Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Read My Short Story: The There-It-Is Store

I know I promised you a guest post for today but I once again got my wires crossed and messed up my dates.

So instead, please check out a short story of mine that was published on T. Gene Davis's Speculative Fiction Blog just yesterday:

"The There-It-Is Store"

If you've read any of my other stuff you may notice that this story has a bit more alliteration and metaphor (pretty language) than my typical story. I'm trying to spruce up my writing with a little more of that kind of thing. I think it turned out pretty well.

Also, do yourself a favor and pop on over to Veronica Sicoe's place to check out the cover of her debut novel, "The Deep Link". I think it turned out great. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Parenting Comic

I drew another comic. This one's about parenting. I hope you like it.

Check out my other comics here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Writing Tip Tuesdays: Embrace Your Process by Cara Bertrand

Welcome back for another round of Writing Tip Tuesdays! I'm very please to welcome one of my oldest "blog friends" (hers was one of the first blogs I ever followed) and a super talented young adult author, Cara Bertrand!

Cara told me that she hopes the following post is helpful to at least one reader. Well, mission accomplished because I found it super helpful. I'm sure you will too 


I have a confession: sometimes I suffer from writer envy. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true. I do. See, when it comes to writing, cooking, and just about anything at all, I am a complete and utter pantser. Planning and I just seem to be on different wave lengths. I prefer to dive in and do something, even if I know it might be faster or less messy if I did some advance prep.

But you know what? I wish I was a plotter.

I’ve tried to become one. I’ve read eagerly and, sometimes, with envy all the blog posts and tweets and anecdotes and how-tos that I stumble across from those curious creatures who plan everything out. They talk about their glorious daily word counts and I imagine how, if only I could implement their process, I too could write like the wind.

Yet despite all my wishing and reading and trying, I still haven’t attained that magic. Four complete novels later and I’m still (mostly) a pantser, the turtle to the hare. And I’m (slowly) learning to be (mostly) okay with that. To accept my process and appreciate others. We can’t be any other writer but ourselves. Believe me, I’ve tried. But it doesn’t mean we can’t improve. Instead of trying to become a different writer, I now try to become better at the way I write.

And even a pantser can benefit from some kind of directions. Blank page? Okay. Blank brain? Oh no. So try this trick I gleaned from Rachel Aaron:

Before you begin your writing session, set yourself a timer for five minutes, pick up a pen, and wake up your brain by jotting down notes—a basic plan, a list of what’s about to happen, bits of inspiration, dialogue ideas—for what you’re about to write.

Here’s an example of my brainstorm when I was sitting down to write the main character’s first boxing match:

-In the training room
-nerves more than first flight test
-Ivan not 2nd à opponent
-wanted to ask Willa à afraid /Shell volunteered /went with Quinn
-Kell’s first reffing (W asked not to) / “looked as nervous as me”
-masked, shorted, gloved / “bizarre Zorro”
-first tap “didn’t hear the silence”
-circle, circle, circle à practice  patience, better endurance
-See W in crowd?
-didn’t hear the crowd for ears ringing
-advice from Q “maybe throw a punch”

Just five minutes (more if you want, but not less!) with the pen and paper can do amazing things for your focus and, ergo, your word count when you finally put your fingers to the keys! Even I can manage to plan for five little minutes. I still don’t write like the wind, but this trick has helped me increase my gentle breeze to a moderate one with occasional strong gusts. I’ll take it!


Isn't that great advice? A big thanks to Cara for sharing.

Please plan on stopping by next week when I will host the red-head herself, none other than the unconquerable, uncomparable, unstoppable Morgan Shamy!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Writing Tips Tuesday: Market Research Part II with J.W. Alden

You probably noticed that I completely blew it last week in that I didn't manage to post the second part to J.W. Alden's fabulous short story market research tips piece. I blame it on unexpected travel and a sick 8 month old. Please forgive me.

But here we are! Better late than never! Please enjoy!


When in Doubt, Query

So what if you've done all your reading, but you're still not sure you have a bead on a particular market? What if it's a publication you can't research before submitting, like an anthology or a new magazine? What if it's a market that asks for a particular theme, but you don't quite understand what they want? In these instances, consider querying the editor. Shoot them an email. Send them a tweet.

Uh-oh. I feel your hackles going up! I know. Interacting with editors can be intimidating. They are the masters of your story's fate, after all, and you want to stay in their good graces. You don't want to feel like you're bothering them or wasting their time with a dumb question. But I promise you, editors are not as scary as we writers build them up to be in our minds. They're people who love fiction, like us! No matter what your inner Impostor says, an editor won't read your email and say, "What? Who is this person? How dare they interrupt my morning with questions? TO THE INSTANT REJECTION LIST."

Now, obviously you shouldn't get in the habit of peppering editors with simple questions that you can easily answer yourself by reading the market's submission guidelines or picking up an issue. But when all else fails, it usually doesn't hurt to ask.

When STILL in Doubt, Submit

So what happens when you've sent your story to every market you're intimately familiar with and still have nothing but rejections to show for it? What happens when you get to a market on your list you haven't read, and you just can't afford the proper amount of time (or money) reading up before submitting? Maybe the market sounds like a good fit based on the guidelines, but there's a rapidly closing submission window and not enough time to properly research. At the end of the day, it still doesn't hurt to submit. Your only worst-case scenario here is a rejection, and those aren't the end of the world. Trust me; I have a lot of them.

My aim here is mostly to save you time. Even if you don't write your story with a particular market in mind, if you figure out which markets will or won't like the kind of stories you write, you might save yourself weeks (or months) of waiting to hear back from an incompatible editor just to find a form rejection in your inbox. What I'm definitely not trying to do is scare you off from submitting to a market just because you think you haven't properly researched it yet. When in doubt, submit. I'll leave you with a quote from Sheila Williams, editor of Asimov's Science Fiction. She was a guest lecturer my year at Odyssey Writing Workshop, and she had this to say on the subject: "Don't reject yourself. Let me do it."


That last line in particular really grabs me. You never know what will be accepted where. You have to give your stories a chance to be successful. Great stuff from J.W. Alden.

Please check back in next week for a writing tip from young adult author extraordinaire, Cara Bertrand!