Saturday, April 12, 2014

What I've been up to

Early April is always a busy time for me. Two of my children have birthdays (six days apart from each other), and this comes two weeks after my third child had his birthday in late March. We're sick of cake in my household now. Also, my husband and I celebrate our anniversary. As of tomorrow, we will have been married for 11 years. We'll celebrate sometime over the next week with dinner and a movie, probably "Draft Day" because he loves football and I like Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner.

With so much going on, I'm having difficulty finding time to write, but I've managed it. I've written about 5K since the start of the month. My goal is 500 words a day before I head off to work. Most days, I've hit the goal, but not every day. For instance, I spent this morning cleaning the front yard and fertilizing the grass before the next snowstorm rolls through tomorrow (we're expecting 4 to 8 inches of wet, heavy white stuff). On days when I'm not working up a sweat in the yard, I'm finishing up the third chapter of my novel project. When that's done, I'll go back to working on my outline. I am confident that I'll have the pages and outline into the best shape possible to submit for the novel workshop I'll be attending in June.

The day job continues as it always does. Some weeks are emotionally difficult, though, and this past week was one of those. As a newspaper wire editor, I read about a lot of awful stuff. In fact, most of my job entails immersing myself in the worst of humanity eight hours day, five days a week. One of my co-workers calls it performing journalistic triage. And yet, I'm able to compartmentalize most of it. I'd go crazy if I didn't, or at least exist in a state of deep depression. My one major weak spot, the thing I can't push aside, is when bad things happen to children. This week, I've dealt with a stabbing rampage at a high school; a 4-year-old girl dead after a car rammed into her day care; and five high schoolers, and five adults, burned to death after a FedEx truck smashed into their bus. This week has been hard.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sale! To Daily Science Fiction

This week was already a good one, and now it has become even better. I'm doing a happy dance because my flash story "Kitty is Alive, Kitty is Dead" has been accepted for publication in Daily Science Fiction. This will be my second story published in DSF, the first one being right here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Stats for first quarter of 2014

We're through the first three months of 2014, so now is a good time for a snapshot of how the year has gone so far:
  • Submissions: 14
  • Stories out on submission: 7
  • Longest wait time on a current submission: 94 days
  • Shortest wait: 3 days
  • Acceptances: 0
  • Publications: 2
  • March word count: about 8,500

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Publication Day! at Abyss & Apex

Some good news to share today.

First off, my flash story "To See Sarah" is now available for reading at Abyss & Apex in the second-quarter issue, which is also the magazine's 50th issue overall. You can read my story right here, and the rest of the issue here.

In other happy news, it looks like I'll be attending the Science Fiction & Fantasy Novel Writers Workshop this summer at the Center for the Study of Science Fiction. I'm very excited about this, even if the workshop is held at the University of Kansas, which is the archrival of my own alma mater, the University of Missouri. Ha.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fireside Magazine Year 3

Fireside Magazine is in the middle of its Kickstarter to fund its third year. The big change this year is that editor Brian White plans to make the website free. Kickstarter contributors get the bonus of the ebook versions of the issues.

I highly encourage folks to contribute. Brian has excellent editorial taste. In year two, every story I've read has been a good one, and I'm seriously not saying that because he published one of my stories. Every story has been enjoyable. How many magazines can you say that about? And I wish more magazines would follow his example of fair pay for writers. You can pledge as little as $2 up to the bigger amounts that have bigger rewards. A pledge of $24 gets you ebooks for every monthly issue.

To find out more, check out the Kickstarter here. And make a pledge!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Writing update and assorted stuff

First, the writing update: I'm one short scene away from finishing the story I plan to send off to the Writers of the Future contest, whose quarterly deadline is about a week away, and then it's back to working on my novel outline. Since I wrote up a first draft outline a few weeks ago, I've come up with quite a few changes I want to make. I'm excited to get going in earnest on the novel project, but I also need to finalize my outline before I start. I have no interest in writing thousands or tens of thousands of words that I would have to throw out if/when I come up with a better way of telling the story.

In addition to writing, I've also been catching up on television shows. Some thoughts on what I've been watching:

Once Upon a Time: I am totally addicted to this show, and it's the first show I've done some passionate shipping on in a long time. (CaptainSwan, if you're interested in knowing.) I didn't like the Peter Pan story last fall. Neverland was too dark and monotonous, and Peter Pan never really jelled for me as a villain. I have more hope for the second half of the season with the Wicked Witch. I find it funny how recappers and reviewers all over the Internet immediately bought the Witch's contention in this past week's episode (which rocked, btw) that she's Regina's half-sister. Yes, everyone is related to everyone on this show. The family tree is more tangled than Maleficent's forest of thorns. Wouldn't it be great if the Witch is lying and her game is something else entirely?

Downton Abbey: I have the most recent season on the DVR but haven't watched much of it yet. I miss Matthew. I'm also having a difficult time getting past the storyline with Anna. First off, why do so many female characters on television get sexually assaulted or raped? It's stupid and unnecessary. And Anna's response to what happened to her is stupid and unnecessary. I don't like storylines that could be resolved by a character acting with a modicum of common sense.

Glee: I've caught up on all the episodes this year in the past week. At times, I can only shake my head sadly and wondered what happened to the show I loved so much when it started. The characters have become caricatures of themselves. Tina rolls around on the hallway floor and moans and cries like a 6-year-old? Blaine plays with puppets and wears a superhero costume? Will takes sex breaks with his wife in the staff bathroom? Seriously, Show? Rachel and Santana have devolved into such immature divas that I hate them both. When Sue declared she was putting the glee club out of its misery, I cheered. Too bad it won't last. The only reason I'm sticking it out at this point is because I've come too far with this show to not see how it ends.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Home is where the germs are

My writing time was curtailed this past week thanks to my house looking like a sick ward. For once, though, I am not the one who's sick. Yet.

Two of my three kids have a cold, and my daughter is also recovering from strep throat. My husband and I thought she had an ear infection when I took her to the doctor on Friday, so the diagnosis came as a surprise. And I have to say that penicillin is amazing. Less than 24 hours after her first dose, my kiddo is almost back to her usual perky self, with one exception: She is still having difficulty keeping down anything more solid than Jell-O.

(And before you start saying, but if she's vomiting, how could you think it was only an ear infection? Well, it's because she always runs a fever and vomits when she is sick with a common cold. That's par for the course, unfortunately.)

Also, my daughter is a fan of the Animal Planet show "Too Cute." There are eight episodes streaming on Netflix, and she has watched every one of them twice (some of them three times) over the past three days. This is while she has been curled up on the couch with her favorite puppy-print blanket and her stuffed tiger. At this point, I can tell you just about anything you want to know about Snowball the kitten or Ivan the pug puppy.

The upshot of this on my writing is that I haven't done any since my daughter got sick. I'm about 2,500 words into the story I intend to submit to Writers of the Future, and the deadline is about two weeks away. I need to crack down on the writing every day this week and hope that no one else in my family gets sick.

As for my own health woes, they seem just about over. It's been six weeks since I injured my ribs, and I am 95 percent healed. I can't do crunches or run for farther than a mile or so, but I'm good on just about everything else.