Monday, December 31, 2012

The Resolutions

Here we are on the last day of 2012. I hope the year treated you kindly.

In the last post I listed out all my podcasts, publications, and major activities for 2012. Here's how it breaks down in numbers:

Submissions: 41
Rejections: 30
Acceptances: 8
Publications: 9
Podcasts: 27

So what does this mean for 2013? I'll spare you the suspense. It means more of the same. The three areas I need to work on are writing, health, and finances.

Produce more words. Submit those words.

Exercise. At least 30 minutes, three times per week.

Finances. Eat dinner at home. Be open to new opportunities.

I know resolutions aren't in vogue with many of my friends, and I do try to create goals constantly throughout the year, complete with milestones, but there's just something about the new year that feels like a fresh start--a chance to draw a line and reevaluate.

For whatever reason I've been holding myself back. I have not been writing as regularly as I should. I have not been completing projects. I sabotage myself with terrible television and make flimsy excuses. It's not fair to me and it's not fair to my husband, who has made sacrifices so I can have this time.

It's not in my nature to state that all of these issues will be behind me as of January 1. It would be wishful thinking, or worse: a fib. But I need to find a way to compensate for these natural inclinations. I simply hope that by acknowledging my tendencies, I can come up with strategies to thwart them.

But I don't delude myself into thinking there's a cure. It's just a matter of changing habits, and habits are stubborn and jealous things. I've always liked this quote best:

The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.
Samuel Johnson

None of this is to discount the last 365 days. 2012 was a pretty great year. I got to see many of my immediate family members, there were no major health issues, and I made many new friends and saw so much of the world. I'm grateful for the opportunities I was given, and for all of the support I've received in my writing career.

To sum up, I'd like to say thank you for sticking with me on this crazy journey. May 2013 bring us all good health, good times, and good news. And as I first wrote back in 2005: Happy New Year to you and yours; may it bring everything you desire and only some of what you deserve.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 in Review

I've compiled a list of my publications, podcasts, and major activities in 2012. It's like the Internet's very own Folly cheat sheet.

January
  • "The Hero Garden" published at InfectiveInk.com (Superhero Fantasy, 2,000 words)
  • Snowed a lot
February
  • Went to the SFWA reading featuring David Levine, Nancy Kress, and J.A. Pitts
  • Attended Potlatch and the Potlatch Writers' Workshop with David Levine
  • My photoblog was hacked and I fixed it
  • Roasted my first turkey
  • Took a novel revision class at Bellevue College
March
April
May
June
  • Saw the King Tut exhibit at Pacific Science Center
  • Attended Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle, WA
  • Attended class at Hugo House with Connie Willis and James Patrick Kelly
  • Sister-in-law visited with her two kids
  • Went to Cat Rambo and K.C. Ball's readings at the UW Bookstore
  • Went to Clarion West readings with Mary Rosenblum and Stephen Graham Jones
  • Went to Luna Lindsey's reading at the Wayward
  • "Taking the Wind" included in a list of 130+ favorite stories
  • My podcast for Jennifer R. Fierro's "Flowers for Clockwork Street" nominated for a Parsec award

  • PODCAST: "Navel Gazing" by Ao-Hui Lin for Every Day Fiction. Posted June 4, 2012.
  • PODCAST: "Fuchsia" by Stephen V. Ramey for Every Day Fiction. ( 4 min 20 s | 2.97 MB ) Posted June 11, 2012.
  • PODCAST: "Blood and Water" by Lydia S Gray for Every Day Fiction. ( 6 min 43 s | 4.62 MB ) Posted June 18, 2012.
  • PODCAST: "A Message" by Amanda J. Capper for Every Day Fiction. ( 5 min 31 s | 3.78 MB ) Posted June 25, 2012.
July
  • "The Pragmatic Groom" published at Short, Fast, and Deadly. Expand the issue and select pages 14-15 to read the story.
  • My parents visited and built a fence. Also took a day trip to Mt. Rainier
  • Participated in the Shock Totem Flash Contest for July
  • Interviewed by Dale Ivan Smith at his blog
  • Went to Clarion West readings: George R.R. Martin, Connie Willis, Kelly Link and Gavin Grant, and Chuck Palahniuk
  • Attended ArmadilloCon and Writers' Workshop in Austin -- my roommate was Cat Rambo
  • Took a Greyhound bus to visit Fort Worth for a week

  • PODCAST: "Collateral Damage" by J. Chris Lawrence for Every Day Fiction. ( 7 min 37 s | 5.34 MB ) Posted July 2, 2012.
  • PODCAST: "Manna from Heaven" by Paul A. Freeman for Every Day Fiction. ( 7 min 50 s | 5.48 MB ) Posted July 16, 2012.
  • PODCAST: "Why Do They Lie to Me?" by Rohini Gupta for Every Day Fiction. ( 6 min 47 s | 4.77 MB ) Posted July 30, 2012.
August
  • Attended Chicon in Chicago and ate my first deep dish pizzas at Lou Malnati's Pizzeria and Gino's East
  • Three fictional mad scientist-themed ads published in the Spring 2012 Mad Scientist Journal
  • Transformed our backyard with new plants and a small greenhouse kit
  • Went on a Ghost Tour of Pioneer Square with Eliza Hirsch

  • PODCAST: "When the Dead Decide to Disco" by Folly Blaine (That's Me!) for Every Day Fiction. (5 min 36 s | 3.96 MB ) Posted August 6, 2012.
  • PODCAST: "The Most Epicly Awesomest Story! Ever!! " by Randy Henderson for Every Day Fiction. ( 3 min 57 s | 2.82 MB ) Posted August 27, 2012.
September
  • Attended a Writers' Retreat with members of my Thursday night writing group at a big house on a lake -- Nate Crowder, Jeremy Zimmerman, Dawn Vogel, Amos Buchanan, and Torrey Podmajersky
  • Attended KillerCon with Eliza Hirsch at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas
  • Won third place in the Creative Fiction contest at KillerCon with 200 words or less using: mongoose, forgiveness, plagiarism, zither, and butterknife. Judged by Mignon Fogarty (Grammar Girl), Jack Ketchum, Don D'Auria, and Roy Robbins
  • "Last of the Soul Eaters" published in the anthology edited by Kasey Lansdale: Fresh Blood, Old Bones

  • PODCAST: "Pest Control" by Beth Cato for Every Day Fiction. ( 7 min 06 s | 4.99 MB ) Posted September 3, 2012.
  • PODCAST: "Ugly" by Meera Jhala for Every Day Fiction. ( 5 min 39 s | 3.99 MB ) Posted September 10, 2012.
  • PODCAST: "Zeppelin Follies" by Cat Rambo for her new collection of science fiction stories: Near + Far. ( 34 min 23 s | 23.61 MB ) Posted September 12, 2012.
  • PODCAST: "The Spinners" by Jennifer Campbell-Hicks for Every Day Fiction. ( 6 min 46 s | 4.75 MB ) Posted September 17, 2012.
  • PODCAST: "Strikethrough" by Matt Daly for Every Day Fiction. ( 7 min 22 s | 5.17 MB ) Posted September 24, 2012.
October
  • Went to the following readings/talks in October: Nancy Pearl interview with Jasper Fforde; SFWA reading with Jennifer Brozek, Seanan McGuire, and Phil Foglio; Tina Connolly; Mark Z. Danielewski; Cory Doctorow; Curse of the Pharoahs at Town Hall
  • Visited family in Portland at a dog show
  • "The Man at the End of the Chain" accepted into Jennifer Brozek's "The Beast Within 4: Gears and Growls"
  • Got house appraised
  • Had the trees trimmed

  • PODCAST: "Glass Ceiling" by Laura Crowe for Every Day Fiction. ( 6 min 28 s | 4.55 MB ) Posted October 1, 2012.
  • PODCAST: "A Gift from Over the Sea" by Jeff Chapman for Every Day Fiction. ( 6 min 33 s | 4.6 MB ) Posted October 15, 2012.
  • PODCAST: "Serenity or Sails" by Dale Ivan Smith for Every Day Fiction. ( 6 min 41 s | 4.7 MB ) Posted October 22, 2012.
November
  • Attended World Fantasy Convention in Toronto -- roomed with Andrew Williams
  • Attended Story Masters workshop taught by Donald Maass, James Scott Bell, and Christopher Vogler
  • Heard Simon Winchester's talk on his new book, Skulls
  • Got car fixed
  • "The Hero Garden" won the 2012 Hawthorne Citation in the Short-Short category.
December
  • Finished the process of refinancing our house
  • "How I Learned to Love My Clones" published at Mad Scientist Journal
  • Spent 17 days in Spain and Portugal: Salou, Tarragona, Barcelona, and Funchal

  • PODCAST: "The It Girl" by Richard J. Dowling for Every Day Fiction. ( 6 min 34 s | 4.62 MB ) Posted December 10, 2012.
  • PODCAST: "From Here to the Sargasso" by Andrew S. Williams for Every Day Fiction. ( 6 min 36 s | 4.64 MB ) Posted December 17, 2012.
  • PODCAST: "Making Merry" by Richard Lamb for Every Day Fiction. ( 3 min 10 s | 2.28 MB ) Posted December 24, 2012.
  • PODCAST: "Seeking the Great Raymundo" by Jamie Lackey for Beneath Ceaseless Skies. ( 26 min 34 s | 18.2 MB ) Posted December 27, 2012.

Friday, December 28, 2012

My first Beneath Ceaseless Skies podcast

I had the huge honor to read Jamie Lackey's "Seeking the Great Raymundo" for the Beneath Ceaseless Skies podcast, now live. 26 minutes-ish and you can play it through their web page or listen at iTunes. It's a terrific story at one of my favorite online magazines. I hope you enjoy it.

Click to listen to the podcast at Beneath Ceaseless Skies...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

New story up at Mad Scientist Journal

I'm proud to announce my new story, "How I Learned to Love My Clones" is now up at Mad Scientist Journal. I've written an article as the mad Dr. Cortico Vox, exploring an epiphany he had Christmas day.

I hope you enjoy it.

Excerpt from "How I Learned to Love My Clones:"

When I began my illustrious career as “mad” scientist, I considered clones a necessary evil. It pains me to admit this now, but I failed to see my clones as individuals, but rather, they were mere pawns in my Master Genetic Revivification Plan–my biological fail-safes, my backups … but not my friends.

Zeke showed me a different way...


Click to read the rest.

Be sure to read his bio.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate! I hope you have a fantastic holiday.

My husband and I have just returned from a 17-day trip to Europe. We spent seven days in an off-season resort town called Salou (pronounced Sah-low), Spain, outside of Barcelona, with day trips into Tarragona and Montserrat Monastery. Followed by two days in Barcelona. And then seven days in Funchal (pronounced Foon-shall), on the island of Madeira, Portugal--a tropical island that is a lot like Kauai, but without the humidity.

After a 20-hour trip that began when the taxi picked us up in Funchal at 3am (That's Funchal time, which is 8 hours ahead of the Pacific Northwest), our plane landed about 10:30pm PST last night and, after claiming our bags and a short taxi ride, we arrived home about 11:30pm. Just in time for Christmas.

It was an amazing trip, but it really is nice to be home again.

I'm sure I'll have more to say about the trip. Some of the highlights were walking across a Roman aqueduct, visiting a monastery at the top of a mountain (by riding a funicular), descending the towers of Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia, the guided tour through a lava tube, wine (port) tasting at the Old Blandy Wine Lodge in Madeira, touring the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, and visiting the Christmas markets. And I haven't even mentioned the food...

Friday, November 30, 2012

Simon Winchester at Town Hall: Skulls


Skulls provided by The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture

Last night I went to Town Hall Seattle to hear Simon Winchester talk about his new book Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley's Curious Collection. I found the subject fascinating.

The book describes the life's work of an ordinary man, Alan Dudley, who has amassed a significant collection of skulls at his bedroom in Coventry, England. You can read about the sensational aspects of Dudley's situation here.

In addition to the hardcover book, Touch Press has released an app for around $13.99 that allows a reader to zoom into each skull and rotate 360 degrees. The photographic detail is amazing, and for each skull you can also find out more information about its associated animal. It's really a glorious example of what's possible when you experiment with different mediums.


Simon Winchester describes the parts of the skull

I also had the opportunity to attend the reception that preceded the talk, which featured lovely conversations over brie, goat cheese, and wine, followed by a a short introduction to Winchester and a chance to get my book signed early. If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of these receptions at Town Hall, I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Last Wednesday I was tagged for "The Next Big Thing" by Lincoln Crisler. Here are my answers:

1) What is the working title of your next book?

Last of the Soul Eaters.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

Earlier this year I wrote a short story called "Last of the Soul Eaters," and submitted it to the ArmadilloCon Writers' Workshop in Austin, TX. I received some very useful feedback from the writing group participants as well as our group leaders: Scott A. Johnson and Joe McKinney. Both Scott and Joe suggested I expand the short story, and I'm a little ashamed to admit that it hadn't even occurred to me until they said something.

You can read the short story in the e-book anthology Fresh Blood, Old Bones.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Young adult horror.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I have no idea.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

After a young woman is murdered her ghost takes justice into its own hands.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I'm still in the process of writing the book, but I wouldn't rule anything out.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I wrote the short story in about a month and that was around 4,000 words. I'll let you know how long it took to write the novel when it's finished.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I'm going to squirm around this question by saying I grew up reading Christopher Pike, Richie Tankersley Cusick, and L.J. Smith's "The Secret Circle" series. These are the authors who have influenced everything I've ever written.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I've always been fascinated with the subject of where we go after we die. Probably we just close our eyes and that's it, but wouldn't it be more exciting if we woke up in another world with its own rules?

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Do you like ancient Egypt? Ancient Egyptian views of the dead figure heavily in my story.

Next Wednesday, visit the following writers’ blogs. I’ve passed the Next Big Thing buck to:

Angel Leigh McCoy

Nathan Crowder

Eliza Hirsch

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Too Many Tabs

I suffer from browser tab fatigue. Too many open. Can't decide what to do with the information, but pretty sure it's important and I'll be sorry if I lose it. Sometimes I'll add the page to my "Favorites" but who am I kidding? I never go into that folder. It might as well be the chalky abyss of denial.

The source of these tabs is my preparation for a trip. I'm trying to figure out public transportation in a language I only sort of understand, which is always fun.

I don't expect sympathy.

Anyway, tomorrow I'll be posting some answers for this next big thing, thing. I'll be telling you all about this project I've been working on, the one that's required me to watch a lot of documentaries and read a lot of books. And then I'll tag a few talented authors to carry the torch.

As I write this post the Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen is playing on the TV across the room. I'm...not sure why I'm watching this, but I can't look away. Which is probably why this post is so scattered. I mean, Mike Tyson is roasting Charlie Sheen. Wha?

The thing about having recently signed up for Netflix is I'm just catching up on popular culture references that are several years old. Jer and I just watched the first three seasons of Warehouse 13 -- excellent, can't wait to see more -- the one season of Dresden Files -- which could have been so much better. What were they thinking delaying the pilot and recutting it for the 8th episode? Did they have so little respect for the audience that they thought we wouldn't notice how disjointed that choice made the series?

And lots of documentaries. But that's not really a pop culture reference. That's just me bragging about my giant brain. (She says as she watches the Roast of Charlie Sheen.)

See you, tomorrow!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Storymasters

Last week I went to a four-day workshop called Storymasters. Donald Maass, James Scott Bell, and Christoper Vogler each took a day to instruct a room of about 95 writers their specific storytelling philosophies, and on the final day we all came together to deconstruct The Hunger Games.

I really enjoyed the workshop and came away with over 20,000 words of notes and a few new friends. Technically I didn't need to take quite SO many notes, but it helps me learn when I can transcribe the audio.

Since then I've been to the dentist and to the vet and I've been hacking away at my newest pile of words. After almost two years of studying stories, I know just enough to be dangerous--with a side effect of gnawing insecurity. Most of what I do now is fight myself to get the words out, and once they're out I get swept up in revision. Revision is my favorite part.

So that's my process.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

World Fantasy Con in Toronto: A Few Photos

Now that I've had a full day to recover from the World Fantasy Convention in Toronto, I'm ready to attempt a write-up. First, I'll cheat and post a Halloween photo of myself. It has nothing to do with the convention, but it'll let you know what I look like.


My half-assed steampunk costume. All about the goggles.

Aaaand my disclaimers: I won't even attempt to list all of the events I attended or the people I met because I will inevitably forget someone or something. Also, I used the crummy camera on my old iPhone. While the quality is bad, the intentions were good.

I arrived in Toronto on Halloween with a number of other Seattle writers. We shared an expensive cab ride out to the hotel. Later we met up at the bar and made merry until jet lag caught up with us. The next day I went on a walking adventure, but it was cold and returned back to the hotel after about an hour. Lunch was at a wonderful Chinese restaurant across the street, where I tried fried noodles, Canton style, for the first time and had some sweetened mashed taro cakes. All excellent company and cuisine.

And then the con started and my narrative begins to skip over huge chunks of time and space.


Patrick Rothfuss reads his work at the EPIC event (EPIC is a collection of epic fantasy stories)


Brandon Sanderson reads his work at the EPIC event


EPIC authors answering questions. Mary Robinette Kowal, Aliette de Bodard, John Joseph Adams, Brandon Sanderson, and Patrick Rothfuss. In the lower right you can also see Andrew S. Williams, my con roommate.


The con hotel was located in Richmond Hill, north Toronto.


Peter Straub reads his work.


Robert J. Sawyer reads his work.


Ada Milenkovic Brown, Cat Rambo, and Deanna Francis


Gemma Files reads her work.


Scott H. Andrews reads his work.


Andrew Penn Romine reads his work at the Lightspeed event.


Poutine with smoked meat, pickles, gravy, fries, and cheese curds from Jack Astor's Bar & Grill. I ate poutine three times on this trip!


Angel Leigh McCoy and friend at one of the parties.


I'm a sucker for signs with closing times listed as "question mark." Also, in this room I discovered the joy of Sortilege Maple Syrup and Whiskey Liqueur.


Hanging out with M. Bennardo. Not pictured: Malki-time.


James L. Sutter and Andrew Penn Romine at breakfast.


Panel about creating cover art. Richard A. Kirk, David Malki, Ed Greenwood, and Charles Vess.

One of the highlights of this con was chatting with Ed Greenwood over dinner at the Fox and Fiddle. The man is amazingly prolific! He'd written 6,000 words just that morning.


Deanna Francis and Cat Rambo before the banquet.

I never managed to take a photo of Nathan Crowder it seems, but I spent a lot of time hanging out with him as well. Overall, it was great to meet so many new people and reconnect with others. I am in awe of everyone's talent and incredibly happy I could have this experience--especially since I can now compare it to last year's WFC in San Diego, my first con.

By the way, the photos I took at last year's WFC are over at Facebook if you'd like to see them. Those were much fancier because I lugged along the Nikon D700.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

What I've Done in October: A List

October is nearly over. What have I been up to? Time for a list!

  • Monday, October 15: Saw Nancy Pearl interview Jasper Fforde (of Thursday Next fame) at Town Hall Seattle
  • Tuesday, October 16: Drove to Kirkland to hear Jennifer Brozek, Seanan McGuire, and Phil Foglio read their work and answer questions.
  • Monday, October 22: Went to Tina Connolly's reading at the UW Bookstore to promote her new novel, Ironskin
  • Tuesday, October 23, 12:30pm: Went to Cory Doctorow's reading at UW Bookstore to promote his new novel, Pirate Cinema
  • Tuesday, October 23, 7:30pm: Attended a lecture at Town Hall by an Egyptologist about the Curse of the Pharaoh
  • October 24-25: Visited family at a dog show in Portland. My first visit to the Kennedy School for dinner and drinks.
  • October 26: We voted! In Seattle we all receive absentee ballots. I dropped ours off at an official ballot drop box at City Hall.
  • Tomorrow: Planning to see a radio play for Mark Z. Danielewski's new novel. He's the author of House of Leaves.
  • Wednesday: Leaving for the World Fantasy Convention in Toronto.

I love living in a place where attending all of these events is possible (and cheap)!

In addition to all of those fun readings, I've been handling some responsible life stuff. We have an arborist coming to trim trees. We're in the process of refinancing the mortgage, so we have an appraiser coming out and we're cleaning house. After a recent doctor's visit I'm actively cutting down sodium in my diet. So you see, lots of little annoying, necessary things.

Aaaaand that's October. November should involve more writing.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

New story acceptance

First item of business: I'm really pleased to announce that my story, "The Man at the End of the Chain," has been accepted into Jennifer Brozek's upcoming anthology Beast Within 4: Gears and Growls. The theme of this anthology is steampunk and shifters--meaning werewolves or other types of were-creatures. My story features one of the other types of were-creatures, and I'm incredibly excited that my story will be included.

Second item: If you're looking for a scary book to get you in the Halloween spirit, might I humbly suggest Fresh Blood, Old Bones on Kindle. (Also available on Nook.) You may remember from my last entry that I am one of the Fresh Blood contributors. I've been reading through all the stories and so far every story I've read has been fantastic, and just the right amount of creepy.

Third item: Life. Things and stuff are moving along at a decent clip. At the risk of being overly vague, a bunch of responsible life issues have popped up this week and I'm muddling through. I can sum up a lot of it by saying: Damn, I never realized how much sodium is in everything I like to eat!

But enough about life. Make-believe is infinitely more fun, and more accepting of potato chips.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

New horror ebook anthology FRESH BLOOD & OLD BONES on sale

I've mentioned this on a few other social media sites, but I haven't given the news its own post yet. So here we go--apologies if this is a repeat:
...
I'm really excited to announce that I have a story in the new horror ebook anthology, Fresh Blood & Old Bones, edited by Kasey Lansdale. My 4300-word contribution is called, "Last of the Soul Eaters."

The ebook is now on sale and available to review at a variety of venues:

The 18 contributors to Fresh Blood & Old Bones are:

  1. Juan Perez
  2. Neal Barrett Jr.
  3. Tim Bryant
  4. Sheri White
  5. Del Howison
  6. Monica O'Rourke
  7. Scott Cupp
  8. Reid Kerr
  9. Chris N. Brown
  10. Sara Brooke
  11. John Paul Allen
  12. Rhonda Eudaly
  13. Nancy Collins
  14. Folly Blaine
  15. Steve Mertz
  16. Sam W. Anderson
  17. John Everson
  18. Joe Lansdale

If you're wondering about the title, it's meant to represent a mix of newer and more established writers. I fall onto the FRESH BLOOD side. It's a huge honor to be included among so many talented authors, and I'm really enjoying reading all the stories that were chosen. A perfect book for setting the Halloween mood.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, October 05, 2012

Looking for a few good followers

First up: I am only 1 like away from meeting my goal of 100 likes in 2012 for my Folly Blaine Facebook page. Will you be my 100th?

Next up: Random pictures.

A sideways bowl of the pesto I made with basil from the garden:

Chiana in a small box. She loves small boxes:


The monster zucchini plant:


Zucchini! (At the end of the blossom)


Lettuce from the garden:

As you can see, it's business as usual around here. Other things I've done this week: hired an arborist to trim our trees later in the month, ordered currency for my various worldly adventures, and recorded a podcast.

Now I need to write down a story that's in my head. Toodles.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Subscribing to magazines on the Kindle

I'm a huge fan of technology, but I'm also a late adopter. My husband, Jeremy, sometimes has to drag me kicking and screaming into our glorious new age, which is good because left alone, my tendencies steer me toward inadvertent Luddite territory.

This may have something to do with beginning my career in desktop support. I eyed every new toy and new release suspiciously. You always needed a patch or a config change to make stuff work correctly. And after a full day of dealing with "known features," when I came home, the last thing I wanted to do was find the quirks on my own time. Let someone else beta test, was my motto.

So a little over a year ago, reluctantly, I purchased a refurbished second-gen Kindle from w00t for a very reasonable price. And, lo, it was a very good purchase indeed.

My single best discovery for making the Kindle viable for me was the Weightless Books store and e-magazine subscriptions.

Last November, I subscribed to Apex, Lightspeed/Fantasy, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clarkesworld, and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. And it's been fantastic. I love all the new content I get to read for one low price.

If you've never had an e-subscription before--especially through a seller other than Amazon--it's really easy. When you buy from Weightless, you can either choose to automatically deliver new issues to your Kindle (for a small fee to Amazon) or you can have your issues delivered to an interim folder at Amazon called "Personal Documents" for free. I do the second option.

In general, you need to tell Weightless Books what format you want and where to send the issues, assuming you want them sent somewhere. If you don't want to bother with Kindle delivery, you can choose to download issues manually each month instead.

To set up Kindle delivery at Weightless Books, buy your subscription and navigate to "My Library." Then you select your preferred format (MOBI in the case of Kindle). Next you need to enter an email address for delivery (More info at weightlessbooks.com/faq/#kindle-emails). If you want to receive your issues for free, you can input the "free" address provided by Amazon, which looks something like xxx@free.kindle.com, where xxx is your identifier. If you don't know your identifier go to Amazon and find the "Manage your Kindle" page and all the info is there.

While you're at the "Manage your Kindle" page you will also need to add the approved email addresses for Kindle delivery provided by Weightless Books, just so Amazon knows the emails aren't spam. Details at that link above.

Assuming you've input your xxx@free.kindle.com address, new issues of the magazine are sent from Weightless Books to a "Personal Documents" folder in the "Manage your Kindle" section at Amazon. (You get notified by email when a new document appears there, so it's easy to keep track of.) And then you just have to use the drop down box next to each issue and select "Send to Kindle." Next time you turn on your Kindle wi-fi you'll receive your issue for free.

I let a few issues stack up and send them all over at once.

If you don't mind paying Amazon to receive magazine issues directly, you can use the regular Kindle email address xxx@kindle.com and the issues should go straight to your Kindle reader. I prefer to keep it free, even if it means adding a manual step.

I love subscribing to e-versions of magazines for a few reasons. One: I constantly have new content to read all year long. Two: I get to read markets where I want to be published someday. It's all research. Three: As much as I like paper, the electronic versions are so handy and clutter-free. My smart phone has a Kindle app on it that syncs to the Kindle library stored at Amazon, so I can easily go from reading a story on my Kindle to reading it on my phone, without losing my place in the story.

Now that it's been a full year of reading on my Kindle, I can definitely say this is a good thing. I highly recommend e-subscriptions, and Weightless Books, in particular. And if you're wondering, I wasn't paid anything to say so.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Adventures with Swiss Chard, Harvesting and Stuff

The Swiss Chard was overgrowing the greenhouse, so I took a scissors to it. And ended up with this:


After I rinsed and cut the stems away, I chopped the Swiss Chard into wee strips:


Time passed. I sauteed some onions and garlic. I made a cheese sauce, and then I whisked it all together:


I layered brown rice in the base of the dish, covered it in the Swiss Chard Au Gratin (the original recipe) and covered it in artichoke hearts and Panko bread crumbs. Baked the whole thing at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.


I thought it was very tasty. And it's a Weight Watchers recipe, so that's a bonus. This makes this the second dish I've prepared with ingredients from my garden. Pesto was the first.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Submission Statistics 2012

It helps me figure out where I'm going when I remember where I've been. So let's take a post and see how I'm doing with this whole writing thing.

Give or take a few numbers, here are my current submission statistics for 2012:

Submissions: 34

Rejections: 26

Acceptances: 6

Publications: 7

Most of my 2012 publications are linked from my Fiction page, with the exception of three classified ads I contributed to the Spring 2012 Mad Scientist Journal.

By the way, if you haven't heard of the Mad Scientist Journal and are a fan of mad science, the journal is worth checking out. The regular site is madscientistjournal.org and they publish new work every Monday.

Also I don't think I've announced it here yet, but my horror story "Last of the Soul Eaters" was accepted into a new horror anthology edited by Kasey Lansdale called FRESH BLOOD & OLD BONES. (See this Facebook post for the full list of contributors.) I'm excited and honored to have a story included with such excellent writers.

Miscellaneous 2012 Stuff:

Published podcasts: 20 (since April 2012, most are linked on the Podcasts page)

Conventions attended: 6 (listed on the Schedule page)

Interviews: 1 (At Dale Ivan Smith's blog)

I guess that's a good start.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Breaking Developments on the Zucchini Front

While I was away, the zucchini plant took over the deck:



If you look closely, on the right there is a flower. Or an alien mouth.



And here is the mess that is the greenhouse. The Swiss Chard is winning:



KillerCon 4 at the Stratosphere, Las Vegas

I'm home from my first KillerCon, a horror convention in Las Vegas, and now I'm having a hard time figuring out where to start in my recap. I had a fantastic time. I met lots of cool people and reconnected with many familiar faces. And I found loads of new authors to read.

A personal highlight was participating in my first contest at a con. I won third place in the Creative Fiction contest on Saturday night. Participants had 20 minutes to write 200 words or less using five words: mongoose, forgiveness, plagiarism, zither, and butterknife. And we had to include the sentence, "I want to suck your cock." Then we read our work aloud. Just an overall great experience, even if I blushed a lot. All of the entries were creative and cool and I'd especially like to thank the judges: Mignon Fogarty, Jack Ketchum, Don D'Auria, and Roy Robbins.

Another highlight was when William F. Nolan signed my copy of "How to Write Horror Fiction," that I bought new in 1990. You could say I've been interested in horror for a long time--even if I've only recently started writing it seriously.

Maybe I should just shut up and share some camera phone pictures:


Looking up at the Stratosphere tower


Level 108 of the Stratosphere


A man in silhouette on one of Stratosphere's crazy rides


Happy Hour at the level 107 bar. Buy one martini, get one free.


Eliza Hirsch, my kick ass roommate


Me!


Mignon Fogarty teaches a Grammar Girl Workshop


Gene O'Neill holds up a copy of "The Burden of Indigo"


Guest of Honor Jack Ketchum reads from "The Woman"


R.J. Cavender teaches a Self-Editing Workshop


Mike McCarty and colleague (didn't catch his name) from KNB Efx Group Inc. apply zombie makeup


Four participants during the clich├ęs in fiction panel: Monica O'Rourke, Hal Bodner, Don D'Auria, and Erik Williams


Guests of Honor at Closing Ceremonies: F. Paul Wilson, William F. Nolan, Kelley Armstrong, Jack Ketchum


Organizer Wrath James White thanks KillerCon volunteers at Closing Ceremonies

Unfortunately, this recap only scratches the surface.

KillerCon was an incredibly positive experience and I hope to be able to attend next year. I'm grateful to the horror community for being so open and welcoming to newcomers like myself. And now I'm freshly inspired to get writing again.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Writing Retreat Wrap-Up


Sunrise at the lake

I don't remember how the topic came up last February. A bunch of us writers were sitting around the Wayward Coffeehouse, talking about finding time to do our thing. One of the group had just come back from--or was just leaving for--a weekend retreat, and I remember being sad I'd never attended the Rainforest Writers Retreat.

As an aside, this particular group meets weekly for dinner and typing. Our focus isn't critiquing, so our conversations usually ramble and trail off into hilarious obscurity. This time the subject stuck.

After some discussion and a quick search by one writer's husband, we picked our location, began the initial headcount, and a couple of other writers set up a group schedule so we could narrow down a free weekend. The first one wasn't until September.

Basically what I want to convey is that we were all involved in the planning. Later I made the reservation, and here we are today.

Even with a couple of tiny hiccups, the weekend couldn't have gone much more smoothly. We drove up Friday evening and ate dinner on the road. Friday evening was filled with setting goals and hanging out.

For Saturday, I'd put together a tentative schedule since it was our main work day. Blocks of writing time were broken up by meals--everyone volunteered to prepare a meal for the group--and we had some scheduled down-time. In the evening, we hung out some more. Half the group eventually went to bed, and the rest stayed up to write a while longer.

Sunday morning was mostly spent on breakfast, cleaning up, and a little bit of writing.

I spent most of my weekend in the lowest level of the house, staring at a wall decorated with many corks. I revised a new horror story, but I also managed to start a superficial outline of a novel, and to begin a new story.

I'm very happy with my productivity, and I had a great time.

The writers in attendance were wonderful to share space with and I'm so glad it all came together as it did. It was one of those experiences I'll look back on and remember fondly for a long time. No doubt about that.

Here are a few camera phone pics:


Pre-breakfast busy-ness


A wall decorated by hundreds of wine corks!


Closeup of the cork wall