Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'll drive all night

Since I drove around all weekend long (seriously--I now have 500 miles on my car), I hardly did any writing. And my brain seems to be tired of Bloodhound, since it keeps suggesting I work on other projects for a while. No way, brain! I can't quit now!

But tomorrow is the start of a new month, and I really want to work on something else. So I'm going to try (once again--it's never worked very well in the past) writing two projects concurrently. If I work on Bloodhound during my lunch hour and something else--Stag in Ruin or Little Sparrow or Adventures in Zoology--in the evenings, I might get more done.

Or I might get nothing done. I won't know until I try it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A perfect day

With all the excitement of my new car, I completely forgot to mention that I sold a story! "Never Be Alone" will appear in the spring 2012 issue of Strange, Weird, and Wonderful.

It's been a lovely weekend so far. I actually took Friday off work so I'd have a four-day weekend instead of a three, which was a great idea. For one thing, I doubt the car I bought would have still been available if I'd waited until today. For another, I've got a longer time to write.

Of course, I haven't done much writing. This morning I went out to Starbucks and did write a few pages, but before long I had to go back out to my car and drive around. I ended up at Target, where I bought a picnic basket with a cheerful striped lining. And that was the perfect choice, since when I got home around noon, Mom reminded me that the Fellowship church downtown was having a barbecue. We bought barbecue chicken dinners (that turned out to be wonderful), packed them up in the basket with a cotton check blanket, and drove in my Mini to the river to picnic.

The weather was perfect, the river lovely. We packed everything back up after we'd eaten, and on our way back to the car, we happened upon a small wedding group. A couple was getting married right next to the river, so we stopped (because we didn't want to be rude by traipsing through their party with a picnic basket) and watched the rest of the ceremony. It was an absolutely charming chance event.

Now I have Bloodhound open and hopefully pretty soon I'll start typing new words.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Look, it's a mid-life crisis car!

I...I traded my Toyota Yaris. You know, the car that I was going to have paid off in another year. And after that I'd planned to funnel the money I would have used for the payment onto my student loans. In my plans, I'm a responsible, frugal adult.

So of course I went and traded my car today. And got a Mini Cooper--you know, the car I couldn't afford.

It actually wasn't all that expensive. I got a great trade-in and it was a hail-damaged car (although repaired) so it was cheaper than it would have been ordinarily. My payment only went up about $15. Um, with a six-year note.

But it's beautiful. It's exactly what I wanted. And I am feeling very, very smug.

Green, with white racing stripes. Hell yeah.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Endless words

Argh, I still haven't finished Bloodhound. It's just over 100,000 words and I still have a lot to write before "the end." On the other hand, that's how Bell-Men was too. Endless. But geez, I've been writing Bloodhound for almost six months now! I don't think I've ever taken so long to complete a book. I have a three-day weekend coming up; maybe I'll just push through and slam out all the words, and fix them later.

Of course, since I've been browsing deviantART with an eye to finding an artist I can bribe--er, pay to make me a cover for Evil Outfitters, I may not get any writing done for weeks. It's as addictive as TV Tropes. Well, almost.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Whoa. Emails.

I got several emails this morning. The best one was from Angry Robot Books, who emailed to let me know Bell-Men has made the next cut and has been advanced from the slush reader to an editor. Every time I think about it, I start to hyperventilate.

Two of the other emails I got were from small publishers. One was a royalty statement letting me know that I'd sold zero books in the last quarter and earned zero dollars. One was a form rejection for Evil Outfitters, Ltd. I think there is a lesson to learn from these two emails.

Evil Outfitters came very close to being published by a large commercial press several years ago. It's a quirky, humorous fantasy set in the same world as Jack of All Trades, and I think it's awesome. But it's made the rounds and I can't interest any other publishers in it. I was trying to find another small publisher to send it to earlier, and the thought of finding a publisher, sending it off, waiting several months, and finally getting another rejection so I have to start all over--it just makes me tired.

I think I can probably manage to sell zero books in a quarter on my own, without a publisher. So maybe I'll self-publish Evil Outfitters, although...well, the thought of formatting, figuring out a cover, navigating the contracts for various online venues, reformatting for each venue, spending cash money on an ISBN and listing fees, etc., just makes me tired too. That's why I want a publisher. Ugh. Maybe I'll just trunk it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday nattering

We're gearing up for final registration at work, so I haven't been home much. When I have been home, I've been reading. For the first time since starting Skunk Cat Book Reviews, I'm behind getting my reviews written. Last night I posted a review of Aaron Polson's excellent The House Eaters and tonight (if I have time--I have to stay late at work to give a placement test) I'll post a review of Kevin Hearne's Hounded, which I also loved. Of course by then I may need to post another review, since I'm halfway through a third book.

Anyway, it's been busy. But tomorrow I get off at noon and have a real weekend for a change. Mom talked me into going by the Mini Cooper dealership tomorrow to test drive a Mini. I can't afford one unless it's used, and I swore almost ten years ago that I'd never buy another used car, but it's a Mini and they're so cute! I have a Toyota Yaris hatchback which gets excellent gas mileage but which I've never loved. And since I drive 45-minutes-one-way for my commute five days a week, I need a good gas mileage--but I'd also like a car I just love to drive, since I spend so much time in it. Thus, I will be test driving a Mini tomorrow afternoon, but if I come home with one it will only be because hundred-dollar bills showered on me from the sky. Geez, the cheapest new Minis they sell start at the same amount as my yearly salary. And I have student loans, so my debt-to-income ratio makes accountants blanch. That's why I live with my mom: I can't afford rent. I certainly can't afford to trade my aging Yaris. Please allow me a heavy sigh at this point.

I have no news on the writing front, as usual. Just now I was going down the list of my pending submissions on Duotrope and caught myself muttering, "Too soon for that one...I don't think that market's going to respond...they're not going to respond either...that publisher never responds, I don't know why I bother with them anymore...another month for that one...I don't think I'm going to get a response from that market either...." Depressing. Frustrating.

I have to get dressed to go to work now, to drive 45 minutes and stay there until late this evening and drive 45 minutes back. Because that's why they pay me the big bucks.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Congratulations to Alan Davidson, who won the Leather, Denim & Silver anthology and the little devil stamp! Thanks to everyone who entered!

And thank goodness Blogger finally came back up today. I was in withdrawal.

You can still enter!

Don't forget you can still enter the contest! I won't be picking a winner until I get home this evening. Just email your name to kcshaw [at] gmail [dot] com if you haven't already. Details here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Off the grid, man

Frequently I complain, usually on Twitter, about our lawnmower. It is--was, rather--one of those gas-powered push mowers that you have to hold the little bar or lever up while you mow or the engine shuts down.

It finally died the other day. Mom decided to buy a new one, but we talked it over first. We both agreed to try one of those old-fashioned hand mowers, the kind almost everyone had when I was a kid.

Well, I love it. It's light, maneuverable, and requires no gas. I just push it along and it goes whirr and cuts the grass--and does a much better job than our old mower. We're lucky in that our yard, though large, is relatively smooth; there aren't many little hillocks or tuffets to navigate. It's so fun to use I want to mow every day.

So here's to trying something old and finding it works just fine! But don't expect me to go back to typewriters.

(If you haven't already, don't forget to enter my contest!)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Contest! Devil-hunters in ink and an inky devil!

I've been meaning to post all week and haven't had time to do it justice. But here it is! It's a contest for a copy of Pill Hill Press's Leather, Denim & Silver: Legends of the Monster Hunter anthology. If you win, you also get this awesome little rubber stamp that I had made specially years ago, of the Underwood Deviled Ham devil logo*. One-of-a-kind! (Well, actually, the lady who made it for me liked it so much she made herself one, so it's two-of-a-kind. But that was like ten years ago and I bet she's lost hers.)

To Enter: Email me your name at kcshaw123 [at] gmail [dotcom] and I'll put an entry in the hat for you. One entry per person. The contest runs all week. I'll draw a name on Friday, May 13, because giving away a devil stamp and a copy of a monster hunter antho is an appropriate action for Friday the 13th.

I've been reading the anthology and it's awesome--excellent stories full of mayhem, blood, guts, horror both gooey and psychological, steampunk battles, hard choices, things with tentacles and fangs, and one fine story by me. There are thirty stories in the anthology, which as you can see from the picture is enormous. Definitely a coffee-table book. :)

[While I've got you all here, I can't stop myself from mentioning that I'm running a sale at my etsy shop. Enter MAYFLOWERS when you check out and you get 25% off your order!]

*Please Mr. Underwood Deviled Ham Company, do not sue me. I quite like your deviled ham and eat it all the time.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Rewrite Request Retire

The day I went to the beach, I got a rewrite request from a large small publisher (heh) for one of my billions of useless novellas. Obviously I haven't had a chance to address the rewrites yet, but I've been thinking about what I want to do. I've got a good idea of how I should fix the motivation problem, but there's a worldbuilding issue that has me flummoxed. I need to set aside a few hours to work on the rewrite. Maybe Thursday.

Last month I got another rewrite request...on a 900-word story. The editor was confused because she expected the story to be spooky and it wasn't. I have noticed that that particular market doesn't seem to recognize humor when they see it. Since the story wasn't much good to start with, I just deleted it. Flash fiction is disposable.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunburned Days

Dawn yesterday on Folly Beach, South Carolina. Mom took that picture, but I was with her. We left a few hours later, and now we're home.

The beach was amazing and awesome and wonderful. We all had a great time and got sunburned. Thursday night I stayed up with my brother, sister-in-law, oldest nephew, and a cousin and his wife to play D&D; I didn't get to bed until about 1am, and was woken at 4am when Mom, my sister-in-law's mother, and an aunt got up to watch the royal wedding. I didn't want to watch the wedding and couldn't get back to sleep since I was sleeping on a pull-out couch on the upstairs balcony right above the TV, so I went outside and walked three or four miles along the beach. When I left it was dark and the crescent moon was shining on the wet sand. By the time I got back, the sun was well up.

It was hard to leave, but I was glad to get home to my garden and my own bed. I just wish I didn't have to *groan* get up early tomorrow and go to work.

Not entirely to my surprise, I did not do any writing while I was gone. I still haven't finished Bloodhound.

Here's our beach house; in the foreground is the sand turtle with a castle on its back that we made on Thursday, that was still there on Saturday when we left.