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January 2018 writing update

January was busy but quiet. No publications this month, no events. I spent most of my writing time working on the novel-in-progress, and submitted three stories, two original and one reprint, to various magazine or anthology projects. I received one rejection: a reprint poem submitted to a speculative fiction magazine.

Most of my January reading focused on research for the historical fantasy novel. Two notable exceptions were Thunderbird, the fourth book in Chuck Wendig’s Miriam Black series, and The Fire in Fiction, an excellent book on the writer’s craft by literary agent Donald Maass.

The oft-delayed anthology Hath No Fury has been delayed again, this time to May 1. The new publisher is committed to publishing the book, so I’m pretty confident that it will be out this year.

 

Boskone schedule!

Here’s my schedule for Boskone, which takes place in Boston February 16-18.  I will be there Saturday and Sunday.


Autographing: Elizabeth Bear, Elaine Cunningham, Timothy Liebe, Jane Yolen

17 Feb 2018, Saturday 12:00 – 13:00, Galleria – Autographing (Westin)

Elizabeth Bear, Timothy Liebe, Elaine Cunningham, Jane Yolen


Myths and Legends in Urban Fantasy

17 Feb 2018, Saturday 14:00 – 15:00, Marina 4 (Westin)

Urban fantasy may focus on stories set within cities, but many of these tales come with some sort of mythology or legend at their core. What is it about the mix of ancient mythology and modern city that we find so interesting? How do we blend stories from our rural past into a contemporary cityscape without creating a hot mess?

Kenesha Williams (Black Girl Magic Literary Magazine), Erin M. Hartshorn (SFWA), Elaine Cunningham, James Moore, Beth Meacham (TOR Books)


Open Mic: Myths & Legends!

17 Feb 2018, Saturday 20:00 – 21:00, Galleria – Stage (Westin)

Live from Boskone: A special selection of tall tales as told by our program participants — plus audience members. All show off their open mic skills in the third annual Boskone Open Mic extravaganza. This year features the myths and legends of yesterday, today, and tomorrow! Each participant contributes his/her most legendary performance — a 5-minute story, poem, song, skit, interpretive dance, or whatever!

OPTIONAL: For extra appeal, feel free to come dressed as your favorite mythic or legendary character.

The Rules
: Boskone members are invited to join our participants in the open mic by signing up for one of the six open slots at the door to the event, which opens for sign-ups at 7:30 p.m. Each performer is given a firm 5-minute time limit (max), including setup time. So a quick transition between acts is key. Please no profanity: Dragonslair is within hearing distance.

Elaine Cunningham (M), Lauren Roy, Kenneth Schneyer (M), C. S. E. Cooney, Carlos Hernandez (BMCC / CUNY), Gabriel Erkard (FilmRise), E. Ardell, Benjamin Newman, Roberta Rogow, Don Pizarro, Trisha Wooldridge, Mary Ellen Wessels, Edward L. Stauff


Writing Stories for Themed Anthologies

18 Feb 2018, Sunday 12:00 – 13:00, Harbor III (Westin)

Themed anthologies have grown in popularity, creating a new life for short fiction. However, editing and writing for a themed anthology isn’t as easy as it sounds. How do you find stories? To what extent do you edit stories? We’ll even ask the audience for their input on anthology ideas!

Julia Rios (Fireside Magazine) (M), Tom Easton, Clarence Young, Erin Underwood, Elaine Cunningham

No Arisia this year

I’ve decided against attending Arisia this month. Since it’s held in Boston, which is only about an hour and a half away, I’d intended to take the train up on Saturday and come back in the early evening. I was an accepted participant, but most of the events that interested me fell outside of that time frame (and also had a high level of author interest and lots of competition), so I wasn’t scheduled for any panels this year. But, live and learn. Next year, it would make sense to stay in Boston for the weekend.

I’m still planning to attend Boskone in February and will be posting my schedule shortly. There’s also a small con in March (South Coast Game Fest in Swansea, MA) and I’ll be there at least one day. More details soon.

2017 writing summary, plus plans for 2018

2017 wasn’t a big year for publications: one new short story (“Royal Daughters” in Sword & Sorceress 32), three reprints, and three history/historical fiction book reviews in the Renaissance Magazine “Tomes of Lore” column. Three completed short stories are in the pipeline for 2018–one in a reprint anthology and two new short stories in themed anthologies. No firm publication dates have been announced for any of these yet. I also finished an as-yet-unsold short story and heavily revised an old “trunk story.”

My primary focus in 2017 was researching and writing what will be my first new novel in several years. It’s set in a fantasy version of Elizabethan England in the years 1566-1567, and it focuses on many of my favorite things: music, magic, books, swords, folklore, history, complicated elves, treacherous fey, and lots of intrigue. It’s full of characters whose company I enjoy, and I’m having a ridiculously good time writing it. The first pass is finished and I’m working on the revised first draft. 

In writing-related news, I attended Gen Con as a guest of the Writers Symposium and joined the Horror Writers of America. I’ve set up a Patreon account to be launched in 2018, and I’ve started drawing again. A cartoon illustration of “Family Matters,” the first piece of flash fiction in my Patreon, will be posted in January.

On the personal front, I walked over 5 million steps in 2017, which works out to about 2330 miles. That’s longer than the Appalachian Trail, though admittedly with far fewer mountains.


Looking ahead to 2018!

I plan to have the first draft of the novel ready to submit in February. After a short break to write and submit a proposal for a Mythos-themed novella, I’ll be working on the outline for the second and third historical fantasy books, diving into book 2, and creating a website for the project.

For Patreon, I have enough stories and writing articles for the first few months. My goal is to publish, at minimum, one of each throughout 2018. How much additional time I can devote to Patreon content will, of course, depend upon the level of interest and support it inspires.

For conventions, I will be attending Boskone in February and South Coast Game Fest in March. An event schedule will follow shortly. I have been invited to participate in the Writers Symposium at Gen Con 2018 in August, and I’m open to invitations from other cons.

November writing summary

In a nutshell:
Finished a (very) rough draft of my historical fantasy novel, working on the first draft.
Summary:

Publications: 1
Submissions: 2
Acceptances: 0
Rejections: 1
Projects currently in circulation: 6

Publications:

  • “Royal Daughters,” a short fantasy tale set in the tumultuous border country of Scotland during the infancy of Mary Queen of Scots, published in Swords & Sorceress 32. 

Submissions: 

  • Submitted a proposal of the novel-in-progess to a literary agent.
  • Submitted a flash fiction story to Market #5.

Rejections: 

  • Flash fiction declined by Market #5.

Work in progress:

  • First draft of a historical fantasy novel.
  • Waiting for editor’s revision notes on a short story solicited for a themed anthology

Writing related:

  • Attended a meetup of the New England Speculative Fiction Writers.
  • Drew, inked, and colored the first draft of a cartoon illustration for the flash fiction tale “Family Matters,” which will be part of my upcoming Patreon launch.

Books read:

  • The Elizabethan Secret Services by Alan Haynes
  • Patronage, Culture and Power: The Early Cecils 1558-1612 edited by Pauline Croft
  • Elizabeth & Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics by Sarah Gristwood
  • The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan
  • The Witch’s Tree by M.C. Beaton
  • Secrets in Death by J.D. Robb

Books Reading:

  • William Cecil: The Power Behind Elizabeth by Alan Gordon Smith

Sword and Sorceress 32

The latest anthology in the long-running Sword and Sorceress series is out today. I am very happy to be a part of this one.

My story, “Royal Daughters,” is a historical fantasy tale set in the tumultuous border country of Scotland during the infancy of Mary Queen of Scots. It’s a standalone story, but it also gives a glimpse into the setting of my novel-in-progress.  The story takes place about twenty years before the events of the novel.

Here’s a link to the Amazon.com page. Hope you enjoy this collection!

October Writing Summary

Summary:

Publications: 1
Submissions: 4
Acceptances: 0
Rejections: 3
Projects currently in circulation: 5

Publications:

  • The short story “A Great and Terrible Hunger,” originally published in the anthology Madness on the Orient Express (Chaosium, 2014) was published in the reprint anthology Killing It Softly 2, a collection of dark fiction by women writers.
  • Wrote and posted several new pieces of Halloween micropoetry.  (These are technically publications, but they’re not counted in the summary above.)

Submissions: 

  • Submitted a flash fiction story written in August to market #3
  • Submitted the same flash fiction story to market #4
  • Submitted a Very Odd Short Story to market #7
  • Submitted a poem to a print/online magazine

Rejections: 3

  • The flash fiction story mentioned above was declined by markets #3 and #4.
  • The Very Odd Short Story was declined by market #7.

Work in progress:

  • Draft Zero of a historical fantasy novel.
  • Waiting for copyediting notes on “Living Memory,” a short story written for a shared-world anthology

Writing related:

  • Worked on content for a Patreon account
  • Attended the RI Children’s Book Festival in Providence
  • Attended Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival in northern Massachusetts

Books read:

  • The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
  • A Properly Unhaunted Place by William Alexander
  • Mrs. Pollifax and the China Station by Dorothy Gilman
  • Chasing Shakespeare by Sarah Smith
  • The Other Side of Dark by Sarah Smith

Books reading:

  • The Elizabethan Secret Services by Alan Haynes
  • Patronage, Culture and Power: The Early Cecils 1558-1612 edited by Pauline Croft