Total Pageviews

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Imaginary Word

My story "It's a Living" made this month's recommended list at Imaginary Word. Sarah Wagner, a writer and literary magazine editor, describes the site:

The Imaginary Word is meant to be a list of prose, poetry, and art online that I think others might enjoy reading.

For those who haven't read it yet, "It's a Living" is up still at Byzarium. Go check it out!
And thanks, Sarah!
This is posted everywhere, but it pays to remind me, at least, that this is a good idea:

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

I was reminded of this yesterday when I received a re-write request on one of my stories out for submission. It got worked over at the crit group, but I refrained from making changes because it was out at the time. All of the suggested changes would make the story stronger, but the editor is the buyer. I will have the revised story to him in about a week.
One of the advantages of having been a reporter is that a lot of the emotional attachment that many writers have to their work gets dulled a little. If the editor says he wants to see the story with xyz changes, unless I think he completely missed the point of the story, xyz changes get made. If he did miss the point, then perhaps it is better to send the story to someone else.
So I will be doing some re-writing this week, and cheerfully, as I tend to agree with the editor, I would love to break into the market, and shoot, I get to bypass the slush with this one. What's not to like?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

In spite of doing far less writing this week than I had hoped, I did manage to get a story turned around to Carnifex's "Vermin" anthology. Politics, food bank, and tech conferences have all managed to get in the way of productivity. I fully intend to have either the next servant of the Manthycor story, or another chapter in the novel ready for crit group.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Coming up against a December 1st deadline, I managed to get a story out to for their "Impaired" contest. In my haste, it being nearly 9PM on the deadline day, I, in a total cementhead episode, sent it as a word doc, instead of their requested rtf.
Some editors are tolerant about this--- I am hoping these folks are, too. Of course, the best course is to always read and carefully follow the guidelines. After all, that is why they bothered to write them.
Still, the story is a fun one, and a very good match for their publication, so I hope I get away with it!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

At last I managed to finish the story that Victoria Garcia commissioned at the last STEW crit group--- it took on a life of its own. Starting out as a simple story of an indoor herb gardener, it soon involved radio ankle bracelets, toaster electric cords, sonic pest repellent devices, and rat ghosts the size of microwaves.
Hopefully I will be able to find some publication for this. I don't remember many submission guidelines prohibiting rat ghost stories, but I have doubts about it fitting into any neat genre, either.
Extra low fantasy?
Vermin Opera?
I know--- slipstream!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

October Surprise

Here is a mystery solved: I have been delighted by the large numbers of European readers visiting this site, but was a little puzzled by how they had learned of me. Today, I received an email from the editor of Thirteen magazine, the UK's leading horror magazine, informing me that they had printed my story "Dancing With the Elder Gods" in October's first issue. (They print 13 issues a year, you see, and being a horror mag, they do their double in October.)
They have had some computer issues, and a problem with flooding, so they were slow to let me know, but delayed news is still welcome news!
I have emailed them to find out how I can get a copy of the magazine. If anyone who reads here has any suggestions, please let me know.
And once again, Welcome Thirteen readers!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

It's A Living

My story "It's a Living" is up at Byzarium. If you haven't been there, do go visit them. It is one of the new breed of little e-zines that are in the vanguard of the changing media. So many people assume that the "little" magazines are presenting stories that are in someway inferior to the big dogs. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The sad economic facts are that the larger venues have only so much space, and the limitations of print media are such that only a few stories from thousands get printed each month. There is much more product, and much more demand than can be handled.
The story itself is about the last stand-up comedian in galaxy, and the longest one night stand in history. Check it out!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I had a great time at the crit group today. The new chapters from Sabrina Chase were so rockin'. I am so pumped to see more of this space opera. Mike Canfield had more of his Seattle contemporary novel, and Nisi Shawl wowed us all with a great jazz story.
My first chapter was pretty well received. I had to agree with much of the assessment, and I know that it will be much stronger in the re-write.
As a side note, I want to say hello to the big burst of readers from Turkey. Science Fiction and Fantasy truly know no borders!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I have been enjoying a very productive email conversation with my cyberpal Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. After the Tangent reviews she went and read the stories. She came back with a lot of suggestions, and some pretty good advice about humor, style, and pacing.
The net result was positive, but I got very little done in terms of words on a page this week. I like to get around 5k. I think I did around 2k.
Still, I did manage to get 2 stories turned around, one to Transdimensional Horror Express, and one to Dark Recess, who emailed me this morning with a "You've made the first cut" message.
Both stories are good matches, and I think the chances are pretty good that they'll be placed in those magazines.
And STEW, the crit group, is tomorrow, so I should be getting a full dose of good advice there.
One more thing: welcome to my new fans from Italy. It was very cool to see my blog in Italian. Come back and visit often! We are quite international here, with folks dropping by from Turkey, France, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, the US, and some place sitemeter calls ?unknown country. I am hoping that the ?unknown country folks are really time-travelling aliens from Beta Centuri, but perhaps that is a little too much to hope for. Everyone knows that most of the time-travelling aliens who read writer's blogs are from Asellus Secondus; you really only ever see the Beta Centurians at cons.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Tangent Review

Very kind words tonight in Tangent Online from reviewer Alasdair Stewart:

On "An Exorcism Straight, Hold the Elvis"--

Ehart has an easy, wry style and gives Joe a real voice. Told through a combination of first person narration and dialogue, he puts the reader inside the head of a man who has been doing this for far too long and no longer knows how to be surprised. It's a dangerous move, one that threatens to tip over into 1940s pastiches, but Ehart pulls it off. Not only is he able to give us an unusual and likable character in Joe, but his take on ghosts is both original and well thought out. ...this is a fun, evocative story that plays three card monte with the reader's expectations and wins every time.

And on "Voice of the Spoiler"--

There are no guilds here, no huge kingdoms, just people trying to make their way and leave their mark. It's a stylistic move that reminded me a lot of David Gemmell's work; there's the same gritty, personal feel to the story that Gemmell brings to his work. The interplay between the past and present is well handled and the unusual structure provides the reader with a puzzle they are sure to enjoy solving.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Sadly, car trouble prevented us getting to go to Orycon. So instead, I wrote a bit.
Actually, I finally got around to doing some serious work on the novel I started a couple of months ago. I am hoping to have enough of a first chapter to send it to the crit group.
Today, I managed to get over a thousand words out, even though I felt pretty tapped out by the amount of posting needed on my work-related blog.
For those of you who are interested in the process, I moved the first action scene to the second chapter, to be used as a flashback, and am working hard to make the first chapter both rock, and be a reasonably painless info dump.
The novel itself is the result of one of those "oh yeah" moments that hit me at this years Nebulas. I was listening to the familiar exhortation (I think from Charles Brown this time, but the sources of this are interchangeable back to Homer) to write the kind of stories you wish someone was writing, when I actually asked myself: What exactly am I missing? The answer was the kind of stuff Roger Zelazney was best at--- So I am writing a story about a man who travels between strings of reality. He lives in a house where every door opens onto a different time and place, his best friend is an Egyptian Death Goddess who lives in his closet, and the purpose of his life is to save an earlier version of himself from being killed by demons from his past.
We will see if this can be made to work, but so far, I am pretty stoked at how it is turning out.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Last night I finally got on the ball and rapped out a thousand words on the manthycore story. In fact the working title is "Servant of the Manthycore" which is a little more zippy than "Manth2", the old working title. I tried to get Ann Scarborough to distract me, and she did a pretty good job with her email tale of how she spent Halloween, but in the end she fell down on the job, and I got some work done.
I have been tempted the last couple of days by submission calls for some shared world anthologies--- one of the things Ann did in our email exchange is give me benefit of her wisdom and experience. Sometimes all you need is a little encouragement, and Ann is a great source of that.
Tomorrow we should be on our way to Orycon. Depending on the internet connections available, I will try to post at least once from there. One of the antique Orycons, (I think it was held at Portland State while my first wife was a student there, but my memory over what? 25+ years? is fragile) was my first con ever.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


I am never comfortable without at least 5 subs out there in rotation. It is a carry-over from my years of non-fiction writing, where an empty pipeline meant lean days ahead. Right now I have four, and a couple of starts that could be ready as early as next week. I didn't get much done last weekend, as I was at a speaking engagement for my real world vocation, and I won't get much done this weekend, either, as Shaharazahd and I, and maybe Alex, will be at Orycon.
For those of you who relish the process, I have these submissions to report:
"Night of Shadows, Night of Knives" at Flashing Swords
"Can We Truly Know Why the Junkie Pixies Sing" at Justice Wears a Dress
"Darkling I Listen; and, For Many a Time" at Fictitious Force
and "The Death of Number 23" which has been passed on to senior editors at Aberrant Dreams, and I am told, will have an official decision in the next week or so.
The couple of starts are a cow tipping alien zombie story that vaguely references my rural eastern Oregon teen years, and a second story following the protagonist of "Voice of the Spoiler"-- which, by the way, is still up at along with "An Exorcism Straight, Hold the Elvis."
A couple of folks have been kind enough to ask if there are more Joe Denfar stories in the hopper. Joe is a pretty independent guy, but if there are any new developments in the spook slaying business, I'll be sure to write about them, and post notice here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I'm in!

Just heard back from John Aegard about my STEW audition--- I guess I fooled them well enough that I get to play in their sandbox. I am so stoked!
STEW is a crit group that includes Sabrina Chase, Victoria Garcia, John Aegard, and Mike Canfield, and Nisi Shawl. All of them are more accomplished than I, at least in the fiction department, so it is a great chance for me to learn a whole bunch of stuff about writing sf/f and also socialize with some like minds.
Last Sunday was my first go around with them. It was brutal, intense, brutal, informative, brutal and very valuable. And fun! The story they critted was "Night of Shadows" which was a good choice on my part, because it has been almost there for quite a while. I really liked how Victoria described my fantasy stuff--- "Castle Noir"--- everyone was pretty cool, though I must say I was on best behavior and so gave them little reason not to be :)
Sabrina had a long excerpt from a book, some very rousing space opera with a splash of soap, John brought an intriguing trial balloon chapter of a pretty ambitious fantasy, and Mike had the first chapter of a dark, smart, urban something or other that was compelling but hard to classify.
So it was a three-fer--- professional help (with my fiction, the other kind will have to wait a little longer!), fun stuff to read, and new friends. Score!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Griznaz and the Pixies

I know, horrible title--- I just posted this on the Baen/Astounding board slush. an interesting way to submit stories, thought I would give it a try.

Monday, October 17, 2005

This weekend was tough.
I just was tenatively invited to audition for a crit group up in Seattle with some pretty high-quality members. In order to get in I had to send them a sample of my work, unpublished, and ready for critique. I sent them "Voice of the Spoiler", which in the meantime has sold to Sword Review. While critting might have helped the story, once it is sold there is nothing you can do for it. It is like your 20 year old son who has left home. It has flown the nest and now must survive on its own merits.
So another story was needed, something not too embarrassing to submit to the critical view of other, more established writers, at least in the fiction field. I sent them "Night of Shadows, Night of Knives" both because I could bring it up to crit standards, and because it was similar in tone at least to "Voice."
So Saturday was spent in a frantic scramble to get it cleaned up in time. Also, I realized last week by selling three stories in a two week period, that I had far too little product in submission. I was down to three stories, and I am really not comfortable with less than five, if for no other reason than it becomes too much effort to focus on the long wait between sub and response when there are so many out there.
So I was able to get out another story, subbed to a magazine that has not yet bought, but held my last submission for an extra month because the editor liked it. Just not enough to buy it, I guess, but a hopeful sign. And I am most of the way done with another, humorous fantasy story that should be ready to submit tonight or tomorrow at latest. Mixed with all of my frantic scribbling was a lively e-mail conversation with Ann Scarborough about geese, science, politics, comedy, and changing markets for fiction.
It was productive, at least. We will see how well the product sells.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

My story "An Exorcism Straight, Hold the Elvis" got a nice plug on the website "The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire--Tales of supernatural horrors"--- check out the url for this site --- and check out the great blogroll and links down the page.

I kinda had Carnaki in mind when I wrote the story, thinking that Joe Denfar might be Carnaki's great-grandson. There are some great Carnaki stories at as well as some other William Hope Hodgson links.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

My story "Voice of the Spoiler" is up at and my story "An Exorcism Straight, Hold the Elvis" will be up at the same 'zine Wednesday. If you get a chance, check it out, and if you are feeling kindly toward me, post a comment on their forum:)
By the way, these are my first fiction sales of this millenium.
This fiction thing is working out pretty well for me--- Byzarium will be running my story "It's a Living" in the November Issue.