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Posts Tagged ‘cirsova’

Today Cirsova magazine, which has been nominated for a Hugo as Best Semi-prozine, announced its nomination package (i.e., the selection of stories it wants to present to voters), and one of my stories, for a wonder, is in there. This is, of course, a great hardship for me, since now if I say anything about the Hugos, I have to include a disclaimer. (I’m not sure if this post counts.) This does not mean I’ve been nominated myself, but it’s thrilling to be thought worthy to be a part of the magazine’s pitch to the voters.

On the other hand, it’s also an awesome responsibility, because now I’m the de facto ambassador for the talking gorillas and human/wolverine hybrids from the future who told me the story in the first place. (Yeah, it’s that weird.)*

If you’re not going to Helsinki in August, you can read the story here for free. If you are going to Helsinki, all I ask is that you give all of the nominees a fair shot.

Happy reading!

 

*Shameless plug: If you like this story, it was an inspiration for my novel The Invisible City, available here and here.

#SFWApro

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I recently attended the end-of-season banquet for the UCLA women’s basketball team, of which I am a long-time fan. Yes, the men’s program at UCLA has a long and legendary history (of which I am justifiably proud, although I had absolutely nothing to do with it, but that’s college sports for you), but I have found the women’s team to be a more rewarding experience to watch. The men’s program has constant turnover from one-and-done players who just use college as a way station on their way to the NBA. Very few quality players stay four years, so what’s the point in getting invested in them? If they don’t care, why should I?

On the distaff side, however, there are no lottery-ticket deals in their future. Even the few who proceed to the WNBA won’t get rich off of it. Which leads to the question: Why do it? College is hard enough, why make it even harder?

Simple: because they love the game. And you can tell when you watch them: the drive, the tenacity, the unwillingness to give up even when the score is lopsided and the clock is winding down. These women have taught me a lot about toughing it out–and that is the number one skill a writer needs, too.

It is said you have to write a million words before you learn how to write. Seems pretty solid to me. How long that takes is up to you–but even if you do it, it’s not like there’s a magic switch that clicks on at that point and suddenly you’re selling stories to Asimov’s. Or even Cirsova. Some people sell their first story; others take decades to reach that mark. If you can’t stick it out, if you can’t summon up the self-confidence, the drive, or simply the stubbornness to keep writing even when all of your friends have secretly written off your chances and only ask, “So, are you still writing?” because they’ve run out of small talk–then you won’t make it. Not because you can’t–you simply won’t.

I have seen my team play with seven players out of 14 unable to suit up because of injury–for the entire season. And every one of those women played like she was the only one who could do her job for 40 minutes because she was the only one who could do her job: There was no one else. I have seen them come back from 20 points down in the second half–when even I had secretly written them off–because they didn’t know how to quit.

I had already started selling when I became aware of how remarkable my team was, so the lessons they taught weren’t quite so essential, but when you’re a writer, self-doubt is never far from your doorstep. And when those creeping doubts ring my doorbell, I look back on that team–my team–and I remember that we all need to rely on the same resilience if we’re going to succeed, that same knowledge that doing our best is going to help us, even if we lose this game, because there’s always the next game.

Look at it this way: Charlie Brown lost practically every game he pitched, but he never stopped showing up. I like to think he grew up to be a writer.

#SFWApro

 

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As we wave good-bye to the tragi-comedy that has been 2016, I present you with the summation of my writing year, for whatever it might be worth. (Probably more to me than you.)

Submissions: 96. Trust me, this is a lot more than I thought. I credit the dozens of markets available today; when I started, there were three. Twelve of these subs are still outstanding.

Sales: 9. This is a record. Four original stories, five reprints. One of the original stories, moreover, was solicited by an editor. That was a first. (Woohoo!) The most-rejected of the original stories, “Hoskins’ War”  (appearing in Cirsova), had been rejected five times. Of the reprints, “Grinpa” (appearing in an upcoming volume of Digital Quick Fiction) had been rejected eight times before it first sold; this will be the first time it is reprinted.

Words written: 72,433. This is not in and out itself an impressive number, but in my own defense it only counts original works, not the extensive re-writing of older stories (some of which I sold). I would guess the true number to be closer to 90,000. The bulk of these words (66,000) are contained in The Cosmic City, which will be done very soon. I promise!

I also appeared on a panel, for the first time in, oh, let’s just say since I began selling, at Loscon. It was on what life would have been like without Star Trek. I was the guy who half-seriously pointed out how Star Trek had delayed some technical innovation. Nobody threw any tomatoes.

So that’s how I spent my free time. This is the first time I’ve added up these numbers; there are some surprises. Next year, I want to write more original fiction (easier when you’re not concentrating on a novel), and of course I want to sell more. With any luck, those things will go hand-in-hand.

I guess it’s up to me.

Happy New Year!

#SFWApro

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Two-for-One Sale

No, it’s not what you’re thinking. Wait until December; maybe I’ll offer some deals. I’m here to announce that I will be showing not one, but two stories in the Spring 2017 issue of Cirsova: “War of the Ruby” and “Shapes in the Fog.” I’m really psyched about “Shapes in the Fog” because it was solicited.

The editor read “WotR” (not “LotR”) and waxed rhapsodic about a minor character that he wanted to see more of. (When I say “minor,” I mean she’s gone after page one.) Could I, asked he, write another story to shadow the first, featuring her?

This is one of those offers writers dream of. It’s not like selling a reprint, where you get paid for doing nothing (except submitting), but on the other hand, it pays a lot better, and  the editor has already told you what he wants.

So I did it, and they liked it, and they bought it, and now it’s coming out next year and I will appear in the same magazine twice.

And they said this stuff was hard…

#SFWApro

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Cirsova #2 is now out, featuring my short story about the little-known supernatural arena of the American Revolution, “Hoskins’ War.” The enemy of your enemy is your friend, but when a colonial guerrilla warrior witnesses an attack by uncanny creatures upon a British column, he realizes that some wars transcend politics and geography and that if this massacre is left unanswered, there soon may be no one left to fight over whether America deserves its freedom.

I can also announce that “Foundering Fathers” is now available as part of the anthology Singular Irregularity. In a complete coincidence, it too examines the underpinnings of a pivotal event in America’s fight for liberty–albeit in a more lighthearted vein. When time-traveling Barclay Webster accidentally leaves Paul Revere senseless just before he is to make his legendary ride, who but Barclay will be there to rescue history? And when plans go awry, who but Soames, the inestimable valet, will be there to rescue Barclay?

And finally, Once a Knight, A Tale of the Daze of Chivalry, has been made available for free on Amazon for a very limited time. Fantasy Faction called Once a Knight, “cleverly written. … [A] pun in every paragraph and a smile in every sentence.” If you love Monty Python and the Holy Grail, or the films of Mel Brooks, this book belongs in your library.

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I am pleased to announce that my Revolutionary War-era fantasy “Hoskins’ War” has been chosen for publication in an upcoming issue of Cirsova magazine. You may recognize Cirsova because my “Rose by Any Other Name” is currently appearing in their issue #1 (currently available for free on Kindle).

 

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