After the cruelty of April, May has gone much more smoothly. While the world continues to burn in a variety of depressing ways – mass shootings; the environment slowly dying around us; president numpty continuing to wreak havoc on those who are poor, old, minority, LGBTQ+, trade partners, peace, everything he touches – my personal world has been very solid and very positive.

In media this month, it’s been slow. Agents of Shield returned, and we enjoy that. The only truly great new thing we’ve enjoyed was Good Omens, which released just yesterday. And we binged the whole thing in one sitting, which was probably unhealthy, but there was no way we couldn’t, it hooked us right away. David Tenant is absolute perfection as Crowley, and the whole cast was fantastic. The writing was good, the special effects decent, and about the only thing I objected to was using “famous actor” so-and-so and completely disguising their face and voice beneath special effects. A total waste of talent, you could have hired anyone for that role given the results. Would have been far more fun to see them looking like themselves and playing a charming, conniving version of the character instead of a CGI monster.

On to the month!

Writing Conferences/Workshops/Classes/Professional Activities:

Our May meeting of the MWA brought special guest Lakita Wilson to talk about using social media to promote yourself and your works. A very interesting discussion and presentation, and I particularly enjoyed hearing her say “Facebook isn’t really as important any more, it’s mostly for old people. Young people are using it less and less, you’re better off focusing on twitter and Instagram.” LOL! Sorry Facebook (and you’re still evil).

Late in May we attended Balticon. We drove over to Baltimore on Saturday and Sunday and spent hours attending panels, meeting with friends, and going to book launches. We even got a signed copy of The Red-Stained Wings by Elizabeth Bear, the followup to The Stone in the Skull and the second of her new trilogy. Very much looking forward to reading it, the first book of this new series set in her Eternal Sky world was fabulous.

Finished:

One piece of flash fiction started and finished, a story called “A Small God.” Submitted it right away to one of the sites that is flash focused.

WIP:

I met and exceeded my goal for converting the Blue Skies Over Beatniks novella into a romantic fantasy novel, although I fell a little short of the stretch goals. A little under 31,000 words in total, with the novella now officially a novel at over 51,000 words. There should be about 30,000 words to go, give or take, to complete the first draft.

Outstanding:

12 stories outstanding. Longest lead time is 197 days. I withdrew one submission that had gone far beyond 270 days and had received no reply to multiple requests for an update over the past couple of months, though their submission page made it clear I should have heard within a far shorter period of time.

I get it, life intrudes. But professionalism is a two-way street, and writers should not be the only ones expected to adhere to it. If you’re having difficulties with responding to submissions in the time frame you told folks, it’s on you to regularly update those who have submitted. At the very least, update your submission page with enough detail that they know whether or not they should continue to wait or take the work elsewhere. The one updated they provided told us nothing useful other then “we’re getting to it,” and that was several months ago.

Submissions:

7 submissions made to short story markets. The novel Shadow of a Doubt submitted to Angry Robots during their open submission period.

Rejections:

7 rejections received. I love synergy!

Acceptances:

No acceptances, but I was notified one story is now on hold by an anthology who said they really loved the story. I’ll keep my fingers crossed on that, and it does appear to be pro-paying.

Goals for May:

Continue to work on Blue Skies. Write at least another 25,000 words, which should put it close to a finished first draft. Toss in another short story if there’s time and motivation.

Stretch goals: 30,000 words on the novel, one short story.

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