This issue contains my story, “Comet Man” — a flash piece about solar surfers, comet taxies, and a family divided. The issue can be found here: Penumbra Vol. 3 Issue 3.
Hope everyone in the states has a happy and safe Thanksgiving tomorrow.
Also, just as an aside, if you are an art lover and happen to pick up a copy of Spectrum 20 (now out!), take a special look at page 166. Eric Wilkerson’s wonderful illustration of my story, Sojourn for Ephah (IGMS issue 30), graces the bottom of the page. So pretty!
Have a good one, all.
I’ve sold two short stories recently. One to Penumbra for their ‘Family Traditions’ issue (coming this December), and one to another venue which is TBA due to pending paperwork and edits (but I’ve also appeared there previously). I’m very excited about both of these sales and will give out more details soon!
Hope everyone is having an awesome day.
For my blog post today… I am basically high-jacking someone else’s blog post.
I am in the middle of querying agents at the moment, and already I’m running through the gamut of emotions. And I really, really want to talk about it.
But I won’t, because no one needs to see the rollercoster while I’m on it.
Instead, I present you with this link: Because she said it so much better than I can.
So, my plan was to do a LoneStarCon 3 overview today, but alas, I feel I am too late. There are already a ton of rehashes all across the web focusing on everything from the lack of a YA Hugo , to the overall older vibe (google it and take your pick), to how it stacks up against other cons.
There are even some nice blogs that cover who met whom and who did what. (What, you say I’m only linking to Lou Anders’ post because I’m in it? Not so, not so!)
What could I possibly bring to the table when we’ve already got an embarrassment of riches (ie. blog posts)?
I’m here to give you the one thing I learned at Worldcon that trumps everything else: the five minute rule.
What is that, you ask? Is it like the five second rule? Er, no.
The five minute rule relates to a paranormal phenomenon that can only be experienced when a large number of people you want to meet are all gathered in close proximity for long periods of time. Here’s the theory:
Whenever you are about to leave a social area of the con–say you’re sleepy and want to call it a night–wait five minutes. If you do, someone interesting will inevitably make an appearance and talk to you.
The first time it happened we (a group of us from the Writers of the Future forum hung out a good chunk of the time) were at the hotel bar just as it closed. The staff were ‘encouraging’ us to leave, and we thought it best to comply. However, we lagged, and the lady taking out the garbage bins kind of barreled through the crowd–inevitably pushing us (literally) into Lou Anders from Pyr. He was great to meet. I had attended several of his panels that day, and ended up going to several more. We ran into each other on other occasions during the con, and each time was a pleasure.
The second time I encountered the phenomenon, the group of people I was with had just decided to head to bed, but as it was nearing two (or was it three?) in the morning, we were all moving rather slowly. Within five minutes, an editor form Orbit (who shall remain unnamed, as it seems this is one of her favorite con games) came and sat at our table (led there by a friend). She immediately asked us all to pitch our books, and was kind enough to critique our attempts. If we’d left when we’d decided to, we would have missed out.
It happened again and again throughout the con. We wanted to leave, but we lingered, and ran into Joshua Bilmes. We wanted to leave, but lingered, and ran into Kim Stanley Robinson. We wanted to leave, but decided we better wait five minutes because, geez, the correlation between us deciding to leave and interesting people showing up was just getting weird…
So, anyway, that’s my unique Worldcon observation: when you think it’s time to go, wait five minutes. You never know who might make an appearance.
All kidding aside, Worldcon is primarily about people–meeting new people, and reconnecting with colleagues you already know. That’s why it’s essential to hang around after hours, and if you’re an introvert like me, to step out of your comfort zone for a while.
Do you have a unique Worldcon observation? If so, let me know in the comments!
My least favorite part of the process is…? Copyediting. Spelling has never been my strongpoint. I particularly have problems with homophones and compound words. Trying to catch all those little flubs is no fun at all.
But copyediting is important. It’s what elevates a manuscript from armature to pro. It makes the story clean and accessible.
So, today I made two lists–one for each of my problem areas. Neither is complete, and I assume that years from now I’ll still be adding to them. The most difficult thing about making the lists was realizing that there are homophones and compound words out there that I’ve used incorrectly because I had no idea a correct version existed. What do you mean there are two spellings of compliment (complement)? Supersensitive is a word (synonym of hypersensitive)?
Making these lists has reinforced for me the importance of continuous learning. I will always have weaknesses, which means I will always be able to improve. I can get better. I can level up.
I highly suggest doing the same for yourself. Maybe your weakness isn’t homophones, but incorrect word usage, or comma placement. Maybe it isn’t prose related–maybe you’ve had trouble with time management. Whatever it is, make yourself some kind of guide, something that shows you the correct or most effective way to overcome your weakness. Even if it’s just a start, it can be a great tool to add to your growing box of tricks.
Always strive to improve. Never give up. Never surrender.
What are your tips and tricks for improving problem areas? Let me know!
I’ve just made it home after a wonderful and exhaustive experience at LoneStarCon 3. Met with a lot of people, went to a lot of interesting and informative panels, and had a great time staying up late every night chatting in the bar and hotel lobby.
While I was gone, the latest issue of Galaxy’s Edge was released. It contains my story “The Prayer Ladder,” along with stories by Nancy Kress, Nick T. Chan, Robert Silverberg and many more.
You can read it on line at galaxysedge.com, or find it in e-book and hard copy from your go-to retailer.
I plan on doing a more comprehensive post on Worldcon once I’ve fully recovered from the trip.
If you were there, but somehow I missed out on meeting you, let me know in the comments!
Alex Wilson, Alisa Alering, Andrea Stewart, anthology, Brian Trent, Christopher Reynaga, Chrome Oxide, Eric Cline, fantasy, Kodiak Julian, Marilyn Guttrige, self promotion, Shannon Peavey, short story, Stephen Sottong, Tiffany England, Tina Gower, wotf, writers of the future
Below is a video clip from the Vol. 29 Writers and Illustrators of the Future awards ceremony. It contains an introduction to my story, the wonderfully quirky dance choreographed for it, my thank you speech and Tiffany England’s thank you speech. Enjoy, get inspired, and enter the contest!
I’ve just sold a sci-fi humor detective story to Galaxy’s Edge. My first story with this venue is set to appear in the September issue, so I’m very glad to have another one in the works.
Happy dance time.
Writers of the Future Vol. 29 is out! And I will be signing copies from 2:00-4:00pm this Saturday (the 13th) at the Barnes & Noble on N. College Ave. in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
If you are in the area I hope to see you there. You can ask me about the contest, about writing, about science fiction–about basically anything you’d like. Or you can just get a crisp new book and a neat-o signature if you’re not up for chatting. Either way, I’ll appreciate you stopping by!