January 1st, 2019

Happy New Year, first and foremost, dear reader. I hope your 2019 turns out great, no matter how good (or bad) 2018 was to you and yours.

Writing-wise, my 2018 was pretty great. I was lucky enough to have not one but two short stories published, one in March and one in December, which is buoying me forward going into 2019 to do more. I have some plans in the works for ongoing submission calls and have also found some more to start working on, and I’m anxious to get started on those.

I do hope to develop better writing habits this year; I signed up for a great writing support group called Get Your Words Out but failed to meet my goal for 2018. I only signed up for the lowest option, too, for 75k words, but my biggest plan for hitting that – NaNoWriMo – fell extremely flat and left me way, way under that mark.

So I’m not going to sign up for that this year. Sure, there’d be some merit to doubling down and trying again, but I don’t think it’s going to work for me. I’ve tried it in previous years as well and have failed each time. I don’t think I can operate that way, at least I haven’t been able to thus far in life.

My approach this year is going to be focused on meeting smaller deadlines instead of a year long goal. Instead of trying to write X amount of words overall, I want to write and submit more entries to open submissions than I did last year. That’s not a large number either, as I really only submitted one thing in 2018 (aside from several entries in the Kit Sora flash fiction challenge).

That feels a lot less daunting than hitting a large goal. On top of that, I do have something larger I want to work on, but likewise I don’t want to set myself up for failure or set an unrealistic goal. So I’ll work on that while also writing and submitting smaller pieces throughout the year.

That’s the goal, at any rate. Let’s see what 2019 has in store for us, and best of luck to everyone reading this for your own projects in the new year.

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Submit Your Stories Sunday: Darkness and Chillers

Jennifer Shelby

Welcome to this week’s edition of Submit Your Stories Sunday. Every week I bring you a unique call for submissions to help you find a home for your stories or inspire a new one. Each call will contain a speculative element and will offer payment upon acceptance. I’ll follow it up with a book to inspire your writing and a small collection of writerly articles to fuel your craft.

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Curse the Darkness: an Anthology of Dark Fiction

Eligibility: Original, speculative stories written on the theme of darkness from 3 000 to 10 000 words. Think Doctor Who‘s Vashta Nerada.

Take Note: the editors specifically request stories that will make them “afraid to turn off the lights.”

What makes this call stand out: this is Unlit Press’ inaugural anthology and they are offering writers good rates from the start. This suggests they are confident that their marketing strategy will put…

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Call of the Sea, Drawn to the Tides, & Chillers from the Rock at Chapters St. John’s this month!

Engen Books

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Need some extra chills leading up to Halloween this month? Chillers from the Rock is available now at Chapters Kenmount Road in St. John’s. Featuring an introduction by Dale Gilbert Jarvis, as well as stories from 20 different authors, including award-winning author Kelley Power and horror bestseller Paul Carberry! Perfect for youth to adult to get in the right mood for Fall!

Also at Chapters this month: Call of the Sea and Drawn to the Tides by Amanda Labonté! With the start of senior year approaching, Alex and Lia struggle to find their place in an ever-changing reality. As Lia develops a new appreciation for human culture and norms, Alex learns more about what it means to be a human in the merrow colony. But integrating into a new world is not without its pitfalls. In his search to understand his place, Alex will come face to face with hidden…

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May 16th, 2018

Shower ideas. They’re the best, right?

This morning I was hit with a bolt of inspiration whilst washing my hair. Some people sing in the shower, others try to plug plot holes or divine a character’s motivation. Whatever floats your boat, so to speak.

I quickly hammered out some notes in a Google Docs file before scampering off to work, wishing I could stay home and further elaborate on my thoughts, but the important part was I got to preserve them. Other distractions prevented me from fleshing them out more than I’d like this evening, but I’m still very happy to have those notes captured and ripening on the vine, so to speak.

It also occurred to me today that the current planning / outlining stage I’m at with this project is not unlike plotting / drafting plans for a house. I never was any good with my hands, but I caught myself wondering if this is how people feel when they’re physically building something from the ground up, or are rebuilding a carburetor or some other automotive analogy at which I’m completely failing here.

It feels good, is what I’m getting at, and I hope to feel more of it in the not-too-distant future.

May 11th, 2018

(So I accidentally made this a site page a few days ago instead of a blog post. Whoops. Originally written on May 7th, but posting it here now because why not? Live and learn.)

Oh hey, look. It’s May. There goes that whole ‘maybe I’ll update this blog every week in 2018’ idea.

Whoops.

Anyway, at the risk of setting myself up for failure once more, I’ll see what I can do from here on out.

Things have been going well on the writing front as of late. I can officially say that I’m a published author, having had one of my short stories included in Chillers from the Rock in March. I’ve also managed to win a flash fiction challenge as well, which was an unexpected yet very pleasant surprise. Both are thanks to Engen Books, which is run by an amazing group of people and features many talented writers.

I’ve yet to really dig in on something bigger than short stories (of which I’m working on a few for the next From The Rock series and a flying anthology for 2019), though I do have plans. I keep meaning to dig into it, but never do for a variety of reasons.

My latest excuse: I’m waiting for Scrivener 3 to come out for Windows. I’m good at creating distractions and (also, how do you pronounce Scrivener? Is it skriv-uh-ner or skryv-ner? See what I mean?) I have it for my Mac, but my intent is to work on things on a USB flash drive I can use to swap between the laptop and the desktop. Until I have the same software on both, though, I’m afraid something will get messed up in between.

A friend of mine asked me last night if the short story I’d had published would lead to anything bigger or not, and that’s really inspiring me to push forward with things once again.

So, I’m calling myself out now: even if I can’t get the actual project started, there’s no reason I can’t continue to outline and plan using Google Docs or something similar in the interim, right? Right.

So, here goes nothing.

January 23rd, 2018

RTX anyone? Announced earlier today, RTX Austin 2018 will take place from August 3rd to the 5th this year, a departure from the normal early July dates.

I went on a whim last year; with my wife having a couple of conventions she wanted to attend herself, I saw RTX tickets were on sale last January and picked one up because why not? I was a fan of RWBY (still am), was interested in some of their other things (ditto), and knew at least one person who lived in Austin (who has since moved, however), so it made sense. It was an adventure, as I’d never been to Texas before. I had no real idea what to expect, but I wanted to give it a shot.

Boy, am I glad that I did. Austin is a great city, and, even though I was nervous about staying sort of on the outskirts, it wasn’t hard to navigate at all. I ended up using Lyft a whole bunch, something I’d never used before (or since, as we don’t have it here), but it wasn’t difficult or complicated. It actually was kinda nice, as all the drivers were friendly and talkative, giving me some more insight on the city itself and some of the people that lived there. And yes, everything everywhere was air conditioned, thankfully.

The convention itself was amazing. I know I haven’t gone to very many, certainly not of that scale – the inaugural PAX East, Emerald City Comic Con 2013 being the largest – but it was such a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. Going alone had me a little nervous, even though I knew a few fellow attendees who I met up with there, but I never once felt out of place or awkward.

If you bought a general weekend pass, you were given one autograph session code as well. The VIPs, who get two each, got to pick their sessions first, so I didn’t get one with anyone I really knew, so I chose to meet another group of people I’d heard of: the guys from Kinda Funny. Meeting them was amazing, and only made me a bigger fan of them. They do a daily (M-F anyway) gaming podcast that I’m up-to-date on after 100+ episodes now, because they’re awesome. Looking forward to their panels and another autograph session if I can manage it this year.

So, yes. I want to go back. They have a new ticket level this year that interests me, the Weekend Plus package. It’s a cross between Platinum (which was VIP last year) and a Weekend pass, which includes two autograph sessions and some other perks. You don’t get into the Friday night party, which, eh, and I don’t care much about priority lines as all the panels I wanted to see last year weren’t a problem to get into, provided you didn’t mind sitting further back. Being tall has its advantages that way too, I ‘spose.

Tickets go on sale in February, and I’m definitely going to be picking some form of pass up at that time. If you’re looking for something awesome to do, I highly recommend checking it out.