Getting a Good Start

January 2, 2018 at 3:00 am (Fervor, horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

I gave my writing a bit of a rest last year – limited editing efforts, only a few short stories completed and a half-hearted commitment to submitting at least 100 times during the year.  I had some success, but my work life intruded upon my home life and I used that as an excuse to let things slide a little.

Thankfully, a Facebook writers group I belong to  has introduced a monthly writing goal thread that will help us all keep on track and I find it motivating.  I’m off to a good start, with some heavy duty editing and three short story submissions today to begin my January submission blitz.  Tomorrow I’ll get some more writing and editing in as well as more submissions.  I’ve also  come across a publisher looking to reprint or republish novels that offers some real potential for my now out-of-print series.  I’d love to see Fervor and Masters & Renegades in print again, and maybe I’ll get to publish the unpublished books in both series.

In the meantime, I’m going to celebrate my newest release.  “Fish Story” makes an appearance in Issue #6 of the Gathering Storm Magazine available online here, or in print here.  Once again, they have fabulous cover art, formatting and interior illustrations.  The are a top-notch publication specializing in dark, quirky fiction and poetry.  I’m working on another short for their next call for submissions.

I’ll try to follow-up on my progress over the next few weeks.  Wish me luck.

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Blitz’s End – October 2016

November 1, 2016 at 1:20 am (horror, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

screenshot-2016-10-31-at-10-13-00-pm-editedI 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.)

Happy Halloween!

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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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April Blitz – Day 16

April 16, 2015 at 11:49 pm (dark fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , , )

Two more submissions sent – one to a pro-rate venue and the other to a charity anthology. My first rejection for the blitz finally arrived, but that just meant I got to send out that story a second time for the month.

I’m now past the halfway point. I’m almost finished polishing my essay, so that will go out soon. I haven’t run out of submissions or potential venues yet so I may or may not have to resort to submitting one or more of my novels before month’s end.

Wish me luck.

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All Was Quiet on the Home Front

December 23, 2014 at 12:02 pm (The Snowy Barrens trilogy, writing) (, , , , , , )

xmas5How many times have you sent a question out into the universe and actually expected to get an answer? Usually such questions are more an act of despair, not really anticipating a response. But then sometimes life will surprise you.

I hadn’t written anything in over a week, and I did not submit the last three stories I had considered submitting. Why? This year has been a struggle to maintain motivation. I had failed to make any of the progress I had been hoping for and suffered some serious setbacks. My publisher’s managing editor had encountered some delightful success with his own writing (go him!) and his financial manager spouse had met some serious family troubles that left her wanting to cut back on her workload (my sympathies), so they decided to focus on his work and release the majority of their authors.

My novels are now all in limbo, with the exception of my Snowy Barrens Trilogy. Most are just sitting on the shelf. Two are still with my old publisher but I’m expecting them to come down eventually. The others are mostly unavailable, many of them waiting on a release in writing, and a couple of them sitting with a Canadian publisher for review (they have been there for about a year.) It feels like everything has just stalled out. And it is not very encouraging.

I did have a few short story acceptances this year, but the pickings were slim. One of my stories also got picked up for a theatrical reading for Halloween, a new one for me. But mostly, I was looking at a handful of stories put on hold and then turned down by pro-rate venues (I did appreciate the “maybe”s and the feedback I did get was useful) and a big bag full o’ rejections. My creative process is fueled by feedback, preferably positive, and this year I was facing a drought.
To top it all off, I had failed at my new year’s resolution. My aspiration to get a pro-rate sale this year died with the rejection letter this month from the last pro-rate venue that still had one of my stories on hold – the one I considered my best shot. I was starting to believe the universe was trying to tell me something because my hard work seemed to be yielding little in the way of returns. There’s a saying in accounting about throwing good money after bad. The same thought could be applied to effort, especially when you find yourself moving backwards. Was all of this worth my time?

It doesn’t help that I’m not very good at marketing myself. I try, but I’m not a natural salesperson. I lack the gift of schmooze. That can make or break you in the publishing industry.

I figured I’d step back from writing until I had shaken this off. Either I’d come back to it fresh and ready to start writing just for fun again, or I’d move on to something else. I stopped blogging, wrote my last couple of short stories for a spell, and threw the question out there into the cosmos. “Is this worth it? Give me a sign?”

I’ve lived my life as sort of a cosmic joke, and this situation proved no different, because the cosmos’s answer got filtered right into my e-mail junk folder twelve days before my chance to succeed at my resolution would come to an end. Call it what you want – the powers that be…fate…coincidence or just dumb luck. Call it a good thing that I check my junk mail folder on a regular basis. Anyway, rather than finding my first pro rate sale, it found me.

There it was, mixed in with the spam about pills that could improve the size of my manhood and princes from Nigeria needing help to access their inheritance: an e-mail from a big publisher wanting to buy one of my stories, and a reprint at that.  I hadn’t even submitted anything to them.

I answered back right away. The e-mail had already been sitting there for three days. The going price they were offering was pro rate. So now it is just a matter of settling out the contract and providing them with the extra bits they need for promotional purposes (photo, bio, etc.).

If any of you were wondering why my blog had gone quiet, now you know. It won’t be quiet anyxmas1 longer. Right now I want to sing (and do a series of happy dances.) I’ll have a Christmas treat for you coming up and some links to share.

Happy holidays, and I hope you have your own reasons to happy dance as well.

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You May Have Noticed…

September 16, 2014 at 11:54 am (Fervor, Reviews, The Snowy Barrens trilogy, writing) (, , , )

I haven’t been blogging much lately. I’m still trying to make heads or tails of the fact that my publisher, May December Publications, has decided to release the majority of its authors, which means the better part of my novels will soon be out of print (in fact, Transcendence already is and the others will soon follow.) If you were thinking of purchasing any of the novels, you may want to grab them now while you still can. Some are being offered at deal prices – Fervor for $4.83 for example.

I can appreciate the reasons behind their decisions. MDP is a family run business and they are dealing with some very serious personal issues at the moment. They are choosing to concentrate their limited time and resources on the publication and promotion of the managing editor’s books instead. This a a more profitable option for them.  I understand their choice, it makes perfect sense, and I expected things to go this way for some time. Unfortunate circumstances just prompted it sooner rather than later.

So now I’m left deciding if I want to put the work into self-publishing these novels, try to find a new small press publisher or just sit on them for a while and mull things over.  My writing effort of late has been going into short stories and I am still publishing those with other publishers.  My Snowy Barrens Trilogy will still be available.

I will have to go about disabling the buttons and links here on WordPress for things no longer in print .  It will take me some time to update everything, so bear with me.  It sort of feels like I’ll be starting all over again from the beginning, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  The only thing  I’m unhappy about losing are the reviews I’ve amassed on Amazon, especially for Fervor.

Anyway, MDP and I will be parting on good terms.  I wish them luck and I enjoyed working with them.

On to the next adventure.

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10 Simple Questions – Bellator Edition – Diana L. Wicker

August 2, 2014 at 11:05 pm (fantasy, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

My third interview for Bellator spotlights the other half of the dynamic storywriting duo, Diana L. Wicker:

1) Who are you?

Diana L. Wicker  I am an indie- author of YA fantasy from the US.

2) What have you written, and in particular, what have you written for Bellator?  

My currently available works are The Dreamweaver’s Journey and The Guardian Child’s Return.  I hope to have a third book, Legacy of Mist and Shadow, available for the holiday season.
For Bellator I had the distinct pleasure of co-writing the story “Outside the Walls” with Alexandra Butcher.

3) I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but why do you write?

Stress relief, relaxation, escape, enjoyment – Sometimes there are stories that just need to be told.  🙂

4) Do you have a preferred theme or topic?  Are warriors your typical thing?

Warriors are not my typical to my current writings, although I do love stories, movies, TV shows, and games with warriors.  

My currently published works are narrated by the Storyteller of Feyron.  She tends to begin her tales in the middle of things, so to speak, with the historical period known as The Age of Awakenings.  The first book, “The Dreamweaver’s Journey”, follows the first Dreamweaver to come of age in over three hundred years on a quest across the four Realms of Light within Feyron. The second book, “The Guardian Child’s Return”, follows a group of young adventurers beyond the Realms of Light to a place that few knew could even be reached.  The third book will take place, for the first time, on a world Beyond Feyron.

5) Are you a pantser or a plotter and why?

A plotter all the way.  It works well with my natural OCD, organizational personality.  I like lists, outlines, schedules, and calendars.

6) What do you like most about writing?

Hmm, that is a tough question.  I’d have to say, the opportunity to travel anywhere my imagination can take me, and the prospect of taking the reader right along with me.

7) What challenges you the most about writing?

I’d have to say my biggest challenge is finding time to write.  Writing is not my full time job.  I am a working mother with very active children.  I often have long breaks between writing opportunities and have to struggle to pick back up on the flow of a project to get back into it.

8) Who or what inspires you most?

I don’t know that I have any one thing that inspires me “most”.  At the most basic level, I could simply say that “life” inspires me.  More specifically I’d say I love a good story that is presented well – reading a good tale, watching a good film, or even playing a well written role playing game so that I can interact with the story.

9) What are your plans for the future?

Let me see, the Works in Progress list…As I mentioned above, I hope to have the third story from The Age of Awakenings ready for the holidays.  I have a short story set in progress, the sort of tales of lore that the youth of Feyron would have heard growing up.  I have an outline for a series from an older age of Feyron’s history, The Age of Fading, and a draft of the first story for that set.  I have a few ideas for a new tale from the Age of Awakenings, but nothing outlined yet.  

10) Why Bellator?

I was so excited when Mia contacted me to submit a story for an anthology for her.  I quickly tagged my favorite co-writer, Alex Butcher.  I am so excited that our story is appearing in Bellator.  I have friends and family who have served, or are currently serving, and my father was a PTSD psychiatrist.  I feel privileged to participate in such a wonderful project to assist the Wounded Warriors Project.

Check out Diana’s books at:

The Dreamweaver’s Journey http://www.amazon.com/The-Dreamweavers-Journey-Awakenings-ebook/dp/B00A111KL6

 

The Guardian Child’s Return http://www.amazon.com/The-Guardian-Childs-Return-ebook/dp/B00CQF9FMG

 

And you can find her website at: https://talesfromfeyron.squarespace.com/welcome

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10 Simple Questions – Bellator Edition – A. L. Butcher

August 1, 2014 at 3:06 am (fantasy, Links, writing) (, , , , , )

Next up in my Bellator spotlight is half of a dynamic writing duo, A. L. Butcher:

1) Who are you?

Hi, and thanks for spotlighting me today. I am Alexandra Butcher (A. L .Butcher), British fantasy author, born in the Southeast of England but currently living in the Southwest.

 

2) What have you written and in particular, what have you written for Bellator?

To date I have two novels published as part of an adult dark fantasy/fantasy romance series – the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles and an anthology of short mythic stories set in the same world. Plus several poems and short stories in other anthologies.  My Bellator story, which was co-written with my friend and fellow writer Diana Wicker, is ‘Outside the Walls’. It is a fantasy tale of war, love and determination.

 

3) I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but why do you write?

Yes I’ve been asked that before.  Why do I write? Because I’ve always written and made up people and places. At school I was always writing poems and stories and I suppose you could say I was a creative child. I get bored easily and tend to drift off to more interesting places…

 

More than this I write the stories in my head that want to be told.  I write because I enjoy it and because it keeps me sane (ish).

 

4) Do you have a preferred theme or topic?  Are warriors your typical thing?

I write fantasy, mostly fantasy romance but also mythic fantasy. My work has been described as gritty. The novels deal with themes like slavery and freedom, love and battle and, of course, heroes. What does it mean to be a hero?  Why do the characters do what they do when others sit back and do nothing?

 

The short stories are a mixed bag indeed. I have a small collection about the Kitchen Imps – tiny, very mischievous creatures who cause all sorts of mayhem, including stealing socks from the washing machine. Tales of Erana is a collection of mythic tales of past times, featuring gods, lonely mortals, magic, war and love.  There will be further mythic tales in future months.

 

Are warriors my typical thing? Not really, both the main characters for the novel are magic users (in a world where magic is illegal).  Warriors and heroes are as old in storytelling as stories themselves, but I guess there is the question of definition – how does one define a warrior – are we talking about armour, swords and shields or those who strive in war? I’d say heroes are my typical ‘thing’ if that makes sense.

 

5) Are you a pantser or a plotter and why?

Most definitely a pantser. I know the beginning and the end of the story (usually) but the middle is negotiable. I have tried to plan, but I always end up changing it vastly. I have an overarching plan for the series and lots of notes with ideas, past events, character profiles etc.

 

6) What do you like most about writing?

Creating new worlds! Being in charge of the lives of these characters and the events which befall them.

 

7) What challenges you the most about writing?

I am a terrible procrastinator, so actually getting as much done as I’d like when it needs to be done. I get distracted easily so I do spend far too much time on Facebook or Goodreads. 😉

 

8) Who or what inspires you most?

I usually get ideas at awkward times, like when I’m in the bath or cycling to work.  I get inspired by stories – mine or sometimes other peoples. I get a lot of inspiration chatting over ideas with Diana.

 

9) What are your plans for the future?

Book III of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles will, hopefully, be published by the end of the year. Also I have a couple of fun fantasy tales in the forthcoming Wyrd Worlds II – a free spec fic anthology by a collection of sci-fi and fantasy authors. I’m involved with the Indie Collaboration as well, so look out for those.

 

There will definitely be further books in the Chronicles, plus at least one more Tales of Erana.  I am also working on another project with Diana. I’d like audio books for all of them too.

 

10) Why Bellator?

Mia knows Diana, and mentioned a charity anthology earlier in the year. Our story didn’t really fit that one – as there was no other fantasy so when she said about Bellator it was a perfect fit. I’ve written for anthologies before so I was happy to help and this charity is something I support – my parents were both Armed Forces folk and my father has a disability caused in war so, although this isn’t supporting a British charity it is a cause close to my heart.  I am delighted to be part of this.

Find more of A. L.’s work here:

Light Beyond the Storm – Book I Link Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Light-Beyond-Storm-Chronicles–ebook/dp/B0088DQO9C

Shining Citadel Amazon http://www.amazon.com/The-Shining-Citadel-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00D4CF6W8

Tales of Erana Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JCHQWJK Audio . http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Tales-of-Erana-Audiobook/B00LB8WH0G/

All the links can be found here, along with various author, character and reader interviews:

http://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/

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April Submission Blitz – “No” but Go

April 2, 2014 at 10:05 pm (dark fantasy, writing) (, , , , , )

While I was preparing for today’s submission to Lamplight, another pro-rate rejection came in. The editor, while not interested in my story, was kind enough to say she was pleased to see a submission from me in the slush pile. As strange as this may sound, it’s nice to just have my name recognized and my efforts acknowledged. I may not be meeting with any pro-rate success but the encouragement is always helpful. By the end of these submission blitzes I’m usually feeling pretty downtrodden. Any bolstering of my spirits makes the slew of rejections easier to bear (along with the odd acceptance, of course.)

I’m hoping to hear back soon on some of the novel submissions I’ve made, but it could be a few months yet. As it stands, all of my stand-alones have been submitted somewhere at this point, one to Angry Robot, two to Exile Editions and three to Simon 451. I’m considering submitting one of them to Crossed Genres if they get a “no” from where they’re at now. Considered CG is looking for mixed genre works, my writing may have better luck with them. I’m hoping CG will still be accepting submissions if and when that happens.

More tomorrow J

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April Submission Blitz – A Fresh Start

April 2, 2014 at 2:12 am (horror, writing) (, , , )

 

Today marks the first day in this year’s spring submission blitz – although with this weather, you could never tell. I sent of my first submission to a podcast and looking at what I have available for submission, I have 23 other items I could send out right now. That means I won’t be rushing to finish a bunch of flash fiction to hit my quota, just a handful of stories to add to the pile to get in my 30 submissions. I may just edit the two latest novels in my existing series and submit them as well.

Anyway, time to start hunting up other venues. Wish me luck!

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