The Filigreed Cage

August 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

Today my story, “The Filigreed Cage” is available in Fireside Magazine.

I had a lot of fun writing this piece of flash for a competition in one of my writing groups. We were given the prompt: “Write something forbidden, edgy, or taboo”, 54 hours, and 750 words. Though, I admit I added another 50 words after the competition before submitting to Fireside.

Check out the story here along with a well-executed flash piece by Keffy R.M. Kehrli and stories by  Delilah S. Dawson and Chuck Wendig.

Toasted Cake

May 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’m having way too much fun with this:

Sapience and Maternal Instincts” as podcast by (Nebula Nominee) Tina Connolly on (the Parsec winning podcast) Toasted Cake.

Surreal and awesome. But mostly awesome.

13,747 Words

April 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

When people review Dean Wesley Smith’s Character Voice and Setting Workshop as writing intensive, they’re not joking.

13,747 words in six days was my turn out. By way of contrast, my word count this (normal) week was 2,500.

It’s important to note that I basically did the minimum. There was an assignment due each day plus two short stories due on Tuesday and Friday, respectively. I tended to land at the minimum word count for the assignments, and while we were allotted 3-6K for the stories both of mine came out under 4K.

There were people who went over word count on assignments and stories. At least one person counted over thirty-thousand words for the week. But others wrote multiple stories to turn in for the first short story.

No one turned in two stories on Friday. By that time we were fried. =)

In Which My Car Gets a Flat 3,000 Miles From Home

April 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

I attended the Character Voice and Setting workshop last week. But this post isn’t about that.

This post is about how my rental got a flat tire three thousand miles from home.

I got from the Portland Airport to Lincoln City in one piece, but on Sunday night my rear passenger tire deflated. I called Hertz Monday morning and was told by a very nice customer service rep that it would cost $79 to have them send someone out to change the flat for the spare in the trunk. Hmm. In addition to not wanting to pay $79, I was unlikely to make it back to Portland on the spare (which had a speed limit of 50 MPH, plus the general advice to drive no more than 70 miles on a donut with Portland 85 miles from Lincoln City).

I’d never changed a tire before.

At this point I thanked the customer service rep and took to the Yahoo group for the workshop asking if anyone knew how to change a flat. Several people responded either on list or in person. Once I got to the first class of the day DWS told me that if I could make it down to Les Schwab (which we don’t have on the East Coast) they might be able to repair the tire and might not charge me.

I was about ready to shift into panic mode–3,000 miles from home meant: don’t know the town mechanics, can’t call any friends for a ride, don’t have a second car to use, have to get the rental back in time, can’t miss my flight home, gotta make it back in time for work–but I didn’t have time freak out. Writing assignments due everyday and a short story (that I hadn’t started yet!) due on Tuesday. Plus it was raining.

I’d already gotten set up at the Anchor with groceries and secured a ride, so I decided to put it off. I’d end up riding with a few generous folks over the following days.

By Wednesday I’d turned in the first short story and had a few hours after breakfast. I told everyone at the table that I’d bought cookies and watched YouTube videos on tire changing and if anyone would come out I would give them a cookie. I was basically just looking for one person stronger than me who could step in if the jack proved too difficult or the tire too heavy.

The result:

How Many Writers Does it Take to Change a Tire?

From left to right: Dan Holmberg, Julie Nordeen, Michael Kowal, Michael Thomas (who didn’t believe I’d really bought cookies!), and Jeffrey Ballard

I still haven’t changed a tire.

After the spare was on, I drove down to Les Schwab. It took them about 25 minutes to patch and install the old tire. For Free. I must have looked like a psycho to the woman behind the counter and the mechanic, because when it was all over I damn near cried.

I drove back to Portland on Sunday without issue.

So, yeah. Writers are awesome. (Thank you!)

The 2013 Campbellian Pre-Reading Anthology

February 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

The 2013 Campbellian Pre-Reading Anthology

Read Me!

So, what is the Campbell award?

  • It’s an award sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association specifically for new writers. The eligibility windows is only two calendar years after the writer’s first publication (for payment of at least $50).

How do you participate?

  1. You’ll need to be eligible to vote for the Nebulas in order to nominate and vote for Campbell Award authors.
  2. And of course, you’ll want to read as widely as possible. Spec Fic communities can be a bit sequestered, with little representation from writers outside a given clique. The purpose of the 2013 Campbellian Pre-Reading Anthology is to collect as many Campbell eligible authors in one place so that everyone gets fair exposure. (Which is why the anthology is free*!)
  3. Enjoy! Even if you’re not eligible to vote, the anthology is still a great place to discover new writers and read amazing stories–for free!

*Be aware that the anthology is not listed on Amazon (apparently, Amazon wouldn’t allow the editors to create a free listing), though a Kindle friendly version is available over at the Stupefying Stories blog, here.

A big thanks to M. David Blake for hunting all of us down and creating this anthology in so narrow a window. And thanks to STUPEFYING STORIES and Bruce Bethke for sponsoring the project!


January 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

In 2012, I set a goal of 250 words per day which worked out to about 65K per year. I actually accomplished ~58K. That is a lot more than I expected to realistically achieve and beats my previous best year by 24,000 words! (And that was the year I was unemployed for several months with nothing to do but write.) Since I feel like that word goal really pushed me over the edge, I’m ramping up my 2013 goals:


I think my real stumbling block is not a word count issue, but rather a time management issue. In 2013, I hope that time control goals will lead to success in the other goal categories. Like last year, I’m setting a low bar so that I won’t get discouraged, but damn if the numbers don’t accumulate!

Time Goals:

  • Write for one hour per day minimum, 5 to 6 days per week (new words only, revisions, outlines, and research does not count)
  • Read for one hour per day minimum (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, how-to-write books)

If I meet my time goals and can produce 750 to 1K words per hour, my word count should look like:

Word Count Goals:

  • 3,750 to 5K per week
  • 187K to 250K per year (Yikes!)

If I meet these word count goals, my story completion goals should look like:

Story Completion Goals:

  • Complete one novel
  • Complete 20 to 34 short stories (That’s insane!)

Other Goals:

  • Attend an in person writing workshop
  • Participate in more writing challenges/community contests (Did 2 in 2012)
  • Critique more stories (Did 40-45ish in 2012)
  • Go to more writer panels at Dragon*Con (Attended 3)
  • Submit every story I finish to pro-paying markets or well-respected semi/token markets until sold or run out of markets


  • I can’t control if my stories get published other than to self-publish, so this year I would like to self-publish at least one story to get a feel for it.

Look!! Review of a Story *I* Wrote!

August 20, 2012 § 2 Comments

Diabolical Plots recommended “Sapience and Maternal Instincts” on their monthly Daily Science Fiction round-up!

The protagonist is meeting her alien hybrid daughter for the first time in “Sapience and Maternal Instincts” by Krystal Claxton (debut 5/31 and reviewed by Frank D). Twenty years later, she can see a bit of herself in her alien offspring. Gathering the nerve to meet her was difficult but they do share a bloodline, and a bit more she soon discovers.

“Sapience” is a unique twist on the parent/child reunion trope. Like a mother who is meeting the child she gave up for adoption, the protagonist is full of anxiety. Unlike those women, she was forced to carry the daughter who is sitting before her. The story evolves into something sweet and loving. I found myself as surprised at the outcome as the protagonist did.


Screeeeeeeeeee! ::Happy Dance::

*Ahem* I mean, ::Impartial Report::


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 126 other followers