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Posts Tagged ‘short stories’

Murder on Marawa Prime (reviewed in the December 2016 issue of Analog magazine) is my only published murder mystery/ action adventure tale. Yet, I enjoy reading murder mysteries and crime fiction. In my “in progress” fiction files, there are several other crime stories which, I hope, will be completed, polished, and submitted to magazines or anthologies in the not too distant future.

Murder_Cover_CS_front Like all writers, I try not to use clichés, so it was with interest I read an article on clichés in crime fiction (which will include murder mysteries).

Here’s the link – I hope you enjoy Crime Fiction – 10 Cliches to Avoid from Freelance Writing.

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One year over and another one begins. It seems a perfect time to look at my 2016 writing and art stats, and set some 2017 goals – which are to write/draw/publish more than I did in 2016! And I don’t want to forget to say a heartfelt Thank You to all my readers for buying and reading my work. 🙂

2016 Awards: “Bloodguiltless” won Silver Honorable Mention, Writers of the Future Contest.

2016 Publications:

Cover-Electronic-GreenerForest Books:

The Greener Forest ( fantasy story collection) revised, enlarged, and re-published by Pole to Pole Publishing.

Murder on Marawa Prime (sf novelette) from Pole to Pole Publishing.

The Enchanted Dagger (revised fantasy novel) from Pole to Pole Publishing.

In a Cat’s Eye (co-edited) from Pole to Pole Publishing.

Short Stories:

“The Cafe at the End of the Lane” in The Night Cafe anthology.

“Shoreside” in Fantasy Divinia Magazine and in their Memories of the Past – 2016 Best of Anthology.

Murder_Cover_CS_front “Appleheads” in Les Cabinets des Polytheites anthology.

“The Garden Shop” online in The Lorelei Signal.

“Pawprints of the Margay” in The Great Tome of Fantastic and Wondrous Places.

“Bad Moon Rising” in Unoriginal.

“The Burryman” in The Great Tome of Cryptids and Legendary Creatures.

“The Monk’s Fosterling” in FrostFire Worlds.

“Feathers” in Trysts of Fate.

51q9gur7vpl “Gifts in the Dark” released as an eBook by Digital Fiction Publishing Company.

“The Clockwork Owl” in FrostFire Worlds

“Henkie’s Fiddle” podcast in Cast of Wonders.

“Balming the Thorn” in FrostFire Worlds.

“Smoke and Sprites” in Jouth UFO Anthology.

“Tower Farm” in Outposts of Beyond (and included in re-issue of Dogs of War)

“Justice” in Devolution Z.

crist-dagger “Beneath the Summer Moon” in Hoofbeats – Flying with Magical Horses.

Essay: “Country Stroll” in Culture Cult Magazine – Spring Issue

Poems:

“Flower-Face” in The Dark Ones – Tales and Poems of the Shadow Gods

“Owl Light” in 47 – 16 Volume 1 – Short Fiction and Poetry Inspired by David Bowie

“Goblin King” in 47 – 16 Volume 2 – Short Fiction and Poetry Inspired by David Bowie

catseye_final-72dpi “Mourning” in The Grief Diaries

“Phoenix” in The Show Must Go On – Short Fiction & Poetry Inspired by Freddie Mercury & Queen

“September Fifth” in The Show Must Go On – Short Fiction & Poetry Inspired by Freddie Mercury & Queen

“Venus” in Garland of the Goddess – Tales and Poems of the Feminine Divine

“Night” in Garland of the Goddess – Tales and Poems of the Feminine Divine

“The Deluge” in Culture Cult Magazine – Monsoon Issue

“Tree Frog” in Culture Cult Magazine – Monsoon Issue

Art:

“Boy and Dog in the Purple Mountains” (cover art) Spaceports & Spidersilk Jan. 2016

“Scarecrow” (cover art) Spaceports & Spidersilk Oct. 2016

3 interior illustration in Alban Lake Publishing magazines (my apologies if I’ve missed any publications – I’ll update later if I find any more).

Now on to 2017!

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catseye_final-72dpiI had the privilege to edit a wonderful new anthology from Pole to Pole Publishing, In a Cat’s Eye, with writing friend, Kelly A. Harmon. By the way, the title comes from an English proverb: “In a cat’s eye, all things belong to cats.”

We received hundreds of stories, and had to turn down some good cat tales. But the 16 stories which share the final table of contents provide a fun and satisfying read for cat lovers and fans of speculative fiction. And I can honestly say, there are a couple of stories in In a Cat’s Eye, I wish I’d written! (Which is the highest compliment I can offer).

To read a bit more about some of the stories and their authors, here’s a link to a fascinating post on the blog of one of the contributors, Gregory L. Norris. You can find out more about the thoughts behind the cat stories of Gail Z. Martin, Oliver Smith, Steven R. Southard, KI Borrowman, Christine Lucas, Doug C. Souza, AL Sirois, AL Kaplan, and, of course, Gregory L. Norris.

If you, a friend, or family member loves cat stories or science fiction and fantasy, In a Cat’s Eye just might be the book for you. Here’s a buy link, just in case.

 

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In an attempt to finish many incomplete projects, I’ve set monthly goals for myself. So, how am I doing on the April and May 2016 goals I set forth on April 1st?

What’s done?

Murder_Cover_CS_front1-Complete my science fiction novelette (such a charming word!) and get it into the hands of my publisher. Done! Murder on Marawa Prime was published by Pole to Pole Publishing in May 2016. If you like science fiction murder mysteries – this one is for you.

2-Finish crocheting an afghan for my granddaughter. Done! And given to her. (pastel colors)

3-Revise and add another story and poem to my fantasy story collection, The Greener Forest, so it can be re-released with a new cover, etc. Done! Now, all that’s left to be done are to get some cover comments from fellow fantasy writers.

4-Finish at least 2 short stories and submit them to publishers. Done! I await the editors’ responses.

5-Finish crocheting an afghan for youngest grandson. Done! (greens, blues, and black) Plus, I finished crocheting an afghan for my oldest grandson, too. (reds, blues, and black) Both were given to the boys earlier in June.

6-Went on a 2 week RV trip to see a niece and her husband in Indiana; visit Lincoln country in Illinois; see Mark Twain sites in Hannibal, Missouri; visit Lewis & Clark sites in St. Louis, Missouri; visit Graceland in Tennessee; visit Shiloh Battlefield in Tenn.; see Ruby Falls & Cave and Look Out Mountain in Tenn.; visit Chickamauga Battlefield in Georgia; visit godmother in Greenville, South Carolina; visit uncle in Sparta, North Carolina, see sister and brother-in-law in Staunton, Virginia; and get back to Maryland in one piece. Done!

So what’s NOT done?

1- I haven’t gotten all the letters home from World War II from a great-uncle typed, or begun research for this nonfiction book.

2- I’m still polishing one story for a publisher, and working hard on another for a science fiction anthology. I’m hoping they’ll both make it to the Table of Contents.

3- The embroidered samplers still await their borders and framing – though I have gotten out the fabric to finish the projects.

4- The black and white drawings await their scanning. Why is this not done? I want to make a few changes in each drawing.

Where do I go from here? Set goals for June and July, of course!

By the end of June, I will:

1- send in a final version of a story I’ve been working on since last June!

2- send in the first draft of a science fiction story to an anthology.

3- type at least 10 more letters from World War II.

4- add borders to and frame one of the samplers.

5- put a border and backing on a vintage redwork quilt top which has suddenly become mine. (More on this unfinished project later).

By the end of July, I will:

1- send a final version of the science fiction story to the anthology.

2- begin reading books to prepare to submit to another anthology.

3- type 10 more letters from WW II.

4- revise my science fiction and fantasy collection, Owl Light, in preparation for re-release.

How about you? Are you trying to finish up unfinished projects, too? Any tips for me?

Now, back to work on an unfinished story! – Vonnie

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Happy April Fools’ Day! One of my not-so-foolish goals for 2016 is to become more productive. For me, I know my productivity is hampered by my lack of organization. In other words, I need to get rid of the clutter (both literal and figurative) and focus.

Sometimes, thinking outside of the box, organizing in fluid ways, and having lots of pots on the stove can result in a flock of fabulous ideas. The problem is, without focus, those ideas are often not completed. And time spent on half-done projects is wasted until those projects are completed. I thought I’d take you on this journey, too:

My completed project list – March 31st

Writing: completed a science fiction novelette – time to get it in the hands of my publisher

Non-writing: finished a crocheted afghan for granddaughter

My projects to be completed by April 30th

Writing: 1- finish typing letters home from World War II from a great-uncle and begin research for this nonfiction book

2- revise and add a story to The Greener Forest for re-release by a new publisher

3- finish at least 2 short stories and submit them to publishers

Non-writing: 1- finish a crocheted afghan for youngest grandson

2- add a quilt border to 2 embroidered samplers and frame them

3- gather and scan at least 10 black and white drawings, then submit them to publishers

Even as I type this, it feels ambitious, but I think I can manage. I came across an interesting article on becoming more productive by Lisa M. Gerry: Three Ways to be Instantly More Productive in which she enlists the help of The Power of Habit author Charles Duhigg to share 3 tips for becoming more efficient.  Here’s the link.

How about you – do you have any other ideas for increasing productivity?

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Vonnie2 Hello. Yes, it’s me, back at Whimsical Words. It’s been a tough 8 months since I fell and seriously injured my left shoulder and arm. I’m finally done with physical therapy (for a while at least). Plus, the heart problem discovered when I had surgery seems to be stable. Good things!

What have I been doing, career-wise during this time? Writing, editing, submitting work, and illustrating – just at a less energetic pace. Which means, I’ve edited and submitted more previously published work than usual. Finding markets which accept reprints can be challenging, but doing the research necessary to locate the markets means I’m meeting new editors. A good thing!

Fulfilling a New Year’s resolution made January 1, 2016, I’m finally sifting through my haphazard boxes of notes, ideas for art and writing, and contributor’s copies of papers, magazines, books, etc. where my work has been published. I’m trying to not only become more organized, but to create somewhat complete writing and art bibliographies. Again, good things!

At last, I’m going to return to a more “normal” routine on April Fool’s Day with an eye on completing some of the writing and art projects which sleep on my shelves and in my files like unloved orphans. Hopefully, this means I’ll have lots of new stories, poems, and art to submit to magazines and books. Though I doubt I’ll ever reach the output levels of Robert Silverberg, Jay Lake, or James Van Pelt, I hope to have many submissions in the mail (or email) in a few weeks.

As before, I will try to give my readers not only “what’s going on in my life” posts, but information which will be of interest to them (or helpful to a friend). And so, today, I want to recommend a wonderful post by the afore-mentioned James Van Pelt on Submitting Short Stories.

The first part of the article is a clear, concise list of the steps most writers would suggest to follow if you want to get your stories (and for that matter, poems, essays, etc.) published. Then, Mr. Van Pelt suggests an alternate plan for prolific writers he labels the shrapnel grenade school of submitting short stories. Besides being a most colorful name, it is an interesting approach.

Thanks for sticking with Whimsical Words. I hope to bring you lots of cool and thought-provoking posts in 2016. Here’s today’s link to James Van Pelt’s post on Submitting Short Stories. – Vonnie

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Every now and again, I let my readers know where they can find some of my stories. I’m always grateful to the editors who’ve selected my tales, and to the readers who keep coming back for more of the stories my somewhat skewed brain dishes out.

So for those looking for good reads (not just of my stories, but of the  many other wonderful tales included in these publications), here’s the list with links:

“Snowbroth,” a zombie/ghostly tale, Potter’s Field 5, edited by Robert Krog, from Alban Lake Publishing. (available)

“The Return of Gunnar Kettilson,” a zombie love story with a Norse vibe, Chilling Ghost Short Stories, from Flame Tree Publishing (UK). Flame Tree Publishing has even included a nice blog post with some of the included authors’ bios. (available for preorder)

“Scarecrow,” a dark science fiction love story, Trysts of Fate #4 – Aug. 2015, edited by lee Ann Story Sikora, from Alban Lake Publishing. (available)

“Beneath the Summer Moon,” a fantasy tale of transformation, Epona’s Children, edited by Carol Hightshoe, available soon from Wolfsinger Publications. (I’ll post link when available).

“Smoke and Sprites,” a science fiction tale set on Mars, Hides the Dark Tower, available soon from Pole to Pole Publishing. (I’ll post link when available).

I’ll add a bit of writer’s advice to the bottom of this post: Keep submitting!

I know this seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important to focus on reaching your readers. When (notice I don’t say, “If”) a story is rejected, find another market and send it out again. Keep sending your story out until you find a market, or until you’re ready to revise the story, and then, start submitting again. Persistence is the key to being published.

As I’ve told writers’ groups in many a presentation, “Sometimes, I think an editor is just tired of seeing submissions from me. They finally give up and say, ‘Let’s just take a story, so she’ll leave us alone!'” All kidding aside, a writer is never published unless they submit their stories to publications. Which means, a writer never finds their readers unless they submit their work to magazines, anthologies, etc. Best of luck to all of you writers out there as you look for publishers.

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