Tag Archives: good things

New stories to come

I haven’t been sending many stories out lately.

Okay, that’s much too vague. Shall I be honest? I’ve only submitted two stories anywhere this year. In my defense, I’ve been writing a lot. It’s my submissions that have been lacking. Let’s go one step further back. I’ve been writing a lot in terms of novel-length fiction. So, I do have short stories that languish, unfinished or unsent, but it’s not as though I have closets full of them.

Not that I’m defensive or anything. I just wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m a slacker.

Anyway, the point of all this is that I’m pleased to announce that both of the aforementioned stories have found homes. On the same day! “Testimony” will be published by Fireside. “There’s Always a Nuclear Bomb in the End” will appear in Daily Science Fiction. Publication dates to be announced.

I’m very excited! About both of them! “There’s Always a Nuclear Bomb…” came from a steady diet of superhero movies, is about as close to flash as I get, and was written and sent out on the same day. “Testimony” had been kicking around in various forms for a year or so before I finally did it justice and pushed it out the door. Writing is like that. No magic formula, just a lot of chaos and occasional magic.

I promise I’ll say more about them once we reach publication. For now, just know they’re on their way.

Thoughts while washing the floor

A brief thought on this lovely sunny day. I am grateful, endlessly so, to the writers who have poured themselves into the stories I have loved. Those who helped me understand what mattered to me, whose characters remind me to be braver than I think I am, or kinder, or truer. Those who have showed me something unexpected about the world, or who have shown me that I’m not alone in what I think or feel or experience, or made me happy for the time I was lost in their world. Those who make me think I’ve set my own writing bar way too low and challenge me to be more as a writer.

Writers, please write. I’m counting on you.

Slumber update

That title is rather misleading. While I’d love to tell you how well I’ve been sleeping, it passes into the realm of things that really aren’t all that interesting to anyone at all. Not to even me.

(For anyone for whom that’s not the case: my sleep has been fine. Thanks for caring!)

I’m actually talking about “Slumber,” which now has a publication date at Daily Science Fiction. My first story to be published in over a year! From a statistical standpoint, 2013 was a banner year for acceptances. A whopping thirty-three percent of my submissions sold. Of course, that becomes far less impressive when I admit that I made just three short story submissions. Not exactly stellar effort on my part. As I explained here, I ran away and hid from publishing for a bit.

Hopefully that will be changing in 2014, beginning with “Slumber”, which will be appearing in Daily Science Fiction on January 10, for those of you who are subscribers. For those of you who aren’t–and shall I remind you it’s free, and fun, and, yes, entirely free–it will be available on their website beginning January 17.

ETA: And this is my 200th blog post! Cosmic Driftwood is positively bubbly with warm gushy feelings today! (At least as warm and gushy as it ever manages to get.)

Bits and pieces on a Sunday morning

Mike Dariano is the kind soul that tweeted to me about the notable stories list with The King’s Huntsman on it last week. He runs a blog where writers and other interesting people (are there actually uninteresting people?) list their three favorite things to read, watch, and use. It’s a fun space to browse, and full of good ideas. I encourage people to check it out.

If my gentle encouragement is not reason enough to click on the link, my own list of threes will be there on October 4. Yes, another exciting chance to travel the blogosphere with me, completely free of charge and without any danger. I’ll slap up a reminder up on the 4th, just in case anyone neglects to mark it in their datebook. In the meantime, do consider stopping in and exploring some of the other entries.

In related travel news, I’m actually going someplace this fall! Someplace out of state, out of New England even! I’ll be traveling in Virginia and D.C., and returning home via Gettysburg. Some Civil War exploration, some visiting friends, some museum stuff, and a wedding. Okay, maybe the wedding should come first on that list. The thing about great little brothers is that you can’t help but be happy when they are, like on their wedding day.

Life is good.


I’ve heard the wood frogs calling! Not, perhaps, the most beautiful of the songs of spring, but one I cherish nonetheless. I may still have snow in the backyard (lots) and may have worn mittens to an outdoors potluck last night, but there are wood frogs calling from the beaver pond, so spring is officially here!

Comfort writing

There’s something to be said for comfort writing.

(Psst. I’ll have you know that that first line, and these as well, I typed without looking at the keyboard.

Wait! That might be more impressive if I tell you something else first. Once upon a time, long long ago, I took a typing class in high school. The old fashioned kind of typing class, on electric typewriters. We were tested for speed on the first day of class and the last. The first day I managed a mighty seventeen words a minute. On the last, a somewhat less than stellar thirteen.

Yes, I was typing more slowly by the end of the class than I was at the beginning. We’ll ignore the fact that neither number held much promise for my future as a typist.

Anyway, when I started writing after my hiatus, I was a four finger typist and I watched the keyboard. Four years later, I don’t look. Only it’s a little like learning to ride a bicycle. If I remind myself that I’m not looking, I lose my balance and type something like absuhnc kenruhvj aseinincf kiawhid, which is very rarely what I’m trying to say.)

So, comfort writing. I still haven’t figured out this whole publication thing. I understand the “writing is communication” piece, and I’ve learned to be a brave writer and send things out, and I do my part to continue to grow. But the Infernal Editor still owns prime real estate in my brain, and the publishing part of writing can serve as a reminder of that fact. When things are going smoothly, I can ignore her. Other times, when I’m clever, I can type around her.

Sometimes, though, she just dances on my bones.

That’s where comfort writing comes in. Ninety-seven percent of her power comes from the threat that other people will see what I write. Take that piece away and she’s got no leverage.

This is what I do. I go back to the beginning, back when my writing was more or less a private fortress, with a moat, and crocodiles, and a dragon, just for good measure. I write because it makes me happier, and nicer, and gives me something to do with my fidgety fingers and even more fidgety mind. Lately I’ve written about what it means to be a Mender when to mend is to cause pain; about what the Undertakers do for a planet; about the sometimes nonexistent space between magic and science, and what happens when neither works for a dying girl; and about a man who falls in love with a grizzly when his plane crashes into the mountains. Next up, I think, is a girl stowaway who gambles with the god of the ocean to save her only friend.

It’s comfort writing. It’s mine. I don’t have to do anything with it unless I choose to, and I can change my mind at any time. It’s an exercise in writing what I love, rather than what I think I should write. It’s better than mashed potatoes.

And I’m doing it without looking at the keyboard.


Snow Sunday

Hey! It snowed! A lot!

It’s lovely snow–light, drifting, easy to shovel (although the sheer volume is daunting). Aside from packing into the vent pipe on the roof, necessitating a climb up there to open it up again, it caused absolutely no trouble at Chez Mason-Black. There was a travel ban for the state for twenty-four hours or so, but not being someone drawn to driving around in snowstorms, I didn’t find that a hardship. Our kindhearted neighbor came with his tractor yesterday after the snow let up and dug out our driveway, so all in all, we led a rather charmed storm existence.

This morning it’s 5 degrees out, and the sun is shining brightly, and I’m thinking about joining the cats in a cozy spot in the sun and working on Crossroads. I have most of it plotted out in my head. I’m sadly lacking a lot of travel experience though, and that’s hanging me up a bit. What I need is a grant to travel across the U.S. by car. What I think I’ll get are a lot more books out of the library. I may need to storm ahead and fill in some details in edits. I have a head full of characters that really need to come out.

On the horizon

It’s a tad nippy currently, the sort of cold that makes me consider sleeping with the pipes in the basement to encourage them to stay warm.

I’m going to start something new here, hopefully next week. I’m lining up writers to interview about their writing, and their approach to writing, and where their writing grows from, and anything else that makes its way onto my list of questions. I’m unbearably curious about most things, and writing even more so. Not so much the “and then I sent out ten queries letters and got an agent and had an auction” end of things, but rather the itch that makes a writer write. And conducting interviews gives me an excellent excuse to be nosy. I have my first writer ready, a wonderful poet, and I can’t wait to start.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my post for The Next Big Thing blog hop. If you’re not familiar with it, check out M.E. Garber’s post here.

Actually, let’s say that I’ll be back here tomorrow as long as I don’t end up an icicle first.

Sixteen years

I’ve been married sixteen years this week. We’d been together for four years before we got married, and there hadn’t really been any question in our minds that it would be a permanent sort of thing from the beginning. The wedding was more an opportunity to let everyone else in on the secret.

But, also being kind of into the fun of things, we decided to get engaged first. That piece would only last for three months–I had a very ill grandfather who I really wanted to have present at the wedding–but it felt like the sort of thing we’d only get to do once in our lifetime.

This is how the becoming engaged bit went down for us. On a fine Wednesday night, at roughly 9:30, as we got ready for bed, Jon asked if I wanted my surprise now or at dinner on Friday. (Did I mention Jon has a bit of an impulse control problem when it comes to surprises?) Me being me, I shrugged and said “whenever.” Jon, in underwear and a t-shirt, hurried off to the dresser and pulled out the ring and asked me to marry him. I, perhaps lacking a bit in the girlish excitement department, said “are you kidding?”

Somewhere after that we managed to get everything straightened out.

That’s sort of been how things go for us. A first attempt at a romantic dinner ending with Jon accidentally dumping an entire pot of spaghetti down the drain. A wedding in which we forced one of my brothers to sing a song written for a soprano, and the other to read an poem that was perhaps a bit more of a challenge than we had thought. A ceremony of passing our rings to everyone present so they could bless them that ended with my fairly deaf grandfather shouting “What the h*** am I supposed to do with these?” A sort of endless tumbling chaos that we somehow manage to sort our way through together.

It’s been an adventure so far, Jonathan. I wouldn’t trade a single step of it.

A little news

Just a little something to go with the solstice and the general lack of total apocalypse today. Wren–knife-wielding, mind-reading, girl-loving Wren–has an agent. I suppose it would be more correct to say that I now have an agent, but that feels funny to me. So we’ll say the honor is Wren’s today.

I’m excited about this new partnership. Once I’ve had a chance for the idea of it to settle in a bit, I’ll tell more. I expect I’ll be scarce for the next few days to a week as I spend time with family, and compress a year’s worth of baking into a weekend.

In the meantime, I wish you all the blessings of warmth and love. May there be joy coming for you. May you look up into a night sky full of stars. May you have peace.