Sunday, June 30, 2013

Midyear story stats

We're six months into 2013, so it's a good time to take a look at the story and submission stats so far for the year:

Total submissions: 21
This is on track for a higher count for this year than last, but only barely.

Current submissions: 6
The longest submission in my queue right now is 100 days and the shortest is 0 (the Writers of the Future entry that I submitted 15 minutes ago). I have a flash I need to revise before sending out again, and another flash for which I have a rewrite request but I just can't wrap my head around how to accomplish what the market wants. I think that one will end up being a withdrawal.

Acceptances: 1
I'll share the news on this one later on.


Of course I'd like to see more acceptances, but there's not much I can do about that. I write the best stories I can, send them out and hope someone likes them.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

It's not all bad

So yesterday sucked, but there's good news to share, too, in regards to writing and publishing. I can't share all of what I know, unfortunately, because some things aren't finalized enough to trumpet to the world quite yet. But here's what I can share:
  • Fireside Magazine is set for a launch date of July 8. Whoo! I have a pretty good idea of when my story "Catch a Fallen Star" will run, but I can't say yet. Be assured that when I can say, I will say it loud.
  • I will be attending the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop for writers in mid-July at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. I'm very much looking forward to going because I'm a science-fiction writer who's lacking a strong educational background in the sciences.
  • I finished my next Writers of the Future entry last night and am doing some quick editing before submitting it. The deadline is tomorrow.

Friday, June 28, 2013

When it rains ...

What a day, what a day.

I started this morning frantically trying to finish the story I will be entering in this quarter's Writers of the Future. The deadline is in three days. I reached "the end" in my notebook and now I have to transcribe into the file on my laptop and do some cleanup.

Then I drove to work. Three blocks from my office, while inching through slow traffic at a light, a van smacked into the back of my car. I'm not injured, at least not beyond the usual soreness you'd expect when your car gets rear-ended. But my car's backside has a dent the size and shape of the van's license plate. (Turns out a third car hit the van, which then hit mine.) It should be noted that this is the first time I've ever gotten into an accident with another human. Deer and foxes, sure. But not humans. So now I'm looking at dealing with insurance, finding a repair shop and driving a rental for several days because I happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I only hope I have my car back, repaired and ready to go, by mid-July when I go to the Launch Pad astronomy workshop in Wyoming.

Today I'm also making phone calls, printing out forms and generally working my way through the process of dealing with a behavioral medical issue for one of my kids. I don't feel comfortable yet sharing the details publicly, mostly because we're in a pre-diagnosis stage. The whole process has certainly been wearing on me for the past few weeks.

All this, and it's only 3 p.m. I wonder what will the rest of the day bring.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Neil Gaiman book signing

There aren't many writers I would go to a book signing for. There are even fewer for whom I'd be willing to wait for five hours to get to the front of the line. I can probably count them on one hand. Neil Gaiman is one of them. Tonight I joined 1,000 other fans at the Tattered Cover in downtown Denver to see Gaiman on what is being billed as his last book tour, for "The Ocean at the End of the Lane."

I finished reading the book last night. It's wonderful -- a dark and fantastic tale of childhood -- and refreshingly short. In these days in which it seems every major fantasy release must double as a doorstop, Gaiman's newest is less than 200 pages. He said at his signing that the difference in writing fiction for adults vs. fiction for young adults is that in YA, you leave out the boring bits. He did that here, too, except this isn't a book for kids.

So, the signing. As I said, about a thousand people showed up. And everyone had at least a couple of books. Do the math, and you understand why Mr. Gaiman needed a hand massage halfway through the line. I was No. 477, and he had been signing for more than two hours before he got to me, and he was gracious and friendly. He shook my hand after I told him that his work inspires me to write. As I'm writing this three hours later, at 12:45 a.m., he might be signing still.

Some tidbits from his talk that I found to be interesting:
  •  He writes his first drafts longhand.
  •  His metaphor for beginning writers: Writing is like making pancakes. You have to burn the first few to get to the good ones later.
  •  It took him about three months to write the first draft of "The Ocean at the End of the Lane," while "American Gods" took about two years, and "Coraline" took eight years.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Doctor Who: Who's next?

The news broke yesterday: Matt Smith is leaving Doctor Who after the 50th anniversary special and the Christmas special. After their initial surprise, fans all over the Internet started speculating: Who will play the 12th Doctor? Apparently the bookies like Rupert Grint and Russell Tovey. Grint is too much identified with Ron Weasley to make an effective Doctor, I think. Tovey (of Being Human) would be a better choice, seeing as Steven Moffat has cast him before in an episode of Sherlock (and he's also appeared on Doctor Who). I've heard the names of a few American actors thrown out there, but that would be a huge mistake. The Doctor must be British. (Still, Peter Dinklage would be awesome.)

If Moffat's smart, he'll go with an actor (or actress, but that sadly probably won't happen) who is mostly unknown and carries little baggage of past roles with him. Matt Smith hadn't done much previous to becoming the Doctor, and that worked out just fine.

But if Moffat were going to cast someone well-known, here are a few I'd like to see take on the iconic role. (Note: I'm not overly familiar with who's who in British acting circles, so you'll have to forgive my very American outlook.)

Benedict Cumberbatch
The star of Sherlock, who also is currently starring in the new Star Trek, has already said he wouldn't be interested in playing the Doctor, but a girl can dream. He also might suffer from the same problem as Rupert Grint, in that he's too closely identified with other iconic roles. But, that voice ... those eyes ... Sorry, I went fan girl for a sec there.

Tom Hiddleston
Yes, he's Loki. Another iconic role. But he has a wonderful intensity that I think would be a nice change for the role after Matt Smith's more clownish Eleventh.

Ben Whishaw
He's young and talented, a Shakespearean actor who's winning awards in Britain, and he's familiar to Americans as the new Q in the most recent James Bond movie. According to many of the articles I've been looking at today, he's a front-runner.

Hugh Laurie
Again, this is one step away from impossible. But let's take a moment to imagine the man who brought life to the acerbic Gregory House and the buffoonish Bertie Wooster traipsing across all of time and space in a blue police box.

Dan Stevens
He's Matthew Crawley on "Downton Abbey," which gives him strong recognition on both sides of the pond, and he's an actor I haven't seen suggested pretty much anywhere, which would make him a curve ball.