Monday, November 30, 2009

Its Been A Week

This is the longest I've gone without posting something on my blog for a long, long time.

I've been reading. Today is the last day to get your submissions in for Blade Red Press' Dark Pages Volume One Anthology. I've been reading, and weighing up stories like a mad man. Except for the past few days...

I figured I should take a few days break every now and then to refresh the brain, like sipping from a glass of water to refresh the palette during a meal to reinvigorate the taste buds in readiness to truly appreciate the next course, so I wanted a reinvigorated the lump of grey matter to savour what you took the time to submit to us.

I currently have 23 stories in my 'to-be-read' submissions pile. I've been told we've had over 250 submissions for this anthology of which I've read just about all of them over the last two months. I expect a sudden rush of last minute arrivals today, and then I'll have a final push to finalise my choices for the second round of reading. I really want all authors who've submitted to know where they sit in regards to their story being on hold or if they are free to submit to other markets before mid-December. According to Duotrope, I have a 17.5 day average time for responding, with a 40 day max. I think this is pretty good seeing how we have stated 6-8 weeks.

In other news (for those interested) - we maintained our unbeaten run in cricket on Saturday, knocking off the top team. With terrible weather making the ground close to unplayable, the team rallied together and moved a mountain of soil with bare hands, milk crates and a single broom to ensure we had the opportunity to gain a result. Well done to everyone involved! Depending on other results, we are either top or still sit second. If the later, then we have an opportunity to knock off the new top team this coming weekend. Keep your fingers crossed we can keep our run going.

Yesterday, my wife and I took our grandson out for a few hours. It was a good time. I really must post some new photos of the little man so you can all see how big he's grown.

That's enough waffle from me. Congratulations to everyone who took part in NaNo this year. Your efforts have been inspiring and awesome to those of us who have sat on the sidelines with our pom-poms. Remember, it doesn't matter if you got to 50K or not, it was the commitment to writing that was the winner. Now you can either finish that manuscript or polish it to within an inch of its life over the next few months. I am more than sure there will be a few gems out there.

Time for me to get back to reading...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sporadic At Best

It seems my posting here is becoming fewer and further between efforts. I'm sorry about that.

I've also not written anything in quite sometime, but my mind is still ticking over with how I'm going to improve the first draft of Inner Voice - I'm excited by that.

So with one week left to go before the submission deadline for Dark Pages Volume 1, I'm still reading madly. I think I'm averaging around 20-30 short stories a week which is pretty good for me on top of normal life. I'm guessing around 11th of December everyone who submitted will have an answer of some sort on how their masterpiece has faired in regards to it being held over for further consideration or the dreaded rejection.

Myself and the staff at Blade Red Press have been blown away with the response and the quality of the work writers from all over the world have sent to us for consideration. It has been truly staggering. With the number of anthologies I've seen this year having to extend their submission deadlines due to a lack of response or a lack of quality work, I consider myself extremely lucky to have been inundated with exceptional stories from so many brilliant authors, both known and emerging.

It was only the other day I commented to Blade Red that we could easily publish Dark Pages volumes 1, 2 & 3 from the stories I've read. An embarrassment of riches is an understatement.

If you've not received a hold request yet, or if you don't receive one, please don't feel slighted. Decisions are becoming extremely tough for me now. I'm reading good stories that I have to weigh up against all the good stories I've already found a hold place for. This is the best reason to always submit early when targeting an anthology.

Allow me to give a hypothetical example that may well have been the case at some stage last year, but has, thankfully, not been my specific experience (yet): imagine I receive a real kick-arse story about vampires. It has well rounded characters, lots of conflict, on both a personal level and in the supernatural action arena, and has a unique hook. I've received this story a week after submissions opened and instantly put it in my possibles list. Three weeks before submissions close, I get another very good vampire story. This author has obviously taken the extra time to have the story critiqued and polished. It is good but it doesn't disturb quite as much as the first one. With reluctance, I place it in my probably not folder which doesn't mean it's dead by a long shot. The following day, I receive two more vampire stories of which one is better than vampire tale number two and the other is not bad either (if I hadn't received the other three, it would have been a contender).

At this point (because I'm mindful of author's hating to wait for responses) I need to make a decision on what to keep. I go back and read the very first story I decided to hold and because it's been a while since I first put it away, I regain the wonder I felt when I first read it, and yet it retains that feeling of an old friend, something I've read and appreciated before. I know it's going to be hard to top. With reluctance I send out rejections to all the other vampire stories. (you can change vampire for any common theme/trope: circus, dolls, ghosts, evil child, werewolf, etc, etc)

Don't get me wrong, if another vampire story arrives that is mindblowingly original (it could happen), then the first story could still be dislodged. I've not sent an acceptance letter to anyone. My possibles list is very fluid and will remain so until at least a week after submissions close, but I'm not reading as an editor at the moment (at least not first and foremost). I'm sliding over typos or awkward sentence structure and mentally replacing it with something that sounds a little better and moving on. I work through submissions purely with my readers hat on. The good point about that is I'm allowing myself to fall into the world you are creating. I'm doing my best to allow myself to be swept away with your words. I'm giving you the reigns - if you don't take hold and drive me to somewhere believable and disturbing, then the piece doesn't make the hold list. If you do, then the editorial hat comes into play and you're judged against whatever else I have already set aside. Then you still may not make the hold list - many good stories fall into this category already :c(

So I say again, the big lesson here, is to submit early and submit your very best the first time. Unfortunately, everything is subjective from there.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


My work stops us from being able to watch videos on YOUTUBE which is a pain in the proverbial as most people embed videos from there into their blog posts when/if they wish to embed anything at all.

The block also stops me from being able to embed YOUTUBE content into anything I post.

Enter Google Videos which work hasn't gotten around to blocking yet.

Over at Katey's blog today, she has a must read post which left me smiling and shaking my head while agreeing totally with her. It reminded me of this which I just had to remind everyone about:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


As I've mentioned before, during all this reading I'm currently doing for Dark Pages Volume 1, the first anthology from Blade Red Press (how's that for a plug), my mind continually drifts back to Inner Voice.

I guess I'm somewhat in the same quandary as KC Shaw and her Bell-Men project. While Kate is powering through her NaNo project and having reoccurring thoughts of Bell-Men, I'm working through submissions and yet Inner Voices remains a constant mental companion.

The latest thought process, which is cropping up more often, is the editing process I have ahead of me, and then naturally my mind carries forward and I begin to think about the submission process and the contract signing and the money rolling in...I'm normal, right? Right? Doesn't everyone do this? Anyone?

The editing thoughts came to the fore again while doing the rounds through my Google Reader. Ms A. Victoria Mixon has published a letter to primarily showcase her ability as an editor, but does so much more for the discerning writer. Many of you will be absorbed in the current series of posts Aaron Polson is running during NaNo, reminding writers about different things they should be including/thinking about during their mad dash to 50000 words. Ms Mixon's letter on developmental editing is a grand edition to those lessons.

As an aside, I remember someone (maybe Mercedes) posting something about another editor providing an editing, critique-type service. Whoever it was, can you refresh my memory please. I'm seriously considering using one of these services once I've finished working through it with my own team of critiquers/beta readers.

And as is my want, this leads into a thought I had about all you NaNo participants who can't help editing as you go (Alan, Bec, and others). NaNo is supposedly about the act of writing; getting words on the page. It's okay to contradict yourself during November. Fixing the inconsistencies is for December and beyond. Making sure things flow is not for now. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, not National Novel Editing Month which would be presented as NaNoEdMo - which sounds way too much like Mork signing off.

But, and this is a pretty big but, if your normal writing regime is to go back and edit the previous chapter with a light dusting of changes before you move onto the next part of the story, then you shouldn't be using NaNo as the time to retrain your brain into just churning out words. NaNo is, IMHO, all about committing time to write. It's about getting words onto the paper but it's more about a commitment to your craft, and that's easier to do as part of a huge group than doing it on your own.

So if you edit as you go, go for it. Just add that time into your calculations so you don't have to worry over it taking away from your NaNo word goals for the day. Accept it as part of the writer you are, and will probably always be, so you no longer need to stress over it and you can plan to include it in your regime. Once the stress of that is gone, the words will flow easier once more, and hitting 50K won't seem such a long way away.

Okay, enough preaching about stuff everyone is probably rolling their eyes over and wishing I'd stop sounding like some sort of self-appointed guru. Not how I intend to come across. Just an opinion you are more than free to disagree with.

Well done to everyone participating in NaNo - regardless of where you're at in the word count race, you deserve special consideration and congratulations for committing time to your craft and getting words on the paper. That is no small feat.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Some Good News Today

Not for me - for some of you.

A bunch of 'May we please hold' emails are, or have, been sent to my short listed stories for the anthology. I hope you squeal with glee if you get one as I think you've done exceptionally well to get this far.

But all is not lost for those of you not among the lucky people. You still have a couple of weeks left to submit me something wonderful and get yourself on the shortlist.

I currently still have 41 unread stories waiting for my attention so don't despair if you've not gained any sort of notification from us yet. I think I only have three stories unread that I received at the end of October so my response time is still (or should be) within acceptable limits.

Space is now becoming one of the premium parameters. For me to hold a story above 5-6000 words, it needs to be better than two of the stories which has already made the hold list, or completely different and still able to kick the arse of one I've already held over, so keep this in mind when submitting. The story itself is still the deciding factor, but you first need to blow my mind and then it needs to fit in with the other stories around it and then it needs to fit in with the space limitations I have. Yes, folks, it's getting harder, but then, that's why those in the know submit as early as possible to any anthology they target.

Next tip: I want a dark story which is beautifully told and disturbs me - I don't find journal entries disturbing. It may be just me, but to have a journal, and to be able to read the next entry, the person needs to have survived. I've seen some in the past where the author has used a journal style to build tension and conflict, but it is a rare skill. Please, unless the piece has scared the pants off your crit group, or disturbed at least one of them into going to therapy, don't send me a journal-style submission.

Next tip: I'd like to include at least one or two more dark fantasy pieces.

Next tip: I've held over some sci-fi pieces but I've seen very little with actual aliens, or in space.

Last tip: Read the guidelines before submitting.

Good Luck!

And congratulations to the lucky few.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Moving Right Along

I'm at work so I'm unable to get onto Utube but imagine Kermit and Fozzy driving along singing the song...

As reported last week, Blade Red Press has received over 200 submissions for Dark Pages Volume 1 to date. In the very beginning, Blade Red was kind enough to be my first level filter and removed anything that wasn't quite up to my extremely high standards, but then my dictator side kicked in and I needed to see everything to make my own decisions. Since I opened my mouth and requested everything, I've read nigh on 120 stories over the last four weeks. I've got less than 30 stories in my possible hold file and had to say no to a lot of friends - so don't anybody dare say I'm playing favourites!

I could have included some big names, including some major competition winners, but I've stuck to my guns and judged the story first. Yes, I've missed out on some great current writers and the possible marketing pull they may bring, but the stories that remain will be exceptional (in my humble opinion). With two weeks or so to go, the hard part of whittling down my current possibles list is going to be one of the most difficult tasks I've ever undertaken - and yet I'm looking forward to reading those stories again. I also expect some more to arrive over the next 14/15 days that push their way into consideration to make my life just that little bit more difficult. Fun times ahead.

On the personal writing front, I've had rejections roll in and the stories rolled back out. Most of these pieces are now just looking for the right market. I've also been thinking a lot about Inner Voice and I'm looking forward to wrapping up the anthology so I can get stuck into edits. I miss writing.

Finally, a big shout out to all those I know doing NaNo. I am in awe of the word totals I see around the place. I've heard of one person who has already finished! Jealous - me - bloody oath! Still, others should not be discouraged. Remember we may all be on the same journey but each writer has a different road map on how to get to that final destination. The same goes with NaNo. Work at your pace--push yourself for sure, that's what NaNo is all about after all, but don't fret over other writers wordage. Remember you are writing, and that makes you a winner already in my book. Good luck for the last two weeks!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just So

This is the link to the general feedback about Jason's new funding model. I provide it here just for the sake of completeness in the debate and because the question of figures was raised and here it is answered.

I've made my choice and subscribed/donated and picked up the free Descended From Darkness: Apex Magazine Vol I - which I thought was a cool deal.

My last thoughts on the matter: With the amount of reading I've been doing lately (subs for Dark Pages V1), I've come to the conclusion that I can only read, and therefore support, a couple of magazine subscriptions each year on top of my AHWA membership. I've chosen to support Necrotic Tissue, Apex, and Midnight Echo (through my AHWA membership). I occasionally give a donation to two or three other places but that is dependant on what bills I have coming in, and it's never very much anyway (not really, not in the bigger scheme of things). I also buy the occasional anthology, and even rarer, the occasional novel. I'm not a rich fellow and that's probably more than I should be doing, but until I find a local chapter of Bibliophile Anonymous, I'll have to manage...

I must say I'm looking forward to next year. I'll be able to spread out my reading a bit and get some writing done. Before then, I'm looking forward to the end of next week when my lad finishes his work experience and I no longer need to get out of bed before sparrow's fart! Tired eyes make for difficult reading...

Hope things are going well in your part of the world, and, because I haven't said it in a long time - good luck with your submissions.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Good News On PIR

Reports have begun popping up all over. Last night there was a decision made to not remove PIRs. If you're not sure what I'm talking about (what rock have you been living under) a quick refresher can be found here. This is a huge win for the Australian Book Industry and everyone involved in it.

The article in Bookseller+Publisher can be read here.

Well done to everyone who had a voice in determining this outcome and a special well done to AHWA members, led in grand fashion by Shane Jiraiya Cummings in his role as AHWA 2IC. Woot!

Snoopy Dance

Apex Magazine

As posted about yesterday, Jason over at Apex is floating a subscription/donation model to sustain Apex Magazine. Details are here.

I know some people have an issue with this, and that's fine (that's their prerogative), but this is my blog and it is my prerogative to post and support whatever I like. I think Apex Magazine is one of those markets we should support in keeping around - my choice. If you are like-minded then click on the link, if not - don't.

If you wish to continue the discussion on whether people should or should not, then feel free to do so in the comments section of the original post.

In other news: I was informed by Blade Red Press yesterday, that we have hit the 200 submissions mark so far for Dark Pages Volume 1. No wonder I have tired eyes, but it is generally a happy but resigned type of tiredness. I've read many good stories, but, and I know I've said this before, with so many to choose from, I can only hold onto the absolute cream. I may not be an Ellen Datlow, but I promise you I will do my absolute subjective best in putting together an outstanding inaugural edition, and I believe it would be a feather in anyone's cap to be included in the ToC. I have some well known, highly awarded authors submitting here and I've even not rejected some of them!

I don't care who you are or what you've done in the past, all stories will be judged, first and foremost, on the tale itself. Many well known writers have experience in putting together an excellent story, but many emerging writers and some first timers have that talent as well, and I will include them if the story stands up and speaks to me.

Yes, we've had a huge response so far. Yes, I'm expecting a late minute rush of submissions very close to the deadline. Tip: get your submission in now, before the rush. You don't want to be rejected because the editor has already read three stories similar to yours, or because he is grumpy from reading a dozen stories before yours and has reached the breaking point on seeing too many typos in a manuscript, or another person who hasn't followed the guidelines to the letter.

Hint: I am including multiple links to the guidelines page for a reason - read them, use them, live by them. If you're not sure how to format, go have a look at the formatting guide on Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine - it's a pretty good example of the minimum a writer should be sending to any market. Please - double space your paragraphs.

Final Tip: Your name and the title of your story should be in the header of your document. If you don't know how to do this, or are unable due to the software you are using, then, at the very least, have all the details about your story and you on the first page, i.e. place a cover page in your manuscript with the title and word count of the story, your name and contact details, and then start your story on page two.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm In

What about you?

What am I talking about?

Okay - I'll start from the begining, although it's sometimes an interesting twist to start at the end, but I digress...

Jason Sizemore over at Apex magazine has something you should all go read, and then email him your intentions. Not sure what I mean? Go read his latest efforts at making a worthwhile enterprise out of an independant publishing's magazine.

Like I said - I'm in.

I Get It

Lately I've been blogging less and when I do get around to it, writing is only a small topic because, well, I'm not doing any at the moment.

I get that most (if not all) of you are not interested in my sporting prowess. Understandable.

I get that most of you couldn't give a toss that I've been reading. I understand that. All you really want to know is whether or not your story has been short listed for Dark Pages Volume 1. I get that. I do.

We have begun our first heat wave of the season here (bear with me, there is relevance). Yesterday was well over 35C and today is forecast 38C. Wednesday through Friday is forecast to be 39C with a cool change blowing in for Saturday with a freezing cold 34C. A heatwave around here is anything forecast at 35C and up. Normally we don't see these extended periods of super hot temperatures until January/February.

Thing is, I've been struggling with pain in my joints, particularly my knees, during the colder months. Now it's hot, I don't get as much pain. That is - not as much it's still there and sometimes it's just as bad, but most of the time it's better. Unfortunately, during all this reduced pain, my family is suffering in the intense heat. A grumpy family can make for less comfort than painful knees (still with me...nearly there).

So what is better? Pain in the joints and a happy family, or less pain for me but more discomfort for everyone else?

Depends on the point of view you're looking at it from and what your priorities are (see where I'm going yet?).

You send out a story you've worked long and hard on to a very cool new anthology market being edited by this seriously talented first time editor (or you send it to me) - and then you hear nothing back for ages, or, worse, you get back a rejection in almost record time. In either case, you drop to your knees and plead to the pantheon of creatures both divine and sublime, and wish for a response to your submission/for an editor to take longer and saviour the brilliance that is your work.

You surf over to the editor's blog and see requests for shorter stories or dark urban fantasy or witty black comedy set in the future, and you think, 'But that's what I sent you' - which loops back to you dropping to your knees and decrying the unfairness of those fantastical creatures sitting high on their pearl thrones because you haven't yet had a response/already received your rejection letter.

The point of all this is simple - be careful what you wish for (yes, it was going home via the cape but hey, what did you expect?).

If you want editors to be quicker in responding, you may not like what you get back. If you want editors to take more time in considering your work, then be prepared to wait.

However, there is a sure fire way to circumvent all of this! Yes, my friends, I have for you a wonderful cure-all that shall take away your ills and add strength to any failing faith you have in this craft or this industry in which we are so deeply ensconced. And it's free - well, it doesn't have to cost money - but it will cost time and effort on your part.

The solution to all you woes: write a kick arse story that addresses the criteria set out in the guidelines or direct requests as stated on the editor's blog! Do this and you will receive a very fast email stating that it is to be held over for further consideration.

Tomorrow I am in meetings all day, so I intend to get some reading done today that I didn't get to yesterday. My to-read submission pile is dwindling and all my dreams for this project has not yet been met - send more stories - blow my mind!

And finally - onto more important news:

Happy 40th Birthday, Sesame Street!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Weekend Update

Knocked off a bit of reading on Friday, but then life stepped in and I didn't do anything else writing related all weekend.

Played cricket again on Saturday. We have once more won on first innings at stumps (the end of play) for day one. We will again be pushing for an outright win next week. On a personal note - it was nice to make some runs for the second week in a row - woot for me...on a more important note, it was brilliant to see the team working as a single unit, backing each other up with excellent fielding and bowling performances. Lastly, a big congratulations to Brett Dantonio for his herculean effort at batting for 2 hours without giving a chance. Some of us show ponies may have come in and taken the glory but it was all down to his anchoring the innings.

As usual, for those of you that care to follow along and become official ATCO Cricket Club groupies, feel free to visit the site (skip the ad). I'm captaining the B Grade team this year. Ignore the tables as they've not been updated from last year.

On the agenda for today - more reading as soon as I get a moment or two!

You can also get some reading done with Mercede's wonderful piece at 52 Stitches, JT's piece at The Nautilus Engine, Aaron's piece at Everyday Fiction, an excellent Q&A at Alan Davidson's blog with Kelly Armstrong, or Alan Baxter's 'The Book'.  If that's not enough for you, you can always buy the latest antho from Pill Hill Press which includes Nat Sin's story 'Donor'! (Warning, naked men in spa shown in advertisement - that should get some people there for you Nat).

Is it any wonder I don't get through submissions quicker with everybody publishing such cool stuff. Well done everyone!

Oh, for those of you wondering what happened to my background, my Photobucket account apparently died because I hadn't logged in for 3 months. Now I'm struggling to remember the password or what email address it was under so I'll go without until I find a replacement or remember how to access it. You may see the odd flash of something different while I play. Don't be alarmed - no animals or small children will be harmed in the making of this blog site...

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Quick Update

Firstly - for brownie points, when you submit to Dark Pages Volume 1, can you please use 12pnt font, preferably Arial and double space. I also like an extra return between paragraphs - white space is a readers friend.

I currently have 42 stories still to read. This is bolstered by over a dozen new stories every week and I expect this to be doubled, if not tripled as we approach the end of  November.

The vast majority of stories are very well told with unique settings, plots and premises. Many also have excellent characters. If I chose all the stories I liked, we'd be releasing Dark Pages volumes 1 through 5 early next year! Unfortunately my mandate is to only edit for volume 1 and I've been given parameters with which to work within to achieve that.

As I work through your submissions, I pass on the story names to Blade Red Press who kindly send out the bad news for me about once a week. I try and keep on top of the reading so the notices go out in fairly big batches to give everyone a chance to submit something else if they so chose (and quite a few of you have). I don't keep track of who has sent anything in so I don't pre-judge anything if you've had one unfortunate email so far.

I am currently sitting on a quite a number of stories I want to look at again before making any final choices for a second round of reading. I'm hoping to let everyone know how they have fared, and/or if I'd like to hang onto the piece for a while longer as soon as possible after the close of submissions.

Trust me, I'm a writer, I know how frustrating it can be waiting on a response. I promise not to keep you in suspense for too long.

Keep the subs coming.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Swept Away

A few weeks ago, I was notified about a writing prompt to be used in the weekly CafeDoom flash fiction competition. I wrote something for it but never submitted.

Then the submission period opened for 52 Stitches 2010, but I was in the middle of the Dark Pages Volume 1 anthology submission period with no real time to work on something new and yet with an almost physical need to submit something to Stitches. The online publication Aaron Polson put together over 2009 has been quite brilliant and I figured it would be a nice credit to have on my bio to have another piece in 2010.

The only thing I had was the CafeDoom inspired piece. With a little bit of revision during a quiet period one afternoon, I figured it was as good as I was going to get - I sent it in a couple of days after the submission call opened. It's called 'Swept Away' (I seem to have a bias towards a water-based setting with Stitches - 2009 had my story take place on a game fishing boat, this one is on a yacht).

Today I received an acceptance email - woot!

One piece per author to be released each week over 2010. And I'm going to be included in the ToC. Again!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Still Reading

Not a lot to report here. I'm still madly reading submissions although I'm giving that a break for a day or two to recharge the batteries - my respect and admiration for editors of big annual anthologies has gone through the roof. Can you imagine how many subs the judges for something like the Writers of the Future contest must go through! My eyes hurt just thinking about it (and it makes me realise just how big an achievement Jason Fischer accomplished).

Still, I'm working through your submissions. Can I take this opportunity to once more thank everyone for considering us a worthy place to host your work. Because I've had so many, I'm in the enviable but hard situation where I can accept only the cream of the crop. There's only a few weeks left to get your submission in so if you want to get into what I believe will be an exceptional ToC and the inaugural edition of this anthology, you'd better get your skates on.

In other news, I got my hair cut today, which isn't the news, but while I was wandering past the bookshop, I noticed the last book in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series has finally made the shelves - naturally, it is now sitting on my shelf as well. It is huge! Now I need discipline to not start reading it before I've got this antho whipped into shape and then read and review the three books I still need to finish for HorrorScope. Oh - and then done the first round of edits on Inner Voice...why did I buy it again?

At this rate I might not write at all next year, I'll be too busy reading!

Lastly, I'm putting together a "Rules to submit by" as I go through the process of putting Dark Pages together. Without pointing any fingers I'll put together all the do's and don'ts, what worked and what didn't, how I came to decisions, etc, etc.

I intend to let you all into the process I went through so you all can hopefully gain some insight into the way one editor went about things.

For not a lot to report, this post has gone on way too long already.

For all those out there going through NaNo this year, I wave my pom-poms at you and wish you continued inspiration and lots of wordage.

Type cheerleaders into Google and see how hard it is to find an appropriate picture!
p.s. This guy is no relation to me...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Come & Gone But Life Goes On

It was Halloween over the weekend. My daughter dressed up as Morticia and the club had a good party during the evening.

I sat in a chair and tried to suffer in silence.

My knees are shot and my back is killing me. I seriously need to think about giving all this sport malarkey away. Yes, some people are playing who are older than me - good for them, but when my knees scream blue murder all week because of a few hours of standing in the sun, then somethings not quite how it should be.

I can see a visit to a knee specialist in the not too distant future...twice!

As a result, I've not been on the Net all weekend, apart from the sending of one email Saturday night, which meant I opened my email program of choice - which also allowed a couple of rejections to find their way home :c(

These also happen to be my two favourite short stories - very disappointing. One has already gone back out, but the second has now been knocked back six times, the last three with very encouraging remarks--but still not a yes. I'm half tempted to just publish it here because I want it out there, but before I do something rash I'll let it sit for now.

NaNo has begun for many of you and I wish you nothing but great success and clacking keys for the next 30 days (actually, 28 days now).

I'm still reading submissions for Dark Pages Volume 1. My current goal is to get my unread list below 50 and keep it there. Currently it sits at 49 but I get new subs every couple of days which sends it over again. A concerted effort later today should get me closer to something I can manage. I have been amazed at the different plots, settings, and scenarios people have come up with and the manner in which they have presented them.

I'm sure I'll regret saying this, but I'd love to see some very tight and very well presented shorter stories. I've had a lot so far but there has always been something missing. I want to see something with a beginning, middle and end, and the sharpest of hooks. Mix it with imagery I can see when I close my eyes, and tastes and sounds that are both tantalising and disturbing to the palette. Aim for 2K or less, the closer to flash (1K) you can get the better - but make it sing!

I'm doing my best to work through the reading so you still have time to submit something new before the deadline (30th Nov), but don't just cycle through the stories that have been rejected elsewhere. The first thing you sent me should have been your best, but if we've said no to that, then is there a point in sending me something you don't consider as good as the first thing you sent in? You have just under four weeks. Write me something new and exciting, get some feedback, polish it, and send it to me. Make my eyes weep!

I look forward to reading your submissions soon.