My bizarre little poem Potty Party Girl is now available in the latest issue of Gold Dust Magazine. I’d never in a million years imagined I would get Potty Party Girl published before I stumbled across this magazine, but when I did I couldn’t resist submitting it. I suspected the fit might be perfect. It turns out the editors agreed with me.
If you click on the cover image over there it will take you to a page where you can download this magazine in several different formats, or read it online for free. If you read my poem I would very much like to know what you thought 😉
My poems, “A Chance to be Heard” and “In The Valley” have both been accepted for publication by Page & Spine. These poems are very different from one another, the first being sci-fi in nature and the second mostly just nature-y in… erm… nature. Anyway, it will be interesting to see if they run them together or separately, and I’ll let you know when that happens as soon as I know myself.
I think it was Simon Kewin who introduced me to the Advent Ghosts shared storytelling event at I Saw Lightning Fall. To quote Loren Eaton from the blog post I linked to, “Advent Ghosts seeks to recreate the classic British tradition of swapping spooky stories at Yuletide. However, instead of penning longer pieces, we post bite-sized pieces of flash fiction for everyone to enjoy.” What a fabulous idea! I really wanted to come up with a story, so for the past month or so I’ve had that page open as a tab in my Firefox and my brain has been chewing away at a wintery spooky story. Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of anything. Nothing. Nothing.
Then, the other day I couldn’t sleep, so I lay in bed staring at the ceiling and working on this problem. Spooky winter tale. Flash-sized (preferably drabble sized, actually). Finally, at about two thirty in the morning I hit on something. I typed this story out on my iPod and emailed it to myself. It has since been revised, critiqued and cut down to be as short as I can make it (which is still about six times as long as a drabble ;)) and I’d like to share it with you.
It was bitterly cold. Bethany’s nostrils froze together with each inhalation and her eyelashes clung to one another when she blinked. She’d been walking through the snow a long time. Her thighs felt as though a thousand icy needles pierced them and her boots like anvils.
The blizzard had come out of nowhere, blinding her completely but Bethany knew they were almost home so she did her best to keep the horse pointed toward home and her heels in his sides. However, once the worst of the storm had passed it was clear they were in the middle of the woods, the worn track they’d been traveling on nowhere in sight. The storm had covered up their tracks so Bethany pointed the horse toward where the drifts seemed the lowest and pushed him forward. As daylight perished the horse had stumbled and refused to rise and now, many hours later, Bethany was sorely tempted to do the same.
And then she saw it.
The cottage filled the opening between the spruce trees, like something out of a fairy tale. Snow pillowed upon its roof but golden light poured out through its windows like honey.
She ran, stumbling in the knee-high drifts, and fell, palms first, into the snow. Her hands, bare, red and raw, burned from the cold and as she trudged the rest of the way to the cabin, she breathed clouds of warmth against them to soothe the pain.
The window glass was clear as crystal and through it Bethany could see the roaring fire in the fireplace, a tree bedecked with ornaments with a blanket of brightly wrapped gifts at its feet. A child sat between the tree and the pane, staring back at her through the barrier. A blue-eyed darling with golden ringlets and a sugary smile. A smile which widened as Bethany approached. The girl leaped up, gesturing excitedly toward the door.
As she trudged through the drifts to join her Bethany could almost feel the warmth of the fire. Almost. She glanced up at the stars, shining brighter than ever she’d seen them, and thanked the Lord for delivering her from the cold. For bringing her to safety.
Then she noticed the chimney.
It was straight as Jesus’ cross, and the moon lit it well enough for her to see the stones used to build it, but no smoke escaped its mouth. No clouds, like those which fogged the air before her, spilled from its lip.
Confused, fingers numb and mind slowed as well, she continued around the corner, toward the door the girl had pointed to. And there it was, flying open and spilling golden light and cheerful sound out onto the snow. “Come on, come on,” the girl laughed and beckoned with her hand. No fog surrounded her either, nor did any pour from the doorway.
Bethany hesitated. She stepped forward and the little girl’s eyes twinkled. Twinkled with something that had naught to do with being jolly and everything to do with hunger.
Hunger like Bethany felt for the warmth the cottage promised. Desperate and toothy.
She took another step. She could see the fire dancing behind the girl, could hear it crackle and pop, but though she was near enough to reach out and touch the door frame, she could not feel even a hint of its warmth.
“Come on,” the girl said. “Come in!”
Bethany looked from the child, alone in the cabin lit with gold and cheer, then back to the wood where looming trees boughs were twisted into claws and their moonshadows reached toward her. Better, she thought, to spend the night in Winter’s embrace than with whatever was in that house.
She took a step backward, and the girl-thing frowned. Then she took another, and another. Its features twisted into something feral, something fierce. “Come in,” it said once more, but this time the snarl hidden beneath its words was loud in Bethany’s ears, and the next step backward was easier to take than those which had come before.
Crossing herself, Bethany turned her back on the girl-thing and a howl, frustrated and fierce, echoed through the woods. And when, eventually, she dared look back over her shoulder, the cottage was gone with no sign that it had ever been.
What a year. To say it’s been exponentially better than last year would be a huge understatement, but at the same time, it’s been far from perfect. It’s that time again when I look over my goals, see how well I did, celebrate the good things and figure out how to fail better at the others next year.
I’ll list my goals for 2013 below, bolding the ones I figure I accomplished and addressing each briefly. I don’t want to turn this into a novel-length blog post 😉
Successfully complete the P90x program (I’m giving myself permission to swap Cardio X workouts in for Plyometric ones because I worry about my ankle and also, I’m a bit of a wussy)
No energy drinks
Significantly cut the amount of sugar in my diet. I have a complicated set of rules for this for myself, but I don’t want to bore everyone with sharing them.
Right. So I totally fell down on pretty much all my health goals (though I mostly managed to avoid Red Bull). I’m not even sure what happened to tell the truth, I just never managed to get back into the habit of working out and watching what I ate. This needs to be my primary focus for next year though because if I’m unhealthy everything else falls apart too. I may need help remembering that over the coming months though, so I’ll have to figure out a way to address that when I set my goals for 2014.
Begin another course (or two) toward my degree no later than April 1st and complete it/them successfully.
I took Psychology 304 – Research Methods in Psychology (which is required for my degree) and passed it with a B+. A very irritating B+. I was point five percent away from an A. >_<
Sell my cancer anthology idea to a publisher.*
Edit the cancer anthology, making sure the end result is something I am proud of.
Promote the hell out of the anthology, ensuring that there actually are royalties to donate to charity.
Continue to pursue my sekkrit projeckt with CJD
Increase Niteblade’s readership and distribution
Begin offering Niteblade in more file formats
Hold a successful fundraiser for Niteblade
Produce a NaNoLJers anthology if sufficient interest exists
I sold the Metastasis anthology idea to Wolfsinger Publications and edited the hell out of that thing. I am *SO* freaking proud of this book. So proud, and my mother (who I dedicated my efforts to) would be as well. We’re still in the process of ‘promoting the hell out of it’ and our first statements haven’t come out so I’m not sure how sales are going yet. Fingers crossed though… and if they aren’t where we want them to be, well, I guess I’ll just have to put some more time in.
This year I did increase Niteblade’s readership, distribution and the number of file formats it is available in. We also held a super successful fundraiser (raising $604!) and even adopted a chimpanzee.
While I did check to see if there was interest in a NaNoLJers anthology, there didn’t seem to be. Maybe next year… And my sekkrit projekt kind of got left behind a bit this year, but maybe that’s something I can look to a little closer in 2014 as well because I sure wasn’t slacking when it came to editing projects this year.
In addition to Metastasis and Niteblade, I’m also working on an anthology with World Weaver Press. You may have heard of it, it’s this little thing I like to call Fae. And I also broke ground on the first of what is going to be a huge series of anthologies, A is for Apocalypse.
Successfully complete the weekly version of Write 1 Sub 1. For the ‘Write’ portion of this challenge I will count completed short stories or poems as well as individual scenes from longer works. By allowing myself to count individual scenes I will be able to work on longer works and still participate in W1S1
Actually successfully complete the AprilPad or NovPad properly, without having to make up prompts after the month has passed
Self-publish “Aphanasian Stories”
Look into the practicality of bundling and re-releasing some of my previously published short stories as ebooks
Follow through on my 2012 plans for my zombie poetry
Well, you win some you lose some, right?
For example, I participated in The Whittaker Prize (well, this year’s incarnation was the Not-Whittaker Prize) but when it carried over into November, when I was trying to do All.The.Things including NaNoWriMo I decided to drop out for my own sanity. I was successful with NaNoWriMo however… but then I totally haven’t written another word on my novel (which needs about 30,000 more of them) since then. >_<
I did participate in Writo De Mayo where my primary goal was to transcribe a family history my grandmother had written and format it as a book to give to her. I did, and she loved it very much making the month’s worth of work well, well, worth the effort. (Alas, now she has edited the proof copy so guess what I’m doing in May 2014? LOL).
I also self-published Aphanasian Stories. Sales have been pretty lame (read: nearly non-existent) but I’m glad those stories are out there and available to an audience who might want them, if not today, perhaps tomorrow. Plus, the reviewers seem to like them, so that’s good for my ego 🙂
I’m looking at bundling some of my other previously published short stories to re-sell as ebooks but right now I don’t have enough which aren’t under contract that have common themes, so that’s something I’ll have to look at again next year.
As for the zombie poetry collection? It’s a work in progress. Hopefully I’ll have something to show for it before the end of the year, but I don’t want to rush through and create an inferior product. Because.
Under the writing umbrella for 2013 I’ve had a fantastic year. I’ve produced some stories I’m really, super proud of, and many of them have found homes with dream publishers. Highlights definitely include being published by Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, work forthcoming in Kzine, Mythic Delirium and the Trafficking in Magick anthology, poetry publications with Every Day Poets and especially the story I co-wrote with Jo for Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories.
Read at least 30 books
As of today I’ve read 47 published books. I’ve also been privileged enough to read one soon-to-be published book as a critiquer and a couple anthologies I may have mentioned above. I also read a crapload of short stories as submissions to Niteblade and those anthologies, so overall I think I crushed this goal 😉
Post writing prompts/exercises in NaNoLJers on odd numbered Mondays
Run and participate in the writing bingo in NaNoLJers
Don’t forget that life is for living, not leveling
I did well on these ones 🙂 Sadly I didn’t make it to WorldCon, we had some unexpected expenses that needed to be dealt with (stoopid money) and I kinda sucked at putting prompts up for NaNoLJers but other than that I rocked the goals in this area. My month of letters was a lot of fun and I still write to several of the people I met that month (in addition to the friends I’ve always written to — I’ve fallen behind on that, but working on catching up. Let’s blame a crazy autumn, okay?), I did the Blogging from A to Z Challenge with a theme (Niteblade), ran the writing bingo at NaNoLJers and significantly cut back on the amount of time I spend playing World of Warcraft.
My social media retreats have gone very well, except for during the times when I’m in the midst of a promotion or such and need to pop on at least once a day because of that. I think next year I’m going to set a daily time limit for social media stuff rather than trying to avoid it completely for one week of the month. I think it will be better for consistency and also my sanity. Taking a break has definitely been good for my productivity though, and my state of mind. It’s really easy to get caught in a loop when every time something happens you think ‘I need to tweet this!’ Stepping away regularly definitely helped me shift my perspective and live a more balanced life. And that’s what it’s all about, right?
In the next little while I’ll look at my goals for 2014 and share those here, but in the meantime I think I’m going to bask a little bit in the glow of a year which, while it wasn’t perfect, was pretty damn good.
It’s become a tradition on my blog that each year I write a letter to Santa about what I want for Giftmas. Not because I want any of my blog readers to buy me those things, but just because sometimes it’s fun to put together wishlists. If you make a Giftmas (or any other winter holiday) wishlist please leave a link in the comments so I can stop by and take a look 🙂
This year has been pretty good, especially compared to last year, and if we don’t count diet I’ve been pretty good. So with that in mind I don’t feel bad writing and asking you for a few things…
I started watching wrestling again this year, Santa, and though I have a few items from the WWEShop I don’t feel like my wardrobe has been sufficiently wrestling-ified. I like most of the wrestlers (except the Wyatt Family and The Real Americans) so I’m not super particular about what you get me. Though, if I had to choose I’d really like CM Punk’s retro hoodie, The Shield’s sweatpants and The Usos T-shirt
I’m always looking for more books, Santa. You could check my Amazon wishlist or my Goodreads ‘Want to Read’ list, but both of those are incomplete. I really love short stories so best of anthologies are a pretty safe bet, and I could use a new vegetarian cookbook as well (bonus points for slow cooker recipes because finding meatless ones that aren’t spaghetti sauce is a freaking challenge). Also, I know I have Code Name Verity on my kobo, but I think I also need a physical copy of it. Because reasons.
I haven’t had any new jewelry in quite a long time, so maybe it’s time to change that. I am big on silver and sort of simple designs, and when I did a quick google to find some examples for you, Santa, I found this lovely ring which comes in silver but also in this metal I’ve never seen before. It’s lovely. I’m including a picture below for you. Pretty, no?
Finally Santa, you know how for the past two years I’ve asked you for “some baseboards and riser thingers for my bathroom and kitchen. If we don’t finish them up soon they are just going to blend into the background and we’ll never get them done.” Well, you’ll never guess what I still need this year. Yeah. Those. If you have room in your sleigh that would be super awesome, thank you.
Thank you Santa.
I’ll leave you with two movies today. The first is White Wine in the Sun by Tim Minchin. Last year I described this as ‘One of my favourite performers performing one of my favourite Christmas songs’. It’s still that, and it still makes me cry.
The second movie is a montage that totally reminds me of Tre (our dog) and Eowyn (our grumpiest cat). Maybe it will make you laugh 🙂
In October Milo James Fowler hosted ‘Creepy Freebies’ in which I gave away issues of Niteblade as well as a Halloween-themed goodie bag. This month he’s back with a holiday themed giveaway and I’m participating again.
And have I got goodies for you!
First there is Niteblade. Our issue #23, Blodeuwedd is available for you to download completely free. Pick your preferred format and enjoy:
I had so much fun putting together the last goodie bag that I’m going to raffle off another one. Where the first was Halloween themed this one is going to have a secular Christmas (I like to call it Giftmas) theme. All things considered it is unlikely to reach the winner before December 25th, but hopefully it will provide a smile and some fun when it does arrive anyway 🙂
The goodie bag will definitely include a physical copy of Niteblade’s special poetry issue (.pdf and print) as well as a proof copy of my book, Aphanasian Stories. Beyond that it’s a mystery. The goodies may include contributor copies of publications I’ve been included in (publishers often send two, I only need one), bookmarks, crafty bits, candy or… well, anything I think is awesome that will fit in the envelope.
I will also give away some copies of the latest issue of Niteblade. That would be Issue #26: A Fixer-Upper. Which is also known as our ghost story issue 🙂 I’ll draw the name of one winner of a copy of Niteblade for every 5 people who enter the draw (people, not entries). The more people who enter, the more will win, so please spread the word.
Don’t forget over 60% of the proceeds from Metastasis are being donated to the American Cancer Society to benefit cancer research.
One last thing? If you’ve read Metastasis, please take a moment to leave an honest review of it at your favourite website for that, Goodreads, Amazon, LibraryThing… Reviews are like cookies for writers and editors, we really, really appreciate them.
Yay! I *won* NaNoWriMo again this year (this makes my 8th victory). Of course, the novel I was working on isn’t finished. I think it still needs another 20-30,000 more words, but I’ve got a good start on it and I feel like I know where it’s going from here. I’m going to keep working on it at a bit of a slower pace (I have to focus the bulk of my time on Fae for a while now) but I look forward to having a complete workable first draft sometime in January.