The Recap – November 2018

Bloggos,

Video games are how I decompress, and apparently I really needed to decompress this weekend. I completely missed the fact that Saturday was the first of the month and spaced on writing up my usual monthly recap post! I’m so sorry for the delay.

November Goals

  • Write 800 words/dayLogo_of_National_Novel_Writing_Month
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep Reading!

How’d I do?

  • Write 800 words/day
    • YES! This was a really big win for me and I am still doing (exhausted) happy dances.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yep! Both Lifelike and That Which Illuminates Heaven were submitted to various magazines in November.
  • Keep Reading!
    • Um… Yes! I read four titles in November, more than I thought I did.

Total Monthly Word Count: 25,069

November was intentionally straightforward. Three bullet points are not remotely daunting, but the prospect of writing 25,000 words sure as hell is. I needed to keep the docket relatively clear in order to make time and mental space for the giant hurdle I’d set for myself.  And it worked.

Did you see that word count? Did ya? It’s the most I’ve written in a single month in all of 2018 and I am ecstatic about it. I worked hard, stayed up later than I should, drank a TON of coffee, and committed myself to making the time to make my goals, which is the entire point of National Novel Writing Month. So, that was a wild success!

Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 12.37.27 PM

As for submissions, my stories continue to do well but not quite well enough. It’s an emotional rollercoaster with every email notification, but it’s getting easier. I think I’m becoming desensitized. Which, if that could hurry the eff up, that’d be great. The sooner I don’t feel the sting of rejection, the better.

And then there was the reading. Despite my four titles and my one book review, I don’t feel very successful on this front. I tried to read A Map of Days, and had to abandon it because I simply wasn’t motivated to pick it up. I am on the cusp of doing the same for Skyward, although I am motivated to read it, only too late. I’m out of time with it and there are a slew of holds on it. I’m going to move on to Lies Sleeping and buy Skyward so I can read it at my leisure.

Adding two books to my Did Not Finish pile in November does not feel good, but I’m not really surprised either. There’s simply too much going on in the month for me to feel accomplished at everything I wanted to achieve.

December Goals

  • Write 10k
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Read three more titles!

Another straightforward month. It’s December, a busy time at Starbucks and in my personal life so I want to give myself some wiggle room. The holidays are stressful enough without adding my own unmet expectations into the mix. Besides, I want to end the year on a happy and accomplished note, so I can springboard into 2019 ready to shine!

I’m confident that I will make my reading goal for the year. I only have to read three more titles, and I think two of them are a shoe-in. I just have to pick a third book that will read quick.

Short story submissions will continue until each story finds a home. I am stubborn, infuriatingly tenacious, and there’s a steady supply of ice cream in my house. I will get these stories published!

The writing goal might be a close thing if I let video games get in the way. 10k feels like nothing after the blistering word count of November, but that’s kind of the point. I can’t write at that pace for two months in a row, at least not right now. I’ll just burn out if I try. So, I’m going to dial things back and write a little bit each week. Slow and steady wins the race or something.

Hopefully you’ll see some more book reviews this month, and I’ll get good news about one of my stories. Fingers crossed!

Until later, Blogland!

 

BZ

 

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Call for Submissions!

The Audient Void is now open for submissions!

Now that the sixth issue of The Audient Void: A Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy is out, we are opening submissions for issue #7. We are looking for quality works of poetry and short fiction.

Poetry should be Weird or darkly fantastical with strong imagery. We pay $.35 a line with a $5 minimum, payable upon publication.

For short fiction our tastes are broad and we will consider anything with Weird, horrific or fantastical elements. We will consider any length work but will be much less likely to publish stories over 5,000 words. Our rate is $5 per thousand words, payable upon publication. First time publication only, no reprints please.

To submit please send your work as a .doc, .docx or .rtf file to:

theaudientvoidmag@gmail.com

Be sure to include a header with your name and email address. We do not accept simultaneous submissions and ask that you wait for our response before submitting elsewhere. The submission deadline is Nov. 15th, please do not inquire about your submission before that deadline and understand that it may take some time to follow up on all submissions after the deadline has passed. We very much look forward to reading everyone’s work!

Please keep in mind that Weird Fiction is a genre of its own. Do not send us simply strange stories,  but your dark, fantastical tales.

I can’t wait to read your stories! Best of luck to you all!

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 28

Bloggos!

Summer is finally here, at least according to the thermometers. Salem’s been enjoying a range of 90 degree weather, reminding me of home and filling me with a desperate need to find a swimming pool.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write chapter 7 of The Steel Armada
  • Write 500 words on Sanctuary
  • Finish tumblr prompt
  • Finish a Dresden audiobook
  • Submit Lifelike
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write chapter 7 of The Steel Armada
    • *drum roll* YES!!!! I wrote over 2,700 words on the book last week and it feels so. damn. good.
  • Write 500 words on Sanctuary
    • Yes! I managed to squeeze in another 700ish words last night after our Gloomhaven session.
  • Finish tumblr prompt
    • Nope. Though, I did look at it, so better than last week, haha.
  • Finish a Dresden audiobook
    • Yep! Brief Cases is done and off to the next person.
  • Submit Lifelike
    • Yep! It’s been out for a few days and haven’t heard anything yet. I probably won’t hear more about it until next week.
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Of course.

Weekly Word Count: 3,464

When I wrote this list down last week, I felt daunted. That was a lot of bullet points, a lot of hope on a whiteboard. But, looking at it now, I feel really good seeing so much of it in black. Six out of seven ain’t bad, in fact, I’d say that’s a win.

I didn’t get the book review up like I wanted to, but this is a new week, with plenty of time to talk about all the reading I’ve been doing! I finally sat down and really hashed out what the hell needed to come next for Val. The chapter went mostly where I expected, although the stakes did get a bit more dire for her, which is always a good thing in your writing. The stakes are high in Sanctuary as well, as my couple finally has a major discussion about their actions and what’s to come.

My shipwreck tumblr prompt is languishing in my google drive. I might bounce over to a different prompt, simple because this one isn’t shaping up the way I want it to. It’s supposed to be funny, and so far it definitely is not.

I’ve got two audiobooks on deck right now, Side Jobs on disc for car listening and Bloodlist on my phone for any other chances I get to listen to a book. I’m also almost done with Moon Over Soho, the second Peter Grant book, with the third one patiently waiting on my library book shelf.

Lifelike and The Cost of Rain are both out. I received word that the latter is being held for further consideration, so my fingers are crossed that the editor likes it enough to take it. Wish me luck!

Madhu’s pages continue to show great improvement and are a testament to all her hard work. We’re almost done with this read through, and then it’s just editing and then sharing the full manuscripts for a finally proofread before we ship them off to Tim the Agent™.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write chapter 8 of The Steel Armada
  • Finish chapter 6 of Sanctuary
  • Post a tumblr prompt
  • Record an episode of Santa Sarita
  • Finish an audiobook
  • Review Madhu’s pages

This week I have two book reviews to share. First, the review for Midnight Riot, and then the review for Brief Cases. If my reading keeps on at this pace July will have a lot of reviews posted on the blog.

The next chapter in The Steel Armada is a bit of a blank spot in my mind. I know it needs to slow down for a minute and then things are gonna go crazy again, because we’re pretty much at the end. I expect the bulk of my week to be spent working this out. But, I’m about halfway through this chapter of Sanctuary and I’d really love to finish it. The same goes for recording the next episode of Santa Sarita.

I have ever confidence that I’ll finish listening to an audiobook this week, probably Bloodlist, simply because it’s portable so I have more opportunities to listen to it. And of course, there’s Madhu’s pages, which I always complete. But, I actually have pages to share with her this week! Whaaaaaaattttttt??????

So, yeah. That’s my week. Just trucking on, basking in last week’s successes and trying to keep the momentum going.

Wish me luck!

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 22

Ahoy Blogland!

It is a quintessential spring day here in the Pacific Northwest. Sunshine, wind, a smattering of clouds, and a comfortable 70ish degrees. It makes sitting still difficult,  but I’ll see what I can manage.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Finish reading The Master Magician
  • Review Madhu’s pages

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
    • Yes! I didn’t think I was going to cross the finish line this week, but the writing came very easily last night, giving my word count the boost it so desperately needed.
  • Finish reading The Master Magicianmaster magician
    • Yep! I managed to sit my butt down and give this book a chance. Turns out, the last 70 pages are by far the best. But, I’ll talk about that in more detail later this week.
  • Review Madhu’s pages
    • Of course! This is the one thing I always do. Need I say more?

Weekly Word Count: 3,866

This week was a really good one. I committed to my goals and made sure I did what was necessary to see them through. I can’t say I do that every week, but I’m doing better. I’m trying, and sometimes I even manage to succeed!

Aside from the writing going so well, my biggest win of this week was finishing The Master Magician. I was horribly opposed to that book by the middle of the week, but I finished the last 70 pages in one sitting, and I even liked them! So, that shows that sometimes, you really should forge ahead through that book that’s giving you grief. It might just be worth your while.

Progress continues on The Steel Armada. I wrote quite a bit on it this week and it continues to surprise me. I’m excited for the scenes I’ll be exploring in the days to come. And I think I might have come up with a new title! But, I’m not sharing until I’m certain, sorry.

My husband and I also did a TON of work on our front yard this weekend and found time to hang out with family and friends. It really felt like I was Superwoman this week, capable of anything and everything!

That was until the rejections for The Cost of Rain came in. One last week and one this morning. Now, I’m not too bummed, I know this is par for the course in writerland. But, it still stings a little, yeah? It still sucks for a second, before you decide to buck up and submit it to the next place on your list. I tell myself this is the harder story to place, that it falls between genre lines and between desired word counts and yadda yadda yadda. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what I tell myself, I’ve already decided to submit it until it sells. So there, self.

It was nice to keep things straightforward this last week. It made buckling down and getting the work done that much easier. Unfortunately, there’s a bit more on my plate this time around.

This Week

  • Publish 2 blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on The Steel Armada
  • Finish listening to Side Jobs
  • Submit Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship application
  • Review Madhu’s pages

Thoughts

I really should add a bullet point for Sanctuary, because I need to make sure I actually work on it this month. But there’s a lot of bullet points on this week as it is, and that doesn’t include my non-writing goals for this week! I have to get my passport application turned in, work on the yard some more, and do some of the general house chores that are starting to fall behind. Yikes!

The good news is that I’ve got the review for The Master Magician for this week, so there’s one goal that’s good to go. I’ve also got a big ol’ blog post planned that’s a bit of a self-indulgence. I think you’ll like it though, don’t worry! I’m not sure when it will be posted, but I promise it’s coming.

Since setting my writing goal of 500 words/day, I’ve only fallen short once or twice. I’m really plugging away on this book, and so far there’s no end in sight. That feels good. Like, really, really good.

side jobsI maybe, kinda, sorta forgot I had the audiobook for Side Jobs. I’m so used to digital audiobooks on my phone that I completely forgot about the CDs in my car! I started listening to it Saturday, and am making some decent progress. They’re fun, though a little repetitive. Hopefully I’ll get through them quickly, since Brief Cases comes out tomorrow!

Yes, you read that next bullet point correctly. I am applying for the Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship. My dance teacher, Mrs. Buren, always said that you should always try for the things you want, because the worst they can tell you is ‘no’. That’s damn good advice for any kind of endeavor, but particularly artistic ones. And well, this was another unexpected writing thing that came across my radar thanks to Madhu. And since I wouldn’t have thought to apply otherwise, getting declined won’t sting half so much as some of these short story rejections.

And who knows? There’s always a chance they’ll say yes! “You can only catch fish that are in the lake.” More sage advice from dear Mrs. Buren. If I don’t apply, then I have no chance at all. So, I’m applying, and other than next week’s Goals Summary, I won’t be talking about it again until I get the results.

Anyway, that’s the plan. That’s what’s up. That’s the skinny, the downlow, the scoop. You know, all those cool catchphrases only dads and cutesy moms still use. You know the ones, the ones that say “cool beans” unironically. Those ones.

Until later, Bloggos!

 

BZ

 

The Audient Void #5 Available Now!

the audient void no 5

The new issue of The Audient Void: A Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy is out now! This issue features incredible artwork by Brad Hicks and Allen K, short stories by David Barker and John R. Fultz, and a slew of poetry from Adam Bolivar, K.A. Opperman, Ashley Dioses, and many others.

We have an online store where you can pick up your copy and maybe snag a copy of Issue #4 while supplies last! The Audient Void is only in print; no digital copies, so you’re getting a physical product for your money!

Audient Void issue 4

If you’re in the Salem area, we’ll have a release party, as is tradition, on April 28th at 7pm at The Book Bin.  This coincides with Independent Bookstore Day, so even if you’re not local, maybe head out to your nearby brick-and-mortar bookseller to show your support!

Now that Issue #5 is out, it’s only a matter of time before we’ll be open for submissions again. As soon as I know more, I’ll be sure to share the details!

I look forward to another awesome release party!

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 9

It’s a rare bright and sunny morning here in the Pacific Northwest. If only it were warm enough to sit outside and enjoy it, but my poor, thin desert blood doesn’t find 42 degrees comfortable, no matter the sunshine. So, instead, let’s talk about goals!

What was I supposed to do?

  • Publish 2 book reviews
  • Finish Sanctified chapter 33
  • Finish reading Semiosis
  • Edit 2 chapters of The Steel Armada
  • Edit Lifelike

How’d I do?

  • Publish 2 book reviews
  • Finish Sanctified chapter 33
    • Done-diddly-un. I also posted chapter 32 and got a very tiny start on chapter 34, aka, the last chapter!
  • Finish Semiosis
    • I tried my damnedest to finish this book today, before I needed to publish this post. Unfortunately, I still have about 100 pages to go. It’s not really the kind of book you can just speed through. I’ll get it done in the next couple of days.
  • Edit 2 chapters of The Steel Armada
    • YEP! That was a concerted effort. Revising/rewriting two chapters in two days is not my idea of a good time. But it was damn productive. I’m really pleased with the progress and changes that I’m making so far.
  • Edit Lifelike
    • YES! This was another task I didn’t think I’d actually get done. But, I buckled down and made it happen, pretty much entirely because it had been a goal for February and I refused to neglect it. The white board proved itself extremely valuable, yet again. In Draft 4 I changed the narrator’s point of view and added a much needed line toward the end. It’s not done yet, but it’s definitely much closer.

Weekly Word Count: 4,284

What’s Next?

  • Publish two book reviews
  • Review/submit The Seasons 
  • Write 1000 words on Sanctified chapter 34
  • Finish listening to The Scorpio Races
  • Edit 2 chapters of The Steel Armada
  • Review and return Madhu’s pages

That’s a lot for one week. It’s ambitious, but I’ve got a bit of momentum behind me, and enough residual vitamin D coupled with a heavy dose of caffeine to convince myself it’s doable.

 

I’ve got reviews for Dark Deeds and Semiosis forthcoming, so keep an eye out for them. I’m really excited to talk about them both.

This last chapter of Sanctified has me… anxious. It’s a lot of action that ties up all the plot and creates the springboard for the final installment. Endings are always daunting, and to be perfectly honest, I’m reticent to say goodbye to this story. But, it’ll be good and I’ll get it done.

Scorpio racesFinishing The Scorpio Races won’t be hard. I am loving this audiobook, and constantly find excuses to sit in my car and just listen to it. I’m confident I’ll get it done.

Editing another two chapters of The Steel Armada is starting to feel par for the course. I know what changes I want to make, I know where they need to happen (for the most part), so I just have to sit down and make it so.Make-It-So

Madhu’s pages are a new addition to my weekly workload. I need to get better at incorporating them and getting them back to her on the schedule we agreed upon. That’s my goal for this week.

You might have noticed that I skipped my second bullet point. I’m terrified of it. Like, that squirming sensation in your guts afraid. I’m nervous and uncomfortable when I think about it, but I’m also beyond excited to start the submission process again. I expect I’ll have a lot to say on the subject in the coming weeks.

That’s the docket for Week 10. I’m calling Week 9 a success, and looking forward to the challenges ahead! I’ll see you all soon with the book review for Dark Deeds!

 

BZ

Goals Summary – Wk 5

Hey Blogland,

It’s late, so I’m going to make this quick.

Last Week

  • Publish 2 book reviews
  • Start Sanctified chapter 32
  • Finish reading Shockaholic
  • Edit Lifelike and The Season
  • Edit chapter 1 of The Steel Armada

 

The Results

  • Publish two book reviews
  • Start Sanctified chapter 32
    • Done. Wrote 1,517 words of it. Posted another installment to the related short story collection.
  • Finish reading Shockaholic
    • Done. Not my favorite, but a decent enough listen for my short commute.
  • Edit Lifelike and The Season
    • Done. My friend Matt got me his feedback before he went on vacation this weekend. Per his suggestions I was able to fine tune The Season and start a rewrite of Lifelike. I’m going to give The Season a bit of space to see if distance highlights any weaknesses, but I’m confident that it’s very nearly ready to submit. Lifelike is still very much in progress. This story has dogged me for years, and it’s taken a long time for me to uncover its bones. I have them dug up now, but they need proper assembly. This might take some time, but I’m feeling good about it.
  • Edit chapter 1 of The Steel Armada
    • Done. I was really hesitant to do it, as I’ve been with this whole project. But, I sat down and really hashed out a lot of my world-building issues and helped streamline some plot points by introducing them sooner. I also added about 500 words, which brought the word count total for that chapter over the minimum goal! Overall, I’m counting it a great success.

Weekly Word Count: 2,079

I’m pretty much flying high right now. It always feels so damn good to see my goals switch from the red pen to the black one as I complete them. It’s really nice to see things marked ‘Done’. Here’s hoping this momentum continues.

What’s Next

  • Publish two additional blog posts
  • Finish Sanctified Chapter 32. Post chapter 31.
  • Finish reading Iron Gold
  • Edit two chapters of The Steel Armada

Dresden Turn CoatThis list feels pretty small, but there’s actually a lot of work here. The blog posts aren’t so bad. I’ve got the book review of Turn Coat to do, and a bonus Craft Discussion post drafted. This should be the easiest part of the week. I’m halfway through Sanctified chapter 32 already, so wrapping that up shouldn’t be too bad. It’s building up to the final action of the story, so it takes a steady hand, but it’s well underway.

Iron Gold

Iron Gold is really good so far, I’m just reading really slowly because I never seem to have free time just to sit. Audiobooks are saving my life, since I can listen to them while I drive or do chores around the house. Unfortunately, I do not have the Iron Gold audiobook, and quite frankly, I don’t want it. I’m really enjoying developing the voices of these new characters, as well as rediscovering Darrow’s. But, the book is due back on the 10th, and because there are holds on it, I can’t renew it. I have five days to read ~500 pages.

Yikes.

And of course, last is the biggest hurdle of them all. Editing chapter 1 of The Steel Armada was less painful than I’d imagined. I’m really hoping that proves to be the case throughout this process. To help myself along, I’m reading The Last Draft by Sandra Scofield, and doing my best to do the exercises and implement her strategies. It’s good so far, but I’m only 61 pages in. We’ll see how it goes as I dig deeper into her book, and mine.The Last Draft

So, basically, I have a crap-ton of books to read, a novel and two short stories to edit, and somehow not nearly enough time to do it all. Or, at least, that’s how I feel. But, these past week’s of summaries tell a different story. I’m doing well, setting achievable goals and meeting them. Mostly.

And damn if it doesn’t feel good.

Until later, Blogland.

BZ