Sunday, January 2, 2011

And The Cryotube Opened. . .

In 1989, my wife and I moved to Tulsa, and since I aspired to write fiction, I joined the Oklahoma Science Fiction Writers group (they're still active). I met many talented writers and artists. They inspired me to work hard and keep writing. Through the 1990s I sold more than a dozen short stories in professional and semi-pro magazines like Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Space and Time, Iniquities, Mindsparks and the late Algis Budrys's Tomorrow SF. I also sold stories to several anthologies, notably John Skipp and Craig Spector's Book of the Dead 2: Still Dead and Skipp's Mondo Zombie.

Then around 2000 I got caught up in family and fighting my way up the corporate ladder at a series of telecommunications and internet companies, and I stopped writing fiction.  Of course those aren't good excuses at all -- and really, there are no Good Excuses to stop doing what you love.  As Joe Lansdale once said, and I'm paraphrasing, the only way to succeed as a writer is to put ass to chair.  William Goldman said pretty much the same thing, as did Stephen King.

So about a year ago I started writing again, and I discovered two wonderful things: I still had a lot of fun writing fiction; and the little guys down in the basement (stealing from King) who churn up ideas or knit together gonzo unrelated plot threads and characters had come out of stasis intact and ready to get back to work.

While I was being lazy for the better part of a decade, the publishing scene had undergone a revolution.

When I complete a new story these days, I rarely print a hardcopy (except for my own files).  Most professional and semi-pro markets for short SF, horror and suspense fiction accept electronic submissions.  Very few (Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog) still require a hardcopy manuscript to be mailed flat to their offices with a SASE inside.  Everything moves a lot faster, which I find I like.  If an editor doesn't feel my latest story is right for their audience, you hear back in a few days or weeks, and you can send the story along to the next market.  Very neat.

I recently had a short story that appeared in a long-brewing 2006 anthology (the aforementioned Mondo Zombie) reprinted in a Spanish-language hardback, and in a Canadian/USA electronic and print collection (Best New Zombie Tales Vol. 1).  Both submitted electronically, same for author galley proofs, contracts and all correspondence.  No snailmail.  Both can be purchased online.  I will always adore printed books, and our shelves are bulging with them, but still. . .pretty neat.

As I began re-establishing relationships with writer and editor friends (and making new ones), it occurred to me that I also needed to join the blogosphere.  I'm a little late to the party, but what the hell.

So I will be posting news about stories, new sales and publications, ideas, reviews of stories, films and books I have enjoyed and want to share, and whatever else occurs.  Happy New Year to all!  Cheers.

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