Monthly Archives: February 2011

“Parallels” is Being Published by Albuquerque The Magazine

My short story “Parallels” won the 2010 Albuquerque The Magazine short story contest, and will be published in their March 2011 issue of the magazine.

I just got a copy of the magazine issue last night from the Editor-in-Chief Dan Mayfield, so it’ll probably hit the stands in the next few days.

Here’s the cover for the March 2011 issue:
Albuquerque the Magazine March 2011 cover

Feels a bit weird to no longer be unpublished.   I’ll have a different short story, “Green Grow the Rushes,” coming out for e-readers after the first week of March.

The Borders Bankruptcy Number Crunching

C. E. Petit is crunching the numbers over at his website right now about the Borders bankruptcy and how it may impact publishers as creditors in the Chapter 11 proceedings.  Go read his posts from yesterday (Feb. 20) and today, great stuff.

This is a wise time to learn about the financial health of any publisher you have contracts for novels with that are still in print, or if you are planning to sign a contract in the near future with a publisher.

If the publisher is part of a publicly traded conglomerate on the stock exchange (and you know the name or ticker symbol) you can easily look at the SEC filings at 
http://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/webusers.htm
The quarterly (10-Q) and annual filing with the SEC is where the good stuff can be found, like how much cash they have on hand (Cash and Cash Reserves), cash flow, and their debts. You’ll want to take your time and read back as far as the database will allow you to get a good feel for what is going on in a particular company.

As for private publishing companies, if your library has access to Hoover’s (http://www.hoovers.com/), you might be able to get some info on their finances from there.

Also, another resource to turn to for help in doing financial research on a publishing company is your nearest Reference Librarian. Librarians are a wonderful resource for this sort of research.

A Talk on “The Benefits and Perils of Websites and Blogging for Writers”

I’ve been asked by the Los Alamos Writer’s Group (LAWG) to give a talk, so on Thursday, March 10th from 7pm to 8pm I’ll be talking about “The Benefits and Perils of Websites and Blogging for Writers.”

Here’s the details:

Do writers need a website?  Is blogging optional?   How does one go about setting up a website when one can’t afford a web designer?  How can a website be used to market one’s work?  We will candidly talk about the benefits and perils of the internet age for writers.   Participants are strongly encouraged to bring to the meeting a device (laptop, PDA, cell phone, etc.) that allows them to browse the web so that the group can compare well-known writers’ websites together.

There will also be a drawing for a Jane Austen action figure.

The location of the talk is the usual meeting place for the LAWG, the Morning Glory Bakery in Los Alamos, NM.  Business address is:
1377 Diamond Dr
Los Alamos, NM 87544

Harriet Vane in GAUDY NIGHT (Portrayals of Writers)

I recently had the pleasure of rereading Dorothy L. Sayers’ GAUDY NIGHT after about a gap of ten years, and was struck by how much hidden fun I discovered in  it the second time around now that I have some writing experience behind me.  It was my favorite book by Sayers when I first read her entire Lord Peter Wimsey series ten years ago, and now I love it even more for her wry commentary about the writing life.

It was comforting to find that the same issues that plague writers today also plagued Sayer’s mystery writer character Harriet Vane in 1930s Great Britain.   Worries over advances and contracts, struggles to grow as a writer while still writing a novel that fit one’s genre, and the infernal nagging question from others of “Where do you get your ideas?”  Here’s a short excerpt from Chapter 1:

…Here was that awful woman, Muriel Campshott, coming up to claim acquaintance.  Campshott had always simpered.  She still simpered.  And she was dressed in a shocking shade of green.  She was going to say, “How do you think of all your plots!”  She did say it.  Curse the woman….

And then there’s the fun of reading about Harriet having to deal with the headaches of having a key character (Wilfrid) in a mystery she is writing completely messing the story up.

“Well,” said Harriet, recovering her poise, “academically speaking, I admit Wilfrid is the world’s worst goop….”

[Harriet] : “Yes–he’d be interesting.  But if I give Wilfrid all those violent and lifelike feelings, he’ll throw the whole book out of balance.”

[Peter]: “You would have to abandon the jigsaw kind of story and write a book about human beings for a change.”

“I’m afraid to try that, Peter.  It might go too near the bone.”

“It might be the wisest thing you could do.”

“Write it out and get rid of it?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll think about that.  It would hurt like hell.”

“What would that matter, if it made a good book?”

I strongly recommend reading STRONG POISON and HAVE HIS CARCASE before reading GAUDY NIGHT for the first time.  The relationship between Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsey goes through a character arc that runs through all four of Sayers’ novels that include Harriet.