A Quick Update on my Writing Progress

It’s been a while so I thought I would give a quick update on my writing progress.

The Great Challenge

The Great Challenge is still going strong. Yesterday I sent in my twenty-third short story in as many weeks, giving me 29 short stories for the year. It was a humorous horror short story called “Monstrous Obsession.”

More critically, last week I managed to write a short story I’ve wanted to write for the last few years, which is a story honoring my father, though done in science fiction and heavily fictionalized. It is called “Yom Kippur and the Misdirection of Time.” I don’t see a market for it and I’ll probably keep it close to me for a while since it is emotionally precious.

I’m getting a better class of personalized rejections and received an Honorable Mention from Writers of the Future. Clearly, I’m improving.

Novel Writing

Novel writing continues to be slow. I add something every now and again but my focus has been short stories. November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I intend to dive deep into novel-writing. All of my short stories for November will deal with some aspect of the novel so that I can get double-duty from them. I will be organizing NaNoWriMo events in Germantown/Collierville area again this year along with Jenny. Check the schedule if you want to join us.

Micronomicon and Other Gaming Projects

We turned in the Thule microsetting and I finished the Thule story edits with the help of the wonderful editor, Mia Kleve. I am now formatting Lightning Scarred to send to contributors and following that will put it up for sale. The image you see attached to this post is the art I commissioned as a cover illustration. I love it! Much thanks to Anthony Cournoyer for it. To see more of his splendid art, go to his DeviantArt page where he posts under the name SC4V3NG3R.


So much learning going on! Dean Wesley Smith’s Lifetime Workshop membership is absolutely worth the cost. Each time I’ve had a problem I needed clarity on I’ve gone to the workshops to study up. It has improved my writing measurably.

Similarly, the Patreon Livestream Class level with Mary Robinette Kowal. Her classes are gold and she teaches with a level of analysis and subtlety that I appreciate more as time goes by.

Dean and Mary Robinette are very different instructors. What I’ve found is that Dean’s messages hit me more easily and are comforting. I write with more joy after his classes and this is invaluable for me since I tend to dissolve into anxiety.

Mary Robinette’s classes have more subtlety but I get anxious during and after them thinking about all that I do poorly. So it takes a bit of time for her messages to settle in. Note that this is my idiosyncratic response. She is an excellent instructor who I recommend and Dean’s knowledge of publishing is encyclopedic. You cannot go wrong with either. Having access to both Dean and Mary Robinette is seriously amazing! We live in a golden age for writing classes.


Lately I’ve been following Seth Godin’s podcast Akimbo, which is nominally about marketing but is really about how to approach life as a creative person. He also has a daily newsletter that comes to me in email. It’s super short and usually just has a few sentences that I find inspiring. Some mornings it really gets me going and gives me courage to create. You can find his daily blog and his podcast at his website.

Short stories completed in 2019

  • “Made of the Future” (Science Fiction) 4,217 words
  • “The Cat Ate My Naked Shorts” (Space Opera) 3572 words
  • “Dangerous Goods Done Dirt Cheap” (Mystery) 4695 words
  • “Djinn Fizz” (Urban Fantasy) 3702 words
  • “Crocodile Favors” (Historical)  4,946 words
  • “Secret Memoir From the Pirate Portal” (Fantasy) 4984 words
  • “Cloning Sensation” (Science Fiction) 6,000 words
  • “Lost and Found”  (Mystery) 5,500 words
  • “Every Lavender Dog Has His Day” (Space Opera)  4,500 words
  • “Emissaries From Artemis” (Historical Fantasy) 4,100 words
  • “The Snake that Bridged the Heart” (Slipstream) 4,200 words
  • “Frozen Solstice” (Time Travel) 5,257 words
  • “I am Libitina” (Historical Adventure) 3,652 words
  • Lightning Scarred (Fantasy) 3,577 words
  • Backpack of Trouble (Mystery) 4,853 words
  • Living Gold (Mystery) 3,264 words
  • Swamp Kisses (Urban Fantasy)  4,521 words
  • Broken Vessel (Historical Fantasy) 3,577 words
  • Tales from the Argosy: The Case of the Missing Wind (Historical Fantasy) 4,209 words
  • The Dead Can’t Feel This Pose (Urban Fantasy) 2,636 words
  • Listening to Still Water (High Fantasy) 3,770 words
  • Lightning and Shadow (Viking Fantasy) 4,721 words
  • Tales from the Argosy: The Gift of Philosophy (Fantasy) 3,228 words
  • Potemkin Planet (Space Opera) 4,406 words
  • The Naked Breadcrumb Blues (Space Opera) 5,600 words
  • Mochidisk Mashugana (Space Opera) 4,234 words
  • Morte Couture (Space Opera) 5,119 words
  • Yom Kippur and the Misdirection of Time (Space Opera)  3,424 words
  • Monstrous Obsession (Urban Fantasy) 4,247 words

Submission Game Score: 8

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