Tag Archives: CSSF

Writing Bits: Grants

I’ve just found out I sold a poem, “The Drowning Ones” to ON Spec. I’m not sure when it will be out but I imagine in the next year.

I’ve also been asked to write a skewered fairy tale for an erotic anthology, I believe. I’m waiting for more details at this point and nothing is for sure.

I finally received my study assistance grant from the BC Arts Council. I had applied for this to help defray costs of the Kansas CSSF workshop. It wasn’t as much as I asked for but talking to writer friend Linda DeMeulemeester, she received one on the same day and less than what she’d asked for. I believe with first time appliers they probably do give a smaller amount, testing the waters, you could say. The caveat is to turn in a report on the workshop for which they gave the grant, as well as receipts.

It’s much better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick to have received this (makes me feel like a real writer) and it opens up the possibility of applying for larger grants to take time to write, most likely working part time. I’ll be looking into that in the near future so see if I can get going on the novel.

I also finished a story that came out of being in Kansas. The words “exegesis” and “apocryphal” stuck in my head while there. You have no idea how often writers can use these words. So I have sent a story out on its fledgling flight, titled “Exegesis of the Insecta Apocrypha.” It is indeed a mouthful.

“A Kind Hand,” Which took ten years to finish, was completed in Kansas (I was there for novel writing but some short fiction was written as well.) I’m now trying very hard to get the first draft done of “Awaking Pandora,” even longer in the making and will be a novelette when it’s done. The first was fantasy and the latter will be SF.

I’ve also been ruminating on the novel and think I can now start writing through the chapters on my antagonist. I plan to write his through story first, then go back and write the second antagonist’s through story. Then I’ll go back and write my major viewpoint character and slot them all together. I’m sure there will be enough to iron out. But breaking it down into smaller chunks will make this more doable for me and now that I have a better idea of all the story arcs I think it will be fairly smooth sailing.

Since returning from Kansas I’ve also been writing at least 200 words a day in fiction. A couple of days were major rewrites and I counted those. I hope to keep up writing at least that amount every day.

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My Greatest Science Fiction

Back around grade 10 or 11, I was taking biology and had to do an experiment and write a report. I chose to do something with fish, guppies most likely. Therefore I would get some guppies–we might actually have had some still, and colored lights. I would then test how different colored light affected fish.

Well, I never did buy the lights at all. I did no research, I read no book. But I did submit the experiment. I wrote up a full paper on how the various lights (red, blue, green, yellow) had affected the fish. I can’t remember what I wrote but I talked about how the red light made them sluggish…or maybe it was the yellow, though I think I equate yellow with sunlight and had them more active.

The experiment covered several weeks and in the end, i received a B+ for the paper. Not bad for a piece of science fiction. Not it could be I got away with it because the teacher knew nothing about biology, being the physics teacher, but that’s the point.

I don’t really consider this cheating because I didn’t copy anything from anyone else. I just made it all up. Somehow, this tale came out tonight after we did Mexican with margaritas and came back to the dorm where several people actually worked on stories. I did too. I’m nearly done on the Berchta story. My day for being critiqued is Wednesday.

I know what will be said: my story is very complex. I’ve had to create a society, religions, races, geography, culture, myths and history. It’s not easy but I am looking forward to getting some direction. And I’m still waiting to see if I received a grant or not.

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Kansas: Vignettes

It’s late and the workshop begins in the morning so this will be things I noted along the way, perhaps in order.

I found out that your bra can set off the airport security system. Seriously. I took off all my jewelry (except my rings which never set off the alarms) and I still buzzed the thing twice. They said, something up high is setting it off and when they ran the little wand over me it was the wires and clips on my bra. I bought it on sale but it’s well made.

I sat beside a horse rancher who had fingers the size of breakfast sausages and then some. Several fingers were bent to the side and I didn’t know if that was just from arthritis or from breaking horses all his life. He was a nice guy and we chatted about geography, him showing me the copper mine by the great salt lake (which I certainly wouldn’t have noticed) and talking about how the land had changed and cities come up. We talked about floods in Iowa and about the land flying over. He told me if I talked about sports in Lawrence I couldn’t go wrong as they called it the “sport city.” I guess the college basketball team has won championships.

I’ve flown often enough and never fail to love looking down on the land and seeing its great scape and what tales it tells of time passing. The was the first time I saw a truly awesome alluvial plain. I could see where there had once been a great river, wide and high and lake like in its middle, how it pushed might torrents of water along and through the land, carving out veins that branched and branched, growing ever smaller. The dark lines of those veins and the rivulets, even now long dried out, were still there to tell the tale. It was amazing. Then as the land flattened past the Rockies, there was evidence of a great lake, where the banks were still built up and the water had overflowed, pouring down one side, then eventually shrinking in on itself, smaller and smaller over thousands of years until only a few streams and possibly rivers remain.

We then hit the flat farm fields of Kansas, beautiful in the chequered pattern of greens, golds and browns, quartered and sectioned. Even through the farmlands the evidence of rivers still reveal themselves. Those branches and veins still flow with life-giving water, and trees delineate and embroider the shapes of the rivers. This was one of the best histories of geography that I’ve flown over and I’ve flown into the British Isles, India, the Himalayan foothills, Mexico and Cuba.

Oro, one of the short fiction workshop folk who lives in Kansas City picked me up at the airport and gave me a ride. We got lost at first, going north instead of west. Oro apologized and for the fact his car didn’t have air conditioning but I just said, hey, it’s an adventure. I’ve amazingly looked at all the travel delays with pretty good humor, which is a good thing. In some cases I would get downright bitchy so maybe all that work I’ve been doing on my brain is paying off. I just took everything as part of the whole grand adventure.

The dorms in Lawrence are…well, dorms, but way more spacious than I thought. Rhea and I are sharing a room, which actually turns out to be a room with a wide kitchen space and bathroom in the middle and another room at the other end. If we were college students we would have another buddy in each room but we have the rooms to ourselves and doors to each bedroom. I nearly froze the first day because I hadn’t figured out the esoteric air conditioning.

I’ve met all the workshop people: Lane, Barbara, Jerry, Larry, Stewart, Eric, GS (and Rhea) for the novel portion, and Mannie, Mallory, Eric, Chuck, Kent, Oro, Ben, Robert, Jean, (Carolyn who I met the next day) for the short fiction portion (though I think I’m missing a name). Barbara, Larry and Jerry are doing both. And of course there is Chris, Kij who is teaching the novel portion,and Jim Gunn, saying what they wanted to get out of the workshop. I of course want fame and riches. But seriously, it’s great to brainstorm and get other perspectives and see if there’s something I’m missing in plot.

I drank some homemade limoncello by the novel workshop Eric. Very nice and strong stuff, actually better than the store bought, which doesn’t have enough tang for my tastes. Last night we ate at a Greek restaurant (the only one in Lawrence), which also serves falafel and pasta. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a Greek salad with lettuce in it. They asked me if I wanted the olives and I said yes. I was given a whole two. We then took a walk around a wee park and a wee-er Japanese sort of garden, then meandered along a street of cool shops. Last night was very pleasant and it was great to meet fellow writers tonight where we ended up talking new technologies, conservation, pollution, etc. My brain is happy.

I’ll soon be doing some poetry editing for Chizine so Sandra felt obliged to actually get to my poems before I come on board. She accepted “Trials of Lemons,” a poem about bitter fruit and dragonflies. I’m not yet sure when it will be up.

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Writing News & Kansas

I received my cheque from Shroud magazine this week for my story “Amuse-Bouche,” which means it should be out soon. http://www.shroudmagazine.com/index.html

My cheque also arrived for my story “Strict Management” out in the Cleis Press erotic anthology Open for Business, and the books arrived today. http://www.cleispress.com/index.php

And I also received word today that Maxim Jakubowski has accepted my story “Stocking Stuffers” originally printed in the Cleis Press anthology Naughty or Nice, for the Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 8to be published in 2009. 

Other than that, writing beyond this blog is on hold. For the CSSF novel workshop in Kansas I have had eight other people’s partial novels to read (up to about 50 pages) and critique. I have one and a half more to do and I leave on Friday. http://www2.ku.edu/~sfcenter/campbell-conference.htm The workshop begins next Monday in Lawrence.

The stories cover a wide range with a medieval epic fantasy, an uplift style SF space race story, two near future SF stories with altered humans (but by very different means and reasons), a world with specially empowered people and angels, an alternate history with Hitler, a magical mystery PI story, and a clairvoyant conspiracy with a mystery. My story falls into a pre-industrial medieval fantasy but on a different world with different species and gods. Overall, we have quite a range and everyone’s story is very intriguing so far.

I’m looking forward to my two weeks of being immersed in the creative medium, which ends with the Campbell Conference.

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Writing News

Right now I’m more in reading than writing mode. I’ve accepted another story for Aberrant Dreams, with a few in the queue. And my friend Sandra Kasturi was in swamped mode, probably moving closer to swamp thing. After all, she runs Kelp Queen Press http://www.kelpqueenpress.com/ but she also is poetry editor for Chizine http://chizine.com/, is working on an animation plus other projects.

I had a few poems in submission for a while at Chi when she mentioned she was way behind because of several projects. I told her to get some slush pile readers because they’re all the rave and everyone has one. Perhaps I should have been quieter because she came back to me and another person and asked if we would be her readers for poetry. So there goes another editorial hat to wear.

That’s not started yet but mostly I’m reading the first three chapters of eight novels in preparation for the novel writing workshop I’ll be doing in Kansas. That’s at the university in Lawrence and is part of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction. http://www2.ku.edu/~sfcenter/novel-workshop.htm Two weeks in July, novel bashing and brainstorming. I have to write a critique for each novel and outline. I’m hoping to do one a day. This does mean that although I’ll be posting here, my blogs will probably concentrate on writing and workshopping for the two weeks, but maybe not.

The other writing projects: the Berchta tale, the barge people, the co-written one with Rhea and the monkey girl story  (including the three stories near completion) are on hold though I may take a few of these with me for when I’m sick of looking at my novel.

I applied for two grants through the BC Arts Council and the Canada Council. Yesterday I received word from BC Arts that the grants have been delayed so I won’t find out till after the fact. I’m expecting Canada Council to take longer. So, even though I’m going to the workshop I may have no money. Say hello to Mr. Plastic. 🙂

Writer Beware: In the past couple of days a writing contest was listed on Craigslist, stating that SFWA was holding a contest. For a $10 entry fee you send in your story and winners and honorable mentions will be published by a big name publisher. The anthology is titled Asimovs of the Future. However, this is a fake contest. SFWA has issued a statement saying they have nothing to do with it and that someone is trying to bilk writers of their money.

 

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