My own personal crusade…

April 27, 2007 at 5:16 pm (Writing)

Copy editors get twisted about weird things, I guess, but I’ve decided that using an apostrophe-s (‘s) to indicate plurality should be a stoning offense.

 Got any other suggestions?


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A little more progress…

April 27, 2007 at 12:26 am (The Final Quarter, Writing)

Finished the third of four scenes in the prologue.

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Moving along…

April 23, 2007 at 11:40 pm (Rejections, The Final Quarter, Writing)

Finished the second scene in the novel’s prologue today, and got a rejection from A Thousand Faces for “Old Nag.”

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Sometimes it pays to be obnoxious.

April 14, 2007 at 8:02 pm (Acceptances, Writing)

Or, if you prefer, persistent.

Just got my acceptance letter from Triangulation: End of Time for “That Ain’t a Mosey.” I sent them five stories before finding one that would work, and then I had to go back and rewrite that one.

Pete Butler said: “You win at persistence.” He also said he’s amused to be running a cowboy zombie story written by a Texan. Well, who else could do it justice?

That being said, I’m thinking of another zombie story set on the Gulf Coast near Galveston, in a little town called the Village of Tiki Island.  It came to me after an incredibly vivid dream the other day of me dragging two of my kids out of a house and trying to get away from people who were chasing me. It was like something out of a suspense thriller, but why they were chasing me never got said. Dreams are like that. But I was so impressed with the imagery that I thought it would make an excellent scene in something. Thrillers aren’t really my thing, but then I thought of zombies. Still something chasing you. I’ve always loved the Galveston area, and that’s when the title hit me: “It Takes a Village.”

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A bit of progress…

April 13, 2007 at 3:39 pm (Rejections, The Final Quarter, Writing)

I finished the first scene of the prologue. It starts with the end of the world and jumps forward from there, kind of giving the reader an idea of how the world of the story developed. I figure I’ll have another four or five such scenes.

In a little bit less happy news, got a rejection today from Darker Matter for “Routine Maintenance.”

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I’m almost not sure how to handle this…

April 10, 2007 at 1:03 pm (Acceptances, Writing)

“Dreadneck” has been accepted by Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. Should the schedule hold and nothing change, it’ll see ink for Issue No. 33, due out in December.

This is my first acceptance for a printed publication (although I’ve still got my toes crossed for “That Ain’t a Mosey” in Triangulation: End of Time), and I couldn’t be happier about the home “Dreadneck” has found.

For any speculative fiction writer who hasn’t considered ASIM, I’d highly recommend giving them a close look. Everything I’ve seen points to a first-rate publication. Plus, if you’re like me and hate the sort of cloud of secrecy that tends to hang over submissions (Where is it? Has it moved any through the process? Has anyone read it?), they’ve got pretty cool submission tracker. Your story is given a reference number so you can see which of the three submission stages it’s in. As I understand it, that number is all the slush editors see. The author’s name and any identifying information is stripped out for an anonymous reading process.

About the only place I know of that has a more open selection process is TQR, where you can actually read the ongoing debate about which stories they want to select in their “free market.”

All in all, I’m pretty jazzed about this. It’s enough that I’m not even upset about Hub’s rejection of “Routine Maintenance,” which I also got this morning. That one brings me to a milestone of sorts — 50 rejections! Woohoo!

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April 9, 2007 at 4:30 am (The Final Quarter, Writing)

OK, so I actually hate that pseudo-word, but I couldn’t think of much of anything else to use to describe how I’m felling right about now.

Draft # 1 is done!


Of course, all that really means is that the work starts over with a rewrite. A straightforward, if quirky, postapocalyptic pirate story will become a quirky, postapocalyptic fantasy pirate story with a new prologue, two new chapters and all kinds of snazzy new details.


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It’s off…

April 5, 2007 at 3:15 pm (The Final Quarter, Writing)

Sent the rewritten “That Ain’t a Mosey” to the Triangulation anthology editor. It weighs in nearly 1,800 words lighter than before, most of that off the front end.

I’m keeping my toes crossed (can’t cross my eyes, need my fingers for typing, but I don’t do that much walking, anyway).

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Talk about taking the wind out of my sails…

April 3, 2007 at 3:51 pm (Rejections, The Final Quarter, Writing)

Got yet another rejection for “The Final Quarter,” this time from Black Sails.

As a Texan, I appreciate the take on the UT/A&M rivalry, and the SF conceit is a clever one.  Unfortunately, it’s not quite the right fit for the collection at large, so we decided that we’ll have to pass.  Hopefully you understand.

I actually don’t understand — it’s a pirate story for a pirate anthology, and there’s no information here as to why it’s not a good fit. But like I told the editor, I don’t have to understand. It’s his publication. If he doesn’t want it, it doesn’t get in. I may send this to Revelation if they ever re-open to submissions.

My real concern is how this bodes for the novel I’m writing based on that short story. I hope I haven’t created something that’s too quirky.

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Well how about that…

April 3, 2007 at 3:20 am (Submissions, Writing)

Got my first ever rewrite request Sunday. Of course, it’s not an acceptance and an acceptance isn’t guaranteed, but it’s certainly a step in that direction.

The story in question is “That Ain’t a Mosey,” my cowboy zombie apocalypse. The request comes courtesy of the Triangulation anthology.

The majority of the readers are going to see right where you’re going, and I think they’re going to get impatient waiting for you to get there. You can make the case that the first nine pages are backstory — that the story doesn’t REALLY begin until Doc gets shot and the undead mayhem begins. It shouldn’t take nine pages to get there. I want to see a rewrite — I want to see a version of this narrative that’s slimmer and faster paced, and (most importantly) gets to the actual story faster.

In its original form, “That Ain’t a Mosey” weighs in at about 6,500 words. I still think it was a good story that flowed nicely (if perhaps a tad slowly), but after whacking 1,700 words, I can see the advantages of making it a lean, mean, undead machine. I’m going to let the thing sit for a few days and go back and look at it to make sure I didn’t cut anything unnecessary.

The thing that strikes me as funny is this little adventure so far illustrates a point I’ve heard often (and even made myself): Sometimes it’s just a matter of hitting an editor at the right moment. History is Dead rejected the story as nicely written, but not what they were looking for. I turned around and sent it to Triangulation without alteration, where they just happened to be needing some zombies for the “End of Time” theme. Sure, I would have liked to have it accepted as it was, but if he likes my changes, I’ve got a strong(er) piece in a fairly notable publication. The fact that it pays more than History (if they take it) doesn’t hurt, either. 🙂

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