Sunday, October 28, 2007

My biggest fans

Originally posted HERE

I gave a friend an advanced copy of Paraworld Zero. I thought this was a cute email, so I'm posting it here, with permission.

Hayden re-read the book this weekend and then Porter decided to try it last night. He's not a big reader like Hayden is, so I figured he would quit after a few pages. I caught him at 11:30 still reading. I finally made him put it away so he could get some sleep! I did take this picture of him first, though. Thought you might appreciate that both of my big kids are hooked on your book! You'd better hurry up and get the next one done!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Writers Digest Honorable Mention -- Twice!

Originally posted HERE

Two of my stories were awarded Honorable Mentions in the 76th Annual Short Story competition. "Letting Go" was awarded an honorable mention for the Inspiration category and "Playing with Rings" was awarded an honorable mention in the Genre category. They're going to publish my name and story title on their site and in a book.

I actually sent in a few more stories in other categories, but I haven't received a response on those yet. It feels weird to get two honorable mentions in the same contest. There were over 19,000 entries, but it seems too good to be true -- like it's a marketing scheme to get me to buy the book or something.

I'm just a little pessimistic about this because it reminds me of a contest I entered in high school for a poem I wrote. I "won" and they wanted me to buy a $45 book so I could see my "winning" entry published. I realized it was a scheme. Everyone probably "won," and that's how they sold their books. has more credibility, but they did include an order form for me to buy the $8 book . . . which popped up warning bells in my head. Regardless, I'm happy my stories did so well.

300 Advanced Reading Copies of Paraworld Zero!

Originally posted HERE

UPS delivered 300 copies of Paraworld Zero on Thursday. The official publication date is January, but I needed a bunch of books for pre-orders, bookstores, and reviewers. My publisher would handle the reviewers, but they're out of town and I just couldn't wait. Pre-pub reviewers want books 3 months in advance, so I'm already late in sending them my book. Plus, I know that I would be able to spend more time catering each press release for each reviewer... which I did. Heck, I wrote the press release myself. It's pretty good, if I do say so myself. I ran it by John Kremer (book marketing guru) and he gave it the thumbs up. I spent all day yesterday sending out about 40 books. I still have more to send, but those were the important ones.

Anyway, it was euphoric to see my book in print after all these years. I literally spent an hour staring at the cover and 30 illustrations. I'm so pleased with how the cover turned out (I did the artwork for my book, but every printer prints differently). I started writing this in 1990 (I wrote 6 chapters and then my computer died on me). I started writing it again in 2002. I finished the first draft 2003 and spent all of 2004 trying to get an agent. No luck. Then in 2005, I tried getting a publisher. The summer of 2006 (one year and one week later), Windstorm Creative called me up and said they wanted to publish my book (they were actually the first publisher I sent my book to and the last one to respond). Well, it's been a year and a half since I signed the contract and I finally have some copies in my hand. Whew! 3 more months and the world will have it as well.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Nice Rejection from Asimov's

Originally posted HERE

Getting rejections is just part of the game. I got over 50 rejections when I tried to get an agent. In fact, not a single one I mailed a letter to asked for any of my book to read. Only one publisher asked for some of my book to read when I queried them (and that publisher never responded later when I sent them 3 chapters). Ironically, the first publisher I mailed my actual book to (Windstorm Creative) said yes... a year later.

Stories are in the same boat. I've won or placed in several writing contests, but when it comes down to actually getting my stories published, I haven't had much luck. But it's always nice when an editor says something kind about your work. Here's the letter I got from Sheila Williams, editor of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine.

"Thanks for letting me see "The Boy Who Hated Water." The writing in this story is lovely, but I'm afraid the tale doesn't quite work for me. Please let me see more of your work when you have it, though."

Well, that's encouraging!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

My first official published short story!

Originally posted HERE

Well, I got an unexpected email yesterday from (online magazine for teens). They want to publish one of my short stories called Yearning to Jump. I've never submitted to this site before, so I was surprised at how quickly they got back to me.

Yearning to Jump is actually one of the few non-speculative stories I've written. It's one of those stories that mixes my true high school life with a dash of fiction. So if you want to get a feel for what I was like as a kid, read the story when it comes out in

A quick synopsis would be: A man looks back at his colorful high school life and the apparent suicide of his best friend.

For the record, my best friend did not commit suicide. However, he kind of fell off the face of the Earth in the past few years. I've spoken to his wife and his mom much more than I've spoken with him, so I don't know what the deal is. Anyway, I'm excited that somebody liked it.