Sunday, August 30, 2009

Editing Observations

As regular "Frothing at the Mouth" readers know, I have been reading submissions for M-Brane SF magazine as guest editor for issue #12. It has been an interesting experience since until now, I have never slushed. While I haven't received any truly atrocious material like I hoped to read, I have received quite a bit of not-ready-for-prime-time stories.

Now, bear in mind that I am electronically networked to a lot of SF writers, I suspect the material coming in is a little bit more competitive than than what Christopher normally sees. That said, the story I expect will either lead or close the issue is from a writer I had never heard of before. I rejected five stories that I sent back to Chris for consideration in a future issue. In those cases, generally the main problem with the story was that it just didn't resonate with me the way others did. They were perfectly good stories and probably will appear somewhere with minimal to no revision.

As for the rest, the rejects fell into three broad categories.
1) I was not hooked--often because the writer started the story with an info-dump.
2) The prose was sloppy. Not wrong spelling or poor grammar, simply not the best story-telling technique on the microscopic level: adverbs, said-bookisms, and so forth.
3) Nothing of consequence really happened.

For case 1, not hooked, I pretty much stopped reading when the story lost my interest. there isn't much point on spending time with a story after I have decided I don't want it for the issue.

For case 2, sometimes the story pulled me through much farther than a case 1. With the right story, I might still consider it with some rewrites. At this late stage, the competition for a slot is stiff enough that I can fill the issue without having to do rewrite requests.

For case 3, I suspect the writers are still pretty new at this game and not enough of the story inside the writer's head is getting out.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

All of a Sudden

So, yesterday I'm sitting in this very chair working on a short story when the phone rang. It was 9:00am. PVCC wanted to know if I could take on another two classes, the first of which started at 10:30. I had to drop everything and get ready to leave the house. The bonus work is welcome.

Today, had some discussion about a video project, so that front seems to be moving out of neutral as well. All I need now is for a publisher to demand I sell them the rights to my novel and life would be very sweet indeed.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Novy MIRror Ep 7

Interview with David Lee Summers, professional astronomer, writer, and editor of Tales of the Talisman

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sundry Again

Episoe #7 of Novy MIRror is currently in post production. I hope to have it posted this weekend. Interview this time is with David Lee Summers, sf writer, editor of Tales of the Talisman, and professional astronomer. We talk about all three areas.


Anyone looking at Fundable to manage an online fund drive, please first read the experience of Mary Robinette Kowal. They picked the wrong lady to mess with, trust me on this.


The non-soon monsoon this summer in Phoenix relented, giving us some much needed rain and dropping the temperature under 100 degrees before 10PM today. Mah-velous.


Made a list of 7 items to complete today and I finished all seven. Not a bad way to end the week.


If you like SF and can read subtitles, I recommend a Spanish film called Los Cronocrimenes, in English Time Crimes. It's a very fun take on the possible effects of time travel. Much of the film has no dialog, so the subtitles are not such a big deal. Best of all, you can stream the film on Netflix.

Here is the trailer for the movie.

I removed the clip because it gave too many spoilers. If you want to see it, a google search will find it easily. However, it will probably ruin the movie for you.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Winter Arrived

I received my author copies of Winter in the mail today. The three books crossed in the mail with a check for another 20 to sell at conventions and local bookstores. It's trade paperback, but more like a chapbook in thickness--it's only 67 pages including non-story pages. Still, it has nice-looking cover art and the same content I knew was coming. Feels good to finally have something to sell at conventions.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Winter Again

Finally heard from Sam's Dot Publishing and my copies of my trade paperback "Winter" were shipped late last week. I should get them this coming week.

The cover art for the book is really nice. I posted it in a previous entry (here). I don't think I mentioned that I contacted the cover artist and he said he really enjoyed the story. It's only fair because I really like the cover.

There is also a mug available that features the cover art. The beer stein looke pretty cool also. I do have to get me one of these.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Batman Forever

Batman Forever turned out not to be as bad as I feared. I gave it one more star than I gave Batman and Robin. I thought Jim Carrey made a decent Riddler, though it went over the top occasionally. At least this movie entertained me, however, I think it's a sad statement about these 90s Batman movies that they needed two bad guys to carry the film. Every one of Batman's enemies should be enough to carry the story. Even in the Adam West days the criminal mastermindes almost always worked alone.

OVerall, the 1990s Batman movies were too much like the TV show. I'm surprised they didn't splash the word "Pow!" on the screen. Jack Nicholson made the best enemy as the Joker in Batman. Poison Ivy was the worst baddie.

That said, I have very high expectations for Batman Begins and especially for The Dark Knight. I do hope they live up to the potential.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Despite warnings to avoid them, I still wanted to see all the Batman movies. In order to save the rest of the family some pain, I watched Batman and Robin online. Netflix 2 out of 5 stars--they guessed right. Really cartoonish. I have Batman Forever coming on DVD, currently in transit. I hear that one is a painful experience also. That will clear out the 90's version of Batman and sets the stage for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, which I am told are both very good.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Odds and Ends

I finally woke up and get back to my IRA portfolio. My strategy involves creating my own mutual fund using a super secret formula I discovered hidden in ancient Havasupai rock carvings in the Grand Canyon. It's a good strategy that has served me well over the years. The problem is, whenever I put the strategy in place, it makes a splash. It's not that I buy enough stock to affect the prices. I'm not Warren Buffet. But some Karmic thing happens where whatever I buy will go down at first. It takes about 2 weeks before the splash settles and the market gets back to doing whatever it wants to do. It happens so often that I have to factor it into my stop-loss prices. I've been whipsawed way too many times. So, if you see the market fall in the next few days, you can rest assured that it's my fault.


My trade paperback "Winter" was released in July and I have yet to receive my copies of the book. Sam's Dot is generally reliable if not a little slow with this sort of thing. It's a small press, so I can give them a break, but it's frustrating because I am supposed to be a major factor in the marketing effort. Since my strategy includes selling copies in person, not having any copies makes that rather difficult. Since I had planned to buy 20% of the print run, I find it strange that I don't yet know how to order them.


Why has every catch that I have seen Larry Fitzgerald make this pre-season been with his feet out-of-bounds? Kurt Warner looks pretty good, but I have a sinking feeling that Matt Leinart will be starting before the end of the regular season. I hope he learned from watching Warner last season. Out of college, Leinart was on the fast-track to flash-in-the-pan status. He dated hot models and drank beer before big games, and his play suffered for it. Rumors I hear say that Leinart is a different quarterback than he was this time last year whenhe lost the starting position. I hope that's true, because it's always a good problem to have a Steve Young waiting to replace a Joe Montana.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Theme and Variation

Michelle M. Welch is a Phoenix area writer who has written several novels. (Details can be found on her website, follow the link.) A few months ago she announced a music-themed audio anthology to be called "Theme and Variation." Last week I signed a contract for my story "Black Orchid" to appear in the anthology.

I have to say, coming up with this story was rather painful. Writing to an assigned theme can often be difficult, even with a subject as broad as music. I think I started and aborted 5 different stories before I settled on the one I finished. Some of those abortions didn't have enough plot wrapped around the cool idea, and others didn't have enough to hold my own interest.

I finally finished writing "Black Orchid" and sent it off to Michelle a few weeks ago. It's one of my rare fantasy pieces, which are usually only marginally fantastical. In this case, the fantastic element is allegorical.

Michelle is planning to release the audio anthology on CD at this years World Fantasy convention in San Jose, California. I still need to record the story and any related bed music, but that should be a one-afternoon project and will probably take place after school starts.