Saturday, November 26, 2011

To Lighten the Mood...

I was doing my almost-daily crawl of the archives when I stumbled upon this gem. This is what I imagine dirty talk between two aspiring writers sounds like...

Monday, November 21, 2011

No Dice

So I got my answer from Daily Science Fiction today on the story they shortlisted. Surprisingly, it was a form letter.

Oh well. Onward and...onward?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Shortlisted; Also, Where I've Been

To all my eFriends, writing buddies, and folks who just like following my blog for blog-following's sake: I'm sorry I've been away for so long.

I'm especially sorry because I haven't actually been away. I've been right here! I haven't been checking in because I haven't been writing a ton of fiction. Instead, I've been doing a lot of writing for Bleacher Report, a fan-sourced sports journalism site. I've been able to share my thoughts on sports and society for thousands of people while also auditioning for actual paying jobs in the field down the road. No, it isn't the most traditional way to go about it, but there are pundits writing for various major networks, and indeed even appearing on television, after having only their experience at Bleacher Report on their resume, so it isn't so far-fetched to think I might be one of those lucky few.

I have been doing some fiction writing, though, and just this evening I received a bit of thrilling news: I have been shortlisted at a major pro-paying market! (Full disclosure: I am too superstitious to write the name of the market here; when I hear back, one way or the other, I'll tell you who it is. And yes, I am aware of the irony of being a superstitious atheist). I've only ever been shortlisted once before, that time by Flash Fiction Online, but they didn't tell me until after the fact--and it was a rejection--so it didn't have the same oomph that this one does.

Half or less of their shortlisted stories make it into publication, they told me in the brief email, but this is better odds than I started with, and certainly the best news I've heard in a while on the fiction front.

So, that's what's been up and what's going down. I'll try to check in more often.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


When I say "remix," I don't mean it in the Gwen-Stefani-Meets-Eminem, skull-thumping-techno-infused remixes you hear in the club; I mean in the literary sense. 

Say what? 

I was watching this interview with China Mieville the other night when when mentioned the idea as it related to his own work. He said that he has always been suspicious of Director's Cut versions of films and books (he cited Stephen King as a literary example, and his knack for rereleasing a book 20 years later with 20 thousand additional words), but also that he is intrigued with the idea of rewriting his own work ten, twenty years later, just to see how it comes out. In other words, a literary remix. 

I was dumbstruck. Honestly, the idea of rewriting one's own work years later has never even occurred to me as something people might do...which is strange, I suppose, since one of the things writers spend most of their time doing is rewriting and retooling their stories. I guess the reason it's so odd to me is because China wasn't talking about rewriting broken stories; he was talking about rewriting good stories, ones that he'd finished and sold and had published and collected massive royalties on. He's talking about rewriting "Perdido Street Station," for example, as an experiment just to see what would come out. 

I find the premise fascinating, to the point where I wish I had stories old enough (and successful enough, for that matter) to remix. What about you? Do you guys ever do this? Have you ever wanted to? Do you have stories old enough or at the very least distant enough from you now that a completely blind rewrite would interest you? 

I'm curious how those would come out, even if just as an experiment.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Doesn't It Figure?

Just received this email from The Absent Willow Review:

To our readers,
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the Absent Willow Review will be closing its doors. Our last issue will be published on October 16, two weeks before our three year anniversary. It has been an amazing run and we are honored to have worked with so many talented authors and artists. To say that this was a hard decision would be an understatement. We would also like to thank you all for your support and encouragement over the last three years. It certainly made a difference and encouraged us to keep our doors open for as long as we did.

With that being said, our last issue on October 16 will include all stories which have been accepted by us for publication. The site will remain open until December 1st.

Keep Writing!
Kind Regards,
Rick & Bob
The Editors 

 Awesome. The most respected market I've been published in will only feature my story for less than three months before it closes its doors forever.

Friday, September 16, 2011

"The Machine" Is Live!

Head on over to The Absent Willow Review and read my soft sci-fi jaunt "The Machine."

If you don't want to, I'll understand. I'll give you a purple nurple, but I'll understand.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Moving On

This probably won't be a popular post.

Today is the ten-year anniversary of arguably the worst day in American history, 9/11/01. In light of this, there have been a hundred tributes, from the President and First Lady walking through the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania where Flight 93 crashed, to celebrity-laden TV specials, to over-the-top on-field ceremonies at stadiums across the country. And through it all, I can't help but wonder if I'm the only one in the world who is absolutely appalled by it.

Nearly 3,000 human beings lost their lives that day, and before the dust settled, there were pins and patches and logos meant to "commemorate" the terrible event. For a particularly embarrassing and uncomfortable time, the media couldn't quite decide between "9/11" and "9-1-1", the latter having an obvious and cruel double-meaning. It's been an industry virtually since Day One, as outlets have not stopped trying to out-Remember each other, with the aid of increasingly ridiculous graphics and melodramatic vignettes. It's as though these producers sit around in an office all day sifting through pictures of people looking sad and lost in the chaos. And for what?

I understand and appreciate the memorial built on the original site. I think it's a bit vulgar to make a monument of the footprints left by the buildings, but I get it. What I don't get is the need to rub the horrific images in our face all day every day for weeks and months leading up to today, and today most of all. I understand the desire to remember the dead, for it is in the memories of others that we live on, but there is a difference between remembering and constantly being reminded.

My grandfather died when I was a baby. My mother chooses to remember him by sharing stories of him--his life, his loves--with us. It's how she copes and how she honors him. We do not now, nor have we ever, commemorated his death. The day he died was one of the darkest in my mother's life, and she, like any normal person, remembers the man that was her father, not the heart attack that killed him. We don't wear pins over our hearts or shine a spotlight on his seat at the dinner table.

It's all too much. I ran out to the store today to grab a couple of liters of soda for the football games, and I was tempted to wish the clerk a "Happy 9/11", not because I'm some sadistic prick, but because the farce this yearly occasion has become borders on celebration.

I don't think I have any stupid or intellectually dishonest followers, so I will speak plainly of those who would call my complaints crass or without compassion or, god forbid, unpatriotic: Please try to get it through your tiny brain that I was just as devastated as you were on 9/11. I am not some young flag-burner with an instinctual anti-establishment bent. I'm every bit as American as you. It's just that I find these "memorials" to be soulless rating grabs at best, and grotesque tragedy-worship at worst.

9/11 isn't a day to commemorate. It isn't a day to remember, it's a day to forget, to put behind us forever. We should celebrate the efforts of the first responders who selflessly gave their lives, the blessed charities that make lives easier on the families left behind by the victims of the attacks, the average citizens who sacrificed just because it was the right thing to do. That's what we should remember, not the tragedy itself.

I hope someday we get our priorities right.