Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Secret of Morris Valley

The first of my works that Alban Lake accepted was a paranormal gothic novella called “Secret of Morris Valley.” A novella is too long to be a short story; too short to be a novel. In this case, that means 16,500 words, or roughly 66 pages, depending on type size, page size, ect.
Do you remember gothics? I remember reading some, 3 or 4 decades ago, but I haven’t noticed any on the shelves recently. So when I saw a call for submissions in 2006 or 2007 for gothic stories, I admit my interest was piqued.
Gothics were romance stories where the woman falls in love with a handsome stranger who lives in some out-of-the-way place - usually far from civilization. Once the woman arrives at his home, it becomes apparent that he, his family, and his servants are all keeping some deep dark secret from her. As the story progresses, she becomes suspicious, worried and frightened, doesn’t know who she can trust... Of course, in the end, the secret is revealed, the woman doesn’t care, and the happy couple fall into each other’s arms.
Yep, that describes “Morris Valley.”
Unfortunately, that anthology chose not to accept my attempt at a gothic, although they did say it had been between mine and another for the final selection. As the saying goes, “Close, but no cigar.”
So I found myself with this overlong gothic story in a market where gothics were no long appreciated, apparently. I had added some paranormal to it, because paranormal was/is hot, but that hadn’t landed me in the anthology. I kept my eyes open, but I could not find a market to submit a gothic novella that had werewolves in it. Until I decided to take a chance and send it to Alban Lake.

We are looking for a July or August release. Stay tuned, for I’ll keep you informed as the details are worked out!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Okay, I promised to tell you a bit about the stories I’ve sold (so far) this year. Today I’ll talk about the first one.
I saw a call for submissions for an anthology on vampires. They didn’t want the sparkly kind, they wanted more of the nitty-gritty kind. Now, I like vampires as much as the next person, but I haven’t written a lot of stories about them because I rather thought there wasn’t much more that could be said. Wasn’t it about time for their trendiness to peter out?
However, I did have this one story... so I sent it in, and it was accepted!
The rough draft for this story was written 10 years ago, while the family (including me) was on a week-long Caribbean cruise. Yes, even on vacation, I need to write, and I find time to write. If you see me at a convention - or any place, really - and I’m scribbling in a notebook, I’m probably writing a rough draft. [This can get irritating when I get home, because I know I wrote 5 scenes on this rough draft, but where did I put the notebook?]
There’s also a werewolf in this story. Vampires and werewolves are often paired together, but I don’t have the werewolf subservient to the vampire. In my universe, both of these creatures have been around a VERY long time. The vampire isn’t sure how she became a vampire, and the only werewolf either of them has seen is the one that attacked the current werewolf. Neither of them really fits in with ‘normal’ humans, although they can pass for human. Sometimes they go their separate ways, but more and more, they hang with each other, for decades or centuries at a time.
I’d like to write more stories about Wolfie and Vamps, maybe even a book or two, but so far, they haven’t been loudly demanding my attention. [So many stories, and only 24 hours in a day.]
I understand this 2-volume anthology is scheduled for an October release, maybe for Halloween? I’ve already gone through the editing phase for my story, and I’m anxious to actually see this in print, to hold it in my hands.

Stay tuned for future details on that!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hanging On

Hanging On

This is why I’ve hung on all those years of (apparently) not making any progress as an author. This is what I dreamed of way back in the fourth grade when I started writing stories. But when push came to shove, when I reached adulthood, I had a family to help support, and ‘author’ just wasn’t reliable enough as an income, so I had to get a ‘real’ job.
I still wrote. My first husband once told me I wrote on a sixth-grade level, and I gave up writing for a year or so. But he was a manipulator, and probably jealous. Eventually, the stories insisted I let them out again. So I did, but I never let him see them again.
After our divorce, I took a deep breath and moved on. To improve my skills, I studied grammar, joined critique groups, attended writer’s workshops. And I wrote. Co-workers became accustomed to seeing me in the lunch room, scribbling onto any size or shape of paper. One told me several times that I just HAD to tell her when I got published. (That reminds me, I have to look her up and let her know.)
And finally, I feel I’ve taken a step forward. An anthology has accepted one of my short stories. A small press has accepted both my novella and my first fantasy novel.
I have arrived!
Well, maybe not actually arrived. But I have completed an important step, one I’ve been seriously trying to take for the past 15 years. I will be published. (Take several deep breaths of satisfaction - try not to hyperventilate.)
I’m not sure when the anthology will come out. It did have an expected launch date of October when I submitted, but the editor got so many great submissions on the subject, it grew from one volume to two, and I haven’t heard if the launch date has been adjusted. The small press is trying to launch both my efforts in July or August.

I’ll tell you more about all these stories in future episodes. But if you’ll excuse me, right now I have more submissions to send out, and more stories to write, edit and polish. An author’s work is never done. Good thing I love doing it!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Post Convention

I apparently fall apart the day after a convention. I sleep until noon, or there-abouts, even though I know sleeping so long will make me feel crappy when I do get up. And sure enough, I get up with a splitting head-ache, a body that wants me to eat anything in sight (I can’t do that anymore), and a desire to mark the day a complete failure and crawl back into bed - which I’m pretty sure would not help.
Why do I do that? I’m not positive, but I’m thinking I am trying to make up to myself for spending 3 days at a convention. Don’t get me wrong; I LIKE conventions. I like costumes and shopping in the dealer’s room, attending panels. I even like giving panels, when the panels are of my choosing. Hospitality suites have become something of a no-no, because the convention’s finances often dictate that they are full of candy, chips and other things I should not be eating (no matter how much I want to), and few of the types of things I can eat without guilt. I’ve started taking my own fruits and vegetables to help me get through the weekend.
Still, much as I like conventions, they are 3 days spent in fairly close quarters with lots of people, when - as an introvert - I am only comfortable interacting with one or two at a time. [So if you see me at a convention, and you try to get my attention but can’t, it’s probably because in order to maintain my sanity, I ignore everybody but the one I’m talking to, or the item I’m looking at.] Even though I take breaks during those 3 days to ‘hide’ in our room (as my hubby says), I am still worn out after the con.
Just to complicate things, I also spend those 3 days trying to semi-keep up with my extrovert hubby, as well as take care of my own things. When will he need to get into costume and have his makeup applied? And how can we fit that around my schedule of panels? Inevitably, when I have a break and am looking for a late lunch, he’s already eaten (probably with friends) and suggests I go check out the Hospitality Suite - where all those no-nos are. The same can be said for supper, a lot of times. By the time I get home from the con, my meds have been skipped more than they’ve been taken (because I need to take them with food).

So. That all gives me some ideas on how to hopefully avoid this Monday-morning reaction to conventions. First, get up at a decent time and try to treat it as a normal day; if anybody is at home with me, it won’t be more than the younger son and the dog, and they tend to leave me alone; take a short nap later if I’m still tired. Second, take charge of my own well-being at a con. If hubby has already eaten, or isn’t ready to eat, I’m perfectly capable of going to a restaurant myself. I’m a grown woman, and this inability to cope punishes me. Not eating regularly and not taking my meds regularly threaten my health. Not getting up at a decent time deprives me of that day’s writing time.
I deserve better than that. Right?