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And no one sings me lullabyes
And no one makes me close my eyes
So I throw the windows wide
And call to you across the sky.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Arr, Argh!

Arr, I've been obsessing over this submission. Checking my email over the web a few times each day (and I really hate web email).

And I just got back the rejection. And in case they're reading this, the Capts. VanderMeer and VanderMeer gave me the nicest rejection letter to date. You guys are class. I'm glad Ann is at Weird Tales, 'cause they see a lot of my stuff and I was worried about not getting the great reject letters from George Scithers and Darrell Schweitzer (of course, I'd rather have the acceptance over a nice reject letter any day).

"... it's definitely really good military space opera/pirate stuff. But it pretty much exists at the level of action."

Yeah, that's what I thought too. Bang, bang, not a lot of internal character debate, not a lot of world development. At least my seagulls didn't wheel around and there wasn't a dead captain (okay, well, at the end there is, but he doesn't come back), you know.

So, it's quick, over to Shimmer before I have to shimmy in the door. It's not that Shimmer is sloppy seconds, I wrote the story for the anthology reading, and I saw the Shimmer thing second. So, off to the Slush God with ya.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Heebee Jeebees

I'm have story post coital cool down. I want to go back and read it again. I'm at loose ends with myself. See, here's another one. If I pull it I may unravel like a wool sweater.

So, what should I work on now? Finish something else in progress, start one of my new ideas? I have a cool fairy story. Little girl, fairy she meets in a butterfly house helps the little girl deal with coming of age (no, that's not a story bone, check the post title, well, it is for me, and I really can't stop you).

Anyway, it has the feel when I quit Mountain Dew. Seriously. Withdrawl. Shakes and everything. Which, BTW, I'm trying to lessen my intake of Dr. Pepper. Diet stuff doesn't work for me and I need to get away from high fructose corn syrup. Really bad thing that is. So for the past week I've been drinking tea as often as a glass of Dr. Pepper, both interspersed with water.

Am I rambling? Okay, signing off now.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hoist Sail, Clear the Anchor

I've read Robert's Thunder six times today. Enough. It's off to submission for Hot Antho! We'll see if Capts VanderMeer and VanderMeer like it.

I'm torn on it. It's not my best story, at least to me. I've been wrong about my own work before. And as has been said in many a forum and con panel, "Don't prejudge the market. Submit and let the editor accept of reject. That's what they get paid for."

I think the language I used was too plain. It was too straight forward. The ending was quick.

And I just noticed a typo in the cover email. Arr, matey, tis too late. Me ship is sunk. Damn.

Well, we'll see (fingers crossed).

Thunder!

Finished the second edit run through, I didn't miss much the first time. Typed in the edits, added some descriptions, and tightened the language. 6585 words. After dinner I'll run through it again. I think this went faster because I don't have any major mythological under currents in the story, not much subtext. So it was easier to create and edit. Now to dinner.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Red Line

Finished the first redline edit of the Pirate Story. I'll go through it again tomorrow and type in the changes. Then, if there's time, I'll do a line edit. I was very distracted, couldn't focus. And either I'm getting better, or I'm not being as critical as there isn't as many marks as I thought. Then again the prose is pretty dry, short declarative sentences all the way through. I like my Captain character (the villan, not the main character). To bad he's dead at the end. I have a feeling it'll be a Hollywood Death (i.e., he'll show up again).

Time for bed. Helped take down the village holiday decorations so it was an early morning with heavy work. Yeah, I know, but we have to wait for a certain person to help us with their truck. And they aren't all that worried about the village's reputation. Our big tree is still up, the sandbags and the metal ring it rests on are frozen to the ground. Tomorrow the ice storm should be here as well. Heck, we might put ribbons, then flowers on it, then decorate it with pumpkins, then light it back up next year.

Friday, February 23, 2007

On Bizness

John Scalzi has posted his income. For young writers, bear in mind John has been doing this for years, and he is, as they say, "a very hot property" at the moment. But you may want to check it out. First post. There's an addendum here." This is success. And I wish John many more decades of such success.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Crappy First Draft Done

Yes, the Pirate Story is out. 6350 words. Tomorrow I'll print out a hard copy and then start editing and revising. I know one section needs some help, and the ending goes into a little exposition about what is happening, but by then our main character is dead, so this is how the character that carries the ball to the end thinks.

Anyway. Tired. Forgot to mention I finished Farwell Summer last night. Got all new books at the library on the way home tonight. Started listening to The Prestige by Christopher Priest at work today.

Story Bone

Sometimes mangled overheard conversation is the best.

"Tourettes is going to call me back. So if you hear me paging outloud, let me know."

I'm going to use this, somewhere. But until then, have fun.

FYI, it was Charrettes (a supply company) and the "being paged" was munged up.

Auden Centennial

From Funeral Blues

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

For the Rum and Lash

End of last night, 5350. I rewrote a little, added a scene. The only thing that needs to get out is the last scene. I'm pretty sure I know what happens and how. I just need to explain one thing away (or insert more violence, which might be the solution).

Last night the local PBS station had a NOVA show about the "Americas Stone Age Explorers" and right after that was Frontline's "News War, Part 2." So that sucked down most of my attention. I did edits in front of the TV (laptops are fun).

So, maybe only about another thousand words to finish, maybe less. And then, Rewrite, Edit, Polish, Submit (I don't think I have time for my usual 4 or 6 rewrites this time).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Story Bone

"The screwdriver wasn't his weapon of choice, but it was the weapon at hand."

See what happens when I write mil-lit stuff (Pirate Story, etc). I get all these combatty thoughts.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The things you learn watching TV

So, I'm veging out after rewriting one of the jokes from the book (dream sequence, seraphim, club atmosphere, and Wizard of Oz, no, I'm not telling more) that I had some great ideas on the way home. It was only 200 or so words, but it was a complete overhaul.

I'm watching, "Future Weapons" on Discovery. Yeah, it's annoying. If he says, "I just have to (try it, see it, drive it, be there) myself," one more time, well, I'm flipping the channel. And please, please, please stop showing me the same boomtastic frames over and over. Give me the basics, tell me what the system is, give me the run down on options, show me how it works, then how to integrate it into the combat system, and then do the live fire test. Although that HK MP14 looks SWEET (Say, did you safety that weapon before pointing it at the camera? Have the bolt open? Nah, didn't think so, points off for range safety.). The MP7? Nice, but 4.62mm, so much for battlefield replacement ammo. Hope you brought enough clips. (Oh, and BTW, if you or the minions have googled this, your site is damn slow. Not everybody has broadband.)

Then he shows the Stryker. I sit up and pay attention. One, it looks like a Russian design (I'm old school). Cool, yeah, integration with the LAN Warrior system (formerly known as Battlecube), neat. The front four wheels turn together. Oh shit. Eight wheels. What did I say in "War Stories?" Six wheels. Margle, frotz.

Time to edit. Yes, I already did, just in case Weird Tales doesn't bite. And if they do bite I'll beg and plead for that edit. I look like an idiot enough, don't need one more thing to help out.

I worked in it, but sometimes it was so damn stupid

Second Advertising rant this year.

Okay, advertising execs can be some of the smartest and meanest people you ever want to encounter over a board room table. Seriously. Sharks bow in deference to these people. Lawyers sometimes can't keep up when the bull is spealing out.

But then there are the times that they're dumber than sack full of hammers.

There's a new commercial on TV. I don't even know what it's for because it's so damn annoying, which means the ad FAILS. There's this basketball team, the production values are great, photography, heck man, you ought to be in Hollywood. The music, top notch choice, Mozart's Final (Unfinished) Requim ( in D-, Catalog #626 if memory serves, it is, without a doubt, one of my favorite pieces of music), the Lacrymosa (the rising of the dead for judgement, of which, yes, I just happen to internally squee whenever the St. Martin in the Fields rendition comes on, you may recognize this from the music in the movie "Amadeus"). And then they hack it to pieces to get it to fit the opening and the ending in 30secs!

ARGH! I had to listen to it three times to get that stupid out of my head! It's on the iPod, one of the very few "classical" (actually Romantic) music pieces (In case you're wondering, yes, I am a freak with some music and can replay it in my head, the full thing)

Give me a bat, that ad exec who said (or agreed to) "Let's cut this so we get the dramatic ending" instead of, oh, I don't know, planning the music to end on the right time, and a closed room. Just fifteen minutes. No, claiming the client made you do it doesn't count. You're there to consult the client. I will never buy whatever this commerical is prompting. Heck, I may just never see a basketball game again because of this ad.

Happy Accidents - typos

I was going to fix that previous headline, but then I thought I rather liked it that way.

Weird Taled Valentine

Since I blogged about this topic before, on Valentine's Day, Weird Tales announced who their new editor is, Ann VanderMeer. They'll also be posting new submission guidelines come March 1, when Ann will start reading. There was some note about Stephen Segal having been subbing as editor and closing some of the issues. I still haven't heard back on my story, so I still have high hopes "War Stories" might be selected. I don't think Ann has her own blog (yet), but her husband, Jeff VanderMeer, also an editor/writer, has one here.

In releated news, if you wrote a story called "The Lunch Thief" and submitted it to Weird Tales, they're looking for you. See their site for details.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

After 20 minutes staring at the screen, time to give up

My prose style has gone down the crapper, and I'm running out of words. Plus there's way too much distraction, and then add in the Sunday night blahs (tomorrow is work). So, time for something else. 5150 words. Some of which will have to go. Sigh.

Rollin' rollin' rollin'

Pirate story is at 4700 words, I'm back at it. Only a week and a half until deadline (insert ominous music here).

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Word count

so, started at 3200, ended at 4400, that makes 1200 words of connective tissue in about an hour-and-a-half to two hours.

Time for bed

Well, I've connected most of what had been typed out. All that remains to get out is the last part, the treachery, the bomb, and the final victory for Khamel Sing, Planetary Defender (yes, the Pirates lose this one). Of course, Khamel also becomes part of the wreckage (actually, I think he’ll be in a million pieces by that point). 4400 words so far. Probably another two thousand to go.

Back at it

Well, since I'm not at Boskone, and I've done all the procrastination routines I can in one day (there are union rules, you know), I'm back to actually working on the Pirate Story. 3400 words now. I'm writing some of the connections to try things together.

Boskone Envy

Littlebirdblue is at Boskone, along with many other people I know. Sigh. Boston, books, good people, I miss it without ever being there.

Anyway, LBB posted a blog question thingie. Here's my answers.

How important is literary genre classification to you when you
a) buy books
The vast majority of my book purchases are within the SFF genres. Although, this hasn't always been the case. Nor is it the case for books I get as gifts.

b) read books
Not all that important. Thank the Gods for libraries.
c) think of getting published
Most definitely, although this latest idea, I just don't know where it will fit.
d) identify with a story's characters
Not a big concern.
e) identify with other readers
Boy, howdy.

How do you feel when you hear others denigrating a particular genre?
I just shake my head, and discount much of any advice they may give. Unless it's being done tongue-in-cheek.

How much of your own personality do you think is wrapped up in/reflected by what you read?
Not much at all. Although, it does color my reading, I can't help that.

Do you think genre classifications are useful? How? How not?
They are helpful, like uber-reviews. They let you know the basic parameters of the story.

What do you think promotes genre snobbery within the ranks of readers/writers/publishers/agents? Are you guilty? Why?
I think it comes form the need to be better. A deep desire that fully was explored in another blog comment thread. It basically comes down to prejudice, fueled by common misperceptions and the effect of pundits and critics. There's a great part of the Monthly Ansible by Mr. Langford, entitled "How Others See Us." Same stupidity pervades all genres. I've occationally been guilty in the past, but as I've been writing I've been much more open to other genres and to the great creative thrust.

Of course, then there's the Republican Right Wignut Press (I don't think this is an actual genre, yet), about which the less said the better.

Those are my answers. What are yours?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Danger Zone

While at the Library I picked up, Farewell Summer by Ray Bradbury; a very dangerous move on my part. I love Ray's work. In critiques my work has been compared to his earlier stuff and I've received recommendations to read his stuff. I have, believe me. After writing a senior thesis (college) on Clarke (The Masks of God in the works of Arthur C. Clarke), I started reading Bradbury. I love his stuff. Much of my "Windswept, Ohio" (a series of stories) work borrows some parts of his voice, especially from his Green County stories. This book poses a high possibility of contaminating my own writing. We'll find out how strong my own author's voice is at the end of it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Winter Storm Warning - Canis latrans

WARNING, this is a story for winter. If you are reading this in the spring or summer, stop right now. This is magic, there are rules. I am telling this story when it is winter, when you read it is your own mojo.

There is snow on the ground and upon the sky; it's the time for telling stories. Here is a true one.

Many years ago I was trying to think of a name for my freelance graphics business. Oh, sure I could have used my last name and the word "Graphics" or as popular at the time "Graphix." But look at my name. Memorable? Yes. Can you spell it without looking? Probably not. So I needed something stronger. I searched and troweled through my creativity, laying on thick cuteness and spunk. Nothing worked. My searched expanded until I realized I was looking for who I was, what my core was, just what was my identity. I mediated (I could back then), I thought, I went spelunking through life trying to distill who I was. I was on a vision quest, although I didn't know it.

After one night when I began despairing about finding a name, an identity, I had a dream. You have to know that when I was young I dreamed wild things. The future came to me at night and poured slips of itself into my ears and filled my head. I have to consciously not guess at what is in packages to stop others from being disappointed at not surprising me. Since I went to college, though, I had stopped dreaming, or at least I stopped remembering my dreams. I'm slowing coming back from that, but at this time I was in the middle of it. Having a dream was important. They meant something big.

In this dream I found something. Coyote was there. He showed me how to run and dance in the moon. And we ran. Sometimes we were together, pals, littermates. Sometimes I was Coyote, sometimes Coyote was me. And there is a difference. At the end of the dream, as Coyote left me to wake, he danced in front of the moon. that image is seared into my personality, and it became my logo.

I don't know if I have and Indian blood. I have been asked by elders, after we've talked for a bit, what clan and tribe I am. If there is such blood it's from my Father's side, which I don't know very well. I don't think it's there.

Coyote is a powerful totem, but there is a price. More like a twist. Coyote is the Trickster. When pursuing a goal I may think that all is lost, when a turn happens and I'm through the winner's tape all smiles and jumping. Other goals I'm so close to making it, the path was easy, I have the skills, and then as I'm about to snatch the brass ring there's Coyote's face laughing at me as I fall. Sometimes I am Coyote, sometimes Coyote is me.

My friends know I can be serious as death one moment, and the clown the next. I can bring fire to the wood, solve problems, and create the world as I need it. In the next moment I can ridicule and seem insulting and dance away from the punches. I can be on top of the world and then pull the lever that drops the floor out from under me. Most times I have control over this, sometimes it feels as if someone else is driving the car. The trickster; always dancing, always hungry, and always laughing.

"If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended, That you have but slumber'd here While these visions did appear. And this weak and idle theme, No more yielding but a dream, Gentles, do not reprehend; if you pardon, we will mend; And, as I am an honest Puck If we have unearned luck Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue We will make amends ere long; So, goodnight unto you all. Give me your hands, if we be friends, And Robin shall restore amends."

Monday, February 12, 2007

The things you'll learn

WARNING, adult subject ahead. If you're easily embarrassed, or giggle over that word or the word titular, do not proceed.

Ah, the things you learn when you decide to write, especially for science fiction and fantasy. Oh sure, there's the physics, the strange way the world works, politics, the edge of science, historical references for the fair folk, how legends and mysticism work (and they can be very specific in a way to make steam-engine engineers seem like punters), all that stuff. Including this small fact learned at my writers group last night, that there are, in this world, lactation consultants. Forget the knitted boobies and other things with birthing and (how can I say this) actual life, Lactation Consultants. Like a business card title (of which I've collected many interesting titles, part of the day job) not just a job responsibility.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

I would like to get back to procrastination, please

Village stuff has been occupying my head space for over a week now. So no progress on any front, except I finished the Year's Best. I've been going back through a re-reading my favorites (like Jeffery Ford's Boatman's Holiday which holds up well after two readings).

Monday, February 5, 2007

Sunday Confusion Quickly

Sunday was like Saturday. I spent more time just hanging out that actually going to the programming. I wanted to spend time talking with Dave about his experiences, but I ended up watching his stuff while he chased his kid around, which is a more important task.

I did go to some panels. I was about to leave to drive back to Cleveland to make my writers group just as Karl Schroeder had a reading. I was halfway to the garage when the internal argument went a way I didn't expect. I wanted to hear Karl read, but I didn't want to be late to the group. I turned around and went back to hear Karl read. Sometimes you have to do things that you want to do and not be a slave to other's expectation. It was great. I can't wait to read his books.

I was late to my group, but I made it there before the critiques started.

There was a lot more that day, but I wanted to get this out. On the drive back I had to stop and break the ice off my car. I talked with authors and their wives more. I nearly got blown off the Ohio Tollway, got lost in downtown Detroit, but made it back in one piece.

All in all, except for being away from Bette (my wife) it was a fun weekend.

Saturday Confusion

Well, Saturday morning started with me trying to get free wireless to check emails. A new story to critique came in and I checked some blogs. Then Tobias' wife sat down near me and started knitting, then another author's wife came in with their child, and we talked all morning. I was going to go to some panels, but that all got swept away.

I had brought my copy of "The Android's Dream" by John Scalzi to get signed. I ran into John after checking out the dealer's room. He had me walk down the hallway with him to get his signature. He said hi to other people, handed off some ARCs to some bookstore dealers, and then we stopped in front of a video camera set up and he signed the book. I said something about not keeping him from his interview, and John replied that it was okay because it looked good (signing a book). I offered to interrupt the interview in fifteen minutes and do a "Mr. Scalzi, Mr. Scalzi, you're my favorite writer evar!" routine.

I went to a couple of panels, and then back to the dealer's room and purchased two t-shirts ("Cephelopod" and "Yin and Yarr"). I went back and checked some blogs and commented on John's blog about not seeing anybody kiss his skull (it's a long story if you don't know). John asked me what I was doing and I told him. He then said I should just make something up, keep it entertaining. Well, he asked. Were-fore I spun a tale of horror and furries. Bwa-ha ha ha. It's something that still comes up on his blog comments (okay, well, mostly by me).

I don't remember all of the afternoon. I did meat a lot of interesting people, one of whom checked out my blog and put me in his RSS feed (Hi!).

Come dinnertime, everybody I knew had plans and I wasn't going to bust in on them. And it was time to get out of the hotel. If you go to a con, make sure you get out of the hotel at least once. So I got in my car and started driving. Eventually I found a little place called Anton's Family Restaurant. Nice place, where the people eating across form me knew their waitress (kids went to school together) and people knew each other and waved and said hi. Nice place, nice food, good price. Also, as a table of one, they didn't make me feel second class (as has happened before).

When I came back to the hotel, Dave Kletcha was holding court with his unruly mob of friends. I asked to join and was invited in. I'm going to forget most of the names (sorry), but you were all fun. His sister, and budding lawyer, and other writers. All fun. I had a blast, except for the slow (non-existent) wait service. But it was fun. Tobias eventually joined in. John kept taking breaks from the dance to say hi. At some point a drumming a belly-dancing group formed behind us. It made it difficult to talk, and for me to hear what was being said. Eventually they left and Dave, Tobias and I talked until way to late in the evening. But it was fun.

Edited 02-05 at 6:22pm, Because some people may not look at the comments, and I think very cool people need to be recognized for being cool, Merrie Haskell, one of the Kletcha unruly mob, comments with the names of the people I had a great time with. They are (Mary) Lou (Dave's sister), Julie the lawyer, the other Julie and Merrie Haskell herself. Cool people all. (As an FYI, the authors' wives will remain anonymous as I don't know if they wished to be named).

Story Bone

Because it's freezing, here's a freebie. In Fairy Tales, there is the story of the Changeling. That is a Fairy, or a construction made by fairies, swap places with an infant, or even a grown adult. I could go into the horror stories about these, but I wanted to go a different way. So, here's the bone. With many people now not having bushels of children, or even no children at all, why couldn't a Changeling be a pet? Even a "found" animal (we found our cat in the woods, she just wanted to live with us).

Friday, February 2, 2007

Wimp Out!

Yesterday only saw two hours of overtime, and an hours commute home (Tuesday's commute home was two hours, Winter has arrived). So I should have written like a mad dog in heat. But I wimped out. I did a little surfing, and then stared at the TV in mindless bliss. Okay, well, actually I did go through what I had written for the Pirate Story and tightened things up. I also made sure some ideas banging around in my head were on paper. I also did some personal care and read more than usual. But I still wimped out. Sometimes, you just have to do that. I just wish it wasn't while I'm trying to beat a deadline.