Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An Acceptance and Other Writing News

My short story, Blood of Warriors, Blood of Kings, just got accept to Iron Bound Ezine. I'll post a link when it is live. The story is a short fantasy piece that I wrote for one of our shootout competitions. So I got quite a bit of feedback on it, every author in the shoot out made comments. About half of them really liked and about half of them really didn’t. I got comments like- this was great, reminds me of Robert Howard, and I love sword and sorcery this was awesome. I also got- this reminds me of a bad fantasy movie. So if you like sword and sorcery you’ll probably like if you don’t, you probably won’t.
I made it to 5000 words in my new novel, The Blood Plague, and I am hoping to get another couple thousand words done before I go to bed. The novel is set in a fantasy world that is torn apart by a devastating plague. So it’s kind of an apocalyptic fantasy novel, and so far it has been really fun to write.

Finally, I received two more rejections for my novel, The Laws of Summer. One was a personal rejection. All the editors who read it say the same thing "We enjoyed your novel", "We like your writing style", etc. And then the big but comes, "But in the current economy, sword and sorcery fantasy is very hard to market” Sometimes they call it heroic fantasy, sometimes they just say fantasy, or sometimes they say novels in this genre, but they all mean the same thing.
I thought this might be some kind of industry standard rejection but many of the letters go on to talk about specific ways to improve the novel. Which I don't understand at all if it isn't marketable, but my rant about that is a little off topic so I will refrain from going on about it.
My conclusion?

The fantasy stories I like to write apparently aren't what publishers want. This leaves me with a couple of problems.

First, the novels I write are the kind that I like to read. Therefore, the novels I like to read are not "marketable" this must be why I am having so much trouble finding anything that looks interesting, from a new author, at the book store. My “books to read” shelf is growing smaller and smaller.
Second, main stream publishers have absolutely no interest in my novel. I have a few mid list publishers that I want to try, after that I am not sure what to do with the novel. I am not sure I want to send it to a small press. Not because I dislike small presses in any way or have anything bad to say about them. I have read a lot of good stuff from small presses in the last couple of years.

It is because Jessy and I own a small press, and it seems silly to send it to another small press to make 15% royalties when we could do it ourselves and make 100%. On the other hand we did not start Pill Hill to publish our own work. Not that there would be anything wrong with an owner of a small press publishing their own stuff. I already have a few short stories in some Pill Hill anthos (mostly because people didn't return contracts and we wanted to have a specific number of stories).

But if we publish my novel I am always going to wonder if it was good enough to publish. Yeah, I am one of those writers, the kind that thinks everything I write is crap until someone tells me different, then I assume that they also think it is crap but are trying to be nice.

Anyway, maybe I can find a small press that is well respected or one that pays advances. I’ll have to do a little research. If I send it to a small press I want to be sure they can bring something to the table that Pill Hill cannot. Hmmm…Or maybe I can spend half the night blogging in circles because I don’t really have a point and I am not sure what I want to do.

I am going to stop now and write a chapter in Blood Plague. Writing is so much easier than getting published.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I quit...

It isn't by choice but I think I might have to quit nanowrimo. I was keeping my nano novel on a flash drive which has disappeared. I looked everywhere, by my wallet, by my computer, in the washer, in my wife's office, I even looked under the couch battling the couch bunnies to no avail.

The novel really wasn't going that well anyway. I was going to hit 50,000 words but it was going to need a lot of editing.

Tonight, during my writing time, I felt a little lost and started on one of my ideas that I got while doing nano. I made it to 2,000 words on that, but there is no way I will get to 50,000 in a week.

 Another lesson learned as a writer, always save everything to the computer and the flash drive.

Below is an illustration of one possible, and most likely, solution to the case of the missing flash drive. In panel one I am carrying my flash drive, feeling the intense sense of accomplishment that nano brings.

In panel two I leave the flash drive on the table. I do this so that I can make a snack (a bowl of popcorn, and a slice of cheese) and pet my dog(not pictured). I like my dog, I share my cheese.

In panel three an Anti-Nano ninja (notice the throwing star)sneaks in a steals my flash drive. The Anti-Nano ninja's are a clandestine organization with the goal of foiling all attempts at nanowrimo, an event which they hate for both political and bovine related reasons.

In panel four (not pictured) I search furiously for my flash drive. I weep. Then I make a snack (beef jerky and nachos) and pet my dog. I like my dog. I share my beef jerky.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sexual Assault on the Football Field

So I just watched the Nebraska Cornhuskers game against Texas A&M. We lost. Some of the calls against us were a little questionable, but we really weren't playing that well anyway. But this is just kinda weird.

Here's the set up, our quarterback fumbles the ball. Our tight end, Ben Cotton, dives on the ball, and gets it back. A Texas player sees he had the ball and grabs him by the...um...well...one of the articles I read called it the sensitive upper thigh area. He proceeds to squeeze and twist our poor tight ends "sensitive upper thigh area", the tight end kicks him away.

The result?

Two penalties against a guy who is going to have to put ice on his crotch. It was a stange game. I'm going to bed.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Patrick Rothfuss Charity Drive

I thought I would mention this to all you published novelist. New York Times best selling author, Patrick Rothfuss, has started his annual “World Builders” charity drive for Heifer foundation, which provides long term solutions to end world hunger, by giving livestock which provide eggs and milk and teaching them new agricultural techniques.

He is asking for donations of signed novels which will be raffled off, all proceeds will go to charity. If you feel like donating here is the address to send your books:

Patrick Rothfuss
PO BOX 186
Stevens Point, WI 54481

He is doing blog posts about the books he is getting: Here
You can surf around his blog and find out more.

For people not interested in donating things, they are raffling off some pretty cool things and will be having some auctions later in the year. Not all prizes are book related for example they will auctioning off a signed Brett Farve jersey.

But, in my opinion the coolest prize is a golden ticket (he will be auctioning one off, and giving one away in the raffle) which gets you one favor from Patrick Rothfuss. Here is what he said about the golden ticket last year:

You want your name in book two? We can do that. You want me to read your book and give you some criticism? No problem. You want me to attend your local convention, perform your wedding ceremony, or just give you a nice backrub? Consider it done.

A few stipulations:

• The favor has to be legal. (More or less.)

• It has to be something I can actually do. (Duh)

• I can’t make anyone fall in love.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Best Book Ever Part 2: Cypher's Fall

The Best Books Ever: Part Two Cipher’s Fall.

Okay so the sub title doesn’t make sense, but what did you really expect in a sequel? It caught your attention and that is all a subtitle is really for, anyway here’s the list.

Note: These are my favorite books of all time, the year that I read them has nothing to do with the year they were released.

11. My favorite book of 1989 was…The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis. I was in fourth grade, and I loved this book. The way the children entered Narnia was super awesome to me, it was years until I realized that social services probably should have taken the children from their guardian. Can anyone say child neglect?

12. My favorite book of 1990 was… The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. I blame this book and the Lord of the Rings series for all the $$ that I have spent on epic fantasy since then. Reading it was…well…epic.

13. My favorite book of 1991 was…Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. This book started a frenzy of Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms reading and got me interested in D&D. So it is one of the contributing factors to my severe case of dateless-iotis in high school. But don’t let that dissuade you it really was a good book.

14. My favorite book of 1992 was...All The Weyrs of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. Science fiction dragons??? Wow!

15. My favorite book of 1993 was…The First Book of Swords by Fred Saberhagen. The god’s created a great game and hand out magic swords to humans, just to see what happens. How fucking cool is that?

16. My favorite book of 1994 was... The Eye of the World by Roberts Jordan. Okay can you say coolest book ever? I was just starting high school and while I never really minded school and I did fake the flu for a couple of days so I could stay home and finish this one. Yeah I played hookie to read a book, I never claimed to be cool so stop laughing.

17. My favorite book of 1995 was… Guards, Guards by Terry Pratchett. While I knew that books could be entertaining and moving I never guessed that could be this funny. And while my sense of humor had matured slightly I still think this is funny today.

18. My favorite book of 1996 was.. Fire Sea by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. I read the first two books in the Death Gate Cycle and thought they were good, but this one blew me away. An underground kingdom by a lake of fire whose inhabitants were Necromancers. That is all I needed to know. The cover pic for this is still the background on my cell phone.

19. My favorite book of 1997 was.. Homeland by RA Salvatore. This was a busy year for me, graduating high school and all. But I still found time for Drizzt, though I never did figure out how to say his name.

20. My favorite book of 1998 was… A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin. The good guys can die. What a concept.

21. My favorite book of 1999 was… The Bartender’s Black Book. I struggled with this one for awhile the year I turned twenty is a little hazy but I remember reading this one pretty often.

What's Happening

I have continued my nano quest, and I am at 23,000 words, which puts me a little behind. But I did have company over the last week (mother-in-law was in town) and I should have plenty of time to finish up at the end of the month.

In other news:

One of my stories, Shaman Born, published in Aurora Wolf ezine will be in their print anthology. I am considering revisiting the world and doing a serialization of it.

I should be hearing back from a couple of publishers about my novels soon, I am over their estimated response times so it could be any day.

I have couple of new ideas brewing in the back of my head for other novels. Why is it that I always get so many ideas while I am immersed in writing something else?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nano Update

I don't have much else to blog about, my writing time has been completely taken up by nano. So here is a quick update. On day 4 I was over 4000 words behind. I have used the weekend to catch up and I am almost there. I have 11,117 words down, to be on pace I should be at 11,669. Which means I am about 500 words behind. That is a lot better than 4000.

I wanted to get a lot more done this weekend but I couldn't. My mother in law is coming to town on Wednesday and leaving on Monday. I really like her so it is cool, but I am not sure I will have any writing time.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The best book ever...

Ever wonder what books inspire a writer to write? Ever wonder how a super fantasy nerd is created?

Well I started to today at work (the library for those of you who don't know) when a seven year old was telling me about their favorite book, and had a very different favorite book than the one he told me about back in March.

Well, here it is folks, my list of my favorite books of my lifetime(haha I new I could use the word my three time in 8 words, I can cross that off my bucket list). Anyway this a year by year guide to all that is awesome in fiction, at least to me. As a precursor I have to say that this list took a bit of research, after all how am I suppose to remember what my favorite book was back in 1980?

I was only a year old for Christ’s sake, and trying to memorize your favorite book for a blog you are going to write thirty years later is just too much pressure for a one year old. Luckily my aunts and uncles had no problem remembering what my favorite books were, apparently I liked to have them read to me over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. Much the way I reread The Lord of the Rings every other year.

In a side note I have broken this posting into three parts, because…well thirty books is a heck of a lot of reading, even when you are just reading about them.

So without further ado, here it is:

1. My favorite book of 1979 was… the letter A. In the months leading up to my milestone one year birthday I found the letter A to be a master work of literature. The two sweeping slopy sides connected by a hard horizontal slash, who could possibly disagree?

2. My favorite book of 1980 was…Duck. A simple book made on thick cardstock that had no author, the book Duck thrilled me with its wonderful graphics, until I tried to flush it down the toilet.

3. My favorite book of 1981 was…Go Dog, Go by PD Eastman this wonderful book included the timeless passage remembered by all “Now it is night. Three dogs at a party on a boat at night.” It still gets to me.

4. My favorite book of 1982 was… Sesame Street: The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone. Can you say surprise ending? This one was a shocker! The only thing that has even come close since was the sixth sense.

5. My favorite book of 1983 was… Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. I would eat them in a box with a fox!

6. My favorite book of 1984 was…The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie DePaola. In this epic 32 page tale a knight and a dragon prepare to do battle but at the end decided to open up a BBQ restaurant instead. Dragons and BBQ? Come on, you know you want to read it now.

7. My favorite book of 1985 was... a He-man mini-comic that came with my He-Man action figure. Skeletor vs He-man, do I need to say anything else?

8. My favorite book of 1986 was… a tough one to pick, I was entering first grade and my tastes were maturing. But I finally went with a Spider-man comic book. It doesn’t matter which comic, they were all super awesome.

9. My favorite book of 1987 was… Time Life Books Legends of Valor. If you have never tried any of the Time Life Enchanted Worlds books I still highly recommend them. They are an invaluable resource for any fantasy writer or eight year old boy.

10. My favorite book of 1988 was…Time Life Books The Fall of Camelot. This was my first introduction to King Arthur and his knights. For the rest of the year I read anything and everything I could find about the round table.

Ten down, only twenty-one to go. I promise the books will get a little more main stream as it goes. I knew I could find a way to procrastinate and put off nanowrimo, I just had to put my mind to it.


I couldn’t help myself, I had to start my superhero/alien invasion novel. It just sounded like too much fun to pass up. Fun has been something lacking from my writing lately, which might be why Godswar is such a pain to write. So Godswar is officially shelved until at least the end of November more than likely longer, but I’ll get to that later.

I am just over 2000 words into my Nanowrimo novel, I am using one of my short story titles as the working title, A Time For Heroes, maybe when its done I’ll send it to some YA markets or something. Which brings me to another subject.

Last year I wrote three novels by just telling a story and having fun with my writing. This year I have about ¾ of one novel. The difference? Well for most of last year I was only working part time, so two of the novels were written when I had an extra 20 hours a week of writing time, but one of them was written after I got my promotion.

The other difference? Last year I was just telling stories, and having fun as I wrote. Then came a slew of rejections, all saying pretty much the same thing “We enjoyed your writing style but we do not feel that your novel is marketable…blah, blah, blah, etc.” Then I started Godswar, and spent the better part of a year worrying about how to make it marketable as I wrote it.

It didn’t work. Not at all.

The numbers can tell the story, last year 260,000 words written, this year 43,000. Valuable lesson learned and it only took me nine months. I need to stop worrying about marketability and start writing for me again. So it is time to write A Time For Heroes, after that one of the half dozen ideas that came to me while I was trying to plow through Godswar.

Monday, November 1, 2010


So Halloween is over, we had more trick or treaters this year than ever before. I think it was due to the weather. The 50 degree temperatures made for a balmy night for Nebraska in October. We didn’t do much, besides hand out candy. We watched the Vikings lose to the Patriots, and saw our play-off hopes dwindling, and we ate a bunch of Halloween candy.

The end of October also marks the beginning of Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month for those who do not know the acronym. I didn’t want to shelve Godswar for a month, but last night I had an idea that I can’t seem to shake.

I have two short stories both set in a world of super heroes after an alien invasion. Most of the super powered folk were killed in the first days, but there are still a few heroes (and villains) fighting off the invaders. Last night I started toying with the idea of making it a full length novel.

If I can find any time to get write this week then I might try to write this novel for nanowrimo.