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.

 

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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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October Submission Blitz – Evil Eye

October 7, 2013 at 10:37 pm (horror, writing) (, , , , , , , )

Two submissions today to make up for yesterday’s miss. Sometimes family trumps things writing associated and I spent the day on an outing with my daughter followed by housework, so the submission got skipped. But I made up for it today, sending out “The Storyteller’s Affliction” to one pro-rate anthology and “Come into her Garden,” my second rejection so far from this blitz, off to another anthology. We’ll see if anything comes from either of these two.

I did more work on “Laying on Hands” and did a head count of available stories I have on my plate. After sending out those two today, I have ten that haven’t been published or submitted. That means I have to supplement that with fourteen more new stories or reprints if no other rejections come back before month’s end. That or I have to edit The Trading of Skin for submission somewhere – perhaps RoC. We’ll see what I can manage before the 31st.

I hope to have release news for Prisoners of Fate very soon – my publisher tells me its close.

My horror trope for today is the evil eye. You see this in many a horror story or movie, often belonging to some gypsy, medium or witch who curses a major character. Sometimes they can see things that others cannot, be it demonic creatures roaming mostly invisible in our world or bad things to come in the future. When thinking of evil eyes, I often think of the gypsy who curses the protagonist in Stephen King’s “Thinner.” It’s a great horror scene which the hateful man brings upon himself through his selfish, loathsome actions.

Anyway, back to “Laying on Hands” – more later.

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A Current Endeavor – Glum, Torn and Grateful

July 12, 2013 at 1:11 am (writing) (, , , , , , , )

I made it to Chapter 12 – a turning point in many of my novels and one that brings with it a bit of a hump to overcome. I usually ride on feedback here to get me through, and while I do have enough from other things to keep my psychic vampire side from starving (thank you, Brad), it’s not the steady flow I’ve relied upon in the past. Add to it a heavier than normal workload at my day job, some unbearable hot days (record-breaking), another “maybe” I was hopeful could turn into a “yes” but ended up a “no,” and a summer cold (when I hardly ever get sick) – and I’m feeling glum.

I’m also feeling torn. I read the book “Ender’s Game” long ago and it rated up there amongst my favourites. I would love to go see the movie when it comes out, but I can’t in good conscience. As long as there is the likelihood that some of the profit from that movie will be going to support anti-gay marriage organizations or any groups spreading hatred and intolerance, I won’t be spending my money to see it. It’s sad, but that’s the way things go sometimes. I stand by my gay and lesbian friends and would never knowingly do anything to support someone who would see their rights suppressed. Love is love and family is family. Nobody should be denied that.

Despite being glum and torn, I’m still feeling very lucky. This cold may be annoying, but it’s just a cold and it’s already starting to go away. Otherwise I’m healthy. I may be struggling without feedback and getting a lot of rejections lately, but I’m still writing and submitting and I have had my work published in almost two dozen anthologies along with my several novels – much more than the “absolutely nothing” I had published at this point three years ago. The weather may be jumping from extremes of ridiculously hot to utter downpours, but my garden is growing really well. And I have a family I adore. I’m especially aware of that because of tragedy that has struck two other employees at the department where I work, one losing a young son and another, a husband. It makes me want to hang on tight to my own loved ones and make sure they know how much I care about them.

Glum or not, torn or not, I’m not about to lose that sense of gratitude. As long as there are things to be happy about, I’ll find a way to get around the not-so-happy stuff.

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Adventures in NaNo-land – It’s all in the Family

November 25, 2012 at 2:13 am (fantasy, Fervor, The Snowy Barrens trilogy, writing) (, , , , , , )

The Trading of Skin is my first attempt at writing a novel that focuses strongly on the importance of family. Not that I haven’t touched on the subject before. In Fervor my characters feel a strong connection to others in their assigned house-family. Victims of Circumstance, the fourth book in my Masters & Renegades series, deals with a person’s relationship with birth parents versus foster parents and of building bridges with adult progeny when you haven’t been involved in their lives as children. It also introduces the idea of siblings with contrasting magical talents, one that is explored in more depth in later books. In that same series, the Renegade Academy exists as somewhat of a family business with all the expected trials and tribulations. There are many approaches of addressing the subject of family in a story and I’ve only tapped into a few.

But I have to wonder why I haven’t explored this topic in greater detail before now. Family is the most important thing in my own life. Nevertheless, I’ve dodged it for the most part. Even in my Snowy Barren Trilogy, where family is a significant part of tribal culture, there’s still more focus on tribal politics and ritual than on family. I guess this is one of the things that really differentiates this NaNoWriMo project from previous manuscripts. I honestly find myself struggling to get through certain sections, not because I don’t know what to say or how to say it, but because despite knowing these things, the process is still emotionally jarring. In some cases, it ends up “mushy”, and I find writing “mushy” awkward. I’m more of an action kind of woman.

I still think this is an essential part of this story, so I’m muddling my way through it and I hope I manage to move the reader with it the way I’d like to. Here’s an excerpt from the latest chapter:

A twinge in Oaván’s back made him stop and stiffen. He was already tired, and they had only been travelling for a few hours. It didn’t bode well for the rest of the trip. Dáidu could see his brother’s suffering and his look softened.

“I won’t leave you, even if you insist on going on a fool’s mission. I promised Father long ago that I would always look out for you, no matter where fate might take you. I’m not about to go back on my promise now. He’s watching us from saivo and we’ll have to face him again there someday. I don’t want to go to him with disappointment and shame in my heart, knowing I had not done as he asked. He might turn me away, until my soul has done penance in saivo for failing him. That could take a very long time and a great deal of suffering.”

This revelation stung for Oaván. His father had never asked him to make the same promise. Perhaps Osku had seen him as weaker than Dáidu, and less competent, incapable of providing the same kind of protection. Oaván had never thought his father was one to play favourites, but apparently he had misjudged him. For some reason, Osku had considered Dáidu more of a man than him.

“Well come along if you must then, but I’ll not be indebted to you for something you deem not worth your bother,” Oaván said. “You’re not coming at my request.”

He hobbled forward a little faster, trying to separate himself from his brother. Catching up to him was no challenge for Dáidu, even though Oaván had made it past the next bend in the labyrinth by that point.

“What, so now that the tables have turned, you’re too good to ask for my help? Escorting that Haldi is not something I deem worthy – true, but I don’t feel that way about you. I might not agree with what you are doing, but I’m not about to abandon you, unlike her. I care.”

Oaván sighed.

“What do you mean, the tables have turned?”

With a shrug of his shoulders and a pained smile, Dáidu laughed, but it was a bitter sound.

“Just over a year ago, when father was alive, I was the one with all the prospects. I could do no wrong. I was the one with a beautiful woman at my side. I was the one expected to replace Father as Anár’s noaidi. I was sure of myself and the world was there for my taking. Now I have nothing…other than what’s left of my family. I have no woman, no hopes of taking the oath and the scorn of Anár, thanks to Rana and Heaibmu. You, on the other hand have risen above all the problems our birthright carries with it. You’ve already learned how to control that savage animal that lurks inside us. You know who you are, inside and out, and you can speak directly to Laib Olmai. You are clearly the one destined to be noaidi. You were the one to first bed a woman, not me. That, Brother, is how the tables have turned.” Dáidu paused. “I’ll admit; I am jealous. How could I not be with the way things have changed? But I still love you. That hasn’t changed.”

Dáidu’s admission floored Oaván. His brother, jealous of him? How could that be possible? While he might have Lieđđi with him for the moment, she had no intention of staying with him, and she didn’t love him. Dáidu might have lost Rana, but at least he had experienced love for a time. Oaván envied him that. And with regards to becoming a noiaidi, that was still within Dáidu’s grasp.

More tomorrowJ

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Hard-Knocks & Pep Talks

June 9, 2012 at 1:26 am (Reviews, writing) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I often have my Friday blog posting planned ahead of time, but I’ve been over-run with answering interview questions and hunting out proofreaders this week, so I arrive at this point with nothing prepared. This, after a bit of a blow-out today. I was reporting to my husband about a nasty review that had more than just stung, when he suggested I write about reviews, unfair or otherwise, for my posting.

“I don’t want to write anything negative,” I said. And writing about reviews today would bring that out, even though my mood has improved since. I told him I wanted to write something positive. I try to write about positive things in my blog postings, and most of the time, it works.

So perhaps I’ll focus on all of the great support I was provided today, from writer friends, from reader friends, from older friends, and from family.

This isn’t an easy industry and none of us are without our flaws. I’m trying to learn what I can, but I make mistakes, and I always will even once I have practice and experience from years of effort. And I’ll always have doubts. Even well-established writers experience doubts, not every “professional” you meet along the road is nice or even civil, and there are more potential pitfalls than you can imagine, at least until you’re in neck deep. You have to research agents, publishers, editors, because there are sharks out there amongst the legitimate professionals, anticipating the chance to prey on unwary souls. Even just friendly networking can have its downside – other writers will bicker with you over petty little stylistic details, and try to assert that their method of doing things is the “only” right way.

Trying to find your way through this crazy mess can seem incredibly lonely, but sometimes a nasty jolt, or the realization that you can’t escape vulnerability to others’ whims, will make you see that you’re actually not alone at all.

I’ve had an absolutely amazing amount of support since I started writing – sometimes from people I could have never pictured believing in me, and other times from near strangers who have eventually become very good friends. My husband has always been a rock for me. My co-workers have rooted for me the entire way, even those that aren’t particularly inclined towards what I write. I’ve had test-readers offer me great testimonials, editors offer me constructive criticism and positive feedback in their thoughtful rejection letters, and fellow writers promote my work without any prompting on my part. The pep talk I got today from a writer I greatly admire definitely lifted me out of my funk. I hope everyone knows how much their kind words and encouragement matters.

I try to give back, and I really want to do my share of supporting the writers around me. I write reviews, primarily positive ones, and I do what I can to help. I’ve test-read, edited, proofread, interviewed and just made sure people were well aware of the books I really enjoyed, so that hopefully word of mouth would boost others interest. I recently poured everything I truly felt into a testimonial for a writer friend, and based on his response, it really touched him.

The bickering? I try to just steer clear of it, because on the odd day I get sucked in I tend to get irked and with that comes the likelihood that I will tread on someone’s toes. I tend to be fairly opinionated about some of the hot topics too, and honestly, as much as I want to debate and share with others for growth’s sake, there are some areas where I’m better off keeping my mouth shut, and just knowing I agree to disagree. This shouldn’t be a war – it should be a celebration of our differences.

So the next time you’re impressed with something a writer has produced – let them, and others, know. Maybe your support just might help get them past the next pitfall.

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