Friday, January 30, 2009

1 down 11 to go

Okay, I know that today is not the last day of the month, but I am not writing tomorrow. I just can't believe it got here so quickly. With so much left to do this year and the calendar not caring at all what I have to do and how much time it takes to do it, it gets to be frustrating. I can see why time travel stories are so popular.

I was just wondering, thinking about what is the line between 'horror' and 'dark fantasy.' Is there a line or is it just something we come up with to differentiate us between other writers? I find some stuff I write to be dark but not necessarily terrifying. I find other stuff I write to be fantastic but not that dark. I find some stuff I write to be more true to life but dark and it is considered literary and not genre at all.

I am so confused.

Have a happy Friday and a great weekend.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It could have been an exciting day yesterday

Yesterday, just from looking at the news, could have been a very exciting day in the life. It looks like I just missed being involved in a high speed chase through the streets of Council Bluffs, IA and had I taken the Interstate just a little later I could have witnessed a motorcycle crash. I am still trying to figure out what the hell a motorcycle was doing out when it didn't get above 20 degrees. To top it off the rider wasn't wearing a helmet. WTF! I think he must have been high. It is the only explanation I have for that one. To top it all off my wife biffed a deer with her car (probably one I took a shot at earlier this year). the car is still drivable and the deer ran away so it could have been much, much worse.

I did, finally, get my first acceptance of the year yesterday. It is a little for-the-love market for a flash piece I had written earlier this month called Premonition. It is more dark fantasy than horror but I am fine with that. I don't know when it is supposed to come out but I will post it when it does.

I am currently reading King's newest book, Just After Sunset. It is different than most of his other collections of short stories. While it is well written, it does not feel like King. You can tell when you are reading the stories (mind you I am only about a third of the way through it right now) that he took his time with them. They are very deliberate and slower paced stories than he wrote in his earlier books. I think it is the sign of a maturing writer, one who has the luxury of writing what he wants and can do it however he chooses. I am looking forward to seeing how the rest of the book compares and if he will continue to veer away from his roots while staying in the forest.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It is official

I am the world's worst at grammar and spelling. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever seen any of my work in any form before an editor gets hold of it. It is something that should have been a New Year's resolution but, since I don't believe in them, I will start now. I have two old Grammar books I am pulling out and am going to read and even do the exercises. (I keep misspelling grammar as grammer. You can see my dilemma.) My goal is to be better. I know that most editors do not want to put in as much work as my writing takes to get it up to speed. I will be spending the next couple of weeks, when I am not working on a novel, editing the hell out of everything that has not been accepted and I deem still worthy of anyone reading.

It is going to be a daunting task and not easy I will admit but I hope to make it out of my own slush a better writer.

God help me.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hello Monday! (and happy Chinese New Year!)

Well it is Monday. Happy, Happy Monday. We managed to get more snow over the weekend but it wasn't a blizzard or anything. Just a nice little 4 inch dusting of snow. We are supposed to get more over the next couple of days so I have my snowthrower ready.

I managed to write another flash fiction piece on Friday. kind of a different take on most of my stories. It is almost a creepy fantasy story as opposed to horror. I am going to be interested if it will sell or if it will be relegated to my dead story file. I will find out in a couple of weeks. Two stories in two days and here I was only supposed to write one piece a month. So far I am up to April and ready for May at this point I guess. In case any of you were wondering I heard nothing from any editor over the weekend so no news is good news in my opinion.

This week is shaping up to be quasi-busy, I have dental appointments, I need to schedule truck repairs (minor but they still need to be taken care of) stories to write and my laundry pile seems to have gotten rather frisky and multiplied over the weekend. I also have a couple of business ventures to look into (something my wife and I have been wanting to do since we started seeing each other which will be 14 years this week) My sister, Melissa, who is 11 months my junior will be celebrating the fifth anniversary of her 29th birthday as well this week. (for those of you with weak math skills or brains that don't function that well in the early morning that is 34 years) She will kill me if she ever reads this.

I want to thank Aaron. I won a copy of Zombie Haiku (only slightly used) because of my ability to pick names that five year old will enjoy saying (kind of like the marketing McDonald's put into Happy Meal (tm) )

One more thing. I am sure most of you have read Felicity's Post from yesterday already but if you haven't go here. It is quite possibly the most exciting news that any of my online friends have offered this year, to date and I think this is going to be a big year for this online circle of comrades (just a little voice in my head that is telling me this. I keep jabbing him with an icepick but he won't go away)

These stories and chores aren't going to get done by themselves. Happy Chinese New Year.

Friday, January 23, 2009


TGIF. Truer words have not been spoken. Managed to squeak out another rejection this morning from Shock Totem. Sent the story on to Necrotic Tissue. We'll see how that turns out. I did manage to write a flash story yesterday afternoon. That was fun. I hadn't written flash since the story I wrote for 52 Stitches in late October (Dang has it really been that long?).

I am planning on nothing today but getting groceries and having a drink, or four (I really don't do that anymore, only the first two taste good.) I might get some writing in but I don't know what on. It could be a book or it could be another flash piece.

I am really looking forward to this weekend. My wife and I get to go out on a date and we are going to go antiquing (there is a big show in Des Moines this weekend. We try to go every year but we missed it the last two, I think.) Other than that I am ready for January to be over with and start February on a happy, acceptance filled- rejection free, note (Hah!)

Hope everyone enjoys their weekend as much as I am planning to.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

On a lighter note today

I felt yesterday was a downer post. Today will be much lighter. There will be music and dancing and good natured skeletons passing their skulls to one another in perfect synchronization. Just stick with me.

I did receive another rejection yesterday putting my total up to. . .well nevermind. Still no acceptances. Today is another day. Let us see what it brings. Yes, I did have a dentist tell me that I had a cavity that he needed to fill (that will happen sometime next week and I don't think 2 cavities in 35 years is too bad considering the amount of chocolate I can put down in any given year) My boy and my dog wouldn't let me sleep last night. I am very thankful I don't have a regular job to get to, I would get to it on time every day but I would be more like a zombie than an employee. Again, nothing to get down about- can't change it so lets roll with it.

I hope you all enjoy the day and this little musical interlude from two classics. Now I am off to continue spreading cheer and happyness throughout the world.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I quit

This month is not going well. This morning my sixth rejection came. It was for my Dead Bait story, Undertow. I realize that my longest dry spell in rejections came last year when I received no good news between January and July. In July things started picking up and I made six sales the rest of the year. Now as anyone in my family would say, 'stop feeling sorry for yourself and do something about it.'

Okay, now that the moment has passed, I need to find a market for that story. Too bad their aren't any other creature antho's out right now. I didn't use fish as my bad 'guy' in that story but instead a giant pond slug with a tendency to travel in packs and eat anything that bleeds. I like the image. I just don't find fish all that scary. Not even sharks. Mostly because I live in Iowa and sharks aren't an issue. Leeches and stuff are nasty though. It only takes seconds for them to attach to you and then they won't let go. They are good to fish with and fish seem to like them however.

I had better get to work. I have a book to finish drafting and a market to research. Happy Wednesday.

update: I just sent it off to Big Ol' Face Full of Monsters. We'll see what happens- in a couple of months. I am a glutton for waiting I guess. Speaking of waiting, has anyone heard back from Devil's Food yet?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Today starts a new chapter in American government. With our 44th president ready to be sworn in and about half the country ready to run Bush out of the country (if it wasn't him it would have been some other guy. Really) I remember back when Reagan was inaugurated. I was in the first grade and the entire of my elementary school packed into my classroom to watch the one television we had in the school (we would have watched in the gymnasium but there were no outlets to plug it in so they piled in. most of us had no clue who the old man, who our parents said was a movie star, was at the time but he seemed nice enough and we watched the 19 inch screen obediently. It was still better than doing school stuff.

I hope that my daughter has the same experience in school today. She is about the same age I was, perhaps a little younger, and she will have no clue who the man on the screen is or what he ran on, or for but I hope that she will remember it in thirty years.

That being said, I hope that people know that the problems, and successes (yes, there were successes) were not due in whole but in part to everyone who has come before for the last 236 years. They will not be fixed or destroyed as quickly as the whim of one man. I wish him luck and don't envy his job but I hope he does the best he can and if he starts to go astray we have good people around him to get him back on the right path that our America was founded on.

Monday, January 19, 2009

There has got to be a story in this

I stumbled upon this story, which I will paste below from The story behind the headline has to be amazing, even if someone out there were to just make it up as they went along ;)

Two Burmese men who were lost at sea for 25 days after a fishing boat they were in sank off the southeast coast of Indonesia were found alive, floating in an oversized icebox.

The men, who said they were forced to join the boat’s crew, were found Saturday — 25 days after the vessel went down about 60 miles off Horn Island, the Courier-Mail reported.

They climbed into a large icebox as the rest of the crew scrambled for something to grab. They were found by Coastwatch pilots after more than three weeks in the water.

A Department of Immigration spokesman told the Courier-Mail that both men were receiving medical care and they will confirm their identities within the next few days.

Tell me there isn't a novella or at least a long short story out of that.

Spring can come any day now.

I had the pleasure and opportunity to scoop the drifting and blowing snow in my driveway twice this weekend. I think that means of the seven days in a week I managed to push snow at least 6 times. I think it has melted enough to form a crust that the wind can't get under now. I should be safe until the next snowstorm.

I got absolutely no writing done this weekend although I am reading an interesting YA book called Deep and Dark and Dangerous. It is a ghost story at its root and is very well done. I might finish it today instead of doing my own writing. My problem with reading is I usually only have about ten minutes a day to actually read (time where I feel like I don't need to be doing something else, like pour an idea into my computer or laundry, sometimes dishes) this is one of the reasons I love the short story so much as well. I feel like I can get into it more quickly and finish most short stories in a quick read instead of having do devote countless hours to one story. For a writer I read pathetically little. I need to change this. I think it would, doubtless, improve my writing.

Just my random thought of the day. Happy Monday to everyone.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Worth looking into

I sent off my story to Dead Bait and got a nice little acknowledgment letter back promptly. I thought about it a minute, checked my records and realized I didn't received any such thing for the 2012 AD story I had sent out last week. I wrote the editor and asked if he had received it. He had not. I was glad I asked. I promptly resent it and got a nice little acknowledgment letter. This is the second time this week where I have had to ask an editor the where abouts of a story and the second time I have gotten news that it was a) with an editor that was no longer with them or b) it hadn't made it there at all. What are the chances.

As I was saying. I did go over my Dead Bait piece yesterday. It read better than I thought it might. I changed a few lines, changed some words and some verb tense re-read it, changed some more things, re-read that and sent it off. I hope it doesn't suck. I really like the ending. I don't know what I will work on today. I think I have most of my short stories out of me for the moment but I am not 100 percent sure.

It made it down to -24 below last night (that is Fahrenheit) but by the time I had to take my daughter out to meet the bus it was 0. It almost felt warm. Almost. Speaking of my daughter, she lost her first tooth last night. The tooth fairy is much nicer than she was when I was a kid. I didn't realize inflation had gone up that much, either that or I got the cheap tooth fairy.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A balmy -23 F or -30.5 C

Damn it is cold outside. I am not even going to attempt to start a car that hasn't been garaged overnight. At least my snow thrower worked yesterday afternoon and it didn't drift back overnight for once this week.

Received bad news in my inbox this morning. Apex declined my story. I am currently seeking a new market for this piece after I go over it one more time. Just for peace of mind on my end. It is a longer story (4300 words) and the only 'true' science fiction story I have ever written so markets are hard to come by. (It doesn't help that I have only sent it out to professional markets so far and received positive feedback. the only reason I am doing that is it came in as an honorable mention in the Return to Luna antho, which is a darn good book by the way.) Once I run out of pro markets I will work my way down the scale. I think it will find a home. I just don't know where.

I also received an email from Stefanie Freele at the Dogs: wet and dry antho and my flash piece is still in the running. That made me happy.

so let me see, I still haven't gotten an acceptance this year, but I now have one hold. Better than a sharp stick in the eye. I still think I am on track to send out my Dead Bait story tomorrow, or maybe Saturday depending on how tomorrow goes. I am not going to rush it just to meet a self imposed deadline.

Hope everyone has a warm and productive day, so stop reading blogs on the office computer and get to work.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Another snow day, again

the local schools have called off again today, on account of drifting snow. The last thing they want is a student losing control after plowing into a drift, or a bus. I can guess my day will be spent picking up toys and stopping arguments at regular intervals throughout the day.

I did finish the first draft of my Bait story. It is tentatively titled Undertow but that is subject to change between now and the final edit. I think today will be spent on a novel instead of a short story. It should be a nice change of pace.

I was thinking (man this post is jumping around like a bullfrog on a campfire) about my backup system for my stories. I don't store any of them on my computers hard drive. I had a lightening strike that took out a computer a year and a half ago and I lost most of a book (Okay so the book sucked but I learned a lot writing it) I was working on. I had to re-write most of it and I am pretty sure I liked the first version better. Now I save everything to a flashdrive. Intermittently, I back up that flashdrive to CD. When a story gets finished I make a paper copy and put that in a filing cabinet and when the story gets accepted I make a copy on CD and put that in the file folder as well, then I can delete it from the flash drive. It is a conveluted system but it works. I also haven't had lightening take out my computer since then.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


yesterday was a bust. Creatively anyway. I couldn't get any writing done with two kids at home and a driveway that needed to be scooped out, by hand no less because the breakaway bolts on my snow-thrower broke away. Go figure. Had to go out before the sun got up this morning at -11 degrees F. and scoop more snow that the winds kicked up last night. At least that wasn't the whole driveway but it still took me over an hour.

I am hoping today will be better. I think I can get a first draft of my Dead Bait story done and if I don't it will be close enough to finish tomorrow. I should be able to send it off by Friday. I think.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Music and Mayhem

Here we are on Monday again. Yippee!! I got another rejection over the weekend. I half expected it. The 'ghost' in my story isn't scary at all but a physical manifestation of a life lived. It has been a hard one to place. The literary magazines seem to like it more than the ghost magazines so I sent it off to another literary one. This is the same one that Crazyhorse held for nine months.

If you want some good time piano music I found out my cousin Bryan Eyberg is not only a kick ass piano player and instructor but also a composer. He has a couple of online albums (you can download the songs to your computer or I-pod or whatever you want. Ain't technology wonderful.)
<a href="">General Flow by Bryan Eyberg</a>

he is actually very good. I know he hated it, but it was always a treat at Christmas to have him sit down at grandma and grandpa's piano and belt out a few songs for everyone else to enjoy.

In other news. I am still working on my Dead Bait story and it seems to be going together fairly well, so far. I will know more once I finish it, print it off, and sit down to read it for edits.

I know I am looking forward to the blizzard they are predicting for this afternoon. My daughter's school has already called it off for the day so I am guessing today will involve a lot of Mario Kart.

Later and have a great day.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Happy weekend

Well, here we are on a Saturday and I am posting. Heck, just about everyone seems to be posting today so I don't feel so bad.

I have officially sent off my 2012 AD story, Fate's Hand in Mortal Affairs. I am pretty happy the way it ended although I hope it doesn't read like I wanted to finish it quickly and tacked an ending on it. I then got a good start on my Dead Bait story. I have re-used Mr. Calloway and a familiar pond from another story. I call it re-using but he is really just the set-up. We are introduced to him and he is already dead, or presumed so. I will be curious to see how this one plays out on paper.

I know what you are thinking, 'he told us he was only going to work on one short story a month and here it is the 10th and he is on his second short.' You are right, but inspiration struck and I hope future editors can enjoy the moment like I am.

Other than that I am planning a very quiet weekend. My wife ended up working and on call so the only things we will be doing this weekend include getting groceries and going to her companies post Christmas party, at which she will be on call. That should be fun for me if she gets called out in the middle of dinner.

By the way, I really hate the weather people around here. They were calling for snow in NorthEast Iowa, nothing for where I live in West Central Iowa and we got nailed last night with several inches of the white stuff which I will now have to get the snowthrower out for. Darn Weathermaps and their 'predictions.'

Friday, January 9, 2009

One of my favorite times of the year

Tax season is upon us.

I received my first filing papers yesterday. I know, everyone out there thinks I am nuts but this is something I have enjoyed since college when I did, pretty much, everyone's taxes on my dorm floor. Its not that they couldn't do the math, they were scared of the I.R.S. I don't know how many times I had to reassure them that the chances that the government was going to go after a college student if they forgot to put down a weeks worth of tips in their taxable income was slim to none. The sad part is that most of them filed an EZ form which was simple math. I had been filing one since I was 15.

I have never been scared of the I.R.S. I follow the rules that are laid out in front of me and I follow them. Now I know that several politicians who are in charge of writing our tax code can't seem to follow the rules (Charlie Rangel) but if I have a question about a deduction I will look it up on line, or call the number (which you will wait on hold for hours) just to get back a few dollars.

I have always reveled in the numbers (even though me and math class don't get along), and when I got older and bought my first house I reveled in the deductions. I did the same thing when I started my first business. 'Save that receipt,' I would holler to my wife. 'We can deduct that.'

Don't worry, my wife thinks I am nuts too but she does like it that she doesn't have to hire an accountant.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Do I hear Three?

Rejection number 2 came in yesterday. It was from Spinetingler and I don't feel too bad. I was competing for one of six spots with 60 other people they had narrowed the field down to. I had a 10% shot and I didn't make it. I looked it over, found a market I though might like it and sent it off. Burnt Offering is one of those stories that is hard to categorize. It is not a mystery but it does have some suspense, it is not totally mainstream, nor is it literary. It is definitely not horror or science fiction, and there isn't a glimpse of fantasy in it. I hope that, eventually, it finds a home other than my filing cabinet one of these days.

Today I think I will edit my 2012 story and get that off by Friday. I am sure there are a multitude of glaring errors that I can find at first glance and a bunch of not-so-glaring ones on second glance. I just hope I can find the majority of them before I send it off.

Maybe today I will hear good news from an editor. Or maybe I will hear nothing at all. Anything other than a rejection.

Is it morning already

I swear I need to get to bed early tonight. I have already been up for an hour and a half and that was after I was up way too long with my son last night. God only knows why he woke in the first place. I am getting way too old for this stuff.

The house is quiet now, my boy is sleeping (for how much longer I don't know) and the resident college student is still asleep as well. Everyone else in the house has either gone to work or school.

I am considering taking this time to edit my 2012 story, although I really want to start on my Dead Bait piece as well. I am thinking of using the character I used in the piece I sent to Devil's Food. He was an interesting character and he liked to fish so I think I can make something work. Plus I have the added bonus of already knowing the character (even though that could work to my disadvantage and I might not include enough about him to make him real in this story.) I think I can do it, especially if I know where the potential weakness may lie.

I know I am procrastinating my book Invasion but I can't help it. I feel I can jump back into a book easier than I can write short stories right now (damn my fingers. They aren't working at all today. I have to keep one finger on the delete key) I had better get a pot of coffee going and start the day. Good luck to everyone and happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

one down, many to go

Received my first rejection yesterday, of this year anyway. I have sent it off to one more market and then I am retiring that particular story. I happens to be a very niche story so after this next market get back to me it is done. Unless a new market pops up on the radar.

Actually yesterday was an interesting day for the old inbox. I could tell everyone was back to work and looking over everyone's blogs because I had to run to Omaha and when I got back in the afternoon I had over 30 messages waiting for me. Of course one was the rejection and four were spam but the rest were interesting little tidbits.

I also received the first part of my order from Apex Publications who, coincidentally, is still on their drive to earn $2500 by the 9th of this month. They are half-way there and they have some very good deals going right now. I am really enjoying the old issues of the Apex digest I ordered. I am thinking of completing the set now.

I am a little behind schedule to finish my 2012 story right now. We ended up spending a family weekend pulling down Christmas decorations from the house and as I mentioned earlier, I ran to Omaha yesterday. We are hosting a college student for a couple of days. It is my wife's cousin's oldest boy, Joe. He is a good kid, despite being a Nebraska Cornhusker. I believe my writing will suffer as he is actually a pretty good conversationalist and he doesn't take a nap like my boy. He is from Idaho and couldn't afford to go home for the holidays so he is staying with family until he can get back into the dorms.

I think I can get a couple of hundred words written before he wakes up, now that my hands are warmed up and the coffee is done brewing so until tomorrow. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Playing pool, shooting skeet and motorcycles

Natalie want to find out seven things about me. I am going to make her wait until tomorrow. Today I want to talk about the - just kidding. So without further ado,
Seven things about me you might not have known.

1. I still have a valid motorcycle license even though I no longer own a motorcycle. My mom wouldn't let me get a car when I turned 16 but she did let me get a cycle. (go figure, she said I had more experience riding than driving) My first bike was 1978 Kawasaki km100 when I was 13.

2. I am the oldest of four children. I have one sister who is only eleven months younger than me. My little brother is ten years younger than me.

3. I went to three different colleges before I got a single degree. I transferred from Iowa State in Ames to follow my soon to be wife. I ended up with a Bachelors degree in fine arts with an emphasis in creative writing, because I can't even draw stick people correctly.

4. I used to shingle houses for a day job. I have only fallen through one roof and off of one other.

5. I used to manage a pool hall/arcade. My clients were mostly drop out and hooligans. I have had at least two knives pulled on me and one trash can thrown at me. I liked that job.

6. I am an avid pool player. I have a table in my basement and I shoot with McDermitt cues. I have two of them. One is worth about 400-600 dollars and the other is worth about 350. I use triangle brand tips and carry my own cue ball with me to pool halls; just in case.

7. I used to be an avid skeet shooter but I haven't found the time or money to do that lately. I used to be pretty good at it too. Nothing like dusting a target that is flying away from you at 60 miles per hour.

I am not going to pick seven more people, but if you want to try it it was fun. Okay Natalie *sigh* I admit I had a good time doing this so you are off the hook with me. I forgive you.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Day 2, 2009

Worked a little bit on my 2012 A.D. story. It doesn't have a title yet but bringing about the end of the world is kinda fun. I hope to finish it sometime this weekend and then have it sent off by the end of next week. (You will note how I am setting my sights low and taking my time)

Also managed to go deer hunting yesterday. I think I managed to walk about seven miles through the timber and I saw a lot of deer, unfortunately for me and fortunately for them, they saw me first so the only shot I got off was at one on a dead run (no, he wasn't a zombie deer) at about 60 or 75 yards. I would have to be a lot better shot with a handgun than I am to hit that target, and I don't care how big the critter is.

Other than that I heard nothing from any editor yesterday, although Michael Knost said that he broke his own record yesterday and accepted two stories yesterday. Unfortunately, I don't have anything out to him right now. Also apex is running a new blog today. One of their editors is talking about what it is like for her to go through the slush pile. Slush Lessons:

Well here is to a productive second day of the year and I wish all of you a merry weekend before the holiday season is officially over and we all must get back to normal.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

It doesn't feel any different

so here we are. 2009. Yep. Still feels the same, tastes the same, even looks the same. I am sure for the next couple of weeks my check writing hand will still be thinking it is 2008 but in the meantime we can be sure it is 2009. Everyone says so, so it must be true.

Yesterday marked a milestone in my blogging. 100 posts. I didn't realize it until my wife went to read Carrie's post and I saw that magic number sitting in the corner of the screen. 'Wow,' I thought to myself. 'What if I had devoted that time to writing actual stories instead of useless nonsense?' I quickly banished those thoughts from my head and tried to think of my post for today.

Here it is.


Not a lot is different, after a whole year has passed and 100 posts. I look forward to a batch of acceptances and rejections this year but none have arrived so far. I am waiting for the onslaught. Bring it on.

Come on editors. I can handle it. Really.

Hope everyone has a great day.