Thursday, December 22, 2011

Grimm Tales, edited by John Kenyon

Apologies to the one or two people who may occasionally read more than one of my blogs, but I'm doing a bit of a blitz for Grimm Tales, a new ebook that I have a story in. More importantly, I've read the rest of the authors and believe me when I tell you that my contribution matters little either way to this fine and fun collection. Here is a bit of the blog post I put up on Confessions of Ignorance last night:

Normally I have a bit of reluctance to turn my blogging world into a platform for self-promotion or even other promotion, but this time, I have no scruples. Riding on the coattails of my betters, I've got a story in a really terrific new anthology. Grimm Tales, edited by John Kenyon and with an introduction by the Galway master of crime writing himself, Ken Bruen, features a whole host of up and coming crime writers, all working out their own variation on the premise of taking a well known fairy tale and ringing some changes on it in a piece of contemporary crime fiction.
John posted this challenge sometime toward the end of last year on his blog,
Things I'd Rather Be Doing (I believe I actually learned about it through the crime community connecting blog of Sean Patrick Reardon, Mindjacker), and about seventeen of us took the challenge and came up with something that looked pretty much like a crime story. There was a contest, and there were first, second and third place winners, but basically everyone just did this in the spirit of fun. That would have seemed to be the end of it, but one way and another John thought maybe a book could be made of it, and Untreed Reads gave him the greenlight for an ebook. I believe we all quite enthusiastically agreed to be part of the project. I mean, how hard is it to say yes, when the story has already been written?)

John has been faithfully shepherding the project through to publication and keeping us all posted on the book's progress. I don't know why it came as such a surprise to me when a couple of nights ago, he emailed us all that Grimm Tales was live. But it was a pretty exciting one.

I like--really like--to read mysteries and crime fiction, but I'm not a crime fiction writer, so I have have a bit of a sheepish feeling about my own part in this. If you happen to read my story, you will quickly see that it is not really noir. It doesn't even totally qualify as crime fiction. So I was happy to get a little and quite unexpected nod from Ken Bruen in his introduction, making me feel that at least it was okay for my story to be included.

Anyway, enough about me. Rather than focussing on highlights, I'll just mention that a variety of familiar tales (and some not so familiar) and a smaller showing of nursery rhymes inspired the very various stories to be found here. For some reason, "Hansel and Gretel" had an outsize number of takers, but as you will see the outcomes are very, very different.

As you might suspect, Untreed Reads is all about ebooks, but if you don't have an ereader, don't despair. There is certain to be a format that you can download on to your computer if that's your option.

You can check the link out

Monday, October 31, 2011

Nanowrimo--still time to sign up!

It's almost November 1st here, and chances are it already is where you are. Still time to sign up, though.

Give it a go, why don't ya?


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blogradio chat

I listened to this blogradio chat yesterday about hardboiled and noir fiction, hosted by Giovanni Gelatti and featuring authors Paul D. Brazill, Darren Sant and Luca Veste. Some of the sound is a bit garbled, but that's not surprising considering that these guys weren't all even on the same continent. I appreciated their discussion of  what noir and hardboiled meant to each of them, as well as some nice book recommendations. But what I really liked was the sense of excitement abroad about what it means to be an author publishing in these transitional times. When you work in an indie bookstore, a lot of the time the discussion is depressing--the end of books as we know them, the end of the brick and mortar store, the actual storefront. This may be true, and it will be sad if we lose actual objects and actual places when it comes to reading. But to listen to these guys, it has never been a better time to be a writer. They're getting their stories published and read, they're find a community of crime writers and they're excited about it.

I like being poised where I am between the old world and the new. It can be difficult to articulate my own stance, but it's very interesting to try.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Normandie

The Normandie, by Reginald Marsh

We saw the S. S. Normandie as she arrived once. This was before the war. Stella and I had a few hours to kill before we had to start working at the club and we loved the harbor anyway, all that fresh air and sun was such a difference from the nightlife. It made us feel as young as we were, which most of the time, we didn’t. Lucky was meeting us there too, which was a plus, because say what you will about his mob connections, he knew how to treat a lady right. It was Lucky who knew all about that ship. He caught up with us just as it was sailing into the harbor and it was thrilling, let me tell you. Lucky said it was the biggest, fastest passenger ship in the world, and he was the kind of guy who knew about those things. He angled some way to get us all aboard, and I thought it was probably the fanciest boat that ever set sail and certainly the fanciest tub I’d ever been in. Lucky told us it was Art Deco. All I thought was, Only the French would ever think to do up a boat like this.

Lucky took a lot of pictures of us aboard it and then put an arm around each of us and told us he would take us to Europe on it one day. We knew it was just a line, but it was a good kind of line, the kind of line a girl can build a dream or two on when she’s working late hours in a smoke-filled room and the gents aren’t of the nicest quality and besides, her feet are killing her.

Then Lucky went to prison and the war broke out. I guess everyone’s luck runs out sometime.

Not too long after Lucky went inside, the Normandie arrived again—not on any luxury cruise this time, but just escaping from the Nazis. We had the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth there too for awhile, all lined up in a row, like boats in a tub. Then France fell and we seized the Normandie to use against the Nazis. The Navy rechristened it the U.S.S. Lafayette, and began turning it into a troopship.

I visited Lucky in prison a few times and once he asked me whether I still had the pictures of that day on the pier. I was surprised he was so sentimental, but then he was Italian and I guess they are--probably too much opera in their childhood. Anyway, I brought them to him and he kept them.  

Stella and I still liked to go to the harbor. There were lots of people, and it was cheap entertainment.  But one afternoon at about two o’clock a wave of panic came toward us through the crowd, and that’s how we learned that the Normandie was burning.

Like everyone else, we went to watch it burn.

It took twelve hours for the whole show to end. Stell and I had to go back to work long before the ship listed over to one side and gave up the fight. But the next day we joined the throngs who walked past the ruined hulk that it had become. It was like going to the funeral of the president. All around us, there was talk of Germans. Everyone knew they were up in Germantown or right there in our very midst, planning acts of sabotage.

Stella nudged me and off to the right who do I see but Tony Anastasio. Tough Tony, they called him. His brother was Albert Anastasia, another mobster friend of Lucky’s, and Tony had the International Longshoreman’s Association about sewn up himself. He was smoking a cigarette and leaning on a railing, looking out at the ship. He turned to us blankly, then recognized us—we knew him through Lucky and through the club—and offered us each a cigarette.

“Does Lucky know about the Normandie?” I asked. I had a feeling it would upset him, so I wasn’t sure if it would be better for him to know or not.

“He knows,” Tony said. He seemed a little glum. “So what do you gals make of it all?”

“Germans!” we said in unison. We were sure of this. Everybody said so. The devils had slit the fire hoses. They had put gasoline into the water sprinklers. No deed was too dastardly for those Gerries .

He smiled, and looked out over the water.

“What, don’t you?” Stell asked. She was incredulous. To us it was all as plain as the rather prominent nose on Tough Tony’s face.

 “Just an accident, girls. Don’t worry those pretty heads about the Gerries.”

We must have looked skeptical.

“The guys tell me a spark caught the life jackets and they went up—whoosh! All filled with kapok. Ever heard of it?”

We shook our heads.

“Highly flammable.” He looked at his watch.“ Hey, I gotta be somewhere. See you gals at the club tonight? I certainly do hope so.” He winked, and was gone.

I watched him off, wondering how he knew so damn much about kapok.

It turned out there was no German sabotage. The fire had been started by a welding torch, just like Tony said. It also turned out that Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano was moved from a maximum to a minimum security prison shortly thereafter, in exchange for a few favors having to do with protecting the harbor from sabotage. Maybe they really did prevent a few German dirty tricks. Or maybe the only ‘sabotage’ Lucky kept us safe from was his own.

Lucky’s sentence was commuted and he was deported to Italy after the war, where he fell for a dancer, who was younger than we were by then. So we never did get our cruise, but maybe that was for the best.

I still wish I had those pictures I gave him. But then, Lucky probably had other uses for them all along.

This story was written for Patti Abbot's flash fiction challenge. She offered to pay five dollars to Union Settlement for every story written by October 18th. So even if the story is rotten it's still a good thing to have tried. I found the Marsh painting first and the story of the Normandie later. What really happened to it is still a subject of contention.

Union Settlement
237 East 104th Street
New York, NY 10029-5499

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Nanowrimo 2011

Not to pressure you or anything, but it's now October 15th, so it's time to start thinking about whether you are going to do Nanowrimo this year or not. Not sure what it is? Click HERE and all will be revealed...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The 2011 Muse Online Writers Conference--personal highlights

Every year since this conference began I start it out in pretty much the same way. I look over the advance material on workshops and chats and try and figure out what appeals to me--and then end up doing something completely different.

To be honest, I'm never quite sure why I'm attending the conference when I start out. Not that I think it will be a waste of time, just that I don't really have an objective. This year was no exception. I took the time off and thought well, if it lags a bit, I can at least finally clean my house.

But no. I got completely immersed, as I always do if I actually have the time to give myself over to it. When I wasn't in the chat rooms attending presentations about everything under the writing sun, I was trying to complete various assignments.

Here are some personal highlights:

Margot Finke offered her workshop on hooking an editor from the first page. I sent something in, and got a good tip and some additional things to consider, but in some ways the best part of this workshop is to read the way Margot edits other people's work. You're a little more detached and a lot less defensive and you can see what she's saying. A truly tireless Australian. Thanks, mate!

Janie Franz's freelancing workshop was basically a complete course packed into a few days. I think I only managed to complete about half of it during the actual time, but the handouts are thorough and will be an excellent reference. I'm torn about freelance writing as a bigger commitment, but I know if I actually snag something, I'll give it my all. Great course, Janie.

Pepper Smith took on what is usually a team effort in offering a suspense workshop. She was great on analysing what is and isn't suspense. I think one of the most successful of us who gave this a stab actually wrote a humorous piece about a pet awaiting dinner. It's not about the actual peril, it's about the state of anxiety induced in the protagonist. Thank you, Pepper, for guiding us through all this. I've got a suspense piece to work on as a result.

Perhaps the most surprising development for me was when I joined D. S. Kane's chat and subsequently his workshop called True Lies: Writing Covert Training and Missions into Fiction. I didn't realize until I took his workshop that I've actually been increasingly drawn to reading and perhaps writing about the realm of spycraft in our modern world. Excellent resource and gracious teacher--thanks, D.S. Kane!

Karina Fabian lead a host of excellent chats, and though I did not attend her workshops this year, I was constantly impressed about how effectively she presented her information in her chats, including an impromptu chat about clutter and the writer--by popular demand.

Funnest chat? That presented by the awesome A.R. Braun, up and coming horror writer. I don't typically write horror, but I loved the way he threw us all into writing a horror story together--which actually had a nice twisty ending. I have to admit that I was laughing more than cringing at the unfolding, but that's probably just my very macho mentality (I lie.) Checked out his workshop afterwards and I'm sorry that he did not get more horror writers to follow through, as he had some very sound principles for people who are interested in this genre.

You can't mention the Muse without mentioning host Lea Schizas in the same breath. This is her baby. She's a Canadian dynamo, who manages to be anywhere and everywhere in the conference, sort of like God. She's got a publishing venture up herself now: MuseItUp publishing and MuseItHot Publishing. Having written a story for an anthology for Lea, I know that she's a terrific content editor and a real go-getter on behalf of her writers.

This is only one small corner of the conference. Registration will be open for next year shortly. I'll post a link here when you can sign up. There will be other courses and workshops through the year which you will then be on the A list for. It's free. What's to lose?  

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Muse Online Conference 2011- Day One

I don't know who actually follows this blog, but I thought I'd use it for the time being to write a post or two about my progress through the Muse Conference this year. I've attended this free online conference since its inception five or six years ago. It's always fun, it's always a little bit different, and I'm pretty sure I always feel this kind of dithering feeling at the beginning. Unlike other conferences where you leave your daily life behind, in this one you find yourself in the middle of it, and you will frequently find that someone has left to take their dog out or sign for a package, or because a storm has knocked out their internet. You learn to take these kinds of things in stride.

Today was a bit dicey. There seemed to be an internet problem from this end, and I think there may have been some problem on the site itself. But late in the afternoon, everyone seemed to be working again and I hit my stride, found myself entering workshops and submitting samples and getting into the spirit of the whole thing once again. I forget that this is pretty much how it always happens. I forget that the domestic space disappears and the conference drags me in. Bad news for the house. Good news for the writer. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Southeast Review--Writer's Regimen

As if I hadn't thrown enough at you with the sometimes overwhelming but always fun Muse Online Writers Conference  (sorry, registration is now closed for the year), I've got another October challenge for you. What about trying the Southeast Review's 30 day Writer's Regimen? You get several different sorts of writing prompts each day, an author interview, and even a chance to get published. It will cost you fifteen bucks, but I've done this before and it's money very well spent.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Muse Online Writers Conference 2011

I've been a bit busy to think about this till now, but I thought I should mention that registration is still open until September 25th for this FREE online conference  hosted by wonder woman Lea Schizas. It is absolutely free and is jam packed with workshops and chats for writers of every stripe. You can also register to participate in a pitch session, but you've got to do that before the 25th too.

I'm not sure how many years I've been 'attending' this conference. Some years I've given it my full attention, some years I've only been able to tune in after work. It doesn't matter. I've gotten something useful out of it every time.

So what are you waiting for?

Monday, September 12, 2011

announcing Grift Magazine

John Kenyon, who writes the blog Things I'd Rather Be Doing and is the man behing the upcoming ebook project Grimm Tales (about which, more later), announced today that he is going to head up a new hybrid crime magazine. It sounds pretty exciting.

Grift Magazine, a new print publication focused on crime fiction, will debut in February 2012.
Grift will be published in print form three times yearly — February, June and October — and will feature a mix of short crime fiction, reviews, interviews and more.
In addition, will be home to more content that will include flash fiction, review, interviews and news from the world of crime fiction.

Check it OUT .

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tales of the Hunt

I finally got around to reading Nathanael Green's excellent 'The Slut Buck' today, and you can too. Just download the absolutely free Apiary Magazine and make your way to page 142. You'll be glad you did.

Oddly enough, I too have a story floating out there in the ether that relates to hunting. I've been thinking about it a bit lately, as the magazine I wrote it for, Eleven Eleven, is celebrating--what else?--the publication of their eleventh edition next weekend. What's nice is that they have invited all contributors past and present to a brunch, and have consistently worked to create a community of writers rather than the common relation between authors and magazines, which is that they publish you and, there, that's the end of it.

Anyway, you can read my hunting story HERE.

Compare and contrast, as they say...


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mammoth Book of Best British Crime, Volume 8

Rather than tooting my own horn yet again, I thought I'd mention this excellent crime anthology I've been reading. I'm about a hundred pages in and haven't hit a clunker yet. I'll probably review it elsewhere when I've actually finished it, but I really like the mix of famous names, not famous names and dark to light selections. It's got me thinking about authors I'd heard of though hadn't read yet, as well as given me a keen interest in the up and comers.
I think one of the key things about crime short stories is that they are such great examples of storytelling. They're never slight in the way that even good 'literary fiction' can be slight, because by definition in a crime novel, something has to have happened

Check it out. I got my copy through Book Depository . Although they're currently out of stock, they're usually pretty prompt about getting more in if there's a demand.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Carpathian Shadows

It's been several years now since these anthologies came out, but I got the usual friendly email about royalties from Rob Preece, publisher of Books for a Buck, the other day, and thought it would be a good time to mention this collection in which I have a story, partly because it's taken me awhile to put anything up on this blog, and partly because the process here was kind of interesting.  

My involvement with the project came about through having just taken part in the Muse Online Writers Conference created by the fabulous and really rather amazing Lea Schizas. I'll try to write that up soon, but if you have a little time to give to it in the beginning of October, this free writers conference has some great stuff going for it. Anyway, at the end of the conference, Lea posted a call for submissions for a new anthology. She gave the basic premise, and people were asked to submit stories around this idea. I noticed just now that an Amazon reviewer, Victor J. Banis, gives a concise account of the parameters:

This is a theme-anthology, horror stories with a bit of a twist. The visitors to the Cornifu Hotel, deep in the Carpathians Mountains of Transylvania, are individually invited for a free one day bus excursion to nearby Erdely Castle, said to be haunted. Each story is about a different group of travelers to visit the castle. And with that setting and that common theme, one can rightly expect vampires and ghosts and werewolves--just about all those things that go bump in the night show up here.

As it turned out, there were enough contributors to create two volumes, so that is what happened. My story ended up in Volume Two. In retrospect, the Volumes One and Two idea might not have been the best, as the stories are all standalones and don't have to be read in any particular order.

I am not really a horror story writer, or reader, although I love both Frankenstein and Dracula, as well as some tales from Poe. So my story didn't turn out to be particularly horrific, though I think it's still a pretty good tale.

As with most anthologies of this sort, there was some help with promotion expected, and although I can't now remember what I did in that line, we did all 'show up' one night at a live chat room and chatted with people about the book. I didn't really get to know the people from the first volume, but the writers in the second group were a nice bunch, and I even took a course from one of my co-authors, Kristin Johnson, on short screenplays at the next year's Muse conference which was very good.

Should you be interested, the books are available at the above mentioned Books for a Buck  (this link is to volume 2), and I just happened to notice and recall that my blogging pal has his review of my story linked there. He was kind enough to write a complimentary take on it. And if you do like horror, you should definitely check out his novel at Lyrical Press, where it is available in various ebook formats. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Bird Watchers

Happy Fourth of July weekend, everyone. In honor of the day (though largely by coincidence), I've made my self-published novella The Bird Watchers available again. The real reason this is all happening now is that has offered people the option of getting a proof copy of a new  work, and while I've been working on that, which is actually a sequel to this one, I realized that I might as well make this one available again too. "For a limited time only" as they say, the book will be available at cost, or as a free download. At some point I'll probably boost the price a dollar or so but for now, I'd be interested in comments from anyone who wants to take the time. As a self-published book, it's got all the flaws that come with the territory, but more people than just my mother seemed to have liked it the first time around, so give it a go if you'd like.    
The link at Lulu is HERE .

(I also don't know if the download works as a true ebook, but there's nothing to lose by trying it out.) 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Pirate's True Love

This short, fablelike story is one of my few ventures into the fantasy genre, and in some ways is probably my most successful story yet, if we're talking solely about external success and not how successfully I think it was written. It was actually written quite a long time ago, but was submitted in 2005. A little zine called Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, which I hadn't yet heard of, picked it up and connected me briefly to some pretty cool characters of the contemporary fantasy world, such as Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link, who run the show there, and Karen Joy Fowler, who may be known best for The Jane Austen Book Club, but also writes great fantasy tales. Kelly Link is also a big name short story writer, with for an acclaimed short story collection called Magic for Beginners.

Anyway, they took the story, and it showed up in their very quirky, very charming and very good zine. I got a lot of mileage out of showing it to my friends, and even got a small amount of cash for it, which, let me tell you, is unusual.

But the fun didn't end there. Some months later, I got a letter saying it had been chosen for a year's best fantasy anthology, edited by Jonathan Strahan and Karen Haber. This was kind of a big deal. Unfortunately, the publisher of the series, Byron Preiss, was killed in a car accident and though his wife tried to keep the company going, it was too much to keep together. At the time, this felt like very bad luck, but of course it was a very small thing in comparison to Preiss's untimely death.

Eventually, Locus Magazine, out of respect for Preiss and feeling badly for the Strahan venture, published the book independently. It came out as Fantasy: the Very Best of 2005 and actually, I like the look of the book a little better than the original format.

And then LCRW brought out their own anthology and it was collected there as well.

Until quite recently, I thought that this story wasn't available online anywhere. But it turns out that the original LCRW #17 was scanned and appears right here. (Though you'll have to scroll up a page to get to the beginning...)


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Book Country

Over on Do Some Damage,  they've offered up the floor to a peer review reading site that Penguin has launched for genre fiction. It's not really a short story site, but I thought I'd spread the word to any aspiring writers who might pop by. Sounds like a very cool concept.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Shaken: Stories for Japan--Tim Hallinan, editor

I think I'd better start off with a disclaimer. I am not absolutely thrilled by the whole Kindle model in general. I'm a bit uneasy about a future in which all our books are 'in the cloud', and where one corporation might be able to make that book disappear overnight, whether for good reasons or ill. I don't like the exclusivity of the Kindle model either.

That said, though, this is an example of a good use of a new technology. This anthology, a 'Kindle Exclusive', was put together by Tim Hallinan and all proceeds go to help the people of Japan. It's a terrific list of writers who have contributed to this effort, and it's only going to put you out $3.99. You can download a Kindle reader for free to your computer, which I've done for precisely such an occasion. Believe me, reading books on my computer is not going to cut into my desire for real books any time soon, but this was a great idea, and I'm happy to support it. I haven't actually read my copy yet, but this is one of those times where I thought getting the word out was probably more important than any actual commentary I might make.

Here's a list of contributors, in case that might entice you further:

Basho, Brett Battles, Cara Black, Vicki Doudera, Dianne Emley, Dale Furutani, Timothy Hallinan, Stefan Hammond, Rosemary Harris, Naomi Hirahara, Wendy Hornsby, Ken Kuhlken, Debbi Mack, Adrian McKinty, I.J. Parker, Gary Phillips, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Jeffrey Siger, Kelli Stanley, C.J. West, and Jeri Westerson.   

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Unless Soul Clap Its Hands and Sing, by Seana Graham

Here's another one of my stories that you can still find online. The Homestead Review picked it up. This was kind of a funny story. Another story of mine had gone out to various magazines, and by the time the editor of the Homestead Review asked for it, it had already been picked up elsewhere. She was gracious enough to ask for something else, and this is what she ultimately got and took. At a certain point in the process, it dawned on me that the name of the editor was sort of familiar, but it took a friend to connect the dots for me and lead me to realize that Jessica Brehany was actually the partner of our former used book buyer JIm Maughn, who is a poet in his own right. When I hesitatingly mentioned the fact to her by email--which was the only kind of correspondence we'd had--she replied that yes, she thought we knew each other, but hadn't wanted to say in case I thought she was taking the story only because of that.

This is one of the few stories I've written that has a specific local setting, so it seemed appropriate that it found a home at a fairly local college in Salinas. It's a story is about Alzheimers and the title is swiped from Yeats. Despite the topic, I don't really think of it as a gloomy tale. But you be the judge of that.

Unless Soul Clap Its Hands and Sing . 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Blink Ink

Paul D. Brazill has passed along the news that a print and on line journal called Blink Ink is currently taking submissions for a special noir issue. Got fifty dark words to spare? Check HERE.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The First Line

Here's a link to The First Line, a lit magazine in which all stories share one thing in common--the first line. I've submitted to this publication a few times, and though they've never taken any of my stories, a few of those stories have ended up elsewhere. Check it out.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

May is Short Story Month

I was going to do some more self-promotion here, but thought it more timely to mention that according to Emerging Writers Network, May is  Short Story Month. If you check out their website, you will see the commitments that the host of the celebrated site, Dan Wickett, has made for the month. What are yours?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Plot Whisperer

I've been a bit remiss in not mentioning this excellent resource earlier. I first learned about The Plotwhisperer when I finished Nanowrimo this fall, and found a link to the Plotwhisper videocast. Plotwhisperer Martha Alderson takes all of us with those hopeless first drafts step by step through the process of redrafting and rethinking. Due to some difficulties, technical and otherwise in the month of December, I kind of lost the plot on this, so to speak, but plan to resume it again in the not too distant future.

My personal aside about all this is that watching the first video, I was struck by how very familiar the
setting felt. I didn't recognize it specifically, as it was someone's backyard, but there was a deeply Santa Cruz feel to it, for reasons that elude me even now. And sure enough, after a few more episodes, it ended up down by the Santa Cruz yacht harbor (fortunately, pre-tsunami), so I then knew it was a local connection.

Last month a couple of women came in and used the bookstore I work in as a setting for a little video they were doing. I had walked past them both several times as they were setting up, and they had some sort of big easel they were using, which for some reason I took to be for Japanese art. So it wasn't until sometime later as I was walking past that I heard the video as it was made and thought 'that's the plotwhisper!" When they had wrapped up and come back to the information desk, I was able to speak witht them both and tell them how much I was enjoying their YouTube series. They were both quite lovely.

Anyway, without further ado, here's a link to the Plot Whisperer which in turn has links to the whole YouTube series. It's really good. (And up through some part of May, there's even a contest!)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Red Wheelbarrow and "The Package"

So I thought I'd finally kick this blog into gear and start using it as a place to talk about some stories I have out there. That's not going to be the only focus, but I thought aspiring writers might benefit or enjoy or at least be willing to read some of my take on the publishing experience. Although I believe at this point all first publishing rights have reverted to me, luckily enough for lazy me, a few of my stories still have a kind of half life on the web, so I will take that as a beginning here and eventually move on to some that don't.

"The Package" was the first story I ever got published. It was far from the first story I'd ever written, or tried to publish or anything, but all the same, it was the first one that got picked up by a real literary journal and for that I am forever grateful. Randolph Splitter of Red Wheelbarrow Literary Magazine picked this one up after I had pretty much despaired of anyone liking anything I did and for that I remain profoundly grateful. For some reason, this issue unlike other years is downloadable HERE, and of course it's entirely acceptable if you are distracted and waylaid by the interview with Khaled Hosseini of The Kite Runner fame that immediately proceeds it. But 'The Package' begins on page 96.

When you're just getting stuff out there after a lot of rejection, you may tend to be a bit afraid of what friends will think of it. But with the small circle I did mention this one to, I was very interested in the kinds of responses it brought up about the mysterious and ambiguous packages they'd crossed paths with. And I'd be happy to hear your stories too.

Oh, and by the way, I'm not that afraid of comments anymore. Unless you're a spammer, go right on ahead.   

Friday, April 8, 2011

Submission tips from 500 Words on Words

Over at too rare but excellent 500 Words on Words, Nathaneal Green has some good and practical tips on getting your short story published. I've submitted a few in my own time, some of which actually have gotten published and some fewer of which are still available on line. I'm planning on posting some links here over time, because really, why not? But meanwhile check out Nate's post HERE. His advice is uniformly sensible and sane.

Nate had a story published recently in  a new and cool little mag called Fractured West which features short, short stories. I ordered a copy and it arrived a few days ago. I've only read Nate's so far, which is excellent--had me going one way, then flipped me around in another. I'm looking forward to reading the rest soon.

Oh, here's a blog post I just  accidentally found with a bit more about Fractured West.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Favorite short stories

How can I pass up an opportunity to write a worthwhile post without doing any real work myself? Over at Declan Burke's Crime Always Pays, he's offering a chance to win a book of great British crime for the small effort and pleasure of posting  your favorite short story. Quite a nice list is developing of things I  hope to get around to, and at the very least this is a good way for me to bookmark said list and come back to it. I'm getting a bit confused as to whether the book is called The Mammoth Book of Best British Mysteries 8, or the Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 8, but either way, it has absolutely a ton of my current favorite crime writers, so I'll be getting my hands on this one, one way or another.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Scriptfrenzy, 2011

I plan to get this blog going a bit more often than this, but I'll take this  opportunity to mention that there is still time to jump on board with Scriptfrenzy,a collective attempt to write a 100 page script in the month of April. Check out the site, then jump on in. Don't forget to spin the plot machine.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Late Night at the La Playa

 As Absolutely* Kate commented in the last post, I've got a story up over At the Bijou. 
 And there's a  lot of other fun stuff going on there this month as well.  For some reason I am unable to make a link work on this blog, but you can check it all out here:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

At the Bijou

Just a reminder that the Fab Feb Film Fest is coming up over at At the Bijou there's a call for submissions. February is here, so hurry on up...

For some reason I can't make the linking work, so just click here:

Friday, January 14, 2011

How I Came to My Inheritance, by Seana Graham

I deleted this post, which was originally to take part in a story challenge by John Kenyon. Plans are now at work to put these all in an anthology, and as I've revised the story from this version, I don't think it really serves to keep it up. If for some reason the anthology doesn't happen, I will probably repost the newer version somewhere else.

I'm keeping the comments up, partly because I don't like to delete other people's words, but also because I appreciated them and they are good contact info.