Tag Archives: Goodreads

Writing Year in Review

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Creative Commons: Drew Coffman, Flickr.

Well, it’s time to reflect on my year before I run off for the New Year’s celebrations. I did start the year with the three-month Apocalypse Diet, which I blogged about. It was an interesting experiment and I didn’t have to eat brains or truly battle zombies.

This year I was determined to write more and send out more. I can say I had a record year for submissions and rejections, and maybe even for acceptances. In some ways I call this my bridesmaid year, as in always a bridesmaid, never a bride. I think I had a record number of stories held for final selection or shortlisted, but in the end did not make the cut. In some ways this is more painful, yet encouraging. So that this is not hyperbole I’ll give a list of those places where my stories and poems were held past the first reading:

  • Writers of the Future honorable mention for Monstrous Aberrations
  • Friends of Merril fiction contest (one of ten shortlisted) for The Ties That Bind
  • Aurora Award nominee (poetry) A Good Catch
  • Punchnell’s (literary fiction)
  • Pedestal Magazine (poetry)
  • New Quarterly (poetry & literary fiction)
  • Gulf Coast (poetry)
  • Tesseracts 16 (fiction)
  • Whitefish Review (poetry)
  • Stupefying Stories (fiction)
  • Dark Faith 2 (fiction)
  • Penumbra–Dreams issue (fiction)
  • Scape (fiction)
  • Plasma Frequency (fiction)
  • Abyss & Apex (fiction)
  • Heroic Fantasy Quarterly (fiction)
  • Horror World anthology (fiction)

But…it was also a year for acceptances and works published, though in the end I’ll see most of these out next year. The first four were published and the rest are out next year I hope.

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Embers Amongst the Fallen available through Smashwords

  • Mermaid (poem) in Polu Texni
  • Legend (poem) in Heroic Fantasy Quarterly
  • Queen of Heaven an Earth (poem) in Eternal Haunted Summer
  • The Brown Woman (fiction) in Over the Brink from Third Flatiron Publishing
  • Red is the Color of My True Love’s Blood (fiction) in Deep Cuts
  • The Highest Price (fiction) in Heathen Oracle: Artifacts and Relics
  • P is for Phartouche: The Blade (fiction) in Demonologica Biblica (Britain)
  • The Book With No End (fiction) in Bibliotheca Fantastica
  • Gingerbread People (fiction) in Chilling Tales 2
  • Lady of the Bleeding Heart (fiction) in Fantastic Frontiers 2
  • Tower of Strength (fiction) in Irony of Survival, Zharmae Publishing
  • Visitation (poem) in Bull Spec (I hope next year…it’s been 2 years now)

My goal was to get at least 12 items accepted and while Visitation was accepted previously, as was Gingerbread People I believe, I think I ha a pretty good year of near acceptances. While it’s disappointing on one side it means my writing is getting closer. I’ve also identified one of my issues. I put in too much backstory up front and now that I know this, I can try to chop frugally.

Carolyn Clink and I edited and chose some fine poems for Chizine. I also drove out to Calgary and attended theconvention When Words Collide, where I read a bit of fiction an poetry, and was asked by Brian Hades to co-edit Tesseracts 17 with Steve Vernon. We’re working our way through many stories right now.

Steve Vernon, Tesseracts 17, Canadian fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, horror, SF

Nova Scotian Steve Vernon will be co-editing Tesseract 17, a collection of Canadian speculative fiction.

I also flew to Toronto and did a poetry reading at the Art Bar Poetry Reading Series and thank them for inviting me. I attended the Specfic Colloquium and World Fantasy Con. I met some new writers and had a blast visiting old friends Sandra Kasturi and Brett Savory of Chizine Publications an getting to know some new people. Another project started to germinate there but I can’t mention it yet until we have more details to make sure it’s happening.

I almost forgot but I also self-published a collection of my reprint stories, Embers Amongst the Fallen. It is available through smashwords and Amazon.com. I also put up two erotic stories under T.C. Calligari. I plan to put up the rest of them in the new year and get a bit more speculative fiction up. Should you have read a copy, please leave a review on those sites as well as Goodreads.

As well, I hosted a specfic cocktail party for writers an it was a success. I’m trying to build community here in

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Not hard to guess what this one is about.

Vancouver and I’ll be hosting another one at the end of January or early February. I’m also looking for the right venue to see if we can spring the Chiaroscuro Reading Series, which happens monthly in Toronto. We’re hoping to launch it in Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver in April so I’m looking for the right type of bar for a Wednesday evening.

I and continued to write and read. For my holidays (ending tomorrow, alas) I decided to catch up on Tesseracts reading, but also get working on that novel I’ve been working on for ten years. Yes, ten years! I watched all of Game of Thrones seasons one and two to inspire me and then hunkered down. By tomorrow I will have completed the story arc for one of three viewpoint characters, and I’ll have half of my chapters written. This is good considering how slow it’s been up until now. I have a deadline of April to finish the first draft and hopefully the rewrite. Then it’s off to the agent and editor who expressed interest nearly two years ago. Yes, I’m stupid.

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When it comes to writing and reading, just do it! Creative Commons: Eric Guiomar

Doing this review helps when I begin to think of all those rejections I’ve received, and that the stories that were shortlisted or received honorable mentions won’t sell anywhere, or that what I consider are my best three-four stories also won’t sell. But then, some of my stories, that I thought were good have taken ten years to sell. There is hope and maybe I’ll look at those four again and see if there is too much up front for all of them.

The main thing is to persevere and not get depressed. I’ve wanted to edit an anthology for a long time and now I’m doing it. I’m hitting some of my goals and therefore are setting new ones. To all of you who write, edit or read, continue doing so. Support writers and buy books and magazines. Give your input, give your reviews. We all need each other. So have a great new year. May it be productive and fulfilling and may all your endeavors bring you success.

Happy New Year! Creative commons: Flickr Champagne Toast

Happy New Year! Creative commons: Flickr Champagne Toast


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Writing Update: A New Frontier

This is the last week to get in nominations for the Aurora Award, one of Canada’s speculative fiction awards (also fan works and art). If you’re Canadian and want to nominate and vote you can go here to do so.

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Creative Commons: Drew Coffman, Flickr

I was also shortlisted for the Friends of Merril contest. The results will be posted in the next day or two and while I don’t know who won, alas, it was not me. Writing is always an evolution and I’m always writing better than I did before but I still have work to do. Sometimes my pacing is off. It’s the elusive golden ring for me and I’m trying new ways to master this. My story was off on pacing and thus is did not win. But it was one of 9 shortlisted out of over 100. That’s not so bad.

I actually have a few stories right now in what I call the bridesmaid stage. They’ve made it out of the slush pile and the editor has contacted me to say they’re holding them for further consideration…but they have not yet been picked. I also looked at the edits for “Gingerbread People” due out in Chilling Tales 2 from Edge Publications in 2013 now. They edits were light and mostly punctuation/spelling related. This story was a look at the nature of evil; is the person who does the crime more evil than the

person who masterminds and gets the other person to do it. The idea came out of the true tale of Paul Bernardo and Carla Homolka, convicted serial killers who did horrible things to several teenage girls.

Self-publishing requires using all the marketing tools. Creative Commons: Kristina B, flickr

I’m also considering a new venture. I wanted to have a collection of my stories published. This would be mostly a reprintcollection, with one or two new tales tossed in. With stories, they sometimes appear in a magazine or anthology somewhere, for a brief time and are never seen again. It would collect those works and make them available to a wider readership. I thought of sending these to several publishers, but truth be told I’m not enough of a name for most publishers to consider my collection. There are many indie publishers who would but I think for a reprint collection I’m going to go the route of self-publishing.

Many people take this route but don’t do well. There are several things to consider; writing skill, editing, proofreading, distribution and marketing. Since I’m an accomplished (as in published more than once) writer as well as a freelance copyeditor, my work is going to be cleaner than a lot of self-published works. Plus these stories have been published at least once before. If I go with Smashwords and CreateSpace it covers the ereaders and print publication as well as distribution. Marketing is something that people have to do themselves these days. This  means posting to Facebook, doing Twitter, using Goodreads and this blog.  And, when I go to conventions I’ll need to promote there as well.

I have the collection mostly together already though I’m going to review the titles in there. I was going to call it Transformations and Temptations of the Wayward Soul but I might just call it Transformations and Temptations. This will be an interesting process and my first venture into self-publishing so I’ll post how it goes.  Stay tuned.

March has been a productive month writing wise. I’ve done two rewrites, finished and written three stories, started a fourth and worked a bit on the novel. I’ve also tentatively started a series of poems that will go under the title of A Compendium of Witches. Of course I hope to have 13 poems in that series.  And that’s the writing world to date for me.

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