[sticky entry] Sticky: Moving...

Sep. 27th, 2012 07:46 am
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My writing blog has now moved to Wordpress.com. You can find the new blog here:

http://reneecarterhall.wordpress.com

At this time, I have no plans to delete this account (or my LiveJournal under the same username), but I won't be updating on Dreamwidth or LiveJournal anymore.

For those on LJ, I do have a syndicated account that can be added to your friends page:

http://reneecarterhall.livejournal.com

I don't know if that feed can also be added to a Dreamwidth circle, but I'm assuming it can.
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I've been going back through my entries here on Dreamwidth (possibly getting ready to move this blog to another site; we'll see), and I just realized that though I must have posted it to Twitter, I never posted the link here to my second interview with Jon Gibbs, after winning his Meager Puddle of Limelight Award for Best Short Story Title this year.

In this case, my winning title was "The Bear with the Clockwork Heart," though the story wound up actually published under the title "The Bear with the Quantum Heart".

The interview was originally posted August 1st and can be read here:

http://jongibbs.livejournal.com/301496.html
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The issue of Black Static containing my horror/dark fantasy short story "Horseman" is now available as an ebook from Amazon:

http://amzn.com/B009G1WLVK

And from Smashwords:
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/238817

Either way, the price is the same ($4). You can read a couple reviews of the issue here and here.
poetigress: (snoopy type)
They say humans form their first memories at about three years old. I don't remember when Kayla's parents first activated me, but I do remember Christmas Eve. My skin was a honey-colored bear cub, all brown eyes and big paws. I was programmed to sing and recite the alphabet, the pad-screens on my paws loaded with scripts to flash colors, letters, and numbers. They tucked me carefully into a big green box with a red bow.

Mom patted me between the ears. "Go to sleep." The words triggered hibernation mode, and I felt my eyes close.

They hadn't named me yet. They wanted Kayla to do that herself...



My story "The Bear with the Quantum Heart" is now online in this week's issue of Strange Horizons. (Squee!) *ahem* You can read it (and comment) here:

http://www.strangehorizons.org/2012/20120820/bear-f.shtml
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I'm now officially one video behind, since they just posted one of Julia Child today, but if you missed the Bob Ross remix when it was first posted, here it is:



Not quite as good as the Mister Rogers one, but still fun. I admit the artist in me has always cringed at The Joy of Painting as far as artistic style/quality goes (I keep wanting to yell things like "Complementary colors! Gray it down! Atmospheric perspective!"), but as a creative personality, he had some things right, anyway.
poetigress: (dory)
As much as I was looking forward to it months ago, it looks like the best thing for me to do is bow out of the August session of Camp NaNoWriMo, that I was planning on participating in. It's been a difficult summer real-life-wise, and issues with our mortgage (namely, attempting to refinance it) that I thought were going to be resolved by now most definitely aren't. Given the stress I'm already under, I've realized that I really don't need to add more to it, even for something positive -- and I already have enough works in progress to finish, without putting them all on hold for another month so I can just add another project to the pile.

I considered still participating, but just doing what I can and accepting that I won't cross the 50K word mark to win, but... well, I've done NaNoWriMo three times now and camp once, and won every time, and I hate the thought of just setting myself up to fail -- or worse, winding up determined not to fail whatever the cost to my emotional, mental, and/or physical health.

At this point, I think what I'll do is wait for the original NaNoWriMo in November and try again. By that time, I should be able to have a better idea of what the novel is supposed to be and what's supposed to happen, anyway, since I never had enough time or energy this month to work on brainstorming and outlining the way I wanted to. And by that time, something has to have been figured out that lets us keep the house. :/

So, apologies to my cabin mates, but maybe I'll see some of you in November...
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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...now that the power's back on. We got hit by the derecho in the midwest/mid-Atlantic Friday night, so our power (and then the phone/Internet) was down until yesterday afternoon. Living without power (read: air conditioning) wasn't much fun, but the worst part is that since we have a well (and our generator isn't powerful enough to run the well pump), being without power also meant being without running water for more than 72 hours. >_< Yeah. That was lovely. Normally I fill up the bathtub when I see storms coming in, but this one took me by surprise, so instead we kept our dehumidifer running with the generator, and used that water to flush with. Water drained from the coolers (that were holding the stuff from the fridge) became water for washing, and bottled water took care of drinking and brushing teeth. All in all, I have a new appreciation for the blessing it is to be able to turn on a faucet and have essentially an endless supply of clean, drinkable water.

As far as creative exploits go, the other irritant is that thanks to the combination of my procrastination and the outage, I missed sending in an entry to Writers of the Future this quarter, and I also never finished what was going to be a last-minute submission to the Rocky Mountain Fur Con conbook. Oh, well. For WotF, at least, there's always next quarter...
poetigress: (lion king pawprint)
A few weeks ago, via a book review blog site, I stumbled across a call for submissions for an anthology ebook to benefit a young woman with an inoperable brain tumor. I sent the editor my flash fiction piece "The Garden" as a reprint. It was accepted, and the anthology's now available for purchase at Amazon:

Sweet Dreams (The Lyndsey Roughton Anthology)
http://www.amazon.com/Dreams-Lyndsey-Roughton-Anthology-ebook/dp/B0089DMTH2/

The cover makes it look like a straight-out horror collection, but it's actually a mix of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. I haven't had the chance to read it yet, and I'm not familiar with any of the other contributors' work -- but some of the titles are definitely intriguing (especially the editor's contribution "The Great Zombie Pot-Plant Love Thang"). XD

All of the stories were donated by their authors, and the proceeds are going toward making Lyndsey's last days the best they can be.

To find out more about Lyndsey Roughton, see the editor's blog post:
http://jhsked.blogspot.com/2012/05/lyndsey-roughton-anthology-call-for.html
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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
poetigress: (lion king pawprint)
For those of you who haven't seen it several times already today, I give you the awesomeness that is Mr. Rogers, artfully combined with some Autotune and a catchy beat...

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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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I'm running a giveaway on Goodreads, open to entries from now until April 13th, for a free signed paperback copy of By Sword and Star. The only catch is that, if you win the copy, you're strongly encouraged to write a review of it on Goodreads (since that's basically why authors and publishers do the giveaways).

You do need to be a Goodreads member to enter, but it's free to register on the site and only takes a couple minutes. Once you're signed up, just click on the link below to get to the book's giveaway page.

Good luck!

http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/23124-by-sword-and-star
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It's official! My anthropomorphic fantasy novel By Sword and Star is now available from Anthro Dreams. More info and ordering links:

http://www.anthrodreams.com/wordpress/2012/03/20/by-sword-and-star/



Many, many thanks to my editor Will Sanborn, book designer Jessie Tracer, and cover artist Sara Miles for all their hard work in getting this published.

The first four chapters can be read on my website.

And if you're on Goodreads, so is the book. :) I'm planning on doing two giveaways of free signed copies via Goodreads, so keep an eye out for those in the coming weeks.

I'll have a lot more introspective stuff to say about all of this later on over the next couple days, but for the moment I'm still running around the Internet making announcements. :) (Retweets, reposts, suggestions of possible review venues, and general signal boosting are all very much appreciated, since I have a rather limited marketing budget.)
poetigress: (snoopy type)
I haven't written much poetry over the last several years, but in the past few weeks, my poetry muse seems to have finally returned from a long vacation. Since I haven't shared much original work here -- and since I'm not really eager to go back to sending poems out for publication -- I thought I'd post them. The first, written last month on the prompt of "shadows"...


February 1: Groundhog Goes to the FoodMart


Mrs. Fox, pushing her cart
in her best Sunday dress, string of pearls
at her red throat, reminds him
of the tenderness of spring chickens,
gives him a smile, white and sharp.

The Rabbit family crowds the cereal aisle.
As he chooses a plain cylinder of oatmeal,
Mother Rabbit says hello, steers the small talk
toward the petunias she's planning
to brighten up the burrow,
the rows of cabbages and carrots
Father's mapping out for the field.
The kits tug on Groundhog's overalls, eyes bright,
whispering to him, one more snow,
one more afternoon of sledding, one more fort,
one more snowbunny with mittens for ears.

Sleepy-eyed Bear shuffles in, only nods
when anyone speaks, gets in line
with a quart of milk and a canned ham.
His bleary gaze meets Groundhog's,
and he adds a can of coffee, economy size.

Groundhog waits in line, stares at the tabloids
while the chattering squirrel cracks gum
and rings up the shoppers ahead.
He feels their eyes on him, all watching as if
he could melt the gray slush outside with a glance,
could give them warmth and new life on a whim.
Even in this harsh fluorescent light,
he will not look at his feet.



And the second, for the prompt "the end"...


And Then What


The castle crumbled in ivy,
and wild sleek things with moon-bright eyes
prowl the ruins after dark.
The seventh son of a seventh son
had a dimpled baby girl
who married the miller's boy and did
nothing of any consequence.
The castle mice forgot how to talk.
The queen's grey cat still knew but held her tongue.
The fairies fell to dust, but some
became moths and dragonflies, beetles,
graceful and deadly spiders. Their queen
is a yellow bird with black-tipped wings.
She sings sometimes in the orchard
that's gone to seed, perched on a branch
of golden pears, half of them rotting on the ground.
And now you ask, is there magic yet?
Is there any more to tell?
I know that look too well, that hope
that shines as sharp as a new-made sword.
That's all, I say. There's nothing more.
This world is old, and it's tired; close your eyes
and go to sleep.
None of the frogs singing in the twilight
were ever princes. The mice will not show you
the secret door. That key under your pillow
won't open it. Child,
don't you know all stories end?
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Things have been busy lately, and updating the blog tends to get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list, but here are a few quick notes:

I've added another Anthro Dreams podcast to my website's audio page. "Sweet Nothings" is a bit of slice-of-life furry flash fiction originally written in response to the writing prompt "the ice cream shop." (While you're there, you can also check out the holiday-themed fantasy piece "An Older World," which I completely forgot to announce here when it first came out.)

Publication of By Sword and Star is moving along steadily; we're waiting for print proofs now, and the first chapters of the novel will also appear in the Anthro Dreams podcast as a teaser. Unless there are any unforeseeable snags, it looks like it'll be available next month. (I'm planning on taking pre-orders for signed copies starting soon; watch this space.)

The Odyssey online class I took this past month has wrapped up. It felt like it went by pretty fast, so it's kind of hard to evaluate how much I learned from it when I'm still absorbing some of the info. (I was, of course, reminded that I still hate critique, much as I recognize it as a necessary evil... but somehow I expect that's always going to be the case.) *shrug* At any rate, I can get focused now on coming up with a workable writing routine again and getting some momentum back that I lost over the last few months.

Finally, have a fun video. Bert knows what it's like to live with a writer... XD


poetigress: (eyetigress)
So, as may already be obvious, I'm doing away with the Friday Finds, at least for now, and will just try to stop in here and make general updates a bit more often. I'll still share links and videos and whatever as I run across them, but I haven't had as much time as I'd like lately to browse for things, so the weekly schedule was fast becoming just another obligation.

With that said, here's something fun I just watched. I've never worked in food service, but I have worked retail jobs, and I love seeing stuff like this. What I really love about it is that it isn't some kind of snarky prank that plays on making fun of the employee -- after all, these people are just trying to do their jobs, and a lot of the time the job just sucks. But this isn't about making fun of anyone; from what I can tell, it's just plain making fun, something that's often in short supply these days.

And so I give you the best Sonic order ever:

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Again, a lot of the people who are likely to read this journal have probably already seen this, but I know there are some who haven't. (Besides, things like this are worth watching even when they're not the big viral thing of the moment.)

Interpretations of this animation vary, but this has been quoted as a comment from the artist:

"As for the story: the butterfly dragon, a symbol of imagination, enables the little deer creature to express his creativity by teaching him´╗┐ how to paint. The mask, representing the deer's imagination, is blessed by the dragon and transforms him into a creature similar to the butterfly dragon. Essentially it's about unlocking the 'god' inside us all. :)"






The artist's website can be found here.
poetigress: (dory)
On tap writing-wise for this year:

1. Complete the first draft of The Second Life of Bartholomew T. Lion.
(This is the novel begun for Camp NaNoWriMo last August.) Ideally I'd like to do this in the first half of the year, so I can maybe get a couple beta reads and get going on revisions in the second half of the year.

2. Release at least 2 more stories/collections via Smashwords and Amazon's Kindle store.
"Real Dragons Don't Wear Sweaters" sold reasonably well last year, and I'd like to expand my self-published ebook presence a bit this year, while still pursuing traditional publishing opportunities.

3. Get a professional head shot taken.
The photo I'm currently using was always meant to be something of a placeholder, so I'd like to replace it with a more polished one... preferably sometime when I've just gotten a good haircut and I'm looking all spiffy. ;)

4. Enter the Writers of the Future contest every quarter this year.
I managed to get in an entry in quarter 3 last year... though I didn't make it past the first round. (I figure this goal might serve a dual purpose and encourage me to complete at least four of my current short-stories-in-progress this year.)

As far as traditional resolutions go, they're pretty much the same thing I struggle with generally: 1) getting writing off the bottom of the to-do list and making it part of my routine again, and 2) trying not to be quite so desperately envious of other writers I know who (in the little world of my mind) are succeeding at everything I'm failing at. >_< We'll see how that goes, but all in all, I'm putting more faith in the goals than the resolutions.
poetigress: (Default)
Probably everybody's seen this already in one major news outlet or another, but just in case, I give you not merely the world's smallest frog, but the world's smallest vertebrate:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16491477

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Renee Carter Hall

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