Blogger Recognition Award – Huzzah!

First, let me extend a hearty Thank You to Eve Messenger of Eve Messenger’s OtherWORDly Endeavors for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award. You are too kind and I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed my blog so far. If you enjoy YA lit, fantasy, or just plain great quirky humor, definitely check out Eve’s blog.

blogger recognition

Blogger Recognition Award Rules

  • Tell the world why you started blogging
  • Give advice/tips to new bloggers
  • Share the picture above
  • Nominate other blogs and let them know how awesome you think they are.
  • Share the link to Edge of Night for the original post.

Okay!

Why I Blog

I started blogging mainly to help get myself through unfocused moments or times of writer’s block/avoidance during the week. I’ve also come to love blogging, however, for the ways it helps me connect with a larger community of writers and artists. I love the solitude and escape that my profession lends me day after day, but it is also a joy to get to meet and talk with other artists, learn from them, be inspired by them, and so forth.


Advice/Tips to New Bloggers

First, I completely agree with Eve’s No. 1 piece of advice: “Read lots of other people’s blogs and be brave about leaving comments, even if they seem lame.” Leaving comments is not only a great way to better connect with others in the blogging world, but also to boost up someone else. No matter how short or simple the comment, for me, seeing that someone else took the time to leave a comment on my blog–took the time to actually read and consider my post–always, always brightens my day. It’s happened more than once that a friendly comment on my blog has helped lift me up after I’ve received a rejection letter from a literary magazine or made me feel more confident about returning to a short story that’s been giving me a hard time.

Above all, be a generous reader! Be the reader that Writer You wants to have. And be a generous writer–be gracious, thoughtful, and sincere.


Alright, and onward to the main event: K.C.’s Blogger Recognition Award winners:

  • Musings on a Literary Journey – I am a big fan of author Nicole Dennis-Benn. Not only is she just a fascinating person in her own right, but her fiction is terrific as well. (She’s had more than one story nominated for a Pushcart Prize.) Definitely give her blog and other work a look! (Then maybe another look ;-))
  • Nights of Passion – While I’m really not much of a romance reader at all, I find I often love the voices, updates, and thoughts provided here by the writing team of Nights of Passion
  • Dirt Artful – I know what you’re going to say. Hey, you can’t just recommend a blog because of all its cute guinea pig photos! But I’m here to tell you that Yes, oh yes, I can. But I like Dirt Artful for many reasons beyond her awesome guinea pigs. A scientist, an artist, a Guinea Pig Ranger — this is a blog for everyone who wants a glimpse into an adventurous, fascinating life.

Meet Buffalo, Mascot Extraordinaire

Meet Buffalo, the new official mascot of my current novel-in-progress.20150811_100013

My writers group recently decided that, along with our writing goals, we would also set up a carrot system for ourselves to remind us that, even though we may be tragically unpaid for extended periods of time, this doesn’t mean that we aren’t working full time or that our work is somehow unworthy of pay/recognition.

One of my goals is to make sure that, on top of my regular gigs and novel writing, I produce and submit at least one new short story per month. My carrot? Every month I get a new story written and submitted on time, I get to treat myself to a new houseplant. :-)

Buffalo, I’m proud to carry you over the threshold in celebration of a goal well-met.

What kinds of goals do you set for yourself as a writer and/or reader? Do you use a carrot system? If so, what kinds of rewards do you prefer?

Slipstream, Speculative, & Weird: Makin’ a Comeback!

Earlier this February, Anna Russell and Jennifer Maloney of The Wall Street Journal came out with the article, “Slipstream Fiction Goes Mainstream.” –And this is great news for a number of reasons: great for readers, great for writers, great for art generally, great for social justice causes, great for learning how to reimagine the world we’re living in…the list goes on. Weird fiction takes down troublesome boundaries and restrictions on the everyday and allows us to glimpse a world free of sexism, racism, and war. Or, at least, it allows us to glimpse our own -ism-riddled world from a truly new angle.

Russell and Maloney site a variety of authors as evidence of this style/genre resurgence, including Aimee Bender, Kelly Link, Jeff VanderMeer, and Karen Russell. If you haven’t yet dug into any good slipstream work, just give these authors a look and you’ll soon be changing your tune ;-)

AR-AI717_Slipst_JV_20150204123822“Fran’s daddy woke her up wielding a mister. ‘Fran,’ he said, spritzing her like a wilted houseplant. ‘Fran, honey, wakey wakey.’

Fran had the flu, except it was more like the flu had Fran.”

–Kelly Link, “The Summer People” from Get in Trouble


AR-AI731_Slipst_JV_20150205185600“In every season you can find me sitting at my bench, watching them fall. Only one or two lemons tumble from the branches each hour, but I’ve been sitting here so long their falls seem contiguous, close as raindrops. My wife has no patience for this sort of meditation. ‘Jesus Christ, Clyde,’ she says. ‘You need a hobby.'”

–Karen Russell, “Vampires in the Lemon Grove” from Vampires in the Lemon Grove

cover_willful“Ten men go to ten doctors. All the doctors tell all the men that they only have two weeks left to live. Five men cry. Three men rage. One man smiles. The last man is silent, meditative. Okay, he says. He has no reaction. The raging men, upon meeting in the lobby, don’t know what to do with the man of no reaction. They fall upon him and kill him with their bare hands. The doctor comes out of his office and apologizes, to the dead man.

Dang it, he says sheepishly, to his colleagues. Looks like I got the date wrong again.”

–Aimee Bender, “Death Watch” from Willful Creatures

Jeff VanderMeer’s Myster Odd

10 Must-Read Books for August

Originally posted on Flavorwire:

Pitched between the beach reads of June and July and the high literary controversies of autumn, the month of August is often little more than a break in the literary calendar. But this year publishers have perked up a bit, electing to release a combination of rediscovered classics (Shirley Jackson, Lucia Berlin) — especially in short fiction — and high-quality debut novels (Alexandra Kleeman, Ottessa Moshfegh). Most importantly, this month introduces American audiences to the great Clarice Lispector, an unclassifiable genius on the level of the best writers of the 20th century.

Fiction:

shirleyjackson

Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings, Shirley Jackson (Deckle Edge, August 4)

Shirley Jackson’s writing — a mainstay of the American curriculum — has exerted untold influence over both genre and literary fiction for decades. This collection of new material arrives 50 years after her death and just one year shy of what would have been…

View original 913 more words

Cool Places to Submit Your Summer Writing

As many of you know, there’s a brick of time each year that stretches from the middle of May to the start of September. Non-writers call this time “summer.” Writers (and especially short fiction writers) often call this time Where the hell am I supposed to submit my writing now? 

So many journals and magazines (especially the Old & Big Timers) stop accepting submissions during these summer months, leaving writers with hot work fewer options and a lot of dreams for autumn. Well, I’m excited to tell you that there are more opportunities out there than you may realize. Here are just a few to consider…

P.S. Please, in your excitement to submit new work, don’t forget to also give these magazines/journals a good long read as well—and, hell, maybe even a few dollars for a full subscription :-D

Speculative Fiction Opportunities

shimmer logo

Shimmer is a terrific publication for a variety of reasons. Not only do they put out consistently interesting, good writing for the reader in all of us, but they also treat their writers with real respect, striving to respond to all submissions within two weeks. Definitely give them a read! (and then maybe another!)

What Shimmer is looking for:
Unusual and beautifully-written speculative fiction stories with full plots and strong characters. The best way to understand what we are looking for is to read an issue of the magazine. We’re most drawn to contemporary fantasy, and seek out stories with a strong emotional core. We like unusual stories with a fluid and distinctive voice, with specific and original images. Send us your odd, unclassifiable stories.


Betwixt is a similarly great speculative lit magazine, working to get back to their authors Betwixt_Issue-7also within a two week time span while providing readers with terrific out-there material.

What Betwixt is looking for:

Betwixt publishes speculative fiction of all sorts—fantasy, science fiction, speculative horror, slipstream, weird fiction, steam/diesel/cyber/etc.punk, you name it. We particularly like stories that smash genre boundaries to smithereens, but we also love fresh takes on established genres and in-depth explorations of ultraspecific niches. Experiments in form and style are welcomed enthusiastically—but a straightforward narrative with tight, crisp language is just as beautiful. When it comes down to it, we want stories that will amaze us, astound us, provoke our thoughts, and boggle our minds.


strange horizons logo

Alright, full disclosure, I serve as a reader for Strange Horizons, but—I’ve gotta say—they really are simply terrific, and the writing they publish is consistently fantastic (in every sense of the word).

What Strange Horizons is looking for:

Speculative fiction, broadly defined.

(Bam! Dig it!)

Also, check out their page on stories they see too often.


“Literary” Fiction Opportunities

ASF logoA classic that doesn’t let you down as a reader or writer! They’re open for submissions year-round, baby!

What American Short Fiction is looking for:

Issued triannually, American Short Fiction publishes work by emerging and established voices: stories that dive into the wreck, that stretch the reader between recognition and surprise, that conjure a particular world with delicate expertise—stories that take a different way home.


Oxford A logoAnother classic, Oxford American also keeps its doors open to writers (and of course readers!) year-round.

What Oxford American is looking for:

The Oxford American is a non-profit, quarterly literary magazine dedicated to featuring the best in Southern writing while documenting the complexity and vitality of the American South.


chatt__02

The Chattahoochee Review is another that reads year-round, but the deadline (September 15th) for their current call for submissions around the theme of Migration is coming up fast. Don’t miss out!

What The Chattahoochee Review is looking for:

TCR seeks submissions for its Fall/Winter 2015 double issue with a special focus on Migration. Literal and figurative translations of the theme welcome. Not only flight, but also movement; not only movement, but also kinetics; not only kinetics, but also conflict; not only conflict, but also arrival; not only arrival, but also immersion. Dare to be topical, but also sincere. Microbiology, Animalia, suburbia, electronica, strata—relocate, dislocate, elocute.


Creative NonFiction Opportunities

cutbank logo

CutBank is quite simply cool. Definitely give them a read.

What CutBank is looking for:

In addition to submissions for the biannual print edition of CutBank, we’re also accepting a  variety of submissions for CutBankOnline.  We also hold several contests each year, where winners earn cash prizes and publication in CutBank or stand-alone chapbooks.


word riot logo

Word Riot is great for all kinds of writing, creative nonfiction included!

What Word Riot is looking for:

We like edgy. We like experimental. We like publishing the best up-and-coming writers and poets so we can say we knew ’em when.

Happy Reading & Writing!

A Novel Finished, A Novel Started

Well, friends, I’m proud to announce that my debut novel The Fire Eaters is finally finished, edited, and off to the slush piles of several different literary agents, awaiting their thoughts and judgement. The work as a whole took me longer than I’d hoped, but only as long as it needed. (Though I’m sure any agent/publisher who decides they like it will have their own editorial suggestions; anything to better serve the story, I say—just lay it on me!)

But really, what I’m most excited about isn’t hearing back from agents and publishers (though I am excited about this, of course; obviously; duh). No—what I’m most excited about now is the ability and opportunity to get started on new projects.

I’ve been doing a lot of short story writing since completing the novel edits, and the work of these new stories and voices has felt something like relearning that I don’t have to eat pizza every night (curry’s a thing too, y’know! and crab cakes!—and oysters!). I’m starting to also realize (re-realize?) that short story writing may be my favorite type of writing, from both a writer and reader’s perspective. There’s just something about the constant motion and newness of short stories that grips me by the heart and keeps me going.

Of course, this isn’t to say that I haven’t also already started sketching out the beginnings of a new novel. (No, not a sequel or anything like that; I need new—I need fresh air!) But, while I’ve got the plot fairly well decided on, the voices of these new novel characters are still being played with and dreamed up.

To help me get restarted and reinvigorated for all this New, I’ve been turning to some of my favorite authors for help and inspiration. If you’re ever feeling low or lost in a sea of dreaded sameness, just give these authors a few minutes of your day. They’ll make all the difference.the-girl-in-the-flammable-skirt

Aimee Bender, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt

Here’s a Bender short story that’s available online for free; a great teaser for Flammable Skirt: “Quiet Please.”

Russell Edson, Assorted Poems

Here are a few Edson poems available free online thanks to The Poetry Foundation: “Let Us Consider,” “The Fight in the Meadow,” and “The Difficulty with a Tree.

Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation

In Annihilation, the first part of an imaginatively marketed and beautifully produced trilogy (the other parts are out in May and September), the novelist and publishing entrepreneur Jeff VanderMeer sets out to create a lasting monument to the uncanny by revisiting – without embellishment, and with a pitiless focus on physical and psychological detail – some very old ground. An alien invasion site. Assimilative spores. An unfurling of promiscuous alien biology. 

–Simon Ings, The Guardian

Happy Reading & Happy Writing!

The art of talking up a scene with yourself

Originally posted on A hunger for words:

“Only the boring get bored.” (Charles Bukowski, American poet and novelist)

“Sometimes I’ve imagined as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” (Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland)

‘Fess up, my friend. You’ve created whole scenes and entire stories by talking to yourself out loud. I have, too.  It’s a good bit of fun. Oddly enough, I’ve discovered that I tend to have a much clearer idea of what I want to communicate if I talk it through out loud. It’s a bit embarrassing if someone walks into the room mid-monologue, but thinking out loud is a valuable part of the writing process.

So, how to talk through a scene out loud? Here’s a step-by-step guide complete with a running example.

Materials Needed

  • Mindless, non-interesting task (washing the dishes, pulling weeds, folding laundry, vacuuming, driving the car, taking a walk)
  • Inspiring phrase, debate point, movie line, imagined scene, vignette
  • Main characters
  • Suitable setting
  • Mirror/shiny surface…

View original 1,137 more words

A strange journey through the worlds of writing and publishing

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