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Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

I’ve been waiting to update submissions until I had a response from Writers of the Future and Flash Fiction Online. Writers of the Future decision is going to be a few more weeks, apparently, but I got a form rejection from Flash Fiction Online this week, followed a few days later by an answer to my query about it. It seems they’re very backlogged right now. My story made it out of slush, but not to the final winnowing. Disappointing, but that’s the writing life. On to the next market.

The good news is that my acceptance rate is now 17%. Mitigating the improvement somewhat is the fact I’ve been placing a lot of twitter fiction in the last couple months. I’m now one of the more prolific twits at Thaumotrope and trapeze magazine and have one coming up in Quinc and possibly a few other places. It’s ironic since twitter fiction was the area in which I had the most difficulty in my flash fiction boot camp. Well, if rejection is the bread of a writer’s life, irony is probably the butter.

To continue the metaphor in my typically laborious fashion: Acceptance is water and I’m getting darned thirsty. I did at least whet my whistle since last update, though.

A Conversation With Mother has appeared in Flash Me Magazine (which is going on hiatus now — I wonder what part of the meal that represents?)

On the Other Hand, Abomination has appeared at Short-story.Me.

What’s in a Name will appear in Daily Flash 2011.

Monster Freshly Minted has appeared in Everyday Weirdness.

The E.T. in Aisle Three has appeared at Abandoned Towers.

Beauty and the Butler has appeared in Every Day Fiction (to mediocre reviews, alas).

It Takes a Town is now available at Anthology Builder.

Appearances has appeared at Sillymess.

Implications of a Grand Unified Theory: A Love Story has been published by The Fifth Di.. in their September issue.

I’ve also had twitter fiction at Thaumatrope and trapeze magazine. In fact I’m going to be the featured twitter fiction writer for trapeze in October. Three pieces and an interview at the end of the month. That makes me happy :-)

However, I’m disappointed that I’ve not been able to place my more ambitious fictions to more prestigious markets. It’s nice to find a home for “Implications…”, but there’s a lot more where that came from. Truth is, though, that my real fault lies in not writing more new fiction. I’ve been concentrating on quick-fix micro and flash, when I should be working harder on longer pieces too.

The story at Writers of the Future is 11,000 words. It helps to know I can carry off that length. In my quest to become versatile, I want to become proficient at every length.

Well, off to do some more waiting. I have stories overdue at Aberrant Dreams, Weird Tales (but who doesn’t?), Echo Ink Review, Tin House, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, and Nanoism. Hopefully one or two of those will come through and up my happy dose.

You are now free to move about the cabin.

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Final-ly

Photo of Steve in garish outfit

Ready for my black tie award ceremony?

I’m pleased to announce that my story has been selected as one of eight finalists in the Writers of the Future Contest (2nd quarter, 2010). Now the real nail biting begins. If it makes top three, I’ll receive a large sum of money, publication in the annual anthology, and a week-long writing workshop in LA. This is a huge deal at this point in my life.

Here’s hoping…

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Triangulation: End of the Rainbow is out and available from BarnesAndNoble and  Amazon and can be ordered through Ingram, which means that bookstores can stock it or special order it for their customers.

Contents

The Rainbow Vendor — David Sklar
Making Friends — Kylie Bullivant
Tourist Trap — Mark Onspaugh
A Test of Spirit — Brenta Blevins
David is Six — Amanda C. Davis
The Stickball Witch — Peter S. Beagle
Messiah — M. Z. Hoosen
The House at the End of the Rainbow — Amy Treadwell
A Womb of My Own — Tinatsu Wallace
The Meaning of Yellow — Cate Gardner
Talking Blues — Matthew Johnson
Spirit House — Ron Sering
A Patch of Jewels in the Sky — Eugie Foster
Haole — D.K. Thompson
The World in Rubber, Soft and Malleable — Aaron Polson
The New Elementals — Marshall Payne
Commander Perry’s Mystic Wonders Show — Jaime Lee Moyer
In Lixus, Close to Waking — Erin Hoffman
In Order to Conserve — Cat Rambo

Vincent Chong (cover art)

Authors will receive 1 contributor copy and can order additional copies at discount.

While my supply of copies lasts, anyone can order a copy directly from me at cover price and I’ll provide a free story critique (stories up to 5,000 words). For details, e-mail me at stephen.v.ramey at gmail dot com.

Net proceeds will go to PARSEC, which underwrites the anthology every year and also organizes a killer reader-con here in Pittsburgh.

However you get your hands on the book, please do read the anthology. We found some very good stories from wonderful authors.

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I worked through proof corrections and some additional minor copy-editing last week and processed the cover file and interior file over the weekend. It was an ordeal to say the least, but I THINK it’s going to come out nicely. The cover is striking, though I’m concerned it might be too bright in CMYK. We’ll see shortly. I ended up having to reduce font size slightly in order to maintain our page count while bringing the page header down a bit to comply with Lightning Source requirements. That took almost all day to accomplish, as each text block had to be reset on each page and each section of text re-streamed and checked for orphans.

At any rate, I’m glad that’s done. It will be easier next time around, I think. I’m looking forward to mailing off contributor copies and reviewer copies.

Tomorrow, I hope to get back to work on my novel, at least for a few days. Still waiting on our agent regarding the collaborative fantasy with Sue. I’m thinking of changing my middle initial from “V” to “W” (for “Waiting”).

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New flash

I’m happy to report that one of my “Monsters” flash pieces has appeared over at Everyday Weirdness. Coincidentally, it came one day after Mickey Mills’ weird take, “Still Life”.

It’s a small world after all… I hope you enjoy both offerings.

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For those of you who have not had the good fortune to read Ferrett Steinmetz’ incredible stories (in places like Asimov’s and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and GUD and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and Shimmer as well as other impressive venues), you can absolve yourselves of that particular sin by reading his blog in support of Clarion.

You WILL NOT be disappointed. The man sweats interesting prose. The merest peck from his keyboard leaves an afterimage in your psyche.

His intent is to give you a taste of the Clarion experience. Not only will be be blogging, but he’ll also write three first draft stories, give you the insider track on his critiquing process, and even critique a few stories from his followers.

Let me say this again. You WILL NOT be disappointed. And you’ll be supporting a very good cause for aspiring writers and avid readers alike. Clarion has a long tradition of producing some of the finest genre writers and I suspect we’ll be looking back in a few years and saying that, in Ferrett Steinmetz, it has produced yet one more.

Please support his effort to support writers. And spread the word wide and well.

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I hit my 100th submission since December this week, so it’s a good time to check the progress of my so-called writing career.

Our fantasy book remains at our agent after two months. She’s working through it between two other projects with near term deadlines. We’ve had positive reaction from three readers, though, so we’re not tooooo discouraged.

I’ve been rejected a few more times, but Cycles has appeared in Everyday Fiction to some very positive comments. That made my day.

A flash piece has made it through first reads at New Myths and a longer story is through two rounds at Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. Even more encouraging I have a flash at Flash Fiction Online for 114 days at this point. That’s a market I very much want to publish in. Another story has been at Abandoned Towers for 114 days, but I’m not sure what to make of that. It’s an intriguing market.

I should be hearing about my Writers of the Future submission soon, too. I’m ever hopeful, but I did screw up something in the last $@#% manuscript page, which put a  wrinkle in the master plan.  Plus there is a (tasteful) sex scene in there, which could bollix things too.

Other than that, it’s pretty much S.O.P. Lots of stuff out and lots of waiting. My accept rate stands at 10.39% now, which is on goal at least. I’m shooting for 12% for next report.

I have started a new novel project and hope to get my lazy arse in gear on that. Gotta break this habit of waiting for something to happen before starting something new.

Onward and upward.

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I’ve been informed that contracts for Triangulation: End of the Rainbow have now been mailed out. It’s nice to get that off the to-do list.

We’ll turn our attention to line editing soon, with the idea of making sure authors get at least a couple weeks to review any changes. We’re happy with the stories we’ve selected and hope the community of readers will be too. Suggestions for reviewers, review blogs, etc. are welcomed. We’ll send copies to a good selection of reviewers to hopefully get the book some attention out there in the wild beyond.

On a personal note, my short flash piece, “Cycles” (500 words) is up at Everyday Fiction today. It’s getting rave reviews, but the stars rating is holding around 3.5 out of 5. This suggests to me that it’s one of those stories people either love or hate. I seem to be adept at writing those for some reason. I’m just glad it’s the lovers who are posting comments, not the haters, ’cause my poor l’il ego needs some strokes today.

Because? I got a rejection from Asimov’s yesterday. Sheila basically said the story was “nicely done” but didn’t quite work for her. She looks forward to my next.

I doubt she’d say that if she saw what I have “in stock” right now. A bunch of half-finished stories I keep putting down when I hit the hard spot. Gotta get that focus thing going again.

Those of you expecting contracts for Triangulation, be watching your mail in the next week. If you don’t have one in two weeks, shoot us an email. It could be we (i.e. I) put down a wrong address.

Happy writing and avid reading, everyone!

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Time to take stock of my writing career, such as it is. The most important landmark since last post is that my fantasy collaboration with Sue is at our agent. We’ve had generally good feedback from first readers so far, which is hopeful. Not so hopeful are the stoopid mistakes I keep finding when I re-read sections. How many ways can I spell a name? Seriously.

On the short fiction front:

“The Last Liverbeast” appeared in the March issue of A Fly in Amber and received very good feedback.

“Monster in the Making” appeared in Flashshot (May 21, 2010). I must say it was kinda suckey at 100 words, but at least it’s out of my back-of-the-head pending queue.

“She Thinks of the Moon” should be published soon in Sage of Consciousness Literary Review.

“A Conversation With Mother” is scheduled for the July Flash Me Magazine. This is a flash piece I’m happy with after much tinkering.

“On the Other Hand, Abomination” should be going up at Short-Story.Me Genre Fiction. That’s one I like as well. Thanks to the editors at Necrotic Flesh for pointing out a flaw that helped me revise.

I just heard yesterday that “Cycles”, a 400 word flash piece is accepted at Every Day Fiction. It doesn’t pay well, but I’m in good company there.

Overall, I’ve made 86 submissions since December. 24 remain pending (several look pretty hopeful, actually). This leaves 62 decisions. With 6 accepts that gives an 9.68% acceptance ratio. My goal is to top 10% by next report.

With all this marketing and my editing work at Triangulation: End of the Rainbow, I’ve been fairly slow to finish new work. I am nearing completion on a 4000 word young adult story, a 10,000 word SF story, and a 1000 word flash fantasy. I have also polished a couple of more ambitious stories and sent them to major markets.

All in all, one step forward, half-a-step back. I feel like I’m making progress in my goal to become a better, more versatile, writer this year.

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A dangling carrot

I received a form rejection today from Cezanne’s Carrot for a story I withdrew from them a month ago. This makes me feel a whole lot better about some of my goofs as an editor.

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