Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wait, it's New Year Already...?

It just hit me a bit ago that I completely zoned on doing an Anthology Markets post this month. My husband and I were in Seattle on our househunting trip on the tenth, which is when I've been doing it, and although I could've done it from there, I just didn't think about it at all. :/ Well, no one's working over the holidays, right...? [hides under keyboard] The Antho Market listings will be back in January, and my apologies for the gap.

Seriously, though, Christmas just sort of came and went, and New Year will be marked with a bottle of Martinelli's and not much else. We have holes in our ceiling from where the plumbers fixed a leak, holes in our walls from where other repair guys worked on yet another gas leak (more jackhammers a few days ago -- I'm going to miss them when we move, or maybe not) plus the huge hole dug (yet again) in our concrete patio outside from where they replaced a chunk of said gas line. The gas guys will fix the patio in a day or two, but the guy who does drywall was called out of the country on a family emergency and will be back on the fourth. I'm keeping a set of virtual fingers crossed that everyone's okay and he gets back on time.

There are boxes and piles all over -- more than usual -- because even though the moving guys are coming over (for an estimated two days) to pack for us, we have to go through things ourselves to sort and dispose, get things in order, and pack certain fragile things ourselves. Plus my husband has been packing books just... I don't know, I guess because he's been feeling antsy and wants to do something. Or something. Whatever. [pets frazzled husband] I spent yesterday going through the closet and dresser and some cupboards bagging up clothes and shoes for Goodwill; I have more stacks of clothes in corners and such around the bedroom to go through, but I stopped when my back went from griping to yelling. More of that tomorrow.

I've been practicing intermittent fasting -- eating only every other day -- since January, with one unplanned hiatus in March for a horrible attack of gastritis (during the first week of which I wasn't eating anything anyway) and a few planned hiatuses for trips. There's about thirty pounds less of me than there was a year ago, even though I flaked out on an exercise program over the summer after being faithful to it for several months, so all around I've been doing well on that. I'd rather be thirty pounds down after a year, than thirty pounds down after three months and then fifty pounds up after a second three months, which is the more usual pattern when weight loss is fast, so slow is just fine with me. Christmas finally defeated me, though -- a bazillion cookies, plus my mom's homemade almond roca and leftover prime rib forced an executive decision that the last seven days of the year I'd eat every day. I'll be paying for that starting tomorrow, but whatever; the fasting works, and I'll be back on track soon. If there's another thirty pounds less of me at this time next year, I'll be happy. It's all about results, not following a routine slavishly.

Every year at this time I do the usual Writing Goals thing. For 2009 I promised myself I'd finish and submit a novel and I did that -- I signed the contract on December 19th, and am waiting for edits. That's a huge milestone and I'm proud of it, so Go 2009! for that chunk of it. I always include some sort of productivity goal as well, though, and I've never managed to keep it. I mean, a thousand words a day should be incredibly easy -- there are certainly writers who do a lot more, and have for years or decades -- but apparently not. :/ This year I'm trying something different: since the product goal worked better in '09 than the wordcount goal, I'm going with that. So for 2010, I want to finish another novel, plus half a dozen short stories, with the caveat that the fanfic novel which is just a few chapters from being done doesn't count; the official goal is for another commercial, submittable-for-publication novel. (I still have to finish the fanfic novel, though, 'cause my readers on that side of the fence were incredibly patient while I set it aside to finish Hidden Magic.)

What else? Keep up on the fasting, and exercise more. Even my walking's fallen off in the last month or so, which I'm sure is why my weight has plateaued during that time. Hopefully being in a new area after the move will get me doing more walking outside. I know I can now; I haven't had an OMG-I-absolutely-HAVE-to-sit-down-NOW!! incident while walking in a while. (My joints and tendons and such tended to lock up or start screaming at random while I walked, and were keeping me housebound for quite a few years. I've been walking back and forth at home, where I'm never more than a few steps from a place to sit, for the last several years. It's boring but it works, and you can put on some serious mileage in a small space if you're determined.) Since I haven't had to sit in the middle of walking for a while, though, that means I can actually go out for walks again, and feel secure that I won't suddenly have to find a seat on some stranger's retaining wall or front steps or on the curb. (And let me tell you, when you weigh what I do and have arthritis and various other joint-and-tendon problems, getting up off a seat on the curb is slow, difficult and painful.) So being able to go out walking again is something to look forward to. And hey, if we get the townhouse we made an offer on, there'll be a Barnes and Noble in a shopping center right across the street -- wow, incentive to go out and walk at least that far! :D

I can think of a bunch of other things I'd like to do, but I think this'll be enough to commit to. One of the things I tend to do when making plans is way over-commit, then get depressed when I fail. I'd like to commit to not doing that anymore. :) We'll see if it works out.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year, and a great 2010. [wave/hugz]

Angie

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Christmas Funny

So I'm flying back up to Reno to spend a little over a week with my mom for Christmas, yay.

A funny thing -- about ten or twelve years ago, we were at Mom's for Christmas and a family friend named Linda was supposed to come over. So I got her a couple of glass candle holders as a gift; they were popular at the time, with a narrow well in the middle you filled with water and then floated a taper in, the idea being that as it burned down, it'd get lighter and float higher in the water, keeping the flame at about the same level. I thought they were pretty, so anyway.

Well, Linda didn't come after all, so I had these two candles in boxes like twenty inches long by six square, which I took home. I figured I'd use them or something, so when I got home I unwrapped them and stuck them on top of a bookcase. We're not really into decorative stuff, though, so I never did use them, and they've been sitting there ever since, collecting dust on their boxes. We've been trying to figure out what to do with them recently, with the move coming up and all.

Then we got a note from Mom a couple of days ago, saying that her friend Linda's going to be coming up for Christmas. :D Hey, I've got a present for her already! LOL! Too bad I unwrapped them back then....

Angie

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Moving Stuff

We're home now and mostly recovered, I think. Of course, I'm getting back on a plane on Sunday to go up to my mom's for Christmas, and I have to admit the timing of all this could've been better.

We put in an offer on a condo, and the counter-offer was decent. Now it's a matter of working out all financing details; we have enough money, but apparently it's not distributed in the right pots, so the husband is working on getting it shuffled around into a configuration the banks will approve of. We'll see if that comes through. If not, we're still not really behind; we weren't actually expecting to find anything on this trip; it was more to scout neighborhoods and such.

I'm not jumping up and down about the condo itself, although it's not a bad place at all. It's only a little bigger than what we have now, and I was hoping for something significantly larger. That six-bedroom house I mentioned in the previous post (four of the bedrooms plus one bathroom were part of a basement remodel, but it was done very nicely) would've been great, assuming it could've passed a home inspection. That's the problem with remodels, of course; the house itself was about fifty years old, so who knows what was behind the drywall. It was on almost half an acre, which was also very cool. Unfortunately the nearest store of any kind was half a mile away, and that was just one grocery; other necessities were farther. Good (potentially) house, less than great location for folks who don't drive. :/

The condo is new, so we don't have to worry about booby traps, and our real estate guy managed to rustle up a home inspector the very next day. He found that the place is in good shape, with just a few little things which would be easy to fix. The big selling point, though, was the location -- it's right across the street from the back of a shopping center with a grocery store, a Barnes and Noble, a Target, a post office, a bunch of low- to mid-level restaurants, plus some other stuff, AND it was near two bus lines which would take Jim downtown to work within half an hour or less. There's really nothing more we could ask of the location, and I'm willing to stay packed into something that's really too small to be comfortable in for the next few years, until Jim retires. After that, we can find a cheaper area all together and get a bigger place with a nice yard (the condo has a little bit of fenced yard, just enough for a smallish dog, which will satisfy me for now) and a good location without having to scrape change out from under the seat cushions to pay for it.

Aside from the location, which is fantastic, it's not what I was hoping. I can deal with the rest, though, and we can get something which suits us better in a few years, when Jim's retired and we're not locked into a particular location because of his work.

I have to admit, though, that having a big bookstore a two minute walk away would be very nice. Dangerous, but very nice. :)

Angie

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Seattle Ho!

I've been mostly away from the internets for a while, so I thought I'd post an update. The spousal unit and I are up in Seattle, house-hunting. He's changing jobs and due to report for work up here in mid-January, so we're trying to figure out where we're going to live. It's been up and down so far.

First, it's been freaking cold up here all week. :/ They've been having record lows for the last few days, imported from the Arctic especially for us, I'm sure. I still need to buy a coat one of these days. Actually, there are times when I'd like to pile about half the hotel room furniture in the middle of the floor and start a bonfire, but that's probably not practical. [cough] But it's heating back up! It's actually supposed to be above freezing here at some point today -- might actually be above freezing now, I'm not sure. But wow, thirty-four degrees -- heat wave! [eyeroll/shiver]

On the house hunting front, we've actually had some good luck today. One older house with a very nice recent remodel is looking promising. It's also on a relatively huge lot, with a bit of a flat side yard which has been done up in some skinny raised beds all ready for annuals in the spring, plus a huge back end on a slope with some trees and berry canes and ivy. I could see putting some more fruit trees up there. And it's on this hill with a wonderful view of the valley and the mountains beyond, and there's a golf course across the road so it won't be built up. Jim and I both like it a lot. There are a few questions to ask, but it's looking like a distinct possibility.

We also saw two very nice newer houses, just a year or two old each, a bit bigger than the older one but the locations don't work in either case. One was up a VERY steep hill, which we'd have to hike up/down to get anywhere unless we took a taxi. (Neither Jim nor I drive, and I have an arthritic knee. I get around fine in general, but slopes are hard.) The other one had just a bit of a hill about a block or so long from the main drag, not too bad at all, but then a hike from there to the actual house which looked like it might be too long, even flat; the place is back in kind of a semi-rural looking neighborhood with a lot of mixed older houses (many not terribly well maintained) on larger lots, with little clusters of newer, smaller places crammed onto smaller spaces. We were looking at a newer house in a row of three with no front yard and a small back yard, but it'd be enough for us. Basically I want enough backyard space for a dog; anything else is gravy. But that long hike, especially for Jim twice a day to get to the bus to and from work, is making it really iffy.

We did like the first one, though, so we're hopeful. We saw a three other houses yesterday, all older, and we were both rather dismayed. :/ Lots of yuck, and at the end of the day it was like, "Okay, which one sucks the least?" which really isn't what you want to be considering when you're in the process of moving a thousand miles and spending 99% of your assets, you know? So today made us feel a lot better, just seeing that yeah, there are some good options out there.

In general, Seattle is a lot hillier than we'd realized. I haven't visited since I was a kid, and Jim almost the same; neither of us remembered the topography. We knew in advance that location -- being reasonably near a grocery store, and close to public transit such that Jim can get to work in less than an hour and without too many transfers -- would be an issue. We didn't realize ahead of time that we'd be crossing houses off the list for reasons of steepness, though. It's one more limitation, but our real estate guy is really good and he's starting to get the full ramifications of the "no car" thing a lot better than many folks who drive. More tomorrow.

Our hotel is downtown, four or five blocks from the Pike Place market. We wandered down there on Sunday, and it's pretty awesome. :) Aside from all the quirky little shops (and we've still seen less than half of it) it's sort of like a farmer's (and fisherman's) market, with great produce, seafood, mushrooms, cheeses, honey and preserves -- all kinds of fresh stuff. I'd love to have something like that within walking distance on a regular basis and be able to head down there just whenever to pick up fresh things for dinner. It's the kind of produce etc. they use on the cooking shows, you know? Also, there's this tiny hole-in-the-wall bakery that makes awesome espresso brownies; we got a couple of those when we were there. Massive yum. :)

There's an art museum about halfway between the market and the hotel, which has a Michaelangelo exhibit we want to get to while we're here. I don't think it's huge, mainly a collection of lesser-known sketches and such, but still that'd be cool, and I'm sure they have other things worth seeing. In general, though, we're not major nightlife people and haven't been going out doing a lot of touristy things. We'll probably be staying somewhere downtown for a couple of months after we move up here in January -- we get that much temporary housing paid for -- so unless we fall in love with a house this week and make an offer and it all goes through immediately, we'll probably be back here for a month or two and we can do more touristy things on weekends then. And hopefully it won't be so freaking cold.

Angie, trying to stay warm

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Accepted!

I just got an e-mail from Shawn, one of the owners of Torquere, saying she read A Hidden Magic and they want to publish it! :D

They said they weren't going to be in the office until Monday because of the holiday, but it looks like they're still working. Not exactly shocking with a small business; I thought it might happen quickly, but I didn't want to really hope, you know?

Anyway, this is awesome. [beam] If you want me, I'll just be wandering around six inches off the floor somewhere.... :D

Angie

Friday, November 27, 2009

I Finished a Novel!

I just finished a novel-length story -- a little over 72K words -- for the first time ever yesterday. All the revising and poking and second-guessing is done; I finished it, backed it up to a flash drive, wrote up a synopsis for the submission letter and sent it off to my publisher. Whose office is closed till Monday, but hey, my book is going to be one of the first e-mails they see that morning, right? I hope they have a great weekend with lots of excellent food and go back to work in a wonderful mood. :D

It's an urban fantasy set in the same world as "Chasing Fear" and "Candy Courage," although there's no overlap with any of the earlier characters. I have no idea how long the process takes for something of this length -- either hearing back about acceptance [crossed fingers] or the editing and tweaking after -- but I'm pretty sure at least part of me will be boinging all the way through it.

This was a great Thanksgiving for me, and I'm definitely thankful to have gotten this finished and submitted. :D I hope everyone else had a wonderful day too, and has lots of excellent leftovers.

Positive thoughts and crossed sets of virtual fingers happily accepted. [grin]

Angie

PS -- am I the only one who gets all anal about chapter lengths? They don't have to be exactly the same length (which is just as well 'cause they're definitely not) but I like chapter lengths to be at least within spitting distance of one another. As a reader, if I'm going along and one chapter is twelve pages and the next is five and the one after that is nine, then fifteen, then three, then eleven... it feels jarring, as though the whole story is off-tempo. I can imagine a structural reason to do this, but if it's not clearly an effect the writer was trying for, deliberately and for a purpose, then I get uncomfortable while reading, like listening to a song where the musician can't keep the beat. So I spent most of the last day or two of my tweaking working on the lengths of a few chapters, trying to haul the worst of the outliers a bit closer to the bulk of the bell curve. Some came out better than others -- I'm not about to pull necessary info out of a chapter just for length, or add six hundred words of pointless padding -- but it's better than it was and I kept going until I hit diminishing returns. Anyone else obsess over that sort of thing...?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Harlequin Horizons

Sarah Zettel over at Bookview Cafe has the best summary I've run into of the Harlequin Horizons blow-up. Briefly, for anyone who hasn't heard, Harlequin has partnered up with Author Solutions to form "Harlequin Horizons," a self-publishing imprint. This has gone over like the proverbial lead balloon, resulting in RWA, SFWA and MWA scratching Harlequin off their list of approved publishers. Sarah summarizes the issues wonderfully well.

Angie

PS -- I'm leaving tomorrow to spend the week with my Mom for Thanksgiving. I also have a novel due by then. [flail] If I'm not around much in the next week or so, that's why. Everyone have a great holiday!

Friday, November 13, 2009

No Pledge of Allegiance

...until there actually is liberty and justice for all. That's what ten-year-old Will Phillips says, and he's acting on it, declining to stand for the Pledge at school because his family has gay friends who aren't being treated equally under the law -- who are being deprived of the right to marry, or to adopt children.

Predictably, Will is being harassed for his stance, first by a substitute teacher and (of course) by some of the more nasty and ignorant students at his school. (Although to be fair, this is only elementary school and I'd bet cookies that the students who are taunting and harassing him are just reflecting the views and behavior of their parents, so the shame is on them for not setting a better example.)

Will's parents support him, though, and got the school administration to admit that he's not required to stand for the Pledge, that he does have the right to sit through it.

And what about the substitute teacher who tried to bully him into participating, even threatening to get his mother and grandmother (whom she knew, although obviously not very well) on his case? Since he hadn't broken any rules in refusing to stand for the Pledge, Will's mother asked when they could expect an apology from that teacher. Well, the principal didn't see that as "necessary." Of course not. [eyeroll]

Will has an excellent sense of right and wrong, though, and I applaud his stand, and also his parents for supporting him in doing what's right. Read more about Will and the Pledge incident in this Arkansas Times article, and more commentary by John Brummett, a columnist with the Arkansas News. If nothing else, Mr. Brummett's suggested alternate Pledge is entertaining, and unfortunately apt.

Thanks to Indigene on The Phade for the original link.

Angie

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Review -- "Boarding Action"

Maija at Fallen Angel Reviews made some great comments about my story "Boarding Action" in the Walk the Plank pirates anthology:

In Boarding Action by Angela Benedetti, Cam's friend Ted comes up with a plan to scare their mutual friend Marcia. Pirates have been preying on the expensive yachts in the local bay, and Ted thinks they should dress up as pirates and pretend to raid Marcia's family's yacht. The plan goes wrong when Marcia's hot older brother Markus appears with a gun. Cam's friends abandon him, and Cam is forced to face the guy he's been carrying a torch for. Markus thinks of a way to punish Cam, but then they're interrupted by the real pirates. Can the boys turn the tables on their attackers?

...

Angela Benedetti's story was excellent with the way the plot turned back on itself to make heroes into zeroes and back into heroes.


I'm delighted she liked it; thanks to Maija for her comments.

Angie

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Anthology Markets

I've been getting a lot of hits on these posts, so if you've just wandered in off the internet, hi and welcome. :) I do these posts every month, so if this post isn't dated in the same month you're in, click here to make sure you're seeing the most recent one.

Markets with specific deadlines are listed first, "Until Filled" markets are at the bottom. There are usually more details on the original site; always click through and read the full guidelines before submitting. Note that some publishers list multiple antho guildelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.

I've been posting these early-mid month, with listings through the end of the following month, plus the first of the month after that just because. That gives about three to six weeks, which I figured was good for a short story if you saw something that pinged an idea right away. There are a few anthologies asking for novellas, though, and 20K-30K words is a bit much to bang out, proof and submit in a month, so I've decided to add another month to the listings, to give a bit more notice. Let me know what you think.

Non-erotica/romance writers: quite a lot this time. Check out The Four Horsemen, Greek Myth/Urban Fantasy, Trafficking in Magic/Magicking in Traffic, Warrior Wisewoman 3 and Panverse Two, which is still open. (Yes, I keep tabs on the "Until Filled" entries. :)

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30 November 2009 -- Love and Fables -- Queered Fiction

A collection of tales featuring fable (legend/myth) elements in a uniquely queer way; stories about mythical , lengendary or supernatural beings or events combined with Romance...and a HEA (Happily Ever After). Your submission should be a short story between 3,000 and 20,000 words. We are seeking fiction with positive images of queer characters. We’re not looking for clichés. We do not want reprints. We are seeking first world rights for this anthology which will be published as an eBook and in Print format. Your submission should be via email to editor@queeredfiction.com with Love and Fables Anthology submission in the subject line. Please embed your short story within the body of the email and provide a brief author bio. Payment will be a 40% royalty split of eBook sales between contributors and a 20% royalty split of print sales.

Submissions open: 1st September 2009 to 30th November 2009
Reading period begins: 25th November 2009

As a queer publisher, QueeredFiction would like to have an emphasis on the queer community as a whole, rather than by segments. So ideally the perfect submission would have 'queer characters' in the forefront and in the background ... just mainly prominent!

What we're looking for is to create a HEA collection of tales featuring fable (legend/myth) elements in a uniquely queer way; our fables here are stories about mythical, lengendary or supernatural beings or events for example the grail, Tristram and Isolde, Blodeuwedd, Midas, a seal wife(/lover) even the Emperor's new clothes...et cetera. I'm not looking for a re-telling of any of these fables/legends, but more an original tale simulating or borrowing from these.

Queries can be directed via the QueeredFiction Blog The contract is available upon request for your inspection.

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1 December 2009 -- I Do Two -- MLR Press

The anthology, titled I DO, TWO, is a sequel to the January 2009 charity anthology I DO! All authors donate their stories to benefit the Lambda Legal Fund. The collection covers a range of times, places and people, and illustrates the universality of love and commitment.

To date, I DO! has raised over $1500 for the cause of equal rights in marriage. I DO TWO will be a similar, companion volume, published by MLR Press. (Contracts will be in line with their standard contract.)

We’re looking for stories between 1,000 words and 10,000 words long. M/M, F/F, Bi and transgender stories are welcome. There is no strict theme, but we have certain things we do not want to see, for example stories which undermine the purpose of the anthology -- that is, no stories which are about how gay people do not want to get married or do not deserve to get married. We do not want anything that reinforces negative stereotypes -- no snuff fiction, scat, golden showers, necrophilia or underage sex. Because of the potential copyright issues, we cannot accept fanfiction, either.

If you possess the copyright for your story and it isn’t currently under exclusive contract to anyone else, we are happy to consider stories which have been published before. Please make a note in the covering e-mail.

As long as your story follows these guidelines and comes within the word-count, please send it to Lee.Rowan@yahoo.com. Your story does not need to have an explicit marriage-related plot or even a happy ending! Any story that celebrates the theme of love as valid, no matter the genders of the players, is welcome.

This is for a charity anthology, so you will not get paid. All profits will go straight to the Lamdba Legal fund. Through education, litigation and public policy work, Lambda Legal works to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of gay, lesbian and transgender people, and persons with HIV. Since their founding in 1973, Lambda Legal has become an active and vital part of the GLBT civil rights movement instrumental in the fight for same-sex marriage rights both nationally and, most notably, in the fight to strike down California’s Proposition 8.

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15 December 2009 -- Welcome to the Jungle -- Torquere Press

From Tarzan to mercs - make it hot, make it jungle-themed.

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15 December 2009 -- Toybox: Leg Spreader -- Torquere Press

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31 December 2009 -- The Four Horsemen -- Pill Hill Press

Email submissions to: 4horsemen@pillhillpress.com

Please put SUBMISSION: FOUR HORSEMEN in the subject line of your email, followed by the title of the story. Thanks!

The anthology will be divided into four sections: Conquest, War, Famine/Pestilence, and Death. Most genres, including, but not limited to, supernatural, dark fantasy, horror, suspense, crime, mystery, humor and science fiction, are welcome as long as they fit the theme of one of our four categories (conquest, war, famine/pestilence, death). Please note which category your story fits into when you submit.

Stories can be realistic or fantastical. They can take place anywhere - on Earth, under Earth, in Space, etc. They can take place at any time - past, present, future, alternate. We are looking for a good variety of unique stories that fit our four categories!

We are looking for short stories 500-5,000 words in length.

Payment is 1 cent per word + 1 contributor's copy upon publication

Please do not send stories with a strong religious theme. Pill Hill Press does not wish to misrepresent any religion. Also, please do not send rape/torture stories, anything "x" rated or pornographic, pet mutilation tales, fiction about child abuse and/or pedophilia, or submissions that denigrate any race, gender or sexual orientation.

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31 December 2009 -- Coming Together: As One -- Phaze Books

Coming Together: As One is a multi-author anthology of erotic fiction and poetry edited by Alessia Brio.

We're seeking poetry and stories up to 10K words with a ménage theme. Exclusivity is not required as long as the author owns the rights. The usual squicks apply (no incest, bestiality, scat, necrophilia). No simultaneous submissions, please!

ALL proceeds from the sale of this volume will benefit ONE, the campaign to end global poverty.

PUBLISHER: PHAZE BOOKS

SUBMISSIONS: CLOSE DECEMBER 31, 2009 -- asone [at] eroticanthology.com

PLANNED RELEASE: APRIL 2010 in ebook & print

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5 January 2010 -- Greek Myth/Urban Fantasy -- Drollerie Press

Drollerie Press is seeking short stories for an anthology retelling Greek myth re-set as urban fantasy. The stories should be between 5 and 20k in length, and should be YA friendly, that is, appropriate to a sophisticated YA reader and to adults as well. The protagonist(s), therefore, should be wrestling with issues of young adulthood, and should be between the ages of 17 and 25. This is a general fantasy anthology, so stories may contain cross-genre elements, such as love, science, or horror, but should not be specifically written to that genre. In particular, however, the stories should be creative and intelligent, and show knowledge of the source material and skill at reweaving it for a new audience. How veiled the original story remains up to the author.

Submissions for this anthology should be uploaded on our submissions page, and should contain “GREEK” in the file name.

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5 January 2010 -- Trafficking in Magic/Magicking in Traffic -- Drollerie Press

Trafficking in Magic deals with the sale and transport of magical goods and services, including magical beings, artifacts, fortune telling, communing with the dead, and other spells for hire, or the sale of magical energy itself;

Magicking in Traffic deals with magic in the flow of traffic–which could be street traffic, commerce, the flow of energies, or something else entirely–whether to aid, block, or manipulate the flow of traffic, or simply to play in it.

Creative interpretations of the title(s) are also encouraged.

Contributors are encouraged to send 1 short story per anthology or up to 3 poems total. Query first if sending fiction over 12,000 words or poetry over 100 lines. Compensation is an equitable distribution of royalties based on word count. Publication will be in ebook, with trade paperback to follow if warranted by sales.

Send submissions for this anthology only to magic@drolleriepress.com.

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10 January 2010 -- Valentines' Day Sips -- Torquere Press

3K-8K words, m/m or (a few) f/f, Valentine's Day theme.

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15 January 2010 -- Warrior Wisewoman 3 -- Norilana Books

"I am looking for stories that shed light on the truth of what it means to be female, that illuminate the wisdom and the strength of a woman, but not in cliche 'goddess' stories. I love action and adventure, grand space opera, thrilling discovery, and intelligent protagonists. Make the story thoughtful, wise, and surprising, not merely the same old metal spaceship hull filled with cardboard military uniforms with female names 'barking' orders and firing at aliens. In addition, the stories in the anthology should appeal to genuine emotions, suspense, fear, sorrow, delight, wonder. The science can be part of the background and the characters foremost, or the science can be central to the story, as long as the characters are realistic and appealing. It is strongly recommended you read the previous volumes to get an idea of what kind of material we're looking for.

"This is science fiction, but I also welcome stories of spiritual exploration, looking at the bond between the scientific and the divine. I want to see how a woman survives tragedy and disaster, overcomes impossible odds, achieves her true potential, or goes on to thrive in a marvelous universe of so many possibilities, using what is inside her, as well as what she finds in the laboratory, the alien planet, or space itself.

"The stories should contain the question of 'what if' on some level. And they should have a woman answer it."

RIGHTS PURCHASED: First English Language Rights and non-exclusive electronic rights. The anthology will be published by Norilana Books in a trade paperback edition in June 2010, to be followed by an electronic edition to be produced later.

PAYMENT: $0.02 a word on acceptance, and a pro rata share of royalties, plus a contributor copy.

WORD LENGTH: Up to 10,000 words, with longer stories having to be exceptional.

READING PERIOD begins on September 1, 2009. Please do not submit your stories before then.

DEADLINE: January 15, 2010.

HOW TO SUBMIT: Submissions are electronic only. Please submit your story as a Word (.doc or .rtf) attachment to your e-mail. The subject line of your e-mail should say "Submission: Story Title, last name of author." Also, include a brief cover letter. It should have your full name, address, e-mail address, title of story, number of words, and brief biographical information in case we don't know you, with most recent publishing credits, if applicable. We are open to new writers and seasoned veterans alike.

EDITORIAL ADDRESS: roby.james@comcast.net

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15 January 2010 -- Rainy Days and Mondays -- Torquere Press

Think April showers and what boys get up to when the sun isn't shining.

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15 January 2010 -- Toybox: Wax -- Torquere Press

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1 February 2010 -- Red Hot Fairy Tales -- Samhain Press

How did Belle tame the wild Beast? Did the carriage turn into a pumpkin….or did Cinderella? And just what was going on with Snow White and those Dwarves?

I’m very pleased to announce an open call for submissions for a new, yet-to-be titled Summer 2010 anthology. I’m open to any genre, M/F, M/M, or multiples thereof. I’m looking for your super-hot take on the fairy tales we grew up with and… there must be a Happily Ever After.

The anthology will include novellas from 20,000 to 25,000 words in length and will be released individually as ebooks in August 2010 and in print in Spring 2011.
Submissions are open to all authors, published with Samhain or aspiring to be published with Samhain. All submissions must be new material, previously published submissions will not be considered. Additionally, manuscripts previously submitted, whether individually or for past anthologies, will not be considered either. Please be aware that manuscripts submitted to this anthology cannot be resubmitted at a later date unless by invitation from an editor.

To submit a manuscript for consideration, please include:

The full manuscript (of 20,000 to 25,000 words) with a comprehensive 2-5 page synopsis. Please include a letter of introduction/query letter. Full manuscripts are required for this as it’s a special project. We are not accepting multiple submissions for this anthology, so please only send in one manuscript. If you already have a manuscript under consideration with Samhain and would also like to send in a submission to this anthology, please query editor@samhainpublishing.com first. Also, please be aware that, as a primarily romance publisher, we require all stories for this anthology to fit into the romance genre, complete with “happy ever after” or “happy for now” ending.

As well, when you send your manuscript, please be sure to use the naming convention FairyTales_Title_MS or FairyTales_Title_Synopsis. This will ensure that your submission doesn’t get missed in the many submissions we receive, and makes it easy for me to find in my ebook reader.

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UNTIL FILLED -- MM and Menage Steampunk Antho -- Phaze

Call: M/M and Menage Steampunk Anthology, Title TBA
Edited by: Leigh Ellwood
Projected release date: late 2010
Format: eBook (with possible print release)
Publisher: Phaze Books
Payment: $50 for one-time electronic and print rights, plus copies

Hey, all you steampunk enthusiasts, grab your goggles and get to writing! Phaze Books is planning an M/M (and bi-M menage) steampunk collection for eBook publication in 2010. If you have a yen for 19th century history with a touch of good humor and technological innovation (and a whole lot of manlove!), we hope you’ll send us your hottest steampunk erotic romance of 10K - 20K words. If you’re not sure about the genre, check out this Wikipedia entry for steampunk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk) to get an idea of the style of stories we’re looking for. Think H.G. Wells or Wild Wild West, then turn up the steam factor with an incredible M/M or MMF/MMM match-up!

This call is open indefinitely until the spots are filled. Contributors will offer one-time electronic and print rights to their works and receive a one-time payment of $50 and contributors copies (eBook and/or print, if the book goes to print).

To submit to this anthology, please follow the Phaze Books structural guidelines at http://www.phaze.com/submissions.html and attach your RTF submission to Leigh Ellwood, c/o Phaze Books at submissions @ phaze (dot) com. Please use STEAMPUNK ANTHOLOGY is your subject header.

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UNTIL FILLED -- Panverse Two -- Panverse Publishing

Editor - Dario Ciriello

PANVERSE TWO is the second of a series of all-original novella print collections, with publication scheduled for Late Spring 2010.

Interested? Please read the following guidelines carefully. We look forward to reading your work.

The anthology will be open to submissions until we have enough good stories.

Looking for pro-level novellas of between 15,000 and 40,000 words. Stories should be Science Fiction (except Military) or Fantasy (except Heroic/High/Superhero/S&S). We'll also look at Magic Realism, Alternate History, and Slipstream (whatever that is). The story should be original and unpublished in any medium (this includes web publication).

Depth of characterization will count for a lot – however clever the idea, if we don't care for the protagonist, we'll bounce it. We like stories that instill wonder. Subject matter is pretty wide open. If we care, can't put the story down, and find no big holes in the plot or worldbuilding, you've got a good shot.

What we don't want:

Military SF, High Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Horror, RPG, superhero, or shared-universe stuff, etc. Vampires and Cthulhu-mythos stories are strongly discouraged unless you've done something absolutely original with either theme. No gratuitous or wildly excessive sex or violence: what this means is that sex or violence which serves the plot is okay, within limits; the same goes for language. Think R-rated rather than XXX-rated.

NOTE: there are some unusual bits in their formatting and cover letter requirements. Nothing ridiculous, but definitely click the link and read the full guidelines before submitting.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hanging With Wolves

Jim and I spent yesterday (Sunday) at Wolf Mountain Sanctuary, in southern California in Lucerne Valley. Well, at the sanctuary, plus driving up and back with some friends; I think we spent at least half the day in the car. It was worth it, though.

Wolf Mountain is smaller than I was expecting, but Tonya, the woman who owns the place, said that they're working on moving to a larger property. They have several packs which have to be kept isolated from one another -- I got the impression that they might fight if they were kept together, although I might be mistaken -- so while they have several larger enclosures with room for the wolves to trot around and play and bury things, bigger would be better.

The enclosures are behind double fencing; you have to go through one level of chain link fence into a series of corridors which lead to the wolf enclosures themselves. Visitors who are just wandering around and don't necessarily have a staffer paying close attention to them can't stick fingers into the enclosures this way, or do anything else dumb.

Meeting some of the wolvesOnce a staffer invited us back, he said that the thing to do is lay the back of your hand flat against the fence, so the wolves can sniff you. I'm there on the left; on the right is the friend who drove us, one of my husband's co-workers. Sometimes I got licked as well as sniffed, and sometimes they tried to rub the side of their head against my hand, although that wasn't very effective through the fence. Some of them would stand there, leaning against the fence, wanting scritchies, although that was kind of awkward too.

There was a huge group ahead of us -- about twenty or so people I think, so we just hung out waiting for them to finish. It was a shame in that that many people interacting with the wolves and giving them treats (chicken and turkey legs, dog cookies) got them tired and kind of full, but the good part was that after they left it was nice and quiet and we had the place to ourselves, the four of us. We were shown around and introduced to all of the wolves, told their names and where they came from. (All of which I promptly forgot, because my memory sucks and I didn't have anything to take notes with, so apologies for a lack of specifics.)

The wolves at the sanctuary were rescues of one sort or another. Sometimes people bred them and couldn't keep them anymore. Sometimes people bred them badly -- the dark wolf in the picture above, and a lighter brown mixed-color one in the same enclosure who's not in that picture, were siblings from the same litter, bred from parents who were siblings. That's not a great idea, but people do it anyway. There were other wolves at the sanctuary who were inbred also; Tonya said that one of them was aging more rapidly than he should, that he was twelve but looked more like a sixteen-year old wolf. People get wolves and think breeding them is cool, but don't learn about them or about how to do it properly. All the adult wolves at Wolf Mountain are fixed; the two siblings above are still considered puppies, and just a little over a year old, but they'll be neutered soon. There are barely resources to take care of the wolves they rescue from bad situations as it is; adding more by letting them breed would be irresponsible and Wolf Mountain doesn't do that.

Some of the wolves were rescues from Alaska, where dens were being burned out because wolves were supposedly taking game which "belonged" to sport hunters. The fact that wolves take the very old, the very young, the sick and the injured, none of which are interesting trophies to sport hunters, didn't seem to matter; they made a good try at eradicating the wolves from that area anyway. Wolf Mountain got some cubs rescued from dens in the targetted area.

One of the smaller enclosuresA few of the wolves were in smaller enclosures. Some of the wolves were waiting for a larger one to be built for them -- we could see the construction site off to one side -- but one was there because he'd had an injury and needed to be by himself for a while, and another was there because she'd been fighting with the others and needed to be isolated. The larger enclosures are ideal, of course, but the smaller ones were still a decent size for one wolf, and hopefully most of the wolves in them will be out soon.

Wolf kissesBecause we were patient and quiet -- not difficult in comparison with the previous large and noisy group -- Tonya took us into one of the enclosures where she said she doesn't usually bring any of the visitors. Jim and I sat on a rock and the very handsome boy in the picture here came up to meet us. He wasn't terribly interested in the cookies -- we'd seen him burying a turkey leg earlier, so I guess he was full -- but I got some kisses anyway. That was pretty awesome.

ScritchiesIn one of the other enclosures, one of the wolves was kicking back on top of her platform. (I think it was a female.) You can't see in this picture, but they'd dug a den underneath this platform, which is boxy rather than just flat. I think a couple of the other platforms in other enclosures had dens underneath them too. Whenever we saw the wolves napping, though, they were always on top, or just on the ground somewhere. Maybe they went underneath at night? Anyway, this one had some cookies she was sort of mildly interested in (those are cookie bits in front of her in the pic) and we went up to pet her and give her some scritchies while she ate. I'd started at the base of her neck and was scratching fairly hard down her spine and had just hit her butt, just above the base of her tail. Most dogs like that a lot, and she seemed to think it was pretty cool too, judging by the look on her face. :) Her outer coat was coarse, not terribly soft to pet but good for moving through underbrush and shedding rain.

Oh, and someone did ask about the wolves digging out of the enclosures. Tonya said they bury the chain link four feet down, to prevent any escapes. She also mentioned that some of the wolves had once been frightened by a rabbit; wolves have to be taught to hunt, and if they're not then they have no clue where their food comes from. Keeping them in is as much for their own good as anyone else's. [grin]

This was a great day and we all had a wonderful time. I hope they do get to move to a larger property; I'm sure all the wolves would appreciate more running-around space. If you're ever in the area, check out their web site; you can make appointments for visiting from Thursday through Sunday. It costs $20 per person for a one-hour tour, or $50 for a half-day visit with a private tour, which is what we did. It was definitely worth it, and an awesome experience.

Angie

Saturday, October 31, 2009

So Much For That Experiment

So the argument is that e-books go up on the torrent sites, a bazillion people download them for free and those who enjoy the book go out and buy a legit copy, once they've found out for sure that the book is worth spending money on. I was skeptical, but figured I should give folks a chance. So back in July I issued a challenge to the pirates. Someone had uploaded a copy of my story, "Learning to Love Yourself," to the torrents and I was willing to wait for my next quarter's royalty statement to see if there'd been any positive impact on sales. I promised that if there were a clear (or even a squinty) increase in sales after the story had been torrented, that I'd stop chasing after pirates; my publisher would still issue take-down notices and such, but I myself would stop doing so and let the uploaders do whatever they wanted.

Well, it's next quarter and I have my royalty statement, and there was nothing. Not even a blip. So much for that theory. Sorry, folks, the cease-fire is over.

Given recent discussions [cough] on the net, I want to make it clear that I don't get too excited if someone likes my story and thinks, "Hey, I'll bet Mary would love this one!" and gives Mary a copy to try. A personal rec is more likely to turn someone into a fan, if they do like the story. My objection is to the torrents, where people steal copies of my copyrighted, for-sale books en masse. I'm not even going to deny the possibility that some people out there use the torrents to try before they buy; a few people have said they do, and I'm willing to provisionally take their word for it, although I still think torrent piracy itself sucks.

Reading the pirate message boards, though, there seem to be far more people there who actively mock the whole idea of paying for something you can get for free. These people think anyone who pays money for an e-book they could get for free is stupid, period. This isn't a case of try-before-you-buy, or of poor people being unable to afford to buy books. When people can't find a copy of something to "share" on the torrents, and someone in the group says, "I might actually have to spend money on this one, haha!" and everyone laughs on cue over how ridiculous that is, yeah, my spirit of compassion and generosity shrivels up pretty quickly.

You know, I was really hoping this would turn out differently. If there'd been any kind of visible up-tick in my sales, I'd have been willing to let things go and been happy to do so. It's really a shame.

Angie

Friday, October 16, 2009

Is YOUR Senator Pro-Gang-Rape?

Yeah, that's pretty inflamatory. I'm feeling pretty damn inflamed right now, so I think that's appropriate.

In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones, a twenty-year-old employee of KBR -- at the time a subsidiary of Halliburton, and hey look, they're hiring -- was working in Iraq. Her co-workers drugged her, gang-raped her, abused her so badly her breasts were disfigured permanently, then locked her in a shipping container for twenty-four hours without food or water. She was told by her employer that if she left Iraq to get medical attention, she'd be fired.

According to an ABC News post:

Jones says, she convinced a sympathetic guard to loan her a cell phone so she could call her father in Texas.

"I said, 'Dad, I've been raped. I don't know what to do. I'm in this container, and I'm not able to leave,'" she said. Her father called their congressman, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas.

"We contacted the State Department first," Poe told ABCNews.com, "and told them of the urgency of rescuing an American citizen" -- from her American employer.

Poe says his office contacted the State Department, which quickly dispatched agents from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to Jones' camp, where they rescued her from the container.


Also:

Jones told ABCNews.com that an examination by Army doctors showed she had been raped "both vaginally and anally," but that the rape kit disappeared after it was handed over to KBR security officers.

Wow, what a shocking misfortune.

Her assailants were never brought to trial, either, neither criminally nor civilly. Why? Because Ms. Jones's employment contract with KBR states that a victim of sexual assault surrenders the right to prosecute their rapists; all such matters must be taken before a private arbitrator, where there's no transcript kept and the proceedings are not public record.

And this is by no means an isolated incident. See the links below for more cases, more women who've been raped and brutalized and threatened while working abroad for defense contractors, coming forward.

So essentially, if you work for one of these companies overseas, your co-workers can gang rape you, leaving you permanently injured, the company you work for can threaten you with the loss of your job if you try to go home for medical help, their security people will "lose" key evidence of the crime against you, and your only recourse is private arbitration. Your assailants will never see prison time, and there'll be no official record of what happened.

Or rather, this was the case until last Tuesday. According to a story in MinnPost.com:

In one of the most public tests of his political skills since taking office in July, Sen. Al Franken pushed through an amendment Tuesday that would withhold defense contracts from companies like Halliburton if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court.

So essentially, if a company tries to create an atmosphere encouraging rape and assault among their employees by preventing victims from seeking prosecution, they're cut off from defense contracts. That's kind of minimal, but since the only thing these people understand is money, it might just work. Note also that the author of the amendment has only been on the job for three months -- way to go, Senator Franken!

But now we get to the part which is relevant to the title of this post. One would think that every person with two brain cells to rub together for mutual warmth would be in favor of this change, but unfortunately that's not the case. Thirty senators -- all Republican, coincidentally I'm sure -- voted against the amendment. Is your senator among them? If so, please write or call and tell them what you think of how they voted.

There's a complete list of how everyone voted on the U.S. Senate web site. This is official, a dot-gov web site; it's not some unofficial nose-count by a partisan press. Is your senator on the "Nay" list?

Also, props to the ten Republican senators who voted for the amendment:

Bennett (R-UT), Collins (R-ME), Grassley (R-IA), Hatch (R-UT), Hutchison (R-TX), LeMieux (R-FL), Lugar (R-IN), Murkowski (R-AK), Snowe (R-ME), and Voinovich (R-OH).

It's pretty sad that voting in favor of punishing gang-rape is something worth particular praise, but still, I applaud these senators for voting for what's right, rather than going along with the Boys-Will-Be-Boys Club.

Thanks to a friend of mine on LJ for giving me a heads-up to this.

More sources:

Celluloid Blonde
Firedog Lake -- Ms. Jones says eleven more women have contacted her about similar incidents
Huffington Post
The Minnesota Independent
The Nation -- and another KBR rape case.
Politico
Think Progress -- this one has an embedded video of Sen. Franken's speech.
Think Progress -- this one talks about three other women who've come forward

Angie

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'm On Amazon

Google alerts finally got around to telling me one of my stories is up on Amazon, in a Kindle edition, and apparently has been since 30 September.

I have to admit I'm of two minds about this. Part of me was jumping up and down and doing the virtual "Woot!" thing, because Amazon is a freaking huge market and there's no getting away from that. Another part of me was going, "Huh..." though, because Amazon's not my favorite corporate entity these days. And I have some technical issues with the Kindle, even aside from Amazon's corporate ethics, although that's one of those "if it works for you" kinds of things. But yeah, as far as marketing goes, this probably isn't one of my better efforts. [cough]

Still, more formats is always a good thing. If any Kindle users out there are interested, there's a version available now for $2.49, and there'll be another version (with no image available at this point; I have no idea what the difference will be) available 17 December for $1.99.

Even if you're not a Kindle user, if you're browsing Amazon and you feel like wandering by my page(s) and clicking on the tags, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

Angie

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reading Habits

A meme-thing about reading habits, gacked from Charles. Questions are in italics.


Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack:

I eat or drink while reading sometimes, but not every time. And there's no particular thing I go for while reading. Sometimes I'll be eating a meal, sometimes I'll just feel like popcorn or a bagel or some tea (peppermint with honey) or whatever else pops into my head and is available in the kitchen.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

I have to admit I find marking in books pretty horrifying. Even when I was in school I never wrote in my books, clear workbooks -- the kind composed of newsprint, which have lines obviously long/tall enough for the full answer to be written in -- excepted. I don't even write my name in my books. (Which, BTW, is why I just eyeroll when people say that obviously Shakespeare never owned any books because we haven't found any books with his name in them. Not everyone does that, ya know?)

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

Usually I use bookmarks. I have a stack of 3x5 cards, left over from when I was taking language classes and made bazillions of vocabulary flashcards, which now serve mainly as bookmarks. If I don't have a bookmark to hand, I'll occasionally lay the book down very carefully, over the edge of another book if possible. Bending the spine is anathema, almost as much as writing in a book.

Fiction, nonfiction, or both?

Both, although mostly fiction these days. My non-fiction is about a quarter research for some project and the rest just whatever interesting stuff comes to my notice.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?

I prefer to read to the end of a chapter, and if not that, then to the end of a scene. It's rare that I'll stop in the middle of a scene; I have to be so tired I'm having massive trouble keeping my eyes open, or travelling and forced to put the book away Right Now because it's time to get on the plane, or something like that.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?

Depends. If I'm reading an e-book at the computer, there's a dictionary right there and I'll look it up. If not, I'll try to remember it and look it up later. I can usually figure out the gist of a new word, though, from the roots and/or context.

What are you currently reading?

Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett
Whatever issue of Asimov's I'm currently on (I read those in spurts)
I Do! ed. Kris Jacen
Almost Everyone's Guide to Science by John Gribbin
14 Years of Loyal Service in a Fabric-Covered Box by Scott Adams

What is the last book you bought?

"Taylor's Personal Best" by Aaron Michaels

Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?

I always have a bunch of books going, usually a few I'm currently working on (a couple of books by the couch, a couple of books in the bathroom, a couple upstairs) plus a larger set of older books I started earlier but which were supplanted by newer and more interesting books. I usually get back to them eventually, sometimes starting over because I don't remember what was going on. If a couple of years go by and I haven't, I've occasionally been known to give up. [duck]

Do you have a favorite time/place to read?

Whenever. I like reading before I go to sleep, and on planes if I'm not sleeping there. I spend a lot of time on cruises reading. But really, whenever I have some time.

Do you prefer series books or stand alones?

It really depends on the book or series. Some series just go on and on and on and clearly should've been put out of their misery some number of books ago. Some stand-alone books have wonderful characters and world-building and really could support sequels. I don't deliberately lean toward one or the other, though.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?

I recommend Laney Cairo's Bad Case of Loving You to anyone who even hints that they're thinking of trying m/m romance, because it's just that awesome. Lois McMaster Bujold gets a lot of recs, and Connie Willis, and Jo Beverley. Mike Resnick's Santiago is great, and Dave Brin's a master at creating aliens, up there with Larry Niven. And, and, and.... [laugh/flail] My recs list would be another post all by itself.

How do you organize your books?(by genre, title, author’s last name, etc.)

First, split up fiction and non-fiction. Non-fiction is then sorted by subject, then by sub-subject, such as time/place for the history books, and particular craft for the craft books. Then alpha by author, then by title order, unless the author wrote a series in which case series books go in series order.

Fiction is sorted by genre, then by author, then by title, with the same series exception as above.

Another Plagiarist

LJ User Gwendolynflight, over in the Merlin fandom, decided that she didn't want to do the work to learn to write and refine her technique and develop her own style. She wanted hugs and pats and e-cookies for her wonderful writing right now. So instead of writing a novel of her own, she grabbed a copy of Jordan Castillo Price's first PsyCops book, Among the Living, did a bit of editing to change the names and the setting and such, and posted it to her journal as a Merlin fanfic. And of course, she got a lot of applause and e-cookies for it, because it's a very good story. (Jordan isn't a particular friend of mine, I don't even have her journal friended, but we both publish with Torquere Press and I have Among the Living -- it's a good read.)

Of course someone figured out what was going on -- 'cause there are fanfic readers who also read original m/m books, who knew?! -- and after some incredibly lame excuse-making, the plagiarist took the story down. But check out this screencap and read through the comments. :/

I love the part where Gwendolynflight assures a commenter that "it is completely and fully beta'd." Umm, right, because the real writer polished it, then sent it to a publisher where a line editor and a proofreader went over it. [eyeroll]

And then lower down where she actually admits that the story is a "fusion" with Price's PsyCops series. o_O This is where I get the idea that she's actually just that stupid, rather than a bold-faced thief. Not that being a moron is an excuse, but you know, it's something different to smack her for.

Then a few comments later where she's talking to a reader about how dark the story is, and mentions that Book Two is particularly dark, and she's glad that isn't turning the reader off. So she fully intended to go on doing this, through the whole series? Once she'd ripped off all the available novels, since she seems to think she's doing absolutely nothing wrong, I wonder whether she'd have had the balls to, like, write to Jordan and nudge her about hurrying up on the next installment. :P

Finally, about 2/3 of the way down, LJ user Throwawayreview calls it what it is and clues poor Gwendolynflight that this isn't a "fusion," it's not fanfic, it's plagiarism. And of course Ms. Gwen has all sorts of excuses, because plagiarism is "a social concept" and not absolute. And later on she says that "plagiarism isn't an inherent moral wrong - it's an issue firmly bound up in economic and patriarchal issues." Umm, right. It's a weapon of the Patriarchy. So her stealing the actual words of another woman writer and posting them as her own and accepting praise and credit for writing the words another woman actually wrote, is actually Ms. Gwen sticking it to the Patriarchy. Wow, good to know. [eyeroll]

Note that Jordan has no problem with fanfic. She said, in her reaction to this situation:

I'd also like to say that fanfic is an entirely different thing. If a reader said, "Wouldn't it be funny if Victor and Jacob got a flat tire...?" and wrote that story, using my characters and storyverse but their own plot and words, that would be fanfic. I've written half a million words of fanfic; it's how I learned to write, for good or ill. This re-tooling of Among the Living was not fanfic.

So this isn't a case of one of the uptight pro writers trying to stomp on the poor fanficcers. Actual fanfic would've been fine. Copying a whole freaking novel (with plans for the second one) and swapping out the names and places and a few police procedure details, but keeping the other ninety-some percent of the original author's verbage is not fanfic, in any way, shape or form. Gwendolynflight is one of the people who gives all fanfic writers a bad name. She's one of the people whose actions convince the New York publishers and the Hollywood producers, and their writers and their lawyers, that we're all a bunch of pathetic, talentless thieves who are too lame to write our own stories and get credit and praise and e-cookies for our own work, so we steal from them and pretend their work is ours and claim credit for the wonderful writing we didn't do. That's what they think of all of us, and one of the reasons they think that is because there are people who do it in exactly that way. Because that's pretty much what's going on with Gwendolynflight.

She's gone into hiding now -- her journal's been completely locked down, although it hasn't been deleted. I'm kind of disappointed by that, because it means she might slink back out from under her rock at some point. I'm sure she has her own little group of friends who are all rallying 'round her now, giving her pets and hugs and feeding her chocolate and assuring her that she did Absolutely Nothing At All Wrong, and that all those evil mean people are just being so meeeeeean to her, isn't it just terrible?! Those bitches!!

But you know, this isn't the sort of person fanfic fandom needs, any fandom. And if she were eventually to pick up her dolls and flounce away and find a new hobby, I'd be just as happy.

Angie, who's in no mood to give this idiot any slack whatsoever

ETA: LJ User Pecos pointed this out, from Gwendolynflight's LJ profile:

This journal is primarily for whinging about school and/or teaching, and for posting the fanfic and fanvids which i occasionally, sometimes, rarely produce. You know, every once in a while.

This woman is a teacher. O_O

Anthology Markets

I've been getting a lot of hits on these posts, so if you've just wandered in off the internet, hi and welcome. :) I do these posts every month, so if this post isn't dated in the same month you're in, click here to make sure you're seeing the most recent one.

Markets with specific deadlines are listed first, "Until Filled" markets are at the bottom. There are usually more details on the original site; always click through and read the full guidelines before submitting. Note that some publishers list multiple antho guildelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.

Non-erotica/romance writers: The Mo*Con Anthology is looking for horror, Clockwork Phoenix is looking for non-traditional fantasy, and Panverse Two is looking for SF and fantasy.

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31 October 2009 -- 28 Days of Heart -- AllRomanceeBooks

Charity drive to benefit the American Heart Association. 28 stories will be chosen from submissions received between July 1 and October 31, 2009. Any author who has an eBook available on ARe, or whose publisher lists eBooks with us, is eligible to submit. Submissions must be 10,000 to 20,000 words. The preferred heat rating is 4 or 5 flames, though stories rated a hard 3 flames will also be considered. An explanation of the flame rating system can be found on our site. We are looking for a wide variety of themes and sub-genres, as long as the story is a romance. Questions should be emailed to cat.johnson@allromanceebooks.com. Final selection of participants will be made and announced in November 2009.

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1 November 2009 -- Mo*Con Anthology

First, all the stuff you really care about: Pays 5 cents per word up to 5,000 words. Deadline is November 1st. Reading period opens June 1st. Payment on acceptance.

If you’re unfamiliar with Mo*Con, you’ll be operating from an extreme disadvantage. It’s the annual horror convention, named after myself, that revolves around discussions of spirituality, writing, and social issues. Horror, too often, has been thought of as the non-thinking genre, home of the “monsters in the dark” with little to offer in terms of depth. Mo*Con defies that image of the genre. Its themes so far have covered spirituality, race, gender issues, art, and love.

So what am I looking for? Smart, literate stories that fit in with any of the themes of Mo*Con. Horror/dark fantasy stories with depth, that stretch the genre. Stories that make you think, that comment on the human condition and the social order. Stories that are rich in their language use. However, as much as I love social commentary, don’t forget to entertain me. You should also note that about half of the anthology has already been filled with solicited pieces.

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15 November 2009 -- Teammates -- STARbooks

There you are in the locker room after a hard practice, watching your teammates strip and head to the open shower room, and suddenly the practice isn’t the only thing that is hard. Or, during wrestling practice, you are paired up with the best built, most handsome guy on the team, whose singlet is stretched beyond its limits everywhere possible. You are the quarterback and the new center has the hottest butt you’ve ever seen, and now he is bent over in front of you with your hands against his crotch, ready to hike the ball. What do you do? What have you done? What do you regret not doing?

Any one of us who has participated in sports has been any of the above situations and many more like them. How do you control yourself when you are surrounded by hot, sweaty men, who are pumped and randy? Well, now you can put those fantasies – or real-life stories – into writing! TEAMMATES will be your opportunity to make jocks sweat, strain, pump, and practice what they do best with other men who share their athleticism and passions.

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15 November 2009 -- Clockwork Phoenix 3 -- Norilana Books

"My aim with the CLOCKWORK PHOENIX books is, somewhat selfishishly, to create books that satisfy my own tastes as a reader. And as a reader, I enjoy stories that experiment, that push the envelope, that dazzle with their daring, but I'm often personally frustrated when an experimental story ends without feeling complete, without leaving an emotional crater for me to remember it by. At the same time, I find myself increasingly bored with the traditional, conventionally-plotted and plainly-written Good Story Competently Told. For better or for worse, I envision the CLOCKWORK PHOENIX books as places where these two schools of story telling can mingle and achieve Happy Medium; where there is significance to both the tale that's told and the style of the telling."

UPDATE FOR THE THIRD VOLUME: "For the second book, I received a glut of sorcery stories, of which I only really used one, and a dearth of stories with the rococo sf elements I enjoy seeing. I hope that trend will reverse somewhat this year. Also, please see what I have to say below regarding multiple and simultaneous submissions."

RIGHTS PURCHASED: First English Language Rights and non-exclusive electronic rights. The anthology will be published by Norilana Books in a trade paperback edition in July 2010, to be followed by an electronic edition to be produced later.

PAYMENT: $0.02 a word on acceptance as an advance against royalties, then a pro rata share of royalties after earnout, plus a contributor copy.

WORD LENGTH: Stories should be no longer than 10,000 words, preferably shorter. This is a firm limit for unsolicited stories.

READING PERIOD begins Oct. 1, 2009; ends Nov. 15, 2009. Any unsolicited stories sent before Oct. 1 will be deleted unread.

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS: Submissions are electronic only. Please submit your story via e-mail, as an RTF file attachment. Your e-mail subject line should say "Submission: Story Title". Include a brief cover letter in the body of your email. It should have your name, address, e-mail address, title of story, number of words, and brief biographical information in case we don't know you, with most recent publishing credits, if applicable. We are open to new writers and seasoned veterans alike. We do not accept reprints.

WILL MULTIPLE SUBMISSIONS BE ALLOWED? Yes.

WILL SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSIONS BE ALLOWED? The editor says, "Yes, but please notify me when you've done that. When a writer suddenly withdraws a story that I haven't even gotten a chance to look at yet, or worse, that I just read and liked, but can't make a final decision about yet, it tends to make me cranky. (Don't worry, I do acknowledge and accept that there are some circumstances that justify such actions.) However, no one is going to get a formal acceptance from me until after the reading period ends. If you can't wait that long to find out what I think, then please don't waste my time or Inbox space."

EDITORIAL ADDRESS: clockworkphoenix@gmail.com

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15 November 2009 -- Shot Through the Heart Taste Test -- Torquere Press

Valentine Stories.

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15 November 2009 -- Silence Toybox -- Torquere Press

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30 November 2009 -- Love and Fables -- Queered Fiction


A collection of tales featuring fable (legend/myth) elements in a uniquely queer way; stories about mythical , lengendary or supernatural beings or events combined with Romance...and a HEA (Happily Ever After). Your submission should be a short story between 3,000 and 20,000 words. We are seeking fiction with positive images of queer characters. We’re not looking for clichés. We do not want reprints. We are seeking first world rights for this anthology which will be published as an eBook and in Print format. Your submission should be via email to editor@queeredfiction.com with Love and Fables Anthology submission in the subject line. Please embed your short story within the body of the email and provide a brief author bio. Payment will be a 40% royalty split of eBook sales between contributors and a 20% royalty split of print sales.

Submissions open: 1st September 2009 to 30th November 2009
Reading period begins: 25th November 2009

As a queer publisher, QueeredFiction would like to have an emphasis on the queer community as a whole, rather than by segments. So ideally the perfect submission would have 'queer characters' in the forefront and in the background ... just mainly prominent!

What we're looking for is to create a HEA collection of tales featuring fable (legend/myth) elements in a uniquely queer way; our fables here are stories about mythical, lengendary or supernatural beings or events for example the grail, Tristram and Isolde, Blodeuwedd, Midas, a seal wife(/lover) even the Emperor's new clothes...et cetera. I'm not looking for a re-telling of any of these fables/legends, but more an original tale simulating or borrowing from these.

Queries can be directed via the QueeredFiction Blog The contract is available upon request for your inspection.

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1 December 2009 -- I Do Two -- MLR Press

The anthology, titled I DO, TWO, is a sequel to the January 2009 charity anthology I DO! All authors donate their stories to benefit the Lambda Legal Fund. The collection covers a range of times, places and people, and illustrates the universality of love and commitment.

To date, I DO! has raised over $1500 for the cause of equal rights in marriage. I DO TWO will be a similar, companion volume, published by MLR Press. (Contracts will be in line with their standard contract.)

We’re looking for stories between 1,000 words and 10,000 words long. M/M, F/F, Bi and transgender stories are welcome. There is no strict theme, but we have certain things we do not want to see, for example stories which undermine the purpose of the anthology -- that is, no stories which are about how gay people do not want to get married or do not deserve to get married. We do not want anything that reinforces negative stereotypes -- no snuff fiction, scat, golden showers, necrophilia or underage sex. Because of the potential copyright issues, we cannot accept fanfiction, either.

If you possess the copyright for your story and it isn’t currently under exclusive contract to anyone else, we are happy to consider stories which have been published before. Please make a note in the covering e-mail.

As long as your story follows these guidelines and comes within the word-count, please send it to Lee.Rowan@yahoo.com. Your story does not need to have an explicit marriage-related plot or even a happy ending! Any story that celebrates the theme of love as valid, no matter the genders of the players, is welcome.

This is for a charity anthology, so you will not get paid. All profits will go straight to the Lamdba Legal fund. Through education, litigation and public policy work, Lambda Legal works to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of gay, lesbian and transgender people, and persons with HIV. Since their founding in 1973, Lambda Legal has become an active and vital part of the GLBT civil rights movement instrumental in the fight for same-sex marriage rights both nationally and, most notably, in the fight to strike down California’s Proposition 8.

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UNTIL FILLED -- MM and Menage Steampunk Antho -- Phaze

Call: M/M and Menage Steampunk Anthology, Title TBA
Edited by: Leigh Ellwood
Projected release date: late 2010
Format: eBook (with possible print release)
Publisher: Phaze Books
Payment: $50 for one-time electronic and print rights, plus copies

Hey, all you steampunk enthusiasts, grab your goggles and get to writing! Phaze Books is planning an M/M (and bi-M menage) steampunk collection for eBook publication in 2010. If you have a yen for 19th century history with a touch of good humor and technological innovation (and a whole lot of manlove!), we hope you’ll send us your hottest steampunk erotic romance of 10K - 20K words. If you’re not sure about the genre, check out this Wikipedia entry for steampunk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk) to get an idea of the style of stories we’re looking for. Think H.G. Wells or Wild Wild West, then turn up the steam factor with an incredible M/M or MMF/MMM match-up!

This call is open indefinitely until the spots are filled. Contributors will offer one-time electronic and print rights to their works and receive a one-time payment of $50 and contributors copies (eBook and/or print, if the book goes to print).

To submit to this anthology, please follow the Phaze Books structural guidelines at http://www.phaze.com/submissions.html and attach your RTF submission to Leigh Ellwood, c/o Phaze Books at submissions @ phaze (dot) com. Please use STEAMPUNK ANTHOLOGY is your subject header.

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UNTIL FILLED -- Panverse Two -- Panverse Publishing

Editor - Dario Ciriello

PANVERSE TWO is the second of a series of all-original novella print collections, with publication scheduled for Late Spring 2010.

Interested? Please read the following guidelines carefully. We look forward to reading your work.

The anthology will be open to submissions until we have enough good stories.

Looking for pro-level novellas of between 15,000 and 40,000 words. Stories should be Science Fiction (except Military) or Fantasy (except Heroic/High/Superhero/S&S). We'll also look at Magic Realism, Alternate History, and Slipstream (whatever that is). The story should be original and unpublished in any medium (this includes web publication).

Depth of characterization will count for a lot – however clever the idea, if we don't care for the protagonist, we'll bounce it. We like stories that instill wonder. Subject matter is pretty wide open. If we care, can't put the story down, and find no big holes in the plot or worldbuilding, you've got a good shot.

What we don't want:

Military SF, High Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Horror, RPG, superhero, or shared-universe stuff, etc. Vampires and Cthulhu-mythos stories are strongly discouraged unless you've done something absolutely original with either theme. No gratuitous or wildly excessive sex or violence: what this means is that sex or violence which serves the plot is okay, within limits; the same goes for language. Think R-rated rather than XXX-rated.

NOTE: there are some unusual bits in their formatting and cover letter requirements. Nothing ridiculous, but definitely click the link and read the full guidelines before submitting.

Friday, October 9, 2009

New Column -- Learning the Stitches

RTB

I have a new column up at Romancing the Blog. I was thinking about how I learned to crochet as a little kid, and realized that I learned to write pretty much the same way, and that the approach I took (purely through serendipity) seems to have worked out pretty well for both. Nothing profound, but rather a look at a way of learning something new and why I think it worked particularly well for me.

Angie

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bullies Get Butts Kicked by Cross-Dressers

Gacked from a few places around the net. :D

A couple of homophobic thugs in Swansea, Wales, attacked two men who were walking down the street in short skirts and high heels. The two cross-dressers turned around and wiped the sidewalk with the jerks. It turns out the cross-dressers were a couple of cage fighters -- talk about picking a fight with the wrong guys! LOL!

Someone named CJ in comments to the above linked article suggested "Give these 2 badges and cuffs and get them out on the streets everynight dressed that way to attract idiots who only attack people (seemingly) weaker than themselves." I'd chip in for that, seriously. [evil snicker]

Angie

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Newsflash! Saturn Has a Massive Ring Around It!

No, really. Check out the photo.

The mass of the ring begins 3.7 million miles outside that of the inner ring system we're all familiar with, and the density of the ice crystals and dust is so low that no one's ever noticed it before. But "the cool dust -- about 80 Kelvin (minus 316 degrees Fahrenheit) -- glows with thermal radiation. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, used to spot the ring, picked up on the heat."

The ring is also tilted at an angle with respect to Saturn and the inner ring. The CNN article says:

One of Saturn's moons, Phoebe, orbits within the ring. As Phoebe collides with comets, it kicks up planetary dust. Scientists believe the ice and dust particles that make up the ring stems [sic] from those collisions.

This suggests that the newly discovered outer ring follows Phoebe's orbit -- that they're of similar size and tilt. I tried to find confirmation of this, but the Google-fu failed me. I found a couple of graphics showing Phoebe's orbit, but can't tell whether the tilt matches that of the outer ring. I suppose it makes sense that something discovered this recently wouldn't have generated all sorts of comparative diagrams yet.

It makes me wonder how this works, though. If Phoebe actually did create the outer ring, by smacking into comets over a long period of time, then why doesn't every moon have an associated ice-and-dust ring? There are cometary paths all over the solar system, and over however many millions of years, one would think there'd have been time for other moons to smack into their own comets and form ring systems.

Maybe other moons do have other rings in their orbits and we just haven't pointed the right types of cameras at the right angles to find them yet.

If they don't, then why not? What's special about the Saturn-ring-moons-Phoebe-bigger-ring system that it happened there and not elsewhere? For that matter, why does Saturn have the inner, more visible ring system at all, while none of the other planets do? Other planets do have rings, but only tiny, dull fractions of Saturn's. Saturn is less than 30% Jupiter's mass, so it's not that its mass draws in lots of space junk and none of the other planets are massive enough to do so.

Stuff like this always renews my interest in solar-system based SF, though; new discoveries always add to the "What if?" lists. :)

Angie

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Review -- "Spirit of Vengeance"

Book Utopia posted a great review of A Spirit of Vengeance.

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From the very first words, the unrelenting emotion and overwhelming grief grip the reader by the lapels and refuses to let go. There is no preamble. The author shoves you straight into the middle of Josh’s confusion regarding his partner’s death, and holds you down in it until there’s nowhere else to turn. That’s not a bad thing. You’re hardly aware of being so expertly corralled until you’re there, and then, it’s just a short, intense ride through the rest of the story as it plays out around you.

Josh doesn’t know how to process Kevin’s violent death, a crime that seems to have been inspired by hate. His palpable feelings twist and turn until neither he nor the reader knows which end is up, so when Kevin’s ghost starts visiting him, it’s disconcerting at best. There’s absolutely no reason to distrust Josh’s fearful reaction to it, and the time it takes for him to come to grips with the possibility that, yes, he’s not crazy, only serves to further cement my belief in how hard this loss has hit him. This reaction, so real, so human, provides the fulcrum upon which the rest of the story balances. Because I can believe that, I can believe in Kevin, and the plot that follows, even if it seems to be secondary to the more relevant task of processing his grief.

The suspense portion of the story, that of satisfying Kevin’s need for revenge, felt rushed in comparison to the careful unfolding of Josh’s emotions. That holds it back a little, as the other players almost seem extraneous. The details supporting the so-called real world, too, never rang as vibrantly true as Josh and his feelings, but they were certainly more than adequate to keep the story believable and moving forward. The true thrust of this novella is Josh and Kevin’s love story – and I’m deliberately choosing to use that term rather than romance – and for this alone, it provides a poignant, compelling read.

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Thanks so much to Book Utopia Mom. Hearing about how someone liked one of my stories just makes my day. :D

Angie

Friday, October 2, 2009

Flash Plagiarism

Someone named Richard Ridyard has been swiping lines from all over -- including from Stephen King -- and has just been exposed big-time by Angel Zapata. Thanks to Writtenwyrdd for the link.

One thing which makes this case notable is that, unlike every single other plagiarism case I've looked at in the last couple of years, there is no one sticking up for Mr. Ridyard here. Every other plagiarist who's been shoved into the limelight has had dozens or hundreds of fans who've rallied round with their indignation and counter-attacks to let the accusers know just how horrible and mean they're being. There's nothing like that here, and I have to say it's refreshing. Flash writers seem to be all on the same page when it comes to the evils of plagiarism and the need to find it, shine a light on it and stamp it out. Kudos to the flash folks.

It's also nice to see so many flash editors and publishers saying straight out that they're deleting Mr. Ridyard's work from their sites and blacklisting him. (The only publisher which tried to deny the charge was Valentine Publications, where Mr. Ridyard is an editor.) After all the denials of interest or responsibility, and attempts to brush off accusations and queries, and to ignore clear evidence by the larger publishers in earlier cases, it's good to see editors and publishers willing to take action and state in public that they're doing so. Kudos to them too.

Angie

Friday, September 25, 2009

Failure

Kristine Kathryn Rusch has been posting a book she's writing entitled The Freelancer's Guide to Survival on her blog a chapter at a time. I think I mentioned it here before, but in case I didn't, she's been at it for a while now and has compiled a lot of great info and advice.

Ms. Rusch is a writer and editor who's worked in a number of genres (I'm familiar with her from SF/Fantasy -- she used to edit F&SF) and does this stuff full time, which is the definition of "successful" in the writing world if ever there was one. She's also run a couple of businesses, one in publishing and one not, so she knows what she's talking about.

She's posting the book on her blog with a tip jar, rather than just writing it and letting us all wait until it's been published, because the current economic mess has forced a lot of people into freelancing, and is encouraging a lot more to give it a shot. The info needs to be out there now, not two years from now, so she's making it available as a community service.

Note also that the info she's giving is applicable to all kinds of freelancers, whether you're a writer or an artist or a landscaper or an architect or own a shop -- if you're your own boss, this book has great info you'll find helpful.

The most recent chapter is on Failure and even if you don't read any of the other parts, I think you should read this one. Even if you're not any kind of freelancer, there's still some stuff in here to make you go, "Huh."

Because the bottom line is that everyone fails. We all have failures in our past, and unless we get hit by lightning five minutes from now, we'll have failures in our future. It's part of being a human and trying to get along in the world. Certainly people who've achieved great things have all (so far as I can tell) had some failures on their resumes, and often some pretty spectacular ones. The trick is what you do when you fail, how you respond to things coming crashing down. Do you pull yourself up and keep going, or just sit there and cry and swear you'll never try X ever again?

Which made me think about romances, because seriously, I wish I had a nickel for every romance book I've ever read where the thirty-some-year-old hero is cold and snarky to all women because his mama was mean to him when he was a small boy and he's Never Trusted A Woman Since. Or where the heroine was betrayed by her first teenage love, or had a boy she liked laugh at her, or whatever, and has therefore Never Let Herself Fall In Love.

Really? I mean, seriously, I know there are a few people here and there who do have reactions that over-the-top to single incidents, but they have major issues, you know? I've always eyerolled over these kinds of characters, but I've never articulated why I thought they were idiots until now. But reading Ms. Rusch's Failure chapter made me see that this is exactly it -- these characters had one failure and in response they shut down an entire chunk of their lives and personalities. These people need a lot of therapy. And yet it's presented in romances as a normal and understandable way to respond to a painful setback, something which requires careful nurturing by The Great Love Of His/Her Life to bring them back into a normal mode of living and feeling.

Yet in reality, most of us have multiple romantic setbacks before finding someone to live with and love for the rest of our lives. And even the person you thought was The One might turn out not to be, ten or twenty years down the line. When failure happens, we keep going. Sure, we might need some time to cry and some time to wallow in life's suckitude, but then we get up and keep going.

Then, however many years later, we look back and see that everything we experienced in our lives up to that point, including all the pain and all the failures and all the embarassment, has contributed to making us who we are now, and putting us in the situation we're in right now. I have a lot of suck in my own background, some of it pretty darned major, but if it all contributed to getting me where I am now -- a published writer with the best husband in the world -- then I don't regret a bit of it. Sure, I have occasional fantasies of hopping into a time machine and changing this or that, things I regret or which still embarrass me to think about. Then I wonder whether I'd have ended up here if this or that had been different, and suddenly I don't want to change anything.

Learn from it? Sure. But it all brought me to where I am, and it's all important. Good enough.

Angie