Monday, December 8, 2008

The New FFO is up.

The new Flash Fiction Online is up, and I can proudly say that I have the Christmas story in this issue. This is the number 2 professional-rate publication for me (although it's not a speculative story). I have also been hard at work on my Historical Fiction novel--to the point of 85,000 words so far--and am not trying to concentrate on anything else until the first draft's finished.

Then I intend to do another, more serious attempt at the WotF, before it ceases to be available. I still have a collaboration to be hashed out, and my last WotF entry I ceased to send in because I liked it better for a longer story. Decisions, decisions...

I'm still doing most of the artwork for FFO, too--as well as working 9 - 10 hour days, 6 days a week. Well, I don't know how many of my readers, which are likely to be few, have actually checked out my LJ blog, but it is linked here--and I'm there more often, which isn't saying much.

Well, gotta go. This cold is doing a number on me.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I'm still Alive... case anyone wondered. I've been kicking out the illustrations at FFO (all but one month), and keeping a steady pace at Hatrack, Liberty Hall and now Absolute Write. I've also been writing. Much.

My wife (while not at her full powers) was taking laundry down-cellar (a very Maine-ard expression) and tripped on a blanket that she carried. She went down, hard, and heard a few snaps from her left ankle. We rushed to the emergency room, where--contrary to what we expected--she got attention, x-rays and relieved to find out it wasn't broken (or even fractured) very quickly. The sprain, however, earned her a pair of crutches and an air-cast for a few days. She's looking somewhat better. She's not the type to be kept down, and she's trying not to baby it. It's funny: she tells me she's no p**sy, but I already knew she is a tough one.

The new issue of FFO is up, and it's an all women-authored issue. How appropriate (as one slush reader put it) because it's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Who names these months? Is there some kind of council? Hey, I'm all for saving as many breasts as possible (sort of a breast protector), but I don't think there's enough months to go around. Anyway, the stories are smooth, entertaining and (as usual) offer something for everyone. Jake must be proud, because we're coming up on our 1st anniversary, and gaining new readers all the time. By the way, if you haven't, check it out--it's free! There's a link over there------------------------->

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I've Been Slacking...

...On keeping this blog updated. I suppose I've been shifting everything to my new (LiveJournal) blog. I started that because I have a few friends to link with over there, and not many on blogspot. the updates:

I went to the D.E.T.S. (Down East Tattoo Show) this past weekend, and reeled in six more awards--bringing my numbers to 154--and opened the show with a rather large piece on another tattoo artist. I've become the tattoo artist's tattoo artist (a position of respect), and gladly. The last two years, I have taken a record 17 trophies, and then broke my own record with 18. This year was disappointing in that respect, and that I didn't get the damned Best of Show that I've been stalking, but i was only aiming for three--and doubled that--so it was, in the end, a victory.

My wife drank until 4:00 am on Sunday morning, and then had an epic vomitting, which lasted over half of the day. As it turns out, our oldest two had a similar morning and they didn't drink--at least, I hope they didn''s 8 and the other's 10, and they were left with their grandfather--our youngest had that problem Friday. My apprentice had it last night.

The April issue of Flash Fiction Online has four new illustrations, and is a more humorous issue. Jake and I proved our versatility with this issue (the word versatility has been flung all about this month's issue).

I think I got my WotF Q2 story in on time--I still haven't received the conformation email yet, though. This one is more personal than the others and the feelings run both ways. Some think it's the best yet, and the others think it's good, but not as good a story as last time. For me, it's a promise fulfilled. (Here you go, Mom. Rest in Peace.)

I've also cleaned up my last entry and intend to take my shot at the Robert A. Heinlein Centennial Contest. Since he was a master of Point of View, I thought it would be fitting.

Well that's all for now. I'll try to keep up better.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

March Issue

The art for the Mach issue of Flash Fiction Online is ready--including the St. Patty's Day special. I promised mixed-medium, and that's what I delivered. We'll see what everyone thinks of it. }=^] Jake should have the issue up later today (or tonight), but there will be some suspence built-up because the St. Patty's Day special won't make its appearance until the holiday arrives. Have I got you curious?

I'm eagerly awaiting news from my other submission. Hopefully, no news is good news.

I've decided that I will use the story I promised my mother (Rest in Peace) I would write as the premise for my new WOTF entry. I've been inspired by an idea I've co-mingled with the original to create an original (or what I believe is original) story. This is a piece that I have begun a few times, but this time, I'm determined to finish, and finish well. Hopefully, my dedication will be fruitful.

Snowing here. Seems like every time it clears up, the weather gets us with another 1-2 punch. It'd be nice to see the ground, grass, and sun.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

WOTF Q108 / FFO March

Well, I didn't win. After a delay, I was informed that I had joined the ranks of Honorable Mentions. Apparently, the story was teetering on being a Semi Finalist. When I hadn't heard back, I re-read my entry and found some glaring errors, of which the only excuse I have is that I rushed to get it in. I have since smoothed the glaring stuff and am debating on whether to re-enter or submit it to another market. After this much investment in the piece, I feel that it should be fruitful. Then comes the problem: classifying it. It's Fantasy with a sprinkle of Sci-Fi. Where do you send that? Hard Sci-Fi magazines will reject it because there isn't much science, and Fantasy magazines could do likewise because the setting is post-apocalyptic. Grrr. Just winning the damned contest would've solved that dilemma.

Flash Fiction Online's March lineup has already been decided. There is a holiday story that I pulled for, so I'm working something special up for that, and three others. It's growing. It seems the last couple of months have seen one more story than the last. Suprisingly, I already have a jump on the illustrations, though. I actually have a painting done. The others I have ideas for. I think, for the holiday special, I'll serve up something a little different; a mix of mediums. It never hurts to present the illustrations with the feeling of the piece's theme.

I also have a piece out under a pseudonym. With a record of one rejection, one outright rejection for WOTF (no obvious Speculative Element), and one Honorable Mention, I am charging into this year on a new level. Wish me luck. And good luck to you, too.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Getting there...

I love writing.

For all the words I weave, the heat of completion and coldness of imperfections, and the multiple tearing down and reconstructions of the process, I love it. I am an eternal student, a slave of what I shall never master. I live for my need, my passion. A poet, a dreamer, trapped by my imagination for no other reason than my love for it.

But I am learning. Not just from the study and practice, but from seeing my own flaws in the works of others and being able to identify them. From the brilliance displayed in the most flawed manuscript. The compulsion to write, to express our thoughts and dreams and fears, to dig deep into the realms governed by our fickle minds, is a wide-spread disease. Be careful, you just may catch it too. Or maybe you already have.

The bad news is: There is no cure. You've got it for life. Whether or not you press on to publication has little to do with that compulsion. Oh, there are some that say you have a choice, but they're wrong. That choice was swept away the moment you first typed The End--and the decision sealed when you started to rewrite that same story. It's like crack or heroin, only a straightjacket and a all-expenses-paid state-ordered vacation will keep you away. Oh, you can try to quit--to walk away--but that typewriter or keyboard will thump-thump...thump in the back of your mind like that infamous secret beneath the floorboards. Does anyone really walk away? Can anyone? Or is it just them prolonging (perhaps indefinitely) the perfection of their craft.

The Good news is: We're getting there. Every time we learn from a critique, or those we would deign try and teach, we're inching closer to our goal. Every time we recognize a common mistake in our prose, or the appearance of a cliche, and work it fluidly back out...we are getting there. For every rejection, brutal critique given and taken, or hard-earned bit of praise we better our skills that much more. And that is all we can hope for. Because the better we get, the harder it will be for an editor or publisher to reject us.

Keep on writing.

Friday, February 1, 2008

12 years...

Today marks twelve years married to my wife. I don't know how many times I've heard "Wow. Nowadays that's a long term commitment." I have a question to all of those who make that statement: What do you think marriage is?

There is a reason marriages don't have to renew their licenses every five years. Though there's times--and I think all married couple will agree on this--that I wish we did. But, seriously, if that were so, marriages that outlasted one renewal would be in the single-digit percentile. It took two years just to figure out the idiosyncrasies my wife and I had, and another three to learn to deal with them. When our firstborn made his appearance, there was a whole new set of idiosyncrasies and responsibilities that accompanied him. If there was a renewal system, it probably would have been when things were at their worst. Because we couldn't step out of it easily, we never really considered it. Oh, there was a time or two that either she or I were at or maximum threshold for the other's crap (I probably drove her to that threshold more often), but we stuck it out. There were times we had nothing to say to each other, or we found our interests veered in opposite directions, or we took cheap shot because of pressures that weren't shared. That, we discovered, is the heart of a relationship.

Anyone can have sex, watch television together, go out together, and skate through all of the beautiful and fun stuff--It's the hard times that truly define the relationship. Both of us believe in a few base beliefs:
  1. Marriage is forever. It's not a piece of paper or a shiny ring, it's growing old with someone in spite of their flaws.
  2. "Let not the sun set upon thy wrath." Though we have been at each other's throats, and felt the need for violence (which we resisted--notice I say we); we do not go to bed angry with each other. We get through with it--or listening to it--and remind ourselves why we're together with a four-kiss goodnight ritual: A) The kiss to wish God's Blessings upon the other. (No one should be without God's blessings.) B) The I Love you Kiss (Because everyday and night since I have kissed her first, this has been deeply and passionately true.) C) The Sweet Dreams Kiss. (By this point I--at least--truly wish this for her.) and D) The Goodnight Kiss. This is the one that lingers. The one that reminds me I'm going to wake up next to the perfect woman (for me).
  3. We're both too damn stubborn to quit. When we first got together, I told her that if she wanted out of the relationship she would have end it--to say "uncle". I wasn't going to. Ever. I don't make promises and not keep them. I am a man of my word--until it hurts. And she keeps saying she's not going to let me out of it that easy.

Those simple rules, applied to a foundation of friendship, have truly held our marriage together. It doesn't take much, just a gaze into her beautiful blue eyes (even when they are stormy) to remember how much I love her. I try not to let a day go by without thanking her for everything she does, and I rarely tell her "no". For anything.

Early this morning, as we lay next to each other, my mind was drawn back twelve years to the night before our wedding. Those were the same eyes. That was the same smile. And I realized--not for the first time--that I wouldn't trade a single moment, from that day to this, for all the fame, women, or gold in the world.

And to my wife, Amanda: Thank you, baby, for making me the richest man on earth. I love you. Always.