Squab is out in the current issue of Speculative 66. A story in one sentence this time around. Enjoy.
Even if you’re not a writer–especially if you’re not a writer, watch this.
The holidays swept through like a storm, and still the grinding continues (not sure if I ever want it to end). The thought of constructing a yearly works post did cross my mind, and I might get to it if I’m lucky enough to breeze through all this work by the end of March. You see, school started today, and my reading list–along with the good ‘ole 75 pages of creative work–is daunting. I’ll be working on a final lecture about the decline of 3rd person omniscient narration and how it can work in modern fiction if done right. Readers don’t trust the voice of an all-knowing intelligence that doesn’t show up on stage. So instead of staying comfortable with genre stuff, I’ll be delving into old literary stuff like The Scarlet Letter and The Brothers Karamazov to excavate some gems.
Atreyu’s non-stop scratching, from some kind of allergy, has stopped. Yeyoo! He got a couple bones in the mail and is doing just fine. Although the rain is a welcome gift around this time of year, I’m hating it because Cymphonee is back on the road.
Residency was great and I’m looking forward to the next one. Went over dialogue tags and it seems my creative juices got lost somewhere around the Hemingway era. Learning modern craft is a breath of fresh air, and work-shopping did wonders for what I’m working on now and what I had in the trunk. I pulled a couple of them out, rewrote them, and the sales prospects are looking good. It’s amazing what a little polishing can do. Should have 2-3 pieces coming out this month, but I’m not sure where edits are right now so don’t hold your breath.
Been really excited about Matt Wallace’s new vlog (from the Angry Writer channel). If any of you get a chance check it out. It’s pouring out now, so until next time, or next story, stay dry and keep the numbers running.
Spare Parts is now up on Star Ship Sofa. My thanks to Tony C. Smith, Jeremy Szal, and Ant Bacon for a great job narrating. Plug your earphones in and enjoy.
Podcasts are important to me. They’re one of many reasons I have the courage to write. When I was starting out I had no idea how to begin. This was years ago. I was a lab technician in a research facility, working alone with little to no communication with another human being. I thought I’d roundup some of the podcasts that have helped me through the years. Some are strictly about craft, some are short story podcasts, some have absolutely nothing to do with writing, but they planted seeds that later grew into stories.
There are tons more that I just don’t have the time to cover. But these are my favorites. To go into detail about all the story casts out there would take me days. So here are my go to’s for every genre.
Again, just my personal favorites. And when awards time comes around, don’t forget to vote for podcasts. The people behind the scenes put a lot of hard work in to bring you all this free content. You can donate as little as one dollar a month to almost any of the titles above. Let me know about your own favorites, I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg. Keep grinding. Keep listening.
Finally got my registration done for the MFA program I’m jumping into. Locked and loaded. Starts October 2. Stoked, excited, fearful. Finally some smoking barrels. I’ll be working with Stephen Graham Jones for fiction and will attempt some screenwriting for my cross genre elective. This is a reinvention of epic proportions, and I’m not looking back. I’m on page 620 of GRRM’s A Storm of Swords (thanks mom) and have to choose five books a quarter to read and analyze (scatter-brained, so don’t look for transitions or segues). This list keeps changing. I am a huge fan of the grimdark sub-genre (whatever that means) and am tempted to fill those slots with steel, blood, and moral ambiguity, but there’s so much more I enjoy reading.
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence is in my top slot. I grabbed it as an Audible trial pick (then cancelled) but can’t really feel the weight of it without a physical copy in my hands. I’ll go all day with audio short fiction, but novel length is a drag no matter who’s narrating. Something by Corey, Fletcher, Okorafor, and Jemisin, perhaps. That leaves out horror, but my dark ways will more than make up for it.
Zero submissions this month. Two publications coming up. Speaking of audio fiction, my short story “Spare Parts” was purchased as a reprint from StarShipSofa and should be coming out any day now (my, how the wheels turn). Their 500th episode is a piece by Harlan Ellison that you probably shouldn’t miss. Doo-doo-bee (a.k.a. our puppy) is going through it lately. Skin scrapes and steroids and runny-runs has me on edge, but puppies are resilient, I keep telling myself.
Disappointed by some pro-rate publications lately. Publicly scoffing at slush pile entries is not cool. Send a form rejection and keep it pushing. Next month marks two years with Grimdark Magazine and I’ve learned a lifetime worth. I’ll get on blogging about the value of reading slush for a strong market one of these days. Deathnote came out on NetFlix this month (or last) and I can’t help but cringe every time a live-action version of a manga series is botched beyond recognition. Stick to the hard-copies (an omnibus of the entire series was just released, pick that up for sure). Huge book haul from my favorite thrift store last weekend. Among them is a Glen Cook novel said to be one of the cornerstones of grimdark fantasy. I’ll hit the lines after Storm of Swords is done.
July was a whirlwind. It’s not over yet, but it’s left its mark. Atreyu is a little giant now. In a month or so he can finally go outside. August brings thirty years of life for my Cymphonee, five completely in love, one single day to celebrate the rest of my life. And I’ve only grown to love her more. Cheers, my honey bee!
I made a big move this month, one which slipped through my grasp in the past. But now, I’ve captured it. In nine days I completed my application to a graduate program in creative writing, specifically for genre fiction. Fevre dreams of rejection plagued me: writing sample’s not long enough, too dark, too inexperienced, no background, no future…But alas, I was accepted. Residency begins late September. Victory. My gratitude and thanks go out to Adrian Collins of Grimdark Magazine, P. Alexander of Cirsova, and more than 200 rejections last year that really thickened my skin. Dragon fire, folks.
Outlook Springs picked up my story “Ethereal Things” for their next issue, and Star Ship Sofa will be featuring “Spare Parts” in an upcoming episode. Vastly different tales from the same twisted mind. Started the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb and it’s looking good so far. I’m a sucker for fantasy with dogs. The Broken Empire trilogy arrived in my mailbox last week and I’ll start on that as soon as I finish the new GOT episode tonight. Red Sister is loaded on my Audible, as well. The reviews are insanely good. Lots to read, lots to write…lots to be thankful for.
Been in the swamps of editing/rewriting/biggest pain-in-the-ass part of writing lately. Getting time away (lots of time) from my work, then rereading with a critical eye, has been the biggest lesson this last couple months. Honestly, most of the stuff I sell is first draft quality and can be polished and reworked into more cohesive, flowing pieces. It’s a lot of work to put your best foot forward. Finishing and submitting is easy, but reworking it into something explosive and clear to any reader is the real work. A story is made in editing, plain and simple.
Cymphonee and I have a new addition to the family. We’ve been working hard to keep him in line and the crate training is going pretty well. Not sure he likes the crate as a sleeping area (mostly, he thinks it’s a kind of punishment after sleeping on the bed with us), but he’ll adapt. Atreyu is a boxador from the pound and we love him to death (when he’s not gnawing on anything in sight).
“Three times a Ronin Shouts” is available for pre-order on amazon as of now. I believe the actual release date is July 21, but you can get it now for a buck. Bards and Sages publishing did a pretty good job for this 8k word stand alone, and I hope you’ll all enjoy. Two sales in the ether right now, prospects looking good for a print and a new audio release. Finished “Gwendy’s Button Box” and I’ll have some comments or a quick review up soon.
Cymphonee recovered the old hard drive; that means 25k in the novel saved and six WIP’s recovered. Not to mention all our old photos and videos. Yeehaw! Bards and Sages Publishing picked up “Three Times a Ronin Shouts” and that should be coming out as a stand alone in July I believe. Still watching for negotiations at Manor House for September release of “What’s Done in the Dark,” and have been obsessively playing the Gwent Beta!
More to come.