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*
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I admit, I have been away from my blog for far too long. I intended to cover my January submission blitz in greater detail and I always do a February Women in Horror blog spotlight, but in January I assumed some new responsibilities at my day job that leave me wiped by the time I get home. Any energy I can spare is reserved for the family and a handful of submissions still going out, (I fell a little short of my goal in January, so I’m making up for it post blitz.) I’m also writing the odd flash piece here and there, when I can squeeze it in..
My “writing a little on the side” has truly been relegated to the side at the moment while I throw myself with semi-reluctant gusto at other ambitions.
But I find myself with a current rewrite conundrum. I have a certain dark fantasy short story that has gotten a fair amount of positive feedback from both pro and semi-pro revenues (but no acceptance to date,) The last rejection was an odd one. It had the standard “doesn’t have the right fit” line many form rejections have, but then it proceeds to say what they liked most about the story and suggested it could be reworked and resubmitted…
…Only there’s no constructive criticism. In other words, they haven’t told me what they think I should change, so it makes it difficult to change it. This isn’t the first time this has happened with this story, More than once I’ve gotten a “maybe you could rewrite and resubmit” suggestion without being able to put a finger on what they think is wrong. This has proven challenging for me, because I don’t know where to begin. I consider it one of my better stories (my husband doesn’t want me to change it at all) and I’m having trouble seeing where it could be reworked. Some constructive criticism would be a great starting point, but it’s not there.
I have no problem making changes to a story and resubmitting. I’ve done it several times, on most occasions seeing success with the re-submission (I’m waiting to hear back on another requested rewrite right now.)
So I may try to take a stab at it this weekend, if I can figure out how to go about it. Otherwise, I’ll just set it aside until I’m ready to submit it somewhere else.
After taking it easy last year, I’ve decided this year I’m going to up my productivity. For the first year, I’ll be adding a submission blitz in January to get my annual submission total up to 100 (or more.) I was lucky that Gamut is open to submissions today. They close after receiving 300 submissions, and that’s usually within 24 hours, so I squeezed in a couple while the window was still open – one reprint and one original. I only have so many unsubmitted stories at the moment, so in addition to hitting up reprint markets, I’m going to have to make an effort to either generate a few new things to put out or edit my novel manuscripts to resubmit somewhere new.
I’m not big on resolutions, but with a big new challenge to deal with at my day job and seeing a lot of things that need organizing at home, I’ve decided the only way I can do it is to cut down on my time online and watching TV or movies. I also want more time to read and perhaps start writing reviews again. I was good about it today and got a few things done that needed doing and a few things read. I just hope I can stick to it. It almost feels like I’m trying to shake an addiction.
I hope 2017 shapes up to be a better year than the last one. It definitely holds potential. Let’s see if I can make the most of it.
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I know this has been my first blog post in some time and it’s not because I participated in Nanowrimo this year (I didn’t). Rather, real life had me busy. An issue with my well/running water that had to be resolved before the ground froze for the winter had me (and to a larger extent, my husband) occupied on the home front for over a week.
Meanwhile, having to move offices (for a third time since I started my current job) meant numerous missed breaks and lunch hours and just a general sense of feeling burnt out at the end of the work day – so any blog posts got put on hold for sometime.
December won’t be much better, time wise. Commitments for the holidays, Christmas shopping and trying to fulfill the act from my daily act of kindness advent calendar doesn’t leave much wiggle room for writing or blogging, but I’ll do my best to squeeze some in.
On a happy note, I did keep up with my short fiction writing in November. One of my blitz acceptances (from a rejection the publisher retracted the day after it was sent – a first for me) came with a request for a sequel short, so I completed that. I hope they like it. I added a bit of plot and character complexity that they might appreciate, or it may put them off. I’ll wait and see.
I also worked on a sci-fi story for a selective call for submissions (a call extension by invitation only) with an impending deadline. Writing to a requested theme can be tricky – I have a tendency to skirt the edges of the topic to avoid being boxed in, which doesn’t always work in my favour. The story ended up nice and tight though, so I’m hopeful it has a chance.
And in other news, November saw a new story release. My horror short story, “On the Tip of her Tongue” is now available in the latest Dark Corners anthology, dedicated to the original editor, who sadly passed away before the anthology saw the light. Thanks to his wife and others committed to seeing the anthology’s completion, his efforts won’t go to waste.
I’ll try to get in a few updates in December, but if blog posts are limited, I’ll make up for it in January with my first annual winter submission blitz. I’m aiming for 100 submissions next year. Let’s see if I can make it happen.
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I get to say goodbye today to another blitz I’ve decided November will be a month of editing to follow-up after a month of submissions. Several of my stories that have had multiple rejections could use a tweak, and all of my novels could use another round too.
Maybe that will get me in the mood to write more prolifically again, especially now that gardening season is practically over (the kale, chard and rutabagas are still holding on). Dealing with a still busy day job and a household full of challenges (my mother-in-law lives in my basement, my daughter is a teenager and my son is on the spectrum, ‘nuff said) leaves me feeling drained at the end of the day and less than inspired. And that’s without going into all the issues facing my family in far away places (worrying about it can wear on my nerves.) It has been a brutal few years, and it leaves me being thankful for everything I do have, even if it does come with its share of challenges.
Aside from my novels, which mostly remain unsubmitted at the moment, this last blitz left me with only a handful of unsubmitted stories. I count that as a good thing, but it means if I want to have enough material for January’s first submission blitz, I’ll have to make a diligent effort to get things written in December. I have a couple of unfinished stories to finalize but the rest will have to be new.
On a happy note – my story “Hand” is now available in the Kindle version of the charity anthology “Silent Screams”. The print version should be available in a couple of weeks.
Enjoy many treats and not so many tricks. Bob for some apples and have a good swig out of the puzzling jug (if you don’t know what that is, go for a Google.)
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Recently in the HorrorAddicts.net Facebook Group, we asked people to come up with a 100 word story for the pictures below. The original idea was to put up the best stories that were submitted for each picture but for the second picture I liked each story so much I just decided to include them all. If you have a 100 word story for one of the pictures below please share it in the comments:
All three pictures were provided by Murdo Morrison, author of Roses Of Winter and The Taste Of Dust. You can find out more about Murdo by visiting his website: http://www.murdomorrison.com/.
About this picture Murdo writes: “With Halloween coming up I thought you might like to see this image. A couple of years back my son created this stack of carved pumpkins. I processed the image to make it more Halloweeny.”
Little Johnny loved everything…
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I’m nearing the end of my blitz, Halloween and the start of the cold season. I’m hoping I’ll get several stories finished over the next few months, preparing for my first annual January blitz. It was nice to relax standards a little and send things out to newer, smaller venues offering token payments and interesting contests with not much in the way of prize money. With more focus on my day job lately, my aspirations have changed somewhat. I may dedicate the next couple of months to mixture of writing and some serious editing. I think I’m due for a new round of novel submissions, but I’d like to give them a bit of a tune-up first.
My last couple of submissions have gone to a genre competition being held by a literary magazine (whaaat?) and one of a newer publisher’s start-up anthology. It’s theme works with the story’s content, which has generated a fair amount of interest but has yet to clinch a “yes”. I may throw it into the “rewrite” pile if it gets another rejection. I actually expected it to get in somewhere long before some of the stories that followed it (but they went first.
I’m off to figure out my costume for Monday, and maybe give my daughter a hand at sewing hers. I hope you all have a great weekend, and I’ll post again soon.
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Along with making my submissions and working on my latest short story, I’ve also had to review the galley of my first soon-to-be-published children’s story. I occasionally experiment with different genres and reader age groups, but I always tend to come back to darker adult speculative fiction. This one is for charity though, so I’m happy to contribute to the anthology.
I did get another blitz rejection back (“entertaining and well-written – but no”) so I sent it out again that same day and I sent out a multi-rejection story today. Just a few more to go now, with no new material required.
Just a quick post tonight because this is a busy week – more on Thursday 🙂
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Along with recording my second blitz rejection (and another non-blitz one) I get to celebrate the release of one of my blitz acceptances (this month’s!) Jitter Press accepted my flash piece “The Candy Apple Man”, which is available now in Issue #5. If you prefer an electronic format, they have a digital version available as well.
Yesterday’s submission was sending out a recently rejected story to a call that looked like a good match, perhaps even better than my first try. Today’s is another stab at an acceptance for one of my flash stories. It’s been rejected a couple of times before but I think it has potential.
Thanks to the recent rejections, I have enough stories available for submission to make it to the end of the blitz even if I don’t finish anymore new stories over the next week plus. I’ll keep hoping for some more acceptances in the meantime. Fingers crossed.
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Today’s submission was to Grey Matter Press’s flash fiction contest. More about that in a bit.
Yesterday brought a new rejection, but not one from the blitz. It was a story I sent out in the summer – one my sister had inspired while I was on vacation. The editors said it had piqued their interest, but in the end, they had decided it was a no. They did however say they hoped I would send in another story before the call closed. Well it just so happened the short story I had recently finished and not yet submitted anywhere matched well with their theme, so without skipping a beat, I sent that one in. I have high hopes and may end up disappointed, but it was worth a shot.
On my hunt for my next submission, I came across Grey Matter Press’s “I Can Taste the Blood” flash fiction contest and decided I’d give it a go. Today was the last day to submit, so I just managed to squeak in there. You can check out all of the flash stories submitted (including mine) at the link above and vote for your favourite. If you give it a read, I hope you find my story quite chilling.
Two-thirds of the way to blitz end. This has been a fun one.
And I’m off to hunt out my next call.
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