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Jon Gibbs Post Up at Apex

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Just a note to say my friend Jon "Fur Face" Gibbs (jongibbs ) has a post up at Apex talking about learning from the not-quite-yet pros. Take a look:

http://www.apexbookcompany.com/blog/2010/06/write-what-they-kno/

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Blog post up at Apex

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I'm excited to say my first blog post "From the Perspective of an International Writer" has gone live over at the Apex blog. I thought I'd discuss some of the advantages of being an overseas writer and how things have become a whole lot easier for us over the past few years. Of course, there's a whole lot to expand on, but I didn't want to make the post too overlong and put the blogosphere to sleep. Please drop any comments (or questions) over there, even if it's only "rock on!" I'd very much appreciate it :-)  Basically, living overseas has been a great experience so far and I wanted to share a bit of that.  Special thanks to xjenavivex  for making this possible and garunya  for double checking I didn't say anything too silly! Another good thing is that this Apex blogging has given me the motivation to get back to blogging over here again.

Here's the linky: http://www.apexbookcompany.com/blog/2010/06/from-the-perspective-of-an-international-writer

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The State of Submissions

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Man, I've been seriously slacking on my submission efforts (not to mention my R_A log reporting and blogging). I got a measly 7 stories left out there. But most of them are on looooong wait (not complaining here, just sayin'). And two of them are on hold. Now, if hold was equivalent to sale, wouldn't life be good? I'd have a bunch of sales, some to really great markets. Unfortunately, I'm yet to get a sale after a hold. Is that normal? How's you luck with holds? I'm probably tempting fate here, but what the hell, keeping quiet never helped me before!

Anyway, here's the state of my submissions:

1) 415 days
2) 340 days
3) 163 days
4) 82 days (on hold)
5) 67 days
6) 44 days (on hold)
7) 43 days

One of these gotta sell.
Right? Right? Right?


Happy Dragon Boat Festival!

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Happy dragon boat festival every one! I had the day off, so spent it putting together my future Apex blog post on being an international writer and watching the Celtics get destroyed (Boo!).  Also ate yummy rice dumplings (zong zi) which are basically triangular wedges of glutinous rice with pork and ccoked egg yolk (holy calories!) inside and wrapped in bamboo leaves. Mostly they do the pork/egg yolk combo here in Taiwan, but every once and a while you'll get the wacky sweet one with red bean and plum (not my cup of tea). Anyway have one on me!

Happy Happy Post

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Whoops, I disappeared for like two months! Basically, it's been a hectic last couple months and I've been in over my head with paperwork and other issues. Well, it seems to have all culminated in May and things are starting to calm down. The summer (although my teaching hours will certainly pick up) will probably be somewhat more relaxed. Well, anyway, to keep with the subject of this post, I've had an accumulation of good news that I entirely failed to post about. Here it goes:




Happy Happy #1 - Apex Blogging

This is probably the most recent news. I'm going to be joining the Apex Blogging Team (also including friends xjenavivex  , jongibbs  , and bogwitch64  ). Special thanks to MG Ellington for asking me to do this. I'm gonna be blogging about writing in the East.

Happy Happy #2 - How to Make a Brain Soufflé wins!


Roy C Booth informed me that his play adaptation of my short story "How to Make a Brain Soufflé" has won the Minesota Shorts Play Festival and will be performed on September 10th in Minnesota at the Fitzgerald Little Theater in Mankato, MN, which seats around 320 people. I really wish I could go! So so awesome!

Happy Happy #3 - Marriage Visa Goes Through


This was one of the key factors in my stress. As anyone who has worked abroad will surely attest to, it's not fun at all. The marriage visa is a little bit more complicated to get than the standard work visa, but once you get it the whole process becomes a heck of a lot simpler. Basically it involved criminal record checks in Canada (this takes around 3-4 months, can you believe that???), medical checks (This included the MMR vaccine which had the awesome side-effect of swelling my neck), sending documents to Canada to be stamped by the Taiwan office, having them sent back, a barrage of other things, going back and forth between places a million times, and all on a deadline I just managed to squeeze by. But I can pick it up tomorrow! Yay!

Happy Happy # 4 - PhD Thesis Done

This was another source of pressure. I was editing a 100+ page paper on wind turbines for a PhD student at the local NCKU university. It started off okay, but got soon delved into the realm of incomprehensibility what with all the mathematics and physics towards the end. Still an interesting process and probably not quite as bad as the one aliettedb  told me she did for her fiancé on the subject of quantum physics!

Happy Happy #5 - Close Encounters of the Writerly Kind

Vietnam-based writer friend Chris Azure (aka garunya  in these parts) will be coming to visit next week. I'l be taking a couple days off work and we're gonna go check out Taiwan's amazing East Coast. Sweet! This also marks the first time I meet one of my LJ friends. Well, not so easy when you're more or less a world away from everyone. There'll definitely be pictures!


Well that's about it...  I actually have another piece of really really good news (not about writing) which I'll post later in the week, because I want to keep it on lock. How're you guys doing? It's been a long time and I'm fairly certain I missed some big news.
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Hallelujah! I've finished a short story. This might sound pretty ridiculous considering this is a writer's blog, and everybody else is blogging about how they just put their finishing touches on their 18th book, but I've gone through such a drought of late that this is more or less the equivalent to a sale on my happy-happy-scale.

Over the last year, I've written about a gazillion story beginnings, outlined a gazillion plots to go along with those beginnings, but did not manage to finish a single damned thing. I mean, I had the occasional flash story here and there, but I haven't finished a real story-- that is to say a story of substantial length-- since, well, to be perfectly honest, since this time last year.

I guess the reason for that is because I've been thinking about my fiction quite a bit and haven't been entirely satisfied. I've been looking for where the problems lie and basically how I can improve them. Now, discovering you have a problem with your fiction is quite different from fixing it. And let me tell you, it's been a slow and agonizing process. But basically what I've done is adopted a much higher standard for my finished product. So much higher that I suppose it stopped me from finishing anything.

Well, looks like I finally managed, and I have a feeling this bodes well for finishing more over the next few months. I think on a sub-conscious-level a few things have begun to click. I'm also a lot more careful about what I write and why the plot goes a certain way, rather than just going on feeling and instinct. I've been working on building stronger characters rather than cardboard ones that squeak their way across the stage on rusted wheels. I'm feeling a lot more in control of my fiction which again bodes well for my output. What torture!

Anyway, just to say, I'm feeling pretty happy with this story. I dunno if the editors will agree. But here's hoping! Sorry for being away so long. And congrats to all those who have made awesome sales so far in 2010!

PS: I have more good news, not in the sales department, but in the globe-trotter one. I'll save it for another post since apparently I've been applying the same standard to my blogging and been in somewhat of a soul-sucking drought here as well.


How to Make a Brain Soufflé - The Play!

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Well as a matter of fact, Clint, I do. The New Year has brought with it good news (besides winning money off my parents-in-law in New Year's card games for the first time ever, muhahaha!). My short story "How to Make a Brain Soufflé" has been snapped up by internationally award winning playwright Roy C Booth. Roy chose out four stories from the first eight issues of Necrotic Tissue to develop into one act plays. He also mentioned that  one of these plays might be performed at Marscon. Needless to say I'm excited and honored that he chose my story as one of the four, and the idea of seeing my story as a play sounds AMAZING!

Well, here's the official announcement from Roy C Booth's website:


Stygian Publications will be publishing a collection/anthology of four previously published horror/comedy short stories from their flagship publication, NECROTIC TISSUE, all to be adapted into play script form by yours truly.

Adapted works will include riveting tales by poet/novelist Steve Barber of Ann Arbor, MI; short story writer Eric R. Lowther of “Northeastern Ohio;” writer Nicky Drayden of Austin, TX; and a piece by Justin Pilon, a Canadian ESL teacher in Tainan City, Taiwan, and, as always, various media productions for certain scripts are already under discussion. Scripts will run in size from 10-Minute to possibly Full Length.

No set release date, but we’re shooting for the book launching to take place at either Convergence, Diversicon, or Arcana, where we also plan to do a short production of one of the plays in question. The plays will then be immediately available for royalty performance as well.
 


Special thanks to R. Scott McCoy who gave my story a home in Necrotic Tissue #7 and broke the (most unexpected) news to me. Also congrats to Steve Barber, Nicky Drayden, and Eric R. Lowther who will be joing me in this antho and production. And last but certainly not least thanks to jerrygordon  who helped me with the edits of the original (shorter) piece. In particular, in being honest to which parts of the humor worked and which didn't. Thanks a lot, Jerry!

The year of the tiger is a wary one in Chinese culture, but it's looking pretty good to me so far!

Happy Year of the Tiger!

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HAPPY YEAR OF THE TIGER





Happy year of the tiger everyone! It's a year to be strong and aggressive towards your dreams. Or at least that's the way I see it. I have a feeling this year is going to be a good one. Sorry not to be so active in the blogging community recently, but I've been in what I like to call a state of writerly contemplation. Anyway hope you have a good one! And congrats to all who've been having good news in 2010 so far. Since I've pretty much been assimilated into asian culture my new year doesn't start until today, so that means the good news should be on the way , right? Right?  Okay off to do the family think. Mmmm spicy hot pot tonight!

The Re-Write

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Had the night off tonight (students are in exams), which means I had plenty of time to write. Remember that old story I opened up a while back that was so encouraging because it sucked so bad and basically showed how far I'd come? Well, I've decided to give that story a complete overhaul. I want to see if, by using some stuff I've picked up in the Michael Knost writing workshop, I can turn this story into a winner. It'll probably end up being like twice the length, but all the same I want to give it whirl. I think I'll be sending it out to WOTF Q2 since the other story I wanted to write for them hasn't quite materialized in my mind yet. I have the basic concept, but not that whole ending thing.

The Road is coming along nicely. I haven't been finding it as horrifying as people made it out to be (unless maybe I haven't got to the really juicy parts yet) but then between all the horror I read and the crazy ass asian ghost movies I'm constantly watching I'm pretty much desensitized to violence all together. I've really been enjoying the book though and...

[Spoiler Warning]Collapse )

PS: sacredmime  mentioned in my previous post that he'd be up for starting a kind of book club. Sounds interesting to me and could give me the excuse I need to finish more books this year. I've been kicking that over in my mind and thinking I'll be at quite a disadvantage at procurring books (hard to get anything not mainstream over here), but if anyone is interested drop a comment here. I think it would be neat to discuss different tecniques different writers use in their fiction. Why characters are effective/not effective. etc etc. Of course there's the other issue of where to discuss it. But I guess we could set up something up. Anyway still an idea in an infancy stage, but if you're interested and have any ideas feel free to share.

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