Friday, January 1, 2016

Publication Day! At Galaxy's Edge

Happy New Year's, everyone!

Last year, I celebrated the new year with the publication of my story "Star Box" in Flash Fiction Online, which I think it is one of the best pieces of flash fiction I've ever written.

This year, I'm celebrating with the publication of a much longer story "The Bone-Runner" in Galaxy's Edge. This is the second time my work has appeared in the pages of Mike Resnick's magazine, which means the first one wasn't a fluke. Now my goal is to go for No. 3.

The story will be free online for the next two months. You can also buy ebook or print versions of the magazine. Information is on the Galaxy's Edge website.

A little backstory on the story (because I'm always interested in how stories come about):

In January 2015, my online writers groups held an annual contest in which the participants write a flash story (750 words or less) each weekend for five consecutive weeks. Each week, we'd get four prompts to choose from to write the story.

In week four, we got what has become the most popular prompt: rummage title generator. The lovely folks who run the contest come up with hundreds of titles, and you pick one and write a story to fit. I chose the title "Running Down the Bones." I wrote a 750-word story about a brother and sister who are scavengers in the ruins of a city (called "the bones") whose very air is poisoned by a chemical cloud, a remnant of some long ago war. The siblings find a lion cub whose mother has died. The sister wants to save it, and the brother to kill it.

I posted the story to the group. The main response: This needs to be longer.

So I made it longer. More than 5,000 words longer.

That flash story is still in there, though modified to fit the larger story I was telling.

(Side note: I wrote in four of the five weeks of that contest, and all four stories are now published. The others are: Transference in Nature Futures, Prime Time in Nature Futures, and Found Day in Daily Science Fiction. This year's contest starts next week.)

I hope you will go read my story, and the many others in the new issue. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Busy month recap

Happy December, everyone!

A lot has been going on. It's time for an update.

For starters, last month's National Novel Finishing Month was a success. I have a completed first draft. I have a lot of revision ahead of me, but the novel exists in word form now instead of just in my head.

Fireside Magazine will be publishing my story "The Memory Who Became a Girl." The editor kindly called my story beautiful and heartbreaking. This will be my second publication in Fireside; it's been almost exactly two years since "Catch a Fallen Star" also appeared there. The new story will publish sometime in the first half of 2016.

Galaxy's Edge will have my story "The Bone-Runner" in the issue that goes live Jan. 1. The editor there called this one moving and lovely. This will be my second story in the pages of Galaxy's Edge. The first was "Shore Leave" earlier this year.

Stupefying Stories will be publishing "The Witch's Key" in its newest publication Theian Journal. I approved the copy edits a couple weeks ago, so I think that one is imminent.

Digital Science Fiction has "Catch a Fallen Star" and nine other stories in "Cosmic Hooey," which is one of the more imaginative titles I've ever seen for a collection. You can find that right here. And also Digital SF has accepted another of my stories for reprint, "Malfunction," which originally appeared in Ray Gun Revival.

And in a last bit of news,  World Weaver Press has nominated "Masks" in the Far Orbit Apogee anthology for the Pushcart Prize, which honors the best of the small press.

Whew.

This weekend, I'm writing up my pitch for the "Joe Ledger: Unstoppable" anthology, in which I get to play in the world created by the super talented Jonathan Maberry. Amazingly, this book already has a Goodreads page, which you can go check out and goggle at the amazing writers whose work will be collected in these pages.

With all that going on, we're also getting ready for Christmas in the Hicks household. And today is also my husband's birthday, which means I now have to sign off to go finish making a nice breakfast. Happy birthday, Michael!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Writers of the Future, Quarter 4

Another quarter, another honorable mention. At least it feels that way sometimes. This was my second to last quarter. As of Jan. 1, I will really truly "pro-out" of the contest. That means have one shot left to win, or I never will. The good news is that I don't really need a win; my sales are coming along nicely without it. The whole point of this when I started was to get my foot in the door of the writing and publishing community, but I think I've already accomplished that. Go, me. Still, I would like to attend to the workshop, and meet the writers and judges, and be able to say I'm a winner. It's looking increasingly likely that will never happen. I'll give it my best in my last entry and maybe ...

So, the tally in 28 straight quarters:
  • Finalist: 1
  • Semi-finalist: 2
  • Silver honorable mention: 2
  • Honorable mention: 14
  • Rejection: 9

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

NaNoWriMo

Well, it's National Novel Writing Month. I never participate. I mean, write a novel in a month? When I have a 50-hour-a-week day job and kids? Not going to happen. But this year, I will participate in NaNoWriMo's lesser-known cousin, National Novel Finishing Month. That's manageable. I have a novel that is 3/4 done, and this month, I'm going to finish it. Two days in, I've written 2,000 words, and today I plan to write another 500 before heading off to work.

In other news: Digital Science Fiction has released a collection of its first 10 story publications, including my story "Catch a Fallen Star." It's called "Cosmic Hooey," and you can find it right here.

And now, because writing is more important than blogging (yes, it's true), I'm going to go write.

Monday, October 26, 2015

MileHiCon, publications and writing

Last week, I was on vacation from the day job. It was a staycation in which, for one glorious week, I got a window into what life might be like as a full-time fiction writer.

On Wednesday (Back to the Future Day), Nature: Futures published my time-travel story "Prime Time," which you can read right here. And you can read the origins of the story, too. (There are Daleks involved.)

Also, I received my contributor's copy of the Far Orbit Apogee anthology from World Weaver Press, which is all about space opera, one of my favorite subgenres.

And if that wasn't enough, Digital Science Fiction published a reprint of one of my all-time favorite stories, "Catch a Fallen Star," which you can purchase right here. (This is the seventh publication from Digital SF, with other stories published from great authors like Martin Shoemaker and Alex Kane. So check out the others, too!) Also, as I write this, my story is ranked No. 37 in the Kindle Store for short reads in science fiction and fantasy, and No. 97 in cyberpunk. Awesome.

MileHiCon from Friday-Sunday was a blast. I enjoyed my panels, and hanging out with friends I see only a couple times a year.

With all that going on, I still wrote at least 1K words on my novel each day. I don't have a final word count tallied for the week yet, but it'll land somewhere between 9K and 10K. That's as much as I usually do in a month when I'm also working at the day job.

And in a lovely coda to the week, my talented friend Dustin Adams has a super fun story today at Every Day Fiction, "Halloween O'Hungering," in which a hungry journalist named Jennifer hunts for food during the Denver Zombie Crawl. This might be "based on true events." Except for the part where she turns into a zombie.

Today, I'm back at the day job. The window is closing for now. But it gives me even more motivation to make writing my permanent, full-time job someday.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

My MileHiCon schedule

MileHiCon starts tomorrow at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in the Denver Tech Center. For the first time ever, I'm a participant instead of a member. I'm not scheduled to sign books, but I'm happy to scribble my name if you happen to own an anthology in which I have a story. I am doing a reading, panels and fan forums. Here's where to find me around the con:

Friday
4 p.m. Inside Writing Workshops: Clarion, Odyssey & More, Wind River B
Jennifer Campbell Hicks (m), Oz Drummond, Blair MacGregor, Emily Mah, Connie Willis

Saturday
11 a.m. Once Upon a Time Fan Forum, BristleCone
Jennifer Campbell-Hicks, Deena Larsen

8 p.m. Space Opera Discussion & Reading, Centennial
Michael Carroll, Jennifer Campbell-Hicks, Eytan Kollin, Patrick Swenson

Sunday
2 p.m. Orphan Black Fan Forum, BristleCone
Jennifer Campbell-Hicks, Paul Lell

4 p.m. Eulogies for the Lamented Departed, Mesa Verde A
Melissa Koop, Lou J. Berger, Jennifer Campbell-Hicks, Jessica Coyle, Rob S. Rice, Connie Willis

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Updatery time

Happy October, everyone!

Actually, October is one of my least favorite months because it means winter is right around the corner. Snow and me don't get along. I should be living in Miami, not Denver.

Here's what's going on in writing:
So, lots of good news.

Also, I will be at MileHiCon, Oct. 23-25. This convention is always a highlight of the year for me. This will be my first year participating on panels, and I might also be doing a reading. I'll post my schedule here when I get it. If you're around the convention, please stop me to say hi.

And things I'm reading:
  • "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline with my 11-year-old son. There are parts that aren't appropriate for him, so I'm editing as we go along. Overall, we are both absolutely loving this book. For the first time in a long time, my kiddo complains when I tell him we have to stop for the night and go to bed.
  • "Dawn" by Erin Hunter with my 8-year-old daughter. This is the third book in the second series about the Warrior Cats. This series is darker than the first one and gets a lot into the devastation that humans cause to the ecosystem when we rip up natural open areas to build houses and roads.
  • "Joe Ledger: Special Ops" by Jonathan Maberry. I've read three Joe Ledger novels, and now I'm jumping into the short story collection. I'm enjoying these stories a lot, more than the novels, which are also awesome. That's probably my natural inclination toward short fiction coming out.