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Quick popin

I’ll be returning to update this after a while, but right now my editing and Typehouse sites are getting an upgrade first. But for fun here is a post I wrote a long time ago with an assignment from one of my college classes. The ONLY thing I have changed are the pronouns, as this was 2003, before I openly came out as Bi/Queer, let alone Genderfluid/Genderqueer – Grey was always just partner tho! The projection date for graduation was accurate, as was the first publication, beyond that was my imagined life (I never made it to be a tattoo artist sadly)! Still working on the novel tho. Enjoy.


09/16/2003: So for one of my journalism assignments we had to write our own obituary. Now it’s not as morbid as it sounds LOL I was a bit freaked because we were supposed to put our parents names in and stuff and I didn’t want to. So I didn’t, and I sent her an email telling her that it was a conscious decision. And she seemed cool with it. So here’s my fake obituary LOL All in all not a bad fake life to have, hits most of my major goals quite nicely I think! (My name, location, and child’s name – and school – are changed obviously from the assignment obviously LOL) All other names are not real people (Obviously) Either that or I am really good at fortune telling!


Eyez, Onyx: PORTLAND:

Onyx Eyez, 83, of Portland, OR. died peacefully at their home on October 23, 2059, following a short illness. They was surrounded by their close family and friends when they passed, as well as their cat Meiser.

Onyx was born in 1976, in a small town in midwestern California. They overcame a brutal childhood and bouts of homelessness to become one of the most well-known authors and journalists of their time. Although it took them eleven years to complete school while a single parent to their child Little, they finally graduated with B.A.s in both journalism and art from State College in May of 2006. Their first short story was published in April of 2003, and their first novel in November of 2010. During the time that Onyx struggled to grow their writing career, they also worked as a tattoo artist in Louieville, KY., a career that they continued part-time until 2035. Their art skills also enabled them to illustrate many of their writings, including designing the cover of their book Dark Wells of Time, for which they won a Hugo Award in 2029.

Onyx was well known for their sharp wit and wry sense of humor, as well as their indomitable spirit, and willingness to lend others a hand. They was always approachable to their fans, and was known to give support to many aspiring writers. Their family and friends knew them as someone who could always be counted on for a shoulder or applause, and was fiercely loyal to their family and friends. An insatiable wanderer, they crisscrossed the globe, and was on the maiden voyage of the Columbia II, the first passenger vessel to Mars in 2035.

Onyx is survived by their partner of 47 years, Gray Jackson, their child Little Eyez and partner Mark Collins, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. In lue of flowers, well-wishers are invited to plant a tree for a local nature preservation society, as it is Onyx’s wish that that the few remaining green places on Earth will be preserved. Cremation has taken place, and a private circle will be held on October 31, 2059.

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“For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn”

Most people have heard this short, six-word story, usually attributed to Ernest Hemingway. The way I first heard the story behind it was that, when challenged to write a super short story with a beginning, a middle, and an end, he scribbled this on a napkin and handed it over. This story has fairly well been disproven by Garson O’Toole of  The Quote Investigator, who wrote a blog post on the possible history of this legend, a very interesting post at that.

Advertisements closely matching the abbreviated text above did appear in classified sections over the decades. Here is an example published in 1906. Intriguingly, this section of short ads was labeled: Terse Tales of the Town:

For sale, baby carriage; never been used. Apply at this office.

In 1910 a newspaper article about a classified advertisement that was thematically similar and twelve words long was published:

Baby’s hand made trousseau and baby’s bed for sale. Never been used.

The article is great. You should go read it after this.

However, I don’t think that the fact that Hemingway didn’t actually write this lessens in any way what it can teach us. While I know authors who are masters of the story story art, I also know authors who feel that a short work, commonly known as “hint fiction” “drables” flash fiction” and other things, (which can be indeed 6 words if an author so chooses) isn’t “really a story.” They argue that you can’t really tell a story in that short of space.

I tend to disagree with these sentiments. As an author who both writes and reads short works, sparse wordage  can convey emotion that is just as intense as a longer piece. Think about it – how haunting it is to think of a pair of little baby shoes, for sale for unknown reasons, although the instant reaction is the death of the infant. There is no lack of emotion, and we get exactly what the author is trying to tell us.

It is a challenge to write this short – every word must count in a way that isn’t as critical as in a longer piece.

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” – Mark Twain.

Writing short is like putting together a puzzle, where every piece has an exact place to go. One wrong piece and the composition of the whole thing is off.

As the author of stories from under 25 words to novels I don’t think any particular length of story is the best. I enjoy reading and writing them all, but recognize the challenges that come from writing short work.

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Working on things related to writing that aren’t writing fiction

I find that it is a lot harder sometimes to focus on writing things, (like blogging, tweeting, facebooking, tumblring) that aren’t directly related to writing my fiction, which is hard enough sometimes. Yet, especially in this age, all are important, becuase they are the way that authors communicate directly with their fan base. (Which admittedly, I don’t have a large one of at this point, but at some point I will.) It is fun to do to, in a different sort of way, but it requires dedication and drive, which sometimes I don’t feel like I have a lot of. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but this resolution just happened to fall around the new year, partly inspired by current and upcoming publications. My publications page will be updated shortly, and then we will return to your normally scheduled blogging.

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Submitting daily

I don’t make new year’s resolutions, but I set a goal for myself of mailing a submission every day for the month of January. The reasoning behind this is two-fold. One, I simply want to get my submission number higher, and this is a good way to do it, and two. I’m hoping to increase my habit of submitting on a regular basis. I set myself two guidelines for this. One – if I miss a day, which will happen, I have to make it up. Two – I can’t work ahead, or “bank” submissions. If I submit extra, great, but I can’t go ahead and do the following day’s early*. So far I have missed one day, which I have made up, and have a total of six submissions for five days. Now to just maintain the numbers for the month.

*I count the day ending at midnight for this, so I can submit one day’s before midnight and the next day’s after midnight – a concession I made because of my schedule.



Year end round up!

Time for my yearly year-end round up on my writing. This year I sent 59 submissions, received 37 rejections, have  21 pending and had two stories published (one was accepted last year). I  finished my short story cycle, worked through some major road blocks on  my third novel, and wrote several short stories. I started teaching homeschool fiction classes, taught some adult poetry workshops, and, oh yeah, graduated with my MFA. All in all not too bad of a writing year, although I’d have loved the submission rate to have be higher (and my acceptance rate too!) but hey, I think I did ok 😉

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Booking Through Thursday 11-3-11

Booking Through Thursday

All other thing being equal, would you rather read a book that’s hard/challenging/rewarding or light/enjoyable/easy?

Actually I would have to say both. Generally I enjoy books for the quality and reward of the novel itself, and that can be either an easy or a challenging read. I don’t feel that a book has to be hard to make it worthwhile, there are lighter books that are rewarding reads. That being said, there are light and fluffy books that I read when I need a pick me up, and I call those my candy books – not good in large doses, but sweet and tasty in small amounts!


It’s November first, and you know what that means!

Yes, that crazy time each year when writers attempt to write 50,000 words in the month of November. That equals approximately 1667 words a day, and as many hours as it takes the writer to put out that amount of keystrokes. There are many people who achieve this goal year after year, and then others who never do, but keep trying again year after year. It’s not a contest in the traditional sense; rather each writer competes against themselves, trying to reach that mythical number that equals a short novel.

Personally, I have attempted NaNo several times, and won it twice. There are many writers who criticize NaNoWriMo as being a waste of time, that there is no quality writing being turned out, because after all the goal is quantity rather than quality. I disagree however that there is no quality writing – rough drafts are bad – they just usually are. The important part is to get it out on paper, to get it written down. Then you can go back and work on it, make it quality, make it “good” writing. What I wrote in my attempts was rough and jagged, but there was good stuff under there. One of my “winners” I put a lot of time and effort into revising and it is now a completed novel.  All writing is good writing, because even if you never “use” it, or make it into a finished piece you learn from every bit of writing you do.

Since I am not able to actually do NaNoWriMo this year I will blog about it through the month, and talk about some of the things I learned and took away from it in my years of attempting to reach that brass ring.

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To reprint, or not reprint, that is the question…

I find that in my own publishing career I run into the question of what to do with works once they have been published. If they are still online to attract readers, than it is easy to leave them there. They also serve as an accessible way to show someone your work, either by giving them the direct address, or linking to them on your website, as I do. But what if it was published in an old print magazine? Or a website that is no longer in existence? I know some people retire their story and leave it be once it has been published, but I’m not a fan of that. For example, I’ll use three different scenarios I’ve come across.

  • One is a story that was published in a medium market in 2003. The story has been out of print for eight years, and the magazine no longer exists.
  • One is a story that was published in an online pay to view site that went out of business and the work is not longer available.
  • One is a story that was published in an online site that was up for  a good while and then went out of business.

All three of these I chose to try and have reprinted elsewhere. My logic behind each one was similar – the piece in the print market is no longer available anywhere, as are the two online pieces. With both of the online pieces they were up for a good amount of time, and a significant amount of time passed before I submitted them to other markets. One has been published, and the other hasn’t yet.

I tend to feel that the more accessible a piece is, particularly if it was published in a  small market, the more it can benefit me as a writer. It’s like being able to pull out a résumé on demand, and offer someone samples of my work. And of course the more visibility you have the better.

I should say though, I spend just as much time researching second markets for my work as I do for new market submissions. Having a piece reprinted in an unprofessional manner, or in a sloppy-looking format hurts more than it can helps your career. I don’t feel that having a piece reprinted is an act of desperation to get it into public again, rather it is a matter of finding the right place to give your baby some sunlight once again.

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