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Archive for May, 2010

I’m not big into self promotion. I’m not big into selling folks stuff they do not need or want. I am, however, a proponent of spreading the word for works I respect. Yes, I’ll buzz about friends’ book and that sort of thing, but I feel a little unclean when I do it unless I also really like the work itself.

Thus, I come to this post with some hesitancy. You see, my wife has ghost written a memoir about an African man who returned to his country to build a school for AIDS orphans in his home district. It’s a wonderful story and I greatly admire what Sue did with it. Still, she is my wife and I don’t fully trust my judgment where her work is concerned. Yes, our agent liked the project enough to donate her portion of the advance to the school, and, yes, the editor at Viking-Penguin raved about the manuscript even as she worked with Sue to shift some chapters around. And, yes, the book got advance blurbs from a diverse group of readers, including President Carter and Lynn Vincent (Sarah Palin’s ghost writer) along with 20 or so others.

Yet, I find myself stuttering when I suggest acquaintances ought to read it.  Why do I feel guilty for touting the book to others? Objectively, I have no doubt this book deserves praise. Subjectively? It’s my wife’s work and I don’t want to come across as one of those pompous self-interested promoters; I don’t want to sell people stuff they don’t want. But if I don’t promote it, am I being fair to Sue? I would surely promote it if she were merely a writer friend. And I do love the book.

Today, when I noticed the book breaking Amazon’s top 1000 list (in all books, not just nonfiction), I seized the moment and broadcast the brag widely. Not only did the book make the top 1000 for two days running, it did so a full week before its hardcover release date. These sales are pre-orders. Isn’t that exceptional? Isn’t Sue wonderful for having written the story so effectively?

Yes. Which is why I invite you to judge for yourself. The book is called “The Price of Stones: Building a School for My Village” and it shows up in bookstores on June 10. If you appreciate nonfiction or good causes or uplifting stories or solid prose that puts you in a place not your own, read the book. Discuss it. If you love it, spread the word.

I’m very proud of what Sue has accomplished (the PhD was a good start, mind you; she was the first in her family to even attend college). It’s time I shouted her praise to anyone who will hear it.

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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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Well, we’re winding down at last. We’ve got two more rewrites to respond to, but should be taking care of that on Saturday, Jamie has been laying out the issue, and I’ve been checking into a new printer that may make our books available via Ingram. This would mean that bookstores would be willing to special order them; a few specialty stores might even stock titles. Our goal this year is to boost sales as much as we can, in order to alleviate some of the pressure on Parsec, which supports the project year in and year out.

I’ll be in charge of sending out contracts as soon as our editor finalizes the form, which should be Saturday or Sunday.

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