Summer Update – A Reading and More

August 24, 2018 at 3:21 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , )

I know I’ve been quiet this summer, but as usual, increased hours at work, outdoor activities and my garden has forced me into a bit of a blog hiatus. I do have a few things to mention.

Coming up this weekend, Sunday the 26th to be exact, I’m participating in Hal-Con’s reading series at the Halifax Central Library. The readings start at two in room 301 and I’ll be sharing an excerpt from “The Hack-Jack Prospect,” a cyberpunk fairy-tale mashup that was originally published in the Young Adventurers: Heroes, Explorers & Swashbucklers from Intrigue Publishing. Room. This will be the second session and this one is with guest, Elaine McCluskey. If you can make it, I hope to see you there.

My noir superhero story, “Amnesty” is now available in print in Crimson Streets #3. My horror story, “Scuttle” is akso available in the Abandon anthology, both released earlier this year.

And perhaps for future reference. I may be participating in as many as three presentations/panels ar Hal-Con proper this year. I’ll only be atteding on the Sunday, so we’ll see how things work out.

More news in the fall…

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Summer’s End

September 26, 2017 at 2:32 am (Links, writing) (, , , , , , )

It’s about time I end my summer “blog hiatus”, and what time better to do it with some thoughts on this year’s Hal-Con.

I decided to make the most of the writing options of my one day there by scheduling as much in as possible. I started things up with a meet-up with a few local writers (which was a fun time) and I followed that up with a Tanya Huff presentation on adapting novels to TV. I made friends with a playwright from California and chatted with an old friend while in line. Tanya had some great stories to share.

The next panel I attended was on women in media – some great questions for the panel and thought-provoking conversation. It convinced me to buy one of the books written by one of the panel members, Tim Hanley (cover at left).

I ended up skipping the next panel I was half interested in attending so I could have some snacks and play a couple of rounds of Munchkin Deluxe. Then it was off to a reading by Tamora Pierce.

The last presentation I attended that day was on writing style. While I agreed with much of the content, there were some minor issues. I’m not sure if the presenter had the credentials to offer themselves up as a “writing expert,” especially considering a lack of publishing experience and some of the technical issues with their slides. There was one notable typo, problems with punctuation in their dialogue examples, referring to something that was clearly a simile as a metaphor and repetition in some samples that wasn’t being used to reinforce a point. All that aside, the presentation was a good one overall and a few rounds with a good editor may help the presenter refine their technical skills.

Supper with a friend followed and then I ended the night by attending the Aurora Awards (congrats to all the nominees and winners.) As I waited for my drive with my daughter and her friend we tried out Chupacabra.

The only hiccups I ran into at the con was an obstacle while trying to pre-register, so that didn’t happen, and a lack of healthy gluten-free snacks/food available at the con. You had to go off site to get that, but it wasn’t terribly far.

My latest writing news will follow tomorrow and my October submission blitz is rapidly approaching. More soon!

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April Submission Blitz – Closing In

April 29, 2014 at 1:08 am (writing) (, , , , , )

Just a couple of days left and I’ll be done, other than the odd submission here or there, until October. I got back the final rejection I was waiting on from Simon 451. That ended as expected. I still have the three other novel submissions I’m waiting on. I know I don’t fit well in the big 5 box, but the smaller presses may like my quirky stories (quirky but epic, according to some.)

I like the challenge posed by this semi-annual goal I set for myself, but I’m pretty tired of submissions by the end of the month. I’m looking forward to just focussing on some editing and reading for a while. That and I’m bracing myself for the stream of rejections that eventually will follow. There’s a reason I only do this two months out of the year.

Almost there…

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Edit Fest – Not Enough Hours

May 7, 2013 at 11:33 pm (fantasy, writing) (, , , , , , , , )

I have always loved to read. When I was younger I was a voracious reader and I would be now if I could set my own hours as I please. As an adult with adult responsibilities, it’s not that simple. My accounting job takes up the better part of my week, spending time with family is a welcome requirement, I tackle as little housework as I can get away with, and I do some gardening and other chores – like walking the dog. My “spare” time is consumed by writing and writing associated endeavours (editing, marketing, submissions, networking, research, etc.) So if I want to read, I usually have to sacrifice something else, usually the non-work-or-family activities.

I still do read, regularly, but not the way I used to. I ran into an old friend on the bus; my commute is currently my reading time, and I gave it up to be social. We discussed books, and I was disappointed that he talked about books he has read lately that I want to read, but doubt I’ll be likely to get to them (until I retire, perhaps.) I already have enough books on my Kindle to last me a couple of years at the pace I’ve been reading, as well as several print copies waiting in the queue, and I’m sure to accumulate more as time passes.

Anyway, I am making a point to read more this month, since I’m not working toward any deadline at the moment and I tend to approach editing with a more casual attitude than I do writing. I’m hoping to finish reading one anthology tomorrow and start right on into another. I’m also itching to get back into working on Sifting the Ashes again. I may plunge into Chapter 7 this weekend.

Until then, it’s back to working on edits for Victims of Circumstance…

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Submission Blitz – Day 10

April 10, 2013 at 11:51 pm (writing) (, , , , , , , , )

I had to dig a little harder to find a venue today, and I ended up submitting “The Godmother’s Curse” to a pro-rate venue as a result. That never ends well – but this isn’t a “submit-only-to-venues-likely-to-accept-you” blitz, so I’m going to have to dive into those far reaches a couple of times this month. I got another receipt confirmation today too. I’m thinking I may see another rejection or two to allow for resubmissions by month’s end, but that’s only if my submissions from the summer and fall of 2012 weren’t sucked up into some submission black hole. That has happened to me before, where presses have folded, my submissions were ignored during the reading period I sent them in and not read into the following one many months later, or just not deemed important enough for anybody’s attention until they bothered to send out a form rejection letter more than a year after the short story had been submitted (a pro-rate venue at that.)

In the meantime, I hit 3,200 words today on “Sanae’s Garden” and realized there’s no way I can finish it in the 3,500 word maximum required for the original venue I had planned – not without completely deconstructing the story. I won’t do that. It’s a story I get lost in while I write and changing the story excessively would ruin it. I *know* the ending and I’m just trying to get there as concisely as possible. I’m expecting it will run between 5,000 and 6,000 words when I’m done and I found another venue I can submit it to that will welcome that word count. I’ll just have to write a new story for the anthology I was going to submit it to. The way I see it, all this Japanese-themed content is good practice for “A Bed of Bones”, the Japanese mythology based novel I have in planning for the 2013 NaNoWriMo in November.

Anyway, we’ll see if I can finish up “Sanae’s Garden” by tomorrow. Then I start work on the next couple of flash pieces I hope to put out there.

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Anything but Ordinary

May 18, 2012 at 11:54 pm (Casualties of War, fantasy, Magic University, writing) (, , , , , )

It’s funny how sometimes we can draw inspiration from characters. I’ve seen articles lately about how readers can be influenced by the characters in the books they read, carrying over elements of the characters into real life – a method of transforming theory into practice, I guess. If that works for readers, I suspect it also works for writers. I’m not sure if this is a common experience for all writers, but I often feel a profound connection with my characters, more so than the ones in the books I read – even those that have touched me in a very strong way.

I find myself identifying with the strangest of characters, like my gnomish ex-schoolteacher wizard’s apprentice, Reeree, who appears in my Masters and Renegades series, both in Magic University and my soon-to-be-released Casualties of War. Now I’m not a fan of the colour pink, and I’m often one of the taller people in a crowd, so on a physical level, I can’t relate to her very well. But what I do understand is playing it safe for the better part your life and then suddenly reaching a place where you realize a risk is necessary or your life will prove quite pointless. While nobody would ever accuse me of being normal, I certainly let things play out in an “ordinary” way, until I found it just wasn’t enough. Like Reeree, I came to the conclusion that I wanted my life to be something more than ordinary. I want to do something significant and meaningful. I want to serve some higher purpose.

At the point in my life where that notion truly hit home, I started taking chances. It would have been nice to make as drastic a change as Reeree – to make that leap without looking back…no regrets, but I’m afraid I wasn’t as bold. My chosen path has been slower going, a gradual transformation, but I’ve done a lot in the last few years, much of which I might have considered impossible before now. I’m hoping it will eventually lead me to that opportunity to make a real difference in the world, be it writing a book that moves people to better their lives, or even just helps one person to overcome some sort of adversity, or perhaps, make some sizable contribution to a charitable cause.

In the meantime, I’ll keep working towards that objective of being anything but ordinary, like Reeree, but with smaller steadier steps. I’ve managed to get this far in a very short amount of time and … hey … it doesn’t hurt to dream.

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