If you remember, my short story “Catchin’ Gargoyles” was accepted for the Cogs, Crowns, and Carriages steampunk anthology earlier this year. In fact, the anthology was split into two books, the second named Ghouls, Gears, and Gauges. And here are the covers for both books!
I’m proud to be part of this project, and I’m proud of the story. The Kickstarter campaign for the book starts next Monday, September 16. I’ll be posting more about the books and the KS campaign soon, including links!
When I was in the game industry, we would always joke that Gen Con marked the end of summer. And in a way, it holds true—the biggest gathering for the industry and gamers that you work toward all year. Then you go back, regroup, and get ready to do it all again the following year.
Funny how our lives move to beats, like a script or a book. Some beats we can anticipate. Others come at you quick and unexpected. Who knows where I’m headed with this? Not me. So I’ll leave it.
My story “She is Medusa” is on Fabula Argentea. If you haven’t read it, go read it now. I’ve helpfully provided the link. There has been some trouble with the publishers of the anthology that “Catchin’ Gargoyles” was accepted for. However, the project has been saved by some intrepid independents, and we’re going to Kickstart a two-volume set, one of which will include my story. When I have more on that, I’ll let you know.
Despite the gangbuster start to the year, no other stories have been picked up yet. Such is life. But more stories are heading out and more are hitting paper, so even as this summer approaches its close, the work continues.
First things first: I’ve had two short stories accepted this year! That’s two more than last year! Hooray!
Which ones? Glad you asked. A story I wrote in January, “Catchin’ Gargoyles,” has been accepted for inclusion in the short-story anthology Cogs, Crowns & Carriages from OWS Ink, slated for release in November. I’ll let you know more about dates and how to order the book later. The second story, “She is Medusa,” was accepted for publication in Fabula Argentea in May. Super happy to have both of those stories out there where you’ll be able to read them.
My WIP, Bledsoe, slouched to a crawl. No one’s fault but mine. I’ve lost my way a bit on it. The plot has gotten muddy and I need to do some deep cleaning. I have about 20K words that I still need to write on it—I think—but I need to figure out the ending first. That’s on the slate for the remainder of this month, along with another short story that needs writing.
As always, there are the stories that are heading out the door. Everyone likes to hear and talk about successes. It’s harder to hear about and talk about rejection and failure. However, these things are part of life, and particularly part of the creative life. A story I wrote in February, “Ice Jamming,” has gone out twice and been rejected twice already this year. “Where the Glorious Fish Are” did the same. The good news is that the rejections were quick. I prefer those to the ones where I have a story tied up for 100+ days without word. Then one day, rejection. I’d much rather get a quick rejection and get the story back out to another market I think will publish it.
Over the last year, with my renewed focus on writing, I’ve noticed my style evolve, and I’m writing the best stories I’ve ever written. It doesn’t mean that the process has gotten easier, although it has evolved too. The results are noticeably better, though. Still, I’m but a single voice among many, many others, and the places for publication are at a premium.
You’re supposed to take the time between rejections to write your next story, so that’s what I’m focused on doing.
Finally, this past year has been particularly trying because I’ve been out of a full-time job. That’s about to end in April as I head back into the publishing world. However, my renewed commitment to my creative work is solid. I have too many stories to tell and worlds to explore to leave them alone anymore. More to come!
In March, I set a goal to write a new short story every month. I wasn’t able to achieve that goal, but I did write six short stories between March and October—well, five shorts and a novelette. And in November, I won NaNoWriMo, cranking out 50,000 words in 30 days. Upon inspection, that’s an immense improvement over my annual fiction output between 2006 to 2017. Of course, I was a full-time magazine editor during those years, so I was writing, just not on my projects. Yes, I’m trying to make myself feel a little less acutely over my laziness.
Of the stories I’ve finished this year, I’ve been shopping four out regularly to markets. The short story “99” simply doesn’t work no matter how I shake it, so that one is on indefinite hold. The novelette has gone through one rewrite and needs another, so it won’t be ready for others to see until 2019. That leaves “Run Rabbit, Run”, “Where the Glorious Fish Are”, “The Boy with the Blue Dragonfly”, and “She is Medusa”.
Combined, I’ve submitted stories 19 times this year, and received 17 rejections. This is how that breaks down:
As you know, I’ve been out of regular work since March, so I’ve had more time on my hands than I would have had otherwise. Of course, the problem with time is that it tends to slip away. Pretty soon, you realize you’ve binged on a Netflix show or three that you hadn’t intended to, or your house projects take longer than you initially estimated, or you enjoyed playing with the kids or just sitting with your spouse and lost track of the day. Whatever the reason, there are only a finite number of hours any of us has during a year (8,760 or thereabouts) and they can get away from you.
I’ve read more new-to-me books in 2018 than I have in the last two previous years combined. I didn’t start out with a goal other than a vague hunger for more input, to explore places I hadn’t yet been. Surrounded by books, I felt starved, and that’s a weird place to be. Anyway, here’s the list grouped by author, but otherwise in no particular order:
I’m bopping in for a couple of quick updates. First, I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo all month. Barring a catastrophe, it looks like I’m going to hit the 50,000 words by or before the end of November—in just a couple of days. I’ve learned a lot about ...
Last week, many people lost their jobs in the wake of video-game company Telltale Games imploding. They were left without severance and insurance, and they were wiped out so suddenly, none had had a chance to prepare for the future. I had something similar happen to me in February this year. The differences are that I had about 30 day’s lead time and I did receive severance, though it was far from a golden parachute.
I left my full-time job in February this year. I’m not going to talk about that in this post. Rather, I’m going to give you some insights about what I’ve been doing since then. This is going to be some pretty dry stuff, probably, so I apologize now.
When I left my job, I had two finished novels under my belt. One, I decided long ago, would not see the light of day. The second, titled Into the Night, was better written and I thought stood a chance in hooking ...
See, I’m back.
As I look over my journal from the last month, I see a lot of salient points that I’d like to share with you, but not too many of them are quite ready for sharing at the moment.
Good news: I’ve picked up some freelance work. I’m careful about ringing too loudly about who I’m working for, because I don't want to kick up too much dust in the faces of those hiring me. They don't care about my politics, my toilet mouth, or my general outlook, but readers might. And frankly, I'm sensitive to that ...
I’ve been silent on my website for over a year. That was never my plan, but I was angry about the presidential election, the political state of the American republic, the proliferation of guns and bigotry and racism, and the sense that civilization was on the brink of complete disaster. I don’t feel different about any of that. I’m still angry. However, my time away allowed me to find fruitful ways to channel it. I simply didn’t want to shower all of you in blistering spleen on a biweekly or monthly basis.
I spent a day pouring myself through the Afrofuturistic world of Binti as imagined by Dr. Nnedi Okorafor. Immediately engaging, Okorafor subtly convinces us of a future Earth where humans can travel through space aboard biological starships distantly related to shrimp and have evolved technology to an almost-magic. In her universe, humans have warred with other intelligent species, seen horrendous damage to our planet, and still suffer from an array of prejudices, bigotry, and even racism despite having been introduced to a wider, more populated galaxy.
I've been thinking a lot over the past few months about autonomy, automation, robots, drones, and the what this means to people who go to work every day for a paycheck. I'm not a social scientist, hell, I'm not a scientist at all. I'm just a guy who works with words, edits a tech magazine, and writes sci-fi and fantasy fiction. But it seems to me that jobs have to stop being a measure of one's worth.
Look, I'm upset and outraged and fed up and tired of all of the bullshit surrounding the U.S.'s not-so-slow descent into an authoritarian kleptocracy of dunces. But every time I turn my mind toward writing something about it, the words disappear, a red haze fills my vision and I wake up in the morning behind the shed atop a mound of apple cores and covered with scratches from raccoons. So, that's where I'll leave that for the time being.
The other day, after finally dragging myself out of bed, I stumbled up to a mirror and stopped short. "Holy shit," just came rolling from between my lips. For the first time, ever, and I mean, never before, had I seen my reflection and thought, "That ain't me. That dude is sick. Like gonna fucking fall dead sick."