Saturday, November 23, 2013

Trying This Google+ Thing

Okay, so what happened is a couple/few months ago (don't remember exactly how long) I came across this add-on for Chrome that'd let you use the old Compose box with Gmail. I really hate the new one, and a lot of people seemed to like this add-on, so I added it on. It had a quirk or two (like adding space between the lines in your in-box right after you'd used Compose) but I could live with that to have the old Compose box back. And all was well for a while.

Then like a month ago, I suddenly couldn't get into Gmail on Chrome. First it was just my desktop system, but a few days later it broke on my laptop too. I had no idea what the problem was. I could get into that Gmail account just fine on Firefox, or even [shudder] Internet Explorer, but when I tried to bring it up in Chrome, it just kept cycling and cycling forever, as though it were processing the page but couldn't get anything to resolve. I logged out and logged back in -- nothing. I logged out, restarted the computer, then logged back in -- nothing. I tried approaching Gmail from different angles -- nothing.

Now all this time, Chrome had been bugging me to "complete" my Google+ profile for my AngieBenedetti mail address and, like, get with their system. I wasn't interested in another social network thing, so I ignored it. But eventually, after trying everything I could think of, I though, Maybe Google's messing with me because it wants me to do this Google+ thing? It wouldn't be the first squirrely thing some huge company had done to try to get folks to use one of their products, and Google's been closing its eyes on its "Don't be evil" thing now and again over the last few years, so I figured I might as well try. So I set up my profile on the angiebenedetti mail account.



I moved on, and eventually figured out that it was the add-on that let me have the old Compose box. :( I turned that off and poof! I could see my in-box in Chrome again. I figured the most recent Chrome upgrade had hosed the add-on. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Google did it deliberately, either, because they have major issues about forcing everyone to do things exactly their way. But anyhow.

So I had this Google+ profile floating around out there, with basically nothing but my name on it. Then someone added me to a circle. And someone else added me. So I guess I'm sort of there whether I planned to be or not?

I decided to give in and at least try it. I filled out my profile a bit more, and added a couple of people to circles, but most of the folks it suggested to me to add weren't people I know terribly well. If you're active on Google+, even if only a little, and would like to add me or have me add you or whatever, let me know. I'm still woefully ignorant about how this system works -- I'm not even sure if you'd look for me there as "Angie Benedetti" or "AngieBenedetti" or "Angela Benedetti" -- so however you want to ping me about it, do that. :)

We'll see how this goes. If it turns into a huge timesink, I'll probably walk away. But for now, it might be fun. Anyone else playing?


[ETA: Closing comments because of a ridiculous amount of comment spam. :/ ]

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ten Reasons to Try NaNoWriMo

I have a post up at the ARe Cafe today about Why Trying NaNoWriMo Is a Great Idea. Check it out. :)


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

But What About Readers and Reviewers?

There's a discussion over at Jessewave's that evolved into a thread with wider interest to fiction writers in general, so I brought one of my comments (and a bit of what I responded to) back here. Rick Reed wrote the original post, talking about women in m/m romances, and of course the conversation strayed over to the question of m/f sex in m/m books. For those of you who aren't into romance, or aren't into m/m, there's a fairly sturdy divide between readers who are willing to follow a character's story wherever it leads, and readers who, in their own words, don't want anyone getting "girl cooties" in their m/m romance. You can probably tell what side of the debate I'm on. [cough]

Anyway, Carolyne wondered in comments whether it wouldn't be practical to just avoid story elements that readers have said they dislike, in the name of maximizing sales and reviews, then said:

I don’t say all the above in a cranky way, but in asking myself whether it simply makes much more sense to make a reasonable compromise in one’s writing, to be practical and give a story its best chances in the world.

My response got kind of long, as is often the case. I posted it there, but thought I'd put it here too, because it has a larger application than just romance:

This is a question each writer has to answer for her/himself. My answer is no. I won't compromise my work because a few people are loud about what they dislike. They're entitled to their opinions, but my writing is mine.

Another way to think about it is that every subgenre, and quite a few full-blown genres, started out as a writer here or there writing something completely different, something that nobody had ever written before, despite the fact that there was no sign or clue that the readers of whatever the closest genre was "wanted" that kind of work. Paranormal romance started back in the 70s, and IIRC wasn't even considered romance half the time -- you don't find Yarbro's Saint Germain books in the Romance shelves even now, and that's the first I recall. "Weird" romances snuck into the mainstream through the occasional one-off -- anyone remember The Elsingham Portrait? -- and then in the 80s, time travel romance were huge for a few years. There were a bunch of books on the shelf with pocket watches on their spines, so TT fans could find them, while people who preferred "normal" romances just thought they were weird and dumb. Fantasy romances and SF romances (oh, excuse me -- "futuristic" romances) appeared in the late 80s as subgenres, when there had been little or nothing like them before in romance. Enough people glommed on to keep them going, which people who preferred "real" romances about doctors and secretaries and cake bakers and decorators made snarky comments. As late as 2008 a columnist at a major romance blog (now defunct) was griping about how there were "too many" of those weird romances around, about how they were pushing out the "normal" contemporary romances. She was kind enough to allow that there should be "a few" of the weird romances published, but only the very best. (Nice of her to allow people like me a few of The Very Best of the subgenres I like most -- maybe she'd be the one to vet them for me?)

What would romance -- het or GLBT -- look like now if writers who love writing about vampires and aliens and mages and interstellar ambassadors and shifters had read the gripes and snarks of people who only want contemporary romances, and thought, "Gee, if I write this stuff I really love, nobody will read or review it! I'd better toe the line and write about doctors and secretaries and dog walkers, because I want my books to sell and be reviewed!"

Will writing what you love yourself limit your market? Sure. That's always true. If you write mystery romances, there are people who don't like those. If you write about shifters, there are people who'll eyeroll and move on. If you write about cross-dressing main characters, there are people who aren't into that. If you write BDSM romances, plenty of people will avoid them. That's their choice to make, and always has been. I know that no matter what I write, I'll never capture 100% of the market. Not even the biggest, most popular NYT bestsellers capture 100% of their target market, no matter how many marketing weasels call something "the must-read book of the year."

Will writing certain things limit your reviews? Sure. Again, that's always true. If I put a m/f sex scene in a book, Wave won't review it. She pays the hosting fees, so the site runs by her rules. That's not a limitation on what I can or should write, though, and I doubt very much that even Wave thinks it should be.

I'll write what I want to write, and let each book find its audience. Some audiences are going to be bigger than others -- that's how the business works. Trying to guess ahead of time what's going to be huge or what's going to be smaller, and then writing only what you think will be huge, is a fool's game, though. Coincidentally, Dean Wesley Smith posted about something like this just a day or two ago -- The Myth: To sell either to editors or readers, you must write what is hot. Dean's answer to this question is, "Kick all the editor and agent and online board voices out of your writing office and write what makes you passionate or angry or excited." That, right there -- do that, or IMO there's no point in being a writer. We're certainly not here to get rich, right? If your number one goal is making money, there are a lot of easier, less chancy ways of going about it. [wry smile] If I'm not having fun, if I'm not writing what I want and what I love, then I have no reason to be here.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Anthology Markets

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 guidelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.


30 November 2013 -- War Stories -- ed. Andrew Liptak & Jaym Gates; Apex Publications

War Stories is seeking original military science fiction of 1000-7500 words. Stories of 5000 words or less are preferred. We’re starting with a pay rate of 5¢/word for original fiction. This rate is will change provided we reach a certain funding level with the Kickstarter. [NOTE: they did get their funding for this pay rate.] Please format your document as a .doc, .docx or .rtf file.

What we’re looking for in a story:

We want top-notch original military science fiction stories that are contemporary, innovative, relevant and exciting. We want to speak to the civilians and soldiers of the last decade, keeping in mind the collective experiences of the wars in the Middle East and Africa, from all sides of conflicts. We’re not looking for stories that are necessarily set in the present or near future, but stories that take to heart the major themes and lessons that we’ve seen. Stories on different planets, timelines, with power armor, spaceships, robots and more are welcome.

We believe that the science fiction/fantasy genre’s diversity is its greatest strength, and we wish that viewpoint to be reflected in our story content and our submission queues; we welcome submissions from writers of every race, religion, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation. We are particularly interested in receiving stories from POC and female authors.

We are not accepting reprints at this time.

Cover Letter: Christie Yant’s post is a good model to follow.

Format: William Shunn’s Manuscript Format is a good model to follow.

We are now accepting submissions. Please examine our submission guidelines and e-mail submissions to warstoriesanthology [at] gmail [dot] com.


1 December 2013 -- SNAFU -- Cohesion Press

SNAFU will be an anthology of original military sci-fi horror novellas and short stories.

Bioweapons unleashed, mutations, ancient species unearthed in lost caverns deep within the earth… and the soldiers who fight them. You get the drift?

We have solicited novellas from some of the biggest names in the business, and this is your chance to appear alongside them.

There will be approximately 60,000 words taken up with novellas by the solicited authors, so we are looking for three or four original short stories via the submission process to fill the rest of the wordcount up to about 80,000.


We are looking for original stories that take the standard military thriller and inject some horror, whether it be bioweapons, creatures from another planet or dimension, or anything that you can imagine.

We want action-filled, plot-driven tales that carry the reader along for the ride. Think Jonathan Maberry, Greig Beck, Warren Fahy, and Weston Ochse (SEAL Team 666 series). Think Dog Soldiers, Predator, or Alien. If you haven’t read Jonathan Maberry or Greig Beck, or SEAL Team 666 or Fragment, then what are you waiting for? Get reading.

Submission period – September 1, 2013 until December 1, 2013
Payment – 3 cents/word (semi-pro) and a contributor copy of every format that is released
Length – 3,000 to 7,000 words (if your story is longer or shorter, contact us first. We’re willing to look, on a case-by-case basis)

PLEASE NOTE: if your story sits outside our word limits and you haven’t contacted us first to check that this is okay, we will delete it without reading it.

Follow these guidelines when submitting to us:

== Please put your full contact details on the first page of the manuscript
== Standard submission format, with minimal document formatting
== Courier or Times New Roman; 12pt; italics as they will appear. No underlining
== Double spaced
== DO NOT use tab or spacing to indent lines. Use ‘styles’ only. If unsure, do not indent at all
== ONE SPACE after periods
== NO LINE between paragraphs unless a line-break is required
== Please put full contact details on the first page of the manuscript (yes, I said this twice… it’s important)

For a guide to standard submission format, see Shunn's short story format.

The only variation to this format is that italics MUST appear as they will be used; no underlining.

== We are looking for original stories only. NO REPRINTS, please.
== Simultaneous submissions are okay, but please let us know when you send us the story.
== If you do not notify us, and then you have to pull the story because it’s been accepted elsewhere, you will make us very unhappy.
== Authors can send us up to two stories at the same time, but please use separate emails. DO NOT attach both submissions to the same email.

Stories that fail to follow these requirements will be deleted without being read, so please don’t ruin your chances.
Email submissions should be sent as an attachment via email as a .doc, .docx, or .rtf file.

== Name your file thus: SNAFU_”name”_”submission title”, using an underscore to separate all words.
== Create your email subject line thus: SNAFU_“Submission Title” .

Please include your full contact details (postal address, e-mail, phone number) as well as word count in the body of your email AND on the top of the first page of your manuscript (as per Shunn’s guide, linked above), and send your submission to:

Authors will be notified of their standing no later than two weeks after the submission period ends (no later than December 15). If you have heard nothing back three weeks after the end (by December 22), please contact via with subject line: query_SNAFU.


1 December 2013 -- Take This Man -- ed. Neil Plakcy; Cleis Press

Payment: $60.00 per story, payable on publication, plus 1 copy of the book

The editor of Active Duty, Beach Bums and other anthologies seeks romantic erotica focused on male couples in committed relationships.

Many erotic stories focus on the thrill of first contact—but Take This Man will be different, looking at how much sexier an encounter can be when the two men involved have been together for long enough to make a commitment to each other. Formalized or not, the fact remains that when you know what turns your partner on, and vice versa, your encounters can be even hotter, especially when you factor in the emotional component.

The anthology will be published by Cleis Press in time to celebrate the first-year anniversary of the decision knocking down the DOMA.

Story length: 3,000 - 5,000 words
Deadline: December 1, 2013
Publication Date: Fall, 2014
Payment: $60.00 per story, payable on publication, plus 1 copy of the book

Submit your story to Neil Plakcy as a MS word attachment.


1 December 2013 -- Me and My Boi -- ed. Sacchi Green; Cleis Press

Preferred Length: 2000-5000 words
Deadline: December 1, 2013
Payment: $50 per story and two copies of the anthology

This book is a celebration of all things boi, butch, masculine-of-center; the people we love who put their own personal spins on the gender spectrum. Bois who like girls, bois who like bois, bois who like both; those who don't label themselves bois at all but can't stand to wear a skirt. Tell me stories about female-born, screw-the-binary free spirits of all flavors. Cool bois, hot bois, swaggering bois, shy bois, geek boys, drag kings, leather bois, flannel bois. Young is fine, but so are butch daddies, mentors, and role models.

As always, give me fully-developed characters, vivid settings, original voices, intriguing themes, and steamy sex that develops naturally out of all the rest.

E-mail submissions (.doc or .rtf files only) and queries

This book will probably be published in 2015.


31 December 2013 -- Take the Heat -- ed. Skye Warren

Theme: Criminals, illegal activity
Word Count: 4,000 – 6,000
Payment: $100

The ultimate bad boys, criminals have the power to capture our attention and waken our darkest desires. Celebrate the illicit in short story format for this taboo contemporary anthology. Put your own spin on the following scenarios or surprise readers with a new one:

- A jaded cop arrests a street walker only to find himself seduced
- A CEO catches a thief in the act—and exacts his own punishment
- A cold assassin finds one target he can’t bring himself to terminate
- An escaped fugitive takes a hostage who just might save him
- A new arrival at the prison stirs up lust in a long-term inmate

Make it sexy and shocking, erotic and thoughtful. A strong plot and well-crafted writing are musts. Twists and mindfucks appreciated. Angst welcome. Romantic elements nice to have. Any variation of genders, pairings, and sex practices accepted, but please refrain from submitting incest, bestiality, or rape as titillation, and all characters should be over eighteen.

The anthology will receive marketing support, including print advertising, review exposure, and event placement. A one-time payment of $100 will be made for each accepted story. Preferred word count 4,000 to 6,000 words. Contract is for 3 years exclusive rights and non-exclusive rights thereafter.

Accepted stories will be professionally edited, but please ensure that your submission is complete and polished. Include the title, your name, pen name, mailing address, email address, and bio on the first page of your manuscript. Format the document in Times New Roman font, 12 point, double spaced, black font, in doc or rtf format.

Submissions are due December 31, 2013. Send your story to with subject line TAKE THE HEAT.


31 December 2013 -- Kaleidoscope -- ed. Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios; Twelfth Planet Press

Kaleidoscope is an anthology of contemporary YA science fiction and fantasy with a focus on diverse perspectives. Alisa Krasnostein (founder of Twelfth Planet Press, and winner of the World Fantasy Award in 2011) and Julia Rios (fiction editor at Strange Horizons, and host of the Outer Alliance Podcast) are co-editing this project, which we hope to fill with a variety of exciting tales, happy and sad, adventurous and meditative. We’re not simply looking for cookie-cutter vampire or urban fantasy stories, but for things that transport us and subvert our expectations.

Stories submitted for this anthology should be between 2,500 and 10,000 words and should feature:

*Protagonists who are characters of color, disabled, neurodiverse, mentally ill, QUILTBAG, people with non-western cultural backgrounds, or otherwise diverse (not the typical straight, white, cisgender, able-bodied, western characters).

*Contemporary settings: modern day Earth life should be part of the story. It’s okay if there is a portal to a fantasy world, but we want characters to have some grounding in this world, too.

*Science fiction or fantasy elements: While we want the setting to be contemporary, we do want each story to have a speculative element (magic, the supernatural, genetic mutations, tech that doesn’t exist yet, etc.).

*Teen protagonists, because this is a YA anthology, after all! Mature themes and content are okay, but we’re not looking for erotica or extreme violence.

Payment will be 5 cents per word (USD) to be paid on publication in late 2014. We’re asking for First World Publication Rights, with an exclusivity period of 12 months (with the exception of Year’s Best reprints).

All submissions must reach us by the 31st of December in order to be considered for the anthology.

Send your submission as an RTF or Doc file to with “Kaleidoscope Submission: [your story title]” in the subject line. Please no simultaneous or multiple submissions (that is to say, please send us only one story at a time, and please don’t send that story to any other markets until you have heard back from us). We expect to make our decisions in early 2014.


1 January 2014 -- Daughters of Frankenstein -- ed. Steve Berman; Lethe Press

Lethe Press is seeking short stories and novellettes for its forthcoming anthology, Daughters of Frankenstein: Lesbian Mad Scientists! We're looking for more cinematic-style "mad science"--over-the-top vs. textbook--so everything from alchemy to steampunk to cloning in tanks is fine. The protagonist must be lesbian and her sexuality cannot be a stigma. While the mad scientist need not be the protagonist, she must be a three-dimensional character and her interest in (mad) science should have a natural rationale as in real life (though her desired ends to whatever experiment takes place as one of the story arcs need not be natural at all!). Our preference is stories that take place in 19th and 20th centuries, but we are open to other time periods and contemporary tales.

This book would be shelved in SF/Fantasy. So this is not an erotica anthology. Elements of romance are fine and welcome as long as they are natural to the story.

Original stories should be 2,500 to 12,500 words. Payment is 5 cents a word upon publication, which will be in the fall of 2014. Deadline for all submissions is January 31st, 2014. Submissions must be sent as rtf files to with the subject line DAUGHTERS OF FRANKENSTEIN. Feel free to query us.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Political Phone Spam

Dear American Political Candidates:

Okay, I know you're all exempt from the requirement to refrain from cold-calling the people on the National Do Not Call List. Of course you are -- Congress is made up of politicians, and they made sure that they and their campaign workers would be exempt. You don't want to be hassled at home during dinner by people calling trying to sell you things or make you take a poll. You get how annoying that is. But when it comes to annoying others for your own purposes, well, I guess that looked like a completely different thing.

So when people working for your campaign call our number, which has been on the Do Not Call List since its inception, I understand that I have no legal recourse. No one's going to fine you, or even slap you on the wrist.

But you know, when your campaign workers call people whose numbers are on the Do Not Call List, they're communicating more in your name than just your campaign message. They're also communicating that you don't give a damn what I want, how I feel, or what my preferences are when it comes to communications from people I don't know and have never done business with. You're calling me because you want me to hear your message and you give no damns about whether I want to hear it or not.

That being the case, why should I assume that you'll give any damns about what I think or what I want once you're in office? If you're trying to persuade me that you're the best person to represent my wishes and views in our government, I have to say you're doing a piss poor job of it.

Neither I nor my husband will be voting for any of the people whose campaign workers (or their robo-call minions) have called us with political messages. You've made it clear you don't care what I think, and that you believe you should be above any repercussions for your acts of voter annoyance, and by doing that you've convinced at least the two of us that you'd suck as our elected leaders or representatives. I'll bet we're not the only ones, either.

Have fun on election night.


Friday, November 1, 2013

HELL NO: The Sensible Horror Film

This is awesome. Why aren't all horror movies like this? I mean, okay, there'd have to be some more actual danger to make a good movie, but that just means the writers have to work harder to put characters with functional brains into dangerous and scary situations. Is it really that hard? I do think this is a writing issue, although I get that in Hollywood, the writer is generally the omega dog in the pack and isn't allowed to do a good job even if he/she wants to and is capable. I wish Hollywood would let its writers create characters who don't have great, gaping chasms between their ears. I might watch more horror movies if they did.

Until that happens, check this one out. :)

Thanks to Pam Singer for sending me the link to this!