Thanks to John DeNardo at SF Signal - again - for posting a link to 4 Star Stories' first issue. He listed the ezine's debut last week under News, and in Saturday's post he listed it under Free Fiction. The leadoff story is my "Meet Me at the Grassy Knoll".
Left work a little early yesterday (I normally work until at least 1 p.m. on Saturdays) and drove to Tyler. The Texas Associated Press Managing Editors had their annual confab at the Courtyard by Marriott there this weekend (which is why I don't mind that AggieCon apparently apparently forgot I'm alive).
It's over a 60 mile drive, and I got there 20 minutes late for the annual awards luncheon, but actually the timing was perfect - I sat down just as they were serving the entree.
The Mount Pleasant Daily Tribune is a small daily, and it shows when you compete in press contests; we're small even in our division, and there are much larger papers that have greater resources. But we took two awards this year, a third in General Column writing and an Honorable mention (4th place) in Feature Series. Since I took over as managing editor we've had two previous awards, an Honorable Mention (in this case, the equivalent of third place) for Spot News Photography in 2008, and an Honorable Mention for Speciality Reporting in 2010 (we were blanked in 2009). After the lunch I called the publisher and also the honorees to give them the news. It was especially nice for the staff writer who won the third in Columns, because she didn't know I had entered her in that category. That was a pleasant surprise.
Since Tyler is a much larger city than Mount Pleasant (15,000 vs. 125,000) - it has a larger selection of stores - so I took advantage while I was there to stop at a health food store and buy some Vegemite. They didn't have Vegemite, but they had Marmite, so I bought a couple of jars. As I had heard, they taste much the same, but the Marmite, if anything, is stronger. It also has a different consistency, it drips like caramel.
I stopped at a local small indy bookstore, "Once Again", and a chatted them up for a book signing. I've pretty much decided to stop wasting time with the chain stores. Asking the staff at a Barnes & Noble or Hastings for help with an author event is pretty much like stopping a member of the crew of the Titanic on the deck while the ship is sinking and asking them where the restroom is. They're going to pretty much ignore you, and they certainly won't help you.
The other route I'm pursuing is setting up events at local libraries, with the local Friends of the Library. I visited the library in New Boston in August and I'm due for a return visit this August.
Before I left the city it was time for dinner, and I snarfed a double clams meal at the local Long John Silver's - we don't have a Long John's in Mount Pleasant.
Getting back to genre news, I have received notification that my money from Shadow Gate is in my PayPal account. Shadow Gate should debut April 1, and it will be a print mag, so I will get a copy in the mail. "Hopscotch and Hottentots" will be my fourth story published this year.
Getting back to Aggiecon, I enjoyed my visits in 2006 and 2007, but since then they've either not sent me an invite, or it went out so late I had previous commitments. Well, it's not like I don't have other places to be...