Plague doc

First fiction sub in a long time

Heard about the "To The Best of Our Knowledge" "3 Minute Futures Flash Fiction Contest" on the radio and decided to go for it. 572 words completed and submitted in time for today's deadline.

Whatever happens, it's a big victory for me to write a completely new piece of fiction, as it's been...years. I have been writing nonfiction, and made a New Year's resolution to get more serious and organized on both fronts. So far, so good.

Wish me luck!
Salmon eggs and fry

New Fables, Summer 2012

Got my contributor's copy of the newest issue of New Fables, edited by Tim Susman of Sofawolf Press :-D. My story, "The Stampeders," is the first one in this volume of anthropomorphic tales. "The Stampeders" is something of a riff on the old Grimm's fairy tale of "The Fisherman and his Wife." My version is set during the Yukon Gold Rush of 1897-1898, and parallels the journey of a young prospector with that of a spawning salmon.

Spam, spam, and yet more spam.

I know I don't post here very often these days, mostly because I haven't been writing much lately (though I do have a new story coming out, which will be the subject of another post!). I do try to keep the place tidy though. I don't understand why, but I'm getting more and more spam comments every day. Like 5-6/day.

Some time ago I changed my account settings to screen comments from anyone not on my friends list. It was the only way I could think of to keep the spam from actually appearing on this journal. It still fills my inbox though, and I have to dump it all every once in a while. Today I went looking around for anything else I could do, and found something about disabling pingbacks. I don't fully understand what that means, but I've disabled it and I'm hoping it may help discourage spammers.

The upshot is that I don't want to discourage people from commenting or messaging me through LJ. So, my apologies if I've deleted your comment or message because it was buried in 32 pages of spam :-(.

If any more knowledgeable folks have suggestions for avoiding spam-comments, I'm all ears.
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Let that be a lesson to me

I found out about an anthology that might be a suitable market for a reprint of mine. Went looking for the file, only to discover that I don't have an electronic copy of the story in a format that my current computer can read. Worse, I can't even access the published version -- it came out on a CD Rom. I don't know why not, but none of our computers can even see it in the drive, let alone open it. Thankfully, I did manage to locate a hard copy! So, I will be reading the whole thing into my Dragon software to recreate a computer file.

Then I'll be making sure I have all my inventory saved in multiple formats -- including paper!
Salmon eggs and fry

Story Sold!

My story, "The Stampeders," will appear in the upcoming "New Fables, 2012"!! I will post details as soon as the issue becomes available.

"The Stampeders" has tangential inspiration from the tale of "The Fisherman and His Wife," and is set during the Yukon gold rush of 1897-1898.

I've been neglecting this journal for sadly too long, mostly because I've been neglecting my fiction writing. I've been busy with work, family, nonfiction, and my horse. But something new coming out makes me want to get back to stories again!
leonardo horse

"Writing Horses"

I am embarrassed at how long it took me in the end to finish this review. It wasn't because I didn't enjoy the book! I read it right away, but I kept experimenting with different e-book formats, because I wanted to get the hyperlinks working as they were supposed to. Here are my thoughts as I posted them to "Library Thing" (who will probably never give me another early review copy :-/).

“Horses are not dogs” is the title of the introduction to Judith Tarr’s “Writing Horses.” A simple statement, but an important take-home message from this book. Unlike dogs and cats, who are the small and affectionate descendants of predators, horses are prey animals. Understanding that simple fact explains a lot about horse behavior. The author is a knowledgeable horse woman and her Lipizzaners are absolutely stunning. There are many pictures in the book, and they alone are worth the price of admission!

“Writing Horses provides a great reference for the writer who is not intimately familiar with horses. There are chapters covering every aspect from the terminology of coat colors, to tack (the saddle and bridle) for different riding disciplines, to grooming, horse care, and breeding. There is information that will help you plan a realistic trip on horseback for your fictional characters – a critical part of many works of fantasy or historical fiction.

My only complaint about the book would be in using the hyperlinks in different e-book formats. I ended up working with this book in several formats. First I read it in the mobi-pocket version, on my aging Palm TX. My TX has color, and is wifi enabled, so the pictures looked great and the links actually worked (if fiddly) if I was in range. More recently, I acquired a Kindle, and have loaded “Writing Horses” in two versions: the unconverted pdf, and the pdf as converted by Amazon for the Kindle. The conversion allows Kindle’s functionality to work (changing font size, text-to-speech), though it does alter the appearance of the text itself. Unfortunately, the links don’t work, even though my Kindle is both wifi and 3G enabled. So, the only book format in which I was able to get full functionality of the links was reading it on my computer screen in pdf format. Not ideal, in my opinion. I think it would have been a better choice to use pictures for illustrating discussions of issues such as coat color and anatomy. Links to studies and the like could be in an appendix at the end, where the reader could explore at leisure.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who writes in settings that involve horses. Even if you are a horse person yourself, it will still help organize your thoughts on essential details for telling your story. If you don’t know horses, it will give you a solid overview of what you need to think about in making your fictional animals come alive for the reader. As a reader, I can tell you what a delight it is when writers get horses right – even when horses are not a central part of the story, but just appear in passing. Conversely, getting them wrong can ruin an otherwise good read.

"Writing Horses"

Library Thing gave me an early review copy of Judith Tarr's new book, "Writing Horses, The Fine Art of Getting it Right." *claps hands with glee*

I'm about a third into it, and having a grand time, but I'm not sure I'll be able to finish and have a review posted before the official release date on November 15. But when I am done, I will post my comments here as well as on Library Thing.
Camera Obscura

Finished a story!

For the first time in way too long, I actually completed a draft of something new. Actually, it's a substantial rewrite of something I put together last year. Mostly it's been poor time-management and too damn much to do rather than writer's block, but whatever. If feels good to have something done. I'll be posting it to the OWW soon (need to get back in the crit habit first!). AND I have another story in the works. Yay me ;->

Happy Darwin Day!

The Tangled Bank: Love, Wonder, and Evolution has launched!

The anthology, which marks the 150th anniversary of Origin of Species, features over 100,000 words of speculative fiction, poetry, artwork, and essays about evolution.

An international line-up of nearly 50 contributors includes Sean Williams, Brian Stableford, Patricia Russo, and Carlos Hernandez. And ME!

Just US$4.99, The Tangled Bank is now available for download as a PDF through Lulu.

Check out "Darwin's Daughter" by Christopher Green (a free short story from the anthology).

For more information, visit the website, or our Facebook or Twitter pages.


"The Proust Effect" will be appearing in The Tangled Bank; Love, Wonder and Evolution anthology. The anthology celebrates the life and work of Charles Darwin, and I am delighted to be a part of it!

The full TOC and cover art can be seen at The Tangled Bank's website. The anthology is scheduled for release on Darwin Day (February 12) 2010, and will be available in both print and e-book formats.

I will post links as soon as they become available!
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