Gen Con – The Writers Symposium

The Writer’s Symposium has a new dedicated web site up and running.  For those who have slept on GenCon (August 4-7, 2011, in Indianapolis, Indiana) in the past, dismissing it as just a “gamer’s convention”, the writers’ tracts feature 77 separate seminars, for beginning writers through areas of professional interest, covering about 85 hours worth of programming.  Plus, many of the 30+ writers and editors can be found either in Author Alley or, well, “what do you call a gathering of writers?  A bar.”

Thіѕ year’s panelists include Anton Strout, Brad Beaulieu, Daniel Myers, Dave Yυсkу, Don Bingle, Dylan Birtolo, Elizabeth Vaughan, Gregory Wilson, Jason Sizemore, Jean Rabe, Jennifer Brozek, Jerry Gordon, John Helfers, Kelly Swails, Bob Farnsworth, Kerrie Hughes, Lawrence Connolly, Linda Baker, Marc Tassin, Matt Forbeck, Maxwell Drake, Mike Stackpole, Monica Valentinelli, Pat Tomlinson, Paul Genesse, Ramsey Lundock, Richard Lee Byers, Sabrina Klein, Steve Sullivan, Steven Saus, аnd Tobias Buckell.  Wandering the halls you will find bestsellers lіkе Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, Ed Greenwood, R. A. Salvatore, James Lowder, аnd many more.

Here is my schedule for panels at the convention (though you can probably find me at the Apex Books table when I’m not running my mouth):

Thursday

8:00 a.m.

Pick Our Brains: We’re early risers. If you are too, come get a jump on the Writer’s Symposium activities and have a chat about this and that. From publishing and writing to the weather in Chicago and vampires in Toledo, we’ll cover whatever strikes your and our proverbial fancy. Science fiction, fantasy, romance, thriller, and horror authors Donald J. Bingle, Maurice Broaddus, and Elizabeth Vaughan

9:00 a.m.

Writing Your First Novel: No more excuses! It’s time to write that novel you keep talking about! But what does it take to move the story from your imagination to the page? Our panelists have been over that proverbial hump and are willing to give you a nudge.  Maurice Broaddus, Donald J. Bingle, John Helfers, Elizabeth Vaughan

Friday

8:00 a.m.

The Sword is Mightier:  A rousing sword fight can get the reader churning through the pages of your book. But you better know how to make it feel real. Our master wordsmiths share their expertise in writing the good fight. Dylan Birtolo, Maurice Broaddus, Jerry Gordon, Maxwell A. Drake

Saturday

1:00 p.m.

Make it Steamy—a Look at the Steampunk Genre: Some say it’s what the future would look like if it had come along earlier . . . say, in the Victorian era. Steampunk has been around for quite some time, but it’s risen in popularity over the past few years. Our panelists look at the genre and discuss how to get published in it.  Anton Strout, Lawrence Connolly, Gregory Wilson, Paul Genesse

Sunday

8:00 a.m.

Care and Feeding of Your Editor: You’ve got the acceptance letter, but now what? How do you keep your editor happy and asking for future manuscripts? What can you do to make their life easier, your writing more attractive to them . . . and what can you expect from them in return? Jennifer Brozek, Gregory Wilson, Maurice Broaddus, Jean Rabe,  William Horner

9:00 a.m.

Gender-Bending–men writing women and vice-versa: We’ve brought this session back because it was so successful last year! How can a man write a female character . . . and do it well? Can a woman get in the head of a male protagonist . . . and make that character believable?  Maurice Broaddus, Donald J. Bingle, Jennifer Brozek, Paul Genesse

HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!!!

Writing Goals 2011

As the end of the year draws near, now’s a great opportunity to take stock of the year that was even as we look ahead to the new year. I’m a goal oriented person and as a function of trying to remain hungry and ambitious (since I know if I don’t stay that way, I won’t make any forward progress in my career as a writer), I like to set goals. I prefer to set goals rather than make resolutions. Resolutions are cheap promises that I’m prone to breaking at my earliest convenience. Goals are something to work toward.

Your goals should be measurable, meaningful, and attainable.  I don’t set benchmarks like “write X hours per day” because that’s not the way I write.  But I do measure myself by number of completed projects.  And because this is the internet, my goals for last year will remain forever.  So let’s see how well I did:

So my goals for next year? I need to do any revisions required for King Maker and King’s Justice as well as write King’s War. Currently, I have eight stories out and about searching for homes. I’d like to write a half dozen more. I have other novels I hope to write (one a collaboration, one an expansion on a short story). I’d still like to revise that screenplay. I have two novellas percolating in the back of my head). And I’d like to make a comic book pitch.

On the Complete Fail side of the ledger, I blew working on the screenplay, novellas, comic book pitch, and novelization of my short story.  And I fell short of my goal of a half dozen new short stories having completed only three, though one has already sold:  I Can Transform You (co-written with Jason Sizemore), The Cracker Trap, In Receipt of Fern Seed, The Problem of Trystan (sold to the anthology Hot and Steamy:  Tales of Steampunk Romance).

I try to keep a dozen short stories “out there” in search of homes.  Currently I’m at ten.

I also am not a slave to my goals.  It’s best to always allow for the unexpected and have the flexibility to grab opportunities when they come up.  Thus the ghost writing projects that I completed as well as work on the Leverage RPG.

For 2011, I want to challenge myself a little more to continue to capitalize on whatever career momentum I may be experiencing. I’m not the most disciplined of writers, so without realistic goals, I’d probably sit around and do nothing but blog and play being a writer on the Internet. So I plan to write half a dozen short stories, write my creative non-fiction take on the book of Hosea (co-written with Danny Carroll), write a book on urban ministry (with Bob Schultz), write a postapocalyptic novel (with Wrath James White), and finish Pimp My Airship:  The Novel.

I don’t include stories I take off the shelf, dust off, and attempt to breathe new life into or blogging/reviews in my goal list.  Those things just happen as I get inspired and typically happen when I’m taking breaks from other projects.  I also want to read more.  I may have only read seven books this year, and all of those were research for stories.

We make our own luck by being prepared when opportunities arise.  And writers finish things.  It’s the only way to reach our goals.

In short, my goal for 2011:  Plant ass in chair and write.

On Setting Part II (aka Why Does King Arthur Talk Funny?)


“Nobody can be too careful about their habits of speech.” –Once and Future King

Even bearing in mind that not all critics are created equal, two of the reasons I don’t want to read reviews is that 1) good or bad, they become stuck in my head (good:  I wonder if I’ll ever write anything that good again; or bad:  they’ve discovered that I’m a hack and a fraud like I’ve always secretly believed);  and 2) I may feel the need to respond to some of their criticisms.

So anyway, before I went on my review fast (and a sucky job I’ve done at it), I ran across a criticism about the language in my novel.  To be straight, I have a very urbanized tale, putting the “urban” in urban fantasy as it were.  It is set among homeless teens, gang members, and drug dealers and thus has what I will generously call a highly select lexicon.  Some of which some readers have reacted poorly to.*

I get that an inner city tale of any sort might not be in every reader’s given experience.  Then again, the book is billed as The Wire meets Excalibur, so it’s not like the warning’s not right there on the cover.  But I want to look at this from the fantasy writer’s/reader’s expectation perspective.  Our job as writers is to build worlds, worlds complete with art, history, and language.  If a writer has done their job well, they can submerge you into any alien world and as part of the reader’s journey, they pick up the slang or language of the world.  Be it the lexicon of Dune, snippets of alien language, the random bits of poetry in the Lord of the Rings**, or Klingon (which I probably should have taken instead of French in college).

What I can’t stand, however, is when the … tone of the comments are undergirded with what I will generously call “angst” that the characters speak in American slang.  As if there is one and only one cultural lens through which Arthur can be interpreted.  Let me put it another way.  I am finally getting around to reading T.H. White’s The Once and Future King (I know, I know:  “what kind of King Arthur book can you have written if you hadn’t even read this?  Blah, blah, blah … bite me).  It’s widely hailed as a fantasy classic and I am in no way criticizing its position as I’m fully cognizant that my books may be in the discount bins in a few months, forgotten and unread.  Anyway, I ran across this passage:

“Wold fools may be wold fools, whether  by yea or by nay, but I haint served the Family for fifty year without a-learning of my duty.  A flibberty-gibbeting about wi’ a lot of want-wits, when thy own arm may be dropping to the floor!”

Now, I read that passage several times, with the criticism that I was committing some sort of cultural  hate crime in the back of my head.  And I thought, as an American male plopped on his couch reading this book, “this isn’t exactly torn from my cultural lexicon.”

This was just something I was thinking about as I vowed yet again to quit reading every review before I finish the last book in the Knights of Breton Court trilogy.  As it stands, I’m ¾ of the way done with the last book, King’s War.  The story is still set in Indianapolis, the characters still have their particular lexicon and their own diction.  It’s all a part of world building, where I hopefully transport you to a new world and make it believable and real.  After all, this Indianapolis doesn’t exist (as far as you know).

Of course, all of the criticism could be right and I simply suck.

*A friend told me to imagine that readers of fantasy were little old white women living in Iowa.  Not terribly accurate as sweeping generalizations go, but, oddly enough, it gave me some comfort.

**I won’t lie:  I was not a fan.  I came to a point in Fellowship of the Rings where I literally said out loud “if he writes one more damn elf song/poem, I’m done with the book.  He did and I was.  So, maybe I ultimately have no room to grouse in this blog and should leave it at “to each, their own.”


The Crossroads (aka The Dream of Full Time Writing … The Reality of Life)

Okay, so I’ve been unemployed for nine months now and have been using my sudden copious free time to do as much writing as I can.  I have even flirted with freelance projects, tempted by the idea of becoming a full time freelance writer.  Oh, it’s a tantalizing prospect, as I’d be really living the dream.  Unfortunately, little things like life cause me to hesitate from making that final leap.  My wife likes little things in life, like security, benefits, health insurance all things I have to weigh carefully as I move forward.

So I’ve been talking to a lot of freelancers trying to gauge the reality of life as a freelancer.  And to be perfectly straight, the only safety net I’m operating with is the last of our savings.  Which was the first thing I was told:  know The Date.  That’s the date at which not enough money comes in to cover bills (trust me, Significant Others will clue you in on the date if you try to remain blissfully ignorant).  For example, I figure I have a six month window, barring unforeseen circumstances, to get a real job or string together enough clients/work to continue freelancing.

After that, it’s about chasing down jobs.  Research, research, research.  Obviously, short of novels, I can’t make a living just doing fiction work.  So then I have to do other sorts of writing from articles to ghost writing.  Which means I also worry about how much of a drain the non-fiction/freelance stuff is in terms of my other primary/fiction writing.

I’ve looked into the gaming industry and if it works like most other publishing, I’ll be chasing my money.  Even working for large publishers that will continue to support their products, payment can either be delayed or … optional.  Royalty checks have a way of running late.  Gaming companies, like publishing companies, are often run by well-meaning folks who love the industry … but don’t know much about business/money.

Which brings me to the idea of valuing how much I’m worth.  It was a watershed moment, a writer’s emancipation proclamation I called it, deciding that my words were worth professional rates and that I shouldn’t settle for less in the name of “exposure.”  That being said, if I want to make money, it would happen on the non-fiction side of things and I have to measure if that’s something I want to do.

Work-for-hire stuff is also problematic because I don’t get to retain any of the intellectual assets.  I don’t own what I write.  I might want to consider tie-in fiction to supplement my income and help boost interest in your original stuff.  Video game freelancing is certainly on the higher pay grade of the gaming landscape.

*sigh*

It’s a lot of stuff to consider and certainly  one of those things where the “idea” of it sounds great but I don’t know if it’s the “life” I want.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of needing to pay bills and losing control over the kind of career you want to have (similar to the desperation to see ones name in print leading one to make bad publishing decisions).  As a friend told me “a savvy writer needs to understand the difference between what they want vs. what they need to do.”  So it boils down to figuring out how much I need to make, how much time it consumes, and how much of a creative drain it is.  And while I’m calculating all of that, I will keep writing.  At least until The Date arrives.

Adopted Sons

A few years ago, I wrote a piece on Adopted Dads, recounting the importance of having him in my life.  Well, I guess turn about is fair play.  He has recently started a blog and I asked if I could run part of it here:

Guest Blog by Mark Williams

Maurice Broaddus doesn’t need anyone to toot his horn for him; He does a perfectly good job of that for himself. Afterall, this is a guy who holds an annual convention named for himself. Mo-Con has been gathering horror authors together in Indianapolis for 5 years now. Maurice has been writing professionally for some time. His pontifications can be found on his blog, his reviews at Hollywood Jesus, and in columns for Nuvo among many other sources. He has had short stories, novellas and now novels published. I have had the privilege to watch his growth longer than most.

Maurice came into my life about 30 years ago. He was a studious 4th grader who took part in the Sunday School class I taught at the Eagle Creek Grace Brethren Church. The class was filled with a crew of enjoyable but rowdy boys. There was something about Maurice that drew me to him. He was polite, studious and eager to learn. He was new to the church and was just learning to fit in, initially quiet and a bit reserved. All of those qualities made me want to reach out to him, but it was more that. I felt a connection with him. God laid a burden on my heart to befriend this young man

Maurice has brought so much joy in my life. Before I had boys of my own, Maurice filled the place in my heart reserved for fatherhood. My wife and I would have Maurice over to our house sometimes just to play games in the backyard sometimes to spend the night watching movies. Over the years, we spent countless hours discussing a variety of topics finding mutual interests in comic books, horror stories, politics and most importantly the Bible. Maurice always amazed me with his thirst for knowledge. He was never satisfied with what he was being taught in school and he would go to great lengths to expand his knowledge. I remember when he was in junior high his complaining the school didn’t have a class in Latin available so he set out to try and teach himself Latin by checking out books in the Library. I also remember when he was in High School and he had to write a science paper and he elected to defend creation and argue against evolution, this done in public school. Maurice makes me proud. I watched with pride when he accepted his diploma at Northwest High School, married Sally, introduced me to his sons, took on leadership positions in his church and most recently gave me copies of his first published novel and the book of short stories he edited.
I like to think I have had some influence on Maurice’s life. I know he has had influence on mine. The most important part I played was introducing him to Jesus Christ. Maurice has remained faithful to God and has led others to the Lord himself and has counciled many in his various ministries.

I don’t get to see Maurice as much as I would like. He leads an extremely busy life and I too have limited time for social gathering. I read his blog, which is very well crafted and I heartily endorse for those who want well thought out discussions on the issues. He is certainly his own man, and where once before we agreed on most everything, Maurice now has formulated opinions I sometimes question. I have concerns about his judgment at times just like every father has concerns for a son who ventures in a direction where peril might lay. But my confidence in Maurice is not diminished. He has pursued his goals steadfastly and is now seeing the fruit of his efforts.

Maurice has become an accomplished writer. He has won awards for his short stories written a novella Devil’s Marionette and has co-authored the novella Orgy of Souls with Wrath James White and most recently signed a 3 book deal with Angry Robot a division of Harper Collins. The 3 books will comprise a trilogy telling the story of The Knights of Breton Court. Maurice has also edited, along with Jerry Gordon, an anthology Dark Faith for Apex Books.

He goes onto give his opinions on King Maker and Dark Faith.  But I’m not linking to him anymore if he’s going to keep posting old pics of me.  Sheesh.

W.I.P. – 07-28-10 Edition

In case you notice my blog being fairly sporadic over the next few weeks, it’s because I’m in the final push on a few projects.  Not to mention Gencon, a sekrit project, and Context really tying up my August.  I figure at the very least, I can update you on the status of my latest projects.

King’s War – as Book One of the Knights of Breton Court trilogy, King Maker, prepares to make its U.S. debut this October, I’m hard at work wrapping up the first draft of Book Three, King’s War.  Remind me to shoot myself if I ever get the wacky idea to take on a sprawling mythology with dreams of boiling it down to three books.

Wrath of GodWrath James White and I are teaming up for another project.  Our last story, Orgy of Souls, went so well and we had a premise so tantalizing neither of us could resist.  For any curious about the universe this postapocalyptic tale takes place in, read his contribution to the anthology, Dark Faith.

I Can Transform You – Speaking of Orgy of Souls and Dark Faith, the guru behind Apex Books, Jason Sizemore, got it in his head that he and I ought to collaborate on a story.  A murder mystery set in a dystopic future, no less.

Nisi Shawl is “editing WisCon Chronicles Volume 5. I’m looking for essays between 1000 and 6000 words long, on or adjacent to the theme of “Writing and Racial Identity,” with the focus on 2010’s WisCon 34–panels, discussions, and other events. I want written contributions from people who attended WisCon 34. I will need these contributions by August 27. Photos, drawings, poems, interviews, and (very) short fiction will also be considered for this book.”  I am busy revising my essay for her as I write this.

It’s probably too early to discuss my latest collaborative project in depth.  But I’m teaming up with a pastor to write about the front lines of urban ministry and what it means to engage the poor.  That’s three collaborations, which isn’t so bad as it means I have to do half the work.  Usually, I can count of my partners having an equally busy workload so when I turn around a chapter or section, it can be a minute before I get anything back.  Unfortunately, there are those rare times when I’m so focused on something that projects bottleneck.  Now would be one of those times as I keep swearing “this will be the last chapter I do before I take a break.”

Oh, and I’m outlining my next solo novel as I’m hoping to do what I did with the first draft of King Maker and write it during this year’s NaNoWriMo.  It will be a novel length treatment of my story—again from Apex Magazine—Pimp My Airship.

Speaking of pimping things, I thought I’d mention the latest project my sister is working on.  I’ve written about her before about her being one of the best moms that I know.  When she’s not busy convincing me to write about unicorns, rainbows, and moats full of skittles (those of you who follow my nonsense on Twitter get that), she is writing as the Indianapolis Parenting Tweens columnist for Examiner.com.  Go and check her out.

Countdown to GenCon

As part of the fiscal reality of being a writer, I can’t always make it to the cons I would like to.  Not that I’m bitter at all about having to have missed Readercon, Necon, and San Diego Comic Con, with no bitterness exacerbated by all of my friends who were at those events tweeting non-stop.  My convention schedule this year has been largely restricted to conventions I can drive to.  I still have a couple of conventions left for the year, including Context, and World Fantasy.  But GenCon’s up next.

It has always struck me as odd that GenCon is off of many writer’s radar when it comes to convention planning.  I’ll have to admit, despite the convention being here in Indianapolis for many years, up until recently, I, too, thought of it as just “the gamer’s convention.”  I had a couple of friends who regularly attended the convention, and I’d meet them to hang out and gradually I got to understand it as much more than a gamers convention.

For a start, part of making a living as a professional writer means being open to (and constantly looking for) all sorts of opportunities.  Video game writing, media tie in work, role-playing game writing, many of these options we might have considered but had no idea how to break into them.  Or begin making the right contacts.  GenCon’s the place.

For writers, there is a huge writers track of programming.  The convention is wall-to-wall panels addressing so many different aspects of writing topics.  Each year I’ve gotten a little bit more involved: from pestering my friends, to hanging out on author’s row, to now being on a couple of panels that week:

Thursday 10:00 a.m. – Plotstorming from Character
Brad Beaulieu, Paul Genesse, Kelly Swails, Maurice Broaddus

Thursday 11:00 a.m. – Writing Support

Elizabeth Vaughan, Jean Rabe, Steven Saus, Maurice Broaddus

Friday 10:00 a.m. – Crafting the Love Scene

Elizabeth Vaughan, Paul Genesse, Linda Baker, Maurice Broaddus*

Friday 11:00 a.m. – Setting is King

Chris Pierson, Paul Genesse, Bob Farnsworth, Gregory Wilson, Maurice Broaddus
Then there’s the people themselves.  For one thing, science fiction and fantasy writers, this is your target audience.**  These are the people buying your wares.

GenCon’s a great little convention guaranteed to entertain, if nothing else, for the sheer spectacle of it all.  And I mean little in the sense of thousands and thousands of people locking up downtown Indianapolis.

*Because when you think of the perfectly crafted love scene, you think Maurice Broaddus

**Don’t get me wrong, by Day 4 of the convention, you’ll be wishing your demographic bathed more often.

Inhabiting the Space of Our Characters

I’m preoccupied and processing what might be a chicken and the egg thing:  do I write stories because of the things I am thinking about or am I thinking about this stuff because of the stories I’m writing.  I’ve mentioned (not TOO defensively, mind you) before how my blog IS a writer’s blog because it’s the blog of a writer, mostly just the thoughts of a writer more than “how to” tips from one.

I think the best writing comes from a certain emotional place; an emotional core or emotional honesty.   It’s what we imbue our characters with and what adds resonance to our stories.  So what I’m writing about here is what I’m typically working through in a story or project.  Or vice versa:  what I’m processing through emotionally is what makes a story.  Besides having to put up with our moods, the emotional frisson of creation, there is the schizophrenic aspect of life with a writer.  It’s bad enough that we spend so many hours jumping in and out of characters heads, lives, and points of view.

This is just something I’m once again fully realizing with my blogs and the topics I’m thinking about.  Let’s see, issues of poverty, addictions, homelessness, shame, broken relationships, being stuck, and relationships with God.  Right now I’m going back and forth between projects.  I’m helping out on a coffeetable book project for Outreach Inc; a collaborative project with Jason Sizemore about a dystopian future; a postapocalyptic novel with Wrath James White (thinking through the nature of God:  the god we construct in our mind and theologies vs. the God we experience and who defies our imagination and expectations); and the third novel in my Knights of Breton Court series, King’s War (writing about the despair and hopelessness of broken relationships and characters as they trying to find redemption and return to their mission).

This is all a part of writing what you know.  We read and write in part because we are relational beings moved by feeling.  We respond, in part, to the emotions of a story (you want to argue that it’s not a part of the draw to the Twilight series?).  I may not know exactly what a dystopian future may look like, but I do know my own emotions, what I’m working through, my history, and my story.  This is what makes your characters real and that’s what your readers connect with.  It doesn’t matter who you are, we all experience the same things. We experience joy, pain, longing, sadness, self-hate, self-love, jealousy, anger and so on. It’s our humanity, our common experience, that connects us.

Ghost Writer – All I Need is a Flaming Bike

[<–Ghost Rider … Ghost Writer? Get the pun?!?]

I’m a vain person.

I’m either slowing coming to grips with this reality or am re-discovering the depths of this truth anew. Now, to be straight, part of “living the writer’s life” is an act of ego and vanity. Ego to believe that something we’ve written ought (DEMANDS!) to be read by others and vain enough to want to see our name on our work. How many of us day dream about walking into a library or a book store and seeing our name on the shelves?

This moment of revelation has been brought to you by elance.com. You see, I’ve been on the site grabbing up the occasional bit of freelance work. I’m about to submit a bid on another ghostwriting job. And once again, my mind is calculating how much time and effort I am going to spend, how many (good) words I am going to use … for someone else’s name to go on it. Then Sally reminds me that bills are due and I prepare the proposal.

The name of the game is managing expectations. The client attitudes may vary, but too often there’s this attitude of “anyone can do this” and that we writers are interchangeable commodities/trained monkeys filling in because the client is too busy to do it themselves. Or because writing is boring, tedious work which they don’t enjoy nearly as much as the coming up with ideas part of writing. One reason, as Nick Mamatas pointed out, is “because everyone can write… So what if the sentences are boring or ungrammatical; outside of real spaghetti, most people can pretty much grasp what a sentence is supposed to mean.” They may not know or understand what they want or are asking for. Or, to be more on point, they may not know what they’re doing. But they are the client. Still, it can grate … I’m imagining as much as me self-diagnosing myself via teh interwebz then going to my doctors to tell them their business.

So just like in collaborations, communication is key. The more thorough the communication is up front, the less bumps there are down the road. Not that there won’t be bumps, but it helps. There are a few things that have to clearly spelled out:

-Deadlines. There are benchmarks of progress that have to be spelled out. How much would they like to see by when?
-Target audience. Who and/or at what level am I writing for?
-Creative input. How much does the client want? Do they want to provide the skeleton of the work and you build on it? Do they just have a title/topic and want you to write it?
-Cost. Yes, I can be quite mercenary when it comes to writing (or “Maurice-nary” as Lon Prater calls it). I need folks to clearly understand that I’m a professional, I know what I’m doing, writing doesn’t happen by magic, and my time and effort are worth not only paying for but paying well and on time for.
-Distribution. For my own sake, I like to know where the book will be available.

After that, it’s about getting the story they want out of them. My agent, Robert Fleck, told me that “ghostwriting is a tough gig and the better you do it, the less the person thinks you’re worth. The more you make it sound like them, the better you are, and the less they believe you’ve done.”

Sigh.

I don’t know … if creating a work is like birthing a child, ghostwriting is like giving it up for adoption. Part of you knows it’s still yours and will always be yours, and you may want to occasionally go check up on it. But it’s part of another’s family now to make their own.

So I make sure the check clears.

(And, wow, does that “child” metaphor break down at this point. But nothing soothes my wounded sense of vanity like a check. Or a paypal deposit, because I’m all kinds of convenient.)

A Couple New Story Sales

Because I can’t just find a genre and stick to it (aka, why I’ll probably never sell a short story collection), here are my latest story sales. First up, I have a story in an anthology of weird western stories entitled “Dead West:13 Tales of Murder and Mayhem” (cover art by Bob Freeman) from Bandersnatch Books due out around Halloween 2010:

Jerrod Balzer – A Show of Rage

Steve Vernon – Border Crossing
Hunter Lambright – Things Worse Than Ghosts
Daniel I. Russell – Rainchild and the Trickster
Rick Hautala – Screaming Head
Steve Rasnic Tem – Sleeping Ute
Lisa Morton – St. Thomas of El Paso
Harry Shannon – The Reckoning
Martel Sardina – The Turtle’s Only Friend
Michael Knost – Thinning the Herd
Maurice Broaddus – Trails End
Steven Shrewsbury – Boston Corbet:: Castro Gunfighter
Matthew Pizzolato – Windigo

By the way, that marks my third weird western. The first was in Dark Dreams II. The second was sold to Inhuman Magazine (hmm, a sale I don’t think I’d announced yet, but, there you go) and now this one. They are somewhat connected, in that they have recurring characters.

The second story is for an anthology of dystopic SF for Dark Quest books called Dark Futures (art by Alexey Andreye). It comes out in the second quarter of 2010 but is available here for pre-order:

“Black Hole Sun” by Alethea Kontis & Kelli Dunlap
“For Restful Death I Cry” by Geoffrey Girard
“Tasting Green Grass” by Elaine Blose
“Endangered” by Robby Sparks
“Nostalgia” by Gene O’Neill
“Beautiful Girl” by Angeline Hawkes
“Father’s Flesh, Mother’s Blood” by Aliette De Bodard
“Terra Tango 3″ by James Reilly
“Love Kills” by Gill Ainsworth
“Memories of Hope City” by Maggie Jamison
“Do You Want That in Blonde, Brunette, or Auburn” by Glenn Lewis Gillette
“Marketing Proposal” by Sarah M. Harvey
“The Monastery of the Seven Hands” by Natania Barron
“A Futile Gesture Toward Truth” by Paul Jessup
“Hydraulic” by Ekaterina Sedia
“Alien Spaces” by Deb Taber
“A Stone Cast into Stillness” by Maurice Broaddus
“Personal Jesus” by Jennifer Pelland
“Meat World” by Michele Lee

I like to keep diverse company.