Short Story Success!

Now that the contract has been signed, I’m pleased to announce my short story, “Ink,” will be published in Issue 21 of  Liquid Imagination, which is due to be released at the end of this month. It’s my first story sale in the fantasy genre.

I am beyond thrilled right now. Not only am I being published, but I happen to have a particular soft spot in my heart for this story (though I suppose writers aren’t supposed to have favorites), which involves subtle magic and Japanese kanji tattoos. I had a lot of fun writing it .

Progress Report #4

One more month down, eight to go.  Here’s a recap of my 2014 goals, and where I stand with each one:.

1. Finish 18 new stories.

Progress report: Finished 2 new short stories in April.  Total for the year-to-date: 7

2. 100 short story submissions.

Progress report: 7 short story  submissions made, giving me a total of 31 for a year.

3. Keep up with this blog and Twitter

Another crazy month in real life, so haven’t spent much time even thinking about these things. Got long-awaited orders for my husband, for one–we’ll be moving to Colorado in June–and the whirlwind of preparations has already begun. Also had a close call with the Alabama tornadoes at the end of April. One of them passed within 5 miles of my house, crossing directly through the main road that my husband takes to work. Fortunately, we got the tornado warning just minutes before he was ready to head out that morning.

Here’s hoping that May will be better.

How about you? How are you doing on your goals for this year?

Progress Report #3

One more month down, nine to go.  Here’s a recap of my 2014 goals, and where I stand with each one:.

1. Finish 18 new stories.

Progress report: I did not complete any new short stories in March. Started a few, but never finished. I did manage a long overdue revision of a story I originally wrote last year. Total for the year-to-date: 5

2. 100 short story submissions.

Progress report: 12 short story  submissions made, giving me a total of 24 for a year.

3. Keep up with this blog and Twitter

Too much happened in my life to really do much in these. Plus, towards the end of the month, I got sick. I’m actually still sick now. Coughing and exhausted.

I hate having bad months. Here’s hoping that April will be better.

How about you? How are you doing on your goals for this year?

Is This Really Neccessary?

Shopping bag label warning

“It is not recommended that children be carried in this shopper.”

I saw this on a reusable shopping bag the other day.  My first thought was: Why would anyone put a child in this bag? I could see how my cat might be able to fit in it, but a child? Granted, it can hold up to 30 pounds.


Progress Report #2

One more month down, ten to go. 2014 certainly feels like it’s flying by–or maybe not. I seem to think that about every year, lately. Here’s a recap of my 2014 goals, and where I stand with each one:.

1. Finish 18 new stories.

Progress report: Completed 4 new short stories in February. Ironically, even though I spent much of the month working on the Flash Fiction course, only 1 of those stories could be considered flash-length. Total for the year-to-date: 5

2. 100 short story submissions.

Progress report: 5 short story  submissions made, giving me a total of 12 for a year.

3. Keep up with this blog and Twitter

Getting better. Actually posted 3 times on this blog, though I did slow down a bit more on Twitter than I intended. Can’t seem to find the balance between the two sites.

Overall, it was a month of a couple steps forward, a couple steps back. The main thing that improved in February was the time I spent actually writing. Now, I just need to work on those other areas.

How about you? How are you doing on your goals for this year?

Rejectomancy Made Easy

I’ll admit, I have a bit of a love-hate thing with the Submission Grinder. I love how easy it’s made it to keep track of my story submissions, and the market search, while not always perfect, has provided me with interesting new places to send my work.

The one problem I have is with their “Response Turnaround Chart.” Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great tool, and on occasion it’s helped me get a fairly good handle on when a response from a certain market is due. But when it looks like this:

Response Turnaround Chart w/ Market Name Blacked Out for Privacy

Response Turnaround Chart w/ Market Name Blacked Out for Privacy

That’s where the “hate” part comes in. I start to worry. See that little dot? That’s my story. The red lines are rejections. The green are acceptances. I’m not confident enough to assume that I’ll become one of the acceptances. But being beyond the range of their “normal” rejection times inspires a new paranoia. OMG! I’ll be the oldest rejection recorded for these guys. Ever!

Granted, this particular market doesn’t have a large number of responses recorded on the Grinder at this time, so the sample size is too small to really be jumping to such drastic conclusions. I shouldn’t be worrying, but I can’t seem to help it. I refuse to think about what that says about me.

Ironically, as I was typing up the last couple of paragraphs of this post, the response from this market arrived in my e-mail. A rejection. Please excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall a few dozen times. Ugh!

Progress Report #1

Though only one month into the new year, I thought it would be a good idea to post where I am with my 2014 goals. Makes me feel like I have to be accountable for what I’m doing.

1. Finish 18 new stories.

Progress report: Completed 1 new short story in January. Also had to abandon 2 stories that just were not working. I also began Holly Lisle’s Flash Fiction course, in part because I’ve noticed that far too many of my stories are running long lately. Hopefully, by doing more flash, I’ll be able to keep up with this goal.

2. 100 short story submissions.

Progress report: I logged 7 submissions during January. If I keep up that pace, I’ll have just 84 at the end of the year. Need to pick up the pace.

3. Keep up with this blog and Twitter

Didn’t post at all in January, after the Resolutions were made. Need to work on that. Twitter has been a bit easier. Maybe a little too easy. Hours waste away while I read through my feed, even when I’m not actively posting.

Overall, I think it was a decent month. Should be interesting to see what February brings, since it’s such a short month.

How about you? How are you doing on your goals for this year?

The Hidden Power of Letter Writing

Anyone who follows me on Twitter has probably noticed that I love the Denver Broncos. I’ve been a die hard fan for twenty years. Through the McDaniels disaster, through the fanbase being taken over (and sometimes divided) by Tebow-mania, and last year’s ignominious defeat in the Divisional Round at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens, I didn’t think there was anything that could shake my faith in my favorite team.

Until this year’s Super Bowl.

So many emotions. All negative.

Worst of all, I had no one to talk to about it. None of my friends are sports fans, and neither is my husband–to the point that he couldn’t understand why I was mad at him for putting the Seahawks logo on my desktop background. He thought it was just the best joke ever. Though I lurk on several fan-sites, I didn’t feel comfortable enough to post on any of them. If anything, being on those sites only made me feel worse. The anger and pain expressed by my fellow Broncos fans intensified mine.

Some retail therapy helped:

Stack of books = retail therapy

How a bookworm does retail therapy

But not completely. I also planned to get stinking drunk as soon as I got home.

Then for some reason, as I was returning from the bookstore, I remembered the feature I had seen about the handwritten letters Broncos QB Peyton Manning had sent to other players, and the impact those letters had. And in my head, I began to compose a letter of my own.

To Peyton, of course.

I know what you’re probably thinking. That it was an angry rant, never meant to see the light of day. And when I first put words down on paper, that’s what it was. But as I revised and rewrote that letter (by hand, not in the computer), it slowly evolved. It became something more. I no longer felt the need to drown my sorrows in booze. I could feel that my belief in my team and its players had only been temporarily shaken.

And I wanted him to know that.

I’m mailing that letter. I don’t expect a reply. I don’t even know if Peyton will read it. But it doesn’t matter. In a way, the letter has already done what I needed it to do. Writing it has helped my broken heart begin the healing process, and made me realize one very important fact.

I am a Denver Broncos fan. For better or worse, that will never change.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

A New Year’s Resolution post is probably one of the oldest cliche’s in the blogging world, but I’m going to write one anyway. Even if no one sees it, having my goals out “in print,” so to speak, makes me feel like I need to be a little more accountable for what I do.

2013 was my first full year of writing and submitting short stories on a regular basis. Because of this, I had no set goals, just a vague idea that I wanted to write 12 new short stories in the year, and to submit them as often as I could.  In the end, I finished 9 new stories, and did a total of 46 submissions. For 2014, I want to double my output: 18 new short stories, plus whatever novellas, etc., that pop into my head. I want to make a grand total of 100 short story submissions. No goals as far as responses, good or bad. That’s the part I can’t control. I also have my novel length work that needs to be sent on submission. I’ve been procrastinating on that, big time.

My other goals for 2014: to keep up with both this blog and my Twitter account on a more regular basis. Especially Twitter. I missed out on quite a few themed submission calls last year because I wasn’t paying attention to what was being tweeted by other writers. It really bugs me to be missing out on the Lightspeed special issue: Women Destroy Science Fiction. It sounds like a really fun idea, but I doubt I’ll be able to participate. I have only one science fiction short that is ready for sub. It was sent it out two days before I heard about the call, to a market that most likely won’t reply until after the deadline. And since I write more fantasy than science fiction, I’m not counting on coming up with something in time. 😦

For the blog, I’m going to try for one new post a week, on Mondays. We’ll see how that goes…

What goals/resolutions are you making in the new year?


# AdPit

#AdPit is the Twitter pitch party taking place today starting at 8am EST. It’s being organized by Heidi Norrod.  Writers will be throwing their 140-character pitches into the ring, hoping to catch the attention of the agents and editors that are watching. This is similar to the more general #PitMad pitch party that took place in September, but with one significant change: This event is restricted to writers of Adult and New Adult works only.

Need an example of a Twitter pitch? This is one of the pitches I’ll be using for The Dragon Princess:

Death by firing squad prompted Peregrine’s rebirth as a dragon. Now the shapeshifting princess must lead a rebellion.  #AdPit Fantasy

Good luck to everyone who is planning to participate!