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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tips on Guidelines

You can glean market lists from all sorts of venues. Take note when people announce their recent sales. Visit their blogs and writer forums for insider information on markets and publishing news.

I jot down contact information from magazines I find at the doctor's office. (mine is well stocked) I also belong to a couple of email lists specifically for paying markets.

Once a week, I'll post speculative and some nonfiction markets here; those that sound interesting--and more importantly, those that pay.

Guidelines can be a bear to find. There have been a few magazines and websites that REALLY don't want you to contact them--or so it seems. Their guidelines are nowhere on their site map and their search function will spit out a nasty retort that the word, 'guidelines' does not exist in the English language.

That's okay. You can still get around that.

If all else fails, Google the magazine's name and the word, 'guidelines'. For example: Smithsonian, writer guidelines. If 'writer guidelines' doesn't work, try other key words like 'contributor' or 'writer information'. If the page has been accessed, the search engine will find it.

Research is key to finding potential markets. You just have to learn where to pick up the trail.

Fiction Markets: Sadly, speculative fiction markets dry up faster than grapes under a blistering Texas sun. What seems like a perfectly healthy market one day may disappear the next. Sometimes their pub dates are erratic or their response time is eons long. SF and fantasy zines are particularly notorious for sudden death. Mystery and horror seem to fair much better.

Some webzines have made their mark with their very shiny sites and high standards. Clarkesworld and Farthing come to mind off the top of my head. They are "relatively" new yet appear quite robust.

You won't make a living writing for fiction markets, but they're a nice way to pad your bio when you query agents for that novel.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Markets

Here I am waiting for the AC guy. I am so spoiled. Greg always fixes things for me. I don't like having to pay other people. And this bill is going to be a whopper. I look at it as doing my part in keeping the American economy strong. --groan

Let's do markets today…with a European flair.

*****
Here's an interesting SF anthology from Interzone.

Mundane SF

Today there is no ---
• Faster than light travel
• Psi power
• Nanobot technology
• Extraterrestrial life
• Computer consciousness
• Materially profitable space travel
• Human immortality
• Brain downloading
• Teleportation
• Time travel
-- And maybe there never will be!

For one issue only, we are going to set aside all the noise and electric guitars and anything-goes-as-usual mentality associated with contemporary Science Fiction, and do it properly.

Word count : up to 5000 words
Deadline: 31 October 2007 or until filled
Please read guidelines carefully.

*****
And yet another UK market.

This one really amused me though. Somewhere within its lengthy submission guidelines it asked that the submission package be smoke free. Now that's a first. But I completely understand. Nothing is more sickening than the smell of stale smoke. ---so be warned if you decide to submit there. Don't smoke around your manuscript.

CREME DE LA CRIME

We’re always searching for authors with style, imagination and flair, who can write a crime novel that packs a punch and keeps readers teetering on the edge of the chair right to the final page.

Our main goals are to encourage and develop new crime writing talent. We set out to introduce new crime writers to the UK market. Our list includes previously unpublished novelists, and established authors who wanted to switch to crime. And to provide a platform for writers who want to expand the boundaries of the genre. We encourage our authors to experiment. We welcome crime novels with elements of other genres: erotica, horror or historical, for example, or future crime.

*****
And finally for you travel writers…

hidden europe
We specialise in Europe’s unsung spots, or in lesser known aspects of familiar territory. Where we take in a well known destination, you can be assured we will take a quirky or unusual perspective on it. And we try to be genuinely Europe-wide in our coverage, with prose that evokes a spirit of landscape and a vivid sense of place.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Double Yay!

My bad luck is melting away like a half-remembered nightmare. The drugs still make me sick, but at least my arm feels better.

Got a nice check from Travelers Tales. That's always good for the ego, and the pocketbook. And I was asked for more pages for True Believers. Yay! Feedback has been good, even when they were rejections, so I know I'm on the right track.

Recently, I revamped the opening to the novel and gave it to a voracious reader who was a non-writer. She wowed me with her reaction because it was exactly what I was going for. It was a huge shot in the arm that made me feel like I might know what I'm doing
---sometimes. LOL

Anyway, things are getting better. It's a holiday weekend so I have more time around the house. I'm also taking Tuesday off so I can keep the air conditioning guy company. My car is in the shop and I should get it back next week. The only thing left is fixing the big hole in my ceiling and I already have my estimate for that. It's just a matter of scheduling now.

Things are getting back to normal. Double Yay!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

News Release from Broad Universe

Broad Universe is a noble organization worthy of support.

Broad Universe Launches Membership Contest at WisCon 2007
Le Guin, McHugh, Kushner Books up for Grabs

Broad Universe, an organization that focuses on science fiction, fantasy, and horror works written by women, is launching a membership drive at this year's WisCon to be held May 25-28 in Madison, Wisconsin. The winners and runners up will receive their choice of a signed book from Ursula Le Guin, a signed copy of Mothers and Other Monsters by Maureen McHugh, and a signed copy of Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner. And anyone who brings in at least five new members will a one year free membership!

Want to get in on the action? See below for the rules."

We welcome the participation of everyone interested in women's writing and artwork, regardless of race, class, sexual orientation, disposable income, marital status, voting history, or ability to knit," says Sue Lange, contest organizer. "By giving women authors and illustrators a way to band together for encouragement and support, we help each other achieve our writing goals." And it works!

Why should you join us? "You can find the latest news and hints on genre writing in Broadsheet, our on-line newsletter," according to Lange. "We also help you market your books through BU displays and catalogs that promote BU authors. For those who enjoy reading their work aloud, you can participate in public readings at various cons. And most important," Lange adds, "if you need help in any writing-related endeavor, you can call on member resources and experience to answer your questions."

In addition, Broad Universe is committed to bringing the works of all women writers of speculative fiction to the general public. They have reading lists available as well as book reviews in their online newsletter which is available to the public.

How can you become a member and support their efforts? Visit Broad Universe for details. They offer two levels of membership and membership benefits, at $30 and $15 per year (June 1 - May 31), and anyone is welcome at either level. Want more information? Email Broad Universe at info@broaduniverse.org.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

8 Random Things

And I thought Maya was my friend. She tagged me for 8 random things and like a dog to a milkbone I'm doomed to comply. I'll just have to think of something horribly irritating to pay back my dear friend. (whistles innocently)

I'm still a bit queasy from the mongo drugs they have me on but here's the best I could deliver.

• I have a sixth sense with animals. I always know when they're sick long before they show symptoms.

• My favorite vacation moment of all time was a starry night in Wyoming. And yet, I've never been back.

• I like peanuts but hate peanut butter.

• I got interested in homesteading when Greg and I visited an Amish community in the early 70s. We weren't married (yet), but I knew someday we would try it ourselves.

• When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut, but I was too dumb in math.

• I never expected to marry, yet I've been married for 32 years --and counting.

• A man can bring me to my knees if he kisses the back of my neck.

• My best feature is my weird sense of humor. I can find levity in almost anything. (Mighty handy considering what I've been through lately.)

All right, out of fear that one more thing will go wrong in my life, I won't name names…but if you read this blog, consider yourself tagged.

Bad luck comes in 5's

I haven't been blogging much. And I haven't mentioned why for the most part. But I thought it might be helpful to me as a record of sorts, so I'm listing the bits of excitement I've had in the past five days.

Let's see:
Carpal tunnel: Turned out more serious than that. I've got strep throat again and the infection settled in the joints of my arm. The pain is excruciating--which is the main reason I try not to type. More drugs and therapy. Doc warned me it might require surgery depending on the damage left behind once we heal the infection.

Doc was alarmed that I had gotten strep for the fourth time. She asked me if I had dogs. Why, yes I do. She recommended I get them checked. Dogs are carriers of strep. They rarely get sick from it, but they do pass it on. --sigh. Another day off to cart them to the vet.

Bumper thumper: Again, it should've been minor. But the little old lady who hit us panicked and hit the gas instead of the brake, causing more damage than normal.

Emergency fence repair: The last storms severely weakened 10 feet of fencing. One good pounce from the Tankster and it would've come down. Greg to the rescue.

Internal bleeding: Ah, almost forgot about this one. Doc says I'll be okay, but it scared the bejeebers out of me at first. (I am trying to take it easy.)

And here's the icing on the cake: The ceiling in a spare bedroom came crashing down! The AC unit lives in the attic just above it and the drip pan that holds the condensation from the air conditioner rusted through. It's a room I don't go into much so I never noticed the ceiling getting saturated. It collapsed the night before Greg left me. He checked it out and told me what I needed to have done. Now I have to take more time off from work to meet with more repair people.

Oh yeah, and did I mention the electrical in the bathroom?

Somebody send me a four-leaf clover. Quick!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Creepy People

There have always been creepy people in the world. The internet just brought them closer to home.

I don't know what it was about OWW but I had several "stalkers" from that group. I critiqued a lot back then in my usual glib style. Perhaps some men saw it as a sign of sexual attractiveness. I've been asked to join a couple of those "Friend" sites, had a couple of inappropriate remarks about my availability and at least one aggressive emailer who wouldn't leave me alone.

My relationship rules are pretty basic. I have a lot of male friends, some who are valued critiquers and confidantes, but those relationships grew over the course of time. No way do I get chummy with people who I don't get to know first. My friends know who they are. They know they can cuss or use shorthand language with me. They know who my husband is and I know their wives or significant others. We are friends.

People who email you with schmoozy language, those who carry on conversations long after the topic is dead, or use suggestive avatars (specifically for you) tend to be needy people in my opinion. While they're usually toothless, this is predatory behavior nonetheless. Don't be afraid to show your teeth in response.

Predators come in both sexes, and women are especially vulnerable to these faceless strangers. But the thing that brings them closer can also keep you safer.

You can hide behind your own avatar or moniker. Get an email account with a nonspecific title, something without your name attached to it. Invest in services that protect the privacy of your email and websites. Anonymizer is one.

For other software/services, type in: "Hide IP Address" in any search engine. You'd be surprised what's out there to protect you.

If someone starts to make you uncomfortable, make your intentions clear--or stop replying to them altogether. I've gotten out of several creepy critique relationships by telling them I am limiting my crit load to my core circle. (Which would be true, since such people would never be invited to my core group.)

If you don't let them play in your playground eventually they get bored and find other prey.

My radar goes up every time someone gets too chummy, or starts loading up on superlatives when describing me, or my work.

I'm generally a very enthusiastic person and I don't hesitate to tell people when they've done good, but I limit my beafications to folks I know and trust. My friends have earned their place at my side. And they're the only ones allowed to gush at my magnificence--or lack, thereof.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Publishing News

Simon & Schuster: Almost every big blogger is commenting on Simon & Schuster's plan to revamp their contract so that the author's work is retained indefinitely. It doesn't surprise me. Actually, what does surprise me is that it took this long to happen. And as much as I agree with agents and authors who are appalled by this turn of events, we may be spinning our wheels. It might not have made a big difference if a smaller publisher went this route, but it's much easier to climb on the bandwagon of a big house.

This makes having an agent all the more crucial. It's their job to negotiate a contract amenable to all parties.

In other news: Miss Snark is retiring her blog. I've always liked her advice, but not often pleased with its delivery or the predatory snarklings who descended on less informed souls like wolves on a blood trail. Still MS delivered some good direction and opportunities. I did notice that her posts for the last couple of months were less inflammatory than earlier posts, so maybe she knew she was quitting the blog show for some time now. The good news is that she'll keep the archives open for future reading.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Direction

I've been giving my arm time to rest the last few days and in turn it's given me time to study my goals and see where I need to be.

Lately, it's been a regimented program of education, practice and submission. I am getting sound feedback from editors and a couple of agents so far, plus I've received some excellent advice from my mentors.

There's a glimmer of insight that is beginning to seep into my consciousness on what is necessary to take me to the next level. That's a mixed blessing because this is when I'm my most dangerous. LOL

It's that moment when I begin to assemble the future that I get impatient and want things to move faster. Fortunately, crone-dom has taught me to pace myself and not to run my goals like a racehorse on meth, regardless on how tempting it is.

Not that I still don't get that twinge of "come on!", but I know better. Things happen only when all the building blocks are in place, and not before.

One thing I did on Maya's advice was to join RWA. The organization has so many resources at their disposal that I would be a poor writer indeed if I couldn't utilize them to my benefit.

Maya always gives no-nonsense advice, and I am nothing if not practical, so I recognize good direction when I see it. By the way, anyone worth his salt should be reading Maya regularly. This author is going far. (Yes, I'm psychic. Take my word on it.)

Goals are only as good as the energy behind them.

That said, please stow your tray tables away and pull your seat backs to their straight and upright position. All thrusters are go, and I'm flying in hot. Let's see what the old girl has left.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Markets

Food-Writing Culinary Mystery Contest
Entry Fee: None
Write your best culinary mystery short story. The story must be NO LONGER than 1,200 words, must include food as an element in the story, however minor, must have some mystery in the plot, and must be emailed to me by June 15, 2007.
Winners announced July 1, 2007.
All entrants must be Food Writing subscribers. (that's Free)
One First Place Winner receives $100
Two Second Place Winners receive $50
Three Third Place Winners receive $25

Bird Times
Pays: 10 cents/word on the final edited published word count
Short articles 500 to 1,000 words
Features 1,200 to 2,000 words.
Covers all types of companion birds: parrots, canaries and finches, budgerigars, cockatiels, pigeons and doves.


Bird Stories
We've had various birds during our married life. I'm not a big fan of them since they make a lot of racket. (I like quiet animals) But Greg's always had a natural affinity for birds. When we first got married we lived in an apartment that didn't allow dogs, but you could have birds. So we adopted two little finches from a pet store that had them labeled as Normal Finches.

So we named him, Normal. And her, Abi-normal
LOL --You had to be there.

Later in life, we had a parrot.
Evidently, parrots taste like chicken.
At least, according to the dog.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Smokin'

Big Bites: Many thanks to Mike, Daw and Margaret who helped me tweak my partial this week. You guys are phenomenal! My pages are on their way. God speed. LOL

Other Bites: A magazine editor liked my first query so much she asked me to submit my ideas for next year's editorial calendar. Plus I got one sold, and requests for three more articles for various other magazines.

And I've barely scratched the surface. Whew! People are responding far faster than I expected. No wonder my wrist hurts.

I'm taking the weekend off.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Introspection

I'm following a free mini writing workshop by A. Lee Martinez (A Nameless Witch) through Candace Haven's (Charmed and Dangerous) forum.

The other day, he brought up thought balloons, otherwise known as introspection. He hit on a pet peeve of mine. A major pet peeve.

Webster's defines introspection as an examination of one's own thoughts and feelings.

Oh sure, it's a nice word. Goes to church on Sundays and calls its mother twice a month. It's also as boring as leftovers.

My eyes glaze over like frosted windows whenever it shows up. That's not to say that occasional reflection is bad in a novel. But the key word is "occasional".

There's nothing worse than dumping the reader with the mc's baggage. I don't want to play psychologist. I don't care if he has issues with his family or he thinks he's too young, fat, skinny, old, or crazy. I simply don't care.

If he has issues, I want them manifested in the way he responds to his situation and the characters around him. If he has an intimacy phobia, I don't want him telling us all about his rotten relationships or how he was abused as a child. I want to see him struggle and make critical errors deriving from his phobia because then it will become more real for me--and certainly more interesting.

When I write my characters I try not to let them think too much. Not only does it slow down the story, but it also steals the plot's thunder. Wouldn't it be more stirring to let the mc's psychological peccadilloes show up at inconvenient times so as to escalate the tension?

Alex gave us some examples. But rather than borrow his, I'll give you something I made up.

With Thought Balloons
David didn't want to go down that tunnel. It reminded him of when his mother used to lock him in the closet whenever he wet the bed. He only wet the bed when he had nightmares, but that didn't matter to her. She'd lock him in the closet for hours. And if he cried, the punishment was longer. He hated her. She whined like a cat in heat, her sharp voice stabbing him between the eyes whenever he did something wrong. That tunnel looked too much like that closet of so many years ago. He could almost hear his mother screaming at him.

Without Thought Balloons
Cold sweat trickled down David's chest. His hands pressed against the moist face of the surrounding rock as if that alone could keep it from closing in on him. The tunnel beckoned and there was no turning back. The she-wolf was on his trail.

A shriek echoed behind him and David froze. In the silence, a stream of urine tinkled off his boot like little raindrops. All at once he was six years old again.

Not only is the example without introspection shorter, but it also tells you more of the story. I don't have to tell you he had issues with his mother. It was enough to know he was scared enough to wet himself, and for one brief moment he felt like a child, with all the vulnerability that comes with childhood. I also told you something about the conflict. A she-wolf was chasing him.

Introspection done selectively and occasionally is a wonderful thing, but if you give your mc thought balloons every time he has to figure something out, you're robbing your scene of great emotion and tension.

At home: I've had serious problems with carpal tunnel lately. I am limiting my computer time for a few days. I think I need a new desk. The one I have is very nice but it's never been a comfortable height and I can't raise my chair without putting the rest of my body out of alignment. It's hell to be short.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Markets

Roadjunky Gonzo Travel Writing Contest
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: June 30, 2007.
Length: Submissions must be between 1,000-1,500 words long.
First prize – $100 plus a copy of the Roadjunky Survival Handbook
Second prize – $50 plus a copy of Hand to Mouth to India
Third prize – $30 plus Hand to Mouth to India


Humor Writing Contest
Entry Fee: None
Deadline: May 10, 2007.
4 CATEGORIES - Gags and Anecdotes - Stories & Essays (500 word max.) - Humorous Poems (16 lines max.) - Cartoons (SINGLE PANEL). Limit entries to three items in any category.$100 Award to Best Overall - $25 for best in each of other categories.


The 13th CHIAROSCURO Short Story Contest
Open June 1st (12:00 a.m.) To June 30th (11:59 p.m.) [EST]
GUIDELINES: Dark. Well-written. 4,000 words or less. Rich Text Format or Microsoft Word attachment. No reprints. No simultaneous submissions. No multiple submissions.


FATE
Pays on publication.
Seeks nonfiction, columns/departments, fillers, photos/artwork.
Subjects: Strange and unknown phenomena, psychic, recent fortean, life after death, healing, ghosts.


Feedback Magazine's "So You Think You Can Write?" Essay Contest
Deadline: May 15, 2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Open to: All over 18.
Length: 1000-1500 word magazine articles.
Prize: $250, $150 $75

Monday, May 7, 2007

Cautionary Tale

I hate to start the week on a depressing note, but I was moved by a blog I read recently. A couple of weeks ago, there was a multi car pile up on the interstate when a tractor-trailer jackknifed killing several people. I remember seeing it on the news. It was very sad. An elderly husband and wife were at the front of the accident, their jeep crush beyond recognition. They were on their way to see their children and their new grandbaby. I remember thinking how sad that was. So many people dead in one horrific accident.

Then over the weekend, I fell upon a writer's blog retelling the same story. Only it was personal for him. Those elderly people were his parents. They were coming up to see him and his wife and that brand new baby. My heart sank for him.

You see news stories like this all the time, but when you meet those affected it becomes very personal and the world becomes very small. I don't know this blogger. He writes for a magazine and he was one of many that another blogger I followed had listed.

When I read his story, it became personal. I knew him. I knew his story. And I grieved for him. I've lost family too. Even when you expect it, it hits you hard. Suddenly, we were no longer strangers, but kindred spirits who understood tragedy firsthand.

While the internet brings many people together, it also separates us in unique ways. When I switched over to a new server and had to send a change of address to a long list of friends, it occurred to me how delicate a thread we're linked by. Most of those people on my email list follow this blog or know me through our writing connections, but nearly all of my connections are entirely internet based.

Save for a few, I've never met any of these people. Yet, some I consider very close friends. How odd is that? How can you be close friends with someone you've never physically met? And yet I can list a whole handful of exactly those kinds of friends.

If we disappear, for whatever the reason, you leave behind people that care for you and worry about you. I've sent more than a couple of people into a panic when they couldn't reach me through email for over a week. Turns out my provider was blocking their emails. But they didn't know that. Neither did I.

They thought I was drunk or dead in a torpid back alley. --Note: I never have cool stuff like that happen to me. Usually, I just fall down the stairs then my dogs lick me back to consciousness.

For what it's worth, remember to stay in touch through your blog or even a quick email.

People worry about you. More than you know.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

How to remodel a kitchen fast

I'll never forget how Greg managed to get a dozen inexperienced city slickers and turned them into a super powered remodeling crew.

Several years ago my mother was bemoaning the state of her kitchen. She hated it, as well she should have. It was antiquated, falling apart and inefficient. Greg sympathized but what could he do? We lived 1200 miles away. The rest of my siblings and their spouses had no skills in remodeling and it looked like mom would have to hire someone to save her kitchen. If you've ever had a kitchen professionally remodeled, you know it ain't cheap.

Then Greg came up with the idea where all my siblings and their respective spouses could come together one weekend and we'd do an all out blow out in redoing the kitchen from plaster to plumbing. Greg would do the tricky stuff and the rest would do the grunt work. I got to be second in command. We've remodeled so many houses over the years I can do it in with my eyes closed. He figured between the two of us we could guide the rest of the crew in what needed to be done.

The first order of business was to get everyone to commit to one weekend to work nonstop. The second was to get us (Greg and me) up to Chicago. We loaded up our van with the dogs and all the tools we'd need for the job.

I should mention that Greg comes from a family of craftsmen. The men on his father's side of the family were all in the trades, from plumber to electrician to master plasterer, you name it. Not a slouch in the bunch. Greg has a natural aptitude for working with his hands and there's isn't a job he can't do on his own.

Anyway, we industrialized twelve people to do work they've never done before in their lives. We gutted the kitchen to its lathe bones. Greg had people painting, measuring, screwing paneling down and hauling trash, any and all grunt work that didn't require any talent.

The night before the work began, he sat down with mom to make sure she was happy with the plans. (I drew her some sketches.)

In less than 48 hours we turned a dingy, useless kitchen into a showplace. The men did all the heavy lifting, dragging out appliances and tearing the kitchen down to its skivvies. The women cleaned, painted, or refurbished the appliances until they were like new.

Greg rewired the kitchen from scratch and installed new fixtures then plumbed in a new sink and faucet. The fun part was when we did the floor. Mom wanted linoleum, so all of us got together and wrestled this big roll of linoleum to the floor. Who knew any of us could work together without killing each other?

I know Greg and I have done bigger jobs but this one had to be the most satisfying job, probably because we did it as a family. To this day, mom still calls Greg her favorite son-in-law. Heh…do I know how to pick 'em, or what.

Today: Hit a few garage sales this morning and I came across a mongo book reader who was selling some of her stash. I chatted with her for a bit and I asked her what authors she liked and why. I loved her answers. She said she liked reading authors who weren't full of themselves. She just wanted a good story. (hmm…where have I heard that before?)

What I liked best is that this was the unvarnished reaction of a typical READER, and not a writer/reader. I've found the opinions of each group can vary considerably, but this lady's opinion carried more weight because she was a true consumer. She is the writer's real market.

Her favorite genre was mystery but she also liked romance because she could read them fast. Both provide escapes and she doesn't have to think any further than the time it takes to read the book.
--interesting. There is continuing evidence that the majority of the reading population do like shorter, cleaner reads. No ten dollar words, no long meandering set up. Just the story, ma'am.

I picked up several short story collections from her as well as Neil Gaiman and Laurell K. Hamilton books.

Garage sale winners: Among my other finds, today also netted me a nearly new camera tripod for 3 bucks, tire chains for Greg's ATV, and a silver ladle for a dime. I've been looking for a gravy ladle and the price was right. But I took a closer look at it when I got home and realized it was an antique. I looked up the hallmark on the internet and it turns out it's a very fine $40 ladle. ---a good shopping day.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Warm welcome

I came back to a hero's welcome yesterday. All my employees had this huge spread of food and welcomed me back with open arms.

Our computers are set up to delete emails after 21 days, so my email backlog wasn't too bad. Only 570-odd emails in my box. Most were time sensitive and hopefully handled by someone else, so I deleted those. The rest (a mere 150) I'll have to read a bit more carefully.

I am on half days for a couple of weeks, until my stamina returns. But there is so much work waiting for me, it's killing me to leave at midday. I know I have to or I'll never recuperate fully. I just don't like seeing things half finished.

Nonfiction: I'd been lurking over at Absolute Write for a while and decided to join the group. There are a lot of practical and business-minded writers over there and I've learned a lot just by listening.

They have a query challenge going on for nonfiction. I am rotten at these challenges unless there's a pointy stick at my back, but I need to keep my momentum going. It's part of my evil plan for world domination. Uh, no--wait, wrong plan. It's part of my business plan for getting more clips and increasing my network. I have some big goals for years 4 and 5, so I need to get my butt in gear. My evil plan for world domination will have to wait until I get my writing career established.

Fiction: Daw's blog had an interesting thread on how we plot our stories. I wish I had some dark secret for plotting. My methods are so simple they're embarrassing. I usually take some quirk from my mc and twist it until it bleeds out something intriguing. It also has to be a story I can love too. There's nothing more boring than forcing yourself to write a story you don't like. And I'd be more petulant than usual if I got bored with my own story.

I liken my method to a rash. It starts with one little itch and then I douse it with alcohol and light a flame.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Career Coaching Group

I've mentioned before that I belong to a career coaching group. Basically we are a group of writers who share information, motivate and support each other as we find our way in the publishing world.

Now that the core group is stable and the forum is running smoothly we are looking into expanding our circle. Our CC goddess in residence proposed that we invite individuals on a one to one basis. There are lots of people I'd like to invite. And that's my problem. I can't decide who to ask first.

So if I know you, and you're interested, let me know and I will fill you in on the specifics of CC. Like any networking opportunity, you are expected to contribute your knowledge and/or expertise to the group.

We are still a pretty young group but we are proactive and serious about publication. I should also mention that the core group has an abundance of romance and mystery writers, but I think we also have some fantasy people and maybe some YA.

If I do invite you, it will not mean you will be in my group. You may be placed elsewhere, after the moderator has considered your bio. But we can all meet in the common room of the forum too, so it's not like we'll never "see" each other.

By the way, this is not a critiquing circle, though you may negotiate that on the side with one of your team if you want. Career Coach deals specifically with networking and encouraging one another. If you're interested, email me privately.

Da salt mine: Today will be my first day back to work. I am dreading the mountain of email waiting for me. eek!