Friday, August 06, 2004

Long Live the Funk and Other Randomness

Rick James is dead, alas. Whatever problems he had, he still made some great music. I challenge anyone to listen to "Give It to Me Baby" and remain motionless. Not possible. R.I.P.

In other news, reading Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (yes, it is every bit as good as you've heard--despite a bit of a slow start--and no, you can't borrow my copy. Sorry) is making me want to write about a magic school. There's not even a magic school in the book, but every time I read about magicians--Harry Potter, A Wizard of Earthsea, what have you--I want to write about a magic school. And yet, it's been done so well by so many that I probably shouldn't. And yet, I think I might anyway. The concept I'm mulling may even turn out to be a shared-world sort of thing. It's been weighing on my mind the past couple of days . . .

The list of Honorable Mentions for the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 17 (go buy it now) is not short. This is good, because it means that many people whom I've met through workshops, conventions and online are on the list--more of them than I can list, in fact! It's exciting to be a part of that group. Hopefully those folks (you know who you are) will soon be among those reprinted. And hopefully those who aren't yet on that list will be there soon.

Thursday, August 05, 2004


Did you know you can find out your fate in the afterlife through a handy-dandy quiz?

My sins, right out in front of god and everybody:

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Second Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Moderate
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Very Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Moderate
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test


Rejection--a rather terse one--from SciFiction for "Smokey's Blues." I don't know what to do with this one now; it clocks in at 9200 words, and has already been bounced from F&SF, Realms (with a note saying "almost") and now Datlow. I don't know of any other likely markets that will take something that long.

I've got a quandary with another story of mine, "Shortest Night." It's a weird little slipstreamy/historo-mythical piece with a child protagonist, with all the market complications that brings. I've been working on it and sending it out since I first wrote it at Odyssey in 1996, but all the likely markets have bounced it. Everyone who's not an editor that reads it loves it, and while there's a possibility they're all blowing smoke, I doubt it. I'm a firm believer that it's important to keep sending stuff out, but what happens when you run out of markets?

I have other stories like this, that I think are good but just never seem to make it. Maybe I've lost all perspective on them, and they're not as good as I think they are. This is certainly possible. But I have a hard time giving up on stories. I'm always thinking of ways to fix what I think is wrong, yet I always approach those sort of wholesale revisions very carefully, because you can fix the life right out of a story. I've done it.

I have to remind myself that I'm the one who insists on writing this difficult-to-categorize stuff. If I was in this just to make sales I suppose I'd approach things differently, and think twice about how marketable an idea was before I started on it. Which is not to say that I think these stories aren't selling because the magazines are too crass and commercial. Maybe that's part of it, and maybe not. I just don't know, and therein is the frustration.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


Apparently I have received an honorable mention in the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror for "The Ichthyomancer Writes His Friend with an Account of the Yeti's Birthday Party." Woo-hoo!

In other news, Fortean Bureau is now live with my story "The Colossus Vignettes." Everyone go read it! Come back and tell me what you think! Validate my existence!

Monday, August 02, 2004

Dances and Tales

My subscriber's copy of Talebones came today--I assume that the contributor's copies are sent separately. "The King of Memphis" still reads well to me, and it has art! Very exciting. Everybody go read it!

In other news, I queried Cemetery Dance about a story that's been there for over four months and received the reply that "we have far too many submissions to research inquiries." Good grief. If I withdraw the submission, how will they know?