Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year in Review

2009 was a very good year for me as a writer. True, I didn't have any professional sales and I won't be paying my bills doing this any time soon. I don't have an agent yet, although it isn't for lack of trying and I don't have any books out with just my name on them, but I still consider this to be a very good year. It was a year that, I believe, saw my work get just a little bit better. I haven't received nearly as many form rejections as the year before and on a better note, I received more acceptances than I thought would be possible in a single year. Especially considering the number of stories I wrote. Let us get on with the stats.

Short stories written (completely): 14
Short stories sold: 14 (2 of these were in December. I made it into the zombie Western anthology and into the four horsemen of the Apocalypse antho as well)
Rejections received: 51 (I finally looked them all up)

On the surface this looks fantastic (I am including flash in this number because a story is a story no matter how long it is) I have sold more of the stories I wrote this year, either in their primary or secondary markets. Most of the stories I have left out in sub land (5) either are from last year or they haven't been out that long in the first place.

Words written in short stories: just over 25,000 (this includes one that I am still working on)

Not too bad. I can live with this number. It is the equivalent of 100 manuscript pages.

Short stories actually published in 2009: 10
words actually published in 2009: 14,765

Novellas, books written in 2009 (complete): 3; (incomplete): 4
words in those books: 114,000 (complete); 151,000 (incomplete)
books accepted: 0 (I really need to work on this)
Books out in submission land: 1 (I really, really need to work on this)

Now I could state my goals for next year and in writing them I might attain that but the acceptance part, while in large part due to my writing ability, is also dependent on the mood of the editor reading my material so no such goals will be put forth. As far as my blog-roll group as a whole I predicted good things to come last year and I was right. Of the 19 or so of you that regularly post comments on my blog 7 of you have sold books in single author formats either online or in print this year. That is pretty good company to keep. Congratulations to all of you. I hope more of us can join the ranks of you in the next year.

Would I like a better year. You bet. Who wouldn't. Will I get a better year. We will see. If I continue to see improvements in my writing then perhaps.

Here is hoping everyone has a wonderful New Year and I hope to see you all in 2010! May we all share many ToC's to come.

Monday, December 28, 2009

that was rough

Just went almost an entire week without internet service at my house. I didn't care for that, not one bit. We are back on and stronger than ever- even if the power still goes out periodically while they put back power lines. If you can't tell it has been a heck of a week for weather around here. Ice that accumulated to an inch thick and broke trees. Over a foot of snow (two feet in some places). I actually have a drift in my yard that is taller than my truck at this point. The temperatures are going to be below 0 here this week and they are calling for more snow. I won't even bring up the wind at this point. I am ready for spring.

I have managed, in my net deprived existence, to get a little bit of editing and re-writing done. I am almost to the half-way point of my novella. It is to the point where it is needing more work and, quite frankly, that takes longer.

in other news my end of the year wrap-up will be my next post. It will be full of statistics for those of you that like that sort of thing. Overall I can't complain about the year I had. Much better than I thought it would ever be when I started this whole writing thing. Have a safe New Year and if you happen to get blitzed and run around in the streets with a lampshade on your head please send me pictures. I won't show anyone :) I promise. ;)

Monday, December 21, 2009

'Tis the Season

I offer everyone who reads my blog a Merry Christmas (that would be you. Yes, you.). It is fast approaching and I am prepared as much as any guy can be. I guess. The presents are bought and wrapped. They are even under the tree, of which only one has been unwrapped by my youngest and had to be re-wrapped. The baking is done and tastes delicious. You will have to trust me on that because I would share but you would have to come over. We even have snow on the ground and it looks like that will be staying around until about March if Mother Nature has anything to do about it. She is even moving in a slow moving storm that arrives tonight and won't be leaving until Friday if the local weatherman is correct.

All in all I have to say it has been a good year. Good friends, good stories, good books (okay- great friends, great stories and great books). I hope that we can say that 2010 will be even better as we all improve with every story and continue to find our audiences.

Have a great rest of the year. I will see you around New Years.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Waking Nightmares

"I had the weirdest dream last night," Carl said as he wrapped his arms around his lover.

"What about?" she asked. Her voice was groggy and she cleared her throat.

"I was trapped in our house and a monster was after me."

"How did it end?" she asked.

"I don't know. I woke up before it got to me."

She turned to him and bared her teeth, "Are you sure?"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

WiP, the unruly child edition

My current WIP is actually the same as last week. I have just changed the beginning. Now that I have started it (curse me for starting another story when I have so many others that need work) it has taken a life of its own. It doesn't know whether it wants to be a short story (it has so gotten over being a flash piece), a novella (a very real possibility at this point, or a short novel. I have thought up enough subplots to explain my mysterious prism and the people around it that a novella is probably where it is heading. another story with a very small chance of getting published but it seems to fit around the themes that I have been working lately, namely my stories Wine for Two (Ruthless Peoples Magazine, issue #3), Play Date (Sand, issue 5) and Monday Morning (still looking for a publisher on this one). They are ghost stories but not the boo, gotcha kind.

Hope everyone else has stories that are cooperating with them.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

you can thank Aaron for this post

I am taking my cue from Aaron Polson and making a list of the small press purchases of the year. It was a worthwhile investment. There is some incredible reading out there that doesn't have Stephen King, Dan Brown, Nicholas Sparks, or Stephanie Meyer on the cover. I did fairly well. Many of the books or magazines I purchased featured works of those in my blogroll. It is great to have such amazing writers in my online circle of friends. So- without further ado- the books I bought over the last year from the small press. (and I have read most of them. Believe it or not.)

1. The Monster Within Idea by R. Thomas Riley (Apex Publications). In the top 5 books I have ever read. Easily.
2. Sand magazine subscription (Strange Publications) I look forward to the new format next year and hope I can take another subscription out.
3. Shroud Magazine (Shroud Publications) I think I took this one out this year, it may have been late last year. Well worth it, even though they have gone quarterly now.
4. Necrotic Tissue subscription (Stygian Publications) I haven't read these cover to cover yet, but I really like what I have read so far.
5. the Sour Aftertaste of Olive Lemon by Cate Gardner (Bucket O'Guts Press) this chapbook was amazing. If Nate offered a subscription on his press I would take it out as well.
6. Jack of All Trades by K.C. Shaw (Ancient Tomes Press) One of the nicest books I have read all year. My wife and I both enjoyed this one.
7. Malpractice (Stygian Publications) I actually received this one as a prize and have only read some of the stories in it. I like it so far.
8. Devil's Food (The Monsters Next Door) This one is gruesome, through and through.
9. Return to Luna (Halley Rilley Press) Some very good science fiction in this antho. If you like sci-fi I can't recommend it enough.
10. Monstrous (Permutated Press) I bought this book for 2 reasons. Aaron Polson and Steve Alton are both in it. It is great if you like the giant creature movies from the 50's, and I do.
11. Phantasy Moste Grotesk by Felicity Dowker (Corpulent Insanity Press) Wow, I don't know if there are any copies left (I believe it was limited to 26 copies) but if there are you should read it.great looking chapbook as well.
12. The Art of Science by Ransom Noble (4RV publishing) this short YA book is very cool and I went to school with the author.
13. Debris by Barry Napier (Library of Horror Press) I haven't read this one yet but I have read many of the stories in it and I don't think anyone would be disappointed in what he has put together. This one is on my early list TBR for next year.

Well, as far as I can tell that is it. I don't know what subscriptions I will be taking out this upcoming year or who in our group will be published next but I am looking forward to it. I knew it was going to be one hell of a year for our little group and I was not disappointed. Good luck to everyone next year. I look forward to breaking the bank buying all of your single titles again next year.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Goals for the week

I don't know if this will do any good, but I am setting goals for the week with my writing. I will probably fail miserably but at least I can fail in front of all of you. Here we go-

1. I will finish my triangulation story. As polished as I can get it and submit it. It will not be a horror story, but many of my stories aren't. I can live with that.

2. I will re-write the first third of a novella that I wrote last spring. This should amount to the first 40-50 pages or so. It should be interesting and I hope to turn it into more of a ghost story than a suspense thriller. I think it will add to the suspense when I am done.

3. read, read, read. I am far behind on my reading for the month and I really would like to get caught up. I hope that my boy and his new fascination with play-doh will not get in the way of this goal.

I think that should do it. I don't need to set myself up for blatant disappointment. I hope everyone had a productive weekend, even if it wasn't writing. It is easy this time of the year to get lost in everything else that is going on as we are only a little over 2 weeks away from 2010. Have a nice day.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday (TGIF)

We are slowly getting back to normal after our blizzard on Wednesday. They are at least having school today, although the buses will only run where they can because they haven't got all the gravel roads plowed out yet.

Yesterday I spent a good chunk of the day editing. Several hours worth. I think it was worth it. It had a lot of problems and i think I fixed most of them. I also managed to submit said story and now I can wait, and wait, and wait. . .
maybe I work on something else to kill the time.

I love being a writer. how is your week going?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WIP Wednesday

It is a blizzard here. I have large drifts of snow behind my garage doors that are probably taller than my truck at this point. The wind is blowing like crazy and occasionally I lose sight of my mailbox which is only about 20 yards from the house (probably closer). Not a single car has traveled the road this morning, mostly because the plows haven't been by yet. As I am writing this my wife's job called and said they are closing for the day. I think the only thing open around here are the grocery stores and no one can get to them.

I saw yesterday that the Triangulation Antho series is open for business again. I subbed to them last year and didn't make it in, so I thought I would try again this year. The theme is End of the Rainbow. Interesting, or so I thought. I am giving it a whirl. Here is my opening-

It was the last thing I received from my grandma. A prism. At least that was what she called it. It always sat in her kitchen window, which oddly enough, faced the north and never caught the sun.
I could never get it to work, not even on the most brilliantly sunny days. My father speculated it was cut wrong and couldn't refract the light properly. Still I kept it, in my kitchen like she had, even though in my tiny apartment the kitchen had no windows.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter Wonderland (or the white apocalypse)

It is the second snow of the season, the first was exceptionally early in October. The tenth to be accurate. This snow actually stuck for more than a couple of hours. They are calling on another 6-10 inches tomorrow and high winds to go with it. It could turn into a full fledged blizzard. I hope not, but it could.

I honor to commemorate this first snow of the season I am getting my truck worked on and making sure my snowthrower runs. I think I need to change the oil and put a new sparkplug in it. I should also get new gas for it. In the meantime, I might try to get some edits and re-writing done, although it isn't looking good for such frivolity. Here is a picture out of my backyard for your viewing pleasure.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Another religious holiday in Iowa

Today starts one of the most important religious holidays to many Iowans. Shotgun deer season (we don't allow hunting deer with rifles in this state) opens day and even though the sun is not yet up it is light enough to see the hunters driving by with their blaze orange vests and caps on. It is tamer than it used to be around here. My first year in this house it was almost scary. We had no neighbors that we could see (we have 2 now, the nearest is 1/4 mile away) and I watched in horror as some hunters, known by the locals as the cowboys, drive a herd of deer from their trucks, half of them loaded in the back. They almost caused an accident in front of our house by pushing the deer into the path of an oncoming car. I know at least two of the deer didn't make it out of the field next to my house, at least not on their own.

I am a more civil hunter. I prefer to wait or take a nice walk through the trees, by myself. I will give credit that the way they hunted they had a much better chance of getting something (like being shot) but I prefer my way to theirs. It seems more sporting.

In writing news- I managed to finish one story I have been working on since October, now I need to sit back and edit it. I also received a nice form rejection from one of the mags on Cate's list, Shock Totem last night. I will look over that story and figure out where it shall go. I might hold off on sending it out until the beginning of the year when Necrotic Tissue and Shroud re-open for submissions. I like the story too much to give it to the first market I come across. I don't know if that makes me a snob, but I don't care.

Have a good weekend.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday post

Don't you love the title of this post. So original. So thought provoking.

Really, I have been up to amazingly little this week. I have gotten some words down, but not very many. I have worked on reading some friends stories, but I haven't made it through them (and not because I don't like them. Quite the contrary, they are actually some of the best work I have read from these people.). I have tried to work on re-writes of my own stories and haven't made it past the first chapter.

Some weeks are like that. I will get over it. Maybe today will be more productive. How is your week going?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December, in like a lamb

I know, March is the month that comes in like a Lion and out like a Lamb but I think that December is where the Lamb exits stage right. mostly because it is supposed to be almost 60 degrees today and tomorrow it isn't going to get above freezing. Lucky us.

I was wrong about my post yesterday. I said I probably wouldn't get any more rejections in my inbox before the night was through. I was wrong. I got a lovely personalized rejection from an agent. Apparently she really liked what I was trying to sell, but it isn't what they are buying right now as they are narrowing their focus as an agency. At least it was encouraging. It was at least the most encouraging of all of my agent rejections so far this year.

I don't know how much writing is going to get done today. My daughter is home sick from school (the stomach-like flu strikes the Eyberg household again) and both children are being exceptionally demanding this morning. I will see where this afternoon goes. I would like to work on my NaNo story and get it closer to done. I still think it has some teeth.

Now, as we go into the last month of the year, I must get going myself. Later.