Thursday, February 24, 2005

Musical Manuscripts

I got back three stories on Tuesday from Asimov's, Analog and SciFi.Com. I swapped them around and sent them off today to the same cast of characters.

Over on his blog, Jayme Blashcke has bemoaned the fact he gets good comments from editors - but they still reject the story. I know the way he feels. Here's some excerpts from the letters I got Tuesday:

Sheila Williams: "I thought the story had some powerful imagery, but it didn't quite work for me."

Ellen Datlow: "It's not at all bad, but I'm afraid I don't like it enough to buy it for the site."

Stan Schmidt: The story "has an interesting idea, but there's too little story built on it."

Well, I only get rejected by the best! I would imagine this would be really frustrating if I was trying to live off my writing - but I'm not. And I have a corpus of 25 stories right now bouncing around all different places, so I always have something else to shoot off when a rejection comes in.

I haven't bee able to write anything since about the 16th. I've had a great press at work, caused by the conclusion of the basketball season. Both our girls and boys basketball teams are in the playoffs, and so their games are now overlapping with the start of the baseball and softball seasons.

Well, ConDFW starts tomorrow. I really enjoyed it when I went two years ago. It was the first con I ever attended. Here's the web site:

I heartily recommend it to anyone in the North Texas area.

Maybe I'll even pay for my registration! When I went in 2003, I got in on a media pass, because I worked for a paper in the DFW area. I DID run their news release.

I live farther away now, outside the region, so I guess I'll pay...

I didn't pre-register. Every time I've tried to pre-register for a convention, something comes up to stop my attendance. I lost $100 in 2003 that way. Ever since then, I just show up at the door, and everything is fine (it's more expensive, but it works).

I won't be able to attend the evening session Friday because of work - the local girls basketball team is playing a regional semi-final game - and they'll probably win, which will mean I also have to work Saturday night. Oh, well.

If they win Saturday, I'll have to go to Austin for the state tournament next week. They played there last year, also, and that was when I looked up Howard Waldrop and knocked on his door.

Both the girls and boys basketball team from my town are still n the playoffs. If everything goes off the way it should, I will have been covering games 5 out of 6 nights this week. I've already logged 750 miles driving and the week isn't over yet.

Monday, February 21, 2005

More mush for the slush

I dropped a story into the websphere Sunday for Jon Laden, who's started "Fictitious Fiction". I'm also dropping a story in the mail today to Dominick Salemi at Brutarian, and I have another one going out to Albedo One.

I have a story I wanted to send to "Would That It Were", but it's long according to their guidelines. I've never submitted to them before, and I don't write a heck of a lot of historical fiction. I queried first, but they said it was cool, I could send it.

I've submitted before to Brutarian and Albedo. Albedo actually sends me nice e-mails. Salemi sends back form letters - which are a waste of time at this point in my career - but he does turn the stories around fast. It's a harmless place to park a story for a week or two, I guess.

ConDFW is this coming weekend, but my schedule is completely up in the air. Both the girls and boys basketball teams are in the playoffs as of today (Monday) and whether and how free I will be on Friday and Saturday is problematic.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

I've sold my first YA story.

Today marks another first. I sold my first YA story. I heard back from a magazine called "Beyond Centauri".

The editor wrote:

"Regarding 'The Honor Of The Blue Devil Patrol'... this story is well-written, interesting, suitable for younger readers, and about as politically incorrect as it is possible for a science fiction story for younger readers to be. So I'll accept it."

The story is tentatively slated to run in July (in which case it would hit about the same time as my story at ASIM). The editor also said he might use it in an annual anthology.

Other recent developments: Got two rejections, from Futurismic and ASIM (the story made the first cut but flopped on the 2nd). Ultraverse may be interested in a rewrite.

I wrote 4,000 words on my latest story last week, but I haven't been able to get back to it because of pressing job and family duties. I need to finish the first draft before it cools down completely.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I Blew My Chance at $10,000

On Feb. 8, the local booster club held a special fund-raising drawing. If your name was picked, you would have a chance to win $10,000 in a shooting contest.

If you could make a lay-up, a foul shot, a three-point shot, and a half court shot, in that order, in 25 seconds, you would get the $10,000. You weren't allowed any warm-up shots, and you had to shag your own rebounds.

Of course, I was there to take a photo of the drawing - and my name was pulled.

Yikes! Well, I gave it my best. I hit the lay-up on the first try! I figgered at 5'11" I could bank a shot, and I could. But when I shot from the charity stripe, I was completely lost. I never played basketball in high school. I bounced two shots before time ran out.

Oh, well. At least by getting the lay-up, I preserved my dignity.

My latest story, "Won't You Come Home, Bill Buckley?", is up at Bewildering Stories. Go read!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Zip Code 10016

One of my chores for this weekend was to check the galleys for my Asimov's story. I found only three things worth correcting - a "four" when I meant "for", changing "on to" to "onto" and a paragraph break I didn't recall having.
I attached a note to Brian Bienowski, saying that because the story ("A Rocket for the Republic") is written as a monologue by a 200-year old uneducated Texan, a lot of things probably "look" wrong - but that's the way I wrote it.
Another one of my chores for this weekend was to write a letter to William F. Buckley, Jr. in New York letting him know that my story, "Won't You Come Home, Bill Buckley?", will be going up next week at Bewildering Stories. Since he's a character in the story, I felt I should tell him as a courtesy.
I dropped the envelopes off at the post office on my way to the supermarket at around 1:30 p.m. When I did I noticed both Asimov's and The National Review -where I am writing Buckley - both have the same zip code. They must be around the corner from each other in Manhattan.
I have "The Runner at Dawn" ready to mail to Challenging Destiny. I'm still keeping up with about 20 stories out in slushy piles at the same time - although honestly, with some of these smaller publications, I don't know whether they're alive or dead.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Life of a Writer

This post duplicates one at the Asimov's board I thought was worth saving - part of a discussion of the novel versus the shiort story, and full-time versus part-time writing:

I don't know - I always admired O. Henry, and my hero in the television world was Rod Serling. And I went into journalism - so I seem to be drawn to the short form.
Ardath Mayhar, a veteran writer who also lives in East Texas (Joe Lansdale is her unofficial grandson) said to me once she thinks it's always smart to have an "eating job".
I really don't have much of a choice, being married. I could live off free lance income, but my wife (and probably my dog) would starve.
(My wife is currently a full-time student, so she doesn't have an income.)
Besides, when inspiration strikes - and I tend to write better when the muse whaps me upside the head - I'll crank out the copy at 1,000 words an hour.
I actually sometimes seek distractions because I feel I'm writing too fast, and I need to slow down and think out plot and characterization more.
I guess that's an unfortunate side effect of being a journalist all these years - cranking out the copy like a pulp writer.
I seem to be naturally following Heinlein's system of linking short stories together.
The first story I ever had published was called "Silvern". It was published at RevolutionSF in June 2003.
RevSF recently accepted another story, "Dialogue", which is a prequel to "Silvern". It tells the tale of first contact.
I have a story that's passed the 1st reading at ASIM that's a sequel to "Silvern". It takes the protagonist to his next posting.
Also, I had a story at "Bewildering" in May called "I Got You". The story I had published in ContinuumSF's fall edition, "Double Crossing the Styx", was a prequel to that, with the same protagonist.
I mean, why keep reinventing characters when you already have some perfectly good ones fleshed out?
Charlie Stross' "Accelerando" stories all fit together and will be coming out soon.
If it's worked for everyone from Heinlein to Stross, who am I to kick?

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Good Word From Down Under

Nothing in the mail today, but I got word via e-mail the folks at Andromeda Spaceways passed "Good Old Gal" on its first reading.
If it clears the 2nd reading, it would be the 2nd story accepted by ASIM.
Back in Jan. 2003, right after New Year's, they short-listed my story "Dialogue". That was the first time I didn't get an outright rejection, and it was very encouraging at the time.
They ultimately didn't take "Dialogue", and in fact it will be running at RevolutionSF in a few months.
But I'll never forget getting that e-mail back in 2003. It was a big deal then.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The latest

I dropped my latest completed story, "The Dragon's Black Box", in the mail to Sheila Williams at Asimov's on Friday. It's the 47th story I've written since 2002. I have 21 stories in various slush piles right now.
Last night I collected my notes and updated the list I keep of story outlines, ideas and concepts. That comes to 52.
Still have a lot of writing to do

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