Other than submitting my art to the Calgary Stampede Western Art Show for next summer (wish me luck: they select the artists and pieces to display by March), I have had a restful holiday. Finished Among Others, by Jo Walton, a thoroughly enjoyable read, and started 419 by Will Fergusson, Read a little Asimov’s, and worried away at my traditional Christmas jigsaw puzzle. I only allow myself a jigsaw puzzle once
I have friends who don’t write, who are invariably amused when I brag, “I got an excellent rejection letter!” People who don’t write don’t realize, I think, how hard we work for a personalized rejection, and what it can mean: the editor actually read the submission and liked it enough to take their time to be encouraging. In this competitive business, that is really awesome. And, as in my first sale to Asimov’s, an initial rejection can lead to a sale.
So, I’ve been yakking about science fiction writing, and didn’t mention that I belong to more than one writers’ group. Kensington Writers Group is a non-genre group that is quite small, but highly successful, and includes not only writers of genre, novels and short stories, but YA, non-fiction and poetry as well. As much as I value my connection to IFWA and the expertise they possess in SF, I have learned a lot about writing by working with people from a wide range of backgrounds.
One member of my group, Jan Markley, has just received a very positive rejection from a Canadian publisher for her YA novel, “Dead Frogs on the Porch.” The editor wrote her almost a page of critique, praising the novel on a number of levels and suggesting Jan look at just a little tension-tightening (and who can’t benefit from that?). She’s doing re-writes for another submission and we’re all on the edge of our seats, waiting to see what happens (okay, we may be on the edge of our seats for a few months)!! Jan’s novel is funny, gripping, unique, and has great characters with distinctive voices. I would not be surprised if she doesn’t wind up with a sale on her hands.
The sessions continue to be great — too many to choose among — and it is wonderful to hear about writing and the business straight out of the mouths of top authors and agents. The other thing is, of course, that you recognize them when you meet them. Although, that may not always be the best thing. My good friend, Kim Greyson, who is in charge of guests for World Fantasy (which will be in Calgary in October) knows EVERYONE, so last night he introduced me to writer David Coe. The first thing I said was, “I know you — where have we met?” He was a little confused; then I realized — I’d seen him on a panel. Oops! But he was very gracious about the mistake.
Parties, of course, are where a lot of the business is done. I fell into conversation with a top agent, Lucienne Diver, who gave me her card, then Kim introduced me to Kathleen Doherty who offered to place my manuscripts in front of the right editor at Tor. What an opportunity! Thanks, Kim! Also, for the first time, I got to make an introduction. I introduced Randy McCharles to Sheila Williams at Asimov’s. I read in her June editorial that she is looking for humour and the first person I thought of was Randy because he is not only an awesome writer, he writes humour. So, once the craziness dies down, he said he would send something to Asimov’s.
I’ve just sold my second story to Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine.
“Paid in Full” is a look at the relationship between humans and the insects that feed off of them. More details to follow.