Recently a lot of people have asked me where they can find some of my stories for free. My favorite answer is of course, buy my book, it’s not that expensive, especially as an ebook (Kindle or Smashwords). But I laugh that off (and wipe away a tear) as I suggest a few places my stuff might be. Here is that advice:
- How Quickly We Forget – Working customer service for a memory wipe broker requires a special set of skills and a special flavor of morality. Jack Spiegel has both. (Near-future sci-fi, very short, PG-13)
- Brother Goo – Having a weird little brother is not cool for a middle school kid. But when Brandon’s little brother Mike goes from weird to other worldly, Brandon knows he needs to take action. (Present day sci-fi, fairly short, PG)
- The Drake’s Eye – Lucas Drake can’t resist the opportunity to acquire a family jewel. But once he does, what would it take to convince him to part with it? And will parting be enough? (Urban fantasy/horror, very short, PG-13)
- Leech Run – Captain Titan makes a living smuggling energy-siphoning mutant humans from one planet to another. But when one of those mutants goes missing from the hold, his ship and the lives of his passengers and crew all hang in the balance. (Space Opera sci-fi, text and audio, PG-13/R)
- ZFL – Zombie Football League. Enough said. (near future zombies, very short, PG-13/R)
- Chasers – When colony ships travel from star to star with empty fuel tanks, it’s up to Chasers like Sebastian and Wild to catch them and fuel them for deceleration. But the competition out there can get cutthroat; if you can’t take it, move on. (Space opera sci-fi, text and audio, PG-13)
So that’s what there is of me for free right now. Plenty to give you a taste of what I do. There’s a lot more good stuff out there to be found. Check my Bibliography page for more. And enjoy the freebies!
It’s been quite a while since I posted anything here. I didn’t even do a ChattaCon report. I meant to, but life has been…complicated. I’ve been able to do no blogging and next to no writing since then. I’m sure the whole experience will make me a better writer in the future by filling the emotion tanks with fodder, but wow it’s tough to fill them.
I filed for divorce last month. It will be almost summer before it’s legally finalized, but that’s just semantics. I am closing on a house for me and my daughter (split time between parents) and that has taken a lot of my focus. It’s a sad and hopeful and exciting and scary time for me.
In other news, OmniCon is this weekend in Cookeville. I didn’t see any advertisements for it until about 3 weeks ago, so I’m expecting a very small affair. Could be fun, though. It was last year.
That’s all for now, though I do need to post soon about my recent Doctor Who obsession. I was quite late to the party and I’m only in season 3, but wow is it fun. But later…
ChattaCon is this weekend. I haven’t blogged about it but I’ve been looking forward to it for months. I’m doing two panels Saturday and an autograph session Sunday, but otherwise I’m chilling with old friends and making new ones. ChattaCon is a laid back kind of Con with a lot of social and a little business. Very little. Trust me when I tell you that I could really use some social time with “my people”.
In other news — rather, non-news — I’m still waiting to hear from DSF on my latest sub NwR. The story is a Codex flash contest creation from last year. As it turns out, the same contest is going on right now. I’ve written 3 stories, gotten meh reviews on two and I’m yet to see the scores on the third. I love kicking the year off with this contest because it gives me stuff to submit and tinker with all year long.
I have some big changes coming in my life. Nothing I’m ready to talk about yet, but significant stuff. Some pretty upsetting, some a little exciting. Amid all that, anything that brings me back to focusing on writing and SF is very welcome. A con will go a long way to improving my calm. And a short story sale would do wonders, too. With luck, this weekend could be a windfall of good vibrations for me. At the very least, it’ll be fun.
On December 1st I sent out a short story. No great feat, but it was the first I’d sent in a long time. Since July. I guess I hadn’t been subbing because I hadn’t been creating. It’s been a slow year for me. So sending off this story — a flash piece that had been sitting near-finished on my hard drive — was a good step. My next step will be to finish that $#!++% steampunk story and send it out. And get the other half of my NaNo novel written.
The story currently under submission is into round 2 and I hope to hear something around year’s end. If it sells, it will be pro sale #3 and the payment will slip through my grasp and into the SFWA coffers. I’m trying not to get ahead of myself (an issue I’m battling left and right these days), but I am hopeful. Mostly it just feels good to have some suspense as a writer again. Will it sell/won’t it sell? Yeah, that’s the stuff.
I have long been an advocate of the website Duotrope as a source for short fiction market listings and tracking story submissions. It is great for predicting response times and acceptance ratios. The search functionality and market categorization is good for targeting stuff. I have also supported supporting Duotrope financially through donations. I’ve donated several times, though I don’t think I did this past year since I haven’t been subbing many short stories and thus haven’t been using the site.
Alas, the site has grown to the point where donations seem no longer sufficient to sustain it and they are going to subscription only. I get it, but part of what makes Duotrope so useful will die with this change, particularly the response time tracking. Duotrope was the ultimate source for response tracking because so many people were reporting there, largely because it was a great place to track submissions for free. I suspect you’ll still be able to report responses, but you won’t be able to access that information without a subscription so the benefits of reporting will be vastly reduced. Reduced benefits lead to reduced reporting which leads to reduced quality of the information. From my perspective, charging for the service will make the service no longer worth the price. Ironic, no?
So will I subscribe? Probably with the monthly plan, $5 per month. That way I can drop a little money and use it when I need it and let it go when I don’t. The annual subscription of $50 will be a bit steep for how I use it and would eat most if not all of my likely annual writing income unless I can sell a novel.
Is it really worth subscribing to a paid list to find non-paying markets? Or token paying markets? Not for me, even if I did still send to those markets. Besides, I’ve sent to enough markets that I can probably find a lot of that info in my own records. And there is always Ralan’s for a market list.
I’m afraid $50 is just too rich for my blood. I suspect I’m not alone. And I’m sad about it. I still support the mission of Duotrope, but I fear that a subscription will reduce its relevance in the fiction world. The change is set to take hold January 1st. If you use Duotrope and aren’t planning to subscribe, be sure you download your stats before then. I keep a spreadsheet, but I’ll have to make sure it’s current. Duotrope helped me get my career where it is today. I hope it can make the transition to a pay-based site and maintain that value for the subscribers. Good luck to them, but I won’t be a regular there.
Congratulations to me and thousands of others who successfully wrote 50,000 words this month. My prize? A lovely computer generated certificate and an icon for my website.
I am very happy and very proud of this accomplishment, but I wonder if there is a better word than “winner”. Do people who finish a marathon call themselves “winner”? Maybe “finisher” or “victor”. (Victor means the same as winner but sounds different on the ear and requires clarification whereas “winner” sounds like you beat out other people to get a prize.) Really, “I won NaNoWriMo” sounds almost identical to “I won Writers of the Future.” Yes, I have wone both now, but one was a attle against myself and the other was a battle against hundreds (possibly thousands) of other writers. Both are worthy accomplishments, but one definitely paid better. Though a workable novel is priceless in itself and could end up worth a lot more money.
Anyway, I finished around 9:00 on the last day of November. There were only 3 days this month during which I did not write, so I figure I could have finished 3 days earlier if I hadn’t been puking the day after Thanksgiving and just ill equipped to write that one weekend. Looking at my stats, I’m surprised to see that Mondays were pretty good days for writing. Mid-week was worse, surely due to work-related distractions.
I am glad I did this. It shows me that can write every day, even amid distraction. I can outline. I can follow an outline. I can decide parts of the outline suck but keep writing anyway. I can turn off the editor long enough to get some work done. It’s been a long time since I wrote this much on a single project. On the one novel I did complete, this amount of writing took about 4-6 months.
I need to keep powering through this novel, but there is a project I’d like to turn to briefly, my ever-festering steampunk fairy tale project. It is so close to being done and really close to being great. I think it’s time to attack it for a few days before I hit The Realm Crystal again. I need to finish the draft and I REALLY need to edit. For instance, I want to turn one of my bad guys into an obnoxious good guy (you know, the one that gets killed in the zombie movies and everyone cheers) who slowly gives in to his nefarious impulses, then gets devoured by the true bad guy. (It was written as fairly bad guy gets too big for his britches and gets devoured by true bad guy…not quite special enough.) That’s the biggest change, but there will be many. But first, get to the last page — still a long trek from where I am.
I hope everyone else found NaNo as rewarding as I did this year. Keep writing and keep dropping by.
I am only about 1500 words from the NaNo goal. Computer battery is getting low and I have to go do some teaching, so it may be 4:00 or after before I get back to it. It’s no longer a matter of if I’ll hit the 50k but what time will it be.