Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Books and Brinks

'Tis the season to receive books as gifts, even when you're a writer. Or maybe especially if you're a writer. My husband bought me a book written by a travel writer about his experiences being a travel writer. It's called, "Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?" Since my urban fantasy main character, Brenna, is a travel writer, I thought this would be an interesting read. The Huz also bought me a book about a woman's 40 years' experience working with fairies and nature spirits. Yes, you read that right. Working with fairies, as in autobiographical, not fictional, not fantasy. It's called "Forty Years With the Fairies," and promises to be an interesting read. A friend and member of the Moxie 4 (our absent number four, in fact) bought me a different fairy book--this one a YA fantasy novel. It's about the tiny, winged variety of fairy, and apparently in this story, though they be but little, they are fierce. They fight evil spirits, for one thing, and hang around with crows. What's not to like? Sounds like a good story. It's called "Dreamdark: Blackbringer."

These are not all I had on my "To Be Begged, Borrowed or Bought" list, but I'm looking forward to reading them, plus a stack of others. I also found one today in the bookstore, about myths and legends that relate to forests and trees; I've never run across this one before and had to put it in my reference library. (Borders gave me five free bucks, apparently in hopes that I'd come in and spend more than five. They were right, but I tried to keep it to a dull roar.)

And yes, I'm still working on the writing--both the spiritual nonfiction and the faery tale novella, as well as sending out short stories for submission. One of my short stories almost made it into an online magazine. I say almost because they opted not to buy it, but apparently had to consider it a while before they decided to pass. They said they liked it, but they had apparently missed the main thrust of a very important plot point. I was extremely glad to get the feedback, albeit sorry that though they liked it so much, they won't be publishing it, especially now that I've installed the necessary paragraph to explain the aforementioned plot point. Disappointing to have come this close and missed it again, but on the other hand they liked it so much they actually gave me personal feedback about why they rejected it. Rare with short stories, and this is not the first time I've had story feedback in the last six months. Indications are that I'm on the very brink of breaking into the market, and you know the conventional wisdom about brinks...you can't stay on them forever.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Long and the Short of It

I've just realized that after I finished the rewrite of the Brenna book and handed it off to Bob, I've been writing mostly short work this year. Three short stories in one year--which for me is almost unheard of--and now I'm halfway finished with the Novella.

I think the reason I've been working on the short stories more is because when I wrote my epic fantasy trilogy, I finished the whole thing. I stuck with it through the third novel even though the first one didn't have a publisher--or doesn't have one yet, anyway. I was writing that unpublished trilogy for close to nine years. I'm a little more reluctant to do that with the Brenna books, which are meant to be an urban fantasy series. Since I'm a third of the way done with the second Brenna book, I'd like to finish it regardless. Then when the first book does find its publisher, I'll have the second waiting on deck. But other than that, I'm enjoying the shorter stuff because it requires so much less of a time and effort commitment for me. I polish it just as much, but it's shorter and thus requires much less time. If one short story doesn't sell, it's not much more of a commitment to write another. That said, a published writer friend tells me that it's actually harder to break into the short fiction market than the long, since there are fewer slots available and many more short stories than novels. (Probably for the reasons I mentioned....)

Sunday, December 06, 2009


Well, Stef, I've tried to leave a response to your comment at least five or six times this week, but it won't let me do it. Guess I'll just have to comment in person at Moxie tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


This last weekend I went to Orycon, an annual science fiction/fantasy convention in Portland, Oregon. Money being tight, it was the one gift I wanted for my birthday. Things are just things, but connections...those are priceless. And I got to spend time with Patricia Briggs (and her wonderful family), which was completely awesome. She is as gracious and kind in person as she has always been on her forum, in emails, etc. She was the author Guest of Honor at this convention, and deservedly so.

On a different note, I have now finally identified the one gift that falls into the "thing" category that would be an extremely good gift for me. It is identified by three letters...G, P, and S. I don't need it out on the road; I just need it in cities. I get terribly lost in cities. This is the second Orycon in as many years in which I got lost not in the process of arriving at the con, (I'd mapquested for that, after all) but in leaving the hotel to try to get onto the freeway heading home. Apparently, I can find my way into Portland, and then I have trouble finding my way out again.