Monday, December 31, 2012

Goals for 2012 redux

Happy New Year's Eve. I'm at work, waiting with crossed fingers that those political types in Washington will reach a "fiscal cliff" deal and do it quickly, so I won't be changing out the front page story at 10 p.m. tonight. As the last day of 2012, it's time to look at the goals I made for the year and see how I did.

1. Dip my toes into epublishing. Success! I published one ebook in 2012: my short story collection "Snake Oil and Other Tales of the Weird West." So far, it's only available on Kindle, but I plan to rectify that in January.

2. Apply to a writers workshop. Yep, did that. I applied to Orson Scott Card's Bootcamp, but I wasn't accepted. I'll try again next year.

3. Enter Writers of the Future every quarter. Again, success, although I've grown disillusioned with this contest over the past few months. I haven't decided whether I will continue to enter every quarter in 2013. I'm not sure this is the best use of my time and energy anymore.

Tomorrow, my goals for 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Submission stats for 2012

This afternoon, I made what will likely be my last story submission for 2012. So it's time to look at some stats for the year. Figuring out these stats will probably also be the last time I use Duotrope for anything significant. For those who don't know, Duotrope is going to a pay-only service next year. I could definitely afford $5 a month for the service, but I dislike how the folks at Duotrope went about handling the whole thing, so I won't be subscribing. Anyway, on with the stats:

Total submissions: 39
Submissions to pro-paying markets: 34
Stories currently on submission: 5
Total acceptances: 5
Acceptances to pro-paying markets: 2

It's the last stat that is a huge deal for me -- my first pro-level sales. One of those has been published and one will be next year.

Story publications in 2012:
30 Pounds of Human Tissue, Daily Science Fiction
The Spinners, Every Day Fiction
Caged, Every Day Fiction
Father Francis and His Mechanical Bees, Every Day Fiction

Stories slated for publication in 2013:
Catch a Fallen Star, Fireside Magazine
Malfunction, Raygun Chronicles anthology, reprint

I should note that all my story publications in 2012 were flash pieces. That's mostly thanks to a project this year between me and fellow writer Dustin Adams to write a flash story every month. Two of my five stories currently out on submission are also flashes. My two stories slated for publication next year are both longer.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Doctor Who: The Snowmen

For Christmas this year, I wanted a really good Doctor Who special. And unlike last year, Steven Moffat delivered. The evil snow globe/ice woman plot line doesn't hold together very well, if you stop and think about it for a minute. If it takes nine months to ice-ify one woman in a pond, then how does this signal the end of humanity? But the villain is secondary to this episode. The point, of course, is to introduce the Doctor's new companion. And in that, we have a roaring success. Clara is fun to watch. Jenna Louise-Coleman has fantastic chemistry with Matt Smith. And I'm a sucker for romance, which has been missing ever since Rose left the TARDIS. I wonder what River will think of the flirty, feisty souffle girl Clara Oswin Oswald.

But you can read reviews and recap just about anywhere. Here, I'm going to speculate on the questions we were left with at the end of The Snowmen. (Because it wouldn't be a Moffat episode if we weren't left with some mysteries.) Unsurprisingly, all the questions are about Clara.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

What's up with Clara?
She died in Asylum of the Daleks. She died in The Snowmen. Both times, in dying, she saved the Doctor. But she's still out there in another time, as we see when modern-day Clara is hanging out with her own tombstone. The Doctor says this is impossible. He also said, at the opening of The Snowmen, that he's been saving the universe for a thousand years and the universe doesn't care. Maybe this is the universe's way of telling him it does care. He essentially made a deal with the cosmos that he would stop the Evil Snow Globe of Death if Clara were allowed to live. The Doctor got what he wanted, though not in the way he expected.

How many Claras are out there?
Beats me. At least three. Which one is the original Clara? Probably the one who will end up in the TARDIS with the Doctor

Is she human?
I'd say yes. It doesn't seem that she's aware that she's reincarnating, despite repeating her dying words to the Doctor. Then again, we do see her modern-day incarnation standing right beside her own tombstone. Is that coincidence, or does she remember her past (and future) lives?

What's causing her to reincarnate?
My completely uninformed guess: At some point in her travels with the Doctor, something happens to her that causes her to be born and reborn and reborn again. Because the reincarnations seem to span all of space and time, it might have something to do with the TARDIS. Or a temporal shift or loop. If it were the TARDIS, that would explain why her lives (and deaths) are linked to the Doctor. And I wouldn't be surprised if it also somehow plays into the Fields of Trenzalore and the question that must never be asked.

But ... we have to wait until April to learn more.