babarnett: (ash boomstick)

One more week of freedom before my fall semester starts. My brain is finally emerging from its state of denial over that fact. But, to look on the shiny side of the crazy busyness that fall will bring, this will be my final year of grad school. Two more semesters and I'm done, baby!

This summer was strong with the shiny side of the Force, so I'm going to miss it. Two stories that I had lots of fun writing ("The Girl Who Welcomed Death to Svalgearyen" and "Memories of Mirrored Worlds") were published. There was traveling awesomeness—France in July, several jaunts to the shore in August. When not gallivanting about on vacation, I took full advantage of my summer break from school and choir rehearsals to tackle lots of personal projects I had put off during the school year.

And there was writing time. Lots and lots of glorious writing time.

I went into this summer with a writing goal: there were several short stories I wanted to get revised and sent out, and once I did that, I could finally go back to the long-neglected novel revisions I've kept threatening to one day resume. It is with a proud wielding of the productivity stick that I declare that goal met. The short stories in question have all been prettied up and submitted, and last week, I blew the dust off the novel revisions.

And to add to the summer shininess, I can announce another sale! NewMyths.com (who previously published my story "The Cycle of the Sun") has accepted "The Perfect Instrument" for their March 2014 issue. "The Perfect Instrument" had originally sold to an anthology, but the project fell through before publication, so I'm happy the story has managed to find a new home.

babarnett: (firefly shiny kaylee)
Life has been so amazingly nice to me lately that I'm expecting the other shoe to drop at any moment, complete with an army of cymbal-clapping demon monkeys. I'm a pessimist like that. But in the meantime, I shall revel in the shiny!

I just got back from a rather lovely trip to France with my husband's family. Much awesomeness was experienced. As an opera nerd, getting to see the Palais Garnier was the highlight for me during the few days we spent in Paris. After Paris, we took a barge cruise through Burgundy, which rocked on every level—the food, the wine, the weather, all the places visited, the amazing crew, and the chance to go bicycling along the canal route. But now, alas, I am re-adjusting to real life, where lunch sadly does not include wine and a ridiculous number of cheeses.

There has also been continuing writing-related shininess, most of it occurring while I was off learning just how rusty my French has gotten:

* My story "Memories of Mirrored Worlds" is now available online at Daily Science Fiction;

* Last week I got another acceptance from Daily Science Fiction for a flash piece called "The Perfect Coordinates to Raise a Child";

* And finally, "The Girl Who Welcomed Death to Svalgearyen" from issue 124 of Beneath Ceaseless Skies received some nice comments in reviews at Locus Online and Tangent Online. BCS will also be offering the story as a podcast sometime in the near future, which I'm quite looking forward to hearing.
babarnett: (farscape aeryn genius)
*taps the blog mic*

Is this thing on?

So, yeah, I’ve been rubbish about posting lately. Life has been consumed by a big busy combo of workshopping craziness, vacationing, trying to finish things up at Ye Olde Day Job before my last day (two more weeks!), and preparing for that whole wacky grad school thing I’ll be starting in September. There has been precious little time for writing, which makes me cranky.

As for the aforementioned workshopping craziness, that would be TNEO (aka The Never-Ending Odyssey), which I attended last month, and it was all manner of awesome. Awesome people, awesome feedback, and awesome moments of writing-related light bulbs going off. Like three-act structure. For some reason, I always had the hardest time getting a firm grasp on three-act structure, but this time it finally clicked and I could finally see where I had (unknowingly) used it in some of my stuff.

I had two short stories and a novel chapter critiqued at TNEO this year, and I’m totally stoked to get the revision work underway on them. It’s easy to walk out of critique sessions overwhelmed by feedback overload, especially when you get conflicting opinions. But this year, there was so much consensus as to what was and wasn’t working in my submissions and so much helpful brainstorming that I feel like I know exactly what I need to do and won’t be bogged down trying to sort through conflicting reactions.

One really helpful session we did at TNEO was a plot breakout technique. Each person presented a plot they wanted help with, after which we would do about a half an hour’s worth of brainstorming that involved lots of adding and rearranging and deleting of various plot elements, done with index cards on a board. I was looking for ways to strengthen Act 2 (now that I know where Act 2 is!) of one of the major plot threads in My Big Fat Epic Fantasy Novel and got lots of great ideas, including more characters to kill (always a plus in my book). My collection of index cards ended up looking like this:



That big mess o' cards down the middle would be Act 2, with Act 1 to the left and Act 3 to the right.

Now if only life would settle the hell down and let me get in some more writing time, I could make better use of all that crazy awesome brainstorming!
babarnett: (edna the incredibles)
1. Staycation!  I had some vacation days to use up before our fiscal year at work ends this month, so I took today, tomorrow and Monday off.  It's nice to remind myself what my house looks like.

2. Happiness is walking out of your local library on a beautiful day with a big fat book in one hand and an iced coffee in the other.  I love you, local library.

3. Still got a short story rewrite to get to today.  Must...stop...procrastinating...
babarnett: (muppets)
After a nice and relaxing week down the shore, I'm back home and emerging from my vacation-induced LJ hiatus.  I'm not even going to try to catch up with flist posts, so my apologies if I've missed anything terribly exciting.

Reading Update
Finished Writers of the Future XXIV. Now that I've read the whole thing, my favorite stories from my last reading update still remain among my favorites and are now joined by "Cruciger" by Erin Cashier ([livejournal.com profile] therinth ).  There were a few pieces that left me disappointed by the ending or with a general feeling of "meh" toward the story as a whole, but overall, I enjoyed far more of the stories than not, so that made the book worth the read.

Submission Land
Seeing "I am sure another editor will snap this up" in rejections should be encouraging, but for me it has become the Mark of Doom.  Or at least the Mark of Don't Hold Your Breath Because You Will Not Be Selling This Any Time Soon.  One story of mine is currently sitting in its eighteenth slush pile two years after receiving a comment like that while another is in its seventeenth slush pile three and a half years later.  And I never did find an agent way back when despite that lovely handwritten note on one rejection that included a similar Mark of Doom (though that may be a good thing in retrospect given the massive overhaul that novel is getting).  So now that I've recently received not one but two Marks of Doom on a flash story, it's time to come up with a really long list of potential markets for it, 'cause it's gonna be a while. 

This is why I've come to prefer "I hope this one finds a good home soon."  As well-meaning as it is, whenever an editor is "sure" or "certain" of my story's good luck, my instinct now is to crawl into a corner and cry.

Other Writerly Updates
I've added "To Worship Death" (from issue 4 of Fictitious Force) to my stories available for purchase at AnthologyBuilder.

The other day I got the proofs for my story in Shimmer's Clockwork Jungle Book issue, which now looks like it should be coming out in early September.  Looking forward to seeing my little lemur on a dirigible in print!

Cuteness
One of my favorite parts of my yearly shore trip is the Stone Harbor Craft Fair.  This year, I found this little guy (from Cutesy but not Cutesy), whom I have dubbed Unifish:


babarnett: (get fuzzy talented bucky)
The Shore
Got back from Stone Harbor yesterday, with plenty of sand, craft fair purchases, Cape May wine, and sunburned shoulders to show for it. Twas fun, but between that trip and TNEO, I'm looking forward to staying home for a whole week before running away again. I've always been quite fond of my bed, and the bed-like torture devices I was subjected to at TNEO and the shore house have made me even more fond of it.

Oh, and the new couch in the shore house (my in-laws have been renting this place for years) was just . . . well, everyone who entered the house had pretty much the same reaction: "Oh." (pause to fully take in the horror) "That's, um . . . new." 

Just thinking about that couch makes my eyes bleed.

Sales & Stories
It continues to be a good year for flash fiction and reprints: yesterday I received an email that Flash Me Magazine will be publishing my story "Troll Bait" in their all-fantasy issue this fall. The story originally appeared in AlienSkin last year.

And as of today, my flash story "To Someone Who Needs Prayer" is now available in issue 61 of Hub Magazine.  My '07 Odyssey mates should recognize this one. (If not, it's ok. We were all fried as hell that final week.)

Now that I've gotten the requisite publication pimping out of the way, I can get back to that wacky writing thing.  The shore was my TNEO detox week, so instead of writing, I spent my time reading and relaxing and eating far too much ice cream.  I'm a bit overwhelmed on the writing front in that I have far too many projects I'm eager to tackle.  I had two or three days at home between TNEO and the shore, and I wanted to write, but I was excited by so many projects that I coudn't pick one to focus on.  Instead my brain ran about every which way until it finally blew up.  But now that I've had some time to chill, here's hoping I can find some writerly focus.
babarnett: (yoda)
Procrastinatory me got all of my Odyssey notes typed up as of today.  Yay for vague sense of accomplishment!

On the not-so-accomplished side of the spectrum, my other goal for this weekend was to get my leprechaun story (which is undergoing a title change from "Family Luck" to "Unlucky Clover") revised and in the mail before I head down the shore tomorrow.  Yeah, didn't happen.  I made some progress on the revisions, but it's going a lot slower than I thought it would.  My internal editor--an annoying, temperamental little pain in the butt on a good day--seems to have been joined by the phantom voices of the Odyssey critique circle.  You guys are a picky bunch, even when you're only in my head.

Anyway, after a way-too-early-in-the-morning dentist appointment tomorrow, I'm off to the shore for a week and a half.  I may actually get something accomplished in the writing department while I'm there--the house my in-laws rent has a great deck to escape to for that.  But it's also possible that the call of copious reading material that I don't have to critique may be too strong to resist and cut into my writing time...which may not be such a bad thing.

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December 2013

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