agilebrit: (Writer of Wrongs)
When last we left me, it hadn't been a super year other than the really obvious novel-publishing highlight. So, where are we for this year?

Short story writing continued to be... fairly dismal. I completed only five and a half, two of which were flash. One of them is so silly that I decided no one would buy it, and so I've created a brochure out of it to give away as a freebie. The other one is *cough*problematic in today's political climate. (A police officer who is also a werewolf hunter pulls a guy over for a burned-out taillight, finds out that he's a werewolf, and, well, shoots him. Yeah. He doesn't die and she eventually lets him go, but.). I was going to lengthen that one and revise it significantly, but that plan went astray somewhere along the way.

Everything I did this year was werewolves. I did another in space, another in the Old West, and one in modern-day... England? I guess? None of them have gotten any traction anywhere, but, you know, they're werewolf stories. Editors apparently hate them.

The half story, I was invited by the handsome and hard-working Bryan Thomas Schmidt to collaborate on him with, and that one will be appearing in an anthology of stories set in Larry Correia's Monster Hunter universe. So, uh. I'm a Baen author now! So thrilled, and the story was so much fun to write.

So, ha, remember that story I said wouldn't win Writers of the Future, this time last year? Well. IT DID. And I got to go to Hollywood, and it was amazing and fun and whirlwindy and like drinking from a fire hose. I really hope they invite me back. The story has gotten some really nice reviews, including from Tangent Online. An Amazon reader called it "powerful, bizarre, and haunting." Not bad for something I didn't think had any chance whatsoever of even getting an Honorable Mention, let alone winning.

I sold a total of 15 stories this year, so not quite enough for the next bingo square. Nine of those were reprints, but getting paid twice (in some cases) for the same story is free money, so I'm not complaining. One of the publications that accepted a Ben story folded before publishing it *sob*.

Five of the sold stories have been published (links all go to Amazon):
Cry Havoc, in Writers of the Future 32.
Daddy's Little Girl, as a standalone short, and then in an anthology, by Digitial Fiction Publishing.
Servile Spirits to Invent, by Digital Fiction as a standalone.
Serendi-bunny, in the "Singular Irregularity" anthology.
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, by Digital Fiction as a standalone.

Then there were stories sold in 2015 that saw publication in 2016:
Meerkat Manners, by in Jouth#2.
The Cow and the Beanstalk, an audiofic at Far Fetched Fables, and also in an anthology called 2nd and Starlight.
Showing Faeries for Fun and Profit, also at Far Fetched Fables.

Raw numbers on the shorts:
Submissions: 249
Form Rejections: 165
Personal Rejections: 63
Acceptances: 15

The big project this year, which I finally kicked myself into gear on, is the sequel to "Pack Dynamics." I ended the year with 40,000 words in it. If I do a NaNo push this month, I might be able to stick an END at the bottom of it before LTUE in February.

Plans for this year? Finish PD2. Start PD3 (which I don't have a plot for yet, but I'm noodling the notion of the sequel that crashed and burned and I vowed would never see the light of day being Book 3, massively revised, of course, but oh God that thing is so messed up, possibly breaks my universe, and I'm not sure I a. want to go there, and b. want to break Ben that hard. Yes, even I have my limits, try not to die of shock). Twelve shorts, dammit. I should be able to average a short story a month even while working on a novel. I've proven I can bang out a 5000-word first draft in 24 hours if I have to (because doing so was part of the WotF workshop).

Thank you, once again, for coming along on this ride with me. May your 2017 be filled with wild success.
agilebrit: (OMG MATH)
2015 was a pathetic writing year for me, as far as output went. Novel edits ate my brain, my productivity screeched to a halt, and then my poor Muse shivered in a corner after it was over. And that's okay, but this year I wanted to get back on the horse and start actually scribbling new words.

Be careful what you wish for.

I've penned five flash pieces so far this year. One of them is edited and making submission rounds. The other four, I still haven't had time to look at (even though I desperately need to!) because...

I finally put an END at the bottom of the Big Bad John Space Werewolf story. I'm waiting to hear back from a beta right now, but I might just take one more look at it and then start shipping it out. It's been sitting long enough.

My WotF 24-hour story is shaping up well. It's with a few betas right now; there's one scene that really needs expanding because, well, I had 24 hours to write the thing and that scene got super skimmed. Any of my betas reading this will know exactly which scene I'm talking about when they get to it.

I'm attempting Codexian Idol again this year. I slipped my first 250 words in under the deadline, and those words amuse me. The story has a shape, and a couple of characters I think I will enjoy writing. We'll see how it shakes out. I adore the story I wrote for Codexian Idol last year (though it hasn't been accepted anywhere yet), and hopefully I can make lightning strike twice.

The problem with writing all this short stuff (which is what I'm actually good at) is that I need to write another novel. I have the shape of the sequel to Pack Dynamics (yes, that is a shameless Amazon link, buy my book), but I have no idea how to outline a novel and am kind of afraid to try. One of the instructors at the WotF workshop suggested outlining the first third of it, writing that, outlining the second third, etc. I wonder if I can nest seven-point plot structures. Or something. Aaaaaaaaaaaaah I have no idea what I'm doing. #notanaturalnovelist

Not only that, but I've got the Hitman in Hell novel poking my side and going "HEY WHAT ABOUT ME HUH HUH HUH???" And, yes, I want to write this one, desperately, I love the concept so very much--but I need to figure out a bunch of character motivations and the damned thing is most certainly not salable even to my wonderful and very patient publisher (I'm pretty sure, because, uh, well, don't ask me why I like playing with POV but I do... and you, dear reader, know as well as I do that a new author swapping first person POVs across four characters will not fly).

Not only that, but Nate and Iann, from my WotF V32 story (yes, that's another shameless Amazon link, go, preorder it, you know you want to), are crossing their arms at me and going "You know there's a novel here, right?" And, yes, there is, Nate has smited his inner demons, but they've got a new threat looming and OH GOD JUST SHOOT ME NOW.

All right, you know what, whining about it isn't doing me any good. I will crack my knuckles, email my one beta, and then start setting a timer for each of these damn tasks so I can get my head actually in the game.
agilebrit: (Writer of Wrongs)
Channel 4, KTVX, at, apparently, 6am. Talking Writers of the Future and writing stuff. I don't expect anyone to be up that ridiculously early just to watch me, but you could set your DVRs. ;)
agilebrit: (OMG MATH)
Raw numbers:
29 entries
14 form Rs
11 Honorable Mentions
2 Semi-Finalists
2 Finalists
1 Win

I entered the contest with my first "original" story in December 2007. It garnered a plain form R. To be fair, it's an actual Firefly knockoff which I scraped the serial numbers from--as in, it was fanfic first before I rejiggered it. That being said, that story has spawned four others in the same series, three of which have found homes, two of which have found two homes. Publisher's Freaking Weekly even said something nice about one of them!

My next entry (March 2007) also garnered a form R. However it was also my first pro-rate sale, to Cosmos.

My next three entries all garnered Honorable Mentions, though they weren't calling them that yet for the very next one. I'm not going to go through them one by one. That would be ridiculous. However, for your elucidation:

2007: 4 entries (3 HMs)
2008: 4 entries (3 HMs)
2008: 2 entries (no placement)
2010: 4 entries (1 HM)
2011: 0 entries (The Year Roleplay Ate My Brain. Whoops.)
2012: 3 entries (1 HM)
2013: 4 entries (1 HM, 1 Finalist)
2014: 4 entries (1 HM, 2 SFs)
2015: 4 entries (1 HM, 1 WINNER)

The moral of the story? NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER.

Also, find your niche and play it to the hilt. My last six placements were all werewolf stories, except one, but it had werewolves in prominent secondary roles. Two of those were Finalists, and two were Semi-Finalists. Dave Farland (famously) hates werewolf stories--he said so in the blurb for my novel! You can make someone look at something they don't like twice if you just do it well enough.
agilebrit: (Guri praise the Lord)
Fun story which I would have posted last night, except I didn't get home until 10pm and Hubby had to get up at Stupid Early AM, so Bed was a Thing:

As you know, Bob, one of my werewolf stories made Finalist for Q4 at Writers of the Future. I've been waiting for four weeks to find out the results. I knew the call had to come soon...

The handsome and hard-working Eric James Stone had his "Unforgettable" book launch last night, which I attended. Scott Parkin saw me and asked "Did you get the call yet?" I answered in the negative, and he commiserated with me for a moment before going back to where he'd been.

Ten seconds later (like, literally), my phone rings.

"Hi, Julie." I've spoken with Joni all of three times in my entire life. I still recognized her voice. She sounded happy.

Therefore I refrained from saying "Hi, Joni, just tell me I didn't win." Instead I said "Hi, Joni." I'm pretty sure I already started bouncing, though I tried to contain myself.

"You won. Third place."

I have often described characters feeling "like a marionette with cut strings." I've never actually felt like that... until last night. I, uh, held myself up on a handy shelf. I told her how shocked I was to win with this story, because of Dave's famous werewolf hate, and she said "I guess he liked this one!"

And so did the rest of the judges.

I swear I wrote this as part of a Codex prompt; I finished it in February 2015, and I remember the idea being something about abysses (Weekend Warrior? Anyway, it ended up being too long to actually enter, and I'm not sure I finished it in time in any case), but I cannot for the life of me remember anything else. I actually ended up revising it for the Contest with Dave's sensibilities in mind, expanding it and changing the ending to something a little less-- okay, a lot less depressing. Especially in light of what he said about about my last Finalist, which was "is it a story about a werewolf, or is it a story about belonging?" Well, that first one wasn't, particularly, at least not in my mind, but this one definitely is.

There were a bunch of people I knew at the book launch, of course, because the Utah writing community is vast, and they were all super happy for me. Utah has a ridiculous proportion of winners, as well--four of us were there. We took a picture. It was awesome.

agilebrit: (Guri praise the Lord)
I've been sitting on this since December 7th, y'all. I was actually on an airplane when Joni tried to call me (and left messages on both my phones), and I had to call her back. But I finally got the go-ahead to tell everyone, and so I am:

I am a Finalist for Writers of the Future, v32, Q4!

Understand that I fully expected a form rejection for this story. I have no doubt that it would have garnered a form had I sent it in as I originally wrote it. But this is a new and expanded version, with more immersion and world-building, and a (somewhat) happier ending. Final judging is not complete yet, so I'm still being coy about which story it was to preserve anonymity.

This is my second Finalist. The first one didn't win, and I was super bummed because it was a Ben story and I love him. I will laugh so hard if this one does, not because I think it's a bad story (quite the contrary, I love it to pieces), but because I went in with such low expectations. I basically threw it at the wall to see if it would stick. Apparently it hit Dave in the feels, so go, me!

Do the Dance of Joy!
agilebrit: (Write Dammit)
Clearly, I am not writing a new thing for Writers of the Future. This makes me a little sad, but I'm not in a good headspace for writing something out of my comfort zone (which is what my current outline is), and none of my other stories (some of which are partially finished) are pinging me particularly hard.

However, I do have a story whose concept I adore, but I'm pretty sure (at this point) that I muffed the execution. The bones are good, but it needs layers and layers of flesh, and way more character development and interaction than it has. I'm fair certain it needs to be about twice as long as it is. It needs more sensory stuff, more scene-setting, more of...

Well. Everything.

*cracks knuckles* It won't edit itself.
agilebrit: (Default)
My gargoyle story will be appearing in "First and Starlight" in a couple of days:

"Future Finalists presents 1st & Starlight, their very first compilation of science fiction and fantasy. Future Finalists is a group of authors that have previously placed in the top 8 for at least one quarter of the Writers of the Future Contest, some of whom have already gone on to become winners.

Fourteen of these authors now contribute their strongest voices, offering glimpses of every corner of speculative fiction--from contemporary to high fantasy, from hard science fiction to the wildly experimental, the whole breadth of possibilities of the genre are showcased here.

Experience modern twists on fairy tale classics, extraordinary aliens and magical creatures. Heroes and heroines no matter how big or small (or inanimate!). Adventures across time and space and deep within the human mind. From great triumph to the little victories that make us up, the one thing these stories have in common is their greatness, and their enormous heart."

Here's the fantastic cover, by Koru Xypress:

Don't have a link yet, but watch this space. :)
agilebrit: (Guri praise the Lord)
And I have my second Semi-Finalist in a row.

For a story starring a werewolf, a vampire, and an angel teamed up to thwart a demon and his human minion as they try to call up something Big and Bad from Below with an esoteric artifact?

I'll take a Top 16. And I may wait on the crit to see if there's a way I can improve it before it goes out again.

This is dance-of-joy-worthy. \o/

...wait, do I not have a tag for this story? Welp.
agilebrit: (Tony: Actual Anteaters)
So this happened:

Get: a gmail notif.

Click: over to the tab.

From: Joni Labaqui

Cue: heart attack

Subject: Weekly Writer Inspiration

 photo microwave-smiley-face_zps8jga7qlt.gif

I'm still standing. I have no earthly idea how.


Sep. 15th, 2014 12:41 pm
agilebrit: (werewolf)
I have just placed an END at the bottom of the Fleasel Story. Huzzah. Just under 3300 words, and I haven't put Chambliss in that final scene yet, but... I might not. It's a nice little story as it sits; I'll ask my betas if they think he needs to be there.

I went from loathing this story to loving it in the space of a few hours. I've spent most of the writing of this thing flailing around trying to figure out exactly what Alex wants, and the fleasel itself, while amusing, wasn't really enough to carry the story.

But once it became about a man's relationship with his wife, the whole thing came together. I AM WELL PLEASED.

In other news, I didn't place in Q3 of this year's Writers of the Future with Hell's Process Server--all I got was a straight rejection. So weird. I don't even know, anymore. I'll probably send Time-Traveling Ben to Q4; Dave really seems to like him.
agilebrit: (Guri praise the Lord)
I'm a finalist for Q1! That means my story is in the top eight. We'll find out in three weeks or so who the winners are.

Oh my GAWD, y'all. I am positively giddy. I've had nine Honorable Mentions, and this is my first time placing this high. And it's for a Ben story.

Friends! Romans! Countrymen! Do the Dance of Joy with me!
agilebrit: (smile)
AGAIN. For Unquiet Neighbors.

This would be my ninth. I just asked the contest coordinator if, if I get ten, do I get a commemorative mug or something. LOL

It's actually been a long dry spell for me from them, so this is good, I suppose. I sent them Janni's Story last night, which garnered a personal rejection from the editor at one of the Big Three, so I guess we'll see how it does.

And now I need to find a another market for this one. Won't that be fun. *blows out a breath*
agilebrit: (Guri praise the Lord)
And there I am as an Honorable Mention. Yaaaay. I got the certificate in the mail too. That was for Won His Soul, BTW.

I was excited for the first Honorable Mention. Really, I was.

This, however, was my eighth.

I wonder. If one gets ten, is there a special award?

Maybe one of the ones from this Project o'Doom will be The One. And maybe Analog will print the Zombunny story. It could happen.
agilebrit: (werewolf)
The steampunk werewolf western is done. Not only that, but in an excess of efficiency, it's got its own folder, its own space on the spreadsheet, and it's off to Writers of the Future two days before deadline.

*collapses into a puddle of goo*

This means I can actually rest for a couple of days before tackling the NaNo Project o'Doom.

agilebrit: (Sad)
Won His Soul has garnered my eighth Honorable Mention at Writers of the Future. Framed!Werewolf was rejected and so I need to hit up Duotrope's again.

agilebrit: (Over My Head)
So, yeah, I've been staring at the damn steampunk werewolf western for two solid days now, going "durrrr." My preacher and my protag have about done all that's productive with this conversation, and so I need to get the plot moving again.

And the only thing I can think of is siccing a posse on him.

Okay, maybe not a whole posse. Maybe just the hunter dude that made him jump off the train to begin with. That actually makes more sense. This way the complications are contained, because Lord knows I do not need more complications in this Thing. I'm 7700 words in and halfway into my "outline" (such as it is), and so moving to the second pinch point is a must here.

I still hate it, by the way.

In other news, I finally got a rejection for hitman!Ben, so it went off to the next market. And I've about run out of pro markets for it. *sigh* We should be hearing from Writers of the Future any day now. I'm mentally preparing myself for bad news on that front (anything other than Finalist would be bad news for me on this one), and to gin up a sub packet for it for other places. This is a hugely discouraging business.

My mother, bless her heart, has been kind of busting my chops for RPing instead of "writing things I can get paid for." Considering the fact that the last time I actually got paid for anything was four years ago (notwithstanding my recent sale for a story I wrote two years ago), I just... laugh.
agilebrit: (Picspam)
I'm actually not being sarcastic. Got a rejection last night for the Squonk story and immediately flipped it to Writers of the Future, since they haven't seen it yet, the deadline is the 30th, and there's no way I'm going to finish the steampunk werewolf western in time. It is stalled like a big stalled thing. Still waiting on word for Won His Soul. Gyah, this business.

In other news, I did receive the contract for the Zombie story in the mail and sent it back, signed, immediately, so. I believe the editor said that issue would be coming out next month.

And now, more Yellowstone pictures. This group will be the miscellaneous critters and a couple of other shots.

Follow the cut to bison, chipmunks, grouse, coyote, and pronghorns... )
agilebrit: (Giggle)
And this morning, I got up at a (relatively) early hour for me, showered, waited until my hair was mostly dry, then got gussied up for a luncheon with Mitt Romney and about a thousand other people. So that was cool. Considering the fact that he's probably not swinging through Utah again (because seriously, if he gets less than 70% of the vote in this state, I will be surprised), it was kind of a neat opportunity. We ate chicken and listened to a speech and it was a very pleasant experience.

I nearly wore my rhinoceros jewelry (because I like it) and then remembered at the last minute what RINO means and decided to go with the elephant bracelet and earrings instead. Also, how women can wear four-inch heels and not die of pain is truly beyond me.

But I got 400 words written on the train (because like hell did I want to drive all the way downtown in four-inch heels with a stick shift and try to park), so that was a good thing. At least, it was a good thing once I figured out that the scene I'd planned was lame and came up with something better by the simple expedient of shooting my protag. Shut up. I haven't shot a protagonist in fiction I'm going to sell in ages.

I really need to finish this damn thing. I don't have a WotF entry for this quarter yet and the deadline is the 30th.
agilebrit: (KKBB manip Tony/Pepper)
Won His Soul has a title ("Better a Millstone") and has been entered in this quarter's WotF. I have no idea why I always get the shivers when I do this. This is my 21st completed original story. I've garnered something in the neighborhood of 250 rejections over the past several years. And sending off a sub still makes me nervous. Go figure.

In celebration, and since I didn't post any wallpaper yesterday, have a pic of Guriel praying:

1024x600 image under the cut )

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