Friday, February 29, 2008

Two-month roundup

So we're now two months into 2008, and how am I doing with my new year's resolutions? These were my resolutions this year:

1. Sell a novel or novella
2. Make my first pro sale
3. Make at least four other sales
4. Write two novellas and a novel
5. Write at least four short stories
6. Finish revisions for Stag in Balance and Jack of All Trades
7. Finish writing Stag in Velvet

I've made two sales to paying markets already, so #3 is half done. I'm working on the novel in #4--I'm hoping to finish it by the end of March (although I bet it stretches out into April). The other day I started thinking about Jack of All Trades, and suddenly saw what the book is lacking and how to fix it; I've started those revisions, but got blindsided by a story idea yesterday. I should be able to finish that story this weekend. Not counting flash fiction, and not counting "Bearskin" which I wrote half of in 2007, I've written three stories already this year, so I'm nearly done with #5.

Not bad, really, after only two months. And to think that this time last year I hadn't yet sold a single piece of fiction.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Desolate Places received!

I got home today to find that my contributor's copy of Desolate Places has arrived! I can't get over how gorgeous the cover is. It's worth the purchase price just for the cover.
It's got a ton of stories in it, including "Honeymoon" by me--and a big shout out to Camille Alexa, whose story "Flying Solo" starts the anthology off!
Incidentally, "Honeymoon" is one of my older stories, back from when I never sent a story off after it had gotten two or three rejections. I rewrote it just before sending it to Hadley Rille Books' call for subs last year, and it was accepted literally within hours. Camille may have the first story in the anthology, but I happen to know mine was the first accepted. Meow.
Except for the Black Dragon, White Dragon anthology (which should be out soon), I believe this is my last story that still uses Katherine Shaw as a byline instead of K.C. Shaw. Just, you know, FYI.
Now the pizza's out of the oven (only slightly burnt) and I've got my pajamas on. It's time to pretend like it's Friday night instead of Thursday, and lounge around reading my new anthology!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Business of Writing

I'm still at the stage where I think the business end of writing is fun. Not subbing stories, I don't mean--that's agony and uncertainty rolled into a big boring ball. I like proofing stories that have sold, and returning contracts, and updating my website. I just did all three and I'm feeling pleased with myself.

The story is "Newton the Baker's Boy," which will appear in the Strange Worlds of Lunacy anthology (aka the silly fantasy antho) in April (sponsored by Residential Aliens and CrystalWizard Productions). I'll post a link as soon as it's available, of course. When I got the email with the story proof attached, I didn't realize it was this story. My first thought was, "Oh, God, I have to proof 'Silent Skies,'" which of course is my story forthcoming in Byzarium. It's not that I don't like "Silent Skies," it's just that it's an older story so I've read it a million times, and it's also very long.

I updated my website slightly, to change the silly anthology title and also include the Amazon link to the Desolate Places anthology, which is now available! The cover image isn't up yet, and the editor has indicated that Amazon usually gives a price discount to his volumes but that they haven't done so yet to this one, so you might want to bookmark that page and then buy it when it's updated. My comp copy should arrive next week or so!

I need to revamp my website. That's one thing I don't look forward to doing.

Monday, February 25, 2008

First story appearance of 2008!

I forgot to say more about Renard's Menagerie issue 5 that's out now with my story "The King's Messenger" in it! I read the entire issue Saturday and really enjoyed it. I don't say that lightly, either. I probably shouldn't admit it, but I very often don't read all the stories in the magazines/anthologies my stuff appears in--I just read mine over and make sure there are no horrible mistakes, and then flip through the rest of the issue and see if anything strikes my fancy.

In this case, I read my story, then thought I'd look at the next one. I read it, thought "that was good, but I'll read the rest later" and next thing I knew, I'd read the whole issue cover to cover. That's amazing for me. Needless to say, it's a good issue with interesting stories and some nice internal art, and a book review section. I think I may have to spring for a subscription with my next paycheck.

Now that that issue's out, I'm sure everyone is relieved that I will freaking stop talking about it. I plugged this one a lot, sorry--but I was just excited that my favorite character Kristof has made it into print! Now I just need to sell his book.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

So how did I do?

I made all those weekend resolutions Friday night, back when the whole weekend stretched out in front of me, full of promise. Did I keep them?


I did write "Rumpelstiltskin" and revised it--it clocked in at just under 6,000 words--and sent it off. I think it turned out well. I wrote about 1,000 words on White Rose instead of the 11,000 I had over-optimistically planned. I did not write anything else at all.

Also, I played a lot of Bubble Shooter.

Quick note on comments

I've been getting a lot of comment spam lately, so I've changed the settings so that commenters have to type in the goofy word thingy before they can post. Hopefully that'll take care of the problem without causing undue annoyance to all my zillions of readers.

Hey, I just got back from seeing "Be Kind Rewind." You should definitely catch it if you can--it's a great movie, funny and sweet and not at all what I expected.

Can't sleep. Clown's gonna eat me.

Sometimes, when I've been writing intensively during the evening, I can't stop writing at night. I'll lie in bed and start working out plot problems, and before I know it it's 2am and I'm tossing and turning and wishing I had just gotten up and written the damn thing instead of thinking about it.

So today, I got up and wrote. I just finished "Rumpelstiltskin." I suspect the parts I wrote tonight/this morning suck, but they're done, and I can revise and rewrite tomorrow/later on today. At least now I can stop thinking about it, dammit.

Now I just have to keep from thinking about White Rose.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Letters home

The family is going through the last of my grandmother's things, and we discovered that she'd saved every single letter her grandchildren ever wrote her from college. Mom bundled mine up and gave them to me, and I've spent the last hour reading through them and then throwing them out. I'd forgotten all the tedious minutiae of my undergraduate life at Berea College, back when stamps were a quarter.

A few slightly amusing excerpts:

"Well, I need to get back to my Romantic poets. How I am coming to loathe them!"

"Tell Little Mike [a cousin] he's a whiz! I know I couldn't have won a geography bowl. I couldn't have even gotten one question, probably, unless they'd asked me where I was."

"My creative writing class is going too slowly for me: so far we've been in class about a month, and we've had exactly 3 assignments. One was to write 3 haiku, and the other 2 were other poems. Next we get to write a sonnet. Oh, joy. I think I'm going to ask my advisor if it's possible to take creative writing twice, under 2 different teachers."

"Last night I watched 'Vertigo' with a couple of friends--the Hitchcock film, you know. Have you seen it? It was pretty cool, but the plot was kind of loose, I thought. We had all kinds of potato chips and food [and booze], but naturally I can't taste anything [I had a cold; my friend Robin told me fuzzy navals were good for me because of the orange juice]."

Ah, youth. I'm feeling terribly depressed now. I spent the morning working on "Rumpelstiltskin" and it's coming along great, though. I'm very happy with it so far, but I wish it was done already. Oh, and I got my comp copies of Renard's Menagerie! It's a very nice magazine; I haven't read the other stories yet, but they look good, and I like the internal artwork. More about that tomorrow, though, or maybe later tonight. I know you can't wait.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Weekend Resolutions

What with one thing and another, I've been awfully wobbly on my new year's resolutions so far this year. As a prelude for getting back on track, here are my resolutions for this weekend. I will:

1. Write my version of "Rumpelstiltskin."

2. Write a flash fiction piece for Every Day Fiction, because I'm pretty sure they're going to reject the one I've got out to them right now and I want to be ready with a "yes, that one sucked, but this one they'll like!"

3. Get up to 60,000 words on White Rose. I'm currently at not quite 50,000.

4. Not play a single game of Bubble Shooter.

I think I can do it, although #4 will be hard. I don't even like that game, and I thought I'd seen the last of it, but it's on my new computer and I keep clicking on it. I can't help myself. I am weak.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Anthologies R Fun, with linkage

Today I got the anthology I built at, and it looks great! It's printed through Lulu, and they always do a good job (I have a comic available on Lulu, incidentally, and my mom has a collection of hysterically funny essays, and my LJ friend Barbara Kelley has a collection of her charming essays too--so I'm pretty familiar with Lulu).

I'm not sure that paragraph could have held many more links.

I love anthologies, especially themed ones. I'm all excited about getting my copies of the Black Dragon, White Dragon and the Desolate Places anthologies, both due out very soon--the former from Ricasso Press, the latter from Hadley Rille Books. I can't wait to see how other writers handled the themes. I happen to know that both anthos are at the printers, so it shouldn't be long.

In non-anthology and non-interesting news, I've had a headache all day and a skunk seems to have been run over very close to my house. This is not a good combination. Skunk stink = headache from hell anyway. In self-defense, I think I'd better take a hot shower and go to bed to watch Mythbusters. I'll take Bunny the laptop with me (to bed, I mean, obviously not in the shower) so I can pretend to get some work done too.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Wow. Scalzi disembowels Burt

Okay, check this out--and the comments are fun too. John Scalzi, champion of SFWA and writers everywhere, tears Andrew Burt's guts out all over the place in the most wickedly entertaining post I have seen in ages. If the whole foofara of Burt's screw-up regarding his one-man crusade against imaginary book piracy passed you by last year, you can read about it on the famous BoingBoing post. After all that, Burt has the audacity to run for president of SFWA. Oh. My. Gawd. Thus, Scalzi attacks.

I have no dog in this race. I'm not yet eligible for SFWA, and frankly, when I am eligible I don't know that I'll join. It'll depend a lot on if the organization pulls up its socks and starts working on behalf of active writers instead of on behalf of Andrew Burt's massive ego.

I did wonder, a few days ago, why Jim Hines had posted about the election with such a prickly undertone. Now I know, and that post makes a lot more sense.

Dammit, I just realized it's after seven and I was planning to spend the entire evening writing. I guess I still can, but it would have been nice to be a few thousands words along right now. The ending and sequel to White Rose are both taking shape mentally, and I really need to get much further along than I am.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A book for you to buy

I finally bought J.M. McDermott's new book today, The Last Dragon, which came out not quite two weeks ago. He let me read the first chapter before the book was out, so I knew it was going to be good, and so far--I'm still just 50 pages in--I'm very impressed! I'll post a review once I'm done, probably in a few days. I do really recommend it, though. I picked up my copy at B&N, but I saw a copy at Books-a-Million last weekend (but didn't buy it then because I was broke).

After my morning errands, I've spent a restful afternoon and evening reading and writing. I meant to cut big chunks out of the fairy tale "Bearskin" today, but after rereading it, I only trimmed it by 100 words. It just flowed too well to change. I sent it off to a market that it's probably completely wrong for.

I also reread what I've got of White Rose so far, a little over 40,000 words, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it's not bad. If I found it in the bookstore, written by someone else, I'd buy it. Speaking of which, when I was at the bookstore today I picked up a copy of Green Rider by Kristen Britain. Who knows when I'll have time to read it, but it looked interesting even though it starts off with the bad guy doing evil stuff. Look, other writers, you need to introduce your main character first. If Green Rider didn't have a good premise and a horse on the cover, I wouldn't have bought it after reading the first few pages. I may still regret my decision.

Friday, February 15, 2008

oh look, a deer

I got another request for full today, for The Weredeer. Because I cannot possibly mention it enough, you can read a most excellent story about The Weredeer's main character Kristof in the current issue (#5) of Renard's Menagerie. Go on and order it, yes! It compels you to order! Look into my eyyyyyes and order the issue!

I haven't actually gotten my copy yet. But I've read the story! It's good!

Actually, I do seriously adore Kristof more than any other character I've ever written, which is why I'm so completely nuts about driving every single person who reads this blog to run out and buy lots of copies of Renard's Menagerie. Also, isn't that a really awesome magazine title? Yes, it's a furry-themed zine. But not an icky one. Look, just buy your copy so I can quit pestering you, okay?

I spent the entire day filing invoices, during which time I worked out: a short story about a high school teacher who falls in love with a drug czar, the solution to a plot problem in The Weredeer's sequel, the next action-packed sequences in White Rose, the ending to my version of "Rumpelstiltskin," and some possible changes to Jack of All Trades. Words I have actually written today: zero. But I did watch the Transformers DVD tonight, and that movie is seriously full of win. Beautifully cheesy.

The night is young. Ish. I don't have to get up early tomorrow morning, although my dog and cats will insist but then I can go back to bed, so tonight I'll stay up and get some writing done. I did seriously intend to write at lunch, but we had a stupid baked potato bar at work and it's hard to eat a baked potato and type at the same time, particularly when people insist on talking to me too. I do not like to socialize at lunch. Lunch is writing time.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Let's hope for paragraphs today...

Every Day Fiction has posted a Top 25 stories list, and my "Sawmill Road" is on it! I also highly recommend pretty much the entire rest of the list, and frankly the rest of EDF. It's an awesome website with a new story every day. And I'm not just saying that because one of my stories is in the top 25, although I bet I wouldn't have blogged about the list otherwise. Just being honest here.

I got a decent amount of writing done at lunch today, and I instantly felt a million times better about life. I'm worn out from work this week, so I plan to take a shower and then go to bed with my laptop (in a, you know, Platonic way) to write until about nine, when I predict I won't be able to keep my eyes open any longer. I want to get back into the habit of writing a minimum of 1,000 words a day again. I had hoped to have White Rose finished by the end of March, and other story ideas are starting to stack up in a holding pattern while I peck around with this one stupid novel.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Elrond Hubbard

Oh, look! Another protest to celebrate L. Ron Hubbard's birthday! I snagged this from Warren Ellis's blog, after seeing it posted pretty much everywhere. I thought I'd toss my hat in the ring too. March 15 is a Saturday, and hopefully the weather will be nice.
Incidentally, when I first heard of L. Ron Hubbard, back when I was a kid, I heard the name before seeing it. And I got it in my head as Elrond Hubbard, and dammit if I still think of him as Elrond.
I think I've only written about 50 words today, and maybe 400 yesterday. I have got to get back on track! It's been over a week since my grandmother's death and things have pretty much gotten back to normal. That means I'm just being self-indulgent at this point, and no one would be more critical of that than my grandmother.
Edit: No, I don't know how I managed to leave all the hard returns out of the post first time around. It didn't look all smushed together on my end.
Edit to the edit: And no, I don't know why it continues to smush it all together. I put in two hard returns this time. If this is all one big paragraph, you'll at least know I tried to fix it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

More Anonymous protests from Sunday

Snagged this from Elizabeth Bear's blog (of course) about the London protest:

Gawd, it sounds like it was a lot of fun!

Also, go here to see a roundup of the Sunday protests against the Church of Scientology. None in Knoxville, TN, but Memphis and Nashville got some Anonymous lovin.

And in further Church of Scientology news, I got a call last night about 9pm from someone at the Writers of the Future contest--which I reiterate is only tangentially (as far as I know) affiliated with Scientology. Apparently my name is identical to a girl's in California, and the woman who called was just wanting to make sure I was me and not her. Apparently they keep files of everyone's entries and she wanted my story to get into the right file.

*looks suspicious*

Actually, I'm glad to know they got my entry this quarter.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Anonymous hits the streets!

With everything that happened last week, I totally forgot that there was a call out for protests by Anonymous yesterday. Well, I read about a big one on Boing Boing today, so you should head on over and read about it. Over 300 people showed up for it! I didn't realize Newsweek had picked up the story. Fun fun fun!

I got a reply about the problem with the antho display I posted about yesterday, and the bug is fixed. So in a week or two I should have a nice fat anthology in the mailbox. I already want to make a second one. Considering that my revenue so far from the stories I've sold is still well under a buck, I think I should give the buying part of AnthologyBuilder a rest. At least for a while.

Now I really desperately need to go change TV channels--I don't know what channel I left it on, but it seems to be running an old American Idol, a show I absolutely loathe. I think I'll take Bunny the Miniature Laptop with me, and get into bed and write all evening.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Back in the Saddle

I'm finally working on White Rose again tonight, and it's going slowly. This despite my interest in the story--I'm just at the part where Rose meets the were-zebras. Yeah. Were-zebras.

Just goes to show how easy it is to get out of the rhythm of writing. I've been working for three hours now, and I don't think I've written 500 words. Of course, it doesn't help that I've also been ripping CDs to my new computer. That might have distracted me a bit.

I have so much to do, writing-wise--start "Rumpelstiltskin," revise the other fairy tale so I can market it, do some revisions to Evil Outfitters, Ltd that have struck me as necessary, reread Jack of All Trades so I can roll up my sleeves and really revise that sucker, and of course keep working on White Rose. I suppose it's good that I don't, you know, have deadlines or anything. Although it would be nice if someone wanted all this stuff.

I bought the anthology I put together on I crammed 30 stories into it, to the maximum of 350 pages. There's a glitch in the program that messes up the page display if you have more than 25 stories in an anthology, but hopefully it won't screw up the printed book. I keep emailing the proprietress about the bug but haven't heard back from her.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


I just found a link to the table of contents for the Desolate Places anthology from Hadley Rille Books. Is that not the awesomest cover EVAR? I can't wait to get my copy. My story is fourth from the last, "Honeymoon," and I find it amusing that the story fourth from the first is named "Honeymoon at the Pearly Gate," by Tom Barlow.

Speaking of covers, I also just discovered that my story "The King's Messenger" is the lead story in the new issue of Renard's Menagerie, and I got the cover illustration! The story's about a guy who can turn into a deer, and I have absolutely no idea why the artist failed to put a deer on the cover. Seems to me that would be a lot more visually exciting than a bunch of kinda ugly people standing around. Not that I am complaining about my first cover, I promise! Not everyone can draw deer, after all.

I can, of course.

I haven't done much writing this week. It's been a strange and topsy-turvey time, with relatives all in and sad tasks to be done like cleaning out my grandmother's house. I'm going over tomorrow to help finish that up. I still can't quite take it in that she's gone; when I'm at her house, I keep expecting her to wander in from another room to tell us to be careful moving that table, and by the way where is the computer?

Last week I got an astounding eleven rejections, too, which on top of my grandmother's death and all its attendant emotions, definitely made me something of a basket case for a time. Today my mother and I went out together for the first time in a very long time, and I feel much better now. We had lunch at Olive Garden and did a little bit of shopping, then saw Juno at the big Pinnacle theater (a good movie, incidentally), and finished up at the library. We got Subway on the way home and I did her taxes for her, and then I came home and did my taxes (I get a nice refund!) and caught up on some of the other things that have been hanging over me all week. So even though I didn't write today, I feel good about everything else.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

New computer

For those of you keeping score at home, I left my old computer behind when I moved, since I have my cute Asus eee laptop. My old computer I donated to my brother for spare parts. But now I have a new computer, or at least newish, because my grandmother died yesterday and the family decided I should get her computer. So now I have a big desktop computer with a flatscreen monitor and wifi (I had my brother unsecure it so my neighbors can benefit), and a little printer. Much as I love my eee, it's nice to have a real computer too.

That's all I'm going to post for a few days. Things haven't been easy the last few weeks as Grandmom fought her last illness, and now it's a time for family.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


I just got a story back, the slightly raunchy one I mentioned last week. The editor said she was getting a number of stories on this theme and suggested it had been a workshop prompt. I also got the distinct impression (although she didn't say) that she found the theme distasteful. Oh, and she said the story was too long for the punchline.

You know, I'm to the point where I don't want to get personal rejections. A form reject is no problem--big deal, the editor just didn't want the story for whatever reason, move along. A personal rejection, unless it's extremely positive (and let's face it, a reject can never be positive enough) is just an extra kick in the pants. Particularly one like this, which in a few short sentences made me decide I'm unoriginal, wordy, and unfunny. Which may be true, but I didn't need to hear it from an editor at a two-bit non-pro ezine.

*checks to make sure I didn't mention where I sent that piece*

Okay. Yes, I'm being a big baby here. So what. It's my blog, I'll whine if I want to.

I happen to think this is a good story. In fact, I reread it last night and thought, "That's funnier than I remembered, and I like the characters." I had expected to get the story back, and had planned to send it to ASIM or even Strange Horizons, but hell...I'm afraid those editors will think, "Oh, another one of those lame workshop stories." Which embarrasses me just thinking about it. Even though I thought up the damn idea while filing at work.

I guess I'll go trawl Duotrope for another victim.