February Whooshes By

I can hardly believe that February is over! It’s been packed extra full of wonderfulness starting with a visit with family in Denver and followed by attendance at the Superstars Writing Conference in Colorado Springs. The photo above was taken at Garden of the Gods when Kevin J. Anderson took us on a tour of that beautiful park.

The conference focuses on the business of writing but that’s only part of what makes it wonderful. The sense of tribal passion is strong. I made great friends a learned from luminaries in the writing and publishing sphere. It was one of the best weeks of my life.

One of the many things I learned was that Indie Publishing is different than Traditional Publishing. There are some books that will work better Indie published and some that will do better traditionally published. Further, the traditionally published books can operate as advertising for the more profitable Indie-published books. Here are the three types of books that do not do well Indie-published:

  • Middle-Grade Fiction
  • Children’s Books
  • Literary Fiction

Here are the books that currently do better in the Indie world:

  • Romance
  • Military Science Fiction
  • Erotica
  • Various types of Science Fiction/Fantasy

I spoke with Eric Flint about my book projects and he recommended traditional publishing for the historical novel and small press or Indie for any science fiction or fantasy I do. Largely his reasons for this are the length of time it takes to get acceptance and publication in the traditional market.

One big issue with Indie is that you have to have a substantial backlog of books before your books will start to sell. The recommendation by the panelists was that Indie authors need to publish four to five books a year and continue to publishing at that rate to keep their names and their books in front of readers. That’s daunting but also very good to know. I’m in the process of creating my business plan and I will allocate some work for traditional publication, some attention to creating a backlog of Indie books, probably time travel books.

Eric Flint read the first three chapters of my novel and was quite encouraging. He called out a few problems that I will fix, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly bad. Also Superstars had a First Pages party. An actor read the first 16 lines of my novel and I received a lot of encouragement from the editors there.

I also listened to other first pages. One of my new friends has finished a novel that’s right up my alley and when I heard the first page read at the First Pages Party, I knew I wanted more. So I asked to beta read. I won’t give away too much, but I will tell you that it is like Death Stalker meets the Crestomanci series and I love it.

I returned home to a houseguest. A fellow writer is staying with me and every day is like a writer’s conference with talk of writing and fun. This person will be with me until almost the end of March. I suspect that I will have a hard time re-adjusting to living as an almost solitary writer again.


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February Short Story Challenges

I finished a short story just before the conference began called “Form is Emptiness; Emptiness, Form” which is a science fiction story with a Zen flavor.

Submissions: I submitted Dangerous Good Done Dirt Cheap to Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine after Ellery Queen rejected it. I’ve submitted Djinn Fizz to the Writers of the Future contest.

Short stories completed in 2019

  • “Made of the Future”  First draft 4,217 words
  • “The Cat Ate My Naked Shorts” First draft 3572 words
  • “Dangerous Goods Done Dirt Cheap” Final Submitted  4695 words
  • “Djinn Fizz” Final Submitted 3702 words
  • “Form is Emptiness; Emptiness, Form” First draft  3848 words

Favorite Short Reads

“All Yours” by Melissa Koons from Undercurrents. Is a chilling horror story set in an imagined sea where the mermaids are deadly. I couldn’t sleep after reading it.

“In the Garden of the Coral King” is another story from Undercurrents I enjoyed. This is a light fable for our time that asks what choices matter for our time and for the time of our descendants.


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Time for Gratitude!

Every week I experience things that make me better and that I’m grateful for. Some are books, podcasts, websites, or videos. Some are simple experiences. I share them here.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch on Priorities: Rusch has written a new book on Writing with Chronic Illness and she will be excerpting the first three chapters on her blog. Her first chapter is on Priorities and it is a very  helpful guide to anyone who can’t rely on vibrant health or anyone who needs to plan around weakness or depression.

Mary Robinette Kowal Patreon Class on Endings: Mary Robinette Kowal does classes for patrons at a certain level of patronage. And she will sometimes respond to requests. I asked if she would explain endings and she did an entire class on it that was just incredible. I feel armed with new ideas for how to make my endings evocative. I am so beyond grateful to her for her generosity in sharing this.


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