Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

It Takes a Foulburg

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

I’m back from the annual Odyssey workshop alumni week, where we lecture and critique and live in steamy dorms again. Highlights included reading my story from the Homeless Moon 3 chapbook, “NEW! The ‘Gearwork Rose'(TM) Automated Gratification Engine,” aloud at the Barnes & Noble reading, learning more about writerly promotion and how to read aloud, and (as always) drinking fine and eclectic beers with Mike DeLuca.

Another big highlight for me was a couple long conversations with several people about a point I’ve reached in my writing. For several years now, I’ve been consistently getting my stories passed up by slush readers but not bought by the head editors. These stories are as good as I know how to make them, but I still haven’t been able to crack through.

So I’ve arrived at a crossroads. And unlike in the fine Southern mythical tradition, the devil was not waiting there to cut a deal with me. But hashing out some possible new projects and tweaks to my approach, with several supremely supportive and insightful writers, showed me a few really neat new paths to explore.

Although the drinking of fine beers is one of the main reasons I go, the writerly insight and discussion is right up there too. It’s a lot like hashing over scientific problems with a research group–arriving at insight by both talking and listening, an individual insight that’s a product of the group whole. Of course, the process is only as good as those other people you’re hashing with, and these were some of the best I know. It truly does take a whole foulburg.


(“Foulburg” is supposed to be a term that means the shanty-town outside the walls of a medieval city, but from googling I fear that it originated with 80s epic fantasy author Raymond E. Feist and isn’t an actual recognized term. But why let the truth get in the way of a cool line? :) )

Why “Literary Adventure Fantasy”?

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

I was recently asked by Mishell Baker of the Clarion Foundation (who has a great story in BCS #47) to guest blog about my magazine Beneath Ceaseless Skies. They’ve had agents, like Matt Bialer and Russ Galen, do guest posts about the state of things in their part of the field. Mishell suggested that I talk abut why I started BCS in the particular niche of “literary adventure fantasy.”

I’ve talked about that in some other places before. It’s always hard for me to put it into words, since anything about fiction is so subjective. I really enjoyed thinking about it still more and refining my explanation, and this guest post I think is the best I’ve ever gotten it.

So if you’d like more insight into how I view literary adventure fantasy and BCS in general, check out my guest post and add your two cents to the discussion.

ReaderCon, Well Met!

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Got back from ReaderCon yesterday. It was awesome.

I saw and drank with lots of people I knew (Tom Crosshill, Maggie Ronald, Anne Cross, Mike Allen, Jay and Erin, my eternal partner in barley Mike DeLuca, and many others), met and drank with lots of new people I now know (Matt Kressel, Corry and Mary, Rajan, Amy, Mishell Baker, and many, many others), and had great interesting conversations with all of them.

Photographic evidence of the former, courtesy of Matt Kressel:

The BCS reading had eight authors, including one right off the airplane! :) And the room was packed with readers and fans. Thanks to everyone who read and everyone who came to listen.

And especially to everyone who came up to me in the Dealer’s Room or at parties and said they really like the magazine. That is always awesome to hear, each and every time, and I’m delighted you’re enjoying our fiction.

A “Strange Weird” Finds a Home

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

I’m delighted to report that another story of mine has sold to the good folks at Space and Time Magazine. They published my story “Ebb” last year, and now they’ve bought “The Very Strange Weird of Endart Sscowth.”

This story is an homage to Clark Ashton Smith, a great writer of the 20s and 30s pulp fantasy era, who is often lost in the shadow of his colleague Robert E. Howard and his pen-pal H.P. Lovecraft. It’s also very different from all my published stories to date–quite short, under 2000 words, and not quite so serious; actually rather droll, if I may say so myself.

The title includes an archaic usage of the word “weird,” as he once used it–an old Scottish one that means fate or destiny. Hence the adjective “strange” that I inserted before it, to show that this weird is a noun and not our more common adjective interpretation of that word. A strange weird, indeed. :)

Space and Time tells me that “The Very Strange Weird of Endart Sscowth” should see publication in late 2010 or early 2011. I hope you will find it droll as well. ;)