Monday, December 27, 2010

Fuzzy Holidays



Wandering in the fields behind my parents house, the nameless cat called to them weakly. His cries were raspy and harsh, and he was hunkered in the underbrush, simply trying to survive the cold. His ears were already frostbitten, and he was obviously starving.

This is how we came upon the newest member of my family. He is a scrawny little tabby of about two years, and we have named him Randy after one of my favorite MMA fighters. Randy Couture has some major cauliflower ear, and being that his ears may never heal (the vet said that the tips will probably come off on their own) we thought it would be fitting.

Sometimes, if you squint, it looks like a fetus.

The first time I picked him up, I was startled by just how thin he really was. It was like picking up the bones after eating fried chicken. Needless to say, I have been giving him tuna with his cat food, and am helping him get rehydrated. Hopefully by new years, he will stop looking like a tearjerking picture in National Geographic.

After checking the neighborhood for lost cat posters, as well as a few local online boards in the lost and found section, it looks like Randy (I want his name to be Nog, for the same reasons, but it sounds more like an animal's name to me) will be staying with us. He is just about as cuddly as a cat can get, so there is a bit of infighting over whose house he will eventually land at.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

On Rare Occasion

Just a month after her ninetieth birthday, Janet Graham passed away. I'm not sure if I ever called her by her real name. To me, she always was, and always will be "Mammy".

Today I sit here, only the third day of my life without my Grandmother. The third day after the world lost one of its greatest examples of sincerity, and of kindness. Without a doubt, she was the embodiment of The Greatest Generation; an icon of their enduring legacy, and an ironclad representation of the strongest women this nation has ever known.

I was going to post the whole eulogy on here, but I believe it may be a bit too personal for this site. I'll end saying that it is a very rare occasion when you find someone, who when they pass, not a single bad thing can be said about them. We love you Mammy. Rest well.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Killing the Inner Pantser

I started writing this post as another long winded rant on how I am horribly inconsistant and so on. This blog has been inundated with bitching about that since it started, so I'm done with it.

With that being said, there are a few things that I am going to do. I will keep a better writing schedule. I will edit my damn book(s). I will make outlines work. I will also make this blog less mundane. 

I'm done giving into laziness and apathy; I've missed out on far too many thousands of words because of those two.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WIP: Giant Spiteful Machines

I've spent a little bit of time working for tech recycling companies in the past. Incidentally, I've worked for some crooked assholes at these centers too. A certain company in south denver, that shall remain nameless (hint, its the only Colorado company in the video), abused everything they were given, and often tried to sell it as gold. You really would not believe how terrible some of these places are as far as dirt, grunge, ethics, and EPA standards.

Well, abuse like this has gone on too long. No longer will these derelict computers sit idly on their shelves as illegal immigrants joust with forklifts. From the cords and towers, cracked screens and hardly spinning hard drives, a lumbering monster rises.

Mostly, I wanted to create a giant monster story. Partially because there is an anthology looking for submissions of this type, and also cause it sounded fun. I won't reveal all the details here though. For now, it is called "Obsolete Repercussions."

On a side note, of the three technology recycling centers I've worked for, two of them had excellent people. Our work relationships didn't work out in the end, but I don't regret any of the time I spent working in these places. To the other one, lets just say it is still fun to watch you squirm in a 60 Minutes expose.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Finding Markets

Currently, I have three short stories floating in submissionland, sitting in the inboxes of six markets. I made sure that they were all okay with simultaneous submissions beforehand, but it still feels like a slight breach of ettiquite to do more than one at a time.

When I am searching for a new market to sub to, I generally start at Duotrope. I also look at Ralan's site, but the layout irks me a little bit. Each Saturday I check their newsletter for possible new markets, as well as run through my list of 'favorite' markets. I have a very non-specific way of picking the markets I submit to, but this would be the general gist of it.

Presentation: Is this a market that I would be proud to have my work represented by? I like to look at the quality of the website and the publication itself. Places like Shock Totem or Apex Magazine inspire me to write, solely because I want to a part of something that is so gorgeous. If you haven't seen either of those magazines, check them out.

On the other hand, I am still surprised at how poorly designed some of the e-zines are. I thought we had moved past geocities style pages. The cover art and overall quality of many print magazines is just as bad. They aren't something I would want to have on my bookshelf. 

As a rule, I generally look for print anthologies and magazines first, then move on to the online markets.

Response Time: Perhaps it is wrong for me to complain about response times, as I know that many editors are entirely overwhelmed, but if a market averages more than 90 days, I will most often skip over it.  I can't shake this feeling that letting a short story sit for more than six months is blatantly rude, especially if they do not allow simultaneous submissions. Could it be that they are trying to weed out the writers like me? Possibly, but I doubt that the quality of their submissions is much greater for it.

There are of course exceptions to this, especially with Anthologies which have clearly stated reading periods. I understand that they are waiting until submissions are closed to make final decisions, and I am grateful that most communicate that.

Distribution: The reason I prefer print markets is simple; I like having something tangible to represent my work. The biggest problem with this, is that many print anthologies do not sell very well, and it will be a severely limited audience. Websites can make a great (and long lasting) way to promote my work. My upcoming publication in Short-Story.me will likely stay posted for the life of that website, and could refer readers back to this blog. If an anthology only sells 100 copies from a PoD site, then it is not expanding my readership by a whole lot.

There are of course more reasons why I will choose or reject a market, but these are the recurring themes I have noticed. Pay is a factor, but not as much as one would think. Very few people will ever make a living by selling just short stories, so I try to submit to markets that I personally like. If a free market has a decent following and a quality product, I would not mind going 4theLuv. This all will probably change over time, especially if my writing starts getting featured in the likes of Clarkesworld, but for now I will stick with my moderately challenging markets, and simply try to improve my writing.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WIP: November Concessions

Before I start, I want to give a shout out to the significant, and oddly suspicious amount of French people that have visited this blog recently. Thanks for stopping by, but remember, I do have a longbow. You wouldn't want me to go all Battle of Agincourt.

I probably should have written this post yesterday. Procrastination has always been my strong suit.

I must admit utter defeat in my NaNoWriMo, and for getting enough writing done to equate to 1,000 words per day. I did get some work done, but when I hit a plot hole the size George Clooney's smug, it wrecked my plans. Augmented Genesis will be back, but it needs to sit for a little bit and work out some of its baggage.

Human Echoes found its way back into my life. for a long while, I thought I was going to shelf the project; call it a good first attempt but just practice. Human Echoes Mk III is now my official work in progress. I would say that this is about a 90 percent rewrite, and I am hoping it will lead to a nice little trilogy. I should stop saying that before I scare myself off out of doing it. I have a pretty significant issue with intimidation by a giant projects.
 
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