Archive for the ‘submissions’ Category

My story at The Martian Wave

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

J. Erwine (a newly expectant Dad) has announced that The Martian Wave Science Fiction magazine is now available. I don’t remember if I get a free copy or not.

My story The Reefs of Jove is in it. The story is about adventure while exploring the high atmosphere of Jupiter in a dirigible. The cover could almost be an illustration of part of the story.

I can hardly wait to see a copy. Sorry, the story is not available online. I wonder if I could ask  J. would put it up on the SamsDot site is a kind of teaser for the magazine?

Here is the lineup:

Steve De Beer: Adaptor
Tyree Campbell: Somewhere With Mornings
Dan Thompson: Prize Crew
Keith P. Graham: The Reefs of Jove
Patty Jansen: Luminescence
Bret Tallman: Into the Silence Flies a Moth
Rick Novy: The Pillars of Europa
Lawrence Dagstine: The Great Martian Depression

Shelly Bryant: Bypassed
Justin Bohardt: The Barren Wastes
s.c. virtes: another pit for sale
Marge Simon: A Hollander’s Secret Weapon: 1609
Marge Simon: Hindsight

The Martian Wave Magazines.

Critters Post Mortem

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

I received 13 critiques from of my short story “The Perfect Gold”. I used this story as a barometer of how the critiques might help me because it was one of the first stories I wrote after a 35 year hiatus. I wrote it early in 2003 and it appeared online in Atsoise (now defunct) in February of 2004. It had 5 rejections before it was accepted and I believe that this is because of my ignorance of how editors expected a story to be written.

I made lots of mistakes in “The Perfect Gold”. I was trying to write in a fairly remote omniscient viewpoint, which is an older style and not acceptable today. Currently, editors want a tight personal viewpoint, almost first person (but they don’t like first person). Another mistake was that I had a break in the middle of the story where the main character leaves the scene to get something, but it chops off the flow until the character returns. In another break I spend some time describing the background and history of one of the characters, almost as though it were a footnote, and this disrupts the narrative. I had lots of trouble with the language. My words flow a little smoother now, but I remember at the time that I was concerned that the sentences seemed like lines from a technical manual with lots of “she did this” and “then he did this”. This computer programmer approach to narrative has been somewhat abated, but I still tend to write in syllogisms.

The critiques I received were of different kinds. One had an attached word document that cannot be opened due to viruses. Four were people who told me that they really enjoyed the story and went on to tell me their favorite parts (useless other than for moral building). Three people hated the story or thought it was boring. It seems that I wrote a “mood” piece. The people that did not like the story wanted less emotion and more blood and guts. The story has an emotional impact, but it is not an O Henry type story with a twist or revelation at the end (I wanted to write a story like “The Dead” by Joyce).

About three quarters of the critiques had valid remarks. They found numerous typos that I did not see. They complained about the narrative breaks that interrupted the flow. Many complained about my short choppy declarative sentences. I am almost tempted to rewrite the story, give it different title and try to resell it as new. I’ve done this with other stories, but right now I have new ideas, and I have dozens of stories that I have yet to write before I rehash older stuff.

The critters experience has been a good one overall. When I first started writing, I would not have found it useful because I would have disagreed with some of the conclusions. My attitude today is that most editors have had their souls corrupted by the Clarion brainwashing and there is nothing I can do about it. The Clarion workshops have created a static standard that renders classic short stories by Bradbury, Clarke, and Heinlein as “bad”. If I am to publish stories, they must fit into the little box created by advocates of Clarion and the Turkey City Lexicon.

Now that I have been through the critters process, I will be leaving the group. I was going to put my stories “Carnivale of Blood”, “Nigerian Soul”, and “The Reefs of Jupiter” through the process, but it takes too long for too little. In order to get a critique you have to submit 10 critiques, which I find stressful, and then wait 45 days. I’d have to wait four and a half months to get a three stories critiqued, and I usually write one or two stories each month.

I was thinking about hijacking the process in order to speed things up by using four or five different emails and writing a critique a week for all of them, but this would be too much like work. I am far from the right person to criticize a story (pot calling kettle…). I didn’t like most of the stories that I critiqued so it was hard being diplomatic.

I will have to prevail on family and friends to edit my stories. I just don’t see my typos, grammar and syntax mistakes. This would have been a good use for critters, but I don’t have the patience.

Disappointing Stats – Cthreepo, BoingBoing, Freezine

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

The BoingBoing post referencing this blog has pretty much played out. A Sunday in the middle of the summer is not going to be the best time to hit a major site like BoingBoing. Yesterday, three days after the post, the blog is down to 22 hits from BoingBoing related posts. That includes Neatorama and the thousands of sites that clone BoingBoing through their RSS feed. From here on it’s turtles all the way down.

I just had the memory of my late friend Stan sighing “Oh Well”.

I am still hammered by, but the stumblers don’t hang around. The traffic on this site is about triple what it was three months ago, but none of it is important traffic. The traffic from has only grown slowly over the years, and local bumps don’t effect the long term trend.

In similar depressing news, I decided to find out how popular Shaun’s Freezine wound up. I tried Google, Bing, Technorati and Alexa only to discover that there were only three sites giving Freezine any traffic. This site ( was the main one. I mentioned Freezine multiple times and put a link to my story on about 4000 of my web pages. The Discussion board formerly know as John Shirley’s Board, was another major link to Freezine. I, Shaun and even John plugged Freezine on the Board multiple times.. John Shirley’s web page was the third. John’s blog shows considerably less traffic than mine on Alexa et al, which shows I’m better at SEO and web promotion, even if Shirley is a much better writer. I doubt if there was significant traffic from John’s blog to Freezine. There was brief mention on a few blogs, but I checked a few and they had very low Google page ranks and probably did not send any traffic. Facebook probably sent some traffic, but I can’t measure that.

Freezine was BoingBoinged too, but it was a Friday in mid July, which was probably just as bad a day as Sunday. Believe it or not, most people surf the web at work. People don’t surf on weekends because there are more interesting things to do. I estimate that fewer than 500 people read part of Freezine and a fraction of that, probably less than 50, read my story. Sigh.

I don’t know what I wanted to accomplish by placing a story at Freezine. I hoped to get my name associated with a better class of writers (an oxymoron if there ever was one). It is disappointing to be pretty much ignored.

Status Update

Friday, February 20th, 2009

I am getting over a nasty little cold. I have not been doing much of anything, including reading, just sneezing.

I ordered a new pair of glasses online at quite a savings. I got the eye exam at a department store and I am waiting for the glasses. I will blog about the results when the glasses arrive in the next few days.

I registered for the SAO short course in Astronomy. The international balance of trade make it somewhat affordable again. I have received the welcome letter with instructions on how to get started. I will blog about this regularly.

I have found a farm within driving distance that sells beekeeping supplies and they will have a shipment of bees ready for me on May 9th, if I want it. Getting started costs around $350, but there is twofer deal, so I want to talk to Larry about it. I’ve have to drive up just north of Albany to pick up the bees and hive. It would take about 3 hours up and 3 hours down. There is another site that will overnight the bees and hive to you for a total of $400 if I decide not to drive. I want to do this, but I don’t want to kill the bees.

There is a satellite launch on March 5th at the Kennedy space center. You can view the launch from a beach in Cape Canaveral. Air fares to Florida have dropped so much that it is silly to not go. I will ask Larry or the poker boys if anyone is willing to go down and share expenses for a motel room and the rental car. We could go down the night before, watch the launch and then get our ears at Disney World, or just hang at the beach all day. If I can pull this together I will post the hotel where we are staying and anyone out there who wants to meet us there can join the party on the beach. I’ll be bringing my harmonicas.

I have been taking a course in web design. I know, I know, I have been designing web pages for years and even taught 4 semesters of a course in it. I decided that I did not have a well enough grounding in the actual esthetics of the design process even if I have the mechanics down pat. Everyone agrees that I make ugly web pages. I would like to see how another instructor deals with the topic. I have been in some interesting disagreements here at work about creating simple effective pages without all the fancy clutter.

I got a rewrite request on my story The Dinosaur Dance Floor, but I have not been able to get myself excited enough to do the work. Antihistamine pills take all the creative oomph out of your life. had a bang up Valentines day, even better than Christmas. It has slowed down since then, but I am still running better than 50% over the same period last year.

I have a camera full of pictures from January and February. I have not found time to empty it out and now there has to be a dozen blog entries worth of stuff in it so I am shirking this. I will try to get to this on the weekend.

In order to save money, all contractors working for the county of Westchester have to take an extra week off without pay. This may go up as the year goes on. It means more free time for me, but less money in the bank. It also means that I may be staying home on a few Fridays over the summer in order to catch some of those Friday afternoon garage sales.

This and That

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

The house was too warm last night. The heat is working much better, although not balanced. It seems to only do one zone at a time and I am fiddling with the thermostats to set the heat on and off in different areas to keep the house comfortable. Last night it was a little cool downstairs, but comfortable. Upstairs was actually too warm, after a couple of weeks of being 62°. I am going to go on Google and see if there is a home thermostat with built in wifi and the ability to program from a remote site.

My brother Larry broke down and paid for cable internet. He got all three, Cable, Phone and Internet for the $99 package deal. It works for him because Mom can get on the phone to her sister in Florida and do $20 of gossiping without thinking. He is actually saving money. I have been collecting cheap wireless routers with the idea of flashing them with a super router software and reselling them on the internet, but I never have time. I gave him one that I bought for a $1. He no longer has to aim his antenna out the window at a weak signal to an open router. He is amazed at his speed and for the first time he can surf YouTube. He is taking lessons from a guitar player from Croatia that he says is the best teacher he’s ever had. Mom has rediscovered Turner Classic Movies and Larry says that she has been watching black and white movies 12 hours a day.

Electric Spec held my story “RepFix” for vote. They keep, so they say, about 20 stories and pick a few from these for the next issue. I submitted to Electric Spec because I saw Tyree Campbell there. If Tyree is submitting there then they might like my stuff because Tyree often accepts my stories. I read on the SamsDot discussion area that Tyree has also been held for a vote. At this moment our stories are duking it out in a cyber death match chamber.

My blogging software has made considerable progress. I still need to add all the standard blog features like rss, archiving, comments, pings, image upload, and link backs. This will be a lot of work. I have to do security next. I spent several days over the holidays working on this, but everyone is back into “work” mode here and the adult supervision has started again, so I may not get to it for a little while.

Koch called me. He is home, but goes to physical therapy at Burk three times a week. He has three vertebra fused in his neck and he can’t turn his head from side to side. He is feeling much better and says that he is coming back to work in a few weeks. If I were him, I would take this as a sign to retire and collect disability. He sent me his son’s laptop, which is so full of viruses and spyware that it stopped booting. He wants me to format the disk and reinstall XP. I will try to get to it one night this week.

I started working on my iPhone app. I discovered that to actually test on the iPhone I would have to pay Apple a $99 registration fee to be a certified developer. I have been testing the sample code apps on their emulator. I guess if I ever get my apps written that I will have to pay the fee.

The Home Inspection course that I wanted to take has been discontinued. It might not have worked out anyway because to be a certified inspector you have to have 40 hours of experience working with another certified inspector or else a PE license. I want to go back to school, but I am not sure what course to take. I don’t think that I want to take any more computer courses, unless it is for something fun. I am way over educated for what I do. I would like to have a fall back career in case the bottom falls out of programming. I don’t want to go back to work in the City.

Call Me a Cockeyed Optimist

Monday, December 1st, 2008

I sent out my story Speed Trap to a new magazine today. This story has accumulated 24 rejections and a rewrite request (which I ignored). I refuse to accept that this is a bad story. Keep your fingers crossed. This could be the one!

Six Months and Counting

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Today marks 180 days that I have been waiting to hear from the Robert A. Heinlein Centennial Short Story Contest. Six months is a long time to wait on a story. Their website is never updated and there is no discussion board to check to find out what progress is being made. I think this is one of those where they don’t contact you if you lose. If you are not on the winner list, then too bad. My feeling is that they’ll announce the winners of the 2008 contest well into 2009.

Story finished and out the door

Monday, November 24th, 2008

I spent about 45 minutes on Thursday and and again on Friday writing a 3200 word cyberpunk story. I proofed it one more time today. I sent it to the first of two venues in DuoTrope that had the keyword cyberpunk. I expect to hear by Christmas, but my experience is that as soon as I send something out, the editors get behind in the slush.

The story is based an idea I got from reading that awful book, The King in Yellow by Chambers. The first story in the book, Repairer of Reputations, gave me the idea to write about a modern person who can erase bad reputations from the internet. My story is not as unpleasant as the Chambers story but I had to make the main character very nasty to make the story work, in other words a person who has a reputation he deserves, yet has the money to make it go away. I am afraid that I made the whole story a little too dark. It also uses some pejorative slang, which I normally avoid.

We’ll see.