Writing Life Updates: August 2022

Life update: I was stung by a bug and had an allergic reaction, which put me out of bread commission for a while. I am slowly getting back into it, though, and recovered! I did get myself a new keyboard from Melgeek specifically for my creative writing projects as a celebratory gift for all I’ve accomplished this year.

Author Life News

Ending July with a bang and kicking off August with two more short story sales to Fantasy Magazine and Interzone Magazine! I sold ‘The Black and White’ to Fantasy Magazine. The short story is about two estranged sisters who meet up to kill their father out of an animalistic ritual common to their type of emotional vampires. These sisters and their father eat desire and want by transforming into their second skins.

I’ve been submitting to Fantasy Magazine for over a year now and am over the moon to finally have landed a story in the magazine. It also means a lot because I’ve been working on this story for a little and even put it through a critique session with my writing group, the Olympia Speculative Fiction Writers’ Group. They gave me some great insight into what was landing and what wasn’t. Their feedback was very helpful for me to get it to the point it is now. I don’t have a publish date yet for ‘The Black and White,’ but when I do, I’ll share it here and on my social media page.

And I sold my short story ‘Building Blocks’ to Interzone Magazine. ‘Building Blocks’ is about magical home construction and self-identity. It follows a magical construction worker through a day in their life as they navigate harassment, homesickness, and friendship. I’ve been submitting to Interzone for longer than Fantasy Magazine, but not as much because I’ve been waiting to sharpen my skills up more before submitting to them. If you’d like to pre-order the magazine to get a print or e-book copy, head over to their website! The story won’t appear online for free to read.

I also heard news back about my upcoming story from The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction! I got galleys and copy edits back, and my novelette will be in the 2022 November/December issue. Fingers crossed, I land the cover and can see artwork of my story! I was pretty surprised that there weren’t heavier edits for the story since it’s my longest published work. I expected pages of notes and edits and fixes and a mess of a draft. But no! The edits were small. It made me feel good about my skills and vision as a writer.

For non-subscribers of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, you can find the issue on newsstands around mid-November, I’m guessing. My local grocery store and Barnes and Noble sell issues, so check at your local stores or at libraries. You can also order copies off of their website. This story won’t appear online for free to read either.

It’s almost serendipitous that I sell ‘Building Blocks’ and ‘The Black and White’ during this time of year since they were both stories I came up with during my August Short Story Challenge. Not sure if I have them tagged, but if you’re curious about some of those first stories I wrote back in 2019, they are still around on the blog. You just gotta go way back. If you’re new around here, my August challenge is a yearly writing project I work on where I attempt to write a new story every day for the month. This exercise is one of my all-time favorites and always pushes me to try new ideas. I’m currently working through the challenge again this year and am going strong with 6 stories down.

Since I’ve been studying voice for the past couple of months, reading books, essays, and watching lectures, I decided to base my stories on character voice cards I created. The cards describe aspects of the character that would help me shape their voice and, ultimately, their story. It’s been fun using them since; normally, I just sit down and write whatever comes to me during this month. I’ve never actually been able to write a story each day. Usually, I get between 20-25 stories down, but that’s a win in my book.

The science fiction horror story I wrote for the Monstrous Futures anthology open call made it past the first round of rejections and is being held for, what I think, is the final round. If I end up selling that story, it’ll be another dream sale to mark in the books. I have a few more stories out I am holding out hope for. When I hear news, I’ll share it!

Out of the Machine, my literary scifi thriller book has received some more positive rejections and positive holds—a publisher I would love to work with and whose books I read has been passing the manuscript around the team “eagerly.” That might go nowhere, but it still feels nice to have a publisher I admire eagerly reading through and sharing my manuscript.

Since I am getting close to querying my horror novella, I’m in a weird place with that first book. I’d love it if Out of the Machine got picked up by an agent or publisher, but my energy right now is focused on this current project, so parts of me can’t even remember that project. I know it’s good and what generally happens throughout, but it’s sorta a mystery to me at this point. That’s not a bad thing and happens. It’s always just a weird feeling. Wonder if other writers have this happen, too?

I was hoping to get to finish the edits on my horror novella last month, but I decided to spend a little more time on it. I’ll be working through line and copy edits throughout August, then giving it some room to breathe before doing a final read-through in September. After that, I’ll send it out on query and, hopefully, get some takers.

I’m working through the exercises in Voice: The Secret Power of Great Writing by James Scott Bell while practicing writing voice in my August short story challenge. Writing a new story every day and focusing on a different voice is really showing me how my exercises and studying are changing my writing.

Thanks for reading about my writing life and all the work I do to keep the lights on in my writing tower. Next week, I’ll get into my scene card outline technique and how I use it to test my story and write it without actually writing it. Any questions about my writing life are welcome—just drop a comment.

Stay up to date on where I’m publishing, what I’m working on, and more!

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