Catch-Up in June

June 2, 2017 at 12:52 am (dark fantasy, horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

A post has been a long time in coming (sorry), but I have been well and truly busy. I’ve been working at setting a blog up for my pseudonym as well as prepping a couple of between blitz submissions, juggling proofing and marketing requests and participating in the voting process for one of my writer’s associations. It’s also gardening season, jugger season and I’ve been spending a lot of time with my daughter lately. So yeah – I’m busy.

That being said, the last few weeks have been pleasantly rife with story acceptances, payments, cover reveals and ToC announcements – so I have to play catch-up on those (or, at least the ones I’m allowed to talk about now.)

Compostela – Tesseracts 20 – containing my sci-fi short story “Better” is now available for pre-order here . Tesseracts is one of my “writer’s bucket list” achievements, so it’s a big deal for me. I’m sharing pages with some pretty impressive people.

Clockwork Canada, the Exile Editions steampunk anthology containing my short story “The Curlicue Seahorse” is on the ballot for the 2017 Aurora Awards, in the category of Best Related Work.

I have a new free read available too.  My flash fiction, Pure Mime, has been published by Body Parts Magazine.

And you can also find me listed on two ToC announcements. The first is from Digital Fiction Publishing. My short story “Octavia” will be included in their all-female writer horror reprint anthology, “Killing It Softly 2” .

The second can be found on the blog for Mackenzie Publishing . Their “Two Eyes Open” horror anthology will include my period horror short, “Soul Cakes.” I’ve shared the lovely and intriguing cover above.

I’ll have more announcements coming soon as my last submission blitz proved to be quite successful. And I just finished a horror short for a themed anthology invite that I can’t discuss just yet. We’ll see how that goes.

I hope everybody’s year has been as exciting as mine has been so far. Now its off to work on some edits…

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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.

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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.

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Let’s Blitz Again – New Release

October 24, 2016 at 1:31 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

screenshot-2016-10-23-at-1-29-59-pm-editedAlong 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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Let’s Blitz Again – #ICTTBCONTEST

October 21, 2016 at 10:36 pm (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

screenshot-2016-10-21-at-7-05-16-pm-editedToday’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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Let’s Blitz Again – October 2016 #10

October 15, 2016 at 12:54 am (writing) (, , , , , , )

28968_10150173648865032_6591698_n-editedAfter a week of turmoil at my day job, the seriously stressful kind, it’s a relief to come home to my writing and family. I’m still poking away at my garden, but it’s almost at an end.

My submission yesterday was one from my pseudonym and today’s was a reprint.  I’m getting creative because I’ve had so few responses during this blitz and no rejections to date, which means I’m starting to dig pretty deep into my shrinking “available for submission pile”.  Not counting available novels, I only have a dozen shorts left that aren’t reprints (I have oodles of those), and a third of the remaining originals are flash or micro fiction.  I’m still making progress on “Smiles All Around”, which will hopefully be ready for submission early next week, but I’m going to be reaching to get all 32 subs in (since I’m extending this blitz to November 1.)  I will have to fill in the gaps with reprint submissions and novel queries.

Time to chill and to shake off some of the negative energy still clinging to me from the day.

Have a great weekend!

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Let’s Blitz Again – October 2016 #6

October 9, 2016 at 12:01 am (writing) (, , , , , , )

1277052_10153171332605032_768076155_o-editedI skipped a post because I spent last night cleaning vegetables I had harvested from the garden, but I dd get submissions off for yesterday and today and organized my “What I have available for submission” list.  Yesterday’s submission went out to a writing competition and today’s was another new venue for me, semi-pro pay looking for weird tales.

I’m still sitting at two responses so far, both positive, and I’m contemplating some ideas for flash fiction.  I also have a rewrite I’m looking at based on feedback from the last two rejections I got for that particular story.  They suggested my protagonist comes across as cruel, so I have to change it up so it’s clear the character was acting out of panic and not being intentionally negligent or just plain selfish.  Self-preservation can be a strong instinct – strong enough to override any sense of duty or loyalty – and one that can be hard to ignore.

I finished up the latest book I’ve been reading and need to write up a review.  I loved the final battle scene, with lots of action and great twists and turns.

Tomorrow’s busy, so we’ll see what I can squeeze in.  For now, the search for the next submission call continues.

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Let’s Blitz Again – October 2016 #5

October 6, 2016 at 11:01 pm (dark fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , , )

202345_10153006317075032_1470588330_o-editedSo far, I’ve had two responses to my submissions. The first was an invitation as a result of my author query on day one (although it may not apply until 2018 – I don’t mind the wait.) and the second was for Tuesday’s submission. Apparently, my daughter is a valid critic. The acceptance came with a request for a title change. I didn’t mind. I’ve had that request for one other story and I didn’t hesitate to change it. I’m never that attached to a given title.

I did start work on another call for submissions yesterday until I realize the call doesn’t open until November 1, so I’m setting that one aside. Maybe I’ll extend the blitz by a day to include that one. I have enough material to spare, especially if any rejections come back during the month.

I may end up skipping a post or two to do garden-y things in the next week. We’ve had a couple of frosts which could end up with a need for some quick harvesting. I won’t skip any submissions though.

Today’s submission, a “multi-maybe but never yes” story that has been through one requested rewrite and therefore now exists in two versions, one with a more optimistic ending than the other. I like them both. I sent off the darker version to yet another pro-rate venue with a fitting theme. We’ll see how it fares this time.

More later…

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Let’s Blitz Again – October 2016 #4

October 6, 2016 at 12:59 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , )

1015129_10152927514425032_1847553204_o-editedI like to run my stories past others before I send them out. Sometimes I send them out to friends willing to test read them and other times I force family members to listen to them, especially the flash pieces. Reading them out loud allows me to catch small errors I might otherwise miss. One error out of 5000 words doesn’t seem so bad – one error in 500 is ten times worse.

Now that my daughter is mature enough to appreciate my horror, she’s a great captive audience and as a sarcastic, tell-it-like-it-is teenager, she’s also a blunt critic. I know if she says she likes something, she means it. If she has a problem with any of it, she’ll let me know. Granted, what a teen girl likes vs a venue editor can vary greatly, but it’s still great to have an honest opinion about a story – one based solely on reader taste and not what somebody else thinks your writing approach or style should be because that’s how they would write it.

So it’s further forward on the hunt for submission calls. The next story out is one I love, but it has been rejected eight times. It did have one pro-rate “maybe” though and another editor described it as a “high quality submission”, so maybe number nine will be the charm.

Fingers crossed…

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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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