Monday, January 30, 2012

Going Retro

Here's something noteworthy - "Double Exposure", the story I just sold to Daily Science Fiction, was originally written on a typewriter. I started using a typewriter last summer - I used it at a table in the dealers' room at ArmadilloCon in Austin. I've typed the first draft of all my stories since then on this Smith Corona Class 12. "Double Exposure" is the first story I've written on the typewriter that's been sold (pro sale, too).

I did not submit a typewritten manuscript. The original version came out to a little over 1,200 words. I scanned the pages and converted them to a text file, then did the final editing and trimmed it down to below 1,000 words.

One thing about working like this, it preserves the first draft. I still have that hard copy. It's useful to track how you edited; I noticed in going back to the original typewritten version that I completely eliminated one character. As you may know, eliminating at least one character is usually a sign of a good edit.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Saturday night

Saturday night there was a fundraising dinner for a local civic club. Every year the dinner uses a celebrity theme; each business that sponsors a table has to provide someone portraying a celebrity character in keeping with the theme to wait on their table. The theme this year was the '80s; I was the waiter for my table, portraying Luciano Pavarotti.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The details

OK, I've signed and returned the contract, so I will divulge that Daily Science Fiction (DSF) had bought my story "Double Exposure".

They already have "Great White Ship" cued up for spring this year. "Great White Ship" is a short story; "Double Exposure" would be classified as a flash, coming in at 995 words.

I also wrote up a bio and an author's statement for them, both under 250 words.

This makes five stories I've sold and are awaiting publication, which I think is a record for me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sold in 15 days

The first story I wrote so far this year, "Double Exposure", has already sold. I got word via email this morning that an SFWA-pro ezine will buy it. I won't mention the name until the contract has been signed.

"Double Exposure" is a flash, coming in just under 1,000 words. I thought it was good when I finished it, and it's set a record - for me - for a pro sale. I submitted it Jan. 9, so that means it took only 15 days.

I already have four stories set to run in 2012, so depending when it will be published, it will be between my 62nd and 66th publication. It is my fourth pro-level sale.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Zombie Writing!" has arrived

Sorry I haven't posted recently, but I was dealing with a major project at work that deadlined Friday. Unfortunately, I spent Thursday night at the hospital - the first time I've spent a night in a hospital since I had my tonsils out when I was ten. I went to a banquet Thursday night, and after I got home at 9 p.m. I started to get a severe stomach ache - and bloating. I drove myself to the ER at 11 p.m. After X-rays and a cat scan, they determined I had partial blockage of the small intestine. I was given some painkiller, put on a liquid diet, and checked in to see whether it would clear up on its own. Thank goodness it did. I was well enough to be checked out by 3 p.m. I went to the office for a few hours. My features editor was taken aback when I appeared in the office with a briefcase and hospital bracelets still on my wrists. My boss took his pocket knife and cut them off. I and worked a normal day today. I will be going to the doctor Monday so we can troubleshoot what caused the problem. I'm recovering, I had a slice of pizza this afternoon.

"Zombie Writing!" has been published, and the Kindle edition is free right now at Amazon, at least until the end of the day. I would have posted this link earlier, but I've been distracted.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Zombie Writing!

Here is the preview for the cover of the upcoming non-fiction release, "Zombie Writing! So You Want to Write About Zombies?" This should be out soon from RymFire ebooks, under the direction of Armand Rosamilia. It includes my essay "The Z Word".

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Other Worlds Than These"

When I see a call for an anthology, nine times out of ten its theme is not something I'm interested in. My stories tend to be traditional, and upbeat. That's outside the mainstream of s-f these days. But John Joseph Adams is working on an anthology with the theme of "Other Worlds Than These", which he touts as follows:

“What if you could not only travel any location in the world, but to any possible world?

“We can all imagine such “other worlds” - be they worlds just slightly different than our own or worlds full of magic and wonder - but it is only in fiction that we can travel to them, and this anthology will explore that concept - the idea of a person or persons from our world traveling to other worlds or alternate realities.

“This anthology will collect the best of these "parallel worlds" stories, alongside the best "portal fantasy" stories. As I’ve done with most of my other anthologies, I’d like to solicit recommendations, so if you have any outstanding examples of this kind of fiction you’d like to point out to me, please feel free to let me know about them by entering them into this database.

“I'm primarily interested in short fiction, but if you want to recommend novels or novel series, that is welcome too, as I may include a "for further reading" list in the anthology.”

I sent him off “Avatar” – which is an alternate history – and “The Witch of Waxahachie” – which is a portal story. Both are Honorable Mentions in the YBSF.

The only case so far where I’ve had a story included in a themed anthology was when “Good News for the Dead” was included in Carol Hightshoe’s “Zombified”.

“Avatar” and “Witch” are two of my better efforts. “Avatar” is the only story I’ve ever written than had only positive reviews. “Witch” still stands as my largest sale – Baen’s Universe paid me eight cents a word.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Taking stock

After completing "Double Exposure" on Monday and sending it off, I spent the rest of the week resubbing other stories. I have a dozen in various places, which is relatively high - when I was just starting out there were times I had as many as many as 18 at one time - but I slowed down my pace a bit and tried to write a little better. I think I can be considered "broken in" at this point.

Just for grins, these are the slushpiles: F&SF, Daily Science Fiction, The New Yorker, CICADA, Bull Spec, Albedo One, Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show, Shimmer, 3-Lobed Burning Eye, White Cat Publishing, Flash Fiction Online, Stupefying Stories.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Zombie Writing

I received a proof copy in my email of "Zombie Writing!", a non-fiction original anthology being put out Armand Rosamilia at Rymfire Books, a horror and heavy metal publishing outfit.

It has 44 authors (including me) in 160 pages. It will published on Amazon Kindle and Createspace. My contribution is an essay based on my short story "Good News for the Dead", entitled "The Z Word". Cover art will be by Nic Burgess.

I looked over my entry - no problems - and returned it to Armand.

Monday, January 09, 2012

A milestone

I just reached a milestone in my fiction career - I finished my 100th story. I didn't realize that milestone was coming up until I entered it in my log book. That's 99 stories since Sept. 2002 - I wrote one story in the 1980s. I've had 60 published.

This most recent is a flash, 991 words, called "Double Exposure". It starts with a man who's just bought a gun and is getting ready to commit suicide to avoid going to prison, when he looks across the parking lot and sees a Kodak Fotomat booth...

In other developments (yes, pun intended), author Jennifer Wylie has honored me with an interview on her blog, "Welcome to My Mind". You can read it here.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

World S-F Blog publications for 2011

The World S-F Blog has made a note of the stories it published in 2011, 18 in all. Six of them were original, including my story "Irredenta" which was published May 15. To check out the listing, go thisaway:

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

"Journalism & Prophecy"

While I was at the Reston Used Book Store (RUBS) in Virginia a week ago, dropping off copies of my collections, I found a first edition of "H.G. Wells - Journalism & Prophecy 1893-1946" an anthology compiled by W. Warren Wagar.

I'd never seen the book before. I took it with me on Amtrak to read on the two-day trip back to Texas.

It didn't last that long. I started reading it Saturday afternoon and finished it Sunday afternoon, in just under 24 hours. That's the closest I've come to reading a book in one sitting since I went straight through "Old Man's War" in 2006.

I didn't fully appreciate what a good journalist Wells was. If anything, he may have been a better journalist than a fiction writer.

Wagar organized Wells' articles in three major sections: Forecasts and Impressions, Portraits, and Visions.

It's fascinating to read how some predictions made by Wells were so accurate, and others were proven wrong by time. For example, relating to World War II, he was totally on target in predicting Italy's role in the war and its relation to Germany. On the other hand, he missed Hitler and Mussolini's demise completely - he wanted them put on trial for war crimes.

His observations on contemporary events are extremely interesting. Some of his economic statements, especially during the Great Depression, remain as pertinent today as ever.

Wells obviously had a fine mind. It's sad that he got so depressed at the end of his life, and he supposed we would blow ourselves all up with atomic bombs (which he predicted and named). But he was old and sick, and we probably shouldn't take the last way we saw him as representative of a mind which was brilliant, creative, and insightful for so many years.

One last note: The 1964 book is surprisingly fragile, the dust cover and pages are trying to crumble on me. It is a Houghton Mifflin book, approximately 450 pages long.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Zombie Writing Release Coming Soon

I'm reprinting this from the web site of horror writer Armand Rosamilia:

"I was going to wait closer to the official release date (January 20th 2012) but… well, I can’t…

"Zombie Writing! is a non-fiction idea I am putting together, and I wanted it to be special… but I had no idea just how special it was going to be until I started reading through the submissions and editing it…

"The idea was simple: put together the best zombie authors I could find, have them submit varied pieces about their own writing, advice about writing zombie fiction, and their own take on the genre…

"I don’t have everyone involved finished submitting, but so far the book will include:

"Neil Kloster, Mark Clodi, Richard Lee Beyers, Joe McKinney, Jason S. Hornsby, Rie Sheridan Rose, Christian Jensen, Mainak Dhar, JD Gillam, Mark Justice, Michael D. Griffiths, Dane Hatchell, T.S. Charles, David Moody, Todd Brown, Craig DiLouie, Lee Pletzers, Andy Taylor, Kevin Coryell, Brent Abell, Sharon M. White, Kelly M. Hudson, Chantal Boudreau, Carole Gill, Marissa Farrar, Tim Waggoner, W.D. Gagliani, David Lee Summers, Lou Antonelli, Shawn M. Riddle, Keith Gouveia, and so many more…

"Stay tuned for further details, and a killer cover from Nic Burgess as well!"

I emailed Armand my biography yesterday evening. My whole participation is based on "Good News for the Dead", which is the only zombie story I have ever written. I contributed an essay called "The Z Word"

Monday, January 02, 2012

First contract for 2012

Just signed a contract with Wesley Kawato of Nova SF to publish a story this year. I found it in the mail I picked up when I got back today. It will be going out in tomorrow's mail.

Patricia and I returned home today after a holiday trip that began Christmas Eve. We took the train back, a two-day trip that went from Washington D.C. to Dallas via Chicago.

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