Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Crow King

xposted from here: http://puttputtproductions.com/blogetary/2010/08/24/the-crow-king/

A little over a year ago, The Crow King was published in Aoife's Kiss (Sept. 2009). Like other stories I haven't looked at for a while I can see all sorts of things wrong with it that I swear I'll fix if I ever republish them elsewhere, but this story is still close to my heart as the main character is based on my dad.

You can hear an excerpt of the story here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYcf6u6NcZY

You can buy a copy of the zine here: www.genremall.com/zinesr.htm where you go to Aoife's Kiss and then scroll down to the Sept. 2009 issue.

My Favorite Things

xposted from here: http://puttputtproductions.com/blogetary/2010/08/24/my-favorite-things/

A Christmas story for the heat of August. Here's a portion read for your pleasure and edification. It was my first published story and I sold it for $10 whole dollars. And no matter what I said on the video, it was published in December 2005. I said 2007, which is wrong.

Trivia point for anyone who is interested, I named the hero of the story after two childhood friends of mine, which seemed cool at the time, but might be considered pretty weird what with the nature of the story and all (adult romance). But, they're both gentlemen and the hero of the story is a gentleman, so it seemed appropriate at the time.

You can hear a portion of the story here.

You can purchase it on Amazon here.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Keeping Track of Yourself

xposted from here.

Like many writers, I obsessively track my submissions. For the past few years I have used an Excel spreadsheet and only recently discovered the submissions tracker on Duotrope Digest. Now I use both (Gee, obsess much?). While Duotrope is free and subsists on donations and therefore always on the brink of extinction, it offers some things that I haven’t been able to get my little Excel spreadsheet to do. For one, it can give you the percentage of acceptances and rejections (according to what’s been input into their system) for each publication you are considering submitting your piece to. Also, from the data it’s got on hand, it can tell you not only the outside amount of time that a publication tells you it will take to get back to you, but also the average (according to the data) of what the amount of time actually is.

In fact, by using the submissions tracker and including your data in their search engine, you are actually helping yourself and others keep better track of your submissions process. One of the cooler things it does is provide you with your acceptance percentage, which could be depressing, but can also be ultimately motivating. Or at least give you an idea of where you fall on the writers’ Bell Curve. :-P

Now, I know some people are of the “why would you want to keep track of that” school, but practically speaking, if you’re trying to do this writing thing as more than just as a hobby then you pretty much have to keep track. You don’t want to submit the same piece to the same place twice (most places don’t like that unless they specifically request changes and a resubmission). You don’t want to submit your piece simultaneously to several places when many of them don’t accept simultaneous submissions. Most places also don’t like multiple submissions (more than one submission at a time) unless it’s poetry. And then, you need to keep track of when it was submitted so if you get impatient (that would be me) you can mark on the calendar the appropriate time to send a query letter to ask about the status of your submission (querying before say 60 or 90 days can be seen as a bit of faux pas).

And then, on the off chance that your piece does get accepted some place (and after you’ve told all your friends, jumped up and down and shouted WhooHoo! to your cat or dog or kid), you need to notify any other publication where it might be out for submission to let them know it’s no longer available. Then you need to write down when it’s coming out because most of the time it will be several months after it’s accepted for publication before it sees the light of day. And THEN if this is a place that offers payment (with either free copies or money), chances are you will be paid a certain amount of time after publication. So you need know when to expect all that to pass.

And finally, even if all you received was $5 for that nifty poem, you need to record it and all of the above for the good people at the IRS, especially if you’re also recording expenses having to do with your writing.

So, yeah, keeping track of yourself can get pretty obsessive, but in the long run it’s what you need to do. And then next time you’re at a cocktail party or trying to explain to your parents how you spend your time (and possibly their money) all you need to do is bring out the spread sheet, log in to a site like Duotrope to show them your progress, or show them your list of publications that you might keep tucked in your wallet, like baby pictures, for just such occasions.

BTW – you can find my “baby pictures” on my website. For my fiction and poetry click here. Or for any other articles I’ve written, click here. ;-)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Laundry Day

xposted around, but originally here: http://puttputtproductions.com/blogetary/2010/08/16/laundry-day/

I don't love doing laundry or laundry day, but once you get into it,there is a Zen-ness to it, at least for me. I don't attain that Zen-ness when doing dishes or scrubbing the toilet, but I get it when doing laundry.

Laundry is a funny thing. People get very particular about their laundry where they won't be particular about anything else. The sorting- by color? by material type? by function? The cleaner - soap or detergent? without or without perfumes? Fabric softener or no? Laundry sheet in dryer or not? Or does one hang to dry instead? And then there's the folding. Does one just toss ones underwear and socks somewhere? Or is there a particular way to fold them? What about hanging clothes? How are they hung properly? Wire hangers? Plastic hangers? Wood? Padded? Which are hung and which are folded? And what about sheets and towels and blanket?

You don't really think about how you do laundry, but once you do,you realize how pretty particular you are about how you do your laundry as opposed to say how a roommate or friend or partner does their laundry. It becomes a ritual, but not a day long ritual (well,depending on the size of family you have).

And that's not really surprising. Laundry is easier these days, but we still think of it as something that takes up a large chunk of time.But about 100 years ago, laundry didn't take just an afternoon at the laundromat or an evening watching movies and switching things over in the laundry room or basement. It took all day and included washing and scrubbing and boiling and rinsing and hanging to dry, sometimes to freeze dry out in the snow even. I remember when I was a kid, - 40years ago - my gramma used lye soap and a wringer washing machine and that had made washing the clothes that much faster, but still was notas fast as the "new" agitator washers with regular laundry detergent.It was a big day when she got one of those.

So, it was really interesting, recently, when my mom found a crumbling piece of paper that was a "receet" (back then they called recipes "receipts") for doing laundry handed down from my great-great grandmother to my great-grandmother (my grampa's mother) we think. Mom decided to type it up and pass it out to the family so we'd get a kick as to what's changed between then and now.

To give it some perspective time-wise, my grampa was born in 1909(?) and he was the baby of the family and I think his oldest sister was probably 15 when he was born (?). So, this "receet" was probably originally written up between 1890-1895 by a woman who had been born in the 1830s - maybe?

Below is what I got from my mom:

Mom and/or Dad had two copies of this in their things. I think probably it was Dad.

It is a "Grandmother's Receet"...for washing clothes, given to "mymother as a bride ...Kent" (Kentucky?) The paper is dry and crumblingaway so I am copying it for posterity.

1. bild fire in back yard to het kettle of rain water.
2. set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert.
3. shave 1 hole cake lie sope in biling water.
4. sort things. Make 3 piles. 1 pile white. 1 pile cullord. 1 pile werk briches and rags.
5. stur flour in cold water to smooth, then thin down with biling water.
6. rub dirty spots on board. Scrub hard, then bile.
7. rub cullord but don't bile just rench and starch.
8. take white things out of kettle with broom stick handle then rench, blew and starch.
9. spread tee towels on grass.
10. hang old rags on fence.
11. pour rench water on flower bed.
12. scrub porch with hot sopy water. (One says "scrub privee seat and floor with sopy water caught from porch scrub".)
13. turn tubs upside down.
14. go put on cleen dress—smooth hair with side combs, brew cup of tee—set and rest a spell and count blessings.

Kind of offers up some perspective. Makes me think a lot about chopping wood and carrying water and reading more Brother Lawrence and Thich Nhat Hanh.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dwarf Stars Call for Submissions

xposted elsewhere:

Dwarf Stars is the Science Fiction Poetry Association's yearly edited anthology of short-short poetry. They are trying to find the best speculative short poetry of 10 lines or less published in 2009. “Speculative” is defined as “science fiction, fantasy, horror, mythic or any combination or variation of the above.” The deadline for nominations for 2009 poems is August 31, 2010.

This is what you can do to help.

1. Send us your 2009 short poems of 10 lines or less.
2. Send us recommendations of 2009 short poems of 10 lines or less that you've read and think are deserving along with publication information and the e-mail addresses of the poets, if you have them.
3. There is no limit to the number of poems you can send.
4. You do not need to be a member to send poems/recommendations.

Send these poems to at dwarfstars@sfpoetry.com. You do not need to be a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association to send poems/recommendations. Please include the words "Dwarf Stars Submission" in the title of the e-mail.