Tag Archives: writing life

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

So many things spinning in my head. Books to edit, books to write, short stories to finish…I really don’t need anything more on my plate. But there are these pesky bills to pay…and I have been kicking around ideas on how to add an income stream or two.

I’ve been working on this for the last few days: The Conn-Mann Curiosity Shop — and I’ve even made a sale!

I’ve had a few nice writing sales this year as well.

But…my income goal for the year is still not being met. I need to up my game.

So, I want to test the waters on something else…

There are lots of editors out there. I know it is a crowded field, but I am throwing my hat into the ring too.

I have been editing for small presses for several years now, as well as for friends and family. I do things a little differently than some editors I know. I basically do content, polish, and proofing all in one pass. Then I send it back and continue to work with the author until we are both satisfied.

I charge a penny a word based on the word count of the final finished version, no matter how many times we have to go through it.

I try to turn things around in a reasonable time-frame.  I will always be frank about how much time I expect to need for a job. I have a lot of commitments that I can’t neglect because of a freelance commission–but I also hate housework and will put any edit in front of that…

It’s taken me a bit to come to the decision to offer my editing services. Hopefully, it will be worth it. 🙂

If you have something you would like me to work on, drop me an email at riewriter@gmail.com and I will be happy to discuss your project with you.

Ending and Beginning: The State of the Resolution Address

Those of you who read this blog regularly (Thank you!) have been following my saga of submittals for the past year. Some days, we weren’t any of us sure that I could meet my goal–but I did. Over 400 submissions for 2015. At least one a day. Those submissions ranged from haikus to a novel. Some were submitted multiple times before they found a home–I never said it would be a new submission every day–but most of them did eventually find their niche.

Total Stats:

Month Rejected Accepted Subs
Jan 11 7 33
Feb 9 3 29
Mar 20 23 39
Apr 13 11 32
May 17 15 38
Jun 20 13 31
Jul 16 18 38
Aug 20 19 37
Sep 17 9 30
Oct 13 19 34
Nov 11 16 30
Dec 14 3 32
Total 181 156 403

 

It took some searching to find numbers I had missed posting to the proper columns, but this now works out correctly, with 66 subs still out and not finalized carried over to the 2016 page for follow-ups in the coming week.

I don’t know if you are impressed, but I am…lol.

 

It was exhausting. And, though i saw an uptick in the income page, not particularly profitable. My greatest income by far came from CD royalties and editing.

This year, my husband has provided me with a new goal–$5,000 income. Steep, but I am now of the opinion that if I try hard enough, i can do anything. 🙂

I will be cutting my submission goal to one a week, so I can concentrate on writing more polished pieces of greater length for markets that stretch me as a writer. (I won’t neglect my favorites, but that is the official goal.)

I will consider taking on more freelance work, and doing more paid editing.

Plus, I am in the process of re-releasing my Conn-Mann Chronicles books, and finalizing guidelines for a new Steampunk anthology with Mocha Memoirs.

The year ahead should be exciting, and busy, but not as terrifying as trying to come up with that sub for the day. 😉

Writer Interview: Katie Magnusson

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Today, I have the pleasure of sharing an interview with Katie Magnusson, one of the authors in Mocha Memoirs Press’s new Paranormal Sherlock Holmes anthology, An Improbable Truth.  Here is what she has to say for herself and her story. 🙂

 

How long have you been writing?
I wrote stories for myself all through high school and college, sometimes quick flash fiction, other times whole books, but only in the past two or three years did I start to think that maybe I could actually use all these ideas in my head, that someone else would find them interesting.

 

What was your reaction when you made your first sale?
I think I may have sat in front of the computer for a moment and said, “Holy f***.”

 

Where you do get your inspiration?
Much of it comes from other stories. I see things I like in other characters and wonder what would happen if _________________, fill in the blank… and then sort of go from there. For example, in my short story “Sherlock Holmes and the Hungry Ghost,” I had the premise of a paranormal/horror mystery to work within as part of an anthology. Paranormal mysteries have been done, so often, and often with the same character types, Holmes vs Dracula and such, I wanted to do something a little different. So, the first thing that came to mind was a ghost story. I didn’t want to do vampires or monsters, I wanted something simple and haunting. Haunting, hey, what if Holmes isn’t investigating a haunting, what if he’s the one being haunted? Why would a ghost haunt him? Is a ghost really haunting him? If not, is it in his mind? The story progressed very quickly from “Holmes vs Ghost” to “Holmes vs Inner Demons” with a horror story flare. And honestly, there are few things as terrifying as the things we hide from inside ourselves, as cliché as that sounds.

 

Have you found it difficult to market your work? Any tips for things that worked?
To be perfectly honest, this is the first story I’ve successfully published. It worked though, so I guess the advice I can give would be to keep up on what people are looking for. Don’t discount smaller, independent markets, and ultimately don’t be afraid to just get your stuff out there.

 

Do you enjoy interacting with fans, or are you an introvert? Do you get much fan mail?
If I had fans, I think I would love to interact with them. [So be sure any let Katie know if you read and like her story! — Rie]

 

What has been your most challenging project to date?
I’ve had a series of short stories in the works for years that I’m now trying to polish and publish as a book series. Cyberpunkish Sherlockiana, I suppose would be the way to describe them. Can you tell I like Sherlock Holmes? It’s a challenging project just because it’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done, I’ve been doing it for so long, and it’s going to be hard to finally say, “I’m finished,” instead of “Wait, let me fix that…”

 

Have you always been a fan of Sherlock Holmes?
I got into Sherlock Holmes about six years ago. I tried reading The Hound of the Baskervilles when I was a kid, but I didn’t really like the story. I don’t know if I was just too young to appreciate the descriptions of the gloomy landscape of the moors, or if it was diving into a Sherlock Holmes book that actually features very little Holmes, but whatever the reason, I never really gave the character much thought after that. Much, much later I saw The Complete Sherlock Holmes at a used bookstore, and bought it completely on a whim. Took it home, opened it up, and was instantly hooked. I’m certain that had I started with the short stories as a child instead, I would have liked it a lot more. As it was, I became somewhat obsessed, quickly devouring pastiche and media, everything I could find. Still do, clearly.

 

What was your favorite original story?
“The Adventure of Silver Blaze” immediately comes to mind, for the line about the curious incident with the dog in the nighttime if nothing else (“The dog did nothing in the night-time.” “That’s what was the curious incident.”). Also “The Adventure of the Speckled Band”, “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches”, and “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist” feature suspenseful plots with women who have a sensible head on their shoulders, and delightfully colorful confrontations between the villains and Holmes. “The Adventure of the Three Garridebs” is amazing for the single moment when Sherlock Holmes finally lets the walls down and we get that glimpse of the great heart along with the great mind… but I could go on like this for ages. You asked for one story, I just listed five. Such is fandom.

 

Did you stick to the canon characters or invent a new companion?
For this story, there isn’t any companion present. As a general rule, I don’t think a new companion should be introduced unless there’s a good reason for it, and I didn’t have a reason. Initially, Watson was going to be a presence, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that not only did he not belong in this story, but it was essential that he be absent.

 

What are your other hobbies and interests?
I dabble in cosplay, perfumery, puppetry, online and tabletop gaming, painting… working with my hands and escapism, essentially.

 

What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully more writing, and hopefully some of it will be published.

 

What advice do you have for new writers…or just those of us not as accomplished as you are? 😉
One bit of advice for when you’re stuck – write fanfiction. Seriously, it’s a great, entertaining exercise. Write about your favorite show, write about your own characters, it doesn’t matter. It’s good to keep the gears moving, and maybe you’ll uncover an idea you didn’t know you had.

 

Where can readers find you?
Send a tweet to @mrskatem, or look up kaelma on tumblr.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Six years ago, Katie Magnusson picked up a copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes on a whim, and promptly devoured it. After picking the pages from her teeth, she sought out other sources of Sherlockiana, and discovered the often delightful world of pastiche. She has a particular taste for cross-genre tales, and is thrilled to be included in a paranormal Holmes anthology.
Katie lives in Wisconsin with an eccentric philosopher husband, and their cherubic Viking-ninja son.

 

Excerpt from “Sherlock Holmes and the Hungry Ghost” by Katie Magnusson:

 
The next few days were mundane. Holmes occupied himself with a chemical synthesis, finished updating his scrapbook, played concertos by Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn and Paganini, and read every news publication in London. Twice.

 
His mind raced, an overworked engine threatening to break itself apart at any moment. He hadn’t eaten all day. He couldn’t. He was exhausted, but he couldn’t sleep. He had to do something. Anything. Everything. By God, what he wouldn’t give for a puzzle to walk through the door, for some crime to be committed! A horrible murder, a theft, blackmail, an encoded message, just give him work!

 
In a fit of exasperation, he pulled open his desk drawer. The case and bottle lay there, where he’d shut them away, out of sight. His hand trembled as he reached for the bottle, stopping just as his fingers brushed the surface. He took a breath and closed the drawer. The only way to know the damage done to his mind was to resist. He had to provide a consistent, controlled environment to assess his faculties, and so he would suffer through the boredom of existence.

 
Holmes tossed some pillows onto the floor, sitting down with his legs tucked up underneath him. He relit his pipe and closed his eyes, hoping he could manage to calm his mind at least for a moment. Just one moment’s reprieve was all he wanted…

 
He opened his eyes, lying on the floor. He’d fallen asleep. His body had finally rebelled and forced upon him the rest he sorely needed, much to his amused chagrin. He stood slowly, stretching his long limbs, and beheld his correspondence scattered across the room.

 

The jackknife that usually held it in place on the mantel was gone.
He turned, scanning the room. The knife was easy to spot, embedded in the opposite wall from the fireplace. He didn’t remember throwing it there.

 
“You’re going mad.”

 
“Who’s there?” He looked around and saw no one. He was alone.

 
“They’ll leave you–”

 
“Where are you?”

 
“–just like everyone else.”

 
It was a woman’s voice, and it seemed to come from everywhere at once. She laughed as he searched, and a tingling feeling crept across his skin as if an insect were crawling down his spine.

 
His head felt as if his skull was being hollowed out with a red hot poker. His chest was tight. He couldn’t breathe. “Voices that aren’t there…” he wondered aloud. Could the damage to his mind be so great?

 
“No. I refuse to believe it,” he pressed his hands to his ears as the woman laughed again, taunting, though it did nothing to dull the sound. “I am sane! If I were not, then I would not recognize my decline! These experiences have nothing to do with the cocaine,” he stalked over to the knife in the wall, yanking it out and firmly sticking it back in its proper place in the mantel, “I refuse to believe it,” he said again, softer, slowly absorbing the significance of his statement. “If I am not mad, then what is going on?”

 
You can also find An Improbable Truth in these locations:

Mocha Memoirs Store
Paperback on Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Smashwords

I Love My Job…But Sometimes–

All my life, I’ve wanted to be a writer.

Of course, I’d love to be the next Stephen King–but I don’t expect to be. I would settle for being a household name in my hometown…

…but then, I see something like Jordan Reyne’s tumblr post about completely leaving the music business because she just can’t do it any more.

A couple of years ago, I entered a contest Jordan was having to celebrate the release of her Children of a Factory Nation album. I fell in love with the sound of her voice. My story didn’t win the contest, but it became “Married to the Sea” published in Terror by Gaslight by Fantom Enterprises. I love the story, and I would never have written it without Jordan’s beautiful, haunting song.

So it saddens me greatly to hear that Jordan is moving on to other things. That someone so talented feels there is no future in the business she loves, but has become unable to enjoy any longer.

It also scares the hell out of me. I am considerably older than Jordan, and probably much less popular. If she can’t make it, am I totally kidding myself? Is there any future for me in this business?

And I don’t want to ever find myself hating “going to work.” There have been difficult days this year with the Submission-a-Day challenge, but I have never felt like quitting for good. (Though I have been SORELY tempted to take a day off–but I haven’t…)

The thought of getting to the point where I say “I don’t want to do this any more” horrifies me. I think I’d rather shoot myself. I hope it doesn’t come to that…

State of the Challenge Update

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I told myself that I would update the blog more often…so, of course I haven’t. But I have been busy. 🙂

As some of you may remember, I have an ongoing challenge this year to submit at least one piece a day. Some days, I fear it will not happen, but I have managed to pull it out of the fire so far.

Since we are now halfway through the year, here is a formal update.

203 submissions as of this morning.

87 rejections this year so far. Many of those to markets I would never have dreamed of approaching if I hadn’t needed to look so hard for markets. 😉

72 acceptances through today. Again, many of those were places I might not have approached. I’ve formed relationships with markets I love working with. I’ve found second homes for several reprints. I’ve had photographs accepted for publication. It’s been amazing.

It’s kept me extremely busy, and I really will be happy to slow down a bit next year, but it has taught me so much. To write crisp and tight. To write short and fast. To self-edit quickly. To tweak until a piece is perfect.

I highly recommend challenging yourself to a similar goal. It really helps you push to be better!

2 Down, 363 to go…

I know that I probably WON’T get a submission everyday this year, but I figured it is a good goal to have. Yesterday, I wrote a new poem for a call, and today I sent one of the orphans back out to try and find a home. It ALMOST made up for the laptop being a beast. Not quite, but almost. Thank goodness that email is cloud-based so that I can get attachments from emails I already sent, because I am not reaching the files themselves until I can figure out how to crack Windows 8.1.

Sometimes life just throws a challenge like that in your face, doesn’t it? Making it really hard to move forward. But where there’s a will, there’s usually a way.

Now, to go and write a letter from Alistair to Jo for a special guest blog post. THAT should be fun. 😉

Let It Go……

I am a terribly disorganized person. Ask anyone who knows me. But sometimes, I come up with an idea that really helps save my sanity. Not a new idea, by any means, but an idea that works.

In 2013, when I was proposed my insane 300 rejection challenge, I created a spreadsheet in Excel that helped me keep track of submissions:

My Submissions Spreadsheets – Blank Submissions (1)

If anyone thinks that will help them too, feel free to do so. Continue reading Let It Go……

Looking Back…Looking Forward

1-24-2009 12;03;58 PM      1-24-2009 12;03;58 PM

 

This has been an interesting year. I’ve had pieces in numerous anthologies–prose, poetry, flash…a little of everything. I’ve published a few experimental pieces on Amazon–both as Rie and as Tysche. I’ve been in magazines online and in print. Dabbled in everything from noir to absurdism.

Still extremely short of my goal, but 70 rejections and 21 acceptances (one came in this morning.)

I’ve tried my hand at various editing positions that I hadn’t pursued before…some worked for me, some didn’t, but I learned from them all. Editing my first anthology has been quite a ride, but I think we will all be pleased with the results. Continue reading Looking Back…Looking Forward

Randomized Fun

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Several months ago, I saw a post from G. Arthur Brown looking for people to take up the challenge of accepting a randomly generated title (using a program such as this one) and writing a bit of flash fiction based on it. The idea intrigued me. I actually have used a random title generator before — the title of THE LUCKLESS PRINCE was the result of a RTG. Of course, in that instance, I could try again until I got one I really liked.

This time, I was given a string of words from which to write a story. It turned out to be more challenging than I expected! But it was a lot of fun, and the results went live today.

Here is my story: “Into a Mirror with a Toad.”

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

Don’t Put All Your Marketing Eggs in One Basket

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock: © Avdeenko

Something that I have learned from watching the world around me–particularly as it relates to my career–is that the landscape of the Publishing Business is an ever evolving one. Years ago, when being professionally published was merely a dream, I was very much aware that print was king. As for marketing, you bought ad space in a magazine or newspaper, because a television ad was far too expensive for most writers.

To some extent, these parameters still apply, but the advent of the internet age has restructured the landscape extensively.

For one thing, print media is no longer the “be all and end all.” In fact, most magazines and newspapers are struggling to survive in a physical format. Continue reading Don’t Put All Your Marketing Eggs in One Basket