06

04/22

Busy

2:54 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Uncategorized

I have no excuse for February, other than putting together the podcast “Small Publishing in a Big Universe”.

March, though, I helped out my publisher who put out a submissions call for the Dragon Gems program of short stories. So many people replied (175 or so) that he needed help weeding out the good stuff from the chaff.

At first, I concentrated on the “art” of the story. Did the author tell a good story? Eventually, though, I got irritated by all the different version of “formatting” that people did. Not Comic Sans, but some were pretty dang close (single-spaced, 10 point, .rtf default). We put on our website exactly what submission guidelines were. Oh, and by the way, Scrivener can automatically do that for you in Compile. So with the second batch and from then on, the author got a letter grade taken off for bad formatting.

Some people’s writing was truly atrocious. I finally understood the whole “you tell, not show” error in a manuscript. Then I read some stuff that blew my mind and I wanted to pass it along right away to the judges with a screaming neon post-it saying “THIS ONE!”

That took me all the way through March, between reading and replying to people. Just over 50 of the 175 are in the judging phase. They went past me because either they’re great, or I was on the fence on it. Like horror and hard sci-fi ain’t my thing, but as long as the author didn’t mess up the formatting, the spelling and word choices were good, and the story kept my attention without me scrolling through, then it moved onto judging. Some of them brought a different dimension to magic that made me stop and think.

Basically, I loved being a gatekeeper (ahem, “curator”). I’d do it again in a second.

Meanwhile, what else is going on, you might wonder? Have I written anything? Not in the last two months. I attended a webinar that was “write to market” and found out that the hottest sellers are in the Romance category. Romance-anything. So I was thinking of pulling Max out of retirement and do another Brothers of the Zodiac series–this time, much longer, taking place during world history instead of American history, and explore the world a little more. Bring in the Sumerian gods? Explain what it means to be immortal in Ishtar’s service? Explore the sign itself a little more. What really happens to the immortal if he falls in love with someone?

For a fleeting fifteen seconds, I thought of a typical heterosexual romance. Then I decided I can’t do that. I know the heroines are supposed to be kickass these days, but I still like the difficulties (challenges – drink!) that M/M romance has with it.

Brothers of the Zodiac, the Next Generation. I’m starting with Aries. I’m giving myself until June 1 to get it done.

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