bits and pieces

I don’t have any significant developments, profound revelations, or great progress to report, so I’m falling back on the reliable core dump of my brain for a post. You’re welcome or I apologize, whichever you consider apt.

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I had a brush with opportunity and terror over the weekend. While my wife and I were at dinner on Saturday, I received an email from an editor who had recently accepted a story of mine. He said that the society that publishes his journal was having its annual conference in the college town not too far from my home and that I could apply for a slot on their agenda to read one of my stories.

As you might imagine, I was a bit distracted at dinner and was eager to get home to look into the matter. I wrote to the conference organizer as the editor had suggested, making my case to give a reading. (Nota bene: I have never done a reading before.) Within the hour I received a response from the organizer saying that she would present my request to the committee, and the wording of her email suggested that was a mere formality, that it would be approved. She also answered several of my questions. No, I would not have to wear a tie. Yes, I would have to join the society and pay the annual dues ($???). Yes, I would have to pay the full registration for the conference ($150).

A quick cost/benefit/terror analysis showed I could not possibly justify the expense with the payoff. So I wrote to the organizer again and withdrew my request. She wrote back saying it was a shame and that if I were a student (I’m not), I could petition for housing costs at the conference. (Literally a half hour from my own bed and pillow.)

All of this transpired over only a few hours Saturday evening, so I didn’t have the chance to get too emotionally invested in it. Good thing.

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My work on Finnegans Fogbound is progressing. I’m producing about one chapter a week, and I’d say I’m a third of the way through the first draft. Its closest genre is a cozy mystery, and I began a half-hearted search for publishers of these to buoy my enthusiasm. Almost immediately, I found one that really looked like a good fit. They didn’t want one-off novels but series, and I have plenty of Finnegan novel ideas in the works (and even drafted). But being a publishing neophyte, I wasn’t too clear on their division of proceeds. The website said that the publisher would retain all income earned by the physically printed copies and the author would get the income from “all other sources.”

This sounded sketchy, so I dug around a little and found a Redditt site that discussed this very publisher. The comments were unanimous that this was, indeed, sketchy and that a) writers are entitled to a share of all proceeds, and b) a writer would do better to self publish than enter this kind of arrangement. I then wrote to the Writer Beware section of the Science Fiction Writers of America site to present the scenario. (Have you visited that site? Lotsa good stuff for us neophytes.) I got a quick response (I really wasn’t expecting any response at all) saying the arrangement was “not kosher” and that I should pretty much run from it.

And I have.

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I’m reading Stray City by Chelsey Johnson right now. I saw it recommended on one of the literary websites I haunt (Electric Literature, Literary Hub, The Millions, Pete Lit, not sure which) and while I tend not to like the books I take up from these places (they’re too hip, maybe?), the plot sounded interesting, and my local indie bookstore had it on the shelf, so I bought it.

I’m learning a great deal about the lesbian subculture of Portland, Oregon in the late ’90s, but it took me about a hundred pages to engage with the novel. Having spent some time in Portland in recent years, I’ve enjoyed the location references she presents, but I’m also noticing that I can “see” her writing. I can see the devices and the pacing that she’s using to advance the story. She’s also almost too descriptive much of the time. All of that is supposed to disappear, or rather, not be noticed consciously.

I’m more than half way through now, and I’m not sure where the story is going, which I guess is a good thing.

Explore posts in the same categories: Ramblings Off Topic

2 Comments on “bits and pieces”


  1. 1. I can “see” her writing. I HATE that.
    2. Having to pay full price for a conference where you are presenting is highway robbery.

  2. Gin Says:

    If the reader is a writer or copy editor, flaws and faults in the writing are far more obvious and far more likely to pitch the reader out. Instead, there is groaning and ultimately gnashing of teeth and book tossing.


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