Thursday, October 19, 2017

32 Nights of Horror & New Short Story Available!

To celebrate October, I've been watching a horror movie each night (including midnight on the first, which is why it's 32 instead of 31). Most of them have been old favorites, but some have been new to me, so I thought I'd pass along some recommendations from the new (to me) films.

Before we jump into the movies, I wanted to announce a new short story release. My short story Unwelcome Guests is now available for Kindle via The Society of Misfit Stories. It's a standalone e-book for $.99, and will not be available in print until 2018, when it will be included in the annual anthology from Bards and Sages.

Okay, now for the movies. First, an older one that I just hadn't seen yet.

Cube was released in 1997. In it, a group of people wake up inside a giant cube with small entryways between each different room within it. None of the people know each other or how they got there, but each has a skill that could help them get out of the cube. In the meantime, traps in the rooms eliminate those entering them.

Despite the fact that there are some nasty deaths, this isn't gore porn, like Saw and similar films. Rather, I found it to be a character study in the way Lord of the Flies was. Is the cube more dangerous, or is it the people within it?

Next, how about one that's out in theaters? (Totally counts.)

I went to see IT. This was actually the first Stephen King book I ever read. I'm a huge Tim Curry fan, but he was limited by being Pennywise in a television miniseries. Skarsgard didn't have the same limitations, and was overall a freaky killer clown. He didn't try to copy Curry's Pennywise, which is what I think made it all the more successful.

As anyone who is familiar with any aspect of IT knows, this is a tale of bullying, of adult complicity, of childhood bonding, and so much more. There's a reason this new version of IT has surpassed Exorcist as the top-grossing horror film.

One of the newer movies I watched was The Autopsy of Jane Doe. This one came out in 2016, and I'm not sure it was even in theaters around here. In it, a father and son team of coroners gets the body of a young woman found under mysterious circumstances. She has internal injuries, but no external damage to indicate how they happened. As they proceed with the autopsy, strange then frightening things begin to happen.

The movie is compelling, with a series of puzzle pieces resulting from the autopsy. The father/son relationship of mentor/mentee is an interesting one, and the details are well played out.

This next one was pure camp, and a lot of fun. The Babysitter is a Netflix original. A boy decides to stay up to see what his babysitter does after he's supposed to be asleep. To his shock and horror, he witnesses her murdering a young man to collect his blood in order to do a spell with a group of teens. But they also need the blood of an innocent.

Full of familiar, but loved, tropes, with a great sense of humor. I enjoyed watching this one, because it doesn't take itself too seriously, yet still delivers. The bullied 13-year old finds himself while fighting off a group of sadistic teens.

The rest of the movies I've watched so far this month are:

The Others
Friday the 13th (ON Friday the 13th, duh--the original)
It Comes at Night
American Psycho 2 (not recommended)
Alien Resurrection (my daughter has seen the rest, and we're watching them in order, so next is Prometheus)
Silence of the Lambs
Pet Sematary
The Bad Batch
Cult of Chucky
Flatliners (old one)
Fright Night (newer one)

Obviously, the original Halloween must be saved for Halloween night.

Time for links. Bear in mind that I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

The Literary Hatchet is seeking dark fiction and poetry. 1000-6000 words. Pays $5-10. Deadline November 1.

Rosarium Publishing is seeking water-themed speculative short stories for the anthology Trouble the Waters:Tales From the Deep Blue. 2500-7000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline November 1.

The First Line is seeking fiction using the first line for this submission period. This period's first line is "I'm tired of trying to see the good in people." 300-5000 words. Pays $25-50. Deadline November 1.

Spring Song Press is seeking fantasy/noblebright short stories for the anthology Fell Beasts and Fair. 1000-10,000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline November 1.

Kenyon Review is seeking prose, drama, and poetry. Up to 7500 words. Pay is not mentioned, but this is supposed to be a paying market. Deadline November 1.

The Sun is seeking essays, short stories, and poetry. Up to 7000 words. Pays between $100 and $2000. Deadline November 1.

Seen any of the movies I listed? What did you think of the newer ones? Any of these links of interest? Anything to add? Submission news?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Book Release - Dusk's Warriors, by Emerian Rich

Today I'm pleased to host Emerian Rich, author and editor extraordinaire, as well as the hostess of the podcast. Her book, Dusk's Warriors, is now out.

Welcome, Emerian!


Zack is just a street kid who has lived past his expiration date. He figures if he has no life left, he might as well follow a stranger into a magic puddle. What he doesn’t know is that things are going to get a lot worse…

Excerpt from Dusk’s Warriors

Two yards away from the thugs, the man jumped into a puddle and sank into the earth.
“What the Hell?” Zack hid behind a pile of pallets, watching the hoods curse and scatter.
After the gang cleared off, Zack crept up to the puddle. It was a regular puddle, nothing unusual about it. Seeing his reflection, he frowned. He looked dead already, with his chapped lips, white complexion, and dark circles under his eyes. Stepping back, Zack walked away, chalking it all up to his active imagination.
Just a vision, that’s all. People don’t disappear into puddles.
Gazing out at the dark water, the bay seemed bottomless. Maybe drowning would be an easier death? To be forever part of the Earth and drift around from stream to river to ocean seemed pleasant to him. He could go places he’d never dreamed of before.
Places I’ve never dreamed of.
Looking back at the puddle, he rubbed his neck. A kink had been there longer than he could remember. Had the man really disappeared into the puddle?
He closed his eyes, as a gust of chilly wind blew through him.
I’m gonna die anyway. What do I have to lose?
Walking toward the puddle, he picked up speed as his resolution grew. When he got to the puddle, he closed his eyes and jumped in.
I want a second chance to live. I don’t care what I have to do. Please, just give me that chance!
Jumping into a mud puddle like he was seven, part of him thought he would hit solid ground. The other part of him—the part that still believed in fairytales—knew what he’d seen was real.
Zack’s feet sank into thick sticky sludge and soon his entire body became submerged. Mud filled his ears, nose, and had he not shut his eyes before the jump, they would have clouded with the murky slop, too. Hoping the huge gulp of air he took before jumping would last until he got wherever he was going, he allowed his body to be digested by the Earth.
A wave of helplessness washed over him, the likes that would drive him to commit suicide had he any way to do it, but he could no more move than scream. His ears hurt, head throbbed, and even the stiff neck he suffered paled in comparison to the pain filtering through his limbs. As he sank, he realized what caused him pain. Noise. So much noise, he couldn’t comprehend one single voice. Cries, moans, and screams echoed through every vein in his body.
Help me.
Feed me.
Com-ere my pretty.
I ache so.
Take me with you!
I’m so hungry.
Eyes closed, Zack couldn’t bring himself to open them to find out what horrible creatures made such noise. Pressure pushed at his limbs. His body felt squeezed through a too small hole. Like release from the birth canal, Zack sloshed out, landing on a slippery pile of sludge. Grasping for something to steady himself, he reached out to touch wet rocks or an animal or... Flesh moved beneath him. Sticky fingers grasped his arm. Toes pressed to his cheek and as he opened his eyes, he saw bodies undulating in a sea of brown, murky mud, tinged with blood. The whites of human eyes, bloodshot and red, pleaded with him to help as they gasped, teeth thick with sewage.
How did I get here?
I am in misery.
Let me taste you.
I’m not like them, I don’t belong here.
Zack screamed, but the place swallowed his noise into its walls, turning it back to him in pieces. The realization of where Zack landed brought him close to insanity. He was in a place every little kid is threatened with, a place absent from God, a place where your soul is forfeit.
“Hell!” Zack screamed and laughter echoed back.

Dusk’s Warriors by Emerian Rich

Heaven has opened up and welcomed the vampires of Night’s Knights into a new reality. As they struggle to find their place in their new world, trouble brews on Earth.

Demon servant, Ridge, is causing havoc by gathering up all the souls on Earth that have been touched by immortality. When he injures one of the Night’s Knights crew, he launches a war between the vampires of Heaven, the Big Bad in Hell, and a mortal street gang of vigilante misfits.

Will Julien, Markham, and Reidar be able to defeat the evil that’s returned, or will they once again need Jespa’s help?

Praise for Dusk’s Warriors:
“All hail, the queen of Night's Knights has returned! Emerian Rich's unique take on vampires delights my black little heart.” ~Dan Shaurette, Lilith's Love

“A world of horror with realistic characters in a fast paced thriller you won't be able to put down.”
~David Watson, The All Night Library

Praise for Night’s Knights: 
“Fresh, original, and thoroughly entertaining.” ~Mark Eller, Traitor

“Emerian brought the Vampire Novel back from the dead.” ~C. E. Dorsett, Shine Like Thunder

Emerian Rich is an artist, horror host, and author of the vampire series, Night’s Knights. She is the hostess of the internationally acclaimed podcast, Under the name Emmy Z. Madrigal, she writes the musical romance series, Sweet Dreams and she’s the Editorial Director for the Bay Area magazine, SEARCH. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

IWSG - Rejection, Stats, & Links

Before I jump into my IWSG post, I've got a story out that's free to read! It's free and short and humorous. For those who avoid my horror stories, this one has zero horror! Check out The Rejection at Fabula Argentea, and if you're so inclined, I'd love to know where else you think he should be rejected. Note that it's totally free, and there's no sign up or anything like that. No hoops to jump through. The editor said: "Shannon Lawrence's humorous rejection letter is pure fun in 800 words." So please check it out!


It's the first Wednesday of October, which means it's time for another edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Today's the day to air your writing insecurities and/or support your fellow insecure writers. Anyone can join by clicking on Alex's name above, adding your blog to the linky, posting about your insecurity of the month, and visiting fellow IWSG'ers.

Our co-hosts this month are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!

The optional question for this month is: Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

I've used real life events to inspire my fiction, and I'm sure there are plenty aspects of my personality and thought process that show up in characters. I've also used my neighborhood as a setting in at least one story.

My insecurities this month include the fact that I've gotten three rejection letters from agents for my novel. I know that's not many so far, and I'm more than familiar with rejection, but none have even been personal. WHY do we do this to ourselves?

Another insecurity has to do with a collection of short stories I want to put together. They're ones I've gotten the rights back on. Plus a couple more that I might skip the traditional publishing route on and just put in the collection. But first I have to research the business logistics, how to put together the different types of files and formatting, covers, editing, etc. On the flip side, I considered trying a traditional publishing route on it, but I doubt they'd be interested in what amounts to mostly reprints in a collection, especially coming from an unknown. So yeah, I've got some work ahead of me, and no idea how to fit it in. I'll figure it out. We always do, don't we?


Time for submission stats! Every month, I post the previous month's submission stats to keep myself accountable.

In September:

2 novel queries to agents, both rejected (I will be stepping it up and sending multiple soon, but haven't gotten there yet.)
7 short story/flash submissions
9 short story rejections
1 short story acceptance
13 short stories currently on submission (I have several waiting to go back out, but I didn't have time this week.)


Now for some links! Bear in mind I'm not endorsing any of these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence when submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Uncanny is seeking fantasy and science fiction short stories and flash fiction. 750 to 6000 words. Pays $.08/word. Submission window is just October s2 to October 16.

Horrified Press is seeking short stories in the following themes for anthologies: Trumptopia and The Devil's Piano. Up to 8000 words. Pays in royalties. Deadline October 20.

Icepick is seeking both writers and voice actors. Their next theme is Heroes. Rather than giving a word length, they give a time length under 10 minutes or 10-30 minutes. Vignettes, poetry sets, essays, and more, which will be voice acted. They pay 8-10 pounds. Deadline October 22.

Horror Addicts is seeking short horror stories with music as an integral component for their anthology Crescendo of Darkness. 2000 to 5000 words. Pays $10. Deadline October 31. (I do personally endorse this publication. I enjoyed working with them, and am able to get contributor copies for a lesser charge, which allows me to sell them at conferences and events, thus making more than the $10 originally paid.)

Subprimal Poetry Art is seeking poetry and flash fiction that is lyrical. 350-750 words. Also looking for art and essays. Pays $20. Deadline October 16.

NonBinary Review is seeking poetry, fiction, essays, and art. Submissions should related to Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.01/word. Deadline October 31.

Sirens Call is seeking horror for their themed anthology If It Bleeds, It Leads! Must embody the spirit of the old newspaper headlines. 2500 to 5000 words. Pays $15. Deadline October 31. (Note: I also worked with these publishers and found it to be a good experience.)

Chicken Soup for the Soul is seeking personal stories with the theme Christmas and Holiday Collection. Up to 1200 words. Pays $200. Deadline October 31.


The Kathy Fish Fellowship is open through SmokeLong Quarterly. Winner is the virtual Writer in Residence for four quarterly issues, in which a piece of their flash fiction will be published each time. Will also receive $500. Deadline October 31.

Did you read The Rejection? What did you think? Where else would you like to see a rejection letter from? What are your insecurities? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Habitica for Writers

I recently discovered a great free online program that I've been using for all kinds of things. I don't know about you, but I'm a list maker. I've tried making lists on notepads, sticky notes, emails, Word documents, etc., and it has worked fine. However, this program makes it fun, and I find it highly addictive.

The program is Habitica. You can get to it and sign up by going to I'm not just using it for writing, but have started leaning on it increasingly for writing related reminders and habits, and I figured I'd pass along the information for other list makers (no, I'm not being paid to endorse it; I just really like it.

It's a website where you can get rewarded for accomplishing items on your to-do list. You create a character, join quests where the points you earn help you battle monsters, and you can hatch and feed pets/mounts. All of this sounds time consuming, but it's not. Otherwise, it would be just another distraction for me.

What you do is create four different lists: Habits, Dailies, To-Dos, and Rewards. So in habits I have things like "Walk 1000 steps," "Drink a glass of water," "Get up and stretch," and "Write for ten minutes." Under dailies, I have "Write daily," "Do something writing related daily," "Exercise/Walk," and "Read." To-dos are the things that would have gone on my old lists, such as "Edit Story X," "Submit rejected story Y," "Wash colors," "Research creating LLC," etc. And under rewards I've put stuff like "Purchase Funko Pop," (because I get one for each short story published) and "Drink milkshake," (which I get to have when I finish a novel.

You check these things off as you do them. Dailies reset each day, so even though you check them off today, they will be back tomorrow. To-dos are gone once you check them, so you have to add them again if it needs to reoccur. Habits are different, in that they should be things you want to do throughout the day with some regularity. That way, you click on them multiple times in a day and earn lots of points. I put habits I want to start or get more consistent with here. You can also set these to be negative, so if you sign into Facebook more than you should, setting this so you have to click on "Visited Facebook" and lose points every time you do it can be a deterrent.

Here's a screenshot from Habitica:

Whenever you click on one of these accomplished tasks, you fill the yellow bar you see on the top left. This is how you level up. It's your XP, for those who game (I don't, but I've been around gamers.) You can also earn extra items, like armor, weapons, food for the pets/mounts, etc.

Plus, you can friend people on there and go on quests together, which just means that your XP attacks the monster, and you get updates. It can also harm you if you do not fulfill all your dailies in a given day.

If you're interested, it's free to sign up, and you can check it out on your own. It's great for writing related tasks. Aside from using it to reinforce writing daily, I will put blog posts on the to-do for specific topics/themes, any writing related work I need to do at all, whether it's writing, editing, submitting, research, or anything else having to do with writing. I also used it for a writing contest I was judging, because they sent me 66 entries to judge. I like to go in two steps, so first I do the initial read and my first judging responses and comments. I then go back at a later time to read again and update scores/comments. Keeping track of what I'd done with 66 entries took some extra work, but I used Habitica, and it helped immensely. Plus, I got to check off each entry twice, and to earn points for it. Bonus!

You can break a task down into sub-tasks, include due dates, and all sorts of things I haven't bothered checking out yet.

Even better, I got my kids to join, and they can put chores, homework, and various tasks on there, plus habits they need to get better about, and we can do the quests together and chat in the program.

Side note: Your friends cannot see your list of to-dos, just your character, pet/mount, and level. They won't know if you have something embarrassing on the list.

Again, it's free. And ad-free. So check it out! It can't hurt.

Okay, link time. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Of Interest:

Before I get to the submissions, I wanted to pass along this deal via AppSumo for 100 credits toward stock images on Depositphoto for $49. I have a friend who bought this a year ago, and is loving it, so it is legitimate. It's one credit per image, and they are usable in print and electronic, so you can use this for book covers and such. I didn't see when this deal goes away, but it was still going at 2:00 AM, so I hope you can still grab it.

Accepting Submissions:

Johns Hopkins University is seeking submissions of short stories with disabled characters written by those with disabilities for (Dis)ability. 500 to 7500 words. All genres except erotica (must be appropriate for those 14 and up). Pays $30. Deadline October 1.

B Cubed is seeking science fiction for pre-teen readers for Cosmic Caravans. Poetry or prose. 300 to 3000 words. Pays $.02/word, plus royalties. Deadline October 7.

Thirteen Press is seeking horror along the theme of Buried; Swords Against Cthulhu: A New Dark Age; Bringing it Back; Sacrifice; Lonesome Train; Revenge; Blood; Blood on the Tree; Kek V's Cthulhu; Time Port 1985; Sweat, Steel, & Cruise Control; Ashes; Hyper Tomb: Crypt of the Cyber-Mummy; and Locked In. Up to 5000 words. All pay in royalties. Deadline October 15.

Splickety Havok is seeking Science Fiction in the theme Deep Space Design. 300 to 1000 words. Pays $.02/word. Deadline October 27.

Have you tried out Habitica? Are you a list person? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Answers to Your Short Story Questions

Back in February, I announced that I was going to be speaking about short stories at a couple upcoming events (that have now passed), and I asked you what short story questions you wanted answered, so I could try to cover things people wonder about. I said I'd do a blog post answering those questions at some point, but here we are, eight months later, and I never did post those.

I went back and found those questions, and you'll find the answers below. Feel free to ask more, and I'll try to answer them, either in the comments or in a future post.

Bish asked about short story structure, what defines a short story, and how one goes about planning/outlining.

Geez, starting with a hard one.

Short story structure can follow novel structure, but obviously massively compacted. The difference (other than the compactness) is that you should start closer to the climax/action, and get to the meat of the plot more quickly. You also get far less time to establish character, setting, plot, and conflict. And character arc is different in short stories (though story arc still must exist.) While the main character must be effected by the outcome of the story, they do not have to find major growth and change as expected in novels. There's much more to this than I've said, but since it's just a blog post, I wanted to cover the basics as simply as possible.

In defining a short story, we'll go with Duotrope's definition, which is 1000 to 7500 words. Having said that, the markets define the length, and many will go up to 10,000 or even 12,000 words for short stories. Some will go even higher, but we're technically getting into novelette and novella territory as we grow the word count. I've found that 4000 to 5000 words are the sweet spot for many short story markets, though this is in general, not a definitive maximum.

Like I said above, there must be a story arc. A short story is not a vignette, so it must still have a beginning, middle, and end.

As far as planning/outlining, do so as you would a novel, but with a single plot line/conflict, rather than the more complicated versions you'd do for a novel. You should be focusing on one element for the plot, not branching off into many subplots and multiple conflicts. If it needs to be that complicated, it's probably better as something longer than a short story.

Alex asked where to submit short stories.

My go to places to find markets are Duotrope and Submission Grinder. Both of these websites are fantastic resources for tracking down markets taking submissions. You enter information, such as genre, length, and pay, and they pull up listings for markets that meet your specifications. Duotrope charges an annual fee, but Submission Grinder is free.

There are also other sites, such as, My Little Corner, Horror Tree, Writing Career, and the Authors Publish newsletter.

Sandra asked how you handle character development with so few words.

Try to establish the basics of your character through their immediate reactions to their surroundings and the situation. Use brevity in describing them. And definitely use dialog and actions to show the character, rather than telling us about them, which we tend to do in novels. In short, develop the character organically through the story and their observations, reactions, thoughts, actions, and dialog. Skip the back story. Imply it if it's needed, but try to just show us what we need to know about the character as far as it impacts the story, rather than bringing in a bunch of extraneous information.

Pat asked how one decides how many characters to use.

I recommend having only one POV character, and only a couple other characters. Two to three characters is a good rule of thumb. There will always be exceptions to this recommendation (and my others above), but in general, especially when first starting on short stories, keep the characters limited, which also helps keep the story along simpler plot lines.

Olga asked if a protagonist needs a goal, like they do in novels.

Yes, the protagonist needs a goal, whether that's surviving the issue, solving a crime, or making their way through the maze of a new romance. However, they don't need a major character arc like they do in novels. I said it above, but be sure the story impacts your character. The reader needs something to draw them in and make them care about what happens to the character. Not having a character goal impacts suspense and story.

Jennifer asked how to fit a plot into a story of only a few hundred words.

Keep the idea simple. Like with short stories, you'll need to not complicate the story with sub-plots or too many characters. In fact, in a flash piece, which is what this would be, one to two characters is more than enough. I always set out with a word goal in mind, which helps me naturally write that brief. Flash fiction needs a beginning, middle, and end, just like short stories, but it's based on a single event or goal. Flash fiction is also a great place to try out twist endings, and twists tend to imply more information, which makes the story bigger than the number of words used.

Bryan asked about making a career of writing short stories and whether it's best to write a bunch with a goal toward making a collection or to focus on them singularly. 

The career question is a bit of a contentious one, surprisingly. I do know at least one author who has no interest in writing novels, and who has had over 100 short stories published. I was on a panel with him recently, where he broke down what he was making versus what a newer novelist makes in a year, and he was able to show that it was more profitable to write short stories. So, yes, it's possible to build a career on writing short stories if you're writing a significant number and submitting them regularly, and if you ultimately build relationships in the writing world, but just in the same way you can do so as a new novelist. You certainly won't get rich, and likely can't quit your day job. For me, they pay for me to maintain writing costs and go to some conferences and events, and that's good enough for now.

Personally, I like to focus on the stories individually, but this one would come down to personal tastes. I did have an editor say they'd like to see a collection themed around a short story I'd submitted to them, and including that story, and I'm considering doing that (I already had been, actually). So I'd map that out more like a novel. Generally, I prefer the freedom of being able to work on whatever story is begging the most for my attention, and then being able to switch gears on a whim.

Those were all the questions on the post. I hope something in here was helpful!

Now for some links. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Gordon Square Review is seeking short stories and personal essays. Up to 5000 words. Pays $25. Deadline October 15.

Helios Quarterly Magazine is seeking fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and art. The December issue is themed Heroes, Heroines, and Thrill Seekers. Up to 1500 words. Pays $.03/word. Deadline October 15.

Lagos Literary is seeking short fiction, essays, and poems. All genres. Up to 2500 words. Pays $20.

Rivet is seeking fiction that crosses boundaries. Between 15 and 15,000 words. Pays $25.

Roar is seeking feminist pieces. Pays $25.

Gamut is seeking neo-noir, speculative fiction with a literary bent. 500 to 5000 words. Pays $.10/word.

Frontier Poetry is seeking poems. Pays $50 per poem. Must be 10 pages/5 poems or less.


Futurescapes is holding their short story contest. Up to 8000 words. Theme Blue Sky City. Must involve the future, technology, etc. $2000 grand prize. 5 runner up prizes of $500. Deadline October 13.

Do you have any burning short story questions you want answered? Any questions on the answers above? Or comments? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share? Submission news?

May you find your Muse.

*Guilt by Mary at
*Typewriter by OCAL at
*User by OCAL at
*Book Set by OCAL at

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

IWSG - Juggling

Today is the first Wednesday of September. Fall's on the way!

First Wednesday of the month means it's time to air our insecurities with the Insecure Writer's Support Group, created by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Our co-hosts today are Tyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure!

My insecurity today concerns juggling ALL THE THINGS! Life in general, sure, but I'm talking about the writing things. Writing and editing novels; writing and editing short stories; submitting short stories, which means tweaking formatting and such for each market; querying novels; looking into self-pubbing a collection of short stories; looking into all the business things that come with self-pubbing; putting off research into creating an LLC for that purpose; putting together workshops and researching panels for speaking gigs; judging a writing contest; so on and so forth. Some of these things are easier than others because they're something I'm comfortable with, but others are hard. Still others aren't hard, but are definitely time consuming, and if they have a deadline then that's where I have to focus, which means other things fall by the wayside.

I have a period of "calm" coming up starting in November. Then again, I guess that depends on whether I do any form of ShaNo (I don't do NaNo, as such, but I set writing related goals that month and use the communal energy from NaNo to pursue them). Anyway, it may be that the period of calm doesn't start until December, but ack, what's calm about December. January? Okay, cool, January. I can make it until then, right?

Also, I have a book signing coming up this Friday, plus my books will be in the bookstore during the Colorado Gold Conference I'm speaking at, but my Create Space order is LATE, and I may be starting to freak out. I ordered it in plenty of time, so I have no idea what the delay is, but COME ON! Luckily, I do have inventory, just not the full inventory I submitted. Tracking says it arrives today, but so far, no dice, er, books.

Okay, my stats for the month of August are as follows:

Submitted: 9 short stories
Accepted: 2 short stories, plus request for additional
Rejected: 6 short stories
Queried: 1 novel/agent
Currently on Submission: 16 short stories, 1 novel

I'm not up to my goal of 20 short stories on submission at a time, but I'm getting closer (plus, without the acceptances, I would have been up to 18!)

Since I'm posting this late, I'm not going to have time to do links to open submissions, but I should have some up next week. I'll have a post then answering questions about short stories I've been asked in blog comments in the past.

What are your insecurities? How do you manage your time? What do your submission stats look like for the month of August? Are you attending the Colorado Gold Conference? (If so, stop by and say hi at the book signing!)

May you find your Muse.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Flowers, Trains, and Mines & Links

Time for the final set of photos from my trip to Georgetown. On my last day, I did some sightseeing by driving Guanella Pass (twice, inadvertently) and taking the train out to do a mine tour. They had just opened an extended portion of the tour, courtesy of two of the guides actually clearing deeper into the mine where it had collapsed or been covered previously. One of the coolest things in there were insanely deep pools of water that went several levels down into the mountain and preserved footprints on the stone from the silver miners. There are still active veins of silver in the mine, but it's officially shut down and can no longer be mined. We even saw liquefied silver running down one of the walls from all the water!

First, here are some wildflowers growing on Guanella Pass (there were a ton, but it's a mountain pass, so you can only pull over at specific pull-offs.) Below the flowers is the view of Georgetown from one of the pull-offs. It's a super small, cute town.

Now for the train!

And the mine. Of note, on the first picture below you'll notice a faint green. That's one of the super deep holes full of water. I believe this one was about 34 feet deep, but I may be mis-remembering (one was that depth). While mining, they ran pumps to move the water out. We had water running along the route we walked down. Water everywhere!

The second picture above was the site of a bit of a mining war. A second mining company tried to undercut their claim, coming in through the hole they blasted in the back. Miners from the proper claim chased them out with rocks then used dynamite to blow up their tunnel, which has since been reopened. On the right, though it's hard to see, is another deep hole full of water (it's not distinctive in color or I would have left it). This one was deeper than the first.

Now for links. Bear in mind I'm not endorsing these, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

Splickety Magazine is seeking humorous Christmas stories for their December "Wreck the Halls" theme. 300 to 1000 words. Pays $.02/word. Deadline September 22.

Recompose is seeking poetry and flash fiction that blends speculative fiction with literary. Up to 1000 words. Pays $.06/word. Deadline September 30.

Nashville Review is seeking fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Up to 8000 words. Pays $100 for prose, $25 for poetry. Deadline September 30.

Books and Boos Press is looking for horror comedies. 4000 to 8000 words. Pays $50. Deadline September 30.

Tribe is an anthology seeking pieces from single/widowed/divorced women of 55+. Prose, poetry, memoir, personal narrative, etc. 1200 to 3000 words. $25 CAN, plus possibility for royalties. Deadline September 30.

Chicken Soup for the Soul is seeking stories with the theme "My Crazy Family." Nonfiction. Up to 1200 words. Pays $200. Deadline September 30.

Edge is seeking speculative fiction stories involving trains for the anthology Fantastic Trains: An Anthology of Phantasmagorical Engines and Rail Riders. There are several "locomotif" elements they want the writer to choose from and include. Up to 5000 words. Pays $50 to $150. Deadline September 30.

Have you ever been on a train? What kind? How about a mine tour? Gold, silver, coal? Any of these links of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.