Saturday, February 05, 2005

Curse you, Red Baron!

Lullaby Hearse rejected "Carrion Comfort". I hate form rejections. I understand the need for them, the volume is just too much, but I still hate them.

Now I have to slink back to base through enemy lines, grab a new Sopwith Camel and get ready for the next Dawn Patrol. Hope I don't get sidetracked by some cute Mademoiselle in a lonely cafe. :)

Naked Snake Online and singularity.net are next up on my list. Toss-up. I'll consider that for a few days, and maybe send the story around for comments before I decide for sure.

TEWO eats a bullet

Holly and Debra, I think you're right. I'm just not ready for this one right now. As you say, ther are plenty more stories. Thanks!

And Holly: here's a big CONGRATULATIONS! on the Book Club sale. Good going!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

"The Easy Way Out" dies a horrible death

Well, not really. It's just gotten all jumbled up in my mind. Everybody wants to tell their side of this thing, and I can't tell if it's a short story, a series of short stories, or a novel(ette). So, back into the Waiting Room with the rest of the invalids.

One of the things that has me avoiding real work on it is the whole suicide thing. I'm not sure I can really dig down that deep right now, and I sure don't want to blindside myself. It's not worth stressing over. I have plenty of other stories to work on.

Speaking of which, "In the Hands of an Angry God" called to me this morning and demanded to be read and evaluated. It's much better than I remembered. I sent it out to the crit group to see what they think. This is a manic run through a maniac's mind. It's short (700 words), but I think it gives a pretty look at raving insanity from the inside. It really worried when I first wrote it back in October of 2001. That was 4 months pre-breakdown. I was probably trying to tell myself something.


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

After further review...

Submitted "A Time To Every Purpose" to Quantum Muse this morning. Crap! I've run out of fingers! I hate crossing my toes. They cramp.

"The Easy Way Out" gets rocky

Been kicking this story around today and came up with several possible directions for it to go:

Scenario 1:
Move forward with it as it stands. Julie needs some conflict to resolve. She may be a WAP (White American Princess, think Paris Hilton) who has never needed to develop any life skills. Since Mummy and Daddy kicked off, she's been clinging to Tom as her life preserver. With him gone, she's suddenly a single mother of two and has no clue how to cope.

What she wants: someone to take care of her ("Someone to watch over me...").
What stands in her way: Hmm. She's quite attractive and should have no lack of men sniffing around.
Possible resolutions: She would most likely wind up with a real jerk. On the other hand, she may decide to take the Easy Way Out herself by offing the children and herself.

Have to do some more work on this scenario.

Scenario 2:
Tom kills himself because he is profoundly depressed (and deep in denial about it) . He found out about Julie's terminal condition from her best friend Marie and couldn't deal. Julie's been thinking seriously about this, but Tom beat her to it. Now she has to cope with terminal cancer(?), 2 kids, Tom's suicide, and Marie's betrayal of her confidence.

What she wants: For everything to be all right.
What stands in her way: Not gonna happen. She's going to die soon (couple months, real bad pain). Blames herself (and Marie) for Tom's suicide
Possible resolutions: Kills herself (and probably the children, she doesn't want them to suffer). Or manages to forgive herself and Marie and make arrangements for Marie to get the children.

Hmmm. Not happy with this one either, at least not yet.

Scenario 3:
After Tom's suicide, Julie brings his spirit back for a good, old-fashioned butt-kicking. Several possibilities: she digs her old Sorceress kit and grimoire out of the attic and does it herself, she goes to a bruja woman, she gets out the Ouija Board, lots of ways to do that.
What she wants: A final confrontation and a chance to say goodbye.
What stands in her way: It's going to cost her. Big. Necromancy is the most powerful form of magic, and she'll have to trade something of equal value. Possibly a life for a life. Have to try to avoid the "bring 'im back from the dead" bit. Been done too well already ("The Monkey's Paw", Pet Sematary, etc.).
Possible resolutions: Pretty nebulous right now.

I'll just have to keep worrying at it. Maybe my mind will throw something out in my dreams tonight.

From the "How big a dumbass do you think I am?" file

From the BBC: Sunni clerics in Iraq claim the election is invalid. Why? Because so many Sunnis did not vote, so the government does not represent them. Why did they not vote? Because these same Sunni clerics ordered them to boycott the election. What's wrong with this picture? There's something fundamental about Democracy that these guys just don't get.

You can't have it both ways, guys. If you want representation, then GO TO THE GODDAMNED POLLS AND VOTE!

And now for something completely different...

Saw this on Making Light last night. I have to have this book! As an added bonus, the proceeds go to the SFWA Emergency Medical Fund. This one is destined for greatness. It reeks of it.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Catching up

Good progress today. Got "Though Your Sins Be As Scarlet" edited and sent out to the crit group. Crossed fingers. No matter how often I ask for crits, I still get that twittery feeling in my stomach. Also finished a final rewrite/edit/polish on "A Time To Every Purpose". Still researching potential markets.

Market research is more than just looking at Ralan's Webstravaganza or Spicy Green Iguana and picking titles that I like. That's a good way to generate those fetid "Not for us" rejections. I also read stories that they have published recently to try to get a feel for what the editors like. Margaret Fisk has an article in Vision about that aspect of market research. It's worth checking out.

And-- No, I don't tailor my stories to a particular market. Usually, anyway. I generally write the stories I want (need!) to write and then look for the best fit in the marketplace. This is one of those rules that is meant to be broken, of course. If a magazine or anthology is looking for themed stories, I will sometimes to write to the theme. Sometimes, I can even stay reasonably close ito it. More often, the story wanders off and becomes something else entirely. Ah, the eternal mystery of the human psyche!

In other news...

Georgia Power Company reports that as of 3:30pm yesterday, some 11,000 Georgians were still without power. That means they have restored around 225,000 customers to working order in 3 days. Amazing. We don't often give the linemen the credit they deserve. They go out in all kinds of weather and do a remarkably dangerous job just so we can have the convenience of lights and electric heat. Then we bitch at them if we have to do without for a few hours. Thanks guys!!!!!

Onward...

Next on the agenda is a complete rethink and rewrite of "The Easy Way Out". This story started out as flash, but has grown significantly. Another growth spurt is on the way. The story revolves around a woman whose husband has committed suicide because he had terminal cancer and wanted to spare his family the agony of watching him die. He leaves his wife and two children in good financial condition, but the psychological effect is enormous. Julie, the widow, is contemplating suicide herself, but what about the children? Hmmmmm...what about the children? There are 8 bullets in the gun...

heh, heh, heh.

Monday, January 31, 2005

When Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy!

Mother Nature dropped in for a visit Friday night. Boy, was she ever pissed! She spent all night and all day Saturday dumping ice all over everything. 3 days later, we have electricity and phone again. Thank God for that firewood I stacked up last weekend!

The big problem, see, is that Georgia is pine tree country. Pine trees don't do ice well at all. We spent all day Saturday and all night Saturday night listening to the limbs break and the smaller trees fall down. When a pine tree sheds a limb, it sounds like a rifle shot. It was like being in the middle of a fire-fight. Not real comfort-making. No damage to the house or cars or people, though, so we're all right.

The other thing is that pine trees have this strange affinity for power lines. If a pine tree can fall on a power line, it will at the first opportunity. If it's only shedding a branch, the tree will throw it in the direction of the nearest wires. They connect more often than not. Georgia Power still has lines down. They were going through Sunday and just cutting the lines that had been knocked down, trying to get power back to as many people as possible. It may take the rest of the week to sort this one out.

Maybe that will be the disaster of this winter, though we still have 4 weeks of February to get through. For some reason, we get the ice storms at the end of January, but any snow that's going to fall will be in February. Around here, it's February that's the cruelest month.

Needless to say, I got jack done as far as writing. I should be able to finish the cleanup tomorrow and get back to what passes for normal around this loony bin.