I’m delighted to announce that my time-travel flash story “1116 Santiago Drive” is now up at Kazka Press. This one was originally written during a Liberty Hall challenge and got great comments from the people there. I knew that the ending needed to be fixed and forgot about it until Michael Haynes posted about the “Sleeping Through Time” theme for June. So glad this story found a great home!
In other news, I’ve gone back to editing my novel and it is HARD. It’s taking me much longer to edit/rewrite than to write the first draft. I think that I’m making some really good changes and the novel is much stronger for it, but I need to figure out some way to make the editing go easier for the next novel I write. Perhaps I need to outline better so I’m making less decisions as I go, or perhaps it will just get easier with practice (I really hope so). If anyone has any ideas, let me know! I’m aiming to finish the first set of revisions and send it off to some readers for feedback (two of my younger siblings who are in my target audience, plus my husband and some writerly friends) by the end of July.
At the end of April, husband and I took an anniversary trip to Iceland and France. Iceland was amazing: stark landscapes, friendly people, and strange food (my favorite was the smoked puffin). It was also great to get back to France; I studied abroad there in college (was a French minor) and it was fun to re-immerse myself in the culture and language, as well as introduce husband to it for the first time. I’ll leave you with a few pictures from our trip:
Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland. Very cold!
Notre Dame de Paris
Obligatory Eiffel Tower shot
My story “Mrs. Underhill’s Introduction to Dribblyfordshire” is up at Every Day Fiction. It’s my first published piece of flash fiction, described as “Jane Austen meets Cthulhu” by one of the editors. I must have somehow missed the notification email that it was going up–didn’t realize it was online until a few days ago. Go and have a look, it’s a fun one!
Otherwise, I’ve been fairly shut in by the dreary Mid-Atlantic winter weather, which has taken some re-adjustment (missing both California and Georgia strongly around this time). I’ve been mainly working on getting some short stories into circulation and plodding along on the novel edits. My in-person writing group was indifferent to my first chapter and liked the second one, which surprised me, as I thought it would be the other way around. Glad to have them to bounce ideas around, and see what works.
I’ll leave you with a line from a Victorian Jokes website I came across. I reminds me of something my dad would say: “Who is the greatest chicken-killer in Shakespeare? Macbeth, because he did murder most foul.”
As 2012 draws to a close, I thought I’d reflect on the year and share goals for the next year. First, an update: I completed the first draft of my YA novel (well, it’s more middle grade at this point) at 60,500 words near the start of December. Some unexpected events (family visiting and a whirlwind trip to Minnesota to see my husband’s not-well grandfather) delayed the completion of the novel, so I wasn’t able to clean up the first few chapters and write the synopsis in time for the Codex novel contest. Ah well, there’s always next year (a post-apocalyptic YA novel is already simmering in my head). As I’ve begun to clean up the first couple chapters for my writing group, I’m amazed by how much I’ve forgotten about the beginning. It’s quite a feat to keep so much story in the head at one time! Perhaps the solution would be to write the next one faster, so I still remember the beginning at the end. Anyhow, it’s been quite fun and a great learning experience!
One of my goals this year was to make 50 short story submissions, and I ended up making 37. Of those submissions, five are still in progress, and I sold four stories, all to token and semi-pro markets. This year since I’m now writing full-time and have a larger arsenal of stories in circulation, I’m going to raise my goal to 60 short story submissions and concentrate more on professional markets rather than semi-pro. In 2012 I had aimed for just making paying sales, but for next year I’m going to aim for professional sales and eventually qualifying for membership in SFWA.
Another goal was to write and finish a novel, which was completed. In 2013, I’m going to write at least one more novel and edit the first one until I’m satisfied. Since I started keeping records in August, I wrote 103,600 words, more than half of which was my novel. Next year, I’ll aim for at least 200,000.
I’ll also aim to read more literature rather than CNN.com, which tends to suck me in (have you seen that new video with the panda bear and the ball?).
That’s all for now. Wishing you a happy and prosperous start to 2013!
My story “Citizen Astronauts” has just gone up at Stupefying Stories, issue 2.1, guest-edited by M. David Blake. This story was the one that gained the Honorable Mention at the Writers of the Future contest, and I’m so glad that it found a home. I wrote it back while I was working in midtown Atlanta, wondering if there was any way that the heat during the summer could get any worse. The homepage at Stupefying Stories has links at which to purchase the issue. I’ve read all but a couple of the stories, and they’re fantastic. Check it out!
My first novel is currently at around 45,000 words so I should be finished the first draft within a couple weeks (crossing fingers). I had hoped to have it done by my writers group next weekend, but the Thanksgiving holiday brought visiting family and I didn’t quite have the spare time. Still hoping to have it ready to enter the Codex novel contest.
I’ll leave you today with a few pictures from my recent trip to the Florida Keys.
Seven-Mile Bridge near Marathon Key
Spotted the rare and tiny Key Deer. They were so cute until they tried to take our leftover pizza.
The pelicans were friendly.
Lizards run rampant at the Key West cemetery. I smell a story in there somewhere.
This is a little belated, but the October issue of Bards and Sages Quarterly with my story “The Farmers” is now published. Hurray! They’ve also just started their 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards. Normally I’m not a big contest person, but the 2009 winner was Eugie Foster, an Atlanta-based author who I met briefly at Dragon*Con (she had also taken the writer’s workshop with A.C. Crispin several years before me). I’ve read several of her short stories and she is an amazing writer, so (and I shouldn’t really admit this) I’m having daydreams about following in her footsteps.
In other news, I’ve begun the YA fantasy novel that I’ve been plotting for a year and a half and am currently at 15,000 words. I’m writing this novel mainly to get a feel for the process, it’s hard in a different way from writing short stories. My writing goals are 2,000 words/day every weekday (if it works for Stephen King…), and finishing the first draft by Dec 1st (the date of the next in-person writing group meeting I can attend). If it’s turned out well enough, I’ll also enter it into the Codex Novel Contest, whose deadline is Dec 10th. I’m not expecting this novel to be a brilliant work of art, but it would be nice if it came out well and I could perhaps sell it. We’ll see.
Husband and I are also planning a trip in November to Key West, so hopefully I’ll have some interesting stories/pictures for you then. Until next time!
I’m delighted to announce that Bards and Sages Quarterly will be publishing my story “The Farmers” in their October 2012 issue. Hurray! It’s a fun story about the perils of being on a farm. And fairies.
In other news, my husband and I have finally settled (hopefully for good this time?) in Bethesda, Maryland, to be closer to my family. We are loving it so far. Rumor has it that Bethesda has the highest density of restaurants in the country, which I can believe. We’ve got a lot of eating to do!
The relocation has also meant that I was able to quit my long-time job at a medical translation company and focus on writing and editing full-time. I feel very lucky to have this opportunity and will endeavor to make the most of it. I’ve already joined three writing groups: one monthly in-person with some lovely ladies (one of whom I met at Boot Camp), as well as Codex Writers and Liberty Hall Writers. Lots of work ahead of me…
Until next time!
It has been awhile since I’ve last posted, mostly because I’ve been in the process of moving from Atlanta to Bethesda, Maryland. Now that I’m semi-settled in my new apartment (minus all of the furniture, which should be coming later today), I’ll take a few minutes to update.
First, Orson Scott Card’s Literary Bootcamp. It was one of the most amazing and tiring weeks of my life. Most days, I would be working from 8am to 11pm, catch just a few winks of sleep (I was too excited to sleep well), and then go back into the whirlwind. Scott was a wonderful teacher and seems to be a genuinely kind human being. The full day of writing was actually the easiest day for me; my story turned out fairly well at around 3,000 words. Scott told me that it was “almost publishable” but then went on with a list of about 10 things that I’d need to fix in order to have it published. That’s first on my list of things to do once all of our furniture is in! I also met some really great new writers in the Washington D.C. area and can’t wait to get together with them again.
Second, I just received an Honorable Mention for the second quarter of the Writers of the Future contest. Considering that I waited almost six months to get a rejection for the first quarter, this came as a timely, pleasant surprise. Here’s hoping for a finalist next time!
Until next time.
My story “A Beer and Tentacles” (it has tentacles! and beer!) is now live at the Lovecraft eZine. It’s in the special women-only issue, and the illustrations by Robert Elrod are awesome, as is the audio version read by Tam Frager. Looking forward to reading the rest of the stories. Go check it out!
My best, Holliann
It sounds like a nice city (I expect it to be very green, no?), but it also has Orson Scott Card, the writer on which I wrote my master’s dissertation at Trinity. And I was just accepted to his literary boot camp. Squee! An entire week of intensive writing and workshopping coming up. It will be an honor to be learning from a writer whose work I admire so much, and I’m really hoping to push my own work up a level.
I’m beginning this website as I have just received two acceptances in one week: “A Beer and Tentacles” to the wonderful Lovecraft eZine, and “Love and Lettuce Leaves” to YA print magazine Beyond Centauri. I’ve been writing for many years (I completed my first novella in 4th or 5th grade, I think that it had something to do with angels), and it’s really amazing to have my fiction published for the first time. I hope to keep this website updated with current news, thoughts, and other tidbits for all who are interested.
In other news, my husband and I just got back from our first anniversary trip to Costa Rica, where we saw many sloths, monkeys, reptiles, tree frogs, and even a couple toucans. I leave you with my crowning achievement of the trip: spotting a baby sloth all on my own. It was smiling and blinking at me. Can I keep it?