Writing-wise, the past week has been good. I submitted one story, and wrote two, none of which currently in submittable state, but hopefully I’ll have enough feedback mid-week to send at least one out.
Also, today I flashed, after a long time, over at Liberty Hall. I had forgotten how much fun flashing is, especially when the Muse comes up with something unexpected. (While the Mews are totally predictable and *whinewhimpercomplain* the entire time I’m trying to write). And I really like the little story I produced. It’s highly unlikely it will remain at flash length (very few stories of mine do), but I like it anyway.
On the other hand, writing has been extremely frustrating in the last year. For starters, I haven’t sold anything in the last six months or so. This is, for the most part, due to the fact that I haven’t been writing many stories up to a submittable stage. And then, most of what I have out is still with the editors, who take forever to get back to me.
Only adding to my frustration is the fact that, of all the stories I sold last year, only two have seen print. The others are still waiting publication. For some, like ASIM and the Quiet Shelter There anthology, I knew that they wouldn’t be out until Summer 2012. Others, like Warrior Wisewoman #4, have encountered financial issues. Others, I have no idea where they’re at.
It’s not a money issue for me. Well, at least not *just* a money issue. I just feel that the initial joy of getting that acceptance letter got flushed down the drain by circumstances beyond my control.
I’m guessing that the best cure for this is to write more. Send more stories out. Balance the scales over these “unfortunate” stories. But there are times when this is getting very, very hard.
One of my goals this year is to be more consistent with my writing. Moreover, I aim to rediscover the Lost Fun of Writing. And, by goal, I don’t mean a New Year’s Resolution. My kittehs laugh at those. And then pee all over them. Which what generally happens to them, by the end of the year, figuratively speaking. Or not.
Anyway, I’ll give another go to this Write 1 Sub 1 thing. I tried it last year, and then Life happened, which included computer woes, sick cats, health issues and ongoing financial troubles. On the other hand, a large part of 2011 consists of empty days: I cannot recall what I did during those times, especially from February to May. But I do recall how every one of my stories came to be, even though it was painful at times: I had to endure heat without a/c, my back and shoulders hurt, I came out of my study (or back from my coffee shop) to find kitteh chaos but, in the end, I had my stories.
I don’t want any more empty days.
So I’ll give that W1S1 thing another go. Pretending, of course, that Week One did not exist.
Write 1: Expanded a Liberty Hall Flash from 1000 words to 4000. Historical Dark Fantasy, based on a mix of Aegean myths and inspired from the works of Greek poet Nikos Kavadias. It was a challenge to write: First Person POV, present tense, and a male POV at that. The setting was also a challenge: early 16th century Barbary Coast. I had to research a gazillion little things for every other line: food, spices, currency, clothes, expressions, evil eye traditions, naval terminology (shoot me now), and many more. But I loved the outcome.
Sub 1: The above-mentioned story. But I won’t say where. All this research about the Evil Eye rubbed off some superstition on me. I fear that if I say more, I’ll jinx it.
Anyway, off to work on my Week 3 assignment. And I hope I’ll be able to keep it up.
Until, that is, Diablo 3 comes out. Oh, hello there, Black Hole of my days… :/
- Death to Courier New. Standard Manuscript Formatting should be done in Comic Sans.
- Refreshing the Duotrope “Recent Responses” page every fifteen seconds won’t get the editors to get back to you any faster. No, really, it won’t.
- More cover letters should be written in Standard Lolcat. “O Hai. U can haz sabmishun. I can haz contrakt nao?”
- If you’re not already owned by one, get a cat (or more). Then you can blame your typos on them. Like misspelling your own name. And especially when you misspell the editor’s name.
- When all else fails, remember that most good editors are cat-owned. Have your cats contact them through mew.com, provide the appropriate brib-, um, offerings of catnip and tuna, and sit back and relax while the editing kittens purr hypnotic suggestion into their humans’ brains.
This works with d*g-owned editors too, but you’ll have to contact the Paw Hammer branch of Interpurr for them.
Back to my poor, neglected story now. Ooh, look, catnip!
Submitting and getting published in 2011 has been quite challenging, so far. In the last six months, I only sold two stories, but both to good homes (the Assassins anthology and Murky Depths). That’s probably a result of being more picky regarding where I send my stories to, but still… I also have a story on hold to another anthology I’d love to get in, although I’m not very hopeful about that once, since the competition in fierce.
This morning, however, I woke up to good news: a new spec-fic magazine, Arcane, has accepted a story very dear to my heart.
The setting: Samothrace, an island of the Aegean Sea imbued with ancient lore, during the Byzantine period–the Macedonian Dynasty. Ancient deities, the power of the Little Things and an old, blind woman, comfortable in the privileged life of the rich and noble, rediscovers the meaning of Duty and Sacrifice. If all goes well, it will appear in the second issue of Arcane.
I’ll go squee moar nao.
And I can’t believe I haven’t posted about this already!
“On Marble Threshing Floors”: the last battle of an Amazon past her prime, who burns her apron and dons her breastplate to defend home and family from new–and old–enemies. Inspired from a Byzantine folk song, this story is very dear to my heart.
And it’s now published on Cabinet Des Fées here. So, go read! (It’s free).
(There’s a joke somewhere in here about Greeks bearing stories, but the cold has killed my wit today).
The setting: Minoan Crete, before the Thera explosion. The players: two assassins, a Minoan man and an Egyptian woman. In the background, priests and politicians trying to pull their strings and force them into a deadly dance. But there’s always one last thing, one final decision no deity or mortal can steal from a determined man.
The Last Dues Owed: a short story of mine that will appear in the Assassins: a Clash of Steel anthology from RBE in May 2011, as I’ve just heard from the editor.
That’s the first Sword & Sandal/Peplum type of story and I had great fun writing it, although the fighting scene (which consists about two thirds of the wordcount) was as easy as pulling teeth. *sigh* And so was research, considering how little is known about that era of Minoan Crete.
But still, I’m glad it worked and it found a good home.
HadleyRille Books, with their awesome collection of titles, are hosting a book sale, aiming at the sale of 5K books from Oct. 1st to Dec. 31st. Since it’s this time of year to shop for the holidays, why don’t you check them out?
This way, you’ll also have the chance to win a Kindle! More details on their site.
And for shameless self-spamming: you’ll find my story “City of Glass” in their “Footprints” anthology, and two more of my stories, “Orion’s Dawn” and “Heart of Carnelian” in the upcoming anthology “The Aether Age: Helios.”
Speaking of “Aether Age,” you can pre-order a copy of this cool anthology today from here at a discount. Release date in November 29th, but why wait? And if you want to know more about this Greek & Egyptian steampunk (sort of) anthology, you can watch the book trailer here.
My short story “And the Psychopomp Followed the Lyre“ has finally found a good home: Expanded Horizons, an e-zine I have worked with in the past and recently made the British Fantasy Awards Longlist, alongside Clarkesworld and Fantasy, to name just a couple of other nominees.
Dash, the editor, is a great person to work with, and I’m happy to be published with them again.
“Psychopomp,” a story that started as a Liberty Hall flash, went through several incarnations before ending in its current one. It deals with a god’s search for purpose in a world that has changed too much and has little use for gods anymore. Hermes, the Psychopomp, finds what was lost in the most unexpected place.
Also, it has cats. Duh. And scorned goddesses, and hell hounds, and a cranky old Charon.
And it’s my second story sale within a week. Hey, Universe, I could get used to that. *pokepokenudgenudge*
My (very) short story “Twist of Fate” (all 160 words of it) will appear tomorrow, May 4th, in Everyday Weirdness.
Heh. It’s been a while, so it feels really good to be published again.
Oh, and yes. There’s a cat in it. Duh.