Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rejection & This Week's Links

I was hoping to have good news to share today. I'd been short-listed for an anthology and knew today was the day I'd hear one way or the other. Unfortunately, I got the rejection email instead of an acceptance. But I took a few hours to mope, and I've already resubmitted that story and several others. So I guess that's good news.

I'm working on major sleep deprivation at the moment, so for [Mostly] Wordless Wednesday, meet Skip. He's my co-pilot.


Now for some links, just a few hours late, yeah?

Accepting Submissions:

Vandercave is seeking humor. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or illustration. Deadline for first issue is December 17. 1250 words or fewer. Pays $10.

The Puritan is looking for fiction, poems, essays, reviews, and interviews. Deadline for the winter issue is December 25. Pays $15-$50, depending on submission type.

Simian Publishing is seeking submissions for their anthology Apotheosis: Stories of Survival After the Rise of the Elder Gods. 2000-7000 words. Submissions close December 31. Pays $.03/word.

Mocha Memoirs Press is seeking steampunk submissions for Avast Ye Airships!, and anthology. 1500-6000 words. Pays $10 per story. Deadline December 31.

The call is out for the Year's Best Weird Fiction anthology. They are seeking the best of your weird fiction published in 2014. Reprints. Deadline December 31. 17,499 words or less. Pays a minimum of $.01/word and 2 contributor copies.

Darkhouse Books is taking submissions for their anthology of historical fiction. Historical crime and mystery fiction. Deadline December 31. 2500-7500 words. Royalty share.

Infinite Acacia is seeking submissions for their anthology Infinite Urban Fantasy One. 1000-17,500 words. Flash fiction, short stories, novelettes, novellas. Deadline December 31. Pays $.01/word.

Another Dimension Magazine is seeking stories of 1000-3000 words. Horror and dark fantasy. Pays $.03/word. Submissions for Issue 1 close December 31.

Contests:

The Were-Traveler is holding a Shinigami Stories contest. Some element of the Grim Reaper must be in the story. Flash fiction or short story. First prize is $15. Deadline December 20.

Blue Mountain Arts is holding a Poetry Card Contest. Deadline December 31. First prize $300, plus publication on their site.

Any of these of interest? Anything to share? Publication news? 

May you find your Muse.


Monday, November 17, 2014

ShaNo Update, Week 2

I'm feeling pretty good about my progress with ShaNo this week! Better than the first week.

To recap, here are my goals for ShaNoShoStoWriEdSubMo:

Shiekh Tuyin & Iyo, clker.com
Writing

Write 1 new flash fiction piece
Write 1 new vignette (still trying to fully figure out the form)
Write 3 new short stories 
Write at least 5000 new words on WIP #2

Editing

Edit 2 flash fiction pieces awaiting editing
Edit 3 short stories awaiting editing (1 short story edited, 2 left)
Edit at least 5 chapters of WIP #1

Submitting

Re-submit pieces currently awaiting submission

Submit newly edited pieces from above (Submitted the one short story I edited)

I also made a breakthrough on a short story I was working on. It was inspired by one odd sight that disappeared when I did a double take, and I found that I had no idea where I was going with it, though I liked the way I'd set it up. Finally, finally, FINALLY, today I figured out where I wanted to go! I'll be attending a write-in we're having tomorrow, so I intend to work on this story to see if I can't finish it up for my next critique group submission.

I've still got a lot to do before the end of the month, but getting any of this done is something I'll be happy with. Plus, I'll have an update on submissions/rejections that will feel much better than last month come IWSG time.

What writing goals have you met this week? What goals do you have for yourself next week? Where are you in your NaNo word count? Have you had a breakthrough lately?

May you find your Muse.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Horror List Book Review: Imago Sequence

I'm reading through three lists of best horror with two friends, posting reviews as we go. (For more information, including a list of the books, see this post.) So far, I've reviewed Poppy Z. Brite's Drawing Blood and Robert McCammon's The Wolf's Hour. This week, I'm reviewing Laird Barron's The Imago Sequence.


The Imago Sequence is a collection of short stories (and the title of the final short story). The first thing I noticed was that he seemed very introspective about age. Perhaps this is just because the first story dedicated a lot of attention to age. The male characters tended to be fighting on, despite their age, or dealing with life changes, whereas the female characters that focused on age tended to be evil hags or a bit of a joke (that joke holding something evil behind it). Not always, but there was a tendency. I'm not sure this would have stood out to me so much if DeAnna Knippling hadn't mentioned it in her review of this book first. Would I have, or was it a case of the Oracle telling Neo not to worry about the vase he broke? I couldn't tell you. I was so curious, though, about where he was when he wrote these that I looked up his age and when the book was published. (His thirties, if they were written around when the book was published, but with a short story anthology, there's no guarantee, and I don't have the time to research individual short stories--that's crazy talk.)

His stories didn't lay out the monsters for the reader most of the time. In fact, some of them left me thinking long after I'd finished reading them, just to process what I'd read and how it had ended. For the most part I liked this, though at least one left me scratching my head instead of intrigued. One of my favorite stories was so beautifully written, yet was the one that left me puzzled about the ending. I'm pretty sure my subconscious will work it out eventually.

I've seen H.P Lovecraft mentioned a lot in connection with Laird Barron, and I can see why. He delves into the surreal, ancient horrors. These stories don't just focus on the age of the characters, but also on the age of evil. Inevitably, each antagonist is ancient, hearkening back to something long ago, something wild, an all-devouring force. And a force it is. No monsters, no serial killers. Forces. Something in human form may lead them to their doom, but that doom isn't so much an entity in most cases as a power.

Barron's protagonists are well drawn inasmuch as we get to know a little about them as individuals, but it strikes me that this was necessary, because each character felt much the same on reflection. As I was putting my notes together, I could remember each story and each male protagonist (they were all male), but they were very similar to each other, at least in voice. The exception to this being probably that main character of Shiva Open Your Eye and the main character of The Royal Zoo is Closed.

One thing I can say for his characters is that they never just lie down and wait to die. No hapless victims thrown into a story to be eaten or tormented. No, they fight their damndest to get out of whatever has befallen them. 

Though the characters are similar on the surface and in voice, he skillfully weaves what we need to know about them into the narrative. The same can be said about his settings, which are laid out for us nicely in most of the stories, once again weaved into it so we aren't just sitting there while he describes what everything looks like. I had a distinct image of the setting in almost every story, and he has left pictures in my head since my reading, courtesy of the strength of some of his scenes.

I'm not sure how best to review a collection of short stories, so I'll break down the stories a little bit while trying to avoid spoilers.

Old Virginia - An older man, crotchety and washed up, is tasked with guarding a group of scientists as they conduct some manner of experiment out in the woods. Someone's messing with them in small ways, but who is it? Rival scientists? The government? Or something darker and older? This is one of the stories where age played a major role, both with the main protagonist and the crone who is part of the experiments. We see that a man who appears washed up still has fight and intelligence in him, and learn to never underestimate anyone.

Shiva Open Your Eye - This one once again features an older man who is deceptively decrepit. A contest of wits and wills ensues between him and another man. This one lost me a bit to boredom. There was so much word play, the POV character ranting on and on about his history, that my attention wandered. The words were delightfully grotesque and oddly beautiful at times, but without anything of interest being said, it just wasn't enough for me. In the end, it didn't come full circle for me. I wasn't clear on what even happened to bring the situation to a close.

Procession of the Black Sloth - A man is sent out to Hong Kong (IIRC) to investigate espionage undercover. On the way there, he sees a strange sign that things aren't going to go well. Once there, an odd witchcraft seems to be afoot, and he falls more into a frightened irrationality as he tries to figure out what's going on. This was an interesting read, with a classic sort of story behind it. We plunge into confusion with the protagonist, trying to figure out along with him what's happening. The ending was a bit forgettable after the rest of the story, though. This was a story where women of advanced age were a bit of a mockery, though it was the characters doing this mocking, not to be confused with the author (maybe?).

Bulldozer - I never figured out what the title referred to on this one. But I enjoyed this story. It followed a Pinkerton man in pursuit of a strongman with a stolen book (stolen from PT, himself) of some importance. The Pinkerton man is responsible for getting that book back. Set in the Wild West (my favorite era, as some of you probably know), we ride along with a man who has gotten himself in way over his head. The setting is well realized in this one, with a variety of interesting Wild West characters crossing his path. The only females in this story were ladies of the night, but I guess at least they weren't described as crones? This story is discombobulated at times (hallucinogenic?), sending us into a mental maelstrom with the POV character.

Proboscis - This was one of my favorites. The protagonist is a bounty hunter, having had to change his life. He begins seeing things, sensing something wrong, but he doesn't share it with his compatriots. The evil in this is insectile, leading him to the isolation of the Mima Mounds (also mentioned in at least one other story). The buildup is slow and steady, a taunting of the protag who gets sucked back in no matter what he tries to do to get away. As with some of his other stories, there is a bit of dissocation that occurs, a pulling back from the story and becoming confused, which serves to show us the mindset of the protag.

Hallucinogenia - An older man and his child bride make an unscheduled stop, only to be sucked into something horrific that follows them home, him wounded, her with severe brain damage. He can't remember what happened, but he can sense that it's not over. He's wealthy, so he throws money at it, hiring an investigator to find out more about the place their accident occurred. But even as he delves into it, it gets closer to him. This story was excellent at showing us a great evil without actually drawing a beast to go with it. Though there's never a physical presence, it looms there, just out of sight, creeping up on him. A P.I. makes an appearance in this and one other story, making me wonder how many of Barron's stories he's been in. I did find this story too long, checking my progress to see how close I was to the end. I think the buildup could have been more quickly paced.

Parallax - This was another of my favorites. A man gets a severe migraine and wakes to find his wife missing. The police think it was him, and they, as well as the press, begin hounding him. The more they hound him, the more he doubts himself. I was drawn into the story, unable to figure out what might have happened to his wife. The twist ending was interesting, and had me asking questions long after the story was done. I'd write them here, but it would give away the story. About half of what I jotted down in my notes consisted of questions I asked once it was done.

The Royal Zoo is Closed - I don't remember what this one is about. Seriously. I just went and looked to see if I could find what it was about, and found nothing that clued me in. So I won't tell you what it was about, but simply tell you what I jotted down on my little bedside notepad (I do most of my reading to wind down at bedtime.) I wrote that it was beautifully written, that I had the urge to read it out loud to feel the words coming from my mouth. But it became a constant onslaught of words, a battery. And I was confused at the end, because there seemed to be no end. Maybe I should read it again.

The Imago Sequence - A man becomes compelled to search out a series of paintings for a friend (who has the cash to fund it.) But his search leads him into something he didn't expect. There's something going on with these paintings, something deadly (at least to the rich.) I don't really have anything new to say about this one, because it followed the patterns of the other stories. 

Overall, I liked this. It was thought provoking and held powerful imagery. However, the voice of the characters was often the same and I think some of the stories traded actual story for an impression. Pacing was mostly good, but a few of them were too slow or meandering for me. And I'm not sure what to think of his female characters or his take on women. His stories were like a comfortably bumpy road, with the bumps exactly where I expected them to be. Rinse, repeat. Having said that, I feel he's a strong writer, and one that probably improved after this, seeing as how it's an earlier set of his works. I'm surprised they selected this as his best, rather than later collections or novels. But the general impression it left for me was favorable, rolling about in my head for probably awhile to come. I'll be looking into other works of his to satisfy my curiosity.

Also, this is the first book that I think truly belonged on a list of horror. I didn't look at this and wonder what caused them to put it on this particular list like I did with the last two. There was a solid creep factor in many of the stories, and all were obviously horror.

My next review will be of Coraline, by Neil Gaiman.

Have you read Laird Barron? What did you think? Have you read this collection? Did you agree or disagree with what I've said here? 

May you find your Muse.









Wednesday, November 12, 2014

There be Gold in Them Thar' Hills & Links

I posted some photos from our tree tour when the fall color change started hitting the aspens, but I don't think I posted pics of the mine outside Cripple Creek that we visited. This one just sits out in the open at the beginning of Shelf Road, so anyone can climb around on it. (We did not climb around in it, but did walk around it. Preserving history, yo.) Here are a couple pics.




That last photo is up behind the mine, looking toward Shelf Road (Canon City is on the other side of it; it's an old mining road between Cripple Creek and Canon City.)

Now for some links. Always do your due diligence before submitting to a publication. I have not researched these, so am not personally recommending them, just passing the news along.

Accepting Submissions:

Mslexia is looking for submissions for their 65th Issue, with the theme of Earth Songs. This is for one of their prose and poetry issues. Deadline December 9. Pay not specified. Check further below on their page for article submissions information.

Innsmouth Free Press is open for submissions for an all-woman Lovecraft anthology, She Walks in Shadows, from November 15 to December 15. Short stories inspired by Lovecraft and featuring females. Up to 4000 words. Pays $.06/word, Canadian.

Knock Your Socks Off Art & Literature is open for submissions for KYSO Flash Issue 2 through December 15. 751 to 1000 words. Pays $.10/word. They are also looking for poems, parables, and allegories. They want evocative works that balance music and meaning.

Freeze Frame Fiction is open for submissions of flash fiction in any genre through December 15. Pays $10/piece. 1000 words or less.

Sorcerous Signals is open for submissions through December 15. Fantasy. Short stories (up to 10,000 words), poems, and flash fiction (up to 1000 words). Pays $5 for short stories, $2 for flash and poetry.

Inkstained Succubus Press is seeking submissions for their Somewhere Out There anthology. Science fiction. Deadline December 15. 5000-10,000 words. Pays in royalties.

Contests:

Samantha Redstreake Geary brings us another opportunity to blend words with music. Of Mist and Magic asks for your freshly realized fairy tales, set to The Eternal Rest of Ronin. 500 words or less. Prize is publications in the anthology, digital copy of the album, and signed cover art. Deadline December 1.

Phoenix Photo & Fiction is holding a short story contest and a flash fiction contest. Deadline December 14. First prize is $50 CAD for short stories up to 1500 words and $20 CAD for flash fiction up to 300 words. Also see their page for guidelines for their regular submissions.

Of Interest:

For my fellow short story authors out there, here are 22 Common Problems Associated With Short Story Submissions, from Amanda Pillar, editor, posted on Alan Baxter's site.

If you want to use lyrics in your writing, Anne R. Allen has passed along tips to getting the rights in So You Want to Use Song Lyrics in Your Novel? 5 Steps to Getting Rights to Lyrics.

Any of these of interest to you? Did they miss anything in the short story article? Have you ever used lyrics in a story? Anything to share? Publication news? Ever visited an old mine?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, November 10, 2014

ShaNo Update & The Attic of Sand and Secrets

Last Monday, I posted about my intentions with ShaNoShoStoWriEdSubMo for this year. Of those goals, I wrote one flash fiction piece and started one short story that isn't yet finished. While I'd like to be making more progress, I've at least started!

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Today, I'm welcoming Medeia Sharif, whose new middle grade novel, The Attic of Sand and Secrets, releases this month. Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post! If you haven't visited Medeia's blog before, you can find the link below. She does great brief book reviews, and I've found quite a few books to add to my TBR pile via her reviews. 

THE ATTIC OF SAND AND SECRETS 
by Medeia Sharif

Vendor links will be updated on Medeia’s site.

Middle Grade Historical and Fantasy, Featherweight Press, November 2014

Lily, a learning disabled girl, attempts to unravel the mystery of her abducted mother using supernatural clues from an ancient stranger, even when it means posing a danger to herself.

Learning-disabled Lily desires to prove herself, although her mind freezes when presented with big problems - such as her mother's abduction. With a French father and Egyptian mother, Lily worries that her mother hid her ethnicity from her French in-laws. However, there's something deeper going on. Lily finds a way into an attic that's normally locked and encounters a mysterious, moonlit Egyptian night world. There she finds Khadijah, an ancient stranger who guides her to finding clues about her mother's whereabouts. Lily becomes a sleuth in both the real world and magical desert, endangering herself as she gets closer to the kidnapper.

The book takes place in 1976. Every host for this book blast is going to post one fun fact for that year. For some of you, this will bring back memories. For younger blog readers, you'll learn something new.

My Fun Fact: Frampton Comes Alive!, a double album, was released.

Find Medeia – Multi-published YA and MG Author

Blog   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads   |   Instagram   |   Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thank you for stopping by on your blog tour, Medeia! And good luck with your book tour and release.

What do you guys think of the cover? Lovely, isn't it? Have you seen Medeia around the blogosphere? How are you doing with NaNo or your own personal goals this month?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IWSG, Fishy Post & Links

New Month + First Wednesday = Insecure Writer's Support Group!



Insecurity, shcminsecurity. Not to say I haven't been insecure this month, but I ended up so busy that there wasn't much room for more to make me insecure. Plus, I'm riding the high of having finished a story last night, with another ready to be queued up when I'm at a write-in tomorrow. No, I'm not doing NaNo (you can see my current writing goals here), but I do have goals for the month to help me get back into gear and writing, editing, and submitting like a fiend. And my year of focusing on short stories and ignoring my novels has nearly drawn to an end, so I want to get my short story process a little more honed before I add novel work back in.

The good news is that I'm actually sitting on my hands to avoid my WIP, so I'll be more than ready to go once the new year gets here.

The stats for this month are minimal, but here they are:

1 rejection since last month's IWSG post
21 rejections for the year
4 stories out on sub
7 stories needing to be re-submitted
4 critiqued stories needing to be edited and submitted

And one of those critiqued stories is at the top of my list since the market I want to submit to just re-opened. So that's number one on my list for tomorrow night.

I'd love to see a check-in of your goals, whether NaNo related or otherwise!

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I never finished posting aquarium photos, so thought today was as good a day as any. Here are some of the little fishies that were cool to look at.


This guy's not so remarkable, but he has a really angry face, which amused me.




Every time we go to the aquarium, this octopus is stuck to this corner of the glass. Every time. I think he likes the company (It's where the face painting lady sits.)

Now for some links! I have not personally researched these, so always do your due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Three-Lobed Burning Eye Magazine is seeking dark speculative fiction short stories up to 7000 words and flash up to 1000 words. Pays $.03/word.

One Teen Story is looking for stories on the teen experience. Literary fiction between 2000 and 4500 words. Pays $500 and 25 contributor copies.

T. Gene Davis's Speculative Blog accepts short stories in speculative fiction and magical realism, posting one per week. Pays $50. Must be family friendly content.

Volunted Tales is open for submissions. Up to 7000 words. Short stories, comics, graphic short stories, and artwork in science fiction and fantasy. Also some steampunk. Pays $10.

Buzzy Mag is taking speculative fiction short stories. Up to 10,000 words. Pays $.10/word ($.02/word for reprints).

Fantasy Scroll Magazine is seeking speculative fiction up to 5000 words. Pays $.01/word.

Argosy Magazine is looking for short noir fiction and illustrators. Always open for submissions. Pay unknown.

Despumation is looking for stories based on metal songs. 3000-5000 words. Pays $10 + a contributor copy or 2 contributor copies.

Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly has several anthology calls out. Their Mystical Bites anthology is open for submissions through December 7. 2000-10,000 words. Must contain mystical elements. Pay unknown.

Polychrome Ink is accepting submissions. They're seeking diversity in their writers and content. Reading period ends December 1. Pay unknown.

Any of these interest you? How are you doing on your current writing goals? Anything to share? Publication news? What are your insecurities?

May you find your Muse.


Monday, November 3, 2014

ShaNo, Not NaNo

For the last couple years, I've made my own goals for November, riding the energy of NaNoWriMo, while not setting everything aside to reach someone else's idea of a goal. I thought I'd continue that this year. So welcome back to ShaNoShoStoWriEdSubMo.

What's that, you say? What the heck does that mean?

I'll tell you! It stands for Shannon's Novel and Short Story Writing, Editing, and Submitting Month.

I've fallen a bit behind from where I was a couple months ago, so I'm hoping the infectious spirit of NaNo will carry me along into reviving my writing mojo. My goals this month will be:

Writing 
Courtesy of Shiekh Tuyin and Iyo, clker.com


Write 1 new flash fiction piece
Write 1 new vignette (still trying to fully figure out the form)
Write 3 new short stories
Write at least 5000 new words on WIP #2

Editing

Edit 2 flash fiction pieces awaiting editing
Edit 3 short stories awaiting editing
Edit at least 5 chapters of WIP #1

Submitting

Re-submit pieces currently awaiting submission
Submit newly edited pieces from above

What are your goals this month? Are you doing NaNo or some form of it? If you were to make your own, what would you aim for? If you're doing NaNo, how many words have you written so far?

May you find your Muse.