Opening the Book on June


The Great Challenge!

I’m deep into Dean Wesley Smith’s Great Challenge and I’m having a great time. So far, I’ve written and sent in to him three short stories.

I’ve also submitted two stories to paying markets. That means that I currently have six short stories in the submission pipeline. If all goes well in June, I will add four more stories to that pipeline. 

Dean says that this is a game of persistence and numbers and that authors are the worst judges of their own stories. So I’m gulping hard and trying to ensure that I send out a short story each week.

I reread “Form is Emptiness; Emptiness Form” and realized that I want to continue it as a novel. Dean’s workshop on Writing Into the Dark gave me a sense of how I can do that. So along with my classes and The Great Challenge, I’m going to approach novel-writing again. 

I know some of you will ask, but what about Rueben and Tzipporah’s story? Have they been abandoned? The answer is no, they haven’t. But I need to learn the skills I lack to be able to give their stories the attention they deserve.

In addition to fiction, Steve and I sent out several queries to write game supplements. We’ve progressed to the next stage in one of the queries. If it comes through there will be a lot to do, but it’s all fun stuff.

I’m living the dream here. Reading and writing fiction and playing and writing games is my life. I’m always busy and nearly always happy.

New stories written this month are:

Cloning Sensation  (6,000 words) — This is a science fiction story that has a light sensibility, focusing as it is on experiencing the perfect french fry.  I will be sending this out soon.

Lost and Found (5,500 words) — This is a mystery about an ultra-runner who cleaned out her closet and left her girlfriend without a clue as to where she went.

Every Lavender Dog Has His Day (4,500 words) — This is my favorite of the challenge so far. It is science fiction space opera. A woman and her dog try to rescue people on a space colony after a natural disaster. But how can they know that they’ve found everyone? It’s great! It has hover diners, a cute dog, and a happy ending. I sent it to Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine. They might not want it, but at least I know I’ve tried to find the best home I can for my favorite lavender dog.


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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
  • “Crocodile Favors” Final submitted  4,946 words
  • “Secret Memoir From the Pirate Portal” Final submitted 4984 words
  • “Cloning Sensation” First draft 6,000 words
  • “Lost and Found” First draft 5,500 words
  • “Every Lavender Dog Has His Day” Final submitted 4,500 words

Writing and Learning

I’m finishing up Dean Wesley Smith’s Writing Into the Dark and much to my surprise, it has helped me quite a bit. I have a lot more confidence in my ability to to this and my writers block seems to be much reduced. After this I’m taking a class in how to write Time Travel stories. I can’t wait!

small gratitude clock

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.

Business Musings: Good Goals by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Kris Rusch talks about establishing good goals and how to block time to make life easier. As is the case with most of her Business Musings, the content is excellent!

I ran across this reprint of Ian Fleming talking about how to write thrillers and it really spoke to me so I recommend it to you.

Best short story I’ve read this month is hands-down “Schroedinger’s Bar: by Kim May. It appeared in Fiction River Presents: Among the Stars, edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. It is a light bit of space opera fluff with a happy ending. Just read it. You won’t regret it.

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