Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Bits of News and Stuff

I had planned for 2011 to be a quiet year as far as being involved was concerned. I want to write more, finish more and submit more than I was able to do last year due to the blog tour, and teaching, and conventions.

And so far, so good. I’ve gotten much more writing done this year (so far) than I had in the same time frame last year.

But, suddenly, there’s a lot going on. Which is good, I realize, so I’ve decided to roll with it.

Here’s the news:

I’ve been interviewed for the Fascinating Authors web site…. link to interview here… and there’s an accompanying radio interview, too. That hasn’t been posted yet, but I’ll mention a link when I have it. (The radio interview was A LOT of fun!)
Hellebore and Rue Anthology Cover
And I’ve gotten an invitation to Syndcon – a gaming convention in Rockville, MD, (in April) and I’ve accepted. I’m tentatively scheduled to teach a writing workshop with some other writers in the area, as well as appear on some panels.

Any gamers lurking out there who want to learn a bit about writing?

We’re brainstorming some gaming/writing ideas right now. If you’re interested in seeing something in particular, send me a note. I’ll suggest it to the programming staff.

(I hope I’ll get some gaming in, too, during the con. It’s been a while since I’ve taken my bag of dice and characters out for a spin.)

I’ve also been invited back to Darkover. I had a total blast last year, so you can bet I’ll be back. (Darkover happens over Thanksgiving weekend.)

And saving the best for last: Hellebore and Rue is officially out! (I’ll post some buy links as soon as I track them down.)

I’m still in love with that cover. Isn’t it gorgeous?

If you enjoy stories of women wielding magic, you may want to check it out. I’ve written a tale about a swordsmistress who fights a wyvern — with the help of a sorceress.

(You’ll have to let me know what you think if you read it.)

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Darkover – What a Fantastic Weekend

I’m a little late posting this, but things (as usual) have been a bit crazy around here.

I just wanted to mention to folks that if you get the opportunity to attend the Darkover convention in Timonium, MD…you really should.

I had a FABULOUS (!) time this past weekend. I met lots of really nice people (had some great conversations), shopped carefully at the dealer’s location (only had one book #fail – w00t!) and sat in on some fascinating panels.

I was also a speaker on two very different panels:

  1. Do Fantasy Writers Need Cats? – I believe I was the only dissenting voice on the panel – who wants cat hair in his keyboard? But it was loads of fun with lots of storytelling about pets past and present from all of us.
  2. Magic and Religion in Fantasy. How do you use them in your writing but keep it believable?
    The second panel was a thrilling experience for me, on so many levels… First: because I use both magic and religion in my stories, I felt I had a lot to contribute to the panel. I think I spoke intelligently. Second: there were lots of attentive faces in the audience. People seemed genuinely interested in the topic. And finally: two of my favorite authors were on the panel, too…C.S. Friedman and Katherine Kurtz.

    I’m happy to report that I conducted myself professionally…even though I was going all fangirl on the inside.

The dealers were various, and I was sorely tempted buy a lot of nifty stuff. I did some salivating over some beautiful glass knitting needles at one table and a stocking full of gaming dice at another.

The needles were pretty, and apparently sturdy, but I do take my knitting everywhere now it seems…so having glass needles, no matter how hearty, seems like folly.

And the dice, well… can you ever have too many dice? Um….yeah. Although, had there been single sets, I probably could have been persuaded to part with some cash.

There was also leather, lots of leather, which I admired from afar. I knew if I got within smelling distance of any of those lovely items — especially the wearables — I’d be taking something home. Alas.

All in all… a very good time.

If you attended my session on how to get pub’ed and you want my full notes from the seminar, please drop me a line and I’ll send you my PowerPoint presentation as a PDF. I’ll be happy to share. (There is lots of stuff there we didn’t have time to cover.) Also: if you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask…send me a note or hit me up on Twitter.

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Let’s Talk Rejection

RejectionI’ve spent the last two days at Darkover in Timonium, MD and I’m having a blast. I’ve made lots of new friends and had some terrific conversations.

(It makes me realize even more that there is *never* enough time. What I wouldn’t give for a little space-time anomaly to give myself a few extra days to socialize.)

This is my first year at Darkover, and I vow I’ll be back. I wish I’d known of it sooner.

So, why do I want to talk about rejection?

Yesterday I presented my “How to Submit Short Fiction for Publication” seminar during the convention. I was prepared with handouts and book props, knowing that I wouldn’t have the projector screen and access to the internet I usually do for demos.

I talked briefly about where to find markets and encouraged folks to look at submission guidelines when sending in work, and then I asked attendees if they had questions. I wanted to make sure that I answered all the questions people had, rather than stick with my prescribed script in the short time allotted.

But that meant we didn’t cover some items from my presentation in depth…one of which is rejection.

And I believe that if you talk about submitting work for publication, you should also talk about rejection. The two go hand-in-hand.

So, for those who attended yesterday (Thank you for coming!) here’s my take on rejection…just some things to keep in mind.

If you submit work to be published, you will be rejected. The first few rejections sting, especially when an editor points out a perceived flaw in the work.

The trick is not to take it personally. There are a lot of factors that play into rejection besides the quality of the work:

  • The editor was looking for something specific
  • Your story didn’t meet the editor’s criteria (and keep in mind: beyond the guidelines, you didn’t even know what those criteria were!)
  • The editor recently accepted a similar story for publication
  • The editor had too many “same genre” stories on hand already (for example: Fantasy and Science fiction is chock full of fantasy, but not enough science fiction submissions this month–and you just sent them another fantasy)

Two more reasons not to take it personally:

  • The editor’s not rejecting you – he doesn’t even know you.
  • It happens to everyone…here are some famous examples of rejection:
    • Carrie by Steven King: rejected 30 times
    • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – rejected 26 times
    • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig – rejected 121 times!

Sometimes there’s a silver lining to receiving a rejection: you’ll receive comments from the editor stating why he rejected the piece. Be joyful! Comments from editors are rare. The fact that an editor took the time to jot down a few sentences about your work means the writing is good. Evaluate whether the comments jive with your vision of the story. If they do, make the changes and send the story back out. If they don’t, send the story as-is to your next market of choice.

If you receive a standard, “form” rejection, send it out immediately to the next market on your list.

Keep writing. A day of writing prose is better than not writing at all. And keep submitting your work. Persistence pays off. Continuing to send a story out should eventually result in publication.

What should you do with your rejections? Some people burn them, other file them, Steven King pounded a nail into a wall and hung his rejections on it until the weight of them pulled it down.

I get more electronic rejections than paper these days, so the nail trick isn’t an option (without effort) so I log them into a spreadsheet. After the first 100 rejections, I bought my critique group a round of coffee (we meet at the local donut shop) and again for each 50 rejections thereafter. Getting a rejection still isn’t easy, or fun…but looking forward to coffee with my friends isn’t such a bad thing.

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! Anyone Going to Darkover Tomorrow?

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone (including those not celebrating) has a terrific day.

I plan to eat, socialize with family I haven’t seen in a while, take some photos, knit and talk genealogy. No writing. I just decided that. Today, I’m having a day off.

Tomorrow I’ll write and finish prepping for Darkover.

If you’re going to Darkover, drop me a line. I’d love to meet you.

Stay warm! It turned really cold here yesterday, finally moving the weather toward winter. This morning it’s raining. (And I’m thankful we’re not getting the sleet the weather people called for. I’ll be on the road with all the other crazies. We don’t need the chance of an accident when there’s all that turkey to consume!)

Gobble! Gobble!

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Cleaning Up Before Vacation

Vacuum CleanerI’m trying to tie up some loose ends and get organized before leaving for Balticon on Friday. I’m participating in two readings, and I’ll be teaching a seminar on Saturday on How to Sell Short Fiction. I’m very excited.

One thing I’m doing is going through all the unfinished manuscripts on my desk. I want to take some with me to the hotel. Even though I’ll be busy, I’m certain to have some downtime to work on a few things. The question is, what should I take? Without wading through all the garbage here (the physical and the electronic), and tidying up a little, I don’t have a clue.

It’s a little like cleaning up before going on vacation. Are you familiar with the concept?

When I was growing up, my Mom made us clean the house top to bottom before we went on vacation. I hated doing that. (Hi, Mom! You knew that already, right?) It wasn’t the cleaning that I objected to, it was the time lost that I could be doing something else, like writing, or reading, or well, just about anything other than cleaning, that I really hated giving up.

But I have to admit, my Mom had it right. There was nothing better than coming home to a clean house when you arrive exhausted from vacation.

So that’s what I’m doing now, cleaning off the desk, filing away some papers, shoving various versions of WIPs into folders and putting them away (or into my rolly bag to go with me to the con). I’m also tackling that thumbdrive with three hundred files, all on the root.

I’m looking forward to the convention, but I’m also looking forward to coming home to a clean desk, my mind all juiced by nearly four days of sci-fi and fantasy fun. With a little luck, I’ll know just what to do — and have all that “convention high” enegy — to finish the WIPs and start something new.

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

I Received My Balticon Schedule!

Balticon LogoI received my Balticon schedule today. This is tentative, but I think it will be pretty close:

Friday, May 28, 10:00 p.m. – Broad Universe Reading with Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Roxanne Bland and Gail Martin.

Saturday, May 29 – Free all day! Wanna have coffee?

Sunday, May 30, 10:00 a.m. – V: The Old Series vs. The New

Sunday, May 30 7 – 9 p.m. – Bad-Ass Faeries 3: In All Their Glory Book Launch

I’m looking forward to ALL of these events. I’m especially intrigued by the “V” one… (I can picture my high school buddies all shaking their heads right now…my locker used to be wall-papered with “V” stuff back in the day!)

Of course, reading with the other Broads is also a great gig, as is being part of a book launch. My story “Selk-Skin Deep” debuts in Bad Ass Fairies 3: In All Their Glory.

Balticon takes place over Memorial Day Weekend, May 28-31, 2010. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Two Bits of News

Cover: Requiem of the Human Soul by Jeremy LentReviews

Occasionally, I write reviews for

(It’s a fabulous place, by the way, packed with information and reviews for SF & F readers and writers. You should check it out.) just posted my review for Jeremy Lent’s Requiem of the Human Soul.

I thought about dual-posting the review here, but decided against it. Instead, I urge you to go to and read the review….while you’re there, look at all the other stuff has to offer.

(Short Review: Fabulous. I couldn’t put it down. For the synopsis (rather long, due to the complex plot) and my full review you really need to go to

Have I said it enough times yet? Go read the review!

And, in case you missed it, my review for Kimberly Raye’s Just One Bite  is also available on here. (Not my usual cup of tea…but I thoroughly enjoyed this one, too.)

Keep Your Fingers Crossed
I got an invitation to the Bad Ass Fairies 3 launch party today. That means that my story “Selk-Skin Deep” is under consideration to be published in that anthology. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Won’t you do the same?

The party will take place the Sunday evening of Balticon, which I’d already planned to attend. My schedule is going to be jam-packed…but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Balticon, Here I Come!

Baltimore Science Fiction Society LogoYay! I’ve been invited back to Balticon this year. I’m so excited.

I had a lot of fun being on all the panels last year, and reading from Blood Soup  in the “Rapid Fire Reading” with other women authors from Broad Universe. (You can read what I had to say about last year’s awesome convention, here and here and here and here…)

This year I’ve proposed to run a critique session, (both a “how to critique” and a “how to start a critique group” seminar — based on a chapter I wrote for the book “How to Write Paranormal” (forthcoming!) and my own experience with my face-to-face critique group.

(Hi, guys! I know you’re reading!)

I’ll keep my fingers crossed, waiting to hear back from the Balticon folks about whether they’d like to host such a seminar. In the meantime, if you have questions about critiquing, or how to start a critique group…fire away. I’ll be happy to answer.

On Another Note
I’ll also be reading with some Broads at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC later this year. The date hasn’t been set in stone, but it looks like either April or June. If you’re in the DC area, I’d love to meet you. I hope you’ll stop on by to hear us read!

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Capclave 2009

Capclave Dodo I’ll be at Capclave tomorrow, reading from Blood Soup.

Capclave is hosted by the Washington, DC Science Fiction Association and promotes short fiction. Their motto is: Where reading is not extinct!

The convention tends to be small and literary, but enjoys participation from big names in the field. This year’s Guest of Honor is Harry Turtledove.

I’ll be reading with other members of Broad Universe, including Jean Marie Ward, Roxanne Bland, Victoria Janssen and Diane Arrelle. We’ll be doing a “Rapid Fire Reading.” Each of us will read for ten minutes or less from out works.

And, we’ll have chocolate.

If you’re in the Washington Area around 1 p.m., please join us. I’d love to meet you.

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

I Got My Copy…Do You Have Yours?

Cover of Triangulation: Dark Glass Anthology
I got it!

I received my contributor copy of Triangulation: Dark Glass  in the mail yesterday. The cover is even more powerful up close and in person. It’s smooth and slick and the colors are a rich, deep, gorgeous darkness…I feel like I could step right into it and ask the guy if I can have a look-see through his spyglass.

Just so you know, Triangulation: Dark Glass  is the 2009 edition of PARSEC Ink’s internationally acclaimed anthology series… I’m thrilled to have snagged a place in the line-up: only sixteen tales were chosen out of more than 500.

I’ve been reading the stories, right from the beginning…and I have to say…they’re really good.

(I haven’t gotten to my own yet…so I’m not bragging. Mom taught me not to brag.) But the rest of these tales? Really good so far.

Had you been at Confluence last weekend, you could have picked up a copy (they were printed especially for the Conference). But you can order yourself a copy on line if you’re still interested.

In Other Writing News…
I heard from my editor about a non-fiction piece I wrote on critique groups for a “how to write” book. The book is ready for print. A bio from me and the other contributors, some links to on-line resources for the chapters, and they’re ready to go… I’m excited about that one, too. I’ll put up the cover when it’s available.