poetigress: (eyetigress)
Issue #29 of the UK horror magazine Black Static is now available, which includes my short story "Horseman":

http://ttapress.com/blackstatic/currentissue/

It's a print publication which can be ordered direct from the publisher, but it should also be available soon in electronic format from Amazon and Smashwords:

http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ttapress
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I'm a bit behind on publication announcements, so let's get caught up...

First, I've put together a sort of 'sampler' ebook called Six Impossible Things, made up of six of my short stories. The collection includes "Childish Things," "Moon, June, Raccoon," "Norma the Wal-Mart Greeter Meets the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," "Swear Not By the Moon," "Drawn From Memory," and "The Garden." It's available for free on Smashwords, where you can download it in Kindle format, EPUB, PDF, plain text... pretty much everything except semaphore and interpretive dance. (It's also on Amazon, but the process of making a book free on Amazon has taken longer than expected, so at the moment the Amazon price is still 99 cents. It will eventually be free, permanently; it may just take a couple more weeks. I'll make another announcement when the price finally changes.)



Six Impossible Things
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/166245


Second, the issue of Black Static including my story "Horseman" is due out next month, and as a preview, check out the awesome illustration done for it by artist Rich Sampson. It'll be in black and white in the actual magazine, but at least you can enjoy it here in all its glory. :)

Third, this month saw a really exciting acceptance for one of my stories -- "The Bear with the Quantum Heart" was accepted to the online sf/f magazine Strange Horizons, tentatively slated to appear sometime around December. It's a place I've dreamed of being published in for some time now, and tough to get into, so this was an especially satisfying ego boost. The story is about a state-of-the-art educational toy who grows up alongside the child he was bought for, and ends up having a much deeper relationship with her than either of them expected. Call it "Velveteen Rabbit" meets "A.I.," I suppose. :)

As for writing new stuff, a lot of real-life issues have interfered with my writing time and energy over the past several weeks, but at this point I'm still planning on doing Camp NaNoWriMo again in August. Before that, though, I'm working on my next Smashwords/Kindle offering (a novella called "Signal") and trying to get a short story together to submit to this quarter of the Writers of the Future contest before the deadline slips past me.

And, of course, I'll try to update here more often so I'm not doing these long omnibus posts instead of sticking to one topic and keeping things short, the way all the blog-writing how-to blogs say you should. (Which is one of several reasons I consider this an online journal and not a real "blog.") :p
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Well, By Sword and Star has now been available for just over a month. Unfortunately, sales so far have been slower than I hoped for (yeah, I know this is the sort of thing that authors probably aren't supposed to mention in their blogs), but I'll be putting an ad up on FurAffinity soon, which tend to get a good amount of traffic according to the stats, and the first four chapters of the book are now in audio form via the Anthro Dreams podcast, so my publisher and I are hoping that'll snag it a little more attention from its target audience. On the brighter side, I did also finally get my first reader review on Amazon (which was also cross-posted to Goodreads), and -- besides, of course, being pleased that it was positive -- I know that'll help potential readers decide if it's something worth picking up.

In non-book-related writing news, I did recently get a short story acceptance from the UK-based horror magazine Black Static, which will publish my story "Horseman" in their next issue if everything works out. (I believe this will have the distinction of being my first short story sale in foreign currency.) "Horseman" was originally accepted to an anthology that folded, so it's good to have a home for it again -- especially one that Ellen Datlow apparently once called "the most consistently excellent horror magazine published." This is particularly interesting considering that I've never really thought of myself as a horror writer, as much as I often enjoy reading the genre -- but in the end, I'll let the readers decide if the story qualifies as horror, dark fantasy, whatever. *shrug*

I'm also working on a rewrite of another short story for a pro-level market, one I'm really really really keeping my fingers crossed about, but we'll see.

At this point, my writing time seems to mostly be about trying to find some kind of balance -- between time spent promoting By Sword and Star and time spent writing, deciding which project (out of several) to work on next, and figuring out how much I should concentrate on promoting By Sword and Star to the furry fandom (which is, after all, the audience I was writing it for, from the very first draft), and how much I dare to strike out and try to promote it elsewhere, even at the risk of people not getting the whole talking-animal-people thing and/or ripping the thing to shreds. It's been stressful at times lately, but I'm hoping it'll all pay off in the end, in one way or another.

I did have one fun experience last Friday, that I'll close with... I was browsing in Barnes & Noble and found myself in front of the science fiction/fantasy anthology section -- and there on the shelf was a copy of Bewere the Night, with my story "Swear Not By the Moon" inside. So far, that's only the second time my work has been published in something that you could actually walk into a bookstore and pick up, so it was kind of nice to stand there in B&N and open the book up to page 302 and see the story that I remembered scribbling down in a notebook a couple years ago. :) If the brick-and-mortar bookstores survive, maybe one of these days I'll still get to have that experience with a book of my own instead of just a short story in an anthology.

In the meantime, though, I have a rewrite to get to...
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Or, "what I did over the rest of the summer." :)

July and August wound up being pretty busy for me. I moved from part-time work to full-time at the end of June, and that took a bit of adjustment to get my rhythm back as far as reshuffling my free time for writing.

In August, I got a chance to see a short story of mine adapted into graphic novel format. "The Wishing Tree" is the story of a raccoon who plays a trick on two hunting hounds--and winds up getting a surprise himself--and it was first published in the summer 2008 issue of New Fables. Earlier this year, artist Jennifer Fromm ("Nimrais") put out a call for possible stories to adapt for her final project for college (a short graphic novel), and I was honored when she chose "The Wishing Tree." It was only printed in a limited hardcover run, but you can see a few sample pages from it on her sketch blog. (You can also find her website here, though I can't see it because Norton keeps blocking it as a malicious website. Not sure what's up with that, but she also sells prints of her artwork here.)

Camp NaNoWriMo kept me busy during August, as I cranked out 50K words in 26 days on a novel called The Second Life of Bartholomew T. Lion, a story taking place in a world populated entirely by cast-off toys. The draft isn't quite complete yet, since I'm letting it sit for a while as I figure out what's supposed to happen. (The draft I wound up with was much rougher than I'm used to, but there was a nice freedom in that.) Bartholomew is going to take a lot of rewriting and refining before I even get to the beta-reading stage, but I'm excited about its potential. It feels like the sort of story that only I could write, and that makes it a lot of fun, even knowing all the work that's still to come.

September brings an announcement I've waited several months to make: my first novel, By Sword and Star, is slated for release late this year by Anthropomorphic Dreams Publishing. It's a medieval fantasy with a bit of a twist, in that all the characters are anthropomorphic animals--the main character, Tiran, is a bipedal unicorn. (Think Redwall, but written with more of an adult audience in mind.)

The blurb:

Prince Tiran of Silverglen may be heir to the throne of all Asteria, but he's always felt more at home among the villagers, no matter how many lectures he gets from his father. But when the elk-lord Roden slaughters the royal family and claims the throne, only Tiran is left to avenge their deaths and take his place as the rightful king. His journey will lead him from the shadowed heart of his forest home into the treetops with the squirrel-clan of the Drays, across the western plains, and among the mysterious and deadly wolves of the Northern Reach. With his allies' help, Tiran must become the king his people need him to be--or risk fulfilling an ancient prophecy that will spell the end of Asteria itself.


Anthro Dreams is noted for their furry fiction podcast and also for the Different Worlds, Different Skins anthologies. They've published/reprinted a number of my short stories in one format or another, and I'm pleased to have them putting out my first novel-length work. At this point, it's still too early for an exact release date, but we're hoping for November or December. Watch this space for updates.

And in other news, I have tickets to see Stephen King accept the Mason Award next Friday night, as part of this year's Fall for the Book festival. Better yet, I wound up getting one of the randomly awarded "golden tickets" for his book signing, so I'm pretty excited about that. :D

Next month, I'll start planning for NaNoWriMo in November. I'd like to get another book's first draft knocked out before I close out the year and go back to short stories/novellas for a while. I'm also planning to get another Smashwords release out in the next several months, but we'll see how it goes. There's always something to work on, at least. I never have to worry about running out of ideas. :)

Done!

Jul. 8th, 2011 04:32 pm
poetigress: (poetigress oce)
Or at least, the writing and editing part. I sent the hopefully-mostly-final-except-for-minor-proofing version of By Sword and Star to the editor today. With other projects going on, I know the editor won't get to it for another month or so, but it felt good to finally cross it off the list, so to speak.

Oh, and I made a Wordle of the novel text:



I guess we know what the main character's name is, don't we? XD
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Well, by now I'm down to two goals for the year: Finish at least one short story per month, and open an Etsy shop. I have a feeling the Etsy shop goal is going to be put on hold until fall, and if things go well, I'm going to be focused more on novels than short stories during the second half of the year. So with all that in mind, I think my goals check-ins are going to be less list-oriented and more just taking stock of where things are and what's on the horizon.

I worked on a few different short stories in June (and got a couple of the drafts I finished earlier this year polished and submitted), but I didn't get any stories fully completed by the end of the month. There were two good reasons for this, though: first, I started working full-time as a medical transcriptionist instead of part-time (meaning I now spend eight hours a day at the computer instead of four), and second, I spent a big chunk of June getting the last revisions done on my novel By Sword and Star. The extra hours of work time sapped my energy for a couple weeks before I adjusted, and the novel took up most of the rest.

As far as the rest of this year goes, as I just mentioned in my earlier post, I'm planning on doing Camp NaNoWriMo in August, with a book concept called The Second Life of Bartholomew T. Lion. If that doesn't completely burn me out, I'd really like to also do the regular NaNo in November, to complete a first draft of my second furry novel, working title Huntress. This has wound up being a very lousy year for me so far in terms of publishing short stories, so I'm putting the focus on creation for the rest of the year, and I would love to be able to close out 2011 with one novel published and two others with completed first drafts. We'll see...
poetigress: (poetigress oce)
I've decided to join in on Camp NaNoWriMo in August:

http://www.campnanowrimo.org

Essentially, it's the same as NaNo but held during the summer months (this year, one session in July and the other in August). July sneaked up on me a bit too quickly to prepare, and they're still getting some parts of the website up and running, so I thought I'd hold off until August.

Anyone else interested in joining me?
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Once upon a time (Tuesday before last), there lived a dragon. He was not the sort of dragon you are probably thinking of. He did have wings, and a long pointy tail with a long neck to match, and even little lumps where horns would be, just in front of his ears. Unfortunately, that was where his resemblance to most dragons ended, because he was roughly the same size as a Chihuahua, his wings were so tiny that the effect was downright comical, and he was the precise shade of pastel pink that lip gloss manufacturers would call Cotton Dandy and paint manufacturers would call Wistful Dream.

To top it all off, he was fuzzy. Holding him was like holding a warm, slightly squirmy peach.

He was not, as you may have already guessed, a wild dragon. Wild dragons were crimson or ebony or emerald. They were giant, scaly fire-breathers who lived in caves in dramatic-looking cliffs and slept on huge piles of gold. He lived in an apartment with his owner and slept in a little basket with a powder-blue cushion.

She called him Dinkums.



My novelette "Real Dragons Don't Wear Sweaters" is now available via Smashwords, in every format they offer except plain text -- meaning you can read it on your computer, your Kindle, your Palm thingie, your Nook doohickey, and all those other newfangled things they make for reading books these days. (In my day, we had to read books on paper! And sometimes it would even cut you! And that was the way it was, and we LIKED IT!)

Erm. Anyway. Check it out here:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/63869

(Once again, my thanks to S.E.T. for the awesome cover art!)
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First, I know I've already mentioned my Goodreads page here on Dreamwidth, but since I'm crossposting this entry to LJ, have a link:

http://www.goodreads.com/reneecarterhall

Second, Bewere the Night, which includes my story "Swear Not By the Moon," is now officially available! It's not listed on my Goodreads page at the moment, apparently because I'm not listed as one of the authors in the Amazon listing, but I'm looking into whether that can be changed.

Bewere's Amazon page:
http://www.amazon.com/Bewere-Night-Holly-Black/dp/1607012529

And its page on Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9764987-bewere-the-night

I will not check obsessively for reviews.

I will not check obsessively for reviews.

I will not...
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1. Finish at least one short story per month. Total completed: 2 (Technically, I could say two and two-thirds, since I'm almost done with another one, but it's on hold for a few days while I figure out how everything fits together.)

This month's two completed drafts were ones that I've had in progress for... a couple years now, so it feels good to finally get them done. They need some polishing up, but the pieces are all there, anyway, and I should be able to start sending them out by the end of this month. One is a lighthearted fantasy piece called "Real Dragons Don't Wear Sweaters," about a pet dragon wanting to be a real, wild dragon instead of being cute and fuzzy and pink, and the other, currently titled "Best of Breed," is a somewhat grittier piece told from the perspective of an anthro female cat and explores the relationship she has -- or doesn't have -- with her male human handler.

I'm really happy with how "Dragons" turned out -- I love the characters, I love the humor I was able to use, and I feel like it's one of my best stories in recent months. "Best of Breed" has been trickier, and as I've worked on it I've had to keep shoving away the potential criticisms popping up in my mind (predictable, cliched, confusing, whatever). Whatever editors and readers wind up thinking about it, at least I've finished the draft, and it might clean up better than I think, anyway.

2. Put at least one long short story/novella up for sale on Smashwords. Working on it. That two-thirds story I mentioned in #1 is a novellette/novella (depending on what its word count winds up at) called "Signal," and that's the draft I'm planning to be my first Smashwords offering (not counting a story or two I'll put up for free just to test everything out).

The biggest problem at the moment is that, while I know how I'll want the cover art to look, I don't have a lot of spare cash right now to commission a really good artist to do it, and I don't have the skills or the tools to do it myself (since I really want it digitally colored, instead of traditional media). But I'm planning to ask around, since there may be very good artists willing to do the work for less than I'm expecting. *shrug* (Another consideration is that I'm hoping to eventually make a profit, even a tiny one, from selling stuff on Smashwords, and the more I pay upfront for cover art commissions, the more copies I have to sell just to break even. I wish I had more artist friends...)

3. Work on my website. I'm counting this one as done. This was my biggest priority for March, and all the main pages are there now. At this point it's just going to be an ongoing project, adding things, tweaking things, improving layouts, and so on. (Eventually the poetry page may have poems on separate pages with internal navigation, and I'll be adding a few more stories and probably putting up PDF versions for download.)

My newest online project will now be learning how to navigate and figuring out what to do with my Goodreads page, where I just signed up a few days ago. I'm still learning how to use the site, but it looks like fun, even if it also looks like it has the potential to take up a lot of time if I'm really trying to catalogue everything I'm reading or want to read. :)

In a way, it feels a little like I'm putting the cart before the horse since I don't have a book to promote yet (my Goodreads author page is there courtesy of short stories in New Fables, an annual anthropomorphic journal/anthology). But all in all, I think I'd rather get comfortable with a place like that before I have something to promote, because I don't want to be one of those people who suddenly shows up in social media trying to shill their book seventeen different ways to anybody who'll listen, and winds up coming off as somebody who's just there to sell stuff.

Speaking of selling stuff...

4. Open an Etsy shop. No work on this one for March. It's hard for me to have enough energy to spread over writing and art both, so I tend to shift back and forth from one to the other.

Overall, I'm satisfied with this month. Of course I would have liked to get more drafts completed, but these were both long (and long overdue), so I'm still happy with what I've gotten done. At some point I guess I'm going to have to accept that I just don't churn things out as quickly as others do, except in rare cases where everything clicks.
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"A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline." -Harvey Mackay

1. Finish at least one short story per month. Total completed: 1 (Would have been 2, but I still have a few more scenes to finish up today...)

February's completed draft is a short piece I hope to send in for the Anthrocon 2011 conbook. So far the first half of the story is pretty decent and the second half is crap, but at least I have until April to whip it into shape or write something better. I haven't been trying to publish in conbooks lately, but with Peter S. Beagle as one of the guests of honor this year, I'd kinda like to be in this one.

2. Submit to at least three markets on my "someday" list. Sent submissions to two more of those markets this month, so I can officially cross this one off the list (yeah, I set the bar a little low with this goal, but I figured I have to have something on this list that's easy). Got a form rejection from one, and waiting for a response from the other.

3. Put at least one long short story/novella up for sale on Smashwords. Still nothing on this one yet, but once I'm done with my current WIP, the next project may be one that winds up there.

4. Work on my website. Wrote a brief intro paragraph for the homepage, and decided what else needed to go there. I'm hoping Jeff and I can get some work done on it this weekend (he's handling the HTML).

5. Open an Etsy shop. Registered on Etsy (as "inkstripes"). I haven't actually opened the shop, though, since right now I would only have 1 item to sell. >_< I have a sketch done for a greeting card, though, and it's a simple design that shouldn't take long to finish.
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1. Finish at least one short story per month. Total completed: 1 (flash, but complete) Would have done more, but the first half of the month was given over almost entirely to the Sketchbook Project, and then most of the rest of it was spent researching/planning a novella-length story.

2. Submit to at least three markets on my "someday" list. Sent a submission to one of those markets this month. Got a form rejection back, which was a little disappointing (I was expecting a rejection, but hoping for a personal one), but oh, well. Will keep trying them, and the others on that list.

3. Put at least one long short story/novella up for sale on Smashwords. Nothing done on this one yet, though the new project might work for this.

4. Work on my website. Wrote the rough draft of my bio page the other day. I'm still figuring out how detailed/personal I want it, as opposed to just being something more straightforward and professional. That said, website building will kick into high gear next month -- I want at least all the basic pages up and running by the end of March, so it's ready by the time Bewere the Night is released.

5. Create enough visual art/craft items to be able to finally open an Etsy shop. Nothing on this one yet, but it's kind of on the back burner anyway. I certainly did enough visual art for the month, though. :)

All in all, not bad considering that I was frantically trying to fill a Moleskine Cahier with art up until the 18th, and then spent the rest of the month planning out the new novella. Once the first draft of that is done, I'll let it cool and get back to knocking out some of the half-finished short stories lying around.
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The table of contents for Bewere the Night has been posted. Some intimidating company there... >o_o<

http://squirrel-monkey.livejournal.com/167152.html

(There's also a link in that entry to pre-order the book at Amazon.)
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Reposted from a November entry, with some updates and changes...

1. Finish at least one short story per month. (This can include completing current works in progress or finishing something new. Generally, "finish" should mean "complete the story to the point that it's ready to send out to editors," but I might make exceptions depending on how many rewrites, how long the drafts are, any major unforeseen life events, and so on.)

2. Submit to at least three markets on my "someday" list. (This is a list of, currently, seven markets that I would like to have my short fiction published in eventually. Note that I do not say "get accepted to" any of these, since I have no control over that other than doing my best on the stories and then getting the submissions out there.)

3. Put at least one long short story/novella up for sale on Smashwords. (I think I know which story I'll start with. The draft is about two-thirds complete from NaNoWriMo 2009, though what I have probably needs some structural/pacing work.)

4. Work on my website. (Got a few pages built over the weekend, and starting to figure out how the homepage will look.)

5. Create enough visual art/craft items to be able to finally open an Etsy shop. (Admittedly, this goal is starting to feel less important compared to the writing ones, but I don't want to forget about it entirely.)

I managed to get one last acceptance before 2010 closed out -- my story "Swear Not By the Moon" was accepted (as a reprint) to the anthology Bewere the Night. I'll make a separate post in a bit with a quick rundown of links for 2010's acceptances/publications, even though it's somewhat depressing to me because it's quite a bit shorter and less varied than I'd like it to be.

Which brings me to my overarching writing resolution for the year: Complain less, create more. Regrettably, I'm beginning to get the same sort of impression of fellow writers that the screech owl in Bambi has about relations: "If they're bigger than you, you can't bear them because they're proud, and if they're smaller they can't bear you because you're proud." I recognize that I spend too much time feeling inadequate about what I'm able to do or publish compared to others, or about what other people want to read/publish/buy, and for this year I need to work on keeping my focus on my own work and on what I truly want to do, instead of worry about everybody else's stuff and how much better they're doing at all of it than I am. Obviously, this isn't so much a writing thing as a personality thing (I've always been prone to envy and what I suppose you'd call envy-induced depression), but I can at least make an effort.

For now, though, I have to turn the focus to visual art. My sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project has to be postmarked by the 15th of this month, and true to form, I have procrastinated until almost the last possible moment. (Procrastinators of the world, unite whenever you get around to it! Maybe next week! If we feel like it!) Add in an art commission that's been stalled and overdue for weeks (the commissioner is a saint for being this patient with me, really), and I'll likely be spending the rest of this month in a flurry of pencil and pastel and watercolor and whatever else I can find to stuff into this thing, plus finishing the commissioned piece. My husband tells me I do my best work under this sort of pressure. I can only hope he's still right. At any rate, the deadline gives me an excuse to just do whatever comes into my mind and not worry so much about it being perfect or even that good, which is what I need right now.
poetigress: (imagine pen)
Another piece for my [community profile] origfic_bingo card, this one for the prompt "reading aloud."

To give a bit of background, for this piece I went back to characters from a story I wrote a couple years ago, about a small group of bipedal big cats engineered for military use and what happened to them after the war was over. The story never entirely worked, although I still like some of the scenes and setting from it. I decided, though, that it would make more sense if the animals were left as quadrupeds and enhanced from there. This is the first scene I've tried writing from that angle. Not sure what the narrator's name should be yet (I honestly don't remember what it was from the original version of the story, which means it probably wasn't quite the right name anyway).

* * *


Everyone she asked for advice told her not to go in with him. )
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I joined [community profile] origfic_bingo here on DW recently and am now working on my first bingo card of prompts. I'm hoping poetry will be okay instead of fiction--I'd intended to write a scene or flash fiction or something along those lines, but when I sat down to write on this prompt, a poem happened instead.

Still messing with line and stanza breaks, so this may change by the time I post the links to my full bingo.

Pulse )

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Renee Carter Hall

September 2012

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