Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I suppose, the new year is upon us, getting ready to steamroll us and make us wonder 'where the hell did 2009 go to already?' But before that I thought I would try to write a few thoughts about why I am thankful for 2008, why I won't miss it at all, and what I look forward to in 2009.

2008 was a year of mixed and mostly bad news. For my writing it was fabulous. I had 9 stories accepted or published this year and I wrote one completed book and am working on another. I started a blog and met a bunch of fantastic people. For my family it was horrible. My parents divorced, my father-in-law died unexpectedly and several family friends lost their lives as well.

I guess that I am thankful that the year could have been worse. ('smile, things could be worse,' said the old man to the little boy pouting on the corner. So the little boy smiled and, sure enough, things got worse.)(sorry that is just something my grandpa says.) My father bought a nice little house. My mother kept her house. My mother-in-law gets to travel a little more and see her family more than she used to.

In 2009 I am hoping for the best. I am hoping, and this is not a to do list in the strictest sense of the word, to finish the book I am working on and send it out to a bunch of agents. That is really my goal at this point. I have a couple of short stories that I would like to write and I am sure they will get done but I don't really have a laundry list of stuff to do.

Other than that I wish everyone a safe and productive 2009, and if you are partying tonight, please do so carefully. I don't need to start the new year off with bad news.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Done, with that one

I am done with my Devil's Food story, Mr. Calloway's Dirt Farm and it is off. I am pretty happy with it and I am glad I had some help with it, especially the beginning (Thank you Aaron and my wife, Ann!) It would probably have worked equally as well with the Dead Bait antho but I started it for Devil's Food so that is where it is going, at least first. I am thinking of re-using the title character and farm pond for the Bait story. I liked the setting and it reminded me of home, only without man-eating bait.

That was all I got done yesterday because I had to run to the doctor. I found out I have had a kidney infection for a week or so. they gave me muscle relaxers but, gosh-darnnit, I have a pretty high tolerance for that type of stuff so they don't throw me for a loop (Actually, that is one of the reasons I have never tried drugs.) My children (one is on break from school) don't let me get a lot done during the day and at night I am too busy to write (my creative juices don't flow well at night anyway, kind of my lag time. I think my mind actually shuts off right after supper.)

I am still debating working on a short story or continuing my novel today. Just as long as I get something on paper, I really don't care I guess. (I am still down to one short story a month. I know- quality not quantity)

Monday, December 29, 2008

A new year is almost here

Well, here we are. Just three days away from a new year, 2009 to be exact, and what am I doing this week to prepare. Nothing. That is right. I am doing nothing in celebration of the next year or in remembrance of the year that was. I was actually thinking of not even writing this post but I thought I had better, just to get my fingers moving on the keyboard again after a two day break.

I still have not finished my devil's food story. It needs polishing in the worst way. I still have a first draft of a book to finish. It is getting closer but still several thousand words away from done. I have come up with a very likable idea for another YA book (it is actually on the literary side with no horror or fantasy in it, I shall see how it comes together when I start it, hopefully in February)

Aside from that I had a good time with the rejections this last week. I received one from Shroud for my story, The Locker. It had gone to a friend of mine from college (a professor actually and a professional editor) before that to be gone over so I had the best shot with it. I can honestly say it wasn't rejected on its grammatical failings. It failed solely on the story. I sent it on to Shock Totem. At least they are quick with their rejections. I also received a rejection for Open Graves, from Ploughshares. They did take 116 days to do it so I felt pretty good about that. Other than that heard no good news. Maybe yet this year but not so far.

In other waiting news. I am waiting to here back from Apex (61 days), Boston Review (150 days and 'hello Will' in the P.R. dept.), Spinetingler (123 days), and a handful of other magazines that haven't gone over their suggested waiting period. In due time.

Speaking of Apex, and I will throw in Duotrope for that matter. If you haven't ordered a book or something from them in awhile they are in desperate need of money (about 2500 dollars in the next two weeks). I know that I ave gone over this before but this is one of the few professional markets we have to submit to (getting fewer it seems all the time) so a little support would be greatly appreciated (heck old issues of the Apex Digest are half off, I ordered a couple to read as well as a short story collection to pass the time) . Duotrope is also in desperate need of cash right now. They haven't met their goals in a while and they might very well have to move to a subscription service if things don't improve. Again, a couple of bucks would be greatly appriciated.

I have decided this year to spread the wealth (I am using that term loosely, very loosely) this year and I have gotten subscriptions to several small presses this month (Shroud, Sand, and I am seriously considering Bust Down the Doors and Eat All the Chickens)

I hate to sound like a commercial for all of these presses but hey, times are tough for everyone right now and a little free advertising won't hurt anyone.

In other, non commercially news. I got a new printer this weekend. My wife is exstatic with it and I like it so far. I also went deer hunting this weekend for a couple of hours. I didn't see any deer until I was done and driving to get gas in the truck but it was a beautiful walk in the woods. It wasn't so horribly cold that I froze and it wasn't so warm that I was walking in mud either. Just a nice walk. It would have been nicer if I would have at least seen one fuzzy woodland creature. (don't get me wrong all of you people out there who love deer as one of the most graceful creatures that we have in the woods around here but I also hate to hit them with my vehicles. One just about took my wife's car out a couple of weeks ago and I had two hit me in a twenty mile stretch about a year a half ago) I might try to go out again on New Years day.

I am sorry this post is running so long. Guess I had a lot to say. (Or not a lot to say but I just wanted to take up the space.) Until then, have fun writing and good luck with the acceptances.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Unfortunately, the title of this post describes my boy last night and not me. I think I might have slept between midnight and 1 last night. Maybe. I apologize in advance if this is more rambling than normal.

I am pleased to announce that after 307 days I finally heard back from From the Asylum. It was a hearty and well thought out rejection but at least they got back to me. Luckily I had all but given up hope on them five days earlier and sent the story into Opium magazine. I look forward to hearing from them in about six months.

I suppose I could do a year in review as my first official year where the only thing I did, other than look after my kids, was write (and cook and clean and work on vehicles and replace windows and doors and mow the yard and blah, blah, blah . . .) It was a good year actually. I had 9 stories accepted in the last year. All but four have been published at this point. I felt pretty good about that. I managed to write about 25 or so stories and two book length works which are not ready for a publisher yet, but I am working on them.

My daughter is at Kindergarten now. My boy is home with me full time. My wife changed jobs to an independent pharmacy (she used to manage a local Wal-Mart pharmacy) she is happier and so am I. We managed to go on two mini-vacations. We took one to Minneapolis, MN and anther to Hannibal, MO. they were both fun. We managed, after overheating the engine on one mini-van (faulty radiator cap) to buy anther one right after the Hannibal trip.

The only thing I can say I am regretting this year is that my woodworking has suffered. I was planning on building a full bar (solid walnut with glass doors on the upper cabinets) but alas, I have run out of time this year. Maybe next year. Until then, my liquor will be relegated to a small cabinet above the refrigerator in the kitchen. I can say that I do not regret quitting my job as a subcontractor for a wood manufacturing company.

Here is hoping everyone a fantastic Christmas and a great new year. May our inboxes be filled with acceptances from here on out. :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Something different

I know a lot of you out there are good at flash fiction but how about writing a story in 140 character (not words). If you think you are up to the challenge you should go to Thaumatrope's website and try your hand at it. It is actually pretty fun and it pays 5 cents a word (okay so it is only $1.20 a story but it is better than a sharp stick in your temple) The only thing is you have to sign up for a Twitter account and I have found it to be a mildly addictive time-killer. Especially if you download a plug in like twitterfox (I use firefox for my browser.) Otherwise it is good clean fun. I wrote them two 'stories' yesterday and they accepted both of them.

In other news, my story nine will be on 52 Stitches website on March 22, if all goes as planned. I am looking forward to the weekly stories there. I think it is a fantastic idea, that and I think flash fiction read so much better than traditional short stories, at least online.

The majority of the icestorm missed us, we ended up with just a little ice and about two inches of sleet with a dusting of snow on that. Needless to say they called off school in most of the state today. (Heck it could be all but I only have a limited grasp on the news I read in the morning) Needless to say I won't be going anywhere today because my wife took the four-wheel drive to work.

If i don't post again, a Merry Christmas to everyone.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Week before Christmas

Congratulations Barry Napier. You are the proud owner of Jonis Agee's Book, A .38 Special and a Broken Heart. Send me your address to jeyberg74@gmail (dot) com and I will be happy to get it in to you. I hope you enjoy it.

In other news, the ice storm they are predicting for the area hasn't hit yet. In fact it is sunny with blue sky right now but if they are half right by tonight I will be in the thick of it with stinging pellets of frozen water accumulating on everything they come in contact with.

I re-wrote the beginning of "Mr. Calloway's Dirt Farm" yesterday. I am waiting to see which opening my wife likes better (if she likes them at all). Then I managed to get another 750 words into Invasion. It currently sits at around 56000 words although I know some of it needs to be taken out in the editing process.

Well, I will now sit back, watch Jack's Big Music Show with my kid and wait for Barry's address so I can run to town, mail the book and get some milk before the snow flies.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Last day

Today is the last day to enter the drawing for Jonis Agee's very cool book, A .38 Special and a Broken Heart (It sounds like a title that Cate would have come up with.) If you haven't signed up go here.

today is supposed to be the nice day around here. Not too cold. No snow. No wind. A pretty good day for the season. Tomorrow is supposed to turn to crap. Ice accumulations of up to 1 inch and snow on top of that. If that happens it will look like what Tim Deal is dealing with in New Hampshire right now. I hope the forecast is wrong because while it is still really neat to hear a tree snap (and we aren't talking small trees here, we are talking TREES, like the climbing kind) I don't want to break out the chainsaw any time soon.

Guess I don't have a whole lot to say right now. I have to re-write the beginning of my Devil's Food Story (Thank you Aaron, I was kind of thinking the first two pages or so needed to be scrapped but I didn't know what to do with it) Now I have an idea to go with and I am going to run with it. That has been a fun story to write. I do hope it makes it into a format that everyone can get their hands on.

Until tomorrow, when I post who needs to get me their address, have a good day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Search the technological wasteland

My wife is in need of a new printer. I still have a laser printer that I bought last year but it is worthless for color and forget about printing pictures on it. Still it is fast and cheap to run. I do like the printer she has now, when it works (damn Vista) It scans and copies and as I said before when it works makes awesome pictures but it is having problems. That and it eats ink. I swear it just mists it into the air to waste it when I am not looking. So I have been looking for a good deal to replace it and all I can say is they are all expensive. at least the good ones are. I am reading a lot of online comments about the problems that some of the cheaper ones have and I don't even want to deal with that at this point.

If anyone has any suggestions (I am not buying another Lexmark, the ink doesn't last long enough) I would be happy to hear them.

I received my copy of When Dark Descends yesterday. This copy is mint, a limited edition of 500 and mine is marked as AC (Author copy) very cool.

Speaking of drawings don't forget to go back a couple of posts and sign up for a book just in time for the holidays.

Talk at you all later. I am going to enjoy the sub-zero temperatures and the inches of snow that we are getting right now- from the comfort of my living room.

Monday, December 15, 2008

New story up

First off, I want to thank Cindy Crosmus over at Yellow Mama for accepting my short piece Fire and Brimstone. It is up and available for anyone that wants to read it now.

My contest, not much of a contest more of a drawing, is still going and I want to thank everyone for the reading suggestions. (By the way Aaron, The Things they Carried is an awesome story. I have it in an anthology somewhere. I had almost forgotten about it.) Post your entry here.

I also want everyone to read Cate and Aaron's posts about snarkyness in the writing community, that is, if you haven't already read them. They are very honest about this very real problem in our very small communty.

Now that business is taken care of, my plans for the week involve editing my entry for the Devil's Food Anthology, Mr. Calloway's Dirt Farm. I hope that after re-reading it, it sounds as good as I remember writing it (They rarely do but I can still hope). I am still working on my NaNo book (yes I realize that NaNo has been over for a couple of weeks now but I am fleshing the story out) and I hope to bring it closer to done every day although I have cut my daily production on it in half or more (750 to 1000 words a day instead of 2000-2500) I am still enjoying writing it and I can see the end in sight.

In case any of you missed the post, Tim Deal over at Shroud publications has been socked by the ice storm that made N.H. an iceball and some things are going to be delayed until they get power back. I told him in a comment post that it reminded me of October 1991 when Iowa was nailed by a major ice storm. I was working at a grocery store at the time and it started as all ice storms do, with rain. Soon it changed over to ice and we stood at the back door of the store and listened to trees break under the weight of the ice. It sounded like rifle shots going off. soon the power was out and we were handing out flashlights to customers with markers so they could mark the price of the groceries on whatever they were buying. It was nuts but me and one of my buddies Jared Rickabaugh had a blast. He had a Ford Festiva and we went sliding through town in that thing. If it slid off the road into the ditch I just got out and pushed us out and we would do it all over again. good times. Great memories, althought they actually called off Halloween that year. some people didn't get power back for almost a month but my families house was only out for seven days.

Talk at you all later, this concludes another issue of Jamie's storytime.

Friday, December 12, 2008

New contest

I didn't want to feel left out of the whole contest thing and I have multiple copies of some of my books for some odd reason. I am going to give away a beautiful copy of Jonis Agee's chapbook A .38 Special And A Broken Heart. It retails for 10.95 and is worth every penny. It is part of Coffee House publishers Coffee-To-Go Short-Short Stories Series. There is some very cool flash fiction in here and while it is not horror (I don't think Jonis has ever picked up a horror novel in her life) it is some incredible lit fiction. It is also the only paperback I know of that has a dust cover. for those of you who have never heard of Jonis, she is a very well respected lit writer and has won a lot of awards for her novels. She teaches creative writing at The University of Nebraska at Lincoln. She just won a Mark Twain Award this year.

In order to enter all you need to do is put a comment in the post of what your favorite book (or short story) and who wrote it in a catagory that you do not write in. For example, if you write horror your favorite book can't be from Stephen King. If you write YA it can't be Judy Blume- you get the idea. I will draw your name from a little red cowboy hat I got when I was three and will get in touch with you to pick it up. the contest will end on December 17 and I will draw the name on the 18th and try and get it in the mail as soon as I get the winners information. Hopefully that is in time for Christmas.

I am doing this for two reasons.
1. I am curious what everyone else likes to read.
2. I have an extra copy and 'tis the season.

Just to play fair, my favorite book, from a genre that I don't write is Ten Days to Destiny: The Battle For Crete by G.C. Kiriakopoulos (yes I did spell that correctly, thank you.) It is a history of a WWII battle that reads more like a novel than a history book. Fascinating reading. It is also, regretably, out of print and has been for 23 years.

Good luck.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I told you yesterday that the Apex Raffle was ending yesterday and today I found out that I won a copy of the Gary Braunbeck, Charles Grant, and Thomas Monteleone book When Dark Descends. And not just any copy but Gary's copy, autographed by all three writers. I am so looking forward to receiving this. It made my day. I will admit I really wanted the ARC of American Gothic but this is an awesome prize. I have a lot of autographed books but none of them were actually owned by the writers themselves at one point.

Okay, enough of the bragging rights. Now I have to pour myself another cup of coffee and get back to Mr. Calloway's Dirt Farm. I think I am about ready to start to wrap it up. Hope everyone else has a spectacular day.

Oh, and since everyone else is having a contest I am going to have one tomorrow. Stay tuned, free books seem to be everywhere these days.

And one more thing. My wife wants this question asked and perhaps answered: If you have plans to do something and have every intention of doing said plans and then for one reason or another don't get to those plans is it any better or worse than not having the plan at all. (Those of you without children won't understand ;))

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

nothing but fun

I love it when a seemingly good story comes together. Granted "Mr. Calloway's Dirt Farm" isn't finished yet but I really like where it is going. I just hope that the Devil's Food people like it as much as I have enjoyed working on it. I can honestly say it doesn't seem like work. I am taking my time with it to be sure. I have worked on it all week and I started last week and I am only 2800 words into it. I am not sure how many I will have in it when I wrap it up. It is just taking its time and, as I said earlier, I am pleased so far.

The Apex Digest raffle ends today. They have some really kick butt stuff in there and you too can have a chance at for only a dollar each. they have said that the tickets have been going very s-l-o-w so your chances of winning are better than they should be.

I am pleased to say that I think, kinda, like Carrie Harris at least when it comes to which celebrity is which creature (can we really say that Paul Rubens is a celebrity? At least he was in a Tim Burton film.)

Oh, and I forgot to caption the picture I posted yesterday. It was taken earlier this year about three miles from my house from the window of my van on a gravel road. It was a family drive to look at the fall colors. I thought it turned out rather well.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rambling man

Okay, a multitude of completely non-related things today.

First off- My daughters school play was last night, she is in kindergarten and was snowflake like the rest of her class. I was amazed that the class, as a whole, could carry a tune. Much better than the first graders but not as good as the third graders. It was a fun and brief time. While we were in the school gymnasium though ice was accumulating on the roads outside so the drive home was slick and very slow. I was thankful that I live on a road that doesn't get a lot of traffic. Meanwhile, this morning, every school around my district called school off or had a two hour late start but we were right on time. The bus slid to stop in front of our house and I haven't heard of any bus accidents yet so they must have made it.

Second- I have seven stories out that have been at their perspective markets for over 100 days (I actually just deleted the word years) one has been out for 337 days and From the Asylum has had a story for 297 days (They still seem to be up and running so I don't know what is going on there) The others have either just hit the 100 day mark or are one 30 or 40 days over that. I think I have hit an editorial black hole. (Yes one of those markets is Boston Review at 130 days now. So much for their average of 57 days.) The rest I didn't expect to hear back from yet so I won't name names here. I knew they had long lead times and I am fine with that. (I have also had one at Apex Digest for 40-some days now. I only mention that because I really like the story I sent them. It received an Honorable Mention, along with one of Cate's stories, in the Return to Luna Antho which I need to order)

Third thing- I am taking a couple of days off from novel writing to work on a short story for the Devil's Food Antho. The story is really starting to go places that I like and despite the antho's title I am not making this story a bloodbath. It is actually coming along quite nicely (well, people are going to die but the story is coming along nicely, although my main characters true colors have yet to show.) I hope I like the end result as much as I like the way it has started. I don't know what it is reminding me of yet. maybe a Mark Twain meets Hemmingway meets Brian Keene. (You figure that one out) Needless to say it is, stylistically, unlike anything I have written before and I am really enjoying the process.

I also want to thank everyone who had an opinion on yesterdays post. I thought it was something that needed saying. I am sorry if it sounded like a lecture by Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ballpark facts of the publishing industry

I listen to a lot of talk radio. Not as much as I used to but one of my favorites is Glenn Beck. He is also a best selling writer but that is beside the point right now. He is 'riddled with a.d.d.' and uses 'ballpark facts.' These are facts that have a glimpse of truth in them and are true as he remembers them. that is what this is going to be. I wouldn't get into a history contest with a professor based on this information but it should be close enough for the point I am trying to illustrate.

Every one right now is worried about the state of the publishing industry. Publishers are cutting back on accounts and new authors are being put on the back burner while established authors are having their expense accounts cut as well. What is a new writer to do.

This isn't the first time. Two hundred years ago the predominant form of publication was, you guessed it, the newspaper. Charles Dickens and even E.A. Poe serialized their stories and sold them to the newspapers. It sold newspapers and it was a cheap medium for the masses. this model also worked for Jules Vern and Victor Hugo as well as many other popular writers. Books were expensive and the library system, as we know it, didn't exist yet.

Let 100 years pass and the magazine picked up the pace. Newspapers decided they could get revenue in other ways and magazines like Saturday Evening Post, Life, Weird Tales and several others started to gain in popularity. In fact, while novels were being written, the popular medium was the short story (oh how readers habits can change). Several writers made a very good living writing just the short story: O'Henry, Lovecraft, Chandler, Hemingway.

This era in publishing lasted about fifty years or so, again with the short story being the most popular. Then the industry changed. In the 1950's or so and into the 60's the novel became more popular with printing technology changing rapidly and the advent of cheaper books and incomes on the rise novels came into vogue. Several short story writers either had to admit that they could no longer make a comfortable living in this new model and either, continued to write short stories and flounder or learn to write longer pieces and flourish. It was the new age in publishing and it seemed to work.

Now to the present age. 1997 or so (these are ballpark facts you can check this stuff on your own time) Stephen King decides to write an online novel called The Plant. He was going to publish it only online and you could pay him what you would (He threatened that if not enough monetary interest was shown he would stop the project.) It went on for a couple of chapters and then abruptly stopped, he claims because for lack of interest in the project. It was the most successful online book ever until over a decade later.

Come 2008. The economy is down (at least that is what all the economist will tell you. Have you been to the mall in the 2.5 weeks until Christmas. Looked pretty packed to me) The online model is looking better all the time. they are cheap to produce. People will buy their own readers (Kindle and the like, but the price needs to come down for the average person yet)

In short the industry will change. It has before and it will again. Nature of the business I guess. The problem is are we willing to change with it. I for one am willing to give it a shot and be part of the next big thing. Incidentally I think we are part of that next big thing already. the online magazine industry is becoming more viable with each each new issue. The formats are easy to read and even if you don't have a Kindle you can read some amazing stuff that looks like the printed page, even if it doesn't have the smell or feel of it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Cate made me do it!

Cate over at the poisoned Apple did this first and it looked like fun. Mine won' t be near as impressive as hers but I thought, "what the hell." So here it goes:

Age when I decided I wanted to be a writer: 13

Age when I wrote my first story: 13. Although I didn't write anything good until I was 17-18.

Age when I first submitted a short story to a magazine: 21, although I had a short story published in the Omaha World herald when I was 18 that my high school English teacher submitted for me. I have no idea what it was called but it was a vampire type story.

Age when I sold my first short story: 33. It was to Pen Pricks Micro Fiction.

Total number of submissions: hundreds.

Total acceptances: 10

Thickness of file of rejection slips prior to first story sale: about an inch or so.

Approximate number of short stories/novelettes/novellas sold for cash money: 2.

Poems sold: LOL! Even my poetry professor in college cringed when I had to write the stuff.

Age when I started writing my first novel: 33

Age when I started writing my first completed novel: 33

Age I finished that novel: 33

Age I started my second novel: 34

Age I finished my second novel: 34

Age when I sold a first novel: Ha!

Total number of novels written (discounting duds): 3 (2 thriller, 1 YA)

Books sold: 0 (yet)

Books in the process of querying: 0

Short stories in the slush: 13

Short stories written this year: 25

Age when I became a full-time novelist: 36.

Age now: 34 years 9 months and 21 days.

Oh well

I know at least one story you won't be seeing in the Dark Jesters Anthology. Mine. Just got the rejection last night. They said it was funny enough but not through the whole thing apparently (I am still trying to figure that one out!)

I found another market, gave it another look see and sent it off again. I should hear back by late March. (Ha!)

I just can't believe it is Friday already. The week flew by. I figure I had better make the most of my day and get about fifteen gazillion words written today. Just to be safe I will be happy with 1,500 words.

0n another note, but the same song, I am starting to get the short story bug again. This is really going to throw the novel thing for a loop but at this point I am happy to be writing what I want and when I want to. (except on weekends when my family takes over my life for me :) ) If I don't hear back good news from an editor before then I will wish everyone a happy weekend and see you on Monday.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I think I know my problem

I figured it out. Yesterday I took the boy grocery shopping in the morning and did without the coffee. I don't know how I functioned at all. (just barely, apparently)

I am going to make an extra large pot right after I get done writing this. Whatever this is.

I think my goal will be modest today: four pages in Invasion, my NaNo novel that I haven't quite finished (I still think there is about 20,000 words to go) At least at 1000 words a day I should finish it by Christmas. First draft anyway.

State of Fear by Micheal Crichton is pretty good so far. It is about conflicting opinions of global warming and other scientific theory. I don't know how many of you are Crichton fans but I have been reading his stuff long before E.R. was on television and Spielberg butchered Jurassic Park (not that the movie was horrible but it was only vaguely like the book). I guess I have read more of his books than just about any other writer out there. The only exception would be Stephen King. He is the only science fiction writer that my wife will read. I have never read if he put out any short fiction. I only know of his novels.

Now I am babbling. If you want to see something cool that you can draw your own opinion on, check out the pics on J.C. Tabler's blog post today and let him know what you think of the pics from his weekend.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm just going to wing it today-

I should be writing, something fictional anyway, instead of this blog post. Way of the world I guess, procrastinate until I feel some inspiration knock me in the forehead with a baseball bat or maybe a whiffle bat with the aerodynamic holes in it. By gosh I just can't seem to find my way today, I think it is in the air. Either that or I need to turn my internet off and just force myself to do something.

That sounds vaguely like a plan, either that or I might go read State of Fear from Micheal Crichton and let his ghost try to inspire me into the great writing that I know I have lurking under the surface. Unfortunately that greatness is camera shy and likes chocolate chip cookies while they are still warm with a cold American beer in its hand.

Maybe I will go make some cookies--

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How do we decide what we write?

Aaron posed an interesting question on his blog this morning: What is horror?

I really don't concern myself a whole lot with what I write, I personally don't care to think about "Okay, today I am going to come up with a 2600 word story on martians invading Des Moines." I am a little more free-form than that. I think my favorite story that I have written, at least in the last six months has been Lullaby and published in Macabre Cadaver (who incidentally has some exciting news on their homepage you should read) I actually just came up with a situation and ran with it. I didn't have a character in mind when I wrote it or a plot for that matter. I didn't know where the story was going to end or if I would finish it. It was just an idea. Not a very original idea but I thought I would run with it. What the character did at the end took me as much by surprise as anyone. I got done writing it, leaned back and actually went "Whoa! I didn't see that coming."

I think this is how I like to write most of my stories. Just an idea with no real clue where it is going but letting the situation or the character take over and do whatever needs to happen.

How do you like to write?

Monday, December 1, 2008

And the tally is. . .

Well it is that time of the month. No, not that time of the month but the time to pull out the numbers and see where my work stands, at least in a numerical basis.

November was--interesting to say the least and not unsatisfying in the least. I managed to write a book for NaNoWriMo. Yippee!. I also managed to write one short story (1600 words) for Dark Jesters which is still pending.

The month of November actually came in the same way it went out. With bookend acceptances. The first one was for the flash piece Nine which was quickly gobbled up by 52 Stitches and the second piece to get accepted was Coffin Nails, which was taken by Night to Dawn. In between those two acceptances I had a total of eight rejections. Which still gives me an acceptable ration for the month of 20% acceptance. I can live with that.

This month I am looking forward to doing more work on two books and if I can get out of noveling mode I am going to write some short stories. I am also looking forward to hearing back from the following markets (they have to be getting close to getting back to me) : Boston Review (out 122 days), Apex (out 34 days), Dark Jesters, (only out 11 days but the deadline for submissions is up), Dogs Anthology (Deadline is up today), Clockwork Pheonix (Deadline is up), and I really hope from From the Asylum (out 289 days so far). I either expect a flurry of acceptances in the next month or I have to find a bunch of new markets. I am hoping for the first one (Oh what a merry Christmas that would be!)

Well I now havo to get my daughter's snowpants and snow boots in to her school because I am an idiot and forgot to pack them with her before she got on the bus.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Okay, I admit and have before that I am a slow reader. I have no clue why but I am. I make no apologies for this. It is just the way I am. Having said that I just finished reading Tainted, edited by Aaron Polson and I have to say that is possibly one of the best, overall collections of short fiction that I have read in a while. I am not saying this just because I am sure Aaron will read this post because there is a good chance we will never run into one another and the worst he could do to me, aside from driving up from Kansas to punch me in the nose is put nasty things on my blog. He won't have to though because it is very good.

I loved the dicotomy of the stories, the new and the old. Jodi Lee versus Algeron Blackwood, Natalie Sin versus E.F. Benson. You get the idea. In most cases I enjoyed the retelling or the interpretation much more than the original (and I really forgot that you shouldn't read Blackwood at night right before bed) If I were a thumbs up-thumbs down type of guy I would give it two thumbs up. On the good old fashioned star system scale of one to five it would get a 4.5 stars. I really look forward to seeing what else this little publisher can do in the future.
Tainted: Tales of Terror and the Supernatural. Strange Publications.

Friday, November 28, 2008

As I write this a lot of vodka has gone through my system

The title of this blog says a lot. I am trying to get through the dreaded stomach flu bug that is seeming to go through my family at this time. (my wife and son have had it so far, i am waiting for my daughter and I to catch it next.)

I don't know if this even is coherent at this point, and I have just gotten started. I am also worried that Felicity is thinking of abandoning us and going to Livejournal (where I don't even know her i.p. address)

I should start on another story. Either that or I should finish reading the book that I am working on. (i am not really working on it, it has been a joy to read actually. Tainted, edited by Aaron Polson. you all should pick it up if you haven't read it yet. I will write a review when I am done with it)

I really suppose I should try and get some sleep at this point. The vodka is starting to speak to me and it is telling me to see what the scores for the football games of the day are.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Okay, the finish line has been reached, NaNo is done for me. At least this year. I am ready to enjoy my Thanksgiving and most of my family in a travel filled weekend, end of week, whatever it is and get back to a normal writing schedule on Monday.

Unfortunately, my 'book' still has about 20-30k of filling out to make it complete. I am thinking that is my new goal in December. I will worry about it then. In the meantime a Hearty Congratulations to Aaron, Cate, Natalie, Ransom, an K.C.who all completed well ahead of me in their noveling exploits for the month. and so I don't slight my aunt who had plenty of good news herself please read my post from earlier today to find out what I am talking about.

One more thing before I go. I want to say that Barbara Custer sent me an e-card (Hallmark no less) wishing me a happy thanksgiving. She is the editor of Night to Dawn. This marks the first time that an editor has sent me anything that they didn't have to. I wish to thank her and let it be known that she is a very nice person (and she has fabulous taste is stories)

Now go out and enjoy everything that the next couple of days brings, be it Thanksgiving or just the end of the week.

nearly there

Okay, I am not done. Yet. But I will be today. I should be able to blow through the 50,000 word mark sometime this afternoon, or perhaps this morning depending on how well my brood behaves. From there it is smooth sailing for the remaining few days of the month. Gorge myself on food tomorrow, repeat on Friday. Lay around feeling miserable and lazy for a couple of days after that and get back at it on the wagon again on Monday.

In other news, my Aunt K.A.Bye, who I told you had a series of children's books out with Boys Town Press just received good, no make that great news. I am just going to post the message she sent to family here:

The grandmother book won a "finalist" award from USA Book News and the book
is now featured on their web site.


Earlier this fall, we won the National Parenting Seal of Approval.

She went on to say that they are working with Barnes and Noble to get actual shelf space for the books in the stores. I must say that this has been a long road for her (she was actually writing and receiving rejection letters for some very good picture books when I was still in high school) but it seems to have finally paid off. I hope that this is inspirational to all of us other writers out there that in time, with patience, success will come. (I never did believe in the overnight success, but it is a wonderful dream)

Hope everyone has a long and fruitful weekend if I don't post before then.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Apex raffle

I have known for a couple of weeks that Apex is having a raffle. I just found out that the raffle isn't going all that well. What that means for you is that you have the chance (and the fewer people who are involved the better for you anyway, bad for Apex and the charity they are donating 10% of the proceeds to) Anyway the link to the raffle stuff is HERE. I just signed myself up for an ARC of a Robert Bloch book, American Gothic. I am hoping but if I don't win, not a big deal. Not much cash and for a worthy cause.

Now if you haven't read my earlier post for the day, go ahead and read it, I've got to get typing.

the sky has dandruff

we got our first snow on Saturday. The first snow that I had to get a shovel for anyway. It pretty much all melted away by Sunday afternoon but we still have a couple of odd patches floating around on the north side of the house and garage.

I can tell I am getting old. My fingers are worn to the nerves from handling shingles in freezing temperatures. Tiny bits of fiberglass are embedded throughout my soft writer's hands. They aren't used to doing much manual labor anymore. (I used to live for shingling houses. I loved to do it and I was good at it. Now not so much.) Thank god I have a roofing nailer yet. I really would have been hurting if I had to swing a hammer all day.

Of coarse I didn't get anything done with NaNo this weekend, but I have managed to get a couple thousand words written this morning already and plan on doing the same this afternoon. I still plan on being done by Wednesday.

On a happy note. A story of mine, Coffin Nails, that I started sending out to markets last November (and has undergone several re-writes in the process) has been picked up by Night to Dawn for publication in their Fall 2009 issue. Not a huge market but I think that the readers will enjoy it.

I hear my boy rattling around in his bed and I think I can get another hundred or so words in before he thinks he wants out. Later.

Never mind this post, it got erased before I was finished and posted before I wanted.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What am I Thinking?

Okay, it is November 22, 2008. It is snowing and the temperature outside is a balmy 25 degrees Fahrenheit (I am not sure what that comes to in Celsius but it isn't real warm, I can tell you that). I could be working on my NaNo book (I am 40,500 words into it now, Yippee!) or I can go shingle a garage with a friend.

Guess which option I am going to take?

Yep, you guessed it. The sit on a roof and freeze option that at least involves getting paid, especially if I finish it today.

What the hell am I thinking. I wish my friends didn't know I was handy at all sometimes. Sadly it isn't even my friends garage, which would be a lot different. It would mean I would be doing this for nothing. It isn't the coldest I have roofed in, the coldest was a little house on a private lake where we shingled it (I shingled it, everyone else was too busy putting in windows) when it was a whopping 5 degrees.

I better get going. The darn place isn't going to shingle itself.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Final push

I am going to get to get 4000 words written today, which will put me at 40,000 words total. I plan on putting the finishing touches on my 'masterpiece' (wipes a tear from eye after a good laughing fit) and cross the 50,000 word mark on Wednesday. I do take weekends off you know.

Actually, I took most of yesterday off and only managed about 1000 words in that. I wrote a piece for Dark Jesters and I must say I enjoyed a good laugh at creature horror expense. I just hope the editors see my humor. The story came in at a paltry 1600 words which follows the guidelines of between 1500 and 2000 words. It also managed to kill three hours of my day between writing and editing. I had fun doing it though.

I still can't find pictures of the deer that wander through the backyard. Will keep looking.

Better get to writing. I have 4000 words to go, just for today.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The view from here is incredible

I just wanted to post a picture that I took from my front door the other day. It is much like the view from my back door. Only the backdoor picture would have more deer and trees and less road and barn. For those of you who are from the city, that big green machine is a John Deere Combine. A combine is used to harvest crops, in this case corn. the Blue thing behind him, just behind the barn that fell over this summer, is a new holland tractor with a grain wagon in tow. There was actually another combine in the field but I couldn't get both of them in the shot. The other one ran right in front and off to the side so they could harvest about sixty feet of grain at at one time. (both of the combines have 30 foot head on them)

Okay, enough of the farm report.

I am also sorry for the post I put up yesterday. I read it again today and it made me sound conceited and I consider myself to be much more self-deprecating. It was a tiring day and, other than the first day of the month where I received my only acceptance it has been a miserable month. I am just hoping the month goes out like it came in. with good news. (It has gotten so bad that I have had one story rejected multiple times in the same week and I am not even sim subbing it!)

hope everyone's day is going spectacular. May we all write about 15000 words of phenomenal material that doesn't need any editing (speaking of that I hope that Dark Jesters is still accepting subs because I had a gruesomely funny thought last night right before bed. I had better write this down before I forget it.)

Later and if I ever find the pictures of the deer that frequent my back yard I will post them. Hunting season is almost upon us and I don't know how much longer they will last. (No, I will probably not shoot a deer out of my own backyard for my children to see. I will go to the timber preserve across the road where they can't see. )

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hanging in there

You know that picture of the cat that every other person seemed to have in the early nineties and late 80's of the cat, grasping for dear life from the branch of a tree and below it were the words Hang in There. That is kind of what I am feeling like with my current batch of stories. I am just kind of hanging in there. I feel like my writing is better than 98% of the stuff out there but the editors are only taking the the top 1% ("I missed it by that much, chief," said Maxwell Smart)

I will hang in there until I am in the top 1% though, it might take a little (or a lot of time) and some patience.

In other news, my wife was pretty impressed she was Obi Won-Kenobi at 81% with Yoda as a close second at 80%. I was a little jealous. She is smarter than me though. She had to ask after she was done taking the test if that was good. (She really didn't get into the whole Star Wars thing.)

I did manage to rack up some more wordage on my book for NaNo today, despite trimming a door. I am now over, just over, 35000 words. I can start to see the light at the end of this tunnel.

I was going to post a picture of the combines that took out the corn across the road from my house but I think I will save it for tomorrow. Right now I am going to go watch some cartoons with the rest of the family.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Thanks to Aaron, I had a little more fun than I was planning on having this morning. Here are the results of my Star Wars test:

Your results:
You are R2-D2

Darth Maul
Qui-Gon Jinn
Mace Windu
Boba Fett
Obi-Wan Kenobi
Emperor Palpatine
Luke Skywalker
Han Solo
What you lack in height
and communication skills,
you make up for in industriousness,
technical know-how and being there
when others need you most.

(This list displays the top 10 results out of a possible 21 characters)

Click here to take the Star Wars Personality Test

Aside from that I got another 4000 words written yesterday which put me over 30000 so far. I don't think I will hit 4000 again today but will be exceptionally happy if I hit 3,000. I did do some cool things in the book yesterday. We saw the aftermath of what happens when a cow and a tank collide and the a rather unfortunate death in a church.

I don't where it is going today but I look forward to finding out.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm just getting started-

Okay, it is 11:30 in the morning, my boy, amazingly enough, slept all night and even slept in this morning allowing me to get in 1000 words or so first thing. That just leaves me a good afternoon nap to hit my goal of 30,000 words finished by the time he wakes up.

I think I can do it. All I have to do is ignore him when he wakes up early. (Just kidding on that part. I am still ahead of schedule as far as I know. I am just behind Cate, Natalie, and of course the animal that is Aaron.)

On a lighter note. Just received an e-mail from Spinetingler magazine about a story I sent then in August (Burnt Offering) is still under review for the spring issue (along with about 60 other stories) but their winter issue should be out by Christmas time. Spleee!

I also received a rejection from Summerset Review for my short Wine for two this weekend so I went through the story again and sent it on to Clockwork Phoenix on the final day Mr. Allen was taking submissions. He wants fantasy on a literary level and that has been one of my stories that I have, until yesterday, only been sending to literary markets. It is the second story I have sent them and the first one, while still a rejection, was a nice rejection.

Good luck NaNo-ing to all and have fun with it. Later.

Friday, November 14, 2008

good me

I did it. I still haven't killed anyone today but I did get my 4000 words down that I wanted to. Yippee! Time for a pint or a shot or something. Got the last of the words down as my boy was waking up from his afternoon nap. That should tide me over until Monday when I will need to punch out another 4000 words (I hope) and remain on track to finish this thing. Explosions are still just in the background but they are there.

Until next time, have a good weekend and good luck with NaNo to those of you involved.

Bad me

Don't worry. I didn't kill anyone- today. I just took my kids to the zoo. My daughter had the day off because her schools volleyball team went to state, they lost but they went to state so the school decided they weren't going to have school. Needless to say I only got about 800 words written on my NaNo story. Not all bad. I did get to think up some pretty good plot lines while I was looking at the cute fuzzy woodland creatures that we don't have naturally around my own house. At least I thought they were pretty good.

So today, tomorrow, whenever I wake back up, I am back at it, goal 4000 words (I have to build a buffer in for the weekend, family is so not conducive to writing) I had better get to bed. 2:21 in the morning is not a good time for me to be up.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy birthday Dad!

I know that my father won't read this. He doesn't know the web address but if he ever looks up his own name Bill Eyberg turns the big 60 today. I hope he has a happy birthday down there in Tabor, Iowa.

Now, down to some serious business. The business that I was actually going to discuss yesterday. Writing habits. I am not talking about dressing up like a nun and sitting in front of a typewriter waiting for divine intervention, although that would be fun. I am talking about little things we all do although none of them are the same.

I for example like to dress up like a nun and sit in front of a typewriter, scratch that thought. I really don't do that but I do like to work without a radio but with the laundry going on in the background while I sit at a small desk in my bedroom away from my office space. I don't know why I am much more prone to write like that but I am. I also like to have a glass or cup of something to drink at the ready. All the time. So I will brew a pot of coffee usually or have a pitcher sized glass of water at the ready. Soda doesn't work for me. I don't know why. Beer doesn't work either, although that doesn't stop me from trying, especially late in the afternoon when I am working on my blog post for the next day.

Latest NaNo count, 20,050 and rising. Still on track to finish. Still like where the story is going. Still am not going to post it for anyone to read until I have edited it. Sorry, I can't write flowery prose like Cate on my first draft. I save flowery stuff for my second drafts. Speaking of drafts I have one, ice cold and full of foamy goodness, waiting for me so until next time, later.

And We Are Back

Well, after a long weekend, and weekday, I am back and ready to kick some literary butt. Well, maybe not literary butt but kick this writing thing in the butt and get some serious wordage down in my NaNo book. I kind of fell behind where I wanted to be be I am still on track to finish it by the end of the month. I was kind of hoping to be done with it around the 24th or so. It is really just an arbitrary date with no real significance but it looked good when I started this thing. I think, if the gods are smiling on me today I can breech the 20,000 word mark.

Unfortunately, while Mark is the re-write god I have no actual deity that I can go to for my actual writing. I might have to get out the woodcarving set and create one, maybe something with the face of Shakespeare and the body of a bunny rabbit and the tail of a zebra. I don't know what kind of luck he would bring but it would be fun to carve.

I had better stop daydreaming and start writing if I am going to make my goal today. (and to think I was actually going to talk of something of consequence today. Maybe tomorrow)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Last post before the weekend starts-

Unless something terrific or horridly tragic happens this weekend you won't hear from me until at least Monday. Now, before you go wailing 'how could he do this to us! Why me!' in the night, or day depending on where you are at in the world, let me explain. My wife doesn't work this weekend. When she is home my writing,inevitably, takes a turn for the worse-i.e. I don't do any writing at all, unless my boy gets me up at two in the morning and I am not tired for some reason when he goes back to sleep.

Okay, now that I have appropriately reassured you that I will, indeed, be back sometime early next week.
Now, lets get down to business. NaNo report: going well, I have about 400 words until I hit the 15,000 word mark. Can't complain about this progress. I am well ahead of schedule. I am liking the story as well. My characters are just getting into the meat of the plot. The action is about ready to really ramp up. (big explosions and close calls)

Been a slow week, heck it has just been slow for correspondence from editors lately. At least the markets I have shown interest in. I am hoping this is a good sign. something Brian Keene said on his web site the other day struck me. 'If you want to be a professional writer you need to submit to professional markets.' sounds good to me but also harder than it sounds. There are only so many professional markets.

Anyway, here is to only good news to editors and much productivity on whatever project you happen to be working on this weekend and I will talk at you all later.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blah

I really don't know what to write. My mind is still on the book I am working on. (will be over the 25% mark today, unfortunately the month is about that far gone as well)

I was actually supposed to be replacing a living room window at my mother-in-laws place today (It seems like all I do is replace windows, I finished replacing my kitchen windows this last weekend, but I do other things as well. Like replace doors for example.) Unfortunately the weather is not going to cooperate so I am going to watch The Shield and then I am going to write or maybe I will write then watch The Shield and then write some more.

Either way you get the idea of what my day is going to be like. Happy NaNo to all involved.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thank goodness that is over!

I just want to thank the media for making that perhaps the most anticlimactic and boring election I have ever had to endure. I just hope that the politicians are all lying about what they plan on doing with their new-found power.

I don't have the money to spend at this point. Maybe after I get my portfolio back up to snuff, or I have a huge book deal, whichever comes first.

My NaNo writing is going well however. I could get more done if I spent less time reading everyone's blogs (by the way I have added KC Shaw to my list if you cared to know, welcome KC) I hope to break another 2500 words by the end of the day which should put me into the 11,000 word category. Sadly, I am really liking the way the story is going although the outline got thrown out the window on the very first line. Go figure.

I had better get going, these stories aren't going to write themselves. We can't all get sweet deals like Joe the Plumber (the man was a failure as a plumber, what makes him think he can write a book (because they said I could. Something about a ghostwriter))

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

And if I'm elected. . .

I've decided one thing about this election, okay several things, but one main thing. NO MATTER WHO WINS I WILL STILL BE A WRITER IN THE MORNING. There I have said it. I promise I will continue to write whatever comes to my convoluted little mind by whatever means necessary, be it keyboard, chalk, spraypaint or pencil. By any means necessary.

I am really looking forward to the news tomorrow, that is after the smoke has cleared (i.e. the gloating of the winning party) for the 2012 election to start with the campaigning of yet another bureaucrat that I don't care about and don't believe anything they say in front of a camera.

God bless the 24 hour news cycle.

Monday, November 3, 2008

So this is what NaNo is like. . .

this is kind of what I feel NaNo is like. Like hiking to the Yukon without a clue.

I have however breached the 6000 word mark on my story, thanks to an intensive session while my boy slept where I just wrote over 4000 words in just over 2 hours. I am mentally drained. I think I will go enjoy an adult beverage and perhaps rake some leaves.

Before I go, J. Lee Moffatt over at Drops of Crimson just emailed me (It was a mass email but I got it nonetheless) that they are needing stories, poetry, and art for the December issue, so if you have something to give (it is a for the love market with a print antho at the end of the year) you can send it his way.

Now I need to find a literary market for a story that just got rejected by Witness.


Better late than never-

Well I am going to do my month in review a few days late. It is only three days into November and I am already swamped.

In October I mostly focused on my YA book, Big Chief's Gold (working title). I have been trying to rewrite it and focusing on very little else other than housework. Other than that I wrote only two other stories, both flash.
1. The Proposal, a 700 word flash piece for the Dogs antho. I have yet to hear back from them.
2. Nine, a 650 word story I originally wrote for the Cat tales antho but after I got done writing it I realized I had failed one of the main guidelines (I tried to follow it but I just couldn't do it) of cats must be shown in a good light. I don't know if the cats in my story were in a bad light but something told me it wasn't quite what they wanted. I held it over and submitted it instead to 52 Stitches where they quickly accepted it. (Yippee!) It is officially my first paying market after giving away 7 other stories. (Thank you Aaron and Ed!)

Other than that I recieved a whopping 6 rejections for the month of October. I recieved them from Hobart, Dark Recesses, Time and Space, Night Train, Nineth Letter, and Susurrus. Half of them were personallized and quite nice, the rest were the same boring form letters that we all know and despise.

I already know that I will be working on nothing, other than the occational edit during November. Other than that I am trying to focus on my NaNo book Invasion. It was an idea that I came up with last year but haven't had the time to flesh out. I am hoping I can get this rough first draft done this month. It is more of a political thriller than anything else. I have never written anything quite like it. I hope it isn't complete crap when I am finished with it.

Good luck to all this month. Talk at you later.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy NaNo!

It has been a happy week, looking back on it I guess. We had a happy Monday, Happy Candy day and now to finish it off a Happy NaNo day.

Not actually the reason I wanted to write today. I wasnt' planning on writing at all, but Studs Turkel died Friday, October 31, 2008. He was a 96. For those of you who don't know who Studs was, he was a Pulitzer prize winning writer for his 1985 book, The Good War. He wasn't so much a writer as a historian, recording the histories of what he called the 'non-celebrated.' His boks were filled with accounts from everyday people who had lived through extraordinary and sometimes mundane things. He is a great reference for anyone looking for a character they just can't seem to flesh out.

Now, lets get out there and write. And don't forget that 52 Stitches opens for submissions today. They already have mine.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Candy Day!

My kids just wanted a little time on the ol' blog
I thought I would let them. Happy trick or treating.

Good luck to everyone participating in NaNo tomorrow. At least we will have enough chocolate to get us through November this way (That is why they have it in November, free chocolate in October.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Damn my crystal ball

Okay so I was right, I heard back from Time and Space. It was a quasi-nice personalized rejection letter, saying they liked it but. . .no thank you. So I reformatted the story and sent it off to Apex Digest.

Remarkably I also heard back from Boston Review, although it was on my blog and not in my email, from the publicity guru there. I don't know how he found my blog but I welcome him to read my posts any day he wants. But, other than that, I haven't heard from the 'review' officially. I can guess what their response will be.

I am not making any more predictions, at least for awhile, because they are becoming to frequently true (I won't tell you about what I think of the civil war we are about to have, forget about the grey and the blue, more like blue and red. I may have told you too much already)

Just a second, i have to answer the door, some guys in dark sunglasses and darker suits, talking into their thumbs. I be back in just a second-

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

As I gaze into my crystal ball . . .

I am going to make my predictions about which markets I will hear from next. By next I mean the next two weeks. That is all the further my psychic ability goes. My last ones were pretty spot on. I had a couple that took longer than I thought but overall I did pretty good. Unfortunately all the responses were negative so I don't know if I want to put a lot of credence in this. So without further ado:
My next three responses from editors:
1. Winter Solstice- this one has been out to Time and Space for long enough. This was a story that got an honorable mention in the Return to Luna antho but didn't make the final cut. I should hear back soon.

2. Open graves- Boston Review. Really. I am right on their average so any day now I should hear back from them. (Can they throw a new guy a bone, please)

I actually have a few others that I should hear back from any time now but I am not going to go out on a limb and say it is in the next two weeks. Three maybe. But two? I don't know.

Now for the fun part of today. I get to replace a drafty window in my kitchen that is at least 80 years old if not older. Should be a good time and I should make a horrid mess doing it. My wife will probably not want to speak to me after she sees the carnage inflicted.

I will get right on that after my next 1000 words in my re-write. (Still on schedule to get 15000 words done before NaNo.)

In case I don't make another entry before November 1. Good luck to all involved in the month of November and the 50,000 word dash that ensues. If you want to include me as a writing buddy I am jeyberg74.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Monday

I am late getting to the old blog here today. My internet was down yesterday and didn't come back until just now so- (Darn heavy winds blowing antenna down)

On Friday I almost doubled my rejection count for the month. I got two more. One from a story I have had circulating for almost a year. It was one of my first attempts back at writing and I believe my very first attempt at something in the horror vein. I am debating about rewriting it and keeping it in circulation or shelving it for another day.

The other story I got a 'jection for is a literary piece and I will be the first to admit that I am sending it to some fairly large markets so I don't feel quite as bad when I get it back. On the other hand, I am running out of good paying markets for it and I am going to have to delve deeper to find one for it. I still really like the story. That and it is one of the few stories of mine that my wife likes so I am going to keep at it until I find a market for it.

In other news. I was watching the new Christian Slater television show "My Own Worst Enemy." very intersting. While I was watching it I came up with a complete non sequiter and came up with an idea for a new story. Unfortunately, I think it is a book length idea and not a short story idea so now I am faced with two ideas for NaNo. I might have two months of novel writing if that is the case. December could suck just as bad as November for me.

Either that or if one idea peters out on me I can start on the other one. (heh, heh, heh)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Going's on

Well, my new goal for the end of the month, which is coming up next week already (sheesh!) is to complete 15,000 words in Big Chief my YA book. I am nearing the 12,000 word mark on it and I would like to be, by my estimation, close to half-way done before the end of the month. Then I will feel like I could make the mad dash into NaNo with a clear conscience. Not as clear as having the whole thing done, but I can deal with half.

In other news, I recieved my copy of A DemonMinds Halloween. It is actually pretty well done and I am happy to have a story in it. Solitaire, and Other Games Children Play was a story that I enjoyed writing, perhaps more than 90% of the other stories I have written this year. Felicity Dowker has a story in it as well. I haven't had a chance to read that one yet.

Oh, and just for fun I included a picture of my library, it was a must have room that we put into an addition on our house. It is made from walnut if any of you were wondering and yes, I did all the work myself. Even the fireplace surround is custom made. Two walls are solid bookcases, there are two leather chairs on the opposite wall and the exposed walls are painted a classic library red, which my wife will tell you was worth it even though it took several coats to get even coverage.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Yesterday, Aaron had a post concerning the reasoning behind his writing. It was a thoughtful discussion with himself and it made me think. (Thanks a lot Aaron, now my brain hurts) I began to think about the inspirations for my writing. What works have inspired me, touched me, reached out with a 2x4 and cracked me upside the skull. It was a pretty good list to be brutally honest. I have decided to narrow it down to ten pieces, and here they are in no particular order:

1. My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George. I read this book over and over as a boy, it helped me find a voice.

2. Stuart Little, E.B.White. More than The Elements Of Style with his mentor, this book showed me there are no limits to the imagination and it can be said very precisely.

3. The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien. What can I say. It is The Hobbit. What a world to create.

4. Rage, Richard Bachman (Stephen King). How prophetic and real can a book be and still be considered fiction. And this was an early work.

5. The Painted Bird, Jerzy Kosinski. A haunting WWII story that very well could have been true. The imagery still sticks with me.

6. Fear, L.Ron Hubbard. Written on a train ride across country, it was a great ride in and of itself. A case of 'what if' and among the best of them.

7. The giving Tree, Shel Silverstein. Honestly, I could have included any book he ever wrote but I decided on this one. Simple storytelling, well chosen words, and a story that you never forget.

8. Sweets To the Sweet, Robert Bloch. One of the few short stories on the list. I have never forgotten the first true chill that words gave me when I read them.

9. The Hot Zone, Richard Preston. Truth is sometimes way more frightening than fiction.

10. A Continuity of Park, Julio Cortazar. Really, did you think I would be able to get away with this list without the namesake of my blog. If you haven't read it before you are missing out on one of the best flash fiction pieces ever written. It twists and loops on itself with precision and skill that I have never seen before but would like, someday, to mimic.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


First, I want to thank Aaron for drawing my name out a hat and letting me win a copy of 'Tainted.' I look forward to reading it. I am jumping it to next in my reading list whenever it shows up.

Yesterday, my aunt K.A. Bye who has a series of children's books out from the Boys Town Press e-mailed me. She said some nice things about the not so nice things that I do to my characters on an almost daily basis and, although I don't know if she will read this, I wanted to thank her. That and I wanted to plug her books which can be found at Barnes and Noble

My imagination is running wild with ideas for NaNo at this point. My cup seriously overfloweth. I just hope I can keep it up until the end of November. Still no new news from any editors. Just crossing my fingers that good news is on the way.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Halfway there

Okay, so the month is over halfway done and I have only heard back from two editors this month, three if you count the update from Kate Sanger at From the Asylum. This weekend I heard from Susurrus that they didn't want my short, The Glass Jar. Not a big deal. I half expected it (I figured I had a 50/50 chance there). I rewrote it and sent it off to Clockwork Phoenix. We will see what Mr. Allen wants to do with it.

did manage to push the 10,000 word limit on my book re-write. That was exciting to me. Although it will be better when I get to the done part of the rewrite. That will be more exciting. It is looking like I will not be finished with it before NaNo but I am okay with that. I know it will get finished and, while I am going to work diligently on it, I am not going to rush it either. I don't feel like making extra work out of it if I don't have to. I know there are several more re-writes but I don't want them to be as extensive as this one.

Hope everyone had a good weekend and congrats to Cate and Aaron for their acceptances at Postscripts and Kalidotrope respectively. They are both wonderful publications and may they both go on to win major awards for their efforts. (really, I am rooting for you!)

Off to plug away on a book.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Gee, the deer are active at 4 in the morning

My boy, I don't know if he is cutting teeth or what but he decided we needed to go for a drive last night from 3 to 4:30 this morning. Did manage to fill the van up with gas and saw a lot of nice deer that I hope I see again during hunting season this year. Probably won't but it was a good scouting.

I will probably need to have at least a pot of coffee in me before I start the creative writing thing this morning, and surprise surprise, the boy is not up yet. I might have to go wake him before it gets too much later so he will take his afternoon nap.

I had a bunch of witty things to say in this mornings blog but alas they have gone from my mind at this moment. I would like to leave everyone with a little cartoon and tune from one of my favorite bands.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Coffee good-no sleep bad

Well, once again, Mark the re-write god was shining on me yesterday. (I don't know if he will come out and play today or if Cate Gardner is going to steal him from me) We managed to get through my daily goal of 1000 words on my YA re-write and then has out a first draft of a flash piece for 52 Stitches. It didn't start out that way. My original goal was for the Cat tales antho but I couldn't put cats into a positive light.

Currently I am running on little sleep because I was up until almost 3:00 am with my boy. I have no clue why every other night he decides to pull an all-nighter but last night was the night. I will need to chug coffee today during my session with the old laptop.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

smashed pumkins

Sorry, I couldn't help myself. It looked like something my old roommate in college would have done.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chugging coffee, writing words

I have found the key to writing. Copious amounts of coffee. As fast as it cool down and I can pour it down my gullet. Mark the re-write god is shining on me today. I have managed to plow through 2000 words of re-write today today in almost no time at all. I don't know how good it is. I will probably have to wait for the buzz to wear off but I got 2000 words down. At this rate I am not worried about finishing my YA book before NaNo starts. Heck, at this rate I might finish and write a novella before NaNo starts.

Just kidding. I am a glutton for punishment but I am not stupid. Maybe a long short story, if I have time.

Still have heard nothing from any publishers, other than Kate Sanger at From the Asylum and that was just a friendly heads up reply to a query I had written her last month. (brain working faster than fingers and backspace being used way to frequently)

I am raising my coffee mug again and saluting all of us. "Here is to finishing up projects before we plunge ourself into the madness that is November."

Monday, October 13, 2008

From the Asylum

I just got an email from Katherine Sanger over at 'From the Asylum.' I had queried her last month and she got back to me. I am only sharing this because I know that many of you also have stories out with them. She let me know that they are still in business, despite the lack of activity on their website. She said that the hurricanes in the area last month put them further behind than they ever expected to be and that most of us could expect to hear back from them in three months if not sooner. She apologized profusely for the delay and expects things to be back up and running soon.

I hope that this puts many of you at ease, especially those of you that have had stories out for quite a while at this point (mine has been out since February 16)

Sorry for the second post today but I thought many of you would want to know.

Another update, I am on my second pot (not cup, but pot) of coffee today and am being quite productive. I have written more in the last twenty minutes than I have in the six days prior. Mark the re-write god is shining on me today! :)

weekend update

I always loved the old weekend updates from SNL. It was that and then bed half the time because the rest of the show was all downhill from there.

I don't know where that came from.

My weekend and the week that was, let me see, what the heck went on in the world that is Jamie Eyberg. Uhm, yeah.

Okay, I've got it, not a whole lot. got a couple of thousand words written in my YA rewrite. Wrote a flash piece that I sent off to the new Dogs: the wet and dry anthology called The Proposal, it was fun and I hope to hear back from them soon although it wouldn't bother me a whole lot if I didn't. Heard back from Night Train magazine with a clever little rejection and other than that nothing. not a darn thing went on in my writing life. I was so much more productive last year.

This week I need to work on my outline for NaNo and keep plugging away on my rewrite. hopefully I hear back from some markets, hopefully with good news.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Why do I do this?

I am sitting in front of my computer. The neurons are firing in my brain. I can feel them.

Do you think that means I can translate that to my fingers. Nnnnooooo!

I have been sitting here for about fifteen minutes. I got a little bit on my re-write of my novel (about 250 words, if I am lucky) but I am thinking about ways to beat the computer at chess or playing another game of Mah-Jong instead. I think this is what they call writers block.

Speaking of Bloch (I know it is spelled differently) the Robert Bloch book I am reading is called Shooting Star. It is interesting in the way he self edits himself. There is no cursing, at all, in this book. He get the hardboiled part of it through innuendo. It is really a lesson in subtlety.

Just so you know it is a flip book. you read on story and you flip the book around and you have a completely new book. Really slick how they did that.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I was just thinking. . .

How great is it being a writer? I mean, really? We get to spend every day that we want, making virtually no money, writing.

We get to come up with fantastic worlds that may confuse or mystify our readers, if we have any. We can create whole languages that may remain in obscurity for all of eternity only to confound an archeological crew ten-thousand years from now, wondering what kind of history was being represented and where all these vampires and zombies came from and went to. I come to think, and I want to believe, that in the future our words are going to be taken as seriously as the story of Atlantis. Three sentences in a text that will have treasure hunters looking for things that never existed but on the page and in our minds.

How great is it to be a writer?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Off to a roaring start

It is officially six days into October, and although the day is not yet over I really don't expect anything in my mailbox today. Yesterday I did receive my first rejection of the month. It was nice polite and to the point. It was also from Hobart for my story Open Graves which, despite its title, is a literary piece with absolutely nothing supernatural about it. I still like the story and will continue to try to find a nice home for it.

Now despite what I told myself about reading My Side of the Mountain I am reading a Robert Bloch pulp about a one eyed private eye trying to solve a murder in Hollywood from Hard Case Crime. Can't remember the name of the story but if I were to walk across my house and look on my nightstand I could tell you.

Hope everyone's weekend went well. Mine did, got a lot of stuff done around the house, installing lights and trim around windows. Changing oil. All good stuff. not any writing though. That should change today.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Weekend notes

Just a quick note for the weekend. I finished Winn-Dixie last night and it is remarkably brilliant in the way it played itself out. The language was simple and the story itself deceptive in its complexity so that it only seemed simple. This is truly a book to study and know if you are working on a children book. the whole story was told from the point of view of its ten year old protagonist and well done at that. It is no wonder that it was a Newberry Honor book for 2001.

I believe I will be reading My Side of the Mountain, again, and studying the language used in that one to try and figure out why I read it over and over as a boy.

Happy Weekend everyone!

hopefully we never have to hear this-

I was reading the news this morning and there were several chilling articles but I think the most severe was the one that read We've been nuked. Stay calm. Don't go outside. It was a public address announcement that was never recorded but scripted more than forty years ago in England in the event of a nuclear war. They decided that it was against the best interest of the country to actually record it but the thought was there. If you want to read the story the link is here

If that doesn't give you an idea for a post-apocalyptic story, I don't know what will. I think I will be running with it this afternoon.

On a lighter note. I started to read Because of Winn-Dixie last night (it is a fast read and I could have finished it but I was tired) the whole book is around 20,000 words by my estimate and is actually a good story. (I get my word counts by actually typing a page or two out of the books I read to see how their pages stack to mine this book had two pages for every one of mine.) I look forward to finishing this sweet tale and then writing about the end of the world.

Good weekend everyone. Hope that everyone can relax and enjoy it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What I was going to write about today was taken, so...

I was going to write about the Pulitzer prize picker who said that American literature is basically trite compared to European literature but I believe that Stuart Neville said it quite elegantly so I will leave that post to him. He actually was talking about the differences in genres but I think that the argument stands.

So, since Neville stole my thunder on that topic, I am going to talk about something I am curious about. I never simultaneously submit to a magazine if it is specifically in their guidelines and if they say it is okay I don't really have a problem with it. My bookkeeping methods are pretty good. I know exactly where all of my stories are and I have no problem telling another publisher that a story has been accepted by someone else.

I just wonder if that is fair to the other publisher. I don't know if they have taken the time to read the story and if they have I really feel sorry for them, it is a waste of time. It can be a big waste of time if enough people withdraw their stories after they have been read but before a decision has been made.

Does anyone else out their sim sub if the magazines say it is okay? I try not to do it very often but many of the literary magazines that I submit to, I mean really, the chances of one of my stories being picked up by several of them is minuscule at best and some of them have six month or better response times. I am pretty patient but give me a break. Do I really need to wait six months (9 months for one of my stories) just to have them give me a form letter saying they don't want it, good luck somewhere else, or is it best to lay your precious eggs in many different baskets?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another month down the tubes

Well September seemed to go so fast and at the same time it drug on forever.

Everyone else seems to do these posts and they are one of my favorite things to read quite honestly (I like to read everything else you all write but I like to see how everyone's months stack against each other)

mine didn't stack that well I am afraid.
1. re-written about 5000 words in my YA book Big Chief's Gold (the title will probably be changed but it is easy to find on my flashdrive.

2. Wrote one piece of flash fiction, Lullaby. It was quickly accepted by Macabre Cadaver. Look for it on Friday with a piece from Aaron. (thank you Manny)

3. Had Solitaire, and other Games Children Play accepted to the Demon Minds print publication.

That was pretty much my month. Nothing fabulous. Nothing special. Not especially bountiful. I don't even have a lot planned for October. I would like to finish the second draft of Chief's Gold but I am really wanting to put some time in and make this one shine (I realize that doesn't happen with a second draft but I am trying to make my third draft easier to write) and I need to get my outline ready for NaNoWriMo. I have the idea, I just need to add the subplots and see where my characters take the story.

One more note, if any of you would like your book or cover letter gone over by a professional editor and get critique on said book or cover letter then I have a raffle for you. Just go to this site all of the details are there.

Wishing everyone out there in blog world a great October. BOO!

One quick edition, check out my story, Lullaby and Aaron Polson's short, Dinner here

Monday, September 29, 2008

What to do?

let me see. To recap the weekend.
1. Got form rejection from Asimov's Science Fiction. Didn't feel to bad about it. Figured it was their loss.
2. Went to zoo in Omaha. Saw cool animals doing cool animal things (the giraffes were mating, tee hee).
3. Went to birthday party for daughter (age 6) and niece (age 1) at my mothers place. Met my brand new niece. Ate good food. Talked to family. Had a good time.
4. Drove home.
5. Tried to sleep. Thunderstorms, dogs and children kept me awake.

Now that we have that out of the way.
I hope hope everyone else had a good weekend. I am once again hoping that my boy and Mark are with me today in the re-write thing. I have big plans this week and if I don't get them accomplished they will be sent back to next week and if that doesn't happen then I am getting really behind. (did you know that if you survived the event horizon in a black hole and looked forward you would see the back of your own head. just a little something I took away from an astronomy class at Iowa state. I pretty much learned that and Drake's equation but that can be for another day)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Must have been the wrong sacrifice

Mark didn't stay with me for very long yesterday. For those of you who didn't read my post yesterday, Mark is the god I have determined to be in charge of re-writes. I think he likes chicken. he only hung around for about 300 words and then it was gone. Actually, the phone rang and I lost my train of thought. When that happened I went to watch the latest episode of The Shield.

Won't be able to find if Mark is around this weekend. Today am taking my kids to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha and tomorrow will be traveling to southwest Iowa to visit my folks.

I want to thank Catherine Gardner for letting me know that I have something to look forward to in theaters in 2010 with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp getting together again (my daughter will be so excited) for Alice in Wonderland.

Hope everyone has a good weekend and may only acceptances light in your mailbox.