Type your search keyword, and press enter

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.

 

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

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

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.

 

Summary:

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

Publications:

  • 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.)

Submissions: 

  • 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.

Rejections: 

  • 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

Publications:

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

Submissions: 

  • “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!

Publication: 

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

Submissions:

  • 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

Rejections:

  • “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.

Writing-related:

  • 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.