Lovecraft eZine Issue #23

The Kindle edition of Lovecraft eZine, issue #23, is now available!

lovecraftezine23

This includes my story “Nectar of Strange Lips,” as well as stories by Joe Pulver and Edward Morris, Samantha Henderson and Andrew Nicolle, Douglas Wynne, Wendy Wagner, Cora Pop, and non-fiction by Robert M. Price.

Kindle version – Lovecraft eZine Issue #23

You can also follow this link to obtain a FREE (at least for now) download of the audio/podcast version of this issue.

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Three-Pronged Writing Update

Several things happening on the fiction writing front.

My story “The Lure of Devouring Light” in the latest Apex Magazine received a very favorable review in Locus Magazine (the SF/Fantasy trade journal) this week.


http://www.locusmag.com/Reviews/#apex201304

If you haven’t read “Lure of Devouring Light” yet, and are intrigued enough by the mini-review to give it a look, it’s available to read for free online. Again, I’d like to thank everyone at Apex for making this happen!

http://www.apex-magazine.com/the-lure-of-devouring-light/

Some other things coming soon…

The next issue of Black Static magazine (#34, May 2013) will contain my story “Arches and Pillars.” I’ll have more information about this as May approaches.

The next issue of Lovecraft eZine (#23, April 2013) will include my story “Nectar of Strange Lips.” The issue is not yet available to read, but you can purchase the podcast/audio version now, for just 99 cents!

http://lovecraftzine.com/2013/03/03/11884/

That’s not 99 cents for just my story, but 99 cents for the entire issue, all the stories and Robert Price’s new nonfiction feature… almost 3 1/2 hours of great stuff!

Weekend Update: Check Out “The Lure of Devouring Light”

Last Tuesday, the new April issue of Apex Magazine appeared, featuring my story “The Lure of Devouring Light.” I’ve already received some nice feedback, from friends, family, fellow writers, and even a NY literary agent. In case you missed my previous post about this, here’s a reminder, and a link to read the story for free, or purchase a PDF or a (Kindle) MOBI or (iPad/Nook) EPUB file of the entire issue for $2.99.

http://www.apex-magazine.com/the-lure-of-devouring-light/

Thanks again to the great and talented people at Apex.

My Story “The Lure of Devouring Light” in Apex Mag

My story “The Lure of Devouring Light” is now available in the April 2013 issue of Apex Magazine. I’m very proud and excited to have a story of mine appearing in such an excellent and prominent periodical.

I’ll have more to say about this magazine and this story, but for now, here’s a link. It’s available to read for free, and you can also purchase a PDF or a (Kindle) MOBI or (iPad/Nook) EPUB file.

http://www.apex-magazine.com/the-lure-of-devouring-light/

http://www.apex-magazine.com/the-lure-of-devouring-light/

My thanks to Editor Lynne Thomas and Publisher Jason Sizemore for featuring my work!

Updated Stories Page

I’ve just updated my list of published and upcoming stories HERE on this blog, and color coded the publication date or “forthcoming” status. As it stands, four of my stories have been published already, and five more are coming soon.

Four of the upcoming stories should appear within roughly a month, starting the first week of April! Most likely the first will be “The Lure of Devouring Light,” appearing in the April issue of Apex Magazine, which should appear the first Tuesday in April.

2012 Summary of Writing and Publishing

The past year has been a time of significant progress. I’ve continued to work very hard. That additional effort has helped me improve, and I’ve started to see the results of improvement, with a good series of story acceptances and publication starting with a burst this summer. After seeing my first story published in 2011, I had started to wonder around mid-year why I was having so much trouble seeing that second acceptance. I knew the stories were better, and had assumed I’d start to have an easier time finding homes for my stories. It was quite a relief to have a series of five acceptances over a couple of months this summer.

I’ll end 2012 with a total of 118 submissions during the year. This is actually fewer than in 2011, when I was a bit looser about what I considered worthy of submission (I’ve since voluntarily withdrawn a handful of stories from circulation). Also, having stories accepted means fewer remain to send out, so while I hit quite a pace in the first half of the year (13 subs in April, 14 subs in May, 12 subs in June). I haven’t maintained that level, not because I’m failing to resubmit stories promptly when they come back to me, but simply because the number of stories I have available to send out is smaller.

As of the end of 2012, I’ve had seven stories officially accepted for publication, which makes 1 acceptance/publication in 2011, and six acceptances (and three publications) in 2012:

“Montalov’s Box” in Phantasmacore. PUBLISHED OCT 2012

“The Lure of Devouring Light” accepted 8/2012 by Apex Magazine. FORTHCOMING

“Nectar of Strange Lips” accepted 8/2012 by Lovecraft eZine. FORTHCOMING

“May Dawn Redeem What Night Destroys” accepted 7/2012 by Jordan Krall for the Current 93 tribute anthology Mighty In Sorrow to be published by Copeland Valley Press. FORTHCOMING

“High Desert, Starless Sky” in the post-apocalypse themed anthology Carnage: After the End PUBLISHED NOV 2012

“The Need to Desire” in Phantasmagorium as a weekly web feature. PUBLISHED AUG 2012 (Now available to read HERE).

“Remodel With Swan Parts” in Electric Spec (free to read here). PUBLISHED MAY 2011.

I have one other tentative acceptance I can’t mention until the editor determines whether there’s room. If that one works out, it will be a big one for me, so I’ll announce it as soon as I know whether I’m in or I’m out.

I consider the past year a success overall. It’s funny how this writing endeavor works — well over a hundred rejections measured against a handful of acceptances, and that’s considered a good year. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot of frustration and disappointment. At least there was some good news in the mix to let me know I’m on the right path.

For the next year, my writing goals are similar. I want to continue to finish and submit about one new story per month. Now that I’m a big surer-handed, I might be able to spend less time spinning my wheels, or working in directions that don’t pay off. I completed twelve new stories in the twelve months of 2012, so I see no reason why I couldn’t do at least that many in 2013. I’d also like to mix in a few longer works, at least a novella, possibly a novel.

As for publishing goals, of course I hope for even more acceptances and publications than this year. If that happens, I’ll be approaching the level where just about everything I write ends up finding a home. It would be a relief to spend less time wallowing in slush piles, possibly get some anthology invitations. But the degree to which I’m accepted by publishers is out of my control. I’ll work on the writing, try to improve, and keep sending out work. I’ll   worry less about things I can’t control.

My Fourth Acceptance of This Summer

Lovecraft eZine just confirmed acceptance of my story “Nectar of Strange Lips.” That makes four of my stories currently awaiting publication. I’m pretty excited about this recent stretch of fiction-writing success.

Not only that, I still have at least three other pieces on various “short lists” under final editorial decision, so there may be more good news soon.

My backlog is shrinking! I’ve read other writers describe the tipping point after which they no longer just wrote stories to increase the number of things they had to submit, but instead saw their backlog shrink when acceptances started coming in faster than they could write new stuff. Looks like I’m getting there, as I’ve only finished 3 new pieces since the first of these 4 acceptances.

My thanks to Mike Davis, editor of the always fun and interesting Lovecraft eZine. Run on over there and read a few stories for free, and if you like it as much as I do, buy some eZines or a t-shirt.

Updated State of the Writer

Most of my recent posts to this blog have been book reviews. I’ve been reading a lot lately, and it’s fun to write a review of what I’ve read, and even more fun to receive feedback from some of my favorite authors who have seen and appreciated my reviews.

I didn’t intend to drift away from more frequent posts about my own writing, not because I perceive there to be a large number of people anxious to know more about the author of a bunch of stories they haven’t read, but because it’s useful for me. This is a way of keeping track of my progress and forces me to think about my own situation and status as a writer from the outside. It’s a way of forcing a bit of (at least slightly) objective self-evaluation.

So, let’s see. It’s been about 10 months since my first fiction publication, “Remodel With Swan Parts” which appeared in Electric Spec. The kind of thing I’ve been writing this past year or so is quite a bit different from that, but unfortunately I haven’t had anything else published yet so I don’t have any visible-to-the-public examples to show in order to give an idea of what I’m up to.

On top of changing, as far as genre or “feel,” what I write in the past year or so, I’ve also changed focus in a couple of other ways.

First, I’m challenging myself to write shorter pieces, somewhere between flash fiction and very short stories, at least once a month. I find it’s fun to start something and finish it fairly quickly. A new creation of 600-1500 words allows me to experiment a bit with different voices, styles, point of view. I’ve come up with a few interesting pieces like this recently, and so far reaction to these pieces has been positive. This is something I plan to continue, at least for now. I’d actually rather focus on writing longer, rather than shorter, but I have to face the fact that I’m still in the mode of learning, trying to improve and to break through. It’s more important for me to get stronger, to create a broader diversity of stories, and to create shorter pieces which might be more acceptable to a larger number of editors and venues than the longer stuff I might rather do. 

Second, I’ve been writing for submission to themed anthologies lately, rather than just writing for myself and then sending to any and all periodicals that fit what I’ve created. I find it stimulates me to move in different directions, to try thinks I might not otherwise have done. I took a first stab at “writing to order” when an editor I know gave me an opportunity to create something for such an anthology, and enjoyed the experience so much I’ve since written and submitted to a second such venue (story already rejected and resubmitted elsewhere) and I’m currently working on a third. This shift is not just about a desire to launch myself toward a different kind of publishing venue, but also challenging myself to create to order, within certain limits or parameters. It’s good practice for if my work ever ends up in some kind of demand, and it’s also good inspiration. I can cerainly say that the two completed stories along these lines would never have been written if not for the impetus provided by the theme.

Still working, still submitting. Still going through occasional periods of thinking it’s just so tough to break through and get my work a chance to be notice. Hanging in there, though. Perisisting.

A List of Places To Which I Submit Fiction

A List of Places To Which I Submit Fiction For Publication (in no particular order)

Cool, Interesting Up-and-Coming Online Periodicals Who Tell Me They Loved My Story and It Was Right In the Mix Until the Final Cut.

Stodgy, Old-But-Still-Popular Magazines That Generally Only Seem To Publish the Work of Winners of Multiple Hugo or Nebula or World Fantasy Awards.

Seemingly Energetic New-ish Webzines Who Suddenly Shut Down While My Story Is Under Consideration.

Periodicals of Diverse Characteristics Where The Editor, Who Had My Story on Their Short List, Abruptly Resigned or Was Fired.

Internet-Based Publications So Utterly Obscure Nobody Would Likely Read My Story Even If They Chose to Publish It.

Electric Spec, Which Gave Me My First Publication: “Remodel With Swan Parts.” (Thanks for that!)

Many Other Places Who Of Course Just Go About Their Publishing Business in Quiet, Routine and Dignified Ways Not Subject to Japery or Ridicule in This Blog Entry.

Note:

I’m not one of those writers who likes to bitch about editors, or to focus to much on how hard it is to get published — I’d rather put my energy into making my stories as kick-ass as possible — but I’m giving myself these few minutes to reflect on the absurdity and seeming futility of this endeavor.

Degrees of Rejection

Even people who aren’t themselves writers are familiar with the idea that writers just starting out encounter lots of rejection, over and over, before they ever get anywhere with their work. We’ve all heard the stories of Stephen King getting hundreds of rejection slips before he became, you know, Stephen King. It’s not too different from aspiring actors going to a thousand auditions before they get their first gig, or a garage band playing all kinds of small gigs before they get a shot at a record deal.

In all these legends of paying your dues until you finally make it, the implication seems to be that you toil away without of a sense whether you’re getting closer to the goal or not, until WHAM — all at once, you’ve made it.

What I’m finding with my own writing is that although I haven’t yet had any stories accepted for publication, I’ve noticed a change in the quality of many of the rejections that leads me to believe I must be getting closer.

Non-writers may not know this, but most of the time rejection comes as a form note (more often a half-sheet than a full letter) that says nothing more than, “Sorry, we can’t use this, good luck to you placing this elsewhere.” I’ve received plenty of this, and I don’t let it bother me. It’s silly to think it’s some kind of slap in the face, when almost everyone is getting this same bulk rejection treatment. Editors have a ridiculous number of terrible-bad manuscripts to sort through, and they can’t take the time to offer coaching or suggestions or (usually) even specific reasons why they don’t want the story.

Several of my latest rejections, though, have included more encouraging language. Compared to a flatly generic “Sorry, no,” getting a rejection that says something more specific like, “Very nicely written and I like much of it, but didn’t grab me quite enough for a buy,” is more like rejection LITE. After getting a few such notes this month, I feel like I’m getting closer to the goal. Maybe I’m crazy-delusional, but I think this is a good sign.