Wednesday, May 15, 2019
From bizarre videos and ill-advised legal cases to Goodreads attacks and outbursts in Facebook groups to cocky letters to reviewers, writers are behaving badly. I watched an author become aggressive and hateful in a Facebook group where she attacked people who return audio books, confronting everyone who tried to discuss it from the other viewpoint. Then she attacked those telling her to stop attacking people.
Ultimately, having a public meltdown will likely end in a deficit of readers. While the free press you get might alert some new readers to you, it's more likely to put off both people who hadn't heard of you and people who were already reading you. Know what bestsellers have in common? They usually haven't launched crazed attacks online.
Rather than haranguing on this, considering most of you probably agree that it's not a good idea, here's a Top Ten List of things you could do instead of publicly freaking out:
1. Write something newer and better and privately say, "In your FACE!" But only where you can hear it.
2. Gorge on ice cream, sweets, or other edible sadness-soppers that make you feel better with sugar, carbs, fat, and calories.
3. Go for a Rocky-jog while listening to "Eye of the Tiger" and sweating your anger out.
4. Take up a dangerous - but satisfying - hobby like lion wrangling or cactus farming.
5. Write your response down on pieces of paper then sacrifice them to a fire built using elm trees and rattlesnake bones.
6. Paper a wall with whatever review, post, or issue is setting you off then paint over it with black and red.
7. Find a practitioner of magic to put a zit spell on the perpetrator. No one ever has to know it was you...
8. Headbang to Alvin and the Chipmunks songs and get a mosh pit going.
9. Adopt as many kittens and puppies as possible, and create a giant snuggle pile.
10. Go to a bar and sobbingly do karaoke to "I Will Survive" over and over until they kick you out.
Or...you know...just ignore it and move on.
Oh, hey, I'm actually going to do links! Bear in mind I'm not endorsing them, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.
El Chapo Review is seeking fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. All genres. Up to 1000 words. Pays $100. Deadline June 1.
Claw & Blossom is seeking short prose and poetry that involves the natural world in some way. The current theme is "Gnaw." Up to 1000 words. Pays $25. Deadline June 6.
Randee Dawn and Michael Ventrella are seeking short speculative fiction submissions for a Beatles themed anthology entitled "Across the Universe." Up to 4000 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline June 14.
Stormy Island Publishing is seeking romantic fantasy fiction. 1000 to 8000 words. Pays $20. Deadline June 14.
Iridium Magazine is seeking short stories in a variety of genres with LGBTQ+ characters. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.03/word. Deadline June 15.
The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts is seeking flash fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, mixed media, and visual arts. Pays $50. Deadline June 15.
Darkhouse Books is seeking short stories with Lovecraft/Diesel Punk/Steam Punk flavor for "Fearrington Road." 2500 to 6000 words. Pays royalties. Deadline June 15.
What would you do instead of having an online meltdown? The more creative, the better. Have you ever responded to a bad review? Have you witnessed writers behaving badly? Are any of these links of interest? Anything to share?
May you find your Muse.
*Image "Curls Tantrum Colour Blank Bckgrnd Clip Art" by Peter Van Herk, clker.com
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Today's going to be a super brief post, because I thought I had until the end of May to finish a story, and it turns out I have until today. Good thing I pulled up the email to check!
So what's my insecurity right now? Finishing this story! Holy cow!
I'll have to post about my stats and my experience at Mountain of Authors this past weekend later. I've got Pikes Peak Writers Conference starting tomorrow. I'm co-running the green room, so I'll be away from the hubbub of the main conference floor, which will be nice. I'm on one panel about short stories then have a book signing then a query appointment with an agent, all in a row. After that, I can focus on just doing my job.
Conference ends Sunday afternoon, and then next Wednesday I'm having surgery to remove my gall bladder. I've got a busy week coming up!
The co-hosts for this week are
Wednesday, April 3, 2019
It's time for another installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, this group serves to create a community of support for writers. All are welcome to participate. Just sign up at Alex's blog or the IWSG blog and post on the first Wednesday of each month. Be sure to drop by some new blogs and visit!
The co-hosts for this month are J.H. Moncrieff, Natalie Aguirre, Patsy Collins, and Chemist Ken! Stop by their blogs and say hi!
The optional question for April is: If you could use a wish to help write just ONE scene/chapter of your book, which one would it be?
The next IWSG anthology opens May 1! The genre is Middle Grade Historical: Adventure/Fantasy. The theme will be announced when the anthology opens May 1!
Also, this is my last post as an IWSG admin. Elizabeth Seckman and C. Lee McKenzie will be taking over the newsletter.
I'm feeling a bit frustrated right now, as I haven't sold any stories in 2019, so far. I've been through dry spells before then gotten a lump of acceptances all at once, so it will come back around. It would be nice if it happened soon, though.
My stats for the month of March are as follows:
1 submission (I had a bunch out on long response submissions)
7 currently on submission
Have you checked out WRiTE CLUB yet? Submissions are open through April 14. Simply submit a 500 word writing sample. The slush readers (raises hand) read the samples and narrow down the selection. The finalists will face off on DL Hammon's blog. All entries and bouts are anonymous, and you get fantastic feedback during the bouts.
Now for some links. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.
Nonbinary Review is seeking art and literature with the theme HG Wells. Pays $.01/word. Deadline April 22.
With Painted Words is seeking fiction and poetry. Up to 1000 words. Pays $3. Deadline April 25.
Fiddlehead is seeking fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Up to 6000 words. Pays $60CAD per page.
SinCyr Publishing is seeking romance with queer identifying characters in kilts. 3000 to 7000 words. Pays royalties. Deadline April 30.
Martinus Publishing is seeking short stories for This Never Happened! Alternate History Farce and Fantasy. 1500 to 10,000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline April 30.
Flash Bang Mysteries is seeking mystery flash fiction. 500 to 750 words. Pays $20. Deadline April 30.
Split Lip Magazine is seeking fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. 1000 to 2500 words. Pays $50. Deadline April 30.
Have you signed up for IWSG? Will you be submitting to the anthology? Have you looked at WRiTE CLUB? Are you submitting?
May you find your Muse.
Thursday, March 21, 2019
I took a new job in late December that rapidly grew in responsibility and hours. For about a month and a half I had two jobs at the same time, and had suddenly been launched into full time work for the first time in fourteen years. Thus the silences and slacking. I'm exhausted, but happy, with the new job. My house is a mess. However, I took a partial day while the kids were at school to get one floor of the house clean. It's amazing how good it feels to have that one truly clean space. Not to say my house is filthy--my husband and I have done some consistent, but piecemeal, cleaning. But there has not been a big, thorough cleaning that leaves the whole house spanking clean and spotless.
I had two more publications come out since the last post. One was a surprise. It was due out in May. Turns out, the magazine is closing, and they're opening a slightly different one in its place, so they gathered their final stories and put them out in this earlier edition.
Don't Cry to Mama is a horror comedy anthology and Bloodbond Magazine focuses on monsters.
In the midst of everything, I also still had two volunteer jobs, one of which involved putting on a half-day miniature writing conference with six speakers. We happened to get a massive snowstorm the night before, which led to the cancellation of one speaker and many attendees, and yet it turned out to be the most financially successful, so far, out of seven years of having the event. I think that's mostly due to the attendees coming through for us, which was wonderful. And we managed to fill that speaker slot at 7 AM the day of the event!
I now have books consigned at three different locations, two of them local, which is exciting! Plus, I finished a short story and got in some much needed editing time.
My mom also had to have surgery during all this business. She had an abdominal hernia. My dad has ALS, and she's his full time caretaker, so my brother and I helped where we could. Luckily, the VA provided a daily respite worker and two CNAs to get him out of bed and put him back to bed, which took a weight off my brother's and my shoulders. We filled those roles last time mom had surgery. Happily, her surgery went well, and she's healing up, though she still can't lift him or do anything strenuous. And I got to hear my dad's machine voice for the first time (it's his voice recorded while he could still talk consistently, but it still sounds like a robot voice that kind of sounds like him...) I ended up posting some amusing interactions with the respite workers. Some of them were quite odd. The respite workers, unlike the CNAs, did not have to have any sort of certification. One was from Jamaica, but could not swim. One never stopped talking. I'm not sure she ever breathed. One thought I was offering her dinner when I gave her the food to feed my dad. One was racist. One wouldn't put the fork all the way in dad's mouth and expected him to lean forward for the food--he can't. So on and so forth. And then we have the VA provided house cleaner whose boss came to check up on her. The woman stood there petting the dogs on my dad's lap, and jumped when she realized she'd been treating my dad's legs like a table. She didn't know he was there...despite the fact that he's on a noisy bipap machine that breathes for him. Fascinating folks and plenty of story fodder.
I was a bit sad that I simply didn't have time to do fun things for Women in Horror Month. I did end up having a bump in sales, which was nice, but I wanted to enjoy the month and do some stuff with the blog. Next year! However, I did get to participate in a group reading for National Tell A Fairytale Day up in Denver at the BookBar, so that was fun.
In the midst of all this, I switched out the meds I'm on for PTSD, which means I've been randomly napping (not a thing I do unless pregnant, feverish, or apparently dealing with anti-depressants/anti-anxiety meds) and have been making that adjustment.
We did squeeze in a family overnight trip to Great Wolf Lodge (which is right here in our lovely city, but they don't do day passes, so you have to stay at the lodge in order to visit the water park). The stay was comped for a past issue with a stay, and they gave us a cabana for free one of the days. I feel like I experienced a bit of what rich people get to have, with a private cabana at the water park, a TV, outlets, a table, free drinks, and a waiter that came by every once in a while to see if we needed anything. It was pretty cool! I felt spoiled. I can definitely recommend their customer service.
Don't forget that WRiTE CLUB is going on now! I'm one of the slush readers. Check it out if you haven't before! It's run by DL Hammons.
I'm sure I'm forgetting a billion things, but that's okay. Next time!
Have you heard of WRiTE CLUB? Are you participating? How has the beginning of your year been? Are you getting some writing done?
May you find your Muse.
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
It's also the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for IWSG!
Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, this group exists to provide community and support to writers of all stripes and levels. All are welcome to join. Simply click on Alex's name above and sign up. Post about your insecurities or reassurances for others, and bop around to visit different people. It's a great way to meet new folks.
This week's co-hosts are:
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Hi Shannon! Thanks for hosting me today. I'd like to offer your readers a brief insight into the nature of Loretanian cuisine.
After dispatching a team of scientists to Loretania, armed with cratefuls of an antidote and vaccine and headed up by their friend, Dr George Tindleson, Welles, Ez, and Welles’s brother Mal – who grew up in that benighted nation – start to worry when they hear nothing back, despite what they had agreed. Commandeering a fishing boat to follow the science team over the sea, they soon find that, while the disease may be on the way out, a new kind of infection has set in – the corruption they thought they had stamped out in Harmonia.
Can they get to the root of the problem and eliminate it before even more damage is done to an innocent people?
*** Warning – this book contains themes that some sensitive readers may find upsetting. ***
Meet the author:
Thanks for coming by, Nick!
What do you guys think? Have you ever tried rat? Have you grabbed your copy yet?
May you find your Muse.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Anyone is welcome to join. Simply click on Alex's name above and sign up, post, and visit your fellow insecure writers.
Our co-hosts this month are Raimey Gallant, Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace!
The optional question is: Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?
I love photography, so that's my other main creative outlet. Unfortunately, I haven't played with it much in the last year or two, but I want to get back to it. My husband gifted me some new lenses to play with for Christmas, and I haven't done so yet. I'm looking forward to it!
I didn't place any short stories in January, so have zero sales for the new year. Boo! However, I have quite a few releases coming out over the next couple months. The publishing world is funny that way. I either have a rash of acceptances coming in or a rash of publications.
Speaking of which, the anthology Twice-Told: A Collection of Doubles came out this past weekend, and includes my Story "Stuck With Me." It's an odd little story about Siamese twins.
Now for a summary of my stats for the month of January. It's pretty dismal.
10 stories currently on submission
What do your stats for the month look like? What are your insecurities? What other creative outlets do you have?
May you find your Muse.
Monday, January 28, 2019
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology
Release date – April 30, 2019
Young Adult Fiction: Romance - General/Paranormal/Contemporary
Print ISBN 9781939844644
EBook ISBN 9781939844651
Find love at the ball…
Can a fake dating game show lead to love? Will a missing key free a clock-bound prince? Can a softball pitcher and a baseball catcher work together? Is there a vampire living in Paradise, Newfoundland? What’s more important—a virtual Traveler or a virtual date to the ball?
Ten authors explore young love in all its facets, from heartbreak to budding passion. Featuring the talents of L.G. Keltner, Jennifer Lane, C.D. Gallant-King, Elizabeth Mueller, Angela Brown, Myles Christensen, Deborah Solice, Carrie-Anne Brownian, Anstice Brown, and Chelsea Marie Ballard.
Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will mystify and surprise even as they touch your heart. Don your mask and join the party…
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Last February, I had women in horror take over my blog with guest posts about, you guessed it, horror!
Truly Horrible Women (real life female killers).
Ashley Dioses wrote about Dark Enchantments (horror poetry).
DeAnna Knippling wrote about Zenna Henderson & Quiet Horror.
In March, I did a brief set of grammar lessons on words that frequently get mixed up.
Alright, All Right, Alrite
Are You Already All Ready?
See You Later, Alligator; After Awhile/A While, Crocodile
A friend of mine, Jason Dias, who also happens to be an existential psychologist and author, did a guest post on Existentialism and Horror.
Another friend, Jessica McDonals, did a guest post entitled Swirl: How Being Mixed Race Informs my Writing.
Then onto random topics:
Author Platform: Accessibility on Social Media
In Keeping it Real, I posted my full submission stats up to that point to show that it's not all peaches and sunshine to be an author, despite how it often looks on social media.
I broke down a Self-Publishing Business Checklist for those venturing in on their maiden voyage.
While dealing with it myself, I wrote a post about Depression in Writers and some possible coping mechanisms.
And a post about Bookstores Bouncing Back.
Now it's time for links! Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.
Ninth Letter is seeking poetry and prose. Up to 8000 words. Pays $25 per printed page. Deadline February 28.
Split Lip Magazine is seeking flash fiction, short fiction, memoir, poetry, photography, and art. Pays $50 for digital and $5/page for print. Deadline February 28.
Darkhouse Books is seeking poetry and fiction for What We Talk About When We Talk About It: Variations on the Theme of Love. They prefer literary. Up to 5000 words. Deadline February 28.
Death's Head Press is seeking horror erotica for Rope Burns. 3000 to 8000 words. Pays $10. Deadline February 28. (Must scan down through other submissions to get to this one.)
Do you ever look back on your year? Did you miss any of these when they were first posted? Are any of these submission links of interest? Anything to share?
May you find your Muse.
*Edgar Allan Poe: By Unknown; most likely George C. Gilchrest, Samuel P. Howes, James M. Pearson, or Andrew J. Simpson, all of Lowell, MA - http://www.daguerre.org/images/2008sympos/consignor4a-medium.jpg and http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=39406, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31269051
Friday, January 18, 2019
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
When I do this post every year, it's really just to look forward and consider what I intend to work on for the year. The goals are fluid, and can be changed or replaced at any time. I don't believe in resolutions for the new year, so much as using this time period to narrow my plans.
First, my submissions for the year:
I submitted 51 stories.
I received 43 rejections.
I pulled 9 stories from submission for various stories (including magazines appearing to have gone under and no longer responding to queries.)
I placed 9 stories.
I released my first solo collection of short stories!
I ended the year with 9 stories still out on submission.
Apparently, the number for the year was 9. Here's hoping I beat that number this year.
My goals for the year were:
- Write a short story or flash piece each week (this is majorly pushing it for me, but I'm going to try.) hahahahahahahahaha!
Read at least one book each week.Some weeks I got more than one in.
- Finish Novel #3. Not quite.
Start Novel #4. Continue submitting short stories (aim for 100 rejections and 12 acceptances.)Marking it off because I did submit consistently, though I didn't reach the goals of 100 and 12. Write short stories in at least three genres. Write more nonfiction.
- Query craft book. Not yet. I've been debating self-publishing it instead.
Self-publish short story collection. Evaluated Novel #1 to see if I want to pursue or trunk (though it's obviously trunked for now.) Take more pictures. Send workshop proposals to one conference new to me.
- Finish novel #3
- Finish novel #4
- Make a decision on the craft book
- Write at least 1 short story each month
- Continue to explore other genres/styles
- Go to one new conference/convention
- Put out another collection
- Take more pictures
- Hike more
- Query novel #2
Now for links! Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.
Atlantean Publishing is seeking fantasy stories related to Clark Ashton Smith's writing. Pays one penny sterling per word. Deadline January 31.
Nashville Review is seeking fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Up to 8000 words. Pays up to $100. Deadline January 31.
Freeze Frame Fiction is seeking flash fiction. Up to 1000 words. Pays $10 per piece. Deadline January 31.
Otter Libris is seeking stories for MCSI: Magical Crime Scene Investigation. 3000 to 10,000 words. Pays $25. Deadline January 31.
Flash Bang Mysteries is seeking mystery flash fiction. 500 to 750 words. Pays $20. Deadline January 31.
Death's Head Press is seeking stories about revenge. 3000 to 8000 words. Pays $10. Deadline January 31.
Atthis Arts is seeking stories of all genres for Five Minutes at Hotel Stormcove. 1000 to 4000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline January 31.
Did you set any sort of goals or look ahead to your plans for the year? How did you do on last year's goals? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share?
May you find your Muse.
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Created by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the IWSG is a blogging community that comes together to support each other in our ups and downs. We post on the first Wednesday of each month. You can, too! Click on Alex's name above and sign up. Be sure to visit some new to you blogs and say thanks to the co-hosts: Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, and Fundy Blue!
I'm starting the year in a down place, frustrated with some aspects of the publishing business and feeling like a failure in several ways.
I suspect part of it is the fact that the holiday season depresses me, but at the same time, I've had a string of bad experiences with some publishers lately, including two breaches of contract I've been dealing with. Maybe I've simply been lucky up to now. I can say that, overwhelmingly, short story editors and publishers are fabulous people who put their passion into their magazines and anthologies, and do their absolute best, even though most of them aren't making any money off these publications (and many are funding them from their day jobs). I've enjoyed working with those I've worked with in the past (and the vast majority of the ones I'm currently working with). It's disappointing that the end of my year (and thus the beginning of the next) had to be tainted by these experiences, and I keep telling myself it's rare, and to push forward. (To be clear, I'm not talking about normal things, like delays in publication, etc. I'm talking about breaches of contract; not getting paid; books not coming out at all, with a strange email from an editor that the publisher is refusing to respond to his queries about why the finished book has not been released, and said publisher ignoring my queries; and similar issues.)
In addition, I've been struggling with finishing anything. I'm at this weird crossroads where I'm doubting my writing and feeling like if I put out something bad it will ruin any minor amount of accomplishment I've reached. So it holds me back. I realize it's this fear that's keeping me from writing, but recognizing the issue doesn't seem to make it any easier to write most of the time. I'm also struggling with resubmitting rejected pieces, but I'll be buckling down tonight and getting that done.
To end on a more positive note, I managed to not only get some writing done this week, but to finish a short story I'd been working on for a while. That, despite starting a new day job on top of the one I already have, and some real life stress/drama that's piled on in the last month. I'm feeling pretty good about that, and I hope it indicates those self-doubts are starting to fade some. Here's looking forward to a positive update in February.
I almost forgot the optional question for the month: What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?
I like questions about what inspired my stories. Sometimes they're completely random, but often there's a story behind the story. There's at least one question I hate to be asked, yet I'm drawing a blank. I'll have to update if I remember it.
Before I get to submission stats for December, how about some IWSG news? We've got the contributors for the next IWSG anthology!
Oddly Suited by LG Keltner
Sea of Sorrows by AV Brown
Behind the Catcher’s Mask by Jennifer Lane
A Diver’s Ball by Angela Brown
Fearless Heart by Deborah Solice
The Dark Charade by CD Gallant-King
The Cog Prince by Elizabeth Mueller
Flower of Ronda by Myles Christensen
Remedy by Chelsea Ballard
Charleston Masquerade by Carrie-Anne Brownian
The top story has the honors of being included in the title. LG Keltner’s story came out on top! The official title of our next anthology – Masquerade: Oddly Suited. Congratulations, LG. (She was also in the top spot for our first anthology, Parallels: Felix Was Here.)
The IWSG Admins spent many hours reading the entries and fourteen were sent to our special judges. We certainly wish to thank them for taking time away from their own work to read the entries:
Elizabeth S. Craig, author
Kelly Van Sant, agent at Red Sofa Literary Agency
Elana Johnson, author
DL Hammons, Write Club founder
S.A. Larsen, author
Kristin Smith, author
Gwen Gardner, author and previous IWSG anthology winner
Look for Masquerade: Oddly Suited late spring!
Congratulations to everyone! There were so many great entries!
Don't forget #IWSGPit is coming up January 15! Do you have a manuscript ready to pitch? Come out to Twitter and pitch to editors and agents.
All writers and authors are invited to participate.
Create a Twitter-length pitch for your completed and polished manuscript and leave room for genre, age, and the hashtag. On January 15, Tweet your pitch. If your pitch receives a favorite/heart from a publisher/agent check their submission guidelines and send your requested query.
Many writers have seen their books published from a Twitter pitch - it’s a quick and easy way to put your manuscript in front of publishers and agents.
Writers may send out 1 Twitter pitch every 1 hour per manuscript.
Publishers/Agents will favorite/heart pitches they are interested in. Publishers can either Tweet basic submission guidelines or direct writers to their submission guidelines. (Writers, please do not favorite/heart pitches.)
No images allowed in pitches.
Pitches must include GENRE/AGE and the hashtag #IWSGPit.
#C - children’s
#MG - middle grade
#YA - young adult
#NA - new adult
#A - adult
#AD - adventure
#CF - Christian fiction
#CO - contemporary
#F - fantasy
#H - horror
#HI - historical
#LF - literary fiction
#MCT - mystery/crime/thriller
#ME - memoir
#NF - non-fiction
#PB - picture book
#PN - paranormal
#R - romance
#SF - sci-fi
#WF - women's fiction
#UF - urban fantasy
#S - suspense
*Authors, please check out the publishers and agents before submitting.*
The February challenge will be 28 Days.
Okay, time for my December stats. I post them each IWSG Day to keep myself accountable.
1 story returned after contract timed out with no published book, so I'll be submitting that tomorrow, too
2 stories pulled from unresponsive markets who appear to have gone under
8 stories currently on submission
Are you submitting? Getting any writing done? What questions do you like or dislike people asking about your writing? What are your insecurities? Will you be taking part in #IWSGPit or WEP?
May you find your Muse.