Thursday, October 19, 2017

Microfiction on Zathom!

Three of my microfiction stories have been bought by the editorial team running the Zathom app, which goes live on Friday, October 20.  The stories by me are called "Masked," "Suspect," and "Two Weeks and No Utilities."

The third story is somewhat autobiographical, relating to 16 days without electricity that my husband and I experienced after Hurricane Ike in 2008.  The weather afterward was still hot and steamy in the mornings, and I'm sure we both looked like the great unwashed.  We certainly felt it. 

The first two stories are purely from my wild imagination, using words provided by Zathom's editors that had to be included in the stories.

Sunday, September 24, 2017


I am working on a novel idea whose working title is Strayhaven. It's an earldom in a fictional country called Comhar, which uses elements of Irish culture for its setting. I'm starting the world-building and plotting now. It is my hope to have enough of the pre-writing work done by November 1 that I can successfully complete this as my NaNoWriMo novel for this year.

I haven't posted to this journal in a while because I hit a creative dry spell and was doing nothing but RPG (role-playing game) writing.  A couple of weeks ago, however, I found out about a story-writing app called Zathom that is in development.  Once the app is rolled out, it will be a platform on which users can write flash fiction stories of either 55 or 415 words in length, using certain words chosen by the Zathom organizers.  For their roll-out, the designers were soliciting a whole slew of 55-word stories.  So I submitted about 24.  I will let you know if I sell any of them.  

The Zathom work has been somewhat of a jump-start for me.  it convinced me that I could still write and that I could still come up with interesting ideas.  I really needed that emotional shot in the arm.

Also helpful was reading an excellent book on writing by Marshall Dotson, called The Story Structure Secret:  Actions and Goals.  This is the kind of information I have been needing all of my writing life.  It has been of more help to me than even Donald J. Maas' Writing the Break-Out Novel and James Frey's How to Write a Damn Good Novel.  It is because of Dotson's book that I feel able to work on Strayhaven and to feel that it has more than a snowball's chance in Hell of becoming a good story.  Dotson's book is giving me a very clear road map and is allowing me to see that I will be able to finish what I start.  That in itself is a great relief.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Military Information - Time in Service vs Time in Grade for Naval Promotions

I was curious how long it takes to be promoted from one naval rank to another, so I looked it up in terms of the US Navy and found these stats:

ENS to LTJG:  TIS:  2 years.  TIG:  2 years
LTJG to LT:  TIS:  4 years.  TIG:  2 years
LT to LTCDR:  TIS:  9-11 years.  TIG:  3 years
LTCDR to CDR:  TIS:  15-17 years.  TIG:  3 years
CDR to CAPT:  TIS:  21-23 years.  TIG:  3 years

They want their higher-level officers to have much more experience than the minimum time in grade would indicate.  I call BS on Captain Kirk being promoted to captain at age 34.  He should have been a lieutenant commander at most.  :)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

'Dragons & Witches' Now Available for Pre-Order!

Dragons & Witches, the next anthology in which one of my short stories will be published, is now available on Amazon for pre-order!

The link goes to Amazon Smile, which donates a small portion of the book's price to the Texas Masonic Retirement Center to help support the nine elderly ladies who live there.  If you would prefer not to support a cause, you can pre-order Dragons & Witches here at the usual Amazon site.  Whichever way you might choose to purchase the book, you have my sincerest gratitude.

My short story, "The Eyes of Death" was declined for the anthology, The Death of All Things.  Back to the drawing board!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Status - "Where To, Ma'am?"

Good news and bad news!

My short story, "Where To, Ma'am?" was declined by Flash Fiction Online, but I did receive a note from editor Suzanne Vincent that it had reached the final round of their selection process before being rejected.  I take that as a good sign.  Ms. Vincent offered me the chance to receive some feedback on the story, so I have accepted the offer and will use the feedback I receive to, I hope, improve the story and my writing.

In other news, I decided to back the launch of Cloaked Press, a small, independent SF/F press run by author Andrew M. Ferrell, who lives in Wisconsin.  You can visit its Kickstarter page and give it some love here.

Final bit of news:  I have been invited to submit a short story to a middle-grade children's anthology, so I will be working on that.

Good night!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Submission to Flame Tree

This evening I submitted my short story, "Choosing Chains," to Flame Tree Publishing to be considered for two of their 2017 anthologies:  Heroic Fantasy or Supernatural Horror.

"Choosing Chains" is an odd story.  I personally classify it as dark high fantasy with a horror element, but I have no idea how anyone else would classify it.  I want to find it a loving home, preferably one that does not involve me self-publishing it.  And if I can find it a good home, maybe Hand of Vengeance might find a home in the same place.  Keeping my fingers crossed!

I will look through my stockpile of other stories and see if there's anything else that might be suitable for Flame Tree.  I do, however, want to also write them a nice sword & sorcery story, because that's my favorite genre to write.  Let's see if I can finish one by February 28, 2017.  Wish me luck!

Actually, no, don't wish me luck.  Wish me self-discipline, please.

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Monthly Checker - Morgen Bailey Entry for January 2017

The prompt for Morgen Bailey's January 2017 100-word story competition was to write something based on the title, "The Monthly Checker."

I actually wrote two stories for the January competition.  The first one, "Where To, Ma'am?" was just awful when whittled down to 100 words, so I let it be as long as it needed to be and found that it turned into a pretty interesting story at about 1300 words.  I submitted that version to Flash Fiction Online and am waiting to hear back from them.

I was able to come up with a 100-word story for Morgen with the requisite title and submitted it.  It was "highly commended."  It is probably also the story Bailey mentions that was, "eek-making, in a good way!"  It features a woman with proprioception issues involving her breasts.  And then it turns out that there is a non-neurological reason for her lack of proprioception there.

Now that the contest for January has ended, and I am free to give the story my preferred title, I will call it "Xenomelia."  I can use the slightly longer draft and send it out to possible markets.

Xenomelia is defined as, the oppressive feeling that one or more limbs of one’s body do not belong to one’s self."  Breasts are not exactly limbs, but it was as close as I could get to an accurate name for the condition.  If you are interested in learning more about this condition or mental state, I highly recommend that you read Dr. Oliver Sacks' book, A Leg to Stand On.  Sacks was a brilliant writer, and I always find his books about neurology fascinating.

Every time I enter one of these Morgen Bailey competitions I learn something new.  The striking thing I observed in the stories that won in January was that not one of them read as if it had been whittled down.  The language in each of them flowed naturally, yet all three told a succinct story in 100 words, an impressive accomplishment by their authors and one that I will strive to achieve for February and for my future writing.