Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's Fa-bu!

Hello all, I've got brilliant news. A groovy friend and CWC alum, has officially gotten a book deal! You can read about it over at Fleur's blog in today's post. It's so exciting that I'll be able to say, "I knew her when." Super congratulations to Fleur.

For those of you who don't know her, an important thing to know about Fleur is that she is one of the hardest working authors I've known. She has written, revised, and submitted like a fiend. I can't even begin to describe the amount of hard work she's put into her craft, and her good news just goes to show that hard work pays off.

Yay Fleur!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter - Finale

I finished my homework.

I found I liked it a lot better once I got into it. The beginning was a bit scattered, but a few chapters in and the flow smoothed out. I liked the occassional snark, and I warmed up to Dixie, the protagonist.

Things I didn't get into so much included the fairly shallow cast of characters and the way Dixie basically Forrest Gumped her way through the mystery. Practically every time she stepped out of the house she stumbled on a clue or someone who had information about the murder.

I will say that I think the mystery came together pretty well. A decent collection of suspects and motives. In the end, I liked the journey of finding out who the murderer was. The clues were fun and I enjoyed trying to connect the dots.

My overall impression is that while I don't think it was excellent, it was a decent read. Not brilliant, but not bad either.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Ghost Story

Publication: Strange Horizons

Why I chose it: I really like the feel of the magazine. They've got a variety of genres, including cool art like Zach McCain's, and groovy fiction like "The Yew's Embrace," a fairy tale by Francesca Forrest.

Submission process: Very user-friendly. They have a submission form that automatically formats your submission to their preferences. Neat, huh?

Submitted: "Charlie's Ghost" a story about a haunted ranch.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Go Ahead

Yesterday I went to the director's meeting at work and told them my idea to bring Tom Pomeranz to the center. After I told them who he is, what he does, and why I think it'd be fantastic to get him, the unanimous response was, "Make it happen."

Now I'm working on sorting out some logistics, like finding an off-site venue where we can have him speak, then comes the advertising and arranging the event.

I'm very, very excited.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cozy Homework

This month, I have CWC homework. D.B. brought some books in so we could get a feel for cozies. The one she picked out for me is Curiosity Killed the Cat Sitter by Blaize Clement.

"Let me know what you think," D.B. said. "Think about what you see as conventions of the genre, what you like, what you don't. Tell me if something makes you just chuck the book across the room."

I think those are pretty fair guidelines. I'm not usually much of a mystery reader, but I cracked that sucker open and got to it. First thing that hit me? Loads, and loads of cat information. Yeah, I know, it's a cat book. But still. It's a little silly when it gets to the point of, "Hey look, a dead body! By the way, let me tell you this thing about cats." I mean, honestly, it's irritating.

Then I asked myself, "Why is she doing it?" and "Why is it bugging me?"

My best guess on the first one is that her intention was to prolong scenes. If the same scenes had less cat stuff, they'd all be super short. When you're doing the big reveal of the dead body, a super short scene doesn't work so well. Then it'd read more like, "She walked into the kitchen and saw the dead body." End chapter. That'd be lame. So, we get encyclopedic info on cats.

It bugs me because it's a total tension breaker. The timing of the "cozy" part tends to wreck the flow of the scene. Just as she gets building up to something interesting, she breaks away for pet related information. It's bad rhythm.

There are some redeeming qualities, like some snark and some fair character development. Overall, I've got some definite concerns, but I haven't tossed it across the room yet. I'm thinking I'm perhaps not the ideal reader for cozies.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


A couple of weeks ago I found myself in an Office Depot during a sale. I walked out of there with two 20-packs of pens plus two loners. Around the same time I bought a new spiral-bound notebook. It made me feel nostalgic. I used to do all my writings with lots of different colored pens in spiral-bound notebooks.

I spent last weekend in Denver, goofing around and eating at restaurants that aren't connected to gas stations. Last weekend, the mousepad on my laptop crapped out on me.

Sometimes, the universe tries to tell you something. Usually, you're wise to pay attention. I think it's time to do some words long hand.

Monday, February 7, 2011


I've had a lot of heroes so far in my life. Many of them are writers. A few of them are even people I know.

I found my latest hero through doing some research for work. The cool folks in my trainer network recommended a video series by a guy named Tom Pomeranz. The ultra-quick summary of the series is that it's a set of videos that focus on principles of how staff providing services to individuals with DD should interact with their clients. It seems like a simple enough idea, but as with many "simple enough" ideas, there are some complex sub-layers. Pomeranz explains them beautifully.

This past week and a half, I've been getting information about what it'd take to have Pomeranz come out to our agency. Last week, I even talked to him on the phone, which, obviously, was way cool. Today, I talked with the executive director of the agency about getting Pomeranz out here. There are still some logistical and budgetary details to work out, but it's looking like it's going to work out. I'm way excited.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Two for the Money

Publication: The Drabblecast

Why I chose it: Drabblecast publishes in audio format, which is fun. I like the editor/host's tone in the podcast I listened to, and the feature story was a zombie story. What's not to like?

Submission process: Very easy. Subs are taken in the body of your e-mail. No formatting, font, etc. requirements.

Submitted: "An Ocean Kind of Blue" a painterly ghost story of sorts.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

In the Nick of Time

Last night I submitted my first piece, a poem titled "Postage." It wasn't my plan to submit poetry, but then I realized I had at least one or two poems gathering dust that I considered good enough to give a swipe with a duster and send off.

Anyhow, on to the vital stats:

Publication: The Shine Journal

Why I chose it: I liked the blurb in duotrope, and the tagline about all the authors who'd gotten their start through the journal. Also, when I looked at some of the pieces in the journal, I liked them. Like this triptych from Shannon Deep.

Submission process: Pretty easy. They have a submission form that's pretty straight-forward.

Submitted: "Postage" a poem about the post office.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I'm going to submit something this month. That's step one of the process. Sometimes it's, "I'm going to submit X," that starts things out, but this go around, it's more of a time thing than a specific piece thing.

Step 2: Research. My favorite place to look for writing markets is which has an added bonus where you can make a free account and track your submissions right on the site. Cool, huh?

I'm working on step 2 right now, looking for markets that strike my fancy. I'm a lover of the technological age, so I'm limiting my search criteria to places that take online submissions. I mean, come on, it's 2011 already, who's still accepting snail-mail only subs? Get with the times, people!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Finally, A New Year's Resolution

I was talking to a gal at work the other day. Her son is 13 and he wants to be a writer. Cool, right? He writes and he even had a teacher a few years ago who read one of his stories and totally cheered him on. But, it seems her son is reluctant to show his writing to anyone. The only reason she gets to read any of his writing is because he picked her as a proofreader.

We got to talking about writing and writing groups and getting your stuff out there because that's what writers do. All the while I'm talking about her son and I realize I'm talking about me, too.

I've been published, but it's been a long while since I sent any submissions out. And here I was, being something of a hypocrite. Oops. This year, in the desire to not be a hypocrite, I'm making it my belated New Year's Resolution to submit at least one piece to at least one publication each month. For the blog, I'm going to track my submissions. I'm going to talk about what I'm submitting, where I'm submitting, what kind of responses I get (or don't get), and go through the whole process in a very transparent way. I'm looking forward to having the extra accountability to hold me to my resolution. I always work better when there's some pressure involved.

So, how about you? Have you made any resolutions? Are you blogging about them?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Changing, Momentum, and Thaw

I've been having a difficult time with momentum recently. Maybe it's the freezing temperatures (or, rather, the sub-zero temperatures, brrr), or maybe it's a whole load of other things I've got going on, but I'm having a hard time getting moving with anything writing-related. My recent lack of blog posts will attest to that.

At work, there's a position called "Quality Enhancement Professional" which was open for a number of months due to lack of a qualified person to fill it. The jist of the job is that QE is the person responsible for monitoring the programs to help the agency make sure it's adhering to state standards. A few weeks ago, my supervisors asked me if I'd be up for taking on the QE responsibilities in addition to the training coordinator job they hired me for. I said yes. I spent the past couple of weeks crunching data to create a trend analysis report for the last quarter. It's been a fair amount of stuff to wrap my head around since I've never done any kind of QE work before. The challenge is fun, but it's a fair amount of work to get a bearing on it.

Oh yeah, and the holidays, and my brother coming out for a visit, and I'm trying to buy a house for the first time ever, and I'm dealing with a dog issue, and I've been getting back in to a routine of working out, and I made some jewelry, and I've been trying to research and plan my house-fixing-up plan for when I close on the house, and... well, I've got a fair amount going on right now that doesn't have to do with writing fiction.

I haven't even had much time to watch TV, and you know how much I love my shows.

All of this brings me to the new year. Really. It makes sense in my head, I promise. With everything that's going on, and a few things that may be coming up, I feel like 2011 is going to hold a lot of change for me. If I'm in the midst of all of this change - new job, new town, new house... Perhaps it's time for a change in the blog. Not sure what, yet. But an adjustment in direction is warranted, I think. When I get stuck, it often works best to step back, refocus, and come at it another way.

Any good ideas?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Zombie Memoir

This Christmas was a minimalist Christmas for me. I didn't get many gifts because my family and I decided that instead of getting big presents for each other, we'd donate to charity. We went through Kiva and made loans to people. I was cool.

One of the presents I did get was from my friend Amanda. She got me a book titled Brains: A Zombie Memoir. It is very much what it sounds like. Amanda knows the author, Robin Becker, and that means that not only do I have a copy of the book, I have an autographed copy.
Now, as a zombie afficionado, I've seen a lot of zombie movies and read a lot of zombie stories. This is the first time, however, that I've ever come across one that is based in the POV of the zombie. It's a fun experience. I like the way she's approached zombie lore - a lot of the classic trends are there, but then the twist is that some of the zombies aren't entirely the shuffling undead. The POV character is a former English professor who's retained his ability to think and to write. As the plot goes on, he meets other special zombies who have retained some of their human abilities. It's a cool concept and I like the balance between the classic and her unique twist.
I'm about half way through the book so far and there are some interesting complications. I'm really curious to see what she does with them.