Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Winter Now Available on Genre Mall

My trade paperback "Winter" is now available at Genre Mall. Third section from the top (or just search for Novy).

Monday, June 29, 2009

Open Request to Fiction Editors

Writers get rejected all the time, and any writer with any kind of track record expects rejection and takes it at face value. While there is some value in rejectology--interpreting the verbage for deeper meaning--it's only worth spending so much time on it. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction has an informal code to the rejection letters that indicate how far into the story an editor got before moving on to the next story. That little bit is helpful, but not really necessary.

With one exception I will address in a bit, I honestly don't mind any rejection letter, form or personalized. An editor must choose from mountains of stories and many of those are (I'm told) horrible. It should be intuitively obvious that a writer will not sell every story on first submission. Rejection is part of the game, and believe me, it's a numbers game. I have sold stories anywhere from first to twentieth submission. A writer needs a thick skin, which brings me to the one thing that does bristle me in a rejection letter--coddling.

It's one thing to tell me in a terse note that you can't use the story. No big deal--if you don't want to buy it, I want you to reject it quickly so I can send the story elsewhere. However, it's an entirely different thing to say you can't use the story, then go into all the reasons why a perfectly good story might have been rejected. Further, no need to wrap your arms around me and lay my weeping head on your shoulder. I don't need you to tell me to keep writing, keep submitting, maybe somebody else will buy the story. That talk is for rank beginners.

That rejection letter might be just what a beginning writer needs for motivation, but it makes an experienced writer's eyes roll. So please, please generate a second form-letter. If in my cover letter I list a professional sale, just tell me you don't want the story and move along. A 1/8 sheet strip of paper is plenty for that.

If you are taking the time to hand-write a comment, it means I was close. If you aren't going to do that, I really don't care why you are rejecting the story. Just tell me so I can move on to the next one in line. Don't try to coddle me, that is insulting.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Novy MIRror Episode #4

Interview w/ Cat Rambo, editor of Fantasy Magazine

Monday, June 22, 2009

Books for Breasts

Breast cancer is something that most of us face, either as a victim, or as a helpless bystander watching someone else we love become a victim. My own cousin is a survivor. Author James Maxey lost his wife to the disease.

If you like speculative fiction and care about finding a cure for the disease, James Maxey has a proposition for you. Make a contribution to the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation by going to this web site and clicking on the button that says "Support James."

You can get the details from the horse's mouth here.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


I just signed the contract for, and received an image of the cover for my forthcoming book "Winter." The book contains my novelette "Winter" packaged with a reprint of my short story "The Adjoa Gambit," which originally appeared in Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicne Show issue #3. The publisher, Sams Dot, plans to release of the book next month.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Tobias Buckell

If you watched the below podcast of Novy MIRror, you may be interested in occasionally visiting Tobias Buckell's blog post to review the comments.

Novy Mirror # 3

#3 Interview w/ Tobias Buckell

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Lenticular Clouds

Look at these weird stratified clouds we had today. They're called lenticular clouds.

Here's a link to a National geographic photo of the same kind of clouds. Unfortunately, all I had was my cell phone camera and I had to zoom in quite a bit to even see the clouds.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Diversity in Fiction

Somewhat timely as I discuss this very topic with Tobias Buckell in the next episode of Novy Mirror podcast, Vylar Kaftan posted this analysis of diversity in her own fiction. I decided to do something similar, just to see how I was doing. (Yes, I know it's just a way to procrastinate.)

I should point out that my statistics will be biased toward my own demographic because I often use myself as the main character--sometimes in disguise, sometimes not. If I were to remove those stories, I think the distribution might change. Also, recurring characters were counted as many times as the number of stories where they appear. This also biases the results some.

I counted characters that play a major role in the story, not just the POV character. I came up with a count of 154 characters across all my short stories and the completed novel. Work in progress is not counted.

Gender - heavily biased by my tendency to use myself as a point of view character.

Male = 67%
Female = 27%
Other = 6%

Race - Again, biased by using myself as a character.

Caucasian = 48%
Asian 7%
Divine 3%
Alien 12%
Native American 0.5%
Arab 0%
Hispanic 3%
Black 6%
Unknown 18%
Neanderthal 2%
Animal 3%

Using the assumption that characters default to white
White or implied white 66%
Person of color 17%
Unclassifiable 20% (= more than 100% due to rounding errors)

Sexual Orientation

Straight 40%
Unknown = 60%

By similar logic, characters default to straight. 100% No rounding errors here.


0-17 12%
18-34 33%
36-65 33%
66+ 4%
unknown 20%
varies .5%

Social Class

Ruling 0.5% (FDR if you must know)
Upper 3%
middle 49%
Lower 19%
n/a 2.5%
Unknown 49%


Able 90%
Disabled 7%
Unknown 3%

Conclusions: The stories where I use myself as the POV character really skew the results toward my own demographic. I think I use race effectively, though I could improve. Gender tilts toward male for the same reason, but I did notice a tendency for my stories to use two males and one female. Often there is a male-female protagonist team against a male antagonist. However, in my novel the primary antagonist is female. Age looks to be almost a normal distribution, so not a bad use of various ages. I tend toward middle-class characters, skewed toward the lower middle class more than the upper middle class. Or, there is no indication of social standing at all. For disabilities, I think some of those I counted as "able" might qualify as disabled under Vylar's rules. In terms of sexual orientation, well, what can I say? I need to be more aware of this possibility in order to create realistic story people. However, I think that several characters in the "unknown" category could easily be gay. It's just that sexual orientation was irrelevant to those stories.

Another Delay

Just found out that my novelette, "Winter," slated to be released with a reprint of my short story "The Adjoa Gambit" was pushed back again. It is now scheduled to be released in July.