Sunday, February 28, 2010

Meadow Guide to be Published

I've just received an email from Bewildering Stories that they've accepted Meadow Guide for publication, though it will most likely have a different title. I'm so excited as the magazine is one of my top wish list places to have a story.

Meadow Guide was one of my stories that started life as a dream and follows Georgia through a surreal walk. The original version of it appeared in the Editor Unleashed/Smashwords writing contest last year. Its reception was not well received and barely got 3 stars from reviewers.

It was very disappointing to me and I took my baby down and tucked it in a corner for months. After working on other things, getting many other rejections, and overall thickening my skin to the industry I took it back out.

With fresher and more experienced eyes I read through the story and realized it needed work. Lots of work. I rolled up my sleeves and got to revising. I was really proud of the finished product.

The Editor and Coordinating Editor were awesome to work with and made great editing/revision suggestions that completely sent the piece to another level than even my own revisions could take it.

I'm so proud of Meadow Guide and of being accepted to the magazine. I'll let you know when it's up, which will be in summer sometime, and will keep you posted on the new title for the piece (as soon as I can come up with it).

Good writing all!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Being Alfred Pennyworth

Oh boy. I'll tell you what, it's been a week of hectic chaos. Well, when is chaos NOT hectic? Any-who, family stuff has taken up most of the time but also brainstorming. Maybe it was because my Muse knew I wouldn't have time to focus on fully drafting a large story, but she blasted me with a half dozen new ideas.

Because of this, I spent a lot of time outlining these brainstorms for a later writing session. I did manage to complete the first draft of a flash fiction piece. It's a mixture of real-life nurse situations I've heard at my work, a hospital.

It's very awful right now. I don't know if it'll shape up into something that readers would like. I will say, though, it was a lot of fun to write and helped put into perspective a lot of things.

Most writers have to work at something other than writing to pay the bills. A good many of those hate their jobs. Or worse, are blase about it. My job is something that I like to do, and am really good at. I don't like many of the office politics or the red tape, but I love working for an organization that is driven by the need to save people. And me, a geeky writer by night, can be the Alfred Pennyworth to Batman in my day job.

So, it's not a shabby deal and one I'm proud to do while my Muse is resting for the next writing session.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Being Good Enough

A lot of writers ask whether they're good enough to write. This question always confuses me a little. Why do you need to be good at something you love to do? I wish writers wouldn't confuse "being good at writing" with "being good enough to get published". That's like people not playing basketball in the neighborhood because they never made it to the NBA.

When I feel a story starting to develop in my head, I don't think about it being published. When the words start flowing on the screen, I don't think about it being published.

That is just a part of who I am.

Stories will always come out and be put down on paper. I have hundreds of stories (okay...a little hyperbole, but it's my blog so it's okay) in my computer. Most of them will never see the light of day, but I enjoyed the hours I spent writing them.

A few of those will be attractive to publishers and editors and by extension the public. That is a great thing for a writers ego, but it's not the driving force for me. For me the driving for is seeking out the next inspirations...whether they're publishable or not.

Good writing all! Keep inspired.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Feeding My Muse

I spent most of the last few days doing writing administrative work. Tonight during a pure writing session I found myself staring at the blank screen. Well, not totally blank...and not really staring. I stared for about two minutes before cruising the web, checking comments on my blogs, and overall being an unfocused slug.

Finally reaching peak aggravation, I put the laptop down and did some weird dancing in my writing space (weird is the only dancing I can do...).

That got me out of the web-surfing mode, but I still had no creative direction. My muse was out and I was at fault. I didn't keep her fed. I didn't keep her interested. I was a bad host and hadn't even realize she'd stepped out until I needed her.

"Selfish, selfish, selfish AR!"

So my well was dry, I thought walking back to my laptop. I tripped over air (it happens often) and stumbled into the bed.

I cursed and then giggled, "At least I wasn't near a well. I would've fell in."

My Muse came squealing into my head way above the speed limit and crashed into my eyeballs. She bounced backwards into the creative writing part of my brain. This is also her apartment; she'll a little messy but remembers to do the dishes.

She'd connected my earlier thoughts and came home with an idea. Let me share her formula with you:

Now I have a fantasy story outlined that involves a woman, a well, a mythical maze, and tragic love. I'm really excited to bite my teeth into it (the story...not a woman, well, or maze).

Good writing all!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Science Updates

Sorry my science updates are late. I've been planning my son's birthday party and working overtime this week...and all the other life things we writers have to juggle against our creativity.

First Brain Recordings from Flying Fruit Flies -Here's that term Bioengineering again, this time associated with flies. I don't know how many of you know this, but fruit flies have assisted in some of our greatest scientific achievements. They are pretty cool in a creepy kinda way (early sci-fi music playing in the background).

Okay, now to the serious stuff...this could lead to some serious sci-fi concepts both in neuro-engineering development, artificial intelligence, hybrid human/species development. Think about it...a human with the flight ability of a fly...or the complex site of a fly.

Updates on the Dark Matter...matter - Some more scientists are trying to track and "find" dark matter. There's a reason why it's called dark, dude. It's a mysterious power that's like the universe's vampire. Maybe we really don't want to open up that box. Maybe it resides on another level for a reason. There are some great places you can take a story using the context of dark matter. I'm surprised more people haven't exploited the concept...hmmm *jots down notes*.

One step closer to galactic communications - 'Nuff of the coolest finds for sci-fi writing...and for the future of space colonization. I do admit, the associated picture was a bit of a letdown. I was looking more for...the bridge of Star Trek.
Okay. Well, those are the science updates I saw this week that were pretty cool.
Good writing all!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Business of Writing

Ugh...this last week as been more of a virtual cleaning house for me. I went through and tidied up my submission tracker, made status queries, replied to rejections (a thank-you is polite...even when they rip out your ego with a large steak fork), finished outlining brainstorm ideas, etc, etc, etc.

It's days like these I realize writing is no longer in my hobby column. Writing is my second business. A few sucky parts of this fact:
  • I'm my own boss
  • I'm a horrible employee (writers fits, blocks, and full-blown meltdowns)
  • I have to actually track my work and make progress
  • I have to look at my writing objectively and through the eyes of my..."buyers"
But, it's all worth it when I see those acceptance emails (does Indian chant and dance to ensure they keep coming).

Well, at least February's progress report will be a littler meatier.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Flash Fiction Accepted

My flash fiction, Night Visitor, has been accepted into Pill Hill Press' Daily Flash anthology. They're estimating a publication date of December 2010.

I'm so excited. The story was conceived in my nightmares. Literally, a weeks worth of the same nightmare, sometimes twice a night. Trust me after a couple days my husband and kids had had enough my blood curdling screams at 2 and 3 in the morning.

The dream frightened me so much, that for months I was afraid it'd come back. Then it took another couple months to build up the courage to write it down. Oddly - or not so much really - it was the writing of the story that helped me overcome my fear.

I'll keep you updated on the progress of this publication.

Good writing all!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Poet Woes

One of my first loves as a reader was poetry. I love poetry and when a piece is done exquisitely, I am drawn into a world not even novel fiction can take me. Unfortunately, as I developed into a writer I realized I couldn't do poetry. All the words and emotions were inside, but I couldn't execute a perfect line to save my soul. It was a heartbreaking moment, but one that needed to happen. Because it freed me up to write other forms of literature.

Today, I want to share the poem that started my passion for poetry and also a little seed of dark prose. This would later grow into my love of writing speculative pieces with deep sub context.

Annabel Lee
by Edgar Allan Poe
(Written 1849, published after death)

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

January Status Check

Oh my goodness! I totally forgot to post my writing status for January - mark that as an "F" on my Blog Report Card. *Slaps forehead*

Okay, well, truthfully January was a very slow month in the writing department. Let's take a look at what amounts to my confession...

New Story Ideas by Length:
Flash Fiction: 0
Short Story: 0
Novella: 2
Novel: 0
Series: 0

Current Story Progress:
Outlined: 1
In Progress: 3
Halted: 1
Completed: 1
Archived: 0
Published: 2

Agent/Publisher Search:
Queries: 2 still out
Request for Partials: 0
Rejections: 0

Submission Status:
Submissions: 9
Accepted: 1 (yay! Pill Hill)
Revise & Resubmit: 1
Contests: 1
Rejections: 4
Waiting Response: 2

Okay folks, that's all she wrote (literally). Good writing all!

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Quickie: Writers Moment

Hubby and I settle in for the night.

"You seemed a little distant today. Everything okay?" Hubby asks.

"Yeah. Characters keep building in my head and today they started talking to me," I reply.

"Ah. I thought you might be needing a writing night soon. It's been a few days," he says.

"'re probably right. I need to write them out of my brain."

A few seconds of silence passes before Hubby turns to me. "...Any other husband hearing their wife say they hear voices in their head..."

"I know...I know." I laugh.

Well, that's my quickie (a new post theme I'm trying out). Good writing all!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Science Updates

Space Taxi's for NASA Astronauts. I know a lot of people are worried that privatizing shuttle launching and exploration will start capital exploitation of the galaxy but I don't. Some of the greatest advances in history came from the private sector. They had gumption and geeky passion to excel where government programs were bogged down with red tape. Mark my words, this will be the rebirth of space exploration interest that we've been needing.

Restoring Human Vision. Can you imagine? Being able to correct blindness in our lifetime. If this new advance in cell regeneration continues at this'll happen. I'm so excited that we won't need La Forge's head gear to accomplish it.

Parenting License? Now, there are some parents I see throughout the day that I think, "Oh man, there should be a license to become a parent." But when I think about it, it's based on the maturity and responsibility of that person...not their genetic make-up. This test is a little scary because it resonates hints of Hitler's drive to "purify" the human race. The technology behind this rides a very thin slippery slope. But hey! It's great as a story concept.

End of the Aging Process. Vampires beware. Humans are also nearing the ability to live forever, and we won't need damning our souls or sucking blood to do it either. Or would we be damning our souls? It depends on your beliefs on the purpose of life. For me, this could really end the meaning of life and human development. In short, it would stunt human growth and evolution. If you get a chance read The Boat of a Million Years by Poul Anderson. Very good approach to this very topic (maybe I'll do a review of it).

Well, that's what I found interesting and possible points for future stories. Hope they weren't too boring.

Good writing all!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Let's Talk Government

I see you on the verge of yawning. Don't do it! I'm telling you...don't. Okay. Fine. Yawn. But I'm telling you, this topic is very important in developing a realistic science fiction novel.

Most science fiction books are symbolic of a resulting consequence of societal, government, and cultural decisions happening today. Even if you're going to write a chick-lit/romance/light-hearted science fiction story you have to get the basics down to attract the science fiction peeps.

And the Sci-Fi masses love the "I told you so, People" moment. That second where, when they turn the last page, they look at the nearest person and say, "Ah ha! That's why I said we shouldn't genetically mix birds and whales! I knew it!"

...All right, that last sentence kinda detoured into a weird place. Let's just step out of AR's la-la land and get back on topic.

Governments are a main driver of societal change, whether it's City, County, State, or Country level. They start a society, trigger the end of a society, and drive the rebirth of a society. In writing, you can stay with today's current balance of governments but two things: one, it's boring and two, it's unrealistic.

Come on people! We're talking about a huge solar system...universe depending on how far in the future you're going. There's no way the G5 can maintain and sustain that kind of territory. Nor would the cultural and social framework thrive in such a widening of distance and expect to abide by detached government structures.

Look at history. As we evolved and spread out from Africa - or from hybrid chambers on some space ship where we were then "planted" onto Earth and given a send off kiss...whichever - our societies started to seed, spread, and split. It's like a drop in the water; the ripples go on until it dilutes back.

Your space frontier group will be separated. Their society will evolve to thrive within its new infrastructure, which will change its values, moral, and ethics. This will all be flexed off the government that oversees their ethical boundaries.

As a result, the society's culture will evolve and break off to some extent from the society they left and create a new (really recycled) government body. Then, when the various new societies throughout the solar system grow and start to bump hips, their conflict and dynamics will flex and strain once again. This will kick the cycle back around, merging, dividing, and remolding them. Humans and their governments are always similar to the analogy of "something new from the ashes".

So use the imagination to see the historical cycle of society and human development starting over again. Look back to go forward. Just make sure you've really thought out the details or the story will bite you in the rear and the least opportune moment.

Here's a couple links to get started on the various government systems/bodies.

Forms of Government from Scholastic (don't knock the elementary lessons, man. Have you seen "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader"?)
Government Systems and Political Ideology
Types of Government
Nations: Forms of Government from the History Guy

Good writing all!