Monday, March 31, 2014

Us Versus Them

We're taught from an early age to split into groups, find those we have something in common with, to find strength in a certain kind of solidarity. Sports teams are an example of this. There's something to be said about strength in numbers, which is maybe why we have this mentality, but it can be an issue, too.

Middle and high school have us splitting into groups. Raise your hand if you haven't seen Breakfast Club. That movie accentuated cliques, showing that, when thrown together, kids are just kids, no matter what clique they belong to. But when not put in a situation like that, we once again form packs. Before Breakfast Club, we had The Outsiders, and probably five billion other books and movies I'm not mentioning. Soc's vs. Greasers. Preppies vs. Geeks vs. Weirdos.

We like to pretend that we've escaped that pack mentality of cliques when we're "all grown up," but we really haven't. There are still sports teams, town/state/country rivalries, etc. But I was horrified when I became a mom and discovered how cliquish grown women could be. There were working moms vs. SAHM's (stay-at-home-moms). Breast feeders vs. bottle feeders. Pro-circumcisers vs. anti-. Any little decision that might be applied to any possible child was something that could rankle one side against another.

And I won't even go into political and religious rivalries on here...

Now I've taken the step into writerdom, only to discover similar battles here. Are you a pantser or a plotter? Traditional or Indie published? Horror vs. Mystery vs. Fantasy vs. Romance vs. Literary vs. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda. While for most it's just a topic of discussion, not a full blown battle, there are those who take it too far, those who see themselves as better than the other side. That's when it becomes an issue.

Fence by OCAL,
Personally, I don't care what you do. I'm interested in your writing and your journey, not whether you're on the same side of the fence as me. And I know most people sit in that same place. So why all the hate and separatism for some? Why must there always be a side, a clique, a fight to stand behind? Can we learn to just respect others' choices while feeling validated with our own decisions? Or is that what the problem is? We feel insecure about the choice we've made, so attack the other side. For example, if I say I'm interested in Indie publishing, but I'm not 100% confident, perhaps it will make me feel better if I can find reasons to nitpick at those who traditionally publish (or vice versa). By finding those holes, worrying at them, I make myself feel I've made the right decision. Is that what it's about? Or is it something completely different?

What I'm trying to say is...can't we all just get along?

What do you think causes this pack behavior? Do you think it's just good, clean, healthy competition, or can it be detrimental? Are there any particular battles you've fallen victim to or been a part of?

Good luck to those of you doing the A-to-Z, starting tomorrow!

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Trespassing & Linkies

This week, I'm vacationing in Kansas. Behind the house we're renting is an abandoned house, barn, shed, and a building that's completely demolished, so we're not sure what it was, except that it has roofing tiles. I took a bunch of pics, but I'm only going to share a few. I left one in color, because the cellar windows were brown, which was odd since the other cellar windows were clear. I think you'll agree, this could be the setting of a scary movie (and yes, we did go into the cellar, fully acknowledging that if we were watching us in a horror film, we'd be screaming about how stupid a move that was.

Now for some links!

Please be aware that I am not vetting these publications, merely passing along information I've found online. Always do your due diligence in checking publications before submitting anything to them.

Accepting Submissions:

The Pedestal Magazine will open for submissions for their 74th issue April 1. They're seeking hybrid or multi-genre work. Each piece must include an element of poetry, prose, and art/photo. Pays $40 per piece.

Nightmare Magazine, though closed to general submissions, is taking submissions for their Women Destroy Horror Special Issue. Women only, horror (in case that wasn't obvious from the title). Closes March 31. To be edited by Ellen Datlow!! Pays $.08/word.

Streets of Shadows is seeking submissions of stories that intersect between urban fantasy and crime. 2000-4000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline April 3. Go here for more info.

Passion Beyond Words has several themed issues open for submissions right now. All related to romance and/or erotica. Several have a deadline of March 31. Only payment is a contributor copy.

She Knows is open to writers on various topics relating to women, including fashion, entertainment, parenting, crafts, DIY, and local features. Short articles.


The deadline for the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest is approaching April 1. No fee to enter. First prize is $1000.

Zocalo Poetry is issuing their Zocalo Public Square Poetry Prize. It's issued to a U.S. poet who best conveys a sense of place in their poem. Closes for entries April 1. First prize $500.

Spark is holding a contest for both poetry and prose. The theme is "Fables." Grand prize is $500, plus a laundry list of other awesome prizes. No fee to enter. Deadline is April 1.

Of Interest:

Night Owl Reviews is holding a Spring Fling Scavenger Hunt. Opens April 1, closes May 15. You will be asked to fill in a series of blanks to enter, gleaned from various online resources. Each blank is accompanied by a prize you can win.

Fast Co-Create had an interesting article entitled How to be Prolific: Guidelines for Getting it Done from Joss Whedon. Worth a read!

M.J. Joachim has suggested a method for defeating the recent issues with Google Friend Connect. Join her for an ongoing blog hop if you're having problems with GFC.

What do you think of the abandoned buildings? Moody enough? Anything to share? Any good news? Have you been submitting? Any of these interest you?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, March 24, 2014

3, 2, 1...Takeoff! Book Launch for Worlds on Edge

The delightful M. Pax is back, with another entry in the exciting Backworlds series:

The story of the Backworlds continues, and the story of Earth begins.

Worlds on Edge
by M. Pax
Fifth book in the Backworlds series

War is coming. A horde of merciless aliens poise just beyond the Edge. In a matter of weeks they will devour the worlds.

Racing ahead of the apocalypse, Craze returns to the Backworlds to warn them and plan a defense. Only he can’t go home. Banned from Pardeep Station, he must wage a more urgent battle. His moon is under siege, and his friends are dying.

Bad things come in threes, and the galaxy is no exception. An old enemy returns, attacking moons and defenseless globes, leaving a wake of destruction. Worse than that, they threaten to join forces with the alien horde.

Defeat seems inevitable. Craze may not be able to stop it. Yet home is worth the fight.

Fantasy, science fiction, and the weird beckons to M. Pax, and she blames Oregon for that, a source of endless inspiration. She docents at Pine Mountain Observatory in the summers, teaching the public about the stars and the galaxy. A Bachelors of Science in Journalism, she had former lives in marketing and television before settling down to write. Want to know more?

Have you read the other books in the Backworlds series yet? Ready for another space adventure?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Bridge the Gap & Links

I visited D.G. Hudson's blog and saw a photo of a bridge, and felt like sharing a bridge photo, too. Because I enjoy bridges. I thought about just posting a collection of those I'd posted before, but this one hasn't been posted and it happened across my path, so here it is.

Bridge in Depoe Bay, OR

Now for some links.

Disclaimer: Please bear in mind that I am just passing along links I've come across. I have not researched these beyond looking up the various details. You should always do your due diligence in researching anything you submit to.

Accepting Submissions:

Emby Press has a quarterly publication that publishes novellas, Monster Hunting Quarterly. Open call. Pays in royalties and contributor copies. They also have five anthologies open for submissions right now. Two of those anthologies, Deep Sea Monster Hunter: Leviathan and Superhero Monster Fighter: The Good Fight, close for submissions March 31.

Mixer Publishing is open for submissions through April 1. They're looking for post-genre fiction (I'll let them define that). Payment is in royalties. They also have a contest, which closes July 31. Poetry and prose. Cash prize, with first being $1500. Entry fee is $25.

Azrael's Stop is putting together an anthology of stories that take place at Azrael's Stop (you'll see if you check it out). Payment is a share of the profits. Short fiction. Tales of the Stop.

Storm Moon Press has several anthology calls out. Bygone Beasts closes March 30. As does the Gunslingers edition. There are LGBT requirements for these. Paying market, plus contributor copies.

Freedom Forge Press is putting together an anthology, Forging Freedom II. 1500-5000 words. Deadline April 1. Pays royalties, $10 advanced payment, and contributor copy.


Vela is holding a Non-Fiction Contest for Women Writers. Deadline March 31. Essays. No entry fee. First place is $500 and publication.

World City Stories puts up stories from cities around the world (I know, that seemed sort of obvious, didn't it? Hush). They're holding a contest to get more stories in. No entry fee. First prize is €100.

Of Interest:

You may have heard a bit about the Amtrak Residency Program. Well, here it is! Be sure to read ALL the fine print, please, and decide after that if you'd still like to apply. Some are okay with the possible ownership of their work by Amtrak, others are not.

Any of these catch your fancy? What do you think about the Amtrak residency? Anything to share? Publishing news?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Writing Retreats, Part Dos

It's me again! I know, fancy meeting you here.

I'll just jump right in, shall I?

The second writing retreat I went to was in Poudre Canyon, up near the border with Wyoming. We stayed at Glen Echo, a campground with cabins and tent spaces. We were in the penthouse, which had three bedrooms, five beds, a sofa bed, and four couches. Five people rented separate cabins, but there were 10 of us in the main penthouse.

We arrived Friday. A friend and I drove up together. My GPS took us to some park then told us we were at our destination, so we made an executive decision to just keep going through the canyon and hope we found the resort. A fire swept through Poudre Canyon in 2012, so we were driving through some of the burn area. There was also evidence of flooding along the way, and construction was ongoing at one point. We were relieved to reach those construction guys, as we hadn't even seen an animal, mammal or bird, through the entire drive. In fact, I insist that I was promised mountain cows, and they were either not there or were hiding. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, we had to go over a cattle guard on the way into the canyon, and there were cattle crossing signs along the way, yet there were no cows. Not only that, but the road was through a canyon, steep sides climbing up on each side, with a river running by the road. Where were the cows supposed to be?? I really wanted to see mountain cows.

Aside from not seeing any animals or humans (until we ran into the isolated construction crew from Tremors), there was a cross made of wood lying on a rock we drove past. Perhaps part of a tribute of some sort, but there were no flowers, signs or other indications, plus, it was just laying there, so it was creepy. The construction crew would have been way better had they been missing, a bloody hat on the ground. I bet they're glad right now that they don't know I was wishing that on them. They don't know WHY they're glad. But they totally are.


I stopped and asked them if they knew where the campground was (I accidentally called it a resort. Hush, M.B. Also, I apparently spoke in an accent at first, without realizing I had. That's what happens when you throw around accents over the course of a three-hour drive). They said it was ahead, so we kept going.

At one point, a car finally pulled up behind us. It was the first sign of life other than the construction crew. We kept staring back at the car, trying to see if it was one of our writer folks. We never did ask him if he wondered why we were staring at him so intently. But I've just given away that it was, in fact, someone from our party.

The first night was just social time. There was a bar on the premises. Writers drink. A lot. Apparently. Just sayin'. The bartender had one arm; he was awesome.

Saturday, we had quiet time between breakfast and lunch, then lunch and dinner. We got a huge amount done. The same was true for Sunday, though I think some of us petered out a little before the end. Meals were social time, then bar time came at night, with Vern the one-armed bartender.

My personal stats were editing three short stories, outlining my entire WIP #1 (reverse outlining, so going through the already written novel to outline it and see if that helps me with editing), and I wrote 1700 words on a new short story. Those three shorts I edited are the ones I submitted last week.

The stats for everyone there were as follows:

15 Writers
66,762 Words Written
14,000 Words Eliminated in Edits
83 Chapters Outlined
5 Short Stories Drafted
10 New Scenes Created

Not too shabby, eh?

We got some lovely, steadily falling snow on Saturday. While it kept me from going outside to explore with my camera, it was delightful to watch through the window while writing.

Early Monday morning, around 4:30 AM, an alarm went off. I got up to look outside, and a light was flashing on the main building. It was the burglar alarm. I never did find out if they got robbed or not.

Well, that was my second retreat. It was good times, with fun people (despite the fact that I don't drink coffee OR alcohol, which puts me way on the outside of that writerly sort of thing, but hey, it's fun to watch drunk people.) A very different experience from my other retreat. I enjoyed both, albeit for different reasons..

Been to a multi-person retreat before? Did you get a lot done? Was it regulated some to insure writing time like this one? Would you do it again?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - Survivor & Links

Since I didn't get to go into RMNP to take new photos, here's one from my last trip out there. I'm always interested by living items growing out of something barren. A tree out of rocks, a plant where nothing else is growing, etc.

Now for some links.

Accepting Submissions:

Fiction Vortex wants your speculative fiction short stories. Pays $10 per story, plus monthly contests for Editor's Choice and Reader's Choice, both with a cash prize. They prefer stories of 5000 words or less, but will take up to 7500. Open market; no deadline.

The Fog Horn is looking for short fiction in any genre. They pay $1000 for your story (that's not a typo). Open ended; no deadline.

Resurrection House is taking submissions for the anthology XIII. The theme is better left to them to explain, but they're seeking speculative fiction. Deadline March 31. Pays $.05/word. 1000-7000 words.

Cairn Press is accepting submissions for an anthology. Essays, poetry, and short stories. The theme is writers and rejection. Hey, we can all identify with that! Deadline March 31. Cash payment, plus 2 copies of the anthology.

Velvet Books has two anthologies they're accepting submissions for. Raising the Curtain: an Anthology of Erotica Inspired by the Theater and My First Lesbian Experience. Deadline is March 31 for both. Pays £50.


StoneThread Publishing is holding the StoneThread SpecFic Short Story Contest III. No entry fee. 1000-10,000 words of a story based in a post-apocalyptic world. Cash prizes, plus publication in an anthology.

Blog Stuff:

Samantha Redstreake Geary is holding a bit of a contest. If you leave a review for Beyond the Binding by April 1, you will be entered into a drawing to be immortalized in her current book by name and character. Of course, you'll need to have read it first. But proceeds go to a great cause, and I've got a flash fiction piece in it!

In celebration of reaching 500 followers, Christine Rains is having a huge Speculative Fiction Giveaway, with books from a bunch of spec. fic. writers. It's a fantastic giveaway, so check it out!

Any of these of interest to you? Anything else to share? Any publishing or submission news to share? What in nature stands out to you?

May you find your Muse.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Well, Hello There!

Hi! I haven't blogged on a Monday in awhile. I'd apologize, but Gary would mock me. ;)

I was lucky enough to be able to go on two different kinds of writing retreats this month. I never did tell you about them, did I?

At the beginning of the month, I got to go to the Stanley, a lovely historic hotel in Estes Park, Colorado (bordering Rocky Mountain National Park). It's where Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining, one of my favorite novels of his.

I had just completed a big event that I'd been planning for months. It was a success, but I woke up that morning feeling fairly crappy. By the time I left, my throat and chest hurt, and I was exhausted. I thought it was just from the stress and nerves of putting this event on (did I mention I also MC'd it, and I am nervous talking in front of a crowd?) Come the next morning, however, I was full-on sick. I decided not to cancel my reservations, and headed out, anyway.

It's about a 2-hour drive, so my Jeep and I trekked through the snow toward the mountains. I passed through some of the areas damaged by the flooding this past year, sad to still see some destruction. In fact, I was stopped for awhile due to ongoing cleanup and construction.

Construction, better known as: a little driving break

During that drive, a bald eagle swooped down over my car, then floated on the air currents above me. I've never seen one that wasn't in a zoo. It was amazing. Since I was driving, I wasn't able to get a photo (I like to live).

Right as we pulled into town, the person in front of me hydroplaned on a bridge over Lake Estes. We'd just driven through winding canyon roads, covered in snow and gravel, and it was a puddle that nearly took us out. They didn't go into the lake, though, and we continued on, me leaving them a bit of extra space and being very careful on the standing water. Yeesh.

My bed was super comfy, which is good, because I spent most of the time resting and being sick. I'd gone up with a plan, specific things I'd be getting done, and while I still got some done, I didn't get anywhere near the full list finished. I got an anecdote finished for a friend's book on writing, finished a short story, and edited a flash fiction piece, which I've turned into my critique group. That was all I got done in two days. Still, it's more than nothing, and certainly more than I would have gotten done at home.

By Kelly,

I took time to be a tourist, too, which I paid for later. Totally worth it, though. I walked from the hotel into town, then from one end to the other, checking out shops (it's a small mountain tourist town). I grabbed burgers at a joint that proclaimed they were voted Best Burgers! (They were pretty darned good, I must say). I also spent a small fortune at a privately owned bookstore, then bought a new wallet when my wallet decided it was finally kaput (it had been going downhill for awhile). Later, it was a gourmet meal in the restaurant on-site, then a ghost tour on the premises. A couple who was staying in one of the most haunted room invited those of us on the tour up to their room after 11 so we could seek out ghosties, but I opted to lie in bed and be pitiful instead, while watching The Shining and doing logic puzzles. Yeah, I'm a real party-person when I'm dying.

I'd had plans to go into Rocky Mountain National Park, with the hopes of finally seeing a moose in person and photographing it, intending to do this on the last day. I was sick enough at that point that I chose to go home instead. As I headed back out of town, I got stopped at construction. I'd been expecting it, but this time the guy said they were blasting and that I'd have to sit there for possibly over an hour.

I decided to turn around and go the long way home, which took me through Loveland. It also took me past the still highly damaged canyon where the Big Thompson flooded before. The damage there was far worse than that visible to me on the way in. Missing houses, a massive floodplain, the remains of houses hanging over the river. One house was half gone, with a rope stretched across the opening, furniture leaning against the rope. One thin piece of material held it back from falling into the river. It was like pulling open a dollhouse and looking at the guts. It was a wretched sight. There were signs all along the way asking people not to stop on the road side to gawk. I had no desire to do so, as I remembered all the people who swept through after the Waldo Canyon Fire.

Whoops, I talked way more than I intended to. I'll have to tell you about the other writing retreat next week. The other one was with a group of people, so a vastly different experience. Also, I wasn't sick. Shew. I do still feel my trip up to Estes was worthwhile. Heck, as a mom it was nice to be ill somewhere all by myself where I could lay in bed as much as I wanted and go have someone else make food for me when I needed it. Although, I did desperately want soup, but didn't want to pay room service soup prices.

I will say, in the interest of giving a "progress report," that I left the second retreat with several finished short stories. I submitted three stories to three different magazines a few days ago. I've gotten back one rejection (I love how fast Clarkesworld gets back to you). So until I find a different market to send that one to, I've got three total subs out right now (I had previously sent one out before all this). Fingers crossed! By next week, my goal is to have re-subbed the rejected one.

Have you been on a solo writing retreat? Ever seen a bald eagle? How about a moose? Stop your bragging! Any submissions out? Do tell!

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

[Mostly] Wordless Wednesday - How Now Brown Gull? & Links

I'm accustomed to seagulls being a very specific set of colors, a set appearance. However, on my last visit to Oregon, I saw this inquisitive little guy.

Anyone know anything about this type of bird/gull? It looks quite gull-like, but its coloration is closer to a skua. Can the two mate? Hmmmm. You can see common Oregon birds at this link and see for yourself.

Now for some links that probably don't include birds.

Note: I pass along these links as I find them online, but I have not personally vetted them. Please do your due diligence and research anyone before you submit to them for a contest or publication.

Accepting Submissions:

I previously posted information about a Kickstarter for Women Destroy Science Fiction. Well, they not only got enough funding for that anthology, but also for Women Destroy Horror and Women Destroy Fantasy special editions. The editors are Ellen Datlow, Cat Rambo, and Terri Windling. They will OPEN for submissions March 15. Women Destroy Horror will be a special edition of Nightmare Magazine, and will pay $.08/word. It will close for submissions March 31. Specifications are the same for Women Destroy Fantasy, but this will be submitted through Fantasy Magazine/Lightspeed. All three of these are for women or those who identify as women only.

Long Count Press will remain open for submissions for their anthology, Songs of the Great Cycle, through March 31. They are looking for Mesoamerican fantasy. Pays $20, plus royalties and an e-book copy. 3000-10,000 words. Deadline March 31.

Rather than their usual short story theme, Crossed Genres is having their Flash Fiction Free-For-All between March 1 and March 31. 300-1000 words. Any subject, as long as it's fantasy and/or science fiction. Pays $.05/word.

Black Tome Books is looking for poetry and short fiction set in Cairo, Egypt in the genre of steampunk/gaslamp for their anthology Cairo by Gaslight. Payment is in contributor copies. Deadline is March 31. 

Exile Editions is putting together an anthology entitled Start a Revolution: Quiltbag Fiction Vying for Change. 2000-10,000 words. They are looking for stories of revolution with a QUILTBAG protagonist (this is defined on their page, but has to do with LGBT, pansexual, and fluid sexual definitions, so please see their specifications). Pays $.05/word. Deadline March 31.


Harmony Ink has issued a Young Author Challenge. They are seeking LGBT short stories from authors between 14 and 21 years of age for their anthology. Payment is $25-$55. Deadline is March 15.

Lunch Ticket is hosting the Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative Non-Fiction. Winner receives $250 and publication in Lunch Ticket. Deadline March 31. Essays up to 5000 words.

Any of these of interest to you? Anything to add? Any publishing news? Have you seen a bird like the one above? What do you think it is?

May you find your Muse.