“Blood Brother” for sale

As promised, this is the other story I’ve put up for sale recently. It’s what’s technically known as a novelette — about 13,000 words — longer than a short story, shorter than a novella. The cover is by Jade E. Zivanovic (her Facebook profile). The first two scenes follow the break. If you’re interested in buying it, those links are provided, too. Continue reading

Friday flash — growing ivy

Today’s drabble is inspired by Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge, using three of the following five words: enzyme, ivy, bishop, blister, lollipop. (Note if you haven’t visited his site before, some of the language is not words I would say in front of my kids.)


Roots from the ivy pushed between the bricks on the bishop’s chimney. He knew he needed to have the gardener deal with the plant before it damaged the house, but it looked so picturesque, and appearance was everything, wasn’t it? Growth in the diocese, innocence of the mayor, functioning of the enzymes that made insulin in his treacherous body.

He glanced again at the lab report. Maybe it was time to accept things as they truly were. Tell the truth, and let his successor deal with the ensuing outrage.

Afterward, the gardener could always plant ivy next to his tombstone.


I’m not terribly happy with this drabble — it sounds more like the opening of a story than a complete story, but his rule was no more than 100 words, so this is what I have.

N.B.: Changed “peace” to “growth” to avoid certain assumptions, which could easily be read into the story.

Catching plot bunnies

As I’ve mentioned before, I often have more than one project in progress, so I had to decide which one to use for this post — I’m going to talk about Touching Time, my Mayan novel.

In my freelance work, I do a lot of proofreading of travel books. This often gives me little baby plot bunnies that I stuff into a hutch in my brain to see if they grow into anything. I’ve proofread a few for Mexico, the Yucatán, and Central America, and on the way, I ran across engravings that couldn’t be translated, cenotes, underground rivers, and abandoned cities completely covered by the jungle.

I think my thought process for Julia, my psychometric main character, originally had nothing to do with the Mayan ideas. She might have shown up in New Orleans, or maybe in England — somewhere with an atmospheric cemetery, trailing her hand across a gravestone to learn what the eroded carvings could no longer tell her.

When Moongypsy Press put out their call earlier this year, my mind flipped through the stored ideas and said, hey, Julia could read this untranslated mosaic. But then what did it say? Some research into the Mayan calendar and it’s repeating time cycles gave me the notion of time travel to a previous end-of-cycle period — triggered by Julia’s reading.

And those are the seeds the novel is being grown from — little bits of this and that from my work and my reading and letting my brain have the time to make the connections.

(Today’s post was inspired by the topic “Where I got my latest idea” — the opening question in the inaugural cycle of the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The next post in the tour will be on the 4th, by D. M. Bonanno. Be sure to check it out.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out where they got their latest ideas, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!)

multita–oooh, shiny!

This weekend, Patricia C. Wrede posted to her blog about multitasking manuscripts. It’s an excellent discussion on how writers should figure out for themselves whether or not to work on more than one project at a time. She describes chronic multiple-project people as falling into three distinct categories. This one rang a bell for me:

The second kind of writer who comes to me with this question is the one who is spinning off ideas faster than she/he can keep up with. They want to work on eight projects at once because they’re afraid they’ll lose a brilliant idea if they don’t write it down immediately. They’re all about the “Oooo, shiney!”

Did somebody say shiny?
Continue reading

Where did the time go?

I’m behind in listening to the I Should Be Writing podcast, but back in . . . episode 199, maybe? . . . Mur Lafferty suggested writing down all the things you do that take time. She wasn’t saying you have to actually write down how much time you spend on e-mail or playing computer games or reading with your kids, just that anything you spend significant time on (personal grooming excepted) should be on the list. The idea is that your top time priorities (family, work, whatever) are probably not going to change, but as you look at things lower down the list, that’s where you can find more time for writing (or drawing or quilting or crocheting or whatever your own interest happens to be).

It’s a scary exercise. Sure, obviously, I’m going to put down time on the computer — but to be completely honest with myself, I have to divide that up because some of that is work (copyediting, proofreading, indexing, marketing my freelance business), some of it is writing or writing-related (writing, research on markets, e-publishing my works, submissions, research for stories), some of it is social interaction (Facebook, Twitter, blogging, reading and commenting on blogs, on-line chats, Forward Motion), and some of it is just plain goofing off (and sometimes, research and social interaction belong here, along with any computer games, reading Webcomics, following random links, looking at the new free books available for Kindle or Nook apps, and so forth). I’m not really good at drawing the lines there, and to a certain extent, I need both the social interaction (my husband being the only adult I see on a regular basis) and the puttery aspect of not having my brain going full-blast all however many hours I’m awake.

At least I know where I need to work on things. Writing needs to take precedence to Facebook and Twitter. Puttering should only happen after I’ve worked or written for the day. The work/writing duo is something I’m not sure what to do with. I find it hard to work on my own words when I’ve been devoting my brain to somebody else’s for most of the day, but because the freelance work represents actual (rather than potential) money, it has to take precedence. Maybe, practically speaking, I can’t work and write on the same day. If true, that’s just one more reason to make sure writing happens before puttering. *sigh* Guess that means I won’t be checking out what Agatha’s up to first thing Monday morning.

This doesn’t even take into account the off-line things I do with my time, from running errands to weeding and planting to quilting to reading and so on. And a lot of days, it’s one of those or writing, not both. (There’s a reason my son complained the book I handed him earlier today was covered with dust. Housework generally isn’t high on the list.)

What about you? Where are you spending your time?

X is for xenophilia

Love of the other. That’s why I read and write science fiction and fantasy — whether the other is an alternate version of our own world, a might-have-been, a might-yet-be, or someplace so fantastic a human could never survive. Other cultures on our own world. Other races we could meet. Other.

That said, what makes a story resonate with us is the recognition of people we know, of feelings we have, of things we have seen. It’s love and hate and jealousy and the adventure of the unknown. It’s feeling left out and the triumph of winning. It’s running into a new situation and being confused, then using our own skills to solve the problem. It’s life.

But one of the lacunae in my reading has been works from other cultures on our world. I’m trying to correct that: I just purchased The Apex Book of World SF, and I try to keep up with The World SF Blog. I’ve also recently discovered InterNova. I’d also like to read some of the books pointed out by Jeff VanderMeer in An Overview of International Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2010, but I don’t know when I’ll get to them in my immense TBR pile.

Have you read anything from outside your own culture recently? Any recommendations?

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading!

S is for submission opportunities

Speaking of opportunities, here are some currently open anthologies (paying pro rates) to look at:

Bloody Fabulous, edited by Ekaterina Sedia. Prime Books. Urban fantasy, focused on fashion. 1,000-7,500 words preferred; December 1st deadline. Pay is 5 cents per word. For more on what she doesn’t want, see this.

Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, edited by Warren Lapine. Wilder Publications. No word length restrictions, but he does discourage shorter stories. No theme, no specific requests for genre, other than it be genre — “the entire science fiction, fantasy, and horror spectrum.” Closed when filled. Pay is 10 cents per word to a max of $250.

Sword & Sorceress 26, edited by Elisabeth Waters. Norilana Books. Fantasy with strong female characters. Just opened to submissions last Saturday. Up to 9,000 words; May 13 deadline. Pay is 5 cents per word as advance against royalties. Pay attention to the formatting requirements.

Not a pro-paying market, but also worth looking at:

Warrior Wisewoman 4, edited by Roby James. Norilana Books. Science fiction featuring strong women characters. Up to 10,00 words; July 31 deadline. Pay is 2 cents per word.

Good luck to anyone submitting stories, and as always, thanks for stopping by and reading!

R is for results

Results are the outcome of everything that we do.

I follow a training program for running, I get results: I can run farther, and my thighs start slimming down.

I spend hours writing instead of frittering away time on the Internet, I get results: thousands of words added to works in progress, new stories to submit.

On the other hand, not all results are good. I stay up too late watching Battlestar Galactica on Netflix with my husband, and I get results, too: I’m exhausted the next day. Do it two or three times in a row, and I become an incredibly grumpy person who has trouble focusing on anything.

Again, it gets back to choice. Results are cause-and-effect. What I choose to do affects what results I achieve.

So what results are you looking for this week?