Jessica’s been to two Grad affairs and has a third later this month. The “Prom” was kids-only but I was invited to the Grads and Parents Dinner Dance. It was really lovely and we invited her Aunt Sheila and her partner. It was great!
I enjoy celebrating on these nights. It does remind me that everything changes!
We have to deal with change in our writing careers. It’s not always everything or nothing. Sometimes we have little wins that propel us forward unbelievably.
It’s been a very busy couple of weeks. After the balcony redo, we traveled to Whistler, BC for the Peak Invitational Dance Competition. My daughter competed and, for the first time, had her own students in the competition. It was great! She did well and we really enjoyed it.
I used the vacation as a way to de-stress. I was hoping to get further in my projects and I did, but in unusual ways.
I walked the mountain trails and thought of my father, who loved the mountains so much. It is sad he isn’t around anymore, and even sadder that his last decades split much of my remaining family up, so that we aren’t close. But walking the mountains gave me a sort of new serenity with it all, which was calming. The mountains are holy places, for certain.
I rested and hot-tubbed enough that my body felt wonderful after two days or so. Also, I walked about twice as much as I usually do! My ‘steps’ were very high! We ate well and sometimes splurged, but it was our holiday!
I brainstormed on my upcoming publication of my collection of published short stories. For my novel, I will send it to agents, but collections of published short stories are not something that traditional publishers want. My short story collection will be made up of the stories & poems I’ve sold, gathered into one ebook. I will also include a new story or novella as well.
I need a presentation format for producers who could option these stories.
Also, I want an ebook for relatives and friends who might want a collected version. Even my best friend, who has been around since the (ahem) 80s, isn’t as familiar with all my work as he wants to be.
I’m experimenting with brands, realizing from my Film Gals work, that I need a name for the collection of short stories but also, for Draft2Digital.com a publisher name & logo.
It was easy with the film one but harder for short stories in science fiction and fantasy. I’ve done a couple and I think using “Cat” in the name is good. Also it has to be science fiction and fantasy focused. Plus, it should be high contrast really.
I made the following on Canva.com using one of their free logo templates. I’ve done something similar on Looka.com but can’t download until I pay for it. It has a different cat image.
So, the search for a name and logo continues. There was a series in the 1950s about a Space Cat and so this is not a good, unique name. Sigh.
I drove to Surrey Arts Centre today for the Festival du Ballet. My dance kid was competing. It was a good drive and a nice change from the weekend’s obsession, which was removing all of my many plants from my balcony. The building is getting power washed and painted. Admittedly, for the rent I pay, I should have a fabulous apartment, but this is Vancouver and we have crazy Silicon Valley type rents.
I love my place though, especially because it has a fifteen by five foot balcony which overlooks trees and a sunset view. I am a gardener as well as a writer. So the process of moving, sorting, deciding and cleaning was difficult. But I think the space will be better for it.
It reminds me that gardens are like a lot of art, we try, sometimes we don’t succeed and then suddenly there is a fantabulous bloom and everything feels worth it!
April’s NanoWriMo Camp month was good. I got about half my goal done. This is fine in my mind because I am crazy busy as usual: after day job, dance mum work and so forth, there is very little thinking time left. I’m famous at home for falling asleep on the laundry I’m folding. We had a big competition that required most of a week’s extra time and I can’t write while listening to dances in the Michael J. Fox theatre in Burnaby. Although I did keep my index cards with me and have thought of a few new plots.
My garden’s been planted now, too. That doesn’t take much effort, and I love my plots at the community garden at 39th and Alma. Sadly, it’s got a large sign up advertising the condos they’re building there. I hope we get a couple more years out of it.
Submission Portals for Short Story Writers
Just submitted some stories that had been returned. It feels good to find new market sources. I just got an account on a submission portal called:
Hey Publisher . Hey Publisher is used by only a few SFF magazines but it has some interesting entries.
I always use the terrific site The Submission Grinder created by Diabolical Plots. Initially, it took a little getting used to, and if he had more $$ it could be far sleeker, but it does the job the very best of all of them.
I love the fact that it offers me searchable SFF markets with valuable data that I like to know. For example, is a market dead? they tend to know at The Grinder. They invite updates and are open to changes. Also, the statistics are comforting. How long have they held your story? Is it typically-long for them? Or not? Lots of great data there.
Then there are the electronic submissions portals such as: Moksha and Submittable. I use these to submit when a magazine requests this. I don’t use any other services on these am not certain if they have any.
I recall receiving a survey earlier this Spring wherein they were trying to figure out if writers would pay to submit. The answer is “No”. I was not impressed. We’re mostly submitting to markets that hardly pay (at least in television $$ terms), and it’s ridiculous to also be charged to do so.
The quote in Science fiction circles is:
“The money must always flow to the writer.”
I’m sorry I can’t recall who originated that one, but it was one of the greats.
I’ve decided to do Camp NaNo this month- to get some distance on my short story projects.
My top goal is 20,000 words, not fifty thousand because, with my schedule, it is very hard to get to 50k. I have about 4 stories to work on. One of them is very English – with a manor Dragon and a little girl. One is all space opera and cats. Another is based on a fairy tale, which I used, then, just lately realized that the original tale changes lead characters halfway through… so that will have to be fixed.
UPDATE: I’m on April 9th and now about 5 thousand words in. Part of this is my really extended Dragon story. I’m just letting this story unwind as it goes. I’m enjoying it which is terrific. It’s too long already to be sent to most short story markets though, so it will have to go to a novella market or be personally published. I could do a D2D publication again, but promote this one more? I don’t know. I’d like to get some beta readers before I go too far with publication on my own. I’ve read some very bad self-published books by other Canadian authors in SF.
The photos below are from close to my daughter’s high school. It was an astounding day and I got some lovely shots. I met the very elderly woman who planted that thirty foot magnolia when it was just a little twig.
Below, I’m using a new photo from Unsplash, which is a great free photo resource.