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?

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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.

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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…

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December and Dark Corners

December 3, 2016 at 12:28 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

darkcornersI 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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Let’s Blitz Again – It Takes All Kinds

October 26, 2016 at 2:01 am (dark fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , )

1015584_10152927473845032_887250515_o-editedAlong 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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Let’s Blitz Again – October 2016 #3

October 4, 2016 at 11:28 pm (horror, writing) (, , , , , , )

12888702_10156706630705032_956866372638262551_o-editedIt’s interesting that, despite my many unpublished stories and available reprints, so far my blitz has included one non-story specific anthology query and two originals I’ve never submitted elsewhere. I guess a part of me feels I’ll have better chances with material that hasn’t encountered rejection before.

I realize that is silly. I know of established authors who have struck gold with a story only after multiple rejections and I managed to hit one of my “acceptance by a particular venue” writer goals with a story that had already been rejected a few times – in some cases with feedback I chose not to use because I didn’t like the way it would have changed the story.

But that’s how unpredictable the publishing industry can be. It doesn’t matter what other writers or editors say about your work and how much of that feedback you choose to use (and I’m always surprised how completely contradictory some of that feedback can be). In the end, you have to go with your gut and present the story the way you feel it needs to be. If it’s meant to have a home, it will find one the way it is.

Today’s submission is a flash fiction horror story I’ve submitted a couple of times in the past. We’ll see if it can manage to generate a few jitters (my teenage daughter gave it the thumbs up.)

More later…

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Let’s Blitz Again – October 2016

October 3, 2016 at 3:00 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

killing-it-cover-cs-bookcover6x9_cream_470-sample2-sep-21-editedAfter a lengthy hiatus thanks to an insanely busy post-vacation summer, I’m back to blogging my usual October submission blitz. My first submission was a query for a horror-themed charity anthology. I’ve already received a positive response. Today was a submission for a contemporary horror anthology.

I’m still dealing with my busy time at work and harvesting my garden, as well as fall/Thanksgiving/Halloween family activities, so I’ll be keeping my posts short. That and I’ve been wading through galleys for soon to be released anthologies. One is now available for pre-order, Killing It Softly, which contains a reprint of my horror story “Orbs”.

There are still many submissions ahead of me, so I’ll be blogging again soon. Enjoy the warm fall weather.

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Once Upon a Scare Blog Tour: The Evolution of a Mash-up

May 22, 2016 at 12:00 am (dark fantasy, fantasy, horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

RitualDollI’m not overly fond of most mash-ups, but I love reading and writing mash-up fairy tales. I’ve loved them ever since reading Tanith Lee’s Red as Blood story collection when I was a teenager. I had played with an assortment of them before I wrote “Without Family Ties”: horror versions of Cinderella and The Little Mermaid, a cyberpunk version of Jack and the Beanstalk, a Nordic dark fantasy version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and an adult dark fantasy version of Rapunzel. So when I set my sights on Pinocchio, I’d had some practice.

I decided I wanted a modern setting with a story centered on some sort of ritual doll, so I sent out some research feelers. When I came across the description of an unusual collection of 140 spiritual and cultural art objects from sub-Saharan Africa on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. called “In the Presence of Spirits,” I knew I had my inspiration. The exhibit included ritual dolls, masks and spiritual symbols of power that dated from about 1850 to the mid-20th century.

After reading through the available material, I decided the rituals of the Kongo (or Bakongo) and the Ambo peoples worked best for the mash-up. Their traditions included the nkisi, bakisi, baganga, mpungo, ovana, and rituals that could be completed by a single individual, such as my version of Geppeto, Jojo. My research also provided the traditional materials used to create the ritual dolls and the fertility stones. After I was done reading, I had plenty to work with.

Considering Geppeto constructed Pinocchio out of a desire to have a son, I chose a similar ambition for Jojo with Berko. Add the elements of a Kongo power figure and Ambo fertility magic along with his desperation and an evil twist, and the stage was set for horror. The challenge was then for me to match up the plot points and characters in the story with aspects of the original fairy tale. Top it up with an extra helping of fear and I had myself a mash-up.

If you are curious to see the end product, “Without Family Ties” is now available as part of the Once Upon a Scream horror mash-up anthology. My next mash-up WIP is a modern dark fantasy version of Sleeping Beauty with an Asian back-drop.

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Networking and Nova Scotia

May 11, 2016 at 11:22 pm (Links, writing) (, , , , , , , )

28968_10150173648825032_5870124_nThanks to some of my latest successes, I had the good fortune of meeting a fellow bluenose genre fiction writer so I could lunch and learn more about my cohorts in the province. He and a few others (now including yours truly) decided its about time we try to organize ourselves within the province so we can network better, organize events together and approach organizations as a unified group (that whole “strength in numbers” thing.)

It turns out organizing writers is a bit like herding cats, but we’re slowly getting somewhere and our group keeps expanding.  I’m gradually finding out about other local writers and writing groups, and my discoveries led me to join SF Canada.  I see plenty of networking opportunities ahead of me, and I’m feeling less like an isolated little blip of algae floating around in a big, mostly empty pond.  I still won’t be able to make most of the anthology book releases I’d like to attend, most of them happening out of province, or out of country, but at least I’ll have better means to connect and share.

The one good thing about all of this is that I’m starting to feel less like an impostor who has fluked out a couple of times (surrounded by others on ToCs that have multiple pro sales and awards to their names) and a little more like someone who is achieving new goals regularly and has something to show for my efforts.  I may not be “there” yet but I’m progressing with baby steps and getting closer all the time.

My goal for this current month is to write and submit three stories to three specific pro-rate calls for submissions (I also have a fourth planned for next month).  I’ve finished one story and I’m a good way into the second, so I think this is reasonably easy to accomplish.  I may have nothing to show for it but three rejection letters and three potential re-submissions for future blitzes, but I figure it’s worth a try.

So now I’m off to do some promotional work before I get the kids to bed.  And over the next few days I’ll be watching for my name to be added to the SF Canada membership list.  Maybe I’ll make some new writer friends once that happens.

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April Blitz 2016: Rejoicing (#18-20)

April 21, 2016 at 2:34 am (writing) (, , , , , , )

28968_10150173648850032_4556407_nIn the midst of quick rejections coming fast and furious from the pro-rate venues, nothing keeps my spirits up quite like an amazing acceptance.  I’ve submitted to the last six Tesseracts call for submissions.  In the past, I’ve received three “maybe”s with two rewrite requests but none of them turned into a “yes”.  I submitted to the last call with great trepidation.  I don’t normally write science fiction and while I thought my story had merit, I wasn’t sure if others would feel the same way.  I don’t know if you can imagine just how thrilled I was to find an e-mail in my inbox informing me of my acceptance – no “maybe,” no rewrite, just a “yes”.  I will have a story in Compostela – Tesseracts 20.  I was tickled.

And there are other parts about this wonderful happening that make it even better.  I grew up reading Spider Robinson’s books – Mind Killer, Time Pressure, and my favourite, Night of Power, and he’s editing the anthology along with James Alan Gardner.  Also, another of my favourite science fiction writers (I’m currently reading his latest novel, Quantum Night) Robert J. Sawyer will be appearing in the anthology.  So of the many goals I hope to achieve some day, I can happily cross this one off my list.

This is the best thing I can think of to counter the sting of another rejection and give me the courage to send out more.  Oh, and encourage me to keep writing of course.

So I’m going to hit that send button and enjoy my warm fuzzies.

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