Spring Blitz 2017 – The End Is Nigh

May 2, 2017 at 9:40 pm (horror, Links, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , )

My blitz is all over now but the waiting. I do already have a couple of acceptances (and multiple rejections).  I should have posted this wrap up on Sunday, but I beg off based on illness (I had a cold), taxes (I had to finish them up) and gardening (we planted this weekend.)

I had meant to write this following review up as soon as I finished the book, but all the things I mentioned above got in the way. Besides, I find writing a review is something better done once I’ve had a chance to mull things over.  And so, I’ve been mulling.

The first thing I want to say is that Zeroes, by Chuck Wendig, was a breath of fresh read.  After having read a handful of very formulaic Sandra Brown thrillers, which while entertaining on a basic level, had seriously flat and repetitive characterization and even reused the “father gave daughter up for adoption but regretted it later” plot line, I needed something with substance.  Zeroes had substance, and then some.

First of all, I always judge a book by its characterization, and the characterization in Zeroes offered novelty and depth.  The cast was diverse.  While one of the protagonists…perhaps you could call him the protagonist-in-chief, because there were technically five protagonists (six if you want to count Harris who perhaps is more of a strong secondary,) is very much a white male everyman, he certainly doesn’t “save the day”.  In fact, he is heavily reliant on the diverse other characters in his hacking group and would have gotten nowhere without them.  There’s a rocky romantic thread with the exceptionally competent Aleena and the “buddy” component with DeAndre, and even the aging mentor/father figure in Wade.  While in essence none of these plot elements are original, what makes them different are the strengths and weaknesses of the particular characters and the out of the ordinary dynamics involved.

And then there’s Reagan – the best part of the book for me.  She’s the character I both loved and hated the most.  She’s the one I could identify with even though in some ways I despised her…someone I could have been if my life had taken a different turn at some point.  She’s callous, brash and unapologetic.  She’s also clever, creative and conniving,  Plus she’s broken.  All the protagonists are in some way, but you can see it most in her because she’s brutally honest about it.  Her most notable shining moment is my favourite part of the book and without it, the story would have been lost.

I can forgive a book with a weak plot line as long as the characters are good, but I didn’t have to in this case.  The plot had oodles of dark intrigue and thrilling action with enough complexity to keep me interested.  And I have to say that I loved the little introductory chapters for each of the characters.  It gives you a chance to properly “meet” them before jumping into the story, so that you actually care what’s going on.

I picked up this book out of curiosity because I follow Chuck’s well-written blog.  Now I will probably go out of my way to read more of his books.  This one was a winner.

Here’s one of the recent release of one of my flash fiction stories from a prior out.  Check out “Pure Mime” at Body Parts Magazine.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Spring Blitz 2017 – Hanging in There

April 21, 2017 at 2:12 am (Links, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , , )

I completed my 20th submission for April today, despite not keeping up with regular blitz blog posts. I blame mundane tasks that have gotten in the way, like helping with homework, chasing chickens (see the dastardly Pecan here to the left) and doing my taxes, and not so mundane tasks like being eyeball deep in Chuck Wendig’s Zeroes (which I hope to review on Monday.) I’ve been testing new venue waters too which has meant investing more time to broaden my call searches.

I’ve been waiting on a couple of new releases expected shortly. Forest Seclusion (adult content warning) is now available here, and there will be more to follow fairly soon.

I’ve also received a new acceptance – a year and four days in the making.  I was on the brink of retracting that submission when the acceptance came through, but I was pleased to see the wait was worth it.  I try to give a submission plenty of time before retracting, but I usually figure a year is enough.  Sometimes I do let them sit longer though, if I’m not anxious to resubmit.  At the same time I received a quick confirmation that another submission had made it through phase one of a three phase review process.  Fingers crossed. 🙂

And, or course, this month isn’t without its rejections – 5 so far, with two of the submissions clearing the year long mark.  It only pays to be patient some of the time.

I may not post again until Monday.  I have a short story I hope to finish and then it’s back to working on taxes.

But at least gardening’s not that far off … right?

Permalink Leave a Comment

Spring Blitz 2017 – Catch-Up Day

April 13, 2017 at 1:35 am (writing) (, , , , , )

Between parenting issues (which included helping my daughter with overdue homework) and other “priority items”, I missed a couple of days worth of submissions, so today I had to play catch up. I’ve now used up my reserve call for submission options so I’ll have to dig up a few more. I’m lucky enough to have multiple sources for calls that I can tap into, which makes finding ones I can match my existing stories to that much easier.  I am getting closer to the bottom of my “available” list though.  Unless I find more calls accepting reprints or a few more rejections come in, and/or I finish up the two shorts I’m working on. I’m going to have to start looking through older submissions that have gone a year or more without a response.  Occasionally, they don’t send one and leave your story in submission limbo.

I’ll have some extra time over the long weekend.  We’ll see what I manage to accomplish.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Spring Blitz 2017 – New Release

April 9, 2017 at 11:35 pm (dark fantasy, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

Another two submissions have gone out, one micro-fiction and one flash, and both creepy horror tales.  I had another story I wanted to submit, but the venue I was considering doesn’t reopen for submissions until tomorrow, so it will have to wait.  This particular story has been rejected 12 times already, but I feel it is a strong story, as it has had four “maybe”s that turned into “no”s and some decent praise from some pro-rate editors, despite no acceptance.  So I’ll press on and perhaps it will find a home some day.

Another of my stories has just been released by Crimson Streets.  Not only have they published “Amnesty” but they accepted a follow up story involving the same character.  I have another story in mind if ever they decide they want a third.

Back to hunting out more calls for submissions – I still have three weeks of submissions ahead of me.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Spring Blitz 2017 – A Recipe for Writing

April 8, 2017 at 12:27 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , )

Today’s submission, to a venue I’ve had some success with before, demanded a recipe along with the submission. They were looking for old family favourites or the like  – ones that could be tied to the story in some way. Not having old family favourites just hanging around my house for the sharing, I found a way to tie in one of my own creations that my family seems to enjoy.  I don’t know if that particular recipe will improve or lessen my chances for an acceptance, but I figured it was worth a try.

The other submission I sent was to a venue I had tried a couple of times before with no success, but I don’t give up easily.  I’ve had some stories rejected multiple times before finding a home.  In some cases, it’s not a matter of “fixing” a rejected story but of seeking out a better fit.

23 more submissions still to go, but I have plenty of stories ready to go and potential calls on the radar.

 

Permalink Leave a Comment

Spring Blitz 2017 – Plan B

April 4, 2017 at 11:49 pm (dark fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , )

I recently came across a call for submissions I was hoping to submit to with an existing story I had that matched the theme, but it meant waiting for a rejection from a prior submission. I did get a response back, but not the rejection I had been expecting. So along with a story sale, I was left with now having to resort to Plan B … write a new story. I’m about 1,000 words in, but I have a solid story concept, so I expect I’ll finish it over the next couple of days.

I did submit a couple of reprints since my last post, to a new venue for me.  I haven’t had a lot of luck with reprint submissions, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed, and my eyes open for other opportunities.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Spring Blitz 2017 – Where’s the Warm Weather?

April 3, 2017 at 1:29 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , )

Supposedly, April and May this year are going to be warmer than average. So far, the snow on the ground says “no.”  It also says “no” to playing jugger outside and today marked our last day playing in the gym for the winter season.

So no warm weather for us just yet, although apparently my family in France are enjoying a toasty 27 degrees Celsius this week.

“Sigh”

Trying my best to ignore the snow/freezing rain, I continue with my blitz.  Another story out, this time to a British call for submissions for a horror anthology.

More later…

Permalink Leave a Comment

Coming Soon: FOREST SECLUSION

April 2, 2017 at 7:53 am (writing)

Source: Coming Soon: FOREST SECLUSION

Permalink Leave a Comment

Spring Blitz 2017 – A Storm’s a Coming

April 2, 2017 at 1:47 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

And so begins my April 2017 submission blitz.

I’m returning to my blog after a much needed hiatus. I started off this blitz with a submission of a strange story to an offbeat literary journal. I’ve had some luck with these in the past, my fiction sometimes blurring the line between “literary” and “genre”. In fact, a new publication for this month, my short story, “A Distaste for Dust” falls into this category. It’s dark and strange, but only sort of horror. It is making an appearance this April in Issue #2 of the Gathering Storm Magazine (https://www.gatheringstormmagazine.com/copy-of-volume-1-issue-1), a venue that seeks submissions based on a few inspiring themes for each issue. I’ve already written three stories as a result of these themes, and I’m happy to have the editors select one of those three for publication out of hundreds of submissions.

I have more coming out this April and I’ll advise you as it happens.  There’s plenty of excitement in store for 2017 and even more, I hope, after this blitz.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Flash Fiction Friday *Scrounging for Scraps*

February 22, 2017 at 9:26 pm (writing)

Scrounging for Scraps by Chantal Boudreau The ebony-furred cur hovers at my feet, waiting, I assume, for any tidbits that might tumble from the table.  Hot, dry breath tickles my ankles and calves.…

Source: Flash Fiction Friday *Scrounging for Scraps*

Permalink Leave a Comment

Next page »