I’m a Finalist in the Writers of the Future Contest!

I found out a few days ago that I’m a second quarter finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest. All the squees! This is my second time around, and it’s even more of a blast because a good handful of my fellow finalists are friends, and I’m already making new friends. I have so many people to cheer on!

I’ll happy dance for everyone, keep my fingers and toes and nose hairs crossed, and cheer everyone to the finish line. We should have results in a few weeks, so I’ll keep you posted.

SECOND QUARTER FINALISTS

Kary English of California
Joshua Essoe of California
Holly Heisey of Arizona
Samantha Murray of Perth, Australia
Scott Parkin of Utah
Kevin Pitorak of Ohio
Daniel Rosen of Minnesota
D.L. Young of Texas

Hooray, and good luck to us all!

“An Understanding” is up on Escape Pod!

EscapePodToday my short story “An Understanding” is up on Escape Pod! This is awesome for many reasons, but not the least of which is that because I’ve been reading almost exclusively in audiobooks for the last few years, hearing one of my stories read to me by a narrator has risen pretty high up on my bucket list. Today, I got to check that item off.

I can’t even explain the utter coolness of hearing what I wrote and formed in my head, the voices of these characters I’ve grown to love, come alive in the performance of a narrator. And Wilson Fowlie does an amazing job, far exceeding any expectations on my part. If you could only see the huge grin on my face right now, it would make you smile, too.

The second reason this is awesome is that this marks my first professional short story sale, which is a major milestone. I’ve done it! I’ve reached this hill and planted my flag! And now onward to the next one. But maybe I’ll just sit and bask in the coolness of this a little while longer.

Avenir Eclectia (Volume 1)

Avenir Eclectia (Volume 1) edited by Grace Bridges and Travis Perry is up in print and ebook versions on Amazon and other bookstores this month. This is an anthology selection of stories from the Avenir Eclectia shared fiction project, and has my stories “Cafeteria Duty” and “A Very Important Question” in the mix. This is the first time I’ve had my name on a front cover (exciting!), and I’m in good company here.

There’s also a soundtrack by Michael L. Rogers to the Avenir Eclectia stories, with breezy ambient electronica tracks. The song “Hoepi (Miner of Sheba” is based on my character from “Cafeteria Duty.” Definitely worth a listen!

Color Coding Your Writing Journals

I keep my writing notes in journal form to jot down ideas on the go, but this makes search and organization difficult, especially when my ideas cross a handful of projects. A few months ago, I came up with a color coding system to help, and so far it’s streamlined my process.  

The basic idea is to assign each of your current projects a color, and then mark a symbol beside each note that corresponds to its project and type. This lets you know at a glance which projects and types of notes for those projects are on a page. If something within the note is important, underline it with the right color. Numbering your pages and journals helps for cross-reference.

I use a 10-pack of Crayola basic markers because they don’t bleed through the journal pages. Bolder is better so you’ll be able to flip through the journals and see the symbols clearly.

This may not work for everyone, and feel free to adapt it for your own use. But it’s been a great help to me, so I thought I’d share!

Minor Miracles

Four days ago I learned I wasn’t one of the winners in Writers of the Future, but that’s okay. The last three weeks have already changed my life on more than the obvious levels.

I’ve had chronic Lyme Disease since I was in grade school, and the last six months have been hard. Four weeks ago were some of my darkest days yet because they’d come after what looked to be an upward shift. By the end of that week, I was slumped on the couch with fatigue, depressed about how life was so unfair. Then I got the call.

I was so shocked and happy to learn I was a finalist that my health began to turn around. I’d been unable to focus my eyes for more than a few minutes a day, but now they started to get better. I could spend some time reading social sites on the computer, and I actually watched a whole movie. I’ve contacted friends I’ve been unable to speak to in months, and had the energy to make new friends. I’ve had more energy, more clarity in thought, more raw hope driving me to dreams that are no longer so far in reach. I have an immediate and strong reason to push through the daily battles to get to the life I really want to live.

I’ll back up seven months to complete the circle. Last December, I’d already been unable to focus my eyes for half a year. Then, at the end of the month, I had three days where my eyes were strong enough to go on the computer. I hadn’t thought about submitting my writing for months because it was too painful to research markets and write the cover letters, but I pulled out the story I knew was my best and spent a day reformatting it and filling out the entry form for the contest. I got my story in just before the deadline, and it cost me a few days’ migraine, but it was worth it to know I was still kicking in this game. Two days later, my eyes got worse, and I was unable to focus again until a few weeks ago.

Things happen for a reason. I had those three days of grace in December so I could have the breakthrough I needed now to push me past a treatment dam and into places where I’m seeing more breakthroughs than I’ve had in years. I think the universe loves handing out miracles.

Press release for the contest winners. Blog entry with all who placed.

Finalist in Writers of the Future!

I found out I’m a finalist in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest! I got an honorable mention in the contest last year and that certificate has been propped on my desk telling me that yes, I am a good writer, even on the hard days. But to be named a finalist is huge. It has been one of my dreams to make it even this far, and I’ll know in a few weeks if I’m one of the winners. Fingers crossed! (And a big squee!)

Short Story Roundup

I haven’t posted an update in awhile because of personal illness, so I thought I’d round up where my stories have appeared in the last months.

First, I have my first story in an actual print magazine! Check out Aoife’s Kiss Issue 38 (September 2011) to read my scifi short story, “Fully Human.” It is incredibly awesome to see my work in print.
 

 

 

Second, I have three vignettes in the Avenir Eclectia shared world project. Take a look at “A Very Important Question,” “Wizards’ War,” and “Cafeteria Duty.” “Cafeteria Duty” was first published in the Avenir Eclectia issue of Digital Dragon Magazine.