Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I Am Interviewed

Check it out! A month of Sails & Sorcery interviews, and I'm spot number 2:


I am also very talkative.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Progress ...

It is truly sad when a rejection letter counts as progress.

My final submission for one of my novel projects just came back with three - four sentences of explanation typed into the letter. This marks the first time I've received a non-form rejection from a major press (Luna Books) and there were some nice things said, though she also confirmed what I've heard before - everything is simply too complex. Unfortunately, this really can't be fixed and still tell the same story, but it is still nice to be regarded well enough that someone took the time to comment.

This is something I'm trying to work on. "Journal" has the potential to be equally complex, but the advantage is that I can ease the complexity into the story, as it starts small and expands slowly. But really, how do you make a non-earth society with its own terminology and language and NOT be complex? Lord and Lady, dukes, counts, etc, really ground you in a particular European period, and that's not what I want. I tried to circumvent this in Butterfly by using ranks that were normal words and still fairly easy to interpret - the Grand Holder is the chief noble in charge of a city, a Scion-Grand would be his son/daughter.

My frustration right now is compounded by the fact that I think I lost several mails over Wednesday night, and I have no way of knowing which/how many/if any were in regards to submissions. I'm reaching the point where my "out" list is far long than my "forthcoming" list to the point where it's depressing. I wonder at the same time if my progress has halted ...


There is something indescribable about the sheer enjoyment I get out of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books. Sure, they're worthy of giggle-fits and make wonderful play out of the literary world, but something about the way it all fits together just ... makes me feel better, somehow.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Home Again!

I'm back and settling in - still working on the story I started on the trip and planning ahead to test one of my convictions. I've always felt that the story takes precedence over imparting a message - now I'm contemplating a future work (short story) that will actually move in a direction counter to my personal beliefs. Can I do it? To avoid hypocrisy, I almost have to ...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Once Upon ...

Visited Newport, Rhode Island today, the town where my dad proposed to my mom ... or I should more say, the town where my mother got fed up and said, "Are you asking me to marry you?" It's a swank tourist town with old mansions that were built to keep very rich people occupied - the planning, building and decorating, that is, never mind the residing within.

Because we had my aunt and my cousin with us, we only had time to tour one mansion, the Marble House. The opulence was both astonishing and disturing. The four gilded depictions in the first room still nag at me. Three of them I could identify - Hercules rescuing his wife from the centaur Nereus, Aphrodite rising from the sea, and Poisedon (probably with Amphitrite) - but the fourth left me stumped. Maybe I should do something radical, such as look it up.

But I'm very glad I live now, when jumping out of a peach tree and punching a boy would not have made the local newspaper. Not that I'd even be in the tree in the first place, but the social fabric is very different.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Seen in a Bookstore

"Censorship is like telling a man he can't have steak because a baby can't chew it." -- Mark Twain

Then there's the exasperation of dealing with my relatives. It's a good exasperation, but sometimes it can only be summed up with the following statement of mine: "This family needs to give personality transfusions to the needy."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

New World Old

Connecticut by the shore is wrapped in a gentle and mysterious fog.

Sunlight bursts in moody flashes. Most of the time, the lack of the light is matched by a lack of contrasts: the shadows are long, deep and cool, but not dark.

In the woods, the remnants of stone walls built by the early settlers. It's said that if all these walls were laid end to end, they would circle the earth three times. Maybe this is no longer true, for many of these walls have been broken down, bits and pieces taken away for other structures. It's a concept more enduring than historical preservation, cannibalizing bits of the past and putting them in a new context.

New England is a lot like old England, cramped roads and tight spaces jammed atop each other contrasted by incredible, endless open spaces, wild patches that seem contradictory when the nearest town is crammed elbow to elbow. New Englanders, on the other hand, don't seem as friendly as their counterparts on the other side of the pond ... maybe it's the lack of tea.

Drove to a rehearsal dinner today; the sky was stormy, cold shadow pouring over pure white. The deep woods swallowed us whole, delving deeper into the grey. The road branched; a hand-lettered sign the only indication of the cross-roads. Into the possible unknown we drove, and in the twists and turns without sign of human hand behind the road, it felt as if some amoral fey had pulled the road aside into a realm no mortal should tread.

The next bend brought civilization - and a graveyard.

Turns out we were sheltering under tornado weather. A close call with a distant storm ...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Flashshot - while it's here!

I just realized that in the chaos of the past few days, I missed my Flashshot story "The Letter" hitting the presses. Quick-shimmy over to http://www.gwthomas.org/dailyflashshot.htm and read it! It should be near the bottom.

If you happen to miss it, give me a ping and I'll email it. Dated July 9th so it won't be on the last ten for much longer ...

(Note to self: update publication credits when back from vacation. Which yes, I am on as of now.)

Now For Reading

My second poem publication (ever!) is now available in the recent edition of OG's Speculative Fiction:


Fear my haiku.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Gosh, I hope not

"Tension is a prerequisite for creative living." -- Agnes Meyer

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I keep trying to understand the excitement, the energy and the angst that go into this yearly ritual of trying to finish a 50,000 word (or more - but finish) novel in a month. On an intellectual level, I realize that for some people, this is an immense achievement, that finishing something that might be rambly, with plotholes, logical leaps and errors abound - but FINISHED - is a big deal. On an emotional level, it doesn't quite make sense to me. If you want to write a novel, strike a bargain with yourself. Commit yourself to manageable goals per day or per week. Keep the inner editor in the next room, but keep the door open in case he/she/they shout something major.

Expect to lapse, but get back into it. It's like dieting.

I suppose I came into Nanowrimo with a weird perspective. I had recently discovered that with my "goofing off" journal project, which involved me posting a character's adventures in "real time" (as each entry was written), had averaged about a thousand words a day. I knew, and committed myself, to two thousand words a day as I got back into other projects. In other words, I wasn't looking at Nano as a wild ride, but as a hard-and-fast deadline with company.

I skipped it last year as I just wasn't ready to start something. This year, we'll see: I've fallen off my quotas and it's been long time since I've to meet them. I may be neck-deep into Journal of the Dead by then. Or ...

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I live fairly close to a private lake, which has been experiencing growing problems with algae blooms and flooding. The community association hired contractors to dredge and deepen the lake. Turns out they vastly underestimated the amount of work necessary and the amount of space they would need for dumping. Which leads us to ...

The lake as it stands.

After being drained bone-dry, the lakebed developed small fissures - canyon territory in miniature. Then it started to grow over. There was still low water, creating a marsh-like environment. The growth continued, now a wild underbrush filled with poison ivy. And as the dredging stopped from lack of funds - got to love contractors who won't finish what they started - great mounds of dirt have been left behind.

This has completely changed the local ecosystems. The explosion of turtles and bullfrogs subsided into a growing flock of herons and an osprey or two. The herons have become so comfortable they're squabbling for territory. The ducks have more or less vacated the premises for other local ponds. Worse, a lot of the fish are dead, and the buzzards are definitely enjoying themselves.

To date, the project has basically been abandoned for about a month. Now they seem to be doing something, but I don't know if it's fixing something or pumping the water back in and hoping for the best.

Sure glad I don't live ON the lake.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Well, er ...

I just had the following review posted. (I should explain that this story was submitted to a venue with a romance sub-line; the editor got permission to send even non-romance genre stories, hence the unusual heading here - erotic, even? Ack!)


This would be lovely except for one thing.

JWP shut down last fall.

But all is not lost! This has given me renewed determination to see this story in print.


Wanted to wait to announce this one until I had formal notification, but now that I have it (hooray!), my story, formerly "The Clockwork Oracle," now "The Oracle Unlocked," will be coming out in the premier issue of new magazine Staffs and Starships, focusing on traditional but literary-quality scifi and fantasy.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

"Checking Out" is now available in the current issue of Tales of The Talisman:


At least this pub doesn't get reviewed by Tangent. This relieves me phenomenally.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

You're Only As Old As You Feel

One of the things that has changed over the years is the age of my protagonists - or more accurately, the ages at which I feel certain perspectives and experiences make sense. When I wrote the first draft of my novel following Nelia, she was seventeen. Along the way, she became nineteen, and if I rewrite it again it will probably be early twenties. My protagonists have allowed themselves to be older without taking the "cheat" of being immortal - one of the pivotal characters in Butterfly's Poison is in her sixties.

I've also become more interested in families. Again citing Butterfly, one of the main hero-villains (it's a bit muddy in this particular novel as to which is which) is a widower with a daughter. Journal For The Dead, my prospective next project, follows a mother trying to find her son.

Yet I feel one of my personal goals with writing is to never forget that children and teens can be more capable, certain and wise than anyone gives them credit for. They may need more protection and they may not have as much experience, but they are not necessarily lesser creatures for their age. Kahnrey, the servant girl from Pens In Silver and Gold, ultimately provides one of the MCs with the inspiration to solve one of the central problems of the story. Civine, twelve, vivid, stubborn, tough and yet still able to see the world in simple terms, picks her father up from the shadows of the afterlife and puts him on the right path. (Ten Cities Down, short story.)

If anything, I'm a bit too fascinated with the wise child, the precocious youngster who knows more than they should ... but it isn't necessary to take that path to create a viable child-or-teen even in a work of fiction directed for a "grown-up" audience.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


"The world laughs in flowers." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson