Thursday, January 31, 2008

Faith Rejected

I got the rejection letter from Chris Cevasco at Paradox today regarding "Such Great Faith." It was a standard form letter but had a couple of handwritten paragraphs on it. The first reads: "I enjoyed this very much-- so much so that I very seriously considered accepting it for publication-- but on a second read I decided that it didn't stand out quite enough for me." The second was a personal apology for taking as long as he did to respond. I had assumed it was because the story was getting a serious look and it turns out I was right. Chris is an excellent editor and runs a very good magazine. It's very likely that I will submit these Roman stories to him at some time in the future.

For now, I will submit 'Faith' to its next market: Haruah

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Learned Lessons Are For the Weak

Some people travel in the winter and encounter difficulties like cold and snow and so then learn to avoid travelling in the winter. Those people are wussies.

I, on the other hand, complain about cold and snow in Spokane and then go right on over to Boise and bull my way into the prevailing inclement weather system in order to see as many potential customers as possible. I'd like to post an entry about the beautiful city or countryside or something but I can barely see it through the blizzard. I take that back; City Hall and the Capitol Building were impressive but everything else disappears into a haze of white within a few hundred yards.

To really make a statement about non-learned responses, I think I'll schedule Salt Lake City for August.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Ho Lee Cow

Amazon.com is sponsoring a Breakthrough Novel Award thing in which they gather a bunch of unpublished novels through some kind of submission process and sift through them to see who should be given a publishing contract. Samples of the works are up for public comment. I've read some.

This is bad.

This is very bad.

This is wretched beyond belief.

If you enjoy pain you might want to wander over there and peruse your favorite genre. I guarantee you wont be better off because of it. It's writing like this that forces me to take a serious look at my own stuff. I don't think I'm bad. They don't think they're bad.

Someone is obviously wrong and I hope it's not me.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hamlet: Fun For the Whole Family

We all went out to see Hamlet down in Seattle last night. Boy, those Danes sure know how to lay waste to an entire family. (And anyone else who happens to be lurking about.) I could remember only the barest details and so the blood bath at the end came as a pleasant surprise. Daughter Number One was already asleep next to me and Sons Numbered One and Three were not paying attention either. That left Son Number Two who was sitting next to me and complaining that he couldn't understand a thing they were saying. When it was over he leaned in and told me that he'd been keeping track of the body count. Seven deaths, not counting the King who dies before it starts. Good boy.

I tend to not like plays at all. Instead of getting swept up in the story, all I see are people trying to remember lines and fumbling with props. That was no different here even though the actor playing Hamlet was very good. What became the most interesting thing for me as a writer was trying to keep up with Shakespearian prose. There's an awful lot of words flying around and they take some concentration to follow. So that part is kind of worthwhile. Then everyone dies. Good clean family fun.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Simplify Your Life Through Technology

This morning I had the pleasure of being awoken at 5:30 by Son Number One who had something urgent to tell me about our computer. That would be the computer that we upgraded to about nine months ago because the old one was several years old and running slow. Seems that Son Number One had downloaded something for his Zune, after right-clicking and scanning the file for viruses, and now there were all kinds of windows popping up saying that we had been infected with spyware. If only it were that simple. The virus we got was cleverly disguised to look like real Internet Explorer windows suggesting that we could remove this trojan malware thingy by purchasing a special virus remover. I spent several minutes trying to weed through the windows that kept appearing before I finally had to go to work. Of course he calls an hour later saying that there was still a problem. (This is when I discovered that it is literally impossible to talk a teenager through a computer situation.) So anyhow, I get home tonight and spend more time trying to make the machine that simplifies our life stop complicating our life. We'll see if I'm successful... Probably tomorrow morning at 5:30.

Monday, January 21, 2008

CSFF Tour for January

This month we have Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet. This is a fascinating book about a young girl who has an enchanting power and is raised by thieves. Right there is a mix that should be read. In fact, you can read the first chapter here. The rest of the tour is listed in my sidebar and you should check them out.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Back to Writing

So I got back to writing this weekend and added another scene to That Next Roman Story Which is Set Entirely in Greece. Our intrepid hero gets captured and interrogated by the antagonist in flashback. This style of going back and forth between two different times in the story is actually quite fun. In order to pull it off, I'm making sure that a question is formed in one scene and then answered in the next. Of course another question comes up and that gets answered back in the 'current story.' I've also got an antagonist that has his own special skill which comes in handy while tracking down wanted criminals. I'm up to 2600 words and I think there will be three more scenes before it is finished.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Good Week For Raising Your Geek Quotient

As an occasional stamp collector, the news that Royal Mail was releasing a series of James Bond stamps made me get all giddy. Whenever I travel abroad I try to make time to get to a post office in Japan or Korea and mail myself some postcards with whatever cool stamps I can find. I also have some stamps from Oman, Egypt, and Singapore. However, since I don't have an official 'stamp collection album' or anything like that I can still claim non-geek status.

But, I tell you, it sure would be nice if I knew someone in Great Britain who thought I was worth a couple lousy quid and would mail me some of them James Bond stamps. Not that I'm begging or anything. I'm just saying...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Triond Earnings Can Make You Rich

Rich with residual income! I now earn more every month with my articles on Triond than most sub-Saharan African villages do in an entire half-day. The payment system is so easy, I didn't even notice the 25 cents deposited into my Paypal account last month. This is the opportunity I was never exactly waiting for; the ability to turn my writing into riches beyond belief! I'm convinced that anyone who sets their mind to it can achieve results no less than fourteen statistical deviations away from mine. Sign up now!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Revealing Your Inner Geek

If you want to see what a normally reserved and controlled individual looks like when transforming into a stuttering geek then you need to travel back in time a few hours and stand next to me just after church service. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that one of my favorite bands, Esterlyn, was performing the worship portion of tonight's bible study. They used to be a band called Grand Prize and we saw them at a music festival a few years ago. They are a solid group of guys that have their minds set on Jesus and use their music to glorify Him and not themselves.

So I'm standing at their table afterward and get my turn to shake the lead singer's hand and suddenly I'm not at all witty or smooth. "I, uh, really love your music. And I think you guys are great. Um, good luck on the new album. Or CD, I mean..."

Painful.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Preditors & Editors 2007 Reader's Poll

Forget New Hampshire, Hillary's going to lose again anyway. Spend your time and effort on something that really matters: The Preditors & Editors 2007 Reader's Poll! You can vote for your favorite stories, books and writers. Or better yet, vote for my favorite stories, books and writers! [sotto voce] Michael Ehart [/sotto voce] This way all of us in the largely ignored world of Small Pressdom can find some kind of meaning in life and hold our heads high with the respect and adulation of millions of fanatic supporters and so continue to carry on against the scorn and derision of millions of fanatic non-supporters.

It's just that important, people.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Ravages of Time

The next story I'm writing has got the certain-to-be-changed working title of 'Ravages of Time' simply because that's the first thing I thought of when I started it. It continues the adventures of Apollo Valerius Delphinius; my Greek, future-seeing, literary thief/collector, son of the last Oracle of Delphi. This story is written in the same flashback heavy style as the first, where I jump around in the timeline in order to build the tension of the tale.

The setting for this one will very likely be entirely in Greece ca. 400 AD. Right now I have the Isthmus of Corinth as the location for the 'current story' with flashbacks in Athens and Delphi. An interesting stumbling block that I've been running up against is the lack of good research material for Roman era Greece. It seems that most historical study has been focussed on either Ancient Greece (800 BC to maybe 200 BC) or the Italian peninsula for later Roman times. Then the literature seems to jump to the Byzantine period of 600 AD and later. This is forcing me to be a bit vague on the street scenes and to extrapolate from known Roman customs and hope they were in practice in Late Empire Greece. As always, the little things that make a story unique and interesting are the things that become the hardest. I spent half an hour searching for a city to have something shipped to. Each time I looked over a map and found a city that would fit the story a little bit of research would reveal "Nope, this place was destroyed by invaders in 395" or something like that. Anyhow, I'm 1200 words into it and enjoying the process so things aren't all that bad.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

MindFlights

With the new year it is official, The Sword Review and Dragons, Knights and Angels are shutting their e-doors and combining into a new e-zine: MindFlights. It is a bit sad to see the magazine that was my first publication credit change this way but I suppose it is all for the better. The archives are still up so the link to "Protector" will still be active. I'll keep that link as it is until I come up with a way to archive my stories on my own; which is probably very easy to do through Freewebs or something but I just haven't done it yet.