I don’t know about how to become one, or necessarily how to find one, but one of my buddies said she thought of me as hers.

Isn’t that just interesting? Forging a path through the field of choice and sharing what you learn is just par for the course, isn’t it? Or is there something more to being a mentor?

I’ve been trying to think if I have one, and I’m not sure I do. That would go with the definition I think of as a mentor of one to look up to as well as learn from. Not that I don’t look up to plenty of writers or try to learn all that I can, but I am not sure I have found the embodiment of those in one person who is around me to impart wisdom.

Then again, I don’t think of myself as the mentoring type. Sure, I’ll help out, share things I’ve learned, but none of that makes what I learn in return less valuable.

Perhaps it’s just to think of myself as a forever-student. Others may apply labels as desired. (Just so long as they’re nice.)


Happens to all of us sometimes. Just got the notice, I didn’t get into Footprints. The editor said I made the final list, but not into the book. I suppose that’s something.

I liked the submission guidelines on that piece, and I stretched myself to meet them. I seem to write novel-length stories, or almostĀ  flash fiction short stories. That anthology required something in between, which I should strive for more often.

The editor also mentioned when the next submission call would be posted. That has to be a good sign, right? I’ll have to check it out. Even if I don’t get accepted, the writing and planning of these stories is good for me.

Next time might be different, though. I’ll only know if I try. Time to get another piece out there – or more if I can manage it.

While reading…

Do you wonder how many people notice small errors? It’s one thing to misspell a word here or there, but what about a consistent misspelling? Or when you use the wrong word entirely?

I know authors and editors all comb through books several times to make sure things are error-free, but I also know sometimes things sneak in at the last moment.

Readers, I hear, mark out the wrong words and spell them correctly if it bothers them. I’m actually not one to do that. I don’t usually mark up books at all. If I read them often they begin to get soft on the bindings. (I’m a paperback sort of girl – I only get hardcovers on sale.) Still, I enjoy the story even if a typo sneaks in. When something becomes riddled with errors it becomes painful to sort out the story, which is why we proofread at all.

The weirdest thing I ran into with books I’ve purchased – I have one book that repeats about 50 pages. I don’t have 50 pages, and I have yet to call the publisher and ask after them. (Shame on me.) I don’t read it often enough to wonder what happened in the missing section, but it intrigued me that the book made it to the shelves that way.

Oh, Random Thought!

I walked up the stairs in my house today, probably for the tenth time, and I randomly thought to myself, “I could start a magazine.”

Some days I dont have a clue where these thoughts come from. Obviously my focus is to be a published author, and not to self-publish in any way, but the thought of finding cool pieces to put together into a magazine and share with others has some appeal.

Then I remember I don’t have any money to do a project like this and all my available time is spent writing and promoting and attempting to publish.

Still, it might be fun.

Oh, the questions are still there:
Print or online?
Who would be the staff?
Focus/target audience?
Am I insane?


Start a magazine (the glossy kind with pictures)

Start a magazine (more generic and mentions online stuff)

While both of these are Helium articles, I found 2 and 3 of the 4 listed articles to not be so helpful for the information I seek. If this is something I’d proceed with, I may have to chat up some editors. It’s thankless work, but someone has to do it. (And Kudos to all of those who do, even if you reject me!)


Now and then, I re-evaluate my current submissions and look for what I could send out.

I’m still waiting to hear from an anthology that I submitted to last November. I know I made it through the slush pile; I’m hoping I made it through the rest, but I don’t want to bug the editor.

I sent a flash fiction piece out for another anthology today.

Later this week I’ll send out a short story to a magazine. Just little tweaks here and there, but it’s better to let it sit a few extra days than to bang your face against the desk when it comes back rejected and you found you hadn’t looked it over that one last time. Or worse, you sent the older version of a file.

Also finishing up a title for Helium. Looks like a productive day.

The Use of I

I chatted with a friend the other day about using the word “I” as a tool to get a point across. She gave up using the first person perspective in her poetry because all the people she critiqued it with- including college professors- thought that meant it was a true story from her perspective.

I was a little amazed at that. In stories or poetry I tend to use the first-person as a different way to tell the story, rather than a truthful telling, but it really made me think about the run-of-the-mill authors who use it in that way and things I’ve heard about first-person.

If 90% of amateurs use first-person perspective, are they writing what they know and doing a somewhat truthful account of something? That really lowers my value of some of those amateur fiction accounts. I think when the first-person is done well it can really sell a story (even literally!) but it isn’t often handled with the necessary care. I’m betting that’s why most of the fiction we see published is in 3rd person limited viewpoint (about 90%).

I am a storyteller. Just because I write something, doesn’t mean it exists anywhere but my mind. If you believe it’s real, so much the better for my ability to weave a tale. Never confuse the written words with the author behind them – the best ones will always make you wonder.

What Not to Write

In trying to find that perfect idea, there are often things that stick out – that have been done before and catch a writer’s attention. I wonder sometimes if a lot of us, when starting out, haven’t put enough time and thought into making up our own worlds, so we jump off from someone else’s.

In writing books, they sometimes mention ‘red-flags’ that editors have just gotten sick of seeing. It isn’t to say those topics aren’t or haven’t been done well, only that they’ve been done so often (and so often badly) that you have to have a stellar manuscript to make it past the first page, or even the first paragraph. A good thing to remember is an editor only has so much time; they’ve been inundated with lame attempts at the same topics- sprinkled liberally, annoyingly with adverbs, containing cliches by the dozen, and descriptively painting details of a world for the first 21 pages. No wonder they have red-flag lists.

Here’s an example from the online science fiction magazine, Strange Horizons. My friends discussed it (writers discussing writing? oh my!) and it amused us. I like the organization of this list. I will admit to working on something similar to one of the items, but I’m hoping, of course, that it works! Always something to consider, especially when those rejections start pouring in…


10. Someone calls technical support; wacky hijinx ensue.

  1. Someone calls technical support for a magical item.
  2. Someone calls technical support for a piece of advanced technology.
  3. The title of the story is 1-800-SOMETHING-CUTE.

19. Some characters are in favor of immersive VR, while others are opposed to it because it’s not natural; they spend most of the story’s length rehashing common arguments on both sides. (Full disclosure: one of our editors once wrote a story like this. It hasn’t found a publisher yet, for some reason.)

28. Strange and mysterious things keep happening. And keep happening. And keep happening. For over half the story. Relentlessly. Without even a hint of explanation.

  1. The protagonist is surrounded by people who know the explanation but refuse to give it.

Coming Soon

The Art of Science may not quite have a release date yet, but with the finishing touches, it’s getting very close.

Check out the new page to see the cover and the back blurb. Comments are welcome and I hope you’re almost as excited as I am. (I’d love it if you were more excited, but I’ve had time to build it up!)

Now I get to do all the things that come next: Promotion, promotion, promotion!

Writers on writing…

I should be writing.

That’s the name of the site and the podcast by Mur Lafferty. I listened to this podcast in the car yesterday, and I learned a bit about podcasting through the interview with Scott Sigler. The website has more information – a great resource for budding writers.

Scott Sidler was adamant with his last contract about wanting to give away his novel for free. But, wait, we’re authors for a living, don’t we need to make some money? He talks about the younger generation wanting things online, and he gets our feet wet with podcasting, for free, a chapter a week. His point is that although some will wait for the entire novel at that rate (3 or 4 months), others will go out and buy the book that is already available in the bookstores. He’s increased his audience that way.

Made me think about that novel I have coming out. With a Young Adult audience, it’s very likely that could spread the story to places I can’t travel to or otherwise might not reach.

It’s something I think I will look into and discuss with my publisher.

Book Wrap-Up

Amazing. At some point you think you’re done, and you find the little things that are left. Almost done. I might even have my copy in a month or so. It doesn’t feel real.

I got the cover and I love it! It’s done well and very colorful. Sometime this week I’ll post it on site with a new page for the book. I know everyone’s been waiting patiently, but it’s finally here!

I must keep reminding myself this is really fast for a book. It’s only been a year coming.