Submit! (but carefully)

Really, honestly, truly, if you are submitting fiction (or non-fiction) anywhere for any market, follow the submission guidelines as given on the publication’s, publisher’s, agent’s, or editor’s site, to the letter. Otherwise it becomes an excuse to throw your work away without reading it and why give anyone a free excuse? Submissions are flooded and everyone is looking for a way to cull the slush as quickly as possible. Don’t let your work be the garbage that’s easy to throw away. Force the slush readers to be creative about throwing your stuff out–they might discover that they like it if they have no excuse to toss it first. Yes, there are exceptions to every rule, but you’ll raise the odds in your favor if you don’t have to be that exception–especially on the days no one has time to make you the exception. It’s not hard to find the guidelines, and in this day of electronic submissions, it takes very little time to reformat a document or compile a different number of words to suit a requirement. Also, personalize your cover letters–proof that you did some research and took the extra step is worth it. This I give you for free, because as a former (and possibly future) editor, I appreciate this. As a workshop leader, I appreciate this. As an author I appreciate that my agent, editor, and publisher are my partners in making my work successful.

(Edit: Also, don’t submit something inappropriate or outside of the genre/submission call/etc. Your work will be 86ed faster than rotten fruit if you send something that doesn’t fit to begin with.)

Posted in Writers Hints and Tips, Writing, writing stuff | Leave a comment

Anthology Updates

At this point, I have confirmation that 4 of my 5 short stories written this year will be in anthologies coming out in the next 12 months. Yay! I’ll give more specific information as I get it, but right now this is what’s coming up for me:

“Heart’s Desire” in UNBOUND, edited by Shawn Speakman, from Grim Oak Press, December 2015-February 2016 (delivery of final edition from the press is still in the air, but I’ll update as we find out, but the ARC is out now);

“Drafty” in UPSIDE DOWN, edited by Jaym Gates and Monica Valentinelli, from Apex Book Company, “Fall/Winter 2015” (Kickstarter details to come);

“Spite House” (a Jo and Harper collaboration co-written with Catie Murphy) in URBAN ALLIES, edited by Joe Nassise, from Harper Voyager, July 26, 2016;

“Peacock in Hell” in SHADOWED SOULS, edited by Kerrie Lynn Hughes and Jim Butcher, from Ace/Roc November 1, 2016 (no link info yet).

One more short story I wrote this year may end up on the scrap heap through no one’s fault but mine, and I’m still working on one for another anthology that I was invited to recently. There’s also one more mosaic piece due to Christopher Golden for INDIGO. And sometime I need to decide which of the 10 novel projects I’m actually going to put my heart into and write with an eye to pestering publishers to pay me for it. (And Laura Anne Gilman may have bullied me into writing a novella about a certain annoying guy.)

And that’s the Publishing news from Katlandia!

Posted in anthologies, Cool writerly people, other people's books

Scribble Till Your Wrists Ache

Spent an hour or so today signing ARCs of the UNBOUND anthology along with Todd Lockwood and Shawn Speakman. They are SOOOOOO pretty.

Posted in anthologies, Cool writerly people, other people's books | 2 Comments

Unbound Closer

So, the un-themed anthology, Unbound, (coming from Grim Oak Press before the end of the year), is very nearly here and I’ve got the final cover and the first page of my own piece to show you. I hope you like them and I hope you’ll pre-order the book, since, well… it’s very good.
Unbound-final cover First page of my story for Unbound
(click on the images to see them full size–they are fantastic!)

Lovely work by Todd Lockwood on the cover and the interior art by his apprentice, Stacie Pitt. I won’t show you all the other interior art–it’s all wonderful–but if you poke about on Grim Oak’s order page (given above), you can find the list of authors and hunt down the rest of the first pages for yourself–like a treasure hunt!

Posted in anthologies, artists, Cool writerly people, other people's books, shorts and excerpts | 1 Comment

Darkness Behind My Eyes

Close your eyes, and you are afloat in a sea of eigengrau, amid a sargasso of phosphenes.

Let me explain (and see if I got this right.) Apparently, when you close your eyes, the “blackness” that you see is a color called “eigengrau” and the hexadecimal description is #16161D. But chances are good that you don’t see endless darkness behind your lids; sometimes you see flashes, stars, color-spots, and moving, evolving geometric patterns–“phosphenes.” It’s light, but it’s light emitted within your own eye. Your retina is always on, and when you close your eyes (or rub them), the neurotransmitters in your visual centers continue to fire, emitting “biophotons” that the visual cortex interprets just as it does other light, but this light isn’t exactly like the stimulation your eye receives in a well-lit room. Different atoms within the eye and optic nerve release slightly different photons and your visual cortex interprets these photons and patterns of emission in various ways: as flashes of color, pure light, or geometric patterns, depending on the nature of the biophoton.

My inner darkness is alight with strange fires.

Links about Phosphenes and Eigengrau:

#weirdscience #writerbrain

Posted in Personal blither, weird science | 2 Comments

Dead Birds Tell Tall Tales

Yesterday there was a Hummingbird Incident here. Jack the labradork kept going to the sliding glass door and wanting to go out. So I would let him. He’d poke at the glass and the door mat and then want to come back in. After two repetitions I finally looked down to see what he was poking his nose and paw at and saw a male Anna’s hummingbird lying in the shallow space between the door mat and the door frame. For a moment I thought it was dead, then I noticed it was breathing–or palpitating, it’s hard to be sure which thing so agitated its breast: heart or lungs. So I went and got a box and put a towel in it so I could put the bird somewhere warm and dry.


But when I went to pick it up it fluttered suddenly into the air.

Jack bit at it and grabbed the poor bird in his mouth.

I yelled at him to drop it.

He dropped it and the bird lay still next to the door, only a few inches from the opening. So I again tried to pick it up and put it in the box, assuming it was injured.

Once again, the bird suddenly leapt into rattling flight as I tried to lift it and, once again, Jack lunged at it.

I grabbed Jack’s collar with my free hand and lofted the bird upward, thinking it was still too injured to fly, but as soon as there was free air under it, the hummingbird zipped around and buzzed out the door and away into the trees.

That’s the second bird I’ve rescued from the dogs when it was playing “dead.” I wonder if they’ve left a birdie hobo-mark on my house that means “sucker here”?


Posted in Personal blither

Opportunism is a Bitch

We have two hummingbird feeders. The flying menaces have only recently noticed the window-mounted one on the back door. Alas, so have the ants.

Mr. Kat initially decided not to use the “ant moat” that came with the window-mounted feeder on the assumption that the ants wouldn’t have any reason to find it in the first place. But, he was wrong. This morning, I saw a large scout ant noodling its way up the sliding glass doors until it came near the feeder. I nipped outside and flicked him off, hoping he would be too confused to tell his buddies back in Ant Central about the yumminess to be found on our back window. Then I installed the ant moat, just in case, and filled it with water.

An hour later I looked at the window and discovered three ants. They were stuck to the glass by a combination of dried sugar water and spider web. Apparently one of the local arachnids figured this was a great location for a franchise of Spiders R Us, but whether it was aiming for the “tourists” or hoping for larger game is uncertain. Either way, it looks like there will be Sweet Ant Glacé for dinner in Arachnidia tonight!

Posted in Personal blither

Coming Soon!

More Unbound information at Grim Oak Press. Now with finished cover design and complete ToC!
Unbound cover by Todd Lockwoodm for Grim Oak Press 2015

Posted in books, Cool writerly people, other people's books, shorts and excerpts, Stuff about the book(s)

October Workshop–space still available!

Hey, look what I’m up to next month–an intensive story workshop at Cascade Writers! There’s still room and how can you say ‘no’ to crits by folks like Ellen Datlow, John A. Pitts, and Elliott Kat (and me!)

Posted in Cool writerly people, workshop/teaching

Happiness is a Warm Publication Date

Whoohoo! A publication date for UNBOUND, and an excerpt from the wonderful Terry Brooks! Can't do better than this!

Posted in blatant self-promotion, Cool writerly people, Stuff about the book(s)

Chattering at Slippery Words

So… I’m over at Slippery Words today, chattering with Joelle about waiting, writing, social media and a bunch of other writer-things. Come take a peek.

Posted in blatant self-promotion, Stuff about the book(s), Writing

Small is Hard

I’ve been working on a caper screenplay and I never thought I’d say this: the screenplay is kicking my ass.

I’m usually big and detailed with description and that’s one thing you can’t be in this format. Nor can you be long and lyrical in writing action. But you can’t just throw it down without any feeling or art–it still has to sing. It just needs to sing in the most minimalist and impressionistic way possible. At high speed.

Posted in screenplays, writing stuff | Tagged