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September writing update

My primary focus this month was the novel-in-progress, with the goal of finishing Draft Zero by the end of October.  Accordingly, I didn’t write any new short fiction in September, and only one short non-fiction piece.



Publications: 1
Submissions: 2
Acceptances: 0
Rejections: 2
Projects currently in circulation: 4


  • Review of Anne Boleyn: The King’s Obsession by Allison Weir was included in Issue #112 of Renaissance Magazine.  This magazine is geared toward RenFaire enthusiasts, as well as people who enjoy popular history and historical novels, games, and music. I’ve been writing articles and paid book and music reviews for them for several years now.
  • Wrote and posted two new Halloween limericks and one new haiku. (These are technically publications, but they’re not counted in the summary above.)


  • Flash fiction story submitted to an online magazine. (2nd sub)
  • Review of So High A Blood: The Story of Margaret Douglas, the Tudor That Time Forgot, by Morgan Ring, submitted to Renaissance Magazine.


  • Same story, two rejections. A flash fiction story written in August was declined by two online webzines.

Work in progress:

  • Writing Draft Zero of a historical fantasy novel
  • Working on a proposal for a Mythos-themed novella
  • Waiting for editor’s notes on “Living Memory,” a short story written for a shared-world anthology

Writing related:

  • Working on content for a Patreon account
  • Joined HWA, the Horror Writers Association, as an active member
  • Submitted panel selections for Arisia, a sf/fantasy convention in Boston in January
  • Applied to be a panelist at Boskone, a sf/fantasy convention in Boston in February
  • Registered for Necon, a writer’s conference held in Rhode Island in late July
  • Attended a three-hour seminar on social media presence and marketing

Books read:

  • Kaleidoscope by Dorothy Gilman (mystery)
  • So High a Blood  by Morgan Ring (history)
  • A Twisted Vengeance by Candace Robb (medieval mystery)

Books reading:

  • The Elizabethan Secret Services by Alan Haynes
  • Patronage, Culture and Power: The Early Cecils 1558-1612 edited by Pauline Croft
  • The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph From the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Dolge
  • How the Mind Works, by Stephen Pinker
  • Figure It Out! Human Proportions: Draw the Head and Rigure Right Every Time by Christopher Hart

August writing summary

This month was mostly about the novel-in-progress. The highlight, however, was attending Gen Con for the first time in a decade. I met lots of interesting people, touched base with friends old and new, signed some books, played some games, and talked about various Secret Projects.

August summary:

Publications: 1
Submissions: 2
Acceptances: 2
Rejections: 1
Projects currently in circulation: 3

Work in progress:
  • Writing Draft Zero of a historical fantasy novel
  • A Mythos-themed novella, still in brainstorming stage
  • Awaiting editor’s notes for a short story solicited for a shared-world anthology


  • Winterhexe, a German translation of the Pathfinder Tales novel Winter Witch, was published by Feder & Schwert.


  • “Family Matters,” a new flash fiction story, submitted to a webzine
  • “The White Tunic,” a story published in 2013, submitted to a reprint anthology

Acceptances: 2

  • “The White Tunic” was accepted for publication in a fantasy reprint anthology by Digital Fantasy Press. I’d submitted it last month to their horror anthology; this, apparently, was a better fit.
  • A review of A King’s Obsession, a historical novel by Allison Weir, was accepted and scheduled for publication in Renaissance Magazine, issue #112

Rejections: 1

  • “Dead Men Tell No Tales” did not make the final cut for a ghosts & pirates reprint anthology.

Completed in August:

  • Wrote and submitted “Family Matters,” a flash fiction story (800 words)
  • Wrote “Turning Characters into People,” an article about the writing process, to be published on my Patreon.
  • Wrote 7 blog posts for this website, including two longer articles on the topic “Setting as Character.”

Writing related:

  • Attended Gen Con 50, participated in 11 panels, the Candlekeep seminar, and the Worldbuilder’s Party charity event organized by Patrick Rothfuss.
  • Working on a Patreon account, which is still in the planning stage.

Books read:

  • Focus by Daniel Goleman
  • Positivity by Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D.
  • The Unexpected Mrs. Polifax, by Dorothy Gilman

Books reading:

  • The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph From the Frontiers of Brain Science, by Norman Dolge
  • How the Mind Works, by Stephen Pinker
  • The Private Lives of Tudor Women, by Elizabeth Norton

July writing summary

After several years away from writing novel-length fiction, I’m really enjoying the challenge of creating a new setting and getting to know new characters. That was my primary focus for July, but several smaller works in various stages of development and a surprise invitation to Gen Con filled out the month. Here’s the quick summary:

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

Work in progress:

  • Writing Draft Zero of a historical fantasy novel, polishing the outline and proposal
  • Brainstorming and plotting an epistolary novella
  • Awaiting editor’s notes for a short story solicited for a shared-world anthology
  • More short fiction in various stages of development, because the story ideas just keep on coming and they will not leave me alone!


  • A paid review of How to Be A Tudor by Ruth Goldman, published in Renaissance Magazine, Issue #111


  • Short story (“Synthetic Sanctity”) submitted to Aliterate magazine 
  • Short story (“Dead Men Tell No Tales”) submitted to Ghosts and Pirates, a reprint anthology by Flame Tree Publishing
  • Book reviews submitted to Renaissance Magazine:
    • Anne Boleyn: The King’s Obsession by Allison Weir
    • The Irish Women’s 16th Century Getting Dressed Guide: Wear What the Renaissance Irish Really Wore by Kass McGann
    • The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII by Suzannah Lipscomb


  • “Synthetic Sanctity” was declined by two magazines:  Uncanny and Aliterate.  This is a very odd little tale, so I’m not surprised it’s taking a while to find a home. Six submissions so far. This story might be strange, but it’s persistent.
  • “White Tunic” was declined by a horror story reprint anthology. Again, no big surprise, since the story is closer to fantasy than horror but hey–worth a shot!

Work done in July to short fiction in the pipeline:

  • “Burning,” a short story for the anthology Hath No Fury:  Reviewed copyedits, sent in final version.
  • “Royal Daughters,” a short story for the anthology Swords & Sorceress 32:  Read page proofs, sent in final version.

Writing related:

  • Made last-minute plans to attend Gen Con 50.
  • Brainstorming ideas for a Patreon account

Books read:

  • Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock
  • Sabine’s Notebook by Nick Bantock
  • The Golden Mean by Nick Bantock
  • The Emotional Life of Your Brain by Richard J. Davison, PhD with Sharon Begley
  • Anne Boleyn: The King’s Obsession by Allison Weir
  • The Irish Women’s 16th Century Getting Dressed Guide: Wear What the Renaissance Irish Really Wore by Kass McGann

Books reading:

  • Focus by Daniel Goleman
  • How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker
  • The Hidden Lives of Tudor Women by Elizabeth Norton

June writing summary

Publications: 1

  • “Lorelei” was published in the reprint anthology Literal Illusions (Digital Fiction Publishing)

Work in progress: Several

  • New fantasy novel, details coming soon

Projects completed in June: 4 

  • Revised a story that was solicited for a shared-world anthology.
  • Revised a sf story written a few years back.
  • Wrote a review of How To Be a Tudor, by Ruth Goodman.
  • Wrote a review of The Private Lives of the Tudors, by Tracy Norman.

Submissions: 7

  • Submitted the two book reviews listed above to a paying print market.
  • Turned in the revision of a solicited short story.
  • Submitted revised short story. (This is the 5th market to which I’ve submitted. Persistence!)
  • Submitted a flash fiction story published in 2015 to a reprint market.
  • Submitted a story published in 2005 to a reprint market.
  • Submitted a story published in 2007 to a reprint market

Rejections: 1

  • The flash fiction reprint was declined. Editor asked to see more stories, both reprints and new.


  • Started linking my books to my Amazon Affiliates page. If you plan to order one of my books, or a book I’ve reviewed and recommended on my blog, please consider following the link supplied, as I will receive a (teeny) commission on books sold through my affiliate links.
  • Mailed a set of the Songs & Swords books in Spanish translation to the winner of the May contest on Facebook group Forgotten Realms Archives. Donated a second set to a high school library in New Hampshire.

May writing summary

Submissions: 4

  • Revised and shipped a solicited short story.
  • Submitted a short story written in April to market #1.
  • Market #1 was a Nope; submitted to market #2. As one does.
  • Submitted a poem written in 2016 to a literary magazine.

Accepted: 3

  • “Burning,” a story solicited for the anthology Hath No Fury (Ragnaroc Press)
  • “Royal Daughters,” a new short story, was accepted for Sword & Sorceress 32.
  • “A Great and Terrible Hunger,” a story written for Madness on the Orient Express (Chaosium, 2014) was accepted for the reprint anthology Killing It Softly 2 (Digital Fiction Publishing).

Rejections: 3

  • The story written in April was declined by Market #1, but the editor would like to see more submissions, which is a Very Good Thing.
  • A short story (a rewrite of a previously published bit of flash fiction) was declined by the editor of a themed anthology, but the editor would like to see more submissions and said (paraphrasing), “Don’t wait for the next submission window–just send me stuff.” That is an Extremely Good Thing. Rejections don’t get much better than this.
  • The poem submitted in May didn’t hit the mark. Not even close, I’m guessing. Probably I should stick to Halloween Haiku and the occasional limerick.

On an editor’s desk: 

  • I’m awaiting revision notes for a short story solicited for a shared-world anthology.

Work in progress: 

  • New fantasy novel
  • Non-fiction ebook
  • More short fiction

Writing related:

  • Sent codes for free Winter Witch audiobook to winners of the April giveaway on Facebook’s Forgotten Realms Archive group.
  • May giveaway on the Forgotten Realms Archive group for a copy of Elfshadow in Spanish translation.

April writing update

April was an odd month. There was a lot of writing going on, but you wouldn’t know it from the summary below. A couple of small projects I’d hoped to finish were pushed back into May (or possibly beyond.)  On the bright side, I am very enthusiastic about the new novel, which will be the most ambitious story I’ve written since Evermeet, and considerably longer. I’m in learning mode, trying new things and submitting to new markets, and that’s a very exciting process.

Publications: 1

  • Renaissance Faire and Culture Magazine, Vol. 21 #3, Issue #109. A review of Edward IV, England’s Forgotten Warrior King: His Life, His People, and His Legacy by Anthony Corbet.  I was surprised to receive the “scribe’s copy” of this issue, as I’d submitted this review about a year ago and by now, I’d assumed it had been declined.

Submissions: 4

  • Wrote and submitted two short stories, on spec.
  • Submitted a previously published story to a podcast magazine.
  • Submitted “Synthetic Sanctity” to Market #4. (Persistence!)

Acceptances: 0

Rejections:  2 (or possibly 4)

  • “Synthetic Sanctity” was declined by Market #4. I got some very good feedback from two Trusted Readers, and am going to do a substantial rewrite before sending it out again.
  • The reprint story I sent to a podcast magazine was declined. This was a first step into audio for me (not counting the audiobook versions publishers have done of my backlist.) I’ve started listening to podcasts, and I’m going to practice recording my work-in-progress to make sure a story works for the ear. Lots to learn!
  • Not all rejections are definitive. Many publishers don’t respond at all unless they accept a story or article, so there comes a point at which writers have to call a submission’s “time of death” and turn off the life support. This month I’m pulling the plug on two essays written and submitted back in December. It’s always possible to be surprised a few months later, as in the Renaissance Magazine review, but in these two cases, it seems unlikely.

Work in progress:

  • First draft of an on-spec fantasy novel.
  • Revising a non-fiction ebook on habit acquisition.
  • Awaiting editors’ notes on two short stories submitted in March.

Projects in circulation: 3

After wiping the two essays off my submission slate, I have just three short stories out in the world–the two new ones submitted in April, and a story submitted to a reprint anthology.

Writing related:

  • Sent the graphic novel version of my Forgotten Realms story “The Great Hunt” to the winner of the March contest held on the Facebook group Forgotten Realms Archives
  • Ran a contest for April in Forgotten Realms Archives with two audiobook versions of Winter Witch as prizes.

March writing update

One of the new habits I’m working to establish is spending some time on the last day of the month to evaluate that month’s progress and to plan for the month ahead. For those who might be interested, here’s a summary of what happened in March.

Publications:  1

  • “Lorelei,” a previously published short story, was released in March as part of the Digital Fantasy Short Fiction line.

Projects completed: 3

  • Two short stories that were solicited for themed anthologies.
  • The first draft of a non-fiction ebook I’m writing on spec.

Submissions:  3

  • The two themed anthology short stories mentioned above
  • “Synthetic Sanctity,” an odd little tale I wrote a couple of years back, went to market #3. (Persistence!)

Accepted: 1

  • Heard back from the editor of one of the solicited stories via a form letter that said all the submitted stories were strong and none needed rewrites, only revisions. Close enough. So, yay!

Rejections:  1

  • “Synthetic Sanctity” made it to the final round of consideration for a women-in-sf anthology to which I submitted in December, but was declined with a very cordial note. I promptly resubmitted it to publisher #3. As one does.

Projects out in the wild: 6

  • Awaiting revision notes on the accepted story.
  • Awaiting editor’s response on the other solicited story.
  • “Synthetic Sanctity” is in the second round of consideration for its current submission.
  • Awaiting response on a story submitted in January to a reprint anthology.
  • No word yet on two essays, both submitted in December, both long shots.

Work in progress:

  • Finally working on a new novel!  I’m in the world-building, planning, and outlining stage.
  • Revising two solicited short stories.
  • Expanding and revising a non-fiction ebook on habit formation

EVERMEET now available as an eBook

A lot can happen in 14 years. Take Evermeet, for example.

Back in 1998, the island of Evermeet was an inviolate elven homeland, protected by high magic and peerless elven warriors. It had been a refuge for thousands of years, and the elves saw no reason to think things might change. Then, in the year DR 1371 (aka 1998), they got a disturbing wake-up call–an invasion that forced them to rethink their assumptions and shore up their defenses.

Perhaps they did TOO good a job.  When the Spellplague hit, it swept away the whole frickin’ island.  But that’s another story.

EVERMEET Island of the Elves is an older tale, one that begins with the mythology and history of Toril’s elves–or, at least, the version of elven history and mythology that the secretive People permit humans to know. The book exists in three layers: a series of tales that follow the history of the royal Moonflower family, the gradual unfolding of the 1371 invasion, and the quest of the book’s narrator, the bard Danilo Thann, to give his lover–Arilyn Moonblade, a half-elf of royal blood–some small part of the heritage denied her.

EVERMEET was published in hardcover in 1998 and in paperback the year after. It’s been out of print for several years now, but tomorrow, August 7, it will be released in eBook format.  If you’re new to this tale, if you want to replace your 13-year-old paperback copy, or if you’re transferring your Forgotten Realms books to digital format, I hope you’ll consider adding the EVERMEET eBook to your library.

Where to buy EVERMEET Island of Elves:

Barnes & Noble NOOK eBookstore

Amazon Kindle eBookstore

Short story collection now available on iTunes

This eBook collection has been available for Kindle, Nook, and all  formats supported by Smashwords for nearly four months now, but I’m pleased to announce that it has finally found its way into Apple’s iTunes catalog.

There’s a wide variety of tones and topics in this collection, including Arthurian fantasy, ghost stories, historical fantasy, flash fiction, urban fantasy, several tales inspired by folklore and mythology, and a couple of tales that are difficult to classify.

A list of titles can be found on the Short Works page of this website.

Foreshadows: The Ghost of Zero

This ambitious project blends cyberpunk short fiction, art, and electronic music to illustrate a future world where, as a cynical P.I. observes, “technology is advancing, but humans are regressing.”  Governments have been (openly) replaced by corporations. Wars are fought over control of the Worldnet. The line between humans and simulacrum is not always apparent at first glance.  And a mysterious being known as the Geist thrives on the tech and chaos.

Foreshadows: The Ghost of Zero is available as either a trade paperback with accompanying CD, or as an eBook. Clicking on the title will take you to the publisher’s page, where you’ll find all the info you need.

You’ll also find a link to Webshadows, an extension of the Foreshadows project that offers free online stories and music. The first Webshadow, a tale by Jaleigh Johnson, is online now.

I recently turned in the manuscript for “Mother, Daughter, Holy Geist,” a short story set in an abbey on the Irish coast, where the cloistered sisters of the Order of St. Hildegard, like their patron saint, pursue excellence in music and science. With the help of their Abbess–a biological computer built upon DNA obtained from Hildegard’s shrine–they seek ways to bring synthetic sanctity to a troubled world.

The story will be online in late 2012. Details about the accompanying art and music coming soon.