Thursday, February 27, 2014

Return to Short Story Publication


When I began writing fiction for publication, in the late 1970's and through the 1980's, I first pursued short story publication.  My first love was Science Fiction and that was where I found my first acceptance.  My last short story publication was in 1988.

I then went on fiction hiatus as I pursued my technology and academic careers. I did publish lots of non-fiction during those two decades--articles and four full-length textbooks. When I returned to writing fiction in 2004 I decided my limited time would be spent on novels. That has been worthwhile, in that time I wrote 9 novels. To date five have been published. Three will never be published (I call them my learning novels), and the ninth is coming out soon.

When I became I full time writer a year ago, I also set a goal for returning to short stories and producing a minimum of 6 short stories per year.  This month is my first professional publication in short fiction since 1988.  And it is fitting that it is again in Science Fiction, and particularly having to do with moons.  Here's the blurb for my story.

The Payment
Carrie James has never fit in on Earth. After killing her husband, she is sentenced to spend the rest of her life in the research of the Plutonian moon, Charon. Isolation is always challenging, but 3 billion miles from Earth is more than a life sentence--it's death to everything she knows. But the payment must be made, not only by Carrie but also by Earth.

I'm truly proud to have a short story in the same anthology with so many great SF writers--especially Annie Reed, Steve Mohan, Scott William Carter, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. 

Fiction River is an anthology magazine. It is available in ebook and print as single issues or by subscription. If you love SF, I hope you will pick it up. All the stories are good and you are bound to find several that really speak to you. Fiction River produces different genre anthologies throughout the year. In addition to SF, in the past year they've covered Fantasy, Time Travel, and Magic. Planned for this year are Crime, Fantasy, SF, Horror, and others. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Where Has Maggie Been for The Past Six Weeks?

I've never been good at the whole balance thing. It took me longer than most to learn to ride a bike. My ice skating experiences have been near ankle breaking. I tend to be an all or nothing person.  Yes, yes, I know intellectually all about life balance, making good choices, etc. I've just never been able to maintain it for any length of time since about the age of 10 or so.

So, what happened over the past two months? My well-planned writing schedule was overtaken by two big web redesign projects.  I was happy to do both, but (as usual) greatly underestimated the time needed.  In January, I redesigned the Windtree Press site. It was in great need of redesign as we switched direct sales providers and added new authors. I'm proud of the redesign but I also didn't have a good idea what it would take to learn the ins and outs of WordPress while implementing the site.

In February, now confident in my WordPress efforts I volunteered (yes, absolutely volunteered) to redesign my church's website. Again, really happy to have done it and it was definitely needed.

What I learned from these two experiences is something I should have known but had never realized before. For me, the skills required for programming, web designing, logic tracking are VERY different from the skills required for creative plotting, writing, world-building.  Furthermore, my brain is unable to easily move between the two.  Consequently, I didn't get nearly enough writing done in the past two months.

You'd think I would know this as I've had a technical career for more than two decades and always wrote while working full-time.  However--and this is a big however--I only scheduled myself to produce two books a year during that time, not the six on my schedule now that I'm a full-time writer.
So, lesson learned.  If I take on a technical task I have to redistribute my writing tasks or know I have to make up for it.

The good news is that several months ago I anticipated I would be in this dilemma (Yes, I've fallen into similar traps before). So, I scheduled an early March five day writing retreat to make up for my inability to balance things.  Writing retreat for me does not mean conference or learning or socializing. It means going away from home, where no one can find me or disturb me (except my husband can call in emergencies), and I write/edit from morning til night without disruption.

This will allow me to do final edits on Heart Strings and still make the production deadline of an end of March release.

As to those other balance things--health, family, friends--umm...I'm working on it. Really I am. Maybe summer?

Anyone else have problems with this balance? Willing to share?