Saturday, May 31, 2008

why it's important to google yerself

According to the Paycock Press "Forthcoming Titles" website, I will have a story in the anthology
Gravity Dancers: Even More Fiction by Washington Area Women, due out in Spring 2009. This is the 4th volume in the series, put together by Richard Peabody, whom you know as a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and editor of Gargoyle Magazine since its inception in 1976. Here he is in a WETA interview about the series.

How this kind of thing happens: on the recommendation of The Happy Booker (aka Wendi Kaufman), RP invited me to contribute, and he did say something to the effect of "if you're invited, you're in," but I'm always expecting takebacks. Now, did he like the story I sent him in January? Or is he gonna ask for something else?

it has been a cool weekend, yeah?

Friday, May 30, 2008

an indelicacy


"what your cat thinks of In Rainbows" up at dogzplot's flash blog.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


We're back from the beach, and while it was too cool to swim, we were treated to some heartbreaking sunsets. As far as the novel goes, I didn't write much new material, but I did manage to whack some sense into my chronology. so far each "chunk" has been drifting in time, but now I have begun the messy but grown-up work of writing the story in order--you know, with some respect and concern for dependency.
I also need to bite the email bullet, but before that happens I must scrub the sand and salt out of my chiweenies.

Friday, May 23, 2008

the plot doctor

dean, bird scoping gear slung over both shoulders, on his way out to the bug-infested dunes of hammock hills: "remember, in the kind of loose futures market of the type you're imagining, as soon as any two parties collude, the system starts to collapse."

This, with emphatic finger pointing.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I did a little good writing today before moving into a long bout of bad writing wherein my main characters have a long, tagless argument about a plot point I don't quite understand yet. Like my friend used to say about The Olive Garden: a whole lotta food, not a lotta yummy.

meanwhile, back home where the ocean is just an idea and the mattresses are not so lumpy, my most sentimental student is trying to arrange a BBQ for his classmates. the semester concluded last week, and I am afraid he is about to learn that summer break is more powerful than comradeship.

Monday, May 19, 2008

beach reading and writing

so we're here, after a long, hard semester:

and it occurs to me that we've never rented a cottage that didn't have a copy of Ira Levin's Boys From Brazil on the shelves. French fries and beer for lunch. See ya--

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kathe Koja and Lia Matera

I miss Kathe Koja, the horror writer. She used to write gruesome, sexual, psychological dark fantasy novels with artists as main characters, and the books were all pretty much the same, but each sort of lurched the argument—whatever it was—forward in giant, sloppy, steps. I think of her as splatterpunk’s Flannery O’Connor, in that she seemed to be writing the same problem over and over again. I guess that’s why she had to stop. Now she writes for the “Young Adult” market and her website doesn’t even name check those lost novels, The Cipher, Bad Brains, Skin (I think the critical favorite?), and Strange Angels (when she overstayed her welcome.) A collection of short horror, Extremities and an erotic novel Kink (unreadable) capped off the 90s and her work for an adult readership.

Lia Matera is one of them there lady-lawyer-writers. What I specifically miss are her Laura Di Palma mysteries, which were super-short and power packed. And they somehow managed to make an iffy cousin-love situation kinda hot.

Beach in 4 days

I haven’t made many entries lately because I’ve been sick for almost two weeks now, and every shred of focus is going into comments on student writing. I’ve got my grades in, but with the novelers, grades are almost insultingly meaningless. My friend S said, when I mentioned a colleague picking up the bar tab for a group of writers: “I know students are strapped, but they really want your time and attention much more than they want your money.” Grades are like money, to my mind. And the whole thing reminds me that this was a very tough semester, beginning with me un-hiring a boatload of excellent instructors because enrollments were too soft. It was a frustrating time, and we weren’t getting accurate information or appropriate support from the administration, but when I tried to explain myself to the incoming chair he misunderstood my rant/wail as a threat. Wanted to know if I wanted more money. I told him I wanted more time, could he get me some of that?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Undergraduate Novels--I Am Fearless

In addition to teaching my conventional short fiction workshop, I’m also piloting an online novel writing workshop for eight students, most of whom are continuing projects begun in f2f seminars I called “Imagining the Novel.” ItN was all about giving undergrads permission to try what was really in their heads and to expose them to what it feels like to write in the long form. I also wanted it to be a genuine workshop wherein the writing was discussed as it was produced. From what I’ve heard, many novel workshop sessions are about writing and not necessarily about the writing. By the end of term, each ItN participant had written a stack of 80-100 pages that had been read and remarked upon. A handful of those writers really felt they were onto something, and so the online continuation was set up. The course was designed for collaborative teaching, but my partner hasn’t been able to participate, which is a drag. However, the energy of the writers has been outstanding, and they are reading each other’s works with voracious passion. I am officially exhausted.

It’s not that I am in any way qualified to teach novel writing to groups of undergrads, but I’m the only one in our prestigious program who is willing. I came up with the workshop scheme after meeting so many recent freshmen who claimed to have written one or more novels already. Which lead me to wonder, just how do we learn to write big books anyway? And does that process have to be more private than short story writing? And why offer the opportunity for serious community only to grad students?

Yeah I know the answer to that last question. So there are a lotta ponies and wizards out there. Big deal.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

well, okey dokey then

Made it through a query barrier, and tomorrow I send off two hard copies and a disc copy. I'm behind at work and quite sick too, so that helps me keep things in perspective and not get too encouraged.

I did get mom an awesome blouse for mother's day. I think it's way better than a tempurpedic pillow.

crawling off to croak now--

Friday, May 2, 2008

Plots With Guns is a zombie?

In case you haven't heard, Plots With Guns is back from the dead, with Anthony Neil Smith editing. This is great news for those of us who despaired to see so many excellent noir lit venues sort of shrivel up over the past few years. Smith is a terrific, nimble writer, and his story "Louder Gospel" from Storyglossia made the "notables" list, quite deservedly. He's also a very sharp, generous editor, as I learned when I submitted a bloated draft of "Petey Prickles vs. Funeral Steve" for his crime issue of Mississippi Review. That experience was so positive that I wrote "Folk Hero" just for PWG, something I'd never done before. Shortly after that story was published, PWG ceased operations. Smith's blog, Crimedog One, is also fun, so check it out.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

odd week already

2 rejections
1 acceptance
154 royalty bucks
1 productive cough

can calamity be far behind?