seems to be responding around the three-month mark.

Yes, I will be patient in 2009.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Read me at BCS!

My story "Sand-Skin Man" is up at Beneath Ceaseless Skies! I'm very proud. And it's a great way to start off the new year, with a story in an excellent magazine!

Oh, and Terry Pratchett has been knighted, which is awesome too. Although not quite as awesome as my story--but then, what is?

Oh, and an idea from P.J. Hoover via Carrie Harris, I'm also going to try and read 50 books this year (not re-reads). I'll stick a new gumpy thing on the sidebar to list the books as I read them, so if anyone wants to race you can see how I'm doing. Competitive reading = fun!