Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Year's Resolutions I Have No Intention of Making Or Keeping

1. Get up an extra half hour earlier so I can do something that is only slightly more important than sleep.
2. Exercise any more than absolutely necessary.
3. Be nicer to loosely organized, hive based insects.
4. Stop 'using the Force' to find our ultimate driving destination.
5. Work towards World Peace; or for that matter, even a block watch program.
6. Anything else that might in the slightest bit inconvenience me.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wii Positive

Our household has tested Wii positive this Christmas. This is a rapidly spreading contagion that has infected almost every member of the family; my wife will not be able to hold out much longer.

Son Number Two beat the tar out of mii in just about every one of the Wii Play games. Finally I lucked out and the target shooting game came up. Since I am a five time rifle expert, I assumed a comfortable off hand position and proceeded to slaughter my son. He couldn't even come close to my score. With that, I decided to declare victory and move on. He complained but I have a writing deadline to meet and not even a round of Wii Golf is enticing enough to miss that.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Wise Men Still Seek Him

This picture made me think of the following captions.

1. Men only stop to ask for directions when there is no longer a clear sign to lead them.
2. Garmin GPS: 2000 years of Most High Technology.
3. Are we there yet?

Picture discovery courtesy of StumbleUpon.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Rumblin', Bumblin', Stumblin'

A surprisingly busy week has prevented me from telling you about StumbleUpon. It's been around for a while but I've never really tried it. While I still am not thrilled about another freakin' toolbar to take up screen space, I've decided to sign up for it. The stumble feature is pretty good; the web sites I'm randomly directed to are relevant to the interests I've checked. The networking feature is coming along and I've seen an increased level of traffic to this blog. All in all, I think it is worth the time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wayfarer's Journal

This month the CSFF Blog Tour is highlighting Wayfarer's Journal, an online source for Christian science fiction. This is an excellent website that features SF with a Christian perspective. So much SF these days seems to take non religious view of the future. That's on a good day; the rest of the time they are actively anti-religious. This webzine is an attempt to take speculative fiction and present it with a viewpoint that a huge percentage of Americans share. That is a Very Good Thing.

The stories are thought provoking and timely. The layout is professional. The feeling and attitude are warm and welcoming. This is a place you should visit and support.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Writing Lessons From Christmas Cookies

In our house we have a tradition this time of year. My wife spends hours baking frosted sugar cookies and I spend hours trying to avoid helping her so that I can eat them later with the appropriate feeling of consequence-free pleasure. After getting caught in the kitchen on other Sunday afternoon business I was coerced into sifting together some flour, baking powder, and salt. Then I figured out that the deck needed sweeping. While I'm busy doing this marginally important task, Daughter Number One comes out and asks, "Are you trying to avoid helping Mom with the cookies?" I of course try misdirection and state, "No, I just have other things to do right now." She sees clearly through this with The Sight that only a six year old has. "OK, so you're trying to avoid helping Mom with the cookies." Then she turns back into he kitchen.

If you are getting lazy and uninspired in your writing, your characters will be obviously not doing what they should be doing. Readers will note this. Remember that fiction is not like real life and your characters have to stay on task. They can eat someone else's cookies, but they have to make it a little more dramatic than coming in from the deck with a defensive 'What?' look on their face.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The New Phone Book's Here! The New Phone Book's Here!

Well, it might not be quite as thrilling as finding new phone books on my doorstep every few weeks but I just received my copy of The Servant of the Manthycore. This is a good looking, well made book. Double Edged Publishing did a good job of putting it together.

This is most fortuitous. I was looking for a reason to not do any real work this weekend, like put up Christmas lights, and now I have my excuse.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Discovering Deadlines

My search for a different market to send That Roman Story to led somewhere yesterday. I discovered an online magazine called Serpentarius. It looked good and I just couldn't resist the Latin connection. The only unexpected difficulty was that they were about to close the submission window on Monday. That meant the final edit needed to happen today. It did.

The story has been renamed "Exitus Lux Mundi" and is probably not conjugated correctly but I think it sounds catchy. Also, since another story with the same character has begun gathering notes on my laptop, this gives me a theme to hang future titles on: Partially Grammatical Pseudo Roman Phrases.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Market Search

Since Paradox is closed to new submissions I am looking for another place to send That Roman Story. (I'm thinking the title might end up being "Destiny's Collector" or something along those lines.) is a great resource but after scanning through several market listings I'm finding that there are some magazines that I just don't particularly care to be published in. I guess that is a self imposed limitation which is not in my best interest but some of these submission guidelines just make the magazine sound like no fun. A couple of them are so pretentious and condescending my first thought as I read them is, "Well, then screw you." After a bit of Christian reflection I usually temper that to a more sarcastic, "Yeah, OK, good luck with that." Anyhow, the search continues.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Good News

The good news yesterday was that the very responsive people at Flashing Swords accepted "The Battle of Raven Kill" for the May issue. The contract was offered and I signed it and sent it in yesterday afternoon. I'm thrilled to be part of that publication; especially because the whole story was begun with them in mind. Many thanks go out to the many people who helped make the story what it became.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Self Censorship

An interesting thing came up while I was making the final revisions to "The Battle of Raven Kill." The story centers around the hero and his drive to succeed; if he gives up, he loses, if he keeps fighting, he wins. There were a few bits where he prayed to "The Great God" which was a fantasy analogy to the God of the Bible. (By the way, when did He start making His internet appearances under the stage name 'G-d?' Did I not get the memo?) Anyhow, the hero comes to a point where he really is waffling on whether or not to continue the struggle. He sees something that cements his resolve and gives him the determination to finish. Originally as written the line went like this:

"He could not give up. God d*** him for ever thinking that he could."

As you can see, even though I typed it... I had reservations about it. I suppose it's not technically taking the Lord's name in vain but I still sat there for several minutes and went back and forth about it. In the end I just didn't feel comfortable with it and changed it to this:

"He could not give up. The Great God damn him for ever thinking that he could."

I think the first line has more emotional punch when I look at it with a clinical view. Still, I just couldn't bring myself to leave it in.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

OK, So That Was a Bit Ambitious

Didn't quite get to That Roman Story but I did finish the final edit of "The Battle of Raven Kill" and it has now been sent to Flashing Swords. With helpful pointers from the best beta reader in the free or oppressed worlds I think I have captured a touching, heartfelt story and still managed to bash a few brains in at the same time. I just hope the good people at Flashing Swords don't mind a story with no swords.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Sunday Morning Goals

All right, I've got some work to do tomorrow morning. I've got two stories on the verge of final draft and I need to get them in shape for submissions next week. That Roman story has been reviewed by both my wife and my very good friend from across the pond. It feels good and just needs some smoothing. "The Battle of Raven Kill" needs a touch more work but I know what elements I need to add so it shouldn't be too difficult to finish. Then I need to target them and fire away. I wrote that Roman story with Paradox in mind but they still have "Such Great Faith" under consideration so I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do. "The Battle of Raven Kill" will be sent to Flashing Swords. That will make three stories out on the submission circuit; more than I've ever had before.

I think I might be getting the hang of this writing thing.