Category Archives: Susan Speaks

Susan’s Decoder Ring: Execution

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As an editor, I work with words — duh, right? Except part of “work with words” means I need to know how to bury something, how to pump it up, how a word’s placement in a sentence affects the reader. Unless I’ve done a line edit for you already, you’d probably be surprised at what a skill this can be.

That’s why I want to bring this very important one to you. Because for years now, we’ve been set up by a certain narcissist to accept something that I pray we won’t have to.

First was talk of walking out onto Fifth Avenue in New York and shooting someone and getting away with it.

There was no condemnation of the Saudi prince and his murder of a journalist.

There have been talks of sending our military into Venezuela. Rumors of military action against North Korea and others. Lots of talk of military action.

Just in March, a scant month ago, a Navy SEAL charged with murder was moved to a different spot in prison, a less restrictive place. Let’s reward the murderer!

And haven’t we seen some of that associated with certain mass killings? A kind of sideways absolution of someone who committed murder, at a rally, with an AR-15 or two or three? A lack of condemnation can be and probably is a sideways absolution when you’re speaking a narcissist’s native tongue.

There is talk of the military at the border being allowed to use more force against hopeful immigrants.

And then, recently, the most chilling one yet.

He started off by painting a lovely picture of a delivery room. Babies wrapped in blankets. And then, buried at the end of the sentence, after the feel-good moment, there it was. One word that both was preposterous in reality as we know it, but also a narcissistic teaser, a(nother) feeler to see how this new policy would go over, if there would be an outcry from the public.

EXECUTION.

This is a common narcissistic tactic: float an idea bunded into something else. See if there’s a reaction. If not, float it again and again. Inch toward the goal. Wear down the listener until they are too tired, too numb to react anymore.

Note, too, that this came mere days after Saudi Arabia executed 37 people. When we SHOULD be sensitive to it. When there SHOULD be an outcry, and not just because one of the executed was set to attend an American university when he was arrested and then executed. Thirty-seven people faced an execution. Thirty-seven people died. And a few days later, buried in a sentence, there it is.

EXECUTION.

It keeps coming back, in various forms. Don’t be numb to it. Listen to it. We are being shown what lies ahead.

So where is the outcry?

This is why that was tacked on to the end of that lovely picture. Oh, yes, it was meant to shock and horrify, and it did that. But that seems to be restricted to the idea of infanticide. Not to the wider idea of a change in our culture, a change in which the idea of execution becomes something that… well, if we’re not comfortable with, at least we’re not screaming bloody murder to keep it from happening.

Screaming now will hopefully save us from screaming in terror and the pain of loss later on.

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This Read an eBook Week…

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Trevor’s Song

This is Read an eBook Week over at Smashwords. It’s the tenth annual Read an eBook Week, in fact, and I believe I’ve had a book or more enrolled every year since the first.

I’ve given away a lot of books during Read an eBook Week. Hundreds, thousands… honestly, I don’t really keep count.

You can get your hands on my books this Read an eBook Week, of course.

But I actually don’t want to talk about my own books, or promote myself. Not this week. (My books are old, after all, and even in ten years, society has shifted quite a bit and I don’t even know if they hold up anymore. I’m still proud of them, though.)

Rather, let’s talk about you, and three actions you can take this Read an eBook Week.
1. Browse Smashwords. Set your erotic filters and browse away. Find new authors, new books, new genres and subject matter. This is a great time to expand your reading horizons, so go for it.

2. Read something. If it’s stuff that’s been sitting on your ereader for a long time, if it’s the new stuff you’re finding… it doesn’t matter. Just read.

3. Write reviews. Leave them at GoodReads. Go back to the book’s page at Smashwords. Got a blog? Leave them there. Got a friend with a blog? Another option. I am also always glad to post thoughtful, constructive reviews and essays about books you’ve read here. And, of course, if you need help with a review or an essay about a book you’ve read, holler. I charge a minimal fee, and you’ll get more than the cost is worth.

Yes, that’s it! Find a book. Read a book. Review a book.

It has been proven over and over and over and over and over and over again that word of mouth recommendations are the best way to sell books. Reviews often fall into this category, because it means people are talking about someone’s book.

So talk about someone’s book.

We know there are algorithms that will prop up a book when it gets a new, or many, or a set number of reviews. So YOUR review has a very good chance of resonating and helping an author. Yes, even if it’s a negative review! (Remember, reading is subjective. I mean, I have met people who don’t loathe Moby Dick.)

And it’s not like you paid money for these books. Most of them over at Smashwords, as part of Read an eBook Week, are free.

That means leaving a review is an easy way to say thanks. To show appreciation for an author’s hard work, even if it wasn’t work that you loved. To help a very small business owner have a little bit better shot at success… and that, right there, is reason enough.

We’re one reading/writing/publishing community. If we don’t take care of each other, who will?

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Susan Speaks: This Thing On?

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Happy New Year, friends, clients, acquaintances, writers, and the odd stalker or creepy person!

I figured it was a good time to stop in, check in, see how everyone is. It’s January 2, after all. It should be an inauspicious day, although longtimers around here know it’s not, and they know why.

It’s been busy over here. I worked all through the break and to be honest, I can’t remember the last time I took a day off. And I’m still not caught up, so thank you for the continued trust and work. Best of all, it doesn’t feel like work anymore, and it’s certainly not drudgery. Editing is the best challenge, brain game, and use of my time — not to mention stress relief!

If 2019 continues for me the way 2018 went, I don’t expect that string of no days off to change. By my count, I have room for about 11 projects all year — but don’t let that intimidate you. Remember that I do work on a Send When Ready schedule, so one of those anticipated eleven openings might happen right when — or maybe a day or two after — you need me. Please keep referring work my way, and if I can’t handle it… well, truth be told, I’ll figure out a way to work it in. This is what you do when you love what you do.

One thing I want to make time for in the upcoming weeks and months is conducting workshops, preferably (gasp) in person. Writing conferences, retreats, even meetings. When I haven’t been editing, I’ve been developing a pretty broad-based portfolio of workshops. I’d like to beta them, so if you’re in the area, keep your eyes open for details and invites to join in. Help me help you make the best book possible.

That’s it for over here. It’s been quiet even as it’s been busy, and as soon as I have more of these workshops tamed, I intend to return to blogging on a more regular basis. There’s only so much time in the day, after all, and you guys who pay me money to work on your manuscripts for and with you, as always, have top priority of my time.

Let me know what you’re up to. Chat with me on Twitter (@WestofMars), submit your book for a Featured New Book Spotlight, and keep an eye on the Facebook page, too. No need to lurk, not around me! I’m here in my yoga pants and oversized sweatshirt, living the dream… so join me.

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Susan Speaks: Cool Kinds of Kudos

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This is a rare gem that I gotta share with you guys.

I’d been talking to a potential client, like I often do. And unlike I often do, I wound up wishing him well with his writing endeavors, as he chose a different editor.

But he dropped back into my inbox a few days ago to ask if he could write nice things about me on his blog.

I appreciated that he thought to ask. And especially that he wanted to say nice things. Who doesn’t like receiving public kudos for their passions?

I’ll let you go over there and read them for yourself. If you have nice things to say about me, too, I’d love to hear them. I’m told time and again I need a client testimonial page on this here site, but I continue to resist. Why? A lot of reasons, including that I have a lot of clients who, wisely, use multiple editors in their quest to make the best book possible.

If you guys flood my inbox, though, with the sorts of kudos that I can’t resist — and more importantly, that’ll help other writers realize how amazing I am — I could change my mind and have my amazing web designer get your words on my site.

I kind of like that idea. Because it makes me happy when you guys tell the world how much you love me. Even when you (the horror) hire someone else.

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Call for Submissions! Triangulation: Dark Skies

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I thought this cover would compliment the post, even though it has nothing to do with… well, anything other than the theme. In my mind. Let me know if I nailed it.

Local-to-me Parsec, Inc has put out a call for submissions for their literary magazine, Triangulation.

The theme is Dark Skies.

What does that mean?

From their site:

Triangulation: Dark Skies will be a celebration of the dark. This year, we are joining forces with the International Dark-Sky Association to raise awareness of the dangers of light pollution—to human health, to animals and plants in the nighttime ecosystem, and to the future of astronomical research on our planet. We’d like to see proactive characters experiencing firsthand the dangers and consequences of a world without darkness, but even more than that, we want stories celebrating our place in the universe, and our ability, as sentient beings, to see into the depths of space. Give us past, present, and future accounts. Cautionary tales. Secondary worlds and altered timelines. The effects of light pollution are many and varied—feel free to explore any aspects, from neurobiological studies, to life in an alien star system, to legends out of time.

Do you love it? I love it. I can feel some creative juices flowing already.

Submissions open December 1 and close on the last day of February, and should be made through my favorite submissions site, Submittable.

And they are a paying market! So be sure to check out the guidelines (aka rules) and follow them. Don’t set yourself up for failure. You are better than that.

As always, if you want my fine editor’s eye to look over your piece before you send it in, drop me an e-mail. I give discounts on editing when you say your intended market is one you first saw here. (HINT)

Good luck, and also as always, if your story makes the cut, come back and let us know. Do a Featured New Book Spotlight! Brag about it! Send us buy links so we can read it and brag about you, too.

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Susan Speaks: How to be Productive

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West of Mars logo

Like I’m not busy enough this summer, I answered a call from a journalist who was looking for creative ways to be productive at an unfulfilling job.

You guys know me. You know what I had to say.

But go check it out anyway. And, of course, do the upvoting thing and all that.

As always, send your friends my way. I’ve got a college tuition to pay, a research trip to Yellowstone, my mortgage… and besides, the busier I am editing, the less trouble I get myself into, and while my adventures are fun and make great stories — my attorney told me a couple weeks ago that she misses hearing them — staying out of trouble for the next couple of months is a good choice. At least until I’m sure the college kid isn’t going to follow in my footsteps. Too much.

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Would or Wouldn’t? Ask the Magic Decoder Ring

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted about the charming narcissistic abuse we’re being exposed to on a daily basis. But this one’s been gnawing at me, so here it is.

Know how some members of the media are chasing after our Narcissist in Chief, trying to figure out what he means? Do all the walkbacks, the contradictions, the double-speak give you whiplash?

They are meant to.

It’s the most basic form of narcissistic abuse: keeping you on the hook, around, dependent on him (or her) for clarification. There is no reality other than what the narcissist creates, and it’s a shifting, slippery, scary place. He (or she) is the only one who can navigate it for you.

But if you look at the words and then compare them to the actions, they NEVER match up. They never will. Because the words are a game. They’re the worm on the fishing hook and you’re the trout. You can’t resist; it looks so good wiggling away there on the hook. One bite and it’ll be yours.

One more try to kick that football that Lucy holds and you’ll have made it, Charlie Brown.

Get it? See how that works? The media comes salvating around, trying to get at the truth of the situation. Would he? Wouldn’t he? Which is it? Yesterday it was would, today it’s wouldn’t, tomorrow it’ll be would, come back Tuesday to see if it’s changed or stayed the same.

There’s a hint of an endorphin rush in there, isn’t there?

Don’t buy into it.

Don’t listen to the words, especially when the words change so fast. Look beyond them, into the spaces the words are designed to hide. Look beyond them, into the actions the words are designed to hide — and no, the spaces and the actions aren’t the same things. Not even close.

Close your ears. Tune out the narcissistic abuse that’s nothing more than noise. Stop chasing him around, hoping for the final absolute truth and reporting every last syllable even when it contradicts what your eyes tell you. The only thing you’re doing is hurting yourself — and everyone who’s depending on you for the truth. In the case of the media, the harder they chase, the more they feed into his claims that they’re not truthful. See how that works?

Look at the actions. Always, always, always, look at the actions. There’s your truth, even when it’s ugly and hard to admit.

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Learn More about Undaunted

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Let’s go visiting today, shall we? And while there, let’s talk about Undaunted, and more.

Now, of COURSE you’re going to be seeing a ton of posts about the Running Wild Anthology of Stories (Volume 2) that my newest baby is in. I mean, hello? Isn’t calling my story “my newest baby” enough of a clue as to how I feel about it?

Today, I’m over at Julie Doherty’s blog, with an interview that’s about the story, about writing, about my work as a freelance editor… to be honest, it was one of those “pick the questions you want to answer” forms, and I don’t remember what all I said! So join me over there and let’s check it out together. I remember having fun as I filled it out, so I bet you’ll have fun reading it. Isn’t that how these things work?

And remember: Pick up a copy of Undaunted. Leave a review once you’ve read the whole thing (or just the story. I won’t mind, although my anthology-mates will!).
Amazon
B&N
Rakuten/Kobo
iTunes

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Susan Speaks: Are you Missing?

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I had heard of this from others, but didn’t think it was actually happening. Mail has gone missing from Google Mail.

Well, after a message between me and a friend vanished into the ether — all copies of it, like I’d dreamed it or something — I realized that nope, it’s real and it’s happening. Gmail seems to be eating messages.

So at this moment in time, I am caught up on Featured New Book Spotlights. If you’ve submitted the form but not heard back from me, resubmit, and include a note wherever you like that it’s a resubmission.

Don’t let this go missing. Take the time to recreate. Let me feature your book; it’s one question! And some music, and who doesn’t need music to start their Monday off right?

And a quick note: on an editing front, things are arriving steadily, so if you need me, be sure to get into the queue sooner rather than later — and again, if you haven’t heard from me, drop me a note. It’s possible Gmail ate that, too. Grr.

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Susan Speaks: How About an Eye Update?

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It’s been forever since I’ve shared an eye update with you guys. That’s actually a good thing — it means there’s been nothing to say. The eye has been and remains stable.

And it was that way last week, too, when I saw the surgeon. He’s happy with how it’s healed, although he finally did admit I’ve got a handicap in the form of what’s called a Lamellar hole. It’s confusing to explain what exactly that is, but its presence explains a few problems I have with my vision: letters drop out of signs and the eye chart. And, something I noticed a year ago: I’ve developed a touch of face blindness.

Which means that if I’ve known you for years and I suddenly don’t recognize you, it’s not because you look terrible. It’s because I truly cannot see you well enough to make out your features. Or because my brain can’t interpret what my eyes are seeing, and can’t make the connection to the memory I carry of you. I’m not sure which; I haven’t asked that question.

The fact that I’ve got this slight face blindness is is really strange, given that the damage is to my non-dominant eye. You’d think that the dominance would overrule the distortion. Okay, *I* expect that. Except, it doesn’t seem to work that way.

Which leads us to another big question: how can I work as an editor if letters drop out of my vision?

That’s where it gets weirder: when I’m looking at my screens, my dominant eye kicks in and compensates. And the surgeon says, too, that my brain is learning to adapt to the dropped letters. I’m figuring out, he says — and I agree — how to look at things so that I can get a more complete picture. I’m learning how to look around the hole in my vision.

Bizarre, isn’t it? You’d think it’d be the other way around, that I’d struggle with the small stuff and have faces down cold.

But eyes, as we’ve all learned through this crazy adventure, are tricky, confusing, confounding, and amazing things. At one point during this whole ordeal, I looked at one of my surgeons — I think it was the cataract guy — and said that if I were 20 years younger, I’d go back to med school for ophthalmology. This is really cool stuff.

So what’s the upshot of all this? I get to see the surgeon once a year now, so long as I check in with my optometrist in between my annual surgeon visits, to make sure my eye pressure is behaving. That problem probably won’t ever go away, and so I need to stay on top of it to keep it from damaging my optic nerve. I’m willing to do that, even though it means having my eyes dilated twice a year and letting them touch my eye with that strange blue light. Like everything else, you get used to it.

Another upshot: this is what it is. It’s not nearly as bad as it could have — should have — been.

And I can work as well, if not better than ever. In some ways, I work more slowly, more thoroughly these days.

Just… if we see each other in public and I don’t seem to recognize you, don’t hesitate to say, “Hey, it’s Stevie.” (Except, you smartass, use your own name.) Like I said, it’s not you. It’s the strange gift of my right eye.

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Susan Sets up Shop in Littsburgh!

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West of Mars logoWhat’s this Littsburgh stuff? You all thought I was West of Mars!

Well, I am BOTH. Littsburgh is the literary hub for us publishing folk in the city of Pittsburgh and maybe you missed it, but West of Mars definitely refers to the only city or town of Mars in the United States. The question I usually won’t answer is how far west of Mars I am, but that’s because I hate it when people show up on my doorstep. Of course, showing up on my back deck is even worse, so don’t do that, either. And before you go, “A-ha! I’ll use the garage,” know that’s where the boy’s bows are stored. Just sayin’.

So because I’m both West of Mars and a proud part of the Littsburgh community, Nick and Rachel and Katie were more than glad to feature me with a quick four-question interview about my story, “Undaunted,” in the Running Wild Anthology of Stories.

I know I’ve done other interviews and stuff about it already, but somehow, seeing myself up on Littsburgh, being an active part of the writerly community… it’s darn cool.

Check it out. If you haven’t picked up a copy for yourself, what are you waiting for?

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Reviewers Wanted!

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Like short stories?

Sure ya do.

Especially since one of them was written by me, and you know you want to read what I’ve come up with now. I’ve heard feedback that it’s VERY different from my older stuff. More polished. Less angry. And it certainly felt different as I wrote it!

So. I am willing to hand over digital copies of the anthology to anyone who’d like one — with the caveat that you leave a review at whichever book review site you like. Amazon, Goodreads, B&N… I don’t really care. I just want to see the reviews happening, so that others can read the work of 20 damn good writers. Or 19 damn good writers and me. Whichever. You can decide and mention it in your review.

If you’d like a review copy, let me know. But remember: I expect a review! Maybe not a day after I hand the copy over, but within a reasonable period of time.

Reviews sell books. They expose books to new readers who otherwise wouldn’t hear of a book. They HELP. They are the best way to say thanks for taking the time to write, hone, revise, craft the tale in your hands.

Be polite. Write reviews.

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Author Promo Opp with Louise Wise

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West of Mars logoA fun graphic to start us off!

Because let’s face it: there’s nothing fun about trying to promote your book. With my upcoming anthology release (more on that later), I’m in the same boat: you’ve got to reach people, tell them about your project, encourage them to buy it. It’s thankless work, and it’s hard, not to mention time-consuming.

And because I like to take care of my friends and clients, it’s worth it to me to take the time to pass along word of bloggers who are open to promotional events at their own site.

Like this one. Louise Wise, owner of Wise Words Book Blogger, has openings and opportunities that she’d LOVE to see be filled up. (Sort of how I feel about the Featured New Book Spotlight!) Unlike me, though, she doesn’t have one static question. She’s got a bunch, and they change according to the month you’d like to be featured. Stop in and check out what she’s looking for.

Yes, it’ll take you some time and effort to write a post on these topics. From a blogger’s point of view, I get it: we want fresh content, not recycled stuff. From a reader’s point of view, I get it: we want fresh content, not recycled stuff (and yes, I am thinking of the one best-selling author who wrote three guest posts for one of her books and then flooded the blogosphere with those three. By the time she was done, when I saw her name, I groaned. NOT a way to get someone to buy your book!). But as an author, I also get it because time spent writing yet another unique guest post means time away from fresh material.

Still, I think it’s worth it. You never know how or when you’ll find a new fan, and if you make the right kind of fan — the one who’ll follow you around the Internet and be a magnifier for your appearances without crossing that line into creepy — they are worth ten times their weight in gold. Those are the sorts of fans who’ll sell a hundred copies of your book for you, and they are the kind we all dream about. Admit it.

So… check out what Louise is offering to all of us and if you’ve got the ability to make the time, go for it. I’m certainly going to try — after all, anthologies are HARD to sell.

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Susan Speaks: Visit With Me

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It’s a BUSY week here at West of Mars, starting with yesterday’s visit with my client, Carol Kilgore. Stop in and see what I have to say about crowdsourcing your editing.

And then pick up the first book in Carol’s new trilogy, Jalapeno Cupcake Wench. I loved working on this with her, and I think if you’re into mysteries, you’ll like this a lot. It’s light, it’s fun– but it’s also thought-provoking and with quite a bit of substance.

Stay tuned. I’m busy with edits, as always, and as always, there’s room in my queue for your manuscript if it’s not already there. But there’s also a lot scheduled to be happening here at the blog over the next couple of weeks, and you won’t want to miss any of that, either.

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Susan Speaks: Two Years and Counting

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So. Remember that time I fell off my bike and damn near lost an eye?

Yeah, me, too. Believe me, I remember… well, I don’t remember most of it happening. The parts that I do remember are seared on my brain, still easily pulled from my beat-up memory. The parts that I don’t remember are, I’m told by the concussion specialist, lost forever. Black holes where I know something ought to be.

Occasionally, I reach for those black holes, but there’s nothing there. It’s like that moment in the Luray Caverns when they turn out the lights and there’s nothing… but this is even more absolute than that because at least while you’re in the unlit cavern, you are aware of your heart beating, your breath. You are aware of you.

These black holes are truly nothingness.

And it only took almost two years, but I can finally describe what I see out of my damaged eye, when I close the good one: the wallpaper pattern doesn’t match up. There’s a skip, a jump, an outline of a figure that’s not perfect. Go look at badly hung wallpaper and you’ll see what I mean.

Thankfully, that goes away when I open my good eye. Life is seamless again, as it should be. As I took for granted before this all began. And maybe that was the point of it all: to see the world differently, because — for better or worse — I certainly do.

Two years… it’s a long time. But I’m here, I’m working, I’ve got this down to a science and any of my clients will tell you that if anything, I’m more sharp-eyed than ever. That’s the most important part, I think. What I have to offer my clients has only gotten better. And yes, I continue to be able to take on new projects, written by new authors. Or new projects written by clients who drifted away after my accident, for whatever reason.

Let me help you make the best book possible. But let’s start tomorrow. Some anniversaries… they need to be observed quietly, introspectively. This is one of them.

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Susan Speaks: Purposefully Dark

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Although I’ve been at my desk, working, during this holiday break, I decided that since most people aren’t, anything I could or would post would wind up being ignored. So… West of Mars has seemed dark.

I hate the word seemed in fiction because it’s often used incorrectly. Webster’s defines it “To give the impression of being” (or something darn close to that; let’s see how good my short-term memory is these days), and in fiction, that’s often attached to something that actually doesn’t give an impression. All too often, what’s being tagged with seem winds up doing more than giving an impression.

And so I may seem to not be around, but that’s not the whole picture. Because I’ve been here, working, both on client work and my own fiction. My workspace is insanely comfortable and I love to be in here. And there’s only so much Two Dots that a girl can play.

I have Lines of Distinction and Featured New Book Spotlights coming up in the new year. I am debating doing a year-end reading roundup like I used to, but truth be told, I didn’t read 40 books this year (I think my number stands at 38 or 39) and… they weren’t particularly memorable books. At first, looking over the list, I thought it was me, being pickier about the books I read for pleasure. But looking back at various roundups (Here’s 2011’s), I truly was more excited about what I was reading. It felt like in 2017, I was just reading books as a way of marking time.

I will have to fix that.

Give me book suggestions, will you? Books that you love, series you can’t wait to spend more time with.

And send me your manuscripts to edit, so I can afford to buy and support more of the really good stuff that’s being written. See how the cycle works? Buy it, read it, review it, blog about it, someone else buys it, reads it, reviews it, blogs about it… and on and on.

Let’s power some really good stuff to the forefront in 2018, shall we?

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Call for Submissions: Musical Speculative Fiction

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This one just opened on December 1, and you know it’s in my wheelhouse, since it’s got a musical theme.

Here, let me explain

Triangulation, Parsec Ink’s themed speculative fiction annual, is now in its 14th year, and open for submissions. Whether you’re a new or established author, we hope you’ll send us your outstanding fantasy, science fiction, weird fiction, or speculative horror. Just tell us a story we won’t forget.

Theme: This year’s theme is “music”. Tentative title, Triangulation: The Music Edition. We’re looking for stories where music, a musical instrument, the parts of music, or musical culture make an appearance in a meaningful way. As a thematic element, you can apply a light touch or go “full tuba”. Be aware that we may retool the title of the collection, depending on the exact quality and character of the submissions we receive. If you’ve got a better title than “Triangulation: The Musical”, don’t forget to let us know in your cover letter.

Looks like Rock Fiction, smells like Rock fiction… probably quacks like Rock Fiction, too, if you can hear the music in a quack.

I love the idea of melding speculative fiction in with Rock Fiction. The possibilities here are absolutely endless, so push yourself to think of something more than the song that summons a demon, okay? Go. Have fun. Speculative means that someone somewhere’s gotta speculate, so speculate away, turn it into speculative fiction, build it on a musical framework, and you’re done.

(as if it’s that easy, huh)

Entry deadline is 28 February, so you’ve got some time to think of something, write it, polish it, and send it off. (Yes, I edit short stories — for those of you who may need me.)

And it’s a paying market, too. That’s always a nice thing. Semi-pro rates (2c per word), and contributor’s copies.

Get busy! And note that they, too, are using Submittable for their submissions. If you don’t have a Submittable account yet, what are you waiting for?

Need the submission guidelines again? Here they are.

And, as always, if you submit something and make the cut, report back! I love being able to brag about you guys.

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Still In Need of Promotion?

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Books do tell our stories! Not only should we support the NEA and NEH, but we should support each other, as well! Let me do that by sharing promotion opportunities with you.

Featured New Book.

Lines of Distinction.

Two easy promotion methods that I offer here at West of Mars — why aren’t more of you using them?

If you have, or if they are too hard for you (really? All you graphic teaser people?), here’s another promotional opportunity for you. It’s over at Wise Words Book Blogger, where Louise Wise is looking for current affairs articles written by your protagonist.

Seriously.

And seriously fun, no? Especially if you have a protag who doesn’t share your worldview. Stretching yourself to understand how your character would view something happening in the news right now is a great way to get to know not only your character, but to gain a better look at the world, as well.

We’re always told to write what we know, but sometimes, the demands of fiction don’t allow us to do that. This is a great opportunity to learn new things, stretch your writerly wings, explore a bit — and get some eyeballs on your project(s), too.

Go for it. Tell Louise I sent you — and be sure to drop me the link when it runs!

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Call for Submissions: Hot Holiday Reads

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Here’s an anthology I was invited to join. Not quite a call for submissions, but it’s an anthology! And they could have hated my story and sent it back, but it’s one of my favorite from the Trevolution. Grab a copy if you haven’t already.

Today’s call for submissions is for you romance writers and man, I wish I had something to submit. The deadline to submit is November 10, so if you’ve got something that needs a final polish, go for it. Otherwise, start on something for next year! (I am NOT kidding!)

The source is Fuse Literary — yes, a literary agency! — but don’t expect to back door your way in, and don’t disqualify yourself if you are already repped (but, of course, DO let your agent know what you’re up to, as they have a vested interest in your career). This is an anthology Fuse puts out annually, and the money from it goes to charity.

If you’re picked to contribute, you’ll get $10, which can be turned over to the charity, wink wink nudge nudge.

Here’s more about what they’re looking for:

The theme is winter-holiday romance. This can be any holiday in winter, any romance sub-genre, any heat level, any orientation, any fetish, etc. All are welcome, and diversity is encouraged.

Stories of all lengths will be considered, but this is not the place to submit a full-length novel.

We’re signing non-exclusive rights, so you’re free to publish your story elsewhere (let us know if your story has been published before).

As always, there’s no submission fee.

If your story is accepted, you will receive a single payment of $10, which you can choose to have donated directly to the Lung Cancer Alliance.

If you have any questions, leave a comment here so everyone can benefit.

For the record, this is the fourth time they’ve done this, so they’re old hands at by now (one would imagine). Submit your best!

And, since logic says they’ll go for the nice round Number Five (don’t ask how five is round; it is my brain), if you don’t have anything, start planning for next year. At worst, you’ll get a chance to write and push yourself and grow a little bit as a writer. And how is that possibly the worst that can happen?

Here’s the link to submit again.

As always, if you make the cut, let us know so we can brag about you and post links when the anthology goes live. Best part of the day when we get to do that!

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Another Source for Promotion!

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Speaking of promotion, here’s a freebie for my friend JJ Hensley. Pick up his latest, why don’t you?

I love my clients, and I absolutely adore being an editor. I get up every morning, eager to see who’s dumped what in my inbox, and what’s happening in my current edit-in-progress. I am one of the luckiest people ever, because I get to work with great writers on great projects.

But having great projects that turn into great books doesn’t mean anything if readers don’t ever hear about them. That’s why I offer the Featured New Book Spotlight and Lines of Distinction.

It’s also why I like to share your success stories, and also to let you know of calls for submissions… and for promotional opportunities. Like this one.

The POTL: All Things Books, Reading and Publishing blog is accepting Wednesday Book Spotlight submissions from now until the end of the year. All you have to do is email NN Light your name and book title, and they will take it from there.

It’s first come, first served, of course. But it’s promotion, and who doesn’t need promotion?

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