Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wasted Words

For the last few months, I've been focusing on editing one of my novels and have not sent much short fiction into the world. I noticed that a few of my Twitter friends were holding a #10bythen challenge. This isn't a contest, but a personal challenge. In a nutshell, you have to submit 10 short pieces during the month. For all the details, please visit Mercedes M. Yardley's blog.

So I dusted off my short story folder and took the challenge. I have a folder called Unfinished Short Work and it contains exactly what it says. I did some poking around and found some interesting pieces and of course, some rather dreadful ones. If you think I'm kidding, I have a short story about a monster who lives in the bathroom of a taco shop. Honest. It's quite funny, but needs a solid round of edits before it ever leaves that folder. Maybe one day. Or maybe not.

I never delete those stories. In truth, some are only small snippets, lines of dialogue, or loose sketches. More than one should be deleted because they're horrid, but I won't. Because you never know. Even the crappiest unborn short story contains characters, sentences, or phrases that might come in handy.

Or it could provide a moment of amusement on a grey, dreary day.

I don't consider the time I spent writing those words a waste of time, though. For every crappy story and/or sentence I've written, there's a decent one lingering in a story nearby. And while those words might be wasting away in that folder, the time spent crafting them wasn't.

And lest you don't believe me about the bathroom story, here is the first line:

Everyone knew not to use the bathroom at Paco’s Tacos.

It's ridiculous, yes? But who knows, maybe one day it will come in handy. I could of course be deluding myself, but I'd rather err on the side of caution and keep it around. Just in case.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

And More News

My short story, Lilacs, is forthcoming in Issue #14 of Murky Depths. Murky Depths recently received the 2010 British Fantasy Award for Best Magazine. And, as if that wasn't enough good news, the cover art for Issue #14 is based on my story. That is wicked cool, isn't it?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bits of News

Mercedes M. Yardley, a fantastic writer and friend, has a feature on her blog called "Be Mysterious - Writers in Masks". If you'd like to see my 'mask', please visit her blog here.

And in other news, my short story, Glass Boxes and Clockwork Gods, will appear next year in an issue of Electric Velocipede. Unfamiliar with the magazine? Click here for a history of EV. And while you're there, please take a look around. Read some of the stories available online and order an issue to read others.

Short story acceptances are always wonderful, but this one made me giddy. I have a special fondness for the story and EV. The Editor, John Klima, is an awesome guy and I decided, in large part, to submit a story to EV based on his interview with Duotrope. You can read it here.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dream Agents?

There's a bit of hoopla right now on the web with respect to dream agents. You can Google the term and find out where, what, and who, if you are so inclined.

I despise the term 'dream agent'. I really do. Trust me, I know where it comes from. Agent X sells lots of his/her clients' work at auction, for three book deals, etc., etc., but that's not to say that agent will be a good agent for you.

There is no such thing as a dream agent. There's only the right agent for your work. You want an agent who loves your work and will 'go to the mattresses' for your words. That's your dream agent. And that agent could be one at a small agency or a large one, but you won't know until you talk to the agent. Personally. On the phone.

Yes, you can get a feel for an agent's personality on Twitter or in their blog posts, but that doesn't mean you know that agent. And Twitter and blog posts can't tell you if that agent is the right one for you.

I had four offers of representation. I talked to each agent on the phone. They were all fantastic. I honestly believe that signing with any of the four would have been a good choice, but once I talked to Mark, I knew he was the right choice and the right agent. For me.

So I guess that makes him my dream agent. Damn, I hate that term. But I love my agent.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Short Stories

I think my blog took a bit of a holiday. I attempted to write a post or two last week and nope, it didn't work. I suppose it needed a break.

I thought I'd try a little something different for this post. I've included links below to a handful of great short stories that are available to read online. So grab yourself a cup of coffee (or tea, if you prefer) and read away. I hope you love them as much as I do.

(Please note: I've only included stories you can read online, but print magazines like Shock Totem and GUD are definitely worth checking out.)

Fool's Fire by Hayley E. Lavik - Flash Fiction Online

Show Your Bones by Mercedes M. Yardley - The Shine Journal

Spar by Kij Johnson - Clarkesworld

The House Eaters by Aaron Polson - Rose and Thorn Journal

Those Below by Jeremy C. Shipp - Apex

Where Shadows Meet Light by Rachel Swirsky - Fantasy Magazine

If you've stumbled upon a great short story, feel free to include the link in the comments section.