Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Second Place Again! Happy Dance!

One advantage to being in Alaska is if something is going to be posted at midnight Eastern time, I get to see it at 8 pm. Of course the flip side is that a deadline in Eastern time is four hours earlier for me.

Just saw the June Jinxes edition of SNM Horror Magazine is up and I got second place for the second month in a row! Woohoo! Link is posted in the side bar. Please enjoy the stories you read on there, and also please stop in and sign the guestbook so that the Overlord will be happy! My story will be in the anthology.

So now I'm wondering if third time really is the charm. :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

No Accounting for Taste

I have discovered that if I hate my story, it's more likely to sell. >.<

I wrote a story to a theme submission that needed a word count less than five thousand. Where I was planning on going with it would have ended up three or four thousand words past the limit, so I stopped the story at what I thought was an odd place. Problem was, I discovered the deadline was in Eastern Standard Time and I'm in Alaska. I was pushing to get it in on time, so I rooted through the story real quick, cut some stuff to get it down to the five, and just skimmed it hoping to catch as many errors as possible. Then I sent it on its way.

I thought there was no chance of it getting accepted, that it was going to need some major overhaul. I thought the typos would be enough to turn any publisher off. (No matter how careful I proof, there are always some that get by. This particular story only received a cursory glance!)

I didn't receive the customary "we got your submission email," which they state should be received within forty-eight hours. So today, six days later, I sent an email asking for confirmation. I've gotten automatic response emails before where they hadn't received my submission, though. I thought it wouldn't hurt to double check.

I went karaoke-ing with friends this evening and didn't check my email again until late (it's midnight as I write this.) I got an email from the publisher that they accepted my story, despite all my misgivings and negative thoughts about it!

However, in this case I think I just got lucky. Perhaps this publisher isn't as picky as others, thinking that the story is important and all else can be fixed later. I would never suggest anyone send in anything the way that I did. Stories that have had time to settle a bit, that have had some polishing and reworking would do better in the long run, I'm sure.

I usually do one editing session for my short stories. This is to counteract my obsession with getting things absolutely right, which of course changes every time I read the story. Consequently, I would never submit anything ever. So I set this extreme limit for myself for a reason. If a story can't seem to find a home, then I will consider another rewrite.

Perhaps the universe felt I needed this little kick in the pants to continue the journey. I've been extremely lax and haven't kept up with the schedule for Write 1 Sub 1 very well. My spreadsheet shows me as still being in April as far as number of stories written and submitted this year. While it's not as important to me to get something written and submitted every week to the minute, I do want to have fifty-two stories and submissions by the end of the year. Why do I feel this way? Who knows? But that's my goal. I'm probably even going to skip Nanowrimo this year to reach it. (Or maybe I'll do a series of stories as though for my own personal anthology.) I'm sure I'll go through Nano withdrawals if I do, though.

Another thing that came out of this little experience. I ended the story a lot sooner than I'd planned. I didn't know how it was going to end. Would the MC get killed b the curse, or would the witch's spell to guard her work after all? But word count constraints made me end it a couple of scenes before then end. It was the scene that makes the MC seek out the witch to get the protection spell. She accepts that she's cursed.

I thought it was very odd ending it there. Not knowing what happens to her after that, whether the curse kills her or not. But then I realized after pondering it that it changed the meaning of what became the last sentence. Indeed, she was cursed, but not the one she thought. By changing the ending, I changed the tone of the story.

Seems to me that if a story's ending is not working for you, try ending it somewhere you don't expect. Then go back and read it later. Maybe it will suddenly make sense and seem like the right place to end after all.

This journey into the mad, mad writing world has amazed me every day. If you've ever thought about writing, join Nanowrimo or Write 1 Sub 1 or some other similar group. Lots of support from other crazy people doing the exact same thing. Love your rejections as well as your acceptances. I hope you find the journey amazing too.

Now I'm going to publish this post without really proofreading it. Because it's late, because I'm sleepy, and because I can. :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

How the West Was Wicked!

"How the West Was Wicked," an anthology from Pill Hill Press with my second published short story, is now available for Nook, Kindle, and in print form on the Pill Hill Press website! I have the links posted in the sidebar to the right.

Happy dancing around my living room!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Update + Star Wars Day!

Just got an offer of a contract for my little historical romance tale from Breathless Press! I'm extremely excited because this one is royalty based, and it's definitely a change from all the horror tales I've been writing lately.

My dry period is still going, but I have the feeling this will change soon. The hardest part for me is trying to find story ideas. And some dry periods are a lot longer than others. And some are video game induced.

I'm going to take a writerly buddy's advice and just take one of the ideas I don't like so much and write it anyway. Something good may come of it. And it's better to write something bad than not write at all.

This marks the first of my stories to come with requests for additional scenes. So that will also get my little digits typing again.

My second anthology from Pill Hill Press, "How the West Was Wicked," will be hitting Amazon and Barnes and Noble soon, too. Bound editions will follow shortly after. I'll post the links in the sidebar as soon as I have them.

I have not ordered copies of my first anthology yet because I thought I'd wait until this next one came out. Help save on shipping to Alaska.

My brain is working in short sound bytes today. Guess I better pack it in for now.

Happy Star Wars Day to all you stuck up, half witted, scruffy looking nerf herders! May the Fourth be with you!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Very Happy May Day!

It's May 1st (in case you didn't already know) and the May issue at SNM Horror Magazine is out. My story was one selected for online publication.

And I got second place and a spot in their anthology! Woohoo!

You can read the story here: http://tiny.cc/16lds Just a reminder that it's not a website for kids.

In other news, I auditioned for "The X Factor" at the booth set up in Anchorage. For those of you who haven't heard about it, that's Simon Cowell's (American Idol) new show. I had two minutes to introduce myself and sing a song. The recording was then sent to the judges. They'll let me know by email if I make the callbacks. It's hard to sit still when I think about it. Thank goodness I have writing to occupy me. I sang "What Did I Have" from On a Clear Day because it's short and shows a bit of range and movement.

The scariest part about it was the fact that you get only one chance. You don't get to redo the video if you don't like it. You don't even get to see the finished product, which is probably just as well. I'd be analyzing myself over and over if I had access to it. Another scary part is that you sign a paper that says they can use it to make fun of you, too. So you really need the ability to laugh at yourself or you might get seriously crushed by the results.

I watched part of an episode of "The Voice" as well. I like that show better than any of the other talent search shows they've had the last few years. I went to their website where they have an audition tool. You pick a song from their very short list and have 30 seconds to record it. You can redo it as often as you want, and when you submit it you get a score. Anything over an eight has a chance of being viewed by the people looking for talent, but that's not a guarantee. They're closed for the current show of course, but the video can be included in future considerations.

I've been trying to record a song, but for some reason it's not working. It acts like it's recording, but I can't see the video (sometimes it only shows me a second or two), and when I submit it, the score is zero, which basically says there is no video. Very frustrating. They don't seem to have a help section and their FAQ section is very short and lacking. Ah, well.

Lots of fun stuff going on! Can't to see where this wacky journey takes me next. :)