Ooh, Yay!

Yesterday, the mail came with my contributor copy of Beyond Centauri, the magazine that published my short story “Misunderstood.” Very snazzy! (Issue 30 if, you know, you want to get your own. I’m telling you: snazzy. Snazz factor is high.) They also sent me a check! It is, as checks for writing stories for tiny magazines are wont to be, adorable and tiny, rather like a kitten.

At Long Last!

After some delays, Sideshow Fables has put out its second issue, the one that includes my story, “What Broke the Line”! They sent me my copy, and it is oh so shiny and magaziney. Aaaand, YOU can get a copy of your very own from their store! All the cool kids* are doing it.

* who like circus-themed fiction

Storyage; also, Technology Edits For You!

The first issue of Othergate is up now, including my short story, “Chasing Cars.”

I’ve heard some good suggestions for overused and/or weak words and phrases for which you might use the Search feature when you’re editing. This article mentions a few; although they don’t specifically say it, you can use Search on #2 as well by looking for “It” and checking the “case sensitive” box.

I’ve also heard of using a Wordle to look for repetition. I suspect this is not all that helpful, as it will probably bring up mostly words you can’t avoid repeating a lot, such as characters’ names. Its true appeal may be more in the inherent neatness of Wordles, which seem to be everywhere lately. I’ve never made one, but I do stare at them, much the way I stare at pretty fish in aquariums.



*Wordles Rabbit and Cougar*

Okay, what I said about this not being helpful? Do not listen to foolish, five-minutes-ago Nic. This is the coolest thing ever. I’m not going to post it because, impossible as it might seem, it actually contains at least one spoiler, but I am impressed. Naturally, the biggest things are the major characters’ names (and I’m happy to see that “Rabbit” and “Cougar” are about the same size), and the smaller words include such things as “Rabbit’s” and “Cougar’s,” as well as the names of almost every other named character. They also include a lot of prepositions like “around” and “toward.” (Thankfully, unless you tell it to do otherwise, Wordle takes out “common English words,” so no “the” or “a.”) It’s fascinating to look at some of the other words and think of the phrases I use that would put them into the Wordle. “Bit,” for example, is in there, probably due to my addiction to love affair with appreciation for the phrase “a bit.” There’s also “moment,” courtesy of my desire to show time without using minutes or seconds. Then words that pertain to the setting, like “trees” and “dragon.” And, unexpectedly, “name,” which pleases me greatly because it’s a small thing that’s very important to the story.

Because My Friends Keep Having Magazines

My short story “Chasing Cars” has been accepted to Othergate Journal, a literary journal for genre fiction developed by a group of students at the University of Mary Washington. Woo!

Like a couple of other journals that are publishing my work, I learned about Othergate through people I met at the Advanced Studies in England writing program I did in summer of 2007. Programs like this can be pricey, but they’re excellent for making writerly friends. And ASE was oodles of fun.

Ah, writers socializing. This makes me impatient for the James River Writers conference, which, sadly, is not for mooooonths.

Oh well. Coming soon: entries about actually writing!


One of my earlier entries on this blog, The Fluffy Factor, has been accepted to Quail Bell Magazine! Woo!

Also, since a couple of the bloggers I follow have made interesting reexaminations of the cover whitewashing issue, I thought I’d share a good comprehensive one. Also, a nice piece of, “Think again, suckers” for anyone who says that covers featuring people of color don’t sell: the explosive success of the recent “Black Issue” of Italian Vogue.

Good News!

I’m getting another short story published! My story Misunderstood will appear in the October 2010 issue of Beyond Centauri, a magazine for younger readers. It’s a small magazine, but I thought it seemed like a good fit for the story, and I’m quite pleased. (Beyond Centauri is a paying market, if kind of a nominal one.)

The story is soft sci-fi, written from a prompt in my Advanced Fiction class at W&M. It’s about a teenaged girl whose large-scale habitation ship gets humankind’s first message from aliens, then has to try to figure out what it means.

So, huzzah!

Most Unusual

I have published an article! As in, nonfiction! It was accepted awhile ago, but I hadn’t said anything because I didn’t want to jinx it.

The whole thing came about when, sometime in April, I got an e-mail from a family friend who works for V Magazine for Women, a Richmond-based free magazine. One of her colleagues had intended to write an article on Centra Health, an organization that owns or affiliates with a number of hospitals and medical practices in Virginia. She wasn’t going to have time, though, and asked my friend whether she knew anyone based in Farmville (where our local hospital recently became affiliated with Centra) could do it.

I was happy to give it a shot just for the experience and publication credit, so it was just a happy little (or, for me, not so little) bonus to find out that “free magazine” doesn’t mean “doesn’t pay.” In fact, they offered me fifteen cents a word, which is between three and, um, fifteen times as much as most paying fiction markets I’ve seen. So that’s nice.

The cool thing was how much I enjoyed researching the article. I took a tour of the hospital – the place where my brother was born, where my third-grade broken foot was treated, and where I’ve taken CPR and “safe babysitter” classes – and talked with staff. I also got to interview Dr. Mary Donovan, a family friend (and my mom’s doctor, and the mom of one of my best friends), who recently sold her medical practice to the hospital and is thus Centra-affiliated, too. It was neat to see all the advantages people were getting from it – which is good, because my article read, as I think they wanted it to, rather like an advertisement for Centra from the perspective of someone familiar with the Farmville area.

I suppose this makes me officially a freelance writer. Not an experienced one or anything, but publishing a piece of nonfiction with an actual paying market is pretty big for me.

Anyway, my article is out now, in the June issue of V Magazine. It’s available in Richmond – I know the health food store Ellwood Thompson carries it, and probably lots of other places. Several places in Farmville do, too, including the library and sometimes The Bakery.

In mostly unrelated news, I spent a few days this past week being paid to write – calligraphy. I was addressing wedding invitations with an italics pen. It was absurdly fun. And now I can do swishy little Ys and 2s. Lots of swishy letters, actually, but 2s, lowercase Ys, and capital Zs were the most fun. I’d like to thank Anne Donovan for marrying someone who has so much family in Arizona.

The other thing I’m doing that’s loosely writing-related is working with one of Hampden-Sydney College’s rhetoric professors on a children’s book he wants to write. I say this is “loosely writing-related” not with any disrespect for children’s literature, which I value highly, but because my role here is actually illustration. He wants, basically, a dummy book (like storyboards), using his script, to send publishers. I spent much of today doing character sketches for that. Like the calligraphy, it was excellent fun.

Clearly the take-home message of this is that I don’t need a real job. 😛

Lovely News!

The new magazine Sideshow Fables has just accepted my short story “What Broke the Line.” Huzzah!

I wrote the story, which is about the events that befall an equestrian circus as it travels between towns, a couple of years ago on a random whim. I researched the history of equestrian shows before writing the story. It’s neither fantasy nor silly humor – slightly dark, even, very unusual for me. I liked it a lot but was unsure what to do with it, so I put it away for awhile.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided I would use my new wealth of searching ability (i.e. Duotrope) to find a place to pitch “What Broke the Line.” I edited it up, started looking for markets – and found Sideshow Fables, a brand-new publication specifically for circus-themed fiction. That seemed serendipitous. I sent them the story, and today got a very complimentary e-mail from the editor saying he loved it and wants to publish it. They’re still collecting for Issue #1, which they hope to have out by summer, but thought my story would fit better with Issue #2, which should come out in fall. It will be in print and, I believe, online as well, and is expected in September or October. I’ll post again when I know more details.