Sunday, January 19, 2014

An Amazing Site for Short Story Submissions

I was thinking about doing a post wherein I researched a ton of different short story markets, then listed the top ones here. My approach was going to involve checking out 'Best Fantasy' or 'Best Sci-Fi' anthologies and then figure out what markets all of those stories came from. Then I was going to give the links for said websites on my blog, in this post. 

But then I came across this blog post by Richard Thomas, and I decided it'd be better to just give you that link, because this is quite a comprehensive list. The link is from January 3rd, 2013, so it's possible some of the markets have gone defunct (like the first place I got a short story accepted for publication), but from what I can tell it looks like a pretty butt-kickin' list. 

Otherwise, I used to use Duotrope to search for markets, but then they started charging a subscription fee and I haven't been back since. But if you're willing to pay the fifty bucks or so per year, I found that website very helpful. 

In other news, I wrote a short story over the past two days, and I liked the way it turned out. Now I just need to do a second draft, and then maybe I'll submit it to some of those websites...

Here's a picture I took today! Nature!

That's all for now. 



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Perhaps Another Book and . . . Sex! (Don't get too excited)

I was feeling a little guilty about not writing much during the end of 2013, (I was doing a bunch of photography, so it's not all bad) so I've been trying to figure out my next book to write.

I have a few ideas floating around in my mind, but I think I'm going to do a fantasy novel that will be geared to YA or perhaps a little younger.

The story is one I thought of a while ago. I was working on my first book at the time so I thought, That's an interesting idea, but I don't want to think about it too much because I'm working on something else. I was worried I'd have some proactive interference. Or maybe it's retroactive interference? Beats me. Stupid psychology terms. 

Anyway, I think I've been excited that it's geared more toward a young audience, because than Junior won't have to wait as long to read it.

Speaking of . . . we just found out it's going to be a boy!

(Best keep the goods private, elsewise this boy might hate me when he gets older!)
Here's another shot from our most recent ultrasound . . .

(This is one of those 3D ultrasound pics)

Needless to say (so why am I saying it?) my wife and I are pretty excited!

Happy reading/writing/knitting/whatever it is you do to create!


Friday, January 10, 2014

Wherein I Review a Motivational Book

My wife and I set the price bar pretty low this year for Christmas (I know it's January—don't worry, this isn't a recycled post!).

We didn't want to spend too much, now that a baby is on the way. 
And yet even with a limited budget my wife managed to buy me three new books! And books are always a safe bet with me. (For my b-day she got me a subscription to F&SF fiction magazine, which I'm still excited about.)

Anywho, one of the books she got me was Quitter: Closing the Gap Between your Day Job and your Dream Job, by Jon Acuff. I recently finished it, and found it to be packed to the brim with helpful advice, all contained in a cup of snarky humor and interesting real life experiences (do you see what I did there with the cup metaphor? Pretty awesome, I know). 

The book starts off with Jon suggesting you not up and quit your day job, despite the book's title. By keeping your day job, he argues, you keep power. Your not crunched to accept less than desirable gigs simply because you have no income. And being disciplined enough to fight for your dream while working a day job will only help you to grow a strong work ethic that will help no matter what your future job might be. 

Most of his advice applies to anyone, whatever their dream might be. But his advice is especially helpful to writers, since he got his feet off the ground writing the blog, Stuff Christians Like. Also, the book is slightly, slightly biographical—which makes reading it all the more interesting.

One point that Jon raises in the book, and I agree with 100%, is the unfortunate truth that quantity trumps quality when you're trying to become a master of your craft. I always hear people saying, "It's the quality that matters, not the quantity!" and I want to reply, "No, it's the quantity that gets the story out of your head and onto the paper. Quality comes from editing! No quantity, no story." And if someone replies to my imaginary conversation by saying, "Why not just take the time to start off with quality?" I would reply, "Why not just pick the lottery numbers right the first time?"

Now, I'm not recommending you just jot off some mindless pratter, you should try to write solid stories in the first draft, but if you trying to be perfect right off the bat, your not going to get anything done. As Jon puts it, "90% perfect and shared with the world always changes more lives than 100% perfect and stuck in your head."  (This also had to do with another point, which is sharing your work—something I'm trying to be better at in 2014.)

If you're looking for a fairly fast, motivational read, I suggest you give it a gander. 

Happy reading. And writing. 


Monday, January 6, 2014

When a Fantasy Author does Charity

BRRR! It's freezing here in St. Paul, MN (-16F with wind chills of -40F). 

So here's some nice news to warm your hearts!

Every year, from a little before Christmas to the end of January, Pat Rothfuss (Author of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear), runs a charity called Worldbuilders

It's a pretty awesome deal, because after the final day of the fundraiser ends, Pat donates the money to Heifer International, an organization that gives goats and camels and chickens and other funny yet useful animals to people in need. When you have a goat, you have a daily supply of milk. And when that goat has a kid (pun intended), you have another source of income. So it's a charity about raising sustainability for the poverty stricken. 

And since this is a fundraiser organized by a nerdy Fantasy author, for every ten dollars you give to the fund you get entered into a lottery. What can you win? Books, mostly. Many of them signed. Some of them rare. 

Like this . . .

(ARC 28 of 250 for Stardust, by Neil Gaiman)
This ARC of Stardust by Neil Gaiman has become a legend of its own. Read more about it on Pat's blog, here

See more of the items in the lottery here.

So if being charitable and possibly winning books for being charitable sounds like a win-win to you, click here to help raise some money for a great cause!

Stay warm out there!



Thursday, January 2, 2014

First Post of 2014! And Exciting News!

(This was the closest thing I had to a New Year's picture. It's an abstract shot of bottle caps)

When I was growing up I didn't get into jumping up and down for the new year or New Year's Resolutions or stuff like that. But for some reason I've been setting goals for the past couple years. I think it has to do with the fact that, in 2012, I made some New Year's Resolutions as a joke, and then surprised myself by fulfilling them (read that post, from about a year ago, here, if you want).

So, in order to dull down the New Year hype a little, I think I'll start getting super excited about random days throughout the year. Like this:

-It's the first Tuesday after St. Patrick's Day!
-It's been 46 hours since the 4th of July!
-It's the first Wednesday to fall on a date with a 3 in it after the first snowfall of two inches or more in 2014!

They're all just as significant as the new year, right?

Except people tend to not make resolutions for them. And speaking of resolutions, here are some I've made. 

1) My main one is to be less timid this year about my creativity. I love writing and photography, and I do a decent amount of both, but I'm shy about sharing it. You might think I'm lying, since I post all this out into the public sphere on my blog, but I don't tell many family or friends about my work. I've written a book, and so far two people who know me know about it. One is my wife. The other is a good friend who I asked to edit the book. I don't think I'm going to get very far if people aren't aware of the stuff I've written. (If you want to check out a free short story, click here).

2) My other goal is a writing goal, and that's to focus on the amount of time I spend writing. I'm shooting for five hours a week, every week. Last year I focused on number of stories written, and I started to get depressed because I was nowhere near my goal of 22 short stories. I ended up writing a measly five! But then I realized that I had written two drafts of my 90k word book and wrote 42 blog posts in addition to those measly 5 stories. And two of those stories were around 15k words. So in reality I wrote quite a bit. I think getting into a healthier habit of writing a certain amount of time daily will be more helpful than shooting for a specific number of stories. 

3) Also, while my main personal goal is to be less timid, the most important thing for me this year is to be a good . . . drumroll please . . . FATHER! That's right, my wife is due in early June!

So here's a fun question—the baby will soon be able to hear, and although it probably won't understand english, I'm planning on reading to it. What do you think is a good book to read to a baby in womb? Goodnight Moon? The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? War and Peace? Give me your thoughts!

So that's all for now. I promise you this will be my last end of the year/New Year's Resolution blog. We can only milk that cow for so long, right?

Happy writing, may the pen be with you.