Thursday, July 31, 2008


I've done a couple of big critiques this afternoon. The boss went early and I needed to stay at work anyway so I figured I'd do something I preferred rather than the documentation I need to catch up on for work.

So, I did a big and fairly harsh crit on the moderator's posted piece. They keep telling me they prefer my honest approach so that's what they got.

I did a full revision for another writer who may or may not be as happy that I took the red pen to their work with such gusto.

I got more reading done last night and have finally passed the halfway mark in the Books of Blood. It is taking me forever to get through this book because I keep getting side tracked. Lots of reading coming up so I need to get back into the habit.

Was in contact with my editor from SA50s+ this morning. The second issue will be on its way too me as we speak so I can then send off my assignments to Mr Stone.

Lots of work coming up. I just need to prioritise and remember I have a life outside of words.

Good luck with your words and with everything else you do.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Twas a good chat session last night but something came up in the general discussion before we began about rejection letters.

I'd like to know your thoughts on it because you, the reader of this blog, is who I began doing it for in the first place.

Recently I've begun sharing with you excerpts from my rejection letters. My thoughts behind doing so were to give other new writers out there an idea what sort of rejection responses someone else was getting--let you know you're not alone in the world.

Last night it was put to me that this was somewhat unprofessional, that I was stepping over some sort of confidentiality boundary. In short, it was inferred that editors wouldn't appreciate me sharing their responses. I don't get that. An email sent to me, presented on my blog, is entirely up to me to share if I so choose. I don't rag on magazines or editors that reject me, I simply copy an excerpt and comment professionally on it.

In the end, the main point remains: do you find it useful information? If not, if you agree that it is unprofessional for me to be revealing this info, I'll stop. If I receive no comments one way or the other, I'll stop. If you find it interesting or helpful, let me know. Majority wins.

Talk to me.

I'll take no offense and won't be upset, I promise. To those involved in last nights discussion, I took no offense last night, I just found it interesting and thought I'd ask.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Productive Evening

It's been a good evening. Only a sale would have finished it off better--still the night isn't over yet.

Firstly my semester grades improved and now I've finished the outline for Newland. The whole outline. I've mentioned before the intertwining timeline idea, well it works. I've done the relatively rough outline of the 46 chapters (approximately 90,000+ words) from both the past and the near future. I can lay in little things that tie them together. I can place very subtle clues that won't become obvious until much later. Some things may be a little too obvious at the moment but a big one wasn't obvious to me until two chapters from the end and then it all suddenly made sense--gotta love it when that happens. If I didn't know then the reader will have no chance. An inkling maybe, but nothing anywhere near the vicinity of confirmation until way near the end. Even have a big final scene in my head.

And I managed to get it all out of my head before tonight's AHWA chat session begins. Big lineup tonight of Australian publishers to let us writers in on the inside gossip. I'll post a link of the transcript when it becomes available. If you are in anyway connected with Australian horror writing, even if you've only sent something to an Australian based market, you owe it to yourself to become a member of AHWA and enjoy the benefits. The dark side is definitely on the rise and Australian writers will be very much on the crest of that wave when the rest of the world finally takes note. Do yourself a favour and get on the inside track--join AHWA today.

Speak to you later.


Good News

My grades for semester 1 have now been confirmed - after an administration snafu, I queried my final grading and have had it upgraded to two Credit passes.

Woohoo. Feels good.

Fingers crossed it continues.

Monday, July 28, 2008

There Was Movement At The Station...

Apologies to Banjo Patterson.

I rewrote chapter three today after a very inspirational visit to the State Library.

I sat for around an hour, in a special reading room, carefully going through notebooks and manuscripts, some around 150 years old. It was awe inspiring stuff. Not "hey-muse-look-at-this-stuff-and-get-the-creative-juices-flowing" type of awe, but simply to be able to touch history, to actually immerse myself in it physically.

I'm a history nut from way back. I love watching documentaries on times past and I love to visit places like museums or National Trust displays. I find it fascinating. To have researched a great deal about a couple of our states pioneers and then to hold their hand written note books in my hand, to see the elegantly flowing ink from the 1800s slanted perfectly across the page. To read the words of a man's memoir (the draft copy no less - including pencilled in changes) was brilliant. When I finally returned the material to the archivist and left the library to find my wife, I couldn't stop talking about it.

In that hour, I had four pages of hand written notes. I've filled in all sorts of blanks I had in my story and my knowledge on the era. In fact I learnt so much that I knew I had to rewrite chapter three immediately because it was wrong. Not completely wrong but it was definitely drifting toward historical blunders.

I'll let the new version sit for a day or two and then reread it to make sure I got it all. It needs to be right to allow me to move onto another point of conflict in chapter four.

All in all, it was a good research day today. Another up on the writing roller coaster.

I hope things are going well with you. Do any of you write historical fiction? Have you got any research tips I should know about? Want to share with the rest of us?

I write this blog as a kind of journal for what I'm doing and the writing process I'm undertaking, particularly my progress through my Diploma. I try to impart any gems of information I find along the way. Do any of you write a blog for similar reasons? I'd be happy to host a link to your blog if you do. Hell, I'd be happy to add it to my feed list if you do, because I want to learn more about all the journeys writers are taking in learning the craft.

Talk to me, let me know.

Good luck with your writing.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Research Trip Bomb

It seems I didn't plan things too well.

On reading the finer details, you know, little things like the opening times, it seems my plan to visit one of my story's sites was a little wrong. Who would have thought that a bustling tourist destination would have it's historical information building closed Saturday, Sunday and Monday! Never having been a tourist, I didn't know the rare species only visited designated tourist spots during the week.

So we didn't end up going. Instead we diverted to rummage through some book stores looking for old tomes to gleam some much needed personal information from the times. Result, nothing! Well, not quite nothing. It's true I didn't buy a single book and became very disheartened as time went on but it has germinated a new idea. I think I will have to move my time frame forward a little. Currently my story is set in the late 1830s but very little detail has been written about the time. There are vast sweeping overviews which one would think allow a fictional writer to have his or her head, but the overviews must be extremely liberal with what they claim. Now I'm not saying that the history books are taking a little "poetic" license but some of the claims of what the original pioneers had or were able to purchase once here, seem a little "out there" would be a kind way of putting it.

I need to settle my mind on a couple of questions which should be possible once I gain entrance to the historical trust site on location. Tomorrow, I'm spending time in the State Library to see if I can uncover more there. We'll see.

It may seem like I'm pandering and allowing myself to be bogged down in minor details. I don't think so. If I get the flavour wrong, or the setting in one or two of the major settings, it could ruin the whole book. Should a story be able to stand on its own anyway? One should hope so, but I'm not writing a story that could be set anywhere in an imaginary universe, this is set at a specific time and in a specific place. If I propose a hotel existed in a place and find out later that there wasn't one there till 15 years later, then I won't be happy. I'd like this book to have wide appeal when done but I'm realistic to know that its possibly biggest audience will be the folk who live in these places. Some of them are big historians, one of them gave me this idea to begin with. If they start saying how many things are wrong with it, then the bad publicity could ruin things before they begin.

On another bad note: Dark Rose has been rejected again. This one piece seems to be bouncing in and out quicker than any other story. Should I use the old three strikes and you're out philosophy? I'm not sure.

I think I'll print it out and sit down for a good read through before making any further decisions.

Story title: Dark Rose
Market: The Edge of Propinquity
Status: Rejected
Comments: "Thank you for submitting "Dark Rose" to The Edge of Propinquity webzine. I am sorry but this story does not meet our needs at this time."

This is a form rejection sent personally, but I'm worried because I thought this story had all the elements they were looking for. I'm beginning to think parts of it come across as contrived. I think that because I was trying to listen to well meant advice from TPN members. I think I may have gone too far. It may have pleased them but I'm not sure it pleased me.

Next step: The above comments are why I'll now print this out and read through it a few times with different hats on. I may try a couple of beta readers who have asked to read some of my work in the past.

I've written a request to the administration of my diploma asking for a please explain in regards to my grades for semester one. From all the investigations I've done, I think I should have gained 2 Credits instead of the Credit and Pass marks I did gain. We'll see what they say.

No writing and no reading accomplished this weekend which is disappointing. No word on Issue #2 of SA50s+ either, which should have been out for close to a week by now.

I've been asked to help another writer out with short piece they're working on. I've already given them a huge amount of feedback on it so it'll be interesting to see where that goes from here.

So I've printed my story. Time to cast a really critical eye over it and see if I can pin down what's causing it to bounce.

Good luck with your submissions.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Been Slow

You don't know how much you use the Internet until you are restricted or lose access all together.

We are trying to limit our access at home at the moment due to a miscalculation that has made us run over our monthly limit. It can become very expensive if we use too much over the allocation. So I've been trying to do my blogging and research during breaks at work. Today, our Internet connection went down at work.

On the positive side, I got stuck into some work I'd been putting off or waiting for others to do. I even did some work my junior was supposed to do as part of his learning but he has been a little on the slow side. So now I've cut the next weeks work requirements almost in half.

But writing has been very slow this week and research for my articles has been non-existent.

Tomorrow we're going on a research trip so that will be fun except it is supposed to be colder than a polar bears esky. (Esky: An Aussie name for a drinks cooler).

Still, the time of year coincides with my story so the weather should be inspiring.

A friend lent me Stephen King's Thinner to watch which I'm hoping will be good to watch. I've read no reviews so I'm going into this one with an open mind.

I'm investigating my grading for Module 2 in Semester 1. By my reckoning I gained 5 grades of B- or better and 3 C's. According to the assessment guidelines, that equals a Credit pass. I recently received my official grading which gave me a standard pass. As Mr Stone has said to me in the past, a pass is a pass, but that's not the point when I should have gotten a Credit. Maybe I marked off the grades incorrectly but I don't think so. I'll be carefully going through them tonight.

Have a great weekend and stay warm if you happen to be anywhere near here.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Downward Spirals Increasing

No rejections today, well there weren't any this morning when I checked my email. Wouldn't surprise me if there was a bunch of them when I get home. Life's just been like that today.

Nothing worse than low points in the writing cycle. They can come and go in an instant, the down time quickly dispersed by an acceptance or a new project or simply from encouragement from the right quarters--no I'm not fishing.

That cycle can last a while though if nothing pops up to break it. Add stress on the personal and job fronts, and life is pretty much on a downward trend all round right now.

I could be writing this just because I'm a little miffed with some people at the moment, but writing helps me relax and can make me focus so it's a good thing.

My eldest daughter has issues which is causing friction between my wife and I; my mother has issues which will be causing friction between her neighbour and I; and work is simply not being done by my junior colleague which speaks of its own friction. Today is payday and the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) decided to eat some of my money. So now there may be friction between me and the bank if they don't reimburse me. Been a wonderful day!

I edited the first scene of Wamphyri last night and I don't know if I like it. It doesn't quite read the way I see it in my head, which is disappointing. I think I'll have to write it out again from scratch.

I'm going to do another research trip this weekend. Hopefully that will be the impetus I need to move forward from my current holding station of a single scene from the end of chapter 3.

I could possibly gain enough information this weekend to get me over the humps of chapters 3, 4 & possibly 5. 6-14 were written in my head a long time ago. Then I should be able to write another bunch of chapters for the intertwining part of the story. A spell of editing to put them together and up to TPN and The Teacher it shall go. Fingers crossed, I'll be able to use it for my elective module for next year as well.

Okay, I feel a better now I've vented a little to mainly faceless individuals who flock to read my ramblings--that means you :)

Here's hoping everything is warm and sunny in your part of the world and in your writing.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Rejection Pile Grows Further

Not a great day. I've had an upset stomach for the majority of the day which has laid me low. Too much moving around only stirred things up. So I spent the day watching a favourite series on the DVD player.

When I finally got around to checking my email I found a rejection.

Story title: Dark Rose
Market: Necrology
Status: Rejected

Comments: "While we found your work interesting, we receive far more submissions then we are able to publish. We are declining your submission; however we would like to see further submissions for you in the coming future."

An earlier comment from the same market for a different story: "Your work is interesting, but we did not feel it fit our current needs. We would like to see further submissions from you in the coming future."

Result: Although it sounds encouraging, the rejection letter is nothing more than a form rejection.

Next step: As there has been no real feedback and I still like the story, I've submitted it to a new market. It now awaits judgement at The Edge of Propinquity. If at first you don't succeed, keep sending your work out to new markets. Remember - there is a market for everything.

Good luck with your submissions


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Catching up

I've knocked off another critique for another member of TPN. I'm pretty sure I've won no friends with this crit.

It was honest, which was to say the work presented wasn't the best although I'm aware the author is capable of better. I pointed out the short falls in plot and logic and made suggestions on possible improvements.

Let's hope I haven't offended the member with my critique.

It must always be remembered that writers groups come together, or should come together, in a mutual understanding of trying to help each other learn and grow in the use of the craft. It is not a forum for building egos. If you desperately want people to say only nice things about your work all the time, then joining a serious crit group is not the place for you.


This is scary. Here I am having completed this post and figured I'd go read some of my preferred feeds. I've gone through a few of them and hit on this post from J A Konrath over at A Newbie's Guide To Publishing. It's all about the giving and receiving of advice. Is this a case of brilliant minds or fools never differ????


I try to help my crit group members grow. I also try to help Amy, aka The Teacher, to grow. I have received feedback over time that I am pretty good with helping writers improve their work. Not all my suggestions are taken up each time and sometimes I can see why and others, it's the authors choice. But overall, my views shed new light onto a piece that the author may not have been able to see or hadn't considered. I'm fairly proud of my ability to judge another person's work and my efforts at trying to help them improve it.

If only I could look at my own work so critically. I'm guessing it will come eventually. Just need to keep working it at. Writers will always need others to look at their work before market submission. Whether that's beta readers, a critique group or a trusted colleague, is up to you and dependent upon what level your writing is at.

Even Stephen King still has people he trusts the opinion of read his manuscripts before sending them to his editors.

Learn -> practise -> implement -> feedback -> grow. Rinse and repeat.

Above all else, keep writing.

Good Luck

Monday, July 21, 2008

First Time

First time I've been behind on my doing critiques for my writing group ;)

There has been a sudden surge of work from fellow members. Five items waiting for me to critique. It looked kind of bad on the participation page with a blank column under my name apart from a n/a against my own submission. So I made a mends. Today I critiqued three of them and read the other two. Now I've checked back and find another one has been added. Three down and three to go.

Got some more of Clive Barker's "Books of Blood Volumes 1-3" read tonight. It's taking me forever to get through it as I keep sidetracking myself. It's a great book.

I've finished reading Black from cover to cover and need to finish the review.

I also need to seriously start drafting up my articles for the next issue of SA50s+. I finished another assignment but I'm still waiting for the last issue of SA50s+ so I can clip my article from it to send into my lecturer.

I need to update the markets page with stuff from the UK market guide and I need to start on the competitions page.

I found out on my return to work, that very little of what I asked to be done actually happened. So I wrote up a list similar to the one I've just done in the paragraphs above only this time it is for my real job, not writing. Unfortunately it's nearly five times as long.

Time to get stuck in tomorrow and get work back on an even keel.

So lots to do and still nobody has added the extra time I need in a day. If someone does invent a time machine, I'll have to buy shares in the company.

No answers on market submissions today and no time to work anymore tonight.

I'll speak to you tomorrow.

All the best


Sunday, July 20, 2008

My Limit

Unfortunately my family has found the limit of my Internet broadband allowance. This in itself is amazing as it's pretty big but a little unchecked downloading and bang--she's all over. This means I'm going to have to do a lot of what I currently do at home, during my lunch breaks at work or during other down times until the 6th of August when my limit returns to normal.

This has resulted in me having a couple of strange days of little or no work on the 'Net.

Today I've used the time to carefully read through the entire Issue 1 of Black magazine. There is some really good stuff in it. There is some stuff not exactly up my alley and some great fiction. Pretty much what you'd expect from a magazine about all of Australian dark culture, not just horror writing. I'm in the process of writing up a review of it all which will be published on my website. I was going to publish it on HorrorScope but I think it'll be too big to fit into the 1000 word limit and it's not going to be 100% complimentary. It's missing some bits that it should have had in regards to the features contained and there are some unnecessary typos which should have been found in the editing process - Stephen King's first name is not spelled with an "8".

But regardless of the small short falls, it is a brilliant first issue. The features are informative and the fiction is riveting. The reviews are interesting although they tend toward the positive in many instances--they can't all be good, can they? I'll post a link to the full review when I'm done with it.

The UK version of Writer's Marketplace arrived yesterday. 10 days or so after ordering from the UK--can't really complain about that. It has also alerted me to a new resource all writers need to be aware of. The Writers Market Website is a free to register, searchable market database. For Australian writers, and others with similar currency exchange rates, this could be a very lucrative find. I advise everyone to go and register and use it in their search for suitable markets. I'll be combing through it soon to add all the horror markets of note and in my competition page that I'll be working on soon.

Back to work tomorrow. Back to my real job that is. Not really looking forward to it. I've been there now for 8 years and 3 months. Still 21 months to go before I'm eligible for long service leave. That's three months of paid leave which I'd be using to find a new job or to write or both.

By the time it comes up, I'll also be halfway through my diploma, so I should have an idea if I have a real future in this industry. I'd like to think so but until I start to gain some real success, opinion's still out.

Time I got back to reading. I'll be posting future updates from work until my Internet access returns to normal in August.

Speak to you tomorrow.

Nothing but good thoughts from me to you in regards to your writing endeavours.


Friday, July 18, 2008

And Then Paranoia Set In

I'm not going to close this post till I've finished all my blog reading. This is the third blog in a row I've read that is offering advice, and good advice to new writers. Pub Rants happens to be one of my favourite blogs for a few reasons:

1. Gives great advice to writers
2. Is advice given from a successful, practicing agent
3. Kristen blogs often and regularly

Like I've already mentioned tonight, I'm behind on my reading so in the case of Pub Rants (short for Publishing Rants) I've missed a few posts because she blogs so often. This week she has been listing a whole heap of advice on do's and don'ts. Go read...

Here's another article (I found through Speakeasy) that you should read.

Here's a site dedicated to saving the short story - something close to all our hearts. Again this was found through Speakeasy, my second favourite blog to visit and read. And I agree, time we set up something like this in Australia.

Okay, I've caught up on my online reading and have no further blogs to point you to. This will be five posts in a single day. Definitely don't get used to this much activity.

Tomorrow is my rest day and Sunday I have to finish a review of Black magazine I started today. I've also got to do a few critiques for TPN members. I've posted the first half of the latest version of Grimoire onto the group. I don't think many will like it but I'm pretty happy with it. We'll see if they pickup anything I've missed.

That's it from me for today.

Speak to you next week.


Murder by 4

Must be the night every blogger out there that has anything to do with writing has decided to offer advice.

Here's another piece of good advice.

Seems strange but probably obvious. All these sages comment on "When I first started I hungrily gathered all the knowledge I could..."

Now that just sounds like someone is reading off of my life memoirs. I'm sure it sounds just like yours too. But the thing is, all writers start at the same point--wanting to write. Some have different tools when they begin, some gain additional tools quicker than others, some may stubbornly refuse to try new tools believing their method will one day be recognised as the best. In the end most, definitely not all, will end up with very similar tools and all of those will be able to churn out stories that are can sell. None will be the same. Similar, maybe, but never the same. New writers just need to persevere and work hard at growing in the craft. We will all get there one day.

It may not be the destination with multiple zeros attached to the check, but then you're doing it for the wrong reason anyway if that's what you're after.

Back to reading.

Another Blog Article Writers Should Read

I've finally found a bit of time to catch up on my feed reading. I've posted comments on the first blog I read because Felicity deserved the praise and encouragement. Second feed on my list is A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, an excellent resource for writers of any genre. This post in particular is very much worth the read. If you have the time, read the comments as well. There are a few of them but many of them add to the article.

Back to my reading.

Review: Infected

I've posted my long version review of Scott Sigler's Infected on HorrorScope.

Go here to see what I thought. A shorter version was published in Black, Australia's magazine on dark culture.

If you haven't brought a copy of the mag, or better yet purchased your subscription, you really should do yourself a favour and treat yourself. It is very good.

Review: AntipodeanSF Issue 122

AntipodeanSF Issue 122 is now available online with an interesting array of short stories for your enjoyment. Among them you will find offerings from a wide range of authors, some first timers stepping into the light of publication, some who have been penning tales for some time and many in between. Sci-Fi and dark fiction are catered for and some truly original ideas from writers who think outside the box. Strangely enough, there are also offerings in here from a few friends and associates which has caused me to hold back from offering a suggested winner to the voting. Congratulations David, Mark & Felicity.


Off the bat you'll find cute and fun limericks about vampires by Jan Napier under the story index. She also reviews Dancing with Werewolves by Carole Nelson Douglas in the "Going Critical" column.

Then we move into the stories.

Firstly 50 worders from Mark McAuliffe & David Kernot. Both very amusing snippet's.

Continuing past the brief interlude of the 50 worders, we find a vast array of flash offerings. Don't forget to vote for your favorite. (I haven't linked to each story as you're better off starting at the story index and working your way through them using the handy "next story" link at the bottom of the page.)

Batting An Eye by Lucy Cohen Schmeidler

An interesting tale of a group of researchers who have gotten their hands on Alan. Alan dreams of transforming into a bat. The dream sequence is very nicely done with plenty of descriptive visuals.

I’m Too Loud by Laura Goodin

Fancy having a partner who is an alien and can hear your thoughts? Not sure I’d be as calm about it as Laura is.

The Long Green Goodbye by David Such

If you’re a private eye hired to investigate a cheating multi-sexual alien partner, be very careful of alluring blonds who may have other agendas. A strangely amusing tale.

Distant Fields by Stephen L. Thompson

A cute little tale of a kid enjoying himself with “online” VR games as his family zoom through the universe. I guess it doesn’t matter when the time is or where the place, a kid must have play-mates to help fill in the time before they go stir crazy.

The Ultimate Weapon by Shaun A. Saunders

What happens when the authorities, the governing bodies, have choked the life out of the population; has turned them into the submissive unthinking drones they originally wanted? Result = panic.

Why do drones require people above them to tell them what to do and what to think; when they don’t think, and they will do what they’ve always been told to do? They don’t. Result = more panic.

Peer Pressure by Mark Smith-Briggs

A vignette of dark proportions. A wonderful exposé on how peers can be a destructive influence on each other.

Windows To The Soul by Felicity Dowker

An enjoyable teasing out of a known phenomenon to become an all encompassing religious ideal that strikes terror into the hearts of those unfortunate enough to be targeted. With everyone at risk, it’s a scary thought that even the hunter could be next.

The Genocidal Villain of Mars by Shaune Lafferty Webb

The wrongly accused killer of the last native species on Mars tells his side of the story. Conglomerate cover-ups, bribes, and intrigue. Seems nothing changes in the future.

I Know by Emma Goninon

Ever wondered what it was like from the werewolf’s point of view. According to Emma, it’s very confusing but easily fixed.

Fate of Rulers by Nicole R. Murphy

Anyone or anything can rule the world, it all depends on your point of view. Of course if you only have a limited understanding of your surroundings and a very small stature then that point of view is likely to be challenged as soon as someone or something bigger than you comes along, as is very aptly pointed out in Nicole’s little tale.

Dinner Party Conversation by S.A. Harris

An interesting take on what the creator thinks of the diversification of humankind and the beliefs they hold. If nothing else, the dinner party depicted would be an interesting one to attend, at least until the big guy showed up and wrecked everyone’s evening. I’m guessing they shouldn’t have eaten the fish.

To finish off: Nuke has posted a note to request authors no longer send multiple submissions into AntipodeanSF. He's managed to fill the publishing schedule for the remainder of this year due to the amount of brilliant efforts he's receiving and so has implemented a fairness policy in an effort to have a wider range of authors represented in the future. Please respect this new rule. One submission at a time. Nuke has also posted a review of "The Red Wolf Conspiracy" by Robert V.S. Redick in the feature section.

Another great issue of the culturally significant publication.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Newland Chapter 3

I've been studiously banging away at the keyboard, working at chapter 3. It's been a little bit of a struggle as the holes in my research begin to surface. I've managed to get my family from the boat to the shore and they have just stepped onto the main thoroughfare of the colonial harbour but I researched the family's next port of call, I've done little or no research on their initial docking station.

This is one of the little facts I learned on my research trip--the ships first docked at HoldFast Bay and then the colonists went to different places by other ships or overland. I originally thought the group I was interested in went straight to another bay. So I stand corrected and now need to research the Holdfast Bay area before I can conclude this chapter.

Frustrating. The story in my head happens mainly in the second setting and I haven't got there yet. This isn't to say I'm filling the first few chapters with padding or drivel, They allow me to setup some back story and place a few interesting shadowing clues to keep the reader turning the pages. It's coming out alright at the moment. I just need to do more research which I'm gathering is the bane of historical fiction writers. Imagine getting it all correct and then having to change a few things to a) make it fictional and b) make it dark.

The other difficult part of this book is the second half. I can't write it till I've finished the first half. "Well, duh!" I hear you all cry. Let me explain what I mean. The first part I'm writing happens in or around the mid 1800s. The second part happens over 150 years latter. The two will intertwine to create the full story. I'm working on chapter three at the moment but when done it will actually be chapter five. Chapter one will be in the past, chapter two will be in the near future, chapter three will be in the past, chapter four - near future, etc, etc.

Does that make sense? I need to write the old bit first so it then becomes easier to pick out what needs to be in the future, or at least I'd find it easier that way. I also imagine the second bit will be easier to write with research much easy to do.

So that's it for me on chapter 3 for today. 1400+ words and only a final confrontation scene to write but I'm unable to due to a hole in my research on the setting. I need to be able to see it in my minds eye and if the place I'm thinking of doesn't actually exist in the time frame I'm working in, then it blows my authenticity to all hell and back.

Time to do a lot more reading.

Speak to you later.


Semester 2 Module 2 Assignment 2

I'm thinking I'll have to play number 2 in my lotto this week. The amount of times it has appeared in my blogging recently has been very noticeable.

Anyway--I've completed the 2nd assignment for Writing Articles for Publication. Unfortunately, this needs to be held back along with the first assignment for this module until I gain my copy of issue 2 of SA50s+. That issue should hit the streets hopefully on the 21st of this month. I should then be able to send these two assignments, and probably number three, along to my lecturer with the requested clips from my published articles. A little frustrating that I have to wait but at least I'm not really behind (unless I have to resubmit).

I now have the rest of the day to work on chapter 3 of Newlands. I would also like very much to work on Wamphyri. I've let this short sit for some time now which has shown a great deal of will power on my part. I have an itching to do assignments 4 & 5 for module 1, just so I'm closer to the areas that allow me to work specifically on the short story.

Perhaps I'll just read some more of the course book to see what it has in store. I also need to read more of Clive Barkers Books of Blood which I haven't touched in nearly a week and I'm stuck partway through chapter VI of an old period romance that I'm reading as research for Newland. It was originally written not long after the period in which I'm setting my story and contains a great amount of detail about the environment at the time of my story. But writing by part-timers back then (pre-1900) is a long way short of writing by anybody who actually sells a book today. Even the bad books found on the shelves today don't quite carry on the way this one tends to.

Time to get to work. I've only got today and tomorrow left of my enforced leave and I haven't really got as much work done as I would have liked. Let's see if we can rectify that a little.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Three posts in one day

Don't get used to it.

I've just finished chapter 2 of Newland. At around 2000 words a chapter, it's coming along nicely.
Marty Young seems happy with the market stuff I've sent him and I'll start on a new list for competitions over the next few days (maybe next week).
Now I've got some time to blog about my research trip.
Victor Harbor
On Monday the 14th (Bastille Day), my wife and youngest child accompanied me to a local coastal restort town called Victor Harbor.
We live a little north of Adelaide, pretty close to here ----->

Victor Harbor is located almost directly south of this point at the very bottom of this very small map. A round trip of over 200km if we include the driving I did while in Victor itself.

So we set out at a respectable mid morning time, determined to take a leisurely drive to avoid gaining any more speeding fines. Paying $500 in the last few months is more than enough to make me slow down.

We arrived safe and sound.

The weather was a little on the cold side with passing showers in the area but as my story also began in July, some 160 plus years earlier, so I thought it good to get an idea of the prevailing conditions. I had a number of things on my to do list. Unfortunately we had no idea where the local library was and the National Trust Museum was closed at the time of arrival.

So we went for a slow walk across to Granite Island. As we crossed the causeway, the South-South-Westerly picked up. This wind comes straight off the Great Southern Ocean from Antarctica so you can imagine the icy fingers it trailed across any forgotten piece of bare skin. Luckily we had big coats on and managed to stay relatively warm.

The island is exactly the same as I remember it from previous excursions. We wandered through the kiosk and tourist shop but the prices were pretty steep so we didn't buy anything. We set out for our trek around the Kaiki Trail--the trail that allows passage around the perimeter of the island without disturbing the natural wildlife. The first section is a huge stairway made from old hardwood and likely to last longer against the ever-present wind and salt spray than I would.

After scaling this solid stairway, we are led out onto a shale path along the south eastern or windward side of the island. In most places there is little to protect you from the full force of the icy gales but looking down on the huge granite boulders that give the island it's name is a spectacular sight.

That's my wife and youngest you can see peering out from the lookout point.

The foliage is very hardy native types with a permanent lean away from the wind. Two types of lichen grow on the island. Lichen is a fungus/algae mix which is normally found spreading over rocks in highly salty areas. On granite Island though, you have a bright yellow type predominantly on the leeward or North-north-westerly side of the island and a vivid orange coloured variety on the colder more wind blown windward side.

Huge rock formations take on weird shapes as the wind and water wear away the softer parts, leaving the age old granite to stand isolated against Mother Natures unstoppable forces. The orange on the rocks above is the lichen discussed earlier, not local teenagers going nuts with spray cans of paint.

After spending a couple of hours wandering all over the island and giving the calf and back muscles a good work out, we decided to catch the horse drawn tram back to the mainland. At a very slow and steady pace, a single horse (a Clydesdale) pulled us and a tram full of tourists, local adults and all the accompanying children, back to the slightly warmer mainland.

Then it was off to lunch in one of the local pubs for a reasonable fee. I can't cast glowing phrases around about the quality of the food because it wasn't that great. Mine was slightly over done, the wife's wasn't particularly tasty and the little one only ate the chips. The cold beer was refreshing.

We then moved into the national Trust Museum where my camera started to play up. I managed a couple of shots depicting period dress at the time and some background information but that was about it for the photo-journalism part of the trip. It was also here we stumbled across a stack of SA50s+ issue 1. Rightly so, our distributor believes our target demographic of "baby boomers" would frequent such places. On the back page in all its glory was my first article. It took a bit of will power not to point it out to the people behind the counter accepting admission money--but I managed.

It began raining a little heavier and a little more often so we went to the library (after gaining directions) for some book type research. The local book store has an impressive range of period history tomes but not a lot of personal day-to-day type stuff that I needed. Still I did gleam a few facts that were important for authenticity so it wasn't a total loss.

By now the rain had set in and night was coming on early and fast. We took a casual drive home and arrived in the early part of the evening, all very tired but happy at having a nice day out at Victor.

Interesting Article

This is an old article but I found it to be a very good read and still highly valuable today:

Are Aussie short story writers an endangered species?

I have emailed the editors and asked if I would be able to host the article on my website.

Have a read.


Rejections Aplenty

And so they start rolling in.

I've added a new widget to the sidebar titled "Rejections V Acceptances" to show a running tally. It's not very inspirational reading at the moment. Especially when you consider I sold three of the first five pieces I wrote. My hit frequency has declined dramatically although the rejections are becoming nicer.

I also figured I'd start sharing the comments from the rejection slips. So here goes:

Story title: Winged Shepherd of Innocence
Market: Mindflights
Status: Rejected

"To me this had more of a horror feel than a scifi/fantasy feel. I think it might be a better fit for Fear and Trembling."

Next step: Needless to say I'll be doing a couple of suggested edits and resubmitting to Fear and Trembling, Mindflights sister mag. (This piece has now been resubmitted)

Story title: Senses End
Market: Necrotic Tissue
Status: Rejected

"You have written a very nicely dark death scene, unfortunately, we are looking more story development vs a single scene. We hope you find a market for your writing. Good luck, break a lead."

Next step: This piece is only a drabble, i.e. 100 words long, so markets are difficult to find. I think this one will go back on hold till something else crops up.

So there you have rejections number 31 & 32. Winged Shepherd will go straight back out the door once the small edits have been made that were suggested by the editor that I believe will make the piece more marketable.

Listen to what editors suggest but don't sell your soul to them. Consider their suggestions, if reasonable then go ahead with them, if you think it alters your work to a level you're not happy with, try a different market. If a number of editors/readers/crit group members are saying similar things - it is time to listen and make the suggested changes.

Good luck with your submissions.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Post 200 and more market news

Welcome to my 200th post on Musings of An Aussie Writer (the blog). We've covered a huge amount of territory since August 2007. Hopefully those of you who visit here regular have managed to find something useful in my ramblings.

The market list has been completed. I've compiled 50 dark specific markets and 50 SpecFic markets that accept scratchings from the dark side. I've sent the list off to the President of AHWA, Mr Marty Young for his consideration. We'll see what happens from there.

I've also altered the list into my own submission pathway. If you go here, you'll find the intro page to submissions. You will find a list of market databases you can browse for free. Some of these are very extensive. I tend to use Ralan's Webstravaganza and Duotrope's Digest mainly but there are plenty to recommend for the others. From my intro submission page you will be able to access my submission pathway list (the link is at the bottom). This is tailored in two ways:

1) The list only contains markets that accept dark fiction. You will see it is divided into specifically dark markets and markets that accept dark fiction as well as the standard SpecFic fare. It is further divided by pay scales.

2) Only markets that accept email submissions are listed. Two reasons for this exist. I see no reason for cutting down additional trees when the majority of submissions gain rejections (hard fact of the industry) and it costs an arm and a leg to send things around the world from Australia. It means a few professional markets have been omitted--so be it. If I ever get to the point where I'm a household name, they can contact me for a submission.

Feel free to use my submissions path if you so wish. I suggest there is two ways it can be of use (lots of twos in this blog):

Submit your masterpieces using the top down approach. Send them to all the top paying markets that also allow you to submit it to other places at the same time (Simultaneous Submissions). This will allow you to send to multiple markets all at once and give you a chance to receive top dollar for your work. However these markets are very competitive and new writers find them very hard to get into.

The other option is to start at the bottom. Send your work out to the exposure paying markets first; build up a bio full of publishing credits. I suggest only one or two per low/exposure paying market. You should always be aiming to move up.

Once you get to the flat payment markets, you'll find there are a number of highly reputable ones that you will want to add to your bio. If you get that far, I strongly suggest you start submitting from the top down.

Another reason I've included a list of market databases is because of anthology submission calls. I have no intention of trying to keep up with them, when Ralan and Duotrope already do an outstanding job. Anthology and competition guidelines and themes can give excellent prompts for new stories--don't ignore them. They will give you inspiration for all sorts of new pieces, which you can decide on later if you want to submit to the market that spawned it originally. I've written many stories from this source of inspiration and ended up sending them to all sorts of markets.

At this point in time, I was going to begin blogging about my research trip yesterday. I've been to the post office and posted off my assignments, and I've finished the market work for the time being. I'm now sitting down to lunch but it's already 3:30 in the afternoon and I haven't started any fictional writing yet!

I'll blog on the research trip as soon as I can but for now I want to get some real work done.

I hope you find the market list useful. Let me know if you do and let me know if there are any broken links or additions you'd like to see.

Good luck with your submissions.


Monday, July 14, 2008


That's Australian for "Hell of a weekend" - I am totally knacked and in desperate need of shut eye (Aussie for "very tired and need sleep").

When did I last blog and what did I blog about? Talk amongst yourselves while I quickly refresh my memory...Ah yes. The diplomas still haven't gone out. We got up way too early to be thinking coherently this morning and rushed out without them. I'll have them in the mail tomorrow.

Today my better half and my youngest child accompanied me on a research trip. 235km round trip to a little seaside town called Victor Harbor. I'll do a writeup of the trip tomorrow. We walked all over the local island called Granite Island which is a fair walk--especially when we contended with a strong south-south-westerly blowing in off the Great Southern Ocean. It was cold, windy and great fun. I took a heap of photos (some I'll post tomorrow) and we spent some quality time touring through the local museum (where I found copies of the first issue of SA50s+ - unbelievable buzz to see my article on the back page, out in public, for all the world to see).

We then spent some considerable time in the local library which has a good reference section on local history. I confirmed a lot of what I'd already read and interestingly found discrepancies between some of the "facts" I'd read about in other sources. Even history can be vague it seems so me adding some fiction into a real setting but using fictitious characters shouldn't be too hard. Unfortunately we didn't get to all the sites I wanted to and we didn't find answers to all my questions. Some I'm guessing will have to be improvised by me but some will just take additional digging.

The main major questions I had were answered though so the writing can continue and I found out some important facts that need to be added to the first chapter to keep the authenticity.

Tomorrow my plan is to eat breakfast, feed the dog, shower and dress--too much information?? I will then proceed to the post office and send off the assignments. On returning I will finish the market work I've been doing by finding the last four markets required and filling in any missing bits of information. Then I shall blog about today's research trip in more detail and with photos.

Then lunch.

Then writing while the washing is on.

Hopefully it will be a very industrious day.

At some stage the mail will arrive and with it, hopefully some of market books I've ordered and my copy of Black magazine. My sister works in a newsagent so I already have one copy so I've done a quick skim through and the mag is brilliant. I strongly suggest you go out and buy it if you live in Australia or subscribe and have it sent to you if you live anywhere else.

Also hopefully tomorrow, my inbox will fill with offers to buy my work. Have to keep thinking positively.

That's it for me for now. I'm exhausted and need to get some rest.

Good luck with everything you do.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Assignments Done

Semester 2 is off with a bang.

For the remainder of this year, I'm doing "Writing Fiction 1 (The short story)" which will now be referred to as Module 1, and "Writing Articles for Publication 1", now to be called Module 2.

Tonight I've knocked off the first three assignments in Module 1 and the first assignment in Module 2. All assignments will go out the door for Module 1 on Tuesday. Monday I have a research trip planned so I won't have time. The first assignment isn't due till the week after next at the earliest, I think. The new lecturer Mr John Griffin should be in for a surprise when first day on the job, he receives the first three assignments from me. Of course, if I'm going down the wrong street, then I'll be behind by a long way as I resubmit them all - positive thinking required here--I won't be resubmitting!

I can't post assignment 1 for Module 2 yet. My old favourite lecturer Mr Jonathon Stone is running this module and has requested I send in copies of my articles for SA50s+ to show the class. Somewhat embarrassing being held up as an example but I can't really say no. Last thing I want is to put him fully offside. We have enough "misunderstandings" as it is.

Speaking of articles: I was under the incorrect assumption that issue #2 of SA50s+ would be already on the streets by now. Apparently not as an email tonight from my overworked and underpaid editor has revealed. Still another 10 days till release. The assignment is due end of the first week in August so I still have time. I'll probably have a few more to go with it by the as well. On top of all that, the editor has given me the green light to do an additional two articles for the next issue.

I did the full back page in the first issue - the only staff member to gain a full page without any advertising. This next issue will have an editorial on the front page by me. The third issue will have three articles by me. Now if I could only find a paying gig like this???

The green light to do the additional articles also means it will work with Module 2. I can actually create the articles as I do the assignments and know they are going to be accepted into a real market. Life is good.

Now if I can just make a fiction sale, life would be brilliant.

I hope things are going as well for you in your writing.

Speak to you later.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Market News

Tonight I worked on the market lists as promised. I need to get 50 markets solely targeted at horror/dark fiction and a similar amount of SpecFic markets that include acceptances of horror/dark fiction.

It's way past my normal cut off time and I've come to the end of my current research tools. I have 48 of each market. The SpecFic markets will be easy to get to 50. Choosing the correct markets to make the horror/dark fiction side up to 50 is another story and I'm too tired to worry about it now.

I promised to do some reading tonight and never got there--again :( I did however increase the pile of books I have waiting for me. I purchased two books to help me with research on Newland and my sister gave me 4 new horror titles including two recent Stephen King books.

I spoke with the tax agent and gained some valuable insight into what I can and can't do as a professional writer. First things first - tomorrow I'll be applying for an ABN. If you're an Australian based writer and you send work into the markets hoping for a sale, you really should do this and you really should talk with a tax agent on what you can and can't claim. At the moment, I've been told to keep all my receipts over the next 12 months and just present them in total to her. My tax agent will then go through the lot on exactly what I can and can't claim. There's a surprising amount you can.

Right, that's it from me for tonight--time for bed.

Good luck with every word you write and every baby you submit.


Another Piece In Place

Okay, TPN has been organised. I've had a chat with the moderator and organised how I am to proceed. Some work was never posted for the "final" time as promised - my memory again, so I'll be working my way through that. By the time the four or so stories cycle through at one a fortnight, then I should have a first draft of “Wamphyri” ready for them to have a look at--maybe even a chapter or two of Newland I'm ready to share.

This is good. It's also important to be up front with people and organisations you're involved with. A little bit of honest communication saves so much angst in the long run. Of course, a little bit of "common sense" spread among those we deal with would be nice too, but we can't have everything. I refer to those I work with in my real job here, particularly the management side of it but as long as they keep paying me, what do I care if they can't organise a pissup in a brewery.

Enough impromptu venting...

I have an appointment with a tax agent this afternoon. I'm going to find out about setting myself up as a professional writer and everything I need to know on the taxation side of it. After that, the better half and I will be going to a book collectors shop. They have the three books I want for research purposes for Newlands. $47 but the email cryptically said they didn't have anything classed as a reading copy. I'll be interested to see what that means.

Today I'm going to do a little more work on the market list side of things. I've been a little slack on that for the last few days. And I need to do some more reading.

Speak to you all a little later.

Good luck with your writing.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

More Submissions

I've just sent out two more pieces: Senses End & System Failure.

That concludes the submission of all the pieces of dark fiction I've currently written. Nine pieces out in the marketplace.

Fingers crossed they will all find a home, sooner rather than later.

I'll now be working on Wamphyri and Newland in addition to my other diploma assignments. This will mean I'll have precious little to post on TPN for others to critique as I don't want to pull out some of the other shorts I have sitting around. I've notified the moderator and now await their decision.

I've put three books on hold that will be excellent resources for research into Newland. I'll be looking at purchasing those tomorrow. Very much looking forward to the day trip to do additional research this coming weekend.

Things begin to become a little less hectic and a little more organised. Maybe we can move forward a little more.

Good luck with your writing and with your submissions.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Market Closure

Now that's just annoying.

I was surfing around checking on my submissions and found this. No notification sent to writers who have pieces under consideration, no thanks for thinking of us as a suitable market but we can't cut the mustard so we're going to close the doors and run away. Not even a bunch of form rejections sent out. Just stick up a web page with a doors closed sign over the mantle piece and slip quietly away into cyberspace.

Time to find a new market for Grimoire--again.

I'll let you know what I come up with.

***Update*** - Sent to Aurealis



I've been dithering around with Tigers Eye and trying to let Voodoo write itself. In the background, I've been tidying up my batch of shorts and diligently doing my assignments. I've had very little enjoyment out of my writing in recent memory.

On a post-it note attached to my desk is an idea I've had since Easter. I wasn't sure if it was a short, novella or novel size idea. Tonight I sat down and wrote the first bit out. 1468 words. I'm guessing it's not a short at this point in time. I have half an idea to mix it up between two time lines which would make it two novellas, which tie in together to form the alternating chapters of a novel.

The working title is "Newland" after the historical figure that inspired me and the environment in which it's set. This will be a piece of historical fiction, inspired by true events but not about true events. And it will be dark, at least it will look at the darker side of human nature.

Just for a change (and it's the way it came out), my main character will be a 17 year old girl. As you can imagine, I have a lot of research to do to get somewhere need accurate. Today, I turned up all sorts of useful information. I've also read a lot on the time, the setting and the socio-political eddies of the period.

It's an interesting idea and one I can actually go to the real scene and delve into the history. I can go and do some onsite research to make it that much more authentic, to fold the nuance of the places into my story. How cool is that!

So I've finished the current list of things that have side-tracked me from writing. It's cold, wet and windy outside. What could be more pleasant than spending a few hours reading or writing?

Apart from a sale, but then that's not in my hands.

I may let the first part of Newland sit tomorrow and do my crit work on System Failure. The sooner that's polished, the sooner it goes out the door. Next week i need to start doing final drafts of my assignments and begin sending them off again.

Tonight I'm reading, possibly watching a movie and enjoying some quality time with my wife.

Good luck with your writing


Sunday, July 6, 2008


Been a bit of a struggle recently. On one of those downward slopes of the writing roller coaster. Lack of inspiration and drive. I have a few stories on the go but no desire to work on them.

I've been side tracked with some web design work, fixing a couple of computers for family and watching old horror movies. I sit down at the keyboard just as often, but rarely to simply write.

Tomorrow I need to finish fixing my sister's computer and finish of some other minor things. I'm hoping by Tuesday I can sit down and focus on writing.

Not much else to say. I gained feedback on System Failure from my crit group. All the crits came in a rush. Seems I have a bit of work to do there as well.

I'm up to date on my crits again bar one. I'm struggling to get into the right frame of mind for this one. It's autobiographical and religious. Two things I hate making comments on. I need to don just the editors cap and critique the writing but that isn't my strong point so I'm waiting for others to comment first. I can then see how they approach it. Taking the chicken's way out--you bet!

Well, that's it for tonight. The family went to the video store again tonight to rent some weekly movies for the school holidays. While there I rented Stephen King's "The Mist". I've heard good things about it so I'm going to go watch.

Speak to you tomorrow.

Good luck with your writing.


Friday, July 4, 2008

25 Best Places to Get Published

Here's an interesting list published by Writers Digest (WD). It's mainly for the freelancers out there but if you want to make writing your full time gig then you will need to look into this type of thing at some point while you're waiting for your first million dollar novel contract (we can all dream).

The original article can be found here. For our purposes I'll only list the websites and the methodology WD used to create the list. Have a look and check out the guidelines. Your new career could be an email away.

1. Web site: E-mail: Send complete mss (preferred) or query to editor. Accepts columns and departments (200-500 words). Pays $10/article, on acceptance. Buys electronic rights. Content used in 2 weeks. Guidelines available on Web site. Total points: 80.

2. Millennium Shift e-journal Web site: E-mail: Send complete mss (1,000 words or less) in body of e-mail (no attachments, please) to Ken J. Davies, editor. Accepts features (1,000 words). Pays $15/feature content; $25 monthly award for best piece, on acceptance. Buys nonexclusive electronic rights. Content used in 60 days. Guidelines available at Total points: 79.

3. Web site: E-mail: Send query to Angela Hoy, publisher. Accepts features (600 words) and columns and departments (300 words). Pays $50/feature; $30/column or department, on acceptance. Buys nonexclusive electronic rights. Content used in 1 month. Guidelines available at Total points: 77.

4. Web site: Accepts features (1,000-1,200 words); columns (600-800 words); and travel essays (500 words). Pays $150/feature; $75/column; and $10/approved travel essay, on posting. Buys nonexclusive rights. Content used in 1 month. Guidelines available on the "contribute" page of Web site. Total points: 76.

5. Crescent Blues Web site: E-mail: or Send query (with "submission" or "review" in the subject line) to Jean Marie Ward, editor. Accepts reviews of books, movies, etc. (300-500 words); features (1,500 words); interviews (5,000 words); and columns and departments (1,200 words). Pays 1/2 cent/word, on acceptance. Buys first electronic serial rights. Reviews used 1-2 weeks after contract e-mailed; interviews and other features used in 1 month. Guidelines available on Web site. Total points: 75.5.

5. Women's Enews Web site: E-mail: Send query with resume and clips to Rita Henley Johnson, editor in chief. Accepts features (750 words for daily content; 900 words for cover stories). Pays minimum $300/article, on acceptance. Buys all rights. Content used in 30 days. Guidelines available by e-mail. Total points: 75.5.

7. Myria Media Web site: E-mail: After reviewing submission guidelines at, send query with clips or complete mss (no attachments, please) to Nancy Price and/or Betsy Gartrell-Judd, editors. Accepts features (800-1,000 words); columns and departments (400-800 words); and essays and journals (word count varies). Pays $25-75/feature; $25-45/column or department; and $10/first-person essay and reprints, on acceptance. Buys first-time Internet rights. Content used in 1-3 months. Guidelines available on Web site. Total points: 75.

8. Travelwise Magazine Online Web site: E-mail: or Send complete mss, query or query with clips to Vic Foster, editor. Accepts features, and columns and departments (750-850 words). Pays $25/article, on acceptance. Buys first serial rights. Content used in 2 weeks-2 months. Guidelines available by e-mail and on Web site. Total points: 72.

9. Net Author's E2K Web site: E-mail: Send query in body of e-mail (no attachments, please) to Tricia Gilbert, managing editor. Accepts short stories, literary and/or writing-related essays and poetry. Pays $10/story, essay or poem, on acceptance. Buys right to publish work online for a particular month. Content used in 1-3 months. Guidelines available by e-mail and on Web site. Total points: 71.5.

10. Writing for DOLLARS! Web site: E-mail: Send query to Dan Case, editor. Accepts features (500-1,000 words) and book reviews (300 words). Pays $15-30/feature; $10/reprints; and $5 (plus book)/book review, on acceptance. Buys first electronic rights. Content used in 2-6 months. Guidelines available by e-mail and on Web site. Total points: 71.

11. Web site: E-mail: Send query or complete mss to Moira Allen, editor. Accepts features (1,500 words) and columns (1,000-1,200 words). Pays 5 cents/word/feature; $50/column, on acceptance. Buys 3 months exclusive electronic rights. Content used in 4 months. Guidelines available at Total points: 63.

12. Web site: E-mail: Send complete mss. Accepts features (1,500 words), and columns and departments (1,000 words). Pays $100-400/feature; $75-250/column or department, on acceptance. Buys permanent, nonexclusive electronic rights. Content used in 1-3 months. Guidelines available on Web site. Total points: 61.5.

13. iParenting Media Web site: E-mail: Send query that describes topic and experience to Elisa Ast All, editor in chief. Accepts features (1,000 words); columns and departments (800 words); and quizzes (800 words). Payment varies, on acceptance. Buys all rights, with some exceptions. Content used in a couple of months. Guidelines available on Web site. Total points: 61.

13. Kafenio Web site: http://www.kafeniocom/. E-mail: Send complete mss to Roberta Beach Jacobson, editor. Accepts first-person essays/columns for the Speakers' Table department (600 words). Pays $100, on acceptance. Buys one-time electronic rights. Content used in 2 months. Guidelines available on Web site. Total points: 61.

13. Moxie Magazine Web site: E-mail: Send complete mss (no attachments, please) to Emily Hancock, editor. Accepts features (1,000-2,200 words) and departments (800-1,200 words). Pays $10/feature or department, on posting. Short pieces paid in copy of current print issue. Buys one-time rights. May take a "long time" for content to be used. Guidelines available by e-mail and on Web site. Total points: 61.

13. Orchard Press Mysteries Web site: E-mail: Send query form on Web site. Accepts short stories (2,000-5,000 words) and short-short stories (2,000 words). Pays $25/short story; $10/short-short story, on acceptance. Buys electronic rights. Content used in 4-8 months. Guidelines available on Web site. Total points: 61.

13. Peridot Books Web site: E-mail: Send query with clips (nonfiction) or complete mss (fiction) to Ty Drago, editor. Accepts features (2,000 words) and short stories (1,000-5,000 words). Pays one-half cent/word for features and short stories, on acceptance. Buys first electronic or reprint rights. Content used in 4 months. Guidelines available on Web site. Total points: 61.

18. Inkburns Web site: E-mail: Send query with clips (for material more than 5,000 words) or complete mss (less than 5,000 words) in TXT files, RTF files or in body of e-mail to Cynthia Closkey, editor. Accepts features (500-5,000 words) and poetry. Pays $10/feature or Inkburns shirt (writer's choice), on posting. Buys electronic rights. Content used in 6 months. Guidelines available on Web site. Total points: 58.5.

18. MAMM Magazine Web site: E-mail: mailto:letters@mamm.%09%09%09%09%09com. Send query with clips or complete mss to Elsie Hsieh, associate editor. Accepts news articles (200-250 words). Pays $75/200-word article; $100/250-word article, on acceptance. Buys no rights. Content used in 1-2 weeks. Guidelines available by e-mail. Total points: 58.5.

20. Parenting Today's Teen Web site: E-mail: Send query, query with clips or complete mss to Diana Kathrein, publisher/editor. Accepts features (650-1,000 words); columns and departments (450-750 words); and sidebars/fillers (150-350 words). Pays $10-20/item, on acceptance. Buys first serial and reprint rights. Content used in 1-4 months. Guidelines available at Total points: 57.5.

21. Web site: E-mail: Send complete mss as Word, WordPerfect or RTF attachment to Jonathon M. Sullivan, publisher. Accepts features (3,000-15,000 words) and poetry. Pays $25/feature; $5/poem, on acceptance. Buys electronic rights. Content used in a few months. Guidelines available on Web site. Total points: 57.

22. Conversely Web site: E-mail: Send complete mss to Alejandro Gutierrez, editor. Accepts features (750-2,000 words). Pays $50-150/ feature, on posting. Buys 90-day exclusive electronic rights. Content used in 1-3 months. Guidelines available at Total points: 55.5.

23. The Cafe Irreal Web site: E-mail: Send complete mss in body of e-mail (no attachments, please) to G.S. Evans or Alice Whittenburg, co-editors. Accepts fiction (2,000 words). Pays 1 cent/word, on acceptance. Buys one-time electronic rights. Content used in 6 months. Guidelines available on Web site. Total points: 55.

24. Rainy Day Corner Publishing Web site: E-mail: Send query or complete mss to Linda S. Dupie, owner/editor. Accepts features (750-1,000 words), and columns and departments (750-1,000 words). Pays $10/feature, column or department; $5/reprint, on posting. Buys electronic and archival rights. Content used in 3 months. Guidelines available by e-mail and on Web site. Total points: 53.5.

24. Recursive Angel Web site: Send complete mss for fiction to David Sutherland, managing editor, e-mail:; for poetry to Gene Doty, poetry editor, e-mail:; or Paul Kloppenborg, poetry editor, e-mail: Accepts short stories (1,500 words) and poetry. Pays $15/short story; $10/poem, on posting. Buys electronic rights. Content used in 6-8 weeks. Guidelines available on Web site. Total points: 53.5.


WD surveyed 78 online publications and assigned points to the responses. This year's top place to get published,, scored 80 points. The point-earning categories and their total possible points are:

· Manuscript purchases. 20 points for buying 100 or more manuscripts per year.

· Time of payment. 12 points for payment upon acceptance, 4 points upon posting.

· Rights purchased. 12 points for purchasing electronic rights only, and 6 points for first serial rights.

· Pay rates. 10 points for no less than 50 cents/word.

· Response time. 7 points for considering submissions in one to four weeks.

· Previously published content. 7 points for publishing content by previously unpublished authors.

· Submissions. 5 points for accepting previously published work (print or online) and simultaneous manuscripts and queries.

· Content usage. 5 points for using content within two weeks, and 3 points within one month.

· Kill fees. 5 points for offering kill fees of 50 percent or more.

· Revisions. 5 points for allowing the author to complete revisions.

· Bylines. 5 points for printing writers' bylines.

· Bionotes. 2 points for printing biographical information on the writer.

· Writer's guidelines. 2 points for making guidelines available.

· Expenses. 2 points for paying the expenses of writers working on assignment.

· Rejection. 1 point for sending a personal note.


The bane of a writers existence, outside of actual issues with writing, is finding a suitable market for your lovingly crafted masterpiece, and then getting them to actually buy it once you submit it to them.

I've spent hours trolling through market lists trying to find the perfect fit for a piece, submitting it and then waiting weeks, sometimes months, in one case it was eternal because they didn't bother replying at all. Then, if the inevitable occurs and you gain a rejection, you have to do it all again.

The average wait for a response from a market is 30 days. Most get back to you quicker than that but it is not unheard of for this to stretch out to 60 or 90 days. If each story starts a submission path at the top of a list that contains three pro markets, three semi pro, three lower paying and three token paying markets, and you have to wait a minimum of 30 days for a response from each one before sending to the next, it could take close to a year to make a sale. That's 12 months after you've finished writing it. It could then be another few months to a year before you see it in print and/or gain any money from it.

This is why you should have pieces in the market place all the time and continue to supplement your work with new pieces. If something comes back with a rejection, you need to get it back out there ASAP, preferably with a new partner; a new story you've just finished workshopping and is ready to face the market submission merry-go-round.

Because of these difficulties resources like Ralan and Duotrope are indispensable. The good people there do all the work for you. You only have to browse the lists, and research the markets you choose. Changes in market status are all taken care of.

But I'm interested solely in dark markets. Places that accept horror and all it's sub-genre's specifically. On databases like Duotrope, I can set the search parameters to bring up only those types of markets but there's still a lot of work required to narrow down a submission path, and I have to continually set the parameters and check countries and all sorts of other things to get what I want.

Well for the last two days I've been working on a submissions list of my own that will be hosted on my website so it's available for you to use as well. It's not quite finished yet but it will be soon.

There will be over 50 markets listed that are looking specifically for dark writing submissions. There will be additional markets that accept speculative fiction from all genres. All of them will be paying markets. If you are looking for markets that don't pay, "4theluvof" markets, then check those out at Ralan's website.

I may have another announcement in regards to markets, listings and AHWA soon. Stay tuned.

Happy hunting


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Flown The Nest

I've submitted The Winged Shepherd of Innocence after rewriting the ending. I wasn't going to do it but I started playing with it and it just came out. So it has a somewhat uplifting ending on it now, full of redemption and that type of thing.

Then I started looking around for a market. None of my normal markets fitted. The winged one had changed. I started looking for alternatives. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a good choice of Christian markets. In the end I settled on MindFlights. The Shepherd has been reclassified as speculative fiction although I still think she has a dark heart. We'll see what the editors of MindFlight have to say about it. Apparently they respond in around a month so; at least they're prompt. Payment isn't huge but at this point, I really need a sale so I'm almost willing to take anything.

I've started work a new web page for myself and for you. It's all about markets for dark fiction, including a submissions pathway for a piece of work. The idea is to start at the high end of the market and work your way down, hopefully selling it to a publication somewhere near the top. I started out thinking a path of 20 publications should do it but at this point in time it stands at 17, and I've barely scratched the surface of the semi-pro markets. This could end up being huge.

Obviously not all markets are open to submissions at the same time so that will reduce the number, and I expect you to research the guidelines as you work your way down, which will also make it clear if the market is a good fit or not. So with these things working against us, we need a decent list to begin with. I am also including links to 8 free, searchable market databases. I currently use only two of them but intend on going through all of them. They look impressive in content and the detail provided.

I'm also still working on a suggested reading list for writers of the dark side.

Apart from penning a new ending for the Shepherd and researching a new market for her, I've also gained some comment back on Senses End, a drabble I'm preparing for Necrotic Tissue. looks good. Only a few tweaks needed.

I've done a little bit of the manual background work on Tigers Eye and Voodoo within yWriter4. The program is really very good. Going through Tigers Eye, I'm finding I really wasn't very good at all when I wrote it. It seems I was worse when I tried to do an edit with only a little more knowledge than the first time round. The more I read, the more I think I'm doing the right thing with rewriting it. I'll strip her back to the bare plot points and then fill it in with hopefully much better prose, logic, and overall story telling than is currently in evidence.

I finally received my last two assignments for semester one back. Both only made a C grade. That gives me 5 Bs and 3 Cs for module two equaling another credit. I'd say my first semester in 23 years has been a success with the earning of two passes at the credit level. Excellent.

According to the course schedule, I have until the 23rd of July before I have to begin submitting assignments for the new semester. I've already done the first draft on four of them and outlined my short story requirement. I have two weeks holiday coming up as well. I should be well and truly in front for the remainder of the year.

Still cant work on finishing System Failure in preparation for submission as I still haven't had any comments from my crit group. The participation tracking sheet lists the 7th of this month as due date for critiques. If I get none, then regardless of the shake up of last week, I'm back to where I was, and that's not good.

So currently I have seven pieces in the market place, a number I haven't had since late last year. this time round, they are all much better prepared and much better written. Fingers crossed.

Good luck with your submissions.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Reviews and Reviewing

I've just posted my review of Roman Polanski's "classic" Rosemary's Baby on the review page of my website. If you're a Polanski fan or a lover of the movie, don't bother reading it.

I've also managed to get hold of a heap of old Stephen King films to watch over the coming days and weeks. I'll be looking at reviewing them as well. Watch this space.

I'm reading Clive Barkers "Books of Blood" at the moment. Good stuff. Keep watching for that review too.

Last night I began reviewing Tigers Eye. I've started by transferring it into yWriter to allow me to use some of the tools in there. Right now I'm working through each chapter, noting what characters I have around the place. I've only done 7 chapters before going off to watch Rosemary's Baby with my wife last night. So far I have 1 main character, 4 semi-major characters, 5 or 6 minor characters, and another 15 or so extras. I have 2 other major characters still to come and probably another 6 semi-major characters. I shudder to think what the final count of minor and extras will be.

Once this list has been compiled, I'm going to go through each chapter and detail what I wanted to take place in each scene. Then I'll storybook the whole novel.

Then I'll cut what I don't require, make notes on anything missing, logic inconsistencies, timeline stuff, and then start the rewrite. This will not be a revision. This will be a full rewrite.

But Tigers Eye will take place on the back burner. I'll also be plotting out Voodoo in the same manner.

A couple of shorts and my diploma will be the main focus for the time being. I still haven't received my last two assignments back yet and I've still had no word on any of my submissions. The wait continues...I'm being unfair; it's been nowhere near long enough to start expecting replies yet, and it doesn't really matter.

Tonight, I'll decide on a market for Winged Shepherd and send that out. It's a day late but that's because I was going to send the Shepherd out with System Failure. Unfortunately, System hasn't garnered a single crit from my group. In the last week, participation requirements have been a major talking point and yet, no movement in regards my short. Frustrating is putting it mildly.

I have had two weeks leave granted from work though starting next week, so I'll have sometime to really get stuck into reading and writing and preparations for next semester. I may even fit in a field trip or two for an idea I've had brewing for a while on yet another back burner.

I read a post the other day in a forum that is apt here - I need a bigger stove with more back burners :)

Life goes on. I still have way too much to do and no time to do it.

Writing is great fun isn't it?

Honestly, I still love what I do, I just wish everything didn't take so long to get done.

Enough of this rant, good luck with your writing. I'll speak to you again soon.